Episode 62: Jess E. Owen
with special guest Jess E. Owen!
A noisy but important episode, we bring you an interview with fantasy author Jess E. Owen, whose now-completed Summer King Chronicles series leaned into the legacies of Ursula K. Le Guin, Tamora Pierce, and the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement in junior and young adult literature. Owen met with Kend at a coffeeshop in Kalispell, Montana, where a nearby young family alternated between being very excited about life (you'll hear that in the background) and sidling closer to hear this author expound on what it takes to publish successfully by kickstarter (or any other publishing route), how furries make an awesome fanbase, and the important role fantasy plays in shaping our internal and external worlds. You have our apologies for all of the background noise, but as to the rest? You're welcome. You're welcome to this instantly better life you now have with Jess E. Owen and her nuanced thoughts in it!
To learn more about Jess E. Owen, check out her website at www.jessowen.com, and we're going to make good on her many suggested TED talks by having her back in future podcasts. Join the #GryfonPride on Twitter at @authorjessowen!
Episode 43: Ursula K. Le Guin (In Memoriam)
This was a hard episode to record. As you'll probably be aware, the incredible Ursula K. Le Guin passed away early this year, and in this podcast we set out to untangle just what it was that she did. Did she change science fiction? What will her legacy be?
Full disclosure: this will probably be just as difficult to listen to as it was to record. But it's worth it. Ursula K. Le Guin deserved it. She earned the right to demand our sincerity.
Episode 22: Octavia Butler
Yeah, we'd been talking about how we should talk about her for so long, we decided it was time to finally do something about that. Here it is: The Octavia Butler Episode!
Episode 19: N.K. Jemisin
So, here it is: We've been talking about N.K. Jemisin a LOT over previous episodes, so we went ahead and gave her a full episode to herself. And it's awesome. On tap: nerdy conversations about the world, characters, science, and diversity of representation in The Fifth Season, as well as why we love what Jemisin means for the future of science fiction & fantasy. If you haven't yet read The Fifth Season or its sequel The Obelisk Gate ... well, get thee to your local independent bookstore. Or a library. They're cool too.
Queer and Queering SFF
Episode 64: Found Families
Some people are born into families, some people make their own, and some people stumble onto theirs in the dark. This week, we're here for the found families which gave us a home in science fiction and fantasy. You'll know many of the titles and many of the worlds: Star Trek, Harry Potter, Firefly, Lumberjanes, Avatar the Last Airbender & The Legend of Korra, Steven Universe, Jacqueline Carey's Starless, Becky Chambers' everything, Charlie Jane Anders' All the Birds in the Sky, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, and many many (MANY) more.
There's something inherently queer about the found family trope, or perhaps more rightly we should say that found families make critical space for the queer conversations which have informed our lives as readers and authors and commentators on science fiction and family. We find ourselves in these books, and we want to dig into all of the reasons why!
Episode 58: Gays! In SPACE! (… & elsewhere)
What does it mean to be gay in science fiction and fantasy? The question can be broken down into three major components: 1) What magic happens when SFF works include characters with same-sex attraction? 2) What magic happens when SFF works are written BY authors who experience same-sex attraction? And 3) what can we expect to see in texts both historical and contemporary when it comes to representation?
The history of same-sex attraction in SFF is, as you probably already know, fraught. In this episode, we discuss matters ranging from the Bury Your Gays trope to queerbaiting to "slash" pairings and fanfiction to the lack of representation in SFF anthologies to a whole long-ass list of books, comics, films, and television shows to watch out for (for both good and bad reasons, that is). It's a lot! And it's messy!
WARNING: This episode is VERY gay! It specifically tackles characters and authors from minority sexual orientations who have same-sex-oriented romantic and/or sexual attractions, not the full LGBTQIA+ rainbow community ... but that just means there's more to come.
Episode 48: Campy Camp Camp
What exactly IS camp, and why does it matter to those of us who love science fiction and fantasy? What role does camp play in the queering of the genre, and why are we talking about it now? If you grew up loving The Fifth Element and Doctor Who, you're already an expert on camp, and you're probably also used to defending the campy against those who equate camp with "poorly made" or "low budget" or "lowbrow." We're here to enliven that struggle, to advocate for camp and all campy things, and to uncover what exactly it is which makes it so important, now and always.
Episode 26: Queering Science Fiction
Writing and reading queer lit is a tough proposition. There are lots of ways to get it wrong, just as many to get it right, and plenty of complicated convolutions in between. We start this week's podcast with a discussion of the recent 2016 Nebula Awards results (trust us, it makes sense when you listen) and use them as a springboard into the larger topic of queer representation and our reception thereof--as queer readers and writers ourselves--in the genre of science fiction.
If you want the CliffsNotes version: It's complicated.