Oct 17, 2022
“Freedom” is the catch cry in so much historical fiction but it's usually an anachronistic piece of nationalist fantasy. You fought for your lord, for pay, your honour, your small region, etc, not for “Scotland” (i.e. Bravehert). Even today it's generally propaganda: e.g. The Invasion of Iraq being called “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and Russia's invasion of Ukraine being all about “freeing” the Russian speaking areas from “oppression”. We alter historical stories to fit with contemporary ideas about ourselves and to give us some form of foundation for our prejudices, motivations and identity. Good examples are the Arthurian legends, Gladiator, Braveheart, The Patriot, Robin Hood, The stories about Christopher Columbus, The 300, and The Woman King.
Topics and Show Notes
Controversy from the African community about the movie “Woman King” (we have not seen it) is a good recent example. It's about an all female fighting force in Africa in 1823 that fought European slavers, based on historical events. But the real historical tribe were actually slavers themselves. They didn't fight white slavers and “freedom” was never their goal. This very stark disconnect is interesting.
In other respects this film seems to be a much needed positive take on African identity, feminism, and the important and significant role of black women in history, if slightly “alternative” history in some respects, like Inglorious Basterds.
I can't comment more because I've not seen the film and do not know enough about the subject. I will link to people who do. Suffice to say that with historical tales we often reformat them in our own image in order to support our identity (see religion), Woman King is a good recent example, but it's not bad or unusual because of that.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Forest Reckoning - Creepy atmospheric sounds fading in and out of the grey mists surrounding you. Are they the ghosts of lost children or are they the calls of tiny playful forest spirits as they dodge and tease and attempt to lure you deeper into the mysterious depths of the dark shadowy woods?
The Woman King: the Truth About Slavery Matters, Tafi Mhaka, Al Jazeera - https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/10/7/the-woman-king-the-truth-about-slavery-matters
Woman King is Worth Watching: But Be Aware That its Take on History is Problematic, Dominique Somda, The Conversation - https://theconversation.com/woman-king-is-worth-watching-but-be-aware-that-its-take-on-history-is-problematic-191865
The Woman King: True History Agojie Dahomey Slave Trade, Yoonji Han, The Insider - https://www.insider.com/the-woman-king-true-history-agojie-dahomey-slave-trade-2022-9
Topics and shownotes
Bobby Carter: Creephunter - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/oct/11/featured-comic-bobby-carter-creephunter/
Forest Reckoning - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Forest_Reckoning/ - by Dpat57, rated T.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
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May 16, 2022
Spoiler- we don't actually talk much about Yu-Gi-Oh! But I feel it's a good example of a pretty bad a so-bad-it's-good story, but bad nevertheless. The idea we're talking about here is that it's useful to look at bad stories and stick with them because they can really help you write better. They're a lot more useful than good stories because you'd rather just enjoy those and it's a bit harder to examine them for technical details, but with “bad” stories the faults stand out strongly. Instead of simply dismissing a bad story or making fun of it, it's more useful and valuable to try and “fix” it: try and work out why it seems bad and think about what would be needed to make it better, then think about how that applies to your own work. Maybe you're actually making many of the same mistakes?
Feb 28, 2022
Last week we did a thing of the persistent myths of fiction- fictional conventions that we all just accept, and are repeated over and over and even influence real life- for example: that people are blasted back in reaction to being shot. It started as a way of making shooting scenes more dramatic and obvious on film, but became a convention and we all believe it so much that it influences reality- it's part of the famous JFK conspiracy about a “second shooter” because people foolishly think JFK's head rocking “back and to the left” indicated the direction of a gunshot. The kinetic energy of a bullet is imparted to the medium it strikes, typically through heat and destruction when it hits a soft target like a human.
Feb 21, 2022
There are so many really silly cliché myths from fiction that we all just tend to accept. They're objectively stupid but they get repeated so often that we don't bat an eye when we see them and we can even start to believe them in reality. I thought it'd be fun to dig into them in a Quackcast. I made a thread in the forum for people to contribute to. Unfortunately we didn't get to many in the Quackcast but there's always time to do another!
Jan 24, 2022
Pit and Tantz join me to talk about about fairies, fae, Faery, Fair folk, Yokai, and all that good stuff. They're like the dark-matter of the supernatural world: they're not really gods, demons, monsters, or ghosts (though sometimes they are al of those sort off…), they generally fill the spaces between. They exist in a lot of cultures all over the place. They can be naughty spirits, elemental creatures, or animalistic, but generally they're quite alien and unknowable. This discussion comes from Tantz's newspost on Saturday.
Jan 10, 2022
“The Girl Boss in the sausagefest” Pitface and Tantz chat are here to chat with me about the subject or lady Barbarians: What they look like, where they originated, why they originated, what they mean, and the logic behind them. They're often overshadowed by their male counterparts (e.g. Conan), and often dismissed as simply an erotic male fantasy, but they've been around just as long and they've also had just as much of a role to play in the traditional “barbarian” mythos as the male versions. Sure, the sexy versions are abundant, iconic, and visually striking, but they're not the be all and end all!
Jun 28, 2021
We have a chat about historicity in this Quackcast. What IS historicity? It's historical authenticity basically but a nicer way of saying it! It's pretty important for a lot of reasons to make the best effort you can with historical authenticity- it increases immersion of the audience, gives you a better understanding of the story and the world you're looking at (because things will make sense), and leads you to better understanding of your own history and where we came from. BUT, that doesn't mean you always have to be strict. As long as you as a creator properly understand historical context then you've got a lot more leeway to play without creating something stupid. Playing fast and loose with history is ok as long as you know what you're doing, not just being a moron and faking it (hey, many of us are guilty of that). Historical fantasy, myth, classics, fiction, biography etc are all different classes of story where it's more or less forgiveable to mess around.
May 10, 2021
So what IS SciFi? Well it's a pretty wide umbrella term and contains a lot of different things. In some senses it's just an imaginative fiction story where science replaces magic. SciFi can simply be a sciencey setting where genre stories take place (romance, adventure, nior, horror). It can be a magical fantasy space opera with a futuristic skin (Star Wars), it can be “hard SciFi” where the story is set in the future but the science is completely plausible, it can be written with strong themes that examine philosophical questions and make interesting points about the nature of humanity, and it can be so many more things too. It's a broad church!