Category Archives: science-fiction

Fantasy/Science-Fiction Reading List for API Heritage Month!

As some of you may know May is API Heritage month and in honor of that The Carl Brandon Society (dedicated to increasing the presence of characters and writers of Color in SF) has put out our reading list of F/SF by/about API:

A collection of stories from one of American speculative fiction’s most precise and beautiful writers.

Sesshu Foster – ATOMIK AZTEX
An Aztec prince or a Los Angeles meatpacker? The protagonist travels back and forth between two alternative realities, never sure which is real.

Wonderful stories by the author of The Kappa Child.

Kazuo Ishiguro – NEVER LET ME GO
In a dystopian England, three children discover that they are clones produced to provide organs to the sick.

Larissa Lai – SALT FISH GIRL
Science fiction set in a dystopian near future in which corporate enclaves house lucky employees, leaving most of humanity to deal with increasingly strange ecological developments.

Amirthi Mohanraj (illustrated by Kat Beyer) – THE POET’S JOURNEY
A young poet sets out into the wide world on a journey to find poetry, with the help of a few magical creatures, she finds more than she ever expected.

Mad experiments with the unleashed potential of the dreaming brain.

The main character wakes up from a fire and doesn’t know who he is, but can sense and manipulate the minds of others. He is not alone in this ability. Singh takes us on a metamind ride.

A wordless graphic novel about immigration and displacement.

Speculative poems that take us from the secret wars of the CIA in Laos to the secret edges of
the human soul and the universe.

Try and pick one or more of these up this month (that’s my goal), if you don’t already own them!

Gaming, Size & Awards!

Pat over at Token Minorities has an excellent post Suggestions for Talking about Race and Videos Games and while Pat is focused on video games this could be suggestions for discussing race when it comes to Science-Fiction, TV, Movies, Comics, anything where people simple want to write off the medium and consequently the racism in it, as trivial.  

One of my close friends, Bankuei has posted a Roleplaying 101guide for people interested in getting into RPG’s and such. I admit that I never played and RPG before I met Bankuei (the only roleplayers I knew in high school were crazy, I don’t just mean the kind of crazy we can all get when we like/are obssessed with something, I mean STRAIGHT UP KRAZY!!!) plus there are a lot of issues around exotification and appropriation in these games. But now that I’m getting into the more indie ones that don’t make me nauseous, I find a lot of fun in them and recommend people head over and read his 101 post if you’re interested even a bit in RPG’s. Bankuei’s been asking me to write up my early experiences with RPG’s and Roleplaying gamers for a while now and I hope to get around to that this week.

Resist Racism has a post up about The Last Acceptable Prejudice, where Resistance is specifically talking about fat prejudice. Now as a Person of Size and a Person of Color it’s angering to me to see fat prejudice called the last acceptable one, for exactly the reasons Resistance posits it plays too much into the Oppression Olympics for my taste. I have experienced racism and fat prejudice at different times in my life and think that both need to be combated. Stating any prejudice as the last acceptable one not only devalues all the other prejudices alive and well in our society but also ignores the systemic institutionalization of oppressions for the overt expressions of prejudice.

The Tiptree Award Winning Book has been announced, along with the works that were short listed. The Tiptree is presented at WisCon (which I’m attending again this year) and celebrates works of F/SF that work to explore and expand gender and our understanding of it. The Winner – The Carhullan Army (American Title: Daughters of the North) by Sarah Hall. Head over to Debbie N.’s post on it to read more about the Tiptree, the shortlist of nominees and to find out who the jurors were this year.

The Nominees for the Gaylactic Spectrum Award, which celebrates works of F/SF that include significant positive explorations of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered characters, themes, or issues, have also been announced.

The list of nominees for the Japanese Seiun Awards have been announced, of course I can’t read the works of most of the nominees cause I don’t read Japanese but it’s always cool to see what’s going on in other places around the world. There are also two categories for foreign works that list nominees we in the west would be more familiar with, I would point out though that only two women are nominated, one in each of the categories.

Closing it’s doors.

Clarkesworld Books is closing up and having a liquidation sale until the 31st. All the new books have had price reductions and the used books are already pretty damn cheap. Minimum order is $25. Since they’re closing what they have is what they have so head over quick and spend, spend, spend. You don’t even have to feel like you’re picking over the corpse of someone’s dream because they aren’t closing for financial reasons.

I would be doing so myself but this not having a job thing cuts into such wonderful things as books shopping. Maybe I’ll survive on ramen this week and use my food money for books. Hmmm…excuse me while I go over my budget.

I have returned

Actually I was back on Weds. but I’ve been crazy busy lately. So an update.
In writerly news –
I have one short story out right now and three other publications I’ll be submitting too in the near future…just as soon as I write the stories.
My first post for the FeministSFBlog should be going live in the next few days
In Sci-Fi/Book news –
Doctor Who kicks ass! Serious ass! The last three episodes (Blink, Utopia & The Sound of Drums) have been some of the best F/SF TV I’ve seen in quite a while.
I’ve finished Mindscape by Andrea Hairston which I thought was amazing and totally blew my mind. When I met Andrea at Wiscon she told me to email her when I finished. Let her know what I thought so I have to work on that email.
I also finished Killing Rage by bell hooks & The Orphan’s Tale: In The Night Garden which were also really great books.
I am now dividing my time between The Truth That Never Hurts by Barbara Smith & Ammonite by Nicola Griffith

WisCon 31 Recalled 4/4: What do you mean it’s over?!? No, I won’t return to the real world! Nooooooooooo!

As before feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong, I’m working from a memory over a week old.

I rose very early (8 a.m.) on Monday morning so I could head down to the Interfictions Anthology Reading, to support my girl Tempest. Since it was so early I wandered down in my sleep pants and bandanna. The reading was amazing. Even though I had picked up the anthology I hadn’t actually read any of the stories. Tempest gave us just a little taste from her amazing contribution “Black Feather”. Then Catherynne Valente read her whole story, “A Dirge for Prester John”. As much as I loved her reading style and the story it was just a little too long for 8:30 in the morning. I immediately went upstairs and read Tempest’s story, which by the way – FABULOUS!, then jumped in the shower to prepare for the Sign-Out.

