My Formative Female Creators

Recently, as I have been trying to think about what sort of media I myself would like to be creating, I have been thinking about which creators have most impacted my life. I made a list of the formative creators over the years trying to figure out if any similarities existed between them. And guess what? There was. It just wasn’t the sort of similarity I was expecting. They were all women.

(N.B. – this was just a list of creators, not works, that helped shape me in some way. There are a number of male created works that I am a HUGE fan of and was impacted by. I just wasn’t influenced by the creator themselves in the same way.)

Instead of sharing the entire list with you, because that would probably take me weeks to write and I am not sure anyone would want to read a 15,000 word sentimental rant, I am going to share a selection of it here. I am choosing one from three phases of my life: my childhood, college, and the present.

Tamora Pierce

The Tortall universe is where I spent my most of my childhood. While I love Harry Potter, I would’ve traded my ticket to Hogwarts for a trip to Corus in a heartbeat. I wanted to marry George Cooper and train with Daine. But beyond all of that Tamora Pierce taught me that women can be heroes too, action heroes like the Lady Knights Alana and Kel, sneaky ones like the spy Aly, powerful wizards like Daine, in addition to all of the female leaders we see in the books. Women can lead, is what I learned from these books. (Hell I even learned about periods from the Lioness Quartet and I still use her language to explain it to people.)

My first pieces of fanart were inspired by these characters, and I religiously checked her website to find out what she was working on next, what she was reading and watching etc. I wanted to know everything about her, because it amazed me that the person who created all this stuff that I loved was a real person. I wanted to be her. Tamora Pierce made me want to create my own world filled with amazing characters.

(Also I recently discovered her tumblr and it has only confirmed that she is a WONDERFUL HUMAN.)

Allison Bechdel

Allison Bechdel has been a very influential creator, her Dykes to Watch Out For comic birthed the infamous Bechdel Test as a way of looking at women’s roles in movies. However it was her first graphic memoir, Fun Home, that shaped me.

Now first, here is some context. Before I read her book I was a college junior, unsure of what it was I wanted to devote my energy to. I liked writing, but having met some amazing writers in college, I didn’t think I was good enough to be a writer. But then again I loved drawing but didn’t think I was a strong enough visual artist.

Well the second half of my junior year saw me taking a Visiting Artists seminar, one of which artists was Allison Bechdel. She ran a workshop with my class about adapting a memory into a comic, then she gave a lecture. She told us about how her writing was rejected from literary circles and how she wasn’t accepted into art grad programs. It wasn’t until she combined the two, by making comics, that she found her strength. The combination of words AND the visual was where her work was best.

Mind. Blown.

She introduced me to a whole new way of creating. (And a whole new genre of work to endless consume – the graphic memoir.)

Kelly Sue DeConnick 

Slowly over the last year or so I have gotten into comic books, both the superhero variety among others, and one I finally checked out was Captain Marvel. Mostly because I had seen Kelly Sue DeConnick, the writer, pop up over the internet and podcasts that I consume and thought I should check it out. And I loved it. Interviews with her are so inspiring, her connection to her fans is wonderful and the actual material she creates is amazing.

But you want to know how she has influenced me as a creator? It is her Bitches Get Shit Done text list. After nagging a friend over text to get to work, she created a list on Remind101 that anyone can sign up for. What is it? DeConnick sends out 2-3 texts a week that #nag and kick our butts into gear, reminding us to make to do lists, and to cross things off the list during the week. She lets us know when she had a bad work day, and makes great holiday/nerd puns regularly. These texts are truly a delight and is a great way that she connects with her fans and HELP newbie creators to sustain motivation.

Because what is more motivating than your personal hero texting you to remind you to get to work?

So while Tamora Pierce drove me create, Allison Bechdel showed me what I wanted to make, Kelly Sue DeConnick actually helps me get shit done.

So guys, who are your formative creators? Female or otherwise?

