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Baseball Season

A vignette involvng Jenny and Mars, characters from the "My Life as a Monster" novel I did as part of NanNoWriMo last year. Starting as part of a tossed off story done instead of my IMPORTANT fiction, they have consumed my last year. Help.

This came about simply because of the thought: "Hey, what sort of bat would a super-strong person use?" Which led to my frantically Googling baseball bats, and some math. You'd think Americans of all people would know the average density of a maple baseball bat...

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On Dragons...

So there's that old saw by Chesterson: “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

And I'm thinking, what then, is the value of modern fantasy? Well, maybe it's to say that dragons don't need to be killed. Maybe the dragons can be understood or befriended. Or that it's wrong to be killing dragons. Or maybe that the dragon isn't actually a dragon at all.
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Review: Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

So for my first book of summer:

Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

Afterparty does for neuropharmacology what the Neuromancer novels did for computers. On the one hand, it's a fast moving novel about people on the shady side of the law using advanced technology for their own ends. On the other hand, it deals with on religion and our minds, and how both interface with a technologic age.

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I had forgotten what living through history was like.

Unfortunately, for the last five days, I've been dealing with a severe tooth infection, so I've missed going to any Pride celebrations. I mean, people seeing me scowling and grimacing in pan might get the wrong idea. So instead, I've been living vicariously though Metafilter and Google+, as suddenly history changed around me.

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Good job. We have so much work still t do for equality and civil rights, but just this weekend, we can congratulate ourselves.
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Happy 10th Birthday, Avatar

Ten years ago, the first episode of Avatar the Last Airbender aired.

I was late to come to Avatar, because when I first heard of it I was really skeptical of any "American rendition of anime". But people kept recommending it, and I finally watched it, realized I was wrong, and I totally loved it.

However, for all of it's flaws, both due to writing and due to Nick (who couldn't understand and hated the fact that a series starring an- ick!- girl was more popular than Sponge Bob), I think I love Korra the series better. Both because of the more mature tone Korra took, the themes of growth and change, and also because to me, the stories had a very different gender element to the themes.

Avatar was very much a boy hero adventure story: Aang is the destined hero, facing off against an obvious enemy. There's no doubt that while he will do some maturing and there will be lot twists, his path is set and his triumph over the bad guys is assured.

Korra comes into a different situation; she enters a complex world, one where she is not accepted for herself, where people, even the authorities she should be able to trust try try to use her for her own purposes, or destroy not only her, but the concepts behind her. Korra's early enthusiasm and confidence is shaken, and the elements that make the Korra the Avatar are continually attacked, leaving her isolated from her very base of support. It's telling that the enemies in Korra all mostly come from around her, often from people she trusts or respects. It is not a very large leap to relate Korra's journey to what happens to so many young women. Finally, unlike Aang, Korra cannot simply make the word change for her- she has to make an accommodation, change to meet the world, learning to rely on her inner strength and empathy. Aang has a place, Korra has to make her place in the world- and in so doing changes it far more than Aang did.

I think if anything, the more complex and mature issues Korra was dealing with were very difficult for the writers to portray adequately, as frankly, they were stretching the boundaries of what an American cartoon could deal with. And of course there's fucking Nickelodeon. I wish I could go to the parallel world where Korra had been picked up by Netflix, and we saw 75 episodes. The idea is something that could really have used that much time.
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Shades of Little Fuzzy

Those who have read Little Fuzzy know that the book's climax hinges on a court trial to both determine whether the titular species is sentient, and also to come up with a general definition of sentience.

Recently, a New York court tackled that question when it comes to chimpanzees. Should chimpanzees be considered sentient? Honestly, this is a question I'm conflicted on, though I think a good case can be made in general for better treatment of animals, as we're finding them to be more and more like us.

Oh yeah, that NaNoWriMo thing.

You know, I never mentioned that I decided to enter that NanowriMo contest.

I have tons of ideas. Ones that have been cookng for years. But I passed up on my serious ideas, in favor of a silly urban fantasy story based on a short vignette I did called "Frankenstein's Daughter meets Dracula." I've had severe writer's block for years, no confidence, and no endurance for writing,so I knew it would never go anywhere. I'd see a new anime, or there would be an argument on the internet, or a butterfly, or something. Most likely I'd just run out of steam.

Today I reached 45 kilowords.

I have no idea if I'll be able to expand it out and turn it into something salable, or what. The important thing is, I will finish this.