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26 Sep 2023
Writing authentic stories may require you to make the same sacrifice. This is not a question of whether or not you are ready to write indigenous literature, but whether you are willing to do so. Whatever your decision, continue to be kind to indigenous writers. Do not ask us why we are not famous or complain about why we are not getting support for our work. There can only be one answer to that: people are too busy to care. At least you care, and that should be enough to keep my culture alive.
28 Aug 2023
Back in 2005, the journalist Thomas L. Friedman championed the wave of globalisation in the 21st century in his book The World Is Flat. Today, that title’s more notable for its shortcomings than its innate truths. As much as we’d like to believe it, our planet isn’t flat: it’s a treacherous terrain of unequal opportunities. Nevertheless, slowly if not surely, the axis of power is tilting. It’s shifting our lands closer, chipping away at our borders, making them porous enough that if we prick up our ears, we can hear each other speak our stories.  And it’s changing the light, so a few more of us may have our time in the sun.
31 Jul 2023
Given SF’s reputation as the gold standard for portrayals of reproduction, it is surprising to realize that science fiction as a genre contains almost no abortions at all. Yes, there are metaphors for abortion (Alien); yes, there are a plethora of novels that explore abortion bans (Annalee Newitz, The Future of Another Timeline); yes, there are dozens of works exploring forced birth (Octavia Butler, Dawn). But the act of abortion itself? It’s nearly nonexistent. If politicians decided to censor the portrayal of abortion in the media, science fiction would emerge nearly untouched. 
24 Jul 2023
We are gathered here today to listen to the second instalment of a cheeky little BBC audio drama called The Slide. From what I remember, the first episode featured some voice actors I like but I can’t remember who they are now. I also remember sentient and possibly malicious mud?
24 Jul 2023
For me, the limits in analysing MDZS are a source of hope for the continued possibility of resistance against essentialist attitudes towards gender and sexuality, in and beyond contemporary China. While MDZS is recognised as a work of speculative fiction due to its xianxia setting, I find that its speculative force resides in its subversions of hegemonic masculinity within conventions of danmei. The work and genre’s appeal lies in its portrayal of worlds in which gender dynamics a means of creating affect and producing desire, rather than a source of oppression and control. It is a speculative mode which is not detached from embodied experience, but rather deeply informed by it, as affect becomes the starting point from which we imagine alternate forms of existence.
11 Jun 2023
If you’ve ever spent a long hour, in vain, wielding next-level Google fu against unremitting waves of exploitation pulp written about queer men but not for or by us—unable to find a single book displaying any knowledge of or interest in your actual lived experience—then you know that gay bookstores were far better friends to us than today’s internet.
29 May 2023
Water Margin, whose authorship is traditionally attributed to Shi Nai’an and Luo Guanzhong, is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Among these Four Greats, Water Margin was the only one I was studiously dissuaded from reading as a Confucian schoolchild during the 1980s, for the same reasons it became so popular in the Sinosphere: its shockingly violent action, anti-authoritarian themes, and colourfully vulgar depictions of everyday life in the Song Dynasty. Despite my elders’ disapproval, I managed to read The Water Margin through means more foul than fair, and it has since become one of my favourite stories (even as I become more aware about its casual misogyny and centring of masculine perspectives).
29 May 2023
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
29 May 2023
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
22 May 2023
So much of contemporary Star Trek is about looking at what happens to Utopia when it comes under strain.
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