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.
Like the equalists. It seemed like the problems between the benders and benderless were real enough, with the organized criminals being benders and the police force seemingly being comprised more of benders than not. So abandoning all that and focusing on Amon being just a bloodbending maniac was disappointing.
I still liked the show, it was just disappointing that they never had time to develop things fully. Zaheer was an interesting villain and his use in helping Korra in the end was a good development. That he was defeated in the end by not death, but being forced to recognise that he was wrong and his actions actually made the world demonstarbly worse from his point of view. And I too liked Tenzin and his stoic dignity in a world that was fundamentally too ridiculous for him.
Korra's spiritual development was supposed to be the red string that defined her arc through the seasons, but in the end it did not really work. Korra's discoveries rarely happened through her realising something important, but were too often just her discovering a new power. But this is perhaps a problem that was evident in Atla as well. Aang's chakra being closed and his fear that becoming the avatar meant losing those he loved was not really resolved, by him realising that it does not have to mean that, but his chakra was just opened by that rock hitting his back just right.
Soperhaps this is something the writers struggled with. Perhaps they did not want to make any strong statements that could be understood to be too religious for an adventure show? Curiously Zaheer's enlightenment of sorts was more believable in his villainous arc than anything that Korra worked through. I mean she did grow, but it all happened so abrubtly and was not written well.
With Korra the ballooning cast is definitely a side-effect of the show expanding from a miniseries to a full series. With ATLA, there was always a clear idea of where they wanted the show to go, so they were able to pick a model for their cast and stick to it. There really wasn't such a clear idea with Korra, so we got the season 1 supporting cast tagging along as more and more characters were heaped on, and there was never any satisfactory way of prioritizing the supporting cast.
That said, there was some pretty good stuff with some of the supporting characters. I might be getting old, but I just loved the storylines with Tenzin in seasons 2 and 3, with him dealing with his family, living up to his father's legacy, and trying to be the sole living authority on a culture that went extinct decades ago. Lin is someone who got lost in the shuffle, but once they get her with Suyin and Toph there's a lot of good ol' dysfunctional family drama to be had.
Also, guess who just got a review published in Strange Horizons? This guy.
So if any of you have missed by particular brand of logorrhea, you can enjoy some of it at http://futuristdolmen.wordpress.com. I wrote a giant post about The Legend of Korra over the weekend, and I'd love for someone to come and tell me how wrong I am about everything.
P.S. If you haven't watched the Dishonored 2 reveal trailer yet, stop whatever it is you're doing and go watch the Dishonored 2 reveal trailer.
P.P.S. All hail the Great Uniter.
CRY$TAL WARRIOR KE$HA
That article reminded me of something I found a few weeks back: The Writer Will Do Something, a short bit of interactive fiction where you play as the lead writer on the third installment of a triple-A franchise that is shaping up to be a major shitshow. The story is set in a staff meeting with the lead developers, about six months from release, where the topic of the hour is What Is To Be Done. As it turns out, the fact that you never played the first two games is the least of your problems.
There's a lot of interesting stuff going on in this story. It's a slight exaggeration of how messed up triple-A development can be. The creator, Matthew Burns, has done his time on multiple Halo and CoD titles, and was a freelancer on the the debacle that was Destiny, so there's a lot of disguised personal experience in there. On a more basic level, the story's about the problem of being creative in an working environment that is inimically hostile to the luxuries creativity needs to flourish.
(Oh, and by the by, I found this while I was browsing the discussion for a Let's Play of Watch_Dogs.)
Make's one proud to be Finnish I guess, our boy making a mark on the world in such an insignificant way. Almost as great as when Lordi won the Eurovision, or when we became the champions of the whole world in 1995(in ice hockey). The Lordi thing was kinda cool though. And the 1995 thing did offer an excuse for underage drinking and missing school.
The quality of work on the ballot this year in the short form categories has taken a huge dive from the usual mix of mediocre and not-so-mediocre right into "hang your head in shame for ever liking this" territory. It's straight-up embarrassing, and makes all those complaints about "The Leviathan that thou hast Made" a few years back look positively quaint in comparison .
