political novels

Me starting Hunger Pangs in early 2016: lol what even is this, okay, so there’s a vampire and a werewolf who fall in love and hilarity ensues, maybe have something in there about overcoming prejudices or something, throw in a war or cultural divide idk PUNS so many puns this is going to be the fluffiest piece of feel good shit ever.

Me reviewing final draft of Hunger Pangs in 2017:

“He promised us,” the vampire wailed as blood streamed from his nose, shrinking in on himself as Nathan stepped toward him again, “I didn’t think it’d come to this, I didn’t think—”

“You didn’t think,” Vlad interjected coolly, “that a megalomaniac with an insatiable lust for control over death, wouldn’t try to control vampires, a part of the undead race, and use them to open up a portal to the Underworld? Are you mad?! He’s been using zombies for centuries!”

“But we’re—”

“Melville, I swear if you say ‘better than them’ I will personally twist your head off and sew it on backwards.”

“He promised us freedom!”

“Freedom from what?!” Vlad shouted, and Ursula took a prudent step back. She could feel the electric charge in the air, thrumming between her teeth. “We’re a race of immortal parasites sitting on top of centuries of wealth and privilege, founded on war and slavery, what could you possibly need to be liberated from?!”

“Elizabeth was right,” Melville spat, still trying to avoid Nathan even as he sneered at Vlad, fangs on show, “You’re weak. You let this dog and his,” his black eyes darted to Ursula, “bitch get into your head. But then again you always were a human lover. Anyone could see it, the way you doted on that half-breed sister of yours. She’ll be the first up against the wall, her and her little pet huma—”

Lightning flashed.

Nathan reached up, tentatively checking to see if he still had eyebrows. “I didn’t know you could do that.”

Vlad, staring wide eyed at the blackened spot where Melville had been, doubled over and threw up.

“There, there,” Ursula soothed, patting him lightly on the shoulder. “Most people don’t know their own strength until they have to use it. You did very well though,” she smiled as he looked incredulously up at her, ”keep it up and we might just win.”

……..I did not intend for this…

In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or it might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies—the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distraction.
—  Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

I’ve been thinking a lot about Health At Every Size lately, and why it’s so crucial to me, especially as someone with a chronic illness that causes my weight to fluctuate a lot. 

First of, I think I’ve come to find that my take on HAES is very different than what the anti-HAES people seem to think it is. 

My simple take on the movement: Focusing on living a healthy lifestyle without the main goal being weight loss. Meaning eating responsibly, and as healthily as possible while being accountable for what I put in my body. Being as physically active as is safe for me at the time, and pushing my limits when I’m able to. Using exercise and physical activity to help with mental health as well. A good ballet class is far more effective than any therapy session in my book. 

It is absolutely not anti weight loss. Over the past year and a half I managed to lose 50 pounds, but now that I’m having heart issues gain, I’m having issues with fluid retention. Before anyone chimes in saying my problems are from clogged arteries from a crappy diet, I’m so sorry to disappoint but my latest cardiac work up showed no blockages, no calcifications, no plaque, no coronary artery disease whatsoever. It’s all arrhythmia problems from autonomic nervous system dysfunction. (and believe me, cardiologists do not sugar coat ANYTHING, as it should be.)

In the past two months I’ve probably gained and lost 15 pounds 3-4 times. Somehow my overall weight trend is down, but daily, even weekly it’s all over the place. I *have* to weigh myself daily to keep track of it. And damn if it doesn’t drive me crazy. And while I know it’s physically impossible to gain 5 pounds of fat overnight, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t mess with me. If I could walk away from the scale forever I would, but I know it’s necessary to keep track of things. It’s enough to make me want to give up some times.

But I can’t. I know I can’t. If I gave up on trying to be as healthy as possible, it would be a death sentence. I’m completely convinced that the reason I’ve managed to tolerate my heart issues as well as I have is because I’ve done my best to be as physically active as I have. 

If the *only* measure of success I used to measure my habits was weight loss, I would have given up a long time ago. 

You cannot give up on healthy habits just because you’re not losing the weight quickly.You cannot give up because you gain a few pounds. You cannot give up because your body is not acting the way you think it should. 

This idea of treating weight loss as the ultimate reward for being healthy is one that has to change. A healthy lifestyle is its own reward, nothing more, nothing less. The benefits of attempting to be as healthy as possible still show in your body whether or not you lose weight. 

That’s not to say that you won’t lose weight or that losing weight is bad, but it should absolutely not be the penultimate measure of one’s health. 

The tldr version: My version of Health At Every Size simply means attempting to live as healthy a lifestyle of possible without using weight loss as the sole measure of health. 

It really is as simple as that.

IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE: A 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, and a 1936 play adapted from the novel by Lewis and John C. Moffitt. Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a politician who defeats Franklin Delano Roosevelt and is elected President of the United States by fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to “patriotism” and “traditional” values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule.

Buzz Windrip won by fear-mongering, campaigning on a populist platform, and promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness. After winning, the Windrip administration, known as the “Corpo” government, curtails women’s and minority rights, and institutes a backcountry version of fascism.

Sound familiar?

