Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Patricia Melzer. Alien Constructions Science Fiction and Feminist Thought.

The road from successfully defended dissertation to published book is proven yet again to be long and winding. Patricia Melzer’s dissertation Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Theories—defended in 2002—finally saw the light in 2006 under the eerily-similar sounding title: Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought. Both works share the same subjects of study: the Alien tetralogy (Alien vs. Predator is not included), Octavia Butler, and the Matrix movies. Being unfamiliar with Melzer’s work made me apprehensive as I did not know what type of “analysis” to expect from her, esspecially when applied to the films she chose to dissect. Furthermore, when it comes to Matrix-related criticism, I doubted anything could top William Irwin’s edited The Matrix and Philosophy (Open Court Publishing, 2003) and other studies I had read related to Matrix criticism. Nevertheless, Melzer’s feminist approach made me a believer of the adage I’ve just created: nothing is old under the sun.

Melzer is not alone in her field, and neither is The University of Texas Press unique in publishing her study. Said press is one of the few that constantly explore issues of speculative feminist science fiction by publishing academic studies from the likes of Melzer and Batya Weinbaum (whose Islands of Women and Amazons: Representations and Realities is out-of-print and whose second critical study for The University of Texas Press has gotten bogged down by unusual editorial politics). Perhaps, something else that Melzer, Weinbaum and others share is their affinity for Butler, a sci-fi author at the center of some of Melzer’s most profound analysis

The book itself is organized in a very geometrical fashion with three sections and two chapters each. In the first section, “Difference, Identity, and Colonial Experience in Feminist Science Fiction,” Melzer dedicates her analysis to Butler’s Survivor, Dawn, Wild Seed and Imago. The chapters that comprise this section allude inevitably to the fear of the other, to that which is different from our selves. While the “different body” may be of an alien in Butler’s work, it is a reference to the alienation that the author felt because of her race and gender. In the second section “Technologies and Gender in Science Fiction Film,” the critic concentrates her analytical talents to deconstructing—from a feminist point of view—two of the most beloved sci-fi franchises. Melzer resorts to the study of science fiction films in order to expound theories of female corporeality by way of the Alien franchise film products that refer—yet again—to “the Other.” The Wachowski Brothers Matrix films broke new ground in science fiction mythology and, as Melzer affirms, also explore issues of humanity and post-humanity, the appropriation of “the Other,” and the oppression of the individual. The third and final section, “Posthuman Embodiment: Deviant Bodies, Desires, and Feminist Politics” explores said topics in science fiction works from Richard Calder’s Dead Girls, Melissa Scott’s Shadow Man and Butler’s Wild Seed and Imago. This final section emphasizes, according to Melzer, “sexual difference and the process of regulating desires for ‘unfamiliar’ bodies by declaring them as perverse” (177).

After reading Melzer’s study, it is easy to see why it was nominated for the 2007 Lambda Literary Award in the LGBT Studies category. It is an acute critical work and one that Melzer will be hard pressed to surpass, which is why it is all the more disconcerting to know that Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought lost the aforementioned literary award to Their Own Receive Them Not by Horace L. Griffin (Pilgrim Press). I am not familiar with Griffin’s work, but had I been able to, I would have voted for Melzer. The excellence of Alien Constructions makes me look forward to the work she is currently the editor for: I’ve been a woman I-don’t know-how-many-times: A Critical Tribute to the Work of Octavia E. Butler. It promises to be a thorough investigation into the work of Butler. In sum, Patricia Melzer’s Alien Constructions:Science Fiction and Feminist Thought is an incisive critical work that advances feminist critical approaches to science fiction that extol female-centric narratives. Melzer is an original critic with a unique style to organizing her discussion and thoughts. She could, very well become, the “go-to” literary critic of science fiction-centered feminist thought or “intergalactic feminism”.

Review of Alien Constructions by Gerardo T. Cummings printed in FEMSPEC 8.1/2


Wednesday, 11 June 2008

FEMSPEC VOLUME 8 CONTENTS

BATYA WEINBAUM. Editorial Remarks.
Getting the Mad People Out of My Attic: Not an Advertisement for Myself.
Batya Weinbaum introduces this special issue on tenure, promotion and women in academia.


WORK SECTION. DISCRIMINATION REVISITED

MEMOIR & NON-FICTION NARRATIVE

TINA ANDRES. Growing Thick Skin.
Tina Andres reflects on her life experiences within academic and engineering culture.

HELEN BANNAN. Derailed but Not Defeated.
Helen Bannan writes about the long road to tenure which began in interdisciplinary social science program in 1969.

JANE DAVIS. The Value of Stupidity: Negative Values in Academia.
Jane Davis documents her experiences in academia and tries to understand why racist behaviour is still tolerated within North American Universities.

LINDA HOLLAND-TOLL. What to Do When You Are Stuck at Toxic U: Strategies for Avoidance, Sabotage, and Survival.
Linda Holland-Toll offers ten rules to other academics "to help you avoid digging your own pit and tumbling into it."

RUTH PANOFSKY. Professor/Mother: The Unhappy Partnership.
Ruth Panofsky writes about the paradoxes and problems encountered by academic women who are also mothers.

BATYA WEINBAUM. Memoirs of an Academic Career
Batya Weinbaum reflects on How Buddhism and the act of going on retreat has helped her the many problems she has faced in her academic career.

CREATIVE EXPRESSIONS:

PAT ORTMAN. Don’t Tread on Me: Painting My Way Through.
Pat Ortman talks about how loosing tenure helped her re-discover her love for painting.

BATYA WEINBAUM. Waiting for Justice: Scene for TV.
A short drama about a legal gender discrimination case.

GINA WISKER. New Blood.
A cautionary tale about applying for 'New Blood' appointments in England.

GENERAL QUEUE

ESSAY:

GERALDINE WOJNA KIEFER. Overlays, Matrices, and Boundaries: A “Mixed-Media” Approach in Pedagogy and Art.
Geraldine Wojna Kiefer's essay maps out her methods for linking teaching and creativity in her drawing and art history classes.

FICTION:

K.A. LAITY. Eating the Dream.
A hungry visitor tours America in a rusty Honda Civic.

POETRY:

LOUISE MOORE. Joan of Arc, Circe, Cassandra, The Annunciation Angel.
4 poems by Louise Moore.

REVIEWS:

ARDYS DELU. Review of Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975 Edited by Barabara J Love.
ARDYS DELU. Review of Daughters of the Great Star by Diana Rivers
ARDYS DELU. Review of the Code Pink Women for Peace fund-raiser.
ARDYS DELU. Review of The Red Rose Rages (Bleeding): A short novel by L Timmel Duchamp.
ARDYS DELU. Review of On We, Robots by Sue Lange.
RITCH CALVIN. Review of Naomi Mitchison: A Profile of Her Life and Work by Lesley A Hall.
LYNN REED. Review of Becoming the Villanness by Jeannine Hall Gailey.
BATYA WEINBAUM. Review of Fissures directed by Alante Alfandari.
GERARDO CUMMINGS. Review of Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist
Thought by Patricia Melzer.

JAMES D. BROWN. Review of Paprika directed by Satoshi Kon
DOCTRESS NEUTOPIA. Review of The Secret DVD

SPEECHES:

GLORIA ORENSTEIN. Gertrude Stein as Mentor and Passing the Flame.

MEMORIAL:

ARDYS DELU. Grace Paley (December 11, 1922 - August 22, 2007)

BOOKS AND MEDIA RECEIVED

15 titles of interest.

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Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Rikki Ducornet receives lifetime achievement award

On May 21 the American Academy of Arts and Letters gave Rikki Ducornet a lifetime achievement award for her novels and short stories. Dalkey Archive will publish her new collection of stories, The One Marvelous Thing, in November. The award is considered one of the highest formal recognitions of artistic merit in the United States.
In the Independent Weekly Ducornet stated that she was, "astonished and delighted. It’s such a lonely job to write books. I write books that are very strange. To have anyone respond to them is delightful."

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Tiptree Award announced: The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall

The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council announced that the winner of the 2007 Tiptree Award is:

The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall (published in the United States as Daughters of the North).

The 2007 Tiptree Award Honor List is:
  • "Dangerous Space" by Kelley Eskridge, in the author’s collection Dangerous Space (Aqueduct Press, 2007)
  • Water Logic by Laurie Marks (Small Beer Press, 2007)
  • Empress of Mijak and The Riven Kingdom by Karen Miller (HarperCollins, Australia, 2007)
  • The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (Hyperion, 2007)
  • Interfictions, edited by Delia Sherman and Theodora Goss (Interstitial Arts Foundation/Small Beer Press, 2007)
  • Glasshouse by Charles Stross (Ace, 2006)
  • The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper (Harper Collins 2007)
  • Y: The Last Man, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Pia Guerra (available in 60 issues or 10 volumes from DC/Vertigo Comics, 2002-2008)
  • Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce (Harcourt, 2007)
more info from Gwenda Bond here and The Tiptree site here

Monday, 7 April 2008

Angela Carter. The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman

Agata Szczeszak-Brewer is currently teaching Angela Carter's 1972 novel The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman at Wabash College, a liberal arts college for men in Indiana, North America. There's an active blog here: http://literaryculturaltheory.blogspot.com/ where the students are discussing their reactions and insights to the book.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Utopian Studies Octavia Butler Special Issue

Call for papers: Octavia Butler.

A special issue of Utopian Studies will be dedicated to the work of Octavia Butler.

