The Teresa Jusino Experience

Create Like An Activist

Tag: Tor.com (Page 1 of 4)

COUNTDOWN TO BEACON: Pop Culture and Religion

One of my favorite sci-fi books of all time, and the protagonist is a Puerto Rican Jesuit priest.

Hey there, everyone!

Yesterday, I told you all about my opportunity with Beacon, and how, beginning March 3, I’m going to be offering subscriptions to my pop culture writing for $5/month.

It got me thinking about the writing I’ve already done as I’ve been brainstorming the kinds of articles I’d like to continue doing, and I’ve decided to send some Blasts From the Past your way, in case you missed them the first time around! This is work of which I am still proud, and showcases the kind of topics I’d like to focus on through a pop culture prism.

This piece, Religion and Science Fiction: Asking the Right Questions, is up at Tor.com. In it, I talk about how religion is handled in science fiction stories, when I think those attempts are most successful, and how I explain my relationship with God using Deep Space Nine. 🙂

EXCERPT: 

From the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I’ve been fascinated by science-related topics. Space Camp was one of my favorite movies, and there was a time I wanted to be an astronaut before I realized you had to like and be good at math. Trips to the Hall of Science in New York City was a favorite pastime. I was also a devout Catholic who loved being in the children’s choir, eventually becoming a leader of song and lector in her church, teaching Sunday school, and attending mass every Sunday. Of her own volition. Without her parents. Science and religion always went hand-in-hand in my house, and things like God Creating the World and Evolution weren’t contradictory. They flowed into and out of each other, and that made sense to me. It still does.

It wasn’t until I got to college and beyond that the science vs. religion discussion slapped me in the face. The older I got, and the more involved I became in various arts communities, the more I realized that all of my new, wonderful, intellectual friends thought belief in God about as passé as spandex leggings and slouch socks under a cinched sweater. People who were into science and all things nerdy weren’t into God, and I didn’t understand that. I never believed that one had to cancel out the other. I had always thought that science and religion complemented each other really well.

If you enjoy this piece, and want to see more like it, consider subscribing to me at Beacon, beginning March 3rd. I’d love to continue to bring you the in-depth pop culture discussion to which you’ve become accustomed! 🙂

Blessings In Disguise

Celebrating my first paycheck as a professional writer for Tor.com. January 2010

Celebrating my first paycheck as a professional writer for Tor.com. January 2010

So remember that bit in my Year In Review post where I said I was still a writer for Tor.com?

Yeah, not so much.

I was let go a couple of days ago, just after I was let go from GirlGamer on New Year’s Day. It’s not been a good week for me, writing-wise.

And while it sucks, I know that a majority chunk of why I was let go was my fault.

For GirlGamer, there were a couple of times when I didn’t get them their promised reviews on time. For Tor.com, it was a mix of not getting them things on time, and not having pitches/articles I did submit approved, because I’d somehow gotten out of step with what they wanted. For the past couple of months, I’d admittedly become ambivalent about submitting things. I could pretend that this was a huge horrible thing that was done to me, but the fact is that I, consciously or unconsciously, did this to myself.

For a while now, I’ve been telling friends that I’ve gotten a bit burnt-out on writing about geeky things. Yes, I love sci-fi and fantasy and comics…but I love other things, too. And I’ve been writing about geeky things online since 2007. That’s five years of writing about geek pop culture. For the past couple of months, I’ve been having trouble maintaining enthusiasm about that; trouble with coming up with new and interesting ways to talk about the same things. And my editors at these sites suffered the effects, and I’m really sorry about that. Because I know I can do better, and they deserved better from me.

What’s funny is that I’ve been saying that I didn’t want to do geek writing anymore for a while now…so, both these gigs letting me go at the same time was kinda like the Universe saying Oh, you don’t want this anymore? Fine. *yoink* You don’t have it anymore. Do something else.

Thanks, Universe. I GET it. GEEZ! 🙂 Trying to see these two incidents as blessings in disguise; answers to a prayer I didn’t even realize I was making except in hindsight.

