beccaelizabeth: Tony Stark, Iron Man, face with HUD lights (Tony HUD)
I was reading an AU where it felt like only Tony was in character. Steve was just this pretty guy in a bar. Didn't even keep the art.

The hook for the relationship was that Steve didn't recognise him, started out communicating in a format where they didn't see each other, so initially he treated him like any other human. Which was the foundation even after they figured out who they were.

And then Tony asked what he wanted from him.

And you know, with that as a start, the answer has to be stuff he could get from anyone else on the planet, to treat him like an ordinary guy, and definitely not want to use his money.

Except... that's not the foundation of Steve and Tony.

Read more... )

Also? I get frustrated at the idea that romance is entirely separate from the complex business of daily living together. A partnership works together, even if it's just to arrange food or furnish a flat. With much bigger resources around the idea it's actually superior to just stand back and let him deal with it all seems... unequitable. Impractical. Kind of exhausting. A good partner might not be good at your job, but they're good at some part of the life you're going to share, or what's the point?

Being an amusing conversationalist is not the half of it.

But what do I know, people stuff is ever baffling to me.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I did dancing and shopping at the usual times
and got home and made two egg sandwiches (though I still have not got the hang of eggs, they're better tasting when cooked elsewhere)

and the I sat down to catch up on tumblr
and it got to be now in the usual pleasant way.

astolat has made new Witcher fic.
You know those writers where you end up reading fandoms you've got no clue about, because it will rock?

a lot of fic though seems pretty cool with the basic concept of monarchy and conquering people for their own good. I mean I'm British, I have grown up surrounded by stories that are pretty much yaay monarchy lets conquer stuff and make it civilized, and that means that I both adore a well written Arthur and wince every time it comes up. I mean, we were kind of bastards, for much of history. I feel the tendency to conquer everything in sight in the name of someone with a shiny hat did not in fact enrich the world per se.

... does make bloody good fiction though.

... so how does one get something just as viscerally satisfying about democracy and generally getting people to agree to laws and things?

preferably involving swords and dragons.

Read more... )

Civilisation is the anti drama, really. Civilisation is the mechanism by which we minimise drama.

Kings have some excellent potential to be just the opposite, as the centuries of talking about that one guy brought down by his bastard will attest.

So I'm not even really sure what sort of stories I'd want, let alone how to write them.

But I feel almost as weird cheering on a good king as I do being a fan of a good villain...
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I was just thinking an aspect of why I get interested in Reverse Flash:
because of paradox and going backwards, he has a whole story telling him who to be. And you can write him as striving to have an individual identity in the face of that imposed story. And that's usually a woman's arc, like struggling to break free of a spy training facility or whatever, the story tells her to be evil and powerful and she just wants room to exist.
That's not the main supported story that Reverse Flash is trying to tell
but I just realised where it fits in my pattern of interests.

He got told who he would grow up to be, and he'll break the universe if he doesn't become that.
Like it or not.

Of course Flash is told who he's going to be, but he keeps phrasing it in terms of future events to happen or not, not straight up identity.

Reverse Flash had his identity defined by his relationship to a guy. Hate hate relationship, at the simplest reading, but still. Usually that happens to characters getting called Lady Whatever because they're standing next to Lord Whatever.

And then to empower Barry - who he hates - Thawne sets aside his names, personal and family, and again lives another man's story. And yeah, saving Barry's destiny is the only way to save his own life, he props Barry up so he can use him, but. It's the story of someone setting aside their own name and career to support someone else, who is going to be seen as greater than them.

When Eobard got his wish in Doomworld he was still running a lab, but as himself, getting awards and recognition in his own name. That's his wish, but he can't have it, because Flash.

Of course all of this is way murdery. He loses his own life because he did a murder. He gets to live in a fancy house and all that rich stuff, this isn't a story of his suffering.

I'm just identifying the trope hooks that make his half of the story more compelling to me.

If you want to tell it that way, there's some very familiar elements.
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I dreamed SHIELD had reinvented itself and recruited a whole bunch of self guiding agents
like, SHIELD provided labs, armoury, a giant library, meeting rooms, and cubicles to call your desk for the day
but then set SHIELD agents loose in all that and let them figure out what they wanted to chase

which has a few obvious flaws as a way of systematically monitoring global security threats

but makes it a whole lot more like the Avengers.

