beatrice_otter: Delenn--We are Starstuff (Starstuff)
[personal profile] firecat asks, "Why is Babylon 5 your favorite show?"

([personal profile] schneefink, you may want to look away, because this will be FILLED with spoilers.)

Because it's awesome?  Seriously.  I mean, okay, it does have some flaws.  There are parts where the dialogue is pretty clunky and definitely NOT helped by the fact that the supporting actors couldn't always, well, act.  (Look, the main characters were pretty much all awesome actors, with the exception of Bruce Boxleitner who still did a decent job, but the guest stars were often pretty low-budget and given clunky scripts to work with and were simply not up to it.)

But the overall arc of plot, character development, worldbuilding, was breathtakingly groundbreaking in its day and is still a darn sight better than most of the long arc-driven shows we have today.  It paved the way for every show since that had a long story to tell.  Lost could not have happened without Babylon 5 showing the way.  Except that Babylon 5's arc was better than just about any other TV show arc since.  Most of them fizzle out or go weird or jump the shark; Babylon 5 didn't.  It all fits together, particularly if you chop off season 5 which was an add-on.  It makes sense in a way that a lot of the latter part of, say, Battlestar Galactica doesn't.  Most arc-driven shows, they peter out or lose steam or the writers lose track of what they're aiming for or they never had an endpoint planned out in the first place and as time goes on it really shows and the whole thing falls apart.

The thing was, Babylon 5 was J. Michael Straczynski's baby, start to finish.  He had a whole five season arc figured out from the beginning.  Not only that, he had redundancy built in.  For example, he knew he was going to need a Very Powerful Telepath for Reasons.  Like, a telepath who is WAAAAAY more powerful than any other telepath ever.  That was going to be Talia Winters (whose lover Jason Ironheart had been experimented on and turned into some sort of metahuman, and had given her a "gift" before he died that was supposed to be developed into the Very Powerful Telepathy needed for plot purposes).  But Talia's actress left the show.  So Joe Stracynski wrote her an awesome final episode ... which also happened to bring back Talia Winters, a telepath who'd been in the show's pilot, in which she telepathically "scanned" a Vorlon (a really mysterious and powerful alien) and then went off to try to contact the Vorlons, who then took her in and altered her and used her as a proxy, thus giving her the Very Powerful Telepathy needed to fill the plot arc originally filled by Talia.  The two women were very different, character-wise and history-wise, yet either of them could fill the same plot arc, and when one replaced the other it felt like it had been planned that way all along.  I still look back at that (and several other instances like that) and shake my head in wonder.

And the reason he could do that, that he had such tight control and move things around, is that he wrote most of the show.  There's at least one season where he wrote every single episode himself.  In a lot of ways, the series is like a novel written by one man.  So, yeah, it didn't always get as polished as it could be, but dang.  And even with all the places where the dialogue was clunky, there are other places where it's so incredibly awesome that it gives me chills.

When it first came on, of course, that wasn't why I loved it.  No, I loved it because it had wonderful characters.  The show was billed as "not Star Trek!" and it wasn't, but part of that was that the characters were allowed to be a lot more real and human and funny.  And they were allowed to grow and change over the course of the series.  Londo and G'Kar, for example, both start off very petty, and yet they also had heart and the possibility for something more.  They both change dramatically over the course of the series, together and separately, and they both have reasons to do so.  It feels natural.  It feels like real life.  They make mistakes, they learn, they grow, sometimes they backslide--they felt real.  All of the main characters felt real and three-dimensional in a way you seldom get on TV or movies.

And the worldbuilding!  Wow!  Each alien race had a culture all their own, that felt three-dimenional, too.  (Except maybe the Drazi.)  Most SF shows, each alien species has A Characteristic.  They're Stoic Warrior Aliens or they're Logical or they're whatever, and they all come from a planet that is All One Thing (a desert, or oceans, or whatever that one geographic feature is).  But there were a lot of species on Babylon 5, and any that showed up more than once got developed into something deeper.  Something complex.  Something like a real culture might actually be like, with a history and everything.  I love the Minbari the most, but the Centauri and the Narn both had some fascinating complexities.

And it had a message.  Sometimes subtle, sometimes clunky, but it was about something.  In a deeper way than Star Trek was, by that point.  You can watch the show on a number of levels--just the SF action adventure, or the political commentary, or the religious level--there was always something to explore and go deeper in.  You didn't have to delve into its message or buy into it to enjoy it, but it was there if you wanted it.

