Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Past Issues

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Batya Weinbaum gives an overview of the journal and announces numerous achievements and future projects at FemSpec. The winners of the first 'Five Year Contest' are revealed; a new section begins called 'Ethnography Through Your Soul' which combines personal narrative with current research; a forthcoming feature called 'This Should Have Been Printed In Femspec' is presented; and a memorial section begins by commemorating Tillie Olsen and Monique Wittig.

BRUCE E. DRUSHEL: Pandora's Box in Cyberspace: The On-line Alternative Fan Sites of Hercules: The Legendary Journey.
Drushel looks at the North American television show, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. It provides a background to the show and to the community of fans who express their admiration by writing their own stories based on the series. Bruce Drushel investigates various websites where fans write fiction, and makes a detailed inquiry of some of the homoerotic or 'slash' writing.

ROMAYNE SMITH FULLERTON: Not 'Of Woman Born': Fairy Tale Mothers for Postmodern Literary Children.
Fullerton examines the subversive potential of re-casting fairy tale stereotypes into postmodern fiction, focusing on the writers Angela Carter, Jenny Diski and Jeanette Winterson. Romayne Smith Fullerton writes about how these authors have adapted and borrowed from the monstrous and imaginative characters of classic tales. Her argument suggests that by tinkering with these stereotypes, the writers in her study have discovered ways to limit the unhappy realities of patriarchy in their fiction. This is done by challenging and sidestepping the problems of the feminine in fairy tales.

MARY KIRK. Vision of the Possible: Models for Women's Heroic Journey Applied to Madrone's Path in The Fifth Sacred Thing.
Kirk applies a series of feminist interpretations to the myth of the hero. By pointing out the somewhat misogynist, mono-myth of the male hero as laid out in the work of Joseph Campbell, Mary Kirk explores other models of heroism created by feminist scholars such as Susan Lichtman, Carol Pearson, and Katherine Pope. Mary Kirk then tests out these models by applying them to a self-actualized character who lives in a feminist utopia: Madrone in Starhawk's first novel, The Fifth Sacred Thing.

C. S'THEMBILE WEST. The Competing Demands of Community Survival and Self-Preservation in Octavia Butler's Kindred.
West demonstrates that Octavia Butler's novel Kindred is both instructive and challenging because it forces the reader to re-imagine the complicated decisions made by Black women during chattel enslavement. C S'Thembile West outlines the complexity of Black women's lives and emphasizes the connections between the practice of chattel slavery, US economic viability and contemporary social problems.

GLORIA ORENSTEIN. When the Imaginary Becomes Real, as Surrealism Said It Would: 'All the Rest Is Litterature'.
Gloria Orenstein writes about her journey to Lapland and initiation by a Sami shaman. She tries to assimilate these strange experiences into her belief system using the surrealist conviction that acts of the imagination can begin to manifest themselves into reality. Her spiritual journey gives her a greater tolerance and respect for her own religious background and those of her students.

ELLA JO STREET. The Origin of Tarot.
A series of chance encounters leads Ella Jo Street on a journey to Bishnupur in North East India, searching out the origins of the Tarot Pack. There she meets Mr. Fouzdar, the only person in the world who is currently painting Dasabatar cards. These large circular cards, originating from the 14th Century bare remarkable similarities to Tarot Cards and lead Ella Jo Street to wonder about the historical and linguistic links between the packs.


MONICA DE NEYMET DE GIACOMAN: Living Hours (excerpt)
With an introduction by Batya Weinbaum , FemSpec presents a translated excerpt from M'nica de Neymet de Giacoman's first novel Las Horas Vivas.

KATHLEEN McCONNELL: The Inevitable Feminist Treatise on Catwoman (excerpt)
A comic poem outlining preparations for a text on the much maligned film Catwoman, with references to many other television and cinema heroines.

AIDAN THOMPSON: Maple Tree (excerpt from Crossings)
A short text takes the reader from Oberlin Lane to Calcutta, by way of Georgia O'Keeffe, Paul Simon and a very talented owl.


ERIC DROWN: 'Buffy, Who?'
Review of Athena's Daughters: Television's New Woman Warriors, edited by Frances Early and Kathleen Kennedy.
ERIC DROWN: 'Ooooo!, We Hate Bush.' Review of Hollywood's New Radicalism: War, Globalization and the Movies from Reagan to George W. Bush, by Ben Dickerson.
SHANNAN PALMA: Review of From Alien to The Matrix: Reading SF Films,
by Roz Kaveney.

A memorial to Tillie Lerner Olsen (1912 - 2007) by Ardys of Berkeley.
A memorial to Monique Wittig (1935 - 2003) by Gloria Orenstein.

BOOKS AND MEDIA RECEIVED: 44 titles of interest.

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ERIC M. DROWN. Business Girls and Beset Men in Pulp Science Fiction and Science Fiction Fandom.
With the tools and methodology of American Studies, this cultural studies article brings evidence from the readers' columns in the early sf magazines as they respond to early sf writers exploring gender in relationship to the influx of women into the workforce in sf's early years.

JANET HARRISON The Muse Unmasked: Eileen Agar's Objectives Correlatives.
This article explores a surrealist woman painter not often included in the cannon of surrealist artists, in particular for her use of female imagery, some of which is reproduced in black and white here.

R.C. DOROZARIO The Consequences of Disney Anthropomorphism.
This article probingly examines how Disney produces a hyperrealism in which the landscape moves, and how this interrelates with the discourse on ecopsychology, ecofeminism, women and nature. In particular stereotypes of gender are explored with creations such as Bambi, showing how Bambi in the original cartoon was male but was later passed on as a female in subsequent movie productions in which the name was removed from the original referrent.

DEBRA BONITA SHAW. Sex and the Single Starship Captain: Compulsory Heterosexuality and Star Trek: Voyager.
Here the author insightfully examines why and how it is in the Star Trek television series that the male Starship captains, when single, are allowed to pursue sexial relations, whereas a single female captain is not, not without negative repercussions.

MARLEEN S. BARR. Superfeminist Or, A Handmade Carol.
This satire continues the adventures of a feminist sf professor to whom appearances are made.

A surrealistic, magical realist piece in which a rural community is besieged with grasshoppers.

DEBRA SCHEEF. From The Archives...
This spoof imagines the career of a feminist researcher trying to get her research on male breastfeeding into establishment medical journals.

AIDA THOMPSON. Thanksgiving Day.
Terse, poetic prose in which "Enlightenment is an illusion" is a note slippe dunder the door while mash potatoes are being prepared for a Thanksgiving dinner.

CANDA CRUZ. The Goddess Rag; Avatar Blues
Blues-like song lyrics.

CATHY DALY. Solo, Alone, False Apparitions, Untitled.
Apocoplytic poetry requesitng to be burnt if love is built on fear, about the apparition of Mary,

JIM DeWITT. While You're Waiting for the Wind?
Like a Zen koan, contains great impossible suggestions like writing your name on water, slapping your face on wet cement, clutching at your silhouette to make your body heavy...

EDVINA GIUNTA. Night's Whispers.
Contains provocative imagery like purple angels fluttering in quiet despair.

MARIE KAZALIA. No Elvis Sightings.
Pablo Picasso eating lunch, a drunk Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau asking for spare change--these are images the author encounters, but no Elvis.

SUSAN McLEAN. Circe, Scylla, The Siren, Melantho.
Four poems drawn from Greek mythical imagery. Compares men to the various animals Odysseus dealt with in the Odyssey--fox, sheep, pigs. Humorous.

GLENIS REDMOND. Lonely Girl, Train, Scripted Hope.
"Lonely Girl" shows internal escape mechanism of a ghirl who moonwalks opnto distant planets; "She Can't Read" shows a sixth grader flying off on a black swan; "Scripted Hope" asks each of us to use magic naming to fill ourselves with the power of survival.

Terse poetic prose poem about manifestoes from France.

Desire for escape from world horrors expressed.

In rural Arkansas, a feminist sf writer who lives in the woods is interviewed about her writing process.

ERIN SMITH. Women Writing Pulp.
An American Studies professor analyzes three of the Femme Fatale novels reprinted by Feminist Press.

BOOKS AND MEDIA RECEIVED: 44 titles of interest.

STARHAWK STARHAWK on MONICO SJOO Artist, writer and visionary, author of The Great Cosmic Mother, memorialized by a leader of the women's spirituality movement.

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J.ANDREW DEMAN. Taking Out the Trash: Octavia E. Butler's Wild Seed and the Feminist Voice in American SF.
The mere presence of the feminine perspective is an intrusion upon a key escapist element of masculine science fiction in America. To the majority of the pre-pubescent boys who represent the key demographic to which science fiction in America is marketed, there are few real-world terrors that they are more eager to escape than the terror of real-world women. Thus, the female characters of male-oriented SF tend to become the vessels through which the young male consumers of science fiction vicariously live-out their fantasy ideals of sexualized, romanticized, or fetishized women. It is thus the challenge of the female science fiction writer to legitimize depictions of sex and sexuality, while at the same time enabling the same escapist element that is the benchmark of science fiction. In Octavia E. Butler's Wild Seed, the world of SF is introduced to a complex female character in the form of the maternal shape-shifter, Anyanwu. Butler's depiction of womanhood through Anyanwu defamiliarizes the construction of women in science fiction. In Anyanwu, Butler demonstrates the wealth of potential for characterization in science fiction, while at the same time operating against the male-oriented science fiction tropes that have traditionally excluded the voice of such strong female writers as Butler, along with complex female characters as Anyanwu. The result is that gender construction becomes a little more uncomfortable for the male, pubescent readers of science fiction, a little more identifiable to the othered readers of the genre, and, as a whole, science fiction becomes a lot more real, a lot less 'trashy.'

SCOTT A. DIMOVITZ. Cartesian Nuts: Rewriting the Platonic Androgyne in Angela Carter's Japanese Surrealism.
Angela Carter defined speculative fiction as "the fiction of asking 'what if?'" , and elsewhere defended her generic methodology by claiming that all fiction used non-mimetic techniques in one form or another. Through fiction, "speculations about the nature of our experience on this planet [could] be conducted without crap about the imitation of life getting in the way, because whose life are you supposed to be imitating? Obviously a trapeze artist has got as much claim to be alive as a solicitor". Her first allegorical speculative novel, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, was published the year she returned from Japan, where she lived between 1970 and 1972 after her divorce from Paul Carter, and it is useful to divide Carter's writing career into pre- and post-Japan. Heroes and Villains (1969), while also exploring an alternate reality, differs greatly in the manner of construction, formal properties, and methodology of thematic and symbolic explorations. While playing with popular post-apocalyptic conventions in 1950s and 60s science fiction, it never moves beyond a general and vague critique of structural anthropology and Rousseau. The allegories are a bit ham-fisted in comparison to the later work (Eve at the end of the world gets bitten by a snake but does not die, et cetera), even if they explore many of the key themes that recur in a more developed form in her later fiction. In her otherwise largely realist fiction before Japan, Carter often used a male protagonist (Shadow Dance, Several Perceptions, Love), and her feminism consisted mainly of female characters' exploitation and final destruction (Shadow Dance, Love) or violently taking the role of the male characters (The Magic Toyshop, Heroes and Villains). This binary, as it happens, informs Carter's analysis of Sade's work, where women are classified into two types: Justine, passively suffering, the martyr at the hands of patriarchy; and Juliette, replicating the male libertines in their brutality towards women, the woman who learns to run with the wolves.

LINDA J. HOLLAND-TOLL. Bluestockings Beware: Cultural Backlash and the Reconfiguration of the Witch in Popular Nineteenth-Century Literature.
What cultural work is underway when the image of women as witches is used to discuss educated women, women to whom the mildly opprobrious epithet "bluestocking" has also been applied? How does the popular reading of a culture influence and reflect the ways in which that culture thinks? One site to explore such questions is a group of stories in which bluestockings, i.e., educated women, were associated in some manner with witchcraft. The linkage is interesting, but contradictory. Most bluestockings were middle to upper class urban women with formal education, while the most common, but not necessarily the most accurate, cultural archetype of witches was the village granny or the wise woman of the woods, good for spells and charms and herbal remedies as well as for the practice of evil in association with the devil. On the face of it, these knowledge bases are so different that no immediate connection springs forth. So how did this conflation come to be? To examine this idea, the author decided to view four nineteenth-century short stories that reflect this cultural linkage through the looking glass of narratives of American witch-hunting, Puritan theology, and the history of women's changing roles in mid-nineteenth century America. The main conflations stand revealed as possession of knowledge inappropriate for women, i.e., religious learning, or book knowledge or knowledge of healing. Women who were "cunning women," i.e., healers (midwives in particular) or fortune-tellers, and who could compete in wit and education with men were often at risk of being labeled witches.

CARLEN LAVIGNE. Space Opera: Melodrama, Feminism and the Women of Farscape.
Lynn Joyrich has outlined in some detail her theories regarding how television melodrama, gender and affect in soap opera coax a "feminine" viewpoint. At the same time, Tania Modleski has criticized soap operas for directing female anger at female power. While soap operas have never been lauded as ideal purveyors of a feminist ideology, elements of the soap opera have been freely used elsewhere in genre television. Soap operas themselves remain, for the most part, unchanging, while melodrama-which supposedly appeals more to a feminine viewpoint-has been spreading, and as such, has the potential to be utilized as a strong tool for feminism when combined with, and used to subvert, other conventions. The science fiction series Farscape (1999-2002) figures aesthetically as a science fiction/soap opera hybrid, which works toward increasingly empowered female representation, which this author discusses.

