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We skipped March, so this Carnival, our ninth, incorporates some discussions from last month as well as this.

"What I heard about you, and what that meant for me" became the theme for the 9th PoC in Science-Fiction and Fantasy Carnival because I figured that even when the character (never mind the actor) isn't of my ethnicity or race, if they are nonwhite/of color*, they might be like me in truth apart from fiction. I hope it follows, then, that this carnival focuses on the relationships we all have with characters and actors that are like us as well as aliens and magical creatures in science-fiction and fantasy. I've included the visual and media arts because of the cultivated habits of strangers and foreigners (even those that count as family) to use us as symbols and tropes for the other-than-normal (i.e., magical, alien, mystical, diabolical, etc.).

ohinternets sees herself and other fans of color she has known in USA's Psych. In "Race Imbroglios: Still Never Funny, Even When About Comedies" she compares and contrasts enjoying a show's handling of race and ethnicity with enjoyment (or not) of its fandom's discussions of the same.

sci-fi com and tvsquad announced that David Eick would be writing a pilot for a tv show based upon PD James' Children of Men. As actor Clare Hope Ashitey's 'Kee' had been created for Alfonso Cuarón's film adaptation, perhaps it's not too much to hope that Eick will see fit to include one or more of us as main characters in the series as one of us cast some of us in the film.

In-depth discussions of sex and race in Whedon's Firefly/Serenity followed an imbroglio in a variety of places. A particularly lively discussion involving a post titled "FIREFLY FEMINIST WANK Oh Yeah!! :D" had humor and pithy critiques of several perspectives on the show. There were those of us who were more than thrilled with some of the characters being one of us whereas others wished for more from Firefly/Serenity and explained why. While looking for more of our perspectives of Serenity and Firefly, I stumbled upon a piece about the use of Punjabi and South Asian dress titled "Sari-nity" and another on yellow-peril in "Blade Runner and Dystopian Futures."

The treatment of race and ethnicity in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series also received critical attention by way of the vid Origin Stories by giandujakiss. Highlighting the role of slayers like us and their families, it argued that we were marginalized in those stories as individuals and as overlapping communities.

Sadly, AZN Television ceased broadcasting on April 9th. Beau Sia voices the network's farewell in this video.
"It was our appreciation of the Asian-American community and its depth and diversity and cultures that kept us going each day. AZN was clearly a step in the right direction we've paved the way for other media opportunities that we hope will continue to foster new talent and provide compelling programming for the Asian-American audience. With that said, we say goodbye and eagerly look forward to the growth, recognition and future of Asian America."


Also touching on ethnicity and race, but in bandom, mimesere wrote "how to disappear completely". Like ohinternets, among others, she's thrilled to see people who remind her of herself, and her experiences. Some fans who appear to have their heads on straight in regards to race and ethnicity add to the quality of discussion. mimesere also went on to explain some of her reservations with discussions regarding perceived race and ethnicity in fandoms in "on the subject of passing and "colorwashing"".

Discussions regarding writing-what-one-knows, ndnz in general, and the Quileute in particular, arose in the context of Stephanie Myer's Twilight books. minisinoo's thoughts on the Twilight books prompted madeleinemae to dig deep into the uses of Quileute characters and ndnness as well as her own ndnness. The back and forth between madeleinemae and minisinoo, and others, catalyzed the creation of twilight_ndnz. Several posts popped up in rapid discussion regarding Myer's ndnz and their ndnness, not the least of which was "Where do We See Ourselves?"

It used to be, and still is, that some strangers and foreigners insist on exotisizing us or using us as mere props in even collaborative narratives. For example, orientalism, like many isms, cuts several ways, sometimes being respectful and others by being disturbing. Georges Barbier, Paul Gauguin, Edmund Dulac, and Charles F. Goldie (among others) made many of us the subject of their pieces, but sometimes it was less about our humanity and inalienable worth and more about what was seen as our place in the world and as relevant to them. Lucy Marrero writes about this, modern art, and primitivism in "Using the Primitive to Inscribe the Modern: Brancusi and Modigliani" (word doc download). Modigliani, Barbier, Gauguin (and others) all addressed make-believe and truth in their art. Sometimes, though, they painted or sculpted less about us, and more about their biases, even when we served as the physical inspirations and representations.

