Today we say welcome to new author Shaun Young Shaun joins us today to talk about his release “Castor”.
Welcome Shaun 🙂
James Fisher’s memories of Earth are distant, replaced by the harsh realities of life on the planet Castor. As a “Half-Adapt,” James is one of many who were biologically engineered to survive conditions on Castor—and to labor for the benefit of the ruling class. Indentured to servitude, James has no way to defy or escape the severe caste system… until he meets Vidal Centa, his master’s nephew. The draw they feel toward each other is instant, powerful, and maybe even enough to move beyond the unyielding regulations of their society.
But not everyone blindly accepts the absolute power of the oligarchy. The Independence Society fights for freedom and equality, and since James shares in their ideals, he joins their ranks. Soon he’s faced with an impossible decision: continue the fight against the oppressors or choose the love of the young man who embodies everything the Society loathes. With a looming conflict threatening to tear the planet apart, James fears he cannot continue to fight if he wants to keep his relationship with Vidal.
Who’s Writing Your Reading List?
A few weeks ago I learned that Goldman Sachs publishes a reading list, presumably aimed at people who either work for them or one day hope to work for them. My reaction to this news involved a fairly hefty dose of eye-rolling.
Goldman Sachs, for those unaware, was once memorably described by a journalist as being ‘a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity’. They’re one of the world’s largest investment banks, and rightly or wrongly (but mostly rightly) have become synonymous with Wall Street greed and corruption. If most people hear the phrase ‘Goldman Sachs’, they immediately think of either Leonardo Di Caprio in Wolf of Wall Street or, if they’re feeling less charitable, Patrick Bateman. I’m not saying Goldman Sachs employees are serial killers, just that most people wouldn’t be overly surprised if they were.
Imagine my delight, then, when I discovered that a reading list published by a huge investment bank is more or less exactly what you’d expect. Here, in no particular order, are a few examples of what Goldman Sachs’ partners consider to be essential reading:
- Business Cycles and Equilibrium by Fischer Black; Blackwell Publishers; 1991
- Goldman Sachs : The Culture of Success by Lisa Endlich; Knopf; 1999
- The GE Work-Out : How to Implement GE’s Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy & Attacking Organizational Proble by Steve Kerr; McGraw-Hill Trade; 2002
- The Money Masters by John Train
- Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter Bernstein
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready to bust out my Bloomberg machine and start trading some derivatives.
It’s easy to poke fun at a reading list put together by a faceless corporation. Anyone who thinks of the written word as having a greater function than just the transmission of information is going to laugh at a book called ‘The Remarkable Story of Risk’. We can see immediately that a Goldman Sachs reading list will serve to reinforce the agenda of Goldman Sachs, because of course it will. You’d be naive to assume anything else.
But if you get down to it, who’s to say that a reading list put together by a bunch of financiers is any better than a reading list compiled by a group of literary critics? Or academics, or librarians, or teachers, or book bloggers? Just because my Top 10 Books of All Time shelf is full of high-minded literature, does that mean that I’m somehow immune to pushing an agenda by venerating those books above all others?
Anyonen who’s ever gotten into an argument about the so-called ‘canon’ of western literature (and trust me, they still happen) will know what I’m talking about. Is Shakespeare really the greatest playwright of all time? Should school children really study him in detail rather than, I don’t know, Wole Soyinka? What kind of interests is that serving?
There’s a good chance I don’t need to tell you any of this, since you’re reading this on a site dedicated to LGBT fiction. Books written for, about or by LGBT people still tend to get cordoned off into their own separate sub-categories, either because of a perceived lack of audience or because publishers aren’t entirely sure how else to handle them. Any ‘Best Books’ reading list, even one featuring newer titles and particularly one aimed at teenagers or kids, is overwhelmingly unlikely to feature much representation of LGBT characters. It gets even worse if you’re looking for specific genres – science-fiction and fantasy ‘classics’ aren’t exactly diverse, but that doesn’t stop people from recommending them here in 2016.
But now look at lists of LGBT books on Goodreads or Amazon. The authors are almost universally white. The characters are almost universally white. The ‘T’ in ‘LGBT’ tends to be spectacularly under-represented. And it’s not that the people putting together those lists are intentionally excluding trans authors. We read the books that are presented to us. I found my favourite books because someone recommended them to me, and I’ll go on to recommend them to someone else, and before you know it I’m Goldman-Sachsing my way towards propping up the lack of visibility of trans authors. (And authors who aren’t white. And authors who aren’t from ‘the west’. And…)
So next time you find yourself bookmarking a whole bunch of titles on someone else’s recommendations, ask yourself who’s doing the recommending. Maybe it’s a cartoon-villain bank with highly questionable taste in just about everything. Or maybe it’s just someone who is highly predisposed to reifying the status quo. Either way, let’s try to make our reading lists just a bit more diverse.
Shaun decided he was going to be a writer at the age of fifteen because it would mean being able to live anywhere in the world.
Since then he’s managed to remain in Ireland, mostly by choice, but the dream lives on. His passion for writing has never diminished, and to this day he’s happiest when surrounded by books. A computer and science nerd almost from birth, he now writes YA science fiction and spends too much time coming up with new concepts for stories that he’ll get around to writing any day now.