Archive by Author

My Superpower: Tansy Rayner Roberts

23 Jun

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 Tansy Rayner Roberts.

 

My superpower is making extra work for my publisher.

When your publisher is one of your best friends, and you’re invested in her success almost as much as your own career, it’s a very different relationship than when they are a distant, shiny corporation in a big city somewhere in the world.

I’ve had quite a few publishers over the last 19 years as a professional author, and I am very attached to many of them, but Twelfth Planet Press feels like my baby almost as much as it belongs to its publisher, Alisa Krasnostein. I’ve been there from the beginning; watched her projects and aesthetic evolve. I was there as the idea for ‘hey what about monthly collections by female authors’ developed into a massive, sprawling 4 year project. Continue reading

Guest Post: Writing the Monster by Scott Oden

21 Jun

When Thomas Hobbes called the life of a man “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”, he could easily have been referring to the life of an Orc. Since their humble beginnings as song-croaking goblins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, these dim-witted, often Cockney-speaking brutes have grown well beyond the Professor’s intent; they have seized a place of their own in the annals of Fantasy. While some fans will never see them as anything other than sword fodder and servants of this Dark Lord or that, others have embraced them as noble savages, maligned and misunderstood – and worthy of their own books.

Long have I pondered the question of how mere spear-carriers in the epic drama of Tolkien’s legendarium captured the imaginations of so many readers.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Growing up in Fandom in the 1970s, by LJ Cohen

14 Jun

I’m not sure if this still holds true today, but if you came of age in the 1970s, were a strong early reader who had read through all the books specifically written for children, and you were lucky enough to have a sympathetic librarian, you’d be directed to the science fiction and fantasy shelves.

At least that’s my story. The Heinlein juveniles had been published a decade before I was born, but they were the first genre books I read. From there, I found all the Lensman books — written even earlier! I may have only been 10 or 11 when I read these, but even then I was frustrated by the insistence that only one special, fierce woman — to be born in some far future — could be a Lensman. Lenses were objects of power that amplified the qualities within a person. The message I got was that girls, as a rule, didn’t deserve power and couldn’t wield power. That I didn’t deserve power; that I was wasn’t good enough. It angered me that girls weren’t the ones leaping up to explore the stars. Asimov’s Robot books fascinated me, but the only woman portrayed in them — Susan Calvin — was more robotic than the robots. Continue reading

Guest Post: Religions on Mars, according to Me, by Mary Turzillo

7 Jun

I truly don’t know if human beings need religions or ideologies, but history seems to indicate that we do. Every time a culture attempts to base its social values on entirely non-spiritual things, that very agnostic value-system becomes a new religion.

People from England, France, Germany, etc. migrated to North and South America and to Australia in order to practice religions that were banned or looked down upon in Europe. Once they got to the New World, some of them started religions that did not harmonize with the social mores of their neighbors. Animal sacrifice, child marriage, and polygamy were three of the customs sanctioned by various religions that caused them to be ostracized. So the devotees moved further west, into less populated territory.

I think this will happen when humans begin to migrate to the moon and Mars. I don’t discuss this much in Mars Girls, although I’m building another novel (Isidis Rising) where dissidents sequester themselves in a Martian enclave. Continue reading

Movie Review: “Wonder Woman” (See it!)

6 Jun

I grew up reading Marvel comics, not DC, so most of what I know about the lore of Wonder Woman is what I absorbed from the 1970s Lynda Carter TV show plus vague memories of the Super Friends. I’m aware that the character has had many reboots and reinterpretations, but my perspective is that of many viewers who come to the movie with only a small amount of background knowledge. I think most of them, like me, will love it. (Spoilers, with a warning, appear about halfway through this review.)

“Wonder Woman” is a very satisfying film, even if it isn’t perfect. I have some logical quibbles with some of its elements in the beginning, and it is not exactly subtle; however, the notes it hits ring true all the way through. By the end, tears of both sorrow and joy were trickling down my cheeks.

There’s a lot of building up and following through, from the quiet, simple, opening narrative to the firm statement of purpose at the end. It doesn’t have the snappy patter of many Marvel movies, but the emotional payoffs are pretty great. Continue reading

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