It's one of the things that bugs me about vigilante heroes in most settings, they pour all their time and resources into their particular Thing, and sometimes they've all got the same Thing and other times they have different spheres, but there's really uneven coverage. And at no point do vigilantes that aren't Batman sit down and study how they can, for instance, reduce crime the most with that money and those hours.

... Batman did the reading, went to college, made crime maps, and used the Wayne Foundation to systematically tackle the conditions and causes, plus paying a lot of attention to what the police commissioner and DA do. Even Green Arrow, attempting to be mayor, is a few layers short of that. And he and his team seem to tackle one case per episode, or possibly per night. Police have a few more things to do than that in Starling.

So setting resources the scale of SHIELD loose to follow their own interests... would have interesting results, but you'd get gigantic gaps in coverage because nobody thought Norfolk was sexy, for instance.

Intelligence work as academia? Although there's grants and funding that shapes where interest goes in academia.

So a dream that was mostly about a SHIELD agent showing Bucky and Steve how they were self guiding now is making me think about systems and how much or little use a hero model would even be.

It's flashy and impressive to be a hero.

But I think a lot of them do more good at their day jobs.


Sep. 2nd, 2017 12:48 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been reading Clint/Coulson fic
after reading Mick/Len
and a splash of Steve/Bucky.

We have there three (3) brainwashed soldiers forced to fight for their worst enemy against their best friends and the man they love
(at least for these parings purposes)

I've mentioned before that I find it super creepy that we keep on telling these stories where a soldier really is just following orders. I know it's also about resisting and breaking free even under the worst pressure, but it's a creepy setup, to show them doing violence and then basically argue they couldn't help it.

But the fic that deals with the fallout has three different takes on what is basically the same story, and they're all about angles and emphasis. Clint is angsty because of who he let die, Bucky because of who he killed, and Mick? Mick barely gets those years (decades? lifetimes?) touched on in fic. He's just grieving his partner, the man who left him to be captured, the man he tried to hate, and couldn't.

Clint should feel shit about people he actually killed, more often than fic cares to deal with it. Bucky is all in the timing, but for a while there he and the world believe Steve died without him (depending on canon). Mick... should have more trauma?

I mean canon shows us the Chronos making, very like the Bucky chair, and gives us Mick having flashbacks when answering a question that goes too closely there. But that whole Chronos era is not a characteristic concern of the fanfic I've found to read. And when it is it resolves as fast as canon does, with missing scenes mostly written between first broadcast episodes. The fandom doesn't chew it the same way.

You can argue Mick isn't a real introspective guy, but he does drink explicitly because "more drinking less feeling", so that's some issues there.

And you can't say other people don't have a problem with him. They have weird half expressed anger with him, and seem to just file Chronos as a whole other person, but that means ignoring his skills and the thing where he on his own had the whole team running scared. But then Mick ignores that too. Which, again, issues. Man can fly the Waverider but makes faces and really seems to try not to. Man doesn't wear armour, despite obvious practical benefits. Man doesn't use any of Hronos' weapons, badass though they were. And Chronos wasn't allowed to be drunk.

Mick's running hard.

But fanfic... has other concerns.

It's just interesting, the takes we have on them all.

And maybe there's Mick fic I'm not finding that isn't Mick/Len. People that don't see the pairing are going to have a very different idea of how humans work.

But he has all this angst bait, and it's not in the fic, on the whole.

Not complaining, just the comparison struck me.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Been thinking
In season one where they introduce Mick we get the lines in 1-03

"You're not nearly as thick as most people say."

Mick: "Thick... does that mean stupid?"

And the obvious joke is Mick's so stupid he has to check he's being called stupid
which is ablist and annoying
and probably what's intended

But I see a lot of photos on tumblr tagged variant spellings on thick
and they're people roughly Mick's build

seems like he's being polite to check exactly how he's being insulted

plus of course the difference in public and private behaviour when he's annoyed contrasts the near literal scenery chewing while he's being arrested with a perfectly rational conversation with Len, even if the topic of said rational conversation is if they're going to kill and or beat crap out of each other

easiest read is he knows full well how he's perceived
and plays up to it
as part of a double act contrasting with Len

... everyone knows Len's the brains, and Mick's the volatile one. gives both of them cover in different situations, to do something smart while the other has the focus.