I loved it, and still do.  I love the characters.  I love the world.  I love the thoughtfulness.

beatrice_otter: Jedi fighting against a blue background (blue Jedi)
[personal profile] tielan asked: "If you could be 'apprenticed' to any character in any of your fandoms, which would you pick, and why?"

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Starfleet officer in the worst way (and it still sounds pretty fun--learning lots of things, traveling the galaxy in a comfy starship with all the comforts of home, etc).  But they don't really do apprenticeships, you know?

Most of my fandoms don't really do apprenticeships, either, considering that I tend to prefer SF to Fantasy, and SF tends to have regular schools and academies to teach trades, not apprenticeships.  And the other thing is, I don't want to live in most of my fandom worlds.  B5?  No.  Terminator?  Hell no.  Once Upon a Time?  Not really.  (Besides, most of the people who might take on apprentices have ambiguous morality, are outright evil, or are otherwise screwed up.  And magic always comes with a price.  No, thank you.)  Comic books?  No particular desire to be a superhero, actually, particularly not when you consider how screwed up most of them are, how much crap they have to deal with, and the fact that for many of them (especially the ones like Batman who mostly deal with crime) there are actually things they could do that would be much more likely to actually fix things than going around beating up criminals while wearing weird costumes.

If I could pick an era with no Sith, no Empire, no Clone Wars or other major upheaval, being a Jedi might be nice.

beatrice_otter: Delenn--We are Starstuff (Starstuff)
[personal profile] laurajv asks: What's your favorite character, from any media, and why?

And the problem with this is the same problem I have with any "what's your favorite?" question, and that is that I've never had any one book or character or movie or anything that I could point to and go "this one is my favorite."  Even if you narrow it down, so it's "what's your favorite character on a particular show?" I almost always go, "well, that depends on my mood."  My fannish affections are extremely poly; I've never had anything resembling an OTP or OTC.  I mean, I have pairings that I like (I'd never choose to pair Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade with anyone else, nor Han and Leia with anyone but each other), but it's not a strong enough thing to go THEY CAN'T EVER BE WITH ANYONE ELSE.  Like, if someone wrote an interesting, well-written story with no character bashing where one of those two pairs broke up or never got together in the first place, I'd read it and enjoy it.  (Well.  Let me clarify that.  If you were going to pair Luke with Callista, you would have to re-write the end of Children of the Jedi so that she didn't end up in Cray's body, because that really, really weirds me out.  Like, ew, and then after that she went off the rails in the other two books she appeared in, but if she weren't in Cray's body to begin with those other books would be different, so.)  But my favorite Star Wars characters are probably Corran Horn and Mara Jade, if you take all things together.  (But then there's Thrawn!  Pelleon!  Padme!  Winter!)

Star Trek characters, well, Saavik and Spock for classic trek, everyone on DS9, B'Elanna Torres and Tuvok on Voyager, Trip and T'Pol on Enterprise, TNG I can't pick favorites, and TOS everyone but Kirk.  (He's too much of a fratboy.  They took out all the character's good points and exaggerated his bad ones.)

Babylon 5, um.  HOW CAN ONE PICK FAVORITES?  They're all awesome!  I start off with Delenn and Lennier, but then would I put them as more beloved than Londo and G'Kar?  And Vir and Na'Toth and Susan and Marcus?  Er.  Well, no.  I mean, my favorite culture to do worldbuilding with is definitely the Minbari which would normally dictate what characters I want to write about.  (Boy, howdy, does that happen with Star Trek.)  But I love Londo and G'Kar and Vir and Na'toth and all the rest so much I love to write them too even if their culture is less interesting to poke around in ...

Battlestar Galactica, I love me some Cylons.  Love 'em, love to hate 'em.  Particularly the Final Five.  And then there's Bill and Laura, love them!  Billy!  Felix!  Lee and Kara annoy me separately and together, but mostly because the show focused on them.  Like, Kara was not the only screwed up person in that fleet.  Neither was Lee.  And the last season and a half there were so many stretches that were all about their issues when I wanted to know what was happening to all the other characters that I love, but we didn't get it because we had to get Yet Another Go-Around on the Lee and Kara show.  (Or the Lee's Daddy Issues show.  Or the Kara is Messed Up Because Life Done Her Wrong show.  And I appreciated in the abstract how rare it is for a heroine to be allowed the kind of damage that Kara was while still being a hero, and it's rare for a heroine to have a Traumatic Backstory not involving rape (I mean, the messed up stalker guy who may/may not have raped her in that creepy New Caprica apartment came long after Kara was screwed up by her mother's abuse, it was a complicating factor not THE REASON FOR EVERYTHING), but still, it was too much for my taste.)