Classic novels like “1984” and “It Can’t Happen Here” are worth (re)reading.

Violence may be wrong, but the powerful are given permission to use it, and the powerless are condemned when they fight back.




Check out their Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/projecttrinity/women-of-xal-a-political-visual-novel

The Patrician disliked the word “dictator.” It affronted him. He never told anyone what to do. He didn’t have to, that was the wonderful part. A large part of his life consisted of arranging matters so that this state of affairs continued.
—  Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

anonymous asked:

I'm currently writing a political/fantastic/thriller novel involving a young immortal woman ( she doesn't know she's immortal ) who try to help her father (immortal too) to escape from a prison/ lab where the both of them are. Meanwhile her friends; wizards and witches try to find a way to help her. My main problem is I don't have a real antagonist. My second problem is the father, he is a perfect anti-social; he doesn't trust anyone even his daughter.

Oh I love this so much! I’m totally imagining her having a really heartfelt moment with emotional goodbyes after being shot, then having to take all of it back when she wakes up again XD.

Okay, I want to start by going against all morals, because their dumb. I’m kind of joking, they’re okay. What I’m saying is that we are taught that ‘The story will have no real shape or will go anywhere without an antagonist’- Yeah I don’t believe that. I’ve read up a lot on this and a lot of writers believe that there must be a human antagonist. Personally, I think that’s a load of shite. I’m sorry, but your antagonist can totally be something material and yours sort of is! From what I’ve gathered the father has some sort of emotional torment and the prison/lab is their ‘Antagonist’ in a way! Feel free to disagree with me, it’s just how I feel on the topic :)

If you’re still struggling and do in fact ‘want-a-antagonist-thank-you-very-much-Yasmine’ then we’ll totally have a look! 

First off, think about what is against them anyway, we have the prison/lab and that’s about all I’ve gathered. The girls father may be another at some points in the story, but the witches and wizards are totally for her. So we need something with the same amount of power (or more) than the band of witches or wizards. This could range from werewolves and vampires to mystic creatures and demons. I’ll let you play around with that! The antagonist should hopefully have a reason as to why he or she is wanting revenge or to harm the girl and her father. Maybe you could incorporate past-lives or moment that she’s forgotten of her past? I think it’s really important for your antagonist to have some sort of backstory here, maybe he/she is the parent of the girl, but neither the father and daughter recognise them now. The list is endless, but think of their reason for revenge and ways in which they incorporate their feelings into their actions and how the actions effect the girl and her father.

Also maybe you could find ways for the wizards and witches to communicate with the father and daughter and the communication constantly being interrupted or tapped by the antagonist. I’m imagining the antagonist having a fairly large group of contacts and people that they’ll probably bully into helping cover their tracks.

Don’t panic if you come to a dead-end with your antagonist, I know that’s easier said than done, but don’t stress too much! Mind-mapping situations and forming ideas can always help out when it comes down to characters! So this means you may be forming a new character- *Squeals* Omg new OC in the house!!! *Waves arms uncontrollably. Gets forcibly removed from Tumblr*

Anyway good luck and if this didn’t help,I’m really sorry! Lots of love from Yasmine xox



The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Ferrante Fever is real. The fourth and final book of the Neapolitan Novels may not be the best (Book Two 4 EVA), but it closed out what was one of the most profound and satisfying reading experiences I’ve had in recent years. Ferrante’s Italy is where the personal is political, the male gaze is visceral, and the past clings to the present with potent force. Bonus points because the flimsiness of the central romantic relationship of the series can be consummately mapped onto Angela, Jordan, and Rayanne from My So-Called Life.


The Sellout by Paul Beatty

It turns out that the most important political novel of the year is also the most hilarious. What Beatty’s satire about “post-racial” America lacks in cohesive plot it makes up for with a voice that is so unabashedly profane, so unflinchingly silly and smart that it’s impossible to look away. And I could not believe how many perfect jokes are embedded within so many individual sentences.


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Trigger warning: literally every other page of this hefty novel about the bleak lives of four college friends requires a trigger warning. But Hanya Yanagihara’s greatest feat is that she makes A Little Life’s unrelentingly devastating subject matter so compulsively readable. I can’t remember ever being so addicted to despair, and I listen to a lot of Fiona Apple. Prepare to put the rest of your life on hold while this book destroys your weekend.

Side note: If you loved A Little Life but want a more realistic yet similarly artful, captivating take on what it’s like to love an existentially unhappy person, might I suggest All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews? The 2014 novel contains all of the anger and frustration and real talk that  around the discussion of suicide that the weird alt universe of A Little Life sometimes lacked. And yes, it’s even funny, at times.


Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

It’s so much more than the story of a marriage! Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that Fates & Furies is a domestic drama, a Gone Girl without the psychosis. Lauren Groff’s novel is epic in scale and subject matter, and it’s got some of the best, most perfect sentences I read this year.


Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

Suspenseful as shit, Eileen is the story of a prim little nobody in a small town in 1960s New England whose interior life is full of anger and lust and just the right amount of perversion. How Eileen went from meek mouse to a tougher (and perhaps wiser–unclear) city lady is one of the most satisfying mysteries of 2015.


