I apologize for the lateness of this post. I’ve been pretty crazed recently…well, more crazed than usual :D…and this morning, having woke up late and I was desperately trying to get ready to go to the EDJ, the reminder about it being my day to post here popped up. Anyone who knows me will have a fairly good idea of what kinds of words were uttered, and I promised myself I’d post when I got home, so here I go!
I think for me the attraction of cyborgs and androids and robots is finding out how they differ from and are the same as we mere humans. I’d love to sit down with the Terminator (as long as he’s not seeing me as a target, thank you very much!) or C-3PO and grill them unmercifully. What are the perimeters of your knowledge? How do you temper your strength when necessary? Do you think, or just react to what happens around you? Do you have forethought (I’d say yes, really) and how do you forecast future events? I guess, as a writer, I’m all about the hows and whys. It’s the equivalent, I suppose, of people watching–and yes, when given the chance I’ll grill people too…it’s just the way I am.
But if I’m gonna have to pick one robotic type character to come visit, hands down it’ll be Data.
I think everyone already knows I’m a big Trekker, and TNG is my favorite. Data is one of those characters whose arc just got better and better as the seasons progressed. We already knew from very early he was anatomically correct and programmed for sex, but as time went by we also began to see that he was, in every sense of the word, the thinking woman’s android. He paints, loves Sherlock Holmes and has a cat. He fights to be accepted the way all the other sentient beings on the ship are and wants to discover what it means to be human. And he’s looking for love. In short, while he’s male and an android, he was given the kind of arc a woman might have in a story set in a different time period.
I’d like to put that hypothesis to him, and hear what he has to say about it. He would be the kind of guest you stay up all night with, chatting and laughing (well, I’d be laughing. Data may just humor me) and trying to set the worlds to rights. Yes, worlds in the plural. After all, if I’m talking with Data, it means we’ve contacted all those other worlds out there…
I can hardly wait!
So, this month we’re talking about what shifter we’d be if we could shape-shift and I had a revelation. Thinking about it reminded me of the episode of Star Trek TNG, when everyone on the ship starts to devolve. Who knew Troy would be a fish-thing, or Picard would turn into a weasel? The only one who seemed true to type was Worf, who was extremely scary and inclined to eat all the rest of the crew. No one ever said whether he had eaten anyone or not when not trying to mate with Troy… surely not everyone got away from him?
Anyway, so I approached this question first from a “What would I like to be?” perspective. That was easy! Something sleek and powerful—a cheetah or a dragon, maybe even a wolf or a lioness. Top of the food chain bay-bee. All flash and glory and snarly teeth. Sounded awesome, until I started considering what being one of those would entail. Things like running, hunting, fighting knights and guarding treasure.
That’s when I had to have a nap.
I’m just not cut out for those kind of energetic activities.
On a basic level I’m lazy, have a ‘soon-come’ kind of mentality and don’t like doing more than absolutely necessary. I do like to eat though and will exert myself to cook or search out food, as long as it isn’t running away, forcing me to chase it. So, surfing the internet for a new restaurant is within the realm of my abilities in the hunting department. Not much more than that. I was, I think, born to be in a harem with nothing to do but eat, be bathed and wait around for the sultan to want nookies. Yeah, I could be down with that kind of life…
While I’ve been known to lose my temper, I’m generally easy-going and mostly prefer to let trouble pass me by if I can hunker down and just watch it fly over my head. I’m a lover, not a fighter. I’m also a dreamer, lost in thought half the time, eyes glazed over, no doubt forcing people to check to see if I’m breathing. Oh, and there’s that crazy hair too.
So, eventually, thinking it through carefully, I came to the conclusion I’d probably be happiest as… a sloth! And, I’d finally have long fingernails to boot! BONUS!!
Imagine from dobrador.com
When it comes to science fiction, it seems that the human race does two things. The first is explore and discover new life. The second is to, in the words of the Doctor, dance with it. Almost every sci fi TV show (and a fair few novels) include the existence of a pleasure planet, though there is often a rotten core beneath the glossy exterior.
