Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Will Get Back To The Picts One Day, Honest

Goodness, what a lot of work I have on at the moment, but I feel neglectful of you, lovely blog-readers.

So here for your edification is a marvellous post from io9, all about the myth that women don't like science fiction (I have been instructed under no circumstances to refer to it as 'sci-fi').

Is it just me, or is all this 'women don't write blogs', 'women don't blog about politics', 'women don't write letters to the newspapers', 'women don't like science fiction', etc. thing becoming a bit tiresome? What do people think we do all day - go shopping and talk about shoes?


Women: not all necessarily like this.

As Annalee Newitz points out, women like science fiction all right - usually when it's got good female characters in it. And for my money, you won't find a better range of female characters anywhere on television, let alone in science fiction, than in Battlestar Galactica. Why, there are so many! And so varied! And they're all proper characters, with proper, complex personalities, in a proper story, not just simpering foils, or 'token feisty woman' characters, or one-dimensional babes.

And surprise surprise, everyone seems to like it. Maybe because that's what life is actually like*.


Battlestar Galactica: advancing the cause of gender equality, one vest at a time.

Something to think about there, eh?


* Apart from the imminent threat of annihilation by sentient aliens robots disguised as humans, obviously. Although...

27 comments:

Rosie said...

[raises hand nervously]

i like science fiction... and i fancied the knickers off every character in Firefly. i plan on getting stuck into this Battlestar stuff one my exams are over, as my Best Gay Friend has been rattling on about it for, oh, years now.

Dave said...

I started reading SF before you were born, young lady, although I'm not sure what H G Wells would make of women in vests.

patroclus said...

Rosie: I haven't seen Firefly, but Battlestar Galactica is ace.

Dave: It's not a competition! I think it's the First Rule of Cyberpunk that women must wear vests. Maybe that's what attracted me to the lovely Ms Cilmi in the video a couple of posts down.

Dave said...

I'm sorry; I don't quite know why I worded my comment that way, which does seem more aggressive that I had intended.

Having seen both Battlestar (but only series 1, and I'll have to wait for birthdays now to get the rest) and Firefly, I prefer the latter. The music is better and there's a bit more shooting. The same proportion of ladies in vests though.

PEANUT said...

sarah jesica parkers new perfume is called MEATBOX it smells like hooves

patroclus said...

Dave: Hm, maybe I should give Firefly a go.

Peanut: I preferred STINKBAT.

Oli said...

Firefly is indeed the bomb. And suprisingly cheap on DVD.

I am, however, just starting on Battlestar as the season 1 box set arrived as one of my birthday presents.

Mmmmmm... spaceships.

As for the term "sci-fi", I don't see what the woo hah is about. I find "SF" is incredibly vague and newspeaky. We don't call horror "H".

ScroobiousScrivener said...

What do you mean you haven't seen Firefly?!? This will not do.

patroclus said...

Ooh, Firefly 4, Patroclus 0. I shall rectify this forthwith.

Dave said...

And, of course, the film Serenity (but only after you've watched the TV series).

Annie said...

Actually, when he wasn't writing science fiction HG Wells was writing proto-feminist novels like Ann Veronica (coincidentally, my real name, except without the e) so he definitely would have liked Battlestar Galactica. You're the second blogger who's highly recommended it, might have to check it out.

patroclus said...

I would actually venture to suggest that science fiction is the most gender-egalitarian of all the genres. There are loads of highly respected female sci-fi (sorry Mr BC) writers, loads of great female characters - look at Voyager, TNG, Neuromancer, Snow Crash and so on - and female science fiction fans (mainly original Star Trek fans) practically invented fandom as we know it. And that's just scraping the surface - I'm not a huge sci-fi buff, but I'm sure others can think of hundreds of examples.

Belladona said...

Hurrah! I love science fiction! Especially Battlestar at the moment. You should definately check out Firefly Patroclus, I think you'd like it. It too is quite real.

Occasional Poster of Comments said...

>>Women: not all necessarily like this<<

Think of all the water you could squirt from a trick flower that big, though...

Fat Roland said...

