• Sigrid Ellis

  • Bio

    Sigrid Ellis is co-editor of the Hugo-nominated Queers Dig Time Lords and Chicks Dig Comics anthologies. She edits the best-selling Pretty Deadly from Image Comics. She is the flash-fiction editor of Queers Destroy Science Fiction, from Lightspeed Press. She edited the Hugo-nominated Apex Magazine for 2014. She lives with her partner, their two homeschooled children, her partner’s boyfriend, and a host of vertebrate and invertebrate pets in Saint Paul, MN.
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What sticks with you

It’s funny, what sticks with me from the books I read when I was younger.

I ponder this as I watch what fiction my kids take in. J and I have talked about this, about how there’s no way of knowing how kids process stories. I, for instance, read a lot of things as prescriptive when they were probably meant as descriptive — and descriptive of dysfunctional or terrible things, at that. Observing my habits, no-one on the outside could know that understood the Little House on the Prairie television series to mean “conform at any cost, lest the entire town know and shame you,” but that I found Stephen King’s IT to be inspirational literature.

Tl;dr, people’s heads are complicated.

I digress.

The point I set out to make, however, is that sometimes the oddest little things stick in my head. There’s a series of books, the Fifth Millenium books, jointly written by S.M. Stirling, Shirley Meier, and Karen Wehrstein. They are post-apocalyptic fantasy, full of cultural mashups and depictions of women, queers, and people of color that were liberating to teenage-Sigrid, but are, um … more problematic, now.

(Still. I can’t slam those books entirely, even though I wince at many bits. First portrayal of lesbian and bisexual women who actually had sex I had ever read in my life.)

Hm. I digress again.

ANYWAY.

The bits that sticks with me the most comes from Lion’s Heart and Lion’s Soul, the two books by Karen Wehrstein that tell the life of Chevenga, leader of the army that destroys the evil Arkan Empire. In them, at some point Chevenga is pondering something he calls the size of his shadow. How we go through our lives and we do things, and we cannot predict how those actions ripple through people’s lives. We can’t predict or control how our shadow falls. Yet, we owe it to others and to ourselves to be aware of our effect in the world. We need to remember to look behind ourselves and see if we have thoughtlessly caused harm or offence. And, if so, we need to turn around and go try to repair the damage.

I think about that, when I look at human systems. The actors, in these systems, do they know where their shadows fall? Do they care? How much of a given mess could be fixed by someone stopping to turn around and check the path of their actions, to reach out and help someone back up?

It’s funny what sticks with you, in books. Knowing where your shadow falls.

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Awards eligibility

Hello, all!

It’s time to remind people of what works I have done that are eligible for awards for 2013. In addition, please, please go look at the 2014 Awards Eligibility post John Scalzi is hosting. It is full of talented people and great work, much of which I had forgotten was published in the last year.

I have one work this year, Queers Dig Time Lords, co-edited with Michael Damian Thomas, from Mad Norwegian Press.

If you liked the book, and are considering nominating it for various things, it is eligible in Best Related Work or the equivalent.

Thank you. And do go check out the Scalzi post. It’s well worth the time.

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2013 Moments in Fandom

When I was a young adult, I told people I was a feminist. Which I believed to be true. And then I strove to match what I thought a feminist would be according to other people. I looked around for some sort of community standard, and aimed for it. And when I failed I said “I’m a bad feminist” or “that wasn’t very feminist of me.”

These days, if I do it or say it or think it or feel it, it’s feminist, because I am one, and I am doing it.

This is how I feel about 2013 and fandom.

Your main fandom of the year?

I don’t think I had one. I re-read the Phryne Fisher series two more times. I watched Doctor Who, and Once Upon a Time, and other shows from last year. There are a lot of things I enjoyed this year, but none to the point of obsession.

Your favorite film you watched this year?

That’s probably Pacific Rim. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I loved the acting, the costumes and set decoration, the soundtrack, the visual effects. I yelped in glee during some of the fight scenes. I love the character interactions and dynamics. And I love the messages of the movie.

