Tag Archives: sf/f

Orson Scott Card & Media Friday

By now most of you have probably heard about OSC’s rabidly heterosexist rant in the Mormon Times. If you haven’t check out Yonmei’s deconstruction over at Feminist SF – The Blog. Yonmei’s blogged extensively about OSC’s bigotry over on FemSF but his rant against marriage equality really takes the cake. Bankuei over at Deeper In The Gamereminded me of OSC’s book Songmaster, it’s a relevant point in the discussion that OSC does have queer characters in his books they just always come to horrible ends or realize the way they are is wrong and live in unhappy marriages.


So Media today! I recently talked about Comic Book Tattoo, the almost 500 page comic anthology with over 50 stories all based on Tori Amos’ songs. Well I read the whole thing and it’s amazing and I recommend it to everyone even if you’re not an Amos fan. If you are an Amos fan then sweet jebus you have to get this book! Reading the book while listening to the song that inspired it is fascinating the two different forms inform each other so much that you end up catching nuances in both works that you didn’t notice before. In celebration of that here’s some Tori, a couple classics, a couple from her newest album and one from her hard to find early metal album Y Kant Tori Read:

Resolution For Helix Authors

Ithe wake of the horrifyingly unprofessional bigoted comments of Helix editor William Sanders there was a lot of talk on what authors could do if they no longer wanted to be associated with Helix because of Sanders official comments. A few folks requested their stories be removed and we saw what happened there. Another suggestion was re-posting the stories elsewhere, since Helix’s contract is non-exclusive internet rights, and changing links to point to the new location. So it’s been announced today that a group of both current and former Helix published authors have set up an alternative website to archive Helix fiction – Transcriptase

The Current Author List-
Elizabeth Barrette
Beth Bernobich
Maya Bohnhoff
Eugie Foster
Sara Genge
Samantha Henderson
Janis Ian
N.K. Jemisin
Vylar Kaftan
Ann Leckie
Yoon Ha Lee
Margaret Ronald
Jennifer Pelland
Vaughan Stanger
Rachel Swirsky

Go check out the stories, it’s what I’ll be doing.

Links – Female, Muslim & Mutant, Olympic Rumors, WoC & Beauty Carnival, Publishers Contract Issues – Deja Vu & Why Say No?

Links for today!

*Broken Mystic explores the position of Muslim Women in comics comparing the American-created Dust and super-heroines created by Muslims such as Noora, Hadya, Jalila and Aya in two parts – Female, Muslim and Mutant (Part 1, Part 2) . All characters are deconstructed and its a very interesting exploration of the true existence of Muslim women and the biased Western views of the lives of Muslim women. Also the comic he talks about “The 99″ sounds pretty awesome I’m picking up the English translations as soon as payday swings around.  

*Racialicious talks about black athletes being banned from bars in Beijing during the Olympics and the xenophobia and racism that’s been directed at Chinese since these unsubstantiated rumors popped up. It all exploded at Perez Hilton’s blog and the comments are really quite horrifyingly racist and soul-killing – Perez Hilton Hates Yellow People.

*A new carnival is looking for submissions. The Women of Color and Beauty Carnival looks to explore:

This Carnival is intended to focus on beauty and what it means to and about women of color. In particular, I would like to see discussion go beyond a focus on the ways in which women of color can internalize self hatred to the ways in which women and communities of color recognize and celebrate beauty.

Submissions from women and men of color are welcome, focusing on these areas:

What does beauty mean to women of color?

What is the difference between beauty and ethnically based sexual stereotyping? How does stereotyping and white supremacy affect our concepts of beauty, and how can we create change? What kind of responsibility do white women who identify as allies have to analyze and take ownership of their privilege in this area?

How do popular standards of beauty based on generalized whiteness affect our relationships with ourselves, each other, and between different groups of people of color?

The deadline for submissions is August 5 so hop to it, I’m gonna try to come up with something myself for this soon.

