My Superpower: KJ Kabza

20 Oct Celestial

My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome KJ Kabza to talk about how the power of Neurotic Attention to Detail relates to Under Stars.


For many hours a day, I look through dense scientific papers and find where all the Oxford commas aren’t.

I’m a copyeditor. This has developed in me a super-powered, refined, neurotic attention to detail. If you have misplaced your keys somewhere in your house, I will find them. I will also notice your dusty surfaces, crooked pictures, and the zit you’re self-conscious about (sorry).

I’m also a fiction writer. My ability to zero in keeps my writing clean, my prosody present, and my stories… short. Before I’ve even started writing, I’ve seen where the tingly nerve center of a narrative lies, and you can’t unsee a thing like that. Novels, to this day, I can’t yet write, but if you want a world in 7,000 words? Aye aye.

My second collection of short fiction, Under Stars, showcases my hummingbird-like zoom-in abilities and my albatross-like ability to cover a hell of a lot of ground. My tightly-written stories are far-ranging and unlike each other (or so I’m told), leaving reviewers to stutter, “Fascinating, unique, imaginative” and “Does not end as you’d expect.Continue reading

Indy Genre: Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

18 Oct Dead Snow 2 -- Red vs Dead (2014)

Nazi zombies.

If those two words don’t make you perk up your ears like a great dane that just heard the treat bag rattle, then this movie is not going to be for you. But if you feel as if your life could be immeasurably improved by the application of the aforementioned Nazi zombies plus copious amounts of gore and a not inconsiderable amount of vomit? Welcome home, my friends. (Warning, this review will contain spoilers for the original Dead Snow.)

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#25. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) — A Shoot the WISB Subcast (w/ fixed audio file)

18 Oct

Space rodents, emo fanatics, and dancing Groots, oh my!  In her first episode as an official member of the crew, Rachael Acks joins Shaun, Paul, and David to discuss the smash hit, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).

We hope you enjoy the episode!

(Note:  a previous version of this post contained two different mp3 files:  one for Sherlock and one for Guardians of the Galaxy.  That has been corrected.)

Spoiler Alert:  the following podcast contains spoilers for the film being reviewed; if you wish to see the film without having it ruined for you, download this podcast and save it for later.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Download the episode here.

Show notes (info about our contributors can be found on the about page):

Comment away!

Z Nation and “A Chick Thing”

17 Oct Z Nation

While I was counting down the hours before the return of The Walking Dead, I took the opportunity to write down some thoughts about Z Nation. Sure, it’s no Walking Dead, but it does have its moments.


Last weekend, my sister visited, and, among other activities, she took a break from her TV-less lifestyle. After I got to show her the wonderful “Manhattan,” she found that SyFy was starting a four-episode marathon of “Z Nation.”

I had previously caught the last 20 minutes of that show’s premiere, been annoyed by a stupid decision to needlessly pursue a zombie into a clutter-filled deathtrap, and decided just to wait a few weeks for TWD. But my sister wanted to try Z Nation, so we watched for a couple of episodes, and I kept it on after she went to bed. Continue reading

Book Review: Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction edited by Isiah Lavender III

16 Oct Black and Brown Planets edited by Isiah Lavender

In his introduction to this collection of essays, Isiah Lavender III explains that Black and Brown Planets continues a conversation started in the science fiction community with Elisabeth Leonard’s 1997 anthology, Into Darkness Peering: Race and Color in the Fantastic. The cultural and literary criticism found here in looking at works of the recent past become particularly significant as we comprehend a future where, as Lavender III puts it, “the Western world ceases to be dominated by the white majority”:

SF has charted a few of the alternatives for this unknown territory, and the change presents both opportunities and challenges for society to establish new values. In short, skin color matters in our visions of the future…[To] transcend various repetitions of the color line – black, red, and brown – we must be conscious of these repetitions. Continue reading

Custom Houses and Magical Secrets: The Cipher by Diana Pharaoh Francis

16 Oct The-Cipher

Port cities are nothing new in fantasy. In point of fact, port cities are one of the archetypal types of places you will find on a Diana Wynne Jones-esque tour of a fantasy world. Port cities are where cultures meet, where ships from near and far provide opportunities for escape and travel and for the unknown to come to the characters. Anything might be found lurking at the docks, or anyone might be sitting in the dark corner of a wharfside tavern. The markets can have anything for sale, providing further roads to adventure.

Port cities might hold wonderful potential for story, but that perspective is usually from an outsider, or a lower class perspective. The fantasy hero reaching the port after a trip overland. The street-rat who has always haunted the dockside haunts, scraping a living. The pirate who enters a hive of scum and villainy looking for more men for her ship, or to sell off the booty from her last score.  You don’t normally have as your hero a government bureaucrat. Like, say…a customs inspector. Continue reading

My Superpower: Michael R. Underwood, 2nd edition

16 Oct

My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome our own Michael R. Underwood (aka Mike) back to talk about how the power of being a role-playing gamer applies to his novel The Younger Gods.

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