Oct. 23rd, 2016 10:44 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Legends of Tomorrow is probably not trying for subtlety, in superpowers or anything else, but
it really bugs me that the super scary Pilgrim was such a lousy assassin
when her power could have been so *sneaky*.

She has temporal micro manipulation.
Which on the show means she can wave her hands around and stop attacks mid air, even turn them around sometimes.
It's big, it's showy, it's... such a waste of potential.

Look, even if the only thing you can do is stop time locally, even if there's a size limit on it so you can only stop something the size of a bullet without those big showy preparation required gestures
take a minute to imagine what you can do with
one bullet's worth of air
that cannot be moved.

It has no time passing, so it is in fact an immovable object.

Read more... )

I just read another book that played with a simple time stop and how useful it was for assassinations. Different parameters, but a stopped target can't see you walking up to it.

Really, it was obviously cool to stop blasts of flame mid air and all that, but it's by far the least interesting thing you can do once the ability to stop time locally comes into play.

And as for aelectively reversing it...

I just get frustrated sometimes when spectacle is, for even good reasons, prioritised over logic
or cool.

... also, sometimes I take a look at the stuff my brain happily comes up with and just... oops?
Eh, I'm optimised for fiction, it's fiiiiiiine...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
(Trigger warnings for Lewis Snart, child abuse, that continues into adulthood, and the violence in this episode.)

I think I am not reacting to this one scene in The Flash quite as the writers intended
cause Barry tells Cold there is good in him and he knows he wants to be better
and I want to punch him in his smug little face.

I mean, I slept on it,and I'm still feeling mostly that.

Read more... )

TL DR I have a lot of feels about abused kids trying to grow away from their parents, and their parents, and addiction which got brought up in this episode, and Barry and his lack of shades of grey just... keeps putting his foot in it as far as I can see.

Feels rollercoaster.

But writers maybe know that, so okay, punching in the smug face may even be one of the layers of react in there.

And I can stare at Wentworth Miller having feelings for really a lot.

Bad guy still did bad things though.

You know if the whole justice and prisons system worked properly in comics universes they'd end up with hardly anything to do. Vigilante action from both sides of the line only happens because they're convinced the courts and law enforcement officers won't save them.

I prefer those stories where the heroes notice they're breaking the law though. I mean, Barry is so wrong in season one saying the difference is the good guys do it to help people. Bad guys got their people too. But I guess it is why Barry is so smug face thinking it makes a difference now Snart has a 'good' motive.

Heh, look at that gigantic meta trying to pick a fight with one scene I actually really like from an episode where only the science is cringeworthy. Me being fannish again, how I have missed it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm reading a thing from an actual screenwriter dude and it's increasingly bugging me
and I was trying to work out why
because it's first glance uncontroversial to say a protagonist should have both global and personal stakes.
Thing explains personal stakes are what make the audience emotionally connect, because easy to understand one small story and systems level is difficult.

But then I read the examples
and it's like
hero can't just hero because hero.
Cannot just do good because doing good is good to do.
Cannot just decide that if nothing we do matters then the only thing that matters is what we do.
Kindness is never its own reason.

To give them personal stakes the way this professional screenwriter is suggesting means the protagonist isn't doing things to help the world except coincidentally as a way of helping people he cares about.

And if this is dominant common sense for screenwriters then suddenly I understand why they keep making everyone Batman, because dead parents are the damsel you can never save.
Give them a living personal stake and the story gets stuck with a finite goal or a repetitive one. Give them relatable issues about the one they failed to save, and everything is personal forever, but never actually resolved.

So. Problem. Personal is not the same as important and making all the heroes only care because they're already involved makes them very small.
Plus the go to way of doing so involves fridging people a lot.

On Desire

Oct. 18th, 2016 02:24 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I have been reading, and watching, and listening stories, and I have been thinking
and my thought is
Laurell K Hamilton books are better than I thought.

Yes, even the one I gave up after, where the detective part of the plot got forgotten about until the bad guys literally sent them a note about it at the end.

They are better because
I am sick of love triangles.

I mean, I'm especially sick of the weird little dance where a woman has to choose between two men without doing anything so forward as actually actively desiring them, and the contortions even erotica can go through to avoid a woman owning her own desires,
but right now I am most thoroughly annoyed how the only solution allowed when someone has much
is to want less.

Just, really? Really? This dance of assorted threes can be kept up for years, yet somehow that's only ever a bad thing?


Want *all* the loves!

Keep them!

Desire as much as pleases you and get your lucky, lucky hands on every last one!

And hey, maybe simplify the scheduling by having them want each other too. Efficient *and* pretty.

For goodness sake, when someone has a big speech about how 'there were always three people in this relationship' why don't they *ever* just buy a bigger house? It doesn't even have to be queer, though obviously my happy place has opinions on that. Just act like grown ups and make three people happy instead of one and a half miserable!

And, yes, continuing this pattern over multiple iterations does make leaving room for the plot a task for advanced writers, but for goodness sakes, it can hardly be more of a challenge than making every single relationship an unhappy love triangle, and the CW manages that pretty consistently.

I mean there's times where imposing monogamy makes absolutely zero sense within verse logic, like on Lost Girl where having to choose between two lovers still meant one of them would have to ignore all the other sex Bo was having, and left said sex substantially less convenient and more dangerous, yet necessary for feeding and healing purposes. Writing about a bisexual succubus who refuses to choose and yet imposing as close to sequential monogamy as possible on her happily ever after was nonsensical and vastly unsatisfying.

Choose everything! Be everything! Refuse to leave anyone out!

... *sigh* ...

I know, it's hardly likely to happen when we can't hardly ever get men kissing or women's relationships treated as relationships rather than throwaway eyecandy, and both are almost always tragedies

but really

so many possibilities that harm none
and yet culture so seldom goes there.

