Other

Jul. 22nd, 2014 07:10 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm reading a book at the moment that's one of those meet the aliens things, and it's making me uncomfortable because it's using a lot of phrasing that reminds me of cliche-China while adding that these aliens have no concept of love. Actually, even without that twist, it would make me uncomfortable to make the aliens Chinese. It's all in the phrasing with words like Auspicious and Heaven coming up a lot, and cities that have to be built in alignment with the land, and obsession with numerology. I'd like to be reading the plot but instead I'm tripping over the fakey scenery, you know? China is not alien, aliens are not china, and it's bothering me.

So I was thinking on why. It doesn't even have to be racism. When we look at other cultures we notice the sticking out parts, the glaring, the obvious. It fines it down to a stereotype fast. And we're usually unaware of the underlying reasoning, the geographic, ecological, historical conditions that made it all make sense. So we get a hollow system of glaring incongruities.

When I did cultural studies we'd look at historical literature, but whatever we learned to spot there we'd bring that to bear on current culture, and lo and behold we'd have a lot in common. So I think there's a better way to write about the Other. Look at what's foreign to you, sure, for a start, find those glaring parts, but then, come back to the familiar and find them at home too. Find the heritage buildings and the lucky numbers and trying to make your phone number spell something, and then use the familiar to make strange. Then, when you're writing your aliens, take those parts of your own culture out of context and defamiliarised. You'll have your strange Other aliens, but you'll have a lot more to draw on. And you'll have a lot of everyday language to draw on, with different social levels and so forth built in, so already it'll sound less fake.

It's like when you're looking for a Doctor Who plot. You look around your house, your office, your school, your drive in, your supermarket, and then you pick something and say 'what's weird about this'. Well, usually you say 'how could an alien kill us with this', but it's the same principle. And Doctor Who has survived on that for 50 years. So that works pretty good.

Don't present places you don't know as foreign, do it to your home town, and see what the new perspective gives you.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
There's a kind of fic that's all about how one character's relationships have all been horribly abusive and then they meet The One and find out what a healthy relationship looks like and decide they want this forever and ever happily ever after.

And, okay, I get it, for some characters it's even canon, if horrible has happened already then swooping in and making everything all okay again is lovely. Like cookies and blankets and regular meals.

It just bothers me quite a lot when the only thing The One has going for them is that they treat others like actual people with basic respect and human rights and so forth. Like, that's the bare minimum, everyone who doesn't meet that is the bad guys, but there's a world between not being a bad guy and being actually actively good.

Read more... )

Being the best of a bad bunch is never going to be impressive or romantic, basically. If you want your white knight to look proper good they have to distinguish themselves even among a background of actually decent people.

Actually a lot of stories about bosses at SHIELD do this, they set the average boss as total rubbish, and then have Coulson be super boss just by not being actively a jerk. Read more... )

Some of this is just stories having a limited cast. The good one vs the bad one takes a bunch of words, adding another good but not quite as good one would take more.

But still, it bothers me. It's giving all the cookies and happily ever afters just as prizes for meeting minimum standards. It seems like best should be better than just avoiding all the awful things.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've noticed that fanfic versions lag loooooong behind canon twists. Which, given how long it takes to write anything, fair enough. But it's also that we get attached to a fanon version, for instance the Coulson that mixed in 616 canon to get ex-Ranger best friend of Fury, and then when things get Jossed we just like our guy better. But the recent big organisational changes seem least likely to show up. It's not as bad as Torchwood, where people kept writing season 2 team fics and ignored the existence of everything after that, but there's a tendency to try and pull everything back to status quo ante that reminds me of comics more than TV. Comics are cyclical, everything that falls will always rise in familiar form. Television? Sometimes trashes all before it and revises the paradigm. Sometimes.

So, how hard would it be to just get SHIELD back?

Read more... )



Seeing as I've never been the boss of even a quite small team, have no military or law enforcement experience, and get all my learnings from reading the internet or RPG rulebooks or watching TV, this Grand Plan right here is the sort of thing that makes sense from my recliner this morning and probably not very practical at all.

But I like to think it would make good story.

Each week the core team would go somewhere new, meet new people, and help them. And then leave with the understanding they can call on their help in return in future. In a friendly way.

Different, but nice.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
My first fandom, with conventions, mailing lists, and fanfic, was Highlander. That's where I got both my icon and my tattoo. I haven't rewatched it for a while, partly on the sneaking suspicion it might not be as good as the good bits version in my head, but it did shape me.

I build a character by choosing their weapon. It don't have to be a sword, or even a tool of violence, but whatever it is, it will be very specific. Each weapon has a specific use, a culture and community who used it, a history, a heritage. Their use was learned somewhere, and perfected over time as that particular tool seemed suited for that character's tasks.