Once Upon a Time.  I ship Belle/Rumple but I'm glad she kicked him out--that's what I like about that pairing, that she's the kind of person who would do that if she had to, they love one another but Twu Wuv doesn't conquer all, and I have been so worried since the beginning that they would try to paper over the ethical issues inherent in that relationship and go "it doesn't matter that he's evil because she loves him!"  So I can't read much fic in that pairing because most of the fic tends to be in that vein.  I hate, loathe, and despise Hook with the passion of a thousand burning suns.  I love Emma, Regina, Neal (I miss Neal!) ...those three are actually probably my favorites on the show, and my favorite character that doesn't get enough love is definitely Neal.  (I mean, I prefer Emma with Neal than anybody else, but like I said I'm not really an OTP type person, and there's a lot of gen Emma and Swan Queen both, and lots of Outlaw Queen as well, to give my my Emma and Regina fixes.  Not much Neal at all.)  Other than that, Mulan and Aurora had so much potential, sigh.

MCU, my favorites are (in no particular order) Peggy, Sam, and Steve.  My favorite character there that fandom that fandom doesn't much care about is Maria Hill.  I believe in Jasper Sitwell.

Doctor Who!  Eleven is my favorite doctor, but Martha and Donna are my favorite companions.  I loved early!River, before she was ruined by making EVERY SINGLE THING IN HER ENTIRE LIFE EVER ABOUT THE DOCTOR AND SHE'LL DO INCREDIBLY SELF-DESTRUCTIVE THINGS BECAUSE OF HIM AND HIDE IT FROM HIM SO HE DOESN'T FEEL BAD.  Gah.  I don't have enough time watching Classic Who to have informed opinions there.  I like Rose as seen on the show, but get really annoyed by Rose as seen by fandom, where SHE IS THE ONE TRUE COMPANION AND EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS ABOUT HER AND THE DOCTOR GETTING TOGETHER AND/OR STAYING TOGETHER AND HE COULD NEVER CARE ABOUT ANY OTHER COMPANION THE WAY HE CARES FOR HER.  Because of this I rarely read any fanfic in which Rose occurs.

Stargate: Sam and Teal'c and Sha're and Hammond are probably my favorites, but I love them all.  And I was never into SGA enough to really have favorites, as such.  It was okay, and I think I saw every ep at least once, but eh.  I read a lot of McShep because there was a lot of it, but the two of them, separately and together, are my least favorite characters on the show.  It's not that I dislike them, but, look, they were the most formulaic and least interesting.

Terminator, I love Sarah Connor and Catherine Weaver and James Ellison and John Henry and Cameron and Jesse and ... look, the Sarah Connor Chronicles are definitely my favorite part of that franchise, and I love almost everything about that show except that it wasn't longer.

Vorkosiverse, again, there's nobody that I don't absolutely love.  Ivan, Simon, Alys, and Elli are the only major characters that I don't think I would ever say is my favorite.  All the rest, yeah, at different times and in different moods I would choose different ones from among them as my favorite.

beatrice_otter: Cameron Mitchell, bored with a stack of files (Schoolwork)
So there's a meme going around to pick lines from three WIPs you have.

But where's the fun in that? I have like twenty WIPs in various states of completion. Here are the ones most interesting to me/most likely to get finished:

1. My remix of [ profile] rapfic's "Going Native"

2. Sequel to The Desert Between

Vulcan! )

3. Untitled Teen Wolf thing.
I've never even seen a single ep, though I've read a lot of fic. It can't be that much of a problem, right? )

4. Stargate/Criminal Minds crossover
A casefic that gets personal ... )

5. Sequel to Unreal Things
Cylon!Daniel )

6. The one where Cyd Charisse was a Vulcan
Get your kicks on Route 66 )

7. The one where Anakin doesn't turn and he and Padme eventually get couples therapy.
Living together is a lot different from a few hours snatched here and there during wartime. )

8. The one about Carol Marcus and Jim Kirk's relationship.
beatrice_otter: Saavik and Spock (Saavik and Spock)
[personal profile] sixbeforelunch asks: What Star Trek headcanon of yours has not yet made it into a story?