MEGAN MUSGRAVE. Phenomenal Women: The Shape-shifter Archetype in Postcolonial Magical Realist Fiction.
This article provocatively explores the usefulness of the construct of magical realism in the context of post-colonial oppositional narrative strategies, in particular by feminist authors.

GERARDO RODRIGUEZ SALAS E.G.E. Bulwer-Lytton's Covert Anti-Feminism in The Coming Race In The Coming Race.
E.G.E. Bulwer-Lytton envisages a highly unusual utopian model where he criticises, sometimes humorously, sometimes bitterly, issues related to socio-economic, political, cultural, and religious aspects of contemporary society. In the present article, however, I shall restrict myself to the analysis of gender relationships as depicted by Lytton in his novel. In doing so, I shall analyze this novelist's quasi-feminist work by connecting his focus on the so-called "Woman Question" with his choice of the dystopic sub-genre, ultimately presenting Lytton as a highly original writer, whose strategy lies in wrapping the traditionally misogynous utopian genre in a quasi-feminist cover.


A woman in a motorized wheelchair struggling with a painful virusand delivering her own meds by push button faces her fear of death, remembering the shy girl she had been even as one of her country's most respected scientists and as member of a top secret research team.

SHARON KING. Quiescent.
A futuristic story about a loss of a family member due to an unauthorized power outage follows the life of protagonist Claire as she shuttles home to the half-under-water Venice, the ancient city enchanting at Christmastime amidst the flutterings of snow over houses, bridges and the relentless gentle waves. Flashing memories of child hood laced with messages sent to Archive Adjustment supervisor, "Grieftime requested" explores the intertwining of advanced technobureacracies and family life, a theme of sf since the late 1920s.

In the science building, Helgart's 26th attempt to repair the auras of her expensive chinchillas had failed again. The bright life spikes of healthy aura were fading, and the healer is called upon to use her powers of mindstreaming to diagnose and heal. The talent magician had worked all night to save her animals sudden pneumonia. At 61 she had spent all her savings in buying the latest at the morning's Corporate and Patent Fair, thinking her husband, Geflen, in the traditional school of magic, which had few old lady enrollees, would be proud of her.


MARION EPSTEIN. Feminist Speculative Art.
This nearly life-long Clevelander, now deceased, had displayed during her life time work in numerous exhibitions both juried and international. Artist, printmaker, and educator, she used the gum bi-chromate printing process to create images that made statements about family, civil rights, world peace, and the Holocaust. Through her art, she developed a visual vocabulary that allowed her to express ideas as well as aesthetics. A Brooklyn native, she considered her work concept driven from the beginning of the process. She received degrees from Cooper Union, Case Western Reserve University, and Cleveland Institute of Art. Her art reproduced here depicts the splitting of the internal woman from the object of the male gaze, the free spirit from collective female bonding at any age, and the internalization of the subject/object split that paralyzes an individual, isolated woman who contemplates her alter ego.

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FEMSPEC VOLUME 6.1 Table of Contents.

Speculative Black Women: Magic, Fantasy, and the Supernatural

JERRILYN McGREGORY. Nalo Hopkinson's Approach to Speculative Fiction.
Although speculative fiction has long privileged subversive modes, Nalo Hopkinson's Brown Girl in the Ring redoubles the effect by antithetically hijacking this literary market. In turn, one encounters a number of cultural and political articulations at the center of sf and literary studies, i.e., the disruption of binaries, the recentering of womanism, the construction of mystical realism, the redefinition of "cognitive estrangement," and the privileging of transnational cultures while combating excessive universalism. Hopkinson syncretizes traditional West African-derived belief system with the fantastical. She exploits the degree to which sf renders the real unreal and creates an atmosphere of alienating defamiliarization for readers who stand as "outsiders" in relation to New World African religions.

GRETCHEN MICHLITSCH. Breastfeeding Mother Rescues City: Nalo Hopkinson's Ti-Jeanne as Superhero.
Gretchen J. Michlitsch considers Ti-Jeanne, the Afro-Caribbean Canadian protagonist of Nalo Hopkinson's novel , as a compelling literary model for women who take on the challenge of combining breastfeeding motherhood with work in the public realm. Mitchlitsch analyzes the heroine's engagement with the villain who controls the dystopic, near-future Toronto, attending especially to Ti-Jeanne's resentment of her responsibilities as a (young and single) mother and her interactions with Eshu and the other Afro-Caribbean spirits.

KATHY DAVIS PATTERSON. 'Haunting Back': Vampire Subjectivity in The Gilda Stories.
Derives its inspiration from an essay titled "Vampire Gothic," written by Teresa Goddu. Goddu makes the compelling assertion that "As the producers of terror instead of its text, African-American writers use the gothic to haunt back, re-working the gothic's conventions to intervene in discourses that would demonize them" (137-138). It is my contention that The Gilda Stories, by Jewelle Gomez, represents just such a 'haunting back.' The Gilda Stories is one of the relatively few vampire novels with a female vampire protagonist. Gomez further complicates her construction of vampiric Otherness by presenting a worldview from the perspective of a character who is also black and lesbian. Through Gilda and her other vampire characters, Gomez re-works numerous tropes of vampire fiction - especially strength, immortality, homosexuality, and blood drinking - turning them from signs of corruption into tools for personal and collective empowerment. I explore the foregrounding and validation of Gilda's blackness, her womanhood, and her lesbianism at length, noting the importance of this hybridity to both her identity and her survival. Because Gilda's survival is rooted in signifiers (black/woman/lesbian) that the dominant (white/male/heterosexual) Western discourse traditionally devalues, the novel 'haunts back' that discourse with an image of itself as stagnant, willfully ignorant and ultimately unnecessary to the diverse and evolving vampire tribe that Gomez implies will endure, growing beyond and in spite of it - not with it.

TERESA N. WASHINGTON. Power of the Word/Power of the Works; the Signifying African Soul of Africana Women's Literature.
Seeking to introduce African cosmological and philosophical concepts into the critical analysis of Africana literature, "Power of the Word / Power of the Works" uses the Yoruba concepts of ?r?, power of the word and ?j?, the spiritual power of women, to elucidate the verbal, spiritual, and artistic arts and powers of Africana women in life and literature.

GINA WISKER. 'Your Buried Ghosts Have A Way of tripping You Up': Revisioning and Mothering in African American and Afro-Caribbean Women's Speculative Horror.
This essay looks at Tananarive Due's, Toni Brown's 'Immunity,' Nalo Hopkinson's , "Greedy Choke Puppy" and Jewelle Gomez arguing that they represent a new contribution to African American / Afro Caribbean women's speculative fictions and horror. Each has a dual focus on recuperating/revisioning, recognizing the influence of the spiritual and the supernatural in the everyday and in placing centre stage the mother or grandmother as the key nurturing force who enables development of identity, history and responsibility. Jewelle Gomez, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, and Toni Brown have made significant contributions to the development of a new hybrid form, African American and Afro Caribbean women's speculative horror. In this new speculative horror form, each writer moves away from traditional (white, western) female Gothic to re-examine motherdaughter and/or grandmother-granddaughter maternal roles as significant in enabling women to develop a sense of identity, self-worth, nurturing and community values.

SARAH WOOD. Subversion through Inclusion: Octavia Butler's Interrogations of Religion in Wild Seed and Xenogenesis.
A prominent theme of Octavia Butler's speculative fiction is the negotiation and interrogation of religious discourses traditionally used to substantiate sexism and racism. This essay will analyze how the trilogy and chronologically the first of the series, challenge the assumptions of a predominantly white-authored and historically inscribed patriarchal Judeo-Christianity. The essay will argue that Butler is able to query the authority and hegemony of western Judeo-Christianity by repositioning "outcast" figures of femininity and introducing alternative religious traditions specific to the African American tradition. It will also suggest that the speculative framework Butler employs enables a radical visualization of empowered black womanhood that subverts through the inclusion, amalgamation and revision of the various religious traditions and mythologies available to African Americans.


NALO HOPKINSON. Address Given at The College of New Jersey, Department of African American Studies, 30th Anniversary Symposia: "Afrofuturism: Womanist Paradigms for the New Millennium".
This is a speech in which Nalo Hopkinson talks about the importance of research on African and the African Diaspora and charts her own process as a researcher and a writer.


Night falls and Marie-ma walks in the hot pepper patch. She is barefooted and wears a long white nightgown. I am watching her from the window above my bed. I have turned off the lamp so that she won't notice. One after the other, Marie-ma snaps the hot peppers from their stems and plops them into her mouth as if they are as sweet as plumbs. The yellow ones are her favorite-- she stuffs them two at a time while her dark eyes quick as mosquitoes search for more. When the peppers are all gone, she turns on her small feet and leaves the yard.

KIINI IBURA SALAAM K-USH: The Legend of the Last Wero.
The seekers wait, hungrily, as K-Ush rises, hovering close to the ceiling of the dogra. Her large eye is closed, but she can feel them-the seekers-crouched on the dirt floor below. Their heads are lowered, hands raised. They send shards of prayer up to the ceiling, puncturing K-Ush's trance. Their needs-hesitant, but insistent-hit her at once, a skull-splitting pain flashes across her forehead. Her large skeletal hands twitch. She hears the tiny, timid voice of a seeker plead for help. She'd like to drift down to the floor, wrap her bony fingers around the seeker's neck and squeeze. She grits her teeth instead, and forces her body to relax. She rubs the hem of her robe with a claw-like toe and speaks.

ANDREA SHAW. Jus' a Pinch of the Yellow Powder.
"Jus' a Pinch of the Yellow Powder" is first person narrated story set in a decaying neighborhood in Kingston, Jamaica. The protagonist, Miss Clarice, is an aging matriarch with supernatural skills that she uses for the benefit of her small community. However, when an outsider disrespects Miss Clarice and puts her young ward in danger, Miss Clarice uses her magical talents to deal with him, and she does not hesitate to give us all the details herself.


HELEN CRUMP. Morning Wake-up Sun.

Lying on my stomach, head pillowed by the cross-fold of my arms, my right leg moved against the back of the right in that subconscious and conscious rocking motion --that reflects the habit of infancy and childhood, that soothed the body and spirit, eased the mind, and called forth the peace and comfort of sleep.

ASERET SIN. Poetrix.
Birthed in the sacred well steeped in the furtive pot rhythms wriggle forth Damballah-Style

ASERET SIN. Sister Ancestor.

What Zora Neale Hurston did for Marie Leveau Alice Walker did for Zora Neale Hurston


YOLANDA HOOD. Interview with Tananarive Due.
This is an interview between scholar Yolanda Hood and horror fiction writer Tananarive Due. The interview took place in the spring of 2004.

GWENDOLYN D. POUGH. Interview with L. A. Banks.
This is an interview between scholar Gwendolyn Pough and horror fiction writer L.A. Banks. The interview took place in the spring of 2004.


CANDICE M. JENKINS. Review of Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism by Patricia Hill Collin.

GRETCHEN J. MICHLITSCH. Review of The Salt Roads by Nalo Hopkinson.

KATHY DAVIS PATTERSON. Review of Minion: A Vampire Huntress Legend by L.A. Banks.

JENNIFER THORINGTON SPRINGER. Review of Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction edited by Nalo Hopkinson.

ALICIA THOMAS. Review of The Awakening: A Vampire Huntress Legend byL.A. Banks.

CARMIELE Y. WILKERSON Review of Love This by Toni Morrison.

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The editor explains how the Girl Power issue became the Girl Power Plus issue containing considerably more than the special editors from Canada had collected and submitted, the promotion of Beverly Bow to assistant editor and the idea of a PayPal tip jar on the web page.

REBECCA C. HARRIS. The Problematics of Reclaiming the Girlish: The Powerpuff Girls and Girl Power.
The author defines girl power as a playful form of third wave feminism seeking to reclaim the feminine and mark it as culturally valued. She describes aspects of the movement and how it emerged from The Riot Grrrls in the 1990s. She feels that the girl power icons presented in the media enact without embodying the new female strength. She explores literature on previous representations of powerful women to illustrate the progressive aspects of girl power texts and then presents her criticisms of the texts and messages.

Special Canadian Section: Girl Power.

DONNA VARGA ROXANNE HARDE. Editors' Introduction.
The editors contend that in contemporary popular culture, fantasy characters such as Xena and Buffy the Vampire Slayer take their place in a longer history where popular culture and ancient lore intermixed in the creation of popular female characters with superior powers. They advise that the work they have collected finds both positive and negative representations of girl power, since on the one hand girl power can mean independence and social transformation and on the other, consumerism, self-involvement and violence.

ALISON JACQUES. Lucky Jupiter Meets Your Ruler: Otherwordly Sources of Girlpower in Magazine Horoscopes.
The author examines glossy teen magazines in the mainstream such as Twist and considers the notion of girl power as it appears in the horoscopes of five American magazines. She asks such questions as Girl Power? Or the Power of Jupiter in Your COnfidence Sector? showing how the notions of girl power and the horoscope intersect with advise such as "Be Confident, He Will Notice!"

