mindstalk: (Nanoha)
[community profile] questionoftheday asks: Is there a fictional world that feels like your home away from home? What is it and why does it appeal so much to you?

My answer:

Strictly speaking, no, that is not a thought I have.

More loosely speaking, Nanoha. It has the most fanfic I have actually written down, not just cycled in my head, and I think the most characters whose POVs I've thought about, and my own OCs. Although these days I've been reading more elsewhere, especially Valinor and Silmarillion fics, Nanoha is like a mental home space for composition.

Why? I like the characters: their good will, determination, prettiness, and yuri subtext. I like the optimistic magical Starfleet full of second chances and adoption, struggling to survive in a post-post-apocalyptic universe. I like the second communication channel of mental telepathy (Madoka has this too, and some brave Macross Frontier fics) and the games you can play with that. I like that I can justify some of the characters being immortal. I like how the various artificial beings raise various issues of ethics and identity, like some SF, only with a more engaging milieu and set of characters than most transhumanist SF.

And on the reading side of things, it's had quite a bit of good (re-readable) fic: funny gen fic, interesting worldbuilding gen fic, hot (to me) smut fic. Though not enough of the stuff I most want. The one (gen) which I know has amused multiple people who knew nothing of the franchise is Ready, Sette, Go.

writing themes

2015-Jan-17, Saturday 01:34
mindstalk: (Nanoha)
So, since my previous post that mentioned finally writing a bit of fanfic, I've banged out maybe another 15,000 words. Not in one grand work, but in several slice of life conversations meant to be part of multiple cycles. Not 'published' at all yet, since both the writing and the ideas themselves are subject to revision. But what attracts me to the fandom has become more obvious.

MGLN = Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the show title, so I can use 'Nanoha' less ambiguously.

1. Artificial beings and loyalty

I've always been intrigued by AIs, and one of the intriguing things has been the prospect of designed motivation, e.g. beings that *want* to serve, or don't mind dying. Whether you view this as part of a utopian future, dystopian recreation of slavery, or just an interesting ethical challenge, it's, um, interesting. And while most SF works have just some kind of robots, MGLN has multiple kinds of artificial being and possible mental origins, creating a nice diversity.

(For hard SF I've thought of mixing Lungfish/Saturn's Children brain-emulation robots as surrogate people with the purer "we built this" servant-robots of Chobits; I don't think I've ever seen that elsewhere: these robots are people, these robots are self-aware tools.)

2. Precocious Child Agency

While lots of kid/teen shows have this, and often a viewer feeling that the story would be way more plausible with 3 years added to everyone's age, MGLN stands out in my experience for having 9-10 year old characters. And while TOS has a 9 year old drafted by hard necessity, StrikerS has two 10 year olds as regular military members. Running off with this, and ideas of apprenticeship and superpowered kids and such, is interesting to me. Also ties into my interest in overprotective parenting, free-range parenting, et al. (Conversely, spending the last 6 weeks around actual 8 and 11 year olds was an interesting reality check of sorts.)

3. Immortality

Also a lifelong interest of mine. Actually not a huge theme in MGLN, but one set of characters is at least two millennia old, two other kind of artificial being have no obvious lifespan limit, and my favorite character has accelerated healing and could plausibly be ageless, though canon hasn't hinted at that. Still, there's enough for me to work with, not even mentioning the Artificial Mage implications, the transhumanist implications of which I was actually trying to defuse for one story cycle.

4. Telepathy

There's barely any mind-reading in this franchise, but any magical characters have the ability to communicate mentally over a vaguely limited range (or unlimited, for the millennials.) The show sometimes has "A is talking out loud, B and C are snarking mentally as she does so"; that social phenomenon fascinates me. It's like being able to pass notes in class, or text, all the time. The show, of course, has it easy; I'm interested in first person POV, which makes for a challenge: A has no direct way of knowing B and C are talking mentally, but might guess if they make odd reactions, or stall out in the middle of spoken conversation. Which is totally rude but I doubt the temptation could be always resisted. Fanfics which remember the characters can do this get a plus from me.

I was studying first-person books I like, more closely, to get writing tips, and I realized I've probably been influenced by the Vlad Taltos books, most of which have Vlad snarking mentally with his familiar, along with the occasional conversation with other humanoids. Except for Athyra, which has the third-person POV of a teenage peasant, who gets to observe Vlad and his familiars. Hmm, and I think Orca has Kiera's POV on them too. More to study!
mindstalk: (Nanoha)
The spark for the post: this article on a 1981 LEGO ad aimed at girls in a not-condescending or gendered way, compared with their new gendered toys ("You can report on cake!")