The editors are looking for:

'previously unpublished papers that address utopian and dystopian themes in any of Butler’s work. We welcome analyses from multiple disciplines and theoretical approaches. Comparative essays and reminiscences that engage the utopian and
dystopian themes in Butler’s work will also be considered.'

Deadline for completed papers, August 1, 2008.
Inquiries and papers to either Claire Curtis or Toby Widdicombe.


Friday, 21 March 2008

Anarchy and Fiction: Interview with Ursula K LeGuin

There's an interesting interview over at Infoshop, which has been written from an anarchist perspective. Ursula K LeGuin talks about consciousness-raising, her role as a 'non-activist' and describes how she first began imagining anarchies of the future.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Alien Languages and Futuristic Slang

Eastern Michigan University (with the help of Suzette Haden Elgin) have compiled a wonderful list of alien languages, futuristic slang, animal languages and other adventures in words.

Here's a few from the main list at the Linguistics in SciFi Book List

Confluence — Brian Aldiss (1967)
Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" in Ficciones — Jorge Luis Borges (1956)
"The Dance of the Changer and the Three" Terry Carr (1969)
40000 In Gehenna — C.J. Cherryh (1983)
Babel–17 — Samuel R. Delany (1966)
Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand — Samuel R Delany (1984)
We Have Always Spoken Panglish — Suzette Haden Elgin (2004)
Flight Of The Dragonfly — Robert L. Forward (1984)
"A Tangled Web" in Dealing in Futures — Joe Haldeman (1985)
The Haunted Stars — Edmond Hamilton (1960)
West of Eden — Harry Harrison (1984)
Red Planet — Robert A. Heinlein (1949)
Stranger in a Strange Land — Robert A. Heinlein (1961)
Inherit The Stars — James P. Hogan (1977)
Hellspark — Janet Kagan (1988)
Not So Certain — David I. Masson (1967)
Weltgeist Superstar — P.M. (1980)
"Omnilingual", in Federation — H. Beam Piper (1981)
Contact — Carl Sagan (1985)
After Long Silence — Pamela Sargent (1987)
Psychaos — E. P. Thompson
"A Martian Odyssey" in SF Hall Of Fame — Stanley Weinbaum (1934)
Surfacing — Walter Jon Williams (1988)
"A Rose for Ecclesiastes" in SF Hall Of Fame — Roger Zelazny (1963)
Eye of Cat — Roger Zelazny (1982)

+ + + + + + +

(found on Annalee Newitz's http://io9.com/ )

Thursday, 6 March 2008

M. Rickert: The Girl Who Ate Butterflies

In 1999 Mary Rickert published her first story, The Girl Who Ate Butterflies. Since then she's produced over 30 pieces, many of them appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is a Nebula finalist and a winner of two World Fantasy Awards. Her first collection, Map of Dreams, won the Crawford Award. The Girl Who Ate Butterflies was highlighted in Femspec Volume 7.2 as an example of beautiful, speculative writing. In an interview with John Joseph Adams, Mary Rickert speaks about how important this story was in her development, describing it as, "where I finally found my voice". Loss, desire and beauty are central themes, and ones which she has continued to pursue. The Girl Who Ate Butterflies is an excellent introduction to Mary Rickert, and we are happy to reprint it here.

Copyright M. Rickert (1999) originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1999. Reprinted with kind permission from the author.

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THE GIRL WHO ATE BUTTERFLIES

By M. Rickert


Her mother carved angels in the backyard. The largest was six feet tall and had the face of her mother's first lover, killed in a car accident when they were still in their teens. It took eighteen months to sway the purple and blue webbed stone into wings and skin, to release the wisp of feathers from the metallic clasp. She carved through the seasons, the easy spring, the heat of summer. In autumn she moved closer to the garage and plugged in the space heater, and in winter she wiped the white ash, that was what she called it, from his broad shoulders and unformed brow and in fingerless gloves carved him with a heat that flushed her cheeks and brightened her eyes.

The smallest angel was no larger than Lantanna's pinky and it was for the memory of an aborted fetus. Lantanna had heard the woman whisper her request through the closed door on a dark and moonless night. "I know I made the right decision," she said, "but still, I feel empty. I want something to mark the absence. A little angel for the one I sent past. Can you carve it a girl? Can you make her face at peace?" Lantanna stood shivering in the kitchen doorway, unnoticed by her mother who listened with a passive expression to the stranger behind the door. "And one last thing?" whispered the voice. "As you carve will you say a prayer, or whatever, for me. Though I'm sure I made the right choice."

Lantanna turned and walked back to bed. She shivered into her blankets and wrapped them around herself, tight as a cocoon, and fell asleep again without her mother even noticing she had awakened. In her home, as in her life, Lantanna, like a shadow was rarely noticed.

She was the sort of girl who did not know she was pretty. A pale face with the lightest scattering of freckles on her nose and cheeks. Pale blue eyes the color of dreams. Hair the color of corn.

She wore summer dresses of the nineteen-forties (regardless of the season) thirty years after that time, but unmended and clean as if they had never been worn before. She also wore a slip, which was also not the fashion. The dresses were airy as wings, so thin that the slip straps with paper clip-looking adjusters could be seen through them, as well as the flower at her chest, a squashed tiny pink or white or yellow rose. In the winter she wore little sweaters, the kind with three-quarter length sleeves and pearl buttons, while the other students at Oakdale High were ripping their jeans and rubbing their new sneakers in dirt. She was pretty but not fashionably so. Hardly anyone noticed. Really, only one.

Quetzl lived in Oakdale in the summer with his father who worked in the city and provided little supervision or restraint. A rare, dark-skinned creature in the town of apple-white, he spent the summers playing his guitar and smoking pot. He watched Lantanna from a distance, first as something vaguely noticed, a blur of color in a vision of black and white, then, with more focus, as she took her daily stroll early each morning past his house, always and mysteriously (in that age when most moved in packs) alone. "She's a space cadet," his friend Emma told him once when she saw him watching Lantanna. But he watched with growing fascination because in the dull, same-paced world of Oakdale, Lantanna was different, and because he was different too, he recognized her as one of his kind.

The day it began Lantanna went to her mother with blood-stained panties. Her mother looked up from the dusty chiseling to say, "This is the blood of a broken heart all women suffer. It is inevitable. Wounds must bleed." Then, when Lantanna began to cry, scolded, "You should be happy. This is good. You will have a long, pain-filled life."

She showed Lantanna the box of tampons and demonstrated how to use them, watching as she did, tapping her fingers to get back to her work. Lantanna inserted the thin white cardboard-sheathed cotton with a stab of discomfort and in a tremulous voice asked if she was still a virgin. Yes, yes, her mother nodded. "Though it doesn't matter. Time is relative. After all," she said, "you already have the wound."

Following her mother's instructions, Lantanna washed the blood from her fingers and panties with cold water and yellow soap. By the time she left for her morning walk, her mother was back in the yard absorbed with angel and stone. Lantanna walked past in silence, absorbed in her own study of astral realities. What, she wondered, made true angel wings? Were they gossamer and thinner than glass like butterflies' wings, or were they heavy with flesh and feathers, coursed with veins and blood?

She did not notice Quetzl following her. And he, so absorbed in the swing of her pale pink dress, the arch of her long legs to the drop of short white slip, did not realize Emma followed him, her eyes glinting with fire.

When Lantanna got to the meadow she walked into the tall grass and lay down. Quetzl stopped at the edge of the meadow and lay down too. At some distance, Emma stood in the shadow of trees that bordered the meadow.

Lantanna lay still. Her arms raised. Her hands like little white stars fallen into the grass. He could only see moments of her face. A small butterfly flitted in the bush nearby, but she did not turn her head or move, only lay there as still and disinterested as a flower. More butterflies flitted nearby. A small orange one lit on her wrist. A tiny blue hovered at her lips but he blinked and in that moment it was gone. Passion rose in him like Jesus' winged heart in the picture over his grandmother's bed.

From her distance it is as if Emma is suddenly sainted, a person who sees spirits and changes in the soul. Seeing nothing that can be described like this, she knows Quetzl has fallen in love with Lantanna. She feels a particular response in her own chest. An explosion of desire, the way flame swells to explode.

Lantanna, in the meadow, knows nothing of those who watch. Lying in the grass, her white arms extended like stems her hands flower, her little mouth open with one small lilac bloom on her tongue, parched to swallow, dry in the hot sun, her heart beats like the quick wings of the sleepy orange that flits about her and finally lights on her wrist. A small blue hovers at her lips, darts in and out, in a maddening tease before it rests on the lilac bloom. Quickly, she closes her mouth, tastes the fluttering wings. She chews and hears the vaguest crunch of its small body and, treasuring its quick flavor minced with the lilac, swallows. Sighing, she lets her tired arms fall. Eyes closed, she feels the hot sun, the vague itch of meadow grass, hears the insect hum. But the pulse of her heart is the loudest and most vibrant sensation, as if it is filled with all the butterflies she's swallowed since she was a little girl. Wings beating in a blood cocoon. Bursting to be free.