Headed down to the Sign-Out where I got signatures from Laurie J. Marks, Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, Andrea Hairston, Nicola Griffith & Catherynne Valente. Surprisingly Nina Kiriki Hoffman was also signing even though she wasn’t on the list.  I approached her and told her how much I loved her work and that I had forced Jackie to by “A Fistful of Sky” which is one of my favorite books. I actually picked up another one of her books, “Spirits That Walk in Shadow” at the Con but it was already packed away *emo tear*. We wandered over to the Dealers Room while we waited to see if Pat Murphy was going to be signing (her name sign was there but hadn’t been picked up). On the way we made plans to meet up in a few minutes and go out to lunch with Leah, Candra & Allison.

Picked up a few more books in the Dealers Room and headed back to the Sign-Out. Pat Murphy was there so we got her signature and then headed over to Cosi for lunch. Candra, Allison & Leah had to leave immediately after so we said goodbye and Jackie and I headed to the bar. We hung out with Nisi and Victor for a while, had a few drinks, and then headed up to the Dead Cow Party. There we knitted/worked/talked for a while. Then Jackie, Tempest, Wendy & I headed up to the bar on the 14th floor where we drank and had a good ‘ole time. We closed the bar down, Wendy receiving the last drink of the Con, and headed back to the Dead Cow party. A large group of us (I would name names but some I don’t know plus I was more than a little tipsy at this point) hung out there until like 1 in the morning.
Headed back to my room and fell asleep.

Jackie woke me up to say goodbye at like 5:30 and then headed off to catch her plane. I woke up for real at around 9, went downstairs, checked out and hung out in the lobby with Cynthia, Bill, Wendy, Tempest and other people (I’ve forgotten who, sorry) until it was time for Tempest and I to catch the hotel shuttle to the airport. When we got to the airport we had lunch (well Tempest had lunch, I just sipped on a beer) by this time her flight was boarding so we said goodbye and I headed over to my gate. My flight wasn’t for over two hours and heading out of the gate before me was Andrea Hairston and her friend (whose name I forgot, again sorry). We had a cool conversation about Creative Writing programs and poetry until their flight headed off.

Turns out I was on the same plane as Debbie and her partner, even though we weren’t sitting anywhere near each other. When we arrived at SFO Debbie’s friend, Laurie I believe?, who had also been on the plane offered me a ride home.

That is all for my WisCon report but there is a post called WisCon minutiae that will be going up soon with a few links and notes.

All in all it was a great con where I met some amazing people, both mentioned in the report and not. I will definitely be going back next year!

WisCon 31 Recalled 3/4: Is This Level Of Exhaustion Normal?

Again, If I get any names or facts wrong, feel free to let me know. I’ve only got my own faulty memory to rely on here.

The day started not with a bang but with a whimper as I climbed out of bed slowly and prepared myself for my second panel of the weekend. I wandered down to the Green Room for some tea and then headed over to the meeting room. On the way I ran into a bunch of the FeministSF Blog bloggers and talked with them for a bit.

There were a few people in the room and one of my fellow panelists, K. Joyce Tsai. I knew Joyce from online but had never really met her in person before this Con (we had talked the previous night outside the parties & at the Whither Hero(in)es panel on Friday night.) so we talked a little in our bleary, sleepy states. In came Doselle Young, in his atheist t-shirt and furry slippers and the first words out of his mouth: “I’m not the moderator, am I?”
Joyce & I: un-huh
Doselle: Damn, I don’t want to be a moderator, let’s just run this anarchy style.
Me: Fine by me
Unfortunately for my inner anarchist, but luckily for the audience, Janice Ellen Young was also on the panel and took on the role of moderator.

What These People Need Is A Honky!
– Joyce had a list of films that meet this trope (I will find the list and post it in the WisCon Addendum post on Tues. or Weds.)
– Leah (in the audience) brought up the white female teacher savior trope and I told them about the skit “Nice White Lady” from MadTV.
– I brought up Tamora Pierce’s Trickster duology, which I do love but has way too much: “Oh we couldn’t have done this without you, young white spy!”
– Doselle brought up the movie Mimic(?) and the fact that not only does the black man sacrifice himself for the white main character (a staple in these types of films) but he goes to his death SINGING! Doselle said he was afraid to look down and see that his popcorn had been changed to watermelon.
– Of course we brought up “Dancing with The Last Samurai of Heaven.”
– Joyce brought up the film Cry Freedom and the lack of black characters (speaking ones in particular) in the second half.
– Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Jar-Jar, the evil traders with Asian accents & the evil merchant/slave-owner with a Jewish accent. (It should be noted that when I say accents I mean stereotypical racist portrayals of accents)
– Johanna (from the audience) told us the Ewoks actually speak Tagalog a lot. “Yes, the little brown bears speak the language of the ‘little brown people’!”
That hurt me…a lot.
I brought up the Wounded Knee adaptation and the bullshit of the added part-white character. Doselle had to take a moment.
– Someone brought up the little coda always at the end of the film, “This is still a problem in…”. Which I brought up is mostly for a white audience. It’s like ‘Oh there’s still racism in America? Yeah I’m black I already knew that shit.’ This makes it very obvious who the films are made for and it ain’t PoC.
– Joyce brought up Shogun & the Empire book series by Feist & Wurts.
– The fact that a large majority of interracial relationships are white man/woman of color. That interracial is hardly ever interpreted as PoC/PoC.
– I said I have no respect for those (like Mariah Carey) who actively hide their heritage only to admit to it later to cash in on the trend.
– The fact that many white people view Denzel as “the Good Negro” in that he is safe and they can identify with him as opposed to say Djimon Hounsou. (Note: I don’t view Denzel this way but it is why for a long time he dominated any roles that needed a black man; we’re just starting to see the end of this)
– Also that Denzel, Avery Brooks, Eric LaSalle all had/have enough power to alter their character, whereas most PoC in Hollywood do not. That this is why their characters often turn out more realized than other PoC characters.
The Pam Noles blog post about white men dominating hollywood, I compared it to the coda at the end of the films. Is there any PoC who did not know this was still the case?

After the panel it was discovered that all the panelists were from California. Just an oddity no real point to the fact.

