Chad's doing a workshop and wants to get a diverse group of participants, but hand-coding free-form demographic responses would be suboptimal in light of the number of applications he expects. For a reasonably compact gender identification list, what would you suggest? Mine was cis female, trans female, cis male, trans male, genderqueer, agender, other, decline to state; corrections, improvements, rejections?
ETA: thank you, people who have pointed out this list is not cool; Chad has also separately decided to go with a free-text field for this question, but I will bear the lesson in mind.
We took the kids to Wild Kratts Live tonight. Wild Kratts is a PBS show about two brothers who, in bookending live-action segments, meet and talk about wild creatures, and in the animated middle, put on "creature power suits" and fly around in a giant turtle-shaped ship with a tech crew of three saving animals from the obligatory villains. (I have never actually seen an episode all the way through, so this is a rough approximation.) The kids love this, though SteelyKid is starting to go off it a bit, and it must be pretty popular because six weeks ago, the only seats left were literally in the second-to-last-row of the balcony.
Anyway. The show was cheesy but hit all the kid-pleasing notes, and they had a great time. But the thing of note was the end special effect [*], which was the brothers using a "miniaturizer" they'd recovered from the villains: they said they were activating it, fog or lights or something covered their exit, and then when the stage lights came back on, there were stuffed toy versions of the brothers on the stage where they'd been standing. (Which were, of course, for sale outside.)
As the subject line says: SteelyKid (now 6.5) and the Pip (now 3.25) nearly got in a major fight over this, because she saw that they were toys, but he insisted that they'd been miniaturized. Fortunately we were able to distract them before someone started crying over this disagreement.
[*] Prior special effects included "caracal power" of high-jumping using a springboard behind a fake rock, and "orangutan power" of moving through trees by swinging on a big swing coming in from off-stage. Also the process of donning a "creature power suit" was a stage blackout while the actor went off-stage to put on a cloth costume, covered by a super-slow animation on the screen, which made me really grateful for the person who put together all the Iron Man suit sequences into one video to clear the palate.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to listen to something other than the show's theme song to get it out of my head, fold laundry, and then collapse into bed.
The nice thing about hearing about it from many different avenues is that my expectations were very low and it exceeded them. I honestly cannot say that it is a good movie, but it is less bad than I was expecting—see: very low expectations. I thought I was going to have to force myself to find things to like about it, and in fact I did not, I genuinely enjoyed myself. I think I'm going to go with "delightfully batshit" as my two-word summary.
The thing is, as many non-professional-reviewers have said, it is a straight-up unashamed id-tastic power fantasy for young women. And somewhat along the lines of what metaphortunate has been saying about women's fantasies WRT Fifty Shades, it's hard for me not to see the over-the-top-ness of it being devalued by a lot of critics because it's got a young woman at the center. Putting Fifty Shades aside, because that is a discussion I do not want to host for a number of reasons:
Jupiter Ascending is a secret-heir power fantasy, kitchen-sink variety, with: gorgeously expansive visuals; lots of chase and fight scenes; inexplicable scenery chewing; what I would swear is a Princess Bride homage; good momentum except for an ill-advised bureaucracy parody part-way through (it's only 2:07, which is downright speedy for a Wachowski sibs movie); non-white people who may only be in secondary roles but at least don't die for the white heroes (I wanna be Captain Tsing); and a critique of capitalism that is crashingly unsubtle but is also less insipid than Interstellar's big message. There are way, way worse recipes for a big-budget SFF movie. And, seriously: I did not have to force myself to enjoy it.
( SPOILERS )
Ant-Man, which I continue to resent the existence of.
Chappie, which looks like a completely different movie in the new trailer. I'm still not sure it's a movie I want to see (that body language keeps driving me nuts, it's so obviously human-inna-suit), but the difference between that and the first trailer is kind of stunning.
Spy. I am allergic to the kind of comedy that Melissa McCarthy does, as I am to almost all movie comedy, frankly, but I hope she kicks ass in the movie and at the box office.
Run All Night, which looks like a positively loathsome specimen of the Liam Neeson-as-inexplicable-badass subgenre.
Ted 2. I somehow missed the existence of the first movie and I wish that happy state of affairs had continued, as I am fairly sure brain cells died in protest at watching that trailer.
Focus, which is a Will Smith con-man movie, and which I might love or loathe depending on how the tone, treatment of women, etc., shakes out.
The operative parts of the description were: "Can fanfic writing and QUILTBAG activism potentially intersect? What does it mean that fans of works with cis, straight characters are looking for more variety in the fiction they consume?" And the panel was pretty much about the second part and not on the first.
( a few notes )
I don't remember much else; I don't know if "um, it depends" collapses down really small in summary or I'm just forgetting stuff after a long night. But I'd like to brainstorm updated fanfic panel descriptions for next year. Four years ago at WisCon we did Fanfic 401 (operative portion of description: "bisexual invisibility, the erasure and/or marginalization of female characters, authorial intent, trigger warnings, underage audiences, and source problems"), for which I have no notes but which was too overstuffed by far; at Readercon also four years ago we did Borders (if Any) Between Fan Fiction and "Original Fiction", which was way less 101 than I expected; and the year before that, Fanfic as Criticism (Only More Fun), which could probably be less 101 than it was. Do those prompt possible topics? What else: underrepresented identities? The fic we'd like to see (some of us don't write, you know, so we just have to wist in fandom's general direction)? Speculative fiction ways of looking at gender spotted in fanfic? Promote your very fic-able fandom that has canon underrepresented characters and a low barrier to entry?