When Lantanna rises from the meadow grass and turns to walk home, Quetzl follows. But Emma does not follow them. She waits until they are out of sight and then walks to the meadow, which is bright at the edge of summer with wild flowers and butterflies, alive with an energy she can describe with only one metaphor. Emmma stands at the edge of the meadow, at just about the spot, she estimates, Quetzl lay in. Where the grass looks flattened she bends to touch it, as if it is a holy space, as if by placing her palm where he lay she can touch him. She closes her eyes. Yes, she thinks, she can feel his heat. Then, she lies there too, turns her head to see his vision through the grass, the spear of blades at crosshatch, the flitting of colors, wings and petals. Here, she knows, he lay and watched Lantanna. Lantanna! Emma rises quickly when she realizes she has been laying in the meadow just like that space cadet. She forgives Quetzl for this. He is bewitched, it is obvious. Everyone knows Lantanna comes from a family of witches.

Emma comes from a family of fire fighters. Her father was a volunteer fireman for the Oakdale Fire Department before he mysteriously disappeared on his way to work two years ago. Almost exactly two years ago, Emma thinks. She remembers the hot tears, the new pain in her mother's eyes. She remembers the first realization of the woman's disappearance that same morning. She wished, for a long time after, that she had paid her more attention. She remembers a vague slash of red lips, dark hair, heavy perfume in church. But she cannot remember more than this. At this point, she can barely remember him.

Emma reaches in her pocket. She pulls out the lighter. She flicks the top with her thumb, expertly. Emma has a secret. She is the girl who loves fire. She used to start fires to make her father come. No matter what time of day or night, how impossible it was for him to be home for supper, how terribly too tired he was for her or her mother, if there was a fire, he was there. Vibrant. Heroic. She used to watch in awe this strange aspect of him, the strength of his stance, the sternness of his face, his power. Now Emma reaches down. With a quick movement she brushes the flame across the grass in front of her. It sizzles, small as a stitch, but she watches it grow in the tangle of grass. She runs quickly to the edge of woods as the smoke and flame rise behind her, like phantom snakes and devils' tongues.

She runs to the trees at the edge of the meadow and climbs one. The bark scratches her fingers and she tears a pant leg in her rush. But she barely notices such minor pain. Though it has been two years since he left them, it is at moments like these that she feels closest to her father. There is the same rush of excitement, the same heat of anticipation that used to bring him. Now she can relish the feeling. It is almost like having him back again. The meadow burns. A late afternoon breeze pushes it farther. Emma feels the sting of smoke in her eyes. Strains to hear the sound of sirens. Emma climbs higher. She can see the dirt street, the distant houses. Fire snakes through the grass below. Her eyes sting. Her throat tightens. Even the tree is hot. She feels the pores of her skin open and tears weep out. Her hands tighten to hold the limb, her fingers strain like bird claws, the bones pressed against the skin. Smoke fills her lungs with pain. The flames reach for her. She screams.

She feels she screams but she hears no sound other than fire.

Suddenly, he is there, in his suspenders and baggy yellow fire pants. He stands at the edge of the limb. Graceful as a star balanced on its point. He is saying her name over and over again. Emma, Emma, Emma. He extends one hand to her; with the other, he parts the sky. She can see just past him a blue and gentle day at the edge of summer. Emma, Emma, he says, Come. She stands. She stretches her hand to touch his. The limb creaks. Come, he says. He parts the smoke and flame with one hand. Reaches for her with the other. She strains to touch him. She hears a sound like a branch breaking and suddenly she is falling. Falling. Where? In the blur of heat and pain she forms this final thought. Where? Where are you now?

II

It is a long winter. It snows every day and the air is brittle. When the sun shines, it sharpens the points of ice that hang from the eaves like daggered teeth.

Lantanna's mother carves a graveyard angel for the girl who died in the fire. She thinks Emma and Lantanna were friends because of the way Lantanna cried and cried.

She wept for days and nights. She would eat nothing but tears.

Lantanna's mother tried to comfort her. "You have to stop crying. You have to make the decision. Death is inevitable," she said, "joy is not. You have to choose."

Of course there had been other winters. Long months when the meadow was frozen and the butterflies gone. Lantanna suffered through those other winters but only by counting the full moons until summer. Now, she cannot count, for she does not know when the meadow will be alive again.

Quetzl sends her letters. Many, many letters. He writes of beauty, desire, and loss. He wrote, "The lesson of the fire is that we must accept we all burn. I burn for you. I go to sleep with the memory of your eyes. Do they remember me?"

Only vaguely. She had been surprised when, on that last summer day, he had come up from somewhere behind her on the path and introduced himself. He had begun speaking strangely almost immediately. He told her he had been watching her. Then he said he would make her a light lunch of butterfly pasta.

But of course, it wasn't butterflies at all, only bow-shaped pasta sprinkled with parmesan and melted butter, and she did not even taste it, because the fire engines screamed past and she looked down the road in the direction they traveled and saw that the sky was a bright orange of fluttering blues and wings and she knew that the meadow was on fire. Of course they wouldn't let her near it. She heard them talking about a body, whom she later learned was the girl, Emma.

Whenever Lantanna tried to picture Emma, even after she saw her face in the newspaper, she could only hold the image for a fleeting moment. It was true, she was haunted. But not by the death of Emma.

At night she dreamt the fluttering of wings brushed her cheeks and teased her lips.

And it was strange, in the way that strange things happen, that just when she was at her worst, suffering the despair of what was lost from her life forever (some things should be certain, an appetite fed, for instance) that, though she had not answered a single letter, Quetzl came to her, knocking at the door in the midst of another winter storm. He found her wan and pale, shivering in her too thin dress. She invited him in and brought him to warm by the fire but he could see that she was suffering, and of course his love sank to the depths of her despair, and he felt it within him, in the place where Emma died, a greater widening of the emptiness. He implored her to eat and removed from his knapsack a bruised peach, a flattened sandwich, a brown spotted banana, but she wanted none of it. In desperation he moved her closer to the flame where he discovered he could see, not just through the thin fabric of her pale yellow dress to the wisp of shape beneath, but through her skin to the blue course veins and delicate bones.

He found Lantanna's mother in the garage, huddled near the space heater, carving an angel who looked vaguely familiar. He watched for a long time her intense carving, before he approached, saying, "You give more attention to this statue than you do your own daughter." At which she did not pause but continued to carve, the scrape of metal against stone shrill to his ears. "Did you hear me?"

"I heard you."

"Well? What kind of mother are you? Can't you see what's happening?"
At this the woman laughed. "I see what's happening," she said. "You're happening. And if she can survive you, perhaps she'll live."

"Survive me? I love her."

"You destroy her."

"I save her," he said, and then turned on his heels, muttering, "Standing here talking to a crazy old witch," he walked out of the garage into the storm.

That night he returned with a car and took Lantanna and a suitcase he directed her to pack and drove through the white snow sifting the sky, soft as petals. "Where are we going?" she asked, suddenly aware that she was confused.

"Mexico."

"But why?"

She slept. When she woke, it was light. He offered her a hamburger and this she refused but she ate some of the lettuce and the tomato so he was pleased. The stars were white-bright, intense. She slept. When she woke again a hot sun followed them. Her cheeks were wet, and she sniffed at her own scent, salty, musty. He drove with a grim resolve, stopping to piss, to kiss her mouth that she was embarrassed tasted of her own bad breath. "Mexico?" she said and he shrugged his shoulders and nodded as if, yes, it was strange, but somehow inevitable. "Why, we're driving into summer," she said. At night they slept in rest stops where she washed her armpits, and feet, and crotch, and wet a comb through her hair, and still she felt wild somehow and could not wash or neaten the feeling away. She'd squint into the dimpled mysterious rest stop mirrors and try to see the change reflected there, the strange strength that grew inside her, and she looked at his face and came to believe she saw it in his profile too. Wild. Free.

When they got to the border there was a wait of traffic and it was the first time she entered another country and she did not know it would be so much like an amusement park. Tijuana was strange, bright with color and cheap, but he kept driving past chain link fences with holes cut out of them that marked the border, past cardboard-and-tire shacks with the blue light of a TV inside, past the fish stands, and women with babies begging. He stopped only to look at the map and she began to think that this was not love, not love at all, but some sort of obsession and then he said, "We're here. I think." But it was dark and so they slept until morning showed them the edge of the jungle and they followed the strange trail she could not object to because it was inevitable until at last they stood at the top of the hill and he waved his hand across the expanse of valley below. "Here," he said, "I give you this." She had to squint and not really look at all before she saw that the spotted trees quivered with red and black wings, thousands and thousands, so what could she do but walk into them? They lit on her, in her hair, on her hands. They fluttered against her skin. "Monarchs," she said.

"Yes," he said. "For you."

"Monarchs," she said again.

"Because you love them."

Monarchs flitted against her skin and hair. Each touch reminded her of the loss.

"Now you see how I love you," he said. "I left home. I stole the car. I did everything for you. Because I know you miss the butterflies. I would do anything for you. I would die for you."
"But…" She could not continue. She saw the bright light in his eyes and could not cast it out with the venomous truth. He saw the tears in her eyes and mistook them for joy. He broke the distance between them and kissed her with the passion of a thousand wings, of an exile, of an appetite starved.

She returned the kiss with her own pain. Poisonous. All these butterflies, she thought, and not one of them edible. His tongue fluttered in her mouth. She had to concentrate not to bite down. He pressed against her. His hot hands on her thighs, her panties stretched tight as his fingers wiggled inside, eager, one tip, wet, there. She groaned. His other hand pushed the panties down. Yes, why not, she thought. Anything, anything to stop the sound of wings.

"Oh, Lantanna," he said. "I will love you forever."

