The Great Big Anita Blake Reread: Sorting Out Shifters

“Peggy, that’s my wife, she’s a lycanthrope.”

The Lunatic Café (Anita Blake #4)

Shapeshifters are people too.

At least, that’s what Laurell K Hamilton is trying to convince us and Anita across the twenty-six books in her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series: one of the core themes across the Anitaverse  is the idea that shapeshifters are people and they deserve the consideration that people get.

It’d be an admirable approach to take if not for how Hamilton sets up shifters and their pack dynamics. Shifter society and the dynamics between members in a particular group towards insiders and outsiders – especially if those outsiders are human – really make you question what she’s actually succeeding at.

For this pint-sized primer, we’re going to be talking about the main shape-shifter groups Anita interacts with across the Anitaverse – wolves, leopards, hyenas, tigers, and lions, the lone prey group in the whole dang thing, swans – and why Hamilton’s worldbuilding and her rationale behind using shapeshifters as metaphor for various marginalized identities remains more full of holes than a slice of Swiss cheese.

Continue reading
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Antiblackness in the K-pop Industry and its Fandom Spaces: Introduction

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Anti-blackness is universal.

Outside of maybe a handful of countries around the world, there aren’t many places where I’m guaranteed to be entirely free from anti-black racism. Even my home island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands isn’t a safe space for me as a Black person –

And I grew up there.

Because anti-blackness is so ubiquitous across so many different spaces and how often it shows up in situations where Black people aren’t actually present or involved, I am not surprised at anti-blackness being present out of the blue – to me at least.

I am really not surprised at how antiblackness shows up in the K-pop fandom – because antiblackness is everywhere in fandom spaces.

But there’s something a little… extra about how anti-blackness works in K-pop fandom spaces and how much of that anti-blackness is actually fueled by issues present in the music industry’s consumption and repackaging of Black culture. Continue reading

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Stitch Does Stuff in July

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I love Day Job.

I love being able to get up, come into work, and put together ads or blow through edits on a batch of articles for one of our clients. I love having the chance to use my English MA Editing Skills (TM) to make our marketing department a better one.

What I don’t love is not having time to write.

Sure, I make time as often as I can – if you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably seen my handwritten notes for my upcoming What Fandom Racism Looks Like series – but it’s not enough.

But I’m going to make it be enough… Somehow. Continue reading

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[Post PCA Roundtable Wrap-Up] 10 Years After Racefail ’09: Where’s The Growth?

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This is a wrap-up/write-up of my overall comments during the PCA 2019 Roundtable on Racism in Fandom/Fan Studies Spaces (which I chaired). Feel free to check out write-ups from Robin Anne Reid and Samira Nadkari, two of the other participants on the roundtable.


Across transformative and curatorial fandom spaces, racism is so entrenched in the skeleton of fandom – from erasing fans of color via the ahistorical rewriting of fandom history to killing off or torturing characters of color in fanworks – that to uproot and remove racism from fandom would leave it looking like those floppy cored sheep from the bone vampire episode of Futurama.

PCA 2019 was my second time attending this conference in three years. It was my second time coming into these academic spaces and getting up to talk to a hopefully invested audience about racism in fandom spaces.

But it wasn’t my first time talking about the way that misogynoir works in fandom.

Not in general.

Not even for that day.

(As I’d done my presentation on misogynoir the previous panel session)

Talking about misogynoir and other forms of racism in fandom and media is kind of… my thing.

It’s an aspect of fannishness that I feel proud of working on and where I feel compelled to continue honing my skills. It’s a form of fannishness that I like because I finally have the room and the words to verbalize my concerns as a queer Black person in fandom. Continue reading

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Short and Salty #1: They’re All About The Whiteness

Normally, I keep my saltiest thoughts to twitter or my Dreamwidth account. It’s better for all of us.

However, this salty thought is part of a currently shelved follow-up to my What Fandom Racism Looks Like article on Beige Blank Slates and I figured… “Why Not”.

So, have at it, friends and folks:

Attraction is supposed to be subjective.

This subjectiveness, in fandom, is used to say that attraction and desire can’t be connected to or criticized for on the grounds of morals or politics as if Black people weren’t legally prohibited from marrying outside of our race until the 60s and as if people of color aren’t seen as inviable partners to most white people.

Sometimes, when I look at the fandom darlings that fandom loves – the dark/light haired go-to duos like Aziraphale/Crowley (Good Omens), Merlin/Arthur (Merlin), and Hux/Kylo (Star Wars) – I genuinely question what I’m seeing and how subjective attraction is.

Across multiple Western slash fandoms, when you look at what gets popular and what characters just get the fans a-thirsting one thing stands out to me about their attractiveness –

The most attractive/appealing thing about these guys – or the thing fandom actually finds integral to their adoration – really is their whiteness.

