Commentary: Finding Refuge

By Breeann Kirby

JORDAN-US-SYRIA-REFUGEES-KERRYThere are now over 3 million Syrian refugees, the video begins. Stark white words on black to state a stark message: 3 million is more than the population of most cities. And all of these people no longer have a home. In the Zaatari Refugee Camp alone, opened in July 2012 outside of Jordan, the current estimation of inhabitants is over 82,000 people—the same population as Santa Fe, New Mexico. Continue reading

Book Review: Jen Wang and Cory Doctorow’s “In Real Life”

By Breeann Kirby

InRealLifeCoryDoctorow cover
©Jen Wang, used with permission of First Second Books

In the collaborative adaption of his short story “Anda’s Game” (published originally in Salon nearly a decade ago) to a young adult graphic novel (published by First Second,  14 October 2014), Cory Doctorow freely acknowledges that Jen Wang did “all the heavy lifting in the adaptation” and though he “wrote the underlying story and edited her script and […] implementation […] Jen is the true soul of the graphic novel.” In a separate interview with Comics Alliance, Wang adds, “There were about eight or so drafts, with the first one being closest to the original story. With each draft I pushed a little further into new territory […] the details changed, and I added a third Act where we see what happens after Anda decides to help Raymond.” Wang’s adaptive changes make In Real Life an important and compelling read for both the young reader as well as the adult reader who wants to reconnect with hope in humanity and second chances. Continue reading

Interview: Chris Grano – Zahatar

By Breeann Kirby

zahatar band
photo by Gabriele Woolever

Zahatar is an acoustic string band in the Fort Collins, Colorado area that seeks to bring “modern spice to timeless tunes.” Drawing on themes from diverse traditions such as Celtic, Chinese and Spanish folk tunes, classical compositions, and bluegrass, members arrange all of their own music and compose much of it. Currently, the band consists of founding members Chris Grano (violin, arrangement, composer), Scott Stewart (viola, arrangement, composer), and Sarah Hoskins (cello). They’ve recently expanded the band’s roster for the purposes of The Little Country Project to include Shilo Stroman (percussion), ‘Cille Lutsch (flute, pennywhistle), and Emily Smith (harp). Continue reading

Book Review: John Scalzi’s “Lock In”

By Breeann Kirby

scalzi lock inJohn Scalzi, an active blogger since 1998, has been writing things for decades that make people laugh, think, engage, and, above all, connect with each other. He has won numerous awards for his works, including the Hugo (multiple Hugos in multiple categories, actually). Though he is prolific in both his fiction and nonfiction endeavors, Scalzi also takes the time to be an advocate for other authors, booksellers, and readers in the writing community. For Scalzi, humans connecting to each other and the larger community is valuable whether via the text of a book, cyberspace, or physical life. Continue reading

Event Review: Conjecture 2014/ConChord 26

By Breeann Kirby

sue dawe conjecture
art by Sue Dawe

The Town and Country Convention Center in San Diego, doesn’t feel as if it sits in the corner of the merge between I8 and I163. Rather, in an aging grandeur you don’t see in steel and stone modern hotels, it provided a surprising oasis of calm and greenery. While walking between potted ferns and stone lions, over floral carpets and under crystal chandeliers, I felt transported to a place where a steampunk pirate captain or corseted vampire may appear any moment. And, in fact, they did. It was the perfect setting for Conjecture 2014/ConChord 26. Continue reading