Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, has died. :(

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He passed away last weekend after losing his battle with cancer.

It’s a sad day for gamers everywhere. Nintendo has been such an influential part of my childhood, and it’s sad to know the man responsible for creating so many happy memories is now dead.

“For young players, classic games are brand new. For older players, they bring back memories and make you feel good.” –Iwata

“We do not run from risk. We run to it. We are taking the risk to move beyond the boundaries of the game industry to reach new players and current players.” –Iwata

“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” –Iwata

He was an incredible man and millions of Nintendo fans will miss him.

So I ask you, what was your favorite Nintendo game? Let me know in the comments. Let’s honor Iwata’s passing with cheerful nostalgia.

My favorite Nintendo game was Super Smash Brothers, mostly because I played it so often with my little brother and his friends. Nintendo games always find a way to bring people together. I will always treasure Iwata’s vision on that.

Submissions OPEN for Fantasy Magazine!

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Are you a queer writer? This submission call is specifically for YOU! Submissions open through May for “Queers Destroy Fantasy!” at Lightspeed’s imprint, Fantasy Magazine. They’re paying 8 cents per word and are expecting fantasy submissions between 1500-7500 words. Christopher Barzak is guest editing. So…get crackin! And good luck!

Taken from their submission guidelines:

    • Who can submit stories for consideration for the special issue? Anyone who identifies as queer.
    • How do you define queer? Gay, lesbian, bisexual, demisexual, asexual, pansexual, intersex, transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer–if you fit within the QUILTBAG, we want you. Identity is what matters for this issue. (Please note that the “A” in QUILTBAG is for “ace/on the asexual spectrum,” not “ally.” We hope allies will support this special issue, but if you are not yourself queer, please do not submit.)
    • I’m queer. What can I submit? Original fantasy short stories, 1500 – 7500 words.
    • How much are you paying for stories? 8 cents per word for original fiction.
    • How queer does my story need to be? We very much want to see diverse queer representation and queer themes, but we are focused on the identity of the authors and the quality of the story, not the “this much queer content per story” meter.
    • When can I expect a response to my submission? We will endeavor to reply as quickly as possible to submissions, but since assembling the special issue is similar to assembling an anthology, stories being seriously considered may be held until July 1, 2015 to allow our editors to consider everything before making final decisions.
    • How many stories and how often may I submit? Our usual policy of allowing authors to only submit a story once every 7 days is lifted for this issue; so while you may only submit one at a time, you can send in something else as soon as we pass on the first one.
    • What about reprints? Reprints for this issue are by solicitation only.
    • Can I submit a rejected story to LIGHTSPEED (or NIGHTMARE) in the future? All stories submitted to Queers Destroy Fantasy! will also simultaneously be considered for regular issues of LIGHTSPEED (or NIGHTMARE). So if you receive a rejection for Queers Destroy Fantasy!, you can consider that story having been rejected by LIGHTSPEED/NIGHTMARE in general. If we end up with so many good stories we can’t fit them all in the special issue, we’ll take such “overflow” for regular issues of the magazines.
    • Can I submit a story previously rejected by LIGHTSPEED or NIGHTMARE to QDF? Yes. Since it’s a different editorial team, it makes sense to allow them to consider such submissions. So if you have a story previously rejected by LIGHTSPEED/NIGHTMARE, feel free to resubmit it.
    • What kind of fantasy? All types of fantasy–high fantasy, contemporary urban tales, surrealism, magical realism, science fantasy, folktales…and anything and everything in between.
    • Is there anything you’re explicitly NOT looking for? Other than the fact that (a) the story needs to be by a queer author and (b) it has to be fantasy, please abide by the regular LIGHTSPEED/FANTASY guidelines. The only two things that our guidelines for this or any issue of LIGHTSPEED/FANTASY explicitly forbid are (a) erotica and (b) media-based fiction and/or fan fiction. Anything else is fair game.

 

Shit sandwiches, the Hugo Awards, and PuppyGate

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I must live in an alternate reality where white straight male writers never win the majority of literary awards, and white straight male narratives are appallingly underrepresented in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction. I mean, whenever I walk into a bookstore or library I have to search for more than an hour just to find one book (JUST ONE) about a white straight guy saving the world. I wish there was just one strong example in scifi/fantasy/horror where the main character was white. And if I want to see white straight men on the silver screen, I can’t without attending those special artsy cinemas that show indie stuff with subtitles.

