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Jan. 10th, 2017

Spock in TOS

Was watching some TOS vids lately and came across this one that brought up some revelations about fanon vs canon.

No, I'm not talking about a potential Spock/Uhura match. But rather, how he interacts with the rest of the Enterprise crew.

For one thing, fanon seems to have adopted the view that vulcans hate to be touched, ostensibly because they're touch telepaths. And, of course, the fact that he and Kirk get a lot of physical contact is a sign of his feelings for Kirk.

However, based on that vid, it's obviously not true. And I'm betting that there are a lot of other instances where Spock manhandles fellow crewmates without any problems. (He also gets into physical altercations with enemies, but naturally those don't count.)

Also, I did a brief search through ENT scripts to see if this fanon idea originated from that series. But no. Nowhere in ENT does it indicate vulcans avoid physical contact. T'Pol does say vulcans don't like to touch their food with their hands, but that just might be an etiquette quirk. When they visit P'Jem, she's careful to tell the crew not to touch any artifact or speak out of turn with the monks, but don't mention anything about not touching said monks.

So yeah, total fanon.

The other thing I noted is that clip at the end of the vid, where Spock does an extemporaneous musical performance with Uhura singing ad hoc lyrics that's pretty much making fun of him. He does this in the middle of the rec room, with lots of other junior crewmembers around to listen and laugh along. He also shows a lot of expressions, including smiles, grins, and exasperated eye-rolls. Now, you could say that this was in TOS season one where they haven't nailed down vulcan stocism... but this episode came after "The Man Trap" (the clip before it) where Uhura berates Spock for being emotionless on receiving news that a member of the landing party (potentially Kirk) had died. So yeah.

Anyway, back to the earlier point... TOS fanon tends to depict Spock as awkward and not well socialized for human contact, and needed Kirk to teach him how to socialize with the human crew. This...is very obviously not true, given that rec room clip. Spock seems to get along with other humans in a recreational setting just fine. Also, even lacking that clip, the idea is unlikely, given that Spock had previously served at least a decade on the Enterprise under Pike, and he gets along just fine with others in "The Cage".

Besides, do we even see TOS!Kirk ever socialize with any of this crew that isn't Spock or McCoy? Now there's a question.

EDIT to add:

One more fanon item I've noticed... A lot of TOS fics have stuff like Kirk and Spock sparring with each other while off duty. Now, I don't think it's out of the question for the Enterprise to have a gym/dojo. The security guys have to get their exercise somewhere. I can even buy TOS!Kirk occasionally working out with his security guys, given how often he breaks into the melodramatic flying kicks.

But Spock? I dunno. Aside from "Amok Time", where he was hopped up on the really good vulcan hormones, his record of fisticuffs with various alien bad guys, when compared to that of his human colleagues, isn't all that special. Certainly it doesn't seem to match up to the 'vulcans are 3x the strength of humans' claim.

Honestly, I think it would make more sense to think of him as the geek who sits in a lab all day and *doesn't* do practice martial arts in his spare time, and thus why his abilities in fights are comparable to his human teammates. Also, the whole '3x strength' thing could just be comparing the average (pure) vulcan against the average human, and not Spock himself in particular.

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Dec. 30th, 2016

Thoughs on (nu)Trek fic tropes

Been reading a lot of KS fanfics lately, and coming across a lot of common tropes that got me thinking about just how justified they are by canon. Figured I'd jot down some of my ramblings so I can keep my thoughts straight. =P

Read more... )

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Dec. 21st, 2016

Before Hollywood Hacking

Say what you will about TOS, but they sure had their data security down pat. I was watching a review of The Menagerie, and in order for Spock to hijack the Enterprise, he had to:

1. Falsify orders for the ship to visit a nearby Starbase
2. Ninja the starbase records officer and create false orders to be transmitted to the Enterprise
3. Pop back over the Enterprise and lock the computer into the new orders

Step 1 would've failed if anyone had called ahead to the starbase to verify orders. Step 2 would've failed if the records guy he jumped thought to call out an alarm rather than get into a fistfight with a vulcan. Also, the whole thing would've fallen apart if Kirk had believed the starbase Commodore's insistence that no orders were sent and thus Spock must've lied.

