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Sci-Fi Women Interview: The 2015 Collection

Sci-Fi Women Interviews

 

The 2015 Collection

 

(Shakespir Edition)

 

 

 

Natacha Guyot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright

 

 

 

Text Copyright ©2015 Natacha Guyot.

All Rights Reserved.

 

Cover Design by Jennifer A. Miller.

Table of Contents

 

Acknowledgements

Sci-Fi Women Matter

Johnamarie Macias

Yolanda I. Washington

Saf Davidson

Neelu Raut

Natalie McKay

Tricia Barr

Rose B. Fischer

Jo Robinson

Patty Hammond

Laura M. Crawford

About the Author

Acknowledgements

 

As always, I would like to express my gratitude to two people who make my writing projects possible: my editor Jaime Krause and my cover designer Jennifer A. Miller. I am so glad that both of you have been with me since I embarked on my indie publishing journey in 2015. I wouldn’t be the same author without you two!

This compilation of interviews wouldn’t have been possible without all my amazing guests: Johnamarie Macias, Yolanda I. Washington, Saf Davidson, Neelu Raut, Natalie McKay, Tricia Barr, Rose B. Fischer, Jo Robinson, Patty Hammond, and Laura M. Crawford. Thank you all for putting the time and effort in answering my questions, especially with everything else you all have been working on.

Of course, I cannot forget everyone else who has supported this project since it started as a monthly blog feature in March 2015. Without you, I would not have been able to develop this project.

Sci-Fi Women Matter

 

I was introduced to Science Fiction at a young age, and have since been a female who enjoyed the genre with fierce appreciation. Looking to thrive in it has always been natural to me. My own mother had liked Science Fiction from a young age as well, which made the genre even more meaningful.

 

It saddened me to discover that Science Fiction was often viewed as a male-centered territory despite there being amazing female authors and well-written characters. There is so much creativity from women in the genre that the mere thought of thinking we don’t belong in it is counter-intuitive and harmful to everyone.

 

My deep love for Science Fiction and my enthusiasm and support to other women who enjoy, write, and create within this versatile genre are what inspired me to create a new blog series in 2015. This monthly feature is called Sci-fi Women Interviews and seeks to celebrate my fellow female Science Fiction amateurs and artists. I have been honored to meet several of them across the years and the continents, and I am grateful that they accepted to partake in this project, which has so far had a wonderful reception.

 

The support this project has received led to the creation of this eBook collecting all the 2015 interviews as the feature reaches its first anniversary in March 2016. I am looking forward to the future interviewees and connections we will continue to forge with our audience and fellow artists, for I certainly hope this series will carry on for several years.

 

Women don’t own Science Fiction nor should desire to “conquer” it. Women are simply equally important in the genre as any other creator and fan. This is why they need to be to be celebrated for their love and contributions to this significant literary and media genre.

Johnamarie Macias

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City, Macias grew up under the care of a loving and supportive family. She later attended Cornell University and Queens College, where she respectively earned a Bachelor’s degree in Archaeology and a Master’s degree in Library Science. Growing up, she was a fangirl of many productions, including DuckTales, Star Wars, MacGyver, and Stargate SG-1. Macias also loves comic books, in which her favorite characters are Bobbi Morse and the Vision. What really brought her into the thick of fandom was Star Wars: The Clone Wars, an animated series that made her a very dedicated Clone Trooper fangirl. She enjoys regularly updating her Star Wars-inspired blog, The Wookiee Gunner, and contributing to Fangirl Next Door. You can also find Macias engaging with fans on Twitter as @BlueJaigEyes and on Facebook under the community name The Wookiee Gunner.

 

***

 

NG: What place does Science Fiction have in your life?

MACIAS: Years ago, one of my teachers told my mom that I have a highly active imagination, and I like to think it’s because of my love for Science Fiction. It was the first genre I remember being exposed to as a child, and I never shied away from creating my own worlds or contraptions, and thinking of a future far more advanced than the world we currently live in. I also may have had a few imaginary alien friends along the way. Even though I didn’t possess the confidence to pursue a career in math or science, Science Fiction did much for me in terms of keeping my inspirations alive and creatively flowing over the years.

 

NG: How did you get the idea to create The Wookiee Gunner?

MACIAS: Several blogs had inspired me to pursue and create my own space to share my thoughts, but at the time, I found it difficult to focus on a topic. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Tricia Barr’s FANgirl Blog and Lillian Skye’s Fangirls in the Force that I really took up an interest in writing about Star Wars. I’m also an extremely passionate fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. That propelled me forward into being more involved with the fandom and communicating my thoughts in the way I knew best: writing. Coming up with a name for anything is a difficult task, but “The Wookiee Gunner” came easily to me, since it appeared in one of my favorite Star Wars books, No Prisoners by Karen Traviss. So, in the end, the blog was born out of the need to write and wanting to find my niche in a thriving community of Star Wars fans.

 

NG: Do you have other current or future Science Fiction related projects?

MACIAS: My goals and plans tend to be all over the place, since my mind is a whirling mess of fangirl thoughts. However, I am working on a personal Science Fiction story that I hope to develop as a novel someday. It takes place in Earth’s future and on the moon’s surface. It also contains a diverse group of characters (Latina, Native American, and Maori, just to name a few), a radical race of aliens, and a sister and brother caught in the midst of a war. I like to think it will be a good ol’ space adventure!

 

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

MACIAS: Growing up, I watched unhealthy amounts of television and movies. Some parents may frown upon that, but it was the only solid way to keep me entertained for long periods of time. From Star Trek: The Next Generation to X-Files, I was exposed to my parents’ favorites at a very young age, so I ended up adopting a lot of their tastes and preferences. One of the few vivid memories I have as a child involved me sitting in front of the television set on Sunday afternoons and watching Star Wars: A New Hope on the WB channel.

 

NG: What are your top three favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

MACIAS: Sadly, reading wasn’t my favorite activity as a child. I remember the difficulties I had when it came to reading comprehension. I ended up going to summer school for it once, and I’ll never forget when the teacher gave me a “Hooked on Phonics” case and left me alone in the classroom to learn on my own. Frustrated and angry, I hated reading even more because I was never properly taught, until some more positive experiences in high school. I do have a few favorites, however, such as A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I’m more of a visual learner, so I was naturally attracted to television and movies as a child. At the time, I found more enjoyment watching a story unfold on the screen than going cross-eyed while reading pages filled with text. My preferences have changed since then, but when I was younger, the relationship I had with my television helped my imagination grow and even influenced my career path later on. My top three favorite Science Fiction television series include Earth 2, Stargate SG-1, and Stargate Atlantis. For short bursts of inspiration, I love going to the movie theaters. My comfort zone is at home, but I enjoy stepping into a theater for the occasional escape, and bringing that movie home months later to continuously watch. That said, my top three film franchises are Tron, Jurassic Park, and of course, Star Wars.

 

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?

MACIAS: When I lived in Puerto Rico at the age of 9, I remember sitting in front of the television on a Sunday or Monday evening and watching the latest episode of Earth 2, an NBC Science Fiction series in 1994 that was ahead of its time. In an attempt for the people of Earth to find a cure to an illness called “the syndrome”, an expedition was sent to a planet that resembled our own. But something went terribly wrong and the ship crash landed. The leader, who also happens to be the mother of a child with “the syndrome”, is Devon Adair, played by the lovely Debrah Farentino.

 

I never really considered myself the “leader” type, but when it came to group projects and other sorts of activities, I naturally picked up the role. Up to this day, whenever I’m in that kind of situation, I ask myself “What would Devon do?” because she was a strong and self-empowered woman who was very aware of her goals and what she needed to accomplish in order to give her son a proper life. The fact that a woman was leading this trek out into the unknown in a Science Fiction series during the mid-’90s is something that continues to amaze me. Even as progressive as we are today, we rarely see such a series with a female lead. What saddens me the most is that the show itself was prematurely canceled, and very few people know about it. Whenever I bring up Earth 2 in conversation, I need to explain the premise of the show – and that it even was a show. What made the show so memorable for me were the emotions and the drive behind Devon and her dream to establish a new life for her son, and all of the other children afflicted with the illness. She was selfless and full of ambition, traits that I highly admire in any person, whether they are real or fictional. Whenever I go through the process of creating my own female characters, I always find a way to incorporate parts of Devon’s attributes in some manner because I want them to be just as compelling.

 

NG: What are your favorite and least favorite developments that have happened to the Star Wars franchise since Disney purchased it?

MACIAS: When Disney first acquired Lucasfilm, I was worried about how the content was going to be handled. A few months later, the acquisition became a nightmare when Star Wars: The Clone Wars was canceled. That show– even more than the films–made me the Star Wars fan I am today. I was disappointed that it was cut short, especially at a time when it had reached its prime in animation and storytelling. My heart still aches when I think about all of the stories we are now unable to see from that era, but at least all isn’t when it comes to the animation side of Star Wars. Star Wars Rebels premiered in October 2014 and it gave me what I crave as a fan: new characters, new adventures, and wonderful aesthetics. The series, like its predecessor, has captured my heart and imagination.

 

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

MACIAS: One of my favorite quotes came from television writer and producer Jane Espenson in an interview with [+ Advocate.com+]: “If we can’t write diversity into Sci-Fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.” It encapsulates everything I believe in when it comes to incorporating diversity into all aspects of society, especially in Science Fiction. We all know that a lot of imagination goes into writing Science Fiction and developing worlds filled with possibilities, but what’s the point of creating a story about some untold and inventive future if it perpetuates the things that continually hold us back in the present? I believe it is our responsibility to be more aware of our surroundings and what can benefit the world we live in right now before we go off and dream up a story set in a galaxy far away or a future of human advancements.

