arachnekallisti: (Science!)
I've just been thinking over the fandoms I'm really drawn to, and it occurs to me that one thing they have in common is incredibly intelligent characters: Sherlock Holmes, Miles Vorkosigan, the Doctor, Batman, the Culture's Minds, Q, Agatha Heterodyne, Willow, Toshiko, Romana...

The question is, how does one go about writing characters like that? At the baseline, you've got the ones who are at the top end of human intelligence, and then you're off into the realm of the superintelligences.

I think it was Vernor Vinge who claimed that authors cannot write convincing characters who are smarter than themselves: if you could work out what a really smart person would do in a given situation, then you are as clever as that really smart person.

The problem with this particular point of view is that authors can cheat. )

Any good ones I've missed? Any more caveats on how to deploy those three?

Why Fanfic?

Sep. 1st, 2009 06:31 pm
arachnekallisti: (Default)
It's a question I get asked a lot. Quite a lot of people can't quite see what the appeal is of working in quite such a restrictive genre, with so very little leeway in terms of setting and characterisation, and no commercial prospects. Quite often, they're expecting some kind of answer about how it's good practice, since having character and setting defined frees you up to work on things like plotting and dialogue, or how pastiche is an interesting technical problem.

The thing about answers like that, though, is that they seem to regard working on fanfic as a kind of necessary evil, a tedious exercise for a writing student who'd really rather be getting on with original work. They don't explain why people who aren't aiming at a writing career would choose fanfic as a hobby, and they certainly don't explain why anyone would bother reading fanfic.

Wild theorising cut to save your Friends page )
arachnekallisti: (Default)
1. Outline Arachnekallisti's Special and General Theories of Mary Sue, and use them to explain observed phenomena with reference to EITHER Strontium Dog OR Torchwood, and at least TWO other fandoms. )

2. If Rorschach represents Kantian deontological ethics, Ozymandias represents utilitarianism, and Dr Manhattan represents some kind of existentialism, what about Dan and Laurie?

3. Judge Dredd: evidence that Lawful Neutral is in fact the scariest alignment?

4. Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer - Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser IN SPACE! Discuss.
arachnekallisti: (comic book villain)
In the Watchmenverse, the comics on sale are about pirates, not superheroes; masked vigilantes aren't escapism, they're news. Possibly there is nevertheless a comic out there about the adventures of Ozymandias, as produced by Veidt Publishing. Presumably, that means that the Watchmenverse also has comics about ninjas, cowboys, soldiers and so on.

Which leads me to wonder; which of the comics we know from our world would have Watchmenverse equivalents? 2000AD, perhaps? It's a sci-fi comic rather than a superhero title. Maybe in the Watchmenverse Judge Dredd is something of a vicious satire of the Comedian. Maybe the Comedian has beaten John Wagner up over it. Possibly there's even a talented young writer called Alan doing Future Shocks (or is that far too meta?)
arachnekallisti: (Default)
So I was looking through EMusic earlier on tonight, deciding what tracks to nab before I left for good due to skintness, and spotted an album by Abney Park. I dithered a little over whether to get it - yes, steampunk rock, it's an interesting concept, on the other hand, I could get some more electro - and then noticed that the band were dressed as airship pirates. And then I knew I had to have it.

Which experience has started me thinking about my own personal Rule of Cool: those particular tropes and concepts which automatically make me Sold On a work of fiction.

My personal Rules Of Cool )
arachnekallisti: (Default)
I have had a crap couple of weeks, but this went a long way towards cheering me up. Life imitates bad fanfic.

Also, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] prochytes for reminding me of the joy that is Torchwood Babiez.
arachnekallisti: (agatha heterodyne)
I've been watching rather a lot of Jeeves and Wooster lately. It's really remarkably successful as fluff goes; I've never been in a situation where it hasn't managed to cheer me up. On reflection, I think I've worked out why it's worked quite so well: it's a anti-rom-com. Specifically, happy endings for Bertie consist not of finding Miss Right, but of avoiding getting saddled with Miss Horribly-Wrong. There's also a general suspicion of any attempts made to get Bertie to Improve Himself and do something useful with his life. Bertie is considered to be doing quite well as a good-natured goof, without any particular need for a high purpose, a great romance or any other external source of validation.

Which, frankly, means there's hope for all of us.

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