Brown Bounty Hunter Business

Fact: Boba Fett is a lesbian.

It’s a memetic headcanon that emerged, as far as I can tell, earlier this week.

Within hours, it had evolved into “Boba Fett is a trans lesbian” (of colour, but that should go without saying, since Boba Fett was played by Maori actors Temuera Morrison and Daniel Logan.)


If you read OP Sashayed’s Boba Fett Is A Lesbian 2k16 tag, you can see it was all rollicking good trolling times, baiting homophobes, TERFs and transmisogynists alike.

Sadly, it’s not all fun and games, and we’re about to talk about the prioritisation of certain voices in fandom and the white-washing of Maori people. Hooray! (Also discussion of transphobic tropes and transphobia, so please tread carefully.)

Continue reading “Brown Bounty Hunter Business”

Vote 1 Liz Barr NAFF 2016 RIGHT NOW

Fan Fund: a fan-run fundraiser to enable the elected delegate to attend a con that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

NAFF: the National Australian Fan Fund, created to send a fan to the Australian National Convention (aka the Natcon, because that’s a mouthful).

As it happens, I’m a NAFF 2016 candidate!  (Hamilton interlude: “I was chosen for the Constitutional Convention!”) What does that mean?  If you vote for me, I’ll be able to attend Contact 2016, a one-off con held in Brisbane.

(Further Hamilton interlude: “You’re openly campaigning.  That’s … new.”)

(Further interlude: A CONVENTION IN BRISBANE, WHAT IS THIS MIRACLE?  I could take my mum!  I mean, I actually can’t, because $$$$, but it would be geographically feasible!)

Now, this is one of those years where there’s a strong field all around, and I wouldn’t begrudge any of the nominees if they won … but you should vote for me because (a) I am the only one who has a Harold Holt joke in her candidate bio; (b) HALF A NO AWARD ROAD TRIP (Stephanie will be going to Swancon, maybe, as is her Perthie duty); exciting things seem to be happening in Brisbane, fannishly, and I would like to investigate in person.  MAYBE I WILL WEAR A DEERSTALKER but probably not.

Voting costs $5, and closes Wednesday 23 December (TOMORROW).  GET IN QUICK.


are you from linkspam or Mars?

We’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks, so some of these links are, uhhh, vintage!

Liz is a candidate for the 2016 NAFF race, which sends the successful candidate to Contact 2016, the one-off Brisbane con running over Easter.

I’ll talk about this in more detail in the near future, but if you’re already convinced, voting costs $5 and you can do so at this link.

Stephanie adores Clueless, and just watched it last weekend, and loved this: ‘Clueless’ style: a fashion analysis of the best teen movie of all time

Steph cried with laughter at this: 46 Things That Would Be Different If “Love Actually” Were Set In Australia

Uncovering Australia’s Indigenous past: Forgotten 1920s photos reveal insight into coastal Aboriginal people

When there’s no room at the inn for victims of domestic violence (Don’t read the comments – sadly the ‘most liked’ comments are on the right-hand sidebar, putting them directly in view.)

Does YA fiction need to check its privilege?  On class, and the lack of working class YA protagonists who aren’t leading a revolution.  (Liz agrees strongly with this article, and sadly notes that some of the worst depictions of class are from OzYA.)

An Open Letter to JJ Abrams  – Did you know that girls can be Star Wars fans? Apparently JJ didn’t.  But what made this blog post particularly enjoyable was the author’s account of becoming a science fiction fan in Hong Kong.

Stephen Nothling, vision-impaired artist, brings unique perspective to Brisbane suburban streetscapes

Great piece at Overland on the shit going on against the CFMEU and Australia’s Unions: Black bans and blackmail, and why it’s important.

That’s why having workers’ representatives monitoring safety matters. Last month, when a concrete slab crushed two men to death on an East Perth worksite, it transpired that the CFMEU had been refused entry to the site sixteen times.

No Award reminds everyone that the voices of women (and genderqueer people) are frequently silenced by the medical fraternity and endometriosis is a real thing suffered by Friends of No Award: My Doctors Said My Crippling Menstrual Pain Was “Fine”.

Melbourne history business: The little blue building

Here’s What It’s Like To Go Through Gay Conversion Therapy In Australia

Peter S Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, screenwriter for the TNG episode “Sarek”, is suing his business partner.  Jim C Hines breaks down the issues as we know them. 

Writing Business

Great point at The Wheeler Centre’s notes: It’s Not Easy Being Green: when young writers meet opportunistic editors.

