estepheia: (Default)
After watching the entire first Season of Sense8 I need to gush. So I sat down to write this little essay. It contains only very mild spoilers. Oh, and I haven't gone meta in a while, so my essay writing skills are a bit rusty, but I hope you'll enjoy my thoughts, anyway.

BTW, we took out a free Netflix test-account to watch this, but will continue to subscribe simply because I expect great things from a network that had the foresight to snatch this show up without much pondering.

<lj-cut>Sense8 isn’t just a story about 8 people who are suddenly telepathically connected. It is a story about all of us.

The internet has turned us all into sensates, we are all connected. Even the Syrian fugitives aboard the rusty old ships in the Mediterranean own smartphones and are connected to us via an electronic network that more and more resembles a biological nervous system. The internet has given us the whole world to walk in. If we want, we can take a google street view stroll through Bombay, Berlin, Mexico City … We can stream music and Jean-Claude van Damme-movies. If we wanted to, we could find out how to build a bomb, or how to disable a Porsche, anything we want – it merely takes us internet users longer than a sensate.

People on Facebook, tumbler, livejournal, Dreamweaver et al know this: The internet allows us to connect with people elsewhere, with people whose upbringing, education, religion or sexual orientation is not our own. Not just to connect. To bond with them, cry with them when they are sad, laugh with them when they are happy, to metaphorically hold their hand when they go through a hard time, or be angry on their behalf, when someone belittles them or tries to hurt them. The internet allows us to experience kinship with human beings on the other side of the planet, people whom we’ve never met face to face.

This connectivity is like a sociological mutation, an amazing gift that no one could have envisioned thirty years ago, not even Sci-fi-authors like Gibson. In many ways the grim Cyberpunk-future that these authors predicted has come to pass: high-tech is used not to make life better for the majority of mankind but perverted to remotely kill human targets with drones, to spy on friends and enemies, to send viruses to disable technology in other countries, to analyze and predict not just our shopping preferences but also our voting habits. There are those for whom we are just pawns, bugs they can step on, cannon fodder, voting cattle, consumers. People like Whispers.

Sense8 tells us that this connectivity is a double-edged sword. And that the war over who gets to control the internet is being fought right now.

But mostly, Sense8 makes us fall in love with 8 strangers. We don’t care whether they are black or white, gay or straight, believers or atheists. We just want them to be safe, all 8 of them, and, amazingly, we even have room in our hearts for their family and friends and loved ones. And that is a wonderful feeling!
</lj-cut>

Inara

Jan. 8th, 2006 11:17 am
estepheia: (Jayne)
There has been some speculation, what Inara's arc would have been on Firefly. I never really thought about that question, but recently a plot line popped into my brain, an idea that I'd like to share. (And if hundreds of people already speculated along the same lines without my knowledge, my aplogies - I'm a bit out of the loop these days.)

During the Serenity promotion tour, Joss was asked whether River's story in Serenity followed the arc he had planned for Firefly before the show's cancellation, and what kind of arc would have come after that. Joss said something vague to the effect that ifInara's story would have been next. I doubt that Serenity will get a sequel, in spite of the good DVD sales ( although a straight-to-DVD release is a distant possibiltiy... *crosses fingers*). So, lets speculate for a moment, where Joss might have taken us.

I have noticed certain themes that crop up around Inara: pregnancy, breeding, control. (Particularly in Heart of Gold and Objects in Space) I found it particularly noticeable in the DVD deleted scene where Inara finds out that the girls she's teaching to be companions are speculating about her romance with a "Space Pirate". Sheydra, the other companion, mentions that all the girls Inara is teaching come from the best families and have the best possible breeding. (I would have liked to quote from that scene but couldn't find a transcript for the deleted scenes.)

Companions may have been modeled after Japanese geishas, but a good lineage was never a requirement for becoming a geisha. Why should a companion have to come from the elite? And why the stress on control? Yes, part of the scene was about Inara & Mal, but that was so high profile, it almost felt like hand waving, as though Joss was trying to set up a foundation for a sequel about Inara without drawing too much attention to it.

My theory: the companions with their semi-religious superstructure are modeled after Frank Herbert's Dune books, namely after the Bene Gesserit, a mysterious guild of well-trained and powerful women from the oldest and most noble families of the galaxy. The women were trained to read body language, to control others through their voice, to plot and scheme. Unkind people called them witches. The guild moved its members around like chess pieces, positioning them as wives and concubines. The Bene Gesserit even controlled the pregnancies of these women. (The plot in Dune is set into motion when one Bene Gesserit defies the wishes of her order by giving her husband a son instead of a daughter) The Bene Gesserit's secret agenda was to control blood lines and the gene-pool of the mighty to produce a powerful prophet/psychic.

