July 2003 posts

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Book Melee, revived: Stars My Destination -- mamcu, replying to Vickie's excellent Tiger! Tiger!, 08:25:46 07/01/03 Tue

Great post, Vickie. I thought that was where the book was going--it really worked for the first 4/5's of the book. But the ending, which isn't so much redemption as rebirth, really gets away from this, to me. Gully wants to pay for his sins? He is content now back where he started? This doesn't fit with the mysterious beyond-good-and-evil that Blake envisions. The mystic visions of the visits to the stars maybedoes work with the Blake thing, though.

[> Re: Book Melee, revived: Stars My Destination -- Rendyl, 08:32:06 07/01/03 Tue

Could Vicki or someone who copied it repost her message? It must have archived over the night and I would love to read it.


[> [> Doesn't need to be reposted, Rendyl -- KdS, 08:49:34 07/01/03 Tue

If you look in the top-right hand corner of the screen, you'll see Archives: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7

The numbers are links to seven pages of recently archived topics. The topic should be in the first or second page. Once topics are in those archived pages they can still be read, but not written to.

[> [> Link to Vickie's post -- mamcu, 10:37:42 07/01/03 Tue


[> [> [> Re: quick thank you to KdS and mamcu - -- Rendyl, 13:05:53 07/01/03 Tue

before the Voy demon pulls his next evil trick and some new thing keeps me from the board. It just is not my Voy-day.


[> Have to disagree with Vickie on one point. -- CW, 09:13:18 07/01/03 Tue

Giving PyrE to humankind is not necessarily "good" in this scenario. Indeed, it is handing a baby (or a thug) a lighted match in a room full of open gas cans (insert your own highly inflammable scenario here). However, it may be the right sort of opposition for humankind's spiritual growth.

Given the time when the book was written I'd guess that, while Blake's work was certainly being used as a metaphor, Bester was pointing directly toward the then recent explosion by the Soviet Union of their first hydrogen bomb. Concidering the fear induced all over the world by that event, you have to see that Bester is very upbeat about it. So yes, I think you do have to say that Bester thinks that giving PyrE to the world was a 'good' idea, even apart from spiritual growth. Considering the US was not that far past a war with Japan which heavily used suicidal tactics to make up for numerical inferiority, and with the Soviet Union for all intents and purposes using them to make up for technical inferiority in the same war, it was just as controversial a position then as it would be now.

[> [> Agree with CW on this point. In addition... -- dub ;o), 10:11:01 07/01/03 Tue

There's also a pro-socialist sort of message in the fact that Gully Foyle, Total Loser, turns out to be the person blessed with the talent to jaunte thousands of miles through space. That talent presumably has nothing to do with his redesigning himself to pass as upper class. It was inborn. Indeed, his earlier ability to teach himself how to operate various unknown and/or disabled craft by reading about them indicates a fairly high level intelligence to begin with. Bester seems to be saying that having been born in to the working class guaranteed that these skills and talents of Gully's would remain undiscovered, unexplored, and undeveloped had he not been thrust into such bizarre and life-threatening circumstances.

Don't get me wrong, no way am I a Gully Booster, but the sensibility behind these aspects of the character is attractive, at least to me.

dub ;o)

[> [> I'm confused -- Vickie, 10:11:54 07/01/03 Tue

CW, how is this a disagreement? I took a literary approach to the book, you took an historical/topical one. Both are potentially valid. Doesn't have to be opposition, unless we are endeavoring to further one another's spiritual growth. ;-)

Wait a sec, maybe it is a disagreement.

Any case, you're certainly right that Bester appears to be disturbingly positive about the nuclear threat of his time. We still don't know if he was correct, but we certainly do know that it was at least in part the nuclear threat that eventually forced the "superpowers" to start talking and move their itchy little fingers further from the nasty red buttons.

[> [> [> Re: I'm confused -- CW, 10:37:18 07/01/03 Tue

I just got the feeling you thought Bester wasn't thinking it was a good thing. You and I do seem to agree about the way the story plays now.

It's just that fear over nuclear war was such a huge topic then that I think maybe in this case it isn't telling the whole story if we ignore it. Normally I don't go in for this kind of critcism, but I doubt Bester could have written the story at all without the real world background.

[> Re: Book Melee, revived: Stars My Destination -- fresne, 09:23:08 07/01/03 Tue

Yes, gone too swift, but thanks for pointing out the well, Tiger tattoo quality to Foyle.

Now, I'm going to take a stand and say I liked the book. The end just blows me away. It's the end of 2001 as commented, but umm - I liked it. Foyle really is amoral, un-nice, un-good, a negation in space. His path a transformation, not a redemption. He isn't the sacrificed lamb. He is the tyger that burns in a pyre.

He is the beast, raging. Terrible. That's why upon seeing his true aspect, whispered love turns away. The lines in relief that in their anger, show his nature. The internal written upon his skin.

Contrasted to this purely mental ability. To jaunt the stars. To be. To go. To dream.

That in the end, he is not dead, but dreaming. We never see him awake to his final self. Merely witness the conflagration that consumes him.

Although, given the whole anti-hero theme, I'm halfway expecting us to read The Collector after the Winter's Tale. Someone, suggest something shiny, please.

[> [> Gully and the Count of Monte Christo? -- mamcu, 10:48:33 07/01/03 Tue

Not an original idea with me--just came across it googling around and found that lots of people make the comparison. I haven't read CMC in years, but as well as I can recall, it's the story of a man who is obsessed with revenge but transcends it in the end.

[> [> [> I think Bester was the first to make the comparison . . . -- d'Herblay, 15:27:19 07/01/03 Tue

. . . considering that he consciously based The Stars My Destination on The Count of Monte Cristo.

This might shed some light on why I find myself of such a different opinion from the posters in the original melee thread (I haven't gotten caught up with this revivification): I am (nominally) a Dumasian, but Count is my least favorite of the novels of his I've read, and I think Stars is loads better! The complaints I've read about Foyle's transformation coming upon the reader without development seem justified, but piddling compared to the way Dantes, with blood in his eye and his end in sight, just chucks the whole revenge thing (I think Dumas actually makes reference to Christ in Dantes's redemption). And while Foyle may be completely amoral and inhumane, I wasn't convinced that Dantes, once he became the Count, was even human (in a way, he's closer to Grennouille than to Foyle). (In fact, and to connect the books at hand with the nominal subject of the board, in the Opera scene, the crowd whispers that the Count is really a vampire, and one can see that they do so with some justification.)

There's nothing in The Count of Monte Cristo which has the power and majesty of Foyle's hortative to the human race: "Learn to live together or die trying!" And there's nothing to match Foyle's final jaunte through space. Plus, The Stars My Destination is about a fifth as long as The Count of Monte Cristo, which is not to be sniffed at.

Still, I think I'll go back to claiming that The Demolished Man is my favorite Bester novel. But it would never cross my mind to list The Count of Monte Cristo as any sort of favorite.

[> [> [> [> A Tyger by the Tale -- mamcu, 17:29:44 07/01/03 Tue

to read Demolished Man. So thanks for this.

I keep thinking though that there's some way of understanding Foyle's abrupt change near the end as something purposeful on the part of Bester, and meaningful. Was hoping the CMC reference would help, but I don't think Christ is it.

Is it evolution, or is that putting too literal a spin on the 2001 connection?

Well, I asked for Blake when we read Lewis, and now I've got him, and don't know what to do with him. Can't quite let go!

I can't say why but I am thinking of Pynchon when I'm trying to understand what happens to Foyle. He seems not to be redeemed in the conventional moral sense but to move into another way of understanding the universe. I have usually read endings like this one with joy but without trying to verbalize the meaning, but now I'd like to try to say what happened when he goes to the stars and returns to his little womblike pod. Clearly Moira knows.

[> Re: Book Melee, revived: Stars My Destination -- Arethusa, 09:53:19 07/01/03 Tue

What I got from Tyger, Tyger was wonder that the good and loving God who made us all also made the terrible, deadly tiger. Whe can't begin to fanthom his reasons why, but since it was made by God there must be a reason.

And there must be a reason for Gully Foyle, too. I think his arc was an example of what all men can do. No matter who you are, you have the ability and responsibility to make yourself into an adult person. Ability, if you work hard. Responsibility, if you want a livable society for yourself. With the arrival of immediate, world-wide destruction, we have to start growing up, or our childishness will destroy us all. Foyle's personal redemption become immaterial next to the possiblity of enormous growth for all mankind. And every one of us deserves the right to make our own choices, unfiltered through the fears and ambitions of our leaders. We're not stupid, and we're not children. Let us decide for ourselves how we will make the choices that we are forced to live with.

