One Damn Thing After Another.

cw_40_600So, “The Things” — conceived here, given the ol’ prenatal ultrasound here and here, fostered lovingly by Jonathan Strahan until reluctantly put back up for adoption — went live yesterday over at Clarkesworld, in their first edition of 2010. I’m chuffed to discover that they didn’t just post the story; they podcast it as well, set it to the voice of one Kate Baker, who I actually got to meet at Worldcon last year. Kate struck me as intensely cool in the few minutes we got to chat before previous commitments dragged me away; and while I knew she was one of the folks behind Starship Sofa, I hadn’t realized that she’s also affiliated with Clarkesworld. She runs their podcasts — and damned if she didn’t do a bang-up job on “The Things”.

I consider myself a pretty good live narrator, but Kate imbues my words with an undercurrent of regret and desperation that I would never have even considered. I’d have settled for just making my alien protagonist understandable: anthropologically, biologically.  Kate makes it sympathetic, Kate makes it downright tragic. Kate takes those exact same words and inflects them somehow to make them hers. Really, the only nitpick I can find (and you know me — I love nitpicking) is that she could have paused a bit more between section breaks.

These Clarkesworld guys really know how to make you feel welcome.

This is the world premiere. I’ve only posted first-trimester snippets here on the ‘crawl. Even those Worldcon attendees at the Grimwood/Scalzi/Watts DownerFest only got to hear about half the story. So, yeah: “The Things” is as newborn as the year itself, and the first actual fanfic I’ve written since 19761. Hope you like it.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of audio performances: that fourth Best-of-Year collection that “The Island” is headed for would be Allan Kaster’s The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 2, upcoming from AudioText. I just signed the contract today.

(Illo by Sergio Rebolledo.)

———————

1Don’t ask.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Saturday January 02 2010at 01:01 pm , filed under writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

43 Responses to “One Damn Thing After Another.”

  1. I remember this story when ’twas but a gleam in your (mildly inebriated) eyes. I’m so happy to hear that it’s received this treatment and that it’s garnering the recognition it deserves.

  2. Oh, I liked the early snippets you shared — can’t wait to read/hear it.

  3. many times many thanks.

  4. One of my favourite movies and now of my favourite stories. Thank you.

  5. Very much worth the wait. The poor bastard is almost evangelical in its outlook.

  6. Wonderful story. Thank you for this.

  7. After listening to the podcast:

    1) It’s genius.
    2) I believe that the alien is an (amazingly lost) offshoot of the Maximum Fun-Fun Ultra Super Happy People.

    Will.

  8. Pete!!

    You can’t put a footnote like “Don’t Ask” and expect that shit to fly. I want details, gruesome and appalling as you can make them.

    Also double kudos despite your ‘oh it’ll probably never get published’ nay-saying after the beta read. Loved hearing it spoken but text is always my preferred method of consumption.

  9. It seems like the below 1% figure for high-profile magazines has been pretty static since I started writing. I remember being really horrified the first time I found it recurring in writer’s market. But I dunno, after looking at slush piles it seems less intimidating. If you’re publishable, you’re within the top 10% or less probably.

  10. Excellent! Read first, digested, then listened to podcast. Watched dvd. Read again. Maybe watch dvd and listen to the podcast…

    So now there is going to be a “The Thing” prequel filmed in Canada this coming March 2010?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084787/news#ni1367163

  11. [...] story, telling the perspective of The Thing from the 1980’s cult classic. Peter has some great things to say about the narration, over on his Rifters [...]

  12. Fantastic news, after its initial growing pains and hiccups.

  13. Kepler Discovers Five New Exoplanets

    Big and hot. Just the way I lik—… um… nevermind. ;)

  14. I am surprised that there is a market for a Fourth Best of the Year collection. I could see maybe going to a Second Best to read after you read Best of the Year, but reading the fourth best seems a bit much.