What I probably love the most about Pacific Rim, though, is the pure love my son has for it. He loves the kaiju. Loves them. When I see adorable fanart of baby kaiju on Tumblr, I save the posts to show him. I am planning on taking both the kids to see Godzilla because “Godzilla was the first kaiju.”

Your favorite book read this year?

Parasite, by Mira Grant.

I don’t know how to talk about what makes this book so good without giving away the cliffhanger punchline of an ending. (And this is the first book in a series, so the ending is more of a pause in events.) But I love the narrative voice. I love the premise of the world. I love the way Mira weaves queers and people of color and people of different ages and abilities into her books. The building of fictional worlds the resemble our own reality should not be so noteworthy, but it still is, and Mira does a fantastic job.

The story rockets along, and I deeply want to know what happens next.

Your favorite tv show of the year?

Oh, easy.

Sleepy Hollow.

This show is RIDIC. It is … it is crazypants whackadoo ambitiously off the rails. And it knows this and it owns it and it is keeping faith with the viewer. This is a show in which a time-travelling Ichabod Crane is just a blip in the premise that revolves around the Book of Revelations and the End of Days.

Oh, and Hessians. Can’t forget the Hessians. (Stuff You Missed in History did a special podcast on the Hessians just because so many people were emailing in to ask about them, as a direct result of this show.)

Here’s the thing. The opening credits cast has four names in it. Two are women. Two are people of color. The show runners and writers have specifically and publicly committed to casting diversity, to casting for women and people of color. And they are doing a damn fine job. If Sleepy Hollow, a show set in New England and also set in the 1770s early America, can easily feature women and people of color as their main characters, then all the rest of you tv shows don’t have any sort of bullshit excuse. No more of this “well, it’s not historically accurate,” or, “that doesn’t make sense for where the story takes place.”

Nope. Nuh-uh. Suck it up, writers. Your excuses are invalid.

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

Sleepy Hollow, as I mention above.

The television reviews of Genevieve Valentine, particularly her reviews of Reign.

The truly wonderful Geek Girl Con, which I hope to get back to in a year or two.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

Scandal. This show was my HUGE favorite last year, and this year’s season just … I don’t even know. So many things are not right about it, I have stopped watching.

Second runner-up? Agents of SHIELD. This Marvel cinematic universe tie-in had absolutely every advantage, and it’s just not very good. I am watching it with my son, and I will keep watching it. But I really hope it finds some sort of footing after the mid-season break. I tend to do a lot of texting while we watch it together.

Your fiction boyfriend of the year?

Movie-verse Thor.
Movie-verse Captain America.
Stacker Pentacost

Your fiction girlfriend of the year?

It’s still Regina Mills from Once Upon a Time. I mean the show is really not very good, and the parts I care about are only 20% of what happens on the screen. But I still care what happens to her.

Your biggest squee moment of the year?

I quite liked The Day of the Doctor, the big Doctor Who episode for the 50th anniversary.

I squealed out loud in the movie theater during Pacific Rim when Gypsy Danger picked up a ship like a baseball bat.

The most missed of your old fandoms?

Comics. For various reasons, I haven’t kept up with reading comics this year, and I miss them. I hope to get back into the habit in 2014.

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?

New Sherlock season!
The continuation of the Marvel cinematic universe!
New Phryne Fisher novel!

I am certain there is more. There’s ALWAYS more amazing, unexpected, fantastic stuff coming. Because the world is full of talented and ambitious people driven to produce story.

My thanks to them all.

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Apex Magazine editor-in-chief

As of January 1st, 2014, I will be the new editor-in-chief of Apex Magazine.

This is very exciting. Apex is a great, great magazine, multiply-nominated for awards. I said in my intro post that I am honored to be a part of the magazine. That sounds sort of trite, it’s what a person ALWAYS says, right?