I am not saying that the Guild is trying to create a prophet, but what if companions are part of a large eugenics program? We saw in Serenity that the Alliance will stop at nothing to create a better world. And that they try to "enhance" psychics like River. What if they are trying to create better people from scratch? Companions are in a perfect position to connect genetic samples from the rich and the powerful, whererver they are. What if companions are eventually required to bear children for the Guild? What if Inara already has a child (as I've seen suggested a few times) What about the regular checkups in guild hospitals? Perfect opportunities to transfer a companion's "harvest" to the Guild's gene banks.

EARLY (cont'd)
(to Inara)
Man is stronger by far than woman.
But only woman can create a child.
That seem right to you?
(Heart of Gold)





This would tie in with the way the Council manipulates and exploits Slayers on Buffy. Remember how we found out in S7 that the Slayers were created when three male shamans violated a girl by "melding" her with a demon? The strongest girl in the world - created by men to be a powerful puppet. Wouldn't it be ironic if Inara, the symbol of sexual freedom, were a mere puppet?

What kind of story does Joss like? He likes stories in which characters lose what is dear to them. What could be dearer to Inara than her status as a companion? It's who and what she is. In order to create a powerful story for her, Joss would have to tear down the Guild and expose its rotten core, and then we'd get to see how a shaken and uprooted Inara stubbornly digs her toes in and starts to rebuild herself - without the Guild.

What do you think? Am I out on a limb here?
estepheia: (Chaos)
This is my public concritathon post in which I ask other participants of [livejournal.com profile] peasant_'s concritathon (and anyone else who feels like it) to leave their critique of Four Fear.

Part 1 & 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8a, Part 8b, Part 9, Part 10a, Part 10b, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13.

Anyone critiquing might be able to clear up doubt I have about the following:
- pacing
- characterisation (especially the original characters)
- POV (I switch a few times, which according to my creative writing books is totally legitimate if there's a good reason, as long as the reader does not get whiplash - but I had fear of POV changes instilled into me, so I'm not objective here)
- foreshadowing (too much? Not enough?)
- theme and metaphor (too much? too subtle?)
- is there an elegant way of making this a little leaner? Where do you perceive 'fat' in the story that needs trimming?
- should I cut down on dialogue tags?

Of course if anything else leaps off the page, good or bad, please tell me.
Thank you very much!

Also, does anyone on my flist feel like making a little banner and/or icon for this fic? I have a few pics... *looks hopeful*
Meanwhile, I shall endeavour to write concrit for others and I'll try to finish this story. Yup! *looks determined*
estepheia: (Spander)
Oooh, there's a (tiny) kerfuffle in my LJ. LOL. In February 2003 I wrote a post about Lazuli's Reposesson, which I admit was phrased provocatively. And suddenly, people are commenting again. Ergo someone, somewhere, has been talking about my post and linking to it. Which makes me curious. Where? Who? Why?
In any case, I still stand by my opinion. If people enjoy that fic, yay for them, because it's nice to have long engrossing fics to read. Yay for Lazuli too, because it's a long and much reverred story. It takes a lot of perseverence to write a story of that length and popularity. *tips hat* Hey, I don't like Joyce's Ulysses either. Whether I like something or not, well, in the grand scheme of things that really makes no great difference, right?

Fanfic 101

Aug. 11th, 2005 11:08 pm
estepheia: (Joss Says)
A while ago I was asked by my ex-lecturer to give a 45 minute seminar on fanfic and modern technology. He had only very vague ideas about what he wanted me to talk about. In any case I was mightily flattered and started surfing the net for interesting quotes and articles on fan creativity. I also asked [livejournal.com profile] the_resa_ii for help. She provided me with a great bibliography of books on the subject - which I didn't have time to read, but which I put on my handout anyway, after cross-checking them.

The seminar went very well. I showed fanvids, fan movies, and I also had a slide show featuring fan art, manips, and fan-made comics. I think people were pretty impressed.
Back then, I promised to post the handout of the seminar here. I tried to do it too, but my computer crashed. And then, when the compi was fixed, well, I promptly... forgot.
Okay, I can't post my lecture because I spoke freely, and mostly without notes: about copyright law, and about the fact that there are some stories nobody can own, not even multi-million dollar corporations like Disney, no matter how hard they try (even Disney can't TM Cinderella and many other myths). But hey, I can give you the handout. Please remember that the handout was for literature students with no or very little exposure to online fandom culture...
Enjoy.

Modern Technology and the Emergence of a Participatory Culture )
estepheia: (Jossverse)
I am looking for quotes in which Joss Whedon mentions fanfic. I already found this one:
Q: What should fans do now that they’ll have an extra hour free in their schedule?
Joss Whedon: What should they do with that hour? Write fan fic.
http://actionadventure.about.com/cs/weeklystories/a/aa041903.htm
(21.04.2003)

I remember there is one where he talks about fans writing erotica based on his show. I just can't find it. I know it exists, I even know that someone on my flist has it as an icon, but I can't find the exact quote or the information where and when he said it.
Help would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, and while I'm at it, does anyone still have the link to the article on [livejournal.com profile] thamiris. I remember that a few years ago she was mentioned in an article on fanfiction.

