Browsing Tag



Supergirl 1.01: Pilot



I’ve been seeing good buzz for the new Supergirl show on the Mary Sue and for ages now, and this week, the show finally premiered. Picoreview: I liked it! It had a few heavy-handed moments in it, and it does suffer from the whole “need to do the origin story” problem that just about all superhero storylines do. But on the whole I quite enjoyed it. Melissa Benoist as Kara is awesome. Callista Flockhart as Cat Grant was sublime, and plus, I hadn’t realized her character was in fact Cat Grant, who I also adored from way back in the days of Lois & Clark.

Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy James Olsen was an unexpected treat. NICE change of pace for Jimmy Olsen. 😀

Plus, the plot did some things right out of the gate that I was not expecting either. And in general I just really appreciated the overall upbeat, optimistic “yeah actually I have superpowers and I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE and did I mention HOLY CRAP FLYING IS AMAZING” attitude of it all. So yeah, I’ll be sticking around for at least the next few episodes to see what happens next.

The Mary Sue has their recap post for the episode up. also has a review post up, talking in particular about how the episode establishes its intent re: feminism. I’m more or less on board with both of these posts, which will be no surprise to y’all. I did find the “rah rah feminism” a bit heavy-handed, but on the other hand, not unwarranted either–particularly in this day and age where so often, feminism is taken as a bad thing. There are folks out there that need to be reminded that yes, girls can be superheroes too.

But now that we’ve gotten the origin story out of the way, I look forward to Kara actually learning to be more effective with her powers–and hopefully, less dialogue gymnastics to try to keep everybody from having to identify Superman by name, or explain why he’s off camera and can’t be arsed to actually, y’know, pick up a phone and call his cousin every so often.

Because yeah. Flying IS freggin’ awesome. And so is a superhero show that brings some light and optimism to the watching.


On women in fiction

It is articles like this one that remind me why the majority of my SF/F reading is books written by women: i.e., because that will give me a much stronger chance of a story in which there are in fact multiple female characters.

Because the author of this article (herself an author) has it exactly right: lack of female characters in a story is always a choice. There are occasionally times when it’s the correct choice–I’ll cite Master and Commander here as an exclusively male story, and given that the movie’s set almost entirely at sea and that the protagonists are all members of the crew of a British naval ship, it’s contextually reasonable to expect a lack of women in the plot.

By contrast, I’ll also cite Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which as you all know is a thing that’s near and dear to my heart. Yet even on Voyage, set predominantly on board a submarine that used to be part of the Navy and with an all-male crew, they managed to have quite a few episodes featuring notable female guest characters. Sometimes they were scientists. Sometimes they were women working with Admiral Nelson’s organization in support capacities for whenever they went on land. Sometimes they were spies. Sometimes they were civilians caught up in the intrigue of the plot du jour. In general, the writers of the show did manage to find ways to work women into the stories, and in many cases, the episodes where they did so are my favorites.

Rhiannon Thomas calls out Tolkien as well, again something that’s near and dear to my heart. As I’ve written before, Tolkien’s female characters are pretty thin on the ground, with only a few notable exceptions.

Because yes: it’s a conscious choice on the part of a writer as to how many women you’re going to include in the story. In the case of epic/high fantasy, it can be done. I’ve got multiple women in positions of power (magical, political, religious, and social) all over the Rebels of Adalonia books. Likewise with Faerie Blood and the forthcoming Bone Walker. It all depends on what kind of story the writer chooses to tell.

And certainly, speaking as a consumer of content as well as a producer, stories that take the time to include women are the stories I’m going to want to watch and read.


Friday link roundup on yet more sexism in SF/F

There’ve been a new round of links on the question of Fake Geek Girls and general sexism in SF/F and online that I’d like to bring to your all’s attention.

First up, Dara has put up this post describing a couple of experiences she’s had online this week, experiences which spell out that there is a non-zero chance that when they try to call out issues of sexism, women will get pushback and be accused of being misandrist. Even if they’re being polite.

And for those of you who read me who don’t already follow Seanan McGuire, she’s got a couple pertinent posts up as well. One is about things she witnessed at SDCC this year, including an Emma Frost cosplayer telling male con attendees they couldn’t take her picture if they couldn’t identify her costume–and more than once, finding that they couldn’t. Some of the attendees respected her wishes and backed off. Others did not.

Seanan’s followup post here reiterates why it has become exhausting for the female portion of SF/F fandom to have to recite their laundry lists of “yes, dammit, I’m a geek, I like X, Y, and Z” credentials.

Katharine Eliska Kimbriel has something to say on the matter, too. She’s yet another woman who’s written SF/F and who’s gotten shit for it because she’s a woman. She’s also got no time for the bullshit of defending her geek credentials, because she can play that game, but honestly, she has better things to do.

And to all of this, I’ll add: all of us have better things to do. So why are we continuing to have this argument?

Because, sadly, it will continue to be necessary as long as female fans are getting the pushback that Dara describes, that Seanan describes, that Katharine describes, that keeps getting described over and over and over and over again. The main difference now is that women are shouting louder about it.

Look, guys? I like you. I want to geek out with you over all these awesome things we have available to us to enjoy in our genre. I love a lot of the words, art, and music you’ve helped create. But I’m saddened, wearied, and angered that we still live in a world where Seanan McGuire can get dismissed because girls couldn’t possibly write a zombie story–which is bullshit of the highest order, because I’ve read the Newsflesh series. Seanan slings her virology like a goddamn boss, and yet because she’s a woman, it doesn’t matter. Because GIRL COOTIES.

If you’re one of those guys who feels even momentarily threatened that women are invading your treasured space of SF/F, if you’re one of those guys who picks up a book in a bookstore and immediately dismisses it because there’s a picture of a woman on the back, and especially if you’re one of those guys who’s started slinging accusations of misandry around because you keep seeing us women pointing out that this shit is not okay, there’s a really easy solution to this.

If you want to stop getting called out on sexist behavior, stop doing sexist things.

Listening to us when we give you data would be a real nice start.