 

NG: Do you think that fangirls are an expression of Feminism?

MACIAS: Someone once tried to tell me that the term “fangirl” only helped create more of a divide, and therefore contributed to the struggle of women trying to find equality in the geek community. The reality of the situation is that the term exists because women need to continue to establish themselves in a male-centered fan community. Perhaps, one day, we will achieve the universal “fan” term and give up on assigning it a gender, as has suggested. Whether that comes to fruition or not, I see the term fangirl as a way to celebrate geek women – women who want to demonstrate that we, too, can be passionate and dedicated fans. The “fake geek girl” term is a recent example of the attack of women in geek culture, leading me and many other females to take more pride in the fangirl title.

 

Despite the negativity aimed at geek women, however, there are positive efforts reinforcing the fangirl and feminist image, such as GeekGirlCon and Her Universe. There is a message we’re all trying to clarify and that is that feminism is about equality, empowerment, and the freedom for women to live their lives without societal restraints and to choose roles that aren’t solely based on traditional expectations. Being a fangirl is also about finding equality in the geek community, helping fellow geek girls to not feel ashamed about what they love, and to not let society dictate who you are as a geeky individual. Taking up the fangirl name is an expression of feminism and there’s certainly nothing wrong about that.

 

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries?

MACIAS: By starting a massive coup and taking over the world! Realistically speaking, though, fangirls have been very vocal throughout social media and the blogosphere, actively letting media industries, companies, and our fellow peers know that fangirls from a variety of backgrounds are a significant percentage of the fan population. We no longer want to be an audience that’s pushed aside and excluded. The best thing that we, as fangirls, can do is to continue to create stories that include diversity, support each other’s projects (instead of tearing each other down), and to unite and collectively bring awareness to ill trends in media to bring about positive solutions.

 

Just recently, actually, I broke down crying because I found something to be unfair. Without going into too much detail, it was related to the lack of representation of women in a well-known franchise. My mom, an intelligent woman and the hero in my life, told me recently that I shouldn’t expect a tweet to change the world. Instead, she said that I should take satisfaction in the fact that I voiced my opinion and that I didn’t sit on the sidelines. As fangirls seeking representation and equality for underrepresented groups, including women, it’s important to keep in mind that our words and actions may not change the world in an instant, but our continued and prolonged efforts may make the future brighter for women in the future.

 

Yolanda I. Washington

Yolanda I. Washington is a Science Fiction writer and poet.  She is currently working on several short stories and novellas, along with her first Sci-Fi trilogy. She is an ardent supporter of indie authors, especially as she is one as well. Her first published work, a poetry collection titled “Freedom: Poetry From A Life” was published in 2013, and is available on Amazon.com. Washington is an avid reader of Science Fiction, thrillers, and poetry. Her favorite authors and influences include Arthur C. Clark, Andre Norton, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Orson Scott Card, Jack Campbell (AKA John Hembry), Marianne de Pierres, Nicholas Sansbury Smith, Robert Frost, Nikki Giovanni, James Patterson, Clive Cussler, Timothy Zahn, S.D. Perry, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dan Brown, Edgar Allen Poe, Gaston Leroux, and the anonymous author of Beowulf. Although she is a native of Dayton Ohio, Washington currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband.  She is a Trekkie, and enjoys learning about astronomy. When she is not immersed in fandom, she knits, bowls, goes mini-golfing, and enjoys nature. You can contact Washington via her website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.

 

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NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

WASHINGTON:  My father introduced me and my siblings to Science Fiction with a reel-to-reel of Star Wars when the movie first came out for home viewing. There wasn’t any sound to it, but my brothers and I fell in love instantly. We’d go outside afterwards, look up at the sky, and imagine what was out there. Did Darth Vader really exist and if so, where was Tatooine orbiting? Then Dad showed us reruns of Star Trek, and shows and movies like Battlestar Galactica, Space 1999, and Forbidden Planet. Science Fiction allowed us to dream of distant worlds and ask the ever wonderful “What If?” questions, which fueled our imaginations and gameplay.

 

NG: What are your current (and future) Science Fiction projects?

WASHINGTON: I am currently working on a collection of flash fiction stories which I hope to publish in September of 2017. I am also in the process of writing the first story in my first trilogy. There will be short stories to accompany the novels. Your readers are welcome to read a few of my short stories, flash fiction and poetry pieces on my website.

 

NG: How did you start writing Science Fiction?

WASHINGTON: I actually started out writing romance thrillers because I thought it was what I, as a female, should write. Then I switched to Christian Inspirational because I thought it was what other Christians expected of me. Finally, I decided that if I was going to pursue a writing career, it would be on my own terms. So, I switched to my first love, Science Fiction, back in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I have never felt freer than when I am creating aliens and their civilizations.

 

NG: Do you have a favorite type of Science Fiction story to write (in terms of format and subgenre)?

WASHINGTON: As far as format goes, I don’t have a particular preference. My favorite subgenre, however, is space opera, mostly because of my serious love of Star Trek and Star Wars. I didn’t know about other genres until I started studying Sci-Fi to write it. Still, I don’t typically stray far from space opera and the adventure that goes with it.

 

NG: Which values do your Science Fiction stories communicate to your readers?

WASHINGTON: Values such as gender equality, teamwork, and acceptance of differences are some of those that I hope I am communicating to my readers. These are things that mean a great deal to me, especially gender equality. Growing up as the only girl, I was treated as one of the boys until I was about twelve. Then, I had to start “acting like a lady”. That didn’t sit well with me as I didn’t think there should be different rules for boys and girls since I hadn’t previously grown up with said rules. I believe that a woman should be given the same advances and opportunities as a man, if she can cut it.

 

NG: What are your top three favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

WASHINGTON: There are too many to just focus on three! However, I do love Star Trek: The Next Generation Imzadi, Ender’s Game and The Forever War. TV shows are easier: Firefly, Star Trek and both the old and new Battlestar Galactica. My top three movies would be Star Trek into Darkness, Forbidden Planet and The Fifth Element (because it is just plain awesome).

 

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?

WASHINGTON: I would say that Princess Leia, Yoda, and Wonder Woman have had the biggest impact on me. It’s a weird selection, I know. As a child, I watched these characters and with the women, I saw that gender should never stop me from being the best that I can be. With Yoda, height is never an issue, so go kick butt and take names. Plus, I just love his cute little nose and quiet wisdom.

 

NG: Which Science Fiction authors have been most inspiring to you?

WASHINGTON: I have been inspired by newcomer Nicholas Sansbury Smith for his tenacity and humility, and by Andre Norton for proving that a woman can write Sci-Fi as well as a man.

 

NG: Do you believe that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to complex female characters?

WASHINGTON: I would have to say that in the last few decades, yes. In the beginning, we were typecast as the helpless bombshell. Now, we have Padme Amidala, Zoe Washburne, Ellen Ripley, and others who show us that women characters in Sci-Fi are more than just a damsel in distress. These women were created as forerunners of a new ideal. There is still much to be done, as I do see a lot of men still writing the same backseat, love interest women; however, we are definitely doing better at creating complex characters than most other genres.

 

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

WASHINGTON: Because Sci-Fi encompasses the “What If” question, there is a responsibility to show that question in the context of diversity. What if there are other alien species? How would we react to them? How would they truly react to our warmongering? Would other species have the same sexes that we have? Would they procreate as we do? To answer these questions, we have to be willing to show the realities, or at least as close as we can imagine them, so that we can continue to ask more of those that permeate the genre as a whole. Science Fiction has been the cause of many of our technological advances because someone was willing to think outside the box. Just as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne were responsible for showing us the way toward submarines and H Bombs, Gene Roddenberry has opened the door to showing what we could accomplish as a species if we were to come together as one planet respectful of differences. That trust is what initially draws people together to create new advances and will keep our people alive for eons to come. Science Fiction shows us that it is possible to be different and still work together successfully toward a common goal.

 

Saf Davidson

Born in America but raised in New Zealand, Davidson had a bit of a turbulent childhood in which she escaped the real word through Science Fiction works such as Star Wars, Stargate, The Chronicles of Amber, Judge Dredd , and many others. As a result, writing and travel are the two hobbies that she currently most enjoys, and spends most of her days working on the former, and planning the latter. She often speaks strongly about feminism, LGBT+ issues, and her own struggles with chronic illness. While Davidson is currently recovering from her Chronic Fatigue, she spends most of her energy on writing (both blogging and with her novel), cosplay, and photography. She admits that she has studied many things, but mastered none, yet dreams of one day writing for Star Wars officially in some capacity. She hopes her multiple contributions to , Tosche Station and Making Star Wars help with that! You can connect with Davidson on Twitter, her Cosplay Facebook and her blog.

 

***

 

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

DAVIDSON: I don’t fully remember how I was exactly first introduced to it, although I vaguely recall being put in front of the Star Wars Original Trilogy on VHS at a family friend’s place to keep me distracted while the adults chatted away. These would probably be some of my first memories, which are quite vague. I do know I’ve always wanted to be a Jedi for as long as I can remember! I’m pretty sure my mum was a big Science Fiction fan since she introduced me to Stargate, which I adored, and my dad gave me Judge Dredd and other various comics, which I devoured.

