Anathema: Spec from the Margins, Live in 2017

It’s been a few hours since the fundraising campaign for Anathema: Spec from the Margins closed. At the end of that month-long effort, we slightly exceeded our goal (101%, with $2,025 raised), and that’s a full year of funds and change in the bag and good to go! :D

This was a very long campaign. But everyone who contributed their time, their funds, and helped signal boost made this absolutely worthwhile. You also eased the burden of handling this by ourselves immensely for myself, Andrew, and Chinelo.

Thankfully the campaign coming to a close also means we can stop shouting at you to throw money our way. Which has never been my favourite part of putting together a project, so it is fantastic that that stage of getting Anathema up and running is done. Now we get to focus on the magazine itself more directly once again.

Specifically, over the course of December we’re finalizing Anathema‘s website so that can go live come the new year, doing some submissions soliciting, and making sure we’ve got everything else we need ready to go for the start of next year. I’ll also be getting in touch with campaign contributors who have manuscript edits or a book that needs mailing owed to make sure those perks get delivered properly. And we’ll be catching up with everyone owed a subscription package more generally come January.

Anathema will also be opening to submissions formally come January, and we’ll be posting our guidelines on the website. For those just catching up on hearing about the magazine, the basics are as follows:

Anathema is a free, online tri-annual magazine publishing speculative fiction (SF/F/H, the weird, slipstream, surrealism, fabulism, and more) by visible minorities on every range of the LGBTQIA spectrum. We’ll also be using cover art from queer POC. We’ll be publishing 15 stories and three pieces of non-fiction a year, each paying $50 (CAD), and each use of cover art will be paying $100 (CAD).

More specific details as to content length and submissions will go up in January, but in the meantime we’re happy to answer any questions people have via the Anathema Twitter account @anathemaspec, and/or on the Anathema Facebook page.

And in the meantime, for anyone who wants to catch up on Chinelo’s, Andrew’s, and my thoughts on why we’re putting together Anathema, you can have a look at our campaign essays (“The Light at the End of the World,” “Because it Matters,” and “This Machine Kills Fascists,” respectively) on the Anathema IndieGoGo campaign’s updates page.

Above and beyond all that, it’s nice to be able to take a breather again (not a lot of downtime in November one way or another) and just bask in the fact that Anathema‘s going to be a real magazine come next year! Just … holy shit, we made it! :D

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Anathema Updates & Essays


I might have gone on a Twitter rant today. Hadn’t really planned to do so. Was just going to jump on and talk about Anathema, because there’s another editorial essay coming up tomorrow to help along the fundraising.

Apparently I’m having a hard time not thinking about what’s going on in the U.S. though. :/

To wit, this is what happened when I went online:

New essay coming Tuesday (tomorrow) from , as we head into the last week and a half of the campaign. My own essay will be coming near the end of the campaign. I’m … undecided … on exactly what it’ll say as yet.

We’ve moved into “The Darkest Timeline,” as it were. But given my family history, I’d just call what’s happening “familiar.” Yeah, living in Canada affords a potential distance. Though having to watch people I care about suffer obviates that. Watching the U.S. wake up to the rot at its core has been — well, I’m not sure how I’d frame it. Interesting to see who’s surprised though. I mean it’s not like the racism and the Nazism ever went away in the U.S. They were always there. Unacknowledged in large part, sure. But the Friends of New Germany and The German American Bund didn’t disappear. They just waited. Alt-Right’s just new branding. Same shit.

Equivocation on the part of (most) U.S. media’s not unexpected. Disappointing, but if they admit Nazism in U.S., have to state its history. Given that U.S. Nazism is outgrowth of white supremacy/racism as system of oppression, you’re not going to see that examination in depth.

The U.S. has always been *spectacularly* good at hiding in its mythologizing of its past and loathe to admit culpability in atrocities. There’s a long, tangled, list of reasons that the U.S. is now under the heel of a white supremacist demagogue. Unexamined hate is a big one. Always been easy to get people to hate the perceived “other” by telling them *those people* are to blame. That’s not news.

You want to be shocked? Be shocked that large portions of the U.S. were shocked by a white supremacist/Nazi ascending to the presidency. It was always going to happen. Can’t build a country on belief of systemic inequality and racism [&] not have symbol thereof come to the fore.

I wasn’t planning on this rant today. My own shock at what happened isn’t that it happened, but that it took so long.