The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak

Contemporary American literature is rife with novels about the lives of the aging, booze-swilling denizens of fancy suburban towns where country club politics rule. Karolina Waclawiak gives new life to the genre by adding little shocking bursts of violence that jar the reader out of typical angsty novel expectations. The Guardian’s review of The Invaders called the setting “Lynchian” (which we all know is the greatest compliment in all of suburbia) and I’d have to agree.


The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida

Vendela Vida’s slim and fast-paced novel is as unsettling as that nagging feeling when you leave your home and realize you’ve left something important behind–your wallet, your phone, your keys. You’d think this would be a recipe for a panic attack, but the humor found in these pages keeps the unease from getting too out of hand.


A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball

In trying to sum up Jesse Ball’s work for a friend last year, I said, “He’s kind of what would happen if M. Night Shyamalan was actually good.” I don’t mean to solely invoke a mostly mediocre screenwriter to describe an author whose work also brings to mind Kafka and Orwell, but Ball’s high concept experimental writing feature the kinds of philosophical riddles that Shyamalan seems to want to solve, complete with revelatory endings that might make you cry.


The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick

Vivian Gornick moves to the top of the list of writers (Patti Smith, Teju Cole) with whom I’d wanna walk around NYC. The cultural critic captures the cadences of the streets so well, as well as the many characters she’s encountered on her journeys.


Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg

I love unlikeable characters–that’s how I usually distinguish myself from most Goodreads reviewers! But every now and then a protagonist comes along who is smart and complicated and witty, but also so earnestly, unabashedly good that she might make you wanna be a better person. The title heroine of Jami Attenberg’s luminous novel set around the Lower East Side of the Depression era is a tough dame with a proverbial heart of gold, a perfect antidote to the snark I so regularly ingest.


The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

Many attempt but few can pull off what Maggie Nelson does so beautifully, combining the academic and the personal to examine and elucidate both. The story of Maggie’s pregnancy combined with her partner’s gender transition provide plenty of opportunity for comparison and contrast and metaphor, and her intimate observations are footnoted seamlessly with great works of theory and criticism.


Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine

I read so many pages about death and loss this year that it came as a relief to consider the subjects in a different way. Adrian Tomine was my gateway into the world of graphic novels many years ago (as I’m sure he was for many readers), and he continues to innovate in the ways that he combines images and colors and words to tell stories that have new layers of sentiment and subtext.

Other Books I Loved in 2015

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link

Outline by Rachel Cusk

After Birth by Elisa Albert

The Story of My Teeth by Valerie Luisella

The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch

The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray

The Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

Delicious Foods by James Hannaham

Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont

The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits

The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

And please remember that You Blew It is a brilliant masterpiece that makes a great gift for anyone who’s ever exited a public bathroom with toilet paper stuck to their shoe (literally or figuratively).

My political position springs from my being a novelist. In so far as I am concerned, politics and the novel are an indivisible case and I can categorically state that I became politically committed because I am a novelist, not the opposite.Ghassan Kanafani


“Prime Minister Darcia of Zeon’s occasional reluctance to conform had created a suspicion in some quarters that he harbored a desire to depose Supreme Commander Gihren and restore Derwin to power. Gihren was fully aware of the rumor, yet prepared to tolerate it. He was accustomed to scheming minds, and knew intrigues were a normal part of human nature.

He knew, moreover, that as long as the rumors were not an overt threat, there was no use in trying to suppress them completely, and that doing so would only be counterproductive. As long as Darcia was restrained, therefore, Gihren would not take action against the man”

from Mobile Suit Gundam: Escalation Novel; by Yoshiyuki Tomino

‘why are you sensitive to misinterpretations of these characters’ i dunno maybe because they often reflect dismissiveness of their canon cause i.e. ‘enjolras is Problematic for wanting revolution’ 'enjolras realizes Love is more important than his fight (not the point Hugo was making)’ 'grantaire was Right and it was futile (also not the point Hugo was making)’ 'courfeyrac is a vapid frat bro not a passionate informed revolutionary just how courfeyrac of the time was a naive schoolboy’ 'enjolras got them all killed’ 'the vast majority of fic about this highly political novel should be dedicated to stories about these characters living comfortable middle class rom coms’ 'i want to write about enjolras as a porn star because it’s Hot even though my source material goes in depth about the consequences of Fantine’s sexual exploitation and suffering as a fallen woman, who is Fantine anyway Enjolras definitely fits this plot better’

les mis is more complicated than a lot of fandoms are because it is so highly political AND historical, when people misinterpret les amis they frequently also misinterpret the revolution

there are plenty of opportunities to write fun completely OOC indulgent fic but when it’s the majority of fic for a fandom based on a book with historical context that is still relevant today, it bothers me when people take the rest of it and boil it all down to tropes a lot more than, say, self indulgent Supernatural fic or fic for Lord Of the Rings (I don’t give a shit in those cases)

the musical is to blame for a lot of the mis-characterization of the cause, but the chapters on our revolutionaries are few and far between and easy to read online, for free, without reading the rest of the book

what concerns me is not so much that people are doing this but that they seem to not even be aware they are doing this

this book has more to offer, these characters have more to offer