... sometimes I think the writers forget he has previously demonstrated skills, but that's a whole other problem, and depressing when you try and fit it in a Watsonian frame after all the damage Mick's been through.

Also, I have to say, nothing wrong with being thick in either way. Judgey people still competing for A grades long after relevance can miss that.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
You know there's foods where if you don't process them right they're actually pretty poisonous?
But when you're used to them you just routinely throw out the stones or soak them or boil or whatever?
So there's people right next to you going 'poison!!!' but you haven't thought about it for so long because of course you just strip the poison out along the way.

That's what we do with a lot of stories.

We've got these interpretative filters that make it possible to watch or read or listen a story that doesn't centre or respect or acknowledge us, stories that try and shove us in boxes piece by piece, show us ugly where we know it not to be, hide the ugly we're well acquainted with.

And sometimes we swallow a little poison without thinking about it. Cultural studies spends a lot of time showing students where the poison is, and there's always some who think it's just making too much fuss about that bit, that bit's just normal.

But a lot of readers know perfectly well it's not pure goodness and light, they just filter so routinely, even if they're harvesting for scraps, they can get what they need and move on.

Different reading styles get very different things out of the same story.

And to those that heavily reprocess things? It don't much matter what the makers thought they were doing.

So when someone says something that could leave a whole lot of their work open to reinterpretation... yeah, that's probably all there. Or you can go through counting the ways it's not serving the good stuff. Valid criticism is always possible.

But we can still get what we want out of the stuff.

Whatever they spun the story with, we can respin it from fluff if we want.

And we frequently do want.

Hence fic.

Wanting better source text is important, but there ain't no pure product, so throwing it all out along with the stones? Gets boring.

I'd rather keep trying to find the good bits.

... and yelling into the echoing internet that we need more.

LoT ablism

Aug. 23rd, 2017 04:46 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
You know what bugs me?
... it's nearly five in the morning and I haven't slept, many things bug me...

but I was watching Legends of tomorrow
the episode in season one in the asylum
in the 1950s
and they explicitly say it's a bad era to be black, or queer, or a woman
but they don't say word one about mental health.

Read more... )

Now the sky is making interesting loud noises.

So, sleep maybe for later.

Eh, internet forever.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The whole Mick and Len split in Legends season one is plenty well written and makes some really sad sorts of sense
because they have had very different experiences on this team, and quite deliberately so.

Read more... )

Mick did logical. Len did logical. They just had different data to logic with.

And were having too many feelings in too much danger to compare notes and talk it out.

So all that all happened.

Well written, and I like it
but stopping the episodes there for the night led to reading a lot of fic, because you can't just leave them like that...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Just finished watching what gets called, in episode, Eobard Thawne's origin story.

The entire morality of this show depends on the physics of time travel, and yet it can never decide what the damn rules are.

Read more... )

This cannot be the original origin story, if Eo!Wells told the truth. Simplest answer is he lied, but he told most of his observable lies by slicing the truth really damn fine, which leaves that less simple.

What this absolutely can be is a way to build a stable loop. Everything we observed can be a logical consequence of what Thawne heard here.

With the teensy tiny problem of him not being born anywhen, which takes the 'stable' right out of it.

I still haven't seen Legends season two - I'm rewatching slowly so when the dvds come out I'll have everything fresh and well chewed over - but I imagine it'll complicate more than clarify.

The whole ethics of the situation and reading of a pretty central character depends on their laws of time
but their time has no laws
and the speed force is even more a chaotic thing of itself
so there's no making sense of anything
or anyone.

Still, whatever his reasons, Thawne does seem to have a lot of fun being a villain
which undermines the predestination tragedy reading pretty thoroughly.

Simplest if he's just a jerk.

But most fitting the canon thus far if he's a time traveller trying to deal with shifting memories while staying focused on the goal of maintaining a stable timeline where the Flash was the inspiration for Reverse Flash and he, in a backwards way, returned the favor.

... yet stable timeline is not a thing you associate with him by simplest reading...

and round and round the illogic goes.

Time travel. Why did they focus on time travel? It takes so much work to even vaguely make sense.

