08 Aug

Omni, reboot: a major presence is back

I remember that even non-SF readers were familiar with Omni and often had subscriptions (one of my uncles). The UFO stuff got a bit weird and I would skip right over all that, but before that became too burdensome, it was quite a presence.

“Today, though, Omni is coming back — and with it, questions about how our vision of science and science fiction has changed since its launch. Omni’s resurrection comes courtesy of Jeremy Frommer, a collector and businessman who acquired Guccione’s archives earlier this year. Inside a warehouse full of production assets lie thousands of Omni photos, illustrations, and original editions, which Frommer plans to release as prints, books, or collector’s items. But he wasn’t content with mining the past. Instead, he hired longtime science writer Claire Evans as editor of a new online project, described as an ‘Omni reboot.’”

(Via Omni, reboot: an iconic sci-fi magazine goes back to the future | The Verge.)

07 Aug

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism & Beyond – 12 hours to go for a cool anthology I’m a part of

This is a dynamite project with a fantastic line up of authors. 12 hours to go, and the project is just shy of its goal!

“Author Bill Campbell (Koontown Killing Kaper, Sunshine Patriots), poet/journalist Edward Austin Hall (the forthcoming Chimera Island), and artist Professor John Jennings (Black Comix, Black Kirby Project) have assembled 40 extraordinarily talented writers who represent just a part of the changing face of speculative fiction.

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism is the dynamic, genre-expanding end result.”

(Via Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism & Beyond–Support the Writer Campaign | Indiegogo.)

12 Jul

Add another Caribbean novelist in SF/F to your list: Gemsigns

A lot of people ask me about other Caribbean novelists writing novels. I always cite Nalo Hopkinson and Karen Lord in addition to myself. I recently linked to Robert Sandiford’s superhero novel. Now you can add Stephanie Saulter’s Gemsigns to the book. It’s released via Jo Fletcher/Quercus in the UK. Hopefully we’ll see it in the US soon as well.

I have not had a chance to read it, just ordered a copy from overseas.

“For years the human race was under attack from a deadly Syndrome, but when a cure was found – in the form of genetically engineered human beings, Gems – the line between survival and ethics was radically altered.

Now the Gems are fighting for their freedom, from the oppression of the companies that created them, and against the Norms who see them as slaves. And a conference at which Dr Eli Walker has been commissioned to present his findings on the Gems is the key to that freedom.

But with the Gemtech companies fighting to keep the Gems enslaved, and the horrifying godgangs determined to rid the earth of these ‘unholy’ creations, the Gems are up against forces that may just be too powerful to oppose.”

(Via Gemsigns | Jo Fletcher Books.)


09 Jul

As a barbarian, I will also skip this movie

If you don’t know who Orson Scott Card is, he’s a science fiction writer who sits on the board of NOM and writes things like this:

Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down…

Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.

and like this:

Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those whoflagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.

He calls his opposition ‘barbarians’ in pieces like this:

The barbarians think that if they grab hold of the trunk of the tree, they’ve caught the birds in the branches. But the birds can fly to another tree.

Today he’s upset that people have labeled him intolerant, and calls people who don’t allow him his difference of opinion to be intolerant of him. He asks for everyone to calm down, you see, because a major motion picture has been made out of his book and he doesn’t want you to think he is a bigot, intolerant, or downright nasty. He’s worried people might boycott his movie.

Make up your own mind, but my feeling is much the same as Chuck Wendig’s:

That’s him doubling down and saying, “You need to tolerate my intolerance.” Which is a classic derailing tactic that smells so strongly of horseshit that when he says it I wonder if I’m actually living inside a horse’s ass. Just because we elected Obama president doesn’t mean I have to tolerate racism. Bigoted ignorant fuck-all is still bigoted ignorant fuck-all.

The movie may still be a rampant blockbuster. The lack of my movie dollars may not make one whit of difference (and given what we saw with Chik-Fil-A, it’s actually safe to assume the opposite of a boycott will occur — right-wing homophobes flocking to the theater to cheer on Ender Scott Wiggins Card as in their minds he eradicates whole planets of little gay bugs).

Still, I won’t pitch my chits and ducats into this bucket.

17 Jun

Carl Brandon Society raised over $16,000 last week

Welcome news to counter the recent unpleasantness. Thank you to all who donated, and who spread the word.

“The Carl Brandon Society would like to extend our thanks to John Scalzi for his June 13, 2013 call for donations and donation match offer, to Saira Ali, Arachne Jericho, Justine Larbalestier, and Scott Westerfeld for their additional match offers, and to Dagan Books for their offer to donate sales proceeds.

We received donations from hundreds of donors in 12 countries. Donations ranged from $1 to the $500 and $1,000 matches. Every cent is appreciated.

Because of your generosity, in two days, we raised almost $8,300 for our general fund, just over $5,000 for the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship, and just over $3,600 for Con or Bust. Your money will go towards our Awards: The Carl Brandon Parallax Award, which honors outstanding works of speculative fiction by writers of color and the Carl Brandon Kindred Award, which honors outstanding works of speculative fiction dealing with race and ethnicity.”