 

NG: Do you think that fangirls are an expression of Feminism?

DAVIDSON: Absolutely! While certain facets of it can be known for their internalized misogyny, calling yourself a fanGIRL is an expression of pride in your own gender. The fangirl communities I’m involved in now are all very feminist, always accepting and open and willing to call out sexist (and other problematic) issues in the things they love. Fandoms in general are known for having male fans act as gatekeepers of sorts: accepting men of all kind into their fold, but expecting women and girls to fit ridiculous standards before they can be “real” fans. The “fake geek girl” trope is everywhere, even now, and the term “fangirl” is sometimes even used as an insult. To me, taking the fangirl label and proudly carrying it is a way of fighting back against this sexism and hatred.

 

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries?

DAVIDSON: By being loud and proud fans, and not giving up on what they believe is right. Already we can see fangirls like Ashley Eckstein with her Her Universe store changing the fandom fashion industry with clothing made especially for females, featuring models of all ages and sizes. With the way social media is these days, it’s much easier to call out sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other controversial issues. The backlash from these things is more observable these days, which is clear with the recent #WheresHera campaign.

 

We can change these industries with our voices, but also, unfortunately, with our wallets. When female-led movies are made, we have to support them. When female merchandise exists, we have to buy it. I will always support films, shows, and novels, but I’m personally not a hoarder and am young and poor. I dislike that we have to prove that we deserve the same fan opportunities as male fans with money, when it’s inherently thought that anything male-led is what people want. Money is what the big companies desire, and it’s what they pay attention to. This then means that boycotting such male-oriented things can be another way to try changing the industries, if enough people follow suit.

 

On a more positive note, I think that fangirls creating what they love – be it fandom-based or an original work – will definitely help to increase the recognition of female-driven works. Keep creating what you want to see, and others will see it and want it too (or be happy that what they already wanted has been created!).

 

NG: What are you top 3 favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

DAVIDSON: My top three favorite books are the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness (yes, that’s probably cheating!), which are three YA books which delve into themes of sexism, colonization, power, and growing up. These books inspired me to go into writing Sci-Fi myself!

 

As for TV shows, I’d have to say Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Fringe, and recently Steven Universe. As you can tell, I’m a pretty big fan of media aimed at kids and young adults; they’re often such deep works despite what many people think, with amazing writing and characterization.

 

With movies, I’d have to lump all the Star Wars films into one slot, because there are far too many and you can’t make me pick just one or two (though I’m part of the Prequel generation and tend to prefer watching those). I also adore Dredd (the 2012 remake), partly for nostalgia reasons, but also because it’s just an amazing movie with awesome ladies. It’s hard to choose a third film because I just have a massive love for any and all Science Fiction movies, but Interstellar has recently become a favorite of mine. It has such an amazing commentary on humanity and love, as well as a spectacular soundtrack and visuals.

 

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?

DAVIDSON: There are a few main ones, most of them being from Star Wars. Leia’s always been a character I’ve looked up to since I was young, as has Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan is especially influential in that through wanting to be more like the ideal Jedi, I learned to mellow out a lot more (I was a very fiery child) and also how to let things go and not let life hurt me as much as I used to.

 

Supergirl is another character I’ve loved since I was little. I wanted to be a superhero just like her when I was a child – and still do, to be honest. Later on in life, cosplaying her gave me real confidence with cosplay and helped me to truly love the hobby and become more involved with the community here in New Zealand! Without having seen her awesome and updated New 52 look a few years ago, I doubt I would be the same person I am today.

 

More recently, Ahsoka Tano has been a big influence on me. I identify a lot with her, since I was a pretty bratty kid too, but I also learned to have patience, respect, and compassion in much of the same way. I aspire to be as brave, determined, selfless, and strong as Ahsoka is at the time of her leaving the Jedi Order. This desire has often helped to teach me to me to step back from some negative situations.

 

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

DAVIDSON: Science Fiction is, to me, largely about what humanity can be . There are so many opportunities in Science Fiction to show women, non-white people, LGBT+ folk, and even disabled folk, with these stories being set in alternate universes to ours where the rules of institutionalized privilege can be completely different. When we create a fictional future, there is no reason to not make it a future that represents the real people of this world – diverse and inclusive. Science Fiction has, from its very beginnings, been for more that the commonly portrayed white boy “nerd”. Frankenstein is known for being the first Science Fiction novel and it was penned by a female in the early 1800s. Fanfiction has been around for decades, mostly dominated by women, and has inspired many more original stories and worlds (such as the Mortal Instruments series). Even Superman was originally created as an analogy for the treatment of immigrants in the United States (he himself is an immigrant, though not one from Earth).

 

Science Fiction is also generally a social commentary, whether or not the author actively aims for it. There are deep themes of humanity and community in many Science Fiction stories: family in Star Wars, community and one’s “people” in The 100, and love extending across space and time in Interstellar. To have a genre so entrenched in the idea of humanity means that, at its heart, Science Fiction should always be inclusive and push for that diversity.

 

NG: What place does fan creation have in your appreciation for Science Fiction?

DAVIDSON: Creating art of any kind based around a story I love is my favorite way of channeling said love. Whenever I watch a good Sci-Fi film (Interstellar being the latest example), all I want to do is write in that genre. Something about space travel and vast, unexplored worlds just lights a fire within me and makes me want to create. However, I’m not one to often write fanfiction, so while this is how I show my love for the genre, it’s not really how I approach any given story.

 

When I was young, I used to make sculptures to try and bring these ideas to life, which has evolved more into cosplay. While cosplay is more of a relatively new hobby for me (compared to drawing and writing), I very much remember wanting to dress up and be characters such as Leia Organa and Supergirl, even as a child. Luckily for that young Saf, I grew up and actually cosplayed those exact characters!

 

NG: How did you start cosplaying?

DAVIDSON: I went to a convention when I was quite a young, maybe ten years old, with my mum and sister. While I was there I saw people cosplaying as some of my favorite characters. I didn’t know it then, but most of those people would later end up being some of my best friends! At the time, I was so in awe of them, and instantly went home and started planning costumes out. I made some half-assed attempts for a few years, but it wasn’t until another friend gave me her old Yuna (from Final Fantasy X) costume that I really got into the scene and started to truly hone in on the idea of emulating a character’s look. I can definitely thank my cosplay and fandom friends for inspiring me to make and wear costumes.

 

NG: What are some of your best/worst cosplaying experiences?

DAVIDSON: One of my favorite moments was last year during Auckland Armageddon, the biggest New Zealand convention, when I was cosplaying Leia. I and another Star Wars cosplayer I’d just met were asked to be in a photo with a couple of kids. While we were posing, the cantina band music just starts up out of nowhere behind us and starts getting closer. I turn around, and there’s an R2-D2 next to me blasting the music. A friend of mine captured the moment, and the look on my face is just pure joy.

 

Also, every time I wore Supergirl, I had the most fun in the world. I intend on remaking that costume someday soon, because prancing around in that leotard and cape include some of my favorite moments, even if the boots were a nightmare.

 

NG: What advice would you have for someone wanting to start cosplaying?

DAVIDSON: The best thing you can do is to just start! It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to sew or make props; you just have to go for it and learn from your experiences. There are hundreds of tutorials online to learn from, and everyone has to start somewhere. You should see my Supergirl costume (my first fully made cosplay) compared with my Leia one (my most recent); my skills have greatly improved just from tutorials and experimentation. In my opinion, you have to finish a costume to learn from it.

 

I always have high respect for newer cosplayers who make a costume that may not be the most well-made, because they see a character and they say, “I’m going to cosplay that,” and then they do. I have become such a perfectionist and procrastinator with my costumes nowadays that I have a whole pile of half-finished ones that I keep putting off for various reasons. But I’ve found it is much more fun wearing a cosplay with friends, even if it’s fraying or falling apart or not award-winning.

 

Neelu Raut

Neelu Raut teaches Post Graduation (PG) Courses in English Literature. Her areas of interest include creative writing, various aspects of English Literature, activity-based Value Education, counseling, and outbound learning. Concerned by the decline in interest in Humanities, she is also engaged in research for her Doctorate degree by studying cultural contexts in the feminist works of Naomi Wolf. Yet, according to Raut, she indulges any opportunity that distracts her from its eventual conclusion.

 

Raut has taught the entire educational spectrum from Kindergarten to PG. She has been recognized as an Examiner for Trinity College, London and as a resource person for Orient Black Swan, where she conducts workshops for training-the-trainers. Consumed by wanderlust and passion for creative writing she is mostly freelancing these days, while working on various creative writing projects. Writing, compiling, and editing cover designs, along with other aspects of book creation, consume her time. Raut maintains that even though dabbling in every area lands her in a big mess at times, she finds writing to be cathartic, forcing her to reach into her reserves. Travelling, listening to music watching romantic comedies, and spending time with family help recharge her creativity.

 

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NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

RAUT: I think every writer is a closet exhibitionist; we haven’t truly felt, written or expressed anything till at least one other person in this world hasn’t read it. And before we become the exhibitionist, we are the true voyeurs: we are readers.

 

My own introduction to the world of reading was very interesting. My mother had a reward system and, if my brother and I were “good” during the week, we were allowed to buy a book. This ensured a book per week, sometimes even two. They would be of our own choice, and gradually we were introduced to many different genres, from incredibly exciting graphic novels to wonderful classics, including those in Science Fiction. In hindsight, it was a smart way to get us hooked on reading at a very young age.

