Octavia Butler and the Question of Diversity in Sci-Fi

For another great take on the issue of women authors in the sci-fi canon, Ian Sales has a well-written guest post over at the Little Red Reviewer.

Sci-Fi Month is more than halfway over, and to be perfectly honest, I feel that I’m not getting as much out of it as I’d thought. It’s mostly me, since I could’ve set a more aggressive posting schedule for myself instead of limiting my posts to only twice a week. But I had a feeling that I would burn out if I set a higher reading/posting goal, and hey, if you’ve been reading me and my blog, you know that I’d rather ramble on for a couple of thousand words once in a while rather than post short segments more frequently.

I’ve been getting a lot of great sci-fi title suggestions from various commenters, and from the various top-10 or definitive sci-fi book lists that have been posted by other bloggers. They all look interesting and I’m looking forward to reading as many of them as I can get my hands on, but one thing that I’ve noticed (and again, this is no fault of the people giving the suggestions) is how so many of the authors skewed male and white. And while I’ve nothing against white male authors (many of my favorite authors are white males), I wanted to learn about and highlight someone who doesn’t typically fit the preconceptual image of SF author.

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On Rewatching and Second Chances

I was supposed to post this yesterday to keep up my promise to post regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I have the flu, and a runny nose, and all sorts of yucky respiratory problems that I often get at this time of year so I didn’t feel like posting then.

Anyway, nobody cares about that stuff. As I mentioned in my review of the Paprika novel, I rewatched the 2006 movie by Satoshi Kon just to see if my perception of it (the movie) would’ve changed now that I’ve read the novel. Spoiler: it has.

I watched Paprika with my boyfriend and a couple of other friends on Memorial Day weekend of 2007. I remember the date exactly because that weekend was memorable for being especially shitty. My boyfriend was in graduate school in another state at the time, and was only in town for a few days. I thought he was going to be in New York the entire holiday weekend, but he informed me last minute that he had to fly off to an anime convention in Texas so that only left me feeling especially resentful and bitchy that I wasn’t going to spend as time with him as I had originally thought. I know most of you don’t care to read personal stuff about me on this blog, but I wanted to explain my emotional standpoint when I went in to watch Paprika.

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Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui

In the near future, scientists will have figured out a way to monitor and view dreams through psychotherapy devices. With the help of this technology, they will be able to interpret and provide therapy through intervention and thus will be able to fix whatever ails us. This is the setting of Paprika, the Japanese sci-fi psycho-thriller written by author Yasutaka Tsutsui.

Paprika is the alter-ego of psychotherapist/researcher Atsuko Chiba. By day, Atsuko works alongside her colleagues in the Institute for Psychiatric Research, collecting dreams from patients with mental disorders and analyzing the contents of these dreams for further study. By night, as Paprika, she takes the research a step further. Paprika actually meets with patients and appears in their dreams to help them figure out what these dreams actually mean and how they can be resolved to stop the patients’ anxiety or depression, etc.

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Sci-Fi Manga Sampler

I don’t know what possessed me to even try to write a blog post about sci-fi manga. It’s like the attempt at making the Ender’s Game movie: it could be done, a lot of the great things that made the story awesome are going to be left out for the sake of brevity (ha, sorry, I couldn’t resist).

To give credit where it’s due; I wouldn’t even have known where to start had I not looked at Manga: The Complete Guide, edited by Jason Thompson (Del Rey, 2007). In there, he writes a terrific history of sci-fi in manga and lists down the various series that fall under this category (as of time of publication). Even looking through the list of manga that are classified as sci-fi and are translated in English, I think I’ve only read a third or a quarter of them. Since then, the universe of US manga publication has also gone through an overhaul: publishers have gone away and titles have gone out of print, but at the same time, new titles have been licensed and digital versions have been made available.

Anyway, since I already know a lot of these recommendations are going to be a little dated, I welcome suggestions on titles that would fit the bill. I only ask that you limit your recs to US-licensed titles, thanks!  Continue reading

Best Enjoyed in Solitude?

Watching anime is already a solitary activity and seeking out like-minded individuals who share and appreciate this hobby is the reason why the majority of us are doing this anime-blogging business.

A few nights ago, I started and then marathoned the first six episodes of Kyoukai no Kanata. It’s been a while since I’ve done that: knew nothing about the series other than the buzz generated by select anime bloggers I follow, but enjoyed it immensely that I couldn’t stop watching. Those three hours just passed by.

And then I started checking out random blog posts on Animenano. And then I stopped doing that ’cause some of those dudes were bumming me out.

In short, I’m thinking that the one of the few ways to have a pure, unabashed love for a series is to enjoy it with only your experiences and knowledge and not be influenced by the prejudice of others. When the love for the series has been kindled beyond a spark, of course sharing it in a community setting (ie, reading or writing blogs or forums) could only liven the blaze, but not before then. Continue reading