Tag Archives: sci-fi


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.
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The worst reactions to John Boyega’s appearance in the Star Wars Teaser

This story is best read with the appropriate musical accompanyment:


It was a momentous occasion. The sight of John Boyega in the first moments of the teaser for “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” was a victory — a much-needed statement after the parade of racist caricatures that haunted the series’ three prequels, and a sign that director J.J. Abrams could really be on the right track toward blunting the memory of Jar-Jar Binks from fans’ minds.

But Boyega’s appearance also caused an ugliness to stir from within the Internet’s own hives of scum and villainy — comments sections and the most basic of Twitter accounts — from people who are apparently ready to believe in 7-foot wooly smugglers, diminutive green mystics and swords made of light that are drawn from a person’s connection to an all-encompassing universal essence, while being aghast at the thought that a member of a galactic military brigade can be Black.

As The Mary Sue reported, just seeing Boyega was enough to scare people. Consider these no-doubt well-adjusted individuals:

These bros are apparently freaking out because Boyega appears wearing Stormtrooper armor. This ignores the fact that Jango Fett, the bounty hunter who provided the blueprint for the original troopers, was played by Temuera Morrison, who is of Maori, Irish and Scottish descent. These “fans” also forgot that the actor who played the young Boba Fett, Daniel Logan, is also Maori.

As The Atlantic points out, there’s also an in-canon reason for Boyega to play a Stormtrooper (that is, unless his character is just posing as one):

Even if Morrison and Fett (and all of his clones) choose to pass as white, by the time of the events of “Episode IV: A New Hope,” the Empire has been recruiting from general populations for years. That’s why it makes sense that a young Luke Skywalker, lured by a galaxy larger than the humble moisture farm he calls home on Tatooine, dreams of enlisting in the Imperial Navy.

Luckily, Boyega himself is handling things just fine, going by this Instagram post over the weekend:

On the plus side, we now have an idea of how comments section racists are going to react whenever Lupita Nyong’o appears in any of the Episode VII trailers:

Werewolf Smackdown

UC Riverside Honors Latino Science Fiction

Friend of the blog Jaymee Goh tipped us off about a special event honoring Latino Science Fiction at the University of California-Riverside on Wednesday.

Held under the auspices of the school’s Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies program, “A Day of Latino Science Fiction” kicks off its program at 10 a.m. with a panel discussion featuring authors:

The program resumes at 2 p.m. with a panel featuring longtime TV director Jesús Treviño (Babylon 5, Star Trek: Voyager & Deep Space Nine) and Michael Sedano from the long-running Latino lit site La Bloga. The event is free to the public, and the flyer is under the cut.
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The Heroes We’d Like To See Most In Heroes: Reborn

By Arturo R. García

Just as we’re getting used to having a show about zombies around again, NBC went one step further and dug up a show that is a zombie.

Yes, Heroes is apparently returning from the grave, with original showrunner Tim Kring in tow, sometime next year. As sensible longtime readers might have bleached out of their brain, the series’ first iteration ended, mercifully, with a pre-Nashville Claire-Bear outing the metahuman population to the world after Team Benetrelli saved the world from a group of angry carnival workers. Which gives just a little more heft to this bit of spin from NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke:

Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.

Sure, on one level that can be interpreted as a polite way for Salke to say, “PLEEEEEEEASE HAYDEN COME BACK,” but if the show really is a continuation and not just a “reimagining,” it puts Heroes in a very interesting position.

The genre television renaissance it helped define is mostly floundering; sure, Arrow gets its fair share of good reviews, but Agents of SHIELD has struggled to gain its footing and the British cult favorite Misfits has concluded. With Smallville long gone, Supernatural nearing the end of its run, Doctor Who surviving on a spread-out schedule and the CW’s Gotham and Flash projects looking unsteady, Heroes can reasonably expect to attract fans hoping for a return to its Series One risk-taking prime.

But for Reborn to truly thrive will take not just new blood, but picking the right (affordable) old faces to bring back. And more than anything, it is going to require Kring to learn from some of his costliest mistakes in the first go-round.
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Who-mogeneous: If Doctor Who Doesn’t Diversify, Will It Last Another 50 Years?

By Guest Contributor Anoosh Jorjorian

When I was 13 years old, my best friend introduced me to Doctor Who. Growing up as a brown girl in a predominantly white neighborhood in Sacramento, people would ask me, “What are you?” When I explained that my family came from Armenia and the Philippines, I might as well have said they were, like the Doctor, from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. The show played perfectly to my fantasies of escape into wider possibilities. Yes, funny smart man with your English accent, please whisk me away in your blue box as far in space and time as I can get from 1980s Northern California.

