Tag Archives: Fantasy

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.


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

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

#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!

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

226. Anne Lyle (a.k.a. Skraelabite) — The Night’s Masque Trilogy (An Interview at CONvergence)

13 Oct

Swords, weird London, and humanoid critters, oh my!  Anne Lyle, author of the Night’s Masque trilogy from Angry Robot Books, joined Paul and Shaun at CONvergence to talk about her work.  A few laughs were shared!

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 225 — Download (MP3)


Show Notes:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

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

Women Destroy Reviewing!

12 Oct Women Destroy Fantasy

…Fantasy is a genre that tends to destroy women — or if not destroy, then de-story.

–Wendy N. Wagner

I’ve been quite curious what Women Destroy Fantasy!, the October 2014 special issue of Lightspeed/Fantasy Magazine, would be all about. You don’t hear so much whiny dudebro noise about girl cooties in dragon lairs as you do in rocketships; fantasy seems to have far more female protagonists and memorable secondary characters in its canon than science fiction does; more people can at least name some female fantasy authors. Fantasy seems to be a genre that is at least less inhospitable to women than science fiction is.

Well, the opening quotation from the editorial pretty much sums it up. Women are often erased from the genre:  the authors are not talked about; their work is marketed differently and, well, less; they’re stricken from certain genre categories. Female characters are fridged and used as gross object-fantasies. And that’s to say nothing about how many potential female readers may be alienated from the genre by frightful covers and the overwhelming numbers of books titled something like “The Half-King of the Dude-Sword,” as I was for so many years. The fight for women in fantasy is not just to exist, but to have agency at all. Continue reading

Book Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2014 edited by Rich Horton

8 Oct The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2014 edited by Rich Horton

My diverse reading (which extends well beyond SF/F) makes it unfeasible for me to catch everything of interest or of merit. I, thus, appreciate the multiple anthologies each year that offer their unique selections of noteworthy short stories. This marks the sixth year of Horton’s relatively young Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy series, but it happens to be the first one that I’ve read. It will be hard to fit in past years to catch up, but I’m going to strive to make it part of the future annual reading queue.

The extensive breadth and diversity of this collection strikes me foremost. The sources for the stories include a balance of major print and online magazines to smaller outlets and stand-alone publications, and the stories themselves extend through the many forms and combinations of science fiction and fantasy. A part of me wishes that literary outlets were also included in this mix, as genre elements are increasingly found within their pages. Yet another part of me recognizes that the literary world often ignores the genre, so the reverse is just as appropriate. Continue reading


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