Most of it is (unsurprisingly!) about Vulcans.  For example, I have some Thoughts about how to reconcile Vulcan culture from Enterprise with the rest of the TV show.  As mentioned in my previous post, the taboo against telepathy there DOES NOT FIT with anything else we know about Vulcan telepathy ANYWHERE ELSE IN ANY OF THE SHOWS, let alone the books.  I would bet you that lots and lots of families (plus of course the monks of Gol and the priestesses of Mount Seleya) just kept quietly keeping on with what they were doing and finding ways to mislead the Science Directorate about it.

I also think that Mestral from that one episode about the Vulcans marooned in West Virginia in the 1960s got married and had kids  who formed a whole backwoods West-Virginia clan of Vulcan-Human hybrids who kept some elements of Vulcan culture and not others, and quietly imported some Vulcan things (possibly musical instruments, crops, etc.) after official First Contact was made.  And possibly also made contact with the V'tosh ka'tur at some point--maybe a few marriages?  Adopting kids the V'tosh ka'tur didn't want to raise on ships but didn't want to send back to Vulcan to be forced into line?  And possibly after Vulcan was destroyed in the Reboot universe sending aid there to help out.  (I am completely ignoring the canonical difficulties in producing a Vulcan-Human hybrid, here, and the fact that if anything the show underestimated it.)

I think that Saavik and Spock (who eventually got married, in the books) have a daughter who is on track to being the next T'Pau, and will in time become the Eldest Mother of their clan.  I think her name is Amanda.

I think that part of the reason that Perrin (Sarek's second wife) and Spock didn't get along is that Perrin didn't know how to relate to a step-son older than she was, and also (unlike Amanda) was very definitely On Sarek's Side in any disagreements, instead of staying out of them or trying to be a go-between.  And I think on Spock's part he was (however illogically) interested in finding fault with the woman who replaced his mother, and he'd have been a lot less tweaked off if his father had married a Vulcan instead, something logically arranged by the clan.  Because falling in love with a human once is one thing, and shows how wonderfully special Amanda was.  Falling twice just smacks of fetishism, and makes Amanda one in a series.  Meanwhile, Sarek loved Amanda, and he loves Perrin, but in very different ways.  He had to make accommodations for Amanda, and he changed his lifestyle for her (however much they looked like a Perfect Vulcan Couple on the outside), and marrying a Vulcan woman would mean adapting back to Vulcan ways of doing things, and he's old and doesn't want to.  Perrin, however, will maintain the human tone of the household, and she's kind of in awe of her predecessor so things can stay pretty much the same.  (She is not, however, in awe of Sarek, however much she respects him.  Spock thinks she is, and respects his father less because of it, but then he doesn't see the way Sarek and Perrin are when they are alone together.  Perrin, for her part, plays up the Dutiful Vulcan Wife around Spock because she knows it annoys him, which doesn't help his impression of her.)  She knows where she stands in Sarek's affections; she wants respect more than anything else, and he gives it to her, and she's one of those people who falls in love with a culture other than her own and wants a place in it, and he gives her that.  And Sarek doesn't like the friction between Spock and Perrin, but look, he and Spock have always had their differences, and both are stubborn, and neither have ever had to deal with one another without Amanda there to smooth off the rough edges and tell them they're being idiots and cajole them into talking, and he doesn't know how to do it with Perrin fuming about Spock's disrespect.  It's the one thing he regrets about marrying her.

Worf spent a few years as a teen trying to fit in and be more human, but eventually realized that it wouldn't get him any more acceptance from the other kids at school, and so went the opposite direction and tried to be More Klingon Than Klingons.  He doesn't really remember that phase, until Alexander comes along, and even then, he's forgotten a lot more about what he was going through than he thinks he has.

Will Riker gets a lot of crap for staying a Commander for so long.  He should have gotten a promotion to Captain years before he did.  He stayed because he loves Enterprise, and as First Officer he still gets to do the stuff he loves (front lines of exploration, getting to actually GO ON HAZARDOUS AWAY TEAMS and not stay on the bridge all the time).  And it's comfortable there, with all his friends.

I don't have any headcanon for DS9 that I haven't written because the show was so fascinating and well-written I never felt I had to fill in the gaps myself.  And I didn't pay enough attention to Voyager.  Didn't pay much attention to Enterprise, either, truth to tell, but the gaps were SO FRICKING HUGE.

