27 January 2020

Roundtable Roundup: Jan. - Dec. 2019

I've mentioned a huge chunk of my blogging is devoted to an awesome site I'm proud to work for, Speculative Chic. I joined spring of 2018 and primarily work as a content editor, but I also contribute to articles, too!

I have a lot of fun whenever we do the Roundtables, a monthly post where we gather our contributors to talk about a specific topic in fantasy, sci fi, and horror. You can expect books, movies, TV, video games, anime, manga, and comics to pop up in any given conversation, as we explore a wide variety of media on our site.

Here are my Roundtable contributions for 2019!

January 2019 - That First Spark
[...] it’s the first of the year. What’s the first thing that you remember that set you on the path to becoming the magnificent speculative fiction fan that you are today? What was the earliest piece of speculative fiction that sparked that special something in your brain? Join us now as we reminisce!
My first introduction to my genre of choice, fantasy, started at a very young age with fairy tales! I discuss Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, Jim Henson's The Storyteller, and Nippon Animation's Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics. Read more here.

February 2019 -  Black History and Future Month
In honor of Black History Month, and this month’s book club selection, How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?, we’re taking a look at the Black creators and performers who inspire us and lead the way towards the future. Who is your favorite? Maybe they made the cut! Read on for more!
For this post I discuss N.K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Tade Thompson's The Murders of Molly Southborne. Each book served as my first introduction to each author, and they blew me away. I will follow each author forever and read ALL THEIR THINGS. Read more here.

July 2019 - Speculative Pride
While June has come and gone, here at Speculative Chic we’re continuing Pride by bringing you the creators, creatives, and creations from the LGBTQIA+ community that we absolutely love. Just as there are many colors in the rainbow, there are many things that enrich our lives and bring us joy. Take a look!
July is the month I started helming Roundtables, and I've been running them since. For this post I discuss Margaret Killjoy's Danielle Cain series, featuring The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion and its follow-up, The Barrow Will Send What it May. Read more here.

September 2019 - Speculative Chic
In honor of the long-standing tradition that is the Vogue September Issue, we’re doing our own take for this month’s Roundtable! We’re talking the memorable fashions from science fiction, fantasy, and horror that truly wowed us. The speculative genre’s key question is “what if?” and costume designers ask the same question when it comes to bringing a world or character to life through clothing. [...] there’s a wide variety of styles out there, and all of them iconic. Come explore our favorites!
When it comes to movies, I talk about Ruth E. Carter's designs for Black Panther, with my favorite costumes belonging to M'Baku. From the world of gaming (and later anime!) I focus on Touken Ranbu, with my favorite clothing belonging to Mikazuki Munechika, designed by the artist Sata. Lastly, I discuss the luscious costumes from Crimson Peak, designed by Kate Hawley -- and I pretty much like all the leads' costumes! Read more here.

October 2019 - My Favorite Monster
Greetings, faithful servants! Slip into that trusty white lab coat; wash those hands before sliding on your latex gloves; and don’t forget the proper eyewear! Get ready for a jolt to your electrodes as we mash some monsters for this month’s Roundtable! We’ve invited Speculative Chic contributors to share our favorite beastly horrors with you. From sexy to scary, bad to beautiful, creative to classic, we have something for everyone in this graveyard smash!
In my contribution, I tackle monsters from movies, anime, and video games: The Jötunn from The Ritual, The Bear from Annihilation, The Amygdala from Bloodborne, and The Chimera of Orvien from Garo: The Animation. Read more here.


November 2019 - To Nano, or Not to Nano
It’s that time of year again — the annual event for writers where they attempt to complete a 50,000-word manuscript in 30 days: Nanowrimo!  [...] We’ve decided to tap into the expertise of our Speculative Chic contributors — all awesome authors in their own right — to give you a collective pep talk if you want to participate in Nanowrimo this year! And if you’re not feeling this event, no worries — we’ve got your back there, too!
I've been an epic failure at Nanowrimo for years, so I tend to be in the "Not to Nano" camp, but I still felt inclined to offer something helpful to writers, so I've got links to worksheets, book recommendations, and online worldbuilding software to help you plan your novel. Read more here.