I think part of it is that the U.S. never really stopped being isolationist. Global in market terms, manufacturing, export, sure. U.S. foreign policy has always been decidedly about how to benefit U.S., rather than understanding of shifting global state for its own sake. & you can argue that nation states need to put their best interests first for variety of reasons. But it leads to policy-based navel-gazing. You start seeing [everyone] else’s actions as in response to you, when their actions are (at least partly) internally guided as well. It’s blinkering.

I keep coming back to how Fukuyama’s theorizing on the triumph of Liberal Democracy fucked us all. Geopolitics don’t exist in one strain. The assumption that a single political ideology was going to spread in global terms was absurd. The idea that democratic idealism founded in colonialist ideology was going to save the world was at best a self-serving delusion. It was also easy comfort for not wanting to change anything about failed U.S. foreign policy or redress colonialist expansionism. Because if you have a winning, exportable ideological stance why change it, right? If it ain’t broke…

& the cancer of US fundamentalism (its own homegrown white supremacy) flourished under a system that refused to acknowledge its existence. All while systemic inequalities deepened & minorities and people of colour fought and died for basic civil rights. But the U.S. was exporting White Liberal Democracy to the world, bringing its Manifest Destiny (yes, I went there) to fix the wider world.

Just another Britain looking for an Empire.

Everything the U.S. has done well it’s had to fight tooth & claw to do. Not against “outsiders,” but against its own entrenched interests. The U.S. was never *not* a divided nation. It’s always been a conglomerate of component states that *mostly* agree on certain things. U.S. didn’t undergo same form of “unification by sword” most other nations underwent/undergo. Led to a false veneer of diplomacy as guide. But for a nation that espouses “unity” as foundational bedrock, it’s been at war with itself or other nations most of its history. The size of the U.S. military is no accident. The U.S. is a war-based economy. Without WWII the U.S. would still be in a [D]epression. The New Deal didn’t lift U.S. out of the Depression, it allowed it to limp through that decade. War has always been how America flourishes.

Lincoln was right: a house divided against itself cannot stand. The U.S. is now seeing the result of being a nation divided for 240 years. The crack in the bedrock of U.S. ideological doctrine is where the fundamentalism stems from. This is always where this was heading.

This will *not* be where my essay goes. I’m just venting today. Watching a nation continue 240 years of tearing itself apart.

The U.S. is, indeed, a “grand experiment.” A nation self-ascribing “global superpower” status by virtue of nuclear arsenal. & playing havoc on global stage while claiming itself saviour of the world’s ills. All while ignoring those of its own people. So often *especially* its own people. Look what happened re Standing Rock last night. Only surprise there that media eventually covered it. The examples are legion. But the U.S. has always been an experiment. (Running on stolen land to boot.) & experiments don’t always last. Sometimes they come to an end. Sometimes they require further testing. Sometimes they beget something new. U.S. Could go any of those ways.

But the U.S. cannot continue in the vein in which it currently exists. That’s led to neo-Nazis and Fascism openly at the helm. Either America’s going to (after trying for 240 years) destroy itself, or change utterly. That’s it. There are no other options left.

So yeah, that was a rant I was not planning….

Honestly, I just came on here to talk about . Wanted to focus on that campaign. Can’t seem to do it given everything going on. The thing we’re trying for with feels so small in the face of the naked rise of neo-Nazism. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I don’t know. It’s easy to get caught up trying to fix/attend to the small things in the face of overwhelming hate & racism & intolerance.

Fuck it. The obligation of privilege is to use it to aid/support others.

And if you want to keep up with what we’re doing, follow us over at . And/or go follow the FB page at . Anathema’s not all I’m doing to fight what’s happening in U.S., but giving queer writers of colour more space for their voices matters.

So yeah. That was really not what I was planning to do with some of my day. But there you go.

Figured I’d move this over here so I had a more connected record of it. And, hey, by all means, feel free to support Anathema or just talk about what we’re doing. If you missed Chinelo Onwualu’s “The Light at the End of the World” going up, that editorial essay can be found here.

Anathema‘s not a large project by any stretch, but the world is awash in openly parading Nazis again, so fuck it I’m doing what I can to counter their voices. And one of those things is making sure Anathema happens.

And in light of that it seemed appropriate somehow to have an image from Jin-Roh heading this post. Been thinking about that film again, and others like it, a lot lately.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

This post is long. Bear with me or do not. There is much to be done, and I have no time to waste.

I am starting this post by reposting things from Facebook. Those of you who’ve already read these posts should feel free to skip down to the bottom of the links below. These repostings are both record and preamble.

On seeing the election results and Trump’s acceptance speech:

I’m going to repost here what I was just putting up on Twitter. Because I figure it might as well be everywhere, and why rant on only one social media outlet when you can do it on several?

