Monthly Archives: October 2018

Nanowrimo – 2018

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Nanowrimo 2018 is fast approaching and I will be taking part. Even though, at this precise moment, I have very little idea of what I am going to be writing about.

I already have several projects on the go and it would make more sense to finish one of them but I enjoy the challenge of nanowrimo and I want to do it. Also I have done it for the last couple of years and don’t want to miss one. It is funny how an established habit makes it easier to continue. I discovered the other day I had missed a day on my morning pages and that was annoying – although it is possible it was a computer error and that entry didn’t save.

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There are some characters in my head that I have done very little with and I think writing 50,000 words on one of them might be a good idea.

I have been a fan of Star Trek since I was very little. And have been telling stories since I was old enough to speak/annoy my parents depending on how you look at it. So it was only natural that I would have my own starship crew.

I have in my head a group of eight main characters that make up my starship crew:

  1. Commander Michael Wisdom
  2. Major Virgil Noxon
  3. Major Duncan O’Reilly
  4. Major Tracy Troxell
  5. Major Melissa Dorn
  6. Major Svea Borg
  7. Major  Dimitri Kriskovich
  8. Lieutenant Stephanie McKnight

As you can see it is perfectly balanced between men and woman – which in the crazy way this world is going will probably annoy everyone!

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I have written a story or two with these characters but haven’t got fully immersed into their world. Weirdly I have back story for some of them.

I know, for example, that Lieutenant McKnight has red hair, is from Toronto, and her father was a Police officer.

I know Svea is blond, started as an enlisted crewman and, made the jump to officer – although I have since rethought how the ranks work in this universe.

I know Melissa is French, gay, and went into the space force over the objections of her father but that they now have a good relationship.

I know Duncan O’Reilly is from a race of genetically engineered humans, is telepathic, and has small horns on his forehead.

I know that Virgil Noxon was adopted, has twin younger siblings, Wyatt and Morgana, and, that his mother served in the space force before him.

And I know that Michael Wisdom is the middle child. His elder brother is also in the service and his younger brother is somewhat estranged from the family.

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So, yes, all this information is floating around in my head but there is very little written about these people or their universe. So my novel for November will be about these people – now I just need something for them to do.

***

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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I Understand…

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Some people complain about diversity in fiction. They seem to see something wrong with having characters from a variety of backgrounds. This is going to be a post where a white, heterosexual, and male person talks about diversity. What have I got myself into?

When Star Trek Discovery began there were some complains about it. It had a black female lead and a gay character. There are people who dislike it purely because of these factors. I don’t like Discovery. I saw the pilot and 1.5 episodes and it wasn’t gripping me so I watched something else instead. It had nothing to do with diversity. On the contrary that was one of the few bright sparks of the show. It is about bloody time we had a gay character!

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Previously, in Trek, we only had off hand references to gay people existing. Whoopi Goldberg got a small victory in changing a line to reflect everyone rather than being heteronormative. In DS9’s Rejoined Kira couldn’t understand why Dax can’t be with the woman she is falling in love with. In that episode it was the Trill taboo that was the problem and not that they were both women.

Diversity is good and it is something that should be seen more of in films. However there is a side to it that I find confusing. Some people talk about it being needed to help the audience identify more fully with the characters. This was certainly true of Whoopi Goldberg who was inspired by seeing Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek. As, at the time, a black woman in such a position was unheard of. Uhura was fifth in command of the Enterprise!

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Now I know what you are thinking: ‘You are a white heterosexual man. Almost every film ever made has a white heterosexual man.’

You are right of course but, for me, those factors don’t mean much.

I need to clarify what I am saying here because I do not want to cause any offence to anyone. I know that white privilege is a thing. And so is homophobia.

I know that no one is going to question me walking down the street holding a woman’s hand. No one is going to question me standing on a station platform holding her while waiting for a train. If I was gay they might. It should not make a difference. Love is love. The point I am trying to make is that my privileged status is shown in indifference. So although I am privileged I don’t notice it because it manifests in people being decent. I haven’t seen the other side. And I don’t really think of my sexual orientation, my race, or my gender as being significant to the person I am.

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I remember reading a book report in Primary School. When I was finished I was asked a question: ‘Do any of the characters remind you of someone you know?’

I thought about it and I said that one of the female characters reminded me of my brother. Some people in the class were confused by that. As if men and woman were so wildly different they couldn’t be compared in that way.  I don’t think I have ever needed similarity to find connection – or enjoyment in a work of fiction.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of my favourite shows growing up. It has a mostly female cast and I never felt alienated or disconnected or disinterested.