The substance of the post: talking about an anime series that's slowly grown into one of my biggest fandom obsessions right now, despite its flaws. There should be a word for that, when you know something isn't great but you're really into it anyway.

(After years of occasional vague fanfic ideas for various fandoms, I've actually finally put fanfic ideas to keyboard for this fandom; no I'm not going to show them to anyone yet, it's like my first fiction ever, almost.)

The connection between the two is one of the things I like about it. The article talks about the new LEGO TV van toy, with a female figure reporting on cake and a male figure as camera operator. "Technical stuff is hard!" I thought about toys where the reporter and operator were both female, and then I thought about Nanoha because that's pretty much true there. It's not a series where everyone is female but it's pushing the line. Female roles:

Read more... )

***

Oh hey, maybe I should say something like what it's about. It starts out looking like a standard magical girl show: girl in Tokyo runs across an animal mentor who teaches her magic which she uses to catch loose Jewel Seeds before they wreck her city. It sounds, and for that matter looks, a lot like Card Captor Sakura.



[girl on our left is Sakura, girl on our right is Nanoha. You may notice some similarities.]

Except there's a blink-and-you-miss-it mention of programs, and the viewers now the animal mentor is actually a boy. Or had a boy form, anyway. That's unusual.

Even more unusually, "transformed boy living with a girl" isn't played up for the sitcom laughs it might be. Yuuno gets a couple embarrassed moments but that's it; even when Nanoha finds out, she quickly recovers and is fine with him still living in her room. They *are* 9, after all.

It may be the only magical girl show where our heroine runs from the cops because of all the property damage she's just been party to.

It's also fun watching her progress from "can't use magic" to "can't fly" to "flies like a chicken" to "okay, that was cool". Particularly stage three; I'm not used to seeing heroes progress methodically through stages of sucking less.

The opening alone spoils us for there being two magical girls, one dark (clothing, not skin; no skin color diversity points here, except for the very brown Zafira but he's not human at all), and they're fighting a lot, and I'm told that's unusual; the show is even the trope codifier for Dark Magical Girl. (Also for many other tropes.) It certainly isn't the Sakura mode, nor I think the Sailor Moon mode.

Still, like I said, the pacing at first isn't great, but then Everything Changes, and I don't want to talk about that because I hope to get to watch someone as the change hits. Kind of like "you should watch Madoka no I can't tell you why just watch it through episode 3, okay?"

There's also summary movie versions of the first two series. I've seen people recommend watching the first movie and then the second series, A's, as pretty much all fans agree the second series is the high point of the series: solid pacing, best characters, fewest problematic elements. A's was actually my entry point, which might be why I'm so attached; I think of the franchise as "this really cool thing, plus that other stuff I can mine for ideas."

Man, I feel like I rambled. I hope someone got osmething interesting out of this.

links

2010-Jun-10, Thursday 01:31
mindstalk: (lizqueen)
Aaagh I'm over a month behind.

Mostly Angry News
* Hunger growing in the US
* McCain denies rights, Lieberman strips citizenship, Glen Beck defends rights
* Muscovite reactions to woman in hijab. More discrimination in Arizona. McCain: immigrants "intentionally cause traffic accidents"
* GOP voter registration fraud
* Heath care reform tax debunking
* Corn syrup backlash. Hunt's is switching ketchup to sugar, but use is increasing in Mexico.
* What's the use of home security systems?
* Greek crisis rooted in massive tax evasion.
* Hallucinogen therapy research
* Opposition to a national power grid. States don't want a national power market.
* Arizona immigration, birthers, nativism, racism
* Racist expose of the BNP
* Adult learning and exercise.
* Charter schools show problems, their successes are hard to replicate, and they show need for strong government oversight. Callback to March's recanting by a school reformer. Houston dropout rates fraud.
* Church groups for women "addicted to porn".
* Mexican traffickers and prison gangs. It's almost as if something's wrong with our prisons.
* Somali pirate stock exchange.
* non-violent pregnant prisoner shackled during labor


* Insurance make doctors angry. How to appeal health insurance denials. "Balance bills".


Cheerful Media
* Incredible cloth and hair simulation. Coming soon to a MMO near you?
* Terry Pratchett on Doctor Who
* http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CastOfSnowflakes
* Review of Mushi-shi, an anime I really liked.
* http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MildlyMilitary lead to NOAA corps and US public health corps, uniformed auxiliary exploration and medical services where ensign is the lowest rank... real life Starfleet.
* Calvin's ultimate fate. (Warning: not so cheerful.)
* Nanoha Sound Stage transcripts

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