Feminist Monday, June 12
I have to fan girl squee for a moment. ANGELA BASSETT IS GOING TO BE IN A COMIC BOOK MOVIE! YES! (She's playing Ramonda--ick, I hope they don't go with that back story. The above image is of Shuri, T'Challa's sister. And I love her already.) There's a lot to celebrate when it comes to Black Panther. Just in case you are one of the few people who didn't see the trailer, here you go.
"...and it's hard for a good man to be king." I love that. Wow. It gives me chills. I've seriously enjoyed watching the reactions from people of color. (see also) It makes me cry--particularly on the heels of Wonder Woman. Because I can relate. And I'm thrilled to death that another group not usually represented in comics gets to feel that same joy of being invited to the party. Joy shared is joy doubled, y'all. Even though after Iron Fist I kept running across people who say they're getting Super Hero Movie fatigue. I suspect the issue is more specific. (I know I've gotten white dude super hero fatigue.) Most genres seem to start out with the white dudes. And as that story-mine is tapped out, writers begin to explore outside that narrow mindset. A certain set of writers get more creative. Every time this happens there is a rebirth, and the genre is richer for it. People who don't stick around for the second act, disturb me--I'll be honest. They're only there for the standard stuff. They end up only supporting the white male stories. So, have fatigue if you wish, but you're going to miss out on the best the genre has to offer. And...well...I might give you some side-eye, depending upon your attitude.
And now for the rest of Feminist Monday. :)
Music Listening Night
Some friends, Dane, and I get together every once in a while to drink, nibble cheese, talk, and play "new to us" music at one another. This is a thing I've been doing for at least 20+ years. One of my best friends, Thad, used to be a professional DJ, and I'm certain that this is a factor. Each of us loves music and each of us has favorite genres we like to explore. There's a great deal of wonderful music out there. And there's no way any of us will hear it all. But we can try. :) Anyway, over the years it's evolved into kind of a game. Each of us brings a selection of songs--usually 20-40, knowing perfectly well that we won't play them all. These songs are either new favorites recently discovered, or old favorites we want to revisit via Thad's Monster Sound System From Hell™. Understand, we've no idea what the others will bring. (Dane hides his list from me and I, mine, from him.) Everyone takes a turn playing a song off their list. The trick is to respond to the previous song by matching it either tonally or rhythmically kind of like a DJ would. If you can stump Thad (that is, bring a song and/or introduce him to a group he's never heard of before) you get bonus points as is were. (His music library is VAST.) You "win" the evening. Sometimes, you get stuck and you've nothing that matches the previous selection. That's when we playfully curse and play something totally different. Thus, starting the chain over. It's a lot of fun. And none of it is done with a malicious attitude. This is honestly about sharing our favorite kinds of music with one another. (Much the same way one would do with books.) Every time we introduce someone new to the "game" they're justifiably nervous. It can be a bit intimidating. But inevitably they have a great time because...well...we know a lot of amazing people. That said, here's most of Friday's track list behind the cut. (We went from 8pm-3:45am.) Enjoy!
Here's the link: Star Trek: Discovery and the Clueless. I hope you enjoy it!
Book Bit Wednesday!
August is swiftly approaching. So, I thought I'd give you some snippets from my new novel, Blackthorne, once a week. The second novel has extra-added points of view--not merely Suvi and Nels--because Eledore kind of isn't any longer. (There's so much more going on than the fall of Eledore--kind of the definition of Epic, really.) There is more of Dylan and the Waterborne in this one. Therefore, the following bit is from Dylan's perspective. It's also much longer than I normally post.
Feminist Monday, June 5
Good morning, y'all. And since there might be one or two of you who don't already know this... I saw Wonder Woman on Saturday.
I've said this before: I'm not a Wonder Woman fan of old. I'm not. So, it says a lot that I am now a new convert specifically because of this film. A great deal has been said about the film: How 'Wonder Woman' Tackles the Superhero Movie's Greatest Foe: Sexism, 'Wonder Woman' Shatters Records With $200+ Million Worldwide Opening, The Triumph of ‘Wonder Woman’, How a First Nations First World War hero from Alberta helped Eugene Brave Rock find his character in blockbuster, Wonder Woman. Thank the gods, most of it is good. My favorite scenes involved the island of Themyscira (the first part of the film had zero men in it and I could've sat through two hours of story on that island alone--hell, they wiped out a group of soldiers with arrows, shields, horses, and swords!) and the bit where Diana takes a stroll through No Man's Land. I bawled as I watched her plow her way through clouds of bullets, bent behind her shield and striving to move forward anyway. She is all of us women (and those who identify as women) in that moment. The world of men is throwing everything they can at her to stop her. The men behind her who supposedly support and care for her are nowhere to be found. She's alone. And she's fucking standing in a land they've blasted to pieces--not only that, she's making forward progress and most of the men behind her aren't even witnessing it. Now, read HOW WONDER WOMAN’S NO MAN’S LAND TELLS A RADICAL STORY ABOUT TRUST. Yep. That. Another reason I adored the film is that she never once gave up her femininity--unlike most of the female heroes in SF. She's vulnerable and empathetic. She stops to coo over a baby. All these things and she never once stops being a warrior. I adored that. In any case, none of this AMAZING has educated the sexists. (see How not to review ‘Wonder Woman’.) That is, of course, not a surprise.
Good gods, it's June already. Wow. Am feeling pretty great this morning. The timing is perfect. I've a lot of work to do. Blackthorne comes out in August! That's just a couple months away. I kind of suck at the promotion thing. (Bad, I know.) So, bear with me as I go into book promotion gear.
