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First...



Which is to say, ten years ago today the abrupt and unexpected and baffling cancellation of Farscape was announced. Truly, one of the five or six smartest, bravest, strangest, funniest, most poignant and innovative sf/f series ever. Yes, including Doctor Who. The critics adored it. And I loved the series a decade ago, so much that I gave up about six months rather foolishly trying to help others get the SciFi Channel (now SyFy) to change its mind and at least allow the series to finish with a fifth season, instead of the brutal cliffhanger at the end of Season Four. Well, we were rewarded with a two-part, four-hour miniseries that attempted to encapsulate all of Season Five (and possibly Six) and was so very awful (a few scenes aside) that, in retrospect, I wish it had never been made. The cliffhanger would have been more fitting. Anyway, that's not the point. The series was amazing. Especially seasons Two, Three, and Four. And it left its mark, influencing many series that have come afterwards.

Ah, screw it. But I am not Kirk, Spock, Luke, Buck, Flash, or Arthur frelling Dent. I'm Dorothy Gale from Kansas. ~ John Crichton, "Unrealized Realities"

So, yeah. Ten years.

---

Yesterday, I wrote 1,403 words on "Our Lady of Arsia Mons." I think it's going very well. However, I also think setting it in 2229 was a mistake, and I'm going to pull the story back towards the middle of the 21st century. Accurate technological predictions in sf are almost always impossible, and taking them seriously is foolishness. Just ask William Gibson about TV, cell phones, and Neuromancer. But I do feel more comfortable fucking up a vision of the nearer future. Will there still be paper? Will humans prove curious enough and greedy enough to actually establish themselves on Mars? Will there still be newscasters? Will Yale University survive? What about Makroclear? Will a Third World War, a pandemic, terrorism, human population collapse, environmental degradation or a natural disaster, and/or dependence on non-renewable energy sources slow down the current pellmell technological marathon? What the hell's going to happen with AI? Androids? Can we even begin to guess all the myriad forms computers will assume in the next twenty years? No...we can't come close. So, we make shit up.

Science fiction writers are, in the main, an arrogant, deluded lot (not necessarily a bad thing*), and they fucking HATE to admit – even after years of research and degrees in this, that, and the other – how they are, at the end of the day, just making shit up. And mostly, we're utterly wrong.** I call this Flying Car Syndrome.

---

I meant to spend some time last night in Cox, but spent most of it in GW2, instead. Gods, Hoelbrak is amazing. Truly, the Norn capital city is bigger than all of Freemarch! And beautifully rendered and detailed. There is, after all, great opportunity for RP. Anyway, also watched two more eps of House M.D., which I think is getting better. It just needs to be braver and rely less on formula. Spooky made spaghetti with her yummy stir fry tomato sauce and some sort of sausages.

I wrote a blurb for Molly Tanzer's forthcoming debut collection, A Pretty Mouth. She asked for and I'd promised her an introduction, but I suck like Hoover at promises, and I apologize again, Molly. Guys, BUY THIS FUCKING BOOK. Right now! Go! Buy it! Okay, wait. You'll have to wait a bit longer. But. Brilliant. Also, she's a resident of my old and belov'd digs, Boulder, Colorado, so, extra points!

I read a story by Elizabeth Hand, "Wonderwall." A superb "ghost" story, which is, in truth, more of a story about the nature of hauntings. Which I vastly prefer to actual ghost stories, sensu the sort where the ghost is literally a disembodied spirit/spirits rattling chains and whatnot. Usually, those sorts of ghosts bore me sideways.

And that was yesterday. Yes, this will be on the test.

Still a 'Scaper After All These Years,
Aunt Beast

* As this makes them – us – exactly like all other writers.
** I believe decades of embarrassment over this problem led, eventually, to the atrociously dull Mundane school of sf.

Comments

( 25 comments — Have your say! )
vegan_vulcan
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:10 pm (UTC)
omg
Aw! You're too kind. Again, thank you, thank you, thank you so much! <3 <3 <3
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
Re: omg

Aw! You're too kind.

Trust me. I'm not. But, all the same, you're welcome.
witchchild
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:25 pm (UTC)
Ha, I just got past that episode myself. Great friggin' line, though disappointing to think that's what I have to look forward to in the Peacekeeper Wars. Ah well, it sure beats watching most of what's on TV right now.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)

hough disappointing to think that's what I have to look forward to in the Peacekeeper Wars.

Well, if it's any consolation, the climax of the mini-series in actually pretty drad.
txtriffidranch
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
In a screenplay, the perp behind the cancellation would have either realized her mistake and made amends, or met her maker in any number of exciting ways. The reality is that not only wasn't Bonnie Hammer fired, but the Writer's Guild strike clause that was supposed to remove her (apparently, she was notorious for killing shows and series if there was the slightest possibility that Skiffy would have to pay anything for them) was bypassed. Worse, the only thing keeping her from running NBC Universal is that Comcast is still making decisions after its purchase of the company. And people wonder why I've become so disillusioned with fiction.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:50 pm (UTC)

Yes. Except, becoming disillusioned with fiction is going just a bit too far.
txtriffidranch
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
If I get the Red Lantern ring I want for Christmas, I'll reconsider my stance on this.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC)

An odd stipulation, but there you go.
highway_west
Sep. 6th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Science Fiction Writers
I think science fiction is about projecting into tomorrow with the frame of today. It is always neat when a writer manages to predict something, but I think it is more about the possibilities of the present and in some cases examinations of roads we might be better off not to travel.