  15. [...] This, obviously, is that point. The new issue has the story, and an audio version of it as well–plus other interesting contents. I haven’t gone through the audio version yet, but Watts’ apparently thinks the reader did a better job than he could. [...]

  16. [...] Watts blogs about “The Things”. Read what he has to say. It’s interesting. I’m delighted [...]

  17. More off-topic jibber-jabber. (The Things was excellent, BTW!).

    They’re saying one of the five planets (Kepler 7b) is 1/10 as dense as Jupiter (comparing it to polystyrene). See link to NewScientist article.

  18. Excellent story. I actually cried a little bit during points of Kate’s reading.

  19. Chris in NY – I hope your friend and her fahter are doing well… :)

  20. Had a listen; I really like the story idea (and good narration to boot). It makes me think a little of Joe Haldeman’s “Camouflage” – about 2 aliens who’ve been on earth for possibly millienia and have been adapting their biologies for a long time. But that particular story wasn’t really about the biology, so I guess the comparison ends right there.

  21. I usually listen to Starship Sofa episodes the week after it is published, starting on Sunday. Listening to Kate Baker reading The Reflection of Memory really ruined that week for me because of how good it was done. Sad stories get to me more than I should let them.

    Haven’t listened to this Thing thing yet, but I’m sure it’ll ruin for me a future week as well.

    BTW, what’s the deal with short scifi stories being so melancholic? Or maybe it is just my bleak biases interpreting most of the stories, which weren’t designed as comedy, as sad?

  22. I’m not normally one to listen to an audio version over reading it myself, but I had a few hours of testing to do in the lab…

    Coming at the story as someone who is only vaguely familiar with the source material, the story did a great job of both being interesting as a stand-alone and piquing my interest in the original. I even got a pretty good sense of where the story “deviated” from the facts implied by the movie.

    Kate did an incredible job reading it–having a chance to listen to Peter read an excerpt likely helped her get a good feel for the intended dynamics of the story. I am curious how much having a female voice for the alien influenced my view of it. Peter will just have to release his own version…

  23. Wow Ladies and Gents!

    I am completely astounded at the amount of positive feedback.

    Peter, thank you so much for putting up this post. The response has been amazing. Drinks are on me next con.

    To everyone else who has taken the time to comment; You have made this pretty humble girl glow.

  24. After the car-crash my life rapidly became last year, losing most of my family within months of each other, I lost interest in my own writing – because my vivid imagination isn’t always a friend in times of need, to put it mildly.

    But by putting together that stunningly beautiful story, and adding a new dimension to one of my favourite movies, you’ve reignited that interest by showing me just what can be achieved, and helped me dare to start dreaming again of alien wonders, human monsters, and how this world could look through different eyes.

    Thank you very, VERY much – and of course to Clarkesworld as well, and Wil Wheaton, where I happened across the link in the first place.

    There are freaks and demons moving in my mind, and I’m finally ready again to hear their story.

  25. Chinedum Richard Ofoegbu said:
    Very much worth the wait. The poor bastard is almost evangelical in its outlook.

    I was trying to do several things with this story. One of them, quite consciously, was to explore the missionary impulse.

    Will Sargent said:
    I believe that the alien is an (amazingly lost) offshoot of the Maximum Fun-Fun Ultra Super Happy People.

    Oooh. See how elegantly all these disparate threads end up coming together?

    Keippernicus said:
    You can’t put a footnote like “Don’t Ask” and expect that shit to fly. I want details, gruesome and appalling as you can make them.

    Get used to disappointment.

    keanani said:
    So now there is going to be a “The Thing” prequel filmed in Canada this coming March 2010?

    There is. And it is filming right here in Toronto. In fact, I pass a couple of studio lots on my morning runs; perhaps the lawyers from Universal will come out from their warm offices and hand me the lawsuit in person!

    Chuk said:
    I am surprised that there is a market for a Fourth Best of the Year collection. I could see maybe going to a Second Best to read after you read Best of the Year, but reading the fourth best seems a bit much.