But this she could not believe. Even as she lay on the jungle ground, monarchs fluttering against her skin and brushing her hands, even as she arched to meet the stab of pleasure, even later in the car where it happened again, and at the rest stops, beneath the desert stars, even as he risked arrest to drive her home because she missed her mother, even though she knew he meant to, she also knew he could not love her forever, for he did not love her now, not really. Not knowing her secret, not understanding her appetite, how could she believe he loved her at all?

III

When they returned to Oakdale, Quetzl was arrested. They talked of arresting Lantanna but Quetzl said she did not know he'd stolen the car. Lantanna did not want to go to prison so she did not argue for truth.

Winter melted. Queetzl wrote to Lantanna every day. Every day she read his mysterious, passionate letters and wept.

Finally, she took the bus and hitchhiked to the county jail.

"How did you get here?"

"I took the bus and hitchhiked."

"I don't want you hitchhiking, it's dangerous."


"Anyway," she said to change the subject.

"No. Not anyway. I'll end this visit," he said, "if you don't promise. Promise me you will not hitchhike again."

"Quetzl."

"Promise."

"You're not understanding."

"What am I not understanding? I love you. I want you safe."

"No," Lantanna said. "That's not what I mean. What you don't understand is I won't promise you anything. I am not the one. You need me. Let's just be clear about this. You need me. And I don't need you. So don't make threats that hurt only yourself."

Quetzl waved for the guard.

Dear Lantanna,
Yes. I need you. Beautiful, beautiful girl. I love you. I need you for your beauty. Your love of beauty. Come visit. Tell me you love me. I live to hear you say it. I would do anything for you. I would die for you. But I don't want you to die for me. I just want you to be safe. Come back to me. I love you. I love you. I love you. Say it.

The second visit.

"How did you get here?"

"I took the bus and hitchhiked."

"I just want you to be safe."

"How can you love me," she says, "if you don’t believe I want the same thing for myself?"

"Lantanna, I love you. Tell me what you want. Tell me what will make you love me."

"Well," she says, "that's a start. Finally, you ask. There are things about me. Things you do not even guess.

I have many secrets and there is one that really matters. I've never shared it with anyone. I've never known anyone who would understand."
"Yes. Me. I love you. You can tell me anything."

"This I have to show you."

"Then show me."

"I can't show you here."

"Will you wait for me?"
"How can I answer? How can I know?"

Several nights later she is awakened. "Quetzl?"

"I escaped," he says. "But they'll find me. They'll come here. We have to go."

"What?" she says. "Is this your gift to me? I don't want to go to prison for helping you to escape."

"No, no. Didn't I tell you?" He sits beside her on the bed. He grabs her arm and she feels the pulse and weight of his passion. "You never wrote, you only visited twice, and when you came we fought. I have this all planned. You tell them I kidnapped you. If we're caught you tell them that. See, I have this rope. Let me tie you up."

"You must think I am really stupid."

"Lantanna," he begs. "Trust me. All I've ever done is love you. I escaped so you could show me your secret."

"It's not here," Lantanna says. "It's not in this room." She sees that he is sweating. She sees fear in his eyes.

"Lantanna, please."

It isn't that she really believes he loves her but because she hopes he does, that she agrees. He ties her wrists to the bedposts. She watches his profile as he does. So serious in his work he does not seem to notice her. With the final knot he kisses her. "I won't do this, if you don't want me to," he says as he lifts her thin nightgown.

When he kisses her, she kisses back. It is wonderful, she thinks, to only lie there. He is hungry. It has been a long time and she knows about appetites. He is touching her everywhere. As if his hands had wings. She closes her eyes and tries to feel only these feelings and forget, for a while, the longing, the empty hunger, her own appetite.

Afterward, he takes the silver scissors shaped like a bird from her dresser and saws through the rope. It dangles on the posts and the loops bracelet her wrists. When they stand up together there is a wet spot exposed on the bed. "That's good," he says, "it looks like I raped you."

It is getting light. They sneak down the stairs together as if Lanatanna lived in a house with the sort of parent who would interfere.

She takes him down the path, past his father's house, past the burnt trees of last summer's fire, to the meadow, which is stubby as a bad haircut but sprite with flowers.

"I didn't know it would grow back so quickly," he says.

She lies down. She ignores him. He finds this moving, that she has let him in so close now that he can see what she is alone. She picks a bud and puts it in her mouth. He is fascinated. This small gesture he had not seen before. She raises her arms, the knotted rope bracelets her wrists, her hands are like little white stars fallen into the meadow grass. The early morning strengthens with heat. He is restless. But she is still and he has learned patience from her stillness.

Finally, a very small yellow butterfly begins to flit about. It lands on the rope.

He thinks, this beautiful girl.

It flits around her lips.

Beautiful, beautiful.

It lands on the bud in her mouth.

Beauti-

She snaps her mouth shut. Chews. Swallows. She looks at him.

He looks at her.

She covers her face with her hands, like a child, as if by not seeing him she disappears. When she removes them, he is still watching her. She cannot bear what she sees. She closes her eyes.

"Go away," she says.

"I can help you."

"No. Go away."

"But I love you," he says.

She looks at him.

"Really," he says.

"And this?" she gestures toward her mouth.

"I'll help you," he says. "I'll stick by you while you work it out."
"This is not a problem," she says. "This is my appetite."

He bends to kiss her, but just above her mouth, hesitates.

"Don't worry," she says, "they don't fly back out."

She closes her eyes. For a long time the only sound is the scrying of bugs. Then she hears the sound of his feet like a scythe, cutting through the meadow grass.

Now, everything is different. She does what she has never done before. She picks another bud. Places it in her mouth. Today she will eat until she has enough. A small blue flits about. She waits. Waits. Waits. It lands on her tongue. Wings fluttering. She bites. In the distance, she hears sirens. Chews. Yes, everything is different now. Swallows. It even tastes different. It tastes better.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Copyright M. Rickert (1999) originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1999. Reprinted with kind permission from the author.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Call for Papers: Representations of Women and Science

Tip from Laura Q over at Feminist SF - The Blog! from the science and literature reading group:

Université Stendhal Grenoble III
UFR d'Etudes Anglophones CEMRA 3016
4-6 June 2009
International pluridisciplinary conference

Women in science, Women of science: figures and representations from 18th

century to present.

Scientific knowledge has always been, both empirically and politically, a
masculine stronghold. Since the mid-19th century, however, despite
institutional and cultural resistance, women have progressively gained
access to scientific studies and careers.

The first theme of study will focus on emblematic female scientists of the
18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Papers may concentrate on historical,
social and political analyses of how, why and when women "infiltrated" the
scientific world and (re-) appropriated scientific discourse at different
moments in History. Another possible approach is to analyse the reactions
of the scientific community/ the press… to such women.

The second theme of study will analyse the evolution of (pseudo-)
scientific discourse on women and women's condition (for example medical
or eugenist discourse, etc).

The third theme will be devoted to fictional representations: how does the
popular culture construct and vehicle images of women of science and women
in the world of science? From the famous scientist's wife/daughter to the
androgynous cyborg of feminist science-fiction, to what extent have these
representations evolved over time? What impact did the feminist movement
of the 1970s have on how women are seen and how they see themselves in
relation to the sciences? Papers which include studies of television,
cinema and various genres of pulp-fiction will be welcome.

The conference will be followed by a publication.

Deadline for submissions: November 14th 2008

Please send a 300- to 350- word abstract (in French or in English) to the
co-chairs

Donna.Andreolle@u-grenoble3.fr
Veronique.Molinari@u-grenoble3.fr
And to the research secretary
Agnes.Vere@u-grenoble3.fr with the heading «WS abstract, copy»

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Monday, 18 February 2008

Sunday, 17 February 2008

This Should Have Been Printed In Femspec

(From Volume 7.2) It was suggested that we start a feature, "This Should Have Been Printed in Femspec," in order to at least point our readers to possible creative works of interest. This might have several purposes, including creating awareness of certain writers for critics to incorporate; providing models to writers who might submit to us; raising awareness of the writers thus recognized that we are an additional venue for their work. Send in ideas of your own. Here is what has been suggested so far:

Nancy Etchemendy. "Werewife." The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, June 1 999. A funny story about how a wife changes into another sort of being for the in-laws' visits.

Vance Aandahl. "Deathmatch in Disneyland." The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1987. Another funny story, this one about Nature Girl Nelson, a female pro wrestler who is dying of "vegerexia" (eating nothing but vegetables) when she thaws out way into the future.

Kristine Kathryn Rush. "The Women of Whale Rock." The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1999. A rather weird story, not particularly feminist, but a new take on mermaids.

M. Rickert.'The Girl Who Ate Butterflies." The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1 999. Beautiful magical real story that shows the influence of García Márquez.
[Update: Mary Rickert has given us permission to reprint this story here ]

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Transformative Works and Cultures

Transformative Works and Cultures, a new electronic journal published by the Organization for Transformative Works, has just released its first Call for Papers:

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) is a Gold Open Access international peer-reviewed journal published by the Organization for Transformative Works edited by Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson.

TWC publishes articles about popular media, fan communities, and transformative works, broadly conceived. We invite papers on all related topics, including but not limited to fan fiction, fan vids, mashups, machinima, film, TV, anime, comic books, video games, and any and all aspects of the communities of practice that surround them. TWC’s aim is twofold: to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics, and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community.