Now compare to how the Enterprise D was:
1. Hijacked by Data from the bridge by mimicking Picard's voice. (Seriously, the computer doesn't even check the location of Picard's combadge, much less biometrics?)
2. Hijacked by Ferengi, the comedic relief of the universe
3. The Binars...well ok, they had admin access for repairs, so we'll give them a bye.
4. Moriarty...who lived in the computer core, so I guess he can have half a bye.
5. Hijacked by Wesley's magic nanites, because nanites are the other Hollywood all-doing macguffin

And then in Star Trek Beyond, the villain was able to reverse hack Starbase Yorktown from light-years away with some stolen probes, and then proxy-hack the Enterprise via the connection to Yorktown. Ah, the double edged dagger of networked computers and cloud computing, how I loathe thee.

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Dec. 13th, 2016

The Kobayashi Maru

I've read several KS fics now where the author takes the chance to get all soapbox about defending nuKirk's cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test. Mostly it's all waxing poetic about how Kirk is smart and wise and better at designing tests than all of Starfleet, with a retread of the usual criticisms of the idea of the Kobayashi Maru test that I've seen floating around fandom/fanon...

IMO, the idea that the author feels they have to put themselves in nuKirk's mouth to defend him like that says a lot. (Then again, the excessively Mary Sue treatment I'm generally seeing of nuKirk in fanfics is a whole separate issue that I have.)

I agree with nuSpock that nuKirk completely missed the point of the exam. However, I also think nuSpock might have missed the point too. Or, at least, he was horrible at trying to explain it during the inquest (and not just because he hits on nuKirk's berserk button). The meta reason for this is obviously whoever wrote the scene failed to think things through and just wanted to stir up interpersonal drama between the two main characters. In-story however...

Look, the Kobayashi Maru as shown on screen in the reboot movie cannot be to experience "fear in the face of certain death", because the people taking it are aware that it's a simulation! This isn't Wesley Crusher's academy entrance exam in TNG where he doesn't know it's a simulation when he's psychologically tested. If it's fear the test taker is experiencing, then it's the fear of failing the test, not the fear of death!

On the other hand, I don't agree with nuKirk's argument that "the test itself is a cheat" just because the simulation is unwinnable either. Because the fear of failure is still a valid driving force and stressor, and the test itself is not asking for the testee to have a "correct answer". It's not asking them to find the "right" solution, it's trying to reveal the *method* by which the cadet approaches a problem, under stress.

I'm reminded of interviews I've done at work (for a sorta IT-ish position) where the question is an opened scenario of "the customer reports this thing is not working, what do you do?" Then as the interviewee goes through the things they'd ask or check for, the scenario builds with "and then what happens if this didn't work out?" and "what if you get this result back?", etc. The point is not to actually fix the hypothetical problem, but to test if the person knows enough about the technology to go through enough relevant steps, and if they can approach troubleshooting in a methodical way rather than just throw wild guesses at the board.

Anyway, IMO this is what should've happened in the movie:

nuSpock would've reported that nuKirk cheated on the exam. Instead of a formal inquest, whatever admiral is in charge of the academy should've called Kirk in for a personal interview to determine why Kirk did what he did, and then set him right on what's the point of the Kobayashi Maru exam. Giving him a commendation for original thinking may or may not be in the picture, depending on Kirk's answers and/or attitude. No disciplinary actions are filed though, since extreme persistence in the face of overwhelming odds in and of itself does say something about Kirk's suitability for command - which is what the exam is testing for to begin with. Now, afterwards, Spock may protest the decision, in which case, the same admiral should also take *him* aside and explain what the Kobayashi Maru is supposed to be testing for, and why Kirk's actions is not so much cheating as a valid solution to the exam. And then of course both of them are ordered into silence on the specifics of what happened, as well as maybe forced to work together to secure the exam against future tampering (you can sneak in interpersonal drama that way much more organically).