VICTORIA ANNE NEWSOM. Young Females as Super Heroes: Super Heroines in the Animated Sailor Moon.
The author claims that girl power is a pleasure-centered form of empowerment tied to ideals found in third wave feminism. Yet she also sees it as a media construct challenging female empowerment by limiting empowerment to a specific type of body and performance by young women. She contrasts girl power characters to stereotypes of the seventies, arguing that these characters represent a "tough girl" style of feminism, encouraging young women to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately this sometimes devolves into making shopping choices. She traces the roots of some of the contemporary female superheroines to Lynda Carter's Wonnder Woman, the original Charley's Angels, and Princess Leia from Star Wars. She looks closely at how the Sailor Scouts are physically portrayed.

SHARON ROSS. Dangerous Demons: Fan Responses to Girls' Power, Girls' Bodies, and Girls' Beauty in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The author maintains that in terms of Girl Power, the female bodies on Buffy serve as a rhetorical site for discussions of femininity, beauty, physical strength and inner strength. Viewers think through feminist goals as they view the show, which was one of the aims of the show's creators.

DOUGLAS THORPE. Girl Power and the Discourse of Aging: The Example of Ursula LeGuin.
Feminist science fiction realizes its potential by complicating our sense of the existing order. Yet usually gender is at stake, not age, even though ageism is as pervasive as sexism. The author asserts the ageism of proclamations of girl power in assuming they are the same as woman power, and drawing women into believing that they need to conjure up their girlish aspects to become empowered. He warns that to tag power with prepubescence obscures the role sexual maturity plays in marking womanhood. To assess the risks and rewards of girl power, the author examines Ursula LeGuin.


JUSTIN SCOTT. The Truth in Dreams.
In Spring 2001, the Femspec intern class ran a contest of creative writing in Cleveland area high schools. This story in which Xena came to the author's high school for a day won the creative writing contest.


Canadian Girl Power: Young Women Save the Day, Happily-Ever-After Ending Unnecessary.
This review of Margaret Buffie's The Watcher (Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2000) explores the borderland between childhood and adulthood. Seen from the point of view of a child of flower children of the sixties, the author's sixth book sounds like a counter cultural plot offering something different including an Earth Mother character who firmly believes that the bees in her inherited organic honey business have to be kept up to date on all family happenings or they get mad. An alternative to the mainstream for children of progressive parents.

Young Women (and More) in Anime.
Geary reviews Susan Napier's Anime from Akira to Princess Monoke: Experiencing C0ntemporary Japanese Animation (New York: Palgrave, 2001). Until the mid-1990s, the only information available on anime was primarily in a few magazines and fanzines. But with the blossoming of popular anime such as Sailor Moon, a large audience has developed for anime on television. Napier's book is the most academically available on the topic. She explores a number of topics including gender roles and representation of history, having in mind the student doing college level literary criticism and analysis.

Japanese Magic: The Girl-Friendly Films of Hayao Miyazaki.
Laity and Goldberg review Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro (1993), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) and Spirited Away (2002). They claim that until recently, Japan's most famous animator has been overlooked in the United States. Unlike Disney films, romance is at best a minor aspect of his stories. Young girls he creates face their trials in becoming adult, coping with family illness, and relating to nature as a process that they resolve with true wonder and joy even if not without tears and struggle.

Growing Up To Be Feminists: Reports on Girl Culture.
Mary Beth Long reviews Sharon Mazzarella and Norma Odom Pecora's edited collection Growing Up Girls: Popular Culture and the Construction of Identity (New York: Peter Lang, 1999) a book that focuses on girls' reactions to mass-market creations rather than on their own participation in fantasy. The book contains essays on mass-produced novels, advertising, magazines, fashion and movies as well as a handful of interviews between academic feminists and their daughters.

Reading Scared: Feminists Confronting Future Feminists.
Reading Helen Harper's Wild Words, Dangerous Desires: High School Girls and Feminist Avant-Garde Writing (New York: Lang, 2000) was a disappointment as the author discovered how far feminists are from our goals in terms of impact on future generations. The research project discussed in the book was the sharing of feminist avant-garde writing with teen age girls.

Marwen's Web: Living on the Loom of the Mother.
Saunders reviews Martine Bates' The Dragon's Tapestry (1992), The Prison Moon (1992) and The Taker's Key (1998), published by Alberta's Red Deer College Press. The series together is called the Marmawell Trilogy, a young adult project that examines power. The author explores the ideas that those who receive power must also assume responsibility for its use, and that personal power should be put in service for others. The books are set in a kingdom called Ve, where an order of women called Oldwives have access to the magic, or the spiritually binding force upon which the fabric of life and culture is dependent. The central image through all three books is the weaver's loom.

Eyes Shining and Feet Kicking.
The author reviews The Serpent Slayer and Other Stories of Strong Women (Boston: Little Brown, 2000) by Tchana Katrin and Trina Schart Hyman. The new collection of feminist folklore anthologizes and retells eighteen stories about clever and courageous women. The phrase "eyes shining and feet kicking" refers to the depiction of women's strength as they are characterized by being willing to fight throughout, across cultures.


Poetic retelling of Rapunzel in which one character, who makes her own dress, is both the maiden and the tower; when she walks, she sets the bones of the earth singing.

CAROLYN GAGE. The Rules of the Playground: A One-Act Play
A play set in the classroom discussing children's behavior on a playground as a vehicle for presenting issues about the gender sources for violent and aggressive behavior.

EDVIGE GIUNTA. "Stories of Sicilian Girls", and "Dark Play."
Unknown men rape a fifteen-year-old girl and the first poem connects this act to mythology, Jenny Jones blasting on TV and stories spat out on a frantic computer screen. The second poem is a seductive attempt to draw a child into a world where a boomerang is thrown that will cancel time.

LYN LIFSHIN. Emily Dickinson.
A short poem that connects Emily Dickinson to Alice, "trying to find/a way through/the glass around her."

ABIGAIL MORRIS. The Girl with the Metal Hair.
A high school girl with metal hair is compared to one of those sci-fi robots of H.G. Wells and everyone is afraid of her. She hated rain because of the rust and feared storms.

EMILY SELF. The Language of Paper Dolls.
A remembrance of the magic of paper doll language and casting spells, and "closed whispers under covers."

Imagistic short fiction of running through the suburbs in streets with space age names.


BATYA WEINBAUM. Summer with the Ghosts
If ever homeschooling needed a model curriculum film, this one shot in Austria would qualify. The delighted adventures of a girl shadowing her father on a film shoot because her mother is traveling giving concerts back in Canada includes numerous romps with ghosts shot in Austria. Has girl power elements in that the girl is a problem solver, at home with adults, males and machinery.

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Femspec Abstracts Vol. 5 Issue 1

BATYA WEINBAUM. Announcing a Few Changes

PATRICIA MELZER AND SHELLEY PRICE. Editorial Introduction to "Gender and Technology in Science Fiction Film”.


ALBERT ANTHONY. Menacing Technologies: Counterfeit Women and the Mutability of Nature in Science Fiction Cinema.

MARK BOULD. Taking the Dream Girls Apart: Molly, Eve VIII, Barb Wire.

CATHY HAWKINS. I Married a Mysogynist from Outer Space: The Challenge of Being a Bride in 1950s Science Fiction Film.

PATRICIA MELZER. There Is No Spoon: Concepts o Subjectivity in The Matrix.

JEFFREY MIDDENTS. This Is Not Film: Ef/facing the Screen in Kathryn Bigelow's Strange Days.

K. SURKAN. I Want To Be a Real Boy: A.I. Robots, Cyborgs, and Mutants as Passing Figures in Science Fiction Film.


BETH BLINEBURY. Cyborg Bodies: How to Read the Body.


SHELLEY PRICE. Animus Mundi. Alien, Wormhole, Golem


MICHELLE RENEE MATISONS. The Cyber-Genius Hysterical Mother and the Techno-Virgin/Man's Man: Thoughts on Cronenberg's eXistnZ.


PATRICIA MELZER AND SHELLEY PRICE. Gender and Technology in Science Fiction Film.


GERALDINE WOJNO KIEFER. Celebrations, Overlays, Matrices: Making Art in the Textures of Collage.

MARK BOULD. Gwyneth Jones: An Introduction.

Author recounts how Gwyneth Jones is under-read by Americans, and informs us of her personal biography and full bibliography as he introduces the following three critical articles he has edited.

Incredible Stories about Ordinary People: the Teenage Fiction of Gwyneth Jones/Ann Halam

Author discusses the twenty one novels for teenagers or young adults that Jones has written under the name Ann Halam, in addition to the nine sf novels, a number of short stories and fairy tales, and a not insubstantial body of reviews and criticism under her own name.

Going Up Hill: An Interview with Gwyneth Jones

This interview concentrates on Jones' pseudonymous Ann Halam novels and the first two books from her current sequence of sf novels under her own name, Bold As Love and Castles Made of Sand.

The Lost Child: Notes on White Queen

Introduced by an attempted synopsis by editor Mark Bould, this impressionistic piece includes dreams of the author, an analysis of how dream grief lies just below the surface of fantasy, and an exploration of the types of reveries of characters in Jones' White Queen.

Brown Girl in the Ring

Nalo Hopkinson's winner of the 1999 Warner Aspect First Novel Award is described as combining a post-apocalyptic Toronto with the cultural myths of African and Caribbean people, with a focus on a single teenage mother.

Myth and Ritual in Women's Detective Fiction

Review describes a book by Christine A. Jackson that draws upon the works of Joseph Campbell, Northrope Frye, Carl G. Jung, and other scholars of folklore, myth and anthropology to illustrate the parallels between myth and detective fiction.

Feminist Cabalism 101

Review of a collection Flying Cups and Saucers: Gender Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Debbie Notkin, which includes winners of the Tiptree Award begun in 1991 to recognize works that interrogate gender roles. The winning authors are almost evenly split between women and men, which the reviewer says indicates "that no monolithic feminist perspective underpins the selection process."

Biotechnological and Medical Themes in Science Fiction

A review of a work edited by Domna Pastourmatzi presents work by both male and female critics that center around science fiction topics such as cloning, invisibility, aliens, comic heroes, medicine, and future biotechnology.

Scheherazade's Sisters: Trickster Heroines and Their Stories in World Literature

Reviews a work by Marilyn Jurich which is a "wonderful sampling of folk and fairy tales from all over the world featuring strong women in trickster roles." The notion of "trickstar" emerges, to conceptualize stories such as "The Man That Had a Baby" from the Ozarks and "Three Strong Women" from Japan. Jurich, not a strict folktale researcher, coins the term trickster as the female version to trickster. The trickstar as Jurich recounts often operates from different motives and employs different tricks to different ends than do the traditional male tricksters.

Images of Fear: How Horror Stories Helped Shape Culture (1818-1918)

A review of Martin Tropp's two hundred plus examination of "how a series of images of 'horror' in fiction interacted with an emerging modern culture over a century," which recounts how horror helped shape attitudes towards technology, crime and gender. He connects disparate ideas such as the Women's Liberation Movement of the Victorian Era and the brutality of war, particularly World War I.

Critical Theory and Science Fiction

Reviews Carl Freedman's theoretical criticism which argues that science fiction is the paradigm focus for the study of critical theory. Freedman's analysis of numerous classical texts focuses on the best of the best, but, the critic questions, "what good is a definition of a genre that excludes most of its examples?"

Cauldron of Changes: Feminist Spirituality in Fantastic Fiction

A review of Janice C. Crosby's trade paper book which "offers a refreshing return to a branch of feminism that has been woefully ignored in academic feminist analysis of the past decade or two."

A Different Lens: Gender Studies and the Inklings

Reviews Women among the Inklings: Gender, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and Charles Williams, by Candice Frederick and Sam McBride, arguing that although a wealth of critical material has been written about the Inklings, little has been written about gender in either their lives or writings.

Communities of the Heart

Reviews Warren G. Rochelle's on representations of ideal communities in Le Guin's writing, looking at her writing "from the inside, providing a literary X ray that reveals the philosophical underpinnings of her books. Rochelle examines "how Le Guin has modified traditional storytelling modes to tell contemporary stories."

Chicana Ways

Review of Karin Rosa Ikas' 2002 text that "intends to guide an international array of readers, students and scholars" to the works of ten prominent Chicana writers whom she interviewed between 1996 and 1997. Explores themes such as the link between land and identity, and Chicana female archetypes such as La Llorona.

Spiritual Syncretism, Innovation in the Speculative Realm and Radio Theater

Explores Ellen Kushner's radio program which is not as well known as her innovations in fantasy in the feminist sf/fanasy community. Show is discussed as "timely in its appeal to the nondogmatic and cosmopolitans spiritual sensibilities of her listeners." Discusses Kushner's career which began as fantasy editor of Tor Books.


Femspec Abstracts Vol. 4 Issue 2, 2004


LIORA MORIEL. An Introduction, of the Jacket Blurb Comes of Age.
Moriel praises the idea of focusing an issue on Jewish women’s perspectives in speculative fiction, and provides a few introductory comments about Jewish women artists in general.


SUSAN KRAY. Refamiliarization: Jewish Women in the Narrative Strategies of ‘Pulp’ Science Fiction Magazine Stories, 1993-2000.
To force a different perspective on readers, sf authors “defamiliarize” aspects of society, while retaining a normalizing familiarity in other areas. Historically, sf’s defamiliarizing tendency has not generally extended to aspects of gender, ethnicity, or religion, thus the scarcity of female Jewish characters in sf. The rare exception functions only as a stereotype, a “refamiliarization.” One reason for this is the minimal intersection between the small group of people with an in-depth understanding of Jewishness, and the equally small group of lifelong sf readers from which most sf authors come. Women conversant in both are rarer still. In the second half of the article Kray describes the Jewish female protagonists found in sf after 1992, some of whom break the earlier typical patterns.

