Blessed Be the Nerdy Grandmothers: A Requiem

My long bout of vegging out in the week between Christmas and New Year’s included a rewatch of the Star Trek reboot. When the movie first came out back in 2009, a friend and I saw it in the theater five or six times, and I even dragged my mother and brother to see it once when I was home for a visit. It really wasn’t that great, not for me to devote as much time and money as I did to it that spring, but something about it seems to compel me to keep going back. I now think it was my grandmother.

When Chris Pine swaggered across the screen in the scene where he cheats at the Kobayashi Maru test during my most recent rewatch, I had a weird That’s So Raven-esque vision: my grandmother’s long, thin frame stretched out on the couch in her cramped living room, me in the chair right next to her, watching an episode of the original Star Trek. Grams loved William Shatner’s Captain Kirk, and in that moment, I wondered if she would have liked the reboot and its sequels. I was momentarily struck by a sweeping sense of grief. I wanted to watch these films with her. I wanted to know what she thought of Pine’s rendition of Kirk. I wanted to know if the Uhura/Spock storyline intrigued her as much as it did me at the time (Zachary Quinto’s Spock was bae that summer).

My grandmother died 19 years ago this week but as the person who gave me my first foray into geekdom through our Star Trek viewing, she lives on through me. She—along with my mother and my aunt—nurtured my imagination, and gave me the space to be smart and shy and introspective in my formative years. I lost sight of some of that creativity during my teen years and early adulthood, and it took me a while to fully recover from the bandwaggoning that can occur during those time periods, but ever since starting Midwest BSFA and getting into steampunk, I’ve been able to rediscover my love of geeky things. I think knowing that this rediscovery has happened would make my grandmother happy.

Rest on, Grams.

“What Does the Future Look Like?” Short Film Program

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Each year during Black History Month, we collectively discuss past experiences and contributions of African-Americans, but Midwest Black Speculative Fiction Alliance’s “What Does the Future Look Like?” programming focuses on our futures through a distinctly speculative fiction lens. We are encouraging black filmmakers in the Midwest to show us their interpretations of what the future looks like for black people.

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Co-Founder Participates in D&D Art Show at Chase Public in January

DnD art show

The culmination of our co-founder’s Dungeons & Dragons gameplay from this past summer is finally here! Ral Buldhar, Chase Public’s exhibition on collaborative gaming, opens on Jan. 11, and you’ll see artwork of the players’ characters as well as scenes from their D&D escapades. Come to opening night and meet the players and discuss what they contributed to the show. Click here for more details. 6–10 pm, Jan. 11, 2019, Chase Public, 2868 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington (Cincinnati 45225)

Steamfunkateers, the Steamfunk Role Playing Game, is now available!

We’re DEFINITELY playing this!

Chronicles of Harriet

Baas Bello, the most intelligent person on earth, races to prevent mad scientist, The Alchemist, from assassinating George Washington Carver… Harriet Tubman and John Henry team up to do battle with an army of steam-powered Confederate automatons before they turn the tides of the Civil War… Robert Charles hunts Were-Rats in New Orleans…
Mad scientists, Vampires, Air Pirates, daring Adventurers, power-hungry dictators… and YOU all populate the world of Steamfunkateers: The Steamfunk Role Playing Game.
Steamfunkateers is a world of mechanical marvels, the supernatural and the Brushed – people that possess extraordinary abilities. YOU are one of the Brushed and, as Harriet Tubman says, “You either brushed by the hand of God… or by the hand of that other one.” YOU decide which one.
Steamfunkateers: The Steamfunk RPG is a fun, complete, stand-alone role-playing game in which you play a character that goes on exciting adventures, solves deep mysteries…

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Interview with Filmmaker Vagabond Beaumont

DIRECTINGWe recently spoke to filmmaker Vagabond Beaumont, whose short film, Aftermath: The Seeds of Armageddon, will show at our “Matinee Noir: Black Speculative Fiction Shorts” on Oct. 28! Beaumont’s short story “Kafka’s Last Laugh” was included in Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories From Social Justice Movements, an anthology of stories by people influenced by science fiction writer Octavia Butler.

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