Fanfic is not exempt.
The one fic I read that decided someone's canon clumsy romantic overtures were actually on behalf of his sister was uniquely special
but I am so tired of the thing where we find out half the OTP is married
and instead of gleefully playing with new canon and what kind of OT3 we have here
we ignore it.

So many wonderful women screwed over by so much canon, do we really need to do it again just to queer the pretty?

Want everyone. Get to keep everyone. See how that can possibly work.
There's story in that for years.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I get frustrated when people blur actor and character lines
even when I know *canon* in fact does exactly that
and I do too with other characters.

Not helpful.

I guess it's partly because that way instead of a finite canon I now know
there's a whole lifetime of layered interlocking intertextual references
with an actor or two underneath.

I mean sometimes you know for certain the only reason a character has a wedding ring is that actor never takes theirs off
only if you're in the habit of reading interviews and behind the scenes stuff
and if you're actually just reading a text *as* that text then you still need a watsonian explanation.

But sometimes it's a habit among fans of reading a certain pair of actors as brothers
because that's what they were in that one famous thing.
And I know canon makes one say it isn't their first Prison Break and that is meant to be funny because show
but the line still makes perfect sense in context and in character
so the thing where I've actually had someone earnestly explain to me that I need to watch Prison Break to understand them and their dynamic is just
don't wanna
certainly don't haveta.

... but it might explain a relative dearth of shippers when the characters are on occasion So Married.
... or not, I mean, fandom and brothers can be... nope.

... actually one reason I don't want to watch stuff where their lookalikes are brothers is cause I ship them now so it would be weird.
... my line for Weird is maybe in a weird place.

It also vaguely bothers me when I can't see a pairing in canon
but then there's posts of the actors together in the tag
and, well, yeah... I see ...
and have you noticed how many actors have a sort of personal definition of personal space?
like, probably there are other people who are cuddly and snuggly and drape themselves all over their co workers
but from here
I just blink
and think

... or else feel guilty kind of low key rp shipping them.

but shipping the characters just because the actors get along seems weird.

though you know you can end up shipping characters who never meet, and possibly are in different universes with no possibility of source canon xover, so not all that weird.

back in attempting to read canon land
you know the interaction between star image and characters they're cast as is frequently intentional on the creator side
I know I read Rip Hunter slightly inflected with Rory Williams because Arthur Darvill
and that may be why it was a surprise so many people don't like him
because I've met one of him and seen another and he seems nice
oh yeah
different guy now.

So it's just sorting and prioritising different elements of readings.

But I still get weirdly frustrated
when other people blur lines
I don't.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am nearly done transcribing The Flash episode Rogue Time (as in putting in descriptions and names and stuff, most of the words are in another transcript file already)

I had to take a rage break to sputter about 'lightning psychosis'
because at some point the writers decided that faking a mental illness was a get out of plot consequences free card
and something a hero would do.

Also, while googling for 'lightning psychosis' only gets you the Flash, and is a bad phrase, googling for 'lightning symptoms' will quickly show you there are in fact psychological and neurological consequences to being struck by lightning, which often acts pretty much like a traumatic brain injury and has consequences that are *very* real and real people have to deal with them.

So we have several layers of fail at once. Using a wrong phrase when a right one is available, faking brain damage just to get out of consequences of hitting on your sister again, and the writers thinking that mental illness only gets you good and ignorable consequences. I mean, Barry's a CSI, does he have to testify in court sometimes? Could lawyers say he has a mental illness and is making things up? Like, that wouldn't be fair, but. Might his coworkers think his mental illness makes him less reliable than his already flaky fortean public image? Might people, you know, care at all, ever, after this one minute conversation?

But no, the writers decide to fake a mental illness so Barry just gets hugs instead of having to apologise.

Rage isn't a precise description of the ongoing frustration of use of mental illness in the media, but, sputtering and sighing ensue.

I can't figure out if they didn't do the research or didn't care.
Well either way they didn't care, but, you know.

Okay, this topic is done, I have like three minutes of episode still to type names on, I'll go do that.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Have finished transcript of second Rogues episode, Heatwave's intro.
I should not do this at two in the morning, I nearly saved over it with a blank document, that would be sommuch work fone poof. I'd blame it on new and fiddly programs but honestly i was just tired enough to muddle.

Cold and Heatwave together are fascinating. And the way they act different in front of a (Watsonian) audience is also fascinating. Like Mick being *super* creepy with Caitlin and about his scars... but to do that it's the first time in the episode and the first time in that base that he's taken his shirt off. Which, Doylist reading, cheapest way to only do scar makeup that once plus maximum impact on audience. But potential Watsonian reading, Mick is freaking her out on purpose for funsies. Still super creepy but in a different way. And again when they're arrested, Mick goes ballistic and growls and acts like he's going to try and bite the gun ... getting everyone's attention while Cold looks around at everything. So maybe he is just that mad, to contrast Snart, but then again, maybe it's Mick scenery chewing as part of a cooperative schtick. When they're alone again in the prison van Mick has every reason to be angry, and he is... quietly, intensely, voice mostly growl. It's private now and he seems perfectly in control. So some of the difficulties in characterisation between wild man here and crewmate later could be smoothed out if audience matters.

Len never takes notice of Mick's growl unless fire is involved. There's a particular bark to how he says his name when there's a flame lit. Says like it's not the first time, has to keep in saying it. Mick and fire is a serious distraction problem. And when he's offering to burn Caitlin, Cold uses that same voice. So Mick is indeed treated like a scary guy even by Len... if something is burning. The rest of the time his growl is answered cool and smooth, Cold not even looking up, if he has a plan.

All evidence is that Cold seldom shares the whole plan with Mick. And that winds him right up. Which seems fair.

When they're aiming guns at each other in 'give me one good reason not to kill you', the guns aren't fully lit up. When they're ready to fire they burn. In that scene they never do. Also Cold puts his gun up first and takes a breath - his turn to back down and cool down.