Highlander was big on flashbacks. Read more... )

So I learned from Highlander that every character has history. Which seems pretty obvious. But a lot of shows, just by only telling the present, they make it seem like a character's life started in the pilot episode, or at least the interesting bit. Read more... )

A character's journey, historic and geographic, will influence which ideas they carry as well as the tools they use. And it can be very, very specific. Read more... )

And that kind of depth and detail is an absolute bugger to build into a created 'verse, fantasy or SF. It's hard enough to show what a world is like now, but it'll feel like a paper backdrop until it can give the impression it had a journey to get that way.

It's tempting to leave an individual in a holding pattern before the story gets started. Read more... )

I sat down to write this just to say that I think the space colony series I've been planning could benefit from flashbacks. Read more... )

Buuuuuut, presence of extensive flashbacks does not automatically endear a show to me. And even shows I like can have (interminable) flashbacks I could do without. I think the tricky bit is to keep it both relevant and fresh, despite it being the past. If the same thing happens in every flashback, bored now. And it's nice to see what made a character the person they are today, but it's tricky to get the right speed of revelation and to keep it tied to the plot of the week.

I'm also thinking about arc vs self contained stories. If one timeframe is arc and the other is self contained, does that compliment or drag at each other? Read more... )

The thing with my space colony though, I was going to use fanfic characters to give it depth of background, only to adapt them to this setting which is kind of a fusion or AU then I'd need to retell the most significant bits of their lives. New old friends, yes? Even if I used familiar names we'd need to get to know them twice, who they were in the fusion backstory and who they are in the ongoing plot. Read more... )

I keep telling myself that I haven't started writing this thing because if I just let it stew a bit longer it might be possible to file serial numbers off and make it proper original. Actually at the moment I have two slightly different offworld colony stories that just don't mesh, one with capertillers and Welsh stone circles and a very British cast, the other with a straight up Stargate setting. The Stargate one is always going to be fanfic, but right now it's merely a mess of a multi fandom fusion that I can't imagine anyone would read, and with a bit of polish it might be spin off series level original. The two series don't quite mesh, but they do both deal with disability and some magic cures. And I know that nobody hesitates to write different Being Masculine On a Starship stories, but I'm hesitating over different Being Disabled in a Space Colony stories, even though the differences are not things I could smush together. One is a low character point low resources ordinary people story, the other a high power vast resources big politics tale that draws on comic book characters and Star Trek level competence. They don't match, they don't go the same places, I kind of want to tell both, I stall on telling either.

I stall on putting one word next to another, and whenever I notice that, instead of opening a file and trying it, I just talk myself into a woe spiral about how maybe I'm not a writer after all. Blergh.

Or, as you may notice, pontificate at length in meta.

i'm going to post this and get breakfast. it's only 1530, i've been up since 0730, that's a totally reasonable interval before breakfast...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
still wanna see it again.

did you know there are international differences? Read more... )

spoilers of course
(don't read spoilers, tis much more fun if you don't know spoilers)
for Winter Soldier and Agents of SHIELD together again. and the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, which I saw right before the movie, Read more... )




I want to watch the movie again and have big thoughts.
... watching will lead to having more whoosh boom thoughts, I know, but possibly also big thoughts.
... maybe.



[ETA for those linked here: My first reaction to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of SHIELD 1.14 TAHITI have related thoughts]
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Have watched two out of three discs.
So far:

:-D


I like all the characters. All. They remain interesting.

And the plots get more interesting. I actually start to care a bit about the Big Secret Politics stuff? Because people are interesting.

Also I think they're pretty plainly comparing all the choose a side stuff from the Fae teams with being bisexual and poly and being told to just choose one. And Bo continues to say choosing is stupid and sticks with doing things her own way.

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: dollmaker girl, short and wider than most dolls, red hair, red shirt, red fan, katana, rainbow socks, and converse.  Be. (avatar)
There's a fic series where Clint Barton is the Slayer, and I just cannot get past the first page, not because writing, but because of how wrong headed it is to make the Slayer a guy.

I mean, they mocked the idea within the series, with Andrew saying how a guy would be cooler. And imitator series have tried making the Slayer a guy and been really really bad. And the idea of the Chosen One being male? Not exactly rocking any boats. So why flip the gender back to guys doing violence, unless they're actively trying to prop up patriarchy.

The Slayer was a girl, in canon, because she could be both bait and trap. She would look small weak defenceless tasty, and then get the stake out. Make a guy like Clint Barton a Slayer? Who would be dumb enough to read him as weak? No bait, no trap.

Read more... )

Guys as Slayers though... when it's girl Slayers being pounced by guy vampires in alleys and then fighting them all off it's a metaphor about resistance to the dominant patriarchal power that sees them as available to slake their biological urges on. When it's a guy being pounced? Either it's other guys, when it's just the model of masculinity whereby they solve problems by violence, and the admittedly useful side where it makes monsters and wrecks lives, or it's girl vampires, and it's male violence against monstrous women yet again. It gets skewed ugly real easy. Angel being the monster first and trying to deal with it by eliminating other monsters, that was mostly noir about how that worked really badly. Give a guy super strength and it does not, on the whole, improve things for him.

