Over on Tor.com I’ve got a piece up priasing FOX for its decision to cancel Dollhouse. I know, a bunch of you will disagree. A whole bunch of you won’t, though! I hope you’ll join me in supporting FOX at this difficult time. I wonder if I should grab up the URL dontsavedollhouse.com? Because there are already campaigns to save it. For once, I think we need a strong anti-campain so FOX won’t start to second guess itself. Down with bad television!
Big thanks to everyone who responded to my gamer post last week. I’ve got a solid list of sites and blogs and I’ll be working through them this week. You all rock!
I need to put together a list of blogs and news sites for gamers, but I have scant knowledge of the field. I know a lot of my friends are into that scene, though, so I’m asking for your help. I’d like to gather as diverse a list as possible, so I’m looking not just for the major gaming sites and blogs, but the individual or group blogs about games and gaming that you love. I’m also definitely looking for sites that focus on gamers of color or female gamers. This is for work, so sites that cover exclusively console stuff won’t be useful, but basically anything else you can think of to suggest, please add to the comments.
Update: Because of my spam and moderation settings, long lists of links are putting comments in moderation, even from those who’ve been approved previously. Don’t worry, I am on it! I’ll fish you out as I have the chance.
Apparently there are still people deeply scarred by the term SciFi and will jump on any poor soul who dares to ask: is this term really still derogatory? Jump on him and whip out the claws, apparently. Wow.
I have never really understood the vehement hate this term generates in people. SciFi or Sci-Fi (sometimes pronounced skiffy) has certainly been used by those who look down on our genre. But shortening it to SF and calling that more acceptable merely injects a rather nasty and unnecessary layer to the issue. With SF, you’re kind of hiding what you’re talking about except for those in the know. Does SF stand for San Francisco? (Don’t think people would be so silly as to assume? You’d be wrong.) Or, more importantly to us, does it stand for speculative fiction or science fiction? At least with Sci-Fi you know what one is talking about, as Jason said in his post.
At the risk of having Nick Mamatas say nasty things about me, I have to say that this whole Sci-Fi is derogatory/marks you as an outsider ish has always struck me as a bit of in-community snobbery. Like: “We don’t call it Sci-Fi. Pfft. That’s for clueless newbies!” with a full dose of huffiness and noses in the air. Thing is, if you’re a new person to the community and run across that attitude, why the fuck wouldn’t you just turn around, walk away, and never deal with the likes of SF fans again? Who the hell needs that level of bitchassness in their lives? If you’re going to be shunned for something, at least make it something important, like preferring Star Trek to Star Wars.
Also, I have noticed that the majority of people who raise hell about Sci-Fi vs. SF tend to be folks who are older or have been in the community for a while. Snobbery and disdain from the literary community about science fiction was, if I understand correctly, a lot more virulent in the past than it is now. I can see how that dismissiveness can hurt and make people feel really bad. Alan Bostick says Sci-Fi was used as a “nasty slur”, which is excessively sucky. But there’s no need to infect newer folks with that same mindset.
All other considerations aside, I like the term Sci-Fi better than SF for a simple reason: it’s easier to say and sounds better. Sigh-fie rolls off the tongue, EssEff is all angles and hard edges. So from now on I’m using it all the time and anyone who tries to claim that I’m not really part of this genre because of it will earn themselves a shrug. I’ll be sure to mention their objections every time I moderate a panel at a Sci-Fi convention. :P
Over on Tor.com I geek out over the future of electronic comic books and ereaders. My worlds are colliding.
Over on my Tor.com Star Trek post I noticed something that I often see but don’t always comment on: the dismissal of Captains Janeway and Sisko (and their shows) as being bad, or mediocre, or not as good as Kirk/TOS, Picard/TNG or even Archer/ENT (wtf?).
I’m used to Janeway hate. Voyager started shaky, founds its footing, then fell on its face when a blond in a skin-tight jumpsuit wandered by. There were many individual moments of great television, but nothing that truly cohered. Plus, Janeway is a woman, and the sexism-laced commentary about her being too manly or too feminine or too whatever have flowed since the show began.
What I don’t understand is the lack of love for Sisko, who was by far the best Star Trek captain since Kirk. Deep Space Nine was the most ambitious and complex of all the shows, and explored issues that were sometimes touched on in the original series but rarely approached in The Next Generation. I realize that Star Trek began as Wagon Train in space, but is there no room in the franchise for a show that required a bit of deep thought?
What I’ve always wanted to do, and am now taking the chance to do, is to ask: what exactly do you dislike about Janeway and/or Sisko? And let’s not pussyfoot around here: I want concrete examples, not vague “she was too feminine!” bullcrap. I want to know in what way did Janeway’s femininity made her worse or negatively different than Kirk or Picard or Archer, if that’s your stance. Whatever your issue, bring it on.