Even if they won’t say that.

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Fleeting Frustrations # 7: Archive Frenzy and Being (Un) Grateful To Our Fannish Foremothers (Stuck In 2002)

Note: This Fleeting Frustrations installment mentions racism as well as fanworks involving sexual violence and underage characters. It’s also not very nice. Obviously.


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There are things to love about the AO3. I won’t list them here because I don’t need to. Almost every single piece written about the big ole archive – especially in the wake of its 2019 Hugo Award nomination – has been positive. 

It’s been gushing. 

The AO3 is positioned as a site for queer and/or female exploration and empowerment.

It’s so amazing, these articles and adoring fans write, because it allows queer people and women the freedom to understand their identity and play around with sexual and gender roles as they figure themselves out.

We should be grateful to the grand ole archive because it gives us room to be queer, be women, and to explore kinks and identities that we can’t in real life.

Which is a cool story, let’s be real here.

If I wasn’t a queer Black fan who’s used the AO3 and been in fandom for most of my life, I’d even take those claims at face value. After all, a space for female and/or queer fans is pretty cool, right?

But what about the racism on the archive – in the form of fanworks or in how fans of color have talked about the response from archive staff volunteers have given when they talk about their experiences with racism on the platform? Continue reading

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Bloodbath (Harietta Lee #2) by Stephanie Ahn

Bloodbath Cover

I spent a lot of time reading Bloodbath (Harrietta Lee #2) and wondering how on earth Harry manages to make it from one day to the next. To be fair, I’m pretty sure that she has no idea how she’s managed to survive as long as she has either.

In case y’all somehow missed me talking her up, Stephanie Ahn is currently my favorite urban fantasy writer in the game.

Her first book, Deadline, left me stunned by how amazing it was. My introduction to Harry, a dashing and disgraced witch booted from her community after making a bad call and dabbling in some demonic magic that led to the death of her mentor, really changed the way that I flat out looked at the urban fantasy genre. Continue reading

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Stitch on The Shipping Podcast

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I had a blast talking about cannibalism and Hannigram with Shirasade! This was such a delightful experience and I loved every minute of it!

If you’ve ever wondered about one of my favorite fandoms (and one of my favorite ships) or how devoted I am to my #EatTheRich ideology… this is something you’re going to want to listen to.

If you want to listen to Shirasade and I talk about cannibalism, the value of Hannigram, and how much I REALLY like the ABO fanfic from this fandom well…

Have I got a podcast episode for you!

Major thanks to Shirasade for having me! It was brilliant!

LISTEN HERE

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Urban Fantasy 101: A Fast Guide to the Freaking Fae Folk

 

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I’ve been reading about the fae in urban fantasy ever since I first got my grubby little hands on Holly Black’s Tithe way back when and I think that the fae get a weird rap in urban fantasy series.

Like with the other predatory species, they exist in this weird in-between space where they’re generally oppressing someone but oppressed by others. Fae hold a complicated space in urban fantasy because you never really know when you’re going to get an innovative fae-filled fairytale retelling or something that poorly handles tough themes like imperialism, abusive relationships, and slavery.

But the fae are fascinating even when I don’t exactly love the way they’re being written in an urban fantasy book. Like some of the supernatural species I’ve written about before, they can often hide in plain sight as they navigate a world that actively harms them – literally considering that many fae physically can’t interact with man-made materials and the pollution of the human world can kill some of them – but that’s not the only fascinating thing about them. Continue reading

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The Great Big Anita Blake Reread: Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake #10)

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This cover s from the 2009 French edition of the novel Narcissus in Chains and is from Laurell K Hamilton’s website.

I’m still hoping the ardeur is temporary.

The last installment, I told y’all to make sure that you had alcohol ready because we were getting into the really stressful parts of the Anita Blake series. While it’s not as rough as I expected, it’s still something that drove me to crave a drink or two.

Narcissus in Chains is the tenth book in Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series and the start of what I view as the downward slide of the series’ trajectory.

Set some six months after Obsidian Butterfly, Anita has finally decided that she’s ready to restart things with Richard and Jean-Claude so that their power base isn’t left vulnerable. She makes this decision right around the time that a mysterious shapeshifter starts targeting the people in the various packs that she has sworn to protect. Which is great timing considering the power boost that they all get as a result of her return.

While the official blurb for the book makes it sound like a dark mystery and a battle for Anita’s very soul are bound up in the novel (“Nothing can save Anita from a twist of fate that draws her ever closer to the brink of humanity–to finally surrender to the bloodlust, the beast, and the desire transforming her body and consuming her soul.”), the actual book is… way more boring than you’d think. Continue reading

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