“What if a white guy played Black Panther?: The Fake Concern of Fake Geek Guys

racebending mike.jpg

Whenever I talk about racebending as a concept when it comes to comics and comics-related properties, smartasses always show up to say something snarky like “what if Black Panther or some other Black hero were a white guy”.

They crowd into my mentions or any comment field they can get a hold of, trying to shout down my commentary by insisting that they’ve finally found the one way to get one over on supporters of racebending.

It’s supposed to be the kind of comment that leaves Black comic fans stumbling around in a haze formed by our hypocrisy (because if we don’t want characters of color whitewashed, we shouldn’t keep pushing for white characters to be racebent).

Continue reading

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[Book Review] Injection Burn: A Dire Earth Novel

Injection Burn Cover

Title: Injection Burn: A Dire Earth Novel
Author:
Jason M. Hough
Rating: Recommended
Genre/Category: Science Fiction, Aliens, Futuristic, Artificial Intelligence
Release Date: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Del Ray

Order Here: AMAZON (KINDLE) | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


SYNOPSIS

Part one of a thrilling action-adventure sci-fi duology featuring indomitable characters, incredible worlds, and plenty of rip-roaring action and thrills!

Rescue operation—or suicide mission?

Skyler Luiken and his ragtag crew of scavengers, scientists, and brawlers have a new mission: a long journey to a distant planet where a race of benevolent aliens are held captive behind a cloud of destructive ships known as the Swarm Blockade. No human ships have ever made it past this impenetrable wall, and Skyler knows not what to anticipate when they reach their destination.

Safe to say that the last thing he expects to find there is a second human ship led by the tough-as-nails captain, Gloria Tsandi. These two crews—and their respective captains—initially clash, but they will have to learn to work together when their mutual foe closes in around them and begins the outright destruction of their vessels—along with any hope of a return to Earth.

REVIEW

I finished Injection Burn desperate to get my hands on the sequel (which’ll be out this coming Tuesday because of course it would take me a month to get this review uploaded…). I also finished the book with a need for the entire Dire Earth series to be turned into a Syfy series ASAP. It’s that good.

It takes a truly amazing writer to hook a new reader at book four of their ongoing series, and Jason Hough is one of those authors. Continue reading

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What It’s Like Being Fandom Critical While Black

What It's Like Being Fandom Critical While Black (1)

If we adopted Scientologist terms in fandom I’d probably be deemed as a negative influence or suppressive person because of the way I talk about the things I’ve seen and experienced in fandom spaces.

I’ve had my opinions invalidated, my analysis responded to with condescension, and my inbox invaded by assholes. I even wound up linked on Tumblr In Action once for my racebending post (and boy was that a bit terrifying because we all know how bad things can get on Reddit) and I frequently have people talk down to me about fandom history and culture.

People regularly write me condescending and long essay responses to my posts, letting me know just how inferior they think I am and my opinions are. I’ve been insulted to my face and behind my back (sometimes by people I thought I was friendly with).

I’ve been called a fascist for talking about Hux getting an unreasonably huge amount of attention despite only having three minutes of screentime in The Force Awakens.

I’ve been told to kill myself, called a homophobe for talking about the racism in slash fandom spaces, a misogynist out to police women’s sexuality for talking about intersections of kink, sex, and shipping in fandom, and constantly have my thoughts on antiblackness and racism in fandom dismissed because I’m black in the US and there’s apparently no “skin-tone based racism” anywhere else but here.

I get a lot of shit and it’s still not even a third of what some of my friends in the same position do despite having anon on because I believe in the preemptive block and embarrassing the hell out of racists that message me or reblog my posts.

It’s tiring, but I refuse to stop. Continue reading

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White Feminism Strikes Again: American Gods Edition

I can’t imagine watching a show like American Gods where Shadow Moon (played by Ricky Whittle) and then writing an honest to god article about how his undead wife Laura was the actual star of the show.

I mean, erasing a male character of color for a white woman who’s hurt him is actual textbook white feminism right there. I’ve seen it happen with a TON of male characters of color getting passed over for a pseudo-empowering white lady character (who probably hurts or abuses him in their canon) in fandom.

But Shadow is clearly the star of the show.

I mean, for once I thought fandom would do the smart thing and be all over Shadow because he’s basically perfect. (But I guess I forgot the White Feminist response to Luke Cage – show and character.)

How do you make it through six episodes of American Gods and come out thinking that anyone aside from Shadow Moon is the main character?

Is it because ensemble casts with a clear lead confuse you?

