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Re: The King's Paws

That's quite reasonable. The problem is that I can be too passionate about some issues for my own good, and then I come out looking like a self-righteous zealot, which isn't really my intention. But I'm not too worried, there are worse things to worry about  ;)

No it's good for you to defend your own. Too much passivity never leads anyone anywhere, and the world isn't that completely friendly to gay people to begin with, whatever the mighty developed west likes to believe.

Regardless gay couples are making slow but steady progress in acceptance, so no point in relenting or finding yourself a zealot for taking offense. We can all agree to disagree. There are topics on which any of us won't make any concession.
For me it's nuclear power, funnily enough.  :P

Well said, Nora, I totally agree that Saraband should feel completely free to express his feelings without in any remote way  thinking himself a "self righteous zealot".
Regardless of the author question, there are far too many people who assume a right to be totally offensive to people because they do not like,or do not understand, or do not approve of.....usually some form of minority.

The LBGTQI community has come in for horrendous abuse, physical and verbal, seemingly forever, and it is only just being able to gain a little acceptance and recognition. It will still be a long hard climb in this intolerant world. The more correct information and discussion there is in the public arena the better chance of dispelling some of the ignorance normally intelligent people are led to believe.

In my shameful country, that still will not legislate SSM despite over 70% of the country being in favour, there are still vile insults written and said, the most over the top lunacies coming from the mouths of some crazies with influence, I truly am stunned by some people's sheer stupidity and they in fact are the actual self righteous zealots.

I am glad you are passionate about proper recognition, Saraband and please continue telling how wounding thoughtless comments can be.  I am so happy you are in our F-F community and can comment freely, that you live in a country where you are not risking death by acknowledging the sexual orientation you were born with and where you can celebrate the happiness you and Eurog enjoy together. 

February 18, 2016, 02:28:30 AM
Re: Why Do You Want to be an Author? I want to make an impact on people. When I was a kid, I didn't have many friends. In fact, I was bullied quite a bit. Books helped me feel like I wasn't alone. My mom didn't like fantasy, with all the "magic" and "witchcraft" jaz. Threw away the copy of The Last Unicorn I got from one of the people I actually did call friend when she moved. So, I'd go to the library and grab books about five years above my reading level and sneak them home, then did the entire reading under the covers by flashlight bit. When I read about all these amazing worlds, about characters who were able to do exactly what they were always told they were incapable of, it gave me the dream that maybe I could accomplish something one day, that maybe I'd have friends like the ones this character had to support them.

I want to give that to someone else. I want them to see the human struggles inside a book, a character who's gone through far more than they ever should have, and somehow survive. Or not. Maybe they won't, but I still want to give another little girl somewhere to turn to during the nights when she's not sure where to go. There are books I remember reading at age eight that haven't left me yet, and that's the kind of story I want to share. Maybe I'll even inspire another person to pick up a pen and do the same. If so, that would be enough for me. Who needs to become the next Rowling or Martin? That's not what I think this should be about. If that's what it is, I have some bad news for you. The odds are stacked against you...but then again, I did just say it's those situations that really give you some hope. Maybe you'll pull it off, like the characters you're writing. I don't know. For me though, if I help even one reader, inspire one child or teen or adult, that's all I'd ask for.

Though, it might also be that I simply love sending fictional people on a barefoot walk through Hell. :)

March 26, 2016, 01:07:28 AM
Re: [Apr 2016] - The Last Contest - Submission Thread The Hound of Arnas - 1.500 words. It's biopunk.

Spoiler for Hiden:

The Hound of Arnas

My ports disengage, returning me to consciousness.
I stay on my back for a while, gaze turned inward, browsing through the nets. While my body warms I review the datafeeds I requested before going to sleep. Soon there is nothing for me to do but roll out of my dingy alcove, one in many in this shabby plug-a-night for cyborgs and droids. No one pays me any mind as I amble through what passes as a lobby and step into the already busy street.

"Please, parts!" A hand grabs my coat. "Any parts you can spare, I beg you, for my child, all his ports are outdated, he can't link, ple–"

The beggar clamps her mouth shut the moment she realises what she is talking to, her dull eyes already hunting for more pliable targets. Smart woman. She will sooner convince an AI to donate parts off its droid body than the likes of me, and she knows it.
Shells don't have parts to give. We're bio-engineered integral cyborgs. Expensive models like mine are even grown with full DNA print. Parts tailored for me in a body as perfect as one can dream. If I chopped my right hand and gave it away, no one else could use it.

