Category Archives: Uncategorized

Friday Links Has Feelings About Frankenstein

shelleySady Doyle went off on a magnificent Twitter rant aimed at the director who thought the original Frankenstein novel was boring – she lays down some important lit crit and historical context about Mary Shelley and her sister Frances which is pretty damned epic.

I’ve been reviewing Jessica Jones episode by episode over at – here are the posts so far:

Jessica Jones Does Not Respect Doors
Jessica Jones Can’t Have Nice Things
The Jessica Jones Paranoid Conspiracy Support Group

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Battening the Hatches for Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones is coming to Netflix on November 20th! I’m really excited about this. In preparation, I’ve been writing reread reviews of the original 4-trade Alias series (now available in a single hardcover volume) by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Michael Gaydos, David Mack, Mark Bagley which introduces Jessica as the hardest, grumpiest noir detective scraping a living in a bright, technicolor superhero world.

Watch Jessica track down missing angsty teenagers, catfish straying husbands, and get taken in by a con man so dodgy, he even cons himself! See Jessica isolate herself from her super-friends, her family, and her former life. Marvel as Jessica saves the public face of Captain America, beats J. Jonah Jameson at his own game, teams up with Spider-Woman and hooks up with both Luke Cage and Ant-Man! (the hot Ant-Man, not the original Ant-Man) Witness Jessica come to terms with her past, present and future as she comes face to face with her nemesis, the sinister mind-controlling Purple Man. Also, listen to Jessica swear a lot. Like, a lot.

Here are the posts:

Jessica Jones: The Alias Re-read Part 1

The Alias Re-read Part 2: Come Home

The Alias Re-Read Part 3: The Underneath

The Alias Re-Read Part 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones is My Hero – a personal essay about Jessica’s post-Alias appearances in the Marvel Comics Universe, her essential connection to the Civil War storyline, and her portrayal as a wife and mother. Revised for republication on

11. Naoko Takeuchi & Sailor Moon [SF Women of the 20th Century]

naoko-545Naoko Takeuchi is a Japanese manga artist and writer. She has a degree in chemistry, and qualified as a pharmacist before submitting her work to manga publishers. Her early work was mostly romance-based, but she wanted to create a manga about female warriors and outer space – and her editor Osano Fumio suggested she put the girls in sailor suits (similar to the uniform Takeuchi had worn at high school).

After testing out the concept with a one-shot manga called Codename: Sailor V (which later become a popular serial in its own right), Takeuchi developed her idea into the science fantasy manga serial Sailor Moon, also known as Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon, depending on the translation.

This hugely successful sh?jo (aimed at teen girl readers) manga fused two popular genres: Magical Girl, and Sentai/Superhero Squad. Sailor Moon ran for 52 chapters between 1991-1997, and followed the adventures of Usagi, a teenage superhero who takes on the powers of Sailor Moon thanks to a talking cat, magical jewellery, and destiny. She is surrounded by her team, each of whom has their own magical super identity based on a planet (Sailors Mars, Mercury, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune Uranus and Pluto, because Pluto is totally a planet).

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10. Lois McMaster Bujold & Cordelia’s Honor [SF Women of the 20th Century]

cordeliaLois McMaster Bujold is one of the most popular and celebrated SF writers still working today. She has won the Hugo for Best Novel four times, an achievement only equalled by Robert Heinlein. While she has published excellent fantasy fiction in recent years, it is her epic space opera series based on the Vorkosigan family for which she is best known.

The secret to the Vorkosigan novels is, you don’t have to read them in the right order. I started A Civil Campaign, when it was the most recent, and meandered all over the place in catching up with the characters, based on which books I could source at the time – it was the early 00’s, and Bujold still wasn’t widely distributed in Australia, so my collection included imported paperbacks, library copies and Fictionwise. Remember Fictionwise? Remember mobipocket?

Then I discovered that Bujold herself had written all of the books in the wrong order. It wasn’t just me! For instance, when I read the first two books of the series, Shards of Honor and Barrayar, as the ‘Cordelia’s Honor’ omnibus, I assumed those two books were published close together.

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9. Joanna Russ & To Write Like A Woman [SF Women of the 20th Century]

russJoanna Russ is a legendary figure of feminist science fiction, for her sharp and incisive commentary on the field as much as her angry, challenging fiction.

An academic as well as a critic, an author, an intense letter-writer and a lesbian, Russ is “best known” for her iconic novel The Female Man (1975), though these days her academic text How To Suppress Women’s Writing is probably the most widely influential of her works, because (horribly) it’s as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1983. My favourite of her fiction are the Alyx stories, published as The Adventures of Alyx (1976), which play on the traditional narratives of women and heroes in fantasy and science fiction, her quiet, unassuming female protagonist powering through all kinds of genred worlds.