As Parkhill noted in a response to Kilbride’s piece on Facebook, the core issue was not simply that the piece was ‘garbage’, but that it passed the editorial process at all. ‘Perhaps worse than the article’s content is the fact that [New Matilda] have exposed a very young and inexperienced writer’s ill-formed thoughts to a large audience,’ Parkhill said. ‘This article was by no means ready to go live, and I’m sure in the fullness of time its author won’t thank [New Matilda] for the opportunity or “exposure” but will regret the fact that [they] were willing to publish such asinine crap to which his name will be forever attached.’

Right Place, Right Time: How the Melbourne Voice shuts writers out (as in being in Melbourne, not some publication called Melbourne Voice, as Steph first was confused by)

Steph nearly called this section Gross White People Business

NOPE: No criminal charges over pig head dumping at University of WA Muslim prayer room. GET IN THE BIN.

Seven News reported on Wednesday that police know the man, believed to be a former university student, responsible and found a second pig’s head in his home.

But he reportedly won’t be charged because technically no laws had been broken.


Inadequate white man gets appointed to important political role; admits he loves revenge: Joe Hockey gets job as ambassador to US, admits staying in parliament would have been about payback. Fucking get it together, come on.

Australians head to Colombian village for cocaine ‘special tour’. ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME RIGHT NOW.

“When I came on this trip, there were a lot of things I hadn’t done at home,” said Rose, 32, from Western Australia.

“There was a bucket list and I always said that if I came to Colombia I would try cocaine.

“In Australia, it is a rich man’s drug and sells for about $300 a gram. Here we have had it for as cheap as $US5. People give it away because it is so accessible.”




Doctor Who 9.07 and 9.08: “The Zygon Invasion” and “The Zygon Inversion”

It’s amazing.  I haven’t disliked a Doctor Who story/serial/episode this much since Russell T Davies was at the helm.  And for much the same reason I didn’t care for a lot of RTD’s work: a hamfisted attempt at social commentary coupled with carelessness about subtext creates an unpleasant and alienating story.

Continue reading “Doctor Who 9.07 and 9.08: “The Zygon Invasion” and “The Zygon Inversion””

Doctor Who 9.01: The Magician’s Apprentice

Let’s get some things out of the way first:

  • Yes, it’s really season 35, the proper season 9 had Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning and Roger “no longer the best Master ever” Delgado.
  • Stephanie plays  no part in these posts, due to her moral objections to time travel, and also her general disinterest in matters Whovian except when Liz begs her to write an essay about Peri.
  • This will be a weekly thing, time and energy and the existence of the universe permitting.
  • There will be spoilers.

“The Magician’s Apprentice”, in which the Doctor meets a winsome child on a battlefield, Missy advances the asexual agenda, and Clara/Jane Austen is canon.

(Steph has proofread this post: There really is a lot about the Asexual History of Doctor Who, just fyi)

Continue reading “Doctor Who 9.01: The Magician’s Apprentice”

Liz reads the 2015 Hugo-nominated short stories

I thought that Project: Read As Much As Possible And Vote By Merit would be easier if I didn’t sit around waiting for the voter pack.  Accordingly, I’ve reserved a bunch of the nominated novels at my elibrary of preference.  As for short stories, all but one are available online, and I’ve started reading and organising my preferences.

(I really love preferential voting.  I like to have my senate ballots prepared weeks ahead of an election.  Of course I vote below the line.  SO GREAT.)

The stories!

“On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli

It’s not clear whether this version on Antonelli’s blog is the same as that published in Sci Phi Journal #2.  For the sake of my embarrassment squick, I hope not.  The blog version’s dialogue is full of run on sentences, which (aside from being grammatically problematic) makes it a bit hard to read.  I dearly hope it’s a first draft.

Anyway, it’s a story about an alien planet whose magnetic field creates ghosts of the dead, and a human chaplain who has to deal with the first human ghost.

The concept is mildly interesting, the execution mildly frustrating.  An example:

Ymilans believe–as do many Terran religions–that each individual has a spark of an eternal extra-dimensional over-arching consciousness that is imbued in each of them at birth and ultimately returns to a higher dimensional plane when the physical form is no longer viable. I told him we call it the “soul”. They also know–I won’t say believe because the evidence was obvious on Ymilas–that while alive we develop an electromagnetic imprint as a result of the experiences of life that survives after death. I told Dergec an ancient Terran religion had the same belief, and in fact built elaborate pyramids and tombs filled with personal belongings to keep those spirits happy.

