Welcome!

Hi! Welcome to my blog, resurrected from the depths of 2015.

It’s here because I’ve given a lot of talks over the past few years. I write scripts for all of them and people requested that I put them all somewhere. So here they are!

I usually cover various nerd stuff (generally movies, games, and fandom) and its relationship with sociopolitical topics.

Some caveats: most of my talks came with slides, so there might be the occasional line where I refer to them. The talks also date back a few years, so be aware that things (including my opinions) may have changed since they were written!

I’ve also recently started writing poetry, and you can find some of that here too. The rest of my poetry and most of my short-form fiction is on my Patreon.

If you want to see what I’m up to day-to-day, you can find me on Twitter @Alecto101.

Enjoy!

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Subtle Forms of Racism to Avoid in SFF

I gave this talk at Eastercon on 20th April 2019.

Hello friends, and thank you very much for coming! I do appreciate it. Before I get started, I’d just like to note that there will be explicit discussions of racism in this talk, so please feel free to step out if need be.

This is my first time at Eastercon – thank you again, this time for being my first audience here – so many of you won’t know who I am. My name is Helen Gould, and I’m a writer, editor, sensitivity reader, speaker, poet, and also clearly a millennial judging by the number of things I do to stay afloat. The talks I give broadly fit into a category of sociopolitical issues in media. My past talks have titles like Wakanda, Africa, and Alternate Futures, Get Out: The Horror of Whiteness in 2017, and Fanfiction and PTSD: Going Beyond The Winter Soldier.

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White Worlds

I was at Nine Worlds this weekend. Most of it was absolutely fucking awesome and I would like to thank everyone who came to the panels I was in (and my fab Monsterhearts group!).

However, the part that was not awesome was REALLY FUCKING SHIT. Shit enough to trigger a flight or freeze response. Shit enough that when somebody in the audience actually supported me I cried. Shit enough that I am now feeling angry enough to write over 2000 words about it.

Strap in.

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The Unmaker

When you wake up, the monster is still there.

She is shredding flowers, covering her lap in bright petals again. She has done this all day, every day since you arrived. When you try to think about it, you cannot remember how long it’s been.

Sometimes she has something else in her hands. You have seen a heart, a flame, a ripple of water all delicately torn apart. There is something strange about that, but you forget the specifics.

Neither of you have spoken yet. You know you had a purpose: an important and serious one. It was big enough to make you leave the village, and dangerous enough that your spear was blessed by the priests in their mourning robes.

But you’ve forgotten it. You’ve forgotten all of your questions, except one. You grasp it tightly before it slips away.

“What are you really doing?”

She finally looks at you, showing too many faces that shift like a kaleidoscope. All of her speaks at once. “What do you think?”

Think, think. It takes you a while. “Killing things. Destroying them.”

Her laughter echoes. “Is anything here alive to begin with?”

You consider it, though your head soon begins to hurt. You used to know this. You used to know what she is, how to make her tell the truth, how to avoid her tricks; that was what gave you hope. But it all drains away like water when you look at her. And you can’t stop looking at her.

She raises an eyebrow expectantly and you abruptly remember the question. “No?”

“No. They only look like they are.”

There is silence again. You don’t know for how long. You are outside time and you are becoming afraid. Unworthy of your people. How will you get back?

A thought bubbles out of you. “Am I dead?”

She has a lot of teeth. “Do you think you should be?”

You know how to do this. You know what to ask. Try again. “How did I get here?”

“You walked.” She is looking at her flower almost sadly. “You had pride and courage and stupidity. And you walked to me.”

“Can I go home now?”

All of her eyes look at you sadly. “You can try.”

Oh. Wrong question. Your fingers tingle. As you watch, they harden and sharpen, beginning to gleam.

She gives you a flower.