GLORIA ORENSTEIN. Vision and Visibility: Contemporary Jewish Women Artists Visualize the Invisible.
Orenstein lists the obstacles modern Jewish women artists face: 1) the traditional interpretation of the biblical second commandment as a prohibition against representational art; 2) a Christian bias in Western art; 3) patriarchal biases in art; 4) the loss of a generation of potential artists in the Holocaust; 5) the problem of assimilation in the face of anti-Semitism; and 6) hybrid religious identities resulting from the necessities of the Diaspora. Modern Jewish women artists, who exist as an identifiable group for the first time, reinterpret biblical women’s lives and document the lives of ordinary Jewish women. Tendencies include the use of materials that were in the past forms of oppression for Jews, e.g., fabrics/the garment industry; documentation of the reality of the Holocaust; and pilgrimages by the artists to Europe and Israel. Orenstein next discusses several Jewish-American artists: Ruth Weisberg, Susan Schwalb, Carol Hamoy, Gabrielle Rossmer, Cheslyn Amato, Anita Rodriguez, Fern Shaffer (with Othello Anderson), and Siona Benjamin. The article includes photos of representative works by each artist.


PAMELA SARGENT. Jewish Enough.
The author recounts coming to terms with her Jewish identity, despite having a non-Jewish father and nonobservant family on her mother’s side and being an atheist. At the end of the essay Sargent draws several connections between sf and the Jewish experience.


LESLIE F STONE. Cosmic Joke.
Short story first published in 1935. A meteor shower causes unprecedented growth in Earth’s animal life.


JUDITH MERRIL. That Only a Mother.
Short story first published in 1948. A woman’s first pregnancy occurs in a time when radiation-caused mutations are becoming more common.


MARLEEN S BARR. Close Encounters of the Monica Kind.
Feminist sf professor instructs alien on protocol for first extraterrestrial visit to earth, but things don’t go exactly as planned.

E M BRONER. De-Winging the Angel.
Essay about distinguishing the stereotypical Jewish mother from the angel.

MARILYN GALE. Lilith 1996.
Jewish legend of Lilith in modern setting.

BATYA WEINBAUM. Sasha’s Harlem: Excerpts.
Sasha, feeling her biological clock ticking, revisits Isaac, the married owner of a Jerusalem hotel, and encounters a ghost.


“One of Those Nights” by Karen Alcaly-Gut
Yiddish ghost visits to bring message from poet’s mother on anniversary of her death.

“Even Death Is Uncertain without the Proper Forms” by Marilyn Jurich
Daughter deals with decisions that must be made when her mother dies.

“Ex-nihilo” by Carol Rose
Creation reinterpreted.

“The Goddess at Bergen-Belsen” by Lorraine Schein
Holocaust survivor’s daughter recalls mother’s pain of loss of family, musing on all the goddesses who could have intervened but did not.


“Review of The Defiant Muse” by Scott Barr
Review of bilingual anthology of Hebrew feminist poems from biblical texts to modern times. Edited by Shirley Kauffman, Galit Hasan-Rokem, and Tamar Hess.

“Review of Sleeping with Cats” by Robert Charlick
Review of Jewish feminist author Marge Piercy’s autobiographical essay.

“Review of A Spiritual Life” by Phillipa Kafka
Review of Jewish feminist Merle Feld’s memoir of her lifelong quest to make a place for women in a patriarchal Judaism.

“Review of Dreaming the Actual” by Brian Kelley
Review of anthology of fiction and poetry by modern Israeli women writers, edited by Miriam Glazer. [Note: the word “fiction” is omitted in all references to the title of the book; it should read, after the colon, Contemporary Fiction and Poetry by Israeli Women.]

“Review of Women’s Holocaust Writing” by Phyllis Lassner
Review of Lillian Kremer’s book which demonstrates the gender aspects of Holocaust suffering and Nazi ideology, as revealed in Jewish women’s fiction on the Holocaust.

“Review of Soundless Roar” by Diana Orendi
Review of Holocaust survivor Ava Schieber’s collection of stories, poems, and drawings.

“Review of The Raw Brunettes” by Audrey Vanderford
Review of Lorraine Schein’s novella about radical women in NYC on the last night of the 20th century.

“Review of Bee Season” by Ilana Wolpert
Review of Myla Goldberg’s novel about the unraveling of a Jewish family.

“Review of Klezmer Music” by Batya Weinbaum
Review of CDs by the Lori Cahan-Simon Ensemble, Pharaoh’s Daughter, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.


ALYSON BUCKMAN. What Good Is All This to Black People? Octavia Butler’s Reconstruction of Corporeality.
Butler’s sf works recreate the “female monster” in various forms, but shows them adapting, surviving, and prospering because of their so-called monstrosity or difference. Butler presents humans (and aliens) as complex, evolving creatures, while deconstructing hierarchical categories like race, class, gender, and “the normative human body.” Buckman focuses on Butler’s Xenogenesis and Patternmaster series.

SHARON DEGRAW. The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same: Gender and Sexuality in Octavia Butler’s Oeuvre.
In Butler’s three major series (Patternmaster, Xenogenesis, and Parable), while Butler challenges power hierarchies, including gender, she often undermines “full feminist autonomy” by limiting her female leads to traditional roles (like mother). DeGraw demonstrates this “gender retrogression” by discussing female characters in these novels, and suggests possible reasons for it.

SANDRA GOVAN. The Parable of the Sower as Rendered by Octavia Butler: Lessons for Our Changing Times.
Butler’s novel is based on the New Testament parable, but is a much more elaborate parable. Like Jesus, the novel’s protagonist, Lauren, spreads a powerful and necessary message. Lauren critiques Christianity, yet takes from it and other religions to create her own religion of change, in a near-future dystopic world. Govan also discusses Parable in the context of 20th century neo-slave narratives: it conveys a cautionary message that, given the ills of our own society, a “devolution” into the recurrence of slavery is “not that far removed from the realm of possibility.”

STEPHANIE S TURNER. What Actually Is: The Insistence of Genre in Octavia Butler’s Kindred.
Turner analyzes Butler’s time travel novel as “historiographic metafiction,” finding that it contains some but not all features of such narratives. A “hybrid” combination of the slave narrative genre and speculative fiction aspects contributes the irony and self-reflection of historiographic metafiction, although in other ways Butler “does not attain that [requisite] level of parodic self-reflexivity.” That Kindred is a hybrid of genres means it is hard to classify, which led to a “marketing headache” and a mixed critical response.


“Soul Spinner” by Donna Marie Robb
Extraterrestrial Ke’ra confronts a giant from the “Great Blue Planet” who has invaded and brought deathly disease to her world.


“Recessively Blond” by Rita Grabowski
Reflections on homogeneity, bi-raciality, and recessive genes.

“Haiku” by Shannon Mariana Houston
God(dess) dreaming.


“Review of Female Hip-Hop Artists in Outer Space” by Nsenga K. Burton
Black female hip-hop artists work within the marginalizing male-dominated music and television industries. They resist dominant ideas about black womanhood by reinterpreting ideal images through their lyrics, aggressive sound, and surreal settings, such as outer space.

“Octavia Butler Speaks: A Visit to Cleveland State University” by Monique Morrison
Morrison relates highlights of Butler’s visit to Cleveland State University.

“Review of Brown Girl in the Ring” by Ifeoma C. K. Nwankwo
Review of Nalo Hopkinson’s novel about Caribbean-Canadian Ti-Jeanne’s overlapping struggles in the human and spirit worlds.


“Review of The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction” by Debra Rae Cohen
Review of Justine Larbalestier’s study of attitudes toward women, sex, and gender roles in sf.

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Femspec Abstracts "Women's Horror", Vol.4, Issue 1, 2002


GINA WISKER. "Guilty Pleasures: Reading Women's Horror"
Editor Gina Wisker's Editorial Remarks begin with a contextualization of Horror in general, with an emphasis on horror fiction and film, the academic public and the feminine reader. She then goes on to explain the perverse delights and dangerous pleasures that it presents; it has a potential for enjoyment and for critique, the latter being the main reason why this issue is centered around articles that cover the range of horror representation in television, film, short stories, and novels.


"Evil Thoughts" by Suzy McKee Charnas
This short story, told by the perspective of an omniscient narrator, centers around the events surrounding a couple, Fran and Jeffrey; their uncomfortable domesticity, bothersome neighbors, and everpresent friends make for a harried tour through their abnormal life.

"The Which Bitch? Project" by Louise Shaw
This short story, also by a third person omniscient narrator, partly places the reader in the demented mind of a murderer, Kevin. The demeaning representation of women stems from Kevin's obsession with violent films and the right that he feels this films give him to demean and destroy Cathy, the female object of his dementia and violence.

"Spell" Doreen Russell
This poem mixes the genres of fairytale and horror, and as the editor notes, it "captures the threat of the impinging of the fairy world onto ours."


SABINE MEYER. "Passing Perverts, After All: Vampirism, (In)Visibility, and the Horrors of the Normative in Jewelle Gomez' The Gilda Stories"
In this article, Sabine Meyer first theorizes on what she calls "the new vampire" before delving into a study of The Gilda Stories. In her introduction, Meyer first succeeds in contextualizing the vampire myth through a comprehensive review of everything and anything related to this subject. In the body of her discussion, Meyer then succesfully delves in all the monstrosity and perversion in Gomez's revisionist re-framing of the horrific.

FRANCES TOMASZYK. "Lunatics with Lethal Combat Skills: Dark Doubles, Bacchae, and Soulless Women in Xena: Warrior Princess."
An excellently well researched and written article that studies Xena by discussing the "dark double," madness and horror which are part of the TV show. Tomaszyk, as the title suggests, delves into the depths of horror conventions utilized in the now defunct Xena: Warrior Princess TV series by presenting multiple examples of the dark doubles, bacchae and femme on femme violence (Xena VS Dark Xena and Callisto VS Xena).

SARA MARTIN ALEGRE. "The Other in Me: Nancy Collins's Vampire Heroine, Sonja Blue"
Martín Alegre's study introduces the reader to the concept of the "reluctant vampire"--or vampirism imposed onto innocents--in her discussion of Collins' Sonja Blue character. In her study, Martín Alegre not only alludes to previous studies she has published, but also offers insights by Kristeva, Richard Dyer and Nina Auerbach that are a propos the subject of her topic.

LORNA JOWETT. Mute and Beautiful: The Representation of the Female in Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire.
Jowett's article on Rice's canonized work, centering on the character of Claudia, studies the paradoxical and enigmatic nature of this character. This interesting study should be included in a critical collection dedicated to Anne Rice's reconfiguring of the vampire myth.

ANITA BIRESSI. True Crime, Medicine, and Corporeal Horror.
Anita Biressi contributes greatly to the theories of the body and corporeal corrosion by studying films such as Jennifer Chamber Lynch's Boxing Helena and George Romero's Dawn of the Dead. Biressi, in her critical approach to these films and the magazine Real Life Crimes...and How They Were Solved uses critical works by Foucalt, Adorno and Benjamin in order to contextualize the reduction, fragmentation and compartmentalizing of the body as displayed in the artistic works discussed in her essay.

KATHLEEN KENDALL. Who Are You Afraid Of?: Young Women as Consumers and Producers of Horror Films.
This article effectively offers the results of a study Kendall conducted in her course on Media Studies. The key conclusion was that young women are prone to enjoy the visual aesthetics of the horror genre, but have their reservations about the way their intelligence may be underestimated by horror films.

ALINE FERREIRA. Artificial Wombs and Archaic Tombs: Angela Carter's The Passion of New Eve and the Alien Tetralogy.
Aline Ferreira, in this article, considers the strong similarities between Angela Carter's post-apocalytic novel The Passion of New Eve with 20th Century Fox's Alien series, starring the character of Ripley (Sigourney Weaver).

GINA WISKER. Honey, I'm Home!: Splintering the Fabrication in Domestic Horror.
The editor of this special issue, Gina Wisker, does a superb job of discussing the foundations of horror and presenting prime examples in literature and film. In her analysis of horror, she alludes to Sigmund Freud, Stephen King, Carter and Julia Kristeva to adequately exemplify points of her discussion.

ANDREA GREENBAUM. Biotechnology as Kabbalah: Reconfiguring the Golden Myth in Alien Resurrection and Species.
Andrea Greenbaum presents in this article an ambitious piece of critical research. Greenbaum's presents the Golem, codes, DNA, and Hebrew literature in connection to the Alien Resurrection and Species films (by 20th Century Fox and MGM respectively).

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Femspec Abstracts Vol. 3 Issue 2


Editor's Notes
In her introduction, Batya Weinbaum, editor of Femspec, presents short snippets on each of the critical articles included in this issue and background on the critics and the authors to be examined. Octavia Butler's visit to CSU (former home of Femspec) is mentioned in relation to Patricia Melzer's article. The editor also offers an invitation to the readers to subscribe to the journal and entices them with what the future issues of Femspec will include.


LOUISE ALLEN. Monkey Business: Planet of the Apes and Romantic Excess
This article may very well be or become the cornerstone in Planet of the Apes related criticism. Louise Allen's learned and complete essay offers a deep analysis of two of the Planet of the Apes films, as well as comparisons with other science fiction cinematic texts (Terminator 2: Judgment Day and 2001: A Space Odyssey).

