My latest “Looking Back on Genre History” is up on StarShipSofa, and it’s an update on Native American Science Fiction/Indigenous Futurism. Listen for free here!
(The earlier segment I did introducing this topic in 2011 is here.)
Here are some of the links I mention in my new segment.
Apex Magazine’s “Celebration of Indigenous American Fantasists”
Strange Horizon’s Roundtable on Indigenous Futurism
Extrapolation’s Issue on Indigenous Futurism
ALL OF THIS ISSUE’S CONTENT IS NOW UNLOCKED AND FREE TO READERS!
As guest editor, I am beyond thrilled to share this issue with readers. This project has been a year in the making! The amazing works assembled here represent Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Mushkegowuk Cree, Karuk, and Ojibwe Nakawē perspectives. The stories are outstanding! Please check out issue 99 and its related podcast here.
Happy birthday to Emily Brontë (30 July, 1818 – 19 December, 1848)!
“Heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.”
- Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights (1847)
I’m looking forward to being a literary/scholarly guest this weekend at ConGregate 4/DeepSouthCon 55!
I’ll be on several panels and wearing my moderator hat. Here is my schedule.
JULY 14 • FRIDAY
5:00pm – 5:50pm: Writing in Multiple Tie-In Universes
Moderator: Amy H. Sturgis
Guests: Alexandra Christian, Barbara Hambly, Melissa McArthur, Richard C.
Our panelists have written official novels for Star Wars, Star Trek, and Beauty and the Beast, as well as Sherlock Holmes pastiches. Given that they also write a lot of other fiction, the panelists discuss the differences between writing original fiction and writing for pre-existing franchises/worlds.
6:00pm – 6:50pm: Writing Sherlock Holmes and Other Icons
Moderator: Amy H. Sturgis
Guests: Nicole Givens Kurtz, Misty Massey, Melissa McArthur, J. Matthew Saunders
Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Superheroes… What are the challenges with writing these iconic characters? And if you change them, how do you make sure to capture their essence? When writing an iconic character, how do you determine what makes them iconic? Is it Sherlock Holmes being a detective, or Bond working for MI-6? What happens if Holmes is a demon, or Bond is set in a fantasy world?
JULY 15 • SATURDAY
9:30am – 10:20am: Mixing Historical Research with Genre Fiction
Moderator: Amy H. Sturgis
Guests: Barbara Hambly, Kim Headlee, Tally Johnson, Linda Robertson
Given that historical fiction itself is a demanding genre requiring a lot of effort if one wants to do it right, our panelists discuss the challenges they’ve faced and choices they’ve made in blending historical work with the fantasy and mystery genres.
1:00pm – 1:50pm: Writing from Different Perspectives
Moderator: Amy H. Sturgis
Guests: Samantha Dunaway Bryant, Barbara Hambly, Larry N. Martin, Michael G. Williams
Authors often try to write about protagonists who are different from themselves. Our panelists discuss why they feel it is important to capture these characters’ perspectives; the challenges faced in trying to be authentic, respectful, and sensitive in their portrayal; and what they think about current debates and controversies about the importance of diversity, authenticity, and representation in fiction.
“A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice. The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness. Store it with ideas, teach it the pleasure of thinking; and the temptations of the world without, will be counteracted by the gratifications derived from the world within.”
― Ann Radcliffe, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)
EP581: That Game We Played During the War: Escape Pod
Irrational and blind,
Or fear looms,
Defiant and closed.
― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents (1998)
I can’t believe it’s been forty years.
On June 13, 1977, a terrible crime rocked the world that I knew. Three young Girl Scouts from my hometown area were found murdered outside of their tent at the Girl Scout property Camp Scott near Locust Grove, Oklahoma.
It hit very close to home for me not only geographically, but for a variety of reasons, and it continues to be an unsolved case and an unhealed wound in my home state. I didn’t want to let this anniversary pass without observing it.
I didn’t want today to go by without saying the names of these beloved girls:
Lori Lee Farmer (age 8), Doris Denise Milner (age 10), and Michelle Heather Guse (age 9).
The case was complicated by racial/ethnic tensions, because the victims were white and black, and the only official suspect, Gene Leroy Hart, was Cherokee. After a complicated and dramatic manhunt, Hart was tried but eventually found innocent. (Recent DNA tests proved inconclusive.) Since then, the case has remained unsolved, the fodder for local legends, suggestions of bizarre occult and ritual connections, and various conspiracy theories. The Girl Scout camp remains closed to this day.
For more information:* The Tulsa World just published a six-part series on the murders here: “40 years ago, the murders of three Girl Scouts in Oklahoma stunned the nation, created shockwaves still being felt.”
There’s also an audio version here.* Episode 169 of the Generation Why Podcast offers a thoughtful and detailed discussion of the murders and the subsequent investigation.
* The most famous book on the case remains Someone Cry for the Children: The Unsolved Girl Scout Murders of Oklahoma and the Case of Gene Leroy Hart by Michael and Dick Wilkerson.
* Photos of the abandoned site are posted here at AbandonedOK.
* The long-rumored movie supposedly designed to name an alternative murder suspect, Candles, is currently listed at IMDB as filming for 2017 release, but I remain skeptical that it will happen. It’s been listed as in pre-production/production for six years now, and each year the release date is updated.
I just finished watching the 2015 documentary Mifune: The Last Samurai by Oscar-winning director Steven Okazaki (streaming on Netflix). It’s very, very much worth watching. Two thumbs up.
I’m a fan of both Toshiro Mifune’s and Akira Kurosawa’s – I’ve just pulled Throne of Blood, Sanjuro, and Yojimbo from my DVD collection for rewatching – and I got a lot out of this film. But even if you’re unfamiliar with this incomparable, iconic actor, I’d recommend the documentary. It’s very accessible, and it provides great context. Without Mifune, there would have been no Magnificent Seven, no Clint Eastwood as a Man with No Name, no Star Wars.
As you may know, Mifune was George Lucas’s first choice to portray Obi-Wan Kenobi. As much as I dearly love Alec Guinness, I still ask myself, “What if?”
I’ve been thinking about indie documentaries related to Star Wars – that is, documentaries above and beyond those “making of” and “behind the scenes” documentaries available with various versions of the DVDs, my favorite of which is Empire of Dreams from 2004, or channel-specific televised specials, such as ESPN's Star Wars: Evolution of a Lightsaber Duel from 2015, which my students love – that I find enjoyable/useful.
Here are the ones that come to mind:
* Looking for Leia (in production, Kickstarter in progress)
* Elstree 1979 (in production)
* Elstree 1976 (2015)
* I Am Your Father (2015)
* The People vs. George Lucas (2010)
* A Galaxy Far, Far Away (2001)
Any recommendations for others? Thanks!