R.E.B.E.L.S #2: A Very Short Review

Remember the Legion of Super-Heroes, the comic as undying as Dracula?   Their popularity of course did not escape the notice of the  powers at DC.  The goal : to clone it in some way, and thus sell more issues and make more money.  rebels This has been tried several ways, never with great success.

The simplest is to just start a second Legion title set in the 30th or 31st  century, with either some members of the original Legion or heroes as similar as possible.  All this served to do was divide the readership.  Another concept, to get around tedious continuity issues and to allow for many more guest stars, is to transplant some part of the team to our time.  This has been tried with several of the more popular individual Legionnaires.  Karate Kid got his own title for a while, and now I see that Mon-El is going to take over Superman’s title for a bit.  This is usually achieved with fast footwork in a time machine, but Mon-El is peculiarly suited for this kind of spin-off because he is actually a 20th century hero, trapped in the Twilight Zone until the Legion sprung him in the far future.  Continue reading


My Life in Comics or: The Kids’ll Love It!


Cover, Armed and Dangerous #, by Bob Hall

Cover, Armed and Dangerous #1, by Bob Hall

Okay: first, I have to apologize.  This should have gone up this morning, but I my day was utterly consumed by the last gasp of Girl Scout Cookie sales.  So let’s talk about something other than cookies, okay?  Like comic books.

For almost four years I was comic-book editor. What was that like? Short answer: it was great.  I got to play with superheroes!  I met talented people and worked hard and made a few actual contributions to an artform I really love.

I have been a comic book reader (to my mother’s dismay) since I was seven and was bought a copy of World’s Finest (then a team-up magazine featuring Batman and Superman) to keep me quiet on a train trip.  Within a couple of years, a friend of my mother gave my brother and me her son’s comic collection which “he had outgrown” (I suspect that meant, in Mom-speak, that she wanted them out of her house).  Suddenly we had over a thousand comic books in the house, and as soon as we’d read those, we started adding to the collection.  We wrote letters to the editor (my first taste of textual analysis!), argued over plot points, had our favorite artists and writers.  And in the fullness of time, we grew up.

And found ourselves working in comics.  My brother got there first: he has been a letterer for something like 30 years.  I came in much later (at age 40) when I was hired as an editor at Acclaim (formerly Valiant) comics.  Unlike most of my co-workers, I was 1) a girl; 2) old; and 3) from a prose-writing background, editorially speaking.  Comics were part of my vocabulary, but by the time I started working at Acclaim I’d published five novels, a bunch of short stories, gone to Clarion, participated in other writing workshops, done some freelance editing.  I was one of two people (my friend Teresa Nielsen Hayden was the other) hired because they wanted someone who brought something more than comics to the table. Continue reading



You can tell I’m way behind in my reading because I’m just now getting to November’s Lady Churchill’s, that fine little zine of literary spec fic. You may remember the November issue: regional stories with down-homey feel oddly lacking in postmodern irony. Good stuff.

There’s one weird story in this zine full of weird stories that struck me: Ted Chiang’s Problem of the Traveling Salesman. Not really a story or even an opinion piece, it reads like a Trade Journal for Mathematicians Lite paper. In other words, the subject matter is equations, but even I can follow the arguments.
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Feedback Saturday — Reader Reviews

Working on the site is something we do on a regular basis, and naturally the question comes up about which features we should add in to make things better/more ineresting/easier for our readers.

This time, the question of allowing user comments and reviews has come up.  So, here’s this week’s question; do you like being able to have access to reader comments or reviews for a story?  Do you want them for a story you’re thinking about buying?  Has a review ever made you not read or not buy a story?



Today is the equinox, literally “even night.”  I like the English better than the Latin so I used it in my new fantasy novel, The Betrayal.

Evennight is when night and day are of equal length.  A time of balance.  A time of change from mostly dark to mostly light (or vice versa).  A time to pause and take a breath before moving ahead. In spring, it’s also a time of new beginnings, of planting seeds.  Continue reading


Things I Didn’t Say on the SF Signal Mind Meld

The wonderful people at SF Signal invited me to meld minds again, this time on the topic of taboos in science fiction.

Now that my essay — a brief speculation on whether or not feminism and a tendency to write stories that deal with gender are a value or a detriment to my publishing career — is in cyberprint, I find myself thinking of other things I could, or should, have said.

I find this often happens when I write essays, perhaps because I keep thinking about the subject after I’ve sent off the so-called finished piece. Since essays are usually opinion pieces of one sort or another, and since most of my opinions are not fixed in concrete, but rather constantly growing and developing, any nonfiction I write is — at best — a snapshot of what I thought the day I wrote the essay.

This does not happen to me with fiction. When I finally decide a story is done, it’s done. If the ideas that underlie it progress, I write another story; I don’t go back and change the old one.

In this particular case, I blame my new thoughts on modern taboos in science fiction on Ursula Le Guin!
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Birds are Aliens and Endangered

When I was about ten, I remember waking early in the morning to high-pitched, alien-sounding cries outside my window.  I looked out to see a young red-tailed hawk perched on the low wood fence about five feet from my window.  He had a limp, dead gopher in one claw and was delicately pulling bits of gore out of its abdomen and swallowing them, then crying out in what I interpreted as joy or victory with each bit of meat that he swallowed.  I watched quietly for several moments.  Suddenly, he looked up with his strange golden eyes, his eyes met mine, and he stayed very still for a long moment, then took flight, his meal firmly held in one claw.

I have known people who were afraid of birds, and also heard that as soft as their feathers are, and as clean as they may appear to the naked eye, they carry nearly-invisible mites and pests and can spread disease.  Continue reading


Shopping for a Good Cause

Oh god, I said to myself, eating dinner and exhausted from a full day of writing – I have a BVC blogpost due in the morning. Must come up with something brilliant, scintillating…

I searched for a topic that hadn’t been covered already. I could, I supposed, talk about the joys of trying to write while a gaggle of teenagers take over the table in the Starbucks next to you – making a distraction into inspiration. Or the fear that comes when you’re hip-deep in a story and your editor tells you that the copy-edited manuscript for another book will arrive next week. Or the story of “grist for the mill and gristle for the crows.” (that will be another post, actually). But then I thought – in these uncertain days, maybe what we need is something hopeful and fun, interactive and… shopping! I can talk about shopping! But not just shopping – Shopping for a Good Cause!

Yes, this does all tie into writing. Come, follow. Continue reading