When he offers Mick the painting and a way out, same like when he asks in or out at end of first appearance, he isn't aiming at Mick. Which is entirely unlike his reaction to his crew trying to get out that first time, when he flat out killed the first and promised to kill the other two later. Killing his guy didn't bother him and barely interrupted him. Having a gun to his head didn't give him much pause. Life and death stuff doesn't much bother him. But Mick winds him the hell ip, and then he gives him the most leeway anyway.

Mick and Len are dangerous to each other, both practically and symbolically.

Mick is most obvious - he set the painting on fire, burned Fire and Ice, both of them. In an episode where Caitlin Snow is chasing after Firestorm, putting herself in harm's way with these two, that seems to be all foreboding for her story too. Also, on the bounce, makes the clearest comparators a romantic relationship going through a separation because one of them caught fire. ... sometimes I don't know what I'm supposed to be seeing without the slash goggles, you know? But Mick endangers both of them with his burning things thing. So why does Len go out of his way to keep him around?

Mick is a hundred percent right about Len's obsession changing his style. Dotting the t's and crossing the i's can sound stupid or mocking, depending on reading. But Len starts by counting seconds and then just... drops it. Until he's fought the Flash and is being brought in, and then his fingers are tapping and he goes back to acting Cold, while the next plan kicks in. In between he's just so gleeful about the fight... and he doesn't stop grinning as Eddie arrests him. Really, using the Cold gun doesn't quite do that for him, but the Flash does. ... they have a Thing and it's already winding up Mick. So why does Mick stick around?

Everyone Len worked with in the first episode either pointed a gun at him or got killed by him. Nasty backstabby world he lives in. But not Mick. He listens, even if he's not clued in, and sometimes even when there's flame. If that's the steadiest partner they've got, that's something.

But the guys who ran out on Cold in his first appearance said Central wasn't his playground anymore (snd he said sure it is). When he's making the pitch to Mick - take the painting and be rich, or stay with me - Len says home. If you want Central City to be our home.

So I figure that's why they stick together and go the extra effort to make it work. To be home.

And sure, that doesn't have to be romantic, the plot strand about living together has one set for Iris and Eddie and another for Barry moving back in with Joe, but the ones who talk about if they have an argument they'll have to workmit out because home is you? Romance.

Doomed romance to be specific.


So I know that those thus inclined have read it and written it this way for years by now, but I only just got the Dvds and am in full on overanalyse my faves mode for my shiny new fandom.

partly to distract myself from not yet being able to see shiny new canon when everyone else will.

Nut these guys are such a trainwreck of an otp.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
So I've been thinking about Captain Cold and Heatwave and why they seem to have ate all my brainspace (other than I have a predictable thing for the villain who saves the world)
and then I think, it's not really 'other than'.
the thing is
Initially I wasn't interested in the 'ship. Like, I noticed early on that I appeared to be crushing on Captain Cold (wtf whyyyy etc), and I concluded early on that Len and Mick were together, but it didn't eat my brain and insist on being fed with fic until Legends of Tomorrow.
because that changed them.

Most human connections are pretty basically 'You're a human? I'm a human! Let's human together!'

But the villain side, or the morally ambiguous anti hero, they look at each other and it's
'You're a monster? I'm a monster! Let's monster together!'
Which, you know, romantic from some angles, but if they actually mean monster then there's that small problem where they find it on occasion as difficult to look at each other as it is to look in the mirror.
I mean, if they're going to celebrate each other's difference, then that's one thing, but if the ways they fit are all the things they think are wrong with themselves... the initial burst of comfort that they're not alone is going to wear thin.

And that's what Len and Mick do when we first see them. Read more... )


Now it can be Mick's turn to make a counter offer.

You're the best guy I ever knew. You may not think you're a hero, but you're a hero to me.

That shouldn't be the final word on them. That should be their future.

... and of course, if canon doesn't give us that, we know what to do. But there remains a slim but shiny chance it could.

I wanted to write a longer version of this with quotes and transcripts and screencaps, but basically, this is why they're so shiny. Who they start as isn't who they're stuck as, and what they do to and for and with each other is super drama but either ends well (if you're one to accept endings) or has potential to go better places.

I'm still frustrate that there's no kissing, but you know, TV.

I'm just drawn in by the thing where they see each other's monster and then see how it doesn't define or limit them, or can be turned and aimed right, or isn't monster at all.
Not so much a redemption arc as a renegotiation of terms.

So now I just need to find other fans who think this is their shiny.
Judging by who is writing the fanfic I know some of them already but they're not where I can see them on LJ or DW any more.
And tumblr is an awful format for meta.

eh, I'm motivated, I'll try...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Just got all the way to the end of Flash season 2.
... I can tell where my fannish attention is focused, I immediately started figuring out how this would effect Mick and Len...

Read more... )

So I saw a whole season of Flash and basically wondered what it would do to the Rogues and how I could use it to sort out the end of season 1 of Legends.

Pretty clear which show I'm actively fannish about.

On Secrets

Sep. 3rd, 2016 01:41 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Having watched two seasons of Arrow and one season of Flash
I am really fed up of secrets.

They keep being so gendered too: Must Keep The Secret To Protect Her

But they are doing great at show-not-telling us that keeping secrets does in fact not protect anyone, endangers them. And straight up telling us this via Thea etc.

But in between times people keep secrets because they? want? to?

I guess with Slade if he had told them he'd have kicked off a different phase of a fight he knew he was going to lose, but still, you figure out a way. Hi there, your new friend wants to kill us all, trust me. All Ollie needs to say is he blames him for his not-girlfriend, the location details don't have to follow.
(Also I don't know why anyone believed for a minute that he was alone for five years when he had a new tattoo on his back.)