(I also think nuSpock should've taken the exam too, before he's handed the job of programming it, since he's obviously changed over to the Command track once Pike chose him for his future-XO. IMO the Academy should not be setting precedents of letting students skip critical exams based on race, and rather should be adjusting said exams to non-humans. Prime!Spock not taking the exam is more reasonable since he was Science track all the way, and served more as CSO than XO to Kirk, honestly. He basically had to pick up "how to command" on the job, as seen in the Galileo 7 episode, and didn't have the luxury of a stint at the Academy in between deep space missions.)

For my own reference, some interesting and relevant online discussions of the Kobayashi Maru exam and it's treatment in original TOS and the reboot movie:

https://www.reddit.com/r/DaystromInstitute/comments/4kwqbq/did_they_keep_the_kobayashi_maru_test_around_for/
https://www.reddit.com/r/DaystromInstitute/comments/1xxdkf/abrams_idea_of_how_kirk_solved_the_kobayashi_maru/
https://www.reddit.com/r/startrek/comments/580cjo/the_kobayashi_maru_ethics_discussion/

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Nov. 18th, 2016

Food for thought

Was directed to this article from reddit and found it an interesting read. But, I don't think I agree with all of it.

The thing is, the article comes into the argument from the POV that the original political beliefs that STTOS was created with must be the objectively correct one against which all subsequent movies, spinoffs, and reboots are measured against. But I don't think that's true, either in terms of real life or in-universe.

Meta-texually, times change, and the prevailing political view, and what is considered objectively "right" changes as well. For a drastic example, just go back a century or a millennia back in time to anywhere on the planet and compare the accepted common morality against modern day mores.

More relevantly, TOS reflected the ideals of a generation who was still coming off the victory of WWII and still confident in the superiority of the USA/capitalism/democracy versus the USSR/communism. In contrast, TNG came after the post-Vietnam and counter-culture disillusionment with those same values. DS9 dabbled even more deeply into realpolitik and modern cynicism (thank god it didn't go full grimdark like so many other franchises did). And Voyager... ok I have no idea what Voyager was supposed to be.

The thing is, is any one of those POVs more "correct" than the other? TOS Kirk's "liberty or death" attitude is a strong sentiment certainly, but where does it cross the line between humanism and manifest destiny? Is it really an "universal truth" outside of US political rhetoric? And, looking at the modern world and where it's headed... will it still be an "universal ideal" decades into the future?

Still, it would be nice to see the question itself explored in-story, somewhere. That's probably not happening in the reboot movies though. Maybe the upcoming Discovery series. Eh. Maybe.

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Oct. 27th, 2016

Trek hot topics

I guess one thing that I'll give for the reboot Trek films is that they've inspired a new generation of fans into the general franchise. I'm seeing a fairly large demographic range on various reddit threads and so forth, which is cool...even if sometimes rage-inducing.


Take this thread on reddit speculating on how the major races in ST would view homosexuality. My god, the number of people who immediately jump to "Vulcan's wouldn't approve because having sex without making babies is not logical" makes me want to *stab* something.

In case anyone cares, I personally feel most Vulcans wouldn't care, in the way that they're already closeted heterosexuals who mentally treat the whole topic of sex as anathema and taboo, so any closeted or non-closeted homosexuals wouldn't even stand out next to that. I feel that they also wouldn't "logically" equate sex with reproduction, since their biology is literally screw or die. If someone screws another person of the same gender or alien or whatever for the purpose of *not dying*, why wouldn't that be "logical"?

As for reproduction, I feel that modern Vulcans would prefer to do family planning "logically" outside of pon farr, which means they can essentially have babies by mail if they feel like it, and the whole thing can be "logically" divorced from the mentally taboo subject of pon farr, not to mention optimized for scenarios such as race-rebuilding in the reboot universe, or general population planning in the prime universe.


Another topic that comes up a lot is the Prime Directive. Generally, a lot of people are critical of Starfleet's non-interference code. Granted, there are also a lot of controversial (and sometimes baffling) on-screen depictions of the PD, such as why it even applied to the Klingon Civil War during TNG given the Klingons were a empire of technological parity to the UFP.