    The fourth is an audiobook, though. Different format

    Kate Baker said:
    Drinks are on me next con.

    Only if the next con takes place outside the US. You may have heard about my border problems…

    MissC said:

    After the car-crash my life rapidly became last year, losing most of my family within months of each other, I lost interest in my own writing — because my vivid imagination isn’t always a friend in times of need, to put it mildly.
    But by putting together that stunningly beautiful story, and adding a new dimension to one of my favourite movies, you’ve reignited that interest by showing me just what can be achieved, and helped me dare to start dreaming again of alien wonders, human monsters, and how this world could look through different eyes.
    Thank you very, VERY much — and of course to Clarkesworld as well, and Wil Wheaton, where I happened across the link in the first place.
    There are freaks and demons moving in my mind, and I’m finally ready again to hear their story.

    Wow.

    I am sorry for the shitstorm you’ve gone through. I am glad that this story helped lift you out of it in some small way. It’s a payoff far beyond what anyone can reasonably expect from a short story about shapeshifting monsters. I will not forget this lesson.

    Thank you.

  26. Interesting article and yet another example of how scifi sometimes seems to predict the future (when it’s really just noticing and running with memes for fun), hence the term speculative fiction.

    (NOTE: Link has a pop-up {Oh, the irony!} so don’t click it unless you think I made up the article).

    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/infotech/internet/Hackers-create-tremors-online-by-poisoning-Haiti-quake-searches/articleshow/5450585.cms

    ECONOMIC TIMES
    Hackers create tremors online by ‘poisoning’ Haiti quake searches

    NEW DELHI: With news of the earthquake in the Caribbean island of Haiti flooding cyberspace, hackers across the world are making the most of it.
    Hacking

    PICTURE OF KEYBOARD
    After phishing, it’s vishing, SMSishing
    Beware, simple passwords are a big risk
    Safety tips to keep hackers away
    Is your computer infected?

    Web searches on the recent earthquake in Haiti are now leading to rogue antivirus programs, namely Black Hat Search Engine poisoning attacks.

    Websense Security Labs on Thursday discovered that searches on terms related to the recent earthquake may actually lead to downloads of trojans on your computer. Similarly, search results for Avatar, the second biggest Hollywood blockbuster film, is also returning malicious results. Poisoning of a search engine refers to inserting popular but unrelated keywords in the web page code, which pushes the site higher on the Google or Bing search page, thus making it more popular and revenue generating.

    The operation, referred to as Black Hat Search Engine Optimisation, also involves linking fake web pages to one another to increasing a site’s popularity. In contrast, White Hat SEO pushes up search results of a genuine site by optimising it, in similar ways. All large brands on the internet use White Hat SEO to gain market share on the Net.

    “People around the world are searching the internet to find the latest updates on the earthquake, wanting to know how to make charitable donations and trying to discover the extent of the calamity through photos or videos. Unfortunately, hackers use major crises and events like this to spread their malicious code,” says a Websense security analyst.

    Last year hackers capitalised on the news related to deaths of pop star Michael Jackson and Hollywood actress Brittany Murphy to embed malware URLs with keywords related to the celebrities.

    Google bombing, a term used for manipulating Google search results to create political humour, came into existence some years ago, when a search result on former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussain generated a fake error which said ‘no weapons of mass destruction found here’. But it’s only recently that Black Hat SEO has come to undermine genuine search results, even as hundreds of small IT companies across India are in the business of making sites popular on Google.

    Many sites banned in countries like China and UAE can also fool search engines by returning a different result, thus avoiding being banned. Sites related to the Dalai Lama, Falungong and some news sites are banned in China.

    “Google search engine works on the page rank algorithm. It defines the importance of the page with reference to the number of links or clicks it gets. Hackers can work around the algorithms to create false and cyclical links among themselves to push the page rank higher and thus get more ad revenue,” says Vikas Desai, lead tech consultant at RSA Security.