Also Sara not telling her mom she's back because her mom would never stop looking for her, I thought her mom already not stop looking for her? Was the crying supposed to be her giving up? Because ugh.

I also hated the whole middle of the season where women are saying 'huh, this guy creepy' and men are saying 'date him, you need therapy'. I mean, we have a better creep radar than guys. This is known.
But it turns out to be demonstrably true, so, that proves out.

I hate how much gaslighting is involved in this secret keeping bit. If women get suspicious they're just told not to. Blergh.

But then it goes horribly wrong, so, moral of the story, secrets pretty much suck.

Everyone keeps doing this whole moral weathervane thing or a whole dance of disagreeing where they are always on opposite sides of an issue even when that doesn't make entire sense. It's not just because they find out more, it's just because those two characters having an argue is the most angsty. Do better.

... this is pretty much all my thoughts on the matter. I thought they'd be longer. But no, secrets are a horrible idea, people need to be led by data not maximum angst, shows should do better.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Basically, the wheelchair thing :

So, right from the first episode, the wheelchair and the way it was portrayed bothered me.
And having seen the whole season I can now say the really stupid part is that the parts that bothered me were completely unnecessary.

Read more... )

The Flash needs some depictions of disability that are neutral background and not a sign of deception, creepiness, or intent to harm others.

I mean, that's... that's pretty important.

But season 1 was worse than it needed to be even to keep the exact same story, in really foolish ways.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This morning started kind of poorly, with a nightmare where Superman got shot Read more... )

So once I woke up I had to write that in my head until things were much better than that. Like, clearly Kryptonians have healing nanotech, Clark would be fine, obviously, he's always fine. But that was really upsetting.

So then my day started late, which wasn't cool.

but I'm up, I'm clean, I'm dressed, I started Cleaner Day appropriately, and I remembered to clean out the fridge and put all the new cutlery in the dishwasher before I started it. So that's working.

It's weirdly annoying having nightmare feelings hangover. Like, I know full well it's all imaginary stuff that isn't even wrong, but feelings just had a really bad thing happen in front of them and are kind of ... like bad smell, trying to stick around.

Last night I went looking for Supergirl fanfic, but found despite an actual strong presence of f/f that none of it is my happy place. I haven't figured what my happy place would be.

Read more... )

Mostly I'm just having a feelings and some of them are not nice
but I liked Supergirl so there's nice feelings around as well
so that's nice.

Cleaner is here, I can stop rambling and go do something useful.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm all tired and stressy now, because the world keeps making Noises from quite early in the morning, and it's annoying.

Also because books.

I mean, when I buy a book new, I often research it a little, I buy from recs lists, I maybe know the author already, and I have some idea what I'm getting. Or, you know, I run out of book and pick up something with a nice cover. Either works sometimes.

But these 500ish books I inherited... looking them up hasn't been very helpful. Somehow people reviewing old books don't feel the need to mention the underage noncon parts. Trigger warnings like woah, yet never mentioned. And whatever the reviewers are looking for in a book, star rating does nothing helpful either, because wildly not matching my opinions thus far. So what am I left with? Reading one at random and hoping. And thus far? That has been stressful, and intermittently ugly.

But when I decide a thing, like that a whole author's work is just blah so far so I may as well send a foot of books away at once, well that's stressful too. Because what if secretly six inches down the stack there's a book that would change my life? You never know.

And never mind that a bare handful of these things meet my basic reading criteria in the first place - the ones by women I have mostly read already, some of them thirty years ago. The ones about women are... rare, and frequently poorly labelled. The epic and blatant sexism is really difficult to get away from if I'm going to read those decades. There's so many stacks of books where they don't even make sense because women are just moved around like dolls, be the girlfriend now, ignore all the reasons not to, who knows how women think? Ugh. Or women are there to think about babies. Or the basic failure of imagination that is projecting tens of thousands of years into the future while preserving the systemic sexism of stereotyped media of the 1950s, ignoring even the reality of the 40s which they ought to have known about, and writing well into later decades. The simple assumption that doctors are men and nurses are women? How do they even get stuck thinking that, let alone deciding it's true of a future so far away it's multiples of humanity's entire written record out?

And the racism... jeez, the basic difference in assumptions about what's polite, or how you talk about humans. It boggles the mind. The times the writer is apparently trying to be nice about someone they've known a really long time, but all they're telling the ages is they were a little colored woman servant... I mean typing that feels wrong, but they were clearly sad of them and trying to be nice about them. So do you adjust your brain filters? It leaves a feeling like tripping over the steps every time. And then there's the times people are trying to be helpful and positive but they just end up with stereotypes like strong blacks or subtle orientals.

The basic idea that people are people are people, all of them just as much people as the straight white male manly man protagonist, well, that's ... that's advanced stuff, apparently.

So then I think, how about I skip the sixties. How about I leave the seventies alone for a while. The eighties can keep. Possibly I could just leave the books be until I've read some things I actually like for a bit. That would be nice.

... and then I get all anxious, because who knows, I might be skipping something important!


I know I'm making progress. I know I've sent away entire bags full of books, shelf feet at a time. I know I am keeping books that will be an interesting collection to refer back to in the future.

... it's just making me really anxious, because what if?



And maybe upwards.

I mean, considering some of the stuff I've read lately, TV and film tie-ins from the 90s onwards are looking like literature, because already they have characters I could like and some borders on the situations they'll put them in that on the whole I can live with.


Aug. 4th, 2016 10:21 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was thinking on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the end of Angel, which I still haven't got around to rewatching because I just somehow can't commit to watching every character I care about suffer that bad and mostly die.

Specifically I was thinking about time differentials in hell.

Read more... )

So that's just a whole stack of problems, inherent in the throwaway concept that time in hell travels a hundred years in a day.

I'm not being real coherent about them, but, they're kind of giant.

So that's a whole stack of bunnies.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm interested at the connections between economics and justice.