Nearly two decades have passed since I first watched the show, but on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, to my eyes, the show looked a bit… like 1980s Northern California. “The Day of the Doctor,” the episode marking the special occasion, was simulcast globally in 94 countries, an official Guinness World Record. So why was so little of the world in it? I had expected the diversity of the audience to be reflected on the screen, but instead the episode seemed Anglo in every dimension.

I monitored #DoctorWho50th on Twitter but couldn’t find many people of color livetweeting the simulcast. The few that did seemed to have “the feels” like everyone else. No one mentioned race. With Matt Smith’s tenure in the title role ending on Wednesday, I turned to Facebook to find more Whovians: friends, friends-of-friends, and strangers, mostly Americans, mostly people of color. What did they think about the whitewashed “Day of the Doctor”?

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From Stereotype to Superhero: Gullah Sci-Fi Mysteries Reclaim Mammy, Uncle Remus

Mam-E The Avenging Uncle Remus


Artist Dawolu Jabari Anderson is putting a new spin on the racist caricatures of the shuffling, folksy Uncle Remus and jovial, servile Mammy. His illustrations for the fictional Gullah Sci-fi Mysteries–a melange of science fiction and steampunk–turn the reviled characters into muscled, battling freedom fighters. Mammy’s broom becomes a weapon; her washboard a shield. But while the art elevates Mammy and Uncle Remus from docility, it (perhaps necessarily) casts them at the other extreme of the stereotype spectrum–aggressive, violent and animalistic. Mammy becomes Sapphire with a headwrap. There is even an illustration in the series that depicts Mammy battling Uncle Remus, castigating him for “stir’n up trouble for these good folk,”  while he tries to go about the business of “liberat’n.” (Shades of the wrong-headed black woman, holding back black progress by fighting black men?)

Check out the rest of Anderson’s provocative work. What do you think?

H/T Afropunk

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Bolaji Badejo

By Andrea Plaid

Who?!” you may be asking.

A somewhat fair question, though, like last week’s Crush Kevin Clash, you may know him by the creation he brought to on-screen life:

Bolaji Badejo. Photo: Eve Arnold

 Yes, that was a Black man in the original Alien suit. (And a cute one, too!)

Badejo got into the suit by pure happenstance, like latest-white-starlet-found-at-an-eatery chance. In his case, a casting team member from the original film approached the Nigerian graphic-arts student at a London bar and put him in touch with Alien director Ridley Scott. The reason why Scott thought Badejo could work the costume (and won the role over Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca): Badejo stood at 7 feet 2 inches and had a “slender” “erect” frame which, being so long-limbed, could “give the illusion that a human couldn’t possibly be in the costume.”  Stuntmen also got into it for certain scenes. (For more on how Badejo worked the suit. check this out.)

After this–his only acting role, and this flick came out in 1979–Badajo disappeared from the movie life. What happened to him, according to the ‘net…well, some people (as of 2010) state that he passed away, yet his Facebook page has him alive and living in the States. (I sent a friend request on Facebook. We’ll see.) Nothing has yet confirmed about him.

Looking back on the experience, Badejo said in an 1979 interveiw that, in light of Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, and other Hollywood stars who gained their fame from playing monsters, he regretted that no one knew it was him in suit, however, he commented, “The fact that I played the part of the Alien, for me, that’s good enough.”

Whenever I watched the Alien movie–and for all of Sigourney Weaver’s woman-with-a-gun girl-power rocking the flick (though the second film basically made it a weirdly racialized Mommy War, with Weaver protecting the orphaned white child as her real reason for getting all gun-happy with the dark-skinned creature–I found my empathies with the Aliens. On the real, Weaver’s crew rolls up on their territory (and if I recall the movies correctly, this is on purpose) and are protecting and trying to feed their offspring. However, whatever the intentions of the crew for being in the Aliens’ side of the universe, the flicks portray their survival as worthy (“don’t let them eat us top-of-the-food-chain types”) and the Aliens’ survival is seen as unworthy, if not outright deserving annihilation. (“That’s what you get for using us top-of-the-food-chain types as your food!”) The fact that the Alien is played by a Black man adds a certain frisson and texture to the original film for me, considering it’s these flicks where fears about colonization, race (and racism!), community, and resources often play out.

Wherever he may be, Badejo is not forgotten. And that’s good enough for me.