But IMO the core idea of it was based on the anti-colonial sentiments that followed WWII, and the stricter interpretations of it in TNG onwards was influenced by Vietnam. The "White Man's Burden" is an incredibly tempting slippery slope, and it's quite visible from how much that is evident in the criticisms against the PD.

I think it also helps that for me, I've also seen the POV of the recipient of such "well-intentioned intervention", which characterized China in the 19th and 20th centuries. I've read many alt-history fics by probably-Caucasian authors covering those time frames, and inevitably when they get to China, it's "and now our uber-wanked alt-UK/USA/Russia/Germany/etc. will now civilize the corrupt/powerless court or lawless/savage warlords of China by reprising the Alliance of 8, seizing more concession areas to civilize modernize..." ...And then I want to stab someone, again.

*long breath* Back to Star Trek. Occasionally, though, there are well written posts that don't immediately get my hackles up on behalf of intervention. This one is a very relevant modern day example.

In my honest opinion, I am actually fine with the stricter Prime Directive as it's shown in TNG (and as it applies to primitive societies, not advanced ones!)...as a Starfleet directive. (I'm less impressed with some of the rhetoric that the various characters use when discussing it, whether for or against breaking it for any specific episode case.)

I think that the formal "rule" should be "don't intervene". HOWEVER! It should still be within the prerogative of the individual captain to break that rule if the captain felt an exception should be made. HOWEVER! The captain should also be fully aware of the fact that they will then have to justify any intervention before a court martial panel. If they are indeed justified in their intervention, they will have to prove it.

This will allow there to be an form of automatic legal protection of less advanced planets from potential well-intentioned colonialism. It will also allow exceptions to be made in exceptional cases such as when the alternative to intervention is extinction. Further, it will give captains who are tempted by "White Man's Burden" an extra impetus to pause and really think before they act.

If they still feel it's a cause they are willing to potentially sacrifice their career for... well, that means they would have done it anyways PD or no. And this system would give Starfleet a way to quickly weed out captains who are wrong about their intervention, while retaining those who are able to make a valid case. In other words, the person choosing to intervene should bear the full burden of consequence for that intervention.

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Oct. 21st, 2016

Traumatic Childhood trope

"Star Trek is one of those happy, clean, bright futures which means there is a high ratio of adults to children in adult bodies."

Came across this comment - actually an author's response to a comment on a fic - and the sentiment kinda just struck me. It does seem to be one of the aspects of my dissatisfaction with the reboot Star Trek film - the playing up of angsty manchild trauma as the main fill-in for character interaction.

And, even looking beyond just the Trek franchise, it's a little pervasive in Hollywood films as a whole, isn't it? I mean, the reboot Superman and Batman are all about revisiting their childhood traumas over and over again in every film and reboot. Perhaps this is also the reason why Iron Man is not my favorite MCU film/character.

I think it says a bit about my personal tastes...

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Oct. 5th, 2016

Get your MilSciFi out of my Trek plz

Been going back over the Star Trek fandom lately, reading some fanfics and playing STO (trying to get my shiny Vulcan D'kyr decked out for a spin). It's pretty obvious to see the influences of the nuTrek franchise and other more recent military-oriented sci fi shows in the fandom. A couple of things always starts to pop up in discussions and I'm getting a little tired of them.

1. Carriers and fighters.

The influence from the newer Battlestar Galactica series is obvious. Also evident are the fans of modern carrier doctrine. Now, I'm not going to argue what makes sense in terms of military doctrine or 'realism', since any writer can twist the universe to suit the argument either way. Instead, I'm going to argue based on the kind of story telling for why this is a bad idea.

What do we get when we have carrier/fighter based ships? Ace jockey characters along the line of Top Gun, Starbuck...or Tom Paris. You get a bunch of stories where there will be a reason for your starship and the majority of your characters/crew to not be able to be on-scene while the ace fighter makes his daring run on the death star. Again and again and... yeah.

I watch Star Trek for the exploration and the culture clash/meeting of minds between the cast and the rubber aliens of the week. Even DS9, it was more fun when the story was about political machinations and social commentary of how far a moral person/society can sink to when the situation gets desperate. If I want to read/watch about the pluck of the typical anti-authoritarian maverick (and I don't), it's not going to be in my Trek.


