alias_sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
My initial post
So you want to create an interactive story

I'm focussing on single person games like Interactive Fiction/Text Adventures, puzzle/RPG games with lots of story, visual novels etc.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Who wants a postcard? I printed samples of some of my redbubble art to make sure it printed ok and now have nothing left to do with them. Leave a comment with your address to be sent a random piece of art! Comments screened, any country is ok, art may contain mermaid boobs unless you ask for it not to.

[community profile] metanews has started up and is worth checking out.

Speaking of meta, Skygiants has some really interesting meta on Night Watch and Les Mis (I am only vaguely familiar with Les Mis and enjoyed it)

Firvulag gave a nice review of Core Cidery which we all went to for Cam's birthday.

I finished and reviewed "Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine over on my other blog but in short: it was good! I ended up skimming "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn: it was triggery (emotional abuse and to a lesser extent rape) and mean spirited and I have very mixed feelings about it's portrayal of gender but afaict is a very good psychological thriller. I also skimmed "Railsea" by China Mieville just because it was boring, but it you like boys own sea adventures, trains, and clever fantasy worldbuilding you'd probably enjoy it (I only like the last two)

Something that recently struck me: Sherlock uses the fact that their Watson is male to play up the "wow, isn't it a bit weird how close these two are?" slashy disquiet by having him do things that seem almost but not quite romantic and thus feel wrong (to a heteronormative audience). Elementary uses the fact that their Watson is female to play up the "wow, isn't it a bit weird how close these two are?" slashy disquiet by having Sherlock do things that feel wrong between two people of the opposite sex that aren't dating (to a heteronormative audience), like him choosing her clothes and offering to choose her underwear in a totally non sexual way.

I personally prefer the Elementary version, but mostly I just find the symmetry interesting.
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
One of the most important things for chronic fatigue syndrome is pacing: figuring out how much energy you can consistently use each day and sticking to it rather than overdoing it one day and crashing the next. The importance of pacing has been proven through both scientific study and interviews with people who have the illness and is about the only thing that helps everyone (and not pacing is one of the most reliable ways to make your condition worsen). But it's hard to balance the need to rest with the need to go out and have fun, do necessary chores, keep muscles exercised etc, especially at the start. Plus not every task suits being broken up into little chunks you can do a day at a time.

For the first few years, any time I had the slightest doubt about whether I was up to something I cancelled it, because my instincts were still wired for healthy!me. Whenever I ignored this mantra I made myself very ill and took ages to recover.

And then my instincts finally shifted to match my actual capabilities, which was good, but meant that I was cancelling things more than I needed to. Also my instincts for how much energy it takes to go out places are still based on when I had to walk rather than the much lower energy required to go out with my wheelchair.

Which has all added up to me erring on the side of not cancelling things when I'm not 100% sure I'm up to them, as long as the consequences for misjudging aren't too severe. It's a bit scary, but has been working pretty well so far! (I still cancel things I know I'm not up to, which is sadly quite a large proportion of things)

This post brought to you by me deciding whether or not to go to the Swancon programming meeting today since I'm still recovering from going out yesterday. Though there's still time for me to take a sudden turn towards the sleepy.

EDIT: lol nope, I'm not going anywhere today. The basic principle still holds though.

Hobbit!

Dec. 29th, 2012 06:15 pm
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Today Cam and I escaped the heatwave by seeing the Hobbit. We were both very glad to have been warned that it was long and slow because it REALLY was, but that's pretty much my only serious complaint with the film.


Things I would change:
-Tighten up a lot of the scenes, cut some to be extra features (None of them were inherently bad, and I'm not sure what you'd cut, but it was just too long for such a simple story)
-Stockier dwarves. Aedan Turner is a very pretty man but he is not a (fantasy) dwarf. Some of them were downright waif-like.
-less fat jokes, less physical grossness with the goblins, it all felt a bit physically injured/ill = evil (which is RIFE in the original but that doesn't mean it had to stay)
-slightly lighter tone. Not as light as the original book, that wouldn't work with the type of story they were telling, but more like the Harry Potter or Narnia films. A lot of the plot felt too children's book-ish to carry off the DRAMATIC MUSIC and desatured blue grainy darkness etc. Also I didn't think it needed to be quite so violent and horror-y.