... and I realise people not me are putting less effort into making sense of Eobard Thawne, but, you know, villains and rogues...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I don't like adding to threads on tumblr because you never know where they'll go and you can't lock them if things get weird
I just saw a thing where someone was talking about apocalyptic fiction
and how unrealistic it is
because anyone in 2017 would recognise a lurching decaying human as a zombie
and go straight to guns and... like the zombie version of survivalist prepper fantasy.

To which my reaction is visceral horror.

Zombies? Scary.
People on first sight willing to believe you personally are a zombie? Horrifying.

Read more... )

So the idea that fiction can become implausible because people don't immediately react like they're in that specific subgenre of fiction is just... no, on so many levels.

And a horror.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The thing that makes conversations about gender and media difficult to have
is that, in an ideal world, I'd want gender to be a nonbinary system, a gender spectrum, with no particular weight or pressure to so much as pick a position on it, let alone be stuck there.

... but I am aware that this ideal world is based on what would make the world most comfortable for me, and other people want to do their own thing, so okay, I guess, they can play this two sided thing, if they particularly want.

Read more... )

We have to start by engaging with the dominant paradigm, but I get so tired of it when it is being a really intolerable paradigm.

There's no room for anyone in this thing, why even prop it up?

So what this adds up to is, the Doctor has potential to be my ideal character. All Time Lords do now. Because they can demonstrate in one continuous person the utter irrelevance of packaging.

But, because they are on the whole written by binary people in a binary system, it seems annoyingly likely they won't.

And yet it's still progress, because parity is at least twelve more Doctors away, so this is a place to start.

It's just kind of wearying knowing that saying this out loud is... pretty likely to start an argument on the fundamentals. Like, gender. What is even up with that?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Watched Rogue Time.

Usually I watch this for Mick and Len, who remain fascinating, but this time watching all the episodes in order, Eo!Wells remains a mass of contradictions that have my full attention.

Read more... )

I've seen people being sad about Eo!Wells because the person he was pretending to be was entirely a lie, so we lost that person. Which, okay, possible. But it's also possible he is who he pretends to be, just with an agenda, a cheerful approach to other people's mortality, and a nasty temper. And then he takes more figuring out.

And so much of the morality of time travel depends on the physics of time travel, and DCTV is never going to tell us the whole rules of that.

But it's like with the Legends - the Time Masters were supposed to be guarding the timeline, but decided to change it to specific advantage. So Time Masters get blown up by Legends, for freedom. But then that makes things worse in some different ways so the Legends have to run around fixing the timeline instead. And they make some specific choices about which bits can and cannot be altered, and they don't always seem to be real conscious about it. And then some choice I can't be having with, but haven't seen the episodes for yet. And then whatever they do with next season, which will be... interesting. But their attitude to time travel has changed as they go along, so they have to have been doing the wrong thing pretty often.

And maybe Eo is like that.

But also maybe not.

... I am aware this entirely depends on what the writers want to do with him, and they're unlikely to do much with him on account of paradoxing him out of existence, but that's not the interesting bit.

And now I've got to get ready to go do the shopping, which is in local shops only because Norfolk Show, which means no getting my apple food, which means slight sulking. But I can find and consume many forms of chocolate so I'm sure that'll work out.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
While rewatching Flash season one a lot of the fun is seeing how
Eo!Wells so very seldom lies.
He knows very well the listener is going to take it the wrong way, and the writers know we know pretty much enough to notice, and it's just so much fun.

Add to that that he's the kind of guy who can sit down and make a fifteen year plan to restore his worst enemy, because necessary
and he's just... he's my favourite
Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
There are layers of trouble with superhero names.

Today I am daydreaming being a superhero and I get as far as introducing myself and I start feeling all apologetic and like it's going to work about as well as movie Star Lord.

Like, okay, there is this tradition of renaming yourself for a particular ...task, role, lifestyle. That's pre established. And there's reasons for it like protect loved ones and avoid being drafted. Layers of argument to be had there, about accountability and so forth, but that just means it needs to be a persistent pseud. See also every argue about anonymity on the internet. But unlike screen names, which anyone can sign up for and are mostly not going to be read for deeper meaning, a superhero or supervillain name is, like, saying you're a Name.

Like you might not be claiming you're A-list but you're still saying you can play.