    The search algorithms crawl on the metadata (keywords in HTML, the language used to design web pages). Though Google crawlers keep filtering irrelevant pages on a regular basis, the fake page will still appear on top in web search for a few hours or days, by which time they can get lakhs of visitors. Hackers also create link farms, a host of web links which link to each other thus fooling the search engine.

    A Websense Security analyst advises internet users to examine search engine matches before clicking a URL. “If the URL is not a well-known web site, perform some simple checks before clicking, such as consulting sites like Alexa rankings to check if the domain name is suspicious,” he says.

    Many hackers also use thesaurus scripts to duplicate articles and publish them on their own site, thus bypassing the copyright law. Many web programs are also available online which can create random comments on a site, thus pushing its popularity higher.

    Spam blogs, called splogs, can also be created to link to a web site to make it more popular.

  27. In the “ain’t it grand” category, a new species of cockroach discovered by high school students in the City-That-Never-Sweeps:

    http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/01/big_apple_cockroaches_new_spec.php

    They also found mislabeled food items in stores using the same method: DNA barcoding. When I was in high school, we turned sugar into starch. Wow…

  28. PS: I know this is probably the wrong thread for this, but wanted to make clear: I was not the person who nominated Dr. Watts for any of those things, the climate change thing, The Things, etc. though under different circumstances I could see myself doing that.

    I say this because I keep getting emails from people thanking me for an email that I never sent. For example, a week ago, I got one from Sen. Schumer thanking me for my email saying I opposed healthcare reform. Not only do I support healthcare reform, I never sent a letter saying either way.

    Today it was an automated email from some lady at Macy’s saying she was out of the office but would get back to me at some point when she returned. Definitely genuine. But I never emailed her. I have to wonder what the content of the email was.

    On a completely unrelated topic, who the fuck is J. M. Grinder and why haven’t we seen him online?

    On a yet another unrelated topic, I’m beginning to study up on harassment lawsuits. An attorney in LA has even started following me on Twitter, though I cannot figure out why since I’ve never heard of him.

  29. “On a completely unrelated topic, who the fuck is J. M. Grinder and why haven’t we seen him online?”

    You’re not seeing him online because he’s been disemvowelled or banned outright pretty much every place he’s posted. An exception to this would be the comments sections of certain stories in the Port Huron Times Herald. He also has a blog. Last time I checked it only had three entries (two about me) and one follower, although I’m sure both those numbers have gone up in the past month or so.

    As to who he is, I really don’t know. And I’ll confess to being curious; for something that has absolutely nothing to do with him, involving people he does not know and has presumably never even met, he seems to be taking this whole Squidgate thing very personally. His postings are apoplectic to the point of hysteria sometimes. I do not know why. Perhaps a Canadian science-fiction writer buggered him with a broomstoick when he was very small.

  30. Perhaps a Canadian science-fiction writer buggered him with a broomstoick when he was very small.

    It does sound personal, that degree of animus.

  31. I’m a bit late to this but … what a stunner of a story! So many things woven in there, I’m floored. Many thanks.

    Btw I’m in the probably tiny minority of readers who has not yet seen the movie, and (maybe surprisingly) the story still works a treat. In fact it’s doubleplusgood to have to construct the human point of view yourself while reading – usually in humans-as-aliens stories there is so much handholding of the reader that the story loses its alienating impact.

  32. “It does sound personal, that degree of animus.”

    Personal? Or professional?

  33. @aleth:
    I’ve just learned that my homage may inadvertently end up damaging the enjoyment of the original movie among those who, like you, haven’t seen it yet. I forced leona to watch it over the weekend, after she’d read the story — and she didn’t like it much. I think the story changed her search image, so she was expecting butterscotch sauce and got gravy instead. Not that there’s anything wrong with the taste of gravy, but when you;re expecting butterscotch sauce the disconnect kind of fucks with your enjoyment.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. Because there’s no other reason why anyone wouldn’t like “The Thing”.