2. Bigger/more is better.

You see this a lot with the nuTrek Enterprise, now with like 10x the size of the TOS Enterprise and 20x the guns. I have to wonder how much of this is due to fanboys and production crew waving their epeens at each other and trying to throw better numbers out for the next Star Trek vs Star Wars debate. Or I'm giving them too much credit even for that, and it's just about how much CGI they can throw onto the silver screen.

And:

3. Militarization, militarization, militarization; no peaceniks allowed.

I see all these forum posts going on and on about how the TNG era was a bunch of hippies went 'Peace at any Price', and that if the TNG Federation had been better armed and militarized, they wouldn't have had the hard time they did with the Borg, the Dominion, etc. I have to wonder if this is a generation disconnect between the generation that came out of WWII and was still feeling the stings of Vietnam, versus the current post-911 generation who're feeling the pressure of the USA's sole superpower status slipping away.

The thing is, it doesn't matter how over-militarized or well-armed the Federation or its ships are on paper. From a story telling perspective (and this applies to both canon and any well written fanfic), their enemy is always going to be bigger and better if there is actually going to be suspense. At no point were they ever going to "fare better" against the Borg or the Dominion or the alien enemy of the week, or those stories would suck!

Also, the 'moar dakka' adherents are missing the whole point to those stories. None of them were about resolving conflict through force. The Borg were defeated in TNG by lateral thinking (TBOBW) and via the theme of individuality versus blind conformity (I Borg, Descent). The Dominion were defeated by cowboy diplomacy (wormhole aliens), normal messy diplomacy (Klingon alliance), moral sacrifice (Romulan alliance), and a stumble on the slippery slope (Section 31). As in the real world, unilateral militarism is not the answer, and shouldn't be the answer.

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May. 16th, 2016

The Sokovia Accords

I still couldn't find anything online about the actual contents of the Accords aside from that one page which appeared in the trailers. I suppose it's a good idea not to show it so that movie watches wouldn't nitpick the thing to death instead of enjoying the movie itself, but still, that prevents me from nitpicking the thing to death. =P

Also, it seems that even internally, Marvel isn't very consistent about what the Accords do. Pretty sure movie canon takes precedence over TV canon though.

Anyway, I found this article online which pretty much explains a lot of my feelings about what we do know of the Accords, better than I can. Of course, this would be in a realistic USA in a realistic universe...so of course that wouldn't include the MCU. -_-!

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Apr. 8th, 2015

The Missing Name

Because these things keep up at night (ok not really)...

According to canon, Elrond & Elros got their names from when they were discovered outside/inside a waterfall. This was presumably a discovery (and naming) by the people of Gil-Galad or even the High King himself. But...before that they spent time under the care of Maedhros and Maglor (which from what accounts I've been able to find, they were treated well), and then before they had to have spent a few years with their mother in Avernien.

So, are you telling me they didn't get names before then? Ok, I can maybe see them keeping mum about the names the Kinslayers gave them while living in the company of all those people who hate the Feanorians' guts. But what about their original father/mother-names? Ok, maybe they didn't have a father name because Earendil might've been at sea (and never returned in all the time since their birth until their capture)...but they had to have at least a mother name? Did Elwing, like, keep it a great secret or something? I mean, we know her cousin Celeborn was alive at least; she didn't tell him?

Anyway, while on the topic of Peredhil, here's the timeline I have from near the end of the First Age.

Read more... )

EDIT: W00T, bot a response to the first part of this post on tumblr... lots of interesting info.

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Apr. 2nd, 2015

Elvish telepathy

Huh. I always thought the long range telepathic communion betwen Elrond & Galadriel in LOTR (and then Gandalf and Galadriel in Hobbit) was something PJ made up for the movies. Well, the contents of the meetings probably were, but the mechanism at least was not. Apparently the ability itself is book canon. See Ósanwe-kenta. Also several fandom discussions.

snip quotes n stuff )

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Mar. 29th, 2015

LOTR headcanon - elf hair bowstrings

"To Legolas she (Galadriel) gave a bow such as the Galadhrim used, longer and stouter than the bows of Mirkwood, and strung with a string of elf-hair." Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter 8

So, according to this video, you don’t actually need to have long hair to make a bowstring; clumps of shorter hair will also do just fine.