Read more... )

If I was on the Flash I'd not just be arresting 'villains', I'd be trying to recruit them. Think of all those powers harnessed for good! And of course it can work, Eo!Wells had Killer Frost working for him, anyone can make the new choice. And like that guy who bullied Barry in school, given the chance to step up he died to protect others. Okay, by generous interpretation, but still. They live in a world that doesn't have an ongoing tradition of heroism to step in to, someone has to get it started. And they're working at STAR labs, so that's the perfect excuse to go with All Star Squadron.

... not that I've read any of those adventures, it's an old Name from before before, but an issue was also the first appearance of 'retroactive continuity', which, with all the time travel, seemed appropriate. ... I thought I read the word retcon started there, but a different wiki page says that had to wait for 1988, and the phrase version was 1983.

ANYway, I can name the team, as long as I don't imagine myself founding the Justice League or Avengers. But naming me?

A superhero name is in some respects a declaration of one's qualities, and it seems arrogant.

But. What seemed creepy to me in the Flash? Cisco naming everyone.
Wells points out that someone already has a name, but given that Wells is Reverse Flash he's not a viable moral compass, even when he's right.
It was in the episode Power Outage, and they'd just killed the dude, and Wells had made a big deal of knowing all the names of all the people he'd killed in the 'accident' with the particle accelerator - though some of those were probably 'killed' and actually just got their powers, seeing as everyone he had memorised was a known name in other 'verses.
So in context knowing his name - the real name of a real dead person - is a mark of respect. But even after Team Flash capture people, they keep calling them by names Cisco assigned them. And that's quite the reverse.

Barry in Supergirl's world refers to an electric villain. "We call him Blackout."
... dude was in a bodybag, he never called himself that.
Why keep referring to him that way?

It's dehumanising and it distances them from their own consequences.

I can see why they'd need a filename for each meta when they don't know who they're chasing, but continuing to refer to them that way after? Not cool.

Except of course when someone like Cold takes it up and runs with it. But even then, he announced himself to the world, he left off the Captain part, and team Flash I think kept using it.

Renaming other people, super rude.

Renaming yourself, super assertive.

Maybe if I thought smaller I'd feel more like the names fit. But I always pick one that's like More Boss Than Anyone, or something where I know what it's meant to mean, like I'm some kind of good example, and then I just... can't always imagine actually wearing the things.

I certainly never use them anywhere people can see. Even though naming your characters is perfectly respectable. ... though not so much your marysue ocs...

So there's a lot of practical layers to the naming thing - like do you go with something that tells your powers or conceals them, and how many syllables is even practical anyway - but I always get stuck on, just, like

hi, I'm a hero

... even for the length of a story I feel weird getting that far.

... which may explain one part of my writers block.

But I have seen so many more characters I'm supposed to look up to than characters I can even slightly identify with, I just feel... small. And like the stories happen to someone else.

And yet it's so powerful whenever the story tells you to be your own hero.

So I should be able to stand up and choose a Name.

... I just might have to put up with the laughing for a while until the plot makes me big enough to wear it...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I realise it is unproductive to yet again get stuck wondering
which butterfly got stepped on
but I have spent the day reading so much on fire safety (so much. the Guardian coverage alone is extensive, and I found myself checking other papers, as if there were secret nicer timeline news out there instead)
and it's equally unproductive in the end, but worse for my mental health.

so, butterflies, and time travel.

Read more... )

I'm kind of seeing time traveller retired ladies, pillars of the bake sale and horticultural society, always ready with a quiet word, and knowing who to speak it to for most relevant effect.

But maybe time traveller little old ladies who used to be space marines. So they can train local forces, if something too outre turns up.

... and maybe can still fit into the power armour, on special occasion...

Trouble with writing this stuff is I maybe might be able to pull off time travel as heists, working around the eyes of history to improve the timeline nobody sees, but I'm woefully uninformed on how... actual people work? So all this stuff with being part of a community, I'd not know where to start with that. I mean, I watch films where people hit problems until they go away, I'm just reasonably certain it's no damn use in the vast majority of circumstances. Cathartic though. So I keep defaulting to that.

But what you really need are good planners who can get people organised and moving, and even more, people that know how to listen.

These movie sorts that charge in reckoning they know best are dramatic, but the ability to listen to the right warnings and learn from other people's plans is the only way to be better than one single human in a wilderness.