Changes and choices I liked:
-Beefing up the lore, foreboding tension and connections to the LOTR. Yes even the bits they made up, I thought it worked.
-Making the dwarves feel like a real people. It reminded me a lot of Dragon Age, actually (which obviously stole a lot from Tolkein, but I did like that you really got into the dwarves heads)
-Radagast! I always wished Tolkein had talked about him more.
-The singing and varying tone in general. I've heard some people complain it jarred with the darker parts but I thought it was fine. During LOTR I kept imagining Tolkein going "But where are all my songs?"

There was other stuff but I forget. Some changes I'd have liked that would never happen under Peter Jackson would be making some of the dwarves female and having anyone be non-white. As Cam pointed out, there's a lot of heavy set Maori actors in New Zealand who'd have made great dwarves.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Ok you are all fired for not making me read this book of short stories before now. So much delicious science fictiony exploration of gender and sexuality and the complex interplay between biology and society. Like Octavia Butler, Ursula K Le Guin is pretty obviously a romantic sexual straight cis woman who doesn't really get other (existing, human) kinds of gender/sexuality, and that limits the writing. She also has SUCH A THING FOR MARRIAGE OMG. I mean, I'm married! Marriage is great! But it's still a bit much.

That said she obviously tried to expand her horizons in the decades since she wrote "The Left hand of Darkness", there is human!queerness and alien!queerness and the intersections between the two, though generally only one at a time so far (I'm about halfway through the book).

It still feels very much like a second wave feminist understanding of gender, albeit one softened by modern ideas, anthropological education, and compassion. Gender is almost entirely a social construct while biological sex is simple, unambiguous, and inescapable (with the exception of the briefly mentioned and rare monosexed pseudo-humans amongst the usually dual-sexed Gethenians) There's a tendency for characters to be genderqueer but heterosexual deep down under whatever conditioning they get from society. She explores how homosexuality/bisexuality/heterosexuality and (to a lesser extent) monogamy fits into her worlds, but I keep wondering about intersex, trans, and non binary gendered people. Or aromantic/asexual people, or other new equivalents like Gethenians whose kemmering doesn't fit the "become the opposite sex to the person you're around and desire sex with them" pattern. Like, what if you became the SAME sex? Or entered a sexually mature non binary gendered state?

I still have a few stories to go, but wanted to get my thoughts out now while they were fresh. I've been quite enjoying reading short fiction while out on public transport, I find it hard to keep track of novels. Alas my tastes on short fiction are very narrow, but I'm sure I can find more to read once I'm done with this and Steampowered 2.
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
So, like everyone else in fandom, I am a queer disabled woman who loves video games. And like everyone else in fandom, I find great joy expressing myself through femslash fancomics about the robots in those video games. But something has been annoying me lately and I need to get it off my chest.

Where are the robot/human enemy ships?
Am I the only one who's noticed this and finds it troubling? )
alias_sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
I am super sleepy but if I don't post this now I will forget my Thoughts.

So! The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang won best novella in the Hugos last year, and I finally got around to reading it a few days ago.

It's one of those stories that feels two steps removed from being a non fiction meta essay, I liked the characters well enough but it doesn't really have a plot or emotional arc or anything, he's just having fun exploring the idea of sentient virtual pets. Still, if nothing else it was nice to see the idea explored without descending into tragedy or horror. I have a bunch of critical thoughts after the cut, but the fact that the story got me thinking about these questions so much at all is to it's credit.

And now some spoilery thoughts. Should make sense if you haven't read it, but it's short and free, so why haven't you? )
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
So, I am feeling SUPER sleepy/blah right now. I think it's just a random cfs flare, still no fun. Anyway, I am 2 episodes into Season 3 of Fringe and enjoying it (Oliviaaaaa <3 <3) but the last 3 episodes all ended on down notes and I'm not up to any more of that right now. Is there a happy ending in the near future or should I wait until I can tough it out?

Confidential to [personal profile] tree: Have you seen this picture of Gillian Anderson as Morticia Adams? (I am assuming yes but you never know)

Give Sexy Actors Sexy Wheelchairs! I agree with the commenter saying that it's a bit biased towards manuals but it still has important and useful stuff to say, I'll be using it as a ref next time I draw a manual wheelchair user.