 

NG: What are your top three favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

RAUT: I guess that growing up in the ‘80s ensures Star Trek as a first on my list – in the fourth and fifth grades, I think every girl in my class had her favorite character for a crush. Personally I was always torn between Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy. Now I look at pictures of William Shatner and De Forest Kelly and wonder what was wrong with me! I was completely besotted by them! I always knew that no matter what crisis befell upon the Star Ship Enterprise, they’d make it alright. Yet the complications were interesting and constantly kept me on the edge of my seat. One very interesting episode had Mr. Spock falling in love; it was scary and exciting at the same time.

 

The Sci-Fi movie that I am completely in love with is Back to the Future, with Michael J. Fox. The idea that one could go back to one’s past and make the future better has always been a remarkable concept. Think about how amazing the whole gambit was to a growing mind…so idealistic and uncompromising. I thought we could stop wars, and make our world a much better by avoiding the crazy mistakes and rewrite history; assuage the demons that haunted our world.

 

For my favorite book, I think that would have to be 1984 by George Orwell and not only because he has an Indian connection! But it could easily have been named 2084 and the tag of Sci-Fi would have been redundant; it just missed the mark by some hundred years and was so sadly accurate. Ironically, the horrors of the dystopian 1984 when the novel was first released are the ideas and concepts present in the society we live in today, and have been so seriously immersed in culture that many parts of the book that decades ago would have been horrendous invasions of privacy simply detail what amount to the average day in the life of a person in 2015.

 

NG: Which Science Fiction authors have been most inspiring to you?

RAUT: I can’t call him a strict writer of the genre, but Richard Bach’s philosophy about the existence of life in alternate planes of reality that he has brought about in his books such as One and A Bridge Across Forever held amazing sense of possibilities to my young mind when I first stumbled upon his work. In fact, these endless planes of existence are also supported by quantum mechanics. The many-worlds interpretation that asserts and implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual “world”. I find that truly stimulating, and knowing that science has supported such poetic likelihoods makes me feel much validated: these possibilities are not fiction at all!

 

Those numerous potentialities lie about in any situation. That makes me ache with joyous expectation. Think about the butterfly effect. In chaos theory, or the quantum-mechanical “Schrödinger’s cat” paradox, every step of the way in our journey of life presents a chance we might get again to make a change, to acknowledge that we could have made other/better choices, that by trying again, we might create another very real alternate reality. What can be more inspiring?

 

NG: What influence does Science Fiction have on your writing?

RAUT: Mostly, it gives my flight of fantasy greater horizons to take wing. I get to imagine scenarios, which would otherwise be improbable and highly unconvincing. For instance, the Invisible Man is a fantasy every person has: observing people without being noticed, getting to know what they talk about when you’re not around, and learning who will cry at your funeral. Just being invisible makes all that possible! How about going back and forth between timelines? That allows for future, past, and other various parts of the present. Or the Curious Case of Benjamin Button…begin your life old, keep getting younger and finally end up as a dream in someone’s eyes.

 

NG: Is Science Fiction popular in India?

RAUT: Yes, I would think so. Mostly because we are as ancient as we are young. The older generation thrived on mythological tales, which have flying monkeys and airborne transport, and ask us to believe in children born to famous parents by either consuming a certain fruit or memorizing a certain God. To my mind, it’s all some type of Sci-Fi. And because they had no term in those times to explain in vitro fertilization, these tales were perpetuated. The modern society has taken quite well to the genre too. Not many Indians have access to the international trends, but most books and movies have international releases with different translations, allowing for fan following in multiple countries.

 

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

RAUT: I am not sure whether or not avenues for creative expression should be made socially answerable or responsible since these forums are only meant for an individual’s personal expression. Like Walter Patter’s claim of “Art for Art’s sake”, such discourses should not be held responsible for anything as serious as inclusive representation unless they are spreading malice and anarchy, or are aimed at ethnic cleansing of some sort. It would take away the spontaneity of creation.

 

NG: Do you believe that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to complex female characters?

RAUT: I’m afraid that I sound like a broken record since I feel that a welcome or condemnation of female characters is cohesive with the writer’s personal sensitivity and sensibilities. However, I do think that patriarchal upbringing questions a girl who makes ‘boy-like’ choices, likes the stereotype masculine products, is good at Mathematics, or has interest in science or Sci-Fi. It is by the same perfunctory we end up buying dolls for girls and GI Joes for boys.

 

There’s no denying that the token temptress for the titillation effect or the damsel in distress to appease the male protagonist’s ego still remains – the female character. The scenario can’t remain so dismal either, since my diehard optimism tells me that the more female writers enter the foray of Sci-Fi, the greater acceptance society will have of such female subject positions which have been portrayed as positive role models and have a dynamic contribution towards the plot development and profundity of the subject matter. And you know, this will happen in our own life time, since truths inspire most fiction. The greater the number of women who will break various glass ceilings, the better roles they will be accorded to in creative writing, including Sci-Fi. To that let’s just say, “Amen!”

 

NG: What do you think of the evolution of cyberspace?

RAUT: I think that the evolution of cyberspace has been quite spectacular and remarkable!

Through the years, we have heard sweeping statements about how everything of any significance was invented or discovered in the twentieth century, including rail and airways, automobiles, and various means of communication. It was only the internet applications that developed and pushed boundaries in the twenty-first century. Cyberspace has evolved as expansively as it has permeated deep.

 

There was a time when to make an outgoing call, you had to book one with the telephone department, and only the very rich or the corner drug store even had a phone. Sending letters was cheaper than calling. Within our lifetimes, we have seen the opposite of that being true. Had someone back then said that there will come a time when you could even see the person you called, and that instead of clearing your throat before answering the call you’d check if your hair was fine, it would have sounded like a scenario straight out of Sci-Fi.

 

However, cyberspace has changed everything today with its all-pervading omnipresence. Come to think of it, never before this age has everything in everyone’s life been so well- documented with ocular proof. Putting statuses about every moment of one’s life has been quite unprecedented, such as wondering how much value it has to one’s life to know that his or her friend just got out of the shower; but cyberspace has evolved such that the presence of other people in our lives never leaves us truly alone.

 

Yet there are more lonely people today with several means of communication than there ever have been through the several centuries without such facilities…but that’s another digression for another day. I constantly feel the need for a forum that discusses the effects of such a large human development in virtual spaces and wish more were open to these conversations.

 

NG: Do you believe that cyberspace is welcoming to women?

RAUT: Probably not! I think that women deal with similar situations in cyberspace that we do in real life, like those of unwanted attention or stalkers. Thankfully most social networking sites do have the means to shut out such elements.

 

Cyber communications have also evolved from the anonymous chat rooms where I once experienced the rush of meeting someone I liked. My problem then was also the same; women could not really express themselves freely in that anonymous space either; the moment they knew we were “f” (the most common introductions used to go Age/Sex/Location, such as m/27 or f/32), a male would become overly interested. The next they wanted to know was “bra-size?” So, to feel interested in the communication, one had to somehow avoid A/S/L questions and completely ban video chat.

 

So, are women are welcome in cyberspace? I’d say only those who somehow fit the misogynic approval check lists are… a certain bra size that’s sometimes larger than the IQs of the people setting these rules.

 

NG: How can Science Fiction and cyberspace be empowering for women?

RAUT: I think if more women work consciously towards eradicating the rampant internalized misogyny in their real lives, woman empowerment would be our lived experience. This is the same for cyberspace. If more women writers join forces to create a dynamic space for themselves, then Science Fiction would definitely become a congregation of empowered women. For us to have a more empowered cyberspace, we need to form our own safe havens where we can freely discuss our issues without the fear of judgment. Be it spousal trouble or brittle nails, tuition issues of children or pre-wedding blues, the crisis of nothing to wear or the trauma of existential superficiality…we need spaces of our own where we can discuss our issues and put our thoughts out in the sphere of expression. We might not even discuss our problems with the goal of having to find a solution, but having articulated what we feel rids us of the stress we have become masters at disguising.

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Natalie McKay

By day, Natalie McKay is a graphic designer at a local paper; by night she is hunched over a laptop writing either on her roleplay boards or original fiction. She currently has two short stories published on Amazon Kindle — Red Haven and Gem-Oh Line — and is constantly working on other stories and novels that she hopes will one day find themselves on the internet in some form.  When not writing, McKay has a number of other hobbies that keep her busy; mostly crafts and quilting. She has worked on a Doctor Who quilt and plans to create other Science Fiction themed quilts in the future. To see samples of her writing, reviews, and random thoughts, visit her blog.

 

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NG: What place does Science Fiction have in your life?

MCKAY: Science Fiction has always been one of my favorite genres, with books, movies, TV shows, and games. You can find at least one example of the genre in each of those categories in my personal collections. I love the futuristic worlds, the alternate universes, and the theme “what could be possible” that Science Fiction has to offer. It makes my imagination wander, causing me to create my own characters, worlds, and alien spices. In fact, it helps me to create, period.

 

Because of that, Science Fiction has a large place in my life, passion, and inspiration. It always will continue to be so too, whether it be through the new season of Doctor Who, the next Sci-Fi themed novel I want to write, or a new movie being released at the theater.