I love that people keep finding out we are capable of so much more than we thought. Even if we can never travel across time and space with our minds, we can travel outside ourselves and improve ourselves. So how do we do that? Not through religion or science, which as institutions that exist for their own sake have become perversions of their helpful beginnings. (Not saying that's true, just that seems to be true in the book.) "Profit and loss, sin and forgiveness, idealism and realism," Foyle smiled. "You're all so sure, so simple, so single-minded. I'm the only one in doubt." All are things we cling to to make sense of our confusing world. "Don't ask about it. Live it," Presteign's robot tell him. The fact that we're here at all is a freakish twist of fate, a convergence of innumerable circumstances. Live, learn, teach and grow. What else is there worth doing?

I agree with what posters are saying about women in Bester's society. If they can jaunt, they will have freedom, just like everyone else. He sees the women almost purely through their relationships with men, which is so tiresome and '50s. But than, my entire response to the novel is filtered through my own perceptions, so who can blame him?

I really liked the book.

[> [> Am I the only one who had trouble reading Jiz's motivations? -- Rob, 09:59:07 07/01/03 Tue

Honestly, I just did not understand her as a character. One moment, she seemed to be on Gully's side, next moment she wasn't. I may just be incredibly dense, but can anyone explain to me why she turned on him so vehemently after seeing his tattooed face, so much so that she hated him even after they were removed? But then at times still seemed to like him? Or not? See, I'm very confused. The characterization of Jiz, which I see as downright uneven, is one of the major reasons I had trouble getting through the book.


[> [> [> Re: Am I the only one who had trouble reading Jiz's motivations? -- dub ;o), 10:20:06 07/01/03 Tue

None of the women are portrayed particularly realistically as human beings, and Jiz is no exception. In fact, just about everybody falls in love immediately with whomever they meet next, and quite fortuitously that person falls in love with them, too.

Maybe Jiz didn't maintain her hatred of Gully because she didn't have time to feel his abandonment and impending death the way Gully did after Vorga and the Presteign Princess left him to die. Jiz was rescued almost immediately, and promptly fell in love with her rescuer. I'm not gonna put too much effort into investigating or defending the motives of what are essentially two-dimensional (or even one-dimensional) female characters. I had to just let all that go in order to get through the book.

;o ) (Does that help at all?)

[> [> [> [> Dimension deficient characters and gender issues: a defense -- LonesomeSundown, 18:44:15 07/01/03 Tue

It's not just the women who are unrealistic. All the men are dimensionally challenged too, so I don't think we can accuse Bester of gender bias there. This isn't a bash, I loved the book. There is nothing subtle about any of the characters or the story. This works very well with Foyle, and makes him a compelling character, and, IMO, gives the book much of its power. But, as many posters have noted, it makes it diffcult to understand the motivations of other characters.

As for the question of the treatment of women, I strongly disagree with the contention that women in the story are not empowered. The three female characters, Robin, Jiz and Olivia Presteign, are all strong women.

Robin is scared of Foyle, but she is not cowed down. She is socially successful and economically independent. She is resourceful and managed to stay on Earth during the war without giving away the fact that she is from the Outer Planets. One more thing: she is black. I would say it was quite progressive of Bester to write a positive female black character in a book aimed at the mass market in the 50's.

Jiz is a rebel against the rules of society, also well educated and highly intelligent. Nice coincidence that her surname is McQueen. While her character is confusing, she never comes across as weak. She holds her own quite well against Foyle. Dagenham never looks down upon her. She is the only character with a moral compass.She wants Foyle to help the Scientific People repair the damage his escape caused. She also wants him to destroy the PyrE to save the world.

Olivia Presteign at first seems to be weak, both because she is blind and also because of women's place in society. But then we find out that she actually is actually a pirate queen, strong and ruthless.

Oh, and don't forget Lindsey Joyce, the Skoptsic ex-captain of the Vorga. If people wrote fanfic about this book, this character would be a goldmine.

The confusion with women's roles in the book comes from Bester's pronouncements. He says that society became more conservative as a result of jaunting and, at least among the wealthy, women's freedoms were restricted. Jiz McQueen says "There's nothing for us to do ... nothing respectable. No jobs, no careers." But the lives of the characters tell a different story. This is clearly contradicted by both Robin and Lindsey's careers. Olivia herslef must have had some men under her command.


[> [> [> It's a poser. -- Arethusa, 11:09:30 07/01/03 Tue

She befriends him, they escape, they make love. But there's no real reason for her radical change in behavior. She turned on him, calling him a ghoul, lecher,and liar-a cancer, eating him up from inside. Because they made love and she realized all her cared about was revenge, that there was nothing inside for her? It doesn't make sense, and her behavior, as well as the behavior of all the women in the book, is a big flaw.

[> [> [> [> Thanks, guys. I'm just glad I'm not the only one who noticed this. -- Rob, 12:43:06 07/01/03 Tue

I was worried there might be some "D'oh!" moment of clarity about her character that I might have missed. But it seems like my perplexedness was well-warranted. ;o)


[> [> [> [> [> Bester, clearly not a fan of female empowerment! -- Sara, having no intention of hiding in a jaunte proof maze, 17:00:55 07/01/03 Tue

[> [> [> [> OT to Arethusa -- Rahael, 03:58:38 07/02/03 Wed

I missed answering your reply to me about anger and power in the femininity/masculinity thread.

I identified so completely with your experience. Also, whenever the physical differences between men and women are extrapolated upon to moral qualities, I instantly find myself excluded from being a 'woman'. Which is a strange place to find myself really, because I simultaneously saw that the large family I grew up in were simutaneously very much women, and yet, Not-Women.

Also, the sinews of power were very much laid bare and naked in the community. Men and women with guns pretty much had it. We didn't. Only we did, really. Otherwise, why were the army and terrorists so threatened by those who dissented, without brute force to back them up? Why did they need to eliminate those who never allowed their voices to be silenced?

Power is remaining silent while being tortured and not betraying. Power is being sneaky and lying and avoiding being tortured. Power is refusing to go out with a man who clutched his gun as he asked you out on a date. Power is refusing to kneel before a soldier, and power is the grandmother who tells her elderly husband, about to obey and kneel that he would do no such thing. Here's the chair. Sit down! Power is crying all night and being resolute and brave all day. Power is laughing and dancing despite the world turning to blood outside. Power is getting married quietly, secretly, to someone of a different social group while outside, murderous riots are happening between your community and his community. Power is retaining your humanity. Power is in the shaking hand clasp as the darkness descends. Power is in the anger that makes you think: I will never forget this, I will never forget you and I will never fall silent.

This is how I view power. This is how I connect to it. I am nurtured on tears and anger. I am the daughter of the land of the blood sodden earth.

[> [> [> [> [> Power is your paragraph on power. Extraordinary. Thank you. -- Tchaikovsky, 04:04:08 07/02/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> [> Thanks for your beautiful, terrible message -- mamcu, 16:59:24 07/02/03 Wed

I wish that could have been published as the headlines for major newspapers. Thank you.

[> [> [> [> [> O/T to Rahael -- Arethusa, 17:10:55 07/02/03 Wed

Your response to my archived post was archived before I could respond, lol.

Yes, I have a problem with ascribing moral qualities to different sexes too. (Unsuprisingly.) Those condescending words for a woman. Your're brave, moral, intelligent, honorable, trustworthy for a woman. (I don't think any of us escape mankind's tendency to catagorize and rank in a hierarchy, though.)

Do you think that power can only be given, not taken? Not power over bodies, just power over minds, which is where I think our real power lies. Conquer the mind, and the body will follow. So many people are convinced by others that they have no power.

Maybe we can change that. Maybe we can teach people that they're ready to be strong.

[> [> [> [> [> [> Ready to be strong (Losing Sunnydale, inheriting the world) -- Rahael, 17:12:31 07/02/03 Wed

Well, I have realised between the space of replying to you, and reading your reply to me and now replying to you again, that this is actually one of the more important ideas to my life. So I don't view the concept of power in a disinterested fashion (well, I guess I could, only I'd have to be writing a proper essay where I wasn't allowed to talk about myself. Imagine!)

I used to think of myself as someone entirely without this mysterious quantity. It was an all encompassing concept that really boiled down to a basic need - the ability to go away and read undisturbed by either adults telling me to do homework, the terrorists cutting the fricking electricity, the army deciding to bomb that day, or my sister determined to get me to play with her.

Other people had it. I didn't. And then I woke up to myself near the end of adolescence and realised that I had tons of it, and I had purposefully turned my back on it. It was easier to pretend I was invisible to the world than to think about interacting with human beings who might ask things of me. Easier to pretend I had no voice and no identity and no sense of self than deal with all the difficult emotions and determination and stubborness inside me. Easier to pretend to be powerless than to not face the real world I was living in. Easier to have no power than to realise I was responsible for anything.

