Let’s Start With The Facts, M’am

(apologies to Joe Friday from Dragnet for mangling his line 🙂 )

I recently read a review/opinion piece on one of the big tentpole movies out now in which the reviewer tore open several issues the movie dodged.

They prefaced the piece by saying they hadn’t seen the movie yet and wrapped several core pieces of their argument around reviews and opinions they’d read written by other people who (presumably) had seen the movie.

Their arguments were passionate and most likely correct knowing the subject matter and Hollywood’s stance on just about anything outside of their whitebread world.

But …

I wonder how they’d feel if someone reviewed something they’d written/filmed/recorded and prefaced it by saying they hadn’t read/watched/listened to it?

Credibility. At the very least, damaged. Right there.

***

You want me to be moved by your passion, be motivated to think deeply about the points you’ve made, be inspired to make change?

 

 

Dear Author

Mrs Wids is reading her way through our local library. Recently she came across a wonderful Australian murder/mystery series by Kerry Greenwood, The Phryne (pronounced ‘fry-knee’) Fisher Mysteries, set in Melbourne during the Roaring Twenties.

One day not long ago she (Mrs Widds, not Phryne) was sitting in her favourite armchair in our study with her broken foot perched at a jaunty angle on her favourite footstool. I was nearby typing away, rather noisily I must admit, in full creative flight when I heard a series of ascending indignant grumbles and harrumphs, followed by words somewhat coherent and entirely unsuitable for young ears.

I turned to her and asked, “Yes, dear?”

“Look at this!” she said, and poked an accusing finger into the book on her lap. I looked, and silently handed her an eraser.

Portholes rather than French windows?

Portholes rather than French windows?

I don’t write in printed books. It goes back to my childhood, I think, when books were scarce and precious portals into far-away worlds. Also it just seemed … well … bad mannered.

When I come across a big typo, I’m a little annoyed ( a helluva lot less now than I was before I started my writing career) because it stands out like a sore thumb and throw me out of the story.

But these weren’t just your everyday typo corrections.

Drills and passengers

Drills and passengers

These were editorial opinions, perhaps based on accurate personal knowledge, perhaps not. But someone else, other than the author, passed judgment and voiced their opinions in a way that forced EVERY SINGLE OTHER READER of that book to pay attention to them. Thereby also forcing EVERY SINGLE OTHER READER out of the story.

Talk about egotistical attention seeking.

Even in the days before the interwebz, readers had a way to contact an author, or their publisher, and inform them of such things as typos. Now, social media makes it so much more simple. We can leave messages/comments on author blogs, websites, twitter, youtube, facebook, whatever and engage the author in a dialogue.

But this? …

... this is just disrespectful

… this is just disrespectful

***

Take it away, Aretha

 

 

 

 

 

Transcendence: WTF!!!

But first …

Cute Coco the Visiting Cat …

My healing purrrrrrs are healing.

My healing purrrrrrs are healing.

… and a P. S. to the Mrs Widds breaks her foot post:

Moral of the story #3: Inform immediate family of accident BEFORE publishing a blog post about it.

***

This isn’t probably going to make sense unless you’ve seen the movie. Never-the-less, and apart from plot holes a mile wide and scienc-y stuff ‘Fringe’ would’ve been proud of …

Lemme see …

“Mumble, mumble, something, something, sacred human emotions.”

“Mumble, mumble, something, something, discerning the difference between right and wrong.”

“Mumble, mumble, something, something, beware science gone wild.”

Last night I was kinda frustrated with my writing and decided to catch up on my list of movies I missed this summer. I rolled the dice and came up Transcendence. (technically it was released last year, but I was planning to watch it this summer) It’s an OK movie but within the first five minutes I knew how it was going to play out.

* Grimy (yet idealistic) terrorists blow up computers, because, ‘puters bad, mud on face good’. Collective connected intelligence bad, the ‘Individual’, good. (repeat after me, “We are all individuals.” – Monty Python’s ‘The Life of Brian’ reference)

* Plucky scientist almost makes the Singularity go global but is betrayed by a loved one who then dies, (of course) but before tragically expiring, convinces the scientist to repent his evil technological ways and upload a computer virus (via blood-to-blood nano-EMP, of course) to reduce the entire world to a pre-electronic/distopic wasteland, in order to stop people being cured of cancer and bringing sight to the blind!!!!!

I’m serious.

To unpack a few things – first the right/wrong thing. You know how us highly (and not-so-highly) evolved apes figure out right and wrong? We’re taught it, by our caregivers, our society, our history. (which makes dinnertable conversations about such things rather ‘fascinating’) If you write a computer program that has those things in it then guess what? The program can discern between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. And if it ever does achieve true self-awareness/sentience then hopefully you did your job and gave it the right ‘upbringing’.

Next – Ye goode olde human emotions. Without a rational mind to co-ordinate those emotions, to work in tandem with them, then all you have is self-destructive chaos. Wonderful for emotive speechifying and artistic tension, but not much else.