    @Chris in NY: “Personal? Or professional?”

    I dunno. That presupposes these bozos have enough smarts to create a blog; but in fact, while inventing their reports they found themselves utterly stymied by the challenge of spelling the word “swerve” without help. True story.

  34. she was expecting butterscotch sauce and got gravy instead.

    The gravy metaphor is both bizarre and correct, because the movie is a completely male endeavor – norwegians, dogs, cigars, flamethrowers – and gravy is male. I would like to suggest maybe leona wouldn’t have liked it anyway, unless she already liked those bang-bang Schwarzenegger action flicks, because on one level, Kurt Russell here is just a Dirk Squarejaw, Lars Deadlift, Slab Chunkman type in a less expensive kill-the-alien movie. It has another level or two, but that is the primary one. Not all chicks dig those.

    @Chris in NY: “Personal? Or professional?”.

    Personal. You don’t get that hysterically angry unless it’s personal.

  35. “Personal. You don’t get that hysterically angry unless it’s personal.”

    That’s true. And yet they aren’t mutually exclusive either. ;)

  36. Greetings (again)!

    Squidgate, I wish you all the best, just sounds like a case of homo shitheadius rampant, you doubtless know they make up a large part of our species, and so many of them only really bloom when given unaccountability, power, and a gun.

    You didn’t think your story would inspire a frozen grief-stricken silly old heart that had just been fucked up by beaucoup bereavements? You just thought you were typing ze werdz? Fair one – but it did. ‘Coz I luv me sci-fi! Thanks! – again.

    …Shit – looking at these comments, maybe the thing that survived the freezing was my alien rapist heart… eeek!

    Hljóðlegur – what ARE you on about?

    “because the movie is a completely male endeavor – norwegians, dogs, cigars, flamethrowers…”

    Yes, there are no women in Norway at all, or owning dogs, and there are no female dogs (my head hurts) – and Ellen Ripley used a tampon to fight off Ridley-Scott’s Alien! Or maybe some aromatherapy, or cous-cous?

    And women, we can’t ever transpose ourselves into the HUMAN experience shown there, since there were no childbirthing scenes, no needlework – I mean let’s just define ourselves as the “other” that the patriarchal culture has long made us, and deny anything without chicks in! FFS!

    Imagine that level of seperatism in a male?

    Saying that women can never grasp a mainly male movie is – well, condemning us ladygals for a start, to never being understood by any male, and generally issuing an apartheid notice for the genders. AND sexes.

    If that movie had been entirely female cast and crew, and a male had been as dismissive as you are – how would that make you feel?

    ” – and gravy is male”

    Oh – no…. ouch… is there a name for that moment when, you go to make a reasoned argument with someone online – and then realise they’re barking?!

    (Or a troll – lol!)

    Gravy is male. Oh yes. It bastes chickens, who are either hens or cocks, and therefore… oh, I give up!

    For whatever it’s worth, me, my feminist mum and gay uncle (who are now deceased, among others, as posted – not relevant but still…) all just LOVED that movie – it’s people, ffs, doing their best, in a shitty situation.

    You can do better in the cultural mainstream? Go do it.

    And if you put women in and some guy comes long and says it’s not relevant to him, then you’ll have even more grist for your victimised mill.

    “Gravy is male.” FFS! No wonder people (many of whom have wombs) laugh at feminists…

    (Also, Kurt’s HOT in that movie – dismiss this fact at your peril, oh maniac gravy-hatress! LOL)

  37. Okay, be cool, MissC. Let me explain.

    My sense of The Thing, the movie with Kurt “Dirk Squarejaw” Russell, is fundamentally different from the Alien franchise. While being in the traditionally male genres of horror and space westerns, Alien is a movie specifically about the female principle. Ever heard that joke, “What’s Alien really about?” Answer: “It’s about a six foot woman with a flamethrower!”