However, getting this close to godhood comes with a sixty years binding contract, which is why I'm walking the trash ridden streets of an off-grids slum doing a bloodhound's job. Looking for a human here like a needle in a smelly haystack.

The first two days I spent along the dark sea and the beach–the rocky expense that once held sand, that we still call beach–where workers on long rafts poled their way through the mass of seaweeds they turn into fuel.
I could have been done in half a day, talking to supervisors, or the AIs that regulate our dead ocean's shallows. But unlike its simulations, the sea has a smell and a taste, almost a presence. It fascinated me, so I took my time.

Today I walk away from the shore. I've decided to talk to locals or else I'll be here until I catch the carbon plague.

My legs take me past triage factories, down streets smelling of rancid grease, where mechanics bend over patrons' cybernetic limbs, bartering their services, weaving through cables like jungle creepers, children running past yelling the names of parts they sell; ports, encrypted 9G cards, 5D sticks, or accessory mods.
Soon the street dissolves in a wider field. I scramble partway up a metal gangway that wraps around a building to the roofs. From there I can see, sprawled at my feet, the buzzing activity of the Mud-Market.
Cyborg modders with four arms selling flatbreads faster than they can turn them. People sitting on crates half sunk in the eponymous mud, tearing at steamed bug-buns, furiously betting on some game only them can see. Others haggling over second-hand garments and scraps of food. Even a few ADroids weave through the crowds, projecting bright holos and loud slogans.

I sigh and sit heavily, my legs dangling over the tin roof of a partmonger. This wreathing mass of bodies discourages me, somehow.
Resting my back to the wall, I turn inwards to log into official networks. I find a few agents in the area, and summon the closest, Agt. Edenton, an ID officer.

Before long, three kids come running out of the market, out of breath with laugher. I look down. One of them, a little blond fellow, doesn't register to my eyes. Unchipped. Or, more likely, never chipped: someone's illegal brood. Another has a cybernetic arm made of scraps. Both wave at the third, a black haired runt not possibly past seven, who leaves them to enter the street. The gangway quivers under me, heralding the kid's approach.
He sits not far, flashes his credentials–this is indeed Edenton– and opens a private channel for us to discuss away from prying eyes or ears, for all the world just two strangers enjoying the view before them.

'What's a pricey Shell like you doin' here?'

I stifle a laugh. The voice that popped in my head is a deep man's bass, completely out of place coming from the scrawny boy. Edenton gives me a withering look, and I sober up as I realise what an ID officer's job would be, shelled as a kid. Hunt unchipped children like the one I'd seen, gain their trust, follow them home, have it tagged, maybe chip them himself. The kind of job you got because someone thought you deserved it...

I poke his arm, surprised to find him made out of regular flesh.

'Is this a BioShell? Aren't those pretty rare and pricey as well? Incubation is hard to do.'

Edenton's frail shoulders shrug. 'They make kids like me easily, they don't try for perfection. The body decays after a year, so we swap regularly. It's just a pain to be in a tube for two months while a new body grows around you.'

I'd shiver, if my body could.

To answer Edenton's own question, I display my working seals and credentials, and watch his eyes widen. A military Shell in the direct employ of Arnas CEO, wielding seals that give her unlimited power is a scary sight, I'm sure.

'This is Halena Tesselandottir,' I say, flashing pictures of a young woman. 'Used to live in the grids, legal as you please and pretty bigwigged. Took her chip off, came to those slums.' I wave my hand, letting Edenton imagine the sort of drama that could push someone to such extremes.
'Back then she was a modder.' Lists of parts and softwares join the pictures. 'Augmentations, but no cybernetic replacements. I'm pretty sure she downgraded, since many mods are trackable. She was spotted in this slum, so I was sent to find her. I'd like some help.'

An order dressed as a request that Edenton accepts with good graces. In no time he comes up with a cunning plan that won't damage his cover, and I mentally pat myself on the back for involving him.

We weave our way through narrow streets, continuing our secret dialogue.
I learn that Edenton has been undercover in this slum for four years, and soon guess that he got there by asking too many questions. He's fourty-two, single, grumpy.
We spend some time polishing our plot in a back alley. We'll need our public feeds to display some action to look credible.

Finally ready, I step into a wider street, Edenton's weightless body cradled in my arms, and stumble towards an older woman, busy smoking in front of a brothel. Edenton's notion being that such Madams know everything, and everyone.

"Seima," I call, picking her name from her public feed, "this kid just crashed into me. He banged his head hard..."

Seima rushes up to us with a face like Edenton is her own grandchild. She looks at me with narrowed eyes. Can't blame her for mistrusting a Shell in a muddy coat, but my public feed has a record of the entire "incident" we orchestrated, and Edenton moans, the voice passing his lips a mewling so pitiful that I stare as well. His feed flashes with one of the pictures of Halena I gave him.