So for all I know this fic could be awesome. I haven't read it, I've read the tags at most, I have no idea. But I just can't get started on it because the simple gender flip for me undermines all the basic point of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

It could very easily have a different basic point about a different set of inequalities (because in the end it's about power). But by using specifically Buffy to illustrate them, it loses me on page one, because that was girl power, and they don't get to give it back to the guys.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I’m reading fanfic with involuntary animal transformation. There’s a basically human mind in a tiny cat body now. And as almost always happens, the fic is driving me nuts, because everyone is trying to guess what the tiny cat dude means as if he’s a cat having cat opinions in only body language.

Give him a touchscreen or keyboard!

If that won’t work, make bigger buttons!

Or a bunch of flashcards, or yes and no cards, or something.

Fic treats becoming non-verbal as if it were a unique problem, instead of a common one. Non-verbal and lacking fine manipulators is trickier than being able to write or quickly type, but it’s a thing that happens to actual human people, even abruptly. Animal transformation is a unique method, but the problem is old and the solutions available.

Other fantasy situations bug me the exact same way. I got wound up by someone becoming a ghost because I read it as sudden disability, and all his friends / allies / acquaintances just kind of left him to it, as if wandering around unable to touch anything was just the new normal. I was all, get him a computer that can see or hear him! Hire him an assistant, at least for some of the day! So he can’t pick things up any more, so what? You ignore him now?

I think the problem is that most people don’t think about losing an ability, suddenly or otherwise, so when they do it to a character they act like they have to think up solutions on the spot. Whereas I think about disability a lot, and will think of a transformation in terms of impairments and how they are now disabled, and then there’s whole catalogues and careers of accessability solutions. It’s probably not the most obvious mindset when you’re talking ‘suddenly has paws instead of hands’, but it’s pretty obvious from here, where disability is just a thing that happens.

Or, alternately, I see a lot of fantasy story stuff as basically about disability, because that’s the lens for a lot in my life. And that means that stories the author probably thinks are basically about cats are scored, by me, on how they write about disability. Which they don’t know they’re doing, so they don’t score very high.

To be fair though, it do seem to have properly observed felines.

It’s just not cool watching someone have to communicate in tail mime because their friends keep forgetting there’s a person in there and go straight to the pet shop, not human solutions.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I read a lot of books where someone somehow steps through into a magical world, and finds there that they’re stronger than they ever knew. But I want to read about the ones that come back.

Not (just) the ones that come back together, that know they know the secret. Not the ones that dream of getting back someday. The ones that return, and make a home here, with only common greed and hate to fight and words and law to fight it with.

The ones that look around, and know they’re not alone, and spot across the crowd someone with the gleam, the glint of other worlds, other rules shining through. They gather together, and speak of what they learned from walking trees and talking lions, and teach each other, and set out to do more. They set out to rebuild this world with what they learned out there.

And maybe they find friends who never left Earth, who kept their roots and stayed grounded and think of themselves as realistic people. They’d need those too. But they’d share the stories, however much they doubted, until with a great and rising joy their new friend starts to realise that their other world, their better world, is true and always has been.

And there would be another friend, someone who had the light in them, who knew the tree and lion and many others too, and only gradually would the travellers realise this one had never walked there, except in dreams. But they’d worked themselves to the bone to bring the gifts here anyway.

I want to read how they take it all, kings and queens and magic and prophecy and being the chosen one, and come back to the crowd, and, being just one more person now, still make a difference.

Because I think that’s called ‘reality’, and I’d like to make a difference there.

Time

Nov. 16th, 2013 08:54 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

I have been reading fanfic and pondering the nature of time.

Movies often (usually?) cover only a short time, say an intense few days.  If relationships are formed they're often shaped by shared survival pressures.  You get to the closing credits and wonder what they'll do on rainy Sunday afternoons, or if they can actually watch the same kind of movies, or if indeed they can stand each other.  It's easy to decide you don't want someone to die or you quite like it when someone saves your life, but then what?

TV series are more my speed.  Especially if they're planning to stretch the relationships over 100 episodes.  People get to know each other sloooooowly.  They share the intense times and learn they can rely on each other in an emergency, but then sometimes there's also fishing, or opera, or introducing someone to Star Wars.  You do in fact see what they do on Sunday afternoons, though usually only in one episode where the boredom gets interrupted explosively.  There's a lot of 'then what?'

Fanfic can do either.  I've read a lot of fic that tries to fill in around episodes, so you know it has been weeks of story time across the length of the fic, or you at least know these people know each other well already.  But when it is fic based on movies, or when the story is about the first time someone meets, then the conflicting models of relationship formation crop up again.  Sometimes you'll get people focusing on the long term, working together for years, connecting over coffee and diner food a little at a time.  Other fics write the movie of their relationship, love at first sight, intense explosions and rescues and declarations all fitting in one weekend.

