ide_cyan: (Default)
[personal profile] ide_cyan2011-06-03 08:40 pm

"Dirty Wordies, or, The Fiendish Thingie": an uncollected speech by Joanna Russ

Here is a speech (originally given at a science-fiction convention, in 1969) by Joanna Russ, transcribed from Luna Prime #8 (editor: Franklin M. Dietz Jr.), that hasn't been collected or reprinted, as far as I know, since that zine was published in 1970.

I bought the zine off eBay a couple of weeks back. It arrived yesterday, so I typed up the essay last night, and gave it another look through for typos and transcription errors today with rested eyes, and am now uploading it to share with you all. (The zine also contains a speech by Anne McCaffrey, and others by Jack Williamson and Donald A. Wollheim, but it's the Russ one I bought it for.)

I hope the estate of Morris Bishop doesn't mind: Russ included a whole poem of his with permission then, so I'm reproducing it as well.

NOTE: I've e-mailed the community mod about turning anonymous commenting back on -- I'm sorry if anyone's been trying to leave comments to this entry but hasn't been able to. Also, if you need to view the entry in a simpler journal style, you can click on either one of these links:

If you need to contact me, you can do so here:


Dirty Wordies,
or, The Fiendish Thingie

A Speech* by Joanna Russ

* Presented at the Philadelphia Science Fiction Conference on Friday evening, November 14, 1969

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, majors, minors -- in short, everybody -- thank you very much for being here and thank you for inviting me to speak. My coming to the Philcon is already a tradition (with me, anyway, if not with anybody else) and it's one that I'm very glad of. I meet really lovely people and I get to talk about science fiction (which I really can't do during the year) and when I make jokes, people actually laugh, and you don't know how nice that is. But there is one drawback. After you accept an invitation to speak, and think with great joy of someone else paying the plane fare (in this case Cornell University) and think of all the people you'll meet, and the friends, and the parties, and the drinks, and the fact that there are so many people who really like science fiction -- you can practically get maudlin about it -- there comes that one chilling thought: to speak, I must have something to speak about. And I'm afraid that today I'm going to speak about something rather serious.

Read more... )
ithiliana: (Joanna Russ)
[personal profile] ithiliana2011-05-05 03:11 pm

Twitter Chat on Feminist and Queer SF: In Memory of Joanna Russ

This coming Sunday (May 8 at 14:00 EDT) there will be an informal Twitter chat on the subject of feminist and queer science fiction in memory of Joanna Russ, under the hashtag #FeministSF. All are welcome, and if anyone has any ideas for questions or prompts to help guide the chat, please contact one of the co-organizers [thefuturefire AT or traciewelser AT , or make the suggestion under the hashtag.

Please feel free to circulate!
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity2011-05-04 10:14 am

Liveblogging The Female Man

I've been re-reading The Female Man and blogging my thoughts as I go through. Mostly "and this is what I was thinking about" -- sometimes that gets analytical, but sometimes it's just impressions.

Each post corresponds to one of the book's parts (and obvs, expect spoilers):

The book has nine parts altogether, so as you can see, I'm still relatively early in the book. (Psst! You could TOTALLY catch up to me, if you wanted.)
ithiliana: (Joanna Russ)
[personal profile] ithiliana2011-05-04 11:08 am

"A little blue pyramid sitting in the middle of the floor"

I've been re-reading What Are We Fighing For with great glee and appreciation--have worked through the first chapter debunking psychoanalytical theory and how it's been used by feminists (Russ' first inspiration for the title was "reactionary" feminisms, and it's a good title for her approach), and am thinking major issues about how this work (unlike many more academically inflected work) does not assume the reader is familiar with the scholarship she's critiquing--that makes it much more hmmm approachable? Understandable? Accessible? And, given how often work by women is erased (arguably, work by women are are from working class backgrounds and/or marginalized ethnic groups more often than white middle class women's work), I think her ability to pull together groups of books and summarize their arguments and assumptions and critique them is incredibly valuable. More about that later.

Right now, because I'm swamped with grading and cannot develop the above, but was enjoying a friend's comments about reading On Strike Against God, I wanted to quote one of my favorite quotes from that work (I love it all, but this part has always stuck in my mind as PERFECTION. And here's the icon I just made for it, totally gackable:

Blue Pyramid Blue Pyramid
_On Strike Against God_, page 21 "mightn't you expect (at least) a little blue pyramid sitting in the middle of the floor"?