Or, and I figure that this is the more likely option, is it that you’ve been conditioned to see tiny white women doing anything as super empowering even if they’re literal scum? Continue reading

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[Book Review] River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

River-of-Teeth-cover.jpg

Title: River of Teeth
Authors:
Sarah Gailey (Twitter)
Rating: Recommended With Criticism
Genre/Category: Historical Fiction, Western, Queer Fiction, Hippos, Alternate History
Release Date: May 23, 2017

Publisher: Tor.Com Publishing

Order Here: BARNES AND NOBLE | AMAZON (KINDLE)

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in this review are my own.

SYNOPSIS

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

REVIEW

Honestly, there’s a part of me that’d like to thank Sarah Gailey for giving me a fear of hippopotamuses with her high-tension, hippo-filled novella River of Teeth.

Look, I live in South Florida. My corner of the state is like super marshy and already full to the brim with scary animals like gators, pythons, and everything that escaped from Miami Zoo in the wake of Hurricane Andrew back in 1992. (Including the rudest peacocks you will see on this side of US-1…)

I’m used to being afraid of wildlife.

It’s kind of my thing, to be honest.

But River of Teeth put a fear of hippos in me like you wouldn’t believe.

Continue reading

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Links I Liked – May

I don’t want to say that this will be a regular feature since I’m shit at regular features, but here are some links to cool and interesting things I’ve read or seen online this month!


Links I Liked

Brown bodies in white spaces: On meeting Riz Ahmed

The funny thing about writing about race is that my instinct is to always start off with an apology. Sorry, I’ll think, imagining readers clicking on the piece, sorry I’m going to make you uncomfortable.

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

As I’ve said before in my review of Empire of Shadows, I have a complicated relationship with SJM’s books. Some of her worldbuilding interests me, as do one or two of her characters, but her worlds and stories are so problematic and so white, cis, allo and straight that now I’m just waiting to read the last books of her series to say good bye to her writing completely.

A Response to Zetta Elliott’s “Minstrelsy is the New Black”

While I certainly can’t speak for every black writer and their intentions, but based on my own work and experiences in understanding and loving blackness in all its complexities, nothing about my work speaks to the Mantans of the American entertainment world. Truth-telling, providing context within the story, and humanizing black children is my main focus. A far cry from minstrelsy.

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[Book Review] Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages

Wicked Wonders CoverTitle: Wicked Wonders
Author:
Ellen Klages (Twitter)
Rating: Recommended (Sort of)
Genre/Category: Slice of Life, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Story Collection, Queer Fiction
Release Date: May 2, 2017

Publisher:  Tachyon Publications

Order Here: AMAZON | TACHYON PUBLICATIONS

Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and that’s what you’re getting. Additionally, one of the stories in the collection I’m reviewing reads as kind of not cool to me when it comes to genital reveals so I’m going to talk about the story to make sure that people interested in this book know what to expect.


SYNOPSIS

A rebellious child identifies with Maleficent instead of Sleeping Beauty. Best friends Anna and Corry share one last morning on Earth. A solitary woman inherits a penny arcade haunted by a beautiful stranger. A prep-school student requires more than luck when playing dice with a faerie. Ladies who lunch—dividing one last bite of dessert—delve into new dimensions of quantum politeness. At summer camp, a young girl discovers the heartbreak of forbidden love.

Whether on a habitat on Mars or in a boardinghouse in London, discover Ellen Klages’ wicked, wondrous adventures full of cheeky wit, empathy, and courage.

 

REVIEW

There are fifteen short stories in Ellen Klages’ newest short story collection Wicked Wonders.

Out of those fifteen, thirteen were basically everything I ever wanted in a short story. Two were… not. One of those two was a story that just didn’t catch me while the other was a story that had me invested right until it chose to reveal a characters’ genitals for what feels like shock value and then proceed to misgender them for the (short) remainder of the story. It was quite a disappointing experience.

Which sucks, because I otherwise love Ellen Klages’ writing. I’m working my way through her Tor.com novella Passing Strange, taking my time because hello I adore narratives set in or revolving around the 1920s. I think she’s a brilliant, talented writer who knows how to use words to set up mental pictures so pretty that they belong in a museum. But I mean… that second to last story sure is a doozy…

Argh!

Well, let’s get started! Continue reading

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Spring Semester Summary

Semester Summary

In absolutely unsurprising news (to everyone BUT me): I have another semester of straight As.  This means that I’m basically 3 credits and a completed Thesis away from having my MA.

Holy crap!