I'm excited about this one. It combines some elements of SF with the Epic Fantasy--specifically one of my favorite science subjects: genetics. As it happens, I got my love of SF (and genetics) via a novel about a JFK clone. I studied it in college/university and even wanted to be a geneticist. Unfortunately, I had a rather terrible Human Anatomy and Physiology professor, flunked it, and well...that killed that idea. I'm still fascinated by genetics. In fact, one of my favorite films is Gattaca.
The idea of wedding SF with Epic Fantasy came to me when I read The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson. If you haven't read it, do. Yes, I know it's YA. However if you ask me, it's one of the most under-rated novels ever written. Semi-based on true events, it's about a slave who is used in an small pox vaccine experiment by a group of naturalists. I also have read a great deal of True Crime--specifically, serial killers. They are one of the well-documented sources of what realistic evil looks like, after all. In this case, it caused me to do further research. You see, most of the time in Epic Fantasy we see a great deal of Evil with a capital E. That is, obvious evil. Everything is firmly delineated. These are the Good Guys and these are the Bad Guys. I wanted to do something a little different. So, one of the characters is based upon a Soviet serial killer: Andrei Chikatilo. One of the most fascinating aspects of the case is the fact that the Soviets insisted there could not be a serial killer outside of a capitalist country. It was seen as a capitalist problem. Thus, state denial of reality added to the body count as it often does. In case you're curious, there's an excellent film about the case called Citizen X. It's Hollywood-ed up a bit, admittedly, and it plays fast and loose with certain facts. But it's a fun film.
 Sadly, there is a distinct lack of POCs in that film. (Except for the genetics doctor.) In a way, it works because the people are like the setting: sterile, steel-like, and white. But still...no. On the other hand, if broadly implemented eugenics were a thing, racists would be all about a strictly white population. Wouldn't they?
 Pox parties did exist. And the novel is extremely well researched. I'm not sure that scientists secretly tested vaccines on slaves, but honestly, that isn't a small leap of logic there. Medical science has done similar things in more modern times. See the Tuskegee Study and Loretta Lacks. And that's just the two that are famous/infamous. I've no doubt that there are more. See ‘Explosive’ Growth in Foreign Drug Testing Raises Ethical Questions.
 See the state-created famines in the Ukraine during Chikatilo's childhood. In spite of what you might discover via an internet search, this isn't the first instance of a state-created famine. The UK created The Great Famine in Ireland using the same exact method. [sarcasm font] Odd that it got the same result. Ah, colonialism. Ain't it grand? [sarcasm font end]
 Am I thinking of Climate Change Denial right now? Fuck yes, I am.
 Russians going on about how wonderful the US's FBI is might be one of those instances. [innocent whistle]
Head Bee Wrangling-Round 2
Family things have added to the busy schedule this week. And today I've the second round of neck-shots designed to herd the head bees of doom. Everything should be fine. Once again, this is routine. I just may not be posting at my usual time tomorrow. Or I might. If last time is any indication, I may feel so great that I'll be exactly on time as if nothing happened. We'll see.
In the meantime, it's Thursday. And I think I'll talk a little about some things I'm watching.
First, iZombie--because I haven't said anything about it in a while.
I know. I know. I don't normally like zombies. But this one is a standout. (So was Warm Bodies btw.) We're now on season 3 and the writers have done an excellent job of switching gears into more expansive plot-lines. It's also made me think differently about cooking (and specifically shrimp). Liv is a foodie and whips up yummy brain dishes without a whole lot of planning. I've seen I can do that too--without the brains, of course. Sometimes, I'm not sure how to feel about that. Heh. I probably need to just watch the Food Network already. ;)
Next up, Madam Secretary. I've talked about that one before, but I'm still enjoying it. It's been a balm during moments of I CAN'T ANY MORE with the current administration. It does a fantastic job of depicting the ability to resolve issues via diplomacy rather than violence. <3 Also, The Handmaid's Tale is streaming on Hulu and continues to be bad ass. That trailer gives me chills every time. Every American woman should be watching it. Also on Hulu, I'm still enjoying Harlots.
It's well-researched for the record--even if the wig isn't stolen off a dead noble as it should've been. (Wigs were very expensive.) The costumes are amazing, and yes, London was very dangerous. Another show on Hulu is 11.22.63, an adaptation of a Stephen King novel. I'm not going to lie. It has some serious issues. I never read the novel, but I am a Stephen King fan. The series is well-plotted and tight. It manages to make everyday life intense which is great. What's not so great is that it views the early '60s with rose-colored lenses. It's obviously a nostalgia piece written by a Baby Boomer. The main character reacts like a Boomer would--not like a Gen Xer. (For a start, Boomers are obsessed with Kennedy. Gen Xers so, so much less so, and Millennials not at all.) Sadly, it also doesn't add anything new to the JFK conspiracy story. (It would've been so much more interesting if it did.) Still, I'm enjoying the concept of Time Travel and how the Past pushes back. That's fun. I'm also watching Legion.
The show is definitely well-done. It's The X Men told via a literary lens. Mutants are told they've mental illness and are drugged and put away. I like the concept. Alas, it's very difficult for me to watch and I have to be in a specific mindset in order to get through it. I think it's good, nonetheless. Not sure I'll get through the first season before it expires, though. On Netflix, there's a new season of Sense 8. One of my favorite SF series ever, it manages to make me laugh and cry all the while being more upbeat and hopeful than most SF out there. The second season is even better, if you ask me. Sun Bak remains my favorite character, and I love Nomi and Amanita and Lito and Hernando. I want to give Capheus a great big hug because he's just the best and geekiest paladin I ever saw. Riley is fun too. She reminds me of people I used to hang out with. Kala is interesting too. But the least interesting character is Will. Sorry. Although, he's useful to his cluster. I've also been watching Dear White People, which rocks.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.