After winning all kinds of awards during her active writing career, including multiple Hugos and Nebulas, Russ was also honoured with various lifetime achievement/retrospective awards including the SFWA Solstice Award, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, the Pilgrim Award for lifetime contribution to SF & fantasy scholarship, two retrospective Tiptrees (for The Female Man & “When It Changed” and the Gaylactic Spectrum Hall of Fame.

It’s hard to pick one thing to represent an authors’ contribution to the genre when their work is so varied and important, but I decided on To Write Like a Woman, the 1995 collection of Russ’s essays in feminism and science fiction which won the non-fiction Hugo of its year; a text on my shelf to which I regularly return.

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Friday Links is Coming Up Tansy

come homeBecause I’m lazy, this week’s links are all things I should have blogged about this week.

Crowdfunding now! And Then: The Great Big Book Of Awesome is at Indiegogo. I really want this book to go ahead (though it looks like it’s two books now!) because it has my dragon circus novelette in it, about (broken) reformed assassins and trapezes and found family. Here’s a snippet:

Cicero was light in the air – as if a puff of that dry, sand-laced city wind might carry him away. Cato was more solid, moving like a knife through silk. They tossed Inga from one perch to another with a practiced confidence, as if she was a silk ribbon or a painted hoop.

Inga picked up their moves and cues and then developed whole new moves of her own, forcing the Birds of Paradise to follow or be left in her dust.

This was it. Kurt had lost her to the circus. First there were dragons and now they’ve taught her to fly. No coming back from this. She’s found her retirement plan.

I also have an article up in the latest issue of Writing Queensland Online! The topic is ‘Put Some History in Your Worldbuilding.’

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8. Robin Klein & Halfway Around the Galaxy And Turn Left [SF Women of the 20th Century]

Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn LeftRobin Klein is one of those Australian children’s authors who is so important that you can’t just say she writes books – phrases like ‘institution’ and ‘living legend’ get thrown into the mix. I’ve been reading Robin Klein’s witty, thought-provoking books my whole life – from her classic mixed media Penny Pollard series (in which the story is told through diary entries and other found objects) and the Thing picture books illustrated by Alison Lester, all the way through to her middle grade and YA novels.

Klein wrote Hating Alison Ashley, an iconic Australian classic about the complexities of female friendship. She wrote Junk Castle, an inspiring books about kid communities and recycling. She has won many awards, especially for her serious ‘for older readers’ books Came Back To Show You I Could Fly and People Might Hear You.

But the Robin Klein book which has stayed most firmly in my heart over the years is her science fiction comedy novel, Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left (1985).

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Issue #1 – 50 Years of SHIELD: Agent Carter

carter 50Title: 50 Years of SHIELD: Agent Carter #1

Writer: Kathryn Immonen

Artist: Rich Ellis (Art), Rachel Rosenberg (Color)

The Buzz: SHIELD is 50 years old! To celebrate, Marvel have put out a series of one-shot comics in honour of five iconic SHIELD agents, combining mythos from the Agents of SHIELD & Agent Carter TV shows, and from the comics themselves. The characters in question are Mockingbird, Melinda May, Quake, Peggy Carter and Nick Fury – though there are also cameos and guest appearances from many others.

All You Need To Know: The same team who created the recent Agent Carter mini-series Operation: S.I.N. are back with an adventure showing an older Peggy Carter in the midst of Swinging Sixties SHIELD. She might be blonde, but this version of the character is definitely influenced by Hayley Atwell’s iconic performance across the MCU, most recently in her own awesome show, Agent Carter, which Australians still can’t buy within our own country, WTF!

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Issue #1 – 50 Years of SHIELD: Fury

FuryTitle: Fury: SHIELD 50th Anniversary #1

Writer: David F Walker

Artist: Lee Ferguson

The Buzz: SHIELD is 50 years old! To celebrate, Marvel have put out a series of one-shot comics in honour of five iconic SHIELD agents, combining mythos from the Agents of SHIELD & Agent Carter TV shows, and from the comics themselves. The characters in question are Mockingbird, Melinda May, Quake, Peggy Carter and Nick Fury – though there are also cameos and guest appearances from many others.

David F Walker is an African American comics writer best known for his acclaimed run on Dynamite’s Shaft comics, and more recently on DC’s Cyborg. Walker has been interviewed here about his opinions on the blaxploitation genre, treating characters of colour with respect, and the way in which he likes to incorporate social issues and real history into his stories about superheroes.

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