And the out-of-control technology? I’ve got news for you Pandora, that little bundle of knowledge has been out of the bag for a few millennia, starting with the first pointy stick one of our simian ancestors used to lure some tasty ants out of their nest.

The digital age has brought us as a species together, connected, far more than it’s driven us apart, mainstream media’s hysterical sound-byte headlines notwithstanding. Unless someone does figure out how to deliver a global EMP (or the Sun does it for us) we’re only going to become more connected. We’re a tribe. (we always were, and we probably always will be) With all our glorious technicolour differences, we’re still a tribe, figuring out how to get our little blue ball of a planet from one end of the cosmos to the other.

* Oh and the ending? The grime-raddled terrorists fail to completely quell the scientist’s experiments, because somewhere, (in the midst of an overgrown deserted mid-city ruin) a tiny sunflower blooms.

So, they ruined the world and they failed anyway! They then nod sagaciously as the world goes to hell in a handbasket and say it was for the best. Seriously? !!!

Ya gotta love it.

It was however, OK for Mark Watney in The Martian (which I loved, by-the-way) to, “science the shit outta this” because it was ‘good’ technology.

***

I get that Hollywood thinks it’s making ‘cutting edge’ social commentary, but it’s not really, it’s maintaining a stereotype that is so insidious it convinces us that there’s something worthwhile to be gained by creating a culture of fear of science ‘in the wrong hands’, and stifles science and scientific breakthroughs that move us forward as a species. (and therefore rendering the ‘grimy-yet-idealistic terrorists extinct)

I’m not a dewy-eyed idealist. I know there are some real shitheads out there, who for whatever distorted reasoning want to hurt, everything. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want science fiction to step up and show me a future that isn’t distopian. (‘The Martian’ did it rather well, I thought)

I want it as a trend. I want it for consecutive years, hell, even a decade or two. Long enough for the next generation of creators and creatrixes to have that mindset as their baseline, their default, when they think about their next piece of art.

The single glowing Eye of Cat is upon future Creators and Creatrixes

The single glowing Eye of Cat is upon future Creators and Creatrixes

 

Oliver Queen is an Emotional Douchebag

I get it, I get that he spent five years in hell and is ‘teh feels’ challenged, covered in scars, and tattoos, and stuff.

I get it, but still, if he gives one more woman the come-hither-‘cos-I’m-a-broken-emo-dude, but-go-away-‘cos-you-can’t-have-me, ‘cos-my-enemies-will-kill-you, but-srlsy-I-love-you, so-come-hither shtick, I swear I’ll throw putrescent things at my monitor. (I watch via the interwebz  – no TV)

The TV Oliver Queen that is – I never met the comic one, apart from a vague image from deep within my childhood, of some guy in a camped up Disney-fied Robin Hood costume and a goatee. Who may or may not have even been Ollie.

Let’s do a bit of a flashback – which is something the show does really well by-the-way, it’s like getting two episodes in one. – not that long ago I discovered a fabulous blog called Sourcerer  wherein they do, among many fun stuff, recaps. I watch a lot of TV shows, (too many some might say, but I ignore their squeaky little voices) and reading recaps is a fun way to revisit and recapture the experience, and share opinions with a like-minded community.

The interwebz, cinema, and TV, are crawling with super hero-y stuff at the moment, thanks largely, to Marvel, and every alien and her dawg is getting on board with it. I got hooked by the Iron Man movies and stayed for Agent Carter, (Peggy rocks) Marvel’s newest iteration of the genre.

Like I said I watch a lot of TV and I really didn’t want to add to my list, so I avoided any of the promos, trailers, hype about Arrow. (and by association, the Flash – ‘cos you can’t watch one without the other, it seems)

Anyway, I made the mistake of reading a recap of an Arrow episode on the Sourcerer blog, and before I knew it I was mainlining previous episodes for hours at a time. I know it’s a DC (comics) thing, but a super hero’s a superhero, eh?

I love the show. I love how the Scoobie Gang (Buffy reference – I told you I watch a lot of TV) came together. I love the villains, I love how it’s dark, but with little shiny sparks of lighthearted humour, mostly from Felicity Smoaks. Speaking of Felicity, If Ollie does the come-hither routine with her one more time … well, unspeakable things will happen.

Mind you, I’m only up to Season 3, episode 10, so he still has time to redeem himself.

And that’s the essence of this show really. Redemption. Flawed people doing what they believe is the right thing. Even Ollie. It’s what makes a superhero … and a super villain. Bwhahahahaha

Tissue paper is my secret weapon

Tissue paper is my secret weapon

A Funny (Lesbian) Thing Happened on the Way to the (NaMoWriMo) Forum

I would’ve liked to say this didn’t take some the shine off, but it did. And interesting in light of my previous post on becoming ‘invisible’.