We encourage innovative works that situate these topics within contemporary culture via a variety of critical approaches, including but not limited to feminism, queer theory, critical race studies, political economy, ethnography, reception theory, literary criticism, film studies, and media studies. We also encourage authors to consider writing personal essays integrated with scholarship, hypertext articles, or other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing. Transformative Works and Cultures copyrights under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

Theory accepts blind peer-reviewed essays that are often interdisciplinary, with a conceptual focus and a theoretical frame that offers expansive interventions in the field of fan studies (5,000-8,000 words).

Praxis analyzes the particular, in contrast to Theory’s broader vantage. Essays are blind peer reviewed and may apply a specific theory to a formation or artifact; explicate fan practice; perform a detailed reading of a specific text; or otherwise relate transformative phenomena to social, literary, technological, and/or historical frameworks (4,000-7,000 words).

Symposium is a section of editorially reviewed concise, thematically contained short essays that provide insight into current developments and debates surrounding any topic related to fandom or transformative media and cultures (1,500-2,500 words).

Reviews offer critical summaries of items of interest in the fields of fan and media studies, including books, new journals, and Web sites. Reviews incorporate a description of the item’s content, an assessment of its likely audience, and an evaluation of its importance in a larger context (1,500-2,500 words). Review submissions undergo editorial review; submit inquiries first to review@transformativeworks.org.

TWC has rolling submissions. Contributors should submit online through the Web site

http://journal.transformativeworks.org

Inquiries may be sent to the editors

editor(at)transformativeworks(dot)org

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Review of Islands of Women and Amazons

Review from Geografiska Annaler · 87 B (2005) the international journal publishing articles covering all theoretical and empirical aspects of human and economic geography.

Islands of Women and Amazons: Representations

and Realities. Batya Weinbaum. (Austin: University
of Texas Press, 1999). ISBN 0292791267

This ambitious and wide-ranging study explores
material across a very long historical and a very
broad geographical sweep. Batya Weinbaum argues
that the myth of Amazons and of separate
communities of women living apart on islands has
had diverse and often contradictory meanings. She
does not attempt to shape her findings in one direction,
towards a liberal or conservative reading. But
she does underpin her entire assemblage of examples
by her belief in archetypes. The advantage of
this is that it allows her to investigate nuanced similarities
and differences among texts and practices
as far distant from each other as the Odyssey and the
Mexican Marian island, Isla Mujeres, dominated
(and to some degree formed) by American tourism.

The principal disadvantage of her devotion to archetypes
is that, in the end, all this diversity is in
danger of being homogenized.
So her work presents a paradox: encyclopaedic
in its array of instances, prodigious in its devotion
to knowledge of the field, it yet often simplifies the
findings of the many authorities she cites from different
fields of enquiry. They all return, in her analysis,
to the archetype of the Amazon. This makes
for a certain repetitiousness but it would be ungrateful
to insist too much on that, since the work
offers an extraordinary quarry and is the fruit of
long thought and observation.
Weinbaum faces the problem of working with a
rich symbol: where are its boundaries? She opens
her discussion with page after page of provocative
questions, ranging across actual events, story formation,
cultural interpretation, ancient accounts,
recent TV series. This allows her to trawl in copious
records, but after several pages the suspicion gathers
that perhaps for her all these questions have a
single answer. So that moving through Apollonius,
Herodotus, Paul Friedrich, Prester John, Sir John
Mandeville, ‘an early Renaissance Spanish writer’
and a ‘missionary off the coast of China’ to reach
the question ‘Is this the same “Women’s Land” to
which Maxine Hong Kingston referred in Chinamen
(1977)?’ I shout ‘No!’ while uneasily suspecting
that I am supposed to be saying ‘Yes’.
The problem is signalled also by the trouble
Weinbaum has with the frequently repeated word
‘really’: to take some examples from within a halfpage:
‘Was this supposedly manless island to the
south of China really a place where women mated
with the winds?… Did women really arm themselves
with bows and arrows, live without men, and
mate with cannibalistic lovers?… Did Columbus
really think he had arrived in the east when he sighted
the island, Matinoto…? Did Columbus really
take this island to be the refuge the ancients wrote
about in relation to the Themyscian Amazons’
(Jane [1930] 1970)?… Was this present-day tourist
paradise retreat once really a matriarchy? A convent?
A harem? A site of goddess worship?’ (p. 7)
Some of these questions invite scepticism, some
are quite imponderable, and some seem to imply a
steady ‘reality’ behind them by which they can all
be judged, yet for which evidence is lacking. They
issue from a scatter-gun and are gathered up together
without discrimination.
Of course, this is in the first chapter where, engagingly,
Weinbaum seeks to arouse in the reader
a shared fascination with her subject, and some of
her later chapters proceed at a slower pace. For example,
Chapter 8, ‘Amazons go American: Montalvo
’s Sergas De Esplandian’ concentrates on this
single [1510] work after opening with an interesting
comparison with Christine de Pizan’s The Book
of the City of Ladies [1405]. Weinbaum unfolds a
series of gendered contrasts between the texts: for
example, ‘Montalvo’s Amazons killed their male
children, while Pizan’s gave their male children
back to the fathers.’ (p. 129). She then pursues the
insight that one culture’s utopia may well be another
culture’s dystopia and that texts preserve faint
traces of earlier understandings in among their asserted
ideologies. In particular, she argues, this will
be so where oral elements have penetrated the written
form. These may not be fresh insights within the
academic communities from whose work she
draws, but there is a freshness in placing them within
such a sweeping study, and one that also frankly
embraces autobiographical elements.
The second part of the work draws on anthropology,
sociology, popular culture and tourism to give
a rounded picture of the changes in her relations to
her materials. She has lived for a number of years
on the Mexican island she has particularly studied,
Isla Mujeres, and she gives a wry account of culture
clashes brought about by her trajectory between a
North American university and the habits of the island
culture. She declares: ‘My experience of seeking
a cultural identity on the island, and of the discrediting
dominant culture of the university, colors
all my interpretations’ (p. 168). The rest of the book
explores the ways in which, in her analysis, that island
becomes a communal work of fiction created
by tourists and their mentors. What they all seek,
she suggests, is exactly that archetype of matriarchal
untouched female space she associates with
the figure of the Amazon. So the book comes to rest
in a demonstration of the ways in which material
objects in ‘leisure primitivism’ bear on persisting
needs and fantasies across centuries. Whether or
not one accepts Weinbaum’s belief in an archetypal
base to all this diversity of expression, there is a
marvellous range of materials gathered together in
this work and a personal passion in its exploration.

Gillian Beer
University of Cambridge
UK

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Friday, 1 February 2008

Contact

femspec(at)gmail(dot)com

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Volume 7, Number 2


Issue 7.2 Table of Contents:
[Cover Image: The Grain Goddess (2001) by Jenna Weston]FEMSPEC VOLUME 7.2

BATYA WEINBAUM: Editorial
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.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Friday, 4 January 2008

Submissions

Only subscribers may submit to Femspec.

For CRITICAL ESSAYS, POETRY, ART, MEMOIRS, DRAMA and FICTION

Please submit two copies of your piece *without* any indication of your name on them so that your piece may be read anonymously. Include a separate sheet with the title and genre of your piece, your name, address, email, phone and a two sentence abstract . Also, include a disc with your document in Word and RTF format. All submissions should conform to MLA standards, as found in the latest edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. MLA guidelines can also be found on-line at http://www.mla.org. Any submission that does not come in with sufficient copies will not be sent through the review process at our expense.

Send submissions to:

Femspec
1610 Rydalmount
Cleveland Heights OH
44118.

All editorial enquiries should be directed to Batya Weinbaum.

BOOK REVIEW GUIDELINES.

These are intended to be flexible, not rigid, and if you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us.

GUIDELINES

Head your review with the title of the book. Next is the bibliographic information, including author, title (in italics), city of publication, publisher, year, page length, binding, price, and ISBN number. If you are reviewing a serial, include the ISSN number. Please include all of this information.

Example:
Sargent, Pamela. Climb the Wind. New York: HarperPrism, 1999. 436 pp., cloth, $25. ISBN 0-06-105029-6.

Content:

Reviewers should keep Femspec’s diverse audience in mind -- writers, readers, and scholars of feminist speculative fiction, poetry, and theory. Reviews should encourage critical rather than merely aesthetic response, and, especially in the case of fiction, should avoid summarizing a book’s narrative. Writers should consider the following questions in writing their reviews. Note that since Femspec reviews fiction, poetry, and academic work, not all questions will be relevant to all books reviewed. Contact the book review editor if you need clarification.

1. What is the book about? Don’t summarize the plot, but do identify the genre or sub-genre the book belongs to. (utopia, dystopia, alternate history, etc.) Your description should enable scholars and teachers to decide whether the book is useful to their research or classroom curricula. What courses would the book be good for? What level (freshman, senior, etc.)?
2. What is the context of the book? Where does it fit into the author’s other works, if any, and into the tradition(s) of feminist speculative fiction and criticism? Context should place the book in terms of its relationship to other texts with which it can be compared. If the book is an anthology, indicate whether it contains mostly new essays.
3. What is the scholarly potential of the book? What interesting issues are raised? What insights are offered? What moral problems are addressed and how useful is the author’s treatment of them? How well researched is the book, and does the author’s bibliography (if applicable) provide useful resources for further study?

Style:
1. Do not use footnotes. All references to the text should be noted in parentheses with the relevant page number.
2. If you refer to other works in your review, include a separate list of works cited at the end of your review. Include relevant page numbers in parentheses in the text.
3. Do not refer to other reviews of the book.
4. Double-space your review. If you are using a computer, it will be immensely helpful if you use Times New Roman 11 pt. font.
5. Finish your review with your name in capital letters, your institutional affiliation, if applicable and you wish to include it, and email address, if you wish to include it. Right-hand justify this block of text.