We all talked for a while then Jackie & I headed out for lunch. I think we went to the Noodle place again (we went there about 3 times and I always ordered the Mac & Cheese. We were in Wisconsin it would have felt like a betrayal not to sample their delicious cheeses!) I can’t recall if this should have gone in Sat.’s report but I’m putting it here. Jackie and I entered our room to find a plate of freshly made chocolate-covered strawberries & 2 glasses of Sangria. Our friend Kit from back home had heard about the bad thing that had happened to us that first day. She called the hotel and had them send up the treats with a nice little card. It was a wonderful surprise. I have great friends.

Then over to my next panel:
Colonialism…In…Space! (which I told everyone had to be read the way it was written.)
Panelists were: Me!, Victoria McManus, Jane Acheson (who has a great post here), Sara Brodzinsky & James A. Trimarco.
So I am gonna say that this was the panel I was most worried about because I felt I was going to be the only (or only visible) PoC on the panel and I was right. I wouldn’t have even been on the panel had Liz Henry not dropped out. I took Liz’s spot which I think is a very good thing. A panel on Colonialism with no PoC there would have felt weird, not because white people can’t talk about colonialism but they’re drawing parallels to the (mostly) white colonization of brown folks. If we’re going to discuss that I felt the panel should have been a little more mixed. When we are discussing Colonialism…In…Space! in comparison with first contact scenarios…it was just felt odd not have more PoC on the panel. Especially since colonialism in America is not over, it happens everyday.

I digress, the bottom line being it was uncomfortable being the only PoC there, though I rather be uncomfortable than there be a panel on colonialism with no PoC. When we were introducing ourselves I struggled with if I should bring it up. Y’know point out the elephant in the room. Instead I just brought up the fact that I identify as a colonized person in America, which I do. Allison, who was in the audience, later told me that I should have brought it up, that she expected the moderator to and truthfully so did I.

The panel did go well, though I think my uncomfortableness with the situation made me dominate the conversation more than I usually would.
– I brought up BSG and them being the colonized people at which point Jane said one of my favoritest quotes from the Con “It’s still pretty white people oppressing pretty white people.” Which is very true. I mentioned that I thought it was revolutionary in the way that it forced most of the audience to code with an oppressed and colonized people. A rarity to be sure.
– There were some great books and movies brought up but I never take notes so they are lost to the winds of time.
– I brought up Nalo’s Brown Girl In The Ring as a very visceral moment of colonialism. The Minister needs a new heart and it is ripped from the body of the oppressed. This was in a response to a question about books and colonialism that I can’t quite recall.
– Jane brought up the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein and spoiled it a bit but I still want to read the series. I vaguely recall reading the first book years ago. Anyway she had some great examples on why the land itself is a colonizer along with the people.
– Victoria mostly took the silent moderator approach, just there to keep things on track.
– James had some great books he listed but as I said no notes.
– We also brought up the fact that the story most used in books is the big bad colonizer comes in to destroy someone. Then one of the colonizers lives among “the people” and learns they’re fabulous. Then he attempts to save them from the colonizer. This also ties in to the “What These People Need Is A Honky.” panel
– One book suggested that I do remember and could not find during the Con was So Long Been Dreaming a collection of sci-fi stories focusing on post-colonialism. I need to pick that up.
(There will probably be a post later about how my identification as a colonized person affects my writing because after Jane wrote about it I started to think about it a lot.)

Then I was off to: The Author’s Blog: Does It Help? Does It Hurt?
Panel: Lori Devoti, K. Tempest Bradford & Michael Mornard
This was a good panel with a whole lot of audience interaction. I asked questions about reviewing books on your blog and things of that nature. The advice given which I’m going to stick to is when critiquing work you have to have a reasonable critique. You can’t say “This book is stupid and so is the author!” but instead have things about the book that you disliked and point them out and your reason for disliking them which I think I’ve mostly stuck to. In other words don’t get personal, although that’s inevitable to a point, try and stay distanced.
Lively panel and lot of laughter. Points I remember:
– Once you put something online, it’s there forever in some form. Think before you post.
– People are reading your blog, even if their are no comments. Think before you snark, under your real name about people you need to interact with (I had to add the qualifier because I love snark and don’t want it to go away).
– Some authors use the blog to stay connected with fans and make them feel involved in the process.

I stayed in the same room because Candra & Allison were giving their paper presentation: Inherited Traits – Race, Gender, and Intertextuality in Heroes.
Unfortunately due to technical difficulties they started late so we didn’t get the whole paper but the 75% of it we got was great. They had clips to illustrate their points and brought up a lot of things I hadn’t seen because I stopped watching. I only had to leave the room once, when they showed the attempted rape of Claire, because that’s way too much for me to deal with. (In case I haven’t mentioned this elsewhere in the blog I cannot deal with sexualized violence, it makes my stomach turn. It’s something I don’t like to read or watch. In fiction rape is often played as titillating or motivating and to see this horrible base act made into something sexual for the audience’s male gaze is just disgusting. There’s a whole post here for later so I’ll stop now.)
Despite several attempted derailments by random men in the audience I do think thiswent very well. Although it did take me a little bit to realize exactly what intertextuality is because in my film class we always called it extra-diagetic information. Luckily I cottoned on but even before I did I enjoyed the things brought up. I especially enjoyed their discussion of the death of Simone and how the blame is placed only on Isaac (even though he was right!). Yeah, I could go on about this for a while but let’s move on…

We (Jackie, Candra, Allison, a bunch of people whose names I don’t remember or never knew & I) went to dinner at this burger place. The conversation turned to films that involve diversity of all types.

Then it was back to the hotel for a nap and then the GoH (Guest of Honor) speeches. Unfortunately while the spirit was willing the flesh was exhausted. Jackie attempted to wake me from my nap. I mumbled something about leaving me behind and went back to sleep. I woke up in time to start ironing my shirt for the fancy dress party. Jackie walked in to find me ironing while watching Flavor of Love: Charm School (or whatever it’s called). Give me a break, the hotel had limited cable! It was a good episode too, the one where Hottie hides two of the girls dresses to fluster them before a competition, where Andrew Firestone from The Bachelor interviewed them (no, I couldn’t make this shit up!).

Anyway we headed upstairs to one of the parties but it was crowded, stuffy and hot. Also we’d worked the parties the last two nights in a row. So we headed downstairs to the bar and drank until last call (which is really early in the hotel, 10:30p.m.) then up to Candra & Allison’s room. We just hung out chatting for a couple of hours. Then Jackie & I headed down to our own room and passed out.