 

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

MCKAY: My parents have to be the ones to thank for this situation. They were great at introducing movies and TV shows in mine and my siblings’ lives when they thought we were ready. I must have been close to eight or nine when I watched Star Wars for the first time along with the Back to the Future movies they rented for us, and E.T. Okay, this is a bad example: E.T scares me!

 

With only one television in the house growing up, there was a lot of family TV time, and I have fond memories of watching Star Trek (both the Original and Next Generation) with my parents. My siblings and I would also constantly watch the old Spider Man and the’90s X-Men cartoons.

 

As much as the genre has always been around me in one form or another, I don’t think I took an active role in it until I read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. For some reason at that time – maybe around the age of fourteen or so – the book had a real influence on me and I began to set my sights on writing Science Fiction and getting more involved in the genre as a whole.

 

NG: How did you start writing Science Fiction?

MCKAY: From an early age, I had a fascination with writing. Several times during grade school, I began to write a short novel. Of course, back then I was reading more ‘coming of age’ books and Nancy Drew Mysteries, so those concepts influenced my writing. Yet I’ll admit my story didn’t lead to anything and I barely wrote three chapters before I gave up.

 

When I was in my third year of college, my friend invited me to a Star Wars roleplaying game site. He wanted someone to write with and was having a hard time getting some of his stories going. In college, I was starting to write again and decided to give it a try.

 

Since then, I’ve been amazed at how much I accomplished on the site. It not only helped me come out of my shell and actually display my writing on the internet for everyone to see, but I was able to gain a lot of confidence and learn many lessons. I’ve taken what I’ve learned from my years doing Star Wars RPG and applied it to my writing, inspiring me to continue on in the Science Fiction genre with my own worlds, planets, aliens and technology.

 

NG: What influence do fan fiction and role-playing have on your original writing?

MCKAY: Huge! As mentioned above, I’m part of an online RPG that centers on the Star Wars universe. When I first started writing there in 2004/5, it was my first attempt at writing anywhere online where I knew others were reading it. It was nerve racking at first… people were reading my stuff! But, I got into a groove and I learned a lot about writing in general: character creation, scene setting, combat, and working with others to create an overall story arc.

 

These elements are the building blocks of writing anything, and I was able to learn from everything I posted on the site. People there have always been very helpful, and I was able to test myself without fear of rejection. My confidence grew, and I began to see what made a good character. Actually I owe everyone on the site huge thanks for everything I learned about character creation.

 

I started with one character who closely resembled my personality, and watched her grow over ten years on the board. She is now an amazing role model for me and not at all how I expected her to become. By starting with a basic idea, I was able to go through the trials and tribulations of how a character becomes remembered.  To this day, I aim to create another character like my first. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m trying and continuing to learn and grow.

 

Fanfiction and roleplaying are great starting points. They are practice grounds in my eyes, where you can do everything wrong and still have fun at it, learn from your mistakes, and use your lessons either with a new character or for your original writing.

 

NG: What are some recurring themes and patterns in your Science Fiction stories?

MCKAY: I will have to say that many of my stories center on strong female leads – mostly teenagers or young adults. Part of this is done on purpose while the other part just feels natural. For me, entering adulthood was scary, even though I had always been told I acted mature for my age. Going away to college at age 18 was a turning point in my life. With no adults to supervise me, I was on my own for the first time. I have used those experiences and feelings in my stories and have my characters learn through similar encounters in some way. Whether they lose a parent or are sent across the galaxy, the fact that they are young and thrust into a new world is a theme I use a lot.

 

NG: What are you top 3 favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

MCKAY: Why must you make me choose? There are so many of each that I value equally.

 

Books: Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card, 1984 by George Orwell, and Dragons of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. I’ll admit though I’m not sure which category these books are as I’ve read many and seem to float between Science Fiction and Fantasy – both of which are genres I love.

 

TV: Firefly, Doctor Who, and Cowboy Bebop. I wanted to add at least one anime, even though there are several series I could use in its place. Still, Cowboy Bebop has been the most inspirational.

 

Movies: The Star Wars series, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Back to the Future series. There are so many others I want to put down. It’s hard to narrow it down to three, and even worse to pick a top favorite.

 

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?

MCKAY: Personally, I’ve always been a bit practical – a trait I owe to my parents. They were pretty clear in defining differences between fiction and reality when I was growing up. Because of that, there aren’t any Science Fiction characters that I remember being an influence on me or in my life. Some have inspired me, yes, but I seemed to be able to recognize the creators behind such characters and focused my interests on them, and aiming to be like them – thus influencing my writing. Then again, I have fond memories of She-Ra: Princess of Power and Rainbow Brite. Who knows, they may have had a larger influence on me than I realize. Subconsciously I’m sure many shows had an impact on the way I am and my creations.

 

But if I’m to answer the question, I’ll have to say Doctor Who. There’s something about the show, the characters, and the Doctor that has lured me back to consistently watching re-runs. The show teaches how to face problems, be a kid at heart, and humanize the galaxy, with all of its aliens and villains. Doctor Who does have some amazing qualities and lessons in it that, if I was younger, I would have been drawn into much deeper than I have been as an adult. Donna Noble is hands-down my favorite companion. A true friend, she stands side-by-side with the Doctor on a number of occasions. She is not overly pretty, or smart, which makes me love her all the more as I am finally able to see a companion that I can personally relate to. And look at what happens to Donna — she becomes the second most important character, Doctor Donna. It is my goal to one day create a similar platonic friendship between a man and woman as the Doctor had with Donna.

 

NG: Do you believe that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to complex female characters?

MCKAY: I know the history of Science Fiction and woman is not that great, and at times nonexistent. But, that’s the past, and I am an optimist when it comes to female characters in today’s Science Fiction. I really believe things are changing. Today, it’s not hard to find a movie, book, or TV show that depicts a strong and complex female character. There are the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Orphan Black, which have made great strides towards females in the Science Fiction genre.

 

Do any search online, and I’m sure you’ll find something to fit what you’re looking for. I know for myself, nothing has caused me to not write a strong female character. The market is opening up for them; there is a desire these days to read and watch those stories.

 

Could there be more of them? Of course, and I’m sure there will be. It gives me the inspiration to keep writing the characters and stories that I love. These stories will help to inspire new generation of young women and continue to pave the way for better representation in the Science Fiction genre.

 

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

MCKAY: Science Fiction can cross so many areas, not just futuristic societies and alien races. I have to keep reminding myself of this when I create stories. There is such a freedom to represent diversity and inclusiveness; writing in general allows us the opportunity to showcase our problems and issues in a fictional setting, giving us distance and scope, to see ourselves through a different lens, both the good and the bad.

 

Nobody likes being told what to do, but through Science Fiction (and other fictional genres) we can create awareness in ourselves by looking at what we lack and what we could become. In the past, Science Fiction broke through barriers and foretold future technology, and basically changed the way our lives are. Think of what else we could change, just through the ideas presented to us through Science Fiction.

 

I remember watching District 9 with dread as I saw how humans and our politics would react with a group of aliens and their broken ship. It is nothing new; we have treated our own people in such ways in the past. But to see it repeated in a modern age made me sick. These sorts of reactions are important to recognize when watching and reading Sci-Fi. They show there is something still wrong with our motives, our views and state of mind. Science Fiction challenges us to find new and better solutions to our problems, and help us to realize that, in the end, we are all the same. And that is our responsibility.

 

NG: What are you most looking forward in the new Star Wars movies?

MCKAY: I’m not sure what to think about the new Star Wars movies, I don’t want to get hyped about them and be let down when I finally see them. However, the cast list is just amazing and I feel that Disney will support the franchise well, seeing their past success with Marvel’s Avengers.

 

I’ve always been more interested in the next generation of the original trilogy, on the Solo kids and the reintroduction of the Jedi back into the galaxy. Sith versus Jedi fighting will be great, but I don’t want just a special effects show. What I’m looking forward to is a story as epic as the original series. I want complex characters, and to see Gwendoline Christie kick some butt in a franchise that is very different from Game of Thrones.

 

Tricia Barr

Tricia Barr took her understanding of brand management and marketing, mixed it with a love of genre storytelling, and added a dash of social media flare to create FANgirl Blog, where she discusses Star Wars, other fictional fandoms, and strong female characters. She is one of four authors of [_ Ultimate Star Wars_] from DK Publishing, has written several feature articles for Star Wars Insider magazine, and is a [+ contributor+] for Her Universe’s Year of the Fangirl. Her material can also be heard on the podcasts Hyperspace Theories and RebelForce Radio Presents Fangirls Going Rogue.

 

Barr’s novel, , won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror eBook. She was also part of Silence in the Library’s successful all-female Science Fiction and fantasy anthology Athena’s Daughters, which is [+ available now+] in paperback and as an eBook. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, you can look at TriciaBarr.com. For updates on all things FANgirl follow @FANgirlcantina on Twitter or like FANgirl Zone on Facebook. At times, Barr will even update her Tumblr.

 

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NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

BARR: I don’t remember my first introduction. I watched television shows like Buck Rogers and Star Trek, then the movie Star Wars in 1977, which all helped to form my love of storytelling. And I read quite a bit, even as I was excelling in science and math. As a professional engineer now, Science Fiction is very much about projecting where engineers would like to be some time in the future.

 

NG: What are you top three favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

BARR: Star Trek: The Next Generation will always be one of my favorite shows. It isn’t in my top three, but it is the closest to Science Fiction of the speculative storytelling that are my favorites. My top three are all more fantastical: Buffy the Vampire Slayer , The Legend of Korra , and the Star Wars Original Trilogy . They each adhere to the heroic mythos, but stretch and challenge that structure at the same time. My favorite characters all seem to be bold leaders and innovators.