(Yeah, I liked Season 6)

Even rejecting power was a very powerful (though destructive) thing I did. I really did shape a life which was both simultaneously unbearable, and convenient for me. But when I realised that I really couldn't bear it anymore, it was arrogance that saved me: someone like me, shouldn't be living like this. And so I redirected all the will power, determination and power that I had used to keep myself in my little prison to leaving it behind. Once I understood that I had always been powerful (because, god, no matter what the privations of war had been, I made myself unhappy and miserable and joyless during peacetime in a way that people with brute power had never succeeded in doing) - now, that's power.

(Funnily enough, I realised that during all the years that I imagined myself to be invisible - they were really very selfish years. It wasn't I who was invisible to me - - other human beings around me were invisible to me. So I was being all weak and helpless and enormously selfish all at once.)

So I don't really view power as having no negative sides to it. And everyone has their own personal perspective on power, what it means to them, how they see it. Because mine does seem to be a very personal one, and in my story, the denial of it was the most negative thing I did (as you say, people giving away their power).

Nowadays, I do give up all kinds of power. I go to work everyday (in contrast, I used to truant from school whenever I felt like it). I make commitments to other people rather than run away because its too inconvenient for me. I give up time, and cut into my reading and tv watching and surfing so I can help my cousin do her essay or listen to my other cousin practice his pieces. But my power does not appear to diminish because of it. Instead, I feel I am 'giving it away because I have so much'. When I kept it inside, I lived in this little box. Now, I live in world with a horizon and new places to go and see.

(Which goes back to what Plin and Fresne are discussing below.)

In a way, it is a fitting metaphor in Chosen, where we see slayers from around the world awakening and becoming aware of their power. Buffy gave up Sunnydale so they could all inherit the world.

[> Summer jobs with Gully Foyle (longish, hopefully!) -- Tchaikovsky, 03:28:08 07/02/03 Wed

Here it comes again:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Hello everyone. I've been reading both Melee threads with interest and agreeing with a lot of what has been said. Instead of doing the usual thing and firing off various lengthy ripostes, however, I've been scuppered by the inexplicable assumption of my work colleagues that I should do some work, and therefore have left various trains of thought undocumented. Here's a few points I picked up on the way through. Imagine me writing this through a few interruptions to enrol people on Yoga courses, and so forgive me for the disjointedness.

-I was grumpy that the title had been changed from Tiger, Tiger to The Stars My Destination because it gave away too much. When I heard Gully's chant at the beginning, with 'Nowhere my destination', it seemed a little too obvious that he must end up, transformed, back upon Nomad, (although the way in which he was back in Nomad was more ingenious than I was imagining). Also, as Neil Gaiman suggests, Tiger, Tiger is a more threatening and dangerous, yet beautiful title, reflecting the character of Gully. Luckily, Blake hasn't been overlooked by this discussion. Two particularly salient points have already been mentioned in excellent posts by Vickie and Arethusa. Vickie explained how 'good' and 'bad' are overtaken by ideas of positive and negative energy. Arethusa further mentioned that the brooding in the first stanza, over who made the tiger, serves to make us consider how we are related to this incredible creature, who made both the tiger and ourselves. How diverse. But some of the tiger's characteristics must therefore be embodied in us as well. Enter Gully Foyle- the human who inherits part of the spirit of the tiger.

Foyle's transformation back from tiger to fully enlightened human has been mentioned above- it's jerky and unnaturalistic. Bester's not really writing a straight fiction with objective correlative well intact. He's writing more thematically. Of course, some of the implicit assumptions as a result of this range from irritating to downright angry-making; the careless jettisoning of women, the way some of the characters melt into each other, the hopeless attempts at second guessing the culture of the future. And yet there's the opposite transformation going on at the start again- when Foyle goes from human to tiger. I would suggest that despite the Merits: NONE Prospects:NONE on his records, Foyle probably developed extreme economy of language, and the brightly burning savagery of his animalistic life (bred out of an inhuman experience on his own in 'Nomad') and was previously just another gutter-tongue speaking prole (of course, style of language develops thought in this novel, which is deeply troubling for me). So the journey from man to tiger is threefold.

1) The complete quarantine for months upon Nomad

2) Vorga. The ship's passing crystallises all the dull unfocussed, almost unused energy that has been directed at survival, and directs it to the one ship. Vorga, ironically, saves Foyle as well as almost damning him. He becomes obsessive, and hauls himself out of his half-death, but also fixates so strongly on death that I half-expected a Macbethian tragedy, (although the title dissuaded me from this idea- humph).

3)The 'Frames thy fearful symmetry' line needs to happen- and it does, powerfully. The tatooing gives him the tiger pattern, but the metaphor is deepened after the tattoo is apparently removed. Instead, whenever the tigerish aspects of his character assert themselves, it appears- a memory of the tattoo. This means that the symbol is not just an enforced, painted tiger-skin from the crazy science pagans, (a brilliant idea), but something which comes form inside Foyle. From this-->point we try to see Foyle shed his tiger-skin- to become so rigidly in control of his emotions that he will rarely if ever show his Inner Tiger. Ultimately, the person most likely to bring it out shares both of his most fiery emotions- love for the Ice Queen, and hatred for Vorga giving the order to pass him by. Presteign (Olivia) is the apotheosis of Foyle's temptations, and she makes him realise that what he is striving for isn't quite what he needs- or what the world needs. He finds that he doesn't need to kill her- but also that his ultimate decision isn't to settle down and marry her. He re-defines his search.

And many of the people in the old world are all about subjugating emotions. Presteign (no first name, impersonal, unemotional), Sheffield, Dagenham, who all operate based on simplistic jaded notions of the world- who are not confused and passionate, like Foyle realises he must be. As Fourmyle, Foyle performs the circus trick-- he is more in control than anyone. Yet he experiences a disillusionment. For every appearance of Fourmyle at a suave party, there's the visitation of Foyle burning, consumed by the emotion that he has channelled into one crazy Ahab-ian monomania. Releasing this- realising that life is hard and messy and confusion is the best approach, the least complacent, the most creative and honest- is what he realises.

Like fresne, despite all its flaws, I loved the end. I was transfiexed by the brilliant solution- giving pyrE to everyone. 'Are you ready to be strong?'. Everyone has the ability to murder and create. It's a beautiful act. Hidden away from the supremicist world where those who hide their true selves and their true ambitions are most successful, comes a solution more communal than communist. And finally, Foyle can become the collective consciousness, both the Tiger and the Man, and in every point in the universe- allowing people to reconcile both sides, not suppress the dangerousbeautifulfearful creativity- the Tigerishness.

-I loved jaunting.

-Note how the stars in Blake's poem 'threw down their spears/And watered heaven with their tears'. This is where Foyle is heading- his destination is honest emotion, and empowerment- the spears coupled rhymingly with the tears. The lamb and the tiger. The emotion and the conscience.

-If only we could have had the woman and the man.


[> [> Excellent stuff, thanks -- Rahael, 03:35:36 07/02/03 Wed

[> Thread preservation -- d'Herblay, 16:53:20 07/02/03 Wed

[> [> Preservation? Looks like resuscitation -- mamcu (wondering how you did that), 16:55:38 07/02/03 Wed

[> [> [> Masq shared the power with him! -- O'Cailleagh, 06:24:45 07/03/03 Thu

Girls Just Wanna Have Guns -- HonorH, 09:26:57 07/01/03 Tue

Hey, guys. I was sent this link by the estimable Miss Selena this morning, and I thought you'd all be interested. It's kept on-topic by a nice little surprise at the end: The Boston Globe Online: Girls Just Wanna Have Guns.

[> A few random thoughts (making sure this doesn't get archived) -- Doug, 10:32:46 07/01/03 Tue

In alot of the action movies that come out these days it seems that the female characters are major ass-kickers.

This is not an issue at all.

I wanted to make that clear before my post because otherwise this could be much more easily misunderstood. Probably one of my favorite female characters was Arilyn Moonblade from Elaine Cunningham's books. Arilyn was an asskicke, even without her sword, but Cunningham managed to make her formidable without going the usual route of female fantasy characters; she was not treated as a sex object, at least not as far as I could tell. Most of the covers of the book were done extremely well, not stooping to the depths that the covers of books like Azure Bonds did. (famous for it's presentation of cleavage-mail armor)

But nowadays it seems like to be a strong female character you've got to be an underwear model with kung-fu. Women have moved from predominantly support roles to front line roles, there is nothing wrong with that. Likewise, people want female characters who can be sexual, that's ok to. But the specific combination that is increasingly prevalent these days is pretty toxic. Women can be tough and be sexual, but both the toughness and sexuality in many modern offerings is pretty much a sham. The sexualized action of Charlie's Angels is pretty pathetic to my eyes. I tend to find that alot of male characters suffer as a result as well; I truly miss the days of Danilo Thann (Arilyn's companion); a male character who could play traditionally female roles of helpmate/trickster/seducer but like Arilyn still maintain integrity as a character.