Sometimes I feel I should get more involved in actual politics. Try and get real things done. But that would involve talking or otherwise communicating with real people, and working in groups, and people wanting to choose me to work in their group, and just being able to work in the first place. And even fulfilling all those conditions, the worse the problem is, the harder I bounce off into talking science fiction, because there's only so much I can even.

So then I think I should just write up the fiction. Get people moving that way.

... and then I see my recent word count and just kind of feel bad.

But. Butterflies.

Small maybe works, for to start.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Ugh, my endless daydream of doom, where I am most awesome and marry all the villains and get them to go good ish and kind of conquer the world but without the hard work parts and so on and so forth, the daydream where the cast changes every time I have a new fandom and I get new superpowers and stuff to fit the setting, the daydream that is supposed to be all awesome good stuffs?

I just thought things through to a logical conclusion and really depressed myself.

I mean, I'm making up the rules here, so *obviously* I can make everyone secretly unaging immortals who never get sick and use comic revolving door rules for 'death', but, however setting appropriate that would be, I'd still know I got everyone out of the corner by going lalala my rules all good again.

The logical consequences of most of comics are painful and depressing, Read more... )

I get fed up with comics stories because nobody acts the way I would or considers obvious the things I consider obvious. So obviously I should write my stories instead.

... except they're usually either really light on plot, or shadowing the existing seasons plots but all changes because of comics me. so they'd fail at being original and at being fanfic.


still, not the most useful set of thoughts at this time of night.

Scary hot

May. 26th, 2017 03:24 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today's daydream: lady demonstrates superpower, gets reaction like 'wow that's hot'

and I know that sounds like it happens a lot but I was just looking at gifs on tumblr and it's like women with power are scary and hot, but because they're wearing tight whatsits and doing wiggly walk. And like it's their power that is scary and their body that is hot.

I want a lady to be dressed like Winter Soldier and doing the stompy boots murder walk
demonstrate power
and the power is hot.

It feels quite distinct.

Read more... )

I just wanted a guy who'd look at me like Gomez looks at Morticia, specifically because I'd just demonstrated I could kick his arse.


May. 5th, 2017 10:33 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
So the thing with depression is:

I used to daydream about Ted Kord, science hero gadgeteer inventor and basically fun guy, funny and friendly and super dedicated to his best friend.
And then it was more about Tony Stark, billionaire science hero gadgeteer inventor, life of the party when he's wearing his public persona, working through PTSD and depression and fighting off alcoholism when he's just being himself.
And now I'm pretty much daydreaming on villains.
Harry Wells, billionaire science hero inventor and one time murderer because reasons, is only a little bit dark side
but Eobard Thawne is at least as interesting, once he's wearing Wells, and pretty much a serial killer.

And still the whole scientist inventor getting stuff done thing is a theme.

But I used to think I was the kind of person who could get along with Ted Kord and fit into that kind of superhero life, and then I felt for Tony and his screwed over life, and then I just... it's like I'd felt bad for so long I felt like I *was* bad, and then what?
Well then supervillains.

I mean, they might be murdery threats to your existence in an ongoing sort of way, but only on the grounds you get in their way, not because they're judgey.

Read more... )

But a lot of this theory sounding stuff is fancy justification for a simple thing:

when I feel bad I hang out with bad in my head.

And I try to make it better.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It is Cleaner Day
so I have to be awake until there is a cleaner and they work and go away
but I do not have to like it.

I mean I like the part where things get clean
ugh, awake.

So post apocalyptic societies Read more... )

Economies have a lot of story in them. I know I go straight from post apocalypse economics to zombies and magic but it's plenty complex enough for plot without. Actually that's part of the appeal of magic, there's a rulebook and we can say what the effects are without multiple degrees, because it's all handwavium.

Except it wouldn't be once you had established parameters. Magic would be just another factor in a thriving economy.

It's easier to control the magic use by thinking of ways it just wouldn't do the thing, but it's more fun to try and see what it would do, if the thing got easy.

I still have to be awake some more but I don't think I'm having great insights.

I'll go do something else.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It bugs me sometimes how easily audience reactions are manipulated.

The simplest thing is how people are led into empathy just by how much access they get to specific characters.

