Archive for December, 2001

Mona Lisa

Sunday, December 9th, 2001

Well, I tried to post A Maquis Holiday to ASC, but I think my newsserver wasn’t in the mood. I’ll see if it shows up tomorrow. And I took the Art Test:

Mona Lisa

If I were a work of art, I would be Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

I am extremely popular and widely known. Although unassuming and unpretentious, my enigmatic smile has charmed millions. I am a mystery, able to be appreciated from afar, but ultimately unknowable and thus intriguing.

Which work of art would you be? The Art Test

I like that better than the Name Game.

If your friends all jumped the shark…

Sunday, December 9th, 2001

If your friends all jumped off bridges in their blogs… Seema did it, so I had to do it, too:

Your name of Jemima gives you a clever mind, good business judgment, a sense of responsibility, and an appreciation of the finer things of life. You are serious-minded and not inclined to make light of things even in little ways, and in your younger years you had more mature interests than others your age. Home and family mean a great deal to you and it is natural that you should desire the security of a peaceful, settled home environment where you can enjoy the companionship of family and friends. Whatever you set out to accomplish you do your very best to complete in accordance with what you consider to be right. In the home you assume your responsibilities capably, having the self-confidence to form your own opinions and make your own decisions. Others can rely on you; once you have given your word you will do your utmost to fulfil a responsibility. However, there is a tendency to be a little too independent in your thinking and it is difficult for you to accept the help of others when you should. Due to your strong sense of responsibility, you could experience worry and mental turmoil through assuming more responsibility than you should. Friction could arise through others feeling that you were interfering with their rights and privileges, even though you are only trying to help.

There is, by the way, no such thing as being “too independent in your thinking.” What’s in your name?

International Day of Feedback

Sunday, December 9th, 2001

Did someone declare an International Day of Feedback and not tell me? In the few short hours I’ve been awake (yes, I was up all night writing an “After Life” episode insertion), I’ve gotten feedback for my Buffy filk (from a fellow filker, of course) and for three old Voyager stories (The Unity of the Multiverse, Thrive, and The Bottle of Bajoran Blue Wine, for those of you who still remember the agony and the ecstasy that was VOY).

To be fair, one of the feedbackers wasn’t sure that I wrote Thrive. Maybe B’Elanna wrote that one…it’s hard to recall the details now. VOY is getting all misty and rosy on me. (We have a word in Portuguese for the sort of nostalgia you have for the old country that you fled as fast as the steamship would carry you away at the time: saudades.) But honestly, Feedbackers Appearing from the Woodwork, I wasn’t begging for mail. B’Elanna’s awards are enough recognition for me, until I round up that elusive Hugo.

Why do I do it, if not for the feedback? Well, in the words of The Great Bird of the Hellmouth,

‘Cause she is
Drawn to the fire
Some people never learn
She will never learn


Saturday, December 8th, 2001

I’ll admit that my prejudice against Angel was irrational, not unlike my prejudice against Janeway’s annoying old flames, Mark and Justin. Reading about them in fanfic just made me queasy. I put up with it when I was a young VOY fan, but now I just stop reading when Angel shows up in fic - I even stopped reading Phoenix Burning, and I was really enjoying that until the wet blanket of Buffydom appeared.

I say it was irrational because I’ve just seen “Graduation Day” (both parts), an excellent example of the wisdom of my anti-Angel instincts. Not only is Angel annoying in principle, he’s downright infuriating in practice. The boy is built like a Volvo with the personality to match. Ok, so some people like the 70’s neanderthal look - eyebrows that obscure your eyes are not the real issue here. There’s no accounting for taste, as I learned from Voyager, when people watching other UPN stations were seeing Cute Icheb while we poor folks within range of UPN38 were subjected to Butt-Ugly Icheb.

No, the real problem with everyone’s favorite poolboy is that he can’t act his way out of a paper bag. That’s fine if you’re a starship captain, but I’ve come to expect more from BtVS. As far as I could tell, Angel had one, petulant, expression, and it wasn’t very expressive at that. He sucked the life out of every scene he appeared in. How I wished Faith had gone for the heart…

Consider, if you will, the closing scene of “Graduation Day”, where Angel is (thank the gypsies) leaving. He stands off in the mist and aims his one, all-purpose, expression at Buffy. What the actor cannot convey is left to the mist and the imagination. Casablanca it’s not.

Compare and contrast the scene in “After Life” where Spike first sees the resurrected Buffy. There’s genuine affection in his expression, enough to hold the camera by himself, without mist. Spike has a personality. In fact, all the other characters have personality - it seems only Angel got a be a wet-blanket for free card.

Volvo-boy isn’t getting one from me.

After “After Life”

Thursday, December 6th, 2001

Wow. “After Life” was quite a show. My Joan/Randy fic is now fourth in line after the chip fic, the “Once More With Feeling” reprise fic (in beta) and the “After Life” episode addition. Fifth, if you count the original story I just started.