Got [profile] hele into Glitch bwahaha :D

Can sci-fi be a happy place? I agree with Minister Faust saying "Yes", I must try out his books sometime. Also, the past and present were/are pretty unpleasant for lots of people, and still manage to have happy stories set in them that don't neccesarily gloss over the unpleasantness.

See also the post I have mentally brewing justifying escapist period fiction, and...Looking for women in historically-based fantasy worlds

Finally, look at this adorable steampunky art of a woman and her pet octopus.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
I did a video post about being a queer, disabled, feminist writer

Errors vs. Bugs and the End of Stupidity has a really nice metaphor about errors vs bugs when it comes to mistaking mistakes. (Not a fan of the schizophrenia metaphor but never mind)

Woo, sunbreaksdown is writing Lin/Korra! She's one of my favourite femslash writers. And yes, this pairing should hit all my squicks I DON'T UNDERSTAND EITHER.

Also I have a random theory that Lin's father...is Zuko! He had a brief drunken tryst with Toph when he and Mai were having a fight or something, they both agreed it was a terrible idea but she kept the kid, and then had to keep it a secret to stop Lin being drawn into Fire Nation royal succession shenanigans.

Extra theory just for Lizbee: And then Azula moved to the Fire Nation to help raise Lin.

(n.b This theory spoils nothing and has no real basis in canon. I can't see the show having drunken trysts, for a start, so Mai would have to, like, die in childbirth to give Zuko time to get over her, secretly marry Toph and then die himself or something. I also like the idea that Toph went "Right! I want a baby. Aang, you're super powerful, let's have a super earthbending baby!" But then Katara nixed the idea so she moved on)
alias_sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
I did a meme on Tumblr where I would do a audio/voice post on any topic I was given. And kentsarrow gave me the topic maths! If you don't like maths you can ignore me and watch my cat wondering that on earth is going on :D


I edited and recut it a bit to remove errors and repetition, something that ended up getting lost is the fact that if you stick with maths when you think you're bad, and get competent help with the aspects you're struggling with, you should be able to achieve a lot of improvement, and maybe even find you're not "bad at maths" after all. Skills are more learned than innate (something I need to remind myself of more often, I would say, based on this stream of consciousness rant)
Transcript below cut )
alias_sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
There was a panel about possible directions for the programming at Swancon 2013. It was great, but being at 9pm on a Sunday did not encourage my brain to function at full speed, so here's some further thoughts that took a while to percolate.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
I've been thinking about the wildly different and sometimes contradictory things that I mean in different contexts by "I ship X/Y" (Or X/Y/Z/W...), and how this can cause miscommunication when people fail to be psychic and realise which meaning I'm using. I think this is a cause of a lot of fannish miscommunication, but would be curious to hear other people's thoughts.

So, when I say "I ship it", I usually mean one or more of the following:

  • I hope they get together in canon
  • I think they are, or will be, together in canon
  • I have trouble imagining them with anyone else, and want to see their relationship explored
  • I have trouble enjoying fanworks where they are not together
  • I think their relationship would be happy and healthy
  • I enjoy imagining them together
  • I like their shippy dynamic
  • I enjoy fanworks about their relationship
  • I am able to enjoy fanworks about their relationship


But I don't always think all of these things. For example, with a lot of canon relationships (or even ships with lots of UST) even if I don't think they're perfect for each other I have trouble imagining them with anyone else. Fanworks have to have them together or at least take their relationship seriously and then break it up, otherwise I lose my suspension of disbelief. Thus a believable "happy ending" is more likely to involve making a flawed relationship work than setting the characters up with other people who suit them better, though I may also "ship" these alternate pairings in that I enjoy those fanworks that manage not to set off my suspension of disbelief. Unfortunately I also get jarred by happy endings that simply gloss over the flaws in a relationship, so am generally doomed to writing my own fic and feeling hard done by.

I also ship a lot of relationships because I enjoy the dynamic, not because I necessarily think they should or will actually get together. (see for example my deep love of hateshipping)

Both of these mean that I look at essays explaining why a rival ship is "better" because the characters would be happier, or people saying "I can't believe anyone ships X/Y, they'd be so miserable" and go "Sure, maybe, but how is that relevant?". Then again I don't see the point in "X/Y is better than A/B" shipping arguments in general, you can argue about specific character interpretations being contrary to canon, and try and explain why certain dynamics appeal to you, but I think it's all largely a matter of taste.