Next: WisCon 31 Recalled 4/4: What do you mean it’s over?!? No, I won’t return to the real world! Nooooooooooo!

13th Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction & Fantasy Fans

First off let me say how honored I am to host this carnival. I’ve been a fan for a long time and it’s great to take part in it.

When I sat down and thought about hosting this carnival I decided that the best way to present it was to try and be as objective as possible. I wanted to show articles that were from a wide range of feminist beliefs. As such none of the articles should be assumed to be my personal point of view. I also tried to limit people to one post but there are a few people you’ll find in this carnival more than once simply because I couldn’t decide between two wonderful posts or one of their articles was submitted after I had already decided to include the other one.


– As April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month Rachel Edidin has decided to blog about Sexual Assault (in Comics) in an ongoing series all month at her blog Inside Out. The parts so far are: Introduction, Rape in the Gutters, Writing Sexual Violence Part 1, Writing Sexual Violence Part 2, The Widowmaker, Is It Too Much Too Ask? & Rape Is Rape Is Rape:

When sexual violence finds its way into comics–when writers choose to portray sexual violence in comics–that ambiguity comes into immediate conflict with the traditionally cut-and-dried morality of mainstream superheroes. In worlds where right is right and wrong is wrong and each is defined by colorful costumes, it’s hard to express the confusing and often conflicting cultural and individual factors that surround and therefore define an assault. Even after the popularization of grim ‘n gritty antiheroes and the introduction of a degree of moral ambiguity to comics, the form remains more likely than most to oversimplify both characters and their actions. Furthermore, they’re only gradually emerging from a long tradition of sexism, if not outright misogyny, and the problematic portrayal of women in comics further complicates the issue of sexual assault within the medium.

– Over at Sequential Tart Katherine Keller addresses An Open Letter – On The Topic of Stephanie Brown to Senior Vice President — Executive Editor, DC Universe, Dan DiDio:

Once upon a time in Gotham, there was a bright, plucky girl named Stephanie Brown. Her father was a third rate villain named Cluemaster. She donned a costume, called herself Spoiler, and set out to thwart his crimes. She became an ally of “the Bats.”

She even became Robin.

She was fired (after being held to an unrealistic double standard) and set out to prove herself again. Her motives were pure, but the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. She was captured and suffered hours of brutal torture and still held true to the ideals of her father-figure. She died in his arms.

And Dan DiDio? Well … he thinks she doesn’t count, that she doesn’t matter, that in the grand scheme of things Bat, she wasn’t important. That she wasn’t really a Robin.

The problem is, she’s become much more than a mere Robin.

She’s a very powerful symbol to many women, myself included.

Sleestak deconstructs a hostess ad from 1977 featuring Josie & The Pussycats in Comic Book Ad: Count The Upskirts on the blog lady, that’s my skull:

In this Hostess advertisement from Archie’s Madhouse #107 (1977) the catty Josie and her Unnamed Black Friend realize that the way to attract a man is not through being equal to their male counterparts, wearing pants or through hard work and skill but by manipulation and acting “like a girl”.

Amy Reads at Arrogant Self-Reliance posts Make Mine Amazonian a review of Wonder Woman #7 and a discussion of Wonder Woman’s otherness:

I have been a Wonder Woman fan for over 25 years. I have read countless incarnations of her. I supported Diana Prince, lover of Steve Trevor. I supported Princess Diana, ambassador of peace. I even supported Wonder Woman, killer of Maxwell Lord, savior of humanity. And throughout this, I have always known that *Wonder Woman Is Not Human*.

Why, why, Friends, do so many try to insist she become so?

– Also about Wonder Woman, alexinwonderland over at Alex in Wonder Land posts on the lack of males in the Wonder family and the stereotypes that might be applied to them if they existed in How To Bring Your Wonder Boy up Gay:

The problem here isn’t that a Wonder Boy would be necessarily effeminate because he had a female namesake, but because it’s imaginable people would joke about it anyway, both within the text and outside it. I can just see the whispering during his first outing with the Teen Titans, or the questions about whether he’d wear a tiara too…And moreover, I wouldn’t place the line at being a questioning of his masculinity, but also his sexuality. I daresay a Wonder Boy wouldn’t just be the focus for joke about femininity, but for homosexuality as well. The way in which we live in a culture that still predominantly views gender and sexuality as collapsible categories makes it inevitable that expectations about femininity will become linked to the desire for men as a love-object, and vice versa. If Wonder Boy were questioned about his masculinity, questions about his sexuality would go hand in hand.

– Over at FemiNerds a post on their Top Twelve Graphic Novels:

I’m sure you’ve heard it before. Comics and graphic novels are pretty “low brow.” They’re crude literary devices, and are only suited for boys who have trouble reading, and nerds. Women certainly don’t read comics – it simply isn’t done.Excuse me while I snort derisively.

– At Digital Femme, Cheryl Lynn posts on the request for visual interpretations of Witchblade and her personal view of Witchblade in Blades of Glory:

But seriously, fuck a costume. Previous versions of the Witchblade were always in line with the bearer’s cultural style of dress and method of combat, right? So why should the Witchblade suddenly go all Sci-Fi Channel with Sara?

Christopher Butcher posts Afraid Of Cock in response to the furor over Alex Ross’ painting of Citizen Steel over at

Brian and his ‘buddy’ Jake are ‘creeped out’ by a bulge in another guy’s pants (artistic or otherwise). The idea that an artist chose to give a character an impressively-rendered package is actually frightening to these fellas, and the idea that his model might’ve had a good-sized package in real life? And Alex Ross decided NOT to neuter him for some insane reason? Equally as creepy.

Lisa Fortuner‘s article Just Past the Horizon: Censorship at blog@newsarama details the derailing of discussions of race, gender, sexuality, etc.:

For other cases, consider the poster worried about offensive images of black people in imported Manga, or the poster who wants to see two gay men in a relationship in a superhero comic. Such posts cause much the same argument. Instead of discussing racism or homophobia, we end up discussing censorship and artistic freedom.So, for future reference and to prevent such derailments, let me let you in on a little secret. Nobody who wants to see real diversity in any medium wants to support censorship.

liviapenn posts about the new “Minx” line of comics, from DC, targeted at young girls at her journal Skullcrusher Mountain:

Wait, okay, I do. I mean, yes, yes– real girls, real issues, but the thing is? Teenage girls don’t need *comics* to give them “real insight into teenage girls.” Why? Because they *ARE* TEENAGE GIRLS, and therefore *presumably*, they know what it’s like to BE a teenage girl a little better than the *overwhelmingly male creators of the Minx line*.