*If you’re even marginally involved with the publishing world in any capacity then you probably remember last year when Simon & Schuster and the Authors Guild went head-to-head over a change made in their contracts. If you didn’t hear about it or want a quick refresher go here. Pub Rants is a great blog by Agent Kristin who blogs about new writer mistakes, query letters, contract negotiation and more. This morning she brings us news that though S&S’s bid to change the contract failed here in the States the Random House Group is now trying something similar in the U.K

*Liz Henry over at Feminist SF – The Blog! asks:

Why are characters in SF so reluctant to Undergo The Great Change or quaff the vial of super-spice or be part computer or become immortal or have my DNA reengineered to be part-alien and merge with the giant group nanoconsciousness?

Then asks readers what they would do if offered that kind of choice. Head over and join the discussion. I’ll go into more detail in my reply over there but the simple answer is I would not hesitate to “quaff the vial of super-spice” at all.

Now I Have To Watch Law & Order UK? Unfair!

So yes I do like Law & Order, whenever there’s a marathon I am stuck to my seat for all 33 hours of it. It can also be a supremely problematic show, especially the Special Victims Unit- spinoff (which I stay far away from most of the time as much as it hurts ’cause I adore Olivia and Elliot), I know this and I deal with it the way I deal with other things I enjoy that are problematic. I dissect it.

But this post isn’t about that (maybe a later post), right now I’m just pointing out how much I love Crime dramas in general. This is so you can understand how odd it was of me to have had no intention of watching the new UK version Law & Order: London .

This was for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that the showrunner is Chris Chibnall. Now those who love Torchwood might recognize that name, he is the lead writer for Torchwood and the episodes he wrote are among the worst of each series. Just…bad, sometimes his build up was okay but he just did not know where to take it from there so it often fell into stereotypes and non-sensical endings. The actors and their interplay and the episodes written by other people keep me a Torchwood fan but I figured there were enough L&O spin-offs in the states to keep me occupied anyway.

The second reason was that I heard one of the leads for the series would be Jamie Bamber, who plays Apollo in the Re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series. This was another strike against the show because honestly I know Bamber is a great actor but Apollo’s emo-manpain on BSG turned me off the actor for a while.

So what could counteract both these issues and make me vow to tune in for every episode?

Freema Agyeman!

That right, Martha Jones from the third series of Doctor Who has been cast as the main court prosecutor.

Damn it all to hell!

I love Freema too much to stay away from any series she’s a part of so it looks like I’ll have to watch. It was like the remake of the Bionic Woman series, no one really tuned in for any other reason than Katee Sachoff was kick ass as the evil first bionic woman.

Writing Day & Virtuality 7.22.08

Okay so since yesterday I’ve been feeling filled with creative energy so I’m declaring today a Writing Day.
But before I go off to be a creative I have to point out that I’m super pissed at Ron Moore’s new show Virtuality. This is one of the new sf/f shows coming up that I wanted to try out until I read spoilers on io9.com.

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD:
Continue reading

Too Through…

Let’s go through the list shall we, now due to Sanders open and outright bigotry many no longer want to be associated with Helix magazine. Yoon Ha Lee requests that her story be taken down from the website. Sanders replies and does this but in the letter says how he never liked it in the first place, it didn’t make sense and he only bought it to increase writers of color in his magazine…and a lot more, basically he acts like an 8 year-old. (Yoon Ha Lee’s journal)

Then yesterday Sanders makes a public post claiming it was his idea to allow people to removes their stories from the archive, says anybody who wants to remove their story should email him and he’ll take it down.There’s also a lot of insinuation in the post about people being greedy and this all being some attack -because yeah Sanders is that big, everyone wants to attack him that’s what it’s all about. He says to act now because he’ll decide capriciously when this offer ends and if you don’t like it you can shut your pie-hole, classy and professional! (Yoon Ha Lee’s journal)

Tempest describes what was left on the pages of the stories that were removed and in a post today Sanders says that anyone who wants a story removed must pay $40 to the webmistress Melanie. Now keep in mind that just yesterday his letter said Melanie shouldn’t have to deal with this and he would take care of everything. My guess is that either a bunch of folks sent in requests and he’s trying to stem the tide by charging or his petulance is growing exponentially as he discovers most folks now know he’s a bigot.

