\They talked about one of my pet peeves - particularly in shows and movies for kids: the single female character, like a crumb thrown to the girls, who appears in a cast of male characters with a wide range of skills and abilities. The girl basically bets to be "the girl" and this, that, or the other (the brains, the warrior, the telepath, etc.). What makes me annoyed is that it give the idea of limitations to girls - the boys get this wide range of characters to think about and choose from. The girls get "the girl" or have to pick one of the guys. Rarely do the boys choose to be the girl when games are played.
This one didn't hold any big revelations for me, but it was interesting. I learned about a site called technovelgy.com: where science meets fiction, which explores the inventions and ideas first posited in science fiction that are now extant today (at least that's what I understand - I have yet to fully explore the site, but it looks fascinating). I also learned about The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy (edited by Datlow), an original anthology that is up for this year's World Fantasy Award. I'm hoping to read that one soon.
Interview: Ellen Datlow, Delia Sherman: Editing and Writing: A writer and editor talk about their relationship; how short stories are edited; how an editor dialogs with the writer to improve a story.
As a writer, I find this sort of thing fascinating, and the discussion between Datlow and Sherman was illuminating. Datlow is one of those editors who is not a writer, and because of that she doesn't really offer much practical advice when she gets a story that almost - but doesn't quite - work for her. She may simply say that the ending is weak, or it drags right here, or the characters are a bit flat - but she doesn't really give advice on how to fix it. That is up to the writer (which, when you think of it, isn't an unreasonable expectation!). One thing she said that gave me a bit to think about was: "When the ending isn't quite right, it's usually not the ending itself, but something about three-quarters of the way through the story that isn't working." Interesting!