Whose Voice Is It, Anyway?

men describe women chart

Found at Electric Lit online magazine (click on the image to see a larger version)

The chart posted above was acquired from the article If You’re Not Sure How a Male Author Would Describe You, Use Our Handy Chart over at the Electric Lit online magazine. As I understand it, the chart was created as a gag, and I found it pretty funny. In fact, I toyed with the idea of writing a story using the chart just as a joke.

Then it took on a life of its own on twitter, as reported at the same magazine, in an essay titled ‘Describe Yourself Like a Male Author Would’ Is the Most Savage Twitter Thread in Ages.

Apparently a male author claimed he could write authentic female characters, and was immediately challenged by Gwen C. Katz (@gwenckatz). A combination of hilarity, hostility, and moral angst ensued. I should say that after writing most of this missive, I noticed these articles were written last April, but they’ve showed up in my gmail inbox from Medium in the last couple of days. Wonder what the message is?

I decided to write about this because I’ve gotten a hold of a review copy of the To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity anthology edited by Sirius Métier and published by Superversive Press. It was published digitally about two weeks ago (as I write this) and seems to be doing pretty well, both relative to its Amazon reviews (five so far, and all five star ratings) and in terms of sales.

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What’s Wrong with Putting Religion in Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories?

parallel universes

Found at numerous publications including TrendInTech.com – Not image credit available

I just finished reading a blog post called Of Permanent Things, Part II written by my friend and Holocaust educator Dan Hennessy. It reminded me of the importance of including religious and spiritual themes in fiction writing, including science (speculative) fiction and fantasy.

I’m in the process of producing first drafts of two novels. The first is about five children mysteriously transported into a fantasy world of dragons, demons, and elves having to undergo a heroic journey and facing danger and adventure at every turn. The second is about a fifteen-year-old African-American girl taking up her recently deceased Grandpa’s journey into a Steampunk world in order to help a younger version of her Grandpa stop a corrupt tycoon from destroying both of their universes.

While I don’t make it explicit in the fantasy novel, the five Davidson children are Jewish. No, they’re not observant, and aside from the occasional mention of praying (usually when the situation is very grim), I have, at best, cast them in the role of Reform Jews. Why I’ve made them Jewish as opposed to generic “white kids” will become apparent only in the latter portion of the third novel where their journey will be finally resolved.

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What Kind of Hero

superhero

Generic superhero costume found at Amazon.com

“I really want to thank you for coming here today, Mr. Fellows. You don’t know what it means to the children to have their favorite superhero visit them and sign autographs.”

Actor Steven Fellows played comic book superhero “The Guardian Angel” in three solo movies plus two “team-up” films and had been a household name in America for nearly a decade. Off screen, he was known for his charity, especially toward children’s hospitals.

“You don’t have to thank me, Dr. Richards. I love being able to entertain the kids.”

The costume wasn’t comfortable and in fact, it was really awkward, but Fellows showed no signs of fatigue or regret as he greeted each child in the pediatric oncology floor with a smile and a hug. He’d been there for over two hours and all of the kids were absolutely thrilled.

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I’m Leaving You For 1966, Dear

colbert

© Provided by Variety

“Where are you going, NaCumbea?”

Martin Fields watched the woman he had fallen in love with put on her skin-tight temporal transfer suit. Both of them were reluctant time travelers, recruited by extra-dimensional beings for the purpose of correcting time anomalies in their little corner of time-space.

She’d gone through hell and was just now beginning to come to terms with her new life. First of all she had died at the age of fourteen, but that was over 700 years ago. She was resurrected by “them” as one of their time travelers, but a rogue “them” named Vanir had captured and tortured her in an other-worldly realm for centuries.

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