I am genuinely honored. I feel it is an honor, a gift granted to me, to try my hand at furthering the work that Apex does. I hope to do well.

We’ll all see the results together, I expect!

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Growing pains and generational shifts

1. There’s an ongoing conversation occurring about diversity in science fiction and fantasy, both in the literature and media and in the fannish communities and conventions. Check out the Twitter hashtag #DiversityinSFF for places to join in that conversation.

2. Rose Lemberg in hosting a conversation at her blog, “Disability, Diversity, Dignity”. This is a case where you DO read the comments.

3. DC Comics is having a rough month, and it appears to be entirely self-inflicted. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman are leaving the Batwoman title due to DC’s refusal to allow the lead to marry.. While this may be due to a desire on editorial’s part for NO major characters to marry, the forbidding of a GAY marriage is pissing people off.

Additionally, DC is running a talent search. In which artists are to draw Harley Quinn sexily committing suicide.

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It’s a generational shift. These are the growing pains. The future is here, and it’s FULL of difference and diversity. And there are consequently a host of

old man yells at cloud

old [for various values of age] men [and women and everyone else] yelling [or conversing without listening or monologing] at clouds [reality].

Dear Fearful Reactionaries Who Desire a Past Status Quo Benefiting Themselves at the Expense of Others:

Suck it the fuck up and get the hell out of the way.

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American Elsewhere

I recently saw a post on Elizabeth Bear’s blog that said something along the lines of, ‘American Elsewhere, Welcome to Night Vale, Gravity Falls. Discuss.’ More or less. I thought to myself, well, I like Welcome to Night Vale and I like Gravity Falls — what’s this other thing?

It turns out that American Elsewhere is a novel by Robert Jackson Bennett. American Elsewhere is distinctly up my street, as it were. It’s about consequences, and secret identity, and the past both coming home to roost and being kicked to the curb. Moreover, it’s a story with diversity along a number of lines. It’s a book set in a world that I recognize, where people speak and act like in a way I feel is real and valid.

American Elsewhere is a bit darker than Gravity Falls. It remains to be seen how it compares to Welcome to Night Vale. At any rate — if you like those two things, I recommend you give American Elsewhere a shot.

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Queers Dig Time Lords: More Reviews!

Starburst Magazine

“Right now, when the whole Whoniverse is speculating on who the Twelfth Doctor will be and wondering whether a woman or person of colour will take over the role, a book that embraces equality in all its forms seems perfectly timed and makes for excellent reading.”

Allwaysunmended

“The bottom line for many of these essays seems to be that the Doctor and his companions in their many forms instilled confidence in those who admired them, and many dreamt of someday being whisked away in the TARDIS, free to develop and be themselves as they traveled from time to time and place to place, free from worry, fear, doubt and judgment.”

Cobalt

“As Doctor Who has become arguably more heteronormative (and definitely more mainstream), so has the queer community. Neither the blue Police Box nor the gay community are just for radicals and weirdos any more.”

GScene

“There’s a great sense of fun in this book and allowing such a wide range of authors to contribute their thoughts, ideas and experiences of quite what Dr Who has meant to them and how it affected them is a great way to celebrate this most treasured of evening serials. Some of these experiences are really quite funny, others touched me deeply and one or two are simply brilliant.”

Of Dice and Pen

“However, the stand-out essays (for me at least) are the ones that take a more in-depth look at the show itself and how it handles LGBTQ characters and themes.”

Life, Doctor Who, and Combom

“The anthology is filled with heart-warming coming out stories and personal accounts of the impact the series has had on the lives of individuals. Regardless of your sexual orientation, all of these stories have something that fans can empathise with in their personal history. ”

The Tearoom in the Tardis

“I was truly impressed by the range of authors included, and the fact that more than gay men were included: there are essays by lesbian, transgender, bi male, and bi female authors. The authors have totally different identities and viewpoints and Whovian histories; they are just as complementary and contradictory as you would expect in real life.”

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