Invisible 1 & 2.

In1Not too long ago, Jim C. Hines edited personal essays on representation in SF/F, and it was excellent and eye-opening. It was certainly uncomfortable at times, but that discomfort is just panicked relics of oblivious privilege trying to assert itself. I had more than a few stabs of serious guilt in reading this anthology, particularly the one about Albinism. (Having enjoyed that “evil Albino trope” more than a few times in the past, without ever thinking about actual people.) The essays in the first Invisible are:

Introduction by Alex Dally MacFarlane.

Parched, by Mark Oshiro.

Boys’s Books by Katharine Kerr.

Clicking by Susan Jane Bigelow.

The Princess Problem by Charlotte Ashley.

Autism, Representation, Success by Ada Hoffmann.

Gender in Genre by Kathryn Ryan.

‘Crazy’ About Fiction by Gabriel Cuellar.

Evil Albino Trope is Evil by Nalini Haynes.

Options by Joie Young.

Non-binary and Not Represented by Morgan Dambergs.

Representation Without Understanding by Derek Handley.

Shards of Memory by Ithiliana.

I Don’t See Color by Michi Trota.

SFF Saved My Life by Nonny Blackthorne.

In2If you missed Invisible the first time around, I could not possibly recommend it enough. While happily slumbering away under my rock, I was unaware that Invisible 2 had been put together and published. That’s been remedied, and like the 1st, this is excellent reading. As Jim C. Hines notes in the afterword, “They help us to become better readers, better writers, and better human beings.”

So many of these essays resonated, and others were serious wake up calls to stop being so bloody blinkered. Like the first anthology, this one is littered with highlights, bookmarks, and notes. Too Niche, by Lauren Jankowski about the complete invisibility of asexual people in SF/F was one of those that was a good smack on the head. In her essay, she mentions that Stephen Moffat declared Sherlock Holmes can’t be asexual because he’s too interesting. That left me spluttering and outraged. That’s an incredibly wrong, stupid, thoughtless, and insulting thing to say. Other essays which really hit home were Breaking Mirrors, Fat Chicks in SFF, Not Your Mystical Indian, Exponentially Hoping, and Colonialism, Land, and Speculative Fiction: An Indigenous Perspective. 

The Essays in Invisible 2 are:

Introduction by Aliette de Bodard.

Breaking Mirrors by Diana M. Pho

I’m Not Broken by Annalee Flower Horne.

Next Year in Jerusalem by Gabrielle Harbowy.

I am Not Hispanic, I am Puerto Rican, by Isabel Schechter.

No More Dried Up Spinsters by Nancy Jane Moore.

False Expectations by Matthew Thyer.

Text, Subtext, and Pieced-Together Lives by Angelia Sparrow.

Parenting as a Fan of Color by Kat Tanaka Okopnik.

Alien of Extraordinary Ability? by Bogi Takács.

Accidental Representation by Chrysoula Tzavelas.

Discovering the Other by John Hartness.

Lost in the Margins by Sarah Chorn.

Too Niche by Lauen Jankowski.

Fat Chicks in SFF by Alis Franklin.

Not Your Mystical Indian by Jessica McDonald.

Exponentially Hoping by Merc Rustad.

Colonialism, Land, and Speculative Fiction: An Indigenous Perspective by Ambelin Kwaymullina.

Nobody’s Sidekick: Intersectionality in Protagonists by SL Huang.

The Danger of the False Narrative by LaShawn Wanak.

Both these anthologies are excellent, if often uncomfortable, reading. Seriously recommended if you haven’t read them.

Marvel Fan-Fiction and Scottish Indies.

Cover for All-New, All-Different Avengers Annual #1. Illustrated by Alex Ross. Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Cover for All-New, All-Different Avengers Annual #1. Illustrated by Alex Ross. Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

‘Annual’ releases exist in a strange place in the comic world. Created as a way to tell a different story in a series without interrupting the main plotline or numbering, some see annuals as a marketing gimmick. But, as evidenced by All-New, All-Different Avengers Annual #1, they can be a bold chance to think outside the box. This issue sees everyone’s favorite teen from Jersey City, Ms. Marvel, logging onto her favorite fan-fiction website to write some stories about her fellow heroes. Once logged on, she sees that other people have written stories about her and her friends, and she’s shocked but compelled to read on. The rest of this comic, then, are those fan-fiction stories of Marvel heroes. Layered, and with plenty of goofiness and a variety of styles, this annual does exactly what it should: it tells weird stories the regular comics certainly couldn’t.

[Read more…]

Star Trek: Discovery. There is Hope.


It’s early days yet, but there’s hope for a more inclusive Trek in the news series, Discovery, which is set 10 years before the original series. A female lead has been promised, however, she will not be the captain. Sigh. So, not all that great on the inclusive front, but a bit better. There’s noise about a Black female lead, but the role has not been cast. At least one LGBT member has been promised as well, but it would be nice if these roles were more than tokens, after all, it is the 21st century.

When Star Trek (briefly) returns to TV screens next January, it’ll be with a women in the lead position, a crew full of aliens, and at least one gay character, presenting a utopian, space-faring future that sounds like an actual nightmare held by the sort of people set to vote for Donald Trump. CBS announced the first character details for Bryan Fuller’s upcoming Star Trek: Discoveryset to debut on the network in January 2017, before moving to CBS’s online All Access service—today at a Television Critics Association press tour event. And while we still don’t know much about the composition of the show’s crew, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are both reporting that the series’ lead will be female—but not the captain of her ship.

A.V. Club has the full story.

Cool Stuff Friday.


In the I wish I was filthy rich department, Bubble!