Laura Hudson relates her experience of The Girl Who Wanted to Buy Green Lantern at Myriad Issues:

“I wanted to buy the new Green Lantern,” she said, “but, well… I couldn’t really read it in public, could I?” I raised an eyebrow, then glanced around her to the rack, looked at the cover, and nodded.

Karen Healey over at Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed) explains that Big Barda is big not just tall in I Think We Need A Bigger Barda :

According to recent BoP scripts, Big Barda is “hefty”, “large”, a “lummox”, “fat” and (of course) “big”. And sensitive about it, to the point where it’s a running joke. But according to the art… she’s not, not always. Mostly, she’s tall. She’s proportionate to that height and she’s got developed shoulders and abs, but her chain-mailed behind is not as hefty as advertised in the dialogue. She doesn’t look wee, but she doesn’t look bulky. Sometimes, she looks downright lanky.

Super Like a White Man? Searching for the Black Superhero in Comics and Film over at megatrouble, dissects comic books and their relationship to the ubermensch ideal of Nietzsche. From Blade, Xero and Steel to the “statement” of Storm:

In the following essay (still incomplete, I need to write about Berry in Catwoman*), I try to come to terms with how my past writing has only focused on white people (for feminist comic book critics, this is a good question to ask yourself if you haven’t already!). Taking on black gender certainly doesn’t solve all of my racist assumptions. Also, the issue of black superheroes has been written about extensively, so I felt naive jumping into the fray of race and comics. I’m learning that talking about race adds a lot more dimension to the problems of comics than simply using a sexist critique. An intersectional perspective (race, gender, sexuality, disability, age, and nation!) can make our little slice of geekiness more fun for everyone . And remember, kids, it’s all good until some dumbass forgets that we write these things out of a concern for the genre, not Werthamist hate. Like the activist diva bell hooks says, we have to learn how to criticize what we love, or else we’ll never understand why we love it in the first place.

Sequential Tart has just released their May Issue including interviews with people like R. Stevens, articles such as Putting My Foot In It and much more!


I Really Wanted to Like Smallville an ongoing series of posts by Patrick over at The Hathor Legacy discusses issues with Lana and Clark’s scary stalkerish obsession with her.

Part 1: Everybody’s Girl, Part 2: I’ll Be Watching You & Part 3: Lost boys and Golden Girls (so far):

I’m a huge fan of all things Superman. He’s my favorite superhero, however un-cool that may be in general geek culture. So, when I started renting Smallville, I really wanted to like it. I made it through two seasons, and it was not until the third episode of the third season, “Extinction,” that I finally gave up. I just can’t keep watching this.

Johanna over at Comics Worth Reading reviews the early 80’s t.v. show Automan:

Automan can do anything he’s seen on the videotapes he watches (sometimes on his own chest display) and talk with any computer system. Sometimes these abilities were taken a bit too far — I can understand disappearing and reappearing in a new location, and maybe the electric hand blasts, but I’m still unsure on how being a hologram makes you able to get whatever dice roll you want at a craps table.

The Losers, a post by Ide Cyan over at the Feminist SF Blog talks about the shows that don’t have any episodes (or very few) directed and/or written by women:

First, I’d already started noticing that a pretty good number of episodes of Supernatural were written by women, which is a good thing, despite this being a show that’s so much about a return to a pre-BTVS, pre-X-Files, men-fighting-monsters set-up. And some other shows do give more than a token number of creative credits to women, like Jericho, for instance.

But this entry is really about the losers, the shows that don’t include women as writers or directors, or only on extremely rare occasions.


tekanji over at Official blog has a post about Harassment, silencing and gaming communities the methods used and where such things can lead:

The editorial content on these sites are “official” which, especially when we’re talking about sites with a certain amount of popularity, gives them more weight than a personal blog or a comment in the post. What this means that, when women read these sites — and if you’re a woman interested in gaming you will come across them, most likely long before you find any woman-positive sites — you are shown time and time again that your perspective and your opinions are not only lesser than that of men’s apparently pressing need to drool over boobies, but that if you speak out against it (and even if you don’t) you set yourself up to be an object of ridicule — and who is going to be taken more seriously, the bloggers at these popular sites (many of whom have some sort of journalistic training behind them) or you and your personal site?

The Iris Network has just released the first issue of Cerise, a gaming magazie for women. Articles include 5 steps to Attract Girl Gamers, Playing with Patriarchy and more!

– In response to the post by tekanji, Lake Desire over at New Game Plus posts her thoughts on the Silencing of Women in Gamer Communities:

While blog commenters might feel deprived their freedom of speech when they are banned for calling us hateful names or being dismissive our writing, what bloggers like myself are trying to do, in banning them, is protect our own voices. The male “right”, rather privilege, to always have men’s voices heard deprives women of our own speech in both public and private discussions. Men use their power to be invalidating, bullying, and harassing, and this shuts women down. (I’m focusing on gender in this post, but people are silenced based on all sorts of identities: men who don’t fit into this macho paradigm, people of color, transgender individuals, people with disabilities, young and old people, poor folks, etc. We should be talking about that, too.)

– Also from tekanji a post on Acclaim treating white as the default in their new game Dance – “Black is an EXTRA feature… Therefore, you hav[e] to PAY for it.”:

This situation is, perhaps, one of the most clear-cut examples of how the privileged groups are normalized and the non-privileged groups are Othered. First of all, this game seems to be still in the development stage; they’re testing out game mechanics and the like. Just as with Fable, as I discussed in my gender-inclusive video game thread, treating a female option as an “extra” rather than an intrinsic part of a game that supposedly lets you be anything, Acclaim’s Dance treats white as the default and non-white as an extra feature. As one of the moderators on the board explains, “Black is an EXTRA feature. It makes your person look unique, so that is an EXTRA feature. Therefore, you having to PAY for it.”


