November 10th, 2011

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Poetry Fishbowl Themes

It's time to pick some upcoming themes for the Poetry Fishbowl.  I have some ideas of my own to chip in: platonic relationships, heras and villainesses, and wild animals.  What would you like to suggest as a fishbowl theme?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below.  I'll gather them up -- possibly tweaking them a bit -- and post a poll on Monday so you-all can vote on the most popular ones.

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Schrodinger's Heroes: Alter!Dusty

Schrodinger's Heroes  is an apocryphal television show about quantum physics and keeping the Earth safe from alternate dimensions.  If you're not familiar with it, you can browse the menu page.  The following images may make more sense if you have read the descriptions for Melannen's characters and my characters.  LOL_Heroes is a branch of LOL picspam inspired by Schrodinger's Heroes.

Dusty is a human woman who arrives with an invasion force from another dimension in the unaired episode "Last Woman Standing," then winds up staying.  She is a skilled fighter and goes on to found a lesbian mercenary team.  Dusty has dark hair and olive skin.  As mentioned in the napkin episode "Her Hidden Face," Chris likes to flirt with Dusty.  Sometimes she gets turned into a cat, or is a cat in alternate dimensions.  Alter!Dusty has a pale coat and dark points, usually brown but sometimes gray, and usually rounded in body rather than angular; but there's not as much consistency for this character as for some others.  Full-size pictures appear in the Alter!Dusty gallery on my LJ scrapbook.  By the way, Dusty talks frankly about sex, so if that's not your thing, you might want to skip this batch.

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Where are the evil players?

 This article just baffles me.  Why is it hard to find people to play evil factions?  Among roleplayers I've known, there were people you had to forbid to play thieves or assassins, etc. or else they'd murder the whole party.  There are griefers on every group game who just like to muck things up for other people.  Why not make a virtue of this and have them play the antagonists against shiny heroes?  There are psychopathic powermongers taking over our very own world through money-juggling.  Surely some of them play, or played, games too and there must be more coming up as youngsters.  It's not like gamers are all heroes.  

I mean, sheesh, if I were into that sort of gaming, I'd be all over  playing villains for a game a two, just for variety.  As it is, I prefer facetime gaming ... so I get my evil jollies as a gamemaster.  I have had hardcore gamers shy away from some of my settings in hopes of finding a modicum of safety somewhere.  Heh.  Yeah.  Playing evil characters can be fun.
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Chromatic Fantasy

Here's a fascinating article about chromatic fantasy -- black authors revisioning epic fiction with a combination of cultural sources, often featuring characters of color.  This makes me happy!  I want to see writers exploring more different types of storytelling, inspiration, characters, and so forth.

Though I think there's more to Tolkien than people give him credit for, when it comes to being something that black readers could relate to.  Come on: Being told you have to be the thief because ... why?  Your wizard "friend" says so?  The halfling ALWAYS does it?  (The Hobbit)  Or being dragged off to somebody else's war and having the saving of the world heaped on your nappy little head, because ... why?  Some bunch of overpowered idiots are fighting over poltics and morals and treasure that YOU'RE never gonna see; power that you carry but are repeatedly warned never to use.  And they'll diss your friends for smoking a little pipeweed too.  (The Lord of the Rings)  

*laugh*  I've had fun  revealing the hidden cultural parallels of favorite books for ethnic readers.  It's kind of like playing "Shakespeare in the Bush."  You have to look past the wrapper on the characters and consider what you might, or might not, have in common with their experiences.  I used to do this in the prison classes -- along with assigning literature by black and Hispanic authors, I'd also assign some stuff by white authors and invite the students to look for common ground.  Fairly often they'd come back with, "Hey, this hero dude sounds like a brother after all."  And once they've learned to see deeply ... the world is never the same.
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Crowdfunded Science

Scientists are turning to the public for funding their projects. Do you think the government has dropped the ball on science? YOU can pick it up! Choose from numerous projects. Check out the blog, especially the article on how to crowdfund scientific research. Some of those tips -- do something people will care about, make your message easy to understand, prime the pump with your friends -- are applicable to other types of crowdfunding too.
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Why Picture Books Are in Trouble

This article talks about why children's picture books are losing ground in the market.  Note that this is for NEW titles; the classics are still selling strongly.  So what changed?   The story length.  Some genius decided to cut down the allowable wordcount in picture books.  

*headdesk*  It's possible to tell a great story concisely, if you know what you're doing and let the pictures carry much weight for description and setting.  But there's a limit, and ideally, the writer and artist of a picture book work together like a team of expert draft horses.

Small publishers to the rescue, please, and cue crowdfunding -- especially for those lucky folks who are adept at both writing and art so they can produce their own picture books.