It was springtime in 2018, a little more than a year into Donald Trump’s presidency. With the rising rates of hate crimes and the vitriolic rhetoric being thrown to the masses from the White House, many were on edge. We were becoming increasingly aware of just how fragile democracy was, yet we continued living our lives as best we could, sometimes looking for ways to forget that the threat of fascism was just underneath our noses. It should be no surprise that A Quiet Place resonated with many of us.

The film follows a family of five as they navigate…

In the summer of 2015, a then 20 year old Dylann Roof opened fire inside a Charleston, South Carolina church, killing a total of nine Black Americans. This atrocious act left many in the country shaken up, especially Black Americans. However, it did not take long for media outlets to detail his ‘troubled’ life at home and at school. Several stories suggested a struggle with mental illness. …

Zack Snyder [left] and Joss Whedon [right]

In 2013, I watched Zack Snyder’s film that launched the beginning of the DC Extended Universe, Man of Steel. Admittedly, my initial reaction to it was neutral. I didn’t find anything particularly wrong with it, but it wasn’t my favorite superhero movie. My feelings towards the film would change years later after re-watching it. In doing this, I gained a new appreciation for the tone it presented in a genre quickly becoming saturated with the brightness and sometimes silliness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

What I didn’t realize until years later was not only that Man of Steel was downright…

In 2008, the first Black president of the United States of America was elected. In that same year, same-sex marriage was legalized in California only to be overturned by Proposition 8. Gun sales following election day went up. For all the talk about progress, it was clear there was a fear of change in the air. Yes, the first man of color was elected to run the country, but there were clear anxieties among white conservatives that with his new power, President Obama would encourage Black people to seek some sort of “revenge” on white people. …

From Left to Right: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba) from the Marvel Cinematic Universe

It’s time for fandom (particularly, white fandom) to learn what “character-coding” is and how they’ve been misusing it.

Character-coding is often used by speculative writers and filmmakers to assign traits associated with a certain group of people to non-human characters without explicitly labeling said characters as members of that group.

Examples of character coding can be seen in movies like Avatar (2009) with the Navi, who are based off of varying Indigenous people (particularly, Indigenous people of color) from around the world, the widely popular video game The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (2017) with the residents of…

The District 11 three finger salute in “The Hunger Games”

“If [the Black individual’s] repressed emotions are not released in non-violent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history. So I have not said to my people, ‘Get rid of your discontent.’ Rather, I have tried to say that this normal and healthy discontent can be channeled into the creative outlet of nonviolent direct action. And now this approach is being termed extremist.”

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

From “A Letter from Birmingham Jail”

Since the murder of George Floyd in late May of 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement…

Hi Geekdom,

It’s time to admit something to ourselves — being a “nerd” or a “geek” is no longer subject to stigmatization. We are now the “cool kids” on campus, in the workplace, etc.

Now, for some younger nerds reading this, what I just said is probably obvious. Chances are, if you are a Gen Z nerd, you may recall little to no incidents where you were made to feel “less than” for consuming comic books, cartoons, anime, science fiction novels, etc. At most, older Gen Z nerds probably witnessed the culture shift that has taken place in the last…

A still featuring female characters Pepper Potts, The Scarlet Witch, Captain Marvel, and Shuri, from “Avengers: Endgame” (2019).

In the past few years, we have seen the stigma surrounding the label “feminist” very slowly begin to lose its hold, and as we often see when our political and social climates change, so does our fiction.

What we are seeing now are writers attempting to present us with female characters who are more complex in their personalities, needs, and wants rather than being made to simply be extensions of their male counterparts. Obviously, this is a good thing. …

With rising anxieties surrounding Covoid-19 and the sneaky spread of Eco-fascist memes on the internet, maybe it’s a good time to talk about how the Russos and their creative team failed with Thanos and — intentionally or not — promoted Eco-fascist ideologies.

Now, this isn’t my first rant about the character and it probably won’t be my last, but I should point out that some of my favorite villains of the speculative genre fall under the “Eco-terrorist/extremist” category. And with the growing threat of climate change and the “trapped” feeling many Millennials and those of Gen-Z have begun to feel…

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) in “Thor: Ragnarok”

It was the Spring of 2018. Set photos of DC Universe’s Titans were leaked online giving fans their first look of Anna Diop as Starfire.

As should be expected, the set photos were not completely pleasing to the eye. Without the finishing touches of special effects, set photos of any movie or television show of the speculative genre tend to look pretty lackluster. Now, while there were complaints about how the other cast members looked, there was no denying that Diop received most of the backlash. Many complained about how “cheap” her wig looked to them. Others, however, went on…

Shafira Jordan

You may call me Shafira. I enjoy speculative fiction, and I write about it here.

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