Today on Tor.com I’m mourning the loss of the Prime Star Trek Universe. You know, the one that now only exists in Spock’s memories? It saddens me, because I think Universe Prime deserves a good send-off at the very least. We have yet to see Captain Sisko’s return, perhaps many years later when Admiral Janeway and Captain Picard are on one last mission. sigh I can only dream, I fear. Anyway, if you feel the way I do (or think I’m a nutter) go chat on Tor.com about it.
I used to go to WorldCon every year without fail, kind of like the way I go to WisCon now. But long ago WorldCon chafed on me, and I realized that it was far more expensive than other cons and more of a trip to see my friends than an enjoyable con experience. Beyond that, though, it got to be more than a little annoying to deal with the cluelessness around race. WorldCon is big — not Comicon big, but big. Therefore you cannot predict from what quarter the crazy might come at you and thus avoid it.
So when I read posts like Karnythia’s about her first WorldCon experience, it just reinforces my conviction that being there would not be healthy for me. That’s a big ball of fail right there.
I know that I will go back to WorldCon someday. When I have a book out I’ll need to promote it. And when I’m nominated for a Hugo I want to be on the scene in case I win. And I acknowledge that the entire con is not some huge, writhing mass of fail. Like anywhere there are good parts and bad parts and neutral parts and there’s usually a squid, too. But for the amount of money it costs, plus the energy it drains, I’m better off making WisCon and World Fantasy my must-go conventions with a happy dash of ReaderCon on the side.
It’s hard, sometimes, being a Torchwood fan. It’s hard loving a show that has such obvious flaws. That suffers so many episodes with a good or halfway decent premise to fall apart in the last 5 – 15 minutes. That suffers some more than occasional bouts of bad acting. That suffers Burn Gorman to be presented as a desirable sexual partner for either men or women.
It’s hard being a Torchwood fan.
Long ago I had to admit that I love Torchwood the way lots of people love fanfiction. After all, the show is essentially Doctor Who fanfiction (spinoff is such a polite term). And, like fanfiction, I’m willing to put up with a lot of crap as long as my kink is massaged. My kink is, of course, Captain Jack Harkness.
Over time I also became quite a fan of Miss Toshiko Sato, though her character was badly used through the whole of her two series. And Ianto, of course — mainly because he was snogging Jack.
As long as any one episode contained Jack, Jack snogging Ianto, and Toshiko being awesome, I was mostly happy. But man, oh man, I wished for more. I wished for plots that held together and deep emotional impact and for Gwen not to suck so much donkey balls and for the show in general to just really take chances and change the game.
I clapped very hard for this. Harder than I clapped for Tinkerbell. And my wish came true.
Torchwood: Children of the Earth is so good, so phenomenal, and so crunchy that it truly transcends its fanfiction/spinoff standing and becomes one of the best television events I’ve witnessed in the past several years.
It’s sad that we only got five episodes this series, but Russel T. Davies utilized them well, delivering a plot arc that kept the tension up without resorting to cheap tricks. In “Day One”, children all over the world freeze at the exact same moment. Just freeze. Then, a few minutes later, continue on as if nothing’s happened. That afternoon it happens again, but this time the children all speak in unison: “We Are Coming.” It’s terrifying in its simplicity and in the delivery. All children everywhere saying the same thing at the same time.
Of course the Torchwood team goes into action trying to figure it all out. But they quickly discover that their biggest obstacle and most immediate threat isn’t the aliens, it’s the British government. We find out exactly why over the course of the first three days.
I won’t go spoilerific on you yet (I have much analysis and questions, but I’ll save that for after the final episode has been aired in the US), but I will say that the tension, mystery, excitement and stuff that makes you cry is very well-balanced throughout the series.
One note I will make is that I was pleasantly surprised to discover about halfway through “Day Two” that I wasn’t as annoyed and chafed by Gwen or Rhys as I usually am. In fact, I thought Gwen was really awesome in this series. She didn’t once make me wish she had died instead of Tosh. I didn’t once want to throw her out of the airlock whenever there was a scene with her and Jack or her and Jack and Rhys all together. This is a major accomplishment for Torchwood, I think. And I’m not sure who to attribute the credit to.
I could be Eve Myles, who is a fine actress, and who is not at fault for Gwen horridness in Series 1 and 2. It could be Russel T. Davies, who just might have a better handle on writing the character than Chris Chibnall ever did. He wasn’t responsible for all of Torchwood’s previous episodes, but he was in charge of the series, and thus the writers probably took his cues more often than not. Maybe it was just that there was no time in this series for the usual stupid love triangle crap someone shoehorned into previous series. That’s fine with me. Series 4 writers please take note: this is the Gwen we should have had all along. Let’s keep her, please.
Torchwood: Children of the Earth is the best series to date. I hope its true that we’ll get a Series 4 someday, because if the show keeps going in this vein it may surpass the one that birthed it. Fanfiction rules!
