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Best of Fantasy 2008: Articles and Interviews

Last week we revealed our favorite columns of 2008, but there was a lot more non-fiction on offer. Interviews, articles, and more. Here are our favorites.">"The Chosen One" vs. The One Who Chooses by Naamen Gobert Tilahun -- I particularly liked this piece because it highlights an all-too-common trope and then presents an example of a different, and mostly superior approach.">Female, Muslim, and Mutant by Jehanzeb -- The first in our series of posts about Muslim characters in comics explores the character of Dust from the X-Men comics and the ways in which she breaks ground yet illustrates how far the writers and comic publishers still have to go.">A Conversation With Guy Gavriel Kay by Alaya Dawn Johnson -- When two great fantasy writers sit down and have a conversation about myth, history, metaverses and Dorothy Dunnett, it has to be good.">David Anthony Durham - Epic Proportions by K. Tempest Bradford -- David wrote one of the best debut fantasy books I've read in a long time, and I was really interested in exploring some of the aspects of race and gender the text brought up.">Justine Larbalestier & Ekaterina Sedia in the Fantasy Salon -- I got these two authors together because I wanted them to talk about different ways of feeling Othered as non-Americans writing for American audiences. What I got was so much more.

What were your favorites?


Best of Fantasy 2008: Columns

2008 was a year of major changes for Fantasy Magazine online.  We did a major site overhaul in June, not just to our look but also to our non-fiction department.  Readers were treated to many more columns by some amazing guests and beloved regulars.  Here are some of my favorites from last year.  What are yours?">No Objectivity: Dark Kingdom by Genevieve Valentine -- Genevieve is a reader favorite, so picking from amongst her many awesome columns was hard.  I have a fondness for this one, though, because it took me quite a long time to code it.  It was worth those hours to bring her vision of an amazing deconstruction of a completely ridiculous movie to life.">No Objectivity: AZTEC REX by Genevieve Valentine -- And of course who can forget the Rex?  (No one, obviously, as at least three people land on this page every day from Googling the title of this awful movie.)">Unbreakable Habits: The Lonely God is a Jerk by K. Tempest Bradford -- Included because he's still totally a jerk and I called it.">Guest Column: Saaaay… Why AREN'T there brown elves? by N K Jemisin -- This column is just one facet of a very important and very interesting conversation that happens around the SF-sphere all the time.">The Jeremiads: Twenty Things I Learned From Bad 80s Genre Films by Jeremy Tolbert -- Who doesn't love a bad 80s genre film?  We all do.">Guttersnipe: Girls Do Play D&D by Karen Healey -- Yep, we do!">Guest Column: Five Thoughts On The Popularity Of Steampunk by Stephen H. Segal -- This column broke traffic records, so everyone behind the scenes loves it for that.  But the reason it got so much attention is due to the brilliance of Mr. Segal and his elegant way with words.  When one hits the nail on the head, one will be praised for it.">Randym Thoughts: Punk'd by Randy Henderson - Randy always delivers a funny, insightful column.  For our steampunk week, he went all out.">Crossing Lines: Deconstructing Black Superheroes by Naamen Gobert Tilahun -- Naamen rightly took BlackVoices to task for their pathetic list of black superheroes.">Gamer+Girl: How to Get Your Girlfriend into Gaming by Robyn Fleming -- 1. Consider dating someone who is already a gamer -- FTW!">Why the Twilight Series Bugs Me by Cat Rambo -- Because it bugs us all.  Also because the comments never stop and are an endless source of amusement.">Top 12 Latin Superheroes by Ben Francisco -- I particularly liked this one because I had no clue some of these superheroes were Latino or that some of them even existed.  And we all know how I love to learn new things.


Dollhouse Season 2, Episode 1

Indeed, the drama within the Dollhouse is tense and smart and uncomfortable, finally touching seriously on ugly issues like the traumas and personhood of the imprints. Which makes it all the more frustrating that the "A" plot is so damned stupid and problematic. When Ballard expresses discomfort over Echo's sleeping with Apollo in the course of the mission, Echo counters that sex is fun, particularly with Apollo. Really, show? Really?


2009 Fall TV Preview: Fantasy and Science Fiction Shows

Flash Forward is poised to be the fall season’s big debut show. Based on Robert J. Sawyer’s bestselling novel, the premise is that for two minutes and seventeen seconds every person on Earth will black out and have a vision of their future six months from now. What does such a vision mean?


Clarion West Write-a-thon Begins!

"We think that writers writing to raise money for Clarion West makes more sense than writers running a half-marathon to raise money for Clarion West," says Development Director Kate Schaefer.


Ain’t I A Woman? Tiptree Winner Nisi Shawl

Eileen: Of course, I also want you to talk about your tiptop Tiptree-tipping short-story collection from Aqueduct Press. How did that come about?

Nisi: Timmi Duchamp, who is the editor at Aqueduct, approached me about doing a collection of my short stories. It was her idea. I mean -- of course I had wanted to put a book together for a long time. I had a whole list I wrote down of titles for this imaginary collection. But the book wouldn’t exist without her impetus.