French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas has created a range of portable transparent huts, offering a quiet space to retreat to. The idea behind his Bubble collection was to create a temporary leisure accommodation that had the least impact on the surrounding environment, whilst also giving the impression of being amongst nature.

“I designed this eccentric shelter with the goal to offer an unusual experience under the stars while keeping all the comfort of a bedroom suite,” says Dumas. “Bubble huts are for me like an ataraxic catalyst, a place apart where getting rest, breathing and standing back”.

Additionally, the unique design and geometry of the Bubble creates a silencing acoustic effect. “Noises coming from the outside are reduced and noises coming from the inside echo towards the sphere’s hub. This echo drives people to speak quietly bringing about a feeling of appeasement favorable to have a nap,” explains Dumas.

You can read about and see more here.

An 8-year-old boy dug up this fossilized turtle that scientists believe helps explain the turtle's earliest uses of its shell (Credit: Wits University)

An 8-year-old boy dug up this fossilized turtle that scientists believe helps explain the turtle’s earliest uses of its shell (Credit: Wits University)

Every young boy has spent at least one afternoon digging a hole in the ground looking for some kind of treasure. An eight-year-old from South Africa was doing just that when he unearthed a turtle fossil that could help scientists understand the original purpose and evolution of the turtle’s shell.

A group of scientists from parts of the world including South Africa, Switzerland and the United States conducted a study on several early turtle fossils including a fossil discovered by an 8-year-old Kobus Snyman on his father’s farm in the Western Cape of South Africa. The study that took place at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg found that early turtles may have used their shells for burrowing instead of for protection from potential predators.

The 5.9 inch (15 cm) long turtle fossil discovered by Snyman contains a preserved skeleton with articulated hands and feet. The study published in the journal Current Biology also examined several turtle fossils found in the Karoo Basin of South Africa including a partially shelled proto-turtle that’s 260 million years old.

Full story here.

Last, but not least, Tooooooooooooooys! Oh, the toys. Want. Seriously want Iron Giant, because if anyone brings the cool, it’s Iron Giant:


and Groot! GROOT.


And Deadpool. Hulk vs Wolverine. Catwoman. And So. Much. More. 3 pages of toys. See them all here.

LGBTQ Guide to Comic-Con 2016.


Every year for the past 29 years, the Gays in Comics panel has graced a stage at Comic-Con International, the annual celebration of pop culture held in San Diego. During this time the convention has expanded from a comic books-only focus to include other mediums like TV, film, and games. And the presence of LGBT people, once relegated to that single panel, has exploded to a point where every day offers a variety of queer content and the breadth of topics continues to grow. Here are some of the best things about 2016, Comic-Con’s queerest year yet.


You Don’t Even Have to Be in the Convention Center: One of the best things about this year’s Comic-Con? You don’t need a ticket to take advantage of some events and panels. Organizers have long recognized that the demand for Comic-Con tickets far exceeds availability (as does demand for space for exhibits and presenters). Over the years there’s been a growing number of events outside of the convention hall — including in local bars and even the public library (see above for examples). This year Comic-Con has launched this access into hyperspace by introducing a new premium digital network, ComicConHQ. In association with Lionsgate, the service will live-stream select Comic-Con panels and make others available later; it will also offer classic sci-fi and fantasy titles, and it reportedly has original programming in the works, including scripted series and news shows.

This is a long list, people! Stuffed with great events and panels. Wish I was there. Click on over to The Advocate for the full scoop.

5 Ways Star Trek Diversity is Great For Native People.


Here are five reasons the diversity of Star Trek is great for Native people:

Star Trek was a leader in the world of science fiction. It was also a leader in the world of civil rights.

The cast was incredibly diverse at a time when the American Indian movement was facing opposition from the federal government and civil rights leaders were being attacked by police dogs.

I ask you to take a good look at the world around us. We are not a world that wants to accept diversity or genuinely work on improving our planet.

Star Trek taught us that all types can be empowered.

From the Native side of things, we are still looked upon as a defeated people. We see our likenesses and images used as racist caricatures for sports teams and university mascots. Items that our people deem culturally significant and sacred are used as “hip” props.

Star Trek taught us no matter how seemingly insignificant a creature, they could all be empowered. Take a look at the Tribbles. The crew thought they were just cute little fuzzy animals, but they nearly took over the Enterprise. In numbers, all together, we are strong.

Star Trek taught us that all races could work together.

One step onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise would convince anyone that many races can work together to overcome any odds.

These are injustices we face as Native Americans today. If you asked our ethnic brothers and sisters who share this land with us, they would likely same the same. We all live in a reality of hatred and racism that shows its ugly face in the form of mass shootings and unchecked violence that is scars the heart of our nation.

It is the same type of social division that the 60’s are best known for, the very same decade that birthed Star Trek are still prominent today.

Star Trek taught us there is hope.

There is always hope when we have people stand up for what is right. There is hope when people who go against the accepted norms and say enough. There is hope when individuals choose what is morally right in the face of persecution. There is hope when we choose decency and recognize diversity for the gift it is. There is hope when people behave like Kirk and Picard say enough, and chose to solve problems instead of making them.

Star Trek is a promise that things can be better.

It is a spirit of evolution that guides us to a wonderful tomorrow, filled the same principle that Gene Roddenberry spoke of when he coined the concept of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Star Trek is a call for us all to be more than we are, becoming ambassadors of hope to a world in need.

In closing I would like to offer both congratulations and my gratitude to all who have contributed in the past 50 years of Star Trek, you have made my life better with your shows, films, books and toys. You helped provide a safe retreat a young S’Klallam growing up on his reservation 30 years ago and continue to inspire me today.

To quote my favorite Vulcan, “May you continue to live long and prosper in the years ahead.”

Jeffrey Veregge’s full article can be read here.