 

NG: Which Science Fiction authors have been most inspiring to you?

BARR: Of all the Star Wars books, my favorites were the ones written by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston. They leaned more toward military Science Fiction with their X-Wing series; Jedi weren’t running around saving the day, so the characters needed a lot of technology. The stories remained rooted in exploring humanity and heroism, and both Allston and Stackpole created diverse casts. Aaron Allston, particularly, has a special place in my heart; he was my first interview in Star Wars Insider and he has always been quick to help out a new writer. Beyond those two, I hope to create prose as masterful as Matthew Stover. He never wastes a word and can transition between points-of-view and dialogues better than anyone else I have read, all the while weaving in high level themes. I aspire to that level of wordsmithing.

 

NG: How did you start writing Science Fiction?

BARR: The way most people do: fanfiction. At first I wrote stories in my head. I remember thinking about the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars universes most prominently. Then as an adult, I realized people actually wrote those stories down. There is no other way to learn how to tell stories than to actually do it, to make mistakes and learn from them. I ride horses and I liken writing to the same type of practice one needs to become proficient as an equestrian. You can’t replace seat time, or writing a lot, with just reading up on how to do it or watching someone perform. It’s not just about writing either, but doing it with a constant goal of improving.

 

NG: What are your current (and future) Science Fiction projects?

BARR: I am editing a novel Zanita, written by my editor B.J. Priester. It’s a prequel to my novel Wynde that focuses on the parents of Wynde’s heroine, Vespa. It delves into the sport of Airspar and some of the politics of the world Prime in the years leading up to the galactic war. I am also fleshing out the short stories for a series called In Between, which will be set between Wynde and its upcoming sequel, Sky Fall Down. For those short stories, the amazing French artist Magali Villeneuve is creating artwork to complement the character banner she created for Wynde. Short stories are a great way to try out different things and stretch my creativity, and the artwork is another way to tell potential readers what my story is about. My favorite stories all inspired my own fictional universe, which you might be able to tell from the banner image, with maybe a hint of Hunger Games too.

 

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

BARR: Science Fiction is an amazing tool to create more diversity and representation, especially when a storyteller is free to do whatever world-building they’d like. When writers don’t take that chance, and instead choose a non-diverse default, it suggests to me they are not as adventurous or bold as Science Fiction has the potential to be.

 

NG: Do you believe that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to complex female characters?

BARR: Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor were something new and fresh at the times they appeared in Science Fiction, but the dynamic that followed in their wakes set a tone that good female characters had to be in the same vein of badass, sometimes even being stripped of their femininity. Women come in all types, just as men do. We are finally seeing signs of change that represent that. While Science Fiction stories can be forward-thinking, too often the contemporary community still fosters backward regarding dangerous mindsets about women. We’re in an interesting time now, where female characters are breaking out of the limited molds, and more women are becoming empowered from experiencing the stories of these amazing characters. With every step forward in feminism there is always a backlash, but it feels like women are in a better position to fight for their space in genre storytelling than they have in the past.

 

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries?

BARR: First, speak up. Write reviews. Discuss your likes and dislikes on social media. Women are often discouraged from expressing negative opinions, but as a consumer it is your right to like or dislike something and then say so. In addition to being critical, praise stories or characters that are done well. Then put your money where your mouth is. Those are the ways to make change.

 

NG: How did you get the idea to create FANgirl Blog?

BARR: Around the time of Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, I realized that women were not being recognized as consumers by the franchise. On top of that, I had been on the receiving end of bullying on existing fandom message boards. I decided that creating my own blog would ensure my voice was heard. At the same time I wanted to mentor other women on writing and the art of critiquing. Many doors opened through FANgirl, and I’m proud of what I and my contributors have accomplished over the past five years. We are now the go-to site for “Heroine’s Journey” references by education institutions.

 

NG: What are your favorite and least favorite developments that happened to the Star Wars franchise since Disney purchased it?

BARR: For a while I was really frustrated with the licensing trends to leave out female characters. It’s still happening with Black Widow from Avengers: Age of Ultron, so Disney’s not out of that limiting mindset yet. But things seem to be slowly changing. Kathleen Kennedy, who produced The Force Awakens openly acknowledged the movie’s cast photo during Celebration Anaheim, noting she herself didn’t have a lot of women to choose from if she were to be a newer Star Wars character. She promised to change that, and I believe she will get that done.

Rose B. Fischer

 

Rose B. Fischer is a speculative fiction author and creative entrepreneur. Her current project is The Foxes of Synn, a low-tech science fantasy serial and is currently available on Amazon.

 

Fischer is a survivor of domestic violence who lives with multiple disabilities. In the early 2000s, she became homeless after leaving her abusive spouse. She later entered a transitional housing program while attending college. These experiences inspired her to begin writing non-fiction, and have had lasting impacts on her approach to fiction writing. She publishes Science Fiction, science fantasy, horror, and biographical essays. On her website, she writes about the intersection of storytelling, social responsibility, art, and pop culture in the Internet age.

 

Fischer also offers custom designs and templates for indie authors, musicians, and other muse-herders. Her website, rosebfischer.com, features a growing collection of free and pay-to-use stock art, as well as tutorials and many other features for anyone who wishes to have them.

 

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NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?
FISCHER: I remember that when I was in kindergarten or first grade, kids were talking about Star Wars.  I want to say that Return of the Jedi was in theaters at the time, but I’m not too certain about that.  We heard an ROTJ radio drama in school, which was my first exposure to Science Fiction. Believe it or not, I don’t remember exactly when I saw the Star Wars trilogy.  I do remember that, in third grade, I saw the movie version of Dune, and I’ve never gotten over it.

 

NG: Do you believe Science Fiction has an educational value?
FISCHER: I believe all stories have educational value. Speculative fiction can be used to engage conversations about social concepts and hot-button issues in a safe forum. Science Fiction adds to that by also having the ability to explore technological advancement and other scientific concepts.

 

NG: What responsibility do you think Science Fiction has in terms of inclusiveness and diversity?
FISCHER: Well, let me start by saying that I am a woman with a disability, and I grew up in a large blended family with people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  Because of that, I have a cultural heritage that I’ve adopted that isn’t part of my biological ethnicity.  I identify as gray romantic, and I’m also bisexual.  I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life because of hypothyroidism.  So, I’m very aware that the world is full of diversity, and I think that should be reflected in our art. Science Fiction authors have a goldmine of potential to work with there, and not using it is a big missed opportunity.

 

I think that when a creator chooses to write about characters who are part of minority groups, the author has a responsibility to either write from personal experience or seek out members of that group to ask how the text reads, how those people would like to see their experiences and cultures represented, and to thoroughly research before publishing a story. To do otherwise is irresponsible because it’s potentially damaging.

 

It’s important for audiences to ask for what they want and for creators to listen. That’s why I’ve spent the last year running a blog project to promote better, more authentic representations for people with disabilities. With that having been said, I get really nervous when people start talking about authors having a “responsibility” to include anything in their work. That’s trying to turn art into political and social propaganda, and I’m not on board with it. I don’t want to be part of a diversity police.

 

My responsibility as an artist is to take my vision and bring it to life to best of my ability.  I hope that my audience will feel challenged and believe the journey was worth taking. For me, that means including characters from minorities. That’s the kind of world I live in, and that’s what I think good Science Fiction should be doing. My Science Fiction needs to reflect my reality, my questions, and my hopes for the future.

For someone else, “diversity” might not be important, and that’s okay with me.  That’s the story they need to tell at that moment. It’s not anyone else’s job to dictate what should be in it or what backgrounds the characters should have.

 

NG: What are your top three favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?
FISCHER: Three? Three? You mean thirty-three, right? Um…..

Books: Dune, any of the original Pern Quadrilogy by Anne McCaffrey, and The Ship Who Sang, also by McCaffrey.

TV shows: Stargate SG-1, Babylon 5, and Star Trek: The Next Generation

Movies: The Empire Strikes Back, Blade Runner (thanks to you, incidentally) and Aeon Flux.

 

NG: Which Science Fiction characters have had the greatest influence on you?
FISCHER: I’d have to write an essay to fully answer this. The short list is Jaime Sommers, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Wilton Knight, Jessica Atreides, Paul Atreides, Alia Atreides, Lieutenant Uhura, Captain Kirk, and Captain Picard.  I tend to be drawn to mentors, mavericks, religious figures, and intellectuals. Uhura was the first black woman I ever saw in a vital role.  Leia and Jaime were my first role models.

 

NG: How did you start writing Science Fiction?
FISCHER: It depends if you mean original Sci-Fi or fanfiction, but the answer to how I started writing original fiction is on my blog.  For fanfiction, I’ve always wanted to know what was happening off screen, and the more I wanted to know, the more I would get ideas for stories.

 

NG: What are some recurring themes and patterns in your Science Fiction stories?
FISCHER: I think that in all my stories, the recurring themes are the nature of friendship, the nature of family, redemption, and education as a process of growth and cultural development.

