Leigh Brackett: Queen of Space Opera

Leigh Brackett might not have worked in Hollywood had she been named Susan. Raised by a household of women and schooled by nuns, in the 1920s no less, it is remarkable how the legendary sci-fi writer would always move with such ease among the realms of men, both real and fictional. Before the age of thirty Brackett had penned a hard-boiled novel that so intrigued filmmaker Howard Hawks he insisted on meeting the man behind the book. Surprised to find Leigh was of the gentler sex, Hawks hired her anyway to write The Big Sleep, alongside William Faulkner. Brackett went on to author several of Hawks’ later films, including Rio Bravo, El Dorado, Rio Lobo, and the truly weird and magnificent Hatari!, as well as Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye. Her screenplays are lone-hero western and crime vehicles for the likes of Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne, yet when you consider there exists an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to the fantastical Brackett solar system it is clear: Leigh Brackett’s lasting legacy is science fiction. So much so that a young geek named George Lucas, fresh off the first Star Wars, enlisted his favorite author to write Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Although Brackett delivered an initial draft she passed away only a few weeks later, before production could begin. She remains credited as the screenwriter and earned a posthumous Hugo Award for the film, and indeed all throughout the Star Wars universe one finds traces of the writer’s celebrated imagination. 

Jedi Master Yoda is pure Brackett.–Jerry Weist, science fiction historian

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A Grounded Goth Teen Angrily Renames Household Items

It’s not a bathroom, it’s a PISS GRAVEYARD.

They’re not pants, they’re an ASS CAGE.

It’s not a vacuum cleaner, it’s a CHOKING ROBOT.

It’s not an alarm clock, it’s the METAL AWAKENING.

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A Very Toasty Vancouver Meetup

Toastrons of Canada! I’m currently ensconced a few miles outside of Portland, and tomorrow I continue my road trip up the western spine of the continent. Won’t those of you who live in Vancouver (CANADA NOT US) join me for a meetup on Thursday night?

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Things Everyone Else Is Better At Than You

1. Getting all the meat off the rotisserie chicken.

2. Figuring out how to make coffee with a new machine.

3. Keyboard shortcuts.

4. Using a responsible amount of paper towel.

5. Positioning the car next to the take-out window so you need not half-emerge on foot to retrieve your coffee.

6. Positioning the car next to the gas pump so you can both exit your vehicle with ease and reach your tank with the nozzle.

7. Changing sexual positions with leonine grace.

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The Invisible Latina

In May I went to the Book Expo of America at the Javits Convention center to read from my novel. The Amado Women is a story of the lives of four women, who, like me, happen to be Mexican American. I was excited to attend to sign copies of this novel, which represented so many gritos y lagrimas, shrieks and tears. When I got there, I realized the convention center was as huge as Manhattan: dozens of publishers, hundreds of authors, thousands of books. There were banners three stories high reminding me that I was not David Mitchell, that I was not Lena Dunham. I worried there would be no one at the table where I was slotted to sign.

But there were a dozen women waiting for me, thank God. The very first woman was Dominican. She told me she wanted this book for her mother in Dominica, because there were no stories of middle-class Latinas. She, and others, recognized and reminded me of the purpose of my novel. After signing copies I walked around to Consortium’s SpeakFreasy, where people schmoozed and talked. I met a woman representing the foreign rights for a country I forget, and as I told her about my book she said, “But you don’t look Mexican.”

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Link Roundup!



RIP, James Foley. Here’s a piece from 2013 by his friend Clare Gillis.


Tits and Sass (always excellent) on sex work and partner violence:

When I was working at a dungeon, on top of having abusive management, I stumbled into an abusive living situation as well. And every day, I thought to myself, “I don’t deserve to be loved by anyone at home because of what I do.” Which is totally backwards, but we live in a crazy whorephobic world, so it’s very easy to slip into these bad personal situations and ideas while working. Most of the rest of the world supports these kinds of ideas, but that doesn’t make them any less abusive. Just know you deserve to be loved, period. You aren’t “lucky” to have found a guy who vaguely accepts what you do most of the time but calls you a whore when he’s really angry. He hasn’t truly accepted your work, and he’s a dick. I was being told things like, “You don’t deserve food” by people at home and at work. Recognize when people are saying insane shit like that. It is verbal abuse and nothing about your job changes that. I am still recovering from that experience, and it happened over a year ago.


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Kool, Relevant Science: A Cartoon

What’s REALLY inside plant and animal cells.

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Harsh Words for Griffin

Previously in Tommy Wallach’s series of harsh criticisms of the genuine work of small children doing their best: Becky.

Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider

Reviewed by Griffin C. 

I thought that Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider was amazing. I love history and anything about it, especially wars and reading about different people. Alexander Hamilton was a man of power. He was born in the Caribbean and because his parents weren’t married he was called an outsider. When he got older he came to the US to study and was in the army. When England attacked the colonies, he was in the fight, firing till the end. He was also a nice man. In the later days, Alexander Hamilton became Secretary of Treasury. Then one day he was blown away with some bad news. He was told that his nineteen year old son was going to be in a duel to save his dad’s reputation. A couple days later it was the duel. Philip (who was Alexander’s favorite son) held his fire. What a dumb move! If you are in a life or death situation and you don’t fire your weapon you’re crazy. Who does that? The other man, Eacker, wasn’t hesitant and shot Philip once. Philip died the next day. About three years later, Alexander got into a duel himself. He was battling the Vice President. So, it was the Secretary of the Treasury vs. the Vice President…not a good thing. The turnout wasn’t so good. Alexander’s shot had missed. But Burr’s didn’t. They took Hamilton to his Friends house nearby. There he died the next morning. I liked reading this book. I think everyone should read it.


“I thought that Alexander Hamilton: The Outsider was amazing.” There is a term in journalism called “burying the lede.” You have done the opposite of that here. You have exhumed the lede, dressed it up like the winner of a challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and set it on fire.

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