Listening to this fascist’s acceptance speech. Some pretty terrifying dog whistles in this address. A “deal well with us & survive” subtext. Sure, there’s a lot of “We’ll be great. We’ll do great things. I’m a unifier.” But all these clauses are conditionals. Just better couched.

So here’s the thing. I’m queer. I’m half-Jewish. My S.O. is a person of colour. If you voted Republican, you despise all that I am. You demonstrated that you despise people who intersect with those points and further on. You demonstrated you despise the marginalized. A vote for the Republicans demonstrated that you don’t understand what democratic [meant “domestic”] or international politics actually looks like, or why.

If you voted Republican you chose isolationism, xenophobia, racism, sexism, and put a rapist in a position where he’s immune to civil suits. He can still be prosecuted for criminal acts, buy he’s now inviolable to civil law suits. & all branches of U.S. government now Republican. U.S. checks and balances only function with opposing forces in different branches of power. U.S. system wasn’t meant for full mandate.

You’ve elected a lawmaker who doesn’t know how the U.S. forms and enacts laws. A man who WILL use the executive order function.

And I can go on like this.

There’s blame for this to go round to so many people. But YOU who voted Republican: the coming nightmare is on you. If you voted Trump, unfriend me. We have no common ground that will outweigh that.

On last night’s “Election 2016: Exit Polls” via the New York Times:

A terrifying and yet entirely predictable state of affairs, these exit polls paint a very specific picture of what happened yesterday. They show that politics of fear, falsehood, division, and hate carried the night. They show that at its core America is fundamentally two countries. As we always knew. I think all of us (US and non-USians alike) hoped we’d hit a place where the simmering hatred was slowly fading as we moved away from the ideologically loudest horrors of our global past. But it seems, from these exit polls and everything this campaign brought back to light, America doesn’t understand, nor want, to be a part of the larger world. The US talks about the American experiment, but not about the global experiments occurring beyond its borders. America tried to turn back the clock last night, and wall itself off from the global community. And probably ended or crippled its time as a global superpower in the process – it depends how quickly and how sharply the Republicans enact their ideological makeover of the country, and how much fighting can and will be done against that. (Though the system for political redress and governmental protections of the most vulnerable has already been systematically weakened – targeted by demagogues and ideologues whose only motivation was hate and fear.)

I hear the distant calls from white nationalists demanding that their voices be heard, and I say you NO. No, you do not get to deny others the right to exist. The era of polite conversation is over. They have killed it. The wakened fascists in America have made the battleground of its lay and sweep more openly a naked wound again. And the coming four years are terrifying.

Break out the rhetoric we hoped we wouldn’t ever have to call on again in earnest, or as more than warning and bolster of troubled democracy: America just kitted itself up in Nazi regalia while the rest of us look on in horror.

And on the spread (and resurgence) of white nationalism and fear politics closer to home here in Canada, on “Kellie Leitch latches on to Trump Victory” from Maclean’s:

We do not let this happen here. NO. We fight what festers in us. Do we forget Harper and the rest of our history of hate so quickly? No.

The current Canadian government is weak. Propped up by not being as bad as what came before. But that is the space in which the cracks are all too easily widened.


For wider thoughts from others:

Read David Remnick’s “An American Tragedy” from The New Yorker.

Read #Our100’s An Open Letter to Our Nation from 100 women of colour leaders.

Read @absurdistwords’ Twitter thread about tearing down illusions and rebuilding what remains.

Engage self care. As @tatiana said on Twitter:

Just a friendly PSA worth tweeting, if you’re sober and in recovery – don’t drink or use no matter what – even if tonight feels apocalyptic.

And for anyone who needs it, here is the link for the 24 hour, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It’s free and confidential.

The Trans Lifeline (U.S. Transgender Suicide Hotline) is also available: (US) 877-565-8860, (Canada) 877-330-6366.

And for something you can do right now to help others, I give you Joanna Rothkopf’s “A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support” over at Jezebel.

Yesterday I watched America try to destroy itself. Yesterday I watched the majority of white America try to destroy everyone else, and many of their own.

Today I am in mourning. But tomorrow I go back to work.

Tomorrow I go back to promoting Anathema. Tomorrow I post the update we delayed posting today because today funds need to go to organizations that will aid those now in danger for their health, their bodies, and their right to be people — their right to exist at all.

Tomorrow I will go back to teaching others how to tell their stories, and running workshops, and teaching others how to navigate the publishing field to which I have been dedicating my life these last years, and will continue to do going forward.