Length:
Reviews of anthologies may be up to 1200 words, depending on whether you have been asked to review the entire contents or only selected contributions. Consult the book review editor. Reviews of poetry and fiction should not exceed 1000 words. Do not feel that you must meet the length limit ? sometimes a short review is preferable.

Deadlines:
Reviews are due 8 weeks after you receive the book. They may be submitted by post, fax, or email. If you submit by post, include a disc copy in MS Word 95 or higher.




Thursday, 3 January 2008

About Femspec

A brief history of our organization

The editorial group grew as an outgrowth of the Science Fiction/Fantasy Area of the American/Popular Culture Association. We came together at a conference in San Antonio in April of 1997, discussed our experiences of non-feminist editorial practices by SF journals that were male-dominated, and the bias towards realism in journals that published feminist literary criticism or creative works. A group of us decided to found our own journal, the first issue of which appeared in September 1999; in the process of which, our organization grew. Our impetus came from the collectively perceived lack of attention to science fiction, fantasy, magical realism and supernatural works in feminist journals and audiences; the lack of consistently developed levels of feminism in science fiction criticism; and the inadequacy of magical realist publishing outlets and forums in the United States. The first issue was well-received and sold out in three months. Since then, a total of six more, bringing our in-print issues to seven, have appeared. In the fall of 1998, the founding editor in chief, Batya Weinbaum, was offered a position teaching Multicultural Literature at Cleveland State University, where the journal was housed for five years.

How our organization encourages diverse groups of women to work together

The journal has a multicultural focus, with an upcoming theme issues on speculative works by African American women, and another on race and culture. We have already published 2.2, the first collection of Native women's speculative art and writing. We have collected and printed articles on Asian American women's writing, Latina magical realism, Jewish women's magical realism, and now intend to create a specifically Jewish women's work. Our special girls' issue is "under construction," with contracts already mailed to authors and returned, and final editing being completed. This is the same status as an upcoming issue on film.

The editing group is diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and age, including emeritus scholars, SF fans, creative writers and critics in various fields at an array of universities in the US and internationally. We advertise through MELUS, the Journal of the Society of Multiethnic Literature of the United States; Journal of Research on Mothering; Meridians' SF Studies; Extrapolation; Foundation; and other venues to attract diverse groups of women who otherwise would not come into contact with each other.

The first issue of our bi-annual publication included the writings of two African Americans, and we have a regular girls' feature where we publish writings about girls' literature or writing by girls. Girls' art also appeared in the first issue. We also have salons and readings at bookstores, and at conferences such as National Women's Studies, Popular/American Culture, and International Association for Fantasy in the Arts. On particular issues, such as the Native issue, we work with women from special constituencies such as Rachael Whitehawk Day of the North American Cultural Center.

The current activities of our organization

We are currently involved in a subscription sales campaign to reach the goal of 100 library in the interest of getting picked up by a university publisher to expand the distribution of our work. We process manuscripts on a regular basis, having received over 500 submissions and having accepted about 5%, with an additional 15% after revision. We arrange postings on listservs, distribution of flyers and brochures at conferences, review of the issue in library and small press journals, production and sales of promotional products such as posters and mugs, sessions at national conferences, bookstore readings, exchange ads with other publications and journals, manuscript review, and a promotional webpage. We are also in the process of getting posted on GenderWatch, a database held in libraries. We review books received, conduct a readers forum, excerpt historical documents, conduct cover art competition, and offer on campus apprentice/internships for women and other students who volunteer to work on the project.

How our organization is structured

The founding editor and editor in chief works with an Advisory Board with artists and scholars such as Florence Howe, Octavia Butler, Suzy Charnas, Joanna Russ, Pamela Sargeant and Diane Skafte. In addition, contributing editors Marleen Barr, Samuel Delany, Darko Suvin, and Gloria Orenstein are quite active as well as an editorial board of people who primarily act as reviewers that currently stands at about 10. Furthermore, local editorial consultants are involved with the Journal from Cleveland State University as well as Case Western Reserve University. Some students volunteer or work each semester, with student involvement averaging about 12 a year. In addition, there are special editors in charge of developing their own issues who may or may not be on the Board.

How policy and decisions are made

The Femspec Local Advisory Committee meets once a month as a formal body, with smaller meetings between the monthly dates. These are announced and open meeting that involve all people interested in or engaged at any level of the project. Otherwise decisions are made in consultation with consultants, board, and advisory members as well as contributing editors. Sometimes that happens through our editorial listerv.

How we measure the success of our organization

Success of Femspec is gauged as follows. By the positive response of people involved over the first years; by the expressed positive experience of women and minority students who have volunteered, interned or worked on the journal and ask for extended participation for more credit or more hours in subsequent semesters; by the success in fundraising from other universities and individuals who have contributed to the journal including University of Southern California, University of Texas at Dallas, Oakland University, State University of New York at Stonybrook; by the increased number of submissions; by the willingness of esteemed scholars to give us their work; by the willingness of authors and publishers to send us review copies; by authors' willingness to revise and resubmit according to our production schedule; by the volunteered time of scholars even in their sabbatical year to work on fundraising and grants; by the interest of local bookstores in hosting events; by the positive media coverage we got, for example, in the Cleveland paper the Plain Dealer, The Free Times, Magazines for Libraries, and in campus newspapers such as On Campus, The Vindicator, and The Cleveland Stater; and by some of the following responses: "The first issue of Femspec… exceeded my expectations! It is gorgeous and excellent." Oregon Writer; "A striking first issue of an exciting new journal." Karen Schneider, Western Kentucky Univ.; "Lively." John Crawford, West End Press; "What an artifact." Carol Stevens, Society for Utopian Studies; "An amazing thing here." Marleen S. Barr, Sci-fi Critic;"I absolutely LOVE it!!!" Patricia Melzer, Clark University; "Refreshing-finally making a place in academia for such things." Theresa Carter; "The issue looks beautiful!" Christina Springer, Philadelphia Performance Poet.

More About Femspec

1. We are recommended on www.litwomen.org. Here’s an excerpt from their glowing review: “The editorial board includes some of feminism’s most radical, visionary, and critical thinkers and writers… Overall, this journal covers an important area of literature and thought often overlooked in feminist scholarship… FEMSPEC is definitely worth the attentions of those who look to these genres for feminist vision.”

2. We are part of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database, an on-line, searchable compilation by topic and author. The Database is an inclusive tool, designed to cover all aspects of science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural, and weird fiction. Check out their site at http://access-co2.tamu.edu/hhall/

3. We are listed in Magazines for Libraries, edited by Katz & Katz under “Women: Feminist and Special Interest” in the 10th edition.

4. Based upon the recommendation of Magazines for Libraries, beginning in January 2004 we will be included in Humanities Full Text, Humanities Abstracts and Humanities Index. Humanities Full Text is cited as “the most comprehensive resource available in its field.” It supplies readers with the full text of articles plus abstracts and bibliographic indexing of scholarly sources.

5. Our table of contents is listed in Feminist Periodicals: A Current Listing of Contents, published by The University of Wisconsin System.

6. Femspec’s calls for submissions are prominently listed in various locations such as the University of Pennsylvania’s “History Journal News,” University of Maryland’s “Diversity Database,” the Network of East-West Women, the University of Minnesota’s “Voices from the Gap: Women Writers of Color,” Bucknell College’s ListProc, the University of Toronto Cquest, Rutgers University’s “Howz Updates,” Michigan State University’s Jewish Studies newsletter, Callihoo’s newsletter (a weekly writers’ group in Salt Lake City), Queer-E (an electronic message board), www.queertheory.com, “News Notes: E-Publication for the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States,” “Chora: A Community for Emerging Feminist Scholars,”University of Dundee, Narrative Alchemy (a newsletter in Finnish), www.speculations.com and www.multiculturaladvantage.com.

7. Femspec’s web page is linked from numerous sites, including www.sfsite.com/depts/magazol.htm, www.feministsf.org, Association for Research on Pop Culture, www.feminista.com, “N. Paradoxa” (an international feminist art journal), www.sfaite.com, the German women’s network “Frauennetzwerk” as well as the German-language sites www.feministische-sf.de and www.genderforum.uni-koeln.de, Council of Editors of Learned Journals, Extrapolation (a SF journal based at Kent State University), www.gayellowpages.com, www.sf3.org (Society for the Furtherance and Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy), the International Center for Women Playwrights, the Cleveland Women’s On-line Calendar, and Women’s Print Periodicals on the Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press.

8. We have exhibited at conferences such as Pop Culture and National Women’s Studies, and served on panels with other editors and publishers including from Greenwood, Feminist Teacher, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and NWSAJournal.

9. Our advertisements have appeared in Extrapolation, Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, MELUS, Frontiers, Science Fiction Studies, Paradoxa, and the American Educational Studies Association.

10. We are listed as a resource on numerous Women’s Studies web pages such as Clark University, the University of York, University of Wisconsin, DePauw University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

11. We have signed a contract to appear in Gender Watch database, which will bring the journal on line as a Women’s Studies resource at over 100 libraries.

