The Abstracts — Femspec 9.1, Vol 9, Issue 1, 2008

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EDITORIAL REMARKS:

By Batya Weinbaum
This is a brief welcome and introduction to 9.1. The editor explains what the bulk of the issue contains and gives her own impressions of some of the work and art contained within. She also offers her personal stories in relation to some of the pieces within the issue, such as her trip to Varanasi, India. Closing editorial remarks include news on what can be expected in future issues, as well as honors, accomplishments, and/or nominations of Femspec’s work thus far.

ESSAY:

Failing That, Invent: Writing a Feminist Utopia in the 21st Century By Sylvia Kelso
In this essay, Sylvia Kelso examines what it means to introduce a Utopia that exists in feminist writing in the 21st century, particularly in the science fiction genre. She compares writings about the subject from other authors, and in doing so, traces changes made over the years in such expressions. She concludes with an introspective examination of her own writing styles and agendas.

INTERVIEWS:

Interview with Argentine Author Liliana Bodoc By Mary Ginway
Mary Ginway interviews Liliana Bodoc, an Argentinean author of various books or trilogies on mythology and the fantasy genre. Included in the discussion are explanations of her work, as well as a mention of authors who have provided inspiration to Bodoc. The interviewer also provides in the beginning a synopsis of Bodoc’s work and a bio of the author she interviewed.

Rats, Stones and the Goddess: A Conversation with Sabine Lichtenfels By Batya Weinbaum
Batya conducts an interview with Sabine Lichtenfels, a spiritual leader of the Peace Journalists at Tamera. Included in the conversation are subjects presented in Lichtenfels’s books and interesting philosophical viewpoints from the spiritual leader/author.

POETRY:

Creation Story: Northern California By Diane DiPrima
This is a poem about the nuances and creation of nature that exist in Northern California, according to the observations of the author. The poem hints at the perspective of gender equality within the creation of nature itself.

Show Me Your Other Body By Diane DiPrima
Diane DiPrima presents a poem describing the ethereal beauty and wonder of a person or entity perhaps known only by the poet herself, as she sees her.

ART:

Artwork, two pieces By Mikhalya Harrell
Here contains artwork by Mikhalya Harrell that reflects female oppression and terrorism in all cultures. The first piece resembles a veil that women are forced to wear in areas such as the Middle East. The second piece resembles a ski-mask that terrorists or criminals would often don in North American society. The artist explains the parallels that exist of such symbols in different cultures.

REVIEWS:

Review of The Rat Laugh By Lani Ravin
The reviewer shares her take on a collection of novels about the atrocities of the Holocaust. In the review, Ravin struggles with sensationalism that is present in the collection of fiction books, due to the sensitive and horrific nature of Holocaust events. Although the reviewer has concerns about the appropriateness of fictionalizing a terrible time in history, she hopes the author’s work will get more recognition due to its dedication to the feminine perspective on the subject.

Review of From the Outside Looking In(dian) By Janice M. Bogstad
Janice Bogstad reviews a book by Phillipa Kafka, which is about the trials and tribulations of female Indian writers. The reviewer takes notice of Kafka putting a spotlight on the comparisons between numerous authors who appear to exemplify within their writing the oppressions brought upon women in India and elsewhere. Bogstad finds the book to be an enjoyable read, but feels it lacks balance. She suggests it not be used as a reference.

Review of Afro-Female Futures By Phillipa Kafka
Phillipa Kafka gives a review of a collection of pieces published by Marlene Barr, which are about the black woman’s role in the science fiction genre, contributions of African American writers, and examinations of homosexuality by culturalists, as well as numerous interviews given by Barr and Carl Freedman. The reviewer feels the collection presented by Barr would best be used as a textbook for a college course.

Review of WaitingBy Kathe Davis
This is a review of a novel by Goretti Kyomuhendo, which is about the war and brutal forces of the Ugandan regime run by Dictator Idi Amin, and a family’s tale of being caught up in such a violent environment. The reviewer suggests that the author offers the reader with a message of hope amidst chaos.

Review of The Galilee EskimosBy Batya Weinbaum
Batya reviews a film about the lives of Jewish women trying to nurture gender equality in a male dominated society, as well as struggling to hold onto their land. The women are portrayed as peaceful and smart heroines while they take action. The men, according to the reviewer, appear silly as they choose the brutal force tactic of defending the land with weapons.

Review of You, the LivingBy Batya Weinbaum
The reviewer examines a film that flashes through the intimate and ordinary points of a person’s life that turn dramatic with the conclusion that each individual must face an inevitable reality. The movie seems to be highly recommended by the reviewer as a must see for its humorous honesty of the human condition.

Review of The Painted PortalBy Li Weinbaum
Li Weinbaum summarizes the dramatic plot of this historical fiction book geared towards a young adult audience, and examines the characters in it with a critical and perceptive eye.

Review of Santora, the Good DaughterBy Ardys DeLu
The reviewer thoroughly enjoyed this book, which centers on a Mexican-American woman who discovers she has the spiritual gift of healing. Ardys DeLu discusses in this review the major aspects in the book and its apparent worthiness of class study or discussion.

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