The too main male character’s in the show are Giles and Xander. I like them both but they are nothing like me. Giles is an older mentor character and Xander had enough confidence to ask out his crush out – I could never do that and I wouldn’t have been asking out a girl with super powers. Although I probably would have handled rejection better.

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TL:DR: Diversity is fantastic but its absence doesn’t effect my enjoyment.

I said before that factors like who I love and my gender don’t matter so what does?

The things I enjoy doing would be much more important. I prefer quite nights in to noisy nights out. With the acceptation of if I am kissing someone!

I am also disabled. I don’t talk about it much, and I think I generally say no to the question, but technically I am. I have dyspraxia, a condition that effects hand/eye coordination, I also have some issues with mental heath.

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So…I was wrong.

When I saw Doctor Who last week I had a feeling of joy inside when Ryan was shown to have dysprixia. I finally get it. Diversty is not just a nice to have it is absolutely essential. So on this one I have been a little slow.

Also Jodie Whittaker was awesome as the Doctor I have never liked a new Doctor so fast. She had echos of Tennant and even a bit of Troughton.

I look forward to seeing where they go with this show. And I hope they show Ryan coping with his dysprixia rather than an alien healing him. As much as I would like to be normal magic wands don’t exist in real life. And as a very special woman told me the other day: ‘There is nothing wrong with you.’ I should listen to her – a boost to self-esteem is invaluable.

I hope you are doing well with whatever you struggle with. You can do this!

***

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

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Mudd’s Women

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Mudd Mudd glorious Mudd. I bet you never thought you’d see a connection between a Star Trek episode and Flanders and Swann. Many of you probably don’t even know who they are. So without further ado lets just get into it.

Well we are still yet to get to the really good stuff of TOS. This episode once again has the TOS staple of treating women badly.

Harry Mudd introduces the three women as ‘cargo’. He is transporting them in order to help find them husbands. The implication is that without husbands their lives would be meaningless. Which is rather offensive. It also seems counter to everything Star Trek is supposed to be about. And when it comes to describing what being a wife is it falls back on cliches of housework!

As an aside I understand the need to find someone. However in this episode it is presented in a rather creepy way.

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Specifically mentioned is ‘cooking’ and ‘sewing’ which seems anachronistic in the Trek word. Sewing is hardly something we do in the 21st century! I find it hard to imagine it would be a priority in the 23rd.

As for cooking that is a bit more difficult to pin down. There are references to real food in Trek but in TOS we see the crew eating colourful food cubes.

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Bringing up TNG is futile but just for completeness. In The Wounded Keiko is surprised that Miles’s mother touched real meat. And in Lonely Among Us Riker states that animals are no longer used for food in the 24th century. So who the hell knows?

In short Mudd’s Women is locked into gender roles. That probably isn’t something I can criticise it for. I don’t think that was an idea in the 1960s. Nevertheless for a show often referred to as progressive it is strange how much it clings to how things are rather than how they could be.

Harry Mudd presents an interesting character. I am surprised he got past Roddenberry He is so far from the ideal humans that Roddenberry liked. He is well performed and he is not an evil villain. I am not sure what else to say about him. Certainly his next appearance is more interesting.

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At the end of the episode the three woman marry the miners. That is right they marry them. And they have only known them for a few hours at this point. And apparently they only marry them because they are rich. I am slow clapping now.

Beyond the obvious implications what is the point of being rich when stuck on a backwater planet in the middle of nowhere?

This episode also comes with the threat of the week. Unfortunately that seems to be seen as something of a necessity. I am at least glad the problem wasn’t caused by sabotage or evilness. Instead the Enterprise over extended itself in trying to rescue Harry and his passengers. The Enterprise must acquire lithium [dilithium came later] before the Enterprise is pulled down into the planet’s atmosphere. And the miners seem prepared to let that happen if they don’t get what they want – mainly the women.

In conclusion this episode is meh. The women are used as a commodity, the miners seem prepared to risk the lives of hundreds of people if they don’t get them, and I am left with a rather uncomfortable feeling. I am still struggling with TOS but good episodes are just around the corner!

***

I just wanted to say that I have checked this post. I really have. Unfortunately my particular combination of dyslexia and dyspraxia makes it really hard for me to spot typos. Please enjoy and I’ll try not to make too many errors.

I have a Patreon page. I hope you will consider supporting this blog: https://www.patreon.com/unstableorbit

Leave a comment

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