Our friends at Clutch shouted out the Book Club – to somewhat hilarious ends.
I saw this comment and just about fell out with laughter.
JULY 1, 2011 AT 10:28 PM
I am happy to see so many women getting interested in the male-dominated sci-fi genre. Octavia Butler is a great writer and I have enjoyed her works myself. I would like to offer some warning, however. Before you read Octavia Butler believing it to be “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in space, you should know that Octavia Butler was a good -science fiction- writer. That means her works may have some really weird stuff in it. For example, one of her books describes humanity being assimilated by an alien race that must have 3-way sex with a tentacle monster in order to reproduce. The book was riveting and very well-written though. I just wanted to give the ladies a heads up. “The Parable of the Sower” did read like “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” set in the year 2050 (I couldn’t get into it), but some of her works read like typical, fantasy, space opera, science fiction stories. Octavia Butler was an exceptional Black writer who blazed a trail for science fiction writers like myself to follow. If, however, you don’t like weird stuff, be wary.
Remember: It’s tentacle monsters, not Terry McMillan.
(Image Credit: Selling Out for Fun and Profit)
(Back story on the image: Okay, so I put in “tentacle monster” to see what popped up – and yes y’all, I know exactly what was gonna appear on my home computer – and this cute little thing came up. Since I was resigned to an image of something mildly pornified, imagine my delight to find this cute little thing. Then I checked to see what it is. It’s called Rape-kun. O_o. So then I’m trying to figure out what the hell that’s all about, and apparently it’s a gag in a webcomic called Errant Story and spin off series called Fun with Familiars. In the ES wiki, it’s described like this: “Rape-kun is Bani Igaaru’s familiar. He is a small, pink, “affectionate” micro-tentacle monster that enjoys sitting on Bani’s head. Despite the fact that Bani is a schoolgirl, Rape-kun does not, in fact, live up to his name. He was apparently protected by a password, which Bani did not know back during her days at Sashi Mu Academy of Thaumaturgy and Conjuration, that enables his “adult mode;” it hasn’t been revealed whether or not this state of affairs has changed since Bani’s graduation.” So I have no idea as to the appropriateness of using this image, but it’s gonna have to work at the moment.)
Octavia Butler was Racialicious before we even existed.
The late author is a cult icon, being a boundry breaking black woman in Science Fiction who infused her writing with rich societal commentary on race, gender, dominance, and much much more.
Last year, the University Press of Mississippi was kind enough to send me a review copy of Conversations with Octavia Butler, a collection of her interviews, edited by Consuela Francis. The interviews (some of which I will excerpt in later posts) were illuminating, revealing Butler’s damn near prophetic grasp of the underlying challenges facing our society. Quite a few of these interviews are from the 1980s and 1990s – her words still apply in 2011.
I savored the book as long as I could, but when I finally finished, I felt a deep and profound sense of loss. As just a casual reader before, I was suddenly confronted with the magnitude of exactly what went with Octavia Butler when she departed from this earth.
So I decided the best tribute would be to read, share, and enjoy her work.
Readers, welcome to the book club. Continue reading
by Latoya Peterson
Last year, at a Poynter function, I had the privilege of meeting Jose Antonio Vargas in person. Both charming and interesting, with a huge drive to make journalism a true tool of democracy, he seemed like someone I wanted to get to know.
Last week, Vargas wanted the world to get to know exactly who he was. So he took the bold step of writing a piece that could change his life forever. Called “My Life as an Undocumented Worker,” Vargas used the New York Times platform to reveal his secret:
Over the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream.
But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out. It means rarely trusting people, even those closest to me, with who I really am. It means keeping my family photos in a shoebox rather than displaying them on shelves in my home, so friends don’t ask about them. It means reluctantly, even painfully, doing things I know are wrong and unlawful. And it has meant relying on a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks for me.
Vargas artfully describes the pain of the political becoming personal:
The debates over “illegal aliens” intensified my anxieties. In 1994, only a year after my flight from the Philippines, Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected in part because of his support for Proposition 187, which prohibited undocumented immigrants from attending public school and accessing other services. (A federal court later found the law unconstitutional.) After my encounter at the D.M.V. in 1997, I grew more aware of anti-immigrant sentiments and stereotypes: they don’t want to assimilate, they are a drain on society. They’re not talking about me, I would tell myself. I have something to contribute.
Save the date! Feminism for Real is landing in NYC next week!
Join us on Thursday May 19th from 6pm to 8pm to celebrate the New York City book launch of Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism, edited by Jessica Yee.
Where: Streetwise and Safe/Queers for Economic Justice
147 West 24th Street, 4th floor
New York City, New York
There will be a traditional Indigenous opening acknowledging the territory, and the evening will feature presentations and round table discussions from the editor and several of the book’s contributors. Venue is wheelchair accessible.
Proceeds from the evening will go to support Streetwise and Safe (SAS) Project for LGBTQQ Youth of Color.
For more information about the book go to the official site or contact Erika Shaker at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, check Andrea Plaid in person!
The book will tour the following week in Kingston, Ontario on May 25th:
Join us on Wednesday May 25th from 7pm to 9pm to celebrate the Kingston book launch of Feminism FOR REAL: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism, edited by Jessica Yee.
Where: The Artel
205 Sydenham St.
There will be a traditional Indigenous opening acknowledging the territory, and the evening will feature presentations and round table discussions from the editor and several of the book’s contributors. Co-presented with the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre. Venue is wheelchair accessible, we regret that the washroom area is not.
Proceeds from the evening will go to support the Sex Worker Action Group of Kingston (SWAG).
For more information about the book go to: the official site or contact Erika Shaker at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives at email@example.com
by Guest Contributor Ay-leen the Peacemaker, originally published at Beyond Victoriana
In the wake of the Steampunk Kurfluffle that started with Charles Stross’ complaint against steampunk, Tobias Buckell wrote an interesting response about fantasy’s tendency to romanticize the past and mentioned his own work:
But ultimately, I share Stross’s discomfort, which is why my steampunk plays have often been about adopting the style and nodding to the history. Crystal Rain, what I called a Caribbean steampunk novel, is about Caribbean peoples and the reconstituted Mexica (Azteca in the book) of old with a Victorian level of technology, using the clothing/symbols of steampunk, but making their artificiers black.
Sadly, Crystal Rain, written in 2006, seems to have come out just before all the hotness, as it rarely gets mentioned as a steampunk novel whenever these celebrations happen.
So, now that my curiosity was piqued, I had to go out and get the book to see for myself how he handles steampunk before “the hotness.”
What’s so refreshing about Crystal Rain, besides the setting, is its clear positioning as a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel. The book takes place in the multicultural, multiracial country of Nanagada, a land outside of our known history. Little touches hint that Nanagada is a society rebuilding itself from a cataclysmic disaster that occurred centuries ago. A mysterious object called the Spindle drifts in the sky. Barren areas exist that sicken the men who attempt to cross them. The Preservationists work to restore some of the lost technologies from “the old fathers” from long ago under the authority of the new governess Dihana and engineers have just started taking advantage of steam technology. Over the mountain range beyond Nanagada, however, lives the society of Azteca, a fearsome rival. Equipped with air ships and goaded to war by their gods called the Teotl, the Azteca are preparing for invasion with Nanagada in its sights. Continue reading