Tobias Buckell weighs in and suggests sooe sort of drive for folks who want their story down but can’t afford the $40.To Sanders $40 may be nothing but to a lot of us it’s the difference between eating actual food this week or Ramen. Many in the comments urge folks not to pay anything because it would be like paying Sanders for his bigotry.

Kate Nepveu suggests since most folks say the contract with Helix is for non-exclusive internet rights that any authors who’re unhappy or don’t want to be associated with Helix any longer can post the stories on their blog or anywhere they want and redirect all their links there. Which personally I think is awesome.


 Other things in the SF/F world:

Kate Elliot starts a dialog on reviews and what readers would like to see in their reviews. While this may seem only tangentially about SF/F, it is a post by a well-known and fa I find the ideas in the post align with my thoughts a lot because I critique a lot of things here and I think for some people that reads as if I hate these things but no, I love them, that’s why I critique/review them because I want them to be better in regards to power/privilege/oppression. Anyway, go join the conversation let Kate know what you like/dislike about reviews.

Yoon Ha Lee links us to someone starting a new on-line magazine specializing in “literary adventure fantasy–character-driven stories in secondary worlds”, paying SFWA pro rate for stories, opening to submission on August 1st called Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I’m thinking of submitting one of my stories to them after some major edits.

Science-Fiction & People of Color; Rejection Letters

Sometimes when I tell people I’m into SF/F and that I primarily write in that genre I get this weird look and the statement “Black people don’t like Sci-Fi” or something similar despite the fact that I’ve just told them at least one black person loves it. Then of course I state how plenty of POC that I know love Sci-Fi. Now if I’m talking to someone who is a white SF/F I often get the “Then why don’t I see them at conventions?”

Well if you want my opinion on one big reason (not the only one by far) for both why POC don’t attend conventions and why we need POC space head over and read Tobia Buckell’s post: Asimovs Forum Ickiness on what’s going on in the Asimov’s forum in regards to Sanders and Helix. When POC see this kind of blatant white privilege and refusal to acknowledge our pain or anger over bigotry and racial slurs in the industry that doesn’t exactly make us feel welcome. And that the posts that decry us as “oversensitive” and “PC Nazis” are full of sexism and racism within themselves especially when they’ll only attack Tempest (a WOC) but ignore anyone else talking about the Helix issue.

It’s even worse that it’s in Asimov’s forum because Asimov is considered one of the “big three” in Sci-Fi magazines and one of the main commenters, Dave Truesdale, has his own online column at F&SF (another big mag) where he talks about how SF/F is “too gay” and other Limbaugh-esque intolerance. So – I’m a Person of Color who loves SF/F, and decide to head over to Asmiovs forum to talk to other fans and join the SF/F community and this is the kind of vitriol I see then I’m going to assume all SF/F fans are like this. So am I then likely to head to a convention full of these folks? Hell, no.

Just go read the post and I suggest you read all the comments to because they’re really enlightening.


Also related to the Helix debacle but not rage-inducing and actually really funny Shaun CG @ Nostaligia for Infinity has declared today Post A Rejection Letter Friday!:

Apropos of the ridiculous focus on whether or not posting rejection letters is common practice/professional/legal/cuddly/appropriate/blue rather than on the exposure of crude and offensive racist language, I’m officially declaring it Post A Rejection Letter Friday.

Mine aren’t that interesting because #1 I haven’t gotten that many because I haven’t submitted that many place, which will change this summer I have 5 or 6 stories I’m gonna submit in the next month and #2 all the rejections I’ve gotten have been short and kind of standard form letters. You know the whole “not right for us” thing. But I want to join in so here’s mine:

Thanks for your submission, and I’m very sorry for taking so long to
respond to it; we received over one hundred stories for this anthology,
and it took us longer than we had expected to give each the consideration
that it deserved. Unfortunately your story is not quite what we’re
looking for at
this time. I wish you the best of luck in placing this story elsewhere.
Take care!