Tomorrow I go back to writing my books and stories in which queer people of colour are heroines and their stories are the ones that matter. Tomorrow I go back to reading and promoting the work of queer writers, writers of colour, disabled writers, and other marginalized writers. Tomorrow I go back to seeking out their work and making sure that their voices aren’t lost in the onslaught of what’s coming; because their voices are the ones that matter. Tomorrow I continue to support them, as I have done, as you should do, as we all need do if we are to reclaim the world from the terrors that are coming.

And they are coming. They are here. They have always been here.

Tomorrow I go back to fighting.

And to those of you who did this. To those of you who stand with Trump, and the white supremacists, the KKK, the Neo-Nazis, and all the labelled and unlabelled brands of the loathsome, foetid filth of humanity — those who support and foment those ideologies, that hatred, and that incitement to murder and annihilation — I say this to you:

If you are for hate, I oppose you. If you are for silencing others, I oppose you. If you are for the dehumanization, degradation, and murder of others, I oppose you. If you are for yourself only and the rest of the world matters not to you, I oppose you.

You wanted war? Fool, we have always been at war. You threaten our survival. You were always against us existing. We have always been at war with you.

With the towering core of rage that is the heart of me at this moment, I oppose you. And will protect others. This body I inhabit is possessed of strength in reasonable measure. It is fearsome when used well. It is not always as strong as it might be, for I am not always as strong as I might be, in multiple means. But I will stand in front of others as shield before I let you take them from me. Before I let you take them from us.

I will fight you with every breath in this body.

You will not win. You did not win. We thought we’d taught you other ways of being. We were wrong. You sheltered your secret, hating hearts from the rest of us and got away with murder and rape and decimation of others where you could. Quietly as you had always done. Then you grew bolder. And we thought we could contain you. We thought we could change you, or lessen your hate with our love.

But we were wrong.

You want a war? You’ve got a war.

You will not win.

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It’s November – Have a Magazine!


Okay, technically, you can’t have this magazine until January. But you can have the crowdfunding that goes with it, while Andrew Wilmot, Chinelo Onwualu, and I raise money to fund year one of Anathema: Spec from the Margins.

Remember that secret project I was talking about? This would be that. :D

So what is Anathema you ask?

Anathema is a tri-annual speculative fiction magazine of work by queer POC.

A magazine born of equal parts love and rage, really. As it says in the campaign:

“Speculative fiction is often dominated by the same voices and we think it’s time to share the mic. We want you to help us make Anathema a podium on which the voices we least hear from can stand and hold nothing back.”

We’re funding now so we can open to submissions in January, and we’ll have our first issue out in Spring 2017. We’ll be talking about submissions guidelines more fully once the IndieGoGo campaign’s over. For now, you can visit Anathema‘s preliminary website here. And for a breakdown of the what, the why, and the how of Anathema, check out the IndieGoGo campaign.

Have I mentioned the IndieGoGo campaign enough times? That’s totally how this works, right? :p

But seriously, Anathema‘s been in the works for at least a year. Longer if you look at the conversations that led up to it. And Andrew, Chinelo, and I are looking forward to getting to launch this thing come the new year.

Crowdfunding takes a fair bit of involved signal boosting, so you’ll be hearing from me a good deal about this over the next month. We’re planning to run essays and post updates throughout the campaign as we aim for our ridiculously feasible goal and our equally doable stretch goals after. And after that it’s on to the work of getting everything ready to take the full website live in January. And then the actual running of the magazine. And…

You see where I’m going with this. :)

The process never really ends. But it’s good to finally have it started. Check back. There’ll be more on this soon.

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New Editing Project Come November – Today a Tease

Some of you may recall that in the mid-month updates post I hinted at a secret project with its first stages coming up (fingers crossed) at the start of November. Today, a little more information, in the form of a tease:

I love editorial work. Editorial work on my preferred themes and foci still more. Publishing — as a whole, really — is full of amazing things going on right now (new mags and anthologies launching in various corners of the field, people of colour and queer representation gaining a better foothold, albeit it slowly and painfully), as well as some fucking spectacular failures (just … so many). It’s an extraordinary time to be doing anything with an impact on the field, be it short or long term.

This project is one that’s been coming together for a couple of years now. And it’s one I’m working on with some friends. We’re going to start rolling out discussion about it in a few days, but until then, I will tell you this:

It starts with an A.