There are still five days open on the January Meme.

beatrice_otter: Eowyn holding a sword (Eowyn)
[personal profile] laurajv asked: If you could grow any fruit tree for your own eating pleasure, what kind and why

And the thing is, my favorite fruit grows on bushes, not trees!  I would put in raspberry bushes and (if I had someone else to tend them for me, because they are labor-intensive, but the fruit is soooo good!) marionberries.  I love me fresh raspberries and marionberies!  I love blackberries, too, but having grown up in the Pacific NorthWest, I would never grow them intentionally--we have a really nasty invasive variety that grows wild and is worse than kudzu.  (Seriously.  Himalayan blackberries have really big, juicy, tasty berries, but they also have really big, sharp, hard thorns that can scratch you through denim.  And in the spring their canes can grow up to a foot a day.  And they choke out everything else.  And they are almost impossible to kill or root out--when they've gotten established, you pretty much have to dig out the root ball with a backhoe.  Having spent years of my life battling to keep them from taking over, I would never, ever, EVER plant them.  NEVER EVER.)

Trees, hm.  I like cherries, but my experience with them is that the birds eat the cherries before humans can get to them.  My parents have some really good plum trees, I might put in one of those.  Or apples, you know, because applesauce is really easy to make and apples stay good for a long time.

But really, for me, it's all about the berries.  (Just not strawberries, blueberries, or anything but raspberries, marionberries, blackberries, and boysenberries.)

The master post, with days still left to claim.

beatrice_otter: Jack O'Neill in an alien prison--one of those days. (One of Those Days)
[personal profile] cathalin wanted to know: Favorite tropes/situations to have your favorite characters be placed in? And why/examples?

Well, that's one I'm not sure about.  I mean, worldbuilding is far more my kink than tropes/situations, so I'm more likely to strongly resonate with that than tropes.  I love genderswap (preferably alwaysagirl), but only if the author has done a good job of trying to figure out how the character would be different. [ profile] ivorygates has some really good Danielle!Jackson fic.  In A Kingdom By The Sea is the story where she explores her headcanon for what Danielle!Jackson's life would have been like as a girl in the New York foster care system, so it's where you really feel where the changes come from.  Change Is Only The Beginning is a great alternate view of the movie, though it branches off from canon several years before the movie starts.  [personal profile] synecdochic has an awesome female!Cameron Mitchell (though, beware, you have to understand that Syn decided early on that the show's canon for Cam's background (from Kansas) made no sense for the character, and so discarded that and made up her own, and her Cammie uses that fanon.  Then there's a pretty awesome alwaysagirl!Rorshach in The ArrangementA Degree of Hope is about Charles Xavier/Erika Lensherr.

I like wingfic, too, and a good soulbond!AU where the soulbond doesn't magically fix everything.  Oh, and wishbabies!  Well, babies or kidfic of any sort, I suppose.  I don't tend to go for apocafic.

But again, the main thing isn't the trope, it's the worldbuilding and how well the story is written.  Even if it's crack, I want my crack to be well-written and executed thoughtfully, you know? 

Meme master list.

beatrice_otter: Saavik and Spock (Saavik and Spock)
For [personal profile] laurajv: What are the most interesting ideas about Vulcans you've seen in other people's fanfic?

Hrm.  Now, this is a tough one.  If you count the 80s Star Trek novels as published fanfic (they really are, particularly when you consider how many of those authors were fanfic authors who sold their fic to Pocket Books), well, I don't know if it gets easier, but it does get easier to pinpoint specific things and attribute them to specific authors.

See, the thing is, I have VERY SPECIFIC IDEAS about Vulcan culture, mostly derived from those 80s Trek novels.  I did some meta about it a few years, back, after the first AOS movie, and you can find it here.  My first criteria for Vulcan fics is "how well does it match up with my headcanon" and if it doesn't, then it doesn't really matter how interesting it is, it's not going to grab me.  (This is one of many reasons why Enterprise was problematic for me.)  And when I do read a fic and go "wow, awesome Vulcans!" it's usually because the author shares many of the same fanons gleaned from the Trek novels of the 80s (especially Spock's World, The Romulan Way, The Vulcan Academy Murders, Dwellers in the Crucible, etc.)  So right now, it's hard for me to list any specific interesting fanon from fic, because it gets mixed up with what was in those books to form a whole Vulcan worldview.

I mean, your fics always have awesome Vulcan worldbuilding, and I like [ profile] macedon's Vulcan fics so much (Wisdom and Beauty, the Anselm series)  ... Oh! [ profile] xparrot had a really great take on Vulcan grieving practices in Markings.  Also, [personal profile] ljc has a great meta about the Vulcan trickster T'Kay here.

beatrice_otter: Saavik and Spock (Saavik and Spock)
[personal profile] thady wanted to know about the first fandom I participated in and did I have fandoms before I went online.