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Ms. Marvel and Representation

Now in the last year I have definitely gotten more into comics in a major way. The other day I found myself browsing through a bunch of comic book t-shirts trying to pick one to purchase. There are a lot of characters I am very passionate about, but somehow even though I LOVE Captain Marvel, and Wasp, and Valkerie, there was no question. I was buying the Ms. Marvel shirt.

No regrets, just superheroes.

No regrets, just superheroes.

Now Ms. Marvel has only had one issue so far. And yet, I care about her so much more than any other comic book character already. And I am not the only one who feels this way. Ms. Marvel’s first issue sold out in its first week and it topped the digital download charts. There is also already a very passionate fan group, the Kamala Korps, an off-shoot of the amazing Carol Corps. (I am a proud member of the Carol Corps, and have the badge to prove it.)

So what is it about Kamala Khan? She is hugely significant in terms of representation, as a young teenage Muslim Pakistani girl from New Jersey. And even as the whitest girl in the room, I appreciate that and can relate to her. Here we have a teenage girl, trying to figure out who she is, and oh yeah she has super powers. What isn’t to love?

So I realize this isn’t the most insightful post I have ever written, but I have just been thinking about what Kamala means to me, as a white 21 year old Jewish girl from Manhattan. I am in the midst of a job hunt, trying to figure out what I am doing with my life now that I have graduated. Plus there is my constant questioning of my personal identity in terms of my cultural upbringing and Jewish-ness, among other things. So it is refreshing to see this reflected in some way on the page of a comic book.

Also, this Noelle Stevenson comic about comic book gatekeepers has been circulating around the internet, which has caused a lot of people to tell there stories about meeting similar hurdles. I have had a similar problem when getting into comics, so it is very easy to have a very pessimistic view of comics right now. But the release of Ms. Marvel has also brought around a number of stories of women, including a number of Muslim women, going to comic book stores to buy their first comic and having a lovely experience picking up this issue. And that is important.

So readers, what character – from a comic book or other media – have you personally felt a personal connection to, and felt that is was important that this character exists?

Also, everyone my zine is now available for purchase for $5, HERE.

Parallax

I am starting a zine! (For those of you referred here by the post on the SPX tumblr you are already aware of this, but bear with me.)

The basic info, before I get into the story of the whole thing is:

  • I am starting a zine called Parallax
  • It is open for submissions
  • These submissions can take any (seriously, any) form (in any genre)  as long as it can be printed (in greyscale)
  • The submissions should be inspired by the theme of the zine (this volume’s theme is ‘eolian’)
  • All accepted work will be paid*
  • Submit by emailing your work to claudiainspace@gmail.com

*Not a huge amount since this is mostly coming out of pocket. But still, money.

So now that that is out of the way I can feel free to write a long post about the project without worrying about you losing the key information. It is all up there.

This whole thing came about because I have always really wanted to get into small print stuff. I have tried making my own comics, short stories, illustrations etc., but I have a hard time finishing these longer form projects. I like making 2-5 page things, but I didn’t have enough of them to print myself. Also, I always enjoyed in college seeing how differently students would interpret a prompt. Some very literal, more figuratively etc. And selfishly I wanted to see all the different versions of a theme. As many of my friends are writers and artists I thought it would be interesting to send them all a prompt and print what they did. Wanting to support their work, I would pay them, and then I had the idea of advertising the whole project online and seeing if I could get some other people to submit as well.

And thus Parallax was born.

Parallax literally refers to the process of how things appear differently when viewed from different angles. (We all take advantage of this as this is what allows us to have depth perception.) As this zine is devoted to the idea of different interpretations of a single theme, or how it is seen differently from distinct points of view, I thought it was a fitting title. The theme for this volume came from an episode of StarTalk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. He was discussing the geology of Mars I believe and the impact of the winds there and referred to it as ‘eolian.’ I thought it was a beautiful word, with fascinated connections to Greek Mythology (forgive me, I did study Classics) and that it could be interpreted in many different ways.

