Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility

 If you care for animals in any way, what do we owe them? That's the question poised by Justice for Animals: Our Collective Responsibility, by Martha C. Nussbaum. 

At the beginning of the book, Nussbaum introduces to five different animals (including a house finch, a dog, a pig, a whale, and an elephant) and shows us what a good life and a bad life look like for each of these creatures. Next, Nussbaum looks at traditional ethical consideration of animals and decides their approaches are lacking. Instead, she proposes a Capabilities Approach, which seems to be based on this approach to human capabilities. What I understood from the philosophical section was that each type of animal has its best life when it's allowed to exercise its full capabilities (which vary by species). I admit the first several chapters took some time to get through, and I don't think I've fully digested everything she said. 

The second half of the book was more practical. Nussbaum examines many of the ways in which we interact with animals, from those we raise for food to those who are our household companions. She discusses how much animals might suffer when being killed for food (she thought fish suffered the least), whether it's ever acceptable to keep animals in zoos (it's impossible to give some animals a fulfilling life in a zoo, but others might flourish), and even whether pet owners provide enough exercise and stimulation for their companions (one of the reasons we don't have pets is because my husband and I both work outside the house, so we can't give a cat or dog enough attention). Nussbaum points out that even wild animals live in areas affected by humans, so they're affected by us too. We need to be good stewards of their living areas and give them the resources and space they need.

Finally, even if we determine what we owe to animals, it's very difficult to enforce protections of animals and their habitats. Since we can't communicate with animals directly, we need advocates for them. Animals might not be fully equivalent to humans on a moral basis, but they deserve more legal protection than they currently receive. Nussbaum concludes that we are moving in the right direction, but as climate change continues to remake the world, the question is whether we will move fast enough to save all the species we still can.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Internet Science Fiction Database

This Sunday, I learned about the Internet Science Fiction Database (one of my publishers, Third Flatiron, mentioned it in their newsletter). It's a catalog of science fiction, fantasy, and horror works. The publisher mentioned that they make sure to add all of their authors and works, so naturally I had to search for myself. Sure enough, I was listed with three of my traditionally published short stories. (I have to admit I feel more "official" now after seeing the entry.) I was also surprised to see a separate listing for a forward I wrote for a friend's novel. (I was also excited for her to see her works included.) It might be worth trying to add my novels to the database at some point, but I'll need to create an account and see if it's OK to add self-published works. But in the meantime, back to writing.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Solarpunk Short Story Sale!

I posted about this on Facebook last week, but I sold a short story to the forthcoming Solarpunk Creatures anthology by Worldweaver Press. My short story is called "The Colorful Crow of Web-of-Life Park," and it's about an escaped parrot, the parrot's former owner, and the crow that freed the parrot. The anthology will be published sometime between November and next February. I'll share additional details as they become available.

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

IWSG: My First Book and My Writing Journey

Welcome to April, everyone! Hopefully for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we'll start seeing more signs of spring soon. (We're getting snow as I write this.) 

If you're new to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, you can learn more about them on their website or Facebook page

Our hosts this month are Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre

 Our question for this month has multiple parts: Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts on a career path on writing? Where are you now, and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

My first book was a fantasy novel called Let Silences Be Broken, which I wrote during an internship at the National Cancer Institute. It was about an albino woman who gained magic by refusing to speak. She goes on a journey to meet travelers from another country who don't speak her language (her people believe there's only one language, so this revelation is mind-blowing to them). I think it was told by the woman's traveling companion, but I don't remember exactly how it ended (other than with the woman finally speaking). I don't think I have a copy anymore, either in paper or some archaic electronic storage device, and honestly, I wouldn't want to read it. I'm pretty sure the writing would make me cringe, and who knows how bad the plotting would be.

Back in my mid-twenties, I wanted to write full-time as an alternative to the traditional day job. I turn fifty-three later this month, and at this point, I don't expect a writing career to ever happen. I have responsibilities to my family, and I have a steady day job with a variety of tasks and good benefits. I still hope to gain supplemental income from writing, and I'd love to have some fans and maybe even some recognition in the genres I write in. I consider myself lucky to be a hybrid author, able to write what inspires me while knowing I can publish it myself if necessary.

What has your writing journey been like? Feel free to share in the comments or post a link to your story.


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