I end up feeling like that sort leaves all the work ahead of them.  Like, they might be having sex, but they don't yet have a relationship.

Of course actual humans work every which way.  And are a persistent mystery.  So I guess everything is plausible.

I just like the long term, the way I like TV better than movies.  More depth.

 

Of course comics have this weird thing where they go on forever and also cover an intense couple of years where four months our time is often about one night their time.  You end up not knowing how long people have known each other, even outside of retcons, cause on the one hand they've reported to every president since Kennedy and on the other they've aged maybe enough that their teen sidekicks made it into their twenties.  I know the arguments for the sliding timeline, but the impact on relationships frustrates me.  Plus I want to see people grow up.  Green Arrow in my head is the story of one ageing bowman, his protege, his bio son, and his granddaughter, plus a bunch of others.  How the world has changed around him and the changes in self image required by becoming basically a grandfather are interesting and important parts of his character.  Except apparently not, because comics want to play with archetypal figures, and changing happens only cyclically.  It's fine for them to die and return, lose and gain powers, like seasons changing, but it's somehow not fine for years to actually pass.


So comics time is both really, really long term and really, really short.

Frustrating.

 

But it do take a bit of a long while to build up that kind of deep time in story layers, and the stories aren't being told to the same people every time.  Like with Doctor Who, they have to assume a lot of the audience hasn't seen previous seasons due to not having been born.  There's probably not many of us who stick around and dig long enough to see that it goes back so far.  If stories have to be sold every month, they probably can't be sold only to the fans of the long term.

Also, you can't start from scratch while marketing the story to people as a fifty year deep endeavour.  You'd have to start with people who like new things and acquire people who like story archaeology.  Tricky.

 

Or, of course, you start a new story about three generations of hero, and just act like the back story in your head is all in really rare back issues, or throw in flashbacks and recaps and references as needed.

 

Or, you start with the whole multi decade kaboodle of canon, and then just go lalala nu what nu and just keep writing it the interesting way to you.  Fanfic doesn't have to sell and if you make one person go eeeeeee then you've won.

There are things fanfic can do that canon does not and orig fic cannot.  And I don't just mean porn.  You can borrow all that deep time to do uncommercial things that simply can't be done from fresh.  Even if you call it an AU and change really substantial things, you still have so much to draw on, it works different than you could ever manage without.  Because these characters have been part of the conversation for so long, and because archetypes are part of how culture gets built and hang around for the using, and because everyone added their own idea of cool and only remembered their good bits version, the result is just different in kind from a single author original.

 

... but I still want to figure out how to do it from blank page, because most canon has so thoroughly frustrated me already.  *ponders*

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I am utterly stuck on this 'writing' thing. Some of it for the same reasons I'm stuck at everything else, but some of it...

The problem is bad guys. Antagonists. What are Our Heroes opposing?

And how do they deal with them?

I've been reading a bunch of urban fantasy in a row. They're all fantasy PI stories, where someone with magic deals with the interface of a magical world with a mundane one. And they're all stories that solve things with violence.
Read more... )

See, that's where the whole paradigm breaks down: the shape of this thing seems to rely on some people being Good People. They do bad things, but it don't count, because they are Good. Frankly, this scares me. The book worlds don't have lawyers or trials worth the name, they just have Good People who Know Best. Only they're acting exactly the same as the Bad People, the ones who hide behind the laws and try and enforce them even against the Good People. The only way we know they're different is we're riding the point of view of the Good People, so we know all about their intent.

... there's no room in this for saying intent is worth bugger all. What if there are no Good People, only good acts? Entire genres break down.



And then there's the Bad People. The ones set up so they're a problem that can be solved by violence.

The main thing necessary for such people is that their crimes are all things they do and keep doing. If the person stops, well, the world gets better.

I've been reading a lot of news headlines lately, and it don't seem to me the world works that way much. Read more... )



It's not like the problem of leaders too eager for unwinnable wars is exactly obsolete, but it's not a thing that can be solved by taking out one or two people. Don't reckon it ever was. Kings, Queens, and governments, the interactions of power and people and law, they don't work the way the fantasy books set up. Read more... )



So I look at the stories I've been reading, and watching, and listening to, and I look at the blank page, and I just... can't believe in it. I can set up a world with problems I recognise and people I believe in, and then I can't find solutions that fit into the page or have a shape I know how to deal with. Or I can set up Good People vs Bad People, Fight! ... and they're hollow little puppet people playing out a poisonous lie.

There's stories I know how to write, nice tidy ones with a triumph at the end of them, and there's problems I've actually encountered, which I have to hope have solutions but they're not ones I can see from here.



I'd say I need better fiction, but I'm getting stuck on how to make better real lives, so...