This must be the alternate reality I live in. A toxic subset of manbabies think white straight male writers have struggled for centuries from what they call, “literary affirmative action” and therefore can’t win Hugo Awards without sabotaging the election process and kicking all the icky gays, racial minorities, and women out. I mean, it’s only fair, right? Because what science fiction, fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction needs more of is less diversity and we can thank the fine folks at Sad Puppies for making this our reality in fucking 2015.

Taken from Book Riot:

Along with the Nebula Awards, the Hugo Awards are considered to be one of the two major awards for science fiction and fantasy works. While the Science Fiction Writer’s Association nominates and votes on Nebula Awards, the qualifications for the Hugos are more lenient. One only has to buy a supporting membership to WorldCon in order to vote.

In recent years, the nominees and award winners for Hugos have begun to diversify. The world is changing, both in and out of publishing. As our world becomes more embracing of diversity, our reading and awards are reflecting that. More women and authors of color have been nominated and are winning. Unfortunately, not everyone sees this as a good thing.

Enter Sad Puppies, a small group of authors and fans that have decided the Hugo Awards were not accurately reflecting the tastes of science fiction and fantasy fandom. (You know, the people who were already voting on the awards.) So Sad Puppies, led by Brad Torgersen, created their own nominee list and encouraged people to vote for them. The list is significantly less diverse that it has been the last few years.

According to Torgersen, the Sad Puppies effort is to fight what he sees as an “insular” fandom of voters at Worldcon. Part of his defense of these choices, however, is more telling:

Along the way we fairly skewered the concept of literary affirmative action — that works and authors should be judged on the basis of author or character demographics and box-checking, not the audience’s enjoyment of the prose…

In a worst-case scenario (which is far too often fact in situations like these), this is coded, aggressive, anti-diversity talk. For the sake of argument, let’s take Torgersen at his word. If he’s speaking plainly, then he’s ignoring a big problem: the publishing industry (especially in science fiction and fantasy) is skewed heavily toward white, male writers.

Torgersen is right in one regard: awards should be handed to the best novels and their writers, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. No one thinks otherwise. But if we’re not reading diversely, the pool of books we nominate will not be diverse, either.

It’s a common straw-man argument against reading diversely: “I read what I like, regardless of the author’s race or gender.” We at Book Riot see this all the time. This argument would work if the publishing industry were fair. If the genders and races of published authors were equivalent to the actual demographics of the world, then sure, that argument holds water. But since the publishing industry isn’t fair, that argument falls apart.

Further Reading:

Elizabeth Bear

Chuck Wendig

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George R. R. Martin also weighed into this fight. His response is taking the limelight right now, so I thought I’d also include it HERE.

The general consensus among authors and readers is this: Sad Puppies’ hijacking of the Hugo Awards is a shit sandwich and spells future disaster for booklovers and writers alike. No, Damsels with Chainsaws is not a SJW blog, but we do want to see good stories. ALL good stories. Expanding fiction for everyone is not going to hurt the SF/F/H community. If anything, I think it’ll make our readership stronger.

Be Careful Who You Show “The ABCs of Death” To

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I has recently come to my attention that teachers and substitutes today really need to be careful what they say and do. For example, I found out that a substitute teacher is being sent to jail for showing the film “The ABC’s of Death” to the high school students she was in charge of. The ages of the students ranged from 14 to 18 so I’m thinking that they’ve seen far worse on TV and the internet. Anyway, the Assistant Principle walked by and confiscated it. She was later arrested on felony charges for showing the movie. She was sentenced to 90 days in jail. For what, you ask? For “disseminating matter harmful to juveniles”. You don’t think these kids have seen worse on TV or the internet when their parents aren’t looking?