    It is. Alien(s) is about females fighting other females. The protagonist is female, the child she saves is female, the head monster is female, the only human survivor from the Nostromo is female. The alien mother is just trying to reproduce. The protagonist is motivated by motherhood feelings toward the blond little girl, and her moments of frenzied fighting are all about maternal instincts. In the 3rd movie, she is going to be the mother of another mother alien.

    It’s not bad; I think it’s a credit to Cameron that he took the time to do a sci fi about femalness.

    The default in sci fi is male, male, male. Whether it’s good, artistically or esthetically, I can’t say, but it’s male. And the movie The Thing is male, even though the Thing itself is per force genderless. (Made the reading of Peter’s story by a woman just fascinating, I thought.) It’s male-oriented, the way the movie Predator was – about, by, and for men.

    The human characters in The Thing are all literally male, making the entire human interaction universe here male. Which is associated with maleness more – dogs or cats? Dogs. Not saying it’s right, but that association exists in our culture. The SImpsons does not have a Crazy Old Dog Lady, for instance, she’s a Cat Lady.

    And I never said No Woman Can Like “The Thing,” I said that not all women dig action-flicks with male themes and mostly male characters. They don’t. In part because it is not marketed well to them.

    And I never said a female couldn’t grasp a “male” movie.

    Kurt Russell is a fine chunk of beefcake, I will grant you that. And beefcake can be a draw for female audience members. Also granted.

    Gravy, however, is male. I can’t waver on this. If I had to create a new grammar system with gendered articles, male or female, gravy would be masculine. Der Gravy. Le Gravy. Imagine Russell eating beef with gravy with a big fork and using a hunting knife to cut it – that would be a male scene.

  38. Actually, I remember reading an interview with Carpenter in which he stated he deliberately excluded all female elements (except for one brief glimpse of a ditzy blonde game-show contestant on a VHS tape) because he didn’t want the movie to contain any hints, symbolic or otherwise, of rebirth or the hope thereof. It was neither a mysogynistic choice nor alazy one, but an act of conscious nihilism.

    Which I, for one, thought was pretty cool.

  39. Okay, be cool, MissC. Let me explain.

    I’m being cool – just gobby. It’s a flaw! Can we argue about this, and still be cool? I hope so! ;)

    It is. Alien(s) is about females fighting other females. The protagonist is female, the child she saves is female, the head monster is female, the only human survivor from the Nostromo is female.

    Alien – the first movie, the iconic movie, with the Nostromo and so on – had no female child – just a chick trying to save her own arse (or, thorax, to be precise!) from unwanted forced insemination by a creature that physically outranks her, is more sneaky, and that would seize upon her first moment of weakness to insert itself into her flesh, for purely selfish motives.

    She’s opposed by an android male who sees things as literal profit and loss, and she is betrayed by “Mother” who has been pre-programmed – cf women forcibly genitally mutilated in Africa by their own mothers or the local matrons, who have already been conditioned, as in women are their (our) own best oppressors…

    She wins – and gets it killed in the vacuum of space…

    Metaphor, much?

    The alien mother is just trying to reproduce. The protagonist is motivated by motherhood feelings toward the blond little girl, and her moments of frenzied fighting are all about maternal instincts. In the 3rd movie, she is going to be the mother of another mother alien.

    It’s not bad; I think it’s a credit to Cameron that he took the time to do a sci fi about femalness.

    Wait a minute – are we talking Alien (Ridley Scott) or Aliens/The Thing (Cameron)?

    The default in sci fi is male, male, male.

    What have you been reading, viewing, making?!

    Leigh Brackett (have you seen how influential SHE is?), Ursula K leGuin, all the great female writers who have so much influence – no, it’s NOT.

    Female equality/feminism came of age right along with sci-fi, and we have been just about in there – notwithstanding maybe some ladies thought they can’t do this.