Read more... )

I think it's pretty obvious that the modern world can afford a whole lot of very nice and kind justice.

But I don't know if that has always been true.

Or if it would be true in these fantasy worlds where you'd need, for instance, a steady supply of blood donors to keep your prisoner fed.

So then what could you do, what are the parameters, what would justice look like under those different conditions?

How to be maximum nice under difficult circumstances?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I don't know if I've written this up before - I searched but didn't find - but I'm bored, so:

Goa'uld biology and what it implies for the structure of System Lord civilisation.

Was prompted to the topic by a comment Melannen made in her thoughts about siblings and sustainable populations: "If only 1/1000 people are queen mothers, they each have to have 1000 children."

What we know about goa'uld reproduction seems to mostly be in the episode about Hathor?

Where we see her in a single 'birth' make a hot tub full of goa'uld symbiotes.

So how rare are goa'uld Queens?

Read more... )

There is something wonky in the reproductive cycle of the goa'uld
and in the Watsonian way it must be driving their civilisation.

The way I figure it is that Queens are super rare.
System Lords are so competitive because they're competing for Queens
and their method is 'hey baby, check out the size of my host pool'.

But Ra imprisoned Queens, Hathor in a host and Isis just in a jar.

So some of the oldest and most powerful System Lords also try and control the Queens, perhaps bestowing or withholding to control their subjects, and some of those Queens are having none of it but mostly failing in their attempts at independence.

Apophis & Amaunet, Baal and Nirrti were all trying innovative approaches to the host problem, not just increasing the pool but making it more species specific, better able to host, and more useful. They had varied results and failed for reasons as much social as scientific, specifically that SG1 kicked their arses.

None of them seemed much fussed by killing symbiotes in Jaffa or out, which might bork my theory, but might just indicate that as a species they've never much cared until an individual was a potential reproductive partner. And maybe there aren't many of those. Much more competition than co-operation, then.

The host pool is also crucial for their extended lifespan, since without a sarc they need multiple hosts (see Tok'ra) and even with one they might need an escape pod (see Lo'taur). Controlling the availability of hosts seems ridiculous, given how many humans there are, but we see how wrapped in ceremony a new implantation is and how many hosts have to be rejected. Going among the humans, who have no biological ties to the symbiotes, is high risk. And they still have to sort them for suitability. Sending Jaffa out for a first sort and making sure the potential hosts are outnumbered by Jaffa lowers the risk. And enables the System Lord to better control their subjects by knowing when they implant and controlling when and where they can try it.

All of this developed in reaction to an original environment where their host species tried to eat them on the regular. They would remember from their earliest hosts what it was like to eat their own species. And they would kind of expect relationships with new species to be antagonistic. And bitey.

The genetic memory would freeze a lot of reactions and the sarc freezes individuals, so it takes many many host generations for a goa'uld to change. But change they must have.

The System Lords as a society and the goa'uld and Tok'ra as biology are reorganising in reaction to their version of First Contact, the meeting with a new species, and the new technologies and ideas that came out of that.

They're fascinating.

... or they could be, if they weren't mostly just being evil because evil, and then wiped out.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Been reading fanfic... aaand even saying that is kind of like 'been breathing some more lately'
been reading fanfic with sex scenes that made me think.

Second one brought into focus what I didn't like about the first one.

In both one guy is getting compliments from their long time crush. In both physical features that might in other contexts be considered unattractive are instead what their crush is concentrating positive remarks on. And yet the first one was so very not my thing I stalled on it for like three days, and the second one I liked a lot.

First one was from the point of view of the man giving compliments, and the reaction was a sort of lost for words silent awe and gratitude that I could only just barely buy as being in character. Yet ooc wasn't what was bothering me.

Second one was from the point of view of the one getting the compliments, and the reaction was kind of like blossoming. Like, yes, I am beautiful butterfly, say that some more, do that again, no over there, yaay bodies are fun.

So I realised the first one bothered me because same reasons as in tumblr post about 'social experiment: agree with men giving you compliments'. Like, the one giving the compliments was saying how his new lover wasn't like all those good looking guys who know they're good looking and they're so up themselves. He's all pudgy and soft and kind of wonky looking instead, it's great, he's so sweet. *awe and gratitude* ... silent awe and gratitude... as response to being told his fat bits are sexy. Reminded me too much of ... like, what if he'd said thanks, I know? How would his crush have responded? Like, yaay, we both agree you're gorgeous? Or, oh no, arrogance, this doesn't work. (Despite distinguishing feature of character being arrogance.) It felt more like he was negging him and making him grateful for having his flaws pointed out, more like he was trying to score points for being the only one to ever find him attractive. Which, er, no? Verging on epic no. And it wasn't like the story of itself was inherently creepy, because sincere compliments to what one considers one's less attractive features could be relaxing in that context, but it's too much like too much other stuff so tensing for negative reaction happened.

Second story was fun, because everyone involved seemed to be having fun, and while it would be emotionally devastating to get a really bad reaction in a relationship they cared about so much, it wouldn't be because there's only one person in the world who can physically appreciate him. He's pretty and he knows it because he's seen the mirror and he knows how he feels. Much more relaxing.

It's like in the one version all the power stays with the person giving the compliments, and you're just flinching away from them using it the other way. Someone only feels attractive when they're told they are, that's not fun, and telling it from the point of view of the confident one makes it less fun somehow. But in the other version they're going to be okay either way, so it's better. This person makes them feel beautiful like they know they are, and any gratitude in the equation seems more evenly distributed.

I don't know, I think it's just the other story feels really gendered and really common, like so many 'ugly duckling' stories where she gets a makeover and then the guy notices her and it's supposed to be super cool but it's really saying over and over that it only counts if the guy notices. Somehow putting two guys into the story doesn't take the nasty off.


Mar. 30th, 2016 05:59 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It just occurred to me what bugged me about the women in the... last half dozen books I read by several different male authors.