The film’s producers, Ant Timpson and Tim League, are pissed. It’s not that their mad that the school that their film was disgusting, but that Sheila Kearns(the sub) is going to jail for showing it. Did I mention that this is a felony? The film’s producers have started an Indiegogo account to help raise money for Kearns’ appeal. Having a 58 yr old grandmother going to jail for 90 days really doesn’t sit well with them. Their goal is $15,000 and, last time I checked, they were at $4,167.

Feel free to donate HERE

Do you think that this was the right thing to do? Was it really a felony showing a horror movie to students? If it is then my sisters 8th grade teacher needs to be punished. What she was 13, her teacher thought it would be brilliant to show Pet Cemetery to the class…my sister couldn’t sleep for a month after that.

Some articles:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-teacher-jailed-for-showing-violent-movie-20150304-story.html

http://www.indiewire.com/article/grandmother-jailed-for-screening-the-abcs-of-death-for-high-school-students-20150310

Fantasy vs Reality: When Children Make a Sacrifice to Slenderman

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This has to be one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard on the news!

I recently saw on the news that a couple of girls stabbed their friend 19 times and left her for dead. Their reason…..They believed that if they murdered their friend, Slenderman would reveal himself to them and they could prove that he was real. They planned this crime for months! Their victim manged to crawl out of the woods and was found by a passing cyclist. They say she’ll make a recovery and her would-be-killers are facing charges now. For more info check out this article.

This is ridiculous. This is like sacrificing your friend to the Hook-man or Bloody Mary. How much to you want to bet that these kids didn’t believe in Santa Claus but they wanted to prove Slenderman when real? Even though you can google Slenderman and it tells you its origins. I remember when Urban Legends were just scary stories you told your friends at a sleepover. When I was a kid we had Bloody Mary and it did not require a human sacrifice.

This is what happens when you don’t monitor your kids. I can just hear activist come out of every nook and cranny with their signs damning violent video games. It’s so easy to blame an inanimate object because it really absolves anybody of responsibility.

Not to stand on my soapbox and preach but parents really need to get their heads out of their asses and start parenting. I’m positive that at least one of the defendants has a psychological problem. Normal kids don’t wake up one morning and say, “Hmm…I think I’ll kill my best friend today”. If parents were more vigilant with monitoring what their children do, I’m sure they would have noticed something was off. But then again, parents don’t want to admit that their is something wrong with their child.

In any case, I’m glad that the victim will recover and I hope that this proves as a warning to parents or future parents about their child’s psychological health.

RIP H.R. Giger :(

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For those who don’t already know, H.R. Giger died last month after an unfortunate accident in his home. Giger created the character designs and landscapes in Ridley Scott’s blockbuster Alien movie franchise. His famous biomechanical art in Necronomicon, is said to be the inspiration behind the Alien films. This New York Times article explains all the details about his death HERE. However I don’t want to talk about H. R. Giger’s death. I want to take a moment to celebrate the amazing work and life of this artist.

H. R. Giger did so much more than just work on the Alien movies. In addition to being an artist, he was also a sculptor and furniture designer, whose works can be seen in his museum. Despite gaining success, Giger is still a misunderstood figure. The art community never gave him his due, demeaning his work by shelving it under “pornographic kitsch.” If all you can see when you look at H. R. Giger’s art are penises, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. Look at his writhing landscapes more closely. Observe how he weaves intricate detailing with phantasmal surrealism. Heavy, dark colors play up his muted highlights, which gives his work an almost metallic appearance. He combines metal with flesh with alien and yet familiar forms. The fact many of his creatures are in the act of foreplay or copulation only adds to the phantasmagoria.

How H.R. Giger’s Brilliant Madness Helped Make Alien So Erotic.

His imagery speaks to me on a deeper, psychological level. When I look at his work, I am reminded how frightening sex is. Sexuality  can be predatory…gritty…even violent. Erotic horror isn’t new, and yet many are quick to write it off as “porn” just because there’s a breast or penis on the canvas. But what of the “alien” that lurks in all of us? What of the bizarre contortions we all make during lovemaking? Is “lovemaking” too cutesy a word when what we truly desire is more honest and dark? H. R. Giger pushed boundaries. He frightened us by flicking the light on and exposing our “nakedness.” He created one of the most popular and iconic monster in cinematic history! And for that, he has my utmost respect. May he rest in peace.