Johanna over at Comics Worth Reading wonders at the posing of the three Harry Potter stars on the cover of Entertainment Weekly in What’s Wrong With This Cover?. It’s interesting to point out that aside from the first commentor (who is female and agrees with Johanna) the rest are all men who have “different” critiques of the cover:

Ah. She’s just standing there to be looked at, not doing anything but glowering at us. Is there some reason she doesn’t get to gesture? That she’s shown as passive instead of active? Beyond her sex, I mean?

cleojones makes a post over at deadbrowalking about the connection she found between Grindhouse and Feminism:

Now is wasn’t perfect, by no means…The preposterous use of “nigga please” to another woman, for one. And Tarentino’s need to insert it EVERYWHERE, for another. And I’m sure there are other things, people can point out…But, boy I was impressed with these films almost reverent treatment of women!

– Another commentator on Grindhouse is lilycain. In her blog Who you callin’ a bitch? she discusses her reaction to Death Proof calling it female-centered if not feminist in Grindhouse, the Mo Movie Measure, and comic book covers:

The second half of Grindhouse, Death Proof, is an action/slasher movie with the heroes a group of female friends. And a good half of the movie was women just spending time together, talking, gossiping, laughing. The film was very much female-centered; we were not, as in most slasher movies, meant to empathize or identify with the male killer.I can’t even express how strongly that affected me.

Skye at Heroine Content gives us a review of Resident Evil and it’s inclusion of women and people of color:

After 100 minutes of gunfire, zombie dogs, and general mayhem, though, I don’t have a lot to say. If you took an action movie, cast women and people of color as if that were just the normal way to do things, and then went on about your business, you would end up with something very much like this movie.

– Another post by Skye over at Heroine Content entitled In Defense of Ripley where she links to various blogs that have discussed Ripley and presents her own opinion on the heroine in question:

Alien is not an action movie, it’s a horror movie, and Ripley’s basic challenge is simply to survive. This may sound strange, but the science fiction setting of Alien is more like reality than most action movies that are set in the here and now.


-In So it goes, Twisty Farmer at I Blame The Patriarchy discusses the death of Kurt Vonnegut and the fact that while he understood some things, his feminist score still leaves a lot to be desired:

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr is the American author venerated as a visionary for having invented the idea that certain patriarchal customs, particularly war, are absurd.Of course Vonnegut didn’t really invent the idea; that was Aristophanes, or possibly Hawkeye Pierce. Vonnegut certainly popularized it among prep school proto-intellectuals, though, this spinster aunt included.

Liz Henry at the Feminist SF Blog reviews Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky and how there is a difference between violence against women that has a point (such as in the feminist novel – Walk to the End of the World) and simply a sexist novel where the violence against women is the point. A Patriarchalness in the Sky:

So right about the time the brain-damaging rape and mindwipe scenes started hitting, I had a sort of feminist rage nostril-flareout and started going back and marking up the book.One main thing that pissed me off hugely was the ways that the child character, Qiwi, starts off a child and then because of the rest of the crew being in coldsleep, grows up, but is constantly described to emphasize her child nature. She’s juvenilized in nearly every scene. I suppose this is done to make her an appealing character and to be all symbolic of the Nation (or as I came to think of it, the not-quite nation or sorta-empire trading entity of free market libertarianly wankeriness) abused and born anew.

The Angry Black Woman at her personal blog discusses How to Promote Diversity in Fiction Markets focusing on such issues as the dichotomy between when editors say they want diversity and the ways some neglect the ideal when advertising or calling for submissions.:

The problem with the argument is several-fold. First, any given slushpile at any given magazine (with few exceptions) is not balanced. There will likely be far more male authors. There will certainly be a high percentage of white authors. Most of these authors will be of the same class, the same or similar cultures, and from the same country. Given that there will be so few stories from women, ethnic minorities, people of different classes, cultures, and countries, and given that very few stories in any given submission pile will be accepted, the chance for diversity is very small.

bug_girl at Memoirs of a Skepchick asks Where are the Women? in regards to the “Most significant SF/F books of the last 50 years” list and the invisibility of women scientists:

No, this isn’t about where to find a date, but where the female authors are on the list PZ linked to today of the “Most significant SciFi/Fantasy books of the last 50 years.”
There are a total of 4 women authors on the list, and one of them is J.K Rowling.

Colleen Mondor at Chasing Ray refutes the argument that Frankenstein was too profound to have been created by an “ill-educated 19-year-old whose later writing were just ordinary”. The argument is put forth by John Lauritsen in his upcoming book. She brings in two people who have written on Mary Shelley before to explain the reasons to believe Mary Shelley did write the famous horror novel:

In all likelihood the book, coming out from a small indy publisher, would not have gotten too much popular notice but Camilla Paglia was sent a review copy and she wrote about it last week in her column at Salon. (it’s on the last page after the Hilary/Obama stuff.) And now the new book is about feminism as well as male love – or about how feminist scholars and academics are so quick to put someone on a pedestal that they ignore the truth.

oyceter reviews Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop and explains why she likes The Black Jewels Trilogy despite her issues with Bishop’s other works at her blog Oyce’s LJ:

… but the crack for Black Jewels actually works for me. I suspect this is because in the Black Jewels trilogy, Bishop has written directly from her id, and everything is so over the top and insane and cracktastic that it works its own strange magic on me. I mean… there are gender issues like no other and characters who are either Good or Bad as exemplified by sexual perversions or the lack thereof and unicorns and magical cock rings and Capital Letters and Colored Jewels and the Mary Sue to end all Mary Sues and not just one, but THREE, devilish sexy alpha bastards and the most abused people ever (who also happen to be the most powerful people ever).

-Fictive Speculator at Perrynomasia reviews The Moon & The Sun by Vonda McIntyre discussing the setting and the problems she had with aspects of the novel:

Court intrigue follows and she, being quite beautiful (of course) becomes the target of lecherous men all around her, except for Lucien de Chretien, the king’s most trusted advisor. As if learning how to deal with Versailles in the Sun King’s reign is not difficult enough, her father is a renowned Jesuit natural philosopher who has just accomplished a mission of the utmost importance to the king–capturing a live mer-creature and returning it to Versailles for study. Louis and her brother, Yves, believe that mermen have an organ that gives immortality, and they are seeking it in the best scientific method of their time–which involves dissection and detailed comparative study.

