She-Ra Leads to Scrappy-Doo Distemper

I will concede a massive bias in favour of the work of Noelle Stevenson, artist and writer and genius behind one of my all time favourite webcomics Nimona, as well as the quirky Lumberjanes. So I’ve been anticipating the project she has been working on: a Netflix re-boot of 1980’s cartoon She-Ra Princess of Power.

For those who may have forgotten, She-Ra was the girl-version of the oddly sanctimonious He-Man & The Master of the Universe. Like He-Man, it wasn’t great but wasn’t entirely terrible either by the admittedly weak standards of 1980s kid’s cartoons but like any children’s media it carries with it nostalgia and affection as an idea in the hearts of many who grew up with it.

Now, the series doesn’t start until November, so I don’t know if it will be good, bad or mediocre but I do know that what will decide that will be the quality of the story telling and based on Stevenson’s track record I’m definitely going to check it out.

Now something else I’m pretty confident of based on track records: the assorted rabid puppies and scrappy-doos of rightwing science fiction have never shown much interest in, affection for or nostalgia for the original She-Ra cartoon. It is also safe to assume that regardless of the art style, that barring a more risquĂ© anime re-boot of She-Ra, they wouldn’t be tuning in regardless of the character design.

However, orders must have come on down the line from somewhere (Moscow? Skeletor?) and with the kind of unanimity that only aggressively authoritarian individualists can muster, howls (barks?) of protest about She-Ra’s new look have emanated from the usual quarters.

The gist of the argument is, in essence, that She-Ra does not have big enough boobs but it is dressed up in quite odd rhetoric about the world being robbed of beauty because She-Ra looks a bit boyish.

Here is our old pal Brian Niemeier posting a very confused rant about the whole thing:

There’s a lot there about Netflix’s precarious business model which he then muddles in with stuff about SJWs. Now note HE DOESN’T EVEN LIKE the original She-Ra (for reasons so obvious that they can be summed up by the pronoun in the character’s name).

On Twitter, former Gamergater and Castilian House blogger Jasyn Jones aka “Daddy Warpig” also had a good old rant about She-Ra because…well again, he pretty much ALWAYS has a rant about female characters in current mainstream media unless they are anime characters. It’s so inevitable that only the immediate rationale changes, suffice to say a genre media property with a female lead will have a “grassroots” campaign from the same tiny cadre of extremists regardless. If the character design had been more stereotypically feminine then Brian and Jasyn would be using that to claim she couldn’t lift a sword or some other nonsense.

Why then even mention their nonsense? Mainly for example number a thousand and something, that despite their protestations to the contrary, they only care about how media conforms with their factional ideology and have zero interest in what story it tells. Yes, yes, I know you all knew that all ready BUT this way I also have a pretext to point out that there’s a Noelle Stevenson led cartoon coming to Netflix in November and it looks really great! 🙂

The Puppy Axis Returns: Part 2 – Fireside and making sense of it all

In my earlier post, I remarked on how the Fireside report on the underrepresentation of black authors in published SFF short fiction generated an unusual degree of agreement among four major Sad/Rab Puppy protagonists, Larry, Brad, John C Wright and The Dumpster Fire who Walks Like a Man*.

In this post, I want to talk more about the Fireside report, its methodology and flaws and then look at Larry Correia’s “fisk”. I’ll focus on Larry because Brad Torgersen’s blog post is mainly rambling around the issues, while John C Wright and Vox are more open about the source of the animus.

First to the Fireside report. As they say right off:

The methodology is flawed, as it’s based in self-reported data whenever possible, but such data was not always findable or clear.

They also point out:

…we don’t have access to submission-rate data concerning race and ethnicity either overall or by individual magazine…

Other issues/objections that could be raised is national variation. For example, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine is one of the ‘zines included. It is an Australian magazine with (I think) mainly Australian contributors. Different country, different dynamics of race, ethnicity and self-identification, and different population proportions. [Note: that isn’t meant as a justification for the ‘zine having zero in the study, it is purely an observation of the difficulties Fireside faced in collecting this data].

Additionally, caution needs to be applied at a ‘zine level. For a ‘zine with fewer stories in a year, a single story by one black author would make the difference between zero representation and a reasonable proportion (assuming a 13% black population).

What is notable, is the report is up-front about the issues in their approach and they don’t attempt to hide that there is a substantial degree of uncertainty around the findings. They aren’t claiming some indisputable proof but they are pointing out an obvious red-flag that people should pay attention to.