Women as prizes are never women who choose between different options.

It's obvious once I've seen it. But when I was reading it was all from a male point of view and the most that happens is they compete for a woman but then something happens to take one out of the running and the other mourns for a while and then claims his default prize. It's never like in romances where there's the nice guy and the dangerous guy and a woman has actual opinions on both of them.

Women as prizes happen in the exact quantity required, exist long enough to prove they're worthy of their guy, and then just fade into the background.

It's creepy.

Now I have a sudden urge to rewrite something a bit more Pride & Prejudice... except I've not read that in a really long time and I'm not even sure I mean that one. So it's not my sort of rewrite that I'd be good at. Boo.

But also I was reading about the roles of women historically and how marriage was more about wealth and power than about love and it just struck me again how duty gets devalued by the romantic love narrative. I mean Romeo & Juliet is a tragedy because they die, but also because their stupid hormonal messing around gets other people killed. And yet there's a lot of people under the ridiculous impression it's romantic. Also any story where the lord runs off with the servant girl. It's all very well as far as it goes, it elevates the servant girl's social chances and is a much better gig than just getting the attention without the marriage, but there's a reason that a good aristocrat cares about his wife's wealth. Aristos are the boss of a really large number of people. They need money to maintain their estates, which means employing and feeding a whole lot of people, as well as doing things necessary to the community and being a good landlord. Yes there's not much guarantee they'll be good lords, but if they're good, they need the money for their people. Like reading the word Lord etymologically derives from Loaf Warden. There's the dude with enough bread for everyone. Marrying poor is bad not just for him but for potentially really large swathes of the country. That's not happily ever after, that's not romance, that's just ignoring duty for personal desire.

And yet that's a really difficult point to push, given how uphill it is against current standards.

Checking out someone's prospects is just trying to ensure neither the married couple nor their children will starve. And when a family was pretty much a business organisation, say with farming or weaving or any other thing, the extended family would be relying on strong marriages to keep everyone in eating.

Leaving all that behind, say to ride off on horseback somewhere, would be a bit like leaving with the company car, still on hire purchase, belonging to the company formed with relatives, and never seen again while not a breath of payment comes back.

Doing that for romance just means burning through your assets twice as fast, with more mouths to feed.

And if they're only your assets as part of a complex web of family investments, well, that's just rude.

So I don't get what's so wrong about going looking for a good investment prospect, seeing as you want to continue to eat without taking more than you return in food off the family table.

And the kind of fantasy adventure novel where the prince goes undercover and comes back with some pretty young woman who is at best trained to run a family business the size of an inn or a smallholding... it's like promoting the secretary to CEO because true love, it's really unlikely to work out well for tens of thousands of people.

... promoting the personal assistant to CEO because she's been running the company really well for years anyway is just a good investment.

But choosing the prince because he's a prince has a lot of drawbacks too. I mean, politics involves actual backstabbing. And if the kingdom falls apart you know who they'll blame, fairly or otherwise. And the new girl at court has absolutely no useful contacts.

If you're looking for a good place to raise children it's a hell of a gamble.

So 'romance' in fantasy novels is frequently a series of very poor choices, creepily presented as destiny with an ongoing lack of apparent choice.

I dislike it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It's always about the first gens.

Which pulls the heroic age ever further into the modern era and distorts our place in history.

It's like they're saying nobody before this ever thought to make a stand. Sure there's Captain America, but he gets like two hours in the past. Everyone else is origin movies, set in the moment of production. However many times they have to reboot a title, it's always origin movies, because movies are about the most important day of your life and that seems definitive to movie makers. Which is bull, because there's a lot of most important days. Sure there's the day you choose your career, but there's also the day you choose your wife, your partner, your children, your successor.

When I was reading comics the first time I identified so hard with Robin. Because he's not even the first Robin. He's stepping into a role held previously by giants and martyrs, and he has to make it work, because Batman needs a Robin. Robin at that point held himself responsible for Batman's mental health. He was pretty sure Batman couldn't go it alone. And I internalised that so much that I watch the movie versions of Batman and they're all crazy, they're just Lone!Dark!Bats! and he's off doing his thing alooooone like dark vengeance is a life sustaining thing, and he does it for years. And that was never true in the comics. He was alone only a very short time before he met Robin and realised that was the light he needed to keep him balanced. He needed someone to protect as well as someone to avenge, he needed someone at his back while he fought so many people trying to stab him in it. He could not do it alone.

Movies? Lone!Grim!Dark! ... or bat nipples. I realise that series went rather wrong, but it was not the simple presence of Robin that did it.

My favourite legacy characters are Blue Beetle. I never read much about Blue Beetle the first, he's from a much earlier era. He was a college teacher and his student took up the mantle when he died. Ted Kord wears a different uniform, with more modern materials, but when he dreams and in the back of his mind he's always wearing the heavier chainmail of his predecessor. And then Ted dies, and the next person to find the Beetle steps into the role and has to learn about the legacy. He puts up a banner, what would Ted Kord do? And much as I love Ted, I love that someone picked up this name, this in-universe at best B list name, and realised it was a legacy to live up to.

Reading comics I always identified with the young ones stepping into their elders role, but growing up I got to see the even younger ones coming up behind them, aspiring to be them, however much of a hot mess they might feel sometimes, determined to do better this time.

That feels like a more respectful role. Because there has always been someone before us, standing for what we believe in, dedicating their lives to some level of the good fight. And we have to hope there will always be someone after us, maybe not having to fight, but just as dedicated.

Movies? Erase history. To make their hero stand out.

Getting real tired of that.

Batman wasn't even first gen in the comics. He was inspired by the Justice Society before him, or by Zorro, or a million other things. But he's more famous and more useful as a leader and mentor, his skills multiplied over a whole Bat family.