CHRISTINE DORAN. Fantasy as History: The Invention of Cixi, Empress of China
Doran's article is a fine study on Cixi, Empress of China, a cultural Chinese Icon with an important legacy in the Asian world of today. This essay explores questions of Cixi's sexuality, her lack of femininity, her animal-like nature, and whatever political aspirations of power, other than as a women ruler, she had or may have had.

PATRICIA MELZER. All that you touch you change: Utopian Desire and the Concept of Change in Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents.
The author of this incredibly well researched study left no stone unturned: an extensive end notes section, and a bibliography with more than 50 entries, makes her article a definite milestone in Octavia Butler-related criticism. Melzer, by examining Butler's Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, elucidates on "the notion of utopia, feminist politics and theory, and feminist science fiction" (31).

GLORA FEMAN ORENSTEIN. Journey through Mlle de Scudéry's Carte de Tendre: A 17th-Century Salon Woman's Dream/Country of Tenderness.
Orenstein's study of La Carte de Tendre, is "a map of Mlle de Scudéry's desire, and of the emotional geography of the territory of her political ambition and her sexual imagination" (53).

DARKO SUVIN. Cloning: On Cognition in the Discourses of SF and Technoscience
Darko Suvin, one of the most important American writer and critic of science fiction, presents a condesed version of a longer work that was published in Domna Pastourmatzi's Biotechnological and Medical Themes in Science Fiction. While this shorter version of his longer essay does present good insights into what Suvin sees as a wonder of technology (cloning), reading the longer piece offers a complete immersion into such an interestingly contemporary theme.


This short story, in the form of a "Letter to the Editor" most common in newspaper and magazines, offers a disturbing tale of a mother, a boy, and a witness that signs the letter "Unsigned."

CAROL GUESS. Love Story with Living Ghost
This story begins with a statement: "This is a novel" (79). In just under three pages, it offers an introduction, a complication, and a conclusion. A prime example of unrelenting, concise narration.

REBECCA LESSES. A Dream Question for the Angels.
An innovative short story that presents a transition effect between the real world, the conscious state we inhabit during the daytime, and the unreal, unconscious life we lead at night, when we are immersed in a sea of dreams and nightmares. Lesses, resorts to the use of italics when she wants to express the dream state of the narrator, and goes back to normal font when the dream ends.


CATHY SADLER. The Lost Tribe
Sadler's short narration begins with an introduction, flashbakcs twenty years earlier, jumps back to the present time, and flashforwards to six months into the future. A story involving an archaeologist, Amazon women and Xena, warrior princess is what plays through the jumping back and forth of time.


NANCY KUHL. If Kay Sage Painted Self-Portrait as a Boy
As the title already presents, this poem is a play on words, a lyrical explorations of emotions, feelings, smell, and touch.

The Hundred-Headless Woman Opens Her August Sleeve: Part 2
Like the previous poem, this one is a post-modern canvas of words, where the senses come to life, and again, the smell of turpentine, just like in " If Kay Sage Painted Self-Portrait as a Boy", makes a strange appearance as the poem concludes.

TARA LEONARD. Sanitary/Sanity
A musical poem, with an ever-constant question mark in almost every line, exposing the obsession of the poetic subject with washing clothes, which in so doing is a cleansing of the self and of the mind.

This poem is a strange trip for an innocent subject, Cornflakes, through a universe of planets, flowers, family members, and hell.

This text is a post-modern poem that travels to Mexico City, visiting Remedios Varo and name-drops Max Erns and Friday Kahlo and paints with words images of a surrealist painting worthy of Salvador Dali with a feminist twist.


BATYA WEINBAUM. Interview with Marge Piercy
This short but interesting interview deals with narrative topics such as anti-semitism, science fiction, feminist jews in WWII. A discussion of editorial practices at Knopf will serve as eye openers to the readers.


PHILLIPA KAFKA. Review of The Road to Fez
The book reviewed by the critic is filled with different manifestations of desire. It is set in contemporary Morocco, but also takes the reader back to 1834 and 1492, a time in which Sephardic Jews and Moors were kicked out of Spain, when this latter country became almost as powerful as the once mighty Rome.

ANNIS VILAS PRATT. Review of The Golden Notebook of Springfield
After a couple of sentences that anyone writing a dissertation should read, Vilas Pratt begins to review Vachel Lindsey's at times difficult utopian novel, only made bearable (according to the critic) by a three-part introduction written by Ron Sakolsky.

ERIN A. SMITH. Review of The Politics of Women's Studies
Smith's review, seeming more like a short essay (with its own Works Cited section at the end of it), concentrates its close to three pages in the Florence Howe edited The Politics of Women's Studies: Testimony from 30 Founding Mothers. This book is undeniably "a success story, albeit an unfinished one" according to Smith.

GINA WISKER. Review of "Saddling la Gringa"
Phillipa Kafka, a constant book reviewer and contributor to Femspec, now gets her book "Saddling la Gringa": Gatekeeping in Literature by Contemporary Latina Writers reviewed by Gina Wisker, another contributor of our journal. Kafka's book offers well written essays focusing on Judith Ortiz Cofer, Rosario Ferré, Magali García Ramis, Cristina García, and Julia Alvarez, with support from a critical framework that includes Michel Foucalt, Luke Irigaray, and Judith Butler.

GINA WISKER. Review of (Out) Classed Women
The reviewer finds this book well informed, threading "the path of feminist cultural politics with sensitivity and brings to life the engaged work of several Chicana writers" (116).

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Femspec Abstracts Vol. 3 Issue 1 2001


"Millenial Mothers: Reproduction, Race and Ethnicity in Feminist Dystopian Fiction" by Dorian Cirrone.

The author discusses Katharine Burdekin's Swastika Night (1937) written in great Britain while fascism was on the rise; Suzy McKee Charnas' Walk to the End of the World (1974) written when feminism was in full voice in the US; Zoe Fairbairns' Benefits (1979) written in Great Britain in the midst over the Wages for Housework debate; and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1985) written in Canada as an expression of the Reagan years in the US. She argues that although the times, places and circumstances in which these authors were writing varied considerably, their concerns were similar especially in regard to their depiction of women as defined by their functions of reproduction and mothering.

"The Resurrection of Morgan le Fey: Fallen Women to Triple Goddess" by Theresa Crater

Arthurian legends have been retold many times, with each century emphasizing different parts of the story and presenting characters in various lights. Authors in the second part of the twentieth century focused on Morgan Le Fey, transforming her from a fallen, wicked woman to a leader of an alternative community. This reconstruction, the author argues, is due in a large part to the feminist movement.

"Terri Windling's The Wood Wife: A Space for Complementary Subjects" by Robin Murray

The author discusses feminist goals in dismantling hierarchies in texts such as Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time and Gearhart's Wanderground, using Devine's notion that the focus on displaicng the masculine as center results in a feminine subject that is not attached to nature. She contends that Windling's The Wood Wife offers an alternative to this paradigm. She explores the ecofeminist context of this use of magical realism and discusses the novel as an arena in which the human/nature relationship can be examined more fruitfully.

"Intersubjectivity and Difference in Feminist Ecotopias" by Susan Stratton

Stratton acknowledges that ecofeminism, feminism, and the ecology movement have existed outside of academe decades before the field of ecocriticism became a recognizable movement among professors of literature in the 1990s. She hopes that now that literary criticism has embraced feminism and is opening to ecocriticism, that it may be ready for ecofeminism, and examines recent criticism and feminist utopias which she calls ecotopias in this light.

"Women's Horror as Erotic Transgression" by Gina Wisker

Contemporary women's radical horror writing critiques social conventions, and also challenges the conventional formulae of horror. The celebration of the erotic that occurs in this genre is, according to the author, essentially creative and liberating. Such writing refuses the value systems that underlie oppressive ideology in fictional and filmic formulations. The newly emerging genre of women's horror also denies the destructive polarities of male/female, good/bad, passive/active, life/death. The authors in this mode refuse to script women as victims, hags or femmes fatalles, and are reinstating forms of power. The author examines works of Angela Carter, Pat Califia, Katherine Forrest and Cheri Scotch in order to substantiate her views.


"Ovum" by Martha Marinara
This futuristic fiction begins with a first-time mother being kidnapped by soldiers out of uniform, armed and not well-camouflaged. The birthing mother is a scientist, who had impregnated one egg with another and hence had created a female being without the use of a male. The baby is born and raised in a laboratory, and develops psychic powers that confound genetic engineers who are responsible for her.


"Orpheus" by Moira McAuliffe
McAuliffe gives voice to Persephone and other women who perceive Orpheus on his way in to the underworld, where "the shapeless mouth of negation/swallowed his eyes." The retelling of his contact with Eurydice is set against a worled that remained unchanged when he returned from the underworld, where "the rivers were still branches of stone/and the sea was bitten metal." Serial women voices describe him as "out of the wild," and "back from the dead." They wash him and his clothes, take away his flute, and nurse him, "drying his clothes on stones/feeding him, talking to him/playing with him like a child in the sun." The women, often depicted as background only in Greek myth, here are interpreted as performing an important function: "Orpheus called the world together with music/but we knitted it/with light." An important poem in the process of feminist reclamations of the classics, and mythic revisioning.

"Katherine Murphy" by Leonard Trawick
Kate was a poet in her fifties returning to get a degree allowing her to teach poetry in the schools. She is remembered by Leonard Trawick, in an introduction to her work, as "a person of great kindness humor and joie de vivre, kindness and generosity." She pursued numerous modes of survival, including working as a medical record keeper and in the theater. She edited both Whiskey Island and The Journal (at Ohio State University where she went on for an MFA) and won an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Award for her poetry in 1998.

"Not Remembering My Childhood" by Katherine Murphy
Remembering a domestic moment of shopping for food, returning home with the food, and simmering memories in the pot "like red beans in the forgotten," the author tries to remember her first moment and connects with a fantasy moment in which her bones are silver.

"Dreading Dissection" by Katherine Murphy
A discussion of the body "as the place/you come back to" references the dead "taken back from horror films."

"To A Friend Afraid of Flying" by Katherine Murphy
A discussion of life as "a map/open, roads drawn in a design/through contrasting states/a web /dragging ends past margins/flyers never see."

"A Map of the United States of America" by Cristian Salazar
A Mexican-born poet from Cuernevaca now living in the US positions a young meztiza woman in a high school contest standing up in the middle of an auditorium to burn a black shape like a gun on the screen overhead, her "hand holding a knife," cutting a square heart shape out of the United States map when asked to locate and draw the location of the Hopi Reservation.


"Clare Winger Harris and 'The Fifth Dimension'" by Richard Lupoff
SF writer Lupoff introduces the Clare Winger Harris story that contains three characters, and is set in the home of a married couyple, Ellen and John, an unusual setting for a story that appeared in the early US sf pulps more often replete with whiz-techs and space operas. He relates her story to later Chaos Theory as developed in the world of physics.

"The Fifth Dimension" by Clare Winger Harris
Intense interaction in sharp realist prose of a woman who believes in the cycles of time, and sees her neighbor Mrs. Maxwell in a déjà vu. She has a premonition that her neighbor shouldn't go into her garage. She tells herself not to be silly, doesn't warn the neighbor, and then the neighbor dies when the garage burns. When this housewife's husband prepares to go on a business trip, he condescendingly thinks she is just making something up because she is afraid to be alone. She reminds him of the death of the neighbor, which she foresaw, and descends into hopelessness. She begins sobbing hysterically, and her husband changes his mind and decides not to go. The news arrives that the train he would have gone on, if his wife had not detained him, crashed. The husband explains it all scientifically to her, and offers to buy her a fur coat. Still a product of its times, the story shows a woman thinking, understanding and discussing theory and scientific concepts, and validates women's psychic perceptions.


"Review of Teaching toward the 24th Century" by Bruce Beatie
This book is based on Karen Anijar's 1994 dissertation and contains a valuable body of interviews, mostly with high school teachers. The quotations from these interviews the reviewer finds fascinating and often "quite frightening in their fanatacism."

"Review of Turning on the Girls" by Ritch Calvin
The reviewer finds this novel to be sometimes constructing an ideal society and at other times marking "feminine" characteristics and matriarchal values. The novel centers around Lisa, a young woman employed by the Ministry of Thought, who acquires a male assistant. All is not well in the New Order. The oppressed men get together and study the history from which they have been erased, as occurs in Egalia's Daughters. Lisa and her assistant team up to stifle the counterrevolution.

"Review of The Jigsaw Woman" by Liisa Hake
The reviewer finds this book to be a blend of magical realism and mythology, a "fast-paced romp from one mind expanding sexual episode to another." Three women who constitute the singular main character reappear in her past. She is able to go in and out of their bodies, helping them to give birth and to warn them of impending dangers.

"Review of Goja: An Autobiographical Novel" by Philipa Kafka
A poet, fabulist and essayist, Suniti Najoshi was born in India in 1941. She grew up critical of the class system even though she benefited from it as well. In an extended fantasy sequence, through a three way dialogue between grandmother, servant and author, Goja tries to resolve some of her issues including noticing gender inequality, male dominance, racism and lesbianism.

"Review of Witches of the Atlantic World" by Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt
The reviewer finds this book to include a variety of important contributions to the study of witchcraft persecutions in the early modern world. The collection encourages readers to consider witch hunting as an Atlantic phenomenon. She finds the book admirable for its commitment to providing an Atlantic view of the witchcraze. The primary sources provided in the volume might be helpful to those creating fiction. These include Kramer and Sprenger's Malleus Maleficarum and Carlo Ginzburg's The Night Battles.