She asked me to send her all my stories, and I took her at her word. I sent the first story I’d ever sold, “I Was a Teen Age Genetic Engineer,” and several others simply not suitable for publication. She picked fourteen of the twenty-eight I offered her. When people ask me if there’s an underlying theme to Filter House, I want to tell them: “Stuff Timmi liked.” Of course there’s more to it than that. When I told her about the Tiptree she said, “I knew the stories needed to be in a book for people to see what you were doing with them. And I was right.”

You know how when a cat leaps down from a table top or window ledge and lands not quite as gracefully as one might expect, they give you this look as if to say, “I meant to do that!” I have felt much like that cat for some time now. I have been criticized, for instance, for calling my genetically engineered human workers “maggies” in the story of the same title, because the double gee made their name a cognate for the “n word.” Well, duh!

Eileen: You didn’t mean to do that?

Nisi: Oh, yes I did! I mean to do a lot of what I do. Most of it. Trust me.

Eileen: Well, whether you did or not, I think you should be allowed to take full credit for your subconscious. Every writer should. Sometimes it’s best not to examine too closely where your backbrain is taking you, at least until after you’ve gotten there. A writer has to exert control at some point, of course. When I get to the end of the line, I usually leap out and see if I’ve arrived anywhere I want to be. Sometimes I haven’t, but I can see where I want to get to better than I could before I set out.

Author Spotlights

Spotlight: January Authors D. Elizabeth Wasden, Darren Speegle & Chantel Tattoli

A few months ago in an editorial, I asked">why we don't often see as many comments on our fiction as we do on our non-fiction. The answers, opinions, and suggestions our readers offered were very illuminating and much appreciated. Since that time we've seen a rise in comments on fiction (which makes us very happy!) and we're working on other ways to engage readers. One experiment we're trying is to collect Author Spotlights together once a month or possibly every other week. Though fiction that appears in each month is not necessarily related, I do feel that the pieces and their authors are in conversation -- with you, the reader, and with each other, if only by accident of placement. These spotlights are a continuation of that conversation -- I hope readers enjoy them and are moved to ask questions, make connections, and think about the stories in different ways.


Top 10 Literary Steampunk Works

Halloween is on the horizon, and we know the steampunk set will be out in full force with the goggles or monocles or corsets or lace. Though Jeff Vandermeer helpfully pointed out to us that">the steampunk subculture arose independent of literature, we still think that the heart and soul of the gears, steam and magic is found within the pages of books. To that end, Fantasy staffers Nicole D. Leffel and Samantha Chapman solicited the opinion of several steampunk aficionados on what books and stories fans of the genre should read. Our thanks to Jeff Vandermeer,">Jay Lake,">Keith Thompson, and">Evelyn Kriete for helping us out.

10. The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia (kfantasy9?product=9780809572847">IndieBound |">Alibris | katerina-Sedia/dp/0809572842/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1225068526&sr=8-1">Amazon)

7. The Scar by China Mieville (kfantasy9?product=9780345460011">IndieBound |">Alibris | ks&qid=1225069116&sr=8-1">Amazon)

5. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman (kfantasy9?product=9780375838309">IndieBound |">Alibris | ks&qid=1225070042&sr=8-5">Amazon)

3. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore (kfantasy9?product=9781563898587">IndieBound |">Alibris | ks&qid=1225070338&sr=1-1">Amazon)


Unbreakable Habits: The Lonely God is a Jerk

This year at WisCon, the feminist science fiction convention, I was on a panel called Martha Jones: Made of Awesome or Disappointing Stereotype? I had hoped we would explore the different fan reactions to the way the writers handled Martha's character, story arcs, and race. The panel didn't turn out as I expected, but something Chris Hill said sparked a thought. He mentioned feeling that the Doctor's character was uneven--sometimes he's incredibly cruel and judgmental and other times he's compassionate and reluctant to do harm. My response was that I didn't see this as unevenness, I saw it as purposeful part of his character. I truly feel, particularly after the events of Season 4, that the writers want us to think that the Doctor is a complicated and deeply flawed person. He is, to be blunt, a jerk...

Blog for a ...

Blog For A Beer – Superheroes and Property Damage

Over the past few days I've been watching the first and second season DVDs of Justice League Unlimited. In almost every episode there's a major battle between superheroes and villains that results in major property damage. Not just, oh, we broke a wall, but, that building exploded when it crashed down into the other one. These battles rarely take place in out of the way locations--generally it's a major urban center by all the tall buildings. Judging by how quickly Lois Lane gets to the heart of the fighting, I'd say many times Metropolis takes a major beating, even when it's not stated. And yet no one comments on this. Sure, the heroes save the day and all, but they destroy the city in the process. What's the point in saving us all from the dastardly deeds of the bad guy if there's no home to go to? Insurance rates must be ridiculous. The mob bosses running construction must be billionaires, because just one episode later all the buildings are back in place and people return...