12. We were chosen as the Website of the week at www.artwomen.org.

13. Femspec is available at a reduced rate for members of the Science Fiction Research Association (www.sfra.org).

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Editors

Editor: Batya Weinbaum

Founding Co-Editor: Robin Anne Reid

Book Review Editor
: Edrie Sobstyl

Past Associate Editor
: Ritch Calvin

Advisory Board
: Suzy Charnas, Florence Howe, Joanna Russ, Pamela Sargent

Contributing Editors
: Marleen S. Barr, Samuel R. Delany, Gloria Orenstein, Darko Suvin

Editorial Board
: Cristina Bacchilega (University of Hawaii-Manoa), Beatriz Badikian (Roosevelt University), William Clemente (Peru State College) ,Theresa Crater (Metropolitan StateCollege of Denver), Kathe Davis (Kent State University), Joan Gordon (Nassau Community College), Veronica Hollinger (Trent University), Phillipa Kafka (Professor Emerita), Sylvia Kelso (James Cook University), Laurel Lampela (University of New Mexico), Claudia Mesch (Arizona State University), Lynne Reed (HOWL), Gina Wisker (Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge)

Editorial Consultants
: Sima Aprahamian, Brian Attebury, Bruce Beatie, Christine Boyko-Head, Cheryl Brooke, Elizabeth Pandolfo Briggs, Marcus Casal, Debra Rae Cohen, Tama Engleking, Mary Fambrough, Kass Fleisher, Sibelian Forrester, Joanne Gallivan, John Gerlach, Annie Jovan-Westlund, Susan Kornfield, Randal Knoper, Helen M. Kress, Ted Lardner, David Larson, Antonio Medina-Rivera, Patricia Melzer, Liora Moriel, Diana Orendi, Donna Phillips, Ruth Schwartz, Carol Stevens, Alana Suskind

---Biographies---

Batya Weinbaum
taught multicultural literature at Cleveland State University, 1998-2003 and currently edits the journal at home as well as researching and writing for Women Review of Books, WeMoon, various encylopedias, and continuing to publish her own critical and creative work. She received her PhD from University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1996, and a Masters from SUNY Buffalo in American Studies in 1986. She has published Islands of Women and Amazons: Representations and Realities (U of Texas Press, 1999) and two books of feminist theory with South End Press, and a collection of short stories with Clothespin Fever. Her critical work has appeared in such journals as NWSAJournal, Studies in American Jewish Literature, Utopian Studies, Monthly Review, Review of Radical Political Economics, Extrapolation, Science Fiction Studies, Foundation, Women in Judaism, Biography, Frontiers, and Studies in Progressive Judaism as well as Peace Review. She has also published fiction and poetry in venues such as Home Planet News, Spectrum, Key West Review, Feminist Review, Town Crier, Big Fish, and ThoughtCrime. She is the mother of one, Ola, and in the summer really craves VT. She is working on an eight act play, Waiting for Justice, and completion of a novel, Mirages and Nightmares: Sasha Weitzwoman in the Mad Hotel, which is about Jerusalem. She works with the Cleveland Heights Homegrown Learners Cooperative, and lectures on such topics as Ecopsychology and Healing. She sells her own art online at reclamationproject.info, and wearable arts products at redserpentarts.com. Proceeds help to support the functioning of the journal.

Robin Reid received her doctorate degree from the Univeristy of Washington in 1992, and she is currently an Assistant Professor of English at the Texas A&M University-Commerce. She has published both Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion and Arthur C. Clarke: A Critical Companion. Her essays have appeared in Science Fiction Studies, SFRA Review, Feminist Nightmares, and Diversity: A Journal of Multicultural Issues.

Ritch Calvin is currently an Instructor of Women's Studies at SUNY Stony Brook. He holds a PhD in Comparative Studies (with a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies). His dissertation, entitled, "A Feminism of Their Own: Escritoras mexicanas, Chicana Writers and Autochthonous Feminisms," examines the feminism of four writers: Rosario Castellanos, Brianda Domecq, Gloria Anzaldúa and Ana Castillo. He has written on a variety of topics and writers, including, Gilles Deleuze, Kathy Acker, Jorge Luis Borges, Philip K. Dick, and C. J. Cherryh. His publications have appeared in Enculturation, Feminism in a Multi-Cultural Context, and SFRA Review.

Born in Manhattan, New York, Suzy McKee Charnas was educated at Barnard College and New York University. The writer of original and highly regarded novels, she was awarded the Nebula Award, Mythopoetic Society Award for a best children's book, and a Gilgamesh Award for best fantasy stories. Her "Boobs," a short story, won the Hugo Award in 1989. A noted History and English teacher in a girl's high school in Nigeria, Suzy Charnas also served in the United States Peace Corps. Her books include: The Slave and the Free (Orb 1999), The Conqueror's Child (Tor 1999), The Furies (Tor Books 1994), Dorothea Dreams (Arbor House 1986), and The Bronze King (Houghton 1985).

Born in New York, Florence Howe was educated at Hunter College, Smith College, and the University of Wisconsin. From the many positions that she has held, Howe was a lecturer in English, a professor of English, and the founder and president of the Feminist Press. As a writer, editor, and publisher, she won the awards of the National Endowment for the Humanities Research Fellowship in 1971-73, many other fellowships, including the Ford Foundation Fellowship for the study of women in.society, and the Hall of Fame honor at Hunter College. As a contributer to the field of women's studies and feminist scholarship, Florence Howe has made a unique and critical voice for the American feminist movement, especially as founder of the Feminist Press.

Born in New York, Joanna Russ was educated at Cornell University and Yale University. She held many positions as a lecturer in speech, assistant professor of English, and professor of English at the University of Washington. Combining a feminist'perspective and a sophisticated style in writing science fiction novels, Joanna has become the recipient of the Nebula Awards, Hugo Award, and the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in 1974-75. From her many short stories, "When It Changed," won a Science Fiction Writers of America Award in 1972. Her The Female Man, published in 1975 remains a classic in feminist science fiction. Her other books include: What Are We Fighting For?: Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism (St. Martin's Press 1998), To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism, and Science Fiction (Indiana University Press 1995) Magic Mommas, Trembling Sisters, Puritans and Perverts: Feminist Essays (Crossing Press 1985), Kittatinny: A Tale of Magic (Daughters Publishing 1978), and Alyx (G. K. Hall 1976).

Pamela Sargent (1948 --) is the author of numerous novels and short stories, and she has edited a number of anthologies. Among her novels are Cloned Lives (1976), The Golden Space (1982), The Alien Upstairs (1983), Eye of the Comet (1984), The Shore of Women (1986), and Heart of the Sun (1997). She has also authored the popular Venus series, which includes the novels, Venus of Dreams (1986), Venus of Shadows (1988), and Child of Venus (2000). Her short fiction has appeared in Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, If, Orbit, and Universe. The short fiction has also appeared in a number of collections, including Starshadows (1977), The Best of Pamela Sargent (1987), Behind the Eyes of Dreamers and Other Short Novels (2002), and The Mountain Cage and Other Stories (2002). Among her edited collections are Bio-Futures (1976), Women of Wonder (1975), More Women of Wonder (1976), The New Women of Wonder (1978), Women of Wonder: The Classic Years (1995), and Women of Wonder: The Contemporary Years (1995). Sargent has contributed several books to the Star Trek universe.

Paula Gunn Allen (1939- 2008), a poet, novelist, and editor, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and grew up in Cubero, New Mexico. She received a bachelor's degree in English (1966) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing (1968) from the University of Oregon. She received her doctorate in American studies with an emphasis on Native American literature (1975) from the University of New Mexico. Her books of poetry include The Blind Lion (1974), A Cannon between My Knees (1981), Shadow Country (1982), and Life Is a Fatal Disease (1996). Her novel, The Woman Who Owned the Shadows was published in 1983. In addition, she has contributed to The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions (1986), Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman's Sourcebook (1991), As Long as the Rivers Flow: The Stories of 9 Native Americans (with Patricia Clark Smith) (1996). Finally, she has edited From the Center: A Folio: Native American Art and Poetry (1981), Studies in American Indian Literature: Critical Essays and Course Design (1983). Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women (1990), Voice of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1900-1970 (1994), and Song of the Turtle: American Indian Literature, 1974-1995 (1996). Memorial Site: http://www.paulagunnallen.net/

Marleen S. Barr is a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University. She won the 1997 Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction criticism. Her most recent book is Genre Fission: A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies.

Samuel Delany, born in New York, attended the City College in New York, 1960, and 1962-63. As a writer, he won the Nebula and Hugo Awards. Samuel Delany is also a noted author of scripts, a director, and an editor for two short films. His best novel is Babel-17, a winner of the Science Fiction Writers of America Award in 1966. Samuel Delany has also earned the notation as the innovative and imaginative science fiction writer of today. He currently teaches Queer Studies at Temple University. His other books include The Bridge of Lost Desire (Arbor House 1987), Dhalgren (University Press of New England 1996), Atlantis: Three Tales (Wesleyan University Press 1995), The Star Pits (Tor Books 1989), and Equinox (Masquerade 1994).

Gloria Orenstein received her Ph.D. in 1971 from NYU, a Masters in 1961 from Radcliffe, and a BA in 1959 from Brandeis. She is a tenured professor in the Deptartment of Comparative Literature at University of Southern California, where she also works in Gender Studies. She has previously taught at Douglass College of Rutgers University, and organized the NYC Women's Salon in the 1970s. She is active in the field of ecofeminism, and has published numerous articles on literature, art, ecofeminism, shamanisn and religion Her books published include Multicultural Celebrations: The Paintings of Betty LaDuke (1993), The Reflowering of the Goddess (1990), Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism (1990), and The Theater of the Marvelous: Surrealism and the Contemporary Stage (1975).