"Review of Islands of Women and Amazons" by Emmy Levine
Levine finds Weinbaum's volume to be "an enjoyable and readable study," interdisciplinary and comprehensive in approach. She also notes the connection of the topic to contemporary socioeconomic and cultural issues. The Amazon archetype is brought into the realm of life experience, through ethnography into Isla Mujeres in Mexico. She quotes other reviewers' assessments of her "in-depth exploration of the Amazon archetype, a symbol that pervades many cultures and has influenced views of women and women's culture."

"Review of Mary Shelley's Fictions" by Donna Burns Phillips
The reviewer finds this collection to be for those who are well versed in the entire Shelley corpus, as she explores the essays mostly by British scholars. Various versions of Frankenstein are discussed in the essay by by Nora Crook, for example. In the section on gender, Anne-Lise Francois and Daniel Mozes offer a provocative reading of Mathilde, and other titles and issues are discussed.

"Review of Behind the Blue Gate" by Darlene Pagán
Pagan notes that Carol Rose's poetry explores "the bounds of culture, national and religion," and hales her as "one of the most promising Manitoba writers." The collection reflects the poet's studies and interests in religion and international cross-cultural communication, "particularly from her perspective as a Jewish feminist. As the reviewer summizes, "Tending towards linguistic economy, a lyric style, and a formal range, Behind the Blue Gate represents Rose's mastery of craft and the sensual possibilities of language."

"A Ramble Through Fantasy Land" by Elizabeth Pandolfo Briggs
The reviewer finds this a unique book that looks at science fiction, children's literature and popular culture, and offers insights into coming of age in fantasyland. The author, Gary Westfahl, whose volume is reviewed, analyzes children's literature to see how its message affects adults. The book reads like a collection of essays, about some books which the author might have read as a child but which no longer seem relevant to the reviewer. Some books discussed include the Hardy Boys, and the Choose Your Own Adventure series. How Superman's tripartite identity contradicts western philosophy of unified identity is very American is also explored. It is not clear from the review whether or how gender is explored as a question in the text, or in the texts discussed.

"Review of In the Footsteps of the Goddess" by Annis V. Pratt
These personal stories edited and illustrated by Cristina Biaggi records what happened when women in the early 1970s were first becoming conscious of how the patriarchal world and everything we had been taught in society all contained weapons honed by men to use against us. That is, women began talking to each other in small groups, listening, and the fragmented and degraded bits of Goddess imagery that we came across in our research had to be retold to empower us. The book Biaggi produced from such materials, the reviewer says, is "the kind of book you want to carry with on your travels and dip into meditatively." She has collected definitions of the goddess, and personal stories by women and men who have learned celebration by coming into contact with goddess imagery.

"Review of White Turtle" by Karen Schneider
These are stories, not all fantasy, but even the ones that are not by Merlinda Bobis take on fantastic quality due to their frequent use of elaborate and/or unexpected metaphor. For example, in the first story, "An Earnest Parable," a communal tongue is shared by five neighborhood families of different ethnicity. Bobus, a Filipina living in Australia and writing in English spliced with other languages, relish their multicultural origins and speak as if through a universal translator.

"Review of Mothering in the African Diaspora" by Gina Wisker
Wisker's review of this special issue of the Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering stresses beliefs and inspirations related to the mythical and spiritual in texts and other cultural representations. For example, she comments on Mackey's essay on how mother love is an act of resistance in Beloved. Mackey uses psychoanalytic theory to explain the return of the Imaginary, the ghost of the departed child, when Paul D. arrives.

"Review of The Bitch is Back" by Batya Weinbaum
The bitch has appeared as an archetype in world literature over the centuries, recognizable as the monstrous presence in Greek tragedy. This review of Sarah Appleton Aguiar's reclamation of the archetype suggests a lens to review work by Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing and Mary Daly, Adreinne-Rich style.

"Review of From Moon Goddesses to Virgins" by Batya Weinbaum
The reviewer finds this exploration of the colonization of Yucatecan Maya sexual desire to possibly provide models for sf writers, feminist and otherwise, to extrapolate from in imagining other cultural forms of the organization of sexual desire and expression. The book is perhaps the first manuscript to study Maya sexual desire through Maya-language documents. In particular, the female figure of the Moon goddess is discussed.

"Review of The Lieutenant Nun" by Batya Weinbaum
Sherry Velasco's exploration of transgenderisim, lesbian desire and Catalina Erauso explores hybrid spectacles, monsters and how transvestite narratives function by tracing adaptations of the Lieutenant Nun figure in literature, theater, iconography and cinema. Velasco shows how "the male disguise provides many advantages and almost always empowers women in men's clothing." Cross-cultural fantasies of cross-dressing women are explored, by examining the popular representations of her throughout the ages.

"Review of Inanna: Lady of the Largest Heart" by Batya Weinbaum
Inanna was a goddess who celebrated her vulva, founded horticulture, and collected all the principles of her culture into her "boat of culture" as the introducing poet Judy Grahn tells us in this remarkable volume valuabe for teaching writing for performance, the possible boundarliess of female imagination, and the roots of matriarchal pre-classical literature. Scholars familiar with the oral literature of India's earth goddesses and Kali will notice similar characteristics as recorded by the poet Enheduanna, "High Priestess of the Moon God of the City of Ur," the city from which Abraham and Sara exited over five hundred years later. This Sumerian poet on a timeline lived seventeen hundred years before Sappho, and about eleven hundred years
before Homer. She is clearly the mother of written poetry, and we are priveleged to have her forty five hundred lines that seem as exotic and far removed as science fiction fantasy, as Grahn tells us. In the late nineteenth century, Emily Dickinson read from translated fragments of Sappho, the majority of whose work was burnt in the Christian era. Sappho was primarily focusing her attention on the star goddess, Venus in Latin, or Aphrodite in Greek. Thus Sappho was part of the female lineage of Enheduanna, this priestess and devotee of the goddess identified with the Venus in her time: Astarte in Syruia, Sihtar in Akkadia, and Inanna in Sumeria. Inanna has already influenced canonical writers in American literature, and she will more, after the publication of this volume, according to the reviewer.

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Femspec Abstracts Volume 2 - Issue 2 2001

Native Issue: Editor's Notes by Batya Weinbaum
Special themed issues occurred as an good idea when the journal began, as a way to create heightened awareness about particular kinds of work in volumes that had a specialty market and longer shelf life value. This first themed issue will raise the interest of the speculative techniques to interrogate gender roles used by Native women from different backgrounds. Special themed issues on the writings of women of particular ethnic minority groups that challenge gender help the reader to a better understanding of their creations. The writings and art in this special issue highlight myths, folklore, magical power, magical realism, and the focus on the interweaving of the real and the surreal, as well as the tribal real.

Native Issue: Introductory Overview by Candra Cruz

FEMSPEC 2.2's Native Issue has a Southwestern flavor focusing on Leslie Marmon Silko's works as well as Plains poetry by Sarah Littlecrow-Russell. The Southeast influence is represented by Marijo Moore's poetry, Louise Erdrich's work, and Paula Gunn Allen's poetry. Even Mexico is represented in the fiction of Janet McAdams. These works increase the interest not only of the different culture locations, but also of the better understanding of the stereotypes, new images, and theories about these indigenous cultures and the extraordinary women.

"Technology, 'Magic,' and Resistance in Native American Women's Writing" by Márgara Averbach
The special elements of technology, "magic," and resistance are present in the literature of Native Americans, especially Native American women. These elements that Western culture calls "magic" are the features that distinguishes Native American text. The authors use cultural hybridity combined with the use of English and their tribe's worldview. A consistent disappearance of the barriers constructed by Western culture also exists. Native American Women's Literature can be associated with two theoretical concepts, the idea of the postmodern rebellion, and the definition of cultural translations as violation or the violence of false equivalents.

"The Terror of the Liminal: Silko's Almanac and Klein's Phantasy Paradigm" by Sandra Baringer

This essay considers Leslie Silko's Almanac of the Dead as a difficult novel to read, not only for its length, but also for its negative, violence, and terror content. In return, Silko's is compared to Melanie Klein's Phantasy Paradigm. Even though Silko's novel disturbs male critics, it is also made evident in this essay that there are disturbed relationships with maternal objects, especially the maternal Earth. It is also acknowledged that spirits took over Silko's writing process. As Silko's novel is a part of the postmodern genre American Indian folklore and witchcraft, it is concluded that this powerful novel is more frightening than Oedipus Rex.

"Narrative Choreography toward a New Cosmogony: The Medicine Way in Linda Hogan's Novel Solar Storms" by Roseanne Hoefel

Linda Hogan's novel, Solar Storms, introduces a new different way, the medicine way. This is through the female narrator searching for her real self by using her female elders and relatives with the present supernatural forces. With this, Hogan constructs a pattern using valuable American Indian cultural and oral traditions. Themes were also developed as the seven ways of the medicine woman: the way of the daughter; the way of the householder; the way of the mother; the way of the gatherer and ritualist; the way of the teacher; and the way of the wise woman. Angel's journey is shown as the medicine way path of quality, spirituality, and genuine identity.

"Voices from Bear Country: Leslie Silko's Allegories of Creation" by Robert Gish

Leslie Silko's "Allegories of Creation" is written as a recreation of self. The creative process became an exactly literal subject matter. The "Creation" is the subject and the process that are linked to psychology and poetics of literary text and literary act. Silko is the artist and "maker" of romantic archetypes of creation with allusive textures in her writings. Oral and written, Native American myth, Shakespeare, and the Romantics are highlighted, as well.

"Revisioning Woman in America: A Study of Louise Erdrich's Novel The Antelope Wife" by Elaine Kleiner and Angela Vlaicu

Native American women's images contain the powerful qualities of identities intermixed with culture. Novelist Louise Erdrich uses these qualities from her won racial and ethnic mythology with artistic inspiration. This Native American culture commitment frequently uses trickster characters, The Antelope Wife also contains four major parts of the Ojibwa her cycle mythology and the "Medewiwin" or Grand Medicine society. Erdrich's novel protests and celebrates the course of cultures left in the wake of European invasion while telling the untold stories of contemporary survivors.

"Fighting the Windigo: Winona La Duke's Peculiar Postcolonial Posture in Last Standing Woman" by Tom Matchie

Winona La Duke's novel, Last Standing Woman, is a reconstruction text dealing with land, the nation, and the rebirth of La Duke's people, the Chippewa or Ojibway of northern Minnesota. This revisionist text focuses on the roles of women as life-givers or the manifestations of Mother Earth in human form. Three women serve as instrumentalists to regenerate the land at White Earth by taking a stand in the Midwest against land grabbers, lumbermen, and the FBI. This four part, new, beginning novel moves linearly through time from the late nineteenth century to the present. Although not original in the theme or structure, this novel is a story teller's take of the White Earth. Unique in the stories of social history and oral myth, they also contain much humor and a heart filled with compassion. The symbolic title also uses and highlights real and vital characters. This ironic novel concludes with a gentle tone, mixing music and myth, and depicting life beyond war, a life of constantly fighting for land rights and women's rights.

"Bear Mountain, Lion, Deer and Yellow Woman in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony" by Delilah Orr

A story about spiritual renewal and ceremonial recovery is Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony. This American Indian novel focuses on Southwestern tribal folk literature and the importance of the roles of the powerful animal spirits of Bear, Mountain Lion and Deer with their guardian Yellow Woman. They also are shown as essential figures within the life of the main character, Tayo. They help restore his faith himself, his land his ceremony and play an important part as guides to his physical recovery and restoring his tribal identity. They become also his teachers in order to survive in a world of chaotic change. This critical study of literature uses traditional prose narratives and oral traditions. Pueblo Indian religion and ceremonial rituals and Navajo traditions with Yellow Woman as a wild game god. The uses of oral traditions that indicate the dynamics of cultural change are examined.


"Indian Tears" by Sara Littlecrow-Russell
A sad recall of an Indian past with Indian tears, with the speculation that tears left from 500 years of weeping were kissed away by a lover who was held in the poet's arms.

"Those Indians Sure Are Crafty" by Sara Littlecrow-Russell
The fantasy of Kmart (a Native American Barbie) clashes with the reality of the poet who tries to shop there.


"Plaza Bocanegra" by Janet McAdams
Sitting in the wrong Plaza, Anna thinks of the little Plaza, Plaza Bocanegra or Plaza Chica while writing a letter. She realizes that she has met two men since she came to the town in the mountains. Franklin is a drunken painter who shows her photos, including one of a thick young man always looking for a Buddhist temple, a man called Circe. This young man with a radiant face reminds her of the other man she has met, a mysterious Traveler. Anna closes her eyes to see this Traveler become the man in Franklin's painting, the man with a radiant face who beckons to her.

"Manna Raptured" by Dawn Karina Pettigrew
Manna leaves Gallup with her baby by the Greyhound for Graceland after a man hits her and injures her eye. In Graceland, Manna listens to conversations while patiently waiting in live to see Graceland. One of the women ask Mann if she is an Indian like Elvis. Manna's reply is that she is Cherokee, just like Elvis was Choctaw. But the woman does not agree. After Mann saw Graceland, she shared her hot dog with a hound dog and met his owner. The rich man left with his dog and gave her a fifty dollar bill. Returning to her motel, the clerk gives Manna a message that her husband is coming to take her home. Fearing her husband, Manna leaves for the wasteland border of the highway and prays to Jesus.