Having said all of that: zoiks! The resulting number of stories published by black authors across this broad spread of magazines is very low. For interest I tagged ‘zines in the Fireside data that were in the Semiprozine directory (n=20). The proportion of stories by black authors works out much the same as for the total – about 1.9%.

Now maybe getting better data of author self-identification might result in a different picture and the study can’t tell us any specific “why’ of the under representation. Yet we can speculate. A good study (and I think this one is good) is not neccesarily a flawless one but rather one that helps us generate new hypothesis which allows us to find better data. For example we can now ask about some of the “why” behind the results:

  • Is it stories not being accepted? If so, why?
  • Is it stories not being submitted? If so, why aren’t they?
  • Is it the study looking in the wrong places? if so where should it have looked?
  • Is it all the various methodological errors all creating a misleading bias in the data? If so, how come? And does that really seem likely?
  • Is it just that there are lots of black authors being published but the author’s ethnicity isn’t particularly visible?

We also have my favourite Franciscan monk to help us out: William of Okham. He gently reminds us not to over complicate our hypothesis. We have, as a given, a know institutionalised bias against black people in Western societies that has existed for a very long time and which exists both as overt racism and as more subtle forms of discrimination. Finding a group which has been historically under-representated is currently under-representated does not require elaborate explanations. That doesn’t mean we all declare the case closed and never look for better data, it just means that we already have a highly plausible explanation that fits very well with known facts.

And a study is not just about discovering facts and forming hypotheses. What this should inform is what action we should take. When considering that it is worth considering what the downsides of an action will be. Let’s have a look at what ‘zine editors can do in response:

  • Actively try and publish more stories by black authors.

And the down side of that response is:

  • Some extra effort expended but otherwise no obvious down side.

Now what I can’t help noticing is that of the various questions we could ask of the data to get better data, none of them really impact much on that basic response. Looking beyond that response, for example into how the SFF community can help foster talent in diverse communities would be helped with better data but again, we don’t ACTUALLY need better data to make a better start. So I’ll add a more strategic response to this report:

  • Actively try and foster SFF talent and writing in diverse communities.

And the down side of that is:

  • None.


  • More good SFF writing and more SFF fans.

PS. I was going to get into Larry’s fisk in this post but time has moved on, so I’ll save that for a part 3.

*[Copyright: El Sandifer]

Semiprozine – All the Semiprozines (almost) [Updated]

Here are all the semiprozines I looked at minus the stuff that I left out (mainly podcasts) and stuff that changed eligibility etc. I’ve updated were needed (I hope).

A big thanks to the Clarke’s World Semiprozine Directory

Lots of good stuff to look at and I don’t think there is any one of them that didn’t have something that was worth reading. The amount I’ve written on each isn’t an indication of quality but rather time, effort and how I was feeling on the day 🙂

I remain deeply impressed by the effort and commitment of semiprozine editors/staff. It is their efforts that keeps the genre alive and exciting.

[Updated to remove Apex which is now pro]

Continue reading “Semiprozine – All the Semiprozines (almost) [Updated]”

Semiprozine: T, U (V,W,X,Y,Z)

tv415kansiCome on people, seriously – yes I know X and Z are low frequency initial letters in English but this is SF people! Nobody has a semiprozine starting with Z? Z the most science fictional letter of the alphabet?

Last round up! And with nary a day to spare before February arrives in all its cruelty.


Tähtivaeltaja no, no those aren’t pretentious fantasy or heavy-metal umlauts but genuine Finish ones. My Soumi linguistic skills are non-existent but if you browse their site (which include online editions of the zine as well as a blog) and use Google Chrome, you can get an OK English translation e.g. Chrome served up this article on Nnedi Okorafor with only a few translation quirks:

For many, Africa represents an acacia tree, standing alone in the middle of the savanna sunset. View adorns tens or even hundreds of book covers. It seeks to stir up dormant potential reader to race in memory images of the black continent. Which is of course nonsense, since it is a mere brainwashing illusion created by the cynical market mechanism. One picture can not possibly speak of an entire continent at the mouth.

Nnedi Okoraforin (p. 1974), the production brings the African acacia tree closer to the reader. Or at least part of it, because it would be absurd to assume one writer about a compressive hundreds and thousands of tribes in one mold. Okoraforin the natural environment is in West Africa located in Nigeria, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the red maanteineen, sadekausineen and lively market.

– See more at:

Great cover art also.

Uncanny Uncanny is the one I’ve been ending up at independently of this survey of semipros. Really good mix of stories and articles. I shant say more for fear of gushing.

