Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.
I am now imagining the new helm and navigator being a Mexican transman and a bisexual Iraqi Muslim woman who constantly try to one-up each other using Chekov's old gag of "Hey, my people invented that thing!" Except this time they're usually both right. And then they'd go off and discover new life and new civilizations and have tense relationships with their siblings who've founded weird cults or something and feel sad about not seeing that scary blob alien until after it had already eaten a redshirt. It would be awesome.
The extent to which the original cast hasn't dated as much as you'd think is sad, though. E.g., Uhura being not just a black woman, but a black woman from Africa whose first language is Swahili and who is awesome at math and languages and rewiring subspace radios would be almost as revolutionary today as it was in the 1960s, I think. I mean, look how almost none of that comes up in the movies, even when they easily could have found reasons for it to be useful to the plot! (And every time she does language stuff, it's either minor and not useful until Kirk recognizes the significance, or useless.) I'm glad that racist networks aren't keeping her from dating Spock anymore, but she could drive the plot occasionally too. But we've only got two hours to show three hours' worth of manpain, so.
James D: I don't think Star Trek has even had a plain old homosexual.
I'm pretty sure it hasn't, (except maybe for some of the Mirror Universe characters on DS9), which is disgraceful. And yeah, I'm probably overreaching all plausibility with my wish list here, but I keep coming back to the fact that for its time, the Original 60s Trek was doing serious cutting edge stuff in terms of its social (particularly racial) politics. It was pretty radical in terms of its inclusivity.
It seems to me self-evidently obvious that any self-respecting Star Trek show in the 2010s needs to have at least one LG or B core cast member. That's a bare minimum. But if we're going to have a new Trek show, I really, really want it to go beyond the bare minimum, and by my reading of the current cultural climate, trans* and non-binary issues are the next frontier for queer politics, at least in the USA.
I think it's reasonable, given the franchise's history, to hold it to an exceptionally high standard when it comes to social issues (that is, "exceptionally high" for network television, which I put a few steps above regular "decent fucking human being" standard). I expect I'll likely be disappointed, but I'd argue that if so, then it's due to failings on the part of the production crew and/or network executives, not my standards are unreasonable.
Okay, that's probably enough *descends soapbox, unstraps Minority Warrior gear*
And please, please, please can we have at least one main character who's trans*/genderqueer/otherwise non-binary?
Good luck. I don't think Star Trek has even had a plain old homosexual.
Garak was originally envisioned by his actor as being omnisexual, which is why in his first appearance he blatantly flirts with Dr. Bashir, but just that was apparently too much and was dropped for the rest of the series.
Alasdair: I'd be willing to bet JJTrek and Bryan Fuller's new series exist so that both Paramount and CBS can produce new Trek content without having to talk to one another ever again. Which, I suppose, means that the TNG era of Trek wasn't another chapter in the story, but a self-contained little episode that has now ended. Speaking as someone who grew up on that era...it's a goddamn shame.
Ditto to that last sentiment; TNG and DS9 were great shows, and Voyager had many good points.
On a more positive note, I am cautiously hopeful about the new Trek series in the works. Whatever one things of the movies (pre- and post-reboot) I feel like serial television is just a superior medium for telling the kinds of stories which Trek is all about. Even really good movies are a side dish, not the main course.
Also, several months ago, ptolemaeus was very pleased to report that Fuller's ideal casting for the show is apparently Angela Basset for Captain and Rosario Dawson as First Officer. Though, as she was quick to point out, to be truly relevant to the current cultural climate as Trek was at its best, what we really need are prominent Arab crew members. I would go further and advocate ditching the "Outgrown these silly superstitions" credo and make at least one main character openly Muslim. At least one Latinx main character would also be strongly advisable given prevailing sentiment here in the U.S. And please, please, please can we have at least one main character who's trans*/genderqueer/otherwise non-binary?
Oh, the transporter accident that reveals Kirk's personality is half rapist! Which Spock thinks is interesting and useful! How could I forget...
Yeah, network politics and the shape of Trek does sound like it could be revealing. And sad.
But yeeeeeahh Gene was kind of a creep. You can find stories about the casting couch he ran back on TOS, and even on TNG his initial notes on the Ferengi had quite a bit about their sexual appetites.
Personally, the book I'm waiting for is the second part due out in August that covers the TNG era and the reboot movies, mostly because I'd like to know both how much of a mess Voyager actually was and just what exactly killed that era. I mean, we have Berman wanting to do TNG forever, Paramount wanting the franchise to be a moneymaking juggernaut in the face of all evidence, and the CBS/Paramount split, but there's gotta be more than that, right?
Come to think of it, the CBS/Paramount split probably completely changed the nature of Trek. When everything was in one house, there was no problem, but now that all the film content rights lie with Paramount and all the TV rights are with CBS, it's probably no longer possible to tell stories in the TNG setting since you'd have to go to the lawyers everytime you wanted to show an Excelsior-class ship or something. I'd be willing to bet JJTrek and Bryan Fuller's new series exist so that both Paramount and CBS can produce new Trek content without having to talk to one another ever again. Which, I suppose, means that the TNG era of Trek wasn't another chapter in the story, but a self-contained little episode that has now ended. Speaking as someone who grew up on that era...it's a goddamn shame.