When we inspire each other, though, some of us not only produce homages that draw parallels between our aesthetic values and principles not only in visual art (like Iona Rozeal Brown's ukiyo-e prints) but we also crank out comics and movies. Back in 2007, Deepak Chopra launched Virgin Comics. Publication involves celebrities in addition to colorists, pencillers, inkers, and writers. Akinseye Brown's love of comics combined with Afro-centrism and led him to create Sokoya Comics, Sannkofamaan, many related images and a how-to book on drawing some of us. More recently, penciller Alitha Martinez' Yume and Ever and triple-threat diva Arigon Starr's Super Indian comics debuted.

In terms of movies and other moving images, in March, Benson Lee's documentary on b-boying, Planet B-Boy, dropped. (His interview with Angry Asian Man is here). Capoeira, the martial art that inspired the original b-boys, is the theme for several video games. Capoeira Fighter 2 and Capoeira Fighter 3 are available online. Come October, Grafitti Entertainment's Martial Arts Capoeira for Wii enters the stores. Last but not least, a super-cute web cartoon featuring some of us can be found at Adopted by Aliens.

Strictly text, but no less creative, stories about us (and new stories about stories about us) came to my attention. Some were fresh: others, were way old. I'd known that we'd been showing up in science-fiction from nearly when it'd first been invented because of Captain Nemo in Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (full-text). (If indeed France was first to publish science-fiction, Nemo is probably the first of us to appear as a major character in the genre). Revealed as the Hindu son of the Rajah of Bundelkund in Verne's Mysterious Island (the sequel to 20,000 Leagues), Nemo fought imperialism, despised the British Raj, and was a man of science and extensive learning.

While putting this carnival together, I learned that science-fiction dates back to at least the 1880's. In the works and life of at least one Bangladeshi writer, the intersection of women's rights, independence from colonizers, and technology deeply mattered. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain's "Sultana's Dream" (full-text), had first been published in 1905. According to this bio, Hossain wrote the story to explore the idea of a civilization where women lived free of the restrictions of purdah. Even though Nemo was painted as something of an anti-hero partially because of his disdain for colonizers and Begum Hossain was viewed as a trouble-maker by some of her own even though she wore hijab, I found it satisfying that what might be the first piece of feminist science fiction, was written by a woman who was as committed to women's rights as she was to freedom from colonizers. When I consider Captain Nemo's dislike of imperialism and the British Raj in particular, and Begum Hossain's attitudes, I'm delighted by the similarities.

More recently, it came to my attention that Samit Basu has wrapped up his GameWorld trilogy. In addition to this, Basu's embarked on an Indian sci-fi project where he collates links and pieces on the topic. Through that, I stumbled upon a review of Ruchir Joshi's The Last Jet Engine Laugh where India's best fighter pilot against the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia forces is a woman. I also learned that just last month, Charles R Saunders' long-anticipated Doussaye finally became available for purchase.

Cassie Edwards, a writer of unexpectedly fictional fiction, inadvertently 'created' a punchline that doesn't seem to get old. In its latest incarnation, it's shown up in a series of icons. I view that as an example of how a lie about us can be flipped to reveal a truth.

What have I to show for putting together this carnival? I think that unlike facts, symbols are not all created equal. But as for us, who are often reduced to symbols and accessories in stories that are nominally about us, we are here and relevant. We've always been here. Having our say, and being seen and heard by those who have the ears, and wit, to hear and see it: not only in make-believe but in truth.

In conclusion, I'd like to thank those of us who love science-fiction, fantasy, art and themselves. I must give thanks to Willow (creator of this carnival), deadbrowalking, torchbearers, and everyone else who has contributed to this carnival and the carnivals before it.

Please consider volunteering to host a carnival.