There’s been a lot that’s happened lately that’s slapped me in the face and forced me to reexamine what I want, how I accomplish things, and the way I plan. I feel like 2013 is gonna be the year where Life takes off the kid gloves, and I’m gonna have to be ready to deal with it. I will be ready to deal with it. This weekend, among other things, I’ll be preparing a list of outlets to which I want to submit work – diverse ones that appeal to all my interests, not just the geeky ones. I’ll be writing pieces for Al Dia and NerdSpan (By the way, did I tell you I was just taken on by NerdSpan as a book reviewer? Well, now you know!), sites that, while I’ll still be writing about arts and culture, I’ll be able to broaden my scope in that arena. I love that I have the chance to more closely examine Latino contributions to culture, and I love that I now have the chance to write about books – some of them sci-fi/fantasy/graphic novels, yes, but also contemporary literary fiction and non-fiction.

This week or next, I plan on meeting with a writer friend of mine whose hustle and tenacity in freelance writing I hugely respect, to pick her brain about what I can do to refocus my energies and pursue the kind of writing I want to be doing. I also hope to incorporate some of the writing I did for Tor and GirlGamer into this blog – so if you really enjoyed my Doctor Who stuff or my comics reviews, you just might start seeing them pop up here once in a while.

And this month, I’m getting back to my fiction, which is what I really want to be doing in the first place. My specs, pilot, and prose fiction have been ignored for way too long. I have writing fellowships for which to prepare and a fictional voice that’s been stagnating in the shadow of my online non-fiction voice.

And I want to state for the record that I will always be grateful to Tor.com for being the first outlet ever to pay me for my words. It meant so much to me in 2010, and it means so much to me today. The staff there is amazing, and I feel privileged to have worked with them. I’m also grateful to GirlGamer for giving me the opportunity to write about comics again when I’d been missing it, having weaned myself off of comics reviewing in favor of writing about television and web content. HB, you’re an awesome editor. And thanks to Cricket for hooking a sistah up.

Writing Career, 2013 is when I start kicking you in the face. Be warned.

Tor Post: “Billy the Vampire Slayer: Slaying’s Not Just For Girls Anymore”

Hello there, everyone! In case you missed it today, I wrote an opinion piece on the new story arc coming up in Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy Season 9, an arc written by Jane Espenson and Drew Greenberg called “Billy the Vampire Slayer” about a gay, male teen who tries to take up the Slayer mantle. Wanna know what I think of the idea? I wrote a thing at Tor.com to tell you all about it!

EXCERPT:

When I first heard the announcement that Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 was introducing a gay male slayer in October in a story arc called “Billy the Vampire Slayer,”my gut reaction was skepticism. I was miffed, even. Kind of the way I felt when I first heard of male roller derby teams. Like, you have every other corner of the world, do you have to invade the female spaces, too? There are so few stories that focus on a well-crafted female protagonists, do we need to add a guy doing the same job? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized…

…I was being a horse’s ass.

To read the full post, or to make a comment about it, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: “Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks”

DOCTOR WHO IS BACK! HUZZAH! Which means I’m back to reviewing it at Tor.com. Reviews will appear every Monday, unless I get hit by a bus or something on a Sunday night. (Dear Universe: don’t let me get hit by a bus.) The Season 7 opener, “Asylum of the Daleks,” was AMAZING! Go on over to Tor.com to find out why and get in on the discussion!

EXCERPT:

Rory deserved getting slapped for holding up his 2,000 year stint as a security guard as a sign that he loved Amy “more,” because it cheapened what he did. You don’t do something out of love for someone only to hold it over their head later as proof that you’re an awesome person. That stops being love and starts being about ego. Rory has been blinded by his own insecurity for so long, and since viewers love him, so have many of them, and this often manifests itself as an irrational dislike of Amy. “Look at how she treats him! She’s so mean, and he’s so good!”