Have you seen the BBC series Outcasts? It was a short series but I loved it.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Science Fiction Writers

It is always neat when a writer manages to predict something, but I think it is more about the possibilities of the present and in some cases examinations of roads we might be better off not to travel.

Frankly, I've no interest in prediction, only inspiring wonder and awe and in pulling off good characterization. But yeah, one of the best functions of sf is to serve as a warning.

Have you seen the BBC series Outcasts?

Nope.
David Szydloski
Sep. 6th, 2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
I've been wanting to ask you: have you read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Books? If so, what do you think about them?

I guess what immediately interested me was, considering your knowledge and appreciation of Martian geology (or areology), what you thought of his use of long passages describing the planet and its natural formations.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 08:09 pm (UTC)

I've been wanting to ask you: have you read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Books? If so, what do you think about them?

I haven't read them. Maybe in the next year.

I guess what immediately interested me was, considering your knowledge and appreciation of Martian geology (or areology), what you thought of his use of long passages describing the planet and its natural formations.

That interests me...
David Szydloski
Sep. 6th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
They are personal favorites of mine. They are everything about hard sf without any of the militarism, misogyny and tone deaf dialogue that pervade that particular genre. Re: long passages about Mars--some of the sections of the book feel just like excuses for him to talk about the planet's geology or particular facets of environmental chemistry.

Particularly satisfying to me is that KSR takes the politics of terraforming Mars seriously: there are scientists who actively resist all attempts to terraform Mars ("Reds"), there are others who work actively with multinational corporations to develop colonization and industry, there are anarchists and Communists, and an almost Hildegaardian nature/Mars cult built around a brilliant and mysterious female Japanese biologist...

I'm forcing myself to shut up now.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 09:09 pm (UTC)

They are personal favorites of mine. They are everything about hard sf without any of the militarism, misogyny and tone deaf dialogue that pervade that particular genre. Re: long passages about Mars--some of the sections of the book feel just like excuses for him to talk about the planet's geology or particular facets of environmental chemistry.

On the one hand, cool. favoring technology, physics, and astronomy over the other sciences has long been a HUGE problem with sf. On the other hand, fetishizing any field of science is still a problem.

Particularly satisfying to me is that KSR takes the politics of terraforming Mars seriously: there are scientists who actively resist all attempts to terraform Mars ("Reds"), there are others who work actively with multinational corporations to develop colonization and industry, there are anarchists and Communists, and an almost Hildegaardian nature/Mars cult built around a brilliant and mysterious female Japanese biologist...

Me, I'd be one of the Reds....
David Szydloski
Sep. 6th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
Just to clarify, I don't think KSR actually fetishizes one branch of science above others in the book--though he's an avid hiker and mountain climber which I think is why he has such a soft spot for geology.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 09:42 pm (UTC)

I think all I'm saying is that sf, like all fiction, has to be about characters. The rest is just setup.

But I will check out the books.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Sep. 6th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)

Very good.
jessamyg
Sep. 7th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
The problem I find with most science fiction is that it has a very high standard to live up to, considering one of the first science fiction novels I read was "Dune".

Then again, fantasy is up against the same standard, after "A Wizard of Earthsea" and "The Lord of the Rings".
greygirlbeast
Sep. 7th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC)

>i>The problem I find with most science fiction is that it has a very high standard to live up to, considering one of the first science fiction novels I read was "Dune".</i>

YES!

Then again, fantasy is up against the same standard, after "A Wizard of Earthsea" and "The Lord of the Rings"

YES!
jessamyg
Sep. 7th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
Chiana
Oh, just watched the Chiana scene - that's so wonderful. I missed the majority of Farscape, though I enjoyed what I did see. That's another shitload of DVD's to search out, though the price might be bearable now.
greygirlbeast
Sep. 7th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
Re: Chiana

Go for the Blueray. The DVD transfers were problematic.
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Sep. 7th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)

Presently, I fear it's in syndication nowhere. I think SciFi still owns the syndication rights, but I don't know for certain.
Jada Walker
Sep. 7th, 2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
I call this Flying Car Syndrome.
Seems so true - and such a perfect name for it :-)
Kathie Leavis
Sep. 7th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
After reading your post I felt the urge to watch Farscape again, it is still just a breathtaking as when I first saw it on SciFi. It is always extremely disappointing when a brilliant beautiful series is canceled and garbage reality shows constantly keep popping up like roaches.
( 25 comments — Have your say! )