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Tansy Rayner Roberts

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Read the Introduction to The Mother of Invention, an SF Anthology Focused on Artificial Intelligence and Robots

From Pygmalion and Galatea to Frankenstein, Ex Machina and Person of Interest, the fictional landscape so often frames cisgender men as the creators of artificial life, leading to the same kinds of stories being told over and over. We want to bring some genuine revolution to the way that artificial intelligence stories are told, and how they intersect with gender identity, parenthood, sexuality, war, and the future of our species. How can we interrogate the gendered assumptions around the making of robots compared with the making of babies? Can computers learn to speak in a code beyond the (gender) binary?

If necessity is the mother of invention, what exciting AI might come to exist in the hands of a more diverse range of innovators?

Speculative fiction anthology Mother of Invention, edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Rivqa Rafael, is a showcase of diverse, challenging stories about women as creators of Artificial Intelligence and robots, forthcoming in September 2018 from award winning Australian publisher Twelfth Planet Press. Pre-order now from Amazon or from crowd funding site BackerKit. We’re excited to share Roberts and Rafael’s introduction to the anthology below!

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Visting Hours Are Over, Jessica Jones

It’s easy to forget at times that Jessica Jones is a show about superpowers, because of the heavy genre focus on crime investigation/noir, not to mention the lack of spandex. But one of the big questions that runs through various superhero narratives (and Marvel comics/cinematic works in particular) is that of superhero law and order.

How do you police people with powers? What new laws do you need to deal with them? How do you incarcerate them without removing their human rights?

Do they even get human rights?

We see this play out practice in these episodes where it’s previously been theoretical: Alisa is incarcerated, and she’s a prison fatality waiting to happen. But is she going to be the killer or victim?

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Jessica Jones Knows Where To Ditch A Body

If doors were the overriding theme of Episode 1, then the word ‘freak’ is all over this one. As is often the case with Jessica Jones, there’s a double meaning in that: people with powers, of course, who are referred to in this show as Supers or Powers (Powereds?), but also the recent run of freak accidents happening to people associated with that mysterious lab, and the people experimented upon.

Jessica, being the noir heroine she is, kicks off the episode with a bunch of performative Bad Behaviour In Bars including far too much whiskey, broken glasses from slamming them down too quickly (her bartender is remarkably understanding) and a less-than satisfying hookup in a toilet stall.

Did I mention that it’s raining? So raining.

[Read more]

Open The Door Wider, Jessica Jones

If a door won’t stay closed, build a stronger door.

My favourite thing so far about Season 2 is that Jessica Jones’ toxic relationship with doors continues unabated. If anything, the doors are more significant this time around.

Welcome back to Jessicaland! Each of the Marvel Neflix series has its own visual language which is all the more interesting because they each take place in the same city, with overlapping geography… and yet each of them clearly is set in its own universe.

The universe of Jessica Jones is one of noir angles and shadows, of broken buildings and big glass windows best viewed through a long-lens camera. Our hard-drinking, angry detective is even harder drinking and angrier this time around. She’s lost her taste for pro bono work, and is deliberately choosing clients she doesn’t like so she doesn’t have to care about anything which… is not melding well with her anger issues.

[Spoilers for season 2, Episode 1.]

There’s Nothing ‘Only’ About Being a Journalist: An Appreciation of Sarah Jane Smith

“I have learned that life on Earth can be an adventure, too. You never know what you might find!”

Sarah Jane Smith was one of the most influential figures on me growing up, as a media representation of a professional working woman, as well as the “girl reporter” archetype.

In 1970s Doctor Who, the role of the female co-star evolved to someone who was a proper partner to the Doctor, if not entirely his equal. These included “Actually I have a doctorate too” Liz Shaw, “I got better marks at school than the Doctor” Romana, “I can rescue myself with skeleton keys” Jo Grant, and “I will stab you in your sleep” Leela.

But Sarah Jane Smith was the first Doctor Who companion who balanced an outside job with her TARDIS adventures. When we met her in “The Time Warrior,” she was investigating the same missing scientists plot as the Doctor and UNIT—indeed, for a good part of the story, she considers the Doctor a suspect.

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The Cheysuli Reread, Book 8: Tapestry of Lions

Tansy Rayner Roberts is rereading the Cheysuli Chronicles, an epic fantasy series and family saga by Jennifer Roberson which combines war, magic and prophecy with domestic politics, romance and issues to do with cultural appropriation and colonialism.

It’s the last installment of this series of angsty heroes, feisty heroines, stoic warriors and chatty animal companions. Fly, my pretties, fly! Will the prophecy be fulfilled? Will the end result be worth the generations of tragic romances and arranged marriages?

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The Cheysuli Reread, Book 7: Flight of the Raven

Tansy Rayner Roberts is rereading the Cheysuli Chronicles, an epic fantasy series and family saga by Jennifer Roberson which combines war, magic and prophecy with domestic politics, romance and issues to do with cultural appropriation and colonialism.

This is the book I remembered least of the original series, and the only one I didn’t own—I think it’s possible I refused to purchase this one because I loathed the front cover (which is impressive because some of the covers I did buy are quite terrible), and possibly because of the tragic ending? In any case, I liked this one a LOT more than I expected this time around…

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The Cheysuli Reread, Book 6: Daughter of the Lion

Tansy Rayner Roberts is rereading the Cheysuli Chronicles, an epic fantasy series and family saga by Jennifer Roberson which combines war, magic and prophecy with domestic politics, romance and issues to do with cultural appropriation and colonialism.

In which we finally get our first female protagonist since Shapechangers: an angry, magical warrior who has a Lot Of Complaints about (a) the expected role of princesses, (b) the patriarchy, (c) pompous older brothers, (d) the lack of swords in her life, and (e) WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?

This one used to be my favourite! Let’s see how it holds up.

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The Cheysuli Reread, Book 5: A Pride of Princes

Tansy Rayner Roberts is rereading the Cheysuli Chronicles, an epic fantasy series and family saga by Jennifer Roberson which combines war, magic and prophecy with domestic politics, romance and issues to do with cultural appropriation and colonialism.

In which three strapping princes go through hell and back, and happy endings are for families that don’t have an over-complicated prophecy to fulfil, no matter the personal cost…

[Book 5: A Pride of Princes]

The Cheysuli Reread, Book 4: Track of the White Wolf

Tansy Rayner Roberts is rereading the Cheysuli Chronicles, an epic fantasy series and family saga by Jennifer Roberson which combines war, magic and prophecy with domestic politics, romance and issues to do with cultural appropriation and colonialism.

A new book, a new Cheysuli prince—but this one isn’t Cheysuli enough for the Cheysuli (or Homanan enough for the Homanans). Also introducing: fake Ireland, sinister Atvia, and a bunch more babies to add to the complex work of art that is the royal family tree.

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The Cheysuli Reread, Book 3: Legacy of the Sword

Tansy Rayner Roberts is rereading The Cheysuli Chronicles, an epic fantasy series and family saga by Jennifer Roberson which combines war, magic and prophecy with domestic politics, romance and issues to do with cultural appropriation and colonialism.

I wasn’t expecting this one to be my favourite so far! An epic struggle of one man with himself, some interesting gender politics along the way, and a new generation of angry magical kids start making themselves known.

[Read more]

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