would you like some tea?

Yesterday I finished reading Ann Leckie’s Translation State, which is set in the same SF universe as her other novels. The Imperial Radch trilogy had a lot of gender stuff in it — a narrator who didn’t understand or recognize gender, to whom everyone was “she”; various types of nonbinary characters, etc. — but this one even more so. It deals with issues of identity and choice and social expectations. The authoritarian types who want to take choice away one of the main characters for their own gain also had the habit of misgendering him and being not the least bit apologetic about it.

When Ancillary Justice came out 10 years ago, I don’t recall there being nearly as much nonbinary representation in fiction. I mean, SF always had a little of it, if only because of alien races and robots. Some writers touched on gender issues, it’s just… now it seems like more than half the SF books I’m reading have at least one trans or enby character, perhaps even the protagonist. Part of that I’m sure is because I’m seeking those books out to some degree. But I think part of it is, these issues are very much in the forefront today and SF has always been political.

I notice it a lot less in fantasy, but it’s there too. I think fantasy also tends to have just a bit more of a conservative streak. The authors telling the queer, trans, and nonbinary stories in fantasy often seem to have some SF elements in it too — not really content with genre barriers any more than gender barriers, maybe.

Anyway, I enjoyed Translation State for the most part, and it made me want to go back and reread Leckie’s other novels. The first one I have in paperback, and that means I’ll have to dig around for it, and that makes me realize I really do prefer ebooks now.

I guess I’m a phase of upping my MIDI game. Noise Engineering Univer Inter took the place of the extra Befaco A*+B+C that I’d moved out of the Pod, and I had some fun revisiting techniques I used to use with the CV.OCD. Also, an enhanced version of what I used to do with the Polyend Medusa: use polyphonic voice assignment, but with different-sounding oscillators which modulate each other. Note order and duration determines which ones get assigned to which notes, and thus the frequency ratios of those modulations. It adds extra interest to both sequences and played parts.

I also have a used ROLI Seabord Block and a couple of Lightpads on the way, at a price I couldn’t resist. I’m not always happy with playing the pressure control on the Launchpad Pro, and this should not only be smoother but also allow some more expressive playing. Some of my software synths support MPE, but for those that don’t, I expect I can use Bitwig and/or VCV to reassign the extra dimensions of control to other modulation signals.

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