I see that DC Comics is opting to give Wonder Woman a fashion makeover. On the one hand, I agree with those who say it’s overdue. WW’s old costume was a male-pleasing eyecandy combo of bustier, basque, and one-piece swimsuit. With go-go boots. Hardly the kind of outfit that conforms to progressive 21st century feminist sensibilities. But on the other hand — as someone who still thinks Lynda Carter was A-1 goddess material when she wore her basque + boots — I’m going to miss the old look. Because the old look was sensational. WW was both powerful and sexy! And while the new outfit still flatters WW’s busty-yet-fit physique, she doesn’t have that sparkle that she’s had through most of her existence. The new look is darker, more brooding, even a bit hostile — a truer reflection of modern woman? Perhaps. Me? I’ll always sigh wistfully at memories of Lynda, who captured almost perfectly WW’s essence on the small screen — and captured this boy’s heart, when he was a boy. I give the new look a 35% chance of surviving fan backlash.
L.E. Modesitt, Jr. makes a very good point about the impossibility of ‘manufactured’ popular success. In discussing the decline in written SF readership, it’s tough to reconcile the need for reviving inroads into youth and popular readership with the reality that just because you want a certain book to be a success, doesn’t mean it will be. Publishers back duds all the time. How or why a certain book or series — knock, knock, Twilight — goes into orbit, is a question forever on the minds of every writer, publisher, and marketing department in the whole of the fiction industry. Most often, publishers scattershoot with a bevy of titles from old and new authors, hoping that the few projects which do explode can make up for all the ones that fizzle, or thunk dead on delivery. So how come all the big print hits of the last ten years have been almost always Fantasy? Where is Science Fiction failing its potential audience?
Dean Wesley Smith pointed to this article on top-agent-gone-bad Harriet Wasserman. Dean has taken a buttload of heat for his many critical articles discussing agents, the new publishing reality, and how/why writers shouldn’t cling to the myth that, “nobody ever gets published without an agent.” I suspect I might be deploying this article in future discussions on why being agented is not the Valhalla it’s been made out to be. Yes, there are good agents doing good work. But as this article proves, even top-drawer agents aren’t immune from being bad news for their clients. Factor this as another significant data point — when you decide whether you want/need an agent. More importantly, if you do get an agent, what kind of behavior on the part of that agent will you find acceptable, or unacceptable? Your writing is your business and the agent is the employee. Are you getting value from your employee?
My fellow WOTF vol. XXVI winner Scott Baker bemoans not being at Clarion West. I remember back when I lived in the Pacific Northwest I dreamed of being able to one day attend Clarion West. I despaired of ever having the time or the money to attend — current cost is $3,200 and current length is 6 weeks. That was 15 years ago, and I still don’t have the time or the money — though that’s not stopped me from doing other workshops. Which have proven valuable, for me. Which leads me back to a basic question about CW: what the heck is being taught in six straight weeks of what the Army would call “resident” coursework? Stuff that requires your physical presence? Is there no way to break it up into distance learning pieces, or more schedule-friendly, budget-easy “hunks” of learning? I got to rub elbows with a couple of Clarion/CW grads at the week-long workshop I did in Lincoln City, Oregon, earlier this year — they said that CW was very much a “college” type experience. I have a hunch if I did something like that — at my age, now — I’d probably get more than a little PO’d by the second or third week. I’m too old for “dorm room” stuff. Would have been fun when I was 20. Probably not now. But that’s just me. Another WOTF winner, K.C. Ball, is doing CW this year. And I think she’s 50+ if memory is correct? I’ll have to ask her what she thought of it, when I go to Los Angeles for WOTF in August. So far, K.C. seems impressed by it all.
Speaking of WOTF vol. XXVI folk, Alex Black muses on women who go to revue clubs to see women perform. I’ve only ever been to a strip club once in my life, in 2004, at one of Seattle’s DejaVu joints. It reminded me of a cheap casino: pulsing, lurid, and designed expressly for squeezing as much money as possible from patrons, under the guise of fun. I didn’t find DejaVu to be particularly fun, and I haven’t wanted to go back to a strip club since. But I’ve heard lots of stories from male and female patrons about the phenomenon of heterosexual women who go to see women dance, buy lap dances, private booth sessions, etc. Alex may be onto something I hadn’t considered: that the experience of seeing and/or feeling a beautiful woman, makes some women feel beautiful themselves. A kind of vicarious transportation? I’d be curious to hear reader’s thoughts on why straight females are attracted to strip clubs, burlesque, or other male-centric sexual-tainment.