I don’t know why I bothered. The illustrations may be a little better but the disjointed and confusing short story and its implications definitely weren’t for me.
Serenity’s crew suddenly become filthy rich. For a while, anyway. And their ‘what I’d do if I were rich’ dreams were the only good thing about Better Days.
Continue reading Better Days (Serenity #2.1) by Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews
Although I’ve only watched Firefly twice, I’ve seen Serenity countless times. While Those Left Behind‘s dialogue and personalities match the original show, the story lacks substance and the artwork . . .
Continue reading Those Left Behind (Serenity #1) by Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews
“I will gladly do anything you ask as long as it does not harm humans, animals, or property. I will avoid putting myself in danger unless it is to protect you or by your command. The Tanaka logo on my wrist is the only physical indication that I am an android and I am required by law to keep it exposed at all times. I am not allowed to handle legal tender or helm a vehicle, so please keep that in mind if you send me out on errands. I am in your hands, now. Please take good care of me.”
Continue reading Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 by Jonathan Luna
Robot Girl is an Afrofuturistic version of Bernard Beckett’s Genesis for children, populated with a black cast of characters. Genesis is one of my all-time favourite books. It inverts expectations and examines what it means to be human and the value of emotions.
Continue reading Robot Girl by Malorie Blackman
Dorian, Almost Human
Sci-fi is one of the few areas in which non-white characters can be main characters in a narrative not focused on slavery, the civil rights movement, tropes like Ethnic Menial Labour, Apron Matron, Mammy and Whoopi Epiphany Speech, or some other form of racist commentary. Exceptions include those films and TV shows with entirely non-white casts.
Continue reading Is sci-fi one of the few genres to accept non-white characters as heroes?
Panellists: Francis Knight, Jenni Hill, Melanie Fletcher, Justin Landon
Are genres gendered? Truisms like “women don’t read science fiction” or “men hate romance” abound, but to what extent do these sorts of assumptions determine what we see on the shelves? How have certain sub-genres become strongly associated with writers (and readers) of a single gender? What are the difficulties faced by a writer trying to work in a (sub)genre traditionally associated with a gender other than their own? What role(s) can publishers and booksellers play in creating, reinforcing, or challenging such bias?
Continue reading LonCon3 #21: Gender and Genre
Panellists: Ro Nagey, Pat Cadigan, Gregory Benford, Tlanti Griffiths
An Earth-like planet is found orbiting a distant star. It has water. And we can tell that something is living on the planet but we can’t determine what kind. To get there will take hundreds of years in a generation ship. There’s no suspended animation: only your (distant) descendants will see and, hopefully, colonise the planet.
Your ship is a partially hollowed-out asteroid 2 miles wide and 10 miles long. The initial crew is 1000 people. When you land, the target is having 10,000 colonists when you get in orbit around the planet. You job will include both building more living space inside the asteroid and teaching the descendants and passing on cultural values. The trip will take between 500 and 800 years. The asteroid would carry many times the equivalent of the Library of Congress. It would also contain a complete film library of movies, documentaries and tv shows. Obviously, it would also contain all the seeds needed grow plants and trees. Bacteria, viruses and the like would also be on board.
You would be able to go with your family if all the adults agreed and everyone (including the children) passed the tests. Would you volunteer to be a colonist? Why or why not?
*75% of this panel possessed science degrees, including a physicist. Continue reading LonCon3 #6: Generation Starship – Would you sign up?
Panellists: Jed Hartman, David D Levine, Rosanne Rabinowitz, Laura Lam, Cherry Potts (moderator)
In a 2013 column for Tor.com, Alex Dally MacFarlane called for a greater diversity in the way SF and fantasy represent families, pointing out that in the real world, “People of all sexualities and genders join together in twos, threes, or more. Family-strong friendships, auntie networks, global families… The ways we live together are endless.” Which stories centre non-normative family structures? What are the challenges of doing this in an SF context, and what are the advantages? How does representing a wider range of family types change the stories that are told?
Continue reading LonCon3 #5: Reimagining Families – where’s the diversity?
8,000 people attended LonCon3 hailing from 64 countries, some as far away as Australia. Roughly 2,000 from the U.K. and 2,000 from the U.S. What the LonCon3 site doesn’t show is something I noticed as soon as I walked through the doors of the ExCeL building: the age, gender, disability and racial demographics.
70% or more of the attendees were over 40 – though over 60 is probably more accurate – and during the four days I was there I only saw two black faces. There were a few Middle Eastern and south and east Asians, but no black people.
Continue reading LonCon3 #3: Attendee Demographics – Are there no black sci-fi fans?