And yes, I had fandoms before I went online!  I just didn't have many people besides my parents and brother to gush over them with.  My parents raised me on Star Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation; I watched the shows, but also I was an avid reader.  And, at that time (in the late 80s/early 90s), there wasn't much YA SFF that got into our small town public library.  I DEVOURED books.  I was bitterly upset that the library would only let one check out 20 books at a time--with YA books, I'd go through that in a week by the time I was in fourth or fifth grade.  I've always been a fast reader.  I can still remember the day when the librarian led me to the adult SFF section and showed me the shelf of Star Trek books--I was in heaven!  I read all of them and then started working my way through the rest of the section.  And I got my parents to take me to a (very small) local con at which James Doohan was appearing.  Basically, it was "Jimmy Doohan signing autographs, and oh, yeah, there's a few dealers and other stuff, too."  So that was my first fandom.  Classic Trek wasn't on TV for me to watch, but TNG was; I watched TNG and read TOS novels.*  Even then, worldbuilding was WHERE IT'S AT for me.  I LOVED Diane Duane's books for that reason.  I still have a notebook with a geneology of Spock's kids and their families--his daughter was a priestess and in line to take over from T'Pau and married to a human starship captain.

*BTW, the 80s and early 90s had some AWESOME TOS novels--most were written by either fanfic authors or professional authors who were fans.  You could really tell it wasn't just work for hire--they knew Star Trek and they LOVED it.  Some of it was pretty cracky, there were lots of really obvious author-insert characters, but at the same time there is so much love and so much fun.

In my senior year of High School, second semester (i.e. after I had gotten in to the college I wanted) I dropped Honors Physics in favor of a period as a library aide.  (Such a slacker!)  The librarians were both old-school SF lit geeks, and we'd talk about that.  But I would also spend time fooling around on the computers when there was no work, and it was then I found a Star Wars fanfic archive.  I was in love!  (It's been vanished into the aether for well over a decade; it's the archive that taught me to SAVE FAVORITE FICS ON MY OWN COMPUTER because otherwise they will VANISH INTO THE MISTS OF TIME.)  I set out to read the archive, by which I mean EVERY STORY IN IT, and my Aspergers makes me anal enough that it was a while before I realized that I could ... skip fics that didn't interest me or that weren't well-written.  And even longer than that before I could bring myself to actually skip fics without reading them.

Eventually I found other archives and LJ, and the rest is history.


beatrice_otter: Dali's Christ of St. John of the Cross (St. John of the Cross)
A day late, [personal profile] alexseanchai asked this: Historical Christian attitudes towards lesbianism? I specify lesbianism because I can't think of a Bible verse specifically prohibiting it, while everyone knows about the "to lie with a man as with a woman is abomination" and the arsenokoites.

And I'm sorry I missed your birthday!  This has been a helluva week.  (Two deaths in the congregation means two funerals, in addition to grief work.)

But the thing about historical Christian attitudes towards lesbianism is that there ... really isn't much.  For several reasons.

First, the whole way we understand sexuality is a modern phenomenon.  As in, the word homosexuality did not exist until the 19th Century, and there were no words that covered the same concept, because the idea of being attracted to the same gender as a state of being ... nobody really got that, it just wasn't a category people thought in.  As they understood it, everyone was attracted to the opposite sex, but some people had appetites so huge and so kinky that the opposite sex wasn't enough.  Which is why "what the Bible says about homosexuality" is a lot trickier to talk about than "what the Bible says about" almost anything else--we're really comparing apples to carrots.  They're not even both fruit.

So what was sex about, for historical Christians?  Sex was, in no particular order, about power, about marriage, about money, about children, and about sin (as in, Augustine's theory that sinfulness is inherited through sex and the act of conception).  In particular, sex was about penetrating and being penetrated.  The one who did the penetrating was masculine and male and had the power, and the one who was penetrated was feminine and female and had no power.  Without that aspect of power and penetration, it wasn't really sex.  And women can't penetrate one another (well, they can with fingers and dildos, but there isn't an organ to do it with) so while they were at least aware of male homoerotic behavior (i.e. men having sex with men), they weren't very aware of the possibility of female homoerotic behavior.  And even when they were, well, it's not like a woman could take her female lover's virginity (as they understood the concept of female purity and virginity), she couldn't get her pregnant, she couldn't make her any more feminized than she already was, she had no status to lose ... no big deal.  (And remember, for most of the history of Christianity, homosexual behavior was no morally worse than adultery or gluttony, it wasn't until the 19th Century that it went from "frowned upon" to "THE WORST THING EVAR WITH JAIL TIME."  And even then, Lesbians mostly got overlooked--Queen Victoria wasn't the only one who simply didn't believe it was possible even when people tried to explain it to her.)

