5 Things – This is Halloween edition

The Jack O’ Lantern is carved. The lentil soup and roast sweet potatoes are cooking. Time to post a few things I’ve been saving for Halloween.

Ada Calhoun, The Sisters Who Spoke to Spirits

The spirits are the least disturbing thing in this essay about the Fox sisters, whose table-rapping ways kicked off the phenomenal popularity of Spiritualism in the nineteenth century. So much weirdness here.

Documentary, Ghosts on the Underground (2006)

This documentary about spooky experiences on the London Underground terrified me when I first saw it several years ago. I hunted it down last year for a Halloween watch with my partner and was pleased to find it just as creepy as I remembered.

Roger Clarke, A Natural History of Ghosts, 500 Years of Hunting for Proof

Roger Clarke’s book is an enjoyable ramble around the last five hundred years of belief in ghosts. Most of the hauntings get debunked, but what they reveal about social history and the psychology of the people involved is fascinating.

M.R. James, ‘Oh, whistle, and I’ll come to you, my lad’ and ‘A Warning to the Curious

I love the ghost stories of M.R. James and re-read them all every few years, but I think these two are my favourites. They have given me a life-long dislike of sleeping in twin-bedded hotel rooms and walking along misty beaches on my own, but I feel they are worth it.

Vitamin String Quartet, This is Halloween

Just a great cover of a great song.

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SF Link Round-up

Following the Guardian’s male-centred article about fantasy, and the #womeninfantasy pushback on twitter, Senny Dreadful posts some thoughts and a massive reading list: Women in Fantasy: Disrupting in Circle

Africa is a Country has a piece on the ways in which African and Afro-diasporic writers are pushing the boundaries of science fiction The Aliens Have Already Landed: The Landscape of African and Afro-Diasporic Science Fiction

A new crowd-funded anthology, Defying Doomsday, will place disabled characters at the forefront of the narrative.

The Kirkus published a good longread on the work of the amazing Joanna Russ, The Radical Joanna Russ

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LGBT Culture Round-up

The Advocate, These 48 Trans W Tomen and Men Changed the World

Book review – Behind the Mask: The Life of Vita Sackville West 

New black lesbian novel, Jam on the Vine 

Article about Maggi Hambling’s new exhibition in The Guardian

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SF Link Round-up

The BBC will be hosting a Science Fiction Season this month.

New Interview with Ursula Le Guin over at Salon.com

This forthcoming documentary sounds amazing: Invisible Universe: A History of Blackness in Speculative Fiction

I really liked this piece: On Interstellar, Plot Holes, and Letting Stories be Themselves  (via BethanVJones)

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A SF and Pop Culture Round-up

Everyone’s been tweeting this article, I Hate Strong Female Characters. Sophia Mcdougall seems to have articulated something that a lot of people have been feeling.

On a related note, Anne Billson posted about Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the scarcity of female role models

This is an interesting post from NPR’s blog, At the Movies: The Women are Gone. It makes the important point that the lack of women in the movies has nothing to do with the popularity or income-generating potential of women-centred movies:

They put up Bridesmaids, we went. They put up Pitch Perfect, we went. They put up The Devil Wears Prada, which was in two-thousand-meryl-streeping-oh-six, and we went (and by “we,” I do not just mean women; I mean we, the humans), and all of it has led right here, right to this place. Right to the land of zippedy-doo-dah. You can apparently make an endless collection of high-priced action flops and everybody says “win some, lose some” and nobody decides that They Are Poison, but it feels like every “surprise success” about women is an anomaly and every failure is an abject lesson about how we really ought to just leave it all to The Rock.

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End of Winter Culture round-up

First some reading material, a list of 100 Books by black women  and the  impressive (if slightly daunting) prospect that is the The Lesbrary Good Reads Project.

Some Writing wisdom from Toni Morrison and here she is again being completely awesome in an interview.

I was pleased to see lesbian writer, Sarah Schulman, getting her latest book reviewed in a non LGBT publication.

Lesbian.com featured an interview with brilliant lesbian poet Staceyann Chin

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Autumn Culture Round Up

I haven’t done one of these link round-ups in ages, but I’ve been inspired to get back to it by the quantity of good stuff I’ve read recently.

Let’s start with something for the lesbian and bisexual women.  From Autostraddle, a gallery: 150 years of lesbians and other lady loving ladies.  

Also, from The Guardian, here’s an interview with Emma Donoghue

Bonjour Cass has a great post up about her favorite LGBTQ authors with a lot of good suggestions for reading.  She’s also starting an LGBTQ Book Blogger Directory.   

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