As the MCU goes on it is doing something interesting with legacy and history, but mostly by showing it has been deliberately erased in universe. Ant Man makes it clearest, where he has to call himself a propaganda trick, and pass the skills on to someone new. But even Tony Stark never knew the work his father did, and generations of SHIELD happened in the shadows, erasing the contributions of, thus far, women, disabled people, people of color. Which is interesting, but really depressing.

I want to see the legacies. The multi generation inspirations. Especially the women who inspired women, Black Canary like her mother before her, or the people of color who have been fighting the good fight since forever.

Because otherwise they're doing the same thing to superheroes as gets done to women in science fiction, to pick just one of a bazillion fields of achievement, where each generation of writers is new! strange! different!, having ignored everyone before. It makes each 'new' person of diversity prove themselves from scratch, as if the white guy default really was the only one that ever stood there. And they never have been. They're always standing on the shoulders of giants, and those giants didn't look like them.

Give me that universe, the one where we've always been there, just like here.

And let the stories unfreeze, cause you can't hold back the rest of the world by propping up your white boys.


Jan. 11th, 2016 02:02 pm
beccaelizabeth: Tony Stark, Iron Man, face with HUD lights (Tony HUD)
MCU theory after Avengers, during Agents of SHIELD, into Winter Soldier:

Fury kept Coulson quiet and classified the same way you drop dye in the water to see where it goes colours. Level 7 to know he exists, Level 10 eyes only to know how.

Read more... )

Fury? Really really wants to know if Tony Stark is still in his system.

Read more... )

Fury didn't tell the Avengers. That's the only fact here. But if he specifically did it to see where the data went, he got a lot of very criminal splash really fast.

And ultimately they led to HYDRA.

Which is more plausible, to Fury: that he'd missed HYDRA in his own house his entire life, or that he'd missed it in Stark's?

Read more... )

But if we start from the idea that Fury keeps secrets because he believes it keeps the world safe, he's got stacks of reasons to not trust Stark.

I think fic could do better by him when addressing the whole Coulson secret. Just act like he's got a reason and see Coulson as the company guy who is really dismissive of the bits of SHIELD that went private after the fall. That fic plays out much different.

And probably with less Clint kisses, so my reading preferences could be heavily slanting what I seen there, but still, that's the challenge of ongoing canon, how can we keep the 'ship without throwing out the new episodes. Do the two guys as we know them now still fit together, or did we just AU them forever. Not knocking the AU, just wonder how the new canon could work.

Also think the future new canon is going to work much less well without noticing where there are actual tensions in the existing story.

But, today's conclusion: It makes sense for Fury to worry about Stark post Avengers movie, because he set out bait for Stark and got nibbles from Centipede, the Clairvoyant, and HYDRA. Sorting out where they weren't connected could easily take more time than they had.

Meantime, Coulson was very lively bait, which went poorly for a great many people.

Is fun.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm reading a long fic and Stark just gave Fury a 'suck it, boss' speech, after smashing through a SHIELD base and kidnapping/freeing someone, where the punchline was the Avengers are going independent
as long as they do less damage than the Chitauri they can do as they damn well please because the world needs them.

I stalled right there, because that? That is a supervillain origin speech. And I don't think the fic knows it.

Read more... )

A world that needs superheroes so much they'll let them smash all the things is a world with some pretty major problems, many of them now superheroes.

And yeah, sometimes it's as clear as aliens pouring through a portal or a robot overlord crashing a flying city, so someone's got to do something. The story really pumps up the contrast so you can't exactly argue for pacifism. Diplomatic solutions don't work when you don't even know the enemy exists or acknowledge their sentience/sapience/rights.

Not cool. Don't think there's RL equivalents. Not pretty ones, anyways.

But as I understand it the whole law and courts and trials thing is there to see if the actions taken were reasonable, proportionate, vaguely legal. So why shouldn't a superhero be subject to those same processes of law?

... the usual comic book answer is their utter corruption, but if the story stops there it's pushing a morally bankrupt rule by titans that I want no part of.

... so basically I just sat down and wrote out which side of the superhero civil war I'd be on.

Accountability is a necessary prerequisite of civilisation.

Freedom's necessary too, but not to the extent you can stand there and go You Can't Make Me over laws about if you're allowed to hit people and never answer for it.

Bad laws need fixing, but bringing down civilisation and letting rip with the might-makes-right is not the way to do it.

(ugh, okay, so my Chaotic Neutral tendencies are all D-:< right now)

Bad law needs fixing, bad systems need protesting, bad regimes even need replacing, but people just standing there saying they're outside of law and beyond judgement because they've got the biggest weapons? Are the problem. Never the solution.

... why am I reading superhero stories if...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The Bechdel-Wallace test, blunt instrument that it is, is not there to measure if women act in a stereotypical way. When it says 'are they talking about something other than a man' it is not a test for romance. It's not even just to filter out characters playing The Mother and The Sister and The Daughter, though it does that pretty handily.

It's there to test whether we exist in our own right. Women, plural.

Because if the film only has one woman, or two women that do not talk to each other, or who only talk about men?

Then women in that film only exist when observing or observed by men.


Women are half the world. Women should be half the movie. Very simple.
Instead we tend to get 2:1 male to female.
And that 1/3? Talks to and about men. And exists only in relation to men.

It's very easy to fix this. And yet it doesn't happen.

Making women the protagonists is important, essential, really great
and not sufficient.

We are not the lone exception. We are half the world.

Women exist. Plural. We talk to other women, with no men around, about things entirely not involving men.

Until media reflects that, it will come up short on the Bechdel-Wallace test, and fail at this really basic component of realism.

A film can have many other virtues, but the only way to get women to exist independently is to have it pass the test. And failing the test is a great big minus that drags the whole thing down.