Like, obviously familiarity makes it easy

In Captain Cold's introductory episode they play with light and shadow, the goggles on his trademark outfit, and camera angles, all so you see him, but you don't get to see him having a feelings. He's shadows and angles and outlines, he's controlled and collected and as cold as his moniker, and while you get to see him glory in violence, see him grin and laugh and aim the cold gun one more time, you don't get to see his feelings about actually hitting someone.
Because once he hits someone he stops. Flash is sitting there next to the frozen guy, there's opportunity, but. Nope. He's out of there.
And we don't get enough access to guess why.
But then with Legends of Tomorrow we're at the whole other extreme with him, we get to see him have feelings with his face, fill his voice with emotion, even tell little stories about his past. Because he's a regular character now, because we're in his point of view often, so the gradual unfolding of character you get on the Flash is turned up to eleven.
And he's still the same guy. He'll kill people and he'll only have feelings about it in really extreme cases. But they showed him in those cases, or even the one or two cases where he purely wouldn't kill.
So now the audience sees him having a feelings, and they have a feelings too.

Logically every last random thug and henchman has as rich an interior life as you do.
But the story doesn't give you access, doesn't invite empathy, so when they go down like ninepins, nobody is paying that much attention.

And sometimes that gets creepy. Sara Lance's ability to claim the Legends aren't killers when they were initially recruited for an assassination and routinely mow down opposition? Either writers or character be being creepy there, cause they're just blithely ignoring the human cost of the fx fests.

But sometimes it bugs me that we're just that easy. That the story, by manipulating our attention, giving or withholding emotional data, can manipulate who we think of as people, who we even count. Who stays the dire thing in the dark.

Stories are a technology of empathy, able to build a connection with people radically different from ourselves.

If they want to.

If they don't... I don't like it that humans don't so much build that bridge themselves.

Even while I actively seek out genres that'll have the kind of mass fight scene where 'we' blow up gigantic numbers of 'them' and never go to the funerals.

But I do like that Doctor Who takes viewers on a journey so often, from the scary thing in the dark we don't even get to see, through their terrifying actions, to understanding, empathy, and on a really good day making a deal to resolve it all.

Not evil, just misunderstood, so let's put the work into understanding.

Back in the real world, this is the baseline need for diverse representation.
Because access builds empathy, practices seeing the stranger as a person, and humans are just scarily bad at that without story to build the bridges.

I should go write story.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
At the Redemption conventions there's a bit called Ruler of the Universe
where mostly bad guys line up and try and get our votes for Ruler of the universe

and it's been fun, it's funny, choosing between evil!UNIT and The Master or Missy and an assortment of Centauri is just funny theatre


then this year instead of Drazi War we had Empire or Rebellion on our badges

Given those options, we rebel.
All of us?

And now reading about Marvel's latest comics drek and marketing gimmick, same with HYDRA. That is not an option. Ever. They want shops to cosplay as nazis to sell comics? Never.

And it's just rolling back the unfunny line, so instead of a joke about the wrong lizard, it's... nasty.

Like, the closer to reality the dark gets, the less funny it is.

Read more... )

It feels like media has taken a long march down into the grimdark for a really long time now
until it's all zombies and don't have to save you
and heroes are just people choosing who to punch.

I miss when the Justice League was a UN peacekeeping force made up of a really wide assortment of people including a guy who fought with a solar powered flashlight to disorient his enemies. I mean, write a world where that works. Where there's the option of being good and having it work out.

Heroes are supposed to hold that line.

Live as though the world were as it should be to show it what it can be.
Where the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.

And I'm tired of stories that just answer that with all the angst and woe and bad consequences.

I want to see where being decent to people works out and gets them to be decent back.

Supergirl season one was pretty good like that. Some comics right now are apparently good like that. But there's all this grimdark noise too, and I'm tired of that.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I figured out another problem with the Doctor Strange movie, specifically the casting and performance of Strange himself.

The movie is his transition into a strange new world, one he and the majority of the audience know not of. But he doesn't invite us in or make a bridge for our understanding. From his role in the world before to every nuance of his performance, he's as alien to us as the new world is, an arrogant mask that bounces us off without understanding or empathising.

That leaves no one to draw us in. It becomes spectacle, empty, beyond us. And if we're meant to react with awe, well, that's one way to go, but...