November 2019 - Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Strings: Holiday Wishlist 2019
For well over a hundred years, we’ve been encouraged to ask directly for the things we want, whether it’s through letters to Santa, shopping lists given to our family (do you remember the era of the Sears and JCPenney holiday catalogs?) and our favorite online stores’ “Add to Wishlist” feature. [...] I think it’s a safe assumption to make that when we create our lists, there’s the understanding it’s never meant to be a true shopping list [...] It’s a list of wishes, and wishes are the stuff of imagination and speculation. Dreaming it up is the fun part! It is in this same spirit we give your our Holiday Wishlist Roundtable for this year.
I deliberately asked for things I could never afford in the spirit of dreaming for unattainable things. I've got expensive movie tie-in makeup collections and many collections of enamel literary pins from The Literary Emporium.  Read more here.

December 2019 - Biggest Disappointments of 2019 
We got pumped; we ramped up; we were ready to go, and… well… then…Stuff happened. Or did not happen. Or did not happen how we wished them to. That’s the thing about disappointment — it’s our primary emotional response to expectations unmet — and boy, does it sting. What were we looking forward to that failed to deliver on its promise? There was quite a bit to choose from; 2019 was a busy year, after all, with sequels, returning seasons, new goodies, and the end of many franchises. There were a lot of hopes riding high this year…so what broke our hearts, and left us out in the rain?
There were tons of things that disappointed me in 2019 -- a big one being Game of Thrones -- but I wanted to avoid topics I felt like my fellow contributors were likely going to discuss, so I went a very specific route: I chose to dissect Billy Hargrove's character arc in season three of Stranger Things and why it was a mess. Read more here.

December 2019 - Future Favorites: Our Most Anticipated Releases of 2020
There are lots of exciting things slated for 2020 release: the new Wonder Woman movie; the next Ghostbusters film; the long-awaited Black Widow stand-alone; the debut of new series Locke and Key… lots of major premieres and new seasons of returning favorites. But may we also suggest for you some other goodies that might be flying under your radar? Here are some of what the Speculative Chic gang are looking forward in the new year!
I chose something a little different: while it was released in 2019, Studio Trigger's anime film Promare is my choice for 2020. Because I live in Japan, guess what? Everything is in Japanese! But Promare's English dub cast was so reputedly wonderful that it is coming to Japan in 2020, which is a big deal! Read more here.

December 2019 - Resolution Wrap-Up 2019: How'd We Do?
Every year, we invite our contributors to challenge themselves with the Resolution Project — a special event where our writers sift through all things speculative and settle on something worthy of personal conquest. The sky’s the limit when it comes to choices, whether it’s knocking through a back catalog, revisiting a popular franchise, or embarking on something totally new; whether it’s playing video games, reading books, or blitzing through movies! [...] We’re happy to bring some contributors back for a final review of Resolution Project 2019!
For 2019 I declared I would cosplay at Anime Japan 2019 in Tokyo. The last convention I attended was back in America in 2016 before moving to Japan, and I missed the convention scene, but was also curious about how Japan did cons...and especially Japanese cosplay. The reputation is that cosplay is taken seriously and everything is amazing, so I felt like I needed to do something extravagant. Did I succeed? Read more here.

December 2019 - Resolution Project 2020
We march into 2020 totally brave and bold with some of our most ambitious Resolution Projects yet! Whether it’s knocking through a catalog of 15 to 20 books, blazing through seasons upon seasons of series both old and newly beloved, or cracking open the cookbooks and assembling a smorgasbord of speculative treats, we’ve got something for everyone to look forward to in this shiny new decade!
My 2019 resolution didn't require me to write very much -- one post for making my cosplay, and one post about wearing it to Anime Japan. But for 2020, I'm assuming a role that's closer to what our regular contributors do -- writing my own monthly post. For 2020 I'm knocking out two of Netflix's/Dreamworks Animation's major series in a massive rewatch and review: Voltron: Legendary Defender, which wrapped December 2018, and The Dragon Prince, currently airing season three and season four on the way. I'll post once a month, reviewing an entire season for each post. Read more about my declaration here.

Whew! That's a complete catalog of all the Roundtables I participated in for 2019. The tricky thing is that even though I am in charge of all them, I don't always have the free time to participate each month, so I've only included the Roundtables where I've done some actual writing. Now that we're in to 2020 I'll keep posting Roundtable Roundups, but space them out a bit more. Hope to see you check them out!

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