 

NG: What place does fan creation in your appreciation for Science Fiction?
FISCHER: Like I said earlier, creating fanfiction is something I just do without thinking about or trying.  It’s as natural to me as breathing and certainly as valid as any other way of engaging with a story.  It would take a blog series for me to answer this question completely, but I’ll say this:

 

I was the only geek in my immediate family. A couple of my cousins enjoyed Science Fiction, but we didn’t see each other regularly. Being a geek was not “cool” in the ’80s. There was no “age of the geek,” “geek pride,” or any option for geeks to hang out without the possibility of being bullied, so if you liked geeky stuff you kept your mouth shut.  My siblings are quite a bit younger than I am, so with the exception of a few cartoons, most of the things I liked to watch went over their heads and what they liked bored me.  My father thought Star Trek and Babylon 5 were stupid.  So, in my house there was no option for me to compromise by watching some of my siblings’ programs and some of mine. The only time I was able to watch anything I cared about was if my parents weren’t home or my mother was too busy to pay attention to what was on. In my teens, I did get my own TV, but it still meant that if I wanted to watch something I enjoyed, I did it alone.

 

Fan culture was revelatory to me.  It meant there were people in the world who enjoyed the same things I did.  With that being said, I’ve never been particularly comfortable with or interested in having a group of people to watch television shows or movies with, or discuss (fangirl over) episodes and plotlines.  I rarely have anything to say in those situations unless I’m pissed off at the writers or producers. That tends to spoils the atmosphere for the rest of the group.  I guess I’m just not used to those kinds of interactions. My way of engaging and participating has always been through art, either creating it or finding other artists whose work I appreciate.

 

NG: What are the major flaws you see in recent Science Fiction media?
FISCHER: I don’t know how to answer this without offending your audience.  I’ve been bored with the genre for about five years.  I haven’t been able to sustain an interest in any new Science Fiction since 2010, and that was through a miniseries. I have not cared about any more recent entries, even in franchises I used to enjoy.  I want to be challenged and inspired again, or have my mind blasted open in a new way, and Sci-Fi just isn’t doing that right now.

 

NG: What would you like to see in Science Fiction that you think is currently lacking?
FISCHER: Well, the biggest thing I think is lacking is innovation. The Sci-Fi I remember from my teens was amazing to me, because I could pick up a book or open a short story and see technology and social development that nobody had ever explored before. The genre was dangerous in that sense.  The questions it asked and possibilities it presented were on topics a lot of people had never thought about or didn’t want to look at.

 

I was reading authors from the ’50s and ’60s as often, or even more than popular Sci-Fi from the ’80s and ’90s. There wasn’t the same variety or amount of material as what is available today.  With regards to TV and movies of the ’80s and ’90s, though, Babylon 5 did something for television that hadn’t been done before and hasn’t been successfully done since. Star Trek: The Next Generation took the technological development of Star Trek‘s universe and upped the ante, but if I’m honest, the only innovative social developments I can think of to that universe were Geordi and Data.  Then the franchise stalled and did too many things that failed to live up to its potential. Current Sci-Fi is still coasting. We’re seeing most of the same ideas recycled, and they’re being approached them in the same ways.  I think the genre is too interested in creating cash cows and has lost the drive to ask “What’s next?”  (I’m hoping The Force Awakens proves me wrong about that!) There are a lot of specifics I could give about particular innovations I’d like to see or modalities of thought that I would like to see engaged, but I think it would take more than a few pages.

 

Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and now lives in a small town nestled at the foot of the Soutpansburg mountain range, having finally gone home again after eighteen years in Zimbabwe. She is owned by a feathered hoard that accompanies her on her tale-telling way, inspire her, and keep her neck warm in the winter. She keeps the cashew industry afloat with her out-of-control nut habit, which is fueled by her aversion to leaving her keyboard. As well as Science Fiction and Fantasy, Robinson writes of human frailty and overcoming life’s challenges. You can find more about her and her books on her blog, Goodreads and Amazon.

 

***

 

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

ROBINSON: Television was only introduced in South Africa in 1976. Before that, we would to listen to the radio or go see movies. When I was young, the local movie theater used to air special series and films for children once a week on Saturday mornings, and one of these was an ancient animated series of Flash Gordon. That hooked me from the start.   I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t reading a book. My mother never controlled what or when I read, so from a very early age I would buy piles of books at the flea markets she was fond of going to, as well as spending a lot of time in the library and second-hand book shops. Ursula le Guin, Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke were all part of my reading collection, probably before they should have been. In my teens, I found and fell in love with Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons of Pern.

 

NG: How did you start writing Science Fiction?

ROBINSON: Science Fiction and Fantasy have always been my favorite reads and movies, but I didn’t think that I could actually write in either genre. A couple of years ago, I was editing one of my books, which was literary fiction and a little heavy too, when I saw the hype for the NaNoWriMo event. The temptation to have a month free of editing what had been quite a taxing story to write had me trying to justify spending a whole month writing something which could turn out to be absolute garbage, and would mean thirty totally wasted days. I decided to write something in Science Fiction that I had no intention of publishing, and that I’d just have fun trying my hand at. I had no outline or clue as to what I was going to write when I sat down on the first day of the challenge, other than the story would begin in a mysterious cave on Earth. From the first line, that story seemed to flow into my head and out of my fingers as if it was a live-stream from wherever it was really taking place. That became the first book in my Shadow People series. You should never believe that doing any particular thing is not for you until you try. Science Fiction is the ultimate example of almost anything goes, and the most fun to write.

 

NG: Which Science Fiction authors have been most inspiring to you?

ROBINSON: I would say that Anne McCaffrey, Ursula le Guin, and Isaac Asimov have been most inspiring, and probably influential on the way I write Science Fiction. Pern has dragons; I have Voxavi, which are pretty much dragons. McCaffrey The Ship Who Sang, and I have the Vimana – a sentient spacecraft able to pop in and out of many dimensions. Ursula le Guin shows you that absolutely nothing and no one kind of being is beyond the realm of possibility in Science Fiction, and Asimov’s books show the way to getting the extreme to be not only believable, but fabulously enjoyable.

 

NG: Is Science Fiction a popular genre in South Africa?

ROBINSON: I think so, especially the movies and the shows. Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls author) is South African, and was raised in Johannesburg, just as I was. District 9 is also a South African Science Fiction movie. So yes, I believe that the genre is gaining in popularity here. Science Fiction TV series have always been widely favored, and so have all the movies, including those mentioned below. We have pay-for-satellite television here with channels full of fairly current USA and UK programs and movies. While not everyone has access to these, those who do get to keep up with what’s new in the world of Science Fiction, along with other current issues and events.

 

NG: What are your top three favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

ROBINSON: It’s really hard to choose only three! I have to go with McCaffrey’s Pern series without a doubt, Asimov’s Foundation series, and the Rama series by Arthur C Clarke for the books. My favorite TV series would be Dr. Who, Star Trek, and Third Rock from the Sun. Humorous Science Fiction is a fabulous art form. The Star Wars, Star Trek, and Alien series are my top movie franchises. Some of the newer movies have been great too. I loved Avatar and Pacific Rim.

 

NG: What are some recurring themes and patterns in your Science Fiction stories?

ROBINSON: Now that I think about that, I always include the balance of good and evil in my stories. That probably is the basis for most Science Fiction, so it’s not unique to my writing. Since the first book in my series was published, I’ve written a few books where the times, universes, and people change, but the underlying theme seems to remain the same.

 

NG: Does Science Fiction have a general influence on your writing, beyond what you write in this genre?

ROBINSON: I don’t think that it influences all of what I write, but definitely quite a lot of it. I have two novels out that are realistic fiction and not remotely Science Fiction related. Although having said that, I do believe that Science Fiction has a general influence on the way I think. So much Science Fiction has become actual fact, and continues to do so all the time. I truly believe that anything is possible. We’ve made so many discoveries that have disproven previous facts supposedly written in stone. Who is to say if all of these stories that appear in our minds aren’t simply us psychically picking up on real things going on somewhere out there in the multiverse? How about a collective universal unconscious? Collective universal memory? Maybe it’s all true after all. There’s certainly enough space out there for it to be so.

 

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

ROBINSON: Even though a woman wrote what was the first recognized major work of Science Fiction (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein), and while both male and female authors are now recognized as giants of the genre, there still seems to be an undercurrent of belief that women are incapable of writing “real” Science Fiction. There are most definitely readers out there who won’t even bother trying to read Sci-Fi that they know has been written by a woman. It is why many female Science Fiction authors try very hard to conceal their gender. This is a great pity, because authors like Le Guin and McCaffrey can easily write quite a large selection for the boys. Recently, I discovered something called Afro Sci-Fi. Just the fact that something like this genre had to be created is a little sad. Just like any other fiction, Science Fiction should be written and read to include all. Girl, boy, androgynous, gay, black, white, pink, blue, reptilian, and amorphous pulsating triple-gendered Atraxlian blob should all be accepted. I haven’t actively tried to sell my Science Fiction book that is first in the series, and I won’t attempt to do so until the next two books are published in a few months, but it has had a couple of sales anyway. One early reviewer was not impressed that the lead character, who kicks some demonic backside, is a woman, and the two male characters with her seemed to him to have roles that are not important enough. One of the male characters is black, but not a single one of these things occurred to me while I was writing the book, and I wouldn’t say that their roles were too much less than the lead character’s. Either way, it shouldn’t matter what your characters are, but what they do and how well they do it. I don’t think that writers should purposely include main characters who are not perfect, straight, white, or male – that could end up as a stilted story. But I definitely believe that such characters are somewhat left out. Most people don’t read a book and get appalled if a character is transgender or of a race other than they are, and those who do probably haven’t read much “real” Science Fiction. I certainly wouldn’t want them reading mine. People are people, and all deserve just as much space in this genre regardless of their incorrectly perceived differences.