My interpretation of Tolkien’s sentence is that all elf bows use elf hair as the string, and the main difference between the Galadhrim bow to Legolas’ original Mirkwood bow is that it was longer & stouter because it was presumably made from mallorn tree wood.

headcanon )

(Also crossposted to Tumblr)

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Mar. 13th, 2015

Elf Genealogy



Huh. Earendil having higher % of human in him than Elwing explains why he would’ve picked the fate of Men if his wife hadn’t chosen the fate of Elves for them both.

More rambling )

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Mar. 8th, 2015

Fangirl ramblings...

It's been raining all morning. I feel like a zombie. Spent my stam on PAD and no GW2/STO. Might as well vomit some junk from my sleep deprived mind.

So. Have LOTR movie vs book ramblings plus a few more pokes at the YvtW xover.

Read more... )

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Feb. 27th, 2015

Oh fandom... + more Hobbit issues

Thranduil = 瑟兰迪尔 = 瑟爹 = "Th-dad"
Legolas = 莱格拉斯 = 小叶子 = "Little Leaf"
Tauriel = 陶瑞尔 = 桃子 = "Peaches"
Gandalf = 甘道夫 = 豆腐 = "Tofu"
Thorin = 索林 = 大舅 = "Uncle"

Oh Gandalf... *snicker*

source

Also, after reading a metric ton of posts about Hobbit, I have to *facepalm* even more at the epic geography!fail and history!fail that was the new content PJ put into the Hobbit movies.

Read more... )

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Jun. 10th, 2014

MCU x Exalted RPG crunch - Steve Rogers

Because this has been eating up my brain for over a month now and I have 80 pages (WTF brain?) of stuff written down on Google docs...

cut for those who don't care )

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May. 8th, 2014

Ramblings from a fangirl (Exalted/MCU)

So I have been reading a lot of Worm fanfics on the Spacebattles Creative Writing forum. A lot of the best crossover fics I've seen have been with the Exalted RPG. The discussions on those threads invariably get inundated by Exalted game mechanics, so I've learned more about those than I've wanted to.

Anyway, so then I was watching CA:TWS. And throughout the movie, I kept thinking - My god, Cap is such a Zenith (Exalted "sub-class" for the Solar "class"). He would make a great Exalt expy. And then afterwards I ran a google search to see if any Exalt games/fans have tried to create a character sheet for Cap and came across this discussion.

So anyway my imagination runs away with me... )

EDIT: For my own reference

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Jan. 14th, 2014

Shiny!

I found this site for all my LOTR mapping needs!

Notes )

EDIT2:

More thoughts after re-watching ROTK.

1. Movie!Aragorn/Legolas/Gimli have superspeed. Yes they do.

See, in the book it took the Grey Company 5 days to ride from the Paths to the Dead to Pelargir, and that was on horeback riding in haste. They were sporadically fighting from Linhir onwards, and they reached that on day 3.

In the movie, the three of them lost their horses before Erech, and then managed to reach the banks of the Anduin in 2 days (Elrond tells Aragorn at Dunharrow the Corsairs will be at Minas Tirith in 2 days, so.) Now, I'm guessing they skipped Linhir and Pelargir (so those places burned?) which skims off 2 days.

It still means that the 3 movie guys on foot took 2 days to run to where a company of riders spent ~3 days getting to. Yep. Superspeed. (WTF)

Also, they had no food & water with them during this run. But then, neither did they seem to when chasing after the uruk hai in the beginning of TTT. Numenoreans in movie!ME don't need wussy things like water or food, man.

2. The mountain of skulls at Erech wasn't any less cheesy the second time around. Aragorn's speech was kinda meh too, but eh...