So what did lesbians do?  Some of them got married because they had to, for security or because it was necessary to continue the family.  (But remember that marriage wasn't about "being in love" it was about family and security and money and property and heirs and curbing the sexual appetite.)  Some of them never married and carried on longstanding affairs with "friends" or "companions."  Some of them set up spinster households ... but since women couldn't live alone, really, it's very difficult to tell from the historical record when you have a lesbian couple or just two women who never got asked to marry a man and couldn't/didn't want to live at home.  The thing is, they would get crap for being spinsters and get general misogyny thrown at them, but not really any anti-lesbian stuff, because it wasn't so much a concept and even if they had understood themselves as lesbians and tried to explain it, people would not have understood and probably shrugged and gone about their business.

All of the stuff I've been talking about is cultural, because there wasn't really a religious aspect to it; Christianity really didn't have much (if any) understanding of it.  Which is not to say that lesbian couples were welcomed with open arms (they got the same religiously-justified misogynistic crap that all women got), it just wasn't directed at lesbians specifically.

Of course, then you get into the 19th Century and our understanding of sexuality changed and the whole idea of a sexual identity developed and homosexuality became criminalized, and that's the point at which homosexuality goes from "one of many possible sexual and venal sins" to "a special kind of sin" and something that merited jail time.  But even so, it was mostly directed against men, and not women.
beatrice_otter: Tardis on a green field (Tardis)
Doctor Who is awesome. It's also intimidating, with fifty+ years of background. So it's awesome that [personal profile] londonkds has put together a series of meta posts about the history of Doctor Who from the beginning--the strengths and weaknesses of each era, best and worst episodes, and enough about what was going on behind the scenes to put it all into context. Really, really excellent stuff.

Doctor Who: a guide for the overwhelmed: Part One: the 1960s
Doctor Who: a guide for the overwhelmed: part 2: the 1970s
Doctor Who: a guide for the overwhelmed: part 3: the 1980s
Doctor Who: a guide for the overwhelmed: part 4: the 21st century
beatrice_otter: Saavik (Saavik)
[personal profile] endeni wanted to know about my favorite Star Trek series/movie/character/plot arc

Which, er, is quite a problem because there is SO MUCH GOOD STUFF.  I mean, Star Trek will never be my favorite show (B5 beats it hands down), but I still love Star Trek--all of it, even the parts I don't like.

Something about everything Star Trek )

I still have fourteen days left on the meme!  Ask away.
beatrice_otter: Sarah Connor--made for me, not shareable (Sarah Connor)
I know, I know, I'm over a week late, but I've been really busy, okay? I have not had the time.

So! I wrote three fics this year.

Behold the Fic! Star Trek novel, the Sarah Connor Chronicles, and Daddy Long-Legs )

beatrice_otter: Enterprise-D and the TARDIS (Crossover)
[personal profile] schneefink asked "Spaceships: do you like them, why/not? Which/which kinds are your favorites?"

Yes!  I love spaceships!  My first two real fandoms were Star Trek and Star Wars, and in both cases I loved the ships they took place on.  But I'm not sure whether it's the sort of love most people would assume you were asking about.  I've never cared about schematics, or whether the Enterprise could be a Star Destroyer in a fight.  (Probably not in a head-to-head battle.  A Star Destroyer is a straight-up warship, while Enterprise is a multipurpose exploration vessel that can fight when she has to.  However, that doesn't mean that the Enterprise crew won't pull a brilliant rabbit out of their hat and run rings around the Star Destroyer.  Starfleet crews are generally smart enough not to go up against their opponents directly when they are outclassed that way.)

What I love are the kind of stories one tends to get with starships.  Aliens!  Far-off planets!  Worldbuilding!  Exploration!  Adventure (and not just in the action-movie sense)!  People coming together as a crew for a common purpose!  Competence and intelligence (because stupid people tend to get weeded out very quickly)!

Mostly, I like reading and watching THE FUTURE, and not just a few years or decades into the future.  I don't like dystopias.  I don't like most apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic stories.  I want to explore what life might be like in the future, on other planets, how technology might affect things, how people stay the same and how people change.  And, y'know, when you get those kinds of stories?  They tend to include starships!