Just my $0.02 Canadian

[> [> violent+sexual=kinky? -- mamcu, 17:36:55 07/01/03 Tue

Totally agree with these analyses, but is there room for Faith? Can't a woman really be into violence and into sex, like men are? Not that many of either gender are, but can't it be an option for both?

Which is a lot different from saying that it's great that the women who do this are doing it for men's fantasies. I'm thinking about women's own fantasies. Let me mention my favorite, as always, Anita Blake. Where is the AB movie?

[> [> [> I think Faith has the depth to balance her cleavage... -- Scroll, 19:18:28 07/01/03 Tue

I agree, Faith may be pretty focused on the sex and violence, but her character has been developed enough that we can understand why she's focused on sex and violence, we understand her motivations, her raison d'etre. And the sex and violence aren't there simply to draw the male gaze, but to act as vehicles for developing and exploring Faith's abusive past and her distrust of men, her need for love and inability to take responsibility of her crimes. And her resulting redemption. So while Faith is all about the sex and violence, that's not all she is about.

[> [> [> [> Re: I think Faith has the depth to balance her cleavage... -- JM, 19:54:53 07/01/03 Tue

Actually one of the most interesting things about post-jail Faith is her insistance that the violence is not all she is about and her determination to control, not even channel, but just control her propensity for violence. And also how well she is doing.

[> [> [> Re: violent+sexual=kinky? -- Doug, 20:58:50 07/01/03 Tue

Of course it's alright for a character to be both sexy and tough; I actually tried to write something about that in my first post but I sounded clumsy so I sorta left it out. There's alot of ways to mix character traits; and I happen to think that there are a number of ways of mixing sex + violence that are extremly toxic.

Let's look at Faith as an example. She has definite issues behind her use of both sex and violence as means of trying top control her world; I imagine that there are whole esays on Faith's psyche out on the web so I won't go into details. But suffice it to say that there are valid reasons based in the nature of the character for her to be like this. But most importantly she does the things she does for internal motivations. It's not a hard line between the two extremes though, it's more of a continuum. Faith and Buffy are both defintely sexualized, but that is balanced by the fact that the characters are given far more personality than the basic amount needed to provide tittillation to the audience. Ripley is the same way. I can't comment on Alias since I doin't watch it. But if you switched around the actresses on the three angels I don't think you could tell which was which from their personalities. Because rather than making a character, who is strong and has a sexual nature as well, what you end up making is a blow-up doll with combat moves( which frequently aren't all that good because they focus on sexy maneuvers instead of practical ones, but that is a debate for another time).

In other words, what Scroll said.

(I wish I had read Scroll's post before typing this out)

[> [> [> [> I think the thing to remember is . . . -- Finn Mac Cool, 22:59:51 07/01/03 Tue

. . . that "Charlie's Angels" isn't "Buffy" and was never meant to be. While its advertisers latched onto the fact that it had women in the lead role, the people who made it never really had any sort of agenda. Their goal? Create a tougne-in-cheek action movie. The intent of such movies is never about the characters; it's about providing as much superficial stimulation as possible.

You say that if you switched the three Angels around, you wouldn't be able to tell them apart by personalities. Well, let's take that further: take almost any popcorn flick action heroes, switch them around, and try to tell them apart by their personalities. James Bond, John McClane, Triple X, and the like may have a few personality tweaks that make them different, but, at the core, they're essentially the same: they're one dimensional characters who serve the sole purpose of entertaining people on the shallowlest possible level. Why has Bond chosen a profession where he gets a lisence to kill, and why is he incapable of being monogymous? Why is Triple X so obsessed with daredevil sports? Why does John McClane have a flagrant lack of respect for authority, but still feel compelled to save people's lives? We never find out why these characters do what they do, because the people who made them didn't care about that. They just needed an excuse to get to the tittilation. So, I guess what I'm saying is, I don't see why you need depth of personality to justify the use of violent, sexual women, but it's perfectly acceptable for male action heroes to be shallow, violent and sexual (and, before you say anything, I'm aware that most male action heroes aren't as free with their bodies as the Angels are, however, please remember: 1) I know that James Bond, at the very least, usually got shirtless a few times and tended to speak very sexually; 2) "Charlie's Angels" is a lot campier than most action movies, so the sexuality must be over the top; 3) movie producers do realize that, even with female heroines, action films will have an audience that is heavily made of hetrosexual males, and all forms of entertainment must cater to the needs/desires of their audience).

[> ''Alien'' : Sigourney Weaver rules the universe. Amen to that -- lakrids, 10:39:35 07/01/03 Tue

[> Marge needs a gun too -- fresne, 12:07:51 07/01/03 Tue

Funny you should post this.

In a quiz lemming sort of way, I just took, this quiz:

What handgun are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

It was interesting that in the "who carries you" question, there were no female gun toting action heroes. Although, in all honesty, I'd be at a loss to ID say Nikita's gun of choice. Scully, well, she was a good shot. Anita Blake, what gun doesn't she use? Xena .. no guns.

I realize it's just a quiz someone put together, but it's interesting. Provided that people in films remember that a gun is a distance weapon (i.e., don't throw it, or get within three feet of someone to use it) guns can be weapons of equalization in a body strength sort of way. Annie Oakley doesn't need to have enormous upper body strength, she just needs good aim.

Pausing to consider that Wonder Woman's weaponry was primarily of deflection. Restraint.

Also, in a horror movie sort of way, guns never seem to work on the villain. Oh, look, Jason, Michael, random villain has been shot thirty times and he's still coming. Something that Buffy reinforced in Flooded when she threw the guards gun away.

Huh - oh, and by the way, apparently I'm a Sig Sauer P226. I feel so proud and possibly like watching the Simpsons' episode where Homer gets a gun.

[> [> Re: Marge needs a gun too -- Rendyl, 14:36:59 07/01/03 Tue

Hmmm...I am a Smith and Wesson 44 Mag...Which in keeping with the empowerment theme above appears to give me power but no sex appeal. :)

The article did omit any mention of Samus Aran from metroid Prime. Since she kicks butt while wearing a somewhat bulky powersuit I doubt we will see any movie adaptations of the game.


[> [> One of your own -- mamacu, 17:52:01 07/01/03 Tue

I'm a SigSauerP226 too.

Remembering my very brief life with guns. I had married him because he was a pacificist, but then we had this land, and people might come around, and I was going to be there by myself--so he took me down the hill and I tried shooting bottles. Broke 'em all. Never shot again. Nobody ever came, and now I live in the city.

Some simple-minded thoughts on "Teachers Pet" -- Q, 14:33:24 07/01/03 Tue

Teachers Pet
Grade: B

"Teachers Pet" was the second "side" episode in a row, as the earlier seasons seemed to have more of that kind of thing. I have to say that I really liked this one, though. Again, it loses marks for it's lack of urgency, but it was chock full of stand-alone goodness. The first season especially dealt beautifully with the horrors of high school life mirrored in metaphors about monsters. With WttH about being the new kid, The Witch about parental pressures, and now the male sexuality episode, and the pressure to be "experienced". This was very well done.

This episode was as close to a straight comedy episode as season 1 got, and was a good prequel to later Xandercentric comedies such as B,B, andB, and the Zeppo.

Xanders opening dream, later reminisced in Beer Bad, was priceless. If I could only count how many times I have had that EXACT dream!!!!

The love triangle (again) intensifies, but now a cog is thrown into the wheel to make it a quadrangleóAngel. Xanders "He's a very attractive man!" line is just CLASSIC. When Angel says "looks better on you" and walks way, and Buffy mumbles a concerned "Oh boy", you know steamy things are on the horizon.

Cordelia is, as always, the voice of comic brilliance with her looking on the bright side of death.

Willow's concern about Xander losing his head because "that's where his eyes are" was particularly heartbreaking after certain events in the end of season 7.

And it is good how, though this is a monster-of-the week episode, they keep arcs alive by subtly hinting at them, such as B/A's attraction, and The master's connection to claw guy.

Good show.

[> Re: Some simple-minded thoughts on "Teachers Pet" -- JM, 16:46:37 07/01/03 Tue

I will always remember this ep as the ONLY one when sydication started that I hadn't already seen. I was my last new old Buffy episode.

Granted it wasn't the greatest ep ever, but it had some of the best Xander-Buffy interaction of the first season. I'm not really a shipper, but they can still throw sparks, ever of the confuzzled kind. He really feels, and she cares, but never quite gets him. Good stuff.