So…Today’s Post

So I had a post for today. No really I did, I hadn’t written yet but it was all planned out about the whole diversionary tactics a lot of people are using in the Helix debacle. There are a bunch of folks completely ignoring the bigotry to focus on whether the author should have posted the letter in the first place. I was gonna talk about how most editors and authors I’ve met talk about the sharing of rejection letters all the time and it’s the content that’s getting people up in arms and this is really just a straw man argument. I could also talk about the published book of rejection letters I own but I digress

So yeah the post was gonna be about that but Tempest beat me to it so go here and read her great post: Dear People On The Asimov’s Boards and Elsewhere…

We can spend the next week quibbling over whether or not rejections are private correspondence and whether it’s unprofessional to post one to public or private spaces. (I don’t believe it is based on the fact that, since I’ve been a writer, writers have shared rejections, either in whole or in part, in forums relating to writing. Also, I agree with those who’ve said that once a person says truly despicable, racist things in letter form, professionalism is already off the table.) It may very well be true that, from a legal standpoint, Luke didn’t have the right to do what he did. But, again, would anyone care if it hadn’t revealed what it did?

And if you’re interested in reading what editors have to say about the sharing of rejection letters go to the link in the quote. The consensus seems to be that while it may not be completely legal on copyright issues it is something that most editors expect to happen so they wouldn’t write anything in a letter they wouldn’t stand behind. They also understand that those are professional correspondence that reflect not only on them but on their publication as well.


Now just a few interesting, useful or just plan weird links

- 100 Web Tools For Writers – Haven’t read the whole thing yet but it looks interesting.

- Humans only use 10% of their brain – Bullshit!

- How To Turn Your Vacuum Cleaner Into A Bazooka! – For when the Zombie ‘Pocalypse goes down!

And finally a weird little online Neopets-like thing were you get to raise a dragon! I know dragons are trite and all that but come on raise a dragon from egg on how can you say no?
Adopt one today!

-Isms in Sci-Fi: Take #1,896

I spent sometime this weekend worrying a little over my review of Empress up at Fantasy Magazine because of my calling out the race issues. It’s that same old conflicted feeling of: #1 yes this stuff should be called at but #2 I do want to work in this industry someday so will my being so vocal hinder my chances. I occasionally have bouts of this and then blow it off because talking about these issues are so important, everywhere in SF and in other spaces. This time however the feeling popped up while I was hanging out with my friend bankuei on Saturday. When I voiced my concerns he said something that crystallized everything for me, paraphrased here:

“Those people who would reject you because of what you say weren’t gonna buy your fiction anyway.”

Now on the heels of this comes the exposure of a rejection letter sent by Helix editor William Sanders which is full of such bigotry that it makes my head spin. I’m gonna quote part of what my homegirl Tempest quoted of it over at her blog:

I’m impressed by your knowledge of the Q’uran and Islamic traditions. (Having spent a couple of years in the Middle East, I know something about these things.) You did a good job of exploring the worm-brained mentality of those people – at the end we still don’t really understand it, but then no one from the civilized world ever can – and I was pleased to see that you didn’t engage in the typical error of trying to make this evil bastard sympathetic, or give him human qualities.

(whole letter also here*)

Wow! Really?
And I didn’t even quote the part about “them” (Muslims) being incapable of honesty and sheet-heads. Will WIlliam be called out for his racism/religious intolerance?
Possibly.
In the SF/F community you never really know and more than likely if he is called out it will be a slap on the wrist that’s forgotten by most in a couple of months, except by everyone who saw the letter and was horribly offended and hurt but they don’t really count anyway, do they? Bad behavior in the SF/F community often blows up into a huge stink, then the perpetrator offers a prefunctory (and often false) apology and no lasting consequences are placed on the him. So others get the notion that they can continue/start their own horrible behavior with no problems. I’m thinking specifically of the Connie Willis/Harlan Ellison instance but there are plenty other examples that float through my mind.

If these folks can continue to spew this racist, sexist, classist, -ist bullshit then I can continue to call it out.

