This week we are looking at the films Paradise Hills and Level 16 that are both set at dystopian finishing schools where being the perfect girl is the goal. These young women are trapped in the trappings of femininity and sacrificed in the pursuit of an apparent notion of female perfection. We discuss this in relation to a recent TIME article that argues that women’s genre filmmaking is “about women’s deepest anxieties”. Content warning: discussion of rape culture and violence against women.
We’re taking a break from focussing on #WomenMakeSF and taking an episode to think about women in SF fandoms and talk about our fan experiences. We are joined by OUR FIRST GUEST on the podcast, science fiction scholar and historian of science Katie Heffner who is an expert on fanzines and the history and position of these artefacts in US/UK fan practice. Katie tells us about women’s use of self-publishing to engage with fans, SF, and science. Sharing with joy not with judgement.
The sea merges myth and science – both a source of deep fear (and thus myth) and massive rewards (and thus science). In SF the oceans can be a space of imagined futures, a frontier, and a dangerous yet bountiful environment. We noticed a trend in the women directed movies we have been watching that focus around the theme of the sea and water, so this episode explores the sea in women made SF and the mythic connection between science, the sea, and female experiences.
We take a break from film to gab about our favourite women-created SF TV (which, given how short the list is, is all of them): Emergence, Vagrant Queen, Sense8, Killjoys!, Westworld, Altered Carbon, Roswell New Mexico, iZombie, Russian Doll, Jessica Jones, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
What is SF? Why “SF” and not “scifi”? In this episode we follow up on the ideas from the opening episode as we debate what really qualifies as science fiction. We also discuss our first three watch party movies: Welcome II the Terrordome(dir. Ngozi Onwurah, 1993), Tank Girl (dir. Rachel Talalay, 1995), and Évolution (dir. Lucile Hadzihalilovic, 2015).