Utah Geek A very location specific ‘zine – a place for geeks in Utah. Lots of movie reviews not actually all about geeks in Utah (although that sounds like a good premise for a TV series) but rather serving SF/F news to Utah fandom.

Unlikely Story weird fiction and fiction using the conventions of non-fiction, presented as pseudo-scholarship in a manner both fun and whimsical. Of all the semipros I have looked at, Unlikely Story has the most fun submission guidelines.

Unlikely Story publishes three themed issues a year: The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, The Journal of Unlikely Cryptography, and The Journal of Whatever Tickles Our Fancy This Year. We reserve the right to put out an indeterminate number of further sub-themed mini-issues on an irregular basis, or not, depending on how we feel. See below for specific details regarding each issue.

And that’s your lot.

Semiprozines, the hardworking gardeners of SF/F talent. We salute you all!



Semiprozine: (R) & S

Pulp-O-Mizer_Cover_Image(1)There is a clear gap in the market for a semiprozine starting with R. I’ve also noticed that I’ve not encountered much in the way of conservative leaning SF in my semipro journey, so maybe Rabid Rightwing Robot Tales is the sweet spot for a new semipro? Actually that deserves a visit to the Pulp-o-mizer.

So only ‘S” titles in this penultimate survey, which thanks to an apparent delay in Hugo nomination website availability should be complete before nominations open!


Continue reading “Semiprozine: (R) & S”

Semiprozine: Mind the P’s and Q’s

  • Perihelion
  • Plasma Frequency
  • Pornokitsch
  • Quantum Muse

Perihelion They describe themselves thusly:

WE ARE LOOKING for well-written, original science fiction, that is, science fiction with a solid plot, a beginning, a middle, and an end (but not necessarily in that order). No fantasy. No horror. No fan fiction. No poetry. Alternate history, not entirely taboo, is a difficult sale. Stories do not necessarily have to restrict themselves to robots, rocket ships, and extraterrestrials. However, the science and/or technology must be integral to the story; if you remove the science, the story falls apart, or disappears altogether. If the plot can be easily reconstituted as a western, a swashbuckler, or a bodice-ripper, it is probably not for us, either. We aren’t fixated on political correctness. We don’t object to explicit language, violence, or sexual situations, as long as it is necessary to the plot. We like humor and satire. We really don’t care if you are a minority, transgendered, or purple; the story is the focus and not the author

Is thusly a word?

Plasma Frequency stories and artwork  e.g. I like this one

Pornokitsch popular general review of popular culture site with original fiction as well.

Quantum Muse fiction and art – lots of art portfolios


Semiprozine N &O

I’ve gone through a view minor-emotional stages with this mini-project: firstly ‘that’s a neat idea’, secondly ‘this is nuts, I can barely get a handle on one never mind several’, thirdly ‘there are way to many’, fourthly ‘plow on regardless’. Currently I’m in a ‘this was worthwhile’. I’ve met some interesting short stories, one novella I’ll possibly nominate and (thanks to people who commented) identified some broken links and solved some eligibility questions. Also, where past the middle of the alphabet!

This issues semipro’s are:

  • Nebula Rift* (formerly eSciFi)
  • New Realm* (formerly eFantasy)
  • Neo-Opsis
  • New York Review of Science Fiction
  • On Spec

Nebula Rift and New Realm are stable mates at ‘eFiction Publishing’ a publisher that does genre specific online magazines.

Nebula Rift is SF  and New Realm is Fantasy Only preview images of starts of stories are available.

Since writing this they have been confirmed as professional rather than semi-pro.

Neo-Opsis a Canadian SF magazine that aims to be about:

Entertainment – Let Neo-opsis magazine entertain you with fun and interesting stories, written from the perspective of science and fantasy.

Information – Read informative articles on science and nature. Check out the Science and Science Fiction news articles.

Interpretation – Enjoy book and movie reviews. Find out what others think, with Neo-opsis opinion columns and letters section.

I may be wrong but I think it is print only.

New York Review of Science Fiction long running review magazine.

On Spec  The link at the semiprozine directory is directed at an out-of-date page. On Spec is the ‘Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic’. An Aurora winning magazine with fiction about the fantastic plus reviews and stuff. No previews that I could find


Semiprozine Update

So some addenda etc.

Fireside: the link at Semiprozine was out of date. Correct link (as confirmed with Fireside) is

Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destoyer got a lot of love from Sad Puppies last cycle but was ineligible because it was dated 2015. You can read it here it is fun.