So many times, Rory’s insecurity told him that she wanted the Doctor, when really, whenever she talked about the hero that would save her, she was talking about him. She trusted and believed in Rory utterly. Amy has saved him as often as he’s saved her, and she has consistently chosen Rory over and over again even when, as in “Amy’s Choice” or “The Girl Who Waited,” choosing Rory meant sacrificing a version of her own existence. How do you measure which is more meaningful: waiting for someone for 2,000 years, or choosing the reality with Rory in it even if it means you’d be killing yourself in the process? You can’t. Amy and Rory’s relationship was never as black and white as “Rory Good, Amy Harpy,” and “Asylum of the Daleks” took a mature step forward in the handling of their relationship by examining these complexities.

To read the full review, or to leave a comment at the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: “Bad Teeth, Mommy Issues, and Royal Kisses: Grimm Season 2”

Grimm is back! YAAAAAAAY!

What isn’t back are my weekly Tor.com reviews. Grimm coverage is going to be handled a little differently over there from here on out, and a little less frequently, but you can check out my write-up on the two-part season two opener of Grimm now! And I just might be keeping up my weekly reviews here at The Experience, so stay tuned…

EXCERPT:

Full disclosure: I have a thing about memory loss. With Alzheimer’s in my family, memory loss is one of the scariest things in the world to me, and when we get that glimpse in “Bad Teeth” of Juliette losing Nick in her memory, it was more frightening to me than any monster they could come up with. Having Juliette wake up and not know Nick nearly tore my heart out, and this will be one of the more interesting storylines on the show to me now. I’m interested in seeing how Juliette will change while undergoing this experience, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Nick now handles balancing his relationship with Juliette and his life as a Grimm now that he’s literally been given a blank slate with which to start over. He’d better do things right the second time around, because he screwed up the first time.

For the full review, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: “GeekGirlCon 2012: Better the Second Time Around”

My new favorite geeky band, The Doubleclicks, featuring Molly Lewis at the GeekGirlCONcert at GeekGirlCon. Photo by Moi.

At long last, my write-up on GeekGirlCon 2012 is up at Tor.com! This con really only has gotten better in its second year. Read on to find out how!

EXCERPT:

Driving from L.A. to Seattle and back is hard. So hard, that I needed a couple of days to recuperate. (i.e. Totally pass out and nap for three days, then re-learn English.) Now that I’m back on solid foods and putting sentences together again, I’m happy to report that GeekGirlCon has done nothing but improve and thrive in its second year. Remember last year, when I told you that GeekGirlCon was the most important con of the year? Well, it still is, for many of the same reasons. Same warm, friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Same lack of judgement no matter how you identify, whom you’re dating/married to, or whether or not you have children. Same wonderful spotlight on female contributions to genre storytelling, the sciences, and fandom. But there have been some changes this year, too, which have improved the con immensely, expanding on its mission statement and offering attendees even more.

To read the full write-up, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: “Technology Isn’t the Bad Guy – H+: The Digital Series”

One of the benefits of being in my line of work is getting to sit down and talk with nifty people about the cool stuff in which they’re involved. One such chat was with Alexis Denisof (of Buffy/Angel/Dollhouse fame) about his latest project, a web series from Warner Bros and Bryan Singer called H+: The Digital Series.

I lucked into another interview with one of the series’ producers, Jason Taylor, when he happened to start chatting with me in the press room about my laptop before I even knew who he was. I was having an issue with my laptop, and we started talking tech. Then I asked him if he was a fellow reporter, and what was his outlet. He said, “No. I run Bryan Singer’s production company. My name is Jason.”

*GULP* 🙂

Anyway, check out the result of my SDCC press pass and willingness to strike up conversations with strangers over at Tor.com!

Excerpt:

We joke about it all the time. One day, we’re all just gonna have chips in our heads and we won’t need things like TV or computers anymore. But what if that actually happened?