I agree that the Hugo voters do seem have their perennial darlings - Neil Gaiman, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis, China Mieville - but would point out that a set of awards given on the basis of sales figures and advertising dollars would probably look very different. Neither Robert Jordan nor George RR Martin have ever won, after all, and the only (?) non-Puppy novel to receive enough nominations to make it past the Puppies this year is Katherine Addison's (nee Sarah Monette) Goblin Emperor, which can't be much of a blockbuster. (I also would never have read Sofia Samatar's A Stranger in Olondria if it hadn't been nominated for a Hugo a couple years back, and it was a really wonderful book from a small press.)
Personally, I never really cared much about the Hugos; they're a popularity contest which hasn't represented my own taste in sci-fi in the slightest since sometime in the 70s (Ender's Game won best novel in 1986, nuff said). Reading what some well-meaning people have written about this "assault on the sanctity of the Hugos" or however they characterize it just seems ridiculous to me, as what gets on the ballot is already massively skewed by numerous industry factors such as advertising, size/distribution network of the publisher, how established a fanbase the author has, and of course the general commercial viability of the writing itself. Granted, occasionally the awards do give publicity to smaller authors from less represented groups, which is probably due in part to the restriction of voting to WorldCon attendees/membership holders. So, there's a bit more of a control when compared to, say, raw sales figures, as the average voter is probably more literate than the average sci-fi reader. But only a bit.
Honestly I can't help but feel incredibly dismissive of large awards circuses of any sort, and I can't bring myself to observe this fiasco with anything other than faint amusement.
"The Hugo nonsense" is the best term for it, if only to suggest it occupies a bleak Thomas Ligotti universe in which the Puppies' insistence on reactionary-flavoured escapism is exposed for the risible denial of cosmic nothingness it is.
(Oh, the Hugo nonsense. Any other Ferretneurons following along? It's like a trainwreck i can't look away from...)
It's a 74-page graphic novel about a young woman going to Comic Con who witnesses a murder, and hides out from the killer at the convention. Seems like a promising premise to me, and I absolutely adore the artwork.
(If you're interested in backing, you'll have to hurry - the Kickstarter closes on Saturday.)
Pros: He's responsible for the first season of Veronica Mars.
Cons: He's responsible for the third season of Veronica Mars.
Bit of a mix: He's responsible for the second season of Veronica Mars.
(I still haven't seen the film.)
I only ever read the first book, and that one only once, and I wasn't paying super close attention. I remember Rien saying something about a parental figure telling her "how do you know for sure you don't like it if you haven't tried it?" and the way Rien talked about it and reacted to the idea of sex with cismen in other parts of the story made me think she tried it, and got confirmation she didn't like it. I was a bit surprised about her receptivity to Mallory's male sexual parts for that very reason, but I just chalked it up to one of the things I, as a straight male raised in a heterosexist culture, don't understand about other people's sexual orientations. Again, though, I wasn't paying incredibly close attention the one time I read the book, so I can believe I misunderstood somewhere.
Yeah, I've heard about Aliette de Bodard's Aztec-based fantasy, and I like the idea precisely because it's not "yet another Medieval Europe-based setting." I've even read one of her short stories, and I didn't find it great, but it was quite good. (I also think she's written sci-fi where the two dominant powers are Amerindian and I want to say Chinese? That sounds cool, too.)
I've been meaning to get around to her books at some point - I have a long reading list though, and I'm a slow reader. It's really too bad her books don't appear to be available on audio.
(The author is French, and doesn't appear to have South American ancestry.)
Yeah, I believe her ancestry is Vietnamese. I remember she was interviewed on a podcast, talking about the dangers of writing another culture and having to be very careful not to do something offensive - I can believe she doesn't %100 succeed.
That does sound interesting - thanks for the recommendation, Cheriola.
@Adrienne: So sorry to hear about your crappy year+. I'm glad if I was able to cheer you up some, and I hope things continue to improve for you.