"Father Coyote" by Stephanie Sellers
Coyote put tricky spells on all women on earth and changed the to the beginning. Sick of women's lib, he made Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan be born men. He found out he could not look after all the women so he gave all the men the power of the trick over the women. He told the men to write a book so that all humans will believe in the trick. They wrote the book in different languages for all cultures to learn the Truth. Human beings then started to build different structures to learn the Truth. Human beings then started to build different structures to house the book. The book contained stories written by men to remind all of the women about their low status on earth. This made Coyote happy. Coyote later woke up 200 years after this event, to go to a wedding and view the power of women that still exists, but also view the bride's willingness to obey. This made Coyote feel as a genius until he had a dream of a sawn and woman power. The dream of women scratching visions on the face of Earth mother made him o to New York City to try his tricks on women again. It is there that he finally received his read rude awakening. A satirical use of the trickster-coyote Native American myth to critique women's oppression.


"Elements of Trickster in Children's Books of Louise Erdrich," reviewed by Kaila Schwartz
Louise Erdrich, an award-winning author of adult fiction, also writes books for children. Her first two children's books are Grandmother's Pigeon and The Birch Bark House. Since Native American people make everything into a story, they use this as a means to educate the young about the past and their cultural heritage. That is why Erdrich, a member of the Ojibwa community, uses trickster tales in her Native American folklore storytelling. Her trickster tales instruct children on the morality of how to behave. The tales also blend reality with fantasy, as Erdrich does easily because of her rich cherished heritage and talent. These trickster tales about animals or humans really exist between a spirit world and this world of today.

"Dream Poet: Marijo Moore" by Suzanne Zahrt Murphy
Marijo is a dream poet, but most of all, she is a Cherokee woman with a voice of nature and spirit blending. Since tradition is a link to culture and survival, Marijo Moore writes about traditions through her poetry, books and prose. "Going to Water" is a powerful example of a blessing ritual using a chanting voice. It is even a sacred tradition. Her writings even depend on her dreams for guidance. As she expresses herself about nature, women ancestors and the sacred earth mother, she also becomes a communal woman, a mentor to other Indians of North Carolina. Through her power, industriousness and spirituality, her writings discuss contemporary issues. This proves she is a true traditional native woman.

"Review of Life is a Fatal Disease" by Annis Vilas Pratt
Paula Gunn Allen's structure of poems from the sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties are from 1962-1995. It is of alienation and "enwholement." Allen also defines Native American's alienation in "A Stranger in My Own Life." Alienation turns to thematic in four other poems written in 1983. As her collection moves chronologically, she finds her many identities, images, and ancestral notes rewoven from bitterness and loss into hope and beauty.

"Stink of the Future" by Kat Ball
The stink of this artwork by a Native teen woman who sells her works at powwows are the disappearing trees, nature's artwork.

Art from the "Three Sisters" Show, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June, 1999 America Meredith, Kelly Jean Church, Allison Francisco.

Art From the "Three Sisters" Show, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 1999
The art of America Meredith, Kelly Jean Church, and Allison Francisco reminds us of themyth of the Three Sisters, a story very common to Native people throughout the United States.The first work of art depicts the corn, beans, and squash surrounded by things of modern life.Second is the artwork of the Three Sisters, images of magical or mythic scenes. Among theinteresting is the lovely painting of three birds, the symbols of life.The cardinal, the black star bird, and the woodlands bird represent the great diversity of people in this world.Next is an untitled and unfinished sketch that is depicted in the middle figure of the Three Sisters.The lastpainting of the Three Sisters art is the image of the raven.This image also can be seen within Kelly Church's "Three Sisters."

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Femspec Abstracts Vol.2 Issue 1, 2000

Editorial Remarks: Batya Weinbaum and Ritch Calvin
The editors explain the nature of the editorial process and the transition to new editors taking greater responsibility, and they announce the acquisition of a new publisher. They explain the average response time for submissions is 4-6 months.


"The Snow Queen and the Goddess in the Machine" by Janice Crosby
Feminist theorists and critics have examined women's role in the history of religion. These findings have relevance for women who are experimenting with new forms of spiritual practice. The author argues that although feminist spirituality and goddess images are still rare in canonical fiction, genres do exist where female spiritual presences are found more readily, such as science fiction and fantasy. She examines Joan Vinge's The Snow Queen in this light.

"Mending the Rationality/Romanticism Divides in the Study of Women's Science Fiction" by Mary Catherine Harper
The author discusses the "chinks" she has discovered in the "science fiction criticism machine," which became apparent when she began studying women's science fiction and fantasy. She discusses her evolution from a romantic stance in her desire to follow aliens like the women characters created by Tiptree and discussed by Fenton, into a better universe away from the gender-based oppression of this world. She relates her own development of a more complex stance, under the influence of Haraway as a feminist theorist. She examines much feminist sf criticism, including that of Piercy's contrast between utopian and dystopian futures in Woman on the Edge of Time. She then categorizes and criticizes the numerous evolving feminist science fiction critics.

"The Utopia of the Perverse: An Exercise in 'Transgressive Reinscription'" by Veronica Hollinger
Part One of this essay explores Califia's Macho Sluts and Rice's Exit to Eden, which both appeared in the mid-eighties. She discusses the stature of Califia's underground classic, and Rice's mainstream publishing event that nonetheless seems like s trashy romance. She criticizes Rice for having what Foucault would call "peripheral sexualities" be resolved by conventional romance forms, while praising Macho Sluts as a utopia-oriented text. Part Two then offers a few conclusions about the intersections of perversity and utopia in these two texts, and raises questions about what might be meant by "a utopia of perversity."

"'I Would Have Swallowed a Kiss': Reflections on Feminist Speculative Poetry " by Nancy Johnston
The author establishes that a speculative poetry is something that continues to be published, and suggests we now turn to how women writers specifically participate in this genre. She surveys American speculative poetry in order to sketch what place women poets have in the field. In particular, she examines the poetry of Ursula K. Le Guin and Jane Yolen. She outlines the history of speculative poetry in relationship to science fiction, in order to provide an appropriate context.

"Maxine Hong Kingston's Woman Warrior and Shaman: Fighting Women in the New World" by Diane Simmons
The author explores how Kingston gives agency and subjectivity to the No Name Woman, in the beginning of Woman Warrior, and by doing so establishes the need to re-imagine the stories of subjugated Chinese women. She points out that while the woman warrior of Fu Mu Lan may seem to be a rather obvious figure of female empowerment to western eyes, that this device to conjure up ancestral help on the part of Kingston may in itself reinforce the male dominant system. The author connect the work of Kingston in examining how women have been colonized by controlling narratives of those who dominate them to the work of Edward Said who examined how narratives perform the work of subjugation.


"Interview with Janet Asimov " by Marleen S. Barr
Carol Stevens' introductory note explains the importance of oral history in changing the construction of social reality, and Marleen Barr then asks Janet Asimov to explain how two extremely professional people could have maintained a successful relationship. They discuss issues such as how budget cuts hit women worse than men, and the different assumptions with which both interviewee and interviewer were raised.

"Third Person Peculiar: Reading between Academic and SF-Community Positions in (Feminist) SF" by Sylvia Kelso
Kelso's presentation at WisCon 20 in Madison explains her discomfort with the academic slot at cons, although she admits to taking pleasure in academic-like consumption of sf texts. She discusses her history as a reader of such texts, beginning with her girlhood and moving through reading as a political English graduate student of the late 60s in Australia. Although the range of the texts explored is many, they include Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossessed and Nicola Griffith's Ammonite. She discusses as well her experience on the feminist sf list, and at women's studies conferences and the various understandings of feminist history and feminist issues in the feminist sf community.


"Housework Beast" by Barbara Minchinton
An observant poet from Brunswick, Australia, humorously describes her wrestling with the beast created by dealing with stale frying food, laundry and all the rest of the onerous tasks of keeping a houseclean, until she decided to dance with the beast rather than to conquer it, in middle age, whereupon it promptly disappeared.


"Interview with a Housework Beast" by Christine Croyden
An author involved in feminist publishing in Australia arranges to meet her own Housework Beast. Interviewing her right at her own kitchen table, she finds her to be "the personification of all the ugly thoughts and feelings" she has about housework which she had not recognized. She ties in her own feelings to the results of social research that shows although men's attitudes might have changed, their behavior hasn't yet, concerning housework, even though it has been thirty years since feminism took off.

"If the Sun and the Moon Should Doubt…" by Linda Johnson
A Canadian writer from the Vancouver area who has published a collection of short stories and novellas, short stories and numerous poems in dozens of literary magazines creates a futuristic work in which an alien couple, Choh and Mor, do everything they can think of to make Elizabeth, an eight year old human orphan, happy living with them on a new planet. The father adopts the alias Joe when he works as a social worker among the humans, where the ratio of male to females in the population had been reduced one to ten by the genetic engineers since the men were not surviving well on the new planet.

"Coyote Wants a Baby" by Stephanie Sellers
A lecturer in Native American and Women's Studies at Penn State-Mont Alto, a Shawnee and activist for the Native people as well as published writer in Through the Eye of the Deer: An Anthology of Native American Women Writers satirizes the male control of the medical business by showing how Coyote, the trickster, tried to get pregnant the way Rabbit told him she did by eating clover and tender bark. Various animals including the Mole give him similarly unhelpful advice, until Coyote decides to look in the Yellow Pages under gynecologists and then makes an appointment. He brings $2000 in travelers checks to pay for his first five minute appointment, and launches into a series of adventures with Dr. Babies=Money who adopts a variety of names and postures.


Out of the Void by Leslie F. Stone
This excerpt of a work by Leslie Silberberg, published under her pseudonym Leslie F. Stone originally in Amazing Stories, explores gender roles, androgynous aesthetics, homosexual relations and cross-dressing surprisingly to some in a 1929 issue. In the excerpt, the main character, a woman, cross-dresses as a man in order and goes to outer space on an experimental voyage.


"NWSA 2000-Boston" by Batya Weinbaum
Paula Gunn Allen, Alix Dobkin, Mary Daly and about 20 other women attended the salon created by Batya Weinbaum and Gloria Orenstein. Daly talked about her "intergalactic study" in which she explored future, archaic, and pre-patriarchal non-linear pasts. Diane Saenz of Poet Talk read a poem about a dream of her mother who talks to the dead. Publisher of Calyx told of growing up in Latin America where she assumed that spirits were part of reality, not necessarily part of a separate "magical realist" reality, a North American publishing term.

"NWSA 2000-Boston" by Gloria Orenstein
Gloria Orenstein talked about the NWSA FEMSPEC Salon as part of the salon matrilineage, in line with her own Women's Salon in NYC in the 1970s.

"SFRA 200-Cleveland" by Batya Weinbaum
Many papers and panels addressed issues of relevance to FEMSPEC readers, including the discussion of the New York Futurian oral history project undertaken by Justine Larbalastier at the suggestion of Judith Merril. Also of particular interest was the discussion of feminists and the history of women in Feminist SF, attended by among others Karen Fowler, Samuel R. Delany, and Joan Gordon.


"The Poet as Cartographer" by Marcus Casal
Beatriz Badikian's Mapmaker Revisited: New and Selected Poems published by Gladstone in Chicago (1999) chronicles continents of experience, in the reviewer's view. Myth and geography are induced as metaphors in chronologies of relationships and the vision gesturing towards the mythic is sustained throughout.

"Don Quixote, the Joads, and Jack Kerouac Move Over: A Chinese American Woman's Adventures on the Road [of Life]" by Phillipa Kafka
The review of Dorothy Bryant's Confessions of Madame Psyche tells the history of the incarceration of the psychic who predicted the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

"On the Women of Other Worlds" by Karen Schneider
An eclectic collection growing out of the editors' experience at WISCON, the annual feminist sf convention held in Madison, covers the Guest of Honor speech of Ursula K. Le Guin and other highlights, such as an interview with Suzy Charnas and a "herstory" of feminist fandom.

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Femspec Abstracts Vol. 1 Issue 2, 2000


The Editorial Remarks by Batya Weinbaum explains that the FEMSPEC 1.2 contains critical articles that express how change in literature and culture correspond with the changes in the economic situations and its structures."Women Alone, Men Alone" by Brian Attebery is a paper that was read at last years (1999) International Association for Fantasy and the Arts, and dystopias.The new direction of existing tales in a national culture's fantasy life is in Barbara Mabee's article, "Reception of Fairy tale Motifs in Texts by Twentieth-Century German Women Writers."The reclaim of classical myth in a feminist direction is a creative poem by Barbara Louise Ungar.Her poem is called "Circe in Love."There are many more pieces in this issue, such as a play by Linda Eisenstein, "Revelation 24:12," conference and convention coverage, and a review by a young writer, Nicte-ha, about "Dinotopia," a utopian children's book for girls.


"Women Alone, Men Alone: Single-Sex Utopias" by Brian Attebery
Using the concepts of Eutopia and Dystopia to describe the extremes of utopias, Brian Attebery's article " Women Alone, Men Alone: Single-Sex Utopias" examines the revivification of utopian fiction since the 1950s. By coining the term masculinist as a linguistic parallel to feminist, Attebery provides useful terms for discussion of utopia and gender in new ways. Critical and creative works by Thomas More, Russ, Gilman, Marge Piercy, Edmund Cooper, Katherine Burdekin, Louise McMaster Bujold, Robin Roberts, Suzy McKee Charnas, Robert A. Heinlein, Nicola Griffiths, David Brin, Sheri S. Tepper, Eleanor Arnason, Edgar Pangborn, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Theodore Sturgeon, John Jay Wells (a.k.a. Juanita Coulson), Philip Wylie, Samuel Delany, Geoff Ryman, John Varley, and Lucy Sussex are discussed.