"He's been showing that image the whole time, could it be his mother? If you know her, maybe I could leave him to you..."

It's the magical words. Trying to shirk my responsibilities, am I? She'll find the boy's mom in no time, she swears, and furiously propagates Halena's picture through her personal network.
Finding where Halena (or Hena, as she now goes by) works is a matter of minutes. The hardest part of the job is to pry Madam Seima off Edenton.

Out of sight I put him back on his legs, and we hurry to intercept Halena before someone warns her that we've been asking after her.

It's almost too easy.
She's exactly where we were told.
Unchipped, so nearly impossible to track, she was betrayed by the simplest of human drives, everyone's inherent need to network and socialise.

Edenton's bass vibrates in my skull. 'What are you gonna do?'

He follows me over crumbled walls and up stairwells that lead us to a rooftop. Lying down, we can spy on Halena and her companions, sorting garbage, probably paid by the amount of recyclable they can sift.

I scan her face, still young, but scarred by the mods she took off her temples and neck, as I'd guessed.
I extend my arm, fingers splayed, lock, breathe out, and fire.
My shoulder joint shifts, swallows the recoil. People scream, run to cover. Edenton jumps, grabs me with his little hands. In the street her blood flows, joining the streams of dark fluids down the gutter. Half her head is gone.
"Why," Edenton cries. "What did she do to deserve that?!"

"I never asked," I reply, "and neither should you."

April 11, 2016, 06:23:26 AM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world Wait, are people trying to seriously argue on here that Donald Trump would be better for the country than Hillary Clinton? Because that's just... no, just no... For all her admitted flaws, Hillary is nowhere goddamn near as bad as Trump.
Let's go over this, shall we? Trump, to date...
-Has openly advocated War Crimes.
-Has openly mocked women, disabled people and McCain for being a Prisoner of War
-Has openly threatened to shut down news organisations that mock him.
-Refuses to denounce hate groups/white supremacists who support him.
-Is openly bigoted
-Is openly sexist
-Has zilch in the way of political experience
-Is a habitual liar (and this is by politician standards, which are already fairly terrible)
-Has openly advocated for his supporters to beat up protesters and refuses to condemn those that do
-Acts tough but has a thinner skin than plastic wrap
-Has only one real consistent policy (the Mexico Wall) which not only would be ridiculous and expensive but, as anyone with any kind of knowledge of illegal immigration would tell you, would not work in the slightest.
-Can be reasonably argued that he's a genuine fascist
-Is an immature, narcissistic manchild
Hillary, at worst, is going to be more of the same. Benghazi and the email server thing are bullshit scandals blown out of all proportions by Republicans who have been desperate to smear her for years. And while there are genuine worries to be had about things Clinton's ties to Wall Street or her foreign policy (which is still miles better than Trump's advocating war crimes), it's also easy to forget that she's quite likely the most qualified candidate of the entire field. Sanders certainly has the better ideas (which is why I'm torn between which I'd support), but his suggestions for putting them into place have been fairly spotty. But either candidate is still miles better than Trump who is genuinely hateful and dangerous. And don't give me that 'I'm sure he'll improve when he gets into to office' crap. Saying there's a chance he might not start World War III over Vladmir Putin insulting him in a meeting is a terrible argument no matter how you try to spin it. If anything, his recent attacks on that Hispanic judge have proved beyond a doubt that no matter how much allied Republicans try to keep him under control, he's going to do whatever the hell he wants, consequences be damned. And that is not someone you want in control of the largest arsenal in the world.
TLDR: No matter how much you dislike her, Hillary is nowhere near as bad as Trump. Trying to argue otherwise is silly.

June 07, 2016, 09:01:51 PM
Re: Anita Sarkeesian beats a dead horse. Then I call it problematic. Perhaps this should be in the video games area instead?

Though I'm not sure what sort of discussion you want to prompt here. You say you're against censorship, but it seems to me you're suggesting that Anita Sarkeesian shouldn't give her opinions. And yes, they are opinions, you can tell by the way she's presenting them without digging into evidence, as you point out. (It's not like "Simon says", you know, they don't have to have the magical words "in my opinion" attached.)

Is everything Anita Sarkeesian opines solid gold truth? No, not necessarily. Does the sexualisation and overt objectification of women in the majority of computer gaming degrade and demean women and make life uncomfortable and combatative for women both in gaming and in real life? Yes. Harping on the former point makes it seem like you don't care about the latter point. I really hope that isn't the case.