 

NG: What advice would you have for an aspiring Science Fiction writer?

ROBINSON: From the first page of your first Science Fiction book, write everything down. By this I mean have a separate notebook where as a scene happens, you jot down important information. Obviously you should do this with every book you write, but with Science Fiction, it’s terribly important, and for a series it’s vital. Timelines, warp drives, dimension hops, species of alien and their attributes, names, and other important information like flora and fauna on various planets. Write it all down, because if you rely on memory, you’re going to get something horribly wrong further down the line. Guaranteed. Do your research meticulously. I’m not saying that you need to include line drawings of your warp drive – unless you particularly want to that is. If you’re writing about an underwater world, you would research how underwater breathing happens for instance. Seeing underwater. Underwater travel. There are so many strange things and knowledge of things right here on Earth, that you can always find something real or theorized to make your plots believable. Reading up on the latest news in the world of theoretical physics is my happy place.

 

NG: Do you have future Science Fiction projects?

ROBINSON: Right now, I’m rewriting my Shadow People books as a series of trilogies, rather than one open-ended series. Two of the books that I was going to publish earlier will now only be released either in December of this year (2015), or early in January 2016. The entire series spans hundreds of thousands of years, so while the main characters of the first three books are part of each upcoming trilogy either in large or small roles, main characters will change for each set. This is why the big rewrite is happening, and why I’m really thankful for my copious notes. I’m also planning a few short stories on worlds or in dimensions within my series multiverse, but will be unrelated to the main series itself and characters.

Patty Hammond

Patty Hammond, @PattyBones on Twitter, calls herself the Everyday Fangirl from Michigan. Her daily disguise is that of a mild mannered data analyst for an advertising firm. Those in fandom know her as the creator and administrator for The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl blog, everydayfangirl.com, and monthly contributor to The Cantina Cast blog, theCantinaCast.net

***

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

HAMMOND: I was introduced to Science Fiction through my Dad, who loved watching Star Trek and Lost in Space, and sharing his passions with me as I was growing up.

NG: What place does Science Fiction have in your life?

HAMMOND: It is one of the ways I escape from reality. It is also one of the best methods by which I can connect with my friends and family, especially my husband, who is a Science Fiction fanboy.

NG: What are your top three favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows and movies?

HAMMOND: My top three favorites are The Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold for books, the television series Robotech, and of course the entire Star Wars franchise. I would also include the Star Trek, Babylon 5, and Doctor Who series as runner-ups.

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

HAMMOND: Science Fiction needs to include everyone because the future is not built by just one type, but by all types of people — or aliens, or creatures. I believe that including everyone will make a better story and help readers and viewers think about topics in an entirely different way.

NG: Do you think that Science Fiction has an educational value?

HAMMOND: Yes! We need to teach all kinds of Science Fiction in our schools from short stories to novels, with classics like the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov and modern works like the Vorkosigan series. These stories all have literary forms and ideas that can be dissected, discussed and debated at a various stages of educational life and beyond.

NG: How did you get the idea to create Everyday Fangirl?

HAMMOND: Many years ago one of my author friends, Cathie Linz, encouraged me to start writing about what I was passionate about. I was not too sure about what to write for a novel or short story.  However, I was passionate about my love of various fandoms and supporting writers and creators who work within those worlds and genres. As time went on, this grew into what is now The Adventures of The Everyday Fangirl Blog. This has provided me with a forum to not only perfect my writing skills, but also share my love for many different, with a female twist and not necessarily an expression just of feminism fandoms and genres.

NG: Do you think that fangirls are an expression of feminism?

HAMMOND: To me, being a fangirl is just an expression of my love of being a fan, as a female. However, depending on how this is looked at, from a certain point of view, I can see where some may believe that being a fangirl is nothing more than being a feminist.  

NG: How do you think fangirls can change media industries?

HAMMOND: Fangirls can make great changes to the media industries with their wallets.  Just look at what fandom was like before female-specific Science Fiction clothing was a thing.  Many fangirls, like myself, were only able to find fan related clothing in boy’s or men’s styles. Thanks to those of us that used our wallets to show our appreciation for female fandom clothing and accessories, we are starting to see this become more mainstream.

NG: Do you have other current or future Science Fiction related projects?

HAMMOND: I am a monthly contributor to TheCantinaCast.net blog and bring a fangirl perspective and passion for Star Wars, and in turn Science Fiction to this audience.

NG: What are you most looking forward to in the future of the Star Wars franchise?

HAMMOND: I am really looking forward to all the new content that Disney is bringing to us fans, especially the recently released novels, like Lost Stars. I’m definitely excited for the upcoming movies — The Force Awakens and Rogue One — more episodes of Star Wars Rebels, and of course Star Wars Land at the Disney Parks! 

Laura M. Crawford

Laura M. Crawford is a lecturer, consultant and Ph.D candidate in the area of attraction to screen violence. She speaks frequently at conferences nationally and internationally on this topic. She is heavily involved in Australia’s gaming community, speaking at and facilitating events and discussions pertaining to violence in games, psychology of design, independent game design and social issues within the industry. She teaches psychology of game design and game theory at Swinburne University of technology. She is Vice President of the Digital Games Research Association (Australian Chapter).

 

***

 

NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?

CRAWFORD: When I was three, I heard Starman by David Bowie and it had a profound effect on me even then. In my first year of high school I read On the Beach by Neville Shute, as many a young impressionable mind did in those days, and fell instantly in love with the genre. It wasn’t until I discovered Phillip K. Dick and Star Trek the Next Generation in my twenties that I really took it seriously. These amazing encounters then led me to a whole new world of more obscure fictions.

 

NG: What is Science Fiction’s responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation?

CRAWFORD: All fiction has a responsibility in diverse and inclusive representation. Science Fiction does have the advantage of representing fantastical realism and a future utopia, so therefore should be progressive. Unless it’s utterly dystopian and of course there is value in that too.

 

NG: Do you think Science Fiction is a fitting genre for societal commentary?

CRAWFORD: Absolutely. For all the reasons noted in the above question.

 

NG: Do you see Science Fiction as a welcoming genre for women (characters and creators)?

CRAWFORD: It can absolutely be both. I had naively thought diversity was a generational thing when first delving into Sci-Fi. Then I encountered ’60s novels in which the lead characters were unquestioningly brave women, the early 2000s series Farscape which had some phenomenally well-adjusted and brave diverse characters, and then recent offerings in which minorities are objectified and vilified. So, it can be but is not all the time.

 

NG: What are you top 3 favorites for Science Fiction books, TV shows, movies and video games?

Book: CRAWFORD: Now Wait For Last Year – Phillip K. Dick

Video Game: Dead Space (and all space survival horror)

TV Show: Star Trek Voyager. No, Enterprise. No, Voyager. Both. Also Farscape.

 

NG: Are there any particular topics or concerns associated with Science Fiction in Video Game Studies?

CRAWFORD: All the things usually associated with videogames and various tropes – gender representation, diversity in relationships, and super fictionalized representations of various characters. Then there are many games that do it right such as Mass Effect 3, Gone Home, and Final Fantasy XIV.

 

NG: What do you think of the relationship between Science Fiction and violence?

CRAWFORD: This is a huge question. Attraction to fantastical violence is my primary area of research and our relationship with it is very complex. I will say that sometimes such violence is necessary as a narrative vehicle; at other times it is included solely because we enjoy it. When specifically looking at Sci-Fi, it depends on what an individual’s version of the future is – will we live some utopian existence in which there are enough resources for all or will be left with not enough, desperate for survival? The third scenario is a combination of both: we have loads of resources and fight a lot just because we’re a power hungry a-holes species.

 

NG: Why do you think Science Fiction is such a compelling genre?

CRAWFORD: The endless possibilities, escape, and hope for a new future.

 

NG: What developments would you like to see in Science Fiction?

CRAWFORD: I’d like to see it become an even more popular genre than it already is. We can engender so much understanding via these stories.

 

NG: If you could write any Science Fiction story, what would it be about?

CRAWFORD: Changing the world through Science Fiction.

About the Author

Natacha Guyot is a French author, scholar and public speaker. She works on Science Fiction, Transmedia, Gender Studies, Children Media and Fan Studies. Besides her nonfiction work, she is currently working on a several Science Fiction and Fantasy projects.

 

Her published works include the following A Galaxy of Possibilities: Representation and Storytelling in Star Wars (New Revised Edition, 2015) and Clairvoyance Chronicles: Volume One (2015).

 

You can find more about her projects at Science Fiction, Transmedia and Fandom and follow her on Twitter @natachaguyot.

 

 


Sci-Fi Women Interview: The 2015 Collection

This eBook includes all 2015 monthly features from Natacha Guyot's blog series "Sci-Fi Women Interviews", which celebrates women who create, write, enjoy Science Fiction. The 2015 guests were the following women: Johnamarie Macias Yolanda I. Washington Saf Davidson Neelu Raut Natalie McKay Tricia Barr Rose B. Fischer Jo Robinson Patty Hammond Laura M. Crawford

  • ISBN: 9781310338588
  • Author: Natacha Guyot
  • Published: 2016-03-09 03:40:12
  • Words: 16793
Sci-Fi Women Interview: The 2015 Collection Sci-Fi Women Interview: The 2015 Collection