ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Imagine the kind of future you'd like to live in.  Read it, write it, paint it, buy it.  Challenge the status quo.  Rock the fucking boat.

If you look at what I'm writing, you'll see a lot of interaction among diverse characters.  They use their different cultural backgrounds to solve problems in creative ways.  You can see alternative justice methods, different economies, all kinds of governments.  It's not just in science fiction; I do that in fantasy too.  But my leading SF projects, Schrodinger's Heroes and The Blueshift Troupers, are both very strong on diversity and less-violent problem solving.  So is another that I helped inspire, Nine for the Nebula's Heart.  For me it really comes out of something that Martin Luther King, Jr. said to Nichelle Nichols about playing Lt. Uhura: "You show that we SURVIVE."  That's the kind of SF I grew up with, not this modern dystopic shit that looks like the news.

We survive.  The people I put in my futures are the faces of all my ancestors.  I may be pinkish on the outside right now, but well ... I can pass for white, until I open my mouth.  Read me and the true colors show right through.  These are the kinds of world I want to live in.  I want my future back.

What are some of your favorite SF futures?  What are some of your favorite writers or works of color?
ysabetwordsmith: Jump gate showing diamond ring of light (blueshift)
This poem came out of the December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and LJ user Kelkyag. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. This poem belongs to The Blueshift Troupers project.

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ysabetwordsmith: Jump gate showing diamond ring of light (blueshift)
After I made the S-bingo on the Science Bingo Fest, [personal profile] dialecticdreamer wrote "In the Market" for me as a prize.  This is a shopping vignette featuring a mysterious device in The Blueshift Troupers.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So the new Star Wars trailer has a new style of lightsaber, and it didn't take long for people to make fun of it.  Honestly I found that collection of joke images more entertaining than the trailer.  Some thoughts ...

1) That kind of ridiculous weaponry development has actually happened  with polearms and handheld blades such as knives and swords.

2) Even imaginary weapons need to be plausible.  If your audience can glance at the weapon and point out flaws, then you haven't done a very good job of design or portrayal.  Imaginary technology should have consistent rules which shape its development, just as the laws of physics and metallurgy shape historic weapons.

Take that lightsaber.  The horizontal quills make it easier to block an opponent's blow, because one lightsaber blade can stop another; but more importantly, they allow strikes to the side.  A drawback is that they raise the chance of cutting yourself.  If the handle of the weapon is not also invulnerable to the lightsaber blade, then quills raise the damage chance by channeling strikes toward the hilt; but if the handle is invulnerable, that's not a problem.  

Far more interesting is that this is a Force weapon wielded by a Sith or Jedi, which means with a little practice they ought to be able to control  those blades not just by hand and technology, but by will.  Imagine having a hilt that can extend a blade in three directions, or four if you remember the original double-bladed lightsaber with a hilt in the middle, as needed.  This adds a great deal of versatility and danger, although it also raises the amount of time required to become proficient in using the thing without slicing your own limbs off.  I'm serious about the risk factors, though; it's basically a giant laser switchblade.  Guys love to play with switchblades and butterfly knives because they're cool, but 9 out of 10 guys will cut themselves on one.  I've seen it repeatedly.  Like true ninja weapons, they're only useful if you know exactly what you are doing.
ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
This poem came out of the March 17, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer and LJ user Laffingkat. It also fills the "prosperity" square of my 3-6-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

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ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
Today is the last day of the half-price sale in Frankenstein's Family.  There are still two poems left.  With only one open epic, these are eligible for microfinding if somebody wants to open one.
ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
This poem came out of the September 2014 Creative Jam. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer and [personal profile] helgatwb. It also fills the "indecent proposal" square in my 6-11-14 card for the [community profile] fanbingo fest and the "Frankenstein" square in my 9-11-14 card for the Halloween Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

WARNING: This poem contains rude behavior and sexual harassment.  If those are sensitive topics for you, please consider your state of mind before deciding whether to read onward.



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ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
This poem is spillover from the June 17, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and LJ user Moonwolf1988. It also fills the "loss of possessions" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

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ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls. It fills the "perfect" square of my 9-29-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. This poem belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article talks about untapped potential in SF.

Untapped?  I've been banging it like a rented drum since I could hold a pencil.  So have lots of other writers I know.  So have my favorite shows.  There's a reason most of my favorites run high in diversity, and why I've taken to dicing up ensemble casts to make a good mix.  It's how I want to see the future.  Plus I have an increasing tendency to look at the cast first when considering a new show.  All white male?  Back on the shelf it goes.  Some female, multicultural, disabled, etc. representation?  Flip it over and read the back.  The higher the mix, the more likely I am to buy it.

Steampunk?  It's not just for white blokes anymore.  Superheroes?  Explosion in a paint factory.  Far-future SF?  All my diversity, let me show you it!

I also used material created by and for people of color to entice prison inmates to read poetry and fiction -- to show them that people like themselves could be writers, heroes, could have a future.  It's one of the most subversive things I've done, and it worked.

But every time somebody says "untapped" or the like, they are dismissing  decades worth of awesome accomplishments by all us folks who have been make this stuff.
ysabetwordsmith: Jump gate showing diamond ring of light (blueshift)
[personal profile] zeeth_kyrah has written a gorgeous, complex story for The Blueshift Troupers.  "Finding the God in the Gate" features a traveler who wants to meet God.  It deals with identity, transformation, sex/gender, beauty standards, the search for enlightenment, mortality, medical ethics, and other deep stuff. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is the freebie for the November Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It fills the "genetics" square in the Science Bingo Fest public card. This poem belongs to the project Nine for the Nebula's Heart.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The November 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl met its $300 goal, so there will be a half-price sale running Nov. 17-23.  Based on an audience poll, the featured series will be Frankenstein's Family.

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