Darko Suvin was a professor of English and Comparative Literature at McGill University in Montreal until he retired. He is also an author of Russian Science Fiction in 1956-1974, and other works. He serves FEMSPEC as a Contributing Editor and a noted author. His books include the ground breaking Metamorphoses of Science Fiction (1979), Victorian Science Fiction in the UK: The Discourses of Knowledge and Power (1983), and To Brecht and Beyond (1984). For several years he also edited Science-Fiction Studies.

A part of the faculty of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Cristina Bacchilega is a Professor in the Department of English. She received a B.A. from the University of Rome, Italy, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She also is a writer of contemporary fiction, folklore, fairy tales, and feminist theory. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellow in 2001, the Board of Regents' Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1991, and the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature Excellence in Teaching Award in 1988. Cristina has published on Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Maxine Hong Kingston, women writers and the fairy tale, and fairy tales in Hawaii. Her current work includes a study of the representation of place in twentieth-century narratives that adapt native Hawaii's traditional stories. She is also the reveiw editor of Marvels & Tales: Jouranl of Fairy-Tale Studies.

Beatriz Badikian was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has resided in Chicago since 1970. In 1994 Badikian earned her Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she specialized in poetry and multiethnic literature. Since 1994 Badikian has been a faculty member at Roosevelt University where she teaches literature., writing, and women's studies. Her publications include: Mapmaker Revisited. (Gladsome 1999); Mapmaker (Red Triangle 1994); Akewa is a Woman and Other Poems (Abrazo Press 1989). Her poems have also been translated and published in India, Greece, Mexico, Argentina, and Canada.

Since 1992, Bill Clemente has taught at Peru State College in southeastern Nebraska, where he is a Professor and Chair of English. His teaching schedule includes a variety of courses, including Non-Western Literature, Film Studies, Creative Writing, and World Literature. A few years ago, he introduced a composition course that focuses on Science Fiction, which he tries to teach once a year. Director of the college's Honors Program, he also offers a course on Asian Literature. A reader of sf for nearly forty years, Bill has been a fan and a student of Feminist sf for the past decade and some change. He was also a judge for the James Tiptree Award, which honors gender-bending Speculative Fiction. His publications in that area include essays on James Tiptree, Jr. and Suzy Charnas. Bill and his wife, Linda, are also the authors of a biography of one of Canada's premier authors: Gabrielle Roy: Creation and Memory. In addition, Bill is an avid bird watcher and the editor of The Nebraska Bird Review.

Theresa Crater did her undergraduate work in English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the school where you can throw a rock and it will hit at least two writers. Then, Theresa studied Vedic philosophy and taught meditation until she ran out of money. Deciding she did not want to be a secretary for the rest of her life, she returned to graduate school and received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, in beautiful, rainy Seattle. Theresa's first teaching job was in the Writing Center at the Evergreen State College, the alternative school that had the distinction of being slated for closure by right-wing state senators every four years until it gained aninternational reputation. Theresa went on to teach humanities and writing at South Puget Sound Community College. Seeking the sun, she moved to Colorado and has been at Metropolitan State College of Denver since 1992. Theresa has written one novel, God in a Box, about her experiences in the meditation movements of the 1970s, and is working on a second, Key to the Halls, an Egyptian mystery. She has edited a composition reader, Outside the Box, looking at paradigm shifts in various disciplines, due out from Longman in 2003. Her scholarly writings have focused mainly on Virginia Woolf, Doris Lessing and The X-Files.

Kathe Davis is Director of Women's Studies at Kent State University in Ohio, where she teaches women's writing, contemporary poetry and gender issues. She has published on early science fiction, popular film, Ursula Le Guin and Doris Lessing, Adrienne Rich, Randall Jarrell, Robert Bly, and, most copiously, on John Berryman. Besides the topics above, she has presented papers on Rita Dove, Louise Bogan, Jane Cooper, Ani di Franco, Elizabeth Bishop, Hitler, masculinity studies, addiction, Stephen King, feminist sword and sorcery, nexialism, and the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she was a delegate at the NGO Forum. She is on the editorial board of Extrapolation, and has guest-edited a special issue on Women and Science Fiction, as well as writing numerous reviews. Her poems have appeared in Hurricane Alice (Providence), the collections Opening Doors and Great Lake Erie: Imagining an Inland Sea, and in such Cleveland-area little magazines as Art Crimes, The Coventry Reader, and The Time of Your Life. She is also included in A Gathering of Poets (1991), the anthology commemorating the May 4, 1970 shootings at Kent State. She lives in the woods of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with her partner and two cats.

Joan Gordon is an Associate Professor of English at Nassau Community College. She is an editor of Science Fiction Studies and has co-edited two volumes of scholarly essays for UPenn with Veronica Hollinger, Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Culture (1987) and Edging Into the Future: Science Fiction as Contemporary Cultural Transformation (forthcoming).

Veronica Hollinger is Associate Professor of Cultural Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. She is co-editor of the journal Science Fiction Studies and Vice-President of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts and has published many articles on science fiction and speculative literature, especially feminist and postmodern fantastic fiction. With Joan Gordon, she has co-edited Blood Read: The Vampire as Metaphor in Contemporary Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press 1997) and Edging into the Future: Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural Transformation (University of Pennsylvania Press 2002). She is a past winner of the SFRA's Pioneer Award.

Phillipa Kafka is currently Professor Emerita at Kean University, Union, New Jersey, and the former Director of its Women's Studies Program. An active participant in the Second-Wave feminist movement, she was also a pioneer in multi-ethnic studies. She has published essays, reviews, poetry, and four full-length works of feminist literary criticism: The Great White Way: African-American Women Writers and American Success Mythology (Garland, 1993); (Un)Doing the Missionary Position: Gender Asymmetry in Contemporary Asian American Women's Writings (Greenwood, 1997); (Out)Classed Women: Contemporary Chicana Writers on Inequitable Gendered Power Relations (Greenwood, 2000); and "Saddling LaGringa": Gatekeeping in Contemporary Latina Writers (Greenwood, 2000). Most recently, she edited a collection of memoirs and essays, Lost on the Map ofthe World: Jewish-American Women's Quest for Home, 1890-Present (Peter Lang, 2001).

Sylvia Kelso is currently a part-time lecturer and tutor at James Cook University in Townsville, North Queensland, Australia. She has taught English there since 1985 and in addtion is currently contributing to a course on Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Social Sciences school. She has published poetry, including a contribution to an Australian Women's Anthology, and essays, and reviews on fantasy, science fiction, modern female Gothic or mystery novels and modern male horror writers like Stephen King. Her essays have appeared in Science-Fiction Studies, Foundation, the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Para.Doxa: Studies in World Literature, and The New York Review of Science Fiction. She is currently an editorial board member for Para.Doxa. She has a PhD on the interaction of feminism with modern Gothic and science fiction, and has just submitted a Creative Writing MA based round an sf novel set in alternate North Queenslands. A long-term creative writer, she is also working on publication of a fantasy novel.

Dr. Laurel Lampela is an Associate Professor who teaches courses in the History of Art Education, Secondary Art Methods, Studio Art in the Schools - Printmaking, and Feminism and Art. She has been on the faculty at UNM since August 2001. Previously she was Associate Professor in the Department of Art at Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio for 10 years and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at Marshall University for one year. Dr. Lampela is co-editor of "From Our Voices: Art Educators Speak Out About LGBT Issues" [Lampela, L. & Check, E., (Eds.), 2003, Kendall- Hunt Publishers]. She has published a book chapter in "Realworld Readings in Art Education: Things Your Professors Never Told You" (2000, Falmer Press) and numerous articles in "Studies in Art Education," "Art Education," and "Taboo: A Journal of Culture and Education." Dr. Lampela is the co-founder of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Issues Caucus of the National Art Education Association.

Claudia Mesch teaches 20th- and 21st-century art history and art theory at Arizona State University. Her research and publications have focused on performance-oriented art after 1945. Among other things, she is currently thinking about the appearance of the Queen of Mud and other female sci-fi personas in recent art.

As an undergraduate at Tufts University, Lynne Reed studied in 16 different departments, reflecting her multidisciplinary mind. Graduating in 1978 with a BA in Drama, she focused primarily on theatrical lighting in NYC for many years, fast forwarding through Textile Design, Owner of a Multicultural Spiritual Bookstore, and Teaching in the NYC Public School System. Leaving the fast track, Lynne is currently living at Spiral, a lesbian intentional community, with the time to edit, write and paint. For info on retreat cabins, e-mail spiralwimmin@juno.com.

Gina Wisker is coordinator of Women's Studies at Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge, UK where she is also director of learning and teaching development and teaches English literature. Her publications range from postcolonial: Postcolonial and African and American Women's Writing: A Critical Introduction (Macmillan 2000), Insights into Black Women's Writing (Macmillan 1993), to horror and fantasy: It's My Party: Reading Twentieth Century Women's Writing (ed.1994), Fatal Attractions: Rescripting Romance in Contemporary Literature and Film (ed.Lynne Pearce 1998), and several essays on women's vampire fictions in, among others, The Companion to Gothic (ed. David Punter), and on Angela Carter, and she co-edits Spokes, a poetry magazine. She was brought up all over the world , re-visits and travels at every oppportunity and lives in Cambridge UK with her husband, two sons, and two small dogs. She is currently editing a women's horror edition of FEMSPEC.