I don’t know that the Egyptian concept of the ba had anything whatsoever to do with electromagnetism, but the Ymilan religion — where ancestors remain part of a person’s life after death — has more to do with Chinese beliefs anyway.  Beliefs which are contemporary and actually practised right now in the actual real world, and aren’t in fact alien in any way whatsoever.  That the author doesn’t seem to realise this is … well, it shows a certain carelessness in research, or a lack of general knowledge, or maybe a cultural arrogance?

I found the writing amateurish and the central idea poorly executed.  This is going above No Award, but only because it’s not actually insulting.

“The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C Wright

This is actually insulting.  If Bible-quoting animals debating their place in the world after the extinction of humanity is your idea of a good time, this might be the story for you.  If you thought that The Last Battle was amazing but needed to make its metaphors more obvious, this is definitely for you. If you like interesting, original and insightful fiction, I’m sorry, you will have to move on.

Wright is trying very hard to incorporate Catholic theology into this story, but the result frankly makes me a bit embarrassed to share a religion with him.  It takes a very talented writer to pull off explicitly Christian references in what appears to be a secondary world fantasy setting, and John C Wright is no C S Lewis.

Going below No Award.

(A note: both of these short stories have been posted to blogs but formatted for paper — indents, no paragraph spacing, etc.  Guys, don’t do that.  It’s fine for a book or ereader, but in the context of a website, it’s just hard to read.  And neither story has been worth the eye strain.)

“Totaled” by Kary English

Finally, some formatting I can read!

And this is the best story so far, which is not to say it’s not derivative in concept and execution, and kind of sexist in its portrayal of the sandwich-fetching grad student hated by the heroine.  A scientist working on the preservation of living tissue after death is killed in an accident, her brain is preserved, but she only gets a short afterlife before decay sets in.

The idea’s been done a bunch of times, but this gets a neat ZOMGObamacare twist: preservation is dependent on your monetary worth.  Death panels, guys! It’s weird and specifically American, but hey, this is an American story.

I’m pretty lukewarm overall, but it was readable (in every sense of the word) and largely inoffensive.  I’m probably going to give this my first preference.

“Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa

Look, the integration of human, AI and spaceship is not a new idea.  Anne McCaffrey wrote The Ship Who Sang before I was born; Ann Leckie gave the concept a powerful new twist, oh, just a couple of years ago.

I guess Rzasa deserves some praise for claiming the subgenre for People Who Aren’t Named Ann(e), but it’s just soooooo boring.  A whole paragraph about the protagonist’s hull and weaponry?  *snore*

This feels like the author read Ancillary Justice and went, “Yes, but what this really needs is less ambiguity and a really boring main character.”  It’s competently written, which is sadly high praise for the short story category this year, but that’s all I can say.

This whole “vote by merits” thing is really hard, guys.  Like, I don’t think that this deserves an award.  And yet two-fifths of the category is SO BAD that the overall standard is so low, I can’t in good conscience NOT place it second on my ballot.

The fifth nominated story is “A Single Samurai” by Stephen Diamond, which doesn’t appear to be available online.  That will have to wait for the voter pack.  Until I’ve read it, my ballot currently looks like:

  1. “Totaled”
  2. “Turncoat”
  3. “On A Spiritual Plain”
  4. No Award
  5. “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds”

(I keep typing “The Parliament of Beats and Birds”, which I presume is about DJs and HORRIBLE AVIANS gathering together to work out their place in the universe after the fall of non-DJ humanity.)

Something something lyrics linkspam

What lies beneath: Sydney gets the southern hemisphere’s first body farm Australia

We Need To Talk About Fairy Bread – Please note that Stephanie has chosen to take “you can’t gentrify fairy bread” as a challenge. But also, what counts as gentrification? As a lower-middle-class person from Perth’s dodgy suburbs, is it gentrification if I take my favourite childhood snack and change it up?

The Future’s Been Here Since 1939: Female Fans, Cosplay and Conventions

Favourite pieces from this weeks’ AusPol: Abbott coins “doing an Abbott” to mean making a mistake; on the impacts of Sir Prince Phillip; on Adam Giles and the NT.

New site Future Black, decolonising design in Australia’s built environment.