Spock being treated by a parapsychologist for pon farr-induced insanity, though? With all the sex they couldn't put on TV? That lends further support to the theory that TOS was, like, 50% PG-rated porn.
--Mate or die? CANON
--Alien queen wants to keep captain for reproductive and recreational purposes? CANON
--Military espionage forces Spock to hold hands really intensely with a sexy Romulan who slips into something more comfortable? CANON
--Icy planet with a sexy blonde who invites Spock to share her cozy bearskin bed? CANON
--Underground city of women that kidnaps men for reproduction? CANON
--Plant that suggestively blasts you in the face with pollen and leads Spock at least to declare love and then cut to a scene where he's changed clothes? CANON
--Leading men stripped to the waist and whipped by Space Nazis? CANON
--Space mail order brides for lonely space miners? CANON
--Love potions? CANON if you count the Animated Series
...and probably a lot more I'm forgetting. How many fanfic porn tropes are Gene Roddenberry's fault?
"He told his tormentors, with us there to witness, that each rebellion they crushed would rise again, and again, until the nobles were driven from the land. At the time it seemed a far-fetched thing to say. We would do right by him, even if we ate them one by one."
The publisher is running a Kickstarter for a sequel anthology, Hidden Youth. I figure most of you won't be distracted this weekend by my people's annual explosives-filled celebration of the 1776 Amerexit, so do check it out if you're so inclined!
There's a couple books i need to read before i try to write a review of Shockwave Rider, but once I am moved I plan to do that, and then write the thing and hope Ferretbrain will publish it. :D
the idea that a large majority of Tories would vote for Brexit but that Leave would nevertheless lose the referendum, thus providing Boris with compelling evidence of his sway over the party faithful while avoiding having to deal with the repercussions of leaving the EU (which he rather transparently doesn't really want to do).
Imagine that. It's been sounding like that was the reasoning at least some Leave voters, too, who are now surprised/upset that they won. That they wanted to threaten it without having to actually follow through. Or they thought they could be "strategic" with their voting and just make Stay win by a smaller margin--like, they simultaneously figured 1)that they could manipulate the overall results to make their little point, and 2)that their vote wouldn't really matter or have consequences. It's like the opposite of groupthink, except not in a good way.
Which I guess goes to show that you probably can't eliminate strategic voting purely with the right voting system.
I'd be interested to read what the problem with Tamora Pierce is, too, aside from maybe a writing style not designed with adult readers in mind. I've never read anything by her, as far as I can remember, but I think someone recently recommended her to me when I went on a rant about the way even supposedly feminist female fantasy authors always fail to have their young, usually not pregnant, heroines deal with menstruation; or only ever mentioning it at all if it's necessary for some contrived plot point, like vampire/werewolf attraction or far-too-early-to-be-realistic-in-a-premodern-society menarche triggering a child bride plot. (This 'taboo' is observed even in novels that do mention other bodily functions a few times, or where the authors have no problem describing characters throwing up after drinking too much, for example. Which gives the very unhealthy impression that the normal function of the cis-female body is so dirty and shameful that girls shouldn't even think about it, never mind commiserate with others about the unpleasantness that rules a quarter of their life. And that, really, what the authors are saying is: "No, of course cis-gendered girls can't really go on adventures. That would be far too difficult and messy to even contemplate, especially under pre-industrial circumstances. Yes, even with magic - no need to give even a perfunctory explanation about a magical contraception artifact or hormone-suppressing herbal tisanes or whatever. Instead, lets just pretend girls are all just cis boys with tennis balls down their shirt. I don't care if you can't relate to that.")
And congratulations on your new tax status, Adrienne. ;P
Considering that he used to be Chief Whip, I now suspect that Michael Gove is, in fact, Francis Urquhart.
that's a deliberate stylistic choice!
So? Whether or not Brunner wanted The Shockwave Rider to be a chore to get through doesn't really matter to me as a reader. I am glad I read it, but I'm not sure I'd read it again.
I think part of the problem I had was going "back in time" after having read a lot of 80s cyberpunk (Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, etc.). The Shockwave Rider certainly had more substance than something like Neuromancer, but in comparison it just seemed really...uncool. A lot of its ideas are interesting, sure, the interrogator especially was a great character, and there's a lot to chew on intellectually, but there's basically nothing in it that makes me go "WHOA, AWESOME" the way there is in a lot of later stuff TSR influenced.
Maybe there's not a lot of nutritional value in "whoa, awesome," but a little sugar in your oatmeal makes breakfast much more palatable.
I'm afraid I must disagree with Arthur on one point: this isn't The Young Ones, it's The Producers, and Brexit is Boris's "Springtime for Hitler."
I would not be surprised if Gove didn't actually bother campaigning, now that the job's been done.
We are in meltdown over here. In the space of a week British politics has gone from being like The New Statesman to The Young Ones.