Announcement: Catch Arturo at Loscon 42!

Since Arturo talked about sci-fi/fantasy conventions earlier this week, it’s a good time to let you know that he’ll actually be appearing at one over Thanksgiving weekend — Loscon 42 in Los Angeles.

Hosted by the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, the convention will be held at the LAX Marriott from Nov. 27-29, and Arturo will be on two panels:

Fans of Color: Across Experiences Fans come from various cultural backgrounds! — Nov. 28, 11:30 a.m.: Fans of color will discuss what being a fan of colour in the U.S. is like: how they got into SFF, what makes it difficult being a SFF fan, how they deal with problems specific to them. Joining Arturo on the panel will be Racialicious contributor Jaymee Goh, as well as Eric Atkinson, Gregg Castro, and Isabel Schechter.

The Changing Face of Fandom — Nov. 29, 2:30 p.m.: The majority of people, especially young people flocking to pop culture and anime conventions instead of WorldCons. Media conventions with big name guests are getting the lion’s share of the publicity. Is there a place for all of our fandoms?? Arturo will be joined by Tina Beychok, Jimmy Diggs, and Anastasia Hunter.

Visit Loscon’s site for more information about the event. And you can also follow Arturo on Twitter as he chronicles his adventures throughout the weekend!


Con Or Bust Assistance Program For POC Sci-Fi Fans Open Until Nov. 25

If you or any POC fan you know are looking to go to Science fiction/fantasy (SFF) conventions in 2016, you should know that Con Or Bust has opened up its request process until Nov. 25.

The organization is devoted to helping POC fans attend more SFF events. Requests are confidential and can be made through the form located here.

To give you an idea of how the project’s scope has expanded since it began in 2009, here’s an excerpt from its website:

From April 2013 through March 2014, Con or Bust helped 30 different people attend cons 32 times. People attended seventeen different cons. The monetary portion of Con or Bust’s awards again ranged from $0 (membership transfers only) to $1,000. Eleven awards were in the range of $200-450, and seven were from $500-700. At the end of this period, Con or Bust carried forward a balance of approximately $7,700.

The 2014 auction and associated matching challenge raised $16,476. These funds, together with the balance from the prior year, funded assistance for March 2014 through early May 2015. In addition, starting from April 2014, Con or Bust permitted people to request monetary assistance for any upcoming SFF con, not merely cons in the next quarter.

From March 2014 through early May 2015, Con or Bust provided assistance 95 times to help 85 different people attend 25 different cons. Of those 95 times, 41 did not include monetary assistance, only donated memberships (or, in one case, a hotel room donated by a convention). Monetary assistance was provided 54 times, sometimes in conjunction with donated memberships. The awards ranged from $25 to $2,300; 34 of the 54 awards were $500 or less. At the close of this period, Con or Bust carried forward a balance of $67.42.

The 2015 auction was held later in the calendar year than previously, ending in early May; bids and donations raised $12,726 to support Con or Bust for the next twelve months.

In August 2015, a donation drive by John Scalzi raised a total of $11,840.92.

Check under the cut for a listing of 2016 conventions that are covered in this assistance period, along with the number of open membership slots for each as of 11 p.m. PST on Nov. 15.
Continue reading


Marjorie M. Liu’s Monstress Explores Our Inner Darkness

I’ve been a fan of Marjorie M. Liu’s work for years. From her work on the Hunter Kiss novels to The Astonishing X-Men, Liu’s masterful and inventive storytelling creates deep, expansive worlds that consume the reader.

Liu’s latest work is no different. Teaming up with Japanese artist Sana Takeda, Monstress is a lush, art deco influenced exploration of war and power. In her own words:

MONSTRESS is the story I’ve wanted to tell for years, a dark epic fantasy about a young girl who has suffered tremendous loss and who isn’t quite certain how to put herself back together — if that’s even possible. To make matters worse, she fears something else is living inside her: a monster. And she’s right to be afraid.

My other motivation for telling this story is that powerful women are always imagined as monstrous.  Bringing women, monsters, and power together — setting this in a world that never was, and could be — is something that speaks to my heart.  Every single girl in the world has had to fight to have herself heard, to have space and a self in societies that try their best to deny them all three.  Every single girl, whether we want to recognize it or not, is a warrior.  And me writing about a young warrior woman is less a fantasy than a reflection of what it means to grow up a woman in societies like ours.

From Marjorie M. Liu's Monstress.

From Marjorie M. Liu’s Monstress.

Set against the backdrop of an alternate 1900s Asia, Monstress blends steampunk and kaiju to tell deeply personal story about loss, war, and jihad.  In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she explains the core questions underlying the work:

“What does it take to hold on to one’s humanity when you’re forced to suffer the long, continuous, dehumanizing experience of war? Is it just strength? Is it something in your character? Is it the kinds of friends you surround yourself with?” — which is one of the key themes to the series. “Other questions I’ve wrestled with, both in this book and others [are] what it means to be of mixed race, what it means to straddle the borderlands of two cultures,” she added.

“The world of Monstress is one that has been torn apart by racism, slavery, by the commodification of mixed race bodies that produce a valuable substance that humans require like a drug. Even if you look human, you might not be safe. It’s a familiar story to people of color in this country, and in the last four or five years I’ve found myself deeply immersed in the study of identity and race, especially in the Asian American context.”