    But you reach a certain point whereby special pleading is disallowed, and you just have to break some jaws, IF (and it’s a BIG if) they get in your way.

    Sci-fi has no history of disallowing women in the last 20 years, does it?

    Whether it’s good, artistically or esthetically, I can’t say, but it’s male.

    The movie is HUMAN – this, I know and respect, is where we part company!

    This movie is about people in a situation – also, let’s get real, it is FIRMLY rooted in 1982, so to wish an excess of feminist thought on it 28 (has it BEEN that long?!) years on, is like seeing the Battles of Agincourt, The Somme, Thermopylae, and writing in some females in retrospectively… what – would women have made better killers?

    Nihilism – a movie entirely female – would it have been somehow MORE fluffy – less brutal, cowardly, and noble in turns?

    I think not – the only thing written out of that script was ephemeral BS, and had it been entirely female, it would not have ended differently.

    The movie is about a thing that is overly involved with the blood, the physical – and wants to make us all harmonius?

    The human characters in The Thing are all literally male, making the entire human interaction universe here male. Which is associated with maleness more – dogs or cats? Dogs. Not saying it’s right, but that association exists in our culture. The SImpsons does not have a Crazy Old Dog Lady, for instance, she’s a Cat Lady.

    Isn’t that a bit like, “if the cap fits, I’ll wear it”?!

    There are no Arctic cats – that environment favours dogs.

    You may be aware that female phsyiology favours cold, and starvation (because we have more fat, and slower metabolisms) while the desert favours the male – with his greater water level, and thicker skin…

    And I never said No Woman Can Like “The Thing,” I said that not all women dig action-flicks with male themes and mostly male characters. They don’t. In part because it is not marketed well to them.

    Cool! (No pun intended!)

    Gravy, however, is male. I can’t waver on this. If I had to create a new grammar system with gendered articles, male or female, gravy would be masculine. Der Gravy. Le Gravy. Imagine Russell eating beef with gravy with a big fork and using a hunting knife to cut it – that would be a male scene.

    Gravy is the lymph (fluid in between cells, the communicative, diffused, healing) fluids combined with the blood (fluid, nourishing), the fats (stored, “wisdom not knowledge” and also passive, as in not like muscles) and stirred (usually) with flour – ie the gently ground eggs of wheat, or other cereals!

    Get outta that one mate, and I WILL concede victory! ;-)

    Peace out, party on – and thanks for replying,

    Miss C x

  40. HljóðlegurI? You there? ;)

    Come, please post – I didn’t want to “win” this one – I wanted to learn, have fun… argue, larfz… gravy is the usurped fliuds, drawn by the flame/heat (male) from the inert body of the prey animal rendered passive by the consumer… c’mon lass, you can do better than that!!

    Or am I reading you wrong, and you just wanna… post… lol!

  41. Still here. I will reply tomorrow.

    Peace out,

    H

  42. unwanted forced insemination by a creature that physically outranks her, is more sneaky, and that would seize upon her first moment of weakness to insert itself into her flesh, for purely selfish motives.
    She’s opposed by an android male who sees things as literal profit and loss, and she is betrayed by “Mother” who has been pre-programmed

    You’re right, I was thinking of the Alieneses movies as one story arc. They blur for me.

    However, what you’re describing as a metaphor falls in line with my contention that the franchise is about femaleness, specifically about the female conundrum.

    Let’s say the alien, even though she’s an egg bearer, is metaphorically a penis, an implacably hostile inseminator. It’s reasonable to view her that way. After she inseminates you, you “give birth,’ In a violent painful way that involves ripping of your flesh. She is a parasite on you. That could be metaphorically the human birth process, only with guaranteed death. Human birth only has a 2% chance of causing maternal death with no medical intervention, but it involves screaming pain and some ripping of the flesh. Scary.