Specifically, this A:

Who’s excited for November? :D

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PAC’N HEAT Launch Party in November

Just a quick heads up that there’s a launch coming up for Pac’n Heat, in which my story “All Them Empty Alleys” will appear. Said launch will be held November 10th, starting at 7 pm, at See-Scape in Toronto. You can find a link for the Facebook page for the event here.

Editors and contributors (including yours truly) will be in evidence, and there should be copies of the book there. I’ve not been to See-Scape as yet, but it looks like an interesting place. And I do like seeing how different venues affect the way a launch unfolds.

Also the book’s just an awful lot of fun. And it’s always enjoyable to launch a book with a theme as weird as Ms. Pac-Man noir.

I look forward to seeing everyone who makes it out. :)

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(Almost) Mid-Month Updates, Grants, and Winter Projects

Yes, I know it’s still Autumn, but today didn’t feel like it around here. And some of the things addressed below verge into the coming Winter.

I’d planned, as is the (intended) custom around here as of late, to post a mid-month update on goings on and apprise people of things upcoming. Then the OAC mailed the results of the June Writers’ Works in Progress applications slightly earlier than expected, by about a couple of days.

I did not get a grant this cycle, so will be applying again when next able, and waiting on the other 18 grant responses I’ve got coming in sometime over the next few months. (I apply to everything I’m eligible for and have work that might be appropriate for, because why not? You can’t get a grant for something you haven’t applied to.) Though a couple of excellent writers whose names I recognize did get OAC grants this cycle, and a fair number of writers I’m not familiar with did as well. Which is my way of leading up to saying: Congratulations to everyone who did get a grant! It’s a damn fierce competition, and more power to all of you. :)

I never expect to get grants applied for (I think you go mad doing so), but I do always hope to. And with this one not a go it means I really do need to have rather a more hasty hand in mentioning some things on this end, relevant mostly to freelancing and the next couple months:

I work out in the world — because it was a slow summer in terms of freelance and I like eating and, you know, paying my rent — but the freelancing is still where a lot of my revenue comes from. So while I do have some smaller jobs coming together for October and November, this is the part where I point out that I am available for larger jobs (writing or editing freelance work) through the end of this month until the end of the year. In 2017, too, but I don’t usually schedule jobs more than a couple months in advance. Still, if people want to schedule work for 2017, by all means, let me know. I’m here. I like buying food.

The freelancing website is, as always, here at Matheson Freelancing. Rates are on the site, and though the site only directly addresses the major types of work I do as a freelancer, I’m open to other types of writing and editing work as people need. Feel free to query, either by contacting there, or directly at

In terms of things less open-ended and more time-limited (but that still help pay the bills), the Style and Substance writing workshop is coming up next Sunday (the 16th), at Bakka Phoenix Books. Still tickets available for that, and attendees are also welcome to pay at the door as always — and that saves you the hassle of the processing fee through Eventbrite.

I probably won’t be doing a workshop in December, just because it’ll be so close to the holidays. I may shift the schedule again and slide the workshop after this month’s into January. Depends on what the weather’s like. If we get the cold, hard winter that’s been predicted I may hold off on having a workshop until things settle into better state again.

And re things that are slightly longer term, I will note for any editors of my acquaintance looking to fill out projects or anthologies: I have a small set of stories I’m currently trying to place. Some on submission, others I’m still looking for places to send them. But nonetheless a couple of available stories. I’m here. Hit me up. I may have already found your submission calls, I may not. Who’s to know?

And this potentiality of hitting me up for work, I assume, would be something you would do after you’ve already spoken to the many excellent POC writers of your acquaintance (or soon to be acquaintance) whose work you should be seeking out for the same purpose before you come to me.

Which, on several related notes, brings me to pointing out that I’ve got a project on the go that a couple of other people and I are going to start talking about come (if all things go according to plan) at the beginning of November. That’s going to be fun to finally start talking about publicly after a fairly long gestational period. Check back in a couple of weeks to see what’s going on. Or speculate now; I know I always do when someone says they have a secret project in the works. And I mayyy be convinced to drop some hints as the weeks go on. We’ll see. :)

Beyond that, Autumn and Winter around these parts are going to be dedicated to novel revision and submission. I’m posting that last part to keep myself honest and actually do it, because I really hate writing synopses. I’m enabling the stereotype around writers despising them, I know, but there’s a reason that particular stereotype exists.

Still, it’s the women spies/genderfluid playwrights/alternate history novel. Which has just been inordinately fun to write. So even the synopsis work on that one won’t be as onerous as on some projects.

And that would be the state of things for the rest of this month, trending into others as we go. With further updates to come.

As always, help spreading the word on the freelancing and the workshops and the like is always appreciated. :)

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