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Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine LIGHTSPEED 100% written—and edited—by queer creators.
Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine LIGHTSPEED 100% written—and edited—by queer creators.
Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine LIGHTSPEED 100% written—and edited—by queer creators.
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Personal Essay: "Spark" by Mark Oshrio

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When we set out to destroy science fiction with this Kickstarter, we didn't want it to be your ordinary, run-of-the-mill campaign. We wanted it to be full of smashing, crashing queer voices, telling what it really means to be queer reading and writing science fiction. One of the ways we hope to do that is by sharing a series of personal essays about the experience of being queer in science fiction.  

Personal Essay: "Spark" by Mark Oshrio

My entry into science fiction was through Star Wars. This was also the source of my first fictional crush:

Lando Calrissian.

I couldn’t process the concept of a crush at the age when I realized that I was attracted to him. I recall feeling electrified when he strolled onto the screen, insulted Han Solo, then feigned an attack only to embrace his friend in a hug. I was mesmerized by his smile, which lit up his entire face. When Leia told C-3PO that Lando felt “too friendly,” I disagreed with her wholeheartedly. This was not possible, I told myself. How could you think negatively of a man who wore a cape so majestically? How could you criticize someone who so romantically graced Leia’s hand with a kiss? How could you question the undeniable tension and affection between Han Solo and Lando when they were finally reunited?

In the midst of this massive space opera, this epic fight between good and evil, I was transfixed by this character, and I wanted so much more. I would often skip over A New Hope just so I could get to that city in the clouds, eager to see Lando’s cape flutter behind him as he walked up to the Millennium Falcon. I began to imagine my own version of this tale. I fantasized what it would be like to have Lando greet me at the foot of that ship, his arms open wide for me. It was a silly, childhood dream at the time, but it was one I fostered for many years.

It was because of my introduction to Star Wars at such a young age that I started looking for something more. I turned to books to find more spaceships. More alien races. More galactic terrors and adventures. I found comfort and joy in the work of Ursula Le Guin, particularly The Left Hand of Darkness. I fell in love with Genly Ai, and I fell in love with hope. It was my adoration of Lando and Genly that showed me another possibility of the future: I’d be allowed to love who I wanted to.

I met other nerds in school, but it was a sobering experience. They did not share these same views as me, so I learned to keep them to myself. It was only years later, when I started to supplement my obsession with Ender’s Game by finding out what else Orson Scott Card wrote, that I discovered how he really felt about boys like me. I spent a long time escaping into fiction after that, desperate to find a world where I’d be accepted. I didn’t always find it, but I had a better chance within science fiction than practically anything else in the world.

I still believe that science fiction is both a reaction to our world and a narrative form of hope. It gave me Lando Calrissian in that sweeping cape, and it gave a lonely brown queer a spark of desire, enough to keep him alive so that he could one day ignite the world. Here’s to that fire.

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What if you could re-live the experience of reading a book (or watching a show) for the first time? Mark Oshiro provides just such a thing on a daily basis on Mark Reads and Mark Watches, where he chronicles his unspoiled journey through various television and book series. He mixes textual analysis, confessional blogging, and humor to analyze fiction that usually makes him cry and yell on camera. He's been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category in 2013 and 2014 for his work, and he's nearly done his first novel.

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Comments

    1. Marion Deeds on January 23, 2015

      I love this! Maybe it's just because you picked something most of us quickly relate to; our first crush! Those lyrical descriptions of Lando... spot on. Thank you for sharing this sweet and honest self-portrait.