Check out the whole interview, it’s well worth the read.   

If you haven’t picked up a copy, there are 500 signed editions at Midtown comics in NYC. (Not the Grand Central location, as I found out the hard way yesterday. They will get them in a few weeks.)

From Marjorie M. Liu's Monstress

From Marjorie M. Liu’s Monstress

If you have read the comic, after the jump, I’ll talk a bit about female characters and darkness, particularly around one particular scene in Monstress. There are light spoilers from Monstress.


Continue reading


Watch: Latoya Spotlights Women In Gaming Culture in Fusion’s ‘Girl Gamers’

If you’re not following the Fusion network, you may have missed our founder, Latoya Peterson, and Girl Gamers, her 5-part miniseries highlighting women across the gaming industry spectrum.

Last week’s episode touched on women designing games, with an emphasis on independent games and the space for creators in that community, including the Indiecade conference.

We also see scenes from several games emanating from that community, including Mattie Brice’s Mainichi, which takes players into her experiences as a Black trans woman.

“A lot of my work does focus on just existing and considering what it means to say that I exist,” Brice says.

The episode can be seen below.

And if you need to watch Part 1, which covers gaming as an identity, check that out here.

Screengrab from OP KKK 2015

Anonymous Outs KKK Members

Yesterday, Anonymous released the Official OpKKK HoodsOff 2015 Data Release. The list has only been vetted by members of Anonymous – however, a few names on the list have been known, active members of various hate groups (like the leader of Stormfront) for some time. There is also commentary associated with some of the names, like indicating people who are retired law enforcement with ties to the Klan or people who have been banished from their chapter due to criminal history.

In their collective statement, Anonymous is clear to stress that the believe in the right of the Ku Klux Klan to exist and hold their views, however abhorrent. But to commit acts of domestic terrorism under the cloak of anonymity is not acceptable to members of the collective, hence the mass outing. The statement begins:

Where to Start? The basics. The Ku Klux Klan has approximately 150 active cells, operating in 41 states, with membership concentrated in both the South and the Midwest. The KKK is not what it once was but it does continue to survive in various locations throughout the United States. At its peak, membership was in the millions. Now, membership is likely less than 5,000. It is very important to understand – the KKK does not have a central unified leadership. Instead, they are split off into local cells or groups.

These groups generally oppose interracial relationships, homosexuality and illegal immigration and historically express this ideology through acts of terror. We want to remind you: This operation is not about the ideas of members of the Ku Klux Klan. This is about the behaviors of members of KKK splinter cells that bear the hallmarks of terrorism. When members of the KKK like Frazier Glenn Miller, (founder of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party) murdered three innocent individuals at a Jewish retirement home during Passover – the word “terrorism” was seldom found in mainstream media’s coverage of the attack. Why? What sort of violence does it take to call *some* factions of Ku Klux Klan what *some* of these cells really are?

We defend free thought and free speech. The anons responsible for this operation will not support *acts* of terrorism and *acts* of hate inflicted upon the public. The KKK is part of an important cultural landscape and history in the United States.

We need to make room for important, blunt, honest, public, productive conversation. Violent bigotry IS a problem in the United States. This is not a colorblind society. It deeply divided on racial lines.


Why I am still on the fence about Suffragette

I love supporting women focused films.

I like historical dramas.

I like stories about women kicking ass.

So, by all rights, I should love (and want to see) Suffragette. But I didn’t go to the free screening at ONA and the more I see from the marketing of this film, the more I wince. It’s pretty clear from the trailer that the film is about white women. Since anyone who studies history for more than 15 minutes knows history never fits neatly into a little box, where are the suffragettes of color? If they weren’t in the movement, where were they? What were they doing?

A Women & Hollywood piece stumping for the film tries to answer these questions, but in the worst way possible (emphasis mine):

3. It’s got (almost) all the other feminist bona fides on its side. The film is led not only by a woman helmer and writer, but has been guided by two female producers (Alison Owen and Faye Ward). It passes the Bechdel test with flying colors and has at its emotional core a political speech by Emmeline Pankhurst. Yes, the “whitewashing” concerns are real and the film’s promotional t-shirt campaign was poorly conceived, but Gavron isn’t blind to intersectionality. In an upcoming podcast with Women and Hollywood, she’ll discuss how most of the suffragettes of color she found in her historical research were of noble birth, and they unfortunately had to be waylaid because her intent was to focus on the working-class women who were the unknown soldiers of the movement. (There are well-to-do but no aristocratic women in the film.) We hope another film in the future will give suffragettes of color their due. 

As usual, the inclusivity of the film lies in the hands of the storyteller – there are always hard cuts to be made in any creative work, but why do the stories of women of color always pull the short end of the stick? Here’s to hoping Amma Asante takes a look at this next – somehow, she always finds a way to look at history through an inclusive lens. That tiny disclosure prompts so many more questions: what was happening to working class WoC in that era? Which nobles were involved? Where white suffragettes racist and/or violent toward their WOC counterparts? It’s tough to want to be transported by a film to another era, knowing you’ll be left unsatisfied in the end.

I understand that for some people, erasing women of color from historical narratives is simply an unfortunate oversight. But for those of us who continually see our stories erased from historical record, whitewashed depictions of history aren’t so easy to swallow.




Race, Culture, and Identity in a Colorstruck World