I have a lot of plans for Parallax. I want to try to produce two volumes in 2014. I plan to run an indiegogo campaign to help fund this first issue, to take some of the financial strain off myself. Through this campaign I hope to fund a 100 print (this is a small print publication, right?) run. I would love to sell 100 copies this year as well. I will charge $5 for the zine itself, and if I can get the printing cost around $2 per issue, then I can give $1 back to the artists/writers, donate $1 to an art charity, and put $1 towards the next volume of the zine. So if I can sell 100 copies, I will be donating $100 to charity, splitting $100 among the creators, and have $100 to use to pay the artists for the next volume that isn’t coming out of pocket. I am hoping I can get some of those involved to donate some more work to the campaign for other payment levels, that way there is more opportunities to raise money. And all money not going directly to the production costs will be split along the same model.

I am telling you all of this because I want you to know that I am not doing this is make money. I am not going to use any of the money personally but pour it back into the project. I am doing this because I love to create, and I love supporting others who do too. So please consider submitting something. I need your help to make this great.

Thank you for your time. Please feel free to ask questions, here or at my email claudiainspace@gmail.com. (Also check out the zine page on the site.) And share this with those you think might be interested!

“No, I am your father” Parental Relationships in SFF

As much as I love a good romance or even a great friendship in my SFF narratives, one thing I have realized that I am constantly drawn to is father-daughter relationships.* This maybe perhaps due to the closeness of my own family and I like to see that reflected in the media I consume, but that is not really the point. As you all know  I like having my SFF chock full of female characters, and the more I thought about it I noticed I find their relationships to fathers, mentors etc., to be more interesting than their other relationships. So now I would like to share with you my personal favorite father/daughter relationships.

*This post, despite the suggestion in the title, doesn’t include any Star Wars. Sorry if I have mislead you. Although regarding this theme, I find Leia’s relationship with the memory of Vader in the Thrawn Trilogy fascinating.

N.B. By virtue of the nature of the genre, many of these are adoptive/unofficial relationships. That, however, does not disqualify them from my list. My blog my rules. (Speaking of which, please check out my updated spoiler policy.)

On the literary side of things I would like to start with Alanna of Trebond and Sir Myles of Olau from one of the most formative books series I read as a child, Tamora Pierce’s Lioness Quartet. I appreciated Pierce’s focus on female heroes in her novels, and this is probably what set me up to expect fully developed female characters in ‘genre’ fiction later in life. But back on theme. Why was this relationship so great? Well unlike her biological father, Myles supports Alanna throughout her career, offering advice, spending time together, encouraging her. He even brings her away for a short period to his castle where she finds her sword ‘Lightning’ among the nearby ruins. Later, as we see in the other series in the universe, he works alongside her husband managing the spy network. He was a kind gentle soul, and when Alanna felt alone, masquerading as a boy to train to become a knight, her time with Myles – his kind words and company made all of the difference.

My next favorite relationship? Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace and Admiral Adama from the Battlestar Galactica reboot. Their first interaction characterizes much about their relationship, we see Starbuck running throughout the Galactica yelling at people who get in her way, but when she runs into Adama he brings out a softer side in her. “What do you hear?” “Nothing but the rain.” They share their inside joke, and smile and continue with their days. Throughout the extremely stressful series, these two very serious characters are able to relax around one another. Talk about their shared past and smile a bit. These relationships help motivate them as they struggle to survive. Their relationship is also made more touching as we learn about the difficulties in Starbuck’s relationship to her own father, and Adama’s to his own sons. Somehow, together, they manage to make it work.

The last pair I would like to talk about is Mako Mori and Stacker Pentecost from Pacific Rim. While he is extremely protective of her from the offset, we only later learn the extent of their relationship. He knows her instabilities because he experienced them, he saved her from a kaiju when she was a small girl. He then helped raise her. This all makes his decision to let her go that much more impacting. He gives her the chance to move on, progress from her past, and places trust and confidence in her growth. While this gets challenged when she first puts on the jaeger suit, it ultimately is not misplaced. Like the other relationships discussed, it adds a softness to was is otherwise a very ‘hard’ story. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to them. These relationships help humanize the characters involved. It gives them a chance to stop and breath in stressful situations. A moment of calm before the storm. Something to live and fight for. Again maybe this is my own upbringing reflected but I love seeing the ‘fathers’ continually trust their ‘daughters’ even after the girls have tricked, disappointed or let them down, and ultimately it is the faith placed in them that helps them succeed.

