All That Glitters..

All that Glitters…
A review of A.C. Wise’s “The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again” (Lethe Press, 2015)

By Derek Newman-Stille

  
A.C. Wise’s “The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again” is as beautifully, sparklingly camp as the title suggests, mixing elements from raygun sci fi with a drag aesthetic. Whether drag queens, trans women, or cis-gendered women, the heroines in Wise’s novel are FIERCE. Whether fighting homophobia and misogyny at home or amongst the stars, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron challenges assumptions and pushes for change. These characters are complex, powerful, and absolutely fabulous! 

Escaping from different problematic home environments and desiring a change, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron create a diverse family of people who have sought to find themselves and have discovered a safe space to be who they are and kick but while being themselves. 

A.C. Wise combines images that are normally not associated in science fiction – drag and battle. Fiction often presents the figure of the drag queen as passive and powerless despite the fact that many drag performers have had to fight for every bit of respect and safety they have earned. Wise recognizes that drag communities are in perpetual struggles, perpetual battles to make space for themselves in a world that either erases or fetishises them. There is a FIERCE power in the figure of the drag queen, a figure who resists the control of normativity and is willing to challenge the powers of heteronormativity by being fabulous in public, by meeting the gaze of those who would judge and staring back. The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron transforms the fear they experience into strength, looking for opportunities to empower themselves and others.

The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron, this assemblage of mighty, modern glamazons, is not only made up of drag queens but also trans women and cis-gendered women, uniting in the expression of the power of femininity and unwilling to be disempowered by patriarchy or heteronormativity. These women challenge the way that society presents femininity to us, the audience, and express new ideals of feminine beauty, expression, power, and resistance… and they do it all without casting shade on one another. 

Despite all of the glitter, one shouldn’t assume that this is a fluffy book… well, it does feature a character named Bunny…. but this book combines the power of playful, glittery, shiny fun with messages of empowerment and working together as women of diverse backgrounds to challenge assumptions and re-make the world. “The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again” is as clever as it is campy. 

This is definitely a read that you want to have next to a disco ball, wearing your finest, glitteriest frock, with a martini in hand. Prepare yourself to read some DRAG ’em out battles.

To discover more about A.C. Wise, visit her website at http://www.acwise.net

To find out more about “The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again” and other Lethe Press titles, visit their website at http://www.lethepressbooks.com

Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 58: An Interview with Evelyn Deshane

As part of Write on the Street Peterborough, I had the opportunity to interview author Evelyn Deshane for this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio. We discuss trans literature, horror, genre-crossing, disability, synesthesia, queer fiction, and the relationship between place and identity.

You can listen to this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio at the link below.

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This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.

You can explore Evelyn Deshane’s website at https://evedeshane.wordpress.com/ .

Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 57: An Interview with Joanne Findon

In this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, I interview Joanne Findon – author, professor, medievalist, and specialist in children’s literature. We discuss the complicated category of children’s literature and the fact that children’s lit has a great deal to teach (especially to adult readers). We explore ideas of time travel and the importance of history, medievalism, folklore, feminism, empowerment, and Canadiana.

You can listen to this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio at the link below.

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This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.

 

Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 56: A Discussion with James Kerr About the Potential of SF

In this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, my friend and colleague James Kerr and I discuss the complicated potentials of science fiction. We look at the ways that science fiction relates to current issues, can imagine new possibilities, can bring attention to social issues, and, perhaps most importantly, questions the status quo.

You can listen to this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio at the link below.

img_0564-2

This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.

 

 

Empty

EmptyA review of Drew Karpyshyn’s Star Wars The Old Republic: Revan (Del Rey, 2013).

By Derek Newman-Stille

  
I don’t often get a chance to talk about Star Wars since this is a site that examines Canadian Speculative Fiction, but Star Wars is a franchise that I have enjoyed since i was a child. So, i was extremely excited when i came across the work of Canadian author Drew Karpyshyn. In addition to writing the game Knights of the Old Republic, Karpyshyn has written several novels in the Star Wars franchise.

Star Wars the Old Republic: Revan takes long before the movies of the franchise in a time period when the Republic and its Jedi believe that they have wiped out the Sith Empire. This is a novel of political intrigue and the battle between light and darkness, but it is quintessentially a novel about people and personalities. The Jedi Revan, having been a dark lord of the Sith in the past has been converted to the light by having his memories erased by the Jedi. He now experiences a gap between his live as a Jedi before being seduced to the dark side and his later recovery. This absented presence in his mind leaves an emptiness that he seeks to fill, a need to find what has been lost and fill that void left inside of him. As part of his quest to discover what has been lost, Revan is drawn into a quest across the galaxy to follow those thin threads of memory and weave them together in order to find wholeness.

 Revan’s emptiness is paralleled a planetary emptiness when he discovers a planet that has been totally drained of all Force energy, left a desolate and empty wasteland that is stuck in a state of perpetual emptiness in the Force. This planet was drained of all of its Force by a Sith who feared death and hasn’t simply been imbued with the dark side, but, rather, erased from the Force entirely. When Revan lands on the planet, his own Jedi powers are eliminated as is his connection to the Force, creating an emptiness inside of him that parallels his erased memories. 

Karpyshyn takes on a subject that is challenging for most Star Wars authors, exploring the types of personalities and motivations that underly the desire to become a Sith and the cultural manifestations of a Sith culture. 

To discover more about Drew Karpyshyn, visit his website at http://drewkarpyshyn.com

Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 55: Canadian Arthurian-themed Music

In this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, I explore Canadian musicians who have been inspired by the myth of King Arthur and incorporate his stories into their music. I examine the way that music adds to the power of the myths being retold and the interest in mythic re-tellings. I focus on the work of Heather Dale and Loreena McKennitt, and particularly examine the way that both artists work a spell-like melody into their music.

Because of copyright laws, I only share a sample of each of the works I discuss. You can explore the full songs on the websites of Heather Dale and Loreena McKennitt (listed below).

You can listen to this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio at the link below.

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This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.

 

You can discover more about the work of Heather Dale at her website https://heatherdale.com/

You can discover more about the work of Loreena McKennitt at her website http:loreenamckennitt.com

Speculating Canada on Trent Radio Episode 54: An Interview with Ray Fawkes

In this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio, I interview comic book artist and author Ray Fawkes. Fawkes worked on comics such as “The Spectral Engine”, “Mnemovore”, “One Soul”, and “Intersect”. He has also worked on canonical DC comics titles like “Justice League Dark”, “Constantine”, “Batgirl”, and “Gotham by Midnight”.

We discuss the relationship between art and writing in comics, the power of the comic book form, making a canonical character one’s own, and sexuality in comics.

You can listen to this episode of Speculating Canada on Trent Radio at the link below.

img_0564-2

This audio file was originally broadcast on Trent Radio, and I would like to thank Trent Radio for their continued support. I would also like to thank Dwayne Collins for his consistent tech support and help with the intricacies of creating audio files.

Make sure to allow a few minutes for the file to buffer since it may take a moment before it begins to play.