So I guess yeah, I'm stuck on all the things for all the same reasons. Because there's all these problems, and they seem to be big problems like capitalism and kyriarchy and poverty and the way all this technological progress seems able to solve all the problems except access and distribution and how to get enough carers. And I can't see how to throw a metaphor on that and beat it by the end of the episode. Or make much progress on any of it in real life.
beccaelizabeth: Zatanna's hand, in fishnet glove, reaching out with fingers spread. (hand Zatanna)
There was going to be a Wonder Woman movie. There's often going to be one, and yet here we still wait. I went around reading what was planned for it, and something about it bugged me. The writer, whose work I otherwise liked, was talking about Diana first arriving in man's world, and learning about it.

No.

Diana is not here to learn. She is here to teach.

Her weapon is truth. She is here to make the whole of man's world look at itself and see the truth of what they have become. To see the injustice, the inequality, the harms subtle and gross that they have built into their systems, that they do to each other day after day after day. And she is here to show them a better way.

When I was growing up, reading Wonder Woman, what I understood from it was this:
Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I used to be in fandoms where there were mostly Babes of the Week. They existed solely to have UST with one of the guys, and then at the end of the episode the women went away and the guys went home together. So we ignored the women, because the only real relationship was these two guys who cared about each other more than anything else in their lives. Hence, slash.

But that was a while ago, and there are TV shows with actual women in. Persistent characters with agendas of their own. People as well rounded as the guys ever were. And some of them are dating guys. But TV being TV, they usually break up eventually, or someone gets fridged, or they leave for a spin off show. So I guess I felt like, okay, looking at this, the key relationship? Still two guys. So, more slash.

But now it’s creeping me out: There are women who never break up with their guys, who maybe get married to their guys, who have rings and commitment and stick by them through thick and thin and the world exploding. But we’re in the habit now. We go looking for the two guys. And way too much of the time, we’re the ones who break them up, or fridge them, or figure someone else will write their spin off show. Sometimes we even rewrite whole episodes so the guy gets the girl’s role. And I’ve been reading it, because hey, still slash.

But seriously, what the hell?

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Been thinking about Tony Stark in Iron Man, and Iron Man 2, and why it seems SHIELD, Fury and Black Widow are maybe aiming at the wrong target when they try and figure him out. Seems to me they're missing two key bits of data, Yinsen and JARVIS. Maybe three, that being the time limit Tony thought he was working to.
Read more... )

But okay, as things stand, it's just as likely Tony was just floundering and didn't have any bot related motives in any of his movies.

... but I kind of like him better if he did.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Exploring the extent of gender difference

Abstract

This dissertation explores the depiction of gender in Doctor Who, a long running text, 1963-present, with multiple authors. Across half a century of popular television the representation of men and women changes, influenced by changes in social and cultural context that reshaped discourses of gender. I focus on Chapman’s account of the creation of classic Doctor Who in 1963, the story The Aztecs [1964], and seasons 5-7 of the new series, 2009-2012. Originally character design focused on creating audience identification figures to induce loyalty, providing both men and women with characters they would both understand and want to be. That has always been in tension with the demand of the plot that characters make mistakes and be endangered. The Doctor is always the expert hero, travelling with a female companion; many critics see the divide along gender lines, a powerful man protecting weak women. The Aztecs can be read that way: women, expert in humanities, argue about morality and kindness, and fail; men, expert in science and violence, successfully protect them. The division of power and spheres of influence set structures that influenced later seasons, producing tensions that were resolved differently in different decades. By 2009 The Doctor and Rory demonstrate different models of masculinity, differences in class, and tensions between expectations that males use power violently and approaches that emphasise communication and caring. Amy and River show different femininities, including stereotypes such as motherhood or dangerous manipulative sexual attractiveness, but fight against them, refusing to be boxed in and used by others for such roles. Success for both genders requires flexible approaches drawing on skills previously associated with the opposite sex. Previously gendered divisions became conflicts within each individual, highlighting and questioning the limits of both genders’ stereotypes. This reflects the increased importance of the feminine in society, culture, and science fiction.

13,196 words.

*** *** ***


This dissertation was for my English with Cultural Studies BA (Hons) and it got 65%
My best mark for an essay was 80%, so it's really not my best work.
But it was the best I could do after having been ill so much this year, to a deadline, in word count.

Word Count also explains why there's so many Appendices - quotes count towards the word limit, appendices don't. For the other 10 years I've been at college indented quotes over 40 words don't count towards the word limit, which was much less clunky and irritating.

Dissertations take a long time, and my initial plan didn't end up looking much like the finished thing, especially as regards how many episodes I was looking at. There were only supposed to be two, The Aztecs and A Good Man Goes to War, but I barely looked at the one and couldn't for the life of me focus on only the other. By the end of it I'm not sure I even agree with me, but there you go, it's done now.