Games having a presumed straight male audience puts me in mind of the ongoing arguments that I see in American schools (may be occurring elsewhere too) regarding the policing of the attire of female students on the grounds that their bare knees / shoulders / stomachs are "distracting for male students". Girls who like girls aren't a concern. I'm not saying this is truth, but I'm drawing from this is: 1) there's a common conception (mis- or otherwise) that the female body is sexual and that its sexuality is for men; and 2) probably related to that, girls who like girls tend not to view the female body in the same way as men.

Male gaze is a subtle but pernicious thing in media - so subtle and pernicious that it can be easy to view it as the default. But the simple fact is that I do not view myself the way a man who is sexually attracted to women would view me. When a female protagonist describes herself the way a man would, that's the male gaze. It's not that she describes her breasts, it's how she describes her breasts. Similarly, it's not that it attracts the male gaze, it's that it's for the male gaze. It says "this body is for men, I just live in it." And that's a fundamental and constant dehumanisation.

The area is complicated, because so many of these elements are matters of degrees, matters of subjective experience, and matters of long-standing immersion in our society. Awareness is good. Discussion is good. The more people who are exposed to these questions and carry them around with them as they engage with media, the better. There's a place for your opinions in this discussion. There's a place for Anita Sarkeesian's as well, and arguably there's no finer place for her opinions than on her own video channel.

June 23, 2016, 12:41:40 AM
Re: If We Wrote Men Like We Write Women
I didn't find anything particularly egregious though. Just describing the body more; that's supposed to make me uncomfortable when it's switched and it's being done on a man, but it just doesn't - not with me anyway.

Deja vu - it's about the way the body is described. Just pulling from the first example in the first link: "pleasantly plump to deliciously slender" packages the described bodies for the viewer's pleasure - their worth is linked to how palateable they are. Nearly everything about their description is physical - in contrast, nearly everything about the description of the once-male character is non-physical. This makes the secretaries non-physical attributes secondary to the physical in the measure of their worth. They're beautiful, and also secretaries. (Henshaw is a variety of character attributes, and also grey-haired.)

Note: the point is not that it makes you uncomfortable. It's that you never see passages like that with those genders.

How do you define "respect?" Being stereotypically hyper masculine?

Nope. I mean delivered as a well-rounded character comprised of personality, goals, flaws and strengths as well as just physicality.
Are you trying to say that these female characters aren't worthy of their male counterparts? Do you believe that a woman has to make herself worthy of male attention? Or that she should?

Nope. I'm saying that in a romance storyline, a reader needs to believe that the two characters have a genuine connection, that there's a meeting of minds and souls. If there's nothing on the page but physical description for one of the characters, you can tell me they're desperately in love all you like, but I've got no reason to believe it. Each party needs to display on the page that they seek, reciprocate and deserve the other's love for a romance line to truly work for me. (This is often easier in romance novels, which are usually told from alternating points of view - his and hers. You get to see both sides from inside. Urban fantasy is often more restricted to the female protag's POV, which gives us a lot of insight into her journey, but puts more pressure on the romantic interest's words and actions to "show" that connection.)

(Gender-flipping) allows examination of the underlying attitudes of the writer. And how one really thinks when it comes to gender. Why bother correcting text for lazy assumptions and cliche when one can go to the source and deconstruct the thinking of the being which writes the text to begin with?   

Does one believe the character if gender swapped? If not why not?

I don't follow your point here. Isn't that what has been suggested?

June 29, 2016, 05:51:04 AM
Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend Hi all!
Jmack posted my text in the other thread, so you know I'm fine.

It took me a lot longer to feel 'normal' and keep my eyes open this time, but I finally got there.
Pain on the drain was also stronger, they gave some liquid thing on the drip.

Nurse's just been to check blood pressure and she always ends up writing down the numbers from the leg (top closer to 105) because she thinks my arm is low (around 90) - but my normal is 95, so 90 is perfectly right after a surgery, hehe

I'm finally feeling hungry, yesterday I just had a tea - but I think breakfast will come soon :)

(just realised, is it too much information? Let me know!)

July 07, 2016, 07:08:19 AM
Re: Kingsglaive Trailer (FF XV prequel)
...and Sean Bean?

Welp there goes the suspense of who is going to bite it during the movie.

July 26, 2016, 08:55:19 PM
Re: Science for Science Fiction! (Articles and the Like) Kill it with fire. Do it now.
August 08, 2016, 01:11:06 AM
Re: The King's Paws (with one holding a Mr Whippy with a 99 flake.)
August 09, 2016, 08:35:02 PM