Oct 5, 2020
What is the worth of human life in your stories? This isn't something people often consider, we just tend to have a fairly accurate guess based on our experience of the real world, but sometimes stories get it really wrong and that can harm suspension of disbelief.
Topics and Show Notes
A few prime examples are gritty SciFi stories, westerns, war stories, and hospital dramas.
The first three dramatically undervalue human life so it doesn't make logical sense within the world it depicts: In deep space human life would be extremely valuable because it's a rare and practically non-renewable resource. The only way that changes is when you run out of survival resources (air, water, food) or it's a life or death situation, a casual attitude to life though doesn't make sense. In the old west it was the same situation for other reasons, murderers would be tracked down for thousands of miles and across many decades, the only exception was native Americans who shamefully weren't considered people for all intents and purposes, even slaves had more value. In war stories, especially historical ones, typically soldiers have no real survival instinct or self worth, they're happy to always fight to the last and run headfirst to their deaths, which is silly since battles were usually won when one side broke and ran after only a few deaths. Full scale slaughter only happened rarely and that was usually when the fleeing side was caught or captured.
Finally, hospital dramas tend to overestimate the value of life, where all stops are pulled out to save people who society doesn't value and can't afford to pay for the expensive and experimental treatments (with hundreds of thousands dollars worth of care given to them), or people too sick or old are given care they'd never recover from.
There are a lot of complex factors that influence the value of life in a story actually (emotional attachment, status, class, caste, gender, religion, politics, scope etc), but it's important not to get it too badly wrong or your story won't work as well.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Era of Iridore - Come through the sweeping tapestry curtains of copper and silicone, into the vast techno hall, past lords and ladies bedecked in flashing LEDs of many colours, knights fencing with glowing plasma blades, jesters toying with antigrav balls, and watch the minstrels play their laser harps and electric lutes!
Topics and shownotes
Life's worth thread - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/178520
Raising Cain - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/sep/29/featured-comic-raising-cain/
Era of Iridore - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Era_of_Iridore/, by Deno 85, rated M.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
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Sep 28, 2020
This week we're talking about cultural appropriation, cultural adaption and adoption, also stereotypes and all sorts of related stuff. It was inspired by a newspost from Tantz discussing the recent live action Mulan movie by Disney. Cultural appropriation is when you take an aspect that is sacred or important to one culture and own it yourself: decontextualising it, stripping it off it's meaning, making a cartoon version of it, commodifying it, commercialising or cheapening it in some other way.
Sep 21, 2020
Today we're talking about the idea that entertainment aimed at kids can only be enjoyed by kids and the reason that adults often don't like kids things is because adults just don't “get” them. I contend that everyone, of all ages should be able to enjoy General or kid rated media and the true reason we don't is not because it “isn't meant for us”, it's because it's simply badly written - specifically, it's not the content that's annoying, it's the structure.
Aug 31, 2020
Does a story always need an antagonist embodied in the form of an active character? I don't think they do! We chat about examples of stories without antagonistic characters that work just as well, if not better than the reverse! This is based on Bane's newspost from last Thursday (link in the notes). Tantz and I have a long argument about what the main antagonist in Wall-E was! I think that a lot of the better Pixar movies don't have their main antagonising force embodied in characters- Inside Out, Moana, Coco, Wall-E etc, and we they do they're not quite as strong or as touching. Even in Up the villain in that only plays the main antagonist for a short time. What d you think?
Aug 24, 2020
First up… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TANTZ! This Quackcast is about the topic of whether it's right to change an established character just to fit with the ideas and styles of a new creator or change them in accordance with an idea or political position you want to explore, OR should you instead create a whole new character or story to do that with? Bane's newspost gave the example of the ersatz justice league created for The Boys, where Homelander =/= Superman. The series was made to look at the dark side of superheros, but it doesn't ruin established and much loved heroes to do that…
Aug 17, 2020
This Quackcast is about the impermanence of online services and the lie that services are provided for fee and providers have no responsibility to the creators and viewers that use them. Hushicho posted in our forum about Tapas newly restricting nudity in comics which suddenly disenfranchises hundreds of creators who've built up followings on that site with comics that were well within the the Tapas content rules. With that one change these comics have been wiped out, destroying all the hard work by creators to build up their audiences over a long period of time. That can happen with ANY digital service, we are at the mercy of the corporations that provide them.
May 18, 2020
My original idea for this Quackcast was: “Genre fiction is the best place to explore ideas, straight fiction doesn't do it as well” What I meant was that diverting from straight reality in fiction makes it easier to conceptualise, simplify and explain complicated ideas to a general audience for a whole number of reasons. There was some disagreement between Tantz and I because I expressed myself poorly so she'd thought that I was saying it was much easier to write SciFi and fantasy (Genre fiction), and it was easier to write about big ideas, while straight fiction wasn't good for that- Which is fair enough! My initial statement is so badly worded that's a valid interpretation! Fortunately Banes and Pit were on hand to smooth things out and explain things properly. Pit mediated between us and Banes conceptualised my concept FAR, far better than I did! Unfortunately you don't get much of that disagreement on the Quackcast. You DO get a bit of it on the PATREON only video however ^_^
May 4, 2020
Today on this glorious date we chat about that part in stories where everything turns to crap for the protagonists, just before the run up to the climax where they find their inner strength again and regain their powers so that the climax is even more effective than it would normally be… just BEFORE that moment. Everything is finally going well for our characters, their relationship is amazing, they have all the money they need to keep the clubhouse open, they're going to win the big game, they have the magic sword to kill the dragon with, they have the fastest car in the race, the bombs are all set to destroy the alien mother-ship, and the band is finally going to make it to the big time! ...BUT...