Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett is the story of Polly Perks, who in the method of young women all over fantasy, disguises herself as a man and changes her name to Oliver in order to join the army and find her brother. This being Terry Pratchett jolly hijinks ensue.

There will be spoilers below.

Continue reading

“Why Anne Hathaway?”

Why Anne Hathaway?

That’s the first question and most frequent question that people ask me about Tulpa, or Anne&Me. I try to be gracious and answer the question in the spirit in which it was asked. But the more I encounter it, the more it unsettles me. I deal with it because that comes with the territory of choosing to a famous person as a central character. Nevertheless, after dwelling in this piece for so long, I’m starting to understand the reasons behind my increasing discomfort.

Continue reading

Queer Tropes (Redux)

I penned this piece a year ago, and with it being June felt it was time for an update. With a novel under my belt, I definitely be discussing my experiences in dealing with the industry as well.

______________________

As many of you know, June is the month of LGBTQ Pride and I couldn’t think of a better time to call out a few tropes that inundate comics and media when it comes LGBTQ characters/themes.

Tropes that if I never see again for the rest of my existence, I’d be eternally grateful. While this by no means covers every trope/issue/fail, it definitely hits the major ones.

Take thorough notes, I’m gonna move fast, and this will not be pretty. Class in session and you’re about to get schooled by Prof. [info]neo_prodigy himself!!!

Here beginneth the lesson.

Green Lantern: The Movie

“In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!“

Growing up, I was actually a huge fan of Green Lantern. Growing up, even when I watched Superfriends, I used to remember that if I could be any of the superheroes, it would be Green Lantern. A ring that was only limited by the power of imagination (and maybe yellow in certain cases) for a kid who’s a writer and an artist with an overactive imagination. Abin Sur what? Sinestro who? As far as Corps go, I’d be the HNIC (Head Neo In Charge) up in that fucker.

I also became a huge fan through John Stewart. It was nice for a change to see someone who looked like me getting to be a superhero. At that point, Stewart was probably the most high profile black superhero on DC’s roster. It was also a win when they brought in Kyle Rayner. His story  about lucking into a powerful legacy and actually manning up and taking it on with humility and respect was  refreshing. And let’s just say I lived for the shirtless panels and those with Rayner in his boxers, or point blank nude. And when we learned he was actually Latino, that was a huge win. I also knew that meant Hal Jordan’s return (who was dead at that point) would be inevitable because as DC has proven time and time again with Cassandra Cain, Connor Hawke, Ryan Choi, Lian Harper and others, POCs don’t get to take the lead as superheroes.

Watching the movie, I was reminded why I quit reading Green Lantern as a comic.

Continue reading

Hollowstone: The Official Release

Hello. My name is Dennis R. Upkins and today is the official release of my debut novel, Hollowstone. The book is kinda awesome if I do say so myself, and I’d like for you to check it out.

Life for Noah Scott changes drastically when he is accepted to Hollowstone Academy, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country set in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. Within the hallowed halls of the illustrious school, Noah soon discovers that the world of the privileged is rife with social hierarchies, politics, depravity and corruption. It is also there that Noah meets his roommate and best friend, the charming and enigmatic Caleb Warner. 

Tragedy soon strikes when Cal is brutally murdered in a hold-up. But when Noah is haunted by Cal’s ghost, he soon discovers that the random act of violence was in fact a premeditated one. Determined to uncover the truth and find Cal’s killer, Noah soon finds that the school and its patrons have more than their share of secrets. Secrets they are willing to preserve at any cost. Noah also quickly learns that greater supernatural forces are at play. In a race against time, Noah must solve Cal’s murder before he’s the killer’s next victim.

You can check out the official trailer below:



So why should you pick up Hollowstone?

Here are 12 reasons why I think you’ll want to grab the novel.

In many respects it’s a modern day retelling/homage to the Great Gatsby with a Southern Gothic twist. But more than that, the story features both POCs and queer characters in leading and compelling roles. In fact, of the three main characters, one is a young black male while the other is a bisexual female teen. And for marginalized readers, we know all too well the dearth of stories that feature us with respect.

Characters welcome, this is a profile on the players of Hollowstone. And just to get you even more intrigued, check out an excerpt from the novel.