Nikki's Coat (Spoilers for Season Seven) -- Finn Mac Cool, 18:02:29 07/01/03 Tue

Many people have commented on the fact that, in "Get It Done", Spike once again donned the leather coat he took from a murdered Nikki Wood, and that he has continued to wear it after the events of "Lies My Parents Told Me". Some people have interpreted this as a sign that Spike has no remorse for the people he's killed, otherwise he wouldn't be wearing a dead girl's coat. I see it differently:

Spike is a pragmatist. Always has been and probably always will be. It's not to say he has no ethics; it's just that he will ignore them if he believes them to be pointless or the cause of more harm than good. His take on morality is diluted in a large amount of realism (whether it's too much is a different topic). Since he got his soul back, he does have ethical guidlines he lives by (not killing people, respecting Buffy's right to live her life), but isn't as adamant on always following them if he believes there are extenuating circumstances (see his threat to kill Principal Wood in LMPTM as an example, or making deals with the Slayer back in his evil days, despite his vampiric "evil is good" mentality).

This pragmatism carries into the coat. I believe Spike does wish he hadn't killed all of the people he has (as evidenced in "Sleeper" and "Never Leave Me"), but his pragmatic outlook has helped him get over it and put it behind him rather quickly. As such, while he did take his coat from Nikki's body right after he killed her, and while he recognizes it as a terrible act, he probably sees it in the light of, "Getting rid of it won't bring her back to life, so why should I get rid of a perfectly good coat?" If Spike were Angel, he would almost certainly have ditched the coat; Angel is very focused on making amends for his past, both literally and symbollically, and losing a symbol of his evil would be a big symbollic guesture. However, for a pragmatist like Spike, symbollic acts don't really mean much, so he decides to keep it since it doesn't hurt anyone and looks really cool.

The only real concern with Spike wearing the coat is the way it might effect Wood to see it. But, after the attack in LMPTM, Spike has made his dislike of Wood pretty clear, not without justification, and is likely to feel that he shouldn't change because it might hurt the feelings of someone who tried to kill him.

That's my theory, at least.

[> Re: Nikki's Coat (Spoilers for Season Seven) -- JM, 19:37:17 07/01/03 Tue

Found the episode deeply creepy and unsettlingly, not all in ways I approve. But I did find the symbolism very, very interesting.

LMPTM seemed to put Spike in Anya's camp of rejecting redemption, and the need for it, as opposed to Faith and Angel's commitment to the concept. (Intersting parallel too to the moment where Angel rejects his coat as a symbol of rejecting the promise of redemption in S2.)

I was somewhat impressed with Spike's interesting decision to reject the need for redemption. However I found Wood's decision to suck it up and deal even more interesting.

[> Good theory and fits with some other things I've read (Spoilers for Season Seven) -- s'kat, 21:31:57 07/01/03 Tue

Spike is a pragmatist. Always has been and probably always will be. It's not to say he has no ethics; it's just that he will ignore them if he believes them to be pointless or the cause of more harm than good. His take on morality is diluted in a large amount of realism (whether it's too much is a different topic). Since he got his soul back, he does have ethical guidlines he lives by (not killing people, respecting Buffy's right to live her life), but isn't as adamant on always following them if he believes there are extenuating circumstances (see his threat to kill Principal Wood in LMPTM as an example, or making deals with the Slayer back in his evil days, despite his vampiric "evil is good" mentality).

I agree.

As far back as S2 we see Spike's pragmatism in action and it goes a long way to explaining his acts. Examples:

1. School HArd - he sees the opportunity to go after the slayer, so does it, when she's least prepared, as opposed to St. Vigeous Day when she would be - even if that's the traditional time. Also he kills the Annoited One, b/c pragmatically it affects his a)life and b)control. (Although other reasons can be used.)

2. What's my Line - he pragmatically hires bounty hunters to kill the slayer allowing him to focus on healing Drusilla
without the distraction.

3. His comments to Angelus regarding the slayer: "Kill her works very well. That's what we do." or "We're vampires, we kill sort of our raison d'etre."

4. Becoming - he calls a truce with Buffy to save the world because practically speaking - it wins him Dru and provides him with what he likes.

5. The switching sides in S4 - to Adam to pragmatically get the chip out, to the SG when Adam doesn't follow through.

Even getting the soul can be considered a pragmatic act - I want to make sure I don't hurt Buffy, I also want Buffy, she says I need a soul? Okay I go get a soul. Easy. He really had no idea what getting soul really meant. He didn't get it. He basically followed emotion and pragmaticism. He's not a planner, he doesn't think it all through, Spike just does what makes sense to him at the time. He basically lives in the moment as opposed to past or future.

All Spike's actions actually make a great deal of sense if you look at them from the point of view of the pragmaticist.

Lisa on the ASSB (Angel's Soul Board) several weeks back posted a great take on the personality differences between Angel and Spike - she said that one was not better or more good/more evil than the other - they just were different personalities.

Angel fits the Sensing/Judging/Reasoning persona, he thinks things out, tends to worry over consequences, he's a planner. Also very into judging the situation. HE goes with logic over emotions, although emotions do inform him. Angel tends to live more in the past/future, while Spike more in the moment.

Spike fits the Perceiving/Intiutive/Feeling persona, he feels things out, tends to go with gut instinct, the hell with the consequences, and acts spontaneously. He is more perceiving and sensitive to emotions and goes with emotions.
He's also pragmatic, even though emotion informs him.

Pragmaticist = common sense. "Jacket provides me with a sense of power and well-being, no one else is using it, dead slayer won't need it - won't bring her back, and Wood is a bastard - so what the hell." (Actually *I* would have disposed of it as would Angel, b/c it is a *disgusting* thing - splattered with demon blood, fake blood, dirt, grime, what have you, etc - let Wood have it for crying out loud, that thing is gross...but I guess I can see why Spike might not care. ;-) Sure DB Woodside was glad Marsters had to keep it. Marsters was NOT happy about it. ;-))

Good post Finn. Completely agree. (PErsonally I hope the jacket is gone next year, sick of it. But rumor has it the PTB(in other words the network brass/Kuzuis/and some fans who keep writing post cards) think it's cool so we'll probably see more of it.)

[> [> Agree with both of you -- Valheru, 00:38:15 07/02/03 Wed

Personally, if I were Joss, I wouldn't have even gone the symbolic Nikki/Spike/Robin route with it. Of all the things that were/could have been at issue in S7, Spike's coat was near the bottom of my list. And it just seemed like another ME attempt to de-cool Spike: "You guys like the way Spike dresses? Then we'll make it a bad thing." It was unnecessary.

On a show(s) where clothes are such an integral part of the storytelling, Spike was the poster-child. For two seasons (S2, "Lover's Walk", first half of S4), the only times Spike ever had a costume change were when he would wear the red shirt and the few times he would take the coat off by necessity. In late-S4 to early-S7, they kept trying different things with him, but nothing ever felt like "Spike" except the jacket.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm all "I luv Spieks jaket 4eva!" but it's part of his character, what makes him Spike. It's like he's a comic book superhero who always wears the same multicolored tights. His costume makes him identifiable, an icon. In it, he's like a bat (which was the intention) or like some modern-day caped villain. I'm sure James would love to stop bleaching his hair too, but try imagining a bleachless Spike. Imagine if Spike showed up somewhere with the blue longsleeves he wore in "Beneath You" and with William's natural hair--how many people would instantly recognize him?

If ME wants to change his look, they'd have to do a hell of a lot better than what they tried before. Something only Spike could wear. Honestly, I have no idea what that would be. Maybe a white leather duster (ack, I know, but I'm at a loss)? Something that, when someone looks at him, makes them think, "This guy's a vampire, but not an eeeevil vampire." Maybe HH can ask her villainous cohort to come up with an appropriate number?

[> [> [> The origins of that jacket (Not Nikki - the real life orgin) -- s'kat, 07:50:47 07/02/03 Wed

I don't want to give the impression that I'm all "I luv Spieks jaket 4eva!" but it's part of his character, what makes him Spike. It's like he's a comic book superhero who always wears the same multicolored tights. His costume makes him identifiable, an icon. In it, he's like a bat (which was the intention) or like some modern-day caped villain. I'm sure James would love to stop bleaching his hair too, but try imagining a bleachless Spike. Imagine if Spike showed up somewhere with the blue longsleeves he wore in "Beneath You" and with William's natural hair--how many people would instantly recognize him?

