One Note of Discord Amongst the Waves

Follow the Waves, written by Amal El-Mohtar, is a story filled with gorgeous, rhythmic language, of the sort to be expected from someone who is a poet first. It seems that nearly every paragraph is layered with multiple meanings, and contain phrases that we could even call verses…

Insanity or Alternate Reality?: A Trip to the Other Desert

We take it for granted that our perception of reality is grounded in some objective truth. We do not even consider the possibility that there is no such thing, that instead “reality” is composed of a multitude of overlapping spheres of perception, the shared spaces together making up those aspects of reality that we agree upon – the collective consciousness, to give it another name…

The Misrepresentation of the Magical Negro

It is one of the oldest clichés that the “forces of darkness” will set upon that which is good and “light”. In a medium where the heroes are most often white and characters of color – especially black characters – are reduced to plot devices, and in a society where power is designated along lines of “light” and “dark”, the old trope is necessarily racialized…

Old Gods, New Gods, and the Battle for Brain Space

As the battle for “brain space” rages on, with each new scientific innovation, new interpretations of history, shifts in culture and society, we must reconcile these changes with the deep-seated desire in all of us to hold on to some part of our pasts…

Telepathy, Shapeshifting, and the Locus of the Self

The concept of self as a collection of interchangeable parts is consistent with our existential freedom to “reinvent” ourselves, once we recognize that we have the ability to do so. We can change how we interface with others, our outward appearance, our language, our gender, even to a point our “race” – at least with respect to our own internal concept of self, apart, if not completely removed from the perceptions of others…

Coyote Kings and the High Cost of Civilization

Heinz Meaney’s implication is that our final advancement as human beings will be predicated upon the annihilation of the world itself. Faust seems to be suggesting we look at our “highly advanced” civilization for what it is – violent, invasive, and ultimately destructive….

The Razor’s Edge Between Invisibility and Fetishism

For all “darkness” figures into the thinking of fantasy authors, it is conspicuously absent from the features of the characters. Except the “dark lords” and such, who play off of the fact that darkness equates to evil in the white literary imagination. Tolkien took it a step further, equating not only darkness with evil in the abstract, but designing his evil characters – goblins, trolls, and the like – with Africanesque features…

Indian Killer and the Skewering of White Liberals

Alexie points a finger at the self-satisfying ramblings of white liberals, who for all they may understand intellectually, lack any real personal understanding of the Indian condition, or of the fact that there may not even be any such monolithic condition…

Beauty and Self-Hatred: A Reading of Sherman Alexie’s Flight

In Flight, Alexie seems to be asking whether or not self-hatred can be neutralized through assimilation – that is, can Zits’s hatred of his own Indian-ness be dissolved into a claiming of his whiteness? Indeed whiteness itself is a product of assimilation, with Irish, Italian, German, and other European ethnicities blending within the “melting pot” to create a new racial paradigm.