EDIT: Since I'm not sure it's clear: I am an inveterate multishipper. Even for canon ships which I really enjoy and have huge trouble imagining not together, I can enjoy works which have them with other people, the creator just has to try harder to convince me. And for many of my favourite ships, there is no canon romance, and as long as the canon friendship is acknowledged I can happily ship all sorts of combinations, eg for Homestuck I am a fan of pretty much any combination of Dave, Rose, Terezi and Aradia into romances and/or friendships(*), and they all have vague but not overwhelming canon support.

So! What do you mean by "I ship it"?

(*)This being Homestuck, there's the question of what kind of romance I'm talking about, but let's not overcomplicate things here :D
alias_sqbr: She's getting existential again. It's ok I have a super soaker. (existentialism)
Spoilers!

Not feeling quite so unambiguously positive about things now. Still way happier than 99% of fandom, though.

Spoilers! )
alias_sqbr: Dagna from Dragon Age reaching for a book (dagna)
This is inspired by the post Representing Video Game Mechanics in Fanction. It made some very good points (and has a nice glossary), but focussed very much on Japanese RPGs (JRPGs), and I thought it might be interesting to think about how I've approached the problem myself for Western RPGs (WRPGs), specifically the Bioware games Mass Effect and Dragon Age.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: Faith holding a spray can next to "Buffy the Vamprie Slayer" with Faith scrawled over the top (faith)
(I had very broken sleep, which involved a lot of vague pondering)

In the world of Buffy etc, could you say "I invite you in as long as you're not a vampire"? Or "All welcome except vampires"?

And then I started thinking about the exact meaning of "invitation" and remembered that logic and fantasy don't necessarily mix.

Also, I had a dream where I was one of a group of tiny people from a parallel universe who got trapped on Earth. We eventually settled in a small model village in a DisneyLand-esque theme park and pretended to be little robots as part of the attraction. In the dream I thought "This is like in that movie/tv show" but on waking couldn't remember if I'd actually stolen the plot from anywhere or if I'd made it up (the "pretending to be robots" thing, the setup is rather Diggers-y)
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
I’ve had a soft spot for enemyships and hateships for as long as I can remember. Since a lot of people who don’t enjoy such ships seem to find the idea bizarre I thought it would be interesting to poke at why I like them. I’d be curious to hear if other people like them for similar or different reasons.

This is way more stream of consciousness than you might think from all the headings, and is very much why I like these ships. I've given lots of examples so that hopefully you can find something to check out whatever your preferences for fandoms and fanworks.

Note: This post contains references to violence and abusive relationships, and many of the fanworks linked are quite violent indeed, including sexual violence and gore.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
I read a lot of romances and romance-centered stories. Unfortunately (for someone with my tastes) most of them conform to really rigid gender roles: the man is always older, taller, more powerful, domineering, etc, and this is often presented as Just The Way Gender Works (especially in urban fantasy, ug)

It is SO HARD to find m/f romances(*) where this is reversed, or at least mixed up a little. The few I have found are either (a)primarily about the man being sexually dominated (and either it's not very romantic, or outside the bedroom he's twice as domineering to make up for it) or (b)go so far in the other direction they hit one of my major squicks (anything resembling parent/child (including teacher/student), sexualisation of children, rapist as love interest)

Two types of stories with superficial similarities to what I want that leave a bad state in my mouth are "unwomanly woman is all broken inside, needs a real man to help her soften and become a real woman" aka Defrosting Ice Queen, and strong female characters who are powerful and out spoken but ultimately their badassery only exists to make the man who gets to win them look good. So, I'm avoiding those.

Thus! A list of stories I have enjoyed or at least found interesting. Be warned, this is definitely not a list of "romances with totally unproblematic and feminist gender dynamics", and I found some of them quite disturbing. It's also incredibly subjective.

All stories are long, well written, and have a central romantic plot about a man and a woman finding a happy ending together. Any other recs appreciated!

Romances, not-so-romances, and gen )
alias_sqbr: (up and down)
I don't know if anyone cares but my brain has been pondering these characters and their relationships to each other.

If you haven't played Portal and Portal 2 they're (a)amazingly awesome puzzle games and (b)Have pretty good science fiction plot integrated between the puzzles with a very strong focus on some great, if loosely sketched, female characters.
Spoilers! )

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