Featured Image by Noelle Stevenson, or gingerhaze

Globalizing Space: Non-Human Identities in SFF

You know what I love about sf? Ok, do you know what one of the things I love about sf is? How it explores the question of what is it that makes us human, or what is it that defines humanity. One of the best examples of this is in Star Trek. The various series have outside characters who can look at and comment about humanity, and just what sets us apart from the rest of the beings in the galaxy, such as Spock, and later Data and Seven of Nine. While these are usually my favorite characters, what I find most interesting is not this quest for humanity but how other characters deal with preserving other aspects of their identity in a ‘human’ – i.e. those who can trace their lineage back to Earth- context.  Worf in TNG and B’Elanna in Voyager best embody this for me, and interestingly enough they have a shared, Klingon, heritage.

In TNG, Worf struggles as the only Klingon member of the Enterprises crew. He feels isolated from the rest of his culture, as exemplified in the early seasons through his struggle to find a female companion that he doesn’t have to “hold back” with. While he does  ‘adopt’ members of the crew and they share in his traditions, he still appears to struggle being the only one of his kind onboard. (Note I am still rewatching TNG and haven’t seen the later episodes in a while in addition to DS9, so I could be missing many things.)

To say B’Elanna struggles with her Klingon identity is probably the understatement of the century. She had a hard childhood growing up half-Klingon and it affects how she relates to that aspect of her heritage. However over the course of Voyager you see her go through complicated, and life threatening, rituals – involving traditional Klingon beliefs she is not even sure she believes in – willingly, and while she initially wishes to undergo a risky surgery in order to remove the Klingon genes from her unborn daughter, ultimately decides against it. Hell there is even an episode where she literally splits into two people and address some of her identity issues by having both halves speak to one another -see featured image. The last season sees her dealing with the prospect of carrying a Klingon-messiah, and in the alternative timeline after Voyager returns to the Alpha-quadrant she serves as some sort of ambassador to the Klingon empire. Her struggle is not in being the only one of her kind but learning to accept all of the facets of her identity.

While the Prime Directive in Star Trek is to not interfere with the development of alien cultures, I am fascinated about what happens post-contact. History has shown us time and time again that as differing cultures are connected, traditions spread and this then changes both original cultures. I wish more of Star Trek dealt with this and showed more of the struggle of how to maintain individual cultural identities in an interstellar world.

Can you think of any examples of identity struggles, and characters trying to balance different aspects of their personal identity? Examples from all fandoms are welcome. And writers, have you thought about this globalizing aspect of space travel? How do you address it in your works?

SFF in Other Media

While I mostly write about SFF in books, TV and movies I thought I would take a minute to write about some of my favorite moments of the genre outside of these media.* Many of these may be obvious choices, but I will try to include some you might not have been aware of.

Games

After watching the Smash Up episode of Tabletop, I knew this was a game I would have to have. Dinosaurs with lasers? Check. Aliens? Check. Robots, ninjas, and pirates? Check, check, check. Basically there are eight decks which you combine to take over bases, while sabotaging other teams, to race to be the first to 15 points. I brought it over to a friends house and we played it 4 times in a row. It is quick to learn, but isn’t repetitive as your strategies have to change depending what factions you have, and the graphics on the cards are beautiful.  You no longer have to argue about which is better, ninjas pirates or wizards, now you can prove it. Only downside is the cards are a little writing heavy so the first time you play make sure you take the time to read them all.