In two weeks I'm a guest speaker in a seminar on Literature and Cultural studies - I will get a time slot of about 30 minutes to talk about new technologies and new formats. One of the students will give a report on fanfic, but I'd like to be able to add to whatever she's saying. I will probably show a fanvid or two, and I'll go on about virtual seasons and the way they are produced, with trailers, interviews and whatnot. :-) I'll also talk about fan movies (*makes mental note to watch 'Revelations'*). I may also show a few manips, but um, not the pornographic ones... I think. :-)
estepheia: (Ladykiller)
Is Xander's Uncle Rory, the taxidermist, the brother of Xander's dad or mom? Do we ever find out what kind of job Tony Harris has? IMHO Xander's dad has the snide behaviour of a man who's forced to be polite in his job, like a used car dealer, who hangs up his charms and manners along with his hat, when he steps into his home. What do you guys think? What kind of job does Tony Harris have?
And how readily do fourteen-year-olds use the word 'Fuck' in 1996 California?

And yes, the questions indicate that I'm writing today, or trying to. I'm working on the-fic-that-no-one-reads AKA Four Fear. As far as I can tell only two people read it. *waves at [livejournal.com profile] brandil and [livejournal.com profile] pinkdormouse*. I try to console myself thinking that if I get it finished another 5 or 6 people will give it a shot. That will teach me never to write another story that a) has no Spike, b) has no porn, c) prominently features an original character... Sorry if this sounds bitter... but it is a bitter pill when you're writting a story you care about but it gets the cold shoulder as though it were the love child of Attila the Hun and George Bulwer-Lytton...

LTAS poll

Apr. 21st, 2005 10:16 am
estepheia: (Ladykiller)
I am curious. May I ask those of you who've read and enjoyed my story Let's Talk About Sex (Version 1.0) to please answer the poll behind the cut.

I meant to rewrite the story for ages because I feel that my range of expression has come a long way. However, I noticed, while tinkering with the first few chapters, that I am not just fine-tuning the language, getting rid of 'manhoods' and 'members', expanding the vocabulary and adding the odd image here and there. No, I am revamping Spike's character. Literally. If you are curious, you can check out the result here: Version 2.0.

I am rewriting it for myself (and because I miss being in a Spander frame of mind). I don't hate the old version, although it sometimes makes me cringe.
I have no intention of destroying all old versions of the story. Purists can still enjoy the badly formatted, naive original. So, I'm not asking for people's blessing or anything. But I am curious how you see the story and whether your opinion of it has changed or is likely to change.... Indulge me. Pretty please?

LTAS poll behind the cut )
estepheia: (Spike & Xander)
Read more... )
estepheia: (Spike & Angel)
gacked from [livejournal.com profile] bonibaru:
Test: How much of a slash fan are you? )

[livejournal.com profile] sandralee sent me to this interesting discussion: it raises the question whether het- or bi girls' m/m slash fantasies aren't basically the same thing as the often mocked het- or bi guys' girl-on-girl fantasies.
Interesting thought.

A question to slash writers and readers: where do you picture yourself in a slash story? Are you one of the participants or an onlooker?

I once heard a girl say on TV that she feels like a gay man trapped in the body of a woman. As for myself I have no trouble whatsoever identifiying with male characters. Even as a kid, when I watched a Robin Hood TV series, I never wanted to be Maid Marian, I always used male characters to identify with (they were better written). Slash just takes this one step further. Just because I identify with a male character, doesn't mean I have to suddenly want female sex/romance fantasy partners when I'm in his skin.

As for the male girl-on-girl fantasy - are we to assume that the fantasizing man projects himself into the female body? I'd very much like to know the patterns of identification in that fantasy. Somehow I doubt that this is a common means for men to tap into their inner femininity. But feel free to contradict me.

Just saying.
estepheia: (Ladykiller)
not really spoilery )
In case I haven't mentioned it in a while: I love the show and look forward to a hopefully stunning conclusion with lots of closure and just the right mix of happiness and sadness.




And now for something completely different

This is an exerpt from a school essay by a Scottish 13-year-old girl:

"My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we usd 2 go 2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3 :-@ kds FTF. ILNY, its gr8.
Bt my Ps wr so {:-/ BC o 9/11 tht they dcdd 2 stay in SCO & spnd 2wks up N.
Up N, WUCIWUG -- 0. I ws vvv brd in MON. 0 bt baas & ^^^^^.
AAR8, my Ps wr :-) -- they sd ICBW, & tht they wr ha-p 4 the pc&qt...IDTS!! I wntd 2 go hm ASAP, 2C my M8s again.
2day, I cam bk 2 skool. I feel v O:-) BC I hv dn all my hm wrk. Now its BAU ..."