The planet orbits several stars and its climate is controlled by a weather modification network, with the natural climate being extremely violent. Risians are extremely open and will freely share their planet, and even themselves (again with the dancing), with visitors; a practice known as “Jamaharon”.
The original series of Battlestar Galactica had Carillon as its pleasure planet, and was the first series to hint that pleasure didn’t always equal perfect. Beneath the casino with its scantily-clad girls and free-flowing alcohol were mines staffed by enslaved aliens.
The management of Carillon were also in the back pocket of the Cylons, with both staff and visitors often going “missing”. Not that nice a place after all, then.
In Stargate SG-1’s The Light, the team are sent to a planet to investigate the death of another team’s member and discover a pleasure temple. One room contains a mesmerizing light display that induces narcotic pleasure.
The problems start when they leave – their brain physiology has been affected, with the result that withdrawal symptoms leave them suicidal. Worse, the changes affect the brain directly and Daniel Jackson ends up dead. Again.
And finally, since I started with a mention of Doctor Who, I’m ending on an episode. Midnight (both name of the planet and episode title) is a world with an atmosphere of lethal radiation that kills humans instantly. But it’s made of diamonds and has several sites of natural beauty, so the obvious thing to do is build a spa there. Of course.
On a trip to see the Sapphire Waterfall, the shuttle is waylaid by a malevolent presence which takes over one of the passengers and results in four people dying. The events on Midnight are one of the few the Doctor cannot explain, nor does the viewer discover what attacked the ship or why. It’s unclear if the spa continued to run or if Midnight was then abandoned, but something evil waits out in the beautiful diamond fields so perhaps they should.
So pleasure planets… great on paper, but not always all they’re advertised to be. Feel free to explore new worlds and discover new civilisations, feel free to dance, but be careful of what lies beneath… sometimes they’re only pretty on the outside *cue creepy music*
Misa Buckley is a sci fi geek who escapes the crazy of raising five children by creating imaginary characters who experience adventure, romance and really hot sex on their way to a happily-ever-after. You can keep up to date with Misa’s latest news by following her on Twitter or at her website.
For some reason writing this blog post was hard. Maybe it’s because the older I get is the more sex symbols I acquire. You know what I mean—just because a person gets older, or I get older, doesn’t mean I drop that hottie from the sexy-as-hell list. So, in my case, there were too many to choose from—old hunks, fictional hunks, young hunks—and my brain started going into overdrive. “Danger, danger! System overload…”
Then I suddenly realized there was something most of my sex symbols have in common…they all move. No, no, not like get up and walk across the room. I mean they REALLY move—dance or fight or do martial arts—something physically demanding and utterly awesome. Some of them aren’t even handsome in a traditional sense but, damn, who cares with the moves these guys can do? So, here I present a small, eclectic sampling of my acquired sex symbols from past to present, and I hope you enjoy!
(Follow the links for more information and pictures.)
I knew almost nothing about ballet when I saw the movie, The Turning Point, but afterwards I was hooked—on Baryshnikov. How could he get his body into those positions? I wanted to know…personally…up close…very, very close…
There’s something about a man in a trench coat, carrying a sword that’s irresistible, and when that man is Adrian Paul (“Duncan MacLeod, of the Clan MacLeod.” *sigh*), I’m done…or undone might be the more accurate phrase. To make it worse he not only wields a sword but does martial arts and dances a mean tango too. Yum!! Yes, when I see the reruns I desperately want to put him in a pair of low-slung jeans, but even with his waistband up way too high he’s still hot!
Forget about the ridged forehead (although that could get interesting…just sayin’), have you seen that Klingon use a Bat’leth? Now, don’t get me wrong, if Michael Dorn came to my door as himself there would be no turning him away. Just his voice alone is enough to do it for me. But if he turned up as Worf? The hubby might have a hard time getting me back!
