Tag Archives: Books

My Superpower: Che Gilson

30 Oct Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight

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 Che Gilson to talk about how the power of art relates to Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight.

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I like to think of art as my super power. It’s not something that tons of authors can claim as their own (though there are plenty). But I was able to turn my super power into a book cover for my novella Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight. Continue reading

My Superpower: Matthew David Goodwin (Latino/a Rising)

28 Oct Latino Latina Rising Athology

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 Matthew David Goodwin to talk about how the power of passionate social justice relates to Latino/a Rising.

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If I had to be a superhero, it would be the Batman kind of superhero.  When thrown against a wall, I would break.  When cut, I would bleed.  Hopelessly human.  But I’m much more sympathetic to the 1960’s campy version of Batman than the Batman of late.  I wouldn’t erase the dark undertones, just splash them with color.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what Batman’s superpowers actually are.  One is hidden (his passion) and the other is disguised as an accessory (the weirdly enormous bright yellow utility belt).  But together, his passion and utility belt make up for his lack of superhuman strength.

Like Batman, I’m drawn into my work with a passion for social justice.  I worked many years in the Latino/a community in various non-profit organizations dealing with migration, domestic violence, and worker rights.  When I went to study for my doctorate in literature, I wanted to find a way to discuss the complex experiences of Latinos/as in the United States.  And I found that science fiction and fantasy is a potent way to express issues of race, gender, and migration.  And it is the best way for my daughter to imagine herself as part of the future. Continue reading

228. Tobias Buckell (a.k.a. Captain Planet) — Hurricane Fever (An Interview)

25 Oct

Space cannons, Caribbean spies, and hurricanes, oh my!  Tobias Buckell returns to the show to discuss his new novel, Hurricane Fever.  We discuss the history of space exploration in the Caribbean, writing spy thrillers, the nitty gritty of Buckell’s characters, and more!

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Here’s the episode (show notes are below):

Episode 228 — Download (MP3)

Hurrican Fever by Tobias S. Buckell

Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).  Additional music from “Black Vortex” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.

Guns, Stock, and Tael: Sword of the Bright Lady by M.C. Planck

23 Oct sword-of-the-bright-lady-mc-planck

Jared Diamond’s seminal work, Guns, Germs and Steel, posited that those three advantages are what allowed the Europeans to come out on top of the 15th century world and go on to dominate the globe in the next several centuries. European diseases decimated the New World, and European steel and guns gave them sway over Africa, Asia and the Americas. The reasons why Europe had those advantages and were able to leverage them is the heart of that book.

The idea of introducing gunpowder to worlds that don’t have it is one that crops up now and again in genre. Gunpowder is an invention that is a game changer, and yet, it is not one that requires a lot of technology to manage. It’s really a historical accident that it was invented in China and only when it came to Europe became seriously used for warfare. With the technology and materials available to them, there is nothing that wouldn’t allow gunpowder to be used as far back as the Roman Empire or even earlier. The roleplaying game Fvlminata provides a RPG world where gunpowder was invented by Rome in the first century AD. The Island in the Sea of Time series by S.M. Stirling has the time-stranded Nantucketers introduce gunpowder to the late Bronze Age, with civilizations everywhere wanting a piece of that action — and being able to use it, however primitively. Continue reading

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.

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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

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

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