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03 May 2012 @ 08:54 pm
PW review of Mammoth Book of Steampunk, the good and the inaccurate (ETA: fixed!)  

ETA: It's been fixed! Yay! But not before tithenai and I decided it was an in-world French plot to destabilize our fictional nations! :D

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So there's a PW review of the Mammoth Book of Steampunk! And it's starred, and very positive, and mentions my story, so awesome!

Except for one thing.  The reviewer seems to think that (Mughal) India is in the Middle East:
...Shweta Narayan and Amal El-Mohtar’s stories take place in fantastic versions of the Middle East.

Um.



No?

They're not the first reviewer to say this about my Mughal-setting stories, either.  So, just to set the record straight, guys: Islam existed, and continues to exist, in places other than the Middle East.

This has been a PSA.

 
 
 
Calyx of the Heavensheavenscalyx on May 3rd, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
ARGH
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah I had not realized this was a thing that needed saying.
I often seem to be wrong about that sort of thing.
Calyx of the Heavensheavenscalyx on May 3rd, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
A lot of people Fail geography, as well as failing Intro to World Religions.
silk_noir: Me Hatsilk_noir on May 3rd, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
~facepalm~

But, I mean, good, otherwise.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I want to be thrilled. But. Um.
gwynnega: Barry Ryangwynnega on May 3rd, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
::shakes head::
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
So much.
Tithenai: Not that kind of storytithenai on May 3rd, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
Seriously, man. UnnamedSyrianRuler is APPALLED at this and recognizes the hand of the backwards FRENCH in this instance of shameless pot-stirring! But what can one expect of the uncivilized West?
shweta_narayan: mangatarshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
Fortunately for international relations between civilized lands, Jahanara is too canny to trust those foreigners.

Though she's willing to make one exception there :wiggles eyebrows:
Tithenai: veiltithenai on May 3rd, 2012 08:24 pm (UTC)
One? Surely two! Every canny ruler should have a foreign BFF AND an exotic concubine, no? *wagggggles eyebrows*
shweta_narayan: mangatarshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
well yes, but if her foreign BFF is your UnnamedRuler, she's not one of *those* foreigners.


...And I think Madeleine would slap anyone who called her a concubine. In any language.
Tithenai: veiltithenai on May 3rd, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
well yes, but if her foreign BFF is your UnnamedRuler, she's not one of *those* foreigners.

Hee! Didn't want to assume in a "we don't need foreign oil, we've got CANADA" sort of way. :p Figured assuming UnnamedRuler is not a foreigner would be repeating the reviewer's mistake! But both I and UnnamedRuler appreciate the gesture.

...And I think Madeleine would slap anyone who called her a concubine. In any language.

And RIGHTLY SO. (But she wouldn't object to "exotic"? :p )






shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
Hee! Didn't want to assume in a "we don't need foreign oil, we've got CANADA" sort of way. :p Figured assuming UnnamedRuler is not a foreigner would be repeating the reviewer's mistake! But both I and UnnamedRuler appreciate the gesture.


Oh, she's a foreigner for sure. She's just not one of *those* ones.
You know, the ones with colonial intentions very badly hidden.

And RIGHTLY SO. (But she wouldn't object to "exotic"? :p )

Oh, she'd object. Just not enough for physical violence. She might mutter something very snarky though.
question mark with teethpantryslut on May 3rd, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
*facepalm*
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
yeeeah
Dr. Kvetch: gevaltrose_lemberg on May 3rd, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
I always thought that the Middle East was larger than most people gave it credit for - and here is proof at last! (/endSnark)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
*giggling*
Also, perfect icon is perfect.
Tithenaitithenai on May 3rd, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
ICON!
Rose Foxrosefox on May 3rd, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
Amal just pinged me about this; I fixed it. Very sorry about that!
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 3rd, 2012 10:09 pm (UTC)
No worries, and thanks so much for fixing it! Amal has good ideas.
Rose Foxrosefox on May 3rd, 2012 10:12 pm (UTC)
Making corrections is part of being a professional publication. I appreciate that both of you brought it to my attention, directly or indirectly. *)

(The error was probably mine and not the reviewer's. I am woeful at geography and history. Learning as quickly as I can, but woeful. So thank you for the education.)

Edited at 2012-05-03 10:13 pm (UTC)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 09:40 am (UTC)
Well, and like I said, it's absolutely not the first time a reviewer thought Mughals were Middle-Eastern; it's a systemic issue, and not at all just you or the reviewer.

It's tied into the way history and geography (and really other subjects too; who gets taught that the Fibonacchi sequence was known in India long before some Euro dude decided to put his name to it?) are taught *very* selectively, with a major Eurocentric and/or US-centric focus; it's the groundwork that makes the rest of our cultural whitewashing so effective. That's what concerns me, really.

...I'm realizing I would probably make a more positive change to that if I put up a map of the Mughal Empire or something :)
Mari Nessmariness on May 3rd, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
At Epcot this weekend I heard a well intentioned mother explain to her curious child that Morocco is in the Middle East -- right next to India!

So now you know.

To be fair, this was in a location where Morocco is right next to France and Japan and serves excellent coffee with liquor :) Highly recommended, in fact.
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 09:30 am (UTC)
I am finally starting to understand why Americans thought a war in Iraq had anything to do with Afghanistan.
Mari Nessmariness on May 4th, 2012 12:14 pm (UTC)
Well, see, neither of those countries have pavilions at Epcot. So, really, how can you expect Americans to tell the difference?

shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 12:26 pm (UTC)
And that is their PR error, clearly.
Mari Nessmariness on May 4th, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
Actually, Morocco was the only government to sponsor any of the country pavilions (most of them are sponsored/paid for by Disney and various corporations, which is why Norway cheerfully tells you that when you escape trolls you can land in the safety of an oil rig, yay! and we should probably not even get into the first version of the Mexican ride), reportedly because the Moroccan government was convinced after a few conversations that nobody at Disney knew a damn thing about North Africa and Morocco had to oversee the job to keep it from being too atrocious/offensive.

So, yes, yes. If only Iraq and Afghanistan had had the sense to approach Disney back in the 1980s....And serve pizza. That's very popular. See, it's all marketing!
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 12:46 pm (UTC)
:snerking so hard:

Also, yay Morocco! I had not known that, and it's really great they cared to keep it from being atrocious.
Sovay: Cho Hakkai: intelligencesovay on May 3rd, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
But not before tithenai and I decided it was an in-world French plot to destabilize our fictional nations!

Collaborative story!
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 09:31 am (UTC)
Oh it's gonna be even better than that *evil grin*
thistle in greythistleingrey on May 4th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
<irony>But the East is so expansive and scary, and India is sort of in the middle, between China and the Mi-- oh, wait.</irony> My eyes roll forever. Somehow it's worse when this is stuff that Wikipedia agrees with itself on, and that two seconds of checking any kind of pretense at a reference source would fix.

Edited at 2012-05-04 04:03 am (UTC)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 09:32 am (UTC)
I think the issue is that to check, one has to realize there's something to check. Like, for example, whether a Muslim empire *could* be somewhere other than the Middle East.
thistle in greythistleingrey on May 4th, 2012 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, of course.
(Deleted comment)
shweta_narayanshweta_narayan on May 4th, 2012 09:33 am (UTC)
Yes! to both *facepalm*
What's really getting me is belatedly understanding just how ubiquitous this sort of geographyfail is. I thought *I* was bad at geography....