Honorable mention: Gone Home. While a little pricey, this computer game is also gorgeous and I believe well worth it. The premise is you have just returned home after a year abroad in which your family has moved houses and the new house is empty when you return. You then spend the night going around the house piecing together clues and hints as to what happened in the past year. Not technically sf, but you spend the first half of the game expecting ghosts or something similar to just pop out everywhere. It is a creepy house, and it has a few other slight ‘genre’ elements that I believe make it count. And it is my blog, so my rules.

Audio

Have you been listening to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast? No? What are you doing, stop reading this and do so immediately. It is about a small town in the desert which has a number of weird supernatural elements, and is done in the style of a community radio show. Cecil, the host of the show, is dorky and extremely likable and it is great to see his crush on the new scientist in town, Carlos, develop. Each episode also includes music by a new band in the ‘Weather Report’ section. Updates biweekly, and comes in around 20 minutes, so it is perfect to listen to when you go for a walk or do chores. At least listen to the first one, it is amazing. Also, the fan community is HUGE. I particularly love the fanart that is being produced.

Honorable mention: The Thrilling Adventure Hour. A podcast done in the style of old time radio shows, frequently featuring Nathan Fillion, Busy Philipps, Linda Cardelini, Josh Malina, Paul F. Thompkins, Paget Brewster, Chris Hardwick and various other members of the Nerdist family. There are a number of recurring stories, the main two being ‘Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars’ a western set on – you guessed it – Mars, and ‘Beyond Belief’ about a married pair of boozy, fast-talking, high society mediums. It is a hugely fun podcast that is worth checking out. Other segments include stories about superheroes, time travel, and space. Updated weekly, well worth a space on your mobile media device of choice.

Experiences

Nine Worlds Geekfest. In August after backing it on Kickstarter, I attended the first annual convention. It was amazing. For a small con it had a ton going on, with countless ‘tracks’ of panel themes, ranging from fandom, geek feminism, vampires, gaming, and bronies, there was literally something for every type of geek. The vendors were all wonderful, and I had no qualms spending all of my money attaining 8-bit jewelry, indie comics, beautiful prints and t-shirts. And books, so many books. It is a UK con, but if you are in the area book now and enjoy the early ticket rate. Prices are just going to go up. In fact be a part of London Geek week! It is the weekend before Loncon, so make a vacation out of it, enjoying London and the rest of England between the two cons. Nine Worlds was an extremely respectful con, with, as far as I know, no issues of harassment and an amazing gender/ethnicity/age/etc balance on their panels. There were fans, professors, professional artists and writers (Cory Doctorow was there!) it is definitely a worthwhile experience.

Visual

While I guess this is technically a book, it is not the type I usually write about so I am going to count it. Saga v.1 is a gorgeous, award winning, sff comic book, now collected in two volumes – but more are coming! – about a family from two worlds at war that are just trying to survive. It has people with wings, robot royalty, magic, ghosts, amazing looking bounty hunter aliens, and much much more. The use of language, both the style of the narration/dialogue but also the use of esperanto for an ‘alien’ looking language that appears recognizable, is fascinating, and the characterization is spot on. It was definitely influenced by Star Wars, and has a LoTR vibe to it, with some Romeo and Juliet thrown in for good measure. Even if you are not a comic book/graphic novel fan it is worth looking into. Available now as an ebook, and physical book.  (Featured image.)

 

So readers, what are some of your favorite examples of sff in other media?

 

*I would also thank you all for putting up with my hiatus. I am back now, and you can expect regular content again.

Frood, do you frelling grok me? The Language of Science Fiction

There are some key differences in the language of science fiction and the language of fantasy. The two are trying to accomplish different things, and the audience (readers, viewers, consumers, etc.) expects, and accepts, different things from them. As Gwyneth Jones demonstrates in fantasy “the taxonomy, the architecture, the costumes, the propers names of the fictional are adopted for the sheer romance of it,” readers will accept ‘liplop’ as the name of a rabbit like species, whereas similar terms do not work in science fiction (Deconstructing the Starships, 11). An example of this is in the A Song of Ice and Fire series: sirs become sers, masters – maesters, Peter – Petyr. These are all ‘fantasical.’ They don’t fly in scifi. 