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Jan. 9th, 2014

LOTR stuff

It started with Hobbit II, and me trawling tumblr for pics. That led to reading linked articles about Tolkien in general, which somehow led me to go back and re-read the YvtW story arc for LOTR. And well, I ended up starting the re-write of that shebang that I'd always wanted to do but could never work up the motivation.

[personal profile] ossian, if you can read these, let me know what you think: Chapter 1 Chapter 2

Those were the easy parts. When we did the original thread, only FOTR had come out, so TTT and ROTK were entirely based on the book (entire sections were lifted almost verbatim) and not the movies. So the later parts will pretty much need to be completely re-written to incorporate more movie canon.

Anyway, some stuff that occured to me while (re-)plotting and trying to strike a balance between book and movie...
Read more... )

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Oct. 14th, 2013

Humanity is not Ready for it

I hate this trope. I really really do. I hate it more when it shows up in science fiction.

[rant] )

One final thought. Do you know what I want to see in a modern sci-fi story? The covert SpecOps team rescuing the brilliant scientist from a luddite (super-)villan who wants to destroy the scientist's knowledge/research, so that said scientist can publish their findings to the world and improve life for everyone. Bonus points if the Snarky!Commando refutes the villain's claims that humanity "is not ready" for the horrors that said discoveries will bring, by pointing out humanity already has existing technologies that is more readily weaponized, and yet seems to be doing just fine. Is there any of that around?

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Apr. 26th, 2012

Chinese teenyboppers...ugh

Smart phones are awesome things. I don't deny that. What I hate is the kiddies on Chinese forums who post stories on baidu with their smart phones - one sentence per post. Often with many double-posts depending on connectivity and double-clicking. Needless to say, these are very painful to read.

Also, these are kids who self-confessed to be doing this (reading and posting to forums) on their phones in the middle of class. Really? Really? Has the quality of Chinese schools/education taken a drastic dive from what I'm familiar with? (I feel old now.)

And while I'm on the subject of ranting about Chinese fanfic authors, the amount of copycats and general lack of creativity is just so depressing. It's pretty much to the point where you can predict any number of things that will happen in a newly posted fic. I'm speaking more specifically for the Bao Lian Deng fandom, but I bet it could apply else where...

Memes I've grown tired of:
* Erlang will be severely wounded/killed/mostly killed at Mt. Hua, despite the fact that in the actual canon he had a happy ending. Why do people bother remaking the ending of the canon show into the tragedy it never was even when they are trying to make a happy-ending (or even comedy) fic? Why?
* The heavenly gates (南天门) is the second most heavily featured casualty, being smashed/spliced/splitted open any number of times by the usual suspects here to avenge Erlang.
* The 12 disciples of Kunlun/昆仑十二仙 will be out collectively for blood, despite the fact that the actual canon only showed the two of them as having anything to do with the outside world and neither being all that buff (power-wise) as to be a valid threat.
* The Jade Emperor & Empress are sekretly good guys, even though the canon has stomped all over their characters beyond much hope of recovery...Either that or they are still bad guys but are now sekretly 10000x more competent than they were in the canon.
* If it's a crossover, then the sliver of consciousness Erlang used to manipulate Ding Xiang will reincarnate into Zhan Zhao (75) or Li Qunhuan (小李飞刀) or another character played by the same actor.

...Etc and so forth. *sigh* Now I remember why I left this fandom last time...
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Mar. 22nd, 2011

Responsibility

So, apparently Xander from Buffy is today's preeminent SI for fanboys to insert themselves into, get powered up six ways to Sunday, go on a multiversal jaunt, end up with a harem, and take out their aggression at any other characters they don't happen to like. Yeah, I get that. All the way back since Ranma was pretty much the same thing for anime fanfic authors.