That’s the starting point for a new web series produced by Warner Bros. and Bryan Singer called H+: The Digital Series, which launches next week. Although, “web series” is a bit of a limited term. Web experience, more like, as H+ is going to be hugely interactive, allowing viewers to watch episodes out of order, edit them together differently, and create their own experience of the world, much like the characters are able to do with their web experiences in the context of the show.

I had the chance to speak with H+ star, Alexis Denisof (Angel, Dollhouse), and producer, Jason Taylor (Bryan Singer’s Bad Hat Harry Productions), about this unique and exciting sci-fi project.

To read the whole article, or comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: “The Nerd Machine: What Geek Culture Should Be”

Zachary Levi hosts a “Conversations for a Cause” panel at SDCC 2012.

When I was at SDCC, I also had the pleasure of going to my first NERD HQ, first just to hang out, then for the Grimm signing and Q&A event, and I loved it! Check out my latest piece at Tor.com about Zachary Levi’s awesome collective of nerds!

Excerpt:

A big part of that warm, friendly vibe was due to Levi. I’ve never watched Chuck (though I plan on remedying that immediately), so I wasn’t really familiar with him before seeing him host a panel at NERD HQ, and I was impressed by how genuine and humble he is. He engages with fans as equals, and seems honored to be in a position to both deliver a unique experience and bring those fans together. The staff follows Levi’s lead, and that sense of community is reflected in everything they do. The fans give the love right back, taking pride in things like their latest Nerd Machine purchases, or their NERD number (the earlier you joined the Nerdvolution, the lower your number – Levi’s is 1), fostering a welcoming, friendly environment for each other.

For the full article, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE!

Tor Post: #SDCC 2012 Cosplay Round-Up

Photo of one of my photogs of choice – Ms. Emily Heyer modelling her SDCC press badge, because I love forcing people into cheesy poses. That’s why SHE’S the photographer, and I’m the writer.

My last SDCC-related post is up at Tor.com! It’s the SDCC 2012 Cosplay Round-Up with some fabulous photos by Emily Heyer (follow her on Twitter at @GotThatMoxie).

Excerpt:

SDCC is geekdom’s largest showcase, so it’s no wonder that cosplayers prepare elaborate costumes all year so that they can bring their “A” games to Comic-Con. That said, this being my first-ever SDCC, I was surprised by how few costumes there were. Cosplay round-ups past have made it seem like there’d be costumes galore, so I was surprised by how few and far between the costumes seemed as I walked around the convention center and San Diego. Perhaps someone else who went can comment below and tell me how this year compared to previous years as far as number of costumes at the con? In any case, there was still plenty to catch my eye. This was Comic-Con after all, and tons of people arrived ready to make a splash!

For photos galore, and to comment on the SDCC cosplay this year, CLICK HERE.

Tor Post: “The Joss Whedon SDCC Firefly Talk You Might Have Missed”

Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Tim Minear, Sean Maher, Nathan Fillian, and Joss Whedon. (Summer Glau is next to Whedon on the floor, but that tattooed dude got in front of me so I couldn’t maneuver! A photographer, I am not.)

We’re in the home stretch of SDCC posts, Ladies and Gentlemen! 🙂 Karin Kross over at Tor.com did a great write-up of the Firefly 10th Anniversary SDCC panel in Ballroom 20. I, however, was lucky enough to get into the Firefly 10th Anniversary press conference immediately afterward, where I got to hear a little more in-depth discussion about Firefly and what it means to the creators and cast.

Excerpt:

One of the more interesting quotes of the day came from Whedon, when a reporter, who brought up Star Trek as a more hopeful look at our future and Firefly as a less utopian one, asked him what he thinks Firefly says to us about our future. “We’re doomed? [laughs] I don’t have any faith in mankind, but I love my friends desperately, and the faith that I have is in their ability to band together when things are appalling and protect each other. That is the definition and biological reason for family. And created family is what I believe in. And so, no, I don’t think we’re gonna solve the problems and have the Federation…”

For the complete article, or to comment on the post, CLICK HERE.

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