"Reception of the Fairy Tale Motifs in Texts by Twentieth-Century German Women Writers" by Barbara Mabee
This article discusses how cultural information and stories have been passed from one generation to the next. The fairy tales were restructured to focus more on the female's point of view. Some of these include stories with mothers and no fathers, depicting feminism and imagination in one. Critical and creative works by the Grimm brothers, Karl Marx, Jack Zipes, Anna Seghers, Christa Wolf, Ruth Bottigheimer, Maria Tartar, Sarah Kirsh, Madonna Kolbenschlag, Colette Dowling, Kay Stone, Claire Farrer, Geertje Suhr, Annette Laun, Sigrid Kellenter, Charles Perrault, Angela Carter, Helga Schubert, Margaret Atwood, Karin Struck, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Franz Kafka, and Bruno Bettelheim were discussed. The focus is on resurgence of fairy tales with the fall of the Soviet regime in East Germany.

"Separatist Fantasies, 1690-1997: An Annotated Bibliography" by Lynn Williams
A bibliography produced by many conference presentations. All works in this bibliography deal with science fiction and feminism.


"Beast" by Ruth Knafo Setton
This is a work of fiction that starts out by showing marriage (sex) as being the way to let out one's true passion and true self. The use of subtle magical realism helps the author to tell of the enjoyable and the frightening aspects that co-exist while experiencing sex within the marriage. Men are beasts, or at least compared to them. A woman is not supposed to know more than the man wants her to. When she tries to find out more, she is rejected by all men. This includes her father.


"Revelation 24:12 A Ten-Minute Play" by Linda Eisenstein
This play includes two characters who are a married couple. The wife sees an angel. The husband tries to find something about angels in the Bible, while the wife defines revelation for him. She claims that the whole point of a revelation is to introduce something new. Gender differences are noted when reacting to the same situation. The revelations came from the conversation that followed the sighting. The husband found out things about his wife that he had never bothered to ask before.


"Circe in Love" by Barbara Louise Ungar
A poem that uses science fiction to describe the age-old idea of the saying, "you only want what you can't have." Ungar plays on themes of Greek myth and talks about turning men into animals. The object of her affection was the one that she could not change. She lost interest in turning men into animals when the hero left, so she turned the object of his affection into a dog and prayed for him to return to her.


"Review of Dinotopia" by, Nicte-Há
This article is a review of Midori Snyder's Hatchling, in which a girl has adventures and travels the world. "Nicte-Há is bi-cultural young writer who splits her life between Isla Mujeres, Mexico and New Hampshire.


"Made In Canada: A Review of the 1999 Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy" by Nancy Johnston
This is a review of a conference in Canada where Canadian Science fiction was discussed. SF, Canadian literature was looked at in the context of all Canadian literature, and then with the concept of "borders" as creating regional identities. Many Canadian authors and works were discussed including Nalo Hopkinson, who performed an unpublished piece of hers.

"No Place, the Good Place, a New Place: The Twentieth International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts" by Sylvia Kelso
This is a review of a conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where the theme was Utopias/Dystopias. Hetrotopic and biocentric themes are also discussed.

"The First FEMSPEC Salon: NWSA Albuquerque" by Batya Weinbaum
This is a review of a meeting that took place during a conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People from across the country gathered to discuss the progress of the FEMSPEC journal and how they became interested in working on it. Ideas for future editions were also discussed.

"Writers' Respite at WisCon '99" by Phoebe Wray
This is a review of a morning workshop, called writers' respite, that took place a conference in Madison, Wisconsin. New sf writers were brought face to face with experienced writers in order to help guide them to future success.

Surrealist Women, reviewed by Gloria Orenstein
Penelope Rosemont's Surrealist Women: An International Anthology, is discussed. This collection contains writings and some visual work by approximately one hundred women from all over the world. These surrealist women are also talked about as being political activists.

Two Reviews by, Liisa Hake
Judith Laura's novel, Goddess Spirituality for the 21st Century, and Treena Kortje's novel, Variations of Eve, are discussed. Laura is claimed to have spent a great deal of time and effort searching for original gender classifications in the bible. Kortje's novel describes many possible stories of Eve and the garden of Eden.

The Exploration of Gender In Deep Space and Sacred Time, reviewed by Anne Collins Smith
Jon Wagner and Jan Lundeen's novel, Deep Space and Sacred Time: Star Trek in the American Mythos, is discussed. The authors' ideas of how gender roles and relationships are used in the mythological context is critiqued. They agreed that it was good that even the alien life forms have gender problems and issues.

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Femspec Abstracts Volume 1, Issue 1


"Birthing in a Hotel Room in San Antonio" by Batya Weinbaum and Robin Anne Reid
This brief introduction to the journal explains why the women writers and critics felt a need to begin an interdisciplinary journal. One reason for this need to create the journal was a common feeling of being alienated as writers in male-dominated publishing circles. The women who met in the Popular Culture meetings in San Antonio at the SF/Fantasy Area party decided the journal should include subjects that deal with spirituality, creative works. They wanted to expand from science fiction to speculative fiction and to also include women writers of mythological or imaginative stories written with the intent to debunk the historical perspective of gender roles. The articles contained in the journal are on different media critiques, art styles, poetry and authors of speculative literature who write about gender-bending roles. The articles the editors want to include in the journal are a representation of changes in gender roles and in the historical depiction of womanhood. The editorial states it was important to the professional women authors to create a journal that explained how feminism was a part of their lives and gave them reasons to use these literary devices. The literature covered in the issue reflects the avant-garde in writing and examines gender-bending creative art.


"Sex Role Reversals in Star Trek's Planets of Women as Indices of Second Wave Media Protest" by Batya Weinbaum
The critique made is that popular shows on television are reactionary products of a culture that treats women as sex objects. The episodes of Star Trek critiqued in the journal are about how the feminist movement coincided with the sexist illustration of women in the television. Watching these Star Trek episodes will reveal how icons of American culture can express popular American ideologies. The text is concerned with two episodes of Star Trek (1968 and 1980). They both suggest in different ways an interaction between male dominance and separatist matriarchal society. This piece explores how Hollywood and its levels of hierarchy promote sexist television shows and how those containing women's issues are related to the feminist movement.

"Must Collectivism Be against People" by Darko Suvin
Suvin discusses how feminist theories connect to individuality and collectivity. He takes a look at the cubist, anti-utopian writing We by Eugene Zamyatin written in 1924. The novel expresses how man acts in response to the theological world that is full of conflicting characters who represent God, Satan, and the power of the State. The opposition of the positive individual and the negative collectivity dominates the central thesis of We. The role of the female protagonist as the seductress and agent of the revolution is discussed. There is some imitation of Orwell in the book We. There are comments made on authors who characterized a feminist/utopian/fictional society. In the essay, the reviewing of Sally Gearhart brings to light the prevailing attitude that the women are compared to other exploited beings and Stalin-like conditions exist. The dominant white male world is compared to the oppressive power of the State in We . In summation, the essay is a discussion on the fictional writings by Zamyatin from Soviet society and the usefulness of connecting his work to later speculative feminist authors who curiously enough deal with the same themes and issues in a very different context.

"The Surrealist Cosmovision of Bridget Tichenor" by Gloria Orenstein
Mexico provides a surreal surrounding for painters to experience new visions. Tichenor's artistic conceptions are not European. The artist makes an analogy about past practices of shamans and unexplainable phenomena in her art work. Her artwork glows in a radiating way that is un-natural. Tichenor's revealing artwork lets us see ordinary human beings unmasked. The artist also incorporates many figures from Mesoamerican myth and folklore. Orenstein describes the art as surrealistic. The dimensions of Tichenor's artwork are made up of the evolution of human beings toward clear vision for a harmonious world. The artwork transmits to the viewer an ability to interpret fate and the cosmos. The author connects this vision to later developments in ecofeminism.


"Letter of the Twenty-Fourth Century" by Leslie F. Stone
This writer from the 1930s was similar to modern feminists. The story set in the twenty-fourth century includes introspection on prophecies of the past through the mechanism of old books that had been discovered from the turn of the 20th century by the protagonist. It is an uncomplicated short discussion that compares utopian predictions coinciding with the inventions such as the radio and airplane, to the progress and changes that were taking place in the evolving modern world.


"The Feminist Pathfinder Does Not Probe Mars" by Marleen S. Barr
This is a short imaginative piece of fiction about a surrealistic office that has been invaded by a space probe. The main characters are women who have received a space probe in search of a prototype of a sexist man. It is an amusing inquiry on the disorder between sexes in the professional world.


"Dream Hunt" by Christina Springer
An artist writes "Dream Hunt" from a multi-disciplinary background. This poem has many metaphors and the descriptive verse includes references to colors. It is a poem full of the raw emotion of an industrial city. The poet mentions dreams and the colorful street life of Pittsburgh.

"Juneteenth" by Christina Springer
Depiction of WinoWoman on a street in Philadelphia, with references to the mythic Harriet Tubman's feet and other aspects of celebration.

"Word Worlds" by Christina Springer
The poet creates visions of similarities existing between the jungle and the city using metaphors that connect earthy atmospheric qualities with the emotions of street life. In lines such as "muscles churning like the birth/of the Atlantic Ocean when the continents divide," she conjures up female experiences related to reproduction in mythical poetic interpretations of the origins of the waters on the planet. She relates the street woman "Maugritte" crawling with her "bone necklace clacking" as she hassles people for money to the displaced shamaness who with her words, holds the world together.

"The Taboo" by Darko Suvin
The poet writes about a strange tribe of women he meets in a exotic country. He realizes the sort of man he is appears to be "taboo" to a certain type of female tribe.

"Imagine a Fish" by Darko Suvin
A very short poem of what a fish might look like if it was out of water, playing on images of male and female, and of a male trying to relate to a female being like a fish out of water.


Trouble on Triton--Excerpt of a Novel by Samuel R. Delany
In Trouble on Triton (1976), Delany prophesizes about issues related to gender sex and the body issues of relevance to feminists in both the 1970s -1990s. Delany's protagonist in this excerpt, Bron, is a genetic male who was born on Mars. He was living as a man on Triton a moon of Saturn. Most residents on Triton live in communes or co-ops which are distinguished according nonsexual preference. Here the character goes to apply for sex change; by the end of the excerpt, Bron has become a woman.


"Transcending Gender: Challenging the Binary Divide" by Mary Fambrough
A doctoral candidate in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve covers the Third International Congress on sex and gender held at Oxford University. She discusses intersexual individuals reported on by Lee Anderson Brown of Sydney, and explores sources that might inspire artistic representations of gender that might be more experimental for creators of future gender bending science fiction works.


"A Little Light Shed On: Into Darkness Peering" by Janice M. Bogstad
Bogstad's review of Elizabeth Ann Leonard's collection Into Darkness Peering: Race and Color in the Fantastic, Number 74, Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Westport, CT: Greenwood 1997, 95 pp) commends the volume for remarkable feats in the history of science fiction criticism. In particular, Bogstad finds most notable the discussions that attempt to "fore ground, overturn or invert the preoccupations and stereotypes in America that are associated with race" (116). African Americans, Creole, Hispanic, Caribbean and Native American characters are discussed, in the works of such disparate writers as Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany. Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Elizabeth Lynn, Pamela Sargent, Lewis Shiner , Robert Silverberg and Leslie F. Stone.

"Margins Made Visible" by Earl Pike
Pike's review of Laurence Schimel, ed., Things Invisible to see: Gay and Lesbian Tales of Magical Realism (Cambridge, MA: Circlet Press, 1998, paper, 12.95) explores domains in which gender and desire are flexible, using the concept of border land communities. He finds the collected works in this volume to be uneven, but admires Sarah Schulman's "The Penis Story" in which the main character, a committed feminist and lesbian activist, wakes up to discover a penis hanging between her legs. He finds value in applying magical realist strategies to fictions of gender and sexuality.

"The Suncomers", pages 67-77, a girl's SF by a nine year old in 1961 is a young work that FEMSPEC sometimes includes.Since "girls have the same fantasies of omni potence and infinite transformation boys do," a nine year old girl shows the early attention to the joys of space invasion.Her "found" fiction contains three yellow people: Sunny, Beamer, and Ray, aliens equipped with an English dictionary.Young art work also accompanies this cute piece of history without an ending.

"WisCon 22 and the Secret Feminist Cabal" by William Clemente is a conference and convention coverage piece on pages 110 and 111.This convention at Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin, Memorial Day Weekend, 1998, was for about 600 writers and readers of sf and feminism.As stated:"You don't just get feminism at WisCon, you get thoughtful social analysis" (110).In fact, the questions about gender are asked with the questions of race, class, politics, and economics.WisCon brings together the community of writers, such as Suzy McKee Charnas, Eleanor Arnason, Joan Vinge, Pat Murphy, Karen Fowler, and Elizabeth Vonarburg, with the guest of honor, Sheri S. Tepper, an author of a feminist classic of speculative fiction."WisCon: Home of the Fminist Cabal", the motto, and laser-toting space babe logo of the convention programmer Jeanne Gomoll graced that year's t-shirts.Other special guests, Della Sherman, a fantasy author, and Ellen Kushner, a fantasy author/radio personality, attended as well, with different panels.There also was a presentation of the Tiptree Award, an annual literary prize event for sf or fantasy.

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