Thursday News: More on Tor, the DOJ’s case against API, transgender children’s lit, and ‘must read’ book lists
For those still wondering what the big deal is, I think Mary Robinette Kowal’s comment on the Tor site does a good job of illustrating one of the extremely troubling double standards on which Doherty’s open letter relies.
As one of your authors, I want to say openly that I find this apology upsetting. In a large part because I was directly harassed by a Tor employee and received no apology from the company. From the employee? Yes. But from Tor? No.
The fact that you are now defending the Sad Puppies campaign, even implicitly, and apologizing to them for being offended is really distressing. It implies things about the priorities of Tor that I find uncomfortable and would very much like to be wrong about. At the moment though, I feel as though the safety of women authors, and authors of color is less important to the company than the feelings of those who attack them. –File 770 & Tor
“But what’s an API?” you ask. API stands for “application programming interface” and is essentially a way for software developers to interact with information on other sites or on their own sites. When you go to a restaurant’s website and see an embedded map of the location, the restaurant’s developers didn’t create the map from scratch. They merely used an API—perhaps the Google Maps or Mapbox API—to get a map for the location. An API lets one company build on another’s innovation; we don’t all have to create a global mapping company merely to give directions to our restaurants. An API obviously has two parts: the interface and the code behind it. The interface is essentially a shortcut available to others (imagine “1899 M St. NW location” or some other shortcut that probably every map developer already knows) and the code behind it is all the complicated computer lines that create the visual map. . . .
The case would also impact other technologies. According to a legal brief by 70 top computer scientists, uncopyrighted API interfaces have been essential to software innovation since at least the early 1980s. That brief provides example after example, including operating systems, computer languages, Internet protocols, and cloud computing, all of which have benefited from the assumption of uncopyrighted interfaces.–Forbes
A few years ago, gender fluidity was rarely addressed in children’s and young adult fiction. It remained one of the last taboos in a publishing category that had already taken on difficult issues like suicide, drug abuse, rape and sex trafficking. But children’s literature is catching up to the broader culture, as stereotypes of transgender characters have given way to nuanced and sympathetic portrayals on TV shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Transparent.” . . .
More writers and publishers have started tackling the subject, not just with memoirs and self-help guides tailored to transgender youth, but through novels aimed at a broad readership. This year, children’s publishers are releasing around half a dozen novels in a spectrum of genres, including science fiction and young adult romance, that star transgender children and teenagers. “In our culture, it was really something that was in the shadows, but suddenly people are talking about it,” said David Levithan, vice president and publisher of Scholastic Press. “As our culture is starting to acknowledge transgender people and acknowledge that they are part of the fabric of who we are, literature is reflecting that.”--New York Times
The much celebrated, sometimes maligned, decade is an undeniably impressionable one. You’ve happily exited your teens, slowly freeing yourself of the weighty angst you carried throughout high school. You might have one foot in college and the other in a career, even if you’re well beyond graduation, nestled comfortably in a new job — maybe even a relationship. But you’re probably not settled — financially, emotionally, spiritually, artistically. You’re aching for a philosophy, for a template for adulthood; anything that will anchor your constantly evolving life to solid ground. –Huffington Post