I can’t remember how this keeps coming up, but recently I’ve said on more than one occasion that while I am an SF/F fan I rarely participate in fandom.
Partly it’s my addictive nature — if I ever decided to be really into Harry/Ron slashfic I would be INTO it and it would never stop. Same with anything else. There are lots of television shows, movies, books, etc., that I love. I could very easily love them so much that I fell into fandom and never crawled out. Of course, nothing in my life would ever get done as I would be up to all hours reading fanfic.
Another part of it is that I encountered actual fandom late in life for a geek of my generation. I’ve loved Star Trek since I was wee and always read a lot of kidlit that had fantasy elements, but rarely had chances to actually be with large groups of people who shared any of these passions. Early attempts at such were unsuccessful for various reasons (when I was 13 my friend invited me to join a Klingon “ship” but then I fell out with that friend). It wasn’t until I was in college that I met other fans, and the people at NYU’s Sci-Fi Club were rather snobby about certain kinds of fandom, anyway.
Last part is that the moment I truly found my “tribe” was when I joined the Del Rey Writing Workshop (now the Online Writing Workshop/OWW). These were people who loved SF/F but were also aiming to write it professionally. Coming into the community from that angle is really different than coming at it from the fannish angle, a thing which I did not understand until much later.
I also have to admit that a little of that snobbyness about fen and fandom carried over from Sci-Fi Club (though you wouldn’t think people in a SCI-FI club could talk. It’s SF, duh!). I didn’t read or have much desire to write fanfiction, had never heard of vidding until the last 2 years or so, and I have actually uttered the phrase: what in the holy hell is a Fan Mix?
I mentioned that I admitted to having written one piece of fanfiction during the Authorial Intent panel at WisCon and that I did it because I was so annoyed by Stargate SG-1‘s body swerve of the whole Christianity/Jesus issue in the SG universe. For a long time I’ve maintained that this fic is the only outward show of fannishness I have, but then Monday night I realized that this is not strictly true.
I have committed fannishness on multiple occasions.
I was only at the vidding panel at WisCon for a little bit, but I was so, so impressed by the vids on display. “I wouldn’t even know where to begin doing something like that!” I’ve said many times. Vidders are damned impressive — especially those who’ve been doing this before the advent of widely available digital versions of shows and movies. But Monday night at WisCon it finally hit me that I’d made a vid once. Two vids, in fact! They were made with still images, but were nonetheless vids:
I think the reason I didn’t realize until recently that these were vids is that I didn’t realize that during 2005 and 2006 I was part of a fnadom. But I was! Newspaper comics fandom, to be precise.
I was an avid reader of The Comics Curmudgeon, a blog all about the comic strips you see in daily papers. I don’t know how I stumbled onto the site but I was completely hooked within minutes. I spent many hours going through the archives and laughing my ass off. The site is still there, still funny, and still a major part of the fandom.
It doesn’t end there. As I was re-tagging my music recently I found a folder called FanMixes which contained downloads from an LJ community dedicated to such. And then I remembered that one of these mixes was mine.
(click on the second one to see readable text — it’s the track list.)
And yes, those are characters from Jem & the Holograms. If I was going to be in one fandom forever, it would probably be that one. Incidentally, Kimber/Stormer was my first ship, spontaneously generated from watching the episodes as an adult (for the first time in over 10 years) and going: “Wait… this whole episode is totally about them falling in love!”
But again, at the time I did not see myself as doing something fannish, just putting together a list of songs about the imagined lesbian relationship of two children’s cartoon characters OKAY YES I KNOW.
So the end of all this is my admission that I am sometimes fannish and there’s not a damn thing wrong with it. I had a ton of fun making those vids and that fanmix and writing that fanfiction. I don’t know that I will ever engage in these kinds of activities in the future, but I am not discounting it. Hell, if I thought I could edit video worth a damn I would get started making a Doctor Who vid right now that utilized Dennis Leary’s song “Asshole”.
- The videos linked above are from the summer of 2006 when a storyline on Mary Worth became the blog’s obsession because it was completely hilarious and fucked up and so weird for Mary Worth. (I think there was some new writer who was trying to draw in young, hip people. hahaha) Mary’s boyfriend went off to work for Doctors Without Borders for a few months and a new guy moves into her exclusive condo community: Aldo Kelrast. Very, very quickly one of the commenters pointed out that Kelrast was Stalker spelled backward and Josh, the blog’s proprietor, declared that the Aldo storyline was going to be AWESOME. I had my doubts, but the man knew what he was talking about. Aldo stalked Mary until she got her self-righteous friends to confront him, intervention-style, which caused his alcoholism to resurface which caused him to drink and drive himself off a cliff. Now, alcoholism is not funny, and I think the strip was trying to make a point about it… but all ti did was make us all go: ALDO, NO!! I hated Mary Worth and her evil friends so much after that I left the fandom to recover. I am serious.[↩]