Why not?

Now I think I need to draw a few distinctions. For science fiction that is on screen, big or little, writers need to create a way to swear without raising any red flags. Thus the invented curse words are introduced, either ones that sound similar to their English counterparts (frell, frak etc) or, like Firefly, they use other languages than the main narrative. The other type of language are the words which stand for concepts, technology and so on which do not have parallels in our vernacular. Like grok. And cyberspace.  (Then there is another category of ‘constructed’ languages, which include alien langues, that have not evolved from existing languages which are being completely ignored in this post. Maybe I will come back to this another time.)

In science fiction Jones continues, invented language should be limited to ‘explaining and complaining’ introducing the foreign concepts and then “need penetrate no further” (11). It shouldn’t invent terms because it can, but because it has to. Which is a big distinction. Much of science fiction is a possible future, so it needs to connect – in this case linguistically – in some way to the present, where this isn’t an issue for fantasy.

While I do prefer when my science fiction is not a vocabulary lesson, especially when it complicates the narrative making it difficult to follow – it is part of the reason I could not get through A Clockwork Orange, but I do like when it used language as a way of establishing the world. I believe Heinlein manages to balance the two. In Moon is a Harsh Mistress, he introduces new concepts, and creates a dialect/speaking pattern for his Moon colony. It helps to flesh out the culture, making it distinct from Earth, but it is not over the top. It takes a while to realize that they do not use the same linguistic formula. Science fiction can use language as a tool to differentiate worlds, but please no smeerps.

So what are your thoughts? Are there ‘laws’ of language science fiction needs to follow? Does it help or hinder the narrative to have unnecessary introduced terms?

(Feature image from xkcd.)

“Bugs, Mr. Rico. Zillions of em!”

Just imagine it: it is a lovely sunny day when all of a sudden it goes dark as a cloud of alien bugs fills the sky descending down towards the earth. Or an army of insects erupt from the ground, spilling out from the crevices completely obscuring the earth beneath them. What do you do then? How do you deal with an enemy you cannot reason with. Is brute force the only way? And how is this not an amazing basic premise?

I know I know. I said plant invasion is the one we should be preparing for. But one of the tropes I most enjoy in scifi is that of the non-humanoid enemy. It makes them harder to communicate with and relate to, and can provide really interesting plot lines. As you can probably tell from the title of this post I think that bug style aliens are awesome. My two favorite examples of this are in Starship Troopers and Ender’s Game.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson has often criticized science fiction for  having a lack of imagination when it comes to the presentation of aliens, in that we generally depict them all as basically humanoid. We give them faces with two eyes and a nose between the eyes and the mouth, and stand upright with similar torsos. But assuming aliens evolved on a separate world with separate environmental concerns, why would they evolve to look like us? (kudos to Star Trek The Original Series for including an awesome silicon-based life form though.)

Another great bug-enemy? The cybugs in Wreck-It Ralph

Another great bug-enemy? The cybugs in Wreck-It Ralph

So why do I like bugs so much? It isn’t just because I hate mosquitos and this is my way of seeking revenge. No it is because, as I briefly mentioned earlier, they provide a whole new set of issues. A completely different hierarchical structure – plus the issues in dealing with creatures with hive-minds, difficulties in communication – to the point that it is near impossible to discern motive, a big point in Ender’s Game, and movement away from a humanoid-centric view of the universe.

Now I realize that this is not the most sophisticated of analyses, but whatever. I think it puts the characters in interesting positions. What do you do when diplomacy is not an option? Is war the only option? And it total annihilation the only end game in an arms race? Also how does not being able to put a name and a personality on an enemy affect how the characters relate to the conflicts?

I would love for there to be more movies, tv shows, and stories in general that play with the idea of non-human enemies and how we rise to the occasion. What do you all think?

Bugs. Zillions of them. Now that is a terrifying thought.

Obligatory Post on Women in Science Fiction

First of all – credit where credit is due please check out the full comic in the feature image here. It is currently making its rounds around the internet and it really hit home with me and got me thinking about my own reactions to women in the media, and more specifically in my case, in science fiction.