I said if I got over 60% I'd show people. So.


Dissertation
Appendices and References
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

Amy Screams, The Doctor Yells: Gender in Stephen Moffat’s
Doctor Who

Exploring the extent of gender difference

Introduction


Read more... )

Chapter One: Doctor Who: Casting for Loyalty



Read more... )

Chapter Two: The Doctor and masculinities

Read more... )

Chapter Three: Companions and Femininities


Read more... )

Conclusion


Read more... )


Go here for comments, questions, feedback, and arguments.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
A lot of this should be photos, but I can't figure out how to put them in just yet. Bit of a pain really.

Appendices

Read more... )


References
Read more... )


Comments and feedback (including 'here is how to put your pictures in' comments) here please.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I very nearly didn't watch this one at the cinema. Even without reading past the spoiler cut, none of my friends seemed excited, or even vaguely approving. There wasn't a sudden explosion of fic, or indeed any fic that turned up where I was reading, where there had been for the previous movie. And I was somewhat apprehensive about that whole 'Darkness' bit, since grimdark is a pervasive problem.

But hey, it's Star Trek! I always watch Star Trek!
... but now I've watched it I am far from convinced it is Star Trek.

Plus some of the more familiar complaints would apply even if it were just some random movie with spaceships.

So it's kind of hovering on the line between 'those hours could have been better spent sleeping' and 'kinda wish I hadn't given them my money'.

But it only actively pissed me off when it was most directly a remix of previous Trek. And at those points, it really and sincerely did.

Read more... )



So was there any of the film I liked?

... I liked the music. I stayed to the end of the credits listening the music.



*really big sigh*



So maybe this wasn't my best day for watching. I've been awake a really long time. My original plan involved coming home much earlier, but I just finished college (all! finished! Work returned and log book picked up and Done now!) so I wanted to Do Something.



This particular something leaves me wanting to write my spaceship movie. Not wanting to watch this one.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I hate it when I run out of things to read. I have a stack of marked to read fic on Ao3, but it divides neatly into categories 'completed, in a fandom I don't want to admit I broke up with', 'fandom I read! ... WIP not updated since last year' and 'I keep trying to read it but it keeps being awful'.

... I'm judgey.

The people who just don't get on with English I have some sympathy for. I mean, I keep wanting to proofread their stuff in the comments, which experience suggests would endear me to no one, but I can see they like the same shows I like and they're trying and it's just kind of sad.

People who end every chapter with exhortations to comment and feedback (with occasional hints of maybe never finishing it else) and then reply to anything other than cheerleading with 'it's just fanfic'... yeah, no, whole other problem there.

Even if a story is an AU, it kind of matters if it makes any sense at all. Matters more, to be a good AU. There's some delightfully crafted AUs out there that strip almost all the specifics from a character but in the process get right down to their core motivations and what, for that writer, makes them worth caring about.

Read more... )


I ramble. I should go find something productive to do.

(un)Real

Jun. 6th, 2013 12:20 pm
beccaelizabeth: Chaos star with blinking black sphere center.  Like a cursor blinks. (chaos star blip)
There's a thing, Are fictional people not real?
They reckon of course fictional people are real, "These fictional people are real because we all recognize them when we see them, and we make them even more real by constructing them and reconstructing them again and again, through reading and writing and talking about them, and then reading and writing and talking about them again, in an ongoing process."

Because I am a crazy person I sometimes freak out about real, and how many people do not appear to be it.
Like, am I real? Is there a minimum threshold of interactions that would keep me real? Can I stop being real while being physically alive?
(And I'm listening to Neverwhere at the moment, so I know it's not just me who wonders this. Writers are a special kind of crazy that has more real-to-them people inside than is generally recommended.)

Sometimes I feel like I'm surrounded by extras. Read more... ) Everyone has different story-of-you in their head, and it does not match the story-of-you you have in your own head, which if psychology has much of a clue probably doesn't match actual physical you that has done things on account of both Subconscious and Memory, plus Language and Discourse and Ideology and all the human things.



Even to ourselves, we are only the story of ourselves, retold and retold until we're fanfic of our own lives.



And despite our best efforts, that is true about every other person in our lives too. Even if we had watched all the moments of their life, the person we have in our head is a story-of-them that is not going to match their inside story or be an actual tape recording of what they did. And we can only infer who they are from what they did anyway.


It's all stories! Stories all the way down!

Read more... )

But the other way to cope with things, the one that does not involve freaking out, involves celebrating the stories. Stories are how we set about being people. Sandman and Hogfather and Doctor Who.

"We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?"

But the secret is, it's not just in the end, it is when you get down to it all the middle too.

And that's why it's awesome that we, plural, discuss the stories. We write them and rewrite them and bounce them around and crit and meta and just collaboratively make stuff up until we've made worlds. And if the worlds aren't so much good or fun or right yet, we keep going until we get a better one.