Rebecca over at Active Voice gives us two reviews, first The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau where she compares it to the two others in the series. She also reviews Inkheart by Cornelia Funke discussing the main character Meggie and her need for male rescue throughout the book.:

Yonwood is the prequel to The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, which I absolutely loved. Those take place two hundred years after a Crisis (consisting of a series of wars and plagues) almost wipes out humanity. This book is the lead-up to that Crisis, and as such, is creepier. Also lending to its air of creepiness is the fact that it’s much closer to our own world. Nickie lives in the United States, with technology barely a step ahead of our own; they talk of fighting terrorists and the President (who is unnamed) keeps saying war is imminent and asking the country to pray for their success. It reads as our world, ratcheted up a notch—a creepy feeling indeed.


I really…well, I can’t say I didn’t care for Meggie, but I can say she had no personality to speak of. She liked books. But that’s not the same as having or being a character. I got no sense of if she was supposed to be shy or outgoing, stubborn or compliant. She was a complete blank. And she also was very passive—kidnapped twice through the books, both times rescued by someone else.

Gwyneth Jones discusses the novel A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski, her opinions on the difference between male writers and female writers when they tackle traditional SF storylines and Feminist SF in and of itself at her blog Bold As Love:

. . . And this, I recall, was and still is one of the problems for feminist sf, or indeed for any woman who takes on the natural topics of sf (war, invasion, thrillers), and tries to write well. The punters want violent fantasy, they don’t want it real. They want the torture scenes to be fun, and the bit where the revolutionary hero blows up the bad guys (hey, we all want to be on the side of the angels), to be a riotous firework display. . .

shadefell in her blog Mostly True Tales posts Melusine and Gender Roles about the novel Melusine by Sarah Monette and how she almost didn’t finish it.:

Magic use. Intuition. Fine clothing and jewelry. Rape and abuse. Passivity. Felix felt very much like a Poor Downtrodden Female Fantasy Character. In fact, in the first few pages I kept flipping back and forth trying to puzzle out why the chapter was headed “Felix” and why this woman was being called by a male name. I decided that it was a female name in the book before I realized that no, it was just a male character with a lot of stereotypical, negative, female traits. It was confusing, and not in a gender-bending, challenging way. Instead, it kind of felt like Felix was written first as a female character and then changed to a male character.

sundre at pretentious meanderings discusses The Female Man by Joanna Russ and connects quotes from Joanna and from the book to the silencing of women and denial of their experiences.:

This is far more familiar than it should be. And I wonder how many people read this passage and identify with Jack? There must be some. But so many of those that might see their own behaviour reflected would simply feel uncomfortable and look away, and edit it out of their memory without a second thought. I know how malleable memory can be. So I can write around things in a way that spirals nearer. If I try.

Mary Bennet from Reading Underwater reviews Glory Season by David Brin and the emphasis on gender roles in Easter and Parthenogenesis:

One of the books I read before Easter was Glory Season by David Brin. He’s a complicated American SF writer with strangely right ring politics. So far so dodgy. Trouble is he writes like a dream and creates these internally consistent worlds so you find yourself admiring his detailed description of the effects of a double sunset or moonrise on the alien plant life without noticing the utter repugnance of what he’s on about. For a while anyway. I’ve been trying to work out exactly why this book makes me feel so very uneasy.

extrajoker shares her opinions of the Harry Dresden book series by Jim Butcher in Butcher’s a Hack!:

Harry Dresden, the narrator/protagonist, calls himself “old-fashioned” while acknowledging (more than once) that others would call him “chauvinistic.” Sadly, these self-assessments do nothing to diminish the offensiveness of his narrative voice. It seems that Butcher is trying to deflect criticism from Harry by showing him to be not a mere tool, but rather a self-aware tool. If such was the author’s intent, it didn’t work with me. Instead, I’m remembering an Oscar Wilde quote: “There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.” Unfortunately, our feeling that way doesn’t make it true.

Book Subsection – Hugo Controversy

There’s been a lot of discussion over the fact that out of twenty fiction nominees for the prestigious Hugo Awards only one of them is female. I’m sure you’ve all probably read about this a few times by now so just a few tie-in links.

Ellen Kushner posts a letter from Geoff Ryman about the nominations . Commentors take offense at many of his points and make their opinions known in their replies to the post:

From the letter:

SF is driven by an underlying dream, and part of that dream is profoundly hostile to domesticity, which is traditionally assigned to women. It is hostile to staying at home on Earth. It dreams, Peter Pan-like, of magic flights to a Neverneverland in the stars, full of pirates and mermaids and Indians. It is largely a land of and for Boys. Women love it too, perhaps because they also want to escape domesticity.

One of the many replies:

…and then I have no idea how he gets from there to here. I mean because following the logic as I understand it:

1. SF offers the wish-fulfilment of escaping from domesticity.
2. Women, historically, are the class trapped in domesticity, who have been legally, physically, practically barred from escaping it — except, for the most part, in imagination.

3. ….therefore boys can more easily relate to the dream of leaving it behind?

This really seems to me to be backwardsed all to heck.

Abigail Nussbaum replies to the letter in her post Not to Confuse Anyone With Facts at her blog Asking The Wrong Questions:

An interesting discussion ensues, with many of the commenters taking Ryman to task (in a thoughtful and civil manner) for over-generalizations and faulty logic. None of them, however– perhaps because of the larger definitional implications of Ryman’s argument–seem to have taken the obvious step of reviewing the Hugo nominees to see if they bear out Ryman’s thesis. They do not. I’ve only read one of the best novel nominees, and there are four short fiction nominees that I haven’t yet read, but of the stories I have read–all of them written by men–an overwhelming majority are concerned with domestic matters.

perkinwarbeck2 joins in with 2006 Award-Nominated Books by Women a list of sf/f novels that have been nominated for other awards such as Phillip K. Dick, Nebula, Locus, Tiptree…:

However, people have been asking mostly what novels by women should have been nominated. So, in the hope it might be useful, a list of books by women that have been nominated for other awards this year, with links to online reviews.