    If we assume that, and add your observations about the factors arrayed against Ripley, wouldn’t you say this is about how a female, even with everything in her claustrophobic universe trying to kill and oppress her, can triumph with grit and her native wit? She survives Mother, the cold male robot, her idiot male comrades, and vanquishes the raping penis. That has nothing to do with the usual male shoot-em-up special-destiny male plot of most adventure movies.

    Female equality/feminism came of age right along with sci-fi, and we have been just about in there – notwithstanding maybe some ladies thought they can’t do this.

    I didn’t say that the default in sci fi being male was a good idea, but if you look at sci fi – not fantasy, if you leave out works primarily about dragons and princesses – it is by and for men and boys. The female characters are support staff, the under-appreciated Lt Uhuras. Maybe it has gotten better in the last 20 years, I don’t know, but it will take a long time to over-balance the historical canon of work where women are scenery in a story of the hero’s struggle.

    Leigh Brackett a fave of yours?

    [The Thing] is HUMAN – this, I know and respect, is where we part company!
    This movie is about people in a situation – also, let’s get real, it is FIRMLY rooted in 1982, so to wish an excess of feminist thought on it

    Men are human, aren’t they? A story about them is per force human. And I am not faulting it for containing no feminist content, i am noting that instead of including female characters as window dressing or objects or symbols, they just cut out the femaleness altogether, making the story more intense and pared back.

    I disagree that the story would have ended the same, or at least meant the same thing, if all the characters were women. Run the actions of all the characters through your head, but substitute women in. Imagine Kurt Russell’s role done by Goldie Hawn. You don’t have to answer me, but just consider: Does it *mean* the same thing now? Does it have the same feel?

    There are no Arctic cats – that environment favours dogs.

    I have to call bull here. There are cold weather felines such as the snow leopard, and the movie could have been arranged, if we wanted to use house cats, to have them indoors.

    Domestic dogs on the average cannot survive outdoor living at the poles, either. Humans who adapted to arctic conditions gradually bred dogs to live outdoors in horrendously cold weather. That’s why you see malamutes pulling sleds and not dachshunds – the Malamute natives bred them to survive when it’s 70 below. You could breed cats to live in the arctic.

    Gravy is the lymph (fluid in between cells, the communicative, diffused, healing) fluids combined with the blood (fluid, nourishing), the fats

    I was being globalist and fanciful about the gravy, but okay – let’s make gravy.

    You start with fat. Sausage fat (sausage = penis) from a hog you personally butchered, whose flesh you personally ground and stuffed into its own intestine, thereby exerting your own personal dominance over nature and the wily swine in particular. The mighty hunter has earned a hearty breakfast.

    Fry sausage in a skillet, rendering the fat. Remove sausage. Stir in small batches of flour of grain, cereal, or root, browning it. Growl while you smell the mouth-watering odor of nature yielding up its substance to you. Scratch your balls with your free hand. Finish browning all the flour, then stir gradually the milk, milk from your personal herd of female bovine slaves, who gladly let you squeeze that from their teats.

    As the gravy begins to thicken, crumble the delicious sausage back in, and spread over toasted white bread, bread you toasted by sticking a fork in it and holding it over the burner. None of that effete electric toaster action for you.

    Load up a giant plate of the bread, smothered in the sausage gravy, add lots of pepper, and eat while grunting with satisfaction, in between swigs of burning-hot black coffee from a big grubby mug.

    QED.

    ;)

  43. Glad I didn’t annoy you, reading through my post I feared I was being a dick slightly there (ie breaking Wheaton’s First Law) – but you’ve got some excellent (and fun – the gravy thing!) points there, and I bow down to your vision of a ball-scratching chef (and isn’t it weird how many celeb chefs ARE male?!).

    But now I’m glad I posted my daftness, coz your reply right made me lol! ;)

    Peace out, party on – and go easy on the gravy! (Though I would challenge that baked beans are more male… small, lumpy bits of genesis in a sticky sauce, often lumpy or slightly misshapen – and they make you fart like a trooper?)