Which is pretty cool, really.

Read more... )


Poisonous stories that don't leave room for all the people that actually exist to be people, they very badly need revising. Especially if they're being peddled by politicians. Especially if they don't leave room to continue to be.

People are not just stories, they have physical constraints too, but the stories do so much to the physical world they're really pretty key. Or ugly key.

And this isn't just true of political fictions like the dole skiver or the housing benefit mansion. Those are built in mind worlds patched together from plausibilities drawn from deliberate fictions too. Each particular story may be a tiny drop, but added together over a lifetime it's a waterfall, and reshapes the world around it.


So stories are real, because we make them real, we construct them by reading and writing and talking about them, and they shape how we act and react.


The thing where most people don't consciously think about or notice this stuff, and think there is only one real and true and facts and the world is just exactly as they experienced it and no other way, that would be the other bit that makes me worry worry.

... zombie shuffling forward in a story they don't even know they're writing...



... *blanket* ...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am reading a long thing about how historical fact and the stories that get told don't match up in very many places
http://aidanmoher.com/blog/featured-article/2013/05/we-have-always-fought-challenging-the-women-cattle-and-slaves-narrative-by-kameron-hurley/

which linked to another thing I'll read in a bit
http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/psa-your-default-narrative-settings-are-not-apolitical/

both are about how women actually did exist in history. women did all the things. but the stories that we're soaking in try and tell us different.


A lot of it is also about the difference between casual perception and actually counting. Read more... )



We need better stories, and I think getting stubborn about parity is baseline necessity towards that.
Thinking of what all them women should do really ought to diversify the storylines, as long as they exist in the first place.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The Iron Man and War Machine armours seem to translate real easy to historical AU, being visually reminiscent of traditional plate armour, so fitting in with the 13th through 16th century. But I'm having trouble translating their role on the battlefield, especially their weapons. The mobility seems like mounted troops, except if you put mounted knights vs longbows they are not going to stand there looking invincible, and then there's the rise of gunpowder, and basically in the long running battle of tanks vs weapons, the weapons spent many centuries winning.

Actually even now the Iron Man armour seems to spend most of the time getting blown to bits or having holes knocked in it or falling apart so Tony can stick out looking vulnerable. Armour is not invincibility.

So say there's AU Tony and Rhodey in full plate armour (and AU historical Rhodey can be a black guy in many eras, there were black people all through history, I know this, I've read about Arthurian black people and all sorts). They're vulnerable, but not as much as the guy next to them, so they're up front protecting people.

So, what weapons are they using?

Read more... )

Weapons are important. Tell you so much about how someone approaches a problem. Snipers and tanks just don't think the same way.

How I invent characters: Shoes and sword. Read more... )

It's still a big decision though. What tools to give a character, and how they stand.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
sometimes I get bored and try and find clothes for my characters.
this sometimes involves using the dollmaker sites, but other times I'll browse catalogues.
I have a whole folder full of things from goth websites that'll do for my dystopic futures, including some very sharp pseudo militaria that'll suit for uniforms for starfleets.

it'd be fun to do this sort of thing as a collaborative challenge, but DW isn't really the platform for pictures. I don't know where is because I'm rarely in a picture mood.

it's weird thinking about how much detail we can get out of small changes in costume. like today I'm looking at workwear websites, checking out tunics. The distinctions between a chef's tunic and a dentist's are small yet easily read. http://www.matrixuniforms.co.uk/index.php was where I was looking. they've got some tunics in the Beauty section that'll do lovely for SF uniforms. http://www.matrixuniforms.co.uk/Beauty.51/Ladies_Beauty_Tunics.146/ , particularly http://www.matrixuniforms.co.uk/Beauty.51/Ladies_Beauty_Tunics.146/Jasmine_Long_Sleeve_Tunic__BZ35_.1129.html . The Gents versions don't have half the variety though, and you can't make them match. *sulks*

Other clothes it's more fun to wonder who exactly would wear those. Voluntarily. I do have a character who'd love the Unisex Harlequin pants but ze also wears a patchwork tale coat and makes a living out of being the centre of attention. There's matching hats and neckerchiefs. I have visions of rooms full of chefs wearing these things and just wonder what they'd be cooking.

I reckon I can make my post apocalyptic people wear this stuff because if it's polyester then it'll be around forever. Non-biodegradable. They'd have to grow their own cotton or wool or whatever, but some of these synthetics they could dig out of landfills in later centuries and just scrub up a bit. If it was a sudden apocalypse there'd be warehouses full of such things. Future people wearing a lot of cheap supermarket uniforms because those things will never rot isn't a vision I've read elsewhere, but really, it makes sense.