Might interest you to know the whole jacket idea was grabbed from Frank Miller's Sin City according to Doug Petrie in Fool for Love commentary. They sold Whedon on the Nikki scene - by having Spike get his jacket from Nikki.
The idea behind Fool for Love was how does one become a "monster"? Bit by bit. Spike's redefinition of himself from "good man/bad poet" to "punk/monster" is shown in Fool For Love. The first realization is the killing of Chinese Slayer and he gets the eyebrow scar (something that may have been borrowed from Marsters own experience - MArsters got the scar in a mugging/street fight in Harlem during the 80's - he was hit by brass knuckles. Marsters hit the assailant back according to interviews with something akin to a crow-bar.). The second realization is the killing of Nikki and in that scene he gets the jacket. They struggled with it at first and it wasn't a cheap shoot - but they figured out the jacket from the comic. In Frank Miller's noirish Sin City - a hit man climbs his way up a crime organization by killing people, from each person he kills - he takes a jacket as a trophy.

Not sure what costume they'll give him next year - but if it's the jacket - they better give a good reason for how it survived, since it burned up with Spike in Chosen. A human/vamp being reborn or reincarnated I can buy, but a jacket? And oh dear god, please don't bring him back as a ghost - that would just be lame.

[> [> Hey sk! Did you know you're mentioned on whedonesque.com? Very cool! -- ponygirl, 07:13:22 07/02/03 Wed

[> [> [> Uhm no...I am? What is whedonesque.com? -- s'kat, 07:34:50 07/02/03 Wed

[> [> [> [> Sort of like slayage.com -- ponygirl, 07:45:56 07/02/03 Wed

A collection of links to BtVS and AtS related articles. And unlike slayage it's not taking the summer off.

There's a link to your essay on BC&S (which I haven't had a chance to read yet). It seems your fandom is growing!

[> [> [> [> [> Actually you already read it. -- s'kat, 07:55:27 07/02/03 Wed

I just re-posted my Season 7 Critique over on B C & S in response to someone's post.

[> Thread Preservation -- d'Herblay, 17:54:22 07/02/03 Wed

[> Re: Nikki's Coat (Spoilers for Season Seven) -- Malandanza, 08:43:47 07/03/03 Thu

"Spike is a pragmatist. Always has been and probably always will be."

I have trouble with the characterization of Spike (a vampire who seeks out slayers) as a pragmatist. For me, a pragmatic vampire is one like Mr. Trick, who walks away from Kakistos when it looks like the slayers will win, who likes Sunnydale (before he knows of the slayers in residence) because of the murder rate that no one cares about, who sets a bounty on the slayers and lets other people do the (dangerous) dirty work, and who joins forces (in a subordinate role) with the power in town when it appears dangerous to be freelance.

Spike, by contrast, is an opportunist. He doesn't look at the "big picture" -- just his immediate desires. He is the Want/Take/Have/Worry-about-the-consequences-when-they-catch-up-to-you vampire. He offers his services to the Anointed One initially, but when he fails to deliver on his promises (and it was Spike's plan that failed on the pre-vigeous attack) he kills the Anointed One and assumes leadership. He really had to do something -- we've seen that vampire society is not particularly forgiving of failure. He lets the Judge burn Dalton, his translating vampire, just because. He helps the Slayer to get Dru back and, ostensibly, to keep the world from being sucked into hell, since he likes the happy meals with legs, but abandons Buffy to her fate when it looks like Angelus has her beaten. Pragmatic? Only if he was lying about wanting the world to remain his picnic basket. If that's the case, he could have helped the world be destroyed by sticking with Angelus and Dru. He comes back to Sunnydale, not once, but twice (even Harmony understands that his battles with Buffy are far from pragmatic).

He switches side to join Adam -- but remember he tells Adam that Buffy and her friends have a way of winning in spite of all the odds against them -- yet he sided against them for the short term benefit of Adam's dubious promise to remove the chip. He opportunistically switches back once he realizes that Buffy has won.

He alienates the people closest to Buffy even while they are protecting him from the Initiative and while he tries to get closer to Buffy. He is the tattletale for the Riley affair, and only afterwards thinks about how that made him look -- and worries that the slayer may hold a grudge against him. He demonstrated his ultimate opportunism in Season Six, when he used the Slayer's confidence, her insecurities about her nat-->re, and Warren's information about the chip functioning perfectly to have himself his one good day at Buffy's expense.

As for the jacket -- he's room temperature. He doesn't need a jacket for any reason. He wears it as a trophy -- proof to himself that he's the "big bad" and can beat down the bitches strong women when he feels the urge. A pragmatist would have dumped it as soon as its origin was revealed -- to prove he had changed.

[> Out of the coat closet (AtS S5WKC spoiler) -- fresne, 09:19:17 07/03/03 Thu

Funny, I see the jacket a bit differently.

Now, excuse me as I assume my Klingon identity. Grr - argh - meat - red meat - Ragnorak - good fun - today is a good day to die - grr.

The jacket is an item of coup. But more than that, it is the symbol of an honorable and worthy opponent. A Slayer. She who demons fear. Who fought with style and grace and verve. Spike could have danced with her all night.

He doesn't drink like she's food, a Happy Meal on legs, for all that Slayer's blood is an aphrodisiac. He takes her coat. I need to review the scene again, but was Spike wearing any sort of something to emphasize the scar on his eyebrow?

This week I seem to be fascinated by words and images that play two ways. I blame the bad fanfic. Their/They're, wear/ware, and whatnot.

Anyway, the coat to Wood is a symbol of his mother. A lost soft loving presence. To Spike, it's strong, powerful, glaring death. Well, actually, that's me viewing the thing first through my right eye and then my left. Like that picture that is both an old woman and a young girl.

To apologize to Wood, to feel sorry for killing Nikki, feels, when seen through my left eye, like making her all mother and no warrior. A victim. Although, then I segue to the Crow, ultimate revenge movie that it is, "Victims. Aren't we all?"

Well, no. And today is never a good to die. The Klingon mindset warring with the desire to have the shelf life of a Cheeto (the crunchy ones, not the puffy ones.).

Wearing the coat, is in its way a reminder of who and what he is and was. Shedding it to wear new skin, ignores that the essential skin remains. Leaving it behind with Buffy in SR, going to don a soul, does nothing to face that dark warrior. The dark roots of self. It can't be discarded or hidden in a trunk. It can't be part of some shrine to Nikki Wood. It needed a funeral pyre with full honors.

Now, as to AtS, the leather coat needs to stay burned away and Spike needs a new coat. Like Neo. I'm sure I should have symbolic reasons, it's just it looks like a priest's cassock and it moves like woolen beauty like the night. And all that is best in fabric and cut meet in its aspect and its dualistic eyes.

[> [> Re: Out of the coat closet (AtS S5WKC spoiler)-nice tribute to Byron -- sdev, 10:10:49 07/03/03 Thu

Byron and Spike- yes I can see that.

[> [> Not neccessarily -- Finn Mac Cool, 10:41:33 07/03/03 Thu

I have a bit of speculation which would allow Spike to keep his coat (or, at least, ME would get to keep using the same coat).

OK, in my head, I've begun plotting out what I think the premiere episode of "Angel" will be like. In my plan, it begins with Spike observing the AI gang and appearing to them in many different forms. To Fred he's a meek, Southern scientist. To Wesley he's a gruff hotdog vender. To Lorne he's a flamboyant would-be actor. Etcetera. At the end of the episode, though, he accidentally runs into Angel (clad in his usual white hair and black coat) and is recognized. It is then revealed that Spike was sent back to earth by the Powers That Be in order to sway Angel back to their side. As a result of the process, he's no longer a vampire, and so doesn't have any superstrength. However, since he's already dead, he can't be killed, and heals instantly from all wounds. Also, he can change his outfit and hairstyle at a moment's notice. All it takes is a wave of his hand and his hair becomes curly blonde and his coat becomes a sweater vest.

If this speculation resembles what ME actually does, than they can keep the coat, since Spike's capable of wearing any piece of clothing he wants.

JM -- To Rahael and Scroll, 19:27:13 07/01/03 Tue

Hmm, wonder if my late night posts contribute to getting slid off the board.

Thanks, Scroll, Rahael, when I don't have time to read the whole board (which is most of the time lately), I still look for your names as posts to check out. Like what you have to say.

"In fact I was wondering whether your absence was due to a dislike of either S7 or S4."

It was a lot of factors frankly, only some relating to board talk, and even fewer to the shows themselves. One was just the aftershock of losing "Firefly." I was very active in the fandoms up to that point, and just had to step back a little. Not really appropriate to grieve so hard for something inanimate.

I loved every ep of season six, with the possible exception of the last one, and never bought the fan consensus that it was terribly flawed and misguided. Seven, on the other hand. . . . There were multiple eps I thought stellar (many not included in the general esteem: "Help," "Never Leave Me," "Potential," "Killer in Me," "First Date," "Get it Done," "Storyteller," and "Empty Spaces." But others left me positively cold. I thought "Chosen" nearly perfect, so I've decided to take a few steps back and wait until I can reassess the season as a whole. But choosing to be detached made me a little .. detached.

