Feminist Sci-Fi in the News

Trawling Twitter on my bus ride home, these two stories hit my stream in rapid succession.

First, over at The Atlantic, Imran Siddiqee tackles ‘The Topics Dystopian Films Won’t Touch‘, specifically arguing that ‘while recent dystopias warn youth about over-reliance on computers, totalitarian rule, class warfare, pandemic panics and global warming, very few ask audiences to think deeply about sexism and racism’. This loops back into our discussions some time ago about representation of people of colour, women, LGBTQI populations, etc in Hollywood (which Bella summed up for us when she posted this infographic). At the end of the article, Siddiqee discusses the difference in representation between literature and film, with both Butler and Atwood getting a shout-out (although not for the books we read in this class).

Second, Carolyn Cox at The Mary Sue reports on Ursula Le Guin’s speech at the National Book Awards last night, where she was recognised for her lifetime achievement. There’s a transcript of the speech available here. A couple of quotes:

  • ‘I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.’ (Reminds me of bell hooks: ‘the function of art is to do more than tell it like it is–it is to imagine what is possible’.)
  • ‘We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.’

And a little bonus content: there’s a great piece on Bitch right now about the way women of colour are represented (or not) in popular culture. The article focuses on news representations and erasures, but also includes some speculative fiction content — specifically talking about the recasting of Lavender Brown in the Harry Potter movies (when she was a non-speaking character in the first couple movies, she was black; she magically became a white girl when she emerged as a love interest. SUBTLE).

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