This semester has been… a lot. Continue reading

Posted in Stitch Offline | Tagged | 1 Comment

[Book Review] Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology

Title: Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology
Editors:
Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson
Authors:
Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Carrie Vaughn, Sarah Pinsker, Kate Marshall, Michael Milne, Aimee Ogden, Nathan Crowder, Keith Rosson, Stuart Suffel, Jennifer Pullen, Matt Mikalatos, Patrick Flanagan, Ziggy Schutz, Keith Frady, Stephanie Lai, Chris Large, and Adam R. Shannon
Rating: Recommended
Genre/Category: Superheroes, Slice of Life, Supervillains, Anthology
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Publisher:  Meerkat Press

Order Here: AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of the views in review are my own. Additionally, the spoilers in this review range from mild to kind of major.

SYNOPSIS

Behind the Mask is a multi-author collection with stories by award-winning authors Kelly Link, Cat Rambo, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire, Lavie Tidhar, Sarah Pinsker, Keith Rosson, Kate Marshall, Chris Large and others. It is partially, a prose nod to the comic world—the bombast, the larger-than-life, the save-the-worlds and the calls-to-adventure. But it’s also a spotlight on the more intimate side of the genre. The hopes and dreams of our cape-clad heroes. The regrets and longings of our cowled villains. That poignant, solitary view of the world that can only be experienced from behind the mask.

The authors in this collection, both established and new, are all dexterous and wonderfully imaginative, each deserving of their own form-fitting uniforms and capes. Some of the stories pulse with social commentary, like Cat Rambo’s whimsical and deft “Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut” and Keith Rosson’s haunting “Torch Songs.” Others twist the genre into strange and new territories, like Stuart Suffel’s atmospheric “Birthright,” Kate Marhsall’s moving “Destroy the City with Me Tonight,” and Adam Shannon’s reality-bending “Over an Embattled City.” Some punch with heart and humor, like Matt Mikalatos’s satisfying “The Beard of Truth” and Chris Large’s adventurous “Salt City Blue,” while others punch with bite and grit, such as Michael Milne’s evocative “Inheritance,” Aimee Ogden’s poignant “As I Fall Asleep,” and Jennifer Pullen’s heartfelt “Meeting Someone in the 22nd Century.” Some of the stories feature characters who might not be superheroes in the traditional sense, yet are heroic nonetheless, such as Sarah Pinsker’s imaginative “The Smoke Means It’s Working” and Stephanie Lai’s majestic “The Fall of the Jade Sword.” Some shine a unique, captivating spotlight on supervillains, like Keith Frady’s dramatic “Fool” and Carrie Vaughn’s romantic “Origin Story.” Some are somber, ponderous works, where our heroes consider their impact on the world, like Lavie Tidhar’s regret-tinged “Heroes” and Nathan Crowder’s resonant “Madjack.” Others tread more light-hearted waters, with heroes adjusting to the sometimes-comical, sometimes-stressful life in the public eye, like Seanan McGuire’s entertaining “Pedestal” and Patrick Flanagan’s lively “Quintessential Justice.” And then there are the softer, quieter moments between heroes, as they navigate their extraordinary lives in their own unique ways, such as Ziggy Schutz’s tender “Eggshells” and, of course, Kelly Link’s captivating “Origin Story.”

Continue reading

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[Book Review] Greedy Pigs (A Sin du Jour Affair #5) by Matt Wallace

Greedy Pigs Cover

Title: Greedy Pigs (A Sin du Jour Affair #5)
Authors:
Matt Wallace (Twitter)
Rating: So Funny I’m Gonna Die, So Highly Freaking Recommended
Genre/Category: Politics, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural, Food
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Publisher: Tor.Com Publishing

Order Here: BARNES AND NOBLE | AMAZON (KINDLE)

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Me being me, tha’s basically the only kind of review I do. There are so many spoilers. But also… not enough spoilers.

SYNOPSIS

The Sin du Jour crew caters to the Shadow Government in Greedy Pigs, Matt Wallace’s fifth Sin du Jour Affair

“I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”

Politics is a dirty game. When the team at Sin du Jour accidentally caters a meal for the President of the United States and his entourage, they discover a conspiracy that has been in place since before living memory. Meanwhile, the Shadow Government that oversees the co-existence of the natural and supernatural worlds is under threat from the most unlikely of sources.

It’s up to one member of the Sin du Jour staff to prevent war on an unimaginable scale.

Between courses, naturally.

REVIEW

Holy fucking shit.

That was my reaction to both starting and finishing Greedy Pigs and I’m sure it’ll be yours too!

If you’re new to my semi-sober reviews of Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour series, you should know that he never fails to deliver the big blows and some major WTF moments in every single book of the series. Greedy Pigs isn’t an exception and like the previous four books in the series, it had me all kinds of fucked up at the end.

And at the middle.

Hell, at the start. Continue reading

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