Sally, Louise, Jean and the narrator are watching a bad TV movie and talking, cut for length and because I guess a major quote is a spoiler )
ide_cyan: (Default)
[personal profile] ide_cyan2011-05-03 04:59 am

Joanna Russ's voice on LP

Does anybody with a PayPal account have a chance of buying that LP to be able to convert it to a shareable digital audio file?
ithiliana: (Joanna Russ)
[personal profile] ithiliana2011-05-01 10:24 am

In Memoriam Link Post

What Are We Fighting FOr?
What Are We Fighting For?

In Memoriam: Joanna Russ (1937-2011)

I decided not to link to the very short announcements/responses (often repeating the same information), including Twitter posts. I searched for posts that are beginning to do more to write about her work and life; I believe this post will grow over time. Please post links in the comments if you'd like me to add them.

Joanna Russ (1937-2011) Locus Online.

Remember Joanna Timmel Duchamp @ Ambling Along the Aqueduct.

RIP Joanna Russ Rose Fox @ Genreville: A Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Publishing Blog Hosted by Publishers.

In Memoriam: Joanna Russ (1937-2011) Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

rip: How to remember and discover Joanna Russ by Annalee Newitz @ io9.

(quick addition of links--will edit for better format a bit later)
ithiliana: (Joanna Russ)
[personal profile] ithiliana2011-04-30 04:44 pm

io9 How to remember and discover Joanna Russ

rip: How to remember and discover Joanna Russ by Annalee Newitz

Controversial, political, poetic, and full of crazy action, Russ' work has seduced and troubled readers for decades.

Like many great writers, Russ was often misunderstood and neglected in her lifetime, but as author Samuel Delany points out, her work is the kind that will undoubtedly stand the test of time. People will be reading Russ when they've forgotten entirely about many of the top selling science fiction authors of our day. Here's why.
ide_cyan: (Default)
[personal profile] ide_cyan2011-04-30 06:42 am

Making noise.

I can't describe all that Joanna Russ's work means to me yet. I've been collecting links to other people's reactions to her death instead of writing down mine. And passing on the news wherever possible. I've just tried contacting the local papers, hoping maybe they'll run something in the next edition.

I want the news of her death to be loud. I don't want it to whisper in the closet of genre circles. I want it to be known.

Have you told mainstream media and newspapers about Joanna Russ's death? She should be known outside of genre circles, remembered out of closets and ghettos.
ithiliana: (Joanna Russ)
[personal profile] ithiliana2011-04-29 10:30 pm

Reading: What Are We Fighting For?

I wanted to start re-reading EVERYTHING by Russ today, but that is impossible (even if I had lots of time, I cannot do it all at once!).

So I decided to start with her last (as far as I know?) work, one which probably hasn't gotten as much attention/readership as others. It's big (476 pages, including the bibliography and index!), so I'm going to do one small bit at a time. She started writing it in 1985 (a "small" paper), and published the book in 1998.

Reading and blogging as I read, _What Are We Fighting For?: Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism_ )
ide_cyan: Dalbello peering into a screen (testing)
[personal profile] ide_cyan2011-04-29 09:26 pm

In her honour

One of the many, many things I value of Joanna Russ's writing is the connections she makes to other women's works. (Also her footnotes are often hilarious.) If keeping an oppressed population in ignorance is one of the major tools of oppression, then keeping memory alive, forging links between generations and restoring a sense of history to people who are written out of history by their oppressors is a vital tool of resistance. Knowledge is power. Anamnesis is empowering. Connections make us stronger, and those between the past and the future are as important as the ones that exist between us in the present.

Russ wrote:

"Experience alone is unintelligible. Theory alone is empty. Consciousness-raising is whatever brings the two together, formally or informally, in a classroom, in a house, on the street, in an apple orchard in Sonoma. It is research." (What Are We Fighting For? p. 436-437.)

I heard about Dale Spender through Joanna Russ's work, and I'd like to quote something Spender herself quoted (in There's Always Been A Women's Movement This Century), which was said by Hazel Hunkins Hallinan in commemoration of her friend, Alice Paul. The words are:

"In her honour we should dedicate ourselves anew to finishing our own liberation."
ithiliana: (Joanna Russ)
[personal profile] ithiliana2011-04-29 05:52 pm

Welcome, first post

I can feel the pain and rage and loss condensing in my chest.

I would not be the queer woman I am today had I not read "When It Changed" in a small town in Idaho during the late 1960s (I never remember the exact date, I was 13 or 14).

I have been walking carefully since I first read of her entry into a hospice yesterday, because I'm afraid of what might happen if I let go.

But I'm not alone. We're not alone. And I started thinking about re-reading Russ' work, and posting about it, and then I thought--a community because I'm not alone.

So I started this community.

I am mourning, we all are, but I also want to celebrate her life and works.