*As in the PoC in SF Carnival #8, poc and nonwhite are used interchangeably. The phrases People/Fen of Color are not universally used terms. Fans living in/originating from Africa, the Caribbean, North, Central, Latin and South America, Asia, South Asia, Southeast, and Oceania (among other places), are invited to honor themselves according to their histories and cultures by defining themselves according to those realities and letting us know how they choose to be named in our conversations about ourselves and each other.

Comments

( 69 comments — Leave a comment )
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silverthorne
May. 1st, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC)
...that whole Firefly post/conversation still has me going 'WTF'?

I do like the one repsonse you got though, even though I still think the person who answered you was looking a bit too firmly through the feminist lense (and I didn't like the 'all anti-feminists say that...' angle she kept coming up with in her responses in order to discount opposing opinions. I mean, whut? Some people are neither feminist nor anti-feminist (and wouldn't care), and would have still held the same opinions...

In other words, take the cause lenses off to avoid so much generalization. :P

(Also, if this is...off...it's because I didn't have coffee).

PS: I was trying to be good and survive a night away from the computer, so I didn't get your poke until this morning. My apologies. :/ I can be on IM when I get home this afternoon if you want.
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
...that whole Firefly post/conversation still has me going 'WTF'?

It was intense.

I still think the person who answered you was looking a bit too firmly through the feminist lense

Hmm. I thought her response good. Solid even, I mean, I finally got the point in a way that settled my 'how can you possibly think that way' niggles.

I can be on IM when I get home this afternoon if you want.

That's cool. :)

See you tonight?

Edited at 2008-05-01 12:46 pm (UTC)
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maerhys
May. 1st, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Excellent Carnival, I am looking forward to reading all of it.
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
Cool!
sugargroupie
May. 1st, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
Great job with the carnival! I'll be linking to this on my journal.
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you like it!
bossymarmalade
May. 1st, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you for including so many desi links in there! I generally don't see many discussions of race that include people of South Asian descent, so this is lovely. *g*
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. :)

Once I found out that Bangla sci-fi went back like 130 years, I had to include it. :) Especially since I'm inclined to think that "real" feminists aren't necessarily western women who don't consciously invest in eradicating ethnic and class disparities while insisting that they are feminists.
(Deleted comment)
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome. :)
chreebomb
May. 1st, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
Wow, excellent job! :)
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for making it possible!
saltypepper
May. 1st, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
This is fantastic. I'm going to be clicking and reading all day long.

Thanks particularly for the Sultana's dream link.
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you like it. :)

I'd love to know what you make of Hossain's story.
(Deleted comment)
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
:D Thank you!

You have 10, right?
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abydosangel
May. 1st, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
This is great. Thank you and I can't wait to get through reading all of these.
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you're digging it. :D
stretch
May. 1st, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
I thoroughly enjoyed the piece on the Quileute portrayals in Twilight - it was insightful to look at things from a NDN perspective. I equally thoroughly disliked the Firefly/Joss Whedon piece, mostly because it was a piece and not an effective study - it was too generalized and biased for my tastes, and I disliked the assumptions the author made regarding real people she had never met. Wonderful compilation of pieces!
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you for commenting! I'm glad you found some of the posts stimulating. :)
la_vie_noire
May. 1st, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
From deadbrowalking
Thank you so much for this, and all those links! *_*

Awesome job.
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Hiya! Welcome to my lj!

Thank you so much for this, and all those links!

You're very welcome!


Awesome job.


Thank you!
coniraya
May. 1st, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
w00t! Awesomely fantastic!
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D

Glad you dig.
cryptoxin
May. 1st, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this excellent carnival -- the parts about Bengali science fiction were especially fascinating.
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
You are *most* welcome. It was my pleasure to compile this. Thank you for reading and commenting. :D
shadowfae
May. 1st, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
This is fantastic! So many insightful links and discussions! Thank you so much for hosting, and thank you to the people who contributed :D
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
THANK YOU!

I lucked out, dude. I had so many links that did not make it into this. :D It was my pleasure to host and you're lovely anyhow.
(Deleted comment)
skywardprodigal
May. 1st, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
I only posted about it this morning! :)

And also...Tamara Pierce and 'you ARE a feminist' stuff?
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