Favorites: I grew up with the Enterprise-D, and will always have a soft spot for her.  Likewise the Millenium Falcon.  But as I thought for which ships were my favorites, I had to stop and go, "but wait, what I'm mostly gauging is the people who live and work on those starships that I love, not the ships themselves."  Fandoms I love with starships and other spacecraft at varying degrees of importance (in no particular order): Star Trek (Classic, TNG, DS9), Star Wars, Honor Harrington, Battlestar Galactica, Miles Vorkosigan, David Drake's RCN series (aka Aubrey and Maturin IN SPACE), Doctor Who, Babylon 5, and various others.

So instead of a list of favorite starships, I leave you with two awesome vids about starships and the people who live and work on them.
[personal profile] bironic's Starships and [personal profile] jetpack_monkey's Starships (Monochromatic Remix)

And remember, I have many open days left on the posting meme!

beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
First year I've ever not read all the fics that interested me before the authors were revealed.  However, I've been rather busier than usual this year, so that affected things.  On the other hand, I opened all the fics I wanted to read in tabs before the reveal and then didn't shut down my computer for a couple of days so that I could read them with the "Anonymous" labels still there.  Here are all my recs, without the author labels.  (I compile this post as I go along, and it's late and I'm not going to go back and open all the fics again to find the author names.)

First, I received several AWESOME fics.  (The high quality of all the fics I received is all the more remarkable when one considers that I went out on the pinch hit list at the deadline.)

Fic written for me--two Moon is a Harsh Mistress fics and one Caprica fic. )

More awesome fic from The African Queen to Wall-E )

Also, remember I'm doing the December Posting Meme in January, so if you want to ask me a question to answer, the master post is here.
beatrice_otter: Sinclair--Not to Yield (Not to yield)
I am plowing through the Yuletide archive, but for the first time I don't think I'll be able to read all the stories I want to read before the authors are revealed, looking through the number of tabs I have open and the amount of things I have to do tomorrow.  Now, this is because I have been doing fun stuff with family while I'm home on Christmas vacation--for example, tonight we've been playing clue and pinochle (I won the last hand with a run, aces around, and a double pinochle, it was awesome)--so I wouldn't have changed things around to get to read more.  But still, it is nice to get them all read before the authors are revealed.

[personal profile] schneefink has been watching Babylon 5 for the very first time, and posting lovely reaction posts, and Babylon 5 is one of my favorite shows ever, so it's wonderful ... except that I have SUCH a hard time remembering the exact order of things and so avoiding spoilers is hard, which makes discussion hard. And [personal profile] schneefink is very spoiler-phobic (more so than I would be) which means discussing some of the great structural stuff JMS was doing, even in vague generalities, is verboten.  I am having to gnaw my fingernails off to keep from spoiling her with each post she makes, and I'm still not always succeeding.

And remember, I am doing a Posting Meme in January!  Anything and everything you want to ask me, the post is HERE, there are a lot of open days left.

I'll be going to see Into the Woods tomorrow with my aunt, and am looking forward to it.

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Hey guys, remember how I didn't do the December Posting Meme because I was CRAZY BUSY?  And so I said I was going to do a January Posting Meme instead?  HERE IT IS!

So.  Pick a day and tell me what you want me to talk about.  Suggested topics include fandom stuff (duh) and Christian religion/theology issues.  (Bonus points for something that hits on both, such as how issues of homosexuality have been interpreted differently through the centuries and might affect a character from a different historical epoch.)

Pick a day, any day )
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
That is all.

Y'all should go check it out.

I got three great fics (and a Madness yet to be revealed.)

The Language of the Unheard--The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
This is AWESOME! I love the way you write Michelle, and her relationship with Wyoh, and the political philosophy, and how you tied it in to current events, and EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS FIC.

--The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Heartbreaking and yet still with a glimmer of hope.

Tamara Adama is being bullied at school. Her Uncle Sam is the one she chooses to confide in about it.  Great character study and sketch of the family dynamics.
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
I'm hippoing in YuleChat right now (the IRC for [community profile] yuletide ), and we have a request for a beta that's been open for about twelve hours now, and I'm hoping you guys can help with it.

There is a 7k word fic set in a modern-day sci-fi canon.  The author is White, the character they are writing is African-American, and the fic deals with racial issues, so they want a check to make sure they're not showing their ass.

If you can help with this, you can either PM me or yaseanne (the other hippo who's been trying to scare up a beta for this author-anon), or join the chat and PM one of us there.  We'll connect you with the author.

We're also looking for someone to beta fics for Final Fantasy XIV, Polly and the Pirates, Super Danganropa 2, H2O Just Add Water, and FNaF.


beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)

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