"Angel" on the other hand bowled me over. Absolutely. Freaking. Stunning. The three ep Wes-Faith arc are among the best episodes the series has ever done. (Of course, OMV, I know.) Jasmine was both surreal and so true-to-life, and the end-all-and-be-all of creepiness. And, Lordy, I miss Cordy, but I really thought CC did fabu. The "We're special. . . . Crazy pregnant lady" riff was the chillingest and funniest thing she's ever done. So for the record, S4 kicks all kinds of butt. Was even reconciled to saying good-bye (pleasantly surprised by renewal) on that high-note all the way.

"I too adore the character of Wes while seeing him as dark, very dark. Capable of plumbing the depths."

Not just do I adore him, though fear for him, also adore that the writers are so no-holds-barred with him. I think that they have pushed him, punished him, and, most importantly, allowed him to fail more than other main character, while remaining true to his amazingly stubborn personal moral code. I just love that they respect him, but do not much sentimentalize him.

"To go a little off tangent, I am wondering about the images of the season we see at the beginning, through the prism of Home."

Yeah, that's why I thought "Home" was amazing. Really surprised that so many are angry about it. Not only cinematic and disturbing, but also Deep.

I thought Angel's choice was immoral and beautiful at the same time. And I am impressed that the writers allowed such an ending. Loved the seasonal parallel too. We began with Angel's hallucinations of happy family gratis Connor's choice and actions; we ended with Connor's hallucinations of happy family gratis Angel's choice and actions. How arresting, how repulsive. Love this show. I don't want my heroes, especially Angel, to do the right thing. I want them to do the interesting, heart-rending thing.

About getting an LJ, no not yet. Do you? Not sure I have enough to say to support one. But I discovered one through following a rec to a fic author's Web site and found a whole new world. Very different dynamic to the discussions than the boards.

[> Embarrassingly Subject and Name should be reversed. D'oh! -- JM, 19:29:09 07/01/03 Tue

[> I know I'm not Rahael or Scroll, so I hope it doesn't seem like I'm butting in, but... -- Rob, 20:07:45 07/01/03 Tue

...just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading your post! Nice to see your name here again, too!


[> [> Re: I know I'm not Rahael or Scroll, so I hope it doesn't seem like I'm butting in, but... -- JM, 20:36:45 07/01/03 Tue

Rob, you couldn't possibly butt in, you're too much the gentleman. Thanks, I'm touched.

I didn't mean to take up anymore bandwidth, but I just wanted to let Scroll and Rahael know I'd read their responses and was interested in responding in kind, even though the original post got ate.

Love your annotated site. Had to take a break after "Dark Age." My mind got a little burnt, something about thinking too much about Giles. Regret not visiting your SFU (that's you right, I know I've asked before) site, but I'm a whole season behind. When you're best friend asks you to lend her the first two eps of any season before you've watched them, the correct answer is no. You'll never see them again. Darn. They'll repeat eventually.

[> Agree with your love of S4 -- Scroll, 20:59:39 07/01/03 Tue

While I enjoyed much of BtVS S7, I really think AtS S4 was the superior season. I'm glad it's been renewed, I was pretty worried about that for a time. I just hope that S5 will turn out okay, though it'll probably be nothing like what we're expecting :)

Not just do I adore him, though fear for him, also adore that the writers are so no-holds-barred with him. I think that they have pushed him, punished him, and, most importantly, allowed him to fail more than other main character, while remaining true to his amazingly stubborn personal moral code. I just love that they respect him, but do not much sentimentalize him.

Totally agree! Wesley, I feel, is easily the most organically developed character in the Buffyverse. It's amazing how consistent they've kept him, so that even at his most noble, his most suicidal, his most screwed-up moments, you can still see that fumbling, bumbling Watcher from BtVS S3. His core personality hasn't been changed so much as evolved as life happened to him. The internal and external worked hand-in-hand to forge the dark, gritty S4 Wesley we know and love so well. I really think Joss respects the Wesley character, and I can't wait to see what happens next season.

I guess I have enough faith in Joss that I think the mind-wipe will be a plot-point, and not something that acts as a totaly reset button, making the last two seasons of plot and character development moot. I think we're going to see really interesting things. (But don't mind me if I cross my fingers just in case!)

Angel's decision, IMO, was horrible and heart-rending and totally in character. Taking Connor's choice away and making Connor be happy is both awful and beautiful, and a perfect testimony of the darker side of love. I hope Joss milks this angst for all it's worth!

[> [> Re: Agree with your love of S4 -- JM, 04:47:09 07/02/03 Wed

Keeping my fingers crossed too. I have faith and love that they never do the same thing twice, but just a teensy bit nervous. Hard to imagine topping this last year. I guess that's part of the point of changing the framework.

I love Dark Wes, but have recently been wathcing S1 again and am really surprised at how much I've been enjoying his more innocent times. I understandstand now why some of the ficcers miss him. But love how gradual and logical the change has been.

[> Immoral and Beautiful (inc. OT message to Maeve Rigan) -- Rahael, 03:25:47 07/02/03 Wed

Those two words could describe the whole of S4. There are no words to say how much I enjoyed the last season of AtS. Absolutely freaking stunning seems to sum it up to! People often say - why can't we have repentence and guilt and remorse done without Angel style brooding - well AtS did it in S4 with the Gunn/Fred Seidel storyline. One little scene toward the end of the season showed us that it was still a terrible crime, that it ate Fred and Gunn up, and hinted that it was not far from their minds. It is those little details that delight me, as well as the more showy twists and thrills that AtS 4 also provided. I don't know whether S5 will give me what I want or need, but I shall be content with the amazing 4 seasons of AtS we have seen so far. And I have to say - Faith used to be one of my least favourite characters. I found her annoying, not someone I could identify or connect with. Has S4 proved me wrong or what? She leaps straight up to become one of my all time fave tv characters. A moral integrity that is all the more worthy of respect because it is hard won and her constant sense of watchfulness/awareness of its fragility. Tough and beautiful and dynamic and I could go on and on. I think I have a Connor like crush on her.

Ditto on S6 and S7. I too liked individual eps - I didn't care for First Date all too much, and I can't even remember what happens in Never Leave me. But I really rate Killer in Me and Potential which no one else seems to get really enthusiastic about, and of course I loved Storyteller, Selfless etc. But for me, the season was all about my disconnection from BtVS. Dissonance, distance, a strange sense of alienation from it.

Re LJ - me, yes. It's really easy to find me. Please feel free, and also if you want a code, just ask. I don't have all that much that is important to say either (as you will see!), but Icons! Also, I'm starting to feel inspired about thinking and writing about AtS4. I've been feeling like I have absolutely nothing to write recently.

(OT to Maeve Rigan, I am so ashamed!! I have severe writers block. I will email you, either to free you from waiting around for me to start writing, or if you aren't completely exasperated with me, to start batting around ideas)

[> [> Re: Immoral and Beautiful (inc. OT message to Maeve Rigan) -- JM, 04:52:57 07/02/03 Wed

Cool, I'll have to check it out. I still don't understand what those code things mean:)

One of the things I thought was so great about S4 was the unexpected. Angel and Cordy never get together. Fred and Gunn never get caught/punished/go evil from killing the Professor. Angel and Wesley never had a big explosive fight with emotional apology. Wes didn't go for revenge when he thought Angelus killed Lilah. Angel didn't get all broody about losing his soul. Yes there were consequences and pay-off and development on all of these issues, but ME went the original instead of the obvious route on every one. I was really impressed.

[> [> OT to Rahael--Re: OT message to Maeve Rigan) -- MaeveRigan, 06:34:23 07/02/03 Wed

Don't worry about it, Rahael. I was stunned by the way A4 ended--but in a good way!--and haven't been able to write anything much myself, though I still think we have a good idea spinning around.

I'm still upset because I don't live anywhere near Cleveland :-(

E-mail me.

[> [> [> Me too! -- Rahael, 09:21:04 07/03/03 Thu

I tend to find that talking stuff through helps me sort out what I think a lot, and this process is immensely aided by face to face interaction, plus of course, lashings of coffee and cake, etc!

[> Thread Preservation -- d'Herblay, 18:00:22 07/02/03 Wed

The Replacement/Out of My Mind/No Place Like Home part of the round robin -- deeva (oh, I'm rusty.), 20:51:14 07/01/03 Tue

The Replacement/Out of My Mind/No Place Like Home

After finding Faith at Clark's, off the main street, Xander and Spike escorted her back to Revello Drive. That was, after she finished freaking with every one there. Many patrons were left with uncomfortable consequences caused by the lock up Lolita. They envied the two men who dragged her out.

