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224. Multicultural Steampunk, World SF, and War Stories w/ Diana Pho and Andrew Liptak at ICFA

29 Sep

Retrofuturism, power armor, and awesome clothes, oh my!  In one of our last recordings from ICFA, Diana Pho and Andrew Liptak join us to discuss Beyond Victoriana, multicultural sf, Western influence, and the now-available anthology, War Stories edited by Andrew Liptak and Jaym Gates.

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 224 — Download (MP3)

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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.

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Metropolis (1927), Feminism, and Influence

25 Sep

Since there seems to be so much noise these days about the Golden Age of SF, I decided to begin rewatching (or in some cases, watching) classic genre films in order to get a more sound foundation in my chosen genre. If I do this with novels, why not films? In this case, I’m glad that I did. One of my graphic design professors had us watch Metropolis in class. I’d vaguely remembered it as stylish — it’s a fine example of Art Deco design — and only a little coherent. At the time, I wondered why anyone would sit through the whole thing. It made no sense. The professor didn’t mention that the film had been censored. I’m not sure she was aware of how much it’d gotten cut as she didn’t mention it in the introduction. When I looked for it on Netflix, I found two versions. The first claimed to have restored footage and an 80s soundtrack. The second also had restored footage. What I failed to notice was that the first print was one hour and fifteen minutes long. The second? Two hours and fifteen minutes. I recall the version I saw in class was less than an hour. Wow.

Continue reading

The Disquieting Guest — Calvaire and the Tyrannies of Desire

24 Sep

There is no denying that extreme horror, at its worst, fulfils pretty much every outside observer’s worst surmises about quote-unquote torture porn. But at its best, it has a merciless rigour that pushes viewers into places they may not wish to go but are important for them to confront. Fabrice Du Welz’s Calvaire (2004) is a case in point.

Calvaire is a Belgian film and not, strictly speaking, part of the New French Extreme trend in horror films (InsideHigh TensionMartyrs, etc.). But if we reconsider the term slightly as the New French-Language Extreme, then it fits in very nicely with its dark cousins (and Martyrs, a France-Canada co-production, becomes a better fit as well). While not as gory as some, its unblinking willingness to explore the heart of darkness marks it, for me, as part of that loosely defined movement.* Continue reading

Monopoly and Appropriation

16 Sep

While appropriation is a two-way street, it is not always equal. Filipinos, Singaporeans, and Indians, for example, have appropriated English as their own language, and yet we are still often complimented for our good English. The corollary to that is best summed up by this statement from Aliette de Bodard: Continue reading

“Secret Option C: A More Inclusive World Fantasy Award Statue isn’t A Person At All” by Carrie Cuinn

11 Sep

Recently, author and activist Daniel Jose Older started a petition to change the World Fantasy Award statue from a bust of author H.P. Lovecraft to one of Octavia Butler. On the surface, this may seem to be a change from one distinct thing to an opposite one:  moving from a white, male author who was racist, misogynistic, paranoid, and possibly without much skill as a writer, to a black, female author who is seen as one of the best-known writers of color in the field of genre fiction. However, this isn’t the difference between one side and another. Both options represent aspects of the same side, and both are wrong.

Lest you think I dislike the idea of changing the bust because I don’t read or enjoy either of these writers, you should know that I’m actually a fan of both Lovecraft and Butler. I’ve studied Lovecraft extensively, have published (to great reviews) Mythos fiction, and even edited an anthology of Mythos-inspired erotica. At the same time, I’m well aware of his repugnant aspects, and have long argued that we can only celebrate his influence if we include an effort to bring much-needed diversity into the work he inspires. Butler wasn’t on my radar until a decade ago, but since then I’ve read most of her published work and can clearly see why she’s so admired. Each author deserves their fan base. Problem is, that fan base isn’t global enough. Continue reading

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