Lightspeed: I listed in the last round-up but the nice people at Semiprozine Directory (who I’m relying on for the list) say that it now counts as professional.

Going back even further to early November, Apex is now also listed as Professional.

The inadvertently Puppy nominated Australians know as Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine is still active but their website is currently having something done to it and isn’t available to February it seems.

So yeah, semiprozines – a moving target 🙂

Semiprozine: I, (J),K, L & (M)

  • Ideomancer
  • Interzone
  • Kaleidotrope
  • Lackington’s
  • Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet
  • Lightspeed Magazine
  • LONTAR: Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction
  • Luna Station Quarterly

Onwards into the alphabet of semiprozanity.


Some neat fiction and poetry

This story really struck me “The Changeling and the Sun”, by Lee S. Hawke


Venerable, long-running British SF magazine with famous name contributors like Jeff Noon


The usual mix – fiction and poetry. Nothing grabbed me immediately but this story was ok


Lackington’s is an online magazine that publishes speculative fiction and art four times a year. We want to help widen the space for prose poetry. We’re looking for stylized prose. Not inept purple prose, of course, but controlled and well-crafted wordsmithery that reflects the story, setting, theme, atmosphere, or philosophy it seeks to describe.

For example

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet

Their server was down when I visited but I’ve been there before and I’m sure it is active.


Popular magazine with lots of famous names, new fiction and reprints.


LONTAR is the world’s only biannual literary journal focusing on Southeast Asian speculative fiction. The journal was founded in 2012, in order to spread awareness of this literature to readers who might not normally be exposed to it, and to celebrate its existence and diversity within the region.

No story links but here are the author’s comments on an interesting story

Luna Station Quarterly

 Luna Station Quarterly is a speculative fiction magazine featuring stories by emerging women authors. Now in our 6th year!

As it says, mainly stories by newer writers, some reprints.

Semiprozine: E, F, G & H

Onward, ever onward through the lands of the chimeric beasts that neither ‘pro’ nor ‘fan’ but ‘semipro’!

  • Expanded Horizons
  • Fantasy Scroll
  • Flash Fiction Online
  • The Future Fire
  • GigaNotoSaurus
  • Grimdark Magazine
  • Holdfast Magazine

Expanded Horizons

The mission of this webzine is to increase diversity in the field of speculative fiction, both in the authors who contribute and in the perspectives presented. We feature speculative fiction stories and artwork, as well as essays about speculative fiction and fandom from diverse points of view.

An eclectic mix of stories. A curious variation on Snow White here

Fantasy Scroll

A bi-monthly fiction magazine and also a blog:

Flash Fiction Online

I do like sites with self-explanatory titles – this one has flash fiction and it is online. A lot of the content is SF/F but not all of it e.g. this neat story about a Nigerian man by Okafor Emmanuel Tochukwu

The Future Fire

The Future Fire is open to submissions of beautiful and useful short stories of Social-political and Progressive Speculative Fiction; Feminist SF; Queer SF; Eco SF; Multicultural SF; Cyberpunk. An experiment in and celebration of new writing, we shall publish issues whenever we have enough stories to fill them, approximately four times a year.

And sort of really retro web page design 🙂 And here is a story about a rice goddess


GigaNotoSaurus (the webzine, edited by Rashida J. Smith) publishes one longish fantasy or science fiction story monthly. Longish meaning longer than a short story, and shorter than a novel.

A handy source for novellas and novelettes! Didn’t finish reading this story set in a industrial but magical England  because a bird got in the house but I do mean to go back and carry on reading it 🙂

Grimdark Magazine

Is this a semiprozine? Looks professional and seems to be associated with Gollancz publishing but does say “As with all positions at GdM, this is a volunteer role.” in a job advert, so I’d say that clinches it! 🙂


Holdfast Magazine

Holdfast is a free, quarterly, speculative fiction magazine that explores all things fantastic. We interpret speculative fiction as an umbrella term for Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Utopian, Urban fantasy, Alt History, Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Post-apocalyptic…and as many odd, weird and bizarre variations herein.

Won Best Magazine in the 2015 British Fantasy Society Awards.  Fiction and non-fiction.


Not listed

  • Escape Pod: because it’s a podcast and I’m lazy
  • Fireside Magazine: Maybe it is just my browser but the URL leads to a blank page (and there is nothing in the page source either)
  • Goblin Fruit: Has a gorgeous looking website but the last issue was Fall 2014 (as far as I can tell and I’ve been wrong before!) but seriously have a look at that elaborate page design.