Brave New Pairing

Tuesday, December 4th, 2001

I really need to write a Joan/Randy fic, and here I am working on a Spike-blows-his-chip fic instead. “The Silent Movie of the Soul” is in beta.

Minion Shortage

Tuesday, December 4th, 2001

Let me make one thing clear: I’m not complaining about the lack of feedback, constructive, fawning or otherwise. I know it’s just a population problem - there aren’t enough minions to support all of us BOFQ’s in the manner to which we’d like to become accustomed. If we organized properly, put our best fic forward, advertised in search engines and all that, maybe we could tip the reader/writer scale back in the proper direction. I’ll just tack that onto the impossible dream, right after the ultimate all-fic all-fandom XML story archive.

BTW, my license finally arrived. I hate the picture.


Monday, December 3rd, 2001

I finally got around to running my logs through Analog - it’s been over a month since I’ve done them. The DNS lookup alone took hours.

Logs are always a humbling experience. So many hits, so little feedback. For example, The Dance has gotten almost a hundred hits since I entered it in the Twelve Moons of JuPiter contest, and no feedback. None. Zero. Zip. Technically, that divides out to infinitely little feedback, but it’s pretty close to my running estimate, based on my logs, that I get one piece of email per hundred hits.

So maybe it just bites the big one, and not in a positive, vampiric sense of the phrase, right? Wrong. It’s probably the best thing B’Elanna the Canon-Correcting Muse ever wrote, it’s her most highly-decorated story, and it’s also, if I do say so myself, not half-bad.

Sometimes lists are better for feedback, but sometimes they just ignore your bright shining new filk completely. Actually, I just checked again, and I got one response out of the thousand people total on the two lists I posted it to. So lists can be much, much worse. If a thousand people visited my site, I’d get more feedback than that out of it.

I wish writing fanfic didn’t involve quite so much publicity work - joining lists, posting over and over and over again, fighting with newsservers and the resulting spam. If only there were one big searchable index for everyone’s fic…

To dream the impossible dream… I still need to filk that for my filk musical. There’s no rest for the ficcy.

Kiss the Franchise Goodbye…

Sunday, December 2nd, 2001

This is the week I give up on Enterprise. I loved Porthos, Reed and Phlox, but my now unemployed beta reader Jade put it best when she said, “I like a few of the characters but I feel like I am listening to a song played at the wrong tempo.” (She also said it was like soda without the fizz.) Too, too true. Life is too short to sleep through another Evil Twins™ time travel episode.

So it’s all Buffy, all the time for me, with a little Special Unit 2 on the side. I feel like I ought to be sad.

The Last Hawk

Sunday, December 2nd, 2001

  Puppy:  off
  Word of the day:  gentle, v.

I know I’ve been neglecting the brog, but it’s not for want of material. I’m several novels behind. First, I plowed through Catherine Asaro’s The Last Hawk. It was reasonably well-written, except for all that mangling of the innocent verb “gentled”. Her world of Coba, with its reversed gender-roles and geographic diversity, was well-drawn. The plot was passable. It all fell apart, however, as sf novels so often do, at the level of character.

The protagonist, Kelric, had some moments of solidity, such as his time in solitary confinement, but was for the most part elusive. From his first excape attempt to his final rebellion, he is a man more acted upon than acting. Ixpar, another major character, seemed slightly more promising at the start, but she blended in with the host of Managers quickly enough. Their names and locations were kept straight enough, but otherwise even Avtac, the villain presumptive, was difficult to distinguish from the general run of Amazons.

The author’s inability to make the bad girl bad deserves some note - although the evil deeds of Avtac were horrifying when related from a distance, close up she seemed to be just another Ixpar. This led to some truly jarring plot shifts, as though Avtac were a Dr. Jekyl to her countrywomen and a Mr. Hyde to outsiders.

The best characters were the incidental young people scattered across the book/planet. Kelric’s fellow prisoner at Haka, the Calani who kept falling out windows, the girl physicist/Calani with her male suitor…

It just goes to show you that too much string theory takes the joy out of a book. Ayn Rand would say that such significant things could not happen to such dull people.

Catherine Asaro has a reputation for having put the sci back in sci-fi. All I can say is that she didn’t do it with The Last Hawk. The game of Quis, while very interesting as a cultural artifact, is a mathematical implausibility. While it’s not outright impossible, it’s nowhere near believable enough to pass on just Asaro’s word. Yet not once does the author attempt to suspend my disbelief in Quis as a means of communication. I was left to my own devices to explain the black box that was Quis.

I hate black boxes. If the characters can understand something, then the author ought to be able to, say, include an appendix with the full rules of Quis. Tolkien would have. I’d forgive her Quis, though, if she hadn’t give her primitive society stunners from the get-go, yet made them discover gunpowder and lasers near the end of the book. And name them “lasers”!

There was also plenty of gratuitous sex, as Kelric sleeps his way across the planet - the effect, as Kelric’s affect, was flat. But I’ve read worse plots by people who could write better characters - I have a book beside me that I won’t even lend to people, it was so unredeemable. The Last Hawk was good enough to hand around.

But that review will have to wait…