Read more... )

Marvel movies nag at me because they're playing with such rich ingredients but where they fail they fail... boring. Standard. Whitewashed and bechdel fail, sort of thing.

I'd rather they took more chances and failed more interesting, like the rich comics stew before them, but at their budget they're wildly unlikely to contradict orthodoxy even when the numbers say they really needed to.

Cast someone else as Strange - someone with the knack of showing characters the mask but letting the audience behind it. Cast him as the son of immigrants reconnecting with a culture he rejected, or someone cast adrift from his ancestral culture by the actions of colonisers and slavers, or someone who had to work twice as hard to be seen as half as good and has sacrificed everything on the altar of his talent because he knows how others have failed. Cast him as someone who gives an interesting, relatable, vulnerable angle just standing there, and you've got your way in to Strange, even as he tries to have a white man's arrogant swagger, and watches it all fall apart.

Instead they cast mighty whitey yet again there to school us on everyone else's beliefs, and it's just... empty. Without leaving us a space
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
It bothers me when writers use holy items without regard to the theology of that particular religion.

I mean sometimes it's because different denominations can't agree which way is up, let alone what's the significance of this, that and t'other.

And sometimes it's just being rude.

But it bothers me because it's sloppy storytelling, bringing up all these associations and then just shrugging them off because Our Thing Is Different.

The specific associated theology implies morality implies which actions make our heroes heroes. They can go with or against that, but to have it hanging around ignored is... tacky.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I watch time travel shows. From my first and longest fandom, Doctor Who, up to the latest I may be falling out with, Legends of Tomorrow, I have watched a whole bunch of time travel shows. And a thing that bothers me is that somewhere in their decisions about the physics they make a whole lot of ethical decisions, often without meaning to, and the ethics of time travel is then held up as an entirely distinct thing from everyday ethics.

Time travel is the ultimate in the ends justifying the means.

Someone who knows The Future from a particular point, someone who knows who lives and dies, who by the conceit of this fiction is absolutely sure of the outcome because they've walked around in it, has two distinct categories of choice ahead of them.

Compliance and defiance.

They can either go along with what is, or say fuck it and try for what should be.

Read more... )

I'm with Terry Pratchett and Sam Vimes on this one. You do the job that's in front of you. Doesn't matter if you time travelled to get there, you save lives and stop bad guys.

But that leaves a writer in a shared universe an insoluble problem where they'd logically be changing history out from under their peers every single week. Or, of course, the choice to make good endlessly futile, and hope someone still wants to watch that.

And it leaves someone who can deliberately chose their destination in time with an infinite task, somehow choosing the best of all possible worlds, attempting to build heaven right here.

Heaven, or the afterlife and souls and so forth, is the other ignored and entirely writer dependent variable here. Read more... )

It's tempting to solve it by keeping theology out of one's science fiction, but DC very clearly does not do so. I mean they're using the Spear of Destiny, they're being religious, but I haven't seen it to know if they're doing so with clear theological underpinnings.

But a theological lens brings one set of consequences into sharp focus. It doesn't just matter who lives and how long, but how, right down to the details of their state of mind. And granted, many people are not religious, but if this whole being alive thing matters, if this thinking thing matters beyond its survival utility, if we are the universe seeking to understand itself? I choose to believe every last drop of understanding matters. Every last thought.

So a time traveller changing someone's understanding is also huge.

Read more... )

The time travel shows I stick with are the ones that choose life and freedom, the ones where you can make a difference, and the writers actually let it be a good difference when you do a good thing. Sure it can take you on a dance through consequences, but if the story tries to argue for choosing death and compliance with destiny, it loses me. We have to look at the world as it is right now in front of us and choose the best thing we can think of. We can't know the consequences, so we do the best we can with ethical rules we have, the ones that say free will and the time to use it are what really matters in life.

Yes that leaves time travellers in a never ending battle, but how does that differ from your average superhero?

So I want the show where the heroes are shown the book of destiny and say

There's always a way out
There are no strings on me.

And then somehow when they act out of kindness and love and protect others, they work their way through the consequences to a better world.

Because the other thing, the one that says you've got to give up and let it happen?
A tragic hero gets ground down when they stand in the way of fate, but we don't have to only write tragedies.

A hero defies destiny to make things better.


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

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