The facts are these:

I wanted to connect with other lesbian SF writers on NanoWriMo so I posted this:

Lesbians in Spaaaaace
I decided to start this thread because I did a search for ‘lesbian’ and only found one thread title that had ‘lesbian’ in it in the first 10 pages of the search. That was for the whole NaNo site
Now there are two!
I’m talking about lesbians who get out of bed in the morning, pull on their big-girl kick-ass space boots and go save the galaxy!
Lesbian FTL engineers and ore freighter pilots, stellar cartographers and xeno-archeologists, cooks and colonels.
Lesbians talking, laughing, loving, breathing, fighting, f*cking, crying, drinking, riding, winning, losing, cheating, kissing, thinking, dreaming … (3 gold stars if you know this reference)
Lesbians doing every imaginable and beyond-imagining job in SF.
Here’s my novel synopsis. The idea was sparked by the score counter in Bejeweled Twist – another 3 stars if you know this too! Just in case I don’t win one of the ’30 covers, 30 days’ covers, I used the amazing and fun-est ever, Pulp-O-mizer to create a ‘pulp fiction’ one.
Synopsis:
Humanity has reached the Asteroid Belt, and is poised to expand beyond the solar system. Only one thing stands in their way, the Tarra company who for decades, has had a choke hold on the technology and fuel needed to make that leap.
Captain Gorda Figaro of Mobius Station, a 3rd generation O’Neil sphere, tries to keep a lid on the explosive situation, while hiding her true motives from a Tarra envoy bent on keeping the Station and all who call her home, under Earth’s control.
Bel Beck, a ‘scraper’ (asteroid miner who ‘scrapes’ the minerals from the surfaces of the asteroids) spends her time on-station making Gorda Figaro’s life hell, and the rest of the time working with the rebel scrapers, (the Knight Whiskey Runners) who are searching for an alternative to Tarra fuel.

… and checked back the next day to see if anyone had joined in. Someone had – a moderator, who informed me she was ‘… going to lock this as a duplicate post.’ because ‘ …there are a bunch of us writing queer space farers’ on the ‘LGBT+scifi thread’.

You know that feeling when your gut tells you something is going on, but you have nothing really concrete to support it?

Then something happens, so small in the grand scheme of things, that you’re tempted to dismiss it out of hand, but you’ve learned some hard lessons about trusting your instincts and/or intuition, and suddenly you see that tiny thing as a clear … signpost, if nothing else.

I don’t identify as queer, not do I write queer fiction. I am a lesbian who writes lesbian fiction. And it seemed to me there was no place set at the NaNo table for my humble little thread.

***

‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it’ – probably said be a great many people but attributed to George Santayana

P.S. OK, so it wasn’t exactly a ‘humble’ thread. I don’t think I could do ‘humble’ if I tried. It was exuberant and full of joie de vivre!

P.P.S. The gold stars are still available if you guess correctly! 🙂

***

Coming next: The Pawz of Doom!

Pawz of Doom

Pawz of Doom

 

 

Wherein I Chat About ‘Invisible-isation’

I’m a peaceable gal by nature. I live my life according to my personal code of ethics and have people in my life who do the same.

Most of the time I post about the aspects of my life that have to do with writing, (or cats, and glaciers) or things that impact my life. (and therefore my writing) But occasionally something gets up my goat (mixed metaphores, I know) and I choose to speak about it.

Recently a young woman did a television interview and said some rather interesting things. The interesting bit starts at about 1 minute in.

I thought to myself, like Oprah, ‘she’s gonna cop some flack for that’, and although I disagreed with her point of view, I let it slide because hey, live and let live, right? And, in a much more perfect world than this, she’d be right.

Then, on my favourite go-to website for bubblegum/pop culture/ occasionally serious, lesbianly (and very U.S.-centric) stuff, AfterEllen, someone had taken up the cause to defend the young woman. 

***

There’s a danger here.

This is the ranty bit:

Yes, by all means. Let’s de-label ourselves to invisibility.

Again.

It worked out so well for us last time.

It’s working out so well for us at this very moment, all over the world.

It’s working out so well for us right in our own backyards.

 

And this is the more nuanced bit:

It’s imperative that we continually define and redefine ourselves. It’s what we do after all. And I don’t begrudge us wanting to shift the weight of outmoded, oppressive, offensive labels from our shoulders. It’s how we grow. It’s how our tribes, and the larger society we inhabit, evolve.

But in doing so, we can’t afford to dismiss the bloody and hard won battles that have given some of us on this planet the privilege of labeling ourselves ‘label-less’. Those battles to claim our label, to claim our tribe, are still being fought by a horrifying majority of us.

Personally, I doubt the rallying cry is, ‘I am not a label’.

And finally, a slight segue but still on topic, Jove Belle writes eloquently about her concerns on the ‘invisible-ising’ of feminism at Women and Words.

 

Also Created with Photoshop

"The Little Companion II" by Caras Ionut

“The Little Companion II” by Caras Ionut