Really, what is it that makes a bold trim healthcare tunic visually distinct from the tunics of other disciplines? Or the other sorts that are less scifi on account of having collars. I don't understand collars. I mean, why? I know some of them are for ties, but we're back to why very swiftly. If they function as slings or garottes then that at least makes some sense but mostly they just sit there or possibly flash and sing christmas tunes. How many futures still wear ties? But if they don't wear ties, that's a whole source of subtle coding gone.

Humans. We make signals out of all sorts. Considering it's all basically variations on being the monkey with the brightest backside it's ridiculously complex.

The fun with the sci fi challenge is to retain as much of the complexity we've already learned to read as possible, whilst making it recognisably SF. Doing fancy design stuff that you'd have to get a costume department to sew up is one way to do that, but having to buy all the parts from high street stores would be another. I keep seeing stuff that strikes me as perfect for B7 cosplay without technically being something ever seen on B7. So the trick to SF costuming would be to take the easily available but combine it in a way you get a coherent look that is just unfamiliar enough.

And then preferably do it in a mix and match way that works for multiple extras, in a slightly more nuanced way for guest characters, and in ways with depth and range for the core characters.

Costume design is hard, and I don't think I'd get the hang of it even if I studied more.
Is fun though.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have seen a lot of argue about IM3 on a topic that didn't even ping me, despite being relevant to my interests
spoilers go under the cut
Read more... )



this is an important topic and I want to go over this and make it make proper sense.
but it's five in the morning, so this is the best sense available right now.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Sometimes I miss when all the web had to be text only.

I get nostalgic for when fancy gifs with four whole frames were something you had to seriously consider the load times on. Sure, you ended up with pages full of blinky shit and dancing monkeys that nobody needed, but there was sort of general agreement nobody needed them, and you didn't get all the conversation happening in the middle of them.

... tumblr is blinky shit central and I cannot be having with it. If I had the brain spare for that much movement I'd be watching a video.

And speaking of videos, why so many untranscribed videos? Sometimes people are saying like three paragraphs of thing, but because they're neurotypical socials or whatever they think it's important to have facial expressions with it, so they pour it into this multi channel input form with visuals and sounds and movement and no freaking subtitles when really it'd work as plain text.

I miss plain text being the universal default. I mean, okay, people are doing lovely beautiful things with the art forms the net can now carry, but... *big sigh*

Every increase in complexity, every time visuals got easier, or could move now, or sound got simple, or everyone assumed they're pouring it all in broadband so let's pour it all in at once... it just takes things further away from usable for me. I mean there's newspaper websites now that regularly put interesting stuff in their podcast or video sections and not in that strange boring medium that you might associate with newspapers, the written word. I want data! In forms I can handle! And in more useful forms anyway. Video and sound is slow, you can't skim read it, why does anyone want to present data in such a form? Be social in it, yeah, I suppose, but present information? You can't skip back up the page to double check something. You can't fit more than a single moment on the screen at once. Why do they want that?

And I know that visually impaired people are probably going 'hey, sound on the internet! woohoo!' but that's just one of the awkward things about accessability, needs clash. Except screen readers can handle plain text too now so it seems like the most accessable version to me.

And I know it looks like I'm just being whiny, and I know there's a lot more of the web now so you can argue there's at least as much plain text space as there ever was, but it used to be the whole conversation was in text and now it is at best sprawled out between text and a bunch of blinky *rudeword* gifs on a different service where I can't see how they have conversations anyway because really comment threads are kind of useful why don't we stick with the site that has them? ... and yeah, this complain can read like an extended *shakes fist at tumblr*, but that's just a symptom. There's a ton of sites where I click a link and find whatever the hell they wanted me to read is in a form I just can't be having with today. Not to mention it gunks up my computer. Not everyone has a cutting edge bit of equipment, mine is the one I got on a grant for doing my degree with seven years ago. Lovely thing, I hope it keeps working.

Anyway.

I'm lucky, when I have my brain in and a bit of spare energy, I can access whatever. Sound, video, text, I've got the sensory equipment for all of it. I just find it distracting, exhausting, and a bit of a pain really. I've tried with tumblr but there's nothing fun about the experience. It's like trying to do meta with a strobe light in your face. I'm always at the disco at cons but I'm there to dance, trying to talk in there is pretty pointless.

What I miss is when the level playing field, the tech everyone was using, was something that worked really well for me. And I'm not asking everyone to go backwards, clearly they were waiting for all these other channels, fair enough for them. But it leaves me ever closer to the same position socialising online that I am in 3D spaces: sitting in the corner, trying to sort data fast enough to keep up with even one conversation, drowned out by all the other signals and noise.

Sad face. Woe. Sulk.


... which is a bit pointless as a sulk really, because it's not like I'm much good socialising in either space, I can never think of anything to say. Different problem, kind of a bigger one.


Also, march of tech has its own antidotes. I have buttons to zap colors and readability. I can get rid of all the blinky and make things black on white :-D
... except then I can't see what people were trying to convey, because blinky is the message nowadays.
So, sometimes, I miss it.

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beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
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