5 Non-Heteronormative SciFi Romances to Heat Up Your Escapism

  Sometimes you just need a little break from reality. Science fiction, fantasy, and romance are favorite escapes, but it can be hard to break the cis-boy meets cis-girl monotony. To kick off “beach read season”, here are five scifi and fantasy books that feature people of many genders falling in love in fantastic settings. Reintegration by Eden French Lexi is a cyborg with a unique mind reading implant, and she’s being hunted by a ruthless organization who will stop at nothing to regain their technology. She falls in with a group of misfits who might be the key to unlocking her …

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Harlots is the Most Feminist Show You’re Not Watching

There has been much buzz about Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale — the dystopian drama set in a theocratic future where women are owned and bred like animals. Less talked about but just as good is their other series Harlots, which is an exercise in the power of the female gaze.   Harlots is the story of two rival brothels in 18th century London run by madames Margaret Wells and Lydia Quigley. Harlots is unique as a feminist show in two ways. The first is that the entire creative team behind the show — the producers, director, writers, and most of …

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Exit West’s Magical Realism Is a Blueprint for Compassionate Policy

Moshin Hamid’s ethereal, richly detailed world of magical realism simultaneously captures the minutia of human relationships and the sweeping tide of globalization in a beautiful study of character and culture. But its most impressive accomplishment is creating an effective blueprint for compassionate immigration policy in an increasingly bleak landscape. Exit West maps the relationship between fiercely independent Nadia, who wears traditional robes as battle armor while navigating a society hostile to women, and introverted Saeed, a thoughtful romantic torn between tradition and modernity. They meet in an intentionally non-specific war-torn city in the Middle East, their budding love a fresh and …

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Move the Trump Overton Window with Science Fiction

President Trump’s flagship policies like healthcare and tax reform may be hitting roadblocks, but he has already managed to do something significant with his rhetoric — move the Overton window faster than any other modern president. The Overton window is one of those wonky political science terms that describes a pretty simple concept — the range of political or policy positions it’s socially acceptable to have. For example, the Overton window on childhood hunger might range from a very conservative free-market based solution to a very liberal policy of universal minimum income. However, a position that it’s ok for kids …

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Announcing the 2017 Worldbuilding for Change Winners

It’s going to be a tough year for organizations looking to make a better future.  That’s why we’re excited to announce the 2017 winners of our signature Worldbuilding for Change workshop. Congratulations Restorative Justice Fund and Citizens for Global Solutions! Restorative Justice Fund is a nonprofit justice reform incubator based in Los Angeles. They identify, design, and deploy low-cost/high-impact programs that make our justice system more effective, cost-efficient, and equitable. Restorative justice is an alternate theory of justice that promotes healing over punishment. Citizens for Global Solutions has the “great goal” of establishing a democratic federation of nations with enforceable world law. Its mission is …

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Back to the Future, Cake Boss, and Xenophobia

Anti-immigrant policies like the travel ban from majority Muslim countries have dominated the launch of Trump’s presidency. And while most Americans didn’t vote for Trump and don’t support these plans, millions of Americans do have a deep bias against immigrants. That’s a reality people working for a more just and compassionate future have to change. Can pop culture help fight xenophobia in America?   One of the most popular archetypes in fiction, and especially in speculative fiction, is the “stranger in a strange land.” You know it. An 11-year-old boy finds out he’s part of a secret world of wizards. …

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Comedy Sci-Fi to Survive Inauguration Weekend

As Donald Trump is sworn into office tomorrow, there will be at least 64 million Americans who are scared of the future, inspired to fight back, and/or in need of an escape from reality. Science fiction and fantasy are great because they can alternately offer all three. But sci-fi also tends toward the dark and terrifying — something that quite frankly no one needs more of at the moment. So grab a warm blanket and a stiff drink and tuck into these satirical speculative fiction movies and TV shows to help you make it through inauguration weekend:   If you’re …

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Win a Free Worldbuilding for Change Workshop

2017 marks a new political climate in America. And for organizations looking to make a better future, it will be one of the toughest you’ve ever faced. At FutureShift, we want to help your organization imagine the bold, strategic solutions we’ll need over the next four years, and help you keep your supporters (and maybe even your staff) motivated about the potential for creating change. To help you do that, we’re giving away two of our signature Worldbuilding for Change workshops this month. We’re looking for smart, innovative organizations who, like Katniss, Frodo, and our other favorite heroes of speculative …

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Why I Shout Harry Potter Curses at Street Harassers

I live in an area where I unfortunately have ample opportunity to test different responses to street harassment. Over the years I’ve tried the gamut — from yelling back and threatening to call the police to putting my head down and walking away. But I recently stumbled upon an unusual but surprisingly effective tactic: Harry Potter curses. I was walking home from my bus stop a few months ago when a man walking toward me started up with the usual string of “hey baby”s and “why don’t you smile?”s. The street I was on was well-lit, full of people, and …

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The Inevitable Triumph of Queerness

In the wake of a horrific act of terrorism like the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, it’s difficult to find words to talk about the new normal in the world. We struggle to find the right words to comfort the families and communities who were targeted and devastated, to change the homophobic, racist rhetoric that fuels mass murder, and to create new policies to prevent future tragedies. In moments like this, I find myself turning to words that have already been written. To the stories we already know and the wisdom that waits within them.   And our …

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