I realise this particular rant might work better in relevant comments threads, but I am just not feeling that confrontational, so I'll rant about it here where people will either agree with me or be quiet. *sigh*

I like it that people like their favourite movies, I just get really frustrated when people decide this test doesn't matter, because often they're saying it doesn't matter if there's only one woman if she's sufficiently cool. But it matters. Nobody is cool enough to make up for the numerical disadvantage. We need to exist, and we need to talk, and we need to talk to each other.

Ugh, boys

Dec. 12th, 2015 11:00 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Okay, title not fair, but:
have finally finished reading the epic fantasy novel I stalled on. A lot of fighting happens, a lot of things that read like random D&D encounters and contribute neither to endgame plot nor character development, especially since there doesn't seem to be character development. And while huge swathes of story are theoretically driven by the emotions of those involved, who are mentioned to be in love with each other at the beginning and end of each book, there's an utter absence of recogniseable emotion, except jealous rage from the one bad girl.

It is the most stereotype boy version book. It's all about who can crunch who. And really? We know who is going to still be there in book nine, we know who does all the crunching, why is this satisfying?

The worst bit though? The peasant boy who is secretly king was part of a bit of a shell game of body swaps, and while his ancestor the last legit king is wearing his body, he announces his engagement to his secretary. In front of several thousand people. While it is imperative to the safety of the isles that she helps him pull off the king impersonation.

And then everyone agrees this is a good thing because now they'll both have to go through with it.

The hell?

I should point out that those two aren't even a couple that mention they're in love yet. Nobody has said that. He hasn't declared his love to her, she hasn't declared her love for him. The only evidence of feelings is physical proximity. She follows him around. With a notepad, fantasy tech edition. Because she's working with him to restore the kingdom. If they have any feelings for each other at all, that isn't something the book felt the need to share with the reader.

But now they must get married! Party!

The layers of lack of consent in there. I mean, the guy isn't even the guy who owns that body, he never asked the girl, she looks panic and fear when he ... I was going to say proposes, but he never, he just announces they're already betrothed. And then the book glosses that as she's afraid he won't go through with it when he gets back? Ugh.

So it's creepy. And it doesn't know it's creepy. And it is just chugging merrily along with the wedding preparations at the end of the book because the peasant prince guy saves teh day and gets his body back and gets the girl!

At no point has the girl been asked if she wants to be got.


There are girl point of view characters too, but they don't feel the need to think about feelings, or the people they love. Bad girl thinks about jealousy and concludes she hates the woman who distracts men with her cleavage and then kills them but she hates them because cleavage and sex and if she wanted a guy she'd just go for it, rather than, you know, killing. Because it's a killing people book, nobody can just hate people for killing. So instead of having actual positive emotions towards a guy the bad girl just kind of hates herself for not jumping on that. Ugh.

But mostly it tries so hard to avoid feelings that the characters are just killing machines wandering a fantasy landscape occasionally deciding wrong about which things to kill.

Why does he think we want to read a giant epic series of that?

Fanfiction is just playing a very different game than a lot of published fiction. Even when it's all plot and a lot of things happen, it's all about feels. You want to put your characters through things and watch them react and feel for them whenever stuff happens. It's not so much about what they do to the world, that's not the interesting bit, so even if they do something interesting like declare independence then the important bit is what it does to their relationships.

Why is that so rare when I venture into male authored books?

Their cut out people are just disturbing.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Lindsey is one of my favourite characters of all time. He hangs out in my head a lot and I have way more of my version than canon version. But still, in canon, favourite.

He just drove off in his beat up truck with his (probably formerly) evil hand and his guitar, and now I'm going to miss him for ages, sulk.

He had so many moments he could have made the other choice and still went back to Wolfram & Hart. And that makes him frustrating, and willingly evil, and fascinating, because it wasn't seeing children in danger and it wasn't seeing what they do to the woman he loves that makes him walk away. It was the realisation that evil just wasn't working. And sure, that he's so many spare parts to his employers, that part has to suck, but he stood there and got brains on his face while his co-worker got shot, I think he got that memo. What makes him interesting is Lindsey is, by the measures of his peers, winning, and he walks away. Because evil? He's bored with this crap.

It's kind of what fascinates me with Methos too, though he was on a different scale in a very different era. Methos was an Immortal warlord who ruled the known world, could have anything and anyone he wanted, and he just got bored. He decided he'd rather read, study, be a philosopher, be... well, over the next four thousand years, pretty much be human every which way a man can be. And it started when he'd tried evil, reached the top, and just... decided he was done with it.

I like it because evil is boring. It's banal, it's tedious, it's the same shit over and over with a fear and pain soundtrack. Characters that never go there in the first place, great. Characters that see the light and realise that love and compassion are the guiding forces they've been looking for, awesome. But there's also a place for the guys who just try it and end up done with it. Cause they're saying a different thing. The path of righteousness isn't that hard or made of sacrifice, because the path of evil is just kind of crap.

Makes the other ways look way more attractive.

And all those times he coulda woulda shoulda walked away, the times he nearly saw the light but put blinders on, the times he closed the door on redemption... they're followed up by this. So you get to see, there actually isn't a too late to change. People can be pricks over and over and they've still got a choice about it. So Lindsey chose.

That's what makes him fascinating.

Well, that and he remains easy on the eyes. And ears. And... well, beyond that, mostly speculation and some data from conventions. But wow is he pretty. And when he smiles at you... *happy sigh*

I watch him real close whenever he's on screen and it's fascination as much as attraction, barn owl and mouse maybe.

But I really, really like his character arc.

Up until here. Or, you know, up until almost the last minute.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I skimmed past another thing saying that slash just isn't feminist or progressive or whatever.

And okay.


One thing that fascinates me in fiction, esp slash fiction, is dynamics of power.

... yes I mean I read BDSM fic but that's not only or most of what I mean.

One theory that has bounced around since long and long is that slash fic isn't specifically about men, it's about power. Equal power.

Read more... )


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

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