Translation )
estepheia: (Default)
This thread in [livejournal.com profile] jennyo's LJ is a must-read for anyone interested in themes and structures that define the Jossverse.
It starts off as a discussion about Wesley and Gunn and slashy subtext, but ends up really observe-y in a more broader sense:

Quote:I think it has to do with the fact that, within the ME-verse, there doesn't seem to be much of a dividing line between friendship and romance. I don't think it's queerness, exactly, but pairs of friends on Buffy and Angel *relate to each other like they were Significant Others.*
estepheia: (Spike & Xander)
I wish[livejournal.com profile] lordshiva would continue her threesome fic. Speaking of Kalima, I'd like to mention that she raised a few interesting questions about slash and other fanfiction today.

I read an essay that dealt with the reasons why women read and write slash fiction. If I remember correctly, that essay maintained that slash fiction explores relationships among two individuals that are not set apart because of gender. Any conflict between them is a conflict of two equals and any power shifts between them are not predetermined by their gender but by other factors.
The reader can identify with both characters and roles in the relationship without feeling obliged to take sides.
I remember the rape discussions and gender games that went on during S6 of Buffy and have to agree that had the whole Spike/Buffy relationship been about to characters of equal gender, the discussions about the attempted rape might not have become quite as heated.
So, when we're not forced to take sides in the battle between the sexes we can go places in our heads which we might not visit otherwise.
*Shrug*
Lordshiva/Kalima also wondered whether we are being conditioned to see strife as sexy. Characters that are aggressive are supposed to have chemistry. I think that's very true.

I've known Mr. Estepheia for 25 years, we've been married for almost 15 years. We hardly ever argue, we have no agressive sparks, we're just happy in a very content and boring way. Sometimes I feel like we ought to be fighting to get some spice in our lives and then I smack my head. What am I thinking?! What's wrong with happy????

Yeah, fights make good stories, but in real life I can do without that kind of chemistry, thank you very much.
estepheia: (Default)
Vampinocchio just grew donkey's ears and a tail...

Part 1 of my S7 speculation is here.

more speculation )
estepheia: (Spike & Angel)
Angel 4x12 )
estepheia: (Default)
Oh yes. Another rant. Sorry.

I'm working on a little Spike/Anya fic and found myself wondering about a number of things:

Is the Magic Box closed now? Is it run by someone else? Did insurance pay for the damages? If Dawn had to work off her stealing debts shouldn't Willow be paying for the demolished shop? Why then is she going to college instead of getting a job? Does Anya have some kind of income? I doubt there's a vengeance demon retirement fund. And how did vengeance demons get paid for their work? Is Xander's income feeding the whole SIT brigade as well or did Giles bring funds? Why isn't Andrew in jail? Why is it never mentioned that Willow killed TWO people? Rack was like a drug pusher but he hadn't killed anyone, so shouldn't there be guilt on his account? Is Hank Summers paying child support for Dawn? Is the house paid for by now? How well does that counselor job pay? I get that some of the sets had to be taken down, like Spike's crypt, but shouldn't there be some kind of explanation why Spike didn't go back to it? Is Clem still living there? Did Spike and Clem meet between "Grave" and "Potential"?

The list could go on and on.

Now, I don't need a series to spell everything out for me. In fact, I get irritated if that happens. I like the fact that ME gives us room for fanfiction and our imagination. It's not always necessary to watch a development in its entirety. It's often enough to see the beginning of something and the end and not the long middle bit. A COMPLETE disregard of certain background matters irritates me, though. I don't want to fill in ALL the blanks by myself.

I think the S7 story-arc is great. But it's not my impression that the writer's had more ideas than they could squeeze into an episode. There would have been enough room to tackle all the questions raised above, peu á peu. I can't help it, these things make me grumpy.

PS: I'm still staying away from spoilers. Yay me.
estepheia: (Spike & Angel)
Holy Freakazoid!

Read more... )

I'm not sure if the new LJ rules are going to affect me. Appartently they are limiting the amounts of posts one can produce per day: posts, not comments.
But I do wonder if it counts as more than one post if I edit something I've previously written.


So, how's my fanfiction going?

Yesterday I finished a little PWP for [livejournal.com profile] ladycat777 called Pandora's Closet (yeah, Spike/Xander, what else is new). And what am I doing today? Making it longer? I need to get my head examined.

At least Marcee seems to be working on Things Present - Things Past. She asked me a few questions but I haven't seen the results of her endeavours yet. It would be nice to get this one finished. I just hope she gives me something to work with soon. Especially since Perdition is a little recalcitrant right now.

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