*Here you’ll also get to see Sanders attempt to defend himself {anonymous}, I find his calling of the letter poster “son” patronizing as hell but that’s just me. Also as an editor he should know that words are key if he’s talking about extremists/terrorists mentioning the Q’uran and referencing “those people” was a very bad choice on his part because it focuses it on Muslims unless he’s assuming all terrorists are Muslims or vice-versa. Plus like phrases like “those people” and “civilized world” (which puts a place to the bigotry and makes it seem about race as well as religion) send alarm bells up for anyone with the least amount of anti-oppression training

Also see author/managing editor of Helix Lawrence Watt-Evans {livejournal user lwe} try to justify the letter by saying it’s not racial, it’s religious. Which makes it okay?? Because religious intolerance is so much better than racial intolerance?

That argument ignores the connections made between Islam and brown people throughout the last millenia. Also his argument that Islam is sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic points to a complete lack of understanding of Islam, because there are extremists in all religions that are sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. We always talk about the extreme religious right in the US but I guess they aren’t as bad? But I’m blanking on why…

This argument also points to a pretty large misunderstanding of Islam and the fact that within the religion there’s much discussion on tradition versus religiously required practice with many advocates calling for the end to honor killings and other practices seen as horrible by those within the religion. Islam is not a monolith, just like race is not a monolith. Oops! There I go connecting race and religion again.

I Have a New Favorite TV Show!

Now it might seem premature to label a show your favorite when you’ve only seen two episodes but the ABC family original The Middleman is some really good TV. It’s superhero TV at it’s best, it harkens back to the Batman TV show with its visuals and bad special effects at times but the dialog is hip, fresh and funny the side characters are entertaining and there’s a lot of mystery but it doesn’t feel incomplete the way Lost always felt to me.

I stayed away from the show originally because #1 it was on ABC Family which automatically makes me go *smh* because I’m unsure if ABC’s idea of family programming has ever entertained me and #2 all the ads made it seem as if the female lead Wendy Watson (played by Natalie Morales) was going to be a scantily clad sidekick there to look hot in leather and shoot big guns and not really the focus of the show.

Then a couple days ago while idly surfing Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature I saw that the first two episodes were available so I decided to give them a try. Boy was I wrong, it’s fantastic romp through a crazy world of mad scientists, demons and aliens. Also Wendy is far from an extra body she’s actually the lead protagonist and it’s great to have a Latina actress playing a superhero (well apprentice/successor but still).

The shows’ basic premise is that a sarcastic, rude, unflappable young woman right out of art school is recruited as the apprentice to The Middleman, a former Navy Seal who could have been plucked from some random 50’s health film (he’s constantly saying things like “Golly Gee”, “Jeepers” and “Now that’s just mean/rude”). Wendy proceeds to ride The Middleman for his language and also has an antagonistic relationship with their extraterrestrial robot Ida, often calling her “3PO” (After Star Wars robot C3PO). The back and forth between The Middleman and Wendy has some clunkers sure but for the most part it’s funny, hip and very comic book. For example the constant references to her father that disappeared under mysterious circumstances are so ham-handed at times that any comic book reader (or anyone with ears really) will know that this is something that will pop up in the show relatively soon.

The side characters are also pretty damn funny. Lacey, Wendy’s Roommate, who’s a confrontational conceptual artist and very much the pseudo-liberal who gets arrested pretty damn often for protesting. Nozer, the African-American guitar player that Wendy exchanges song lyrics with in the hallway every time she comes home. Ida, the ET Robot who’s “been cranky since her appearance circuit got stuck on disapproving school marm version 2.0″ and continually insinuates that Wendy’s only cool under pressure ’cause she’s always high.

And yes I admit that the special effects tend to be kind of low-budget but really the episode villains are not the reason to watch, even though their fun in a really ludicrous way. It’s the journey to find the villain that packs the most hilarity with revelations of Succubi, Incubi, illegal experiments and extra-marital affairs all making appearances.

Funny, Hip, Inspired and Corny by turns it’s been quite a while since a show grabbed me in so few episodes. Let’s hope that #1 they don’t mess it up and #2 that it stays on the air long enough to find its footing and really wow us.

To say anymore would be spoiling but if you have Netflix then take a couple of hours to watch the episodes on there, or find some other way because no matter what you have to at least check out, if only to let me know if you agree with my over-enthusiastic response.