TOP FIVE: Wayne Shorter’s Futuristic Tunes

Wayne Shorter“You know, Wayne Shorter’s really into sci-fi,” local trumpet player Mike Wade told me.

But if anyone took even a cursory glance at Shorter’s late ’70s/early ’80s catalog, the only answer is “duh.”

I asked Mike to give me his top Shorter tunes: “Fall,” “Visitor from Somewhere,” “Infant Eyes,” “Visitor from Nowhere” and “Memory of Enchantment.”

“The titles are futuristic, and Wayne and his cast of musicians that perform this incredible music are playing within that manner,” Wade said. “Always reaching, never settling!”

Continue reading “TOP FIVE: Wayne Shorter’s Futuristic Tunes”

Midwest BSFA Member Hosts Radio Show in France

napoleon maddoxMidwest BSFA member Napoleon Maddox is in France for the foreseeable future (thanks, global pandemic! *side eyes*), but that hasn’t stopped him from doing his thing, content wise. He has been working on a radio show called Bestown State of Mind. Last week’s episode celebrates the May birthdays of and links between Toussaint Louverture, Malcolm X and Sun Ra. Check it out!

For more episodes of Bestown State of Mind, visit www.mixcloud.com/napoleonsolovox.

It’s Been a Minute…

it's been 84 years gifSo…did anyone have “Global Pandemic” on their 2020 bingo card? No? Us either. Long before COVID-19 (aka #datrona) decided to make itself at home, we’d been on a pretty long hiatus ⁠— a year and three months, to be exact. Don’t get us wrong; we didn’t disappear from the internet completely. Our Facebook page is going strong and we’re still kekeing over on Twitter (we even have an Instagram account!). We just dropped the ball with the blog is all. But we’re back for a while. Continue reading “It’s Been a Minute…”

Blessed Be the Nerdy Grandmothers: A Requiem

93763818_10219540449255988_282561779530203136_oMy long bout of vegging out in the week between Christmas and New Year’s included a re-watch 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 seemed to compel me to keep going back. I now think it was my grandmother.

Continue reading “Blessed Be the Nerdy Grandmothers: A Requiem”

Diasporic Blackness and Revising Steampunk Characters

black_woman_steampunk_by_laanz-d74ascg
Art by Laanz

I’ve been thinking a lot about the rift between black Americans and continental Africans, and how more visible it is these days, thanks to social media. From Seren Aishitemasu’s slightly unhinged but still insightful YouTube videos about continental Africans’ appropriation of black American culture for profit and fame to the online grumblings from continental Africans about Black Panther/Coming to America mashups earlier this year to Luvvie Ajayi starting what felt like a diaspora war on Twitter last week when she tried to talk slick about Tevin Campbell, I’m seeing more clearly the fissures in the already fragile foundation on which black Americans and continental Africans stand. As someone who does steampunk from a multicultural perspective centering on a  West African narrative, this all makes me think about changes I could make to my character’s backstory.***

Continue reading “Diasporic Blackness and Revising Steampunk Characters”

On Impostor Syndrome

Back in March, I participated in a conference on “nerd lit” at Miami University. I was invited to be on the main plenary panel (with three other speakers) as well as present my steampunk character building workshop as a breakout session during the event. It was a paying gig at an official undergraduate academic conference, but in the days leading up to it, the thought of participating started to make me a little queasy. And there’s a very easy explanation for that — Impostor Syndrome. Continue reading “On Impostor Syndrome”

Why You Need A Sensitivity Reader (aka Don’t Ask Me To Do Emotional Labor For Free)

black woman readingA few months ago, a white author posted a comment in one of the Facebook groups I moderate seeking a beta reader for the steampunk story he was writing. Because his main character is Asian and he clearly is not, he was interested in finding a person of color to read the story. My response was “hire an Asian sensitivity reader.” Continue reading “Why You Need A Sensitivity Reader (aka Don’t Ask Me To Do Emotional Labor For Free)”