[Guest Post] Period Drama Karens

Hello Stitch’s Media Mix readers! My name is Amanda-Rae Prescott (she/her/hers) and I’m a Black and multiracial fan of  period dramas, Doctor Who and other UK TV from New York City.


Racism in period drama fandoms can take many forms, but one form that’s very easy to spot are complaints from racists after new productions announce Black actors in traditionally white fictional character roles. Due to the success of Hamilton, Bridgerton, and other diverse-casted series, more production companies in the UK are adapting racebent or color-conscious casting. (Many of these series still have white writers and/or few Black people or other POC behind the camera, however, the UK entertainment industry is much further behind the US on this conversation for structural and population reasons.).

It’s easy for Black fans to miss these discussions online because these fandoms, with a few exceptions for mainstream fame, are outside traditional geek/nerd/fandom culture. There’s also an age gap to consider.

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  The Reanimator Down The Street

Content Warning: This story deals with the historical death of a child and imagines a supernatural take on the events afterwards.


 

The Reanimator Down The Street

My dearest Thomas, my baby is dead—will you come to see me as soon as you can. I wish to see you—It was perfectly well when I went to bed—I awoke in the night to give it suck it appeared to be sleeping so quietly that I would not awake it. It was dead then, but we did not find that out till morning—Will you come to my aid now—you are so calm a creature & my Poet is of no use for what I must now do—for now I am no longer a mother but I have heard tale of a man that may be able to provide a solution – I dare not ask my Poet to come where I must go.

When Thomas arrives to be at Mary’s side, the little house that his friend shares with her Sister and her Poet is cold and empty aside for the woman herself who greets him at the door with a wan smile and a brisk handshake before ushering him inside.

“What of –”

Mary shakes her head, cutting him off before he can say her Poet’s name. “He has taken my Sister out for a walk,” she says, the words slipping out around a sneer that twists her mouth. “A walk! They go for a walk to escape this tomblike home while I sit here, consumed by fear over a plan that may not work.”

Thomas startles, gaze flicking around the room as if he expects to see the shrouded body of his friend’s infant somewhere in the main room. He sees nothing out of the ordinary and so, squaring his shoulders before asking, “Where is the infant?”

“In the nursery upstairs,” Mary says, the twist to her mouth taking on a sharper note. “Where else would I leave her?”

Mary turns on her heel, walking towards the stairs without another look back at Thomas. At the foot of the stairs, she pauses before speaking. “I will bring her down in a moment. Please, make yourself comfortable.”

How Thomas is supposed to make himself comfortable while waiting for his friend to return with the cold body of her infant daughter, he does not know. He mumbles something that must sound like acquiescence to Mary’s words and drifts into the crumbling room that must serve as her new family’s sitting room.

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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.

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[Book Review] That Potent Alchemy by Tess Bowery

that-potent-alchemy-coverTitle: That Potent Alchemy
Author: Tess Bowery (Twitter)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Genre/Category:  Historical Romance, Regency, Erotic, Queer, Entertainment,
Release Date: October 4, 2016

Publisher: Seamchecker Ent.

Order Here: AMAZON (KINDLE) | BARNES AND NOBLE

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


That Potent Alchemy, the third book in Tess Bowery’s “Treading the Boards” series blows all of the historical romances I’ve been reading clear out of the water. One of my frequent complaints about diversity in publishing is that it’s very difficult to find authors who write characters I can relate to because they’re like me. Because they’re queer and brown and gender-whatever like me.

And That Potent Alchemy gave me that sense of belonging, that “I could be here” feeling that I rarely find in the historical romances I read.

In Tess Bowery’s England, there’s room for queer women and genderfluid people to be.Read More »

To Market, To Market

Market Square

— To market, to market, to buy a plum bun/ Home again, home again, market is done.

Maren walks two steps behind the governor’s wife on their way through the market near Fort Christensen, standing near enough to hear the older woman call her name, but not so near that anyone would assume them to be closer than they were. While she may only have been working for the new governor’s wife for a scattered handful of months, she already feels as if she understands the other woman.

When Regine pauses in front of a stall selling vegetables and fruits from local, small farms that used to be part of bigger plantations, Maren stops at her right elbow, head tilted as she raises the basket holding the woman’s coin purse in case there’s something there that the woman wants to purchase.  Read More »

Don’t know from nothing – Original Fiction

Originally posted on Tumblr on September 28, 2013.


After closing, Naeem’s bodyguard Malachi arrives at the café to deliver plenty of harsh words for Josie along with her clothes for the evening. Later, Josie gets the rug pulled from underneath her feet when Naeem introduces her to someone that truly shouldn’t exist.

Ricky’s closes at half past six.

By the time that Josie finishes stacking chairs and sweeping the floors, the sky outside is dark and everyone else has gone home except for Ricky himself who lives upstairs in a heavily warded apartment.Read More »

What’s eating you? – Original Fiction

Original posted September 12, 2013 on Tumblr in response to the announcement of the Fantastic Beast film adaptation. Further story notes here.


Josie is a witch and a waitress and usually, she’s damn good at being both. On what’s shaping up to be a very bad day for her, someone from Josie’s past walks into the cafe and makes everything that much harder to deal with.

No matter how many times she gets the same lecture from her boss and her cousins every day, Josie just can’t keep from fiddling with her wand even when she’s surrounded by folks that aren’t magically inclined.

Stroking thin brown fingers over the wand holster currently hidden underneath one of the cinched sleeves of her plain blue dress, Josie focuses on the powerful hum of magic that surges up just out of reach instead of on the mundane folks that think that the small cafe is just an out of the way place for tourists and slumming socialites to try the local grub.

None of them would ever believe that they were sitting in one of the few gateways to New York City’s magical underworld.

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“Period Typical Racism” – One kind of historical accuracy in fiction that I wish would go away

Want to throw me out of a story in no time flat?

Include “Period Typical Racism” in a book written after 1989.

(Seriously, I read one Miss Fisher book because it was recommended as a “feminist James Bond” and honestly, I’d’ve preferred to read Fleming’s James Bond books because at least I can go into them knowing that the guy was a racist misogynist.)

The thing about looking at and reinventing older genres like Noir and Gothic fiction, is that you have a duty to reinvent, not rely, on harmful tropes. It’s your job as a writer writing in the twenty-first century to take our century into context. It’s your job to look at what was written years ago and go “no, I won’t do that”.

It’s your job to be better than the writers who were working in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.Read More »

[Book Review] Romancing the Duke: Castles Ever After by Tessa Dare

romancing the dukeBook Rating: (Highly) Recommended

Despite following Tessa Dare on twitter for weeks now, Romancing the Duke is the first one of her books that I’ve ever read. Don’t worry, I’m thoroughly kicking myself for waiting so long to read her work.

In some ways, Romancing the Duke is a standard Regency romance because it has the scenery and politics common to the genre.

I do think that the book veers away from the Regency standard because of the characters that Dare has created and how they interact with their world. Even though I’m not always the biggest fan of historical fiction set in Europe (because they tend to lack non-servile characters of color), I was charmed to pieces by this book because of how the characters interacted and how weirdly relatable the heroine’s thought process was.Read More »