Not wanting to hear a possible rehash of events, Spike took off and patrolled, jonesing for some violence. He dusted a handful of vampires while they were still rising from their graves.

Hearing a commotion in a clearing near him Spike headed in that direction. He came upon a group of 3 Ty'edji demons. They were terrorizing a young couple who unwisely thought the cemetery would be a good place to conduct intimate relations.

Before he could step in to do anything, a flash of Feria color #9.13 Sparkling Light Beige Blonde launched itself at the mass of demons, knocking two down.

"It's not nice to eat the kids!" Buffy scolded.

The demons just snarled in response and charged. She deftly ducked one punch, which landed on the Ty'edji behind her. Twirling right, she kicked back and knocked the two demons together into a neat little pile at her feet.


The third Ty'edji grabbed her from behind. They struggled for a few seconds before Buffy swung her feet up, knocking them off balance onto the Ty'edji's back. The surprise of falling backwards caused it to release its hold on Buffy. Kipping up she turned to face it, only to see that her opponent had disappeared completely. Turning she saw that the other two had disappeared as well.

"Hey! I wasn't done!" Buffy cried out indignantly.

"Were you going to help at some point, Spike?" she asked while dusting herself off.

Spike approached her. "Bingo?"

"Eh, so it wasn't the best I've ever come up with." Smoothing back her ponytail now. "Can't always be Quippy-girl."

"Didn't look like you needed any help but I would've been in there the second you did. Thought you would be back at the house getting Faith all caught up."

"Nah, Giles and Willow can do all that. I didn't feel like catching the repeat and I needed to get out and get some action."

Spike cocked an eyebrow at that.

Catching his meaning, she countered. "Not that kind of action! Pig!"

"Oink." Replied Spike. "Which way are you headed now?"

"Back to home base. I figure I should stop now because, hey, clothes are still clean and are not in need of replacing. So it's a good thing."

"Still sending Dawn off to LA?"

"I'm not sure what to do about that. I think that you would be just as weirded out as any of us by you and Da-I can't even say it."

"No need to. Bit's like a kid sis to me. Makes my skin crawl to even hear it."

They walked along in silence for a distance. Both keeping ear out for any more activity of the non-human variety.

"I called Angel." Buffy mentioned casually.

"Yeah? What'd the grand poufter have to say?"

"Not much. I think I can hear brooding now. Does it have a volume control? Cause it was deafening. Anyway he said that he'd have Wesley do some more research and on Oz's rock-thingy. That was it."

"That all?"


"So - there was no - I dunno, declarations of undying devotion of the soul-losing variety?"

"Nope. Been there, done that." Said Buffy. "I get enough unwanted declarations from souled vamp Version 2.0."

Spike abruptly stopped and turned to face Buffy, who was still walking and talking. She collided right into him.

"What?" asked Buffy.

Spike shot her a look of incredulity. "So that's what I've been all this time?"

"What?" she replied tilting her head in such a way that it would make it into a certain website. "A sexy, undead Sid Vicious/Billy Idol wannabe who knows how to push all my dark side buttons?"

"Yes! No!" huffed Spike. "I bloody meant the replacement for Peaches! And I'm not a-"

"Sid Vicious/Billy Idol wannabe. Blah, blah, blah. Stole it from you. Blah, blah, blah." mocked Buffy, her hand mimicking the words.


"You're not an Angel replacement. You're far too annoying and blond to be one. Besides why would I need one if Angel and I are supposed to be together?"

"Are you daft?! You said yourself she's no Abe Lincoln. Since when did cheerleader become the voice of reason? Word is a friend of a bloke I know, knocked up her and a few other bints. Was about to have a litter, she was. How wise and all knowing does that sound?"

"A litter?"

"Yeah. Something about increasing the odds that least a few'll sur-that's not the point!" He sputtered. "Point is, why is anyone paying attention to her relationship advice? Her's are so stellar. And the Sha'i-Pir wars are coming up-"

"That's it! Shipper!" interrupted Buffy.

"Its Sha'i-Pir, luv."

"No. Don't you get it? Sha'i-Pir. Shipper. Relationship?" she explained excitedly. "So this war is all about 'ships."

"Giles already went through this."

"I guess someone does really care about who I sleep with. Which is so not fair! I should be able to do who ever I want and whenever I want." Buffy supposed, not hearing Spike

"You're forgetting about the where ever part." Said Spike trying to help. "Some would argue that it's not about what you want but what you need."

Buffy rolled her eyes, "Since when did the 'where' ever bother you? I told you when it gets to be a certain time in my cycle, I get horny! Get itch. Scratch itch. God, can I sound anymore like Faith?"

"I dunno that one's got quite a mouth."

Buffy continued, not paying attention to Spike's muttering. "What I need versus what I want? What does that even mean?"

"Think I read it from some guy named Josh Weldon. Got some kind of indie cred. He's a decent writer. He'll be big one day."

" You know what I think?"

"Course I do. I always know what you really think."

"Prove it."

"You think that the answer to the Shipper wars is to not do anything. No relationships. Meaning you'll keep your hands to yourself. Be alone. Cue the violin music."


"I know, it's a gift." He shrugged.

"And you're going to say that I'm bloody out of my mind for even thinking that."

"Got it in one, luv. You're getting the hang of it."

"This is creeping me out. We know what each other is thinking. It's not like you're my boyfriend or anything." She stopped. "Did I just say that?"

Spike just grinned wickedly at the statement.

"I did not just say that! It's not like I think that at all! It just proves that I'm around you too much! That's why we shouldn't be together!" exclaimed Buffy.

"The lady protests too much, methinks..."

Changing topics Buffy quickly asked, "Why wouldn't my plan work?"

"Because according to Miss Cleo, it's already begun. We're supposed to stop it. Also, with the largesse of information that Wolf Boy brought, it involves the Rock of Naszturshol."

"Darn! Just when I thought I was ahead of the game girl."

They turned up onto the walkway of Revello Drive. From the looks of things, there were still people in the house. Spike entered first and went directly into the kitchen. Buffy stood in the entryway and saw that Giles, Willow, Tara and Faith were still in the dining room. Dawn was in the living room watching some late night cable. Looking up and seeing that it was Buffy she quickly switched channels.

"Be it ever so scary and demony, there's no place like home." Sighed Buffy closing the door behind her.

"Unless, of course, the home is holding you and your friends hostage." quipped Dawn.

Dawn was met with a patented Parent!Buffy glare.

"I said I was sorry about that, ok?" Dawn sheepishly said. "How many times can I apologize for that?"

"Not enough in my book." grumbled Buffy. "Go to bed! It's way past your bed time."

"Whatever!" groused Dawn while clomping up the stairs, in a way that only teen-aged girls could do. It was topped off by a door slam that would make Shannon Doherty proud.

Who'll be next? Come on, you know you wanna do it! The next would be Family/Fool for Love/Shadow.

Listening To Fear
Into The Woods
Blood Ties
I Was Made To Love You
The Body
Tough Love
The Weight Of The World
The Gift

[> Rusty or no -- good job! -- LadyStarlight, 21:25:22 07/01/03 Tue

[> I'll second that. Anyone claiming the next three? -- Marie, 01:08:47 07/02/03 Wed

[> Thread Preservation -- d'Herblay, 17:56:29 07/02/03 Wed

[> That was great! ("oink" - snerk) -- Anneth, 19:16:56 07/02/03 Wed

[> [> *giggle snort* -- deeva, doing her bit to keep this here., 10:20:43 07/03/03 Thu

[> Thanks, d'H - want to take the next three? Does anyone? -- Marie, 06:47:52 07/03/03 Thu

[> [> Preserving thread -- Marie, 09:00:52 07/03/03 Thu

[> [> [> Here's a thought -- deeva, 10:23:50 07/03/03 Thu

I don't think that anyone might sign up till after the Independence holiday. At least, that's what I think. Because it can't be because people think that they can't do it. Or do they? Nah.

[> [> [> [> Re: Here's a thought -- Marie, 05:49:52 07/04/03 Fri

Maybe.... it's just that I'm in a writing mood, so I want people to join me in something...I may end up finishing this myself (and I don't really care if people aren't reading it - I just enjoy the writing!) We need to start another fic - quick!


[> [> [> [> [> Thread preservation. -- Marie, 07:52:14 07/04/03 Fri

[> [> [> [> [> I am, too. -- deeva, 10:02:09 07/04/03 Fri

I would gladly write the turn after next or so. I can't do the next now because I'm supposed to be writing something else for Monday. But after that I should be good.

Why don't you just write the next one then? Personally, it's nice to know that people are reading but it is what it is. It's just entertaining enough to do the writing with a tiny bit of research thrown in.

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