(Via Carl Brandon Society | June 17, 2013 Statement.)

13 Jun

A glimpse at the racism lurking around science fiction

Amal El-Mohtar grabs a screenshot of notorious misogynist, racist Theodore Beale, who calls himself ‘Vox Day’ who recently blogged some horrible things (and threats) about SF writer N.J. Jemisin (Jim Hines has more context for you here). Beale ran for president of SFWA recently, and is an exemplar of the sort of science fiction fan who sends me hate mail fairly often for the type of books I write. Amal quotes the threats and hate Beale has here:

“However, Mr Beale has repeatedly and aggressively used SFWA platforms to broadcast and disseminate these views with obvious malicious intent. Most recently he has used the SFWA Authors Twitter feed — in flagrant contravention of its terms of use — to broadcast an appallingly racist screed against author N. K. Jemisin, calling her an ‘ignorant half-savage’ and saying that ‘self-defense laws have been put in place to let whites defend their lives and their property from people, like her, who are half-savages engaged in attacking them.’”

(Via Calling for the Expulsion of Theodore Beale from SFWA | Amal El-Mohtar.)

I draw your attention to this paragraph written by Beale, and captured in screenshot Amal blogged up and wrote about, here:

Unlike the white males she excoriates, there is no evidence to be found anywhere on the planet that a society of NK Jemisins is capable of building an advanced civilization, or even successfully maintaining one without significant external support from those white males.

I get email from white, libertarian fans of SF who read my work and realize my hero is black. Whenever I have a new book launch, I get emails that say the above with depressing regularity. My books are too ‘fantastic’ because they posit Caribbean people running and building starships. (This is doubly ironic b/c my last book was nominated for the Liberterian SF award for SF: The Prometheus. I’m honored to be nominated, but I will be brutally honest, when I heard I was nominated I was excited, and then I remembered that when Ragamuffin was nominated and the notice went out and libertarian SF readers read it, I got a stream of abuse and personal guarantees that I’d get my ‘ass kicked’ if said people ever met me in person at an SF con, so it just made me somewhat tired. In other news, I’ll be at Worldcon this year).

I’ve been on panels where I have heard that above statement expressed as well.

I tend to forget that not everyone gets that sort of thing in their inbox with depressing regularity, I’m a bit inured to it. But 500 (correction, 50, I got bad information. 50 is less stressful, thank goodness. 50 is 10% of the 500 who voted. SFWA has thousands of members, not sure how many [‘over 1,800,’ according to website)]. 10% voted for Beale) of my fellow members of SFWA voted for this guy, so there’s that.

As for the being threatened, that’s come to. If there are specifics, I tend to forward the email to authorities. I’d hate to get shot by some random fan for daring write about black people in outer space and not have forwarded on any leads…

Addendum: This is not a general SFWA slam. This is a ‘A loud, aggressive percentage of fandom, including people who make it into SFWA, are straight up loudly racist, and this is the sort of thing they direct my way. Go look’ sort of post.

19 Apr

Compulsory science fiction reading in West Virginia?

Interesting. Though I hate forcing kids to read. Much more of a ‘offer them a cornucopia of interesting titles and get them addicted’ sort of person. The ‘compulsory’ in any reading, even my favorite titles, makes me feel icky.

But encouraging reading SF to interest kids in all sorts of wild ideas? Yeah, dude, I’m all about that.

Just not sure this way.

“A bill calling for science fiction to be made compulsory reading in schools has been proposed by a politician in West Virginia in order to ‘stimulate interest in the fields of math and science’.

Ray Canterbury, a Republican delegate, is appealing to the West Virginia board of education to include science fiction novels on the middle school and high school curriculums. ‘The Legislature finds that promoting interest in and appreciation for the study of math and science among students is critical to preparing students to compete in the workforce and to assure the economic well being of the state and the nation,’ he writes in the pending bill.”

(Via Bill for compulsory science fiction in West Virginia schools | Books | guardian.co.uk.)

15 Apr

The best young SF/F novelists

Not gonna lie, would have liked to have thought I would be listed in something like this, and didn’t want to link at first (my first reaction was just to passively aggressive write ‘ouch’ on twitter). But I lost a great deal of my ego about no longer being shiny when everything went pear-shaped in 2008 with my health and I fought my way back to a career and I’m already okay. And there are lots of great writers there in that list that should be read, so that would be petty of me not to link it.

Seriously, go read:

“The relationship between the literary and speculative fiction genres is like the episode of original Star Trek where Captain Kirk is teleported in to an evil, parallel dimension. Both genres have their own star authors, publishers, and of course literary accolades. (Which genre requires that you assassinate your rivals to advance is for you to decide.) Granta’s lists of 20 novelists under 40 – American, Spanish-language, Brazilian and most famously the British contingent – being renewed for 2013 this week – have become an institution in literary fiction. SF has no direct equivalent, but if it did, who might be on it?”

(Via The best young novelists – from SF’s universe | Books | guardian.co.uk.)