( includes spoilers for the most recent completed season )
Okay, that was a lot and now it's nearly time for dinner! What do you all think?
I'm here! I got in last night and was feeling yuck and misanthropic, so I just hid in the room, mainlining the rest of Face Off and stitching. Now I'm going to shower and register and find some breakfast.
Here's my panels:
Saturday 10:00am - The Arisia Book Club: Reading the Hugos — Literature, Panel — 1hr 15min — Marina 2 (2E)
Read this year’s Hugo-winning novel (Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie) and stories (“Equoid” by Charles Stross, “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal, and “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu), and come on down to discuss!
Erik Amundsen, Christopher Davis (m), Elektra Hammond, Kate Nepveu, Jennifer Allis Provost
Saturday 2:30pm - Face Off: The Best Reality Show for Geeks — Media, Panel — 1hr 15min — Marina 4 (2E)
Plenty of geek-oriented reality shows have sprung up in recent years, but few have found the success of SyFy’s Face Off, about to head into its eighth season. With its parade of Oscar and Emmy-award winners as judges and guest judges, some truly entertaining challenges, and incredible insight into the world of make-up and practical f/x, it’s become a huge hit. Join us as we discuss what makes the show work creatively and how it’s changed the way we view special effects.
Mark L Amidon, Resa Nelson, Kate Nepveu (m), Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert
Sunday 2:30pm - Queering Up Canon — Fan Interest, Panel — 1hr 15min — Marina 1 (2E)
Much fanfic has a large interest in QUILTBAG themes. Maybe your fic involves making characters of the same gender fall in love with each other, having a character established as cis turn out to be trans, or asking if Sherlock has never shown any interest in a “proper” Victorian marriage because he’s asexual. Can fanfic writing and QUILTBAG activism potentially intersect? What does it mean that fans of works with cis, straight characters are looking for more variety in the fiction they consume?
Leo D’Entremont (m), Melissa Kaplan, Kate Nepveu, Adrienne J. Odasso, JoSelle Vanderhooft
(Yes, this is a repeat from last year, and yes, I specifically told programming that I'd love to be on it again but that someone else should moderate to keep it from being a retread.)
Sunday 7:00pm - Lawyers in SF/F — Fan Interest, Panel — 1hr 15min — Douglas (3W)
In the early 1990s, veteran SF author Robert J. Sawyer pointed out that lawyers are few and far between in science fiction, and in 1997, law professor Eugene Volokh indicated the same for fantasy. Volokh insists that there’s no inherent contradiction between the legal thriller and the SF/F novel. What’s the reason for this phenomenon? Are the strict structures of the legal system anathema to the open-mindedness that SF/F requires? Or is there some other motivation entirely?
David J. Friedman, Daniel Miller (m), Kate Nepveu, A Joseph Ross
Either I have really bad luck in being scheduled against things or programming's a bit thin this year, but all the more time to browse the dealer's room and art show (which I often don't make it to until the very last day, when it's really too late) and hopefully talk to people!
Are you coming?
(I still don't have a final schedule, but the draft has me on a discussion about this past year's Hugo fiction winners.)
(If I get multiple requests by, oh, Tuesday night, I'll ask the RNG.)
My post about The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies went up today at Tor.com.
The new-to-me trailers were:
- Tomorrowland (IMDB). I recognize that a tried-and-true version of the portal fantasy is going there to discover that you have political agency here, but the way this phrased things I didn't have any faith that it would get to the second step, and so I was really mad.
- Kingsman: The Secret Service (IMDB). Things I could give zero fucks about: a white boy learning he's ~~special~~ in a school that teaches him to wield his talents for violence and rulebreaking on behalf of the state, with the only black face I noticed as the bad guy.
- San Andreas (IMDB). Nice to see Dwayne Johnson as the lead, but disaster porn isn't my thing.
- Mad Max: Fury Road (IMDB). Well, I suspect it realizes how ridiculous it is?
I'm getting my Yuletide recs up early this year! . . . by which I mean earlier than last year, by a whole two days. (Well, it was the 21st before I started reworking my organization scheme on the fly and His Pipliness needed soothing back to sleep, twice. Close enough.) But these are still recs for last year's Yuletide.
Despite the timing, these are all pre-reveal recs: I clipped everything that looked vaguely interesting into Evernote and read it that way, with "anonymous" listed as every author. (In fact I am cutting and pasting so fast now that I am not even registering the author half the time . . . ) There are 59 of these, if my tag count in Evernote is correct, so they are broken down into cut-tagged categories for your convenience; there are headers inside that match the cut-tags for skimming purposes. I am sorry for the lack of detailed discussion, but I hope the headers and my comments give you an idea of whether you want to read the story anyway. Feel free to comment if you'd like more information.
Remember, if you like a story, please at least hit "kudos," or leave a comment if you can! No need for an AO3 account.
The National Lawyers Guild, which is providing legal support to protesters in Ferguson and elsewhere
25 Activities Black People Should Avoid Around Cops: "Don't . . . and maybe they won't kill you."
Ferguson Action, with links to rallies around the country
Tips for Planning A Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Police Brutality (disclaimer: this seems sensible and thorough to me, but I've no experience to measure it against)
12 things white people can do now because Ferguson (lots of links to history, context)
. . . there's more, but I am taking two small children on a plane tomorrow and it is irresponsible of me to be awake right now.
( indiscriminate spoilers for S2 )
( and now for S3 )