It doesn't stop me from bristling at the latest soapbox ranting of the sockpuppet author when I was skimming through a BVS/Girl Genius/DCAU xover that is just rehash of the old rant about how superheroes with a moral code are somehow responsible for the actions of their rogues. Heck, it's not like the same issue hasn't been raised in the comics themselves. But alas, I've rarely seen the argument actually written out well without handing the idiot-ball to one side of the argument and the jerk-ball to the other. Ironically, the comments to that second scans_daily link contains far more insightful arguments toward both sides of the issue. Of course, the first link was a sort of good try for the comics writers, but of course that was back in the days when superhero comics were still run out of newspaper strips. (Oh how the "art" of comics have degraded to these sensationalism-is-all days. :P)

Anyway, personally, I've never bought the whole idea that the superheroes are responsible for their villains thing. It always smacked of the whole 'shift the blame'/'blame the victims' line of thinking, and most attempts to argue it in the stories nowadays appears to absolve the villain of their own culpability for the apparent goal of inducing wangst and emo for the hero, as well as justifying bad plot.

Secondly, I've never really felt that the role of executioner should fall on the shoulders of the heroes - at least, let me amend that, for foes in a civilized setting that are capable of being executed/locked up by mundane means and methods. Uber-powered bad guys that want to blow up the planet or something...Yeah - if the hero is the ONLY one with the capability to end the threat (and especially imminent future threats) to the public/humanity/Earth, they should shoulder the responsibility of terminating said threat. But for the likes of Joker and such, I would expect the responsibility to rest where it has always been - with the legislature (if exceptions need to be made in the death penalty laws of the state) or with the courts (if death penalty is already legal). Blaming the hero in that case seems to be a scapegoat for the public to avoid their own implicit culpability for these villains, which is not any less than the heroes in these cases.

And the thing bugs me the most in certain fics... is the way that some authors look down on various superheroes for having and sticking to a moral code. I mean, I don't get it. Why would you WANT people with superpowers or means beyond normal men to NOT have a moral code? To have a flexible moral code that can be bent when the fancy strikes them or whoever can manipulate them? I really, really don't get it.

Feb. 21st, 2011

Mutant hysteria, really?

Minor rant on the point about X-Men in the previous post:

If I was in charge of them, there would be none of this passive aggressive 'let's sit around and get attacked' stuff. Let's face it, the public is by default fearful to apathetic about 'thems' and the politicians are only going to be worse.

What I'd do is to try and sell mutant kind as something that benefits the public. So, yeah, superheroics. Of the kind that saves a lot of lives and livelihoods, publically. We'd be first responders to every single major disaster that happens on the planet (and don't tell me that won't fill up a good calender block every year; Mother Nature can be a very mean mistress, followed closely by human stupidity and hatred). And we'd make sure CNN/BBC/etc. gets us on film pulling babies from rubble every single time.

So what if the pundits are trying to sell the 'mutants are bad because they'll eventually replace homo sapiens sapiens' thing? Between their own skins and the nebulous 'future generations', the average human only looks out for number one. And then of course after we're being hailed as saints, any attempt to attack/control us by the government can be spun in ways that will make the politicians bleed (figuratively).

Not surprisingly, sci-fi authors do a much better job at this kind of idea than serial comics. I'm thinking of Anne McCaffrey's Pegasus series, personally.

"Super" useful by what definition

I've been reading some comic parodies on scans_daily, and also been reading some comments/criticism of various comics posted there. I think everyone is aware that one of the downsides of serial comics is that it's so hard for anything to be written that actually affects the Status Quo (TM).

The thought did pop into my mind, though, that of all the highly popular comic heroes - that is, the ones with movies and their own TV series - there's only one that has a track record for doing work other than beating up various nemeses/villains. That's Superman, who is known for also helping around at various natural disasters, especially in the TV series and in ficdom. I seriously can't think of any other major superhero who can say the same.

Is it because they're not design to be helpful in that way? Well, I guess Batman can't really offer much to help out in person for an earthquake; Bruce Wayne's money would probably do more there. Iron Man? Probably in the same boat, I guess. X-Men? Too busy with their persecution complexes, despite the no-brainer positive publicity they stand to gain for their cause if they'd helped out with, say, Katrina. Spider-man? Daredevil? Ok, I guess transportation is a problem there.

So, anyway, here's a thought experiment. What kind of superpowers would be the most useful? )

Aug. 19th, 2010

Old Psidai thing

This was never posted... cuz it never really got off the ground. It's a Wonka xover.

Read more... )

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