I think my favorite reaction so far to this image is from Noelle Stevenson (aka gingerhaze) on her tumblr:

I’ve thought about this a lot and I think the answer is MORE, and MORE DIVERSE female characters.

We’re used to having one or two female characters in a cast of mostly men, and hold them to a higher standard because of that. So all of feminism is resting on the shoulders of one female character – and that DOESN’T WORK. Because there isn’t one right way to be a woman.

Yes.

I am most guilty of overanalyzing women in shows and movies when there is only one woman portrayed. My relationship to Black Widow in the Avengers movies is very complicated  I liked her, but I had issues with her portrayal. Was she too sexualized? Am I slut shamming her by saying that? But really what the biggest problem with that movie is the Smurfette Principle. I don’t allow her to be a fully developed woman, because as the only woman I feel she has to represent ALL women, which is impossible.

Thinking about my favorite women in science fiction made me realize most of them come from universes where we see MANY women, and different examples of what it means to be a woman. Farscape, Star Trek Voyager, Warehouse 13, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica – they all have multiple women who are good at different things, pasts, which then color who they are. They are warriors, scientists, friends, lovers, leaders, team members etc. They are all people. They are each allowed to to be their own person.

Not to hate on comic book movies (because seriously, I love them) but I think this is where they go wrong a lot of the time. There aren’t enough women to accurately portray women. It is a problem of numbers. When there are half a dozen men, each with his own take on what it is to be a man, or even a person in general, why do we expect one woman can achieve the same level of representation?

(Also I realize this is SUPER cis-biased. I would love to get into bigger issues of gender and sexual identity in science fiction another time.)

Now  the examples of women I love above are all television shows and the ‘bad’ examples are movies, maybe this raises issues with the differences in medium. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes did have more women than The Avengers. But movies should not be excused from this. The Smurfette Principle is problematic. I don’t want a token female. I want to see many examples of amazing women so I have a choice in picking who I believe best represents me, or who I want to me my role model.

It is a number game. There is more than one way to be a woman. So why limit yourself to just one?

Doctor Who & The Importance of Being Silly

Something I’ve noticed, both around the internet and IRL, that there seems to be a trend of people hating on new Doctor Who. Now I don’t mean the reboot in general, I mean the newest season. They complain about it being ridiculous and having plot-holes and such. But you know what? I don’t have a problem with any of that at all.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love quality science fiction. Moon, Star Trek 11, the first couple seasons of Battlestar Galactica are all on my favorites list. That being said, you know what else is on there? Sharktopus, Eureka, Farscape, Plan 9 From Outer Space etc. Why? Because they are fun, ’nuff said.

Granted I am a bit biased, as I have a HUGE soft spot in my heart for b science fiction and horror movies. And Syfy original movies. 

I will ask a lot from my movies and TV if they are meant to be serious. But if not, or if they are bad enough to make it a non-issue, I will enjoy them simply as they are. Which is why I don’t have a problem with the newest season of Doctor Who. It is simply just fun, and it doesn’t need to be anything else. As long as I have a good time while watching it, I don’t care why I am. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship? That s**t is just ridiculous enough to be one of the most perfect episodes with Matt Smith.

Not only do I not mind silly science fiction, but I think it is required. Science fiction can be so big, that occasionally there needs to be something to be a little self-aware and poke fun at the genre. That is why Galaxy Quest and Spaceballs (and Redshirts) are so amazing. This is not to say that all silly science fiction is parody, which is proved by Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But the point still stands. Part of the perfection of the genre is that you get huge space epics which are powerful and awe-inspiring  but there are also the campy and ridiculous romps which remind us why we love the genre in the first place. The worlds, or the characters, or the gadgets, or whatever.

Do I want to live in a world without Blade Runner? Hell no. But that world better also have Dinocroc vs. Supergator.

So internet, what are some of you favorite silly/bad/ridiculous scifi movies?