O.M.G. There are a host of martial arts experts in the movie industry and I enjoy most of them, but Jet Li is the man for me. He’s cute, cut and has the nicest Chinese accent, but it’s the moves, people. The moves! There is a scene in the movie The One where Jet does a standing side kick that Rocks. My. World. every time I see it. Not to mention how he saved his daughter’s life during the tsunami in 2004. *melt*
I’m old enough to know better but hold on to your drawers…didya see Magic Mike? Can that boy move or WHAT? Good actor, cute guy, really nice body, but it was when I saw him shaking it on the stage that my head went up and I was like WHOA…
So there’s a tiny taste of my sexy list. Have you found there’s a common thread running through your list of hot men or women? On January 8th Sabrina admitted brains is what gets her going…what’s your top criteria??
“In the old days villains had moustaches and kicked the dog. Audiences are smarter today. They don’t want their villain to be thrown at them with green limelight on his face. They want an ordinary human being with failings.”
Well, Al, you’re far more successful in your field than I am in mine, but I will say in rebuttal…
Yes, yes, sometimes the ordinary person can be truly, scarily villainous. Think of the controlling, obsessed mother who claims to want only the best for their child while systematically destroying the object of their affections. The spurned lover who thinks he’s within his rights to stalk his ex, or the seemingly nice, quiet man who can’t talk about his pain, only take it out on unsuspecting others. Cheerleaders/most popular girls in the class make great villains, wielding their power with all the hormone-driven desires seething in their teenage hearts. Who knows what evil lurks in the souls of ordinary men and women—or how it will be manifested?
Yet, the truth is, sometimes I want the green limelight, the moustache, even the propensity to kick at small, furry creatures. Sometimes, that’s exactly the kind of over-the-top, Joker-painted-face kind of villain a story calls for.
But…but…here’s the thing…
There has to be something more.
The villain has to play against the hero or heroine in such a way we’re occasionally drawn to wonder if there isn’t something wrong with the way the supposed good guy/girl relates to life. He or she must shine a light on the hero or heroine’s actions, be the funhouse mirror if you will, showing us something we might not have seen before. And they must have that little something extra, a quirk or habit we find interesting—maybe even just a little endearing. Something the hero or heroine apparently lacks.
There are a host of characteristics that can take a bad guy from cookie-cutter, Snidely Whiplash stereotype to someone we love to hate. Pathos, a kernel of kindness, a true (even if twisted) affection for someone else, or a need—for love, revenge, power, visibility—we can all relate to.
Perhaps even a sense of humor.
One of my favorite villains ever was Q, played with gusto by John de Lancie in the Star Trek, The Next Generation television series. Q is everything Captain Jean Luc Picard isn’t—omnipotent, amoral, disinterested in preserving life or viewing much with any sense of gravity. Q has no conscience. Not even the destruction of an entire specie gives him a qualm, while we’re quite sure Jean Luc remembers every crew member who died under his command and sometimes lies in bed reliving the moment he had to inform the families of their losses. Even physically Q is Picard’s opposite— 6’ 4” and solidly built to Picard’s 5’ 10” and trimly slender physique.
Yet, while Q no doubt was a crazy, life-form destroying, humanity judging, Enterprise endangering bad guy, lordie, he was also an absolute hoot! He had the kind of sense of humor Picard didn’t have, or couldn’t allow himself to have.
I always remember the scene at the end of the episode “Deja Q” when the Enterprise crew believes Q to be dead. Picard is being completely solemn, not hypocritical enough to pretend to mourn Q’s passing, but searching for meaning in the despised being’s demise. Suddenly, Q appears with a cry of “Au contraire, Mon Capitan. Q is back.”
There is a mariachi band! Cigars! Women! And, in that moment, you want to dance with Q, while shouting, “Lighten up!” at Picard. Although you can understand the captain’s annoyance, and know he doesn’t have the freedom to behave with Q’s abandon, you can’t help laughing at Q’s antics, and wonder what he’ll come up with next.
So yes, Al, the ordinary person made extraordinary by their inner demons definitely has a big place in the villain pantheon, but don’t count out the dude with the handlebar moustache or the wild eyes…give them a relatable quirk and we’ll love to hate them too.