But wait! There’s more!

As part of promoting the novel, I’m in the middle of a virtual book tour. Not only have I had the distinct pleasure and honor of answering questions about Hollowstone and becoming a published author, but I’ve also had the privilege of writing a series of guest posts about why diversity in the media matters and why representation affects real life.

Hollowstone is available now in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. It’s also available in other ebook formats at Parker Publishing. You can find me at my author page on Amazon, Goodreads and my official website.

Hollowstone, it’s out now. Grab it today. Tell your friends. I think you’ll like it. It’s an awesome story. Granted, I could be a bit biased. Maybe….just a little. ;-)

Why Anderson Cooper Owes You Nothing

As most of you know, June is typically the month of Gay Pride for most places throughout the United States. My feelings on Pride can be adequately summed up hereherehere and here.

With the national spotlight on LGBTQs, it doesn’t take long for the bigotry to commence from many racist white gays, buffoonery from attention whores, homophobia and heterosexism from too many so-called straight “allies.” Suffice to say for the month of June, I’m usually in this mode here:

And already it appears that this year will be no different, for reasons that are about to be clear. For the past couple of months, the debate has emerged once again as to whether or not Anderson Cooper is gay and if he is then he is under some obligation to come out of the closet.

[RED LANTERN RAGE RISING: POINTS BACK TO CASTIEL MACRO OF CUTE NERDY ANGEL RAGE]

Holes in the Map

Recently, the ever-enlightening Sociological Images has had a couple great posts on the erasure of Native Americans from both history and cartography. Now, I’m a map geek, and when people start talking about the social effects of cartography I tend to sit up and pay attention. And it turns out that Google Maps and Google Earth do not display Indian reservations—despite the fact that these locations are at least as socially, geographically, and legally significant as, say, national parks and forests, which are depicted as happy green pixels.

For instance, here is a Google Maps view of northeastern Washington State.

And if you scroll down to the second map, here is that same territory mapped (blurrily, sorry) on the home page for the Colville Indian Reservation. The difference is dramatic—a whole sovereign nation has been made to disappear.

This has happened before.

In 1831 a case was brought to the Supreme Court: Cherokee Nation vs. the State of Georgia. (Link goes to the Wikipedia article, because it’s pretty accurate in this case.) The state had passed laws intended to remove the Cherokee from the lands granted to them in federal treaty; the Cherokee objected to this and sought an injunction on the justification that they were by law a sovereign nation. They had a Constitution modeled explicitly on the American model—and they had a map of their land within the state of Georgia’s borders.

It didn’t help: the Supreme Court declined the case on the basis that the Cherokee were a “denominated domestic dependent nation.” (The alliteration just makes that all the more patronizing, if you ask me.) Judge John Marshall’s ruling stated: “Indian territory is admitted to compose a part of the United States. In all our maps, geographical treatises, histories, and laws, it is so considered.” (Emphrasis mine.) The Cherokee attempt at placing themselves on the “official” maps of the young United States had failed.

And despite the advance and ubiquity of digital maps, we’re still failing at this today.

X-Men: First Class

A visionary by the name of Malcolm X once said, “I don’t favor violence. If we could bring about recognition and respect of our people by peaceful means, well and good. Everybody would like to reach his objectives peacefully. But I’m also a realist. The only people in this country who are asked to be nonviolent are black people.”

So this weekend I had an opportunity to see X-Men: First Class.

SynopsisX-Men: First Class charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events. Before mutants had revealed themselves to the world, and before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Not archenemies, they were instead at first the closest of friends, working together with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop Armageddon (being waged by one Sebastian Shaw, leader of the Hellfire Club). In the process, a grave rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

 



Author confesses militant anti-white, anti-straight agenda in debut novel “Hollowstone”

Today at Ars Marginal, we’re having an exclusive interview with Dennis R. Upkins, who is making the rounds with a virtual book tour for the release of his debut novel, Hollowstone, due out on June 17. While most interviews so far, have asked about Hollowstone‘s journey from blank page to published novel, here at Ars Marginal, we get to the real story: the anti-white, anti-straight agenda of author Dennis R. Upkins.

Ars Marginal gets Dennis R. Upkins to show his true colors