One for stationery nerds and people with Khe Sanh earworms: The illustrious history of the yellow legal pad

The article title is misleading, but about how talk of Polyamory is white, when Polyamory isn’t. (Surpriiiise)

MAPS of the countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Notes on the Melbourne Free Trams. We were just going to link this with no commentary, but it turns out Steph has some feelings. The entirety of the City of Perth is a Free Transit Zone (FTZ, for those from Perth), and it a) takes in a huge chunk of the tourist attractions, and b) is used a lot by workers who drive to work, and then would ordinarily take taxis or cars between meetings at different ends of the CBD. The FTZ and the ubiquity of the buses, as well as the existence of the Cats (buses that exist solely to do laps of different sections of the CBD), means they do get used. And don’t end up with the overcrowding issue that Melbourne’s CBD trams were already experiencing. I don’t have a solution, I’m just saying.

Attitude round-up

Last year, the ABC axed RampUp, its excellent site for discussion around disability.  A short time later, comedian/writer/disability advocate/all around hero Stella Young passed away.

That quote, ‘the only disability in life is a bad attitude’, the reason that’s bullshit is … No amount of smiling at a flight of stairs has ever made it turn into a ramp. No amount of standing in the middle of a bookshelf and radiating a positive attitude is going to turn all those books into braille. – Stella Young

Now, the ABC is airing New Zealand show Attitude, a series of short documentaries about people with disabilities.  There is also also a crowdfunding project for an Australian version.

Unfortunately, Attitude doesn’t seem interested in prioritising the experiences and views of people with disabilities.  Here’s a round-up of posts about why it’s not great.

The problem with ABC’s new disability series, “Attitude”

Disability voices have to be heard to change attitudes

Disability media and Attitude TV — Carly Findlay discusses her hopes for the Australian version

Attitude series and the power and responsibility of portraying disability on mainstream TV

More favourable:

Graeme Innes, formerly Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, writes in favour of Attitude.  

I respect Innes a lot, but I strongly resent that Attitude seems to be entirely aimed at an able-bodied audience.

A different kind of attitude

(note: this post talks a lot about the so-called third world, and basically trades disability inspiration porn for poverty inspiration porn)

For my part, the whole concept of “attitude” is fraught.  My rheumatologist constantly praises me for improving my chronic conditions by having a good attitude, and it makes me quite uncomfortable.  It’s easy to exercise and practice self-care when you have a full-time job, a functional bike and access to an affordable public swimming pool.

And it’s distressing to realise that you’re being classified as a Good Patient just because you have these advantages — while, for example, your mother is classified as a Bad Patient because she has no energy to exercise, no access to a pool, and the public rheumatologist who sees her intermittently assumed she was an alcoholic.  (She’s a teetotaller.)

And I don’t even have that great an attitude.  “Yes, I have multiple chronic illnesses.  It’s very dull.  Let’s get on with it.”  That’s me on a good day.  In a bad week, I can and will bore everyone I know with my incessant complaints about being in pain — but my rheumatologist doesn’t see that.

Adam Baldwin/Supanova/GamerGate round-up

Adam Baldwin is an actor, best known for Firefly, who also holds some very conservative opinions, coined the term “GamerGate”, and facilitated the doxxing of game developer Zoe Quinn.  Here’s a handy round-up of his behaviour.

Supanova is one of the very few pop culture expos in Australia. Adam Baldwin will be a guest at the Sydney and Perth events in June. Suffice to say, lots of people are unhappy about this.  There is a petition to revoke his invitation.  (You should sign it!)

People discussing the matter have been doxxed, abused, driven from their preferred social media platforms, and generally treated badly.  (Liz got off lucky with some rather tedious mansplaining.  Nice try, guys, but I work with lawyers.)

Supanova, meanwhile, has engaged in some epic fence-sitting, also some general rudeness, also tried to manipulate a feminist comedian into supporting them. (The original article, published in Fairfax’s Daily Life, has been removed; the link is to an archived version.)

A summary.

The thing is, this isn’t about Baldwin’s politics.  Hell, Star Trek: Voyager‘s Roxanne Dawson quotes Bill O’Reilly on her Twitter, but I wouldn’t say she’d be an inappropriate guest at a nerd convention.  It’s Baldwin’s behaviour, and that of the people he supports, that’s the problem here.

As a small, fat, feminine and female nerd, I would not feel safe at an event as attractive to misogynist bullies as Supanova with Baldwin as a guest.  And I wouldn’t want to give money to a company that engineers that situation.

Baldwin himself is easy to ignore and avoid — I’ve attended a whole lot of Supanovas, and accidentally encountered a guest once. But the men he attracts?  Most are just keyboard warriors, mired in self-hatred, lashing out at women to compensate for their problems.  But as Brianna Wu’s experience would attest, some are dangerous.  And Baldwin feeds them. That’s why I don’t want Adam Baldwin to be a paid guest at Supanova.