I've never heard of Firefly or Snow Crash, and have no place commenting on a science fiction post.

But I do like spaceships. Spaceships are fab. I don't think you have to be into sci-fi to like spaceships. Do you?

They're so glittery.

Sylvia said...

I always equate the reading of science fiction with a high intellect, so that's me done for.
I can't cope with the vest thing. Don't these people get cold?
Teal in Hyperdrive always keeps herself well covered.
What? What do you mean that's not really science fiction?

Simes said...

I love both Battlestar and Firefly, so two thumbs up to both from me.

I have recently been watching Babylon 5 again. Which I also love so very very much. Lots of different spaceships there, too, all shiny.

Another vote, if a slightly weird one, for powerful female SF character: Karan S'jet from Homeworld. She doesn't wear a vest but she does wear the entire freaking mothership.

Boz said...

I am a little bit frightened of starting BG in case it is amazing like wot my mates say and it takes over my life.

I need a mildly debilitating medical condition as an excuse to buy some kind of DVD box set.

patroclus said...

Bella: I was finding series 4 to be quite tough going, am now waiting for it to come out on DVD so you don't get incredibly tense moments suddenly interrupted by a stupid ad for hand cream ('Everything is more difficult in Norway, even going home.')

OPC: I was hoping someone was going to mention the flower.

FR: If you like electronica, you'll love Snow Crash. Well, I mean, you might. It's got lots of electronics in it. And, er, headsets and stuff. And a half-Japanese hero called Hiro Protagonist. What more could you ask for?

Sylvia: I think if you get cold, you put a cybercombat jacket over your cyberpunk vest. Although you're probably living in an alternative or future world where it's generally quite warm. Or a virtual one that has no temperature at all.

Simes: Thanks for that - although I'm ashamed to say I don't know what Homeworld even is.

patroclus said...

Boz: BSG is quite intense, so I don't think there's much danger of it taking over your life - one or two episodes is about as much as I can handle in one sitting. It's not addictive in the way that Lost (apparently) is.

Albert said...

BSG not addictive????? I can watch an entire series in two days, and have done on a number of occasions. Just watched the whole of series 1 in less than a week (that's at least the third time I've seen the whole thing in one go).

patroclus said...

Albert: Crikey, that's quite hardcore. Maybe I just have a low tolerance for TV-watching - although that said, I was highly tempted to watch the whole of State of Play in one go recently. In the end I split it into two nights. Oh yes, I'm all about the moderation.

Jayne said...

Another vote for Firefly here. Go watch it now woman!

BSG is also fab but, like you, am having a tough time with Series 4. Am currently saving it up and watching 2 eps at a time (fast forwarding through the ads - thank you Sky+).

And if you ever go into Lonely Planet in London you'll find almost as many women in there as men. Well, in the book section anyway - the bits with models and bits tend to be mostly sad looking boys (sorry James).

Simes said...

Patroclus: Worry not. It's a video game I have a small obsession with.

Notable features included incredibly pretty graphics, beautifully minimalistic sound design and a Yes track played over the closing credits. Ah, them were the days, right enough.

entropy said...

But -fab though it is- was Firefly really scifi? Given that it's a space western, and I thought SF purists would argue that if the science part isn't central, it doesn't really count.

Actually, I've just remembered about the main plot twist of the film... should probably get my (brown) coat.

Simes said...

I think the science part only needs to be absolutely central in "hard" sf - to wander briefly near the topic, BSG is unquestionably science fiction but is not about the science. Star Wars could be categorised as both space opera and space western, I think, but it's unquestionably sf. I mean, it has robots *and* hyperdrive.

Thank you for inspiring me to look up "space western", though, as it reminded me about "Battle Beyond The Stars" which is a completely awesome film.

patroclus said...

Somebody said on this blog once that science fiction is what used to be called 'speculative fiction', i.e. 'what if?' stories. So I guess in that sense a lot of things could be called science fiction even if they don't strictly have science in them. Mind you, the word 'science' itself only means 'knowledge', doesn't it, so [comment continues in this vein for several more hours...]