– Over at Twisted Kingdom, Kailana posts some interesting statistics on women writers vs. male writers and percentages for all the major awards, in Random Thoughts for a Saturday Morning -Women in Fantasy. Although the statistics only go up to 2000 it’s still worth a look.:

In my experience, I will read both male and female authors, but I know lots of people that will only read their own gender. Men only reading male authors, and women only reading female authors. People say that feminism is dead, but it is not. There is still so many avenues in daily life that are sexist. It is just not the 70’s anymore, and people are not as geared up for protests.


hederahelix ties personal stories to the history of race in America and breaks down many of the race issues in fandom in her essay, Race, Fandom and the Shoes of Other People Pt.1 & Pt.2:

Any personal dislike that gets elevated to an oppression (with a capital O) is never just the action of a handful of individuals. It is a prejudice that gets writ large into society as a whole. Racism gets woven into the very fabric of life in the United States. Sexism permeates the very air we breathe. Homophobia becomes so pervasive and insidious that it becomes like background noise to everything else. Metaphors that reveal abilityism become so commonplace that it’s like being in a room with a smell for too long; when that happens, our nerves that sense a scent overload and refuse to notice them anymore. Anti-Semitism plays into stereotypes in such subtle ways that if you didn’t know what to look for, you’d never even notice it (Watto in The Phantom Menace for example, replicates anti-Semitism in his manners and his speech patterns.)

– In She got her ghetto pass the old-fashioned way. She *earned* it, WitchQueen talks about racism and what you must do to earn your ghetto pass. Plus a postscript of terms /phrases/ideas that will anger Fans of Color.:

Two, you have to be prepared to get your ass kicked. Being accused of racism is akin to being accused of making the Baby Jesus cry. It may make you physically ill, it may make you gafiate3, it may make you think life was better when you wrote about pretty white people getting it on. It’s not going to kill you. It’s not going to mark you forever (even in fandom!) unless you make an ass out of yourself in public. It’s not going to kill you. It’s not going to beat up your kids at school or poison your dinner or put you in jail. It’s going to hurt, and it’s going to suck, but it’s not the end of the world. Write your story. Apologize when you fuck up. Figure out what you did wrong. Don’t do it again.

-In the essay Women/Writing 1: How Fanfiction Makes Us Poor cupidsbow relates the ideas in Joanna Russ’ How To Suppress Women’s Writing to the culture of fanfiction.:

The reason the title of this essay includes a reference to poverty is because I have a lot of issues with capitalism as it’s currently practiced in the West, and especially with the way blame is directed at individuals for being poor. One of the things I’ve always loved about fanfiction is that it’s largely free of the most obnoxious aspects of capitalist culture. However, due to both a recent conversation with a friend who works in publishing, and the feminist reading I’ve been doing, I’ve been forced to re-evaluate. In particular, I’ve felt compelled to ask: is the non-capitalist aspect of fanfiction actually a method of silencing the artistic voices of women? And does it take away what should be legitimate opportunities for us to earn an income from what we create?

There are so many replies that she makes another post titled Women/Writing 1: The Response So Far:

This post isn’t a formal continuation of my essay, “How Fanfiction Makes Us Poor.” It’s more in the nature of a debrief. The discussion in response has been so vigorous that some of the threads are starting to become hard to follow, and I wanted to record some of the interesting trends I’ve noticed while they are fresh in my mind. I thought some of you might find it useful too.


Karen Ellis from Planet Karen has a series of comics about various stylistic and storyline tropes and tribulations entitled Missunderstanding Comics:

planet karen missunderstanding comics

General SF/F – Misc.

Niall Harrison over at Torque Control reconstructs a recent panel from Contemplation – Eastercon 2007 in Panel Report: is UK SF publishing overly masculine?:

This is, obviously, incomplete, reconstructed from notes I didn’t think I was going to have to rely on. Corrections, attributions, and/or expansions from others who attended the panel are welcomed.

Is UK SF publishing overly masculine?
Sunday 8 April, 11:00–12:00 “I hear that a number of women writers have felt that the atmosphere in the UK is very hard science, hard men at present — not that all the editors are male or whatever, but that the culture seems to be for quite macho-type books.” True?
Jaine Fenn, Jo Fletcher, Gareth Lyn Powell, Graham Sleight, Liz Williams, John Richards (M)

Gail Martin contemplates the question Are Science Fiction & Fantasy Subversive to the Status Quo? in her myspace blog (I realize this is a little older but I hadn’t seen it posted anywhere so decided to include it in the carnival.) :

We often use the word “subversive” in a very negative sense. It’s been used so many times as a smear by folks like Joseph McCarthy who wanted to shut up anyone who disagreed with them that it has something of a taint to it.If you go beyond the political connotations of the term, I think subversion really means anything that shakes up the status quo, the established power structure (social, religious and cultural–not necessarily political) and advances new ideas and new ways of thinking.

-The Guest Blogger over at The Angry Black Woman, N.K. Jemisin talks about being an SF writer of Color and the reactions she receives, how SF has historically been all white and how it’s kept People of Color out for so long without being overtly racist in No more lily-white futures and monochrome myths. :

Speculative fiction (SF) has been, historically, one of the most racist genres in American literature. Oh, it hasn’t had as many Stepinfetchits or Uncle Toms as the mainstream, but there are few more powerful ways to wrong a people than to wipe it out of existence, and this is precisely what countless SF novels have done. If the crew of the Space Navy Vessel Whozimawhatsit is all white; if a vast medieval epic spanning several continents contains no chromatic folk; if the scientific accomplishments of ancient nonwhite empires are dismissed as alien leftovers; if China is the only continent toasted by an invading space warship; all of this is a kind of literary genocide. (Yes, genocide.) And it’s something that SF has not only done well for years, but continues to do; shit like this gets published all. the. time.


I know this isn’t a normal category in the Carnival but we’ve had a couple of modified bingo games pop up in the last month:

-From Betty & Karen Healey over at Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed) it’s The Anti-Comics-Feminist Bingo. Head on over and see how many of your last few conversations fit the bill.

-From tekanji at the Official Blog we have “Geek Girl” Stereotype Bingo. See how many of the boxes you recognize from articles.

Calls For Submissions

-Ragnell the Foul points out that Off Our Backs is looking for submissions and that they might need a comics article.

Cerise, the new online gaming magazine for women is calling for submissions for their next issue.

Well that’s it for the 13th Carnival, it was a lot of hard work but fun too. Tell me what worked for you/ what didn’t work for you and if there are any problems with the above links please do not hesitate to let me know!

The 14th Carnival will be hosted by Heroine Content! Submission deadline is the 27th of May and the Carnival will be up on the 30th.