Tag Archives: Terry McMillan

“It’s tentacle monsters, not Terry McMillan.”

cute tentacle monsterOur friends at Clutch shouted out the Book Club – to somewhat hilarious ends.

I saw this comment and just about fell out with laughter.

sci-fi writer
JULY 1, 2011 AT 10:28 PM
I am happy to see so many women getting interested in the male-dominated sci-fi genre. Octavia Butler is a great writer and I have enjoyed her works myself. I would like to offer some warning, however. Before you read Octavia Butler believing it to be “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in space, you should know that Octavia Butler was a good -science fiction- writer. That means her works may have some really weird stuff in it. For example, one of her books describes humanity being assimilated by an alien race that must have 3-way sex with a tentacle monster in order to reproduce. The book was riveting and very well-written though. I just wanted to give the ladies a heads up. “The Parable of the Sower” did read like “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” set in the year 2050 (I couldn’t get into it), but some of her works read like typical, fantasy, space opera, science fiction stories. Octavia Butler was an exceptional Black writer who blazed a trail for science fiction writers like myself to follow. If, however, you don’t like weird stuff, be wary.

Remember: It’s tentacle monsters, not Terry McMillan.

(Image Credit: Selling Out for Fun and Profit)

(Back story on the image: Okay, so I put in “tentacle monster” to see what popped up – and yes y’all, I know exactly what was gonna appear on my home computer – and this cute little thing came up. Since I was resigned to an image of something mildly pornified, imagine my delight to find this cute little thing. Then I checked to see what it is. It’s called Rape-kun. O_o. So then I’m trying to figure out what the hell that’s all about, and apparently it’s a gag in a webcomic called Errant Story and spin off series called Fun with Familiars. In the ES wiki, it’s described like this: “Rape-kun is Bani Igaaru’s familiar. He is a small, pink, “affectionate” micro-tentacle monster that enjoys sitting on Bani’s head. Despite the fact that Bani is a schoolgirl, Rape-kun does not, in fact, live up to his name. He was apparently protected by a password, which Bani did not know back during her days at Sashi Mu Academy of Thaumaturgy and Conjuration, that enables his “adult mode;” it hasn’t been revealed whether or not this state of affairs has changed since Bani’s graduation.” So I have no idea as to the appropriateness of using this image, but it’s gonna have to work at the moment.)

Are E. Lynn, Hardy, McMillan & Perry creating art? Do they have to?

by Guest Contributor J. Smith, originally published at jbrotherlove

E. Lynn Harris, James Earl Hardy, Terry McMillan and Tyler Perry

Disclaimer: I’m not offering any real answers to “Do E. Lynn, Hardy, McMillan and Perry create art?” It’s a topic on my mind this morning. Robin Givhan at The Washington Post has a review of novel In My Father’s House, written by E. Lynn Harris before he died in 2009. It’s pretty brutal:

Let’s get this basic fact out of the way: This is not a well-written novel. E. Lynn Harris, who completed “In My Father’s House” before his death in 2009, does not have a poetic voice or even a particularly eloquent one. This is not a work of detail-oriented craftsmanship.

And that’s just the beginning.

The review goes on to call out Harris’ shallow character description and clumsy plot development. Frankly, these are things we’ve known for years. Like fellow black, gay writer James Earl Hardy and outspoken Terry McMillan, E. Lynn Harris spoke to a very specific reader. While the writing in these novels don’t challenge literary circles, they do speak to black female and gay communities longing for written representation.

Which is not to say I’m giving these types of work a “pass”. I was an early fan of E. Lynn Harris and James Earl Hardy simply because nobody was publishing contemporary work about black gay life in the mid-90s. By each of their third novel, the novelty wore off for me. Maybe I’m crazy, but I like my artist to expand as they continue to create; and possible help me to expand with them.

This point of view could be applied to Tyler Perry, as well. While his lack of skill seems blatantly obvious to me, the demand for his work is staggering. However, when a 30-minute cartoon can lampoon and sum up Perry’s plot devices in 15 seconds, you have to question how hard Perry is even trying to elevate his craft. Perhaps one issue is how Perry tries to do everything: write, direct, produce, act, etc. We’ll see when he puts his spin on somebody else’s work; namely Ntozake Shange‘s classic For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.

Yeah, I’m afraid.

However, I remember an interview with Questlove in which he said he doesn’t categorize music as good or bad anymore. The more important question is if the work is successful in meeting its intended goal/audience. I’ve started to allow that philosophy inform my own prejudices (if only to save my sanity). This is why my second question “Do they have to?” is as relevant to me as my first.