Thursday, March 22, 2012

Top Five Female Characters

I caught a commercial of some kind for "The Hunger Games" today. They were doing an interview with a fan, I think, and they were just so happy to have a strong female character. Of course, that set my radar going.

There are a lot of strong female characters. A whole lot. Why are you acting like there aren't?

Now, I was going to post this yesterday, but I'm glad I waited until today--it's more important, today...somehow. The top five list (although in no particular order, as is par for my course) of female characters in literature.

~Lyra Belacqua: The heroin of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. From book one, she's brazen, scoffing at the standard male authority. She also manages to run off, see the world, take part in politics. And that's the first book. We see her rise to womanhood by the end of book three. She stands as a lone voice of reason, traversing the land of the dead for her cause.

~Narcissa Malfoy: All right, don't hit me. How much stronger do you get than Narcissa. I'm not even talking about her power or skill as a witch. I mean as a mother. Molly is supposed to be the 'mother' of the book. I understand that, but a part of me would rather have Narcissa. For her son, no other reason, no thought of the consequences to herself, Narcissa lies directly to Lord Voldemort, and lies so believably that even he believes it. Everything she's ever done, really, has been for her son--and normally in direct defiance of the Dark Lord.

~Loor: Fans of 'Pendragon' will understand immediately. Loor is a consummate human being--compassionate, physically powerful, calm, wise, and possessing of foresight most people will never have. Through the series, she grows into a serene, respectful woman, capable of leading anything you put before her, and willing to take up that challenge. And she has a quality lacking in many literary characters--the ability to defer. If she isn't the best to handle the job, she will step down.

~Lisbeth Salander: Possibly the epitome of the strong female, she isn't necessarily a role model. As she stands, however, she can take care of herself--and does. Intelligent enough to hold a high-paying, high-stress job and she doesn't take anything from anyone. She doesn't buckle to the evils of the world, instead she takes her fate in her own hands, handles her own problems, and, eventually, cares. Slow to emote, she stays resilient to everything trying to erode her.

~Elphaba: The main character of "Wicked", from birth she struggles to her place in the world, and is constantly brought down. Left well and alone because of her green skin, dishonored for pursuing her chosen research, harassed by the government of Oz, thrust into the shadows by Galinda--and yet she still gains power, gets a castle, ends up, through a strange, somewhat confusing series of events, in control of a country, and carries on her research until the very end of her life.

Of course, there are other strong female characters out there--Esme Cullen, Hermione Granger, Osa, Ororo Munroe, Rosalie Hale, Alyss, Homburg Molly, Weaver, et cetera, et cetera--but that's a good sampling, for now, don't you think?

Feeling the girl power,
Voss

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

News Flash of the Century

To some people, anyway (WARNING: This blog post contains content that may not be suitable for those with weak constitutions or any who have performed the actions held within. I hold no responsibility for any killing spree or other semi-psychotic episode(s) resulting from the reading of this article.).

I've been looking around the Internet, and I got on a tangent. Blame the Internet--everything links to something else. What I found? A lot of people shocked over stupid things. So, I'm here to tell everyone one very important thing:

People have sex. A lot. More than some of us may think. From young to old. So it's only understandable that you might run across sex, be it highly graphic or fade-to-black, in the books you read. Now, I'm not saying "You little whiner, just read it and get over yourself." I totally understand that people don't necessarily want to have sex thrown in their face.

What I'm tired of is people acting all kinds of shocked when, say, there's anything more than a fade-to-black scene with seventeen year olds. Le gasp. If people want realism in their books, which seems to be the consensus among readers, that's a part of real life. Now, I'm not talking graphic scenes--that's illegal--but if two people have sex in their teens, and it doesn't stop right after the kissing, I'm afraid that's the reality of the world, and people need to shut up about it. I walked through the halls of my high school and saw it on the stairs leading to the theatre. More than once.

So, here's the real news flash: teens have sex. I do have a slight problem with it being shown in graphic detail, but we should all understand the feelings. As teenagers, aren't we all hopped up on hormones and ready to jump just about anything, at least some days. And, if they're in a romantic relationship, then some people really need to remove the pickle from the unpleasant orifice.

And, let's just take a look at sci-fi and fantasy right quick. In science fiction, in the future, on an alien planet, who says they have to have the same morals and standards. Maybe there's terrible population crisis in the future, so people have to start having sex as soon as puberty hits. Look at fantasy, in particular the medieval, classic high-fantasy. People didn't live as long in medieval times--so they did everything earlier than we do now. Marriage, sex, babies, and death.

I'd like to reiterate for anyone that might be upset now: I'm talking light stuff. Implied sex, more than anything. That's all I'm asking, here, is that people loosen their sphincters just a touch. I mean, look at "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." We all accept that book, right? It's an amazing book, but it has uncomfortably graphic rape scenes. How can that be okay, but a little grab-ass at the junior prom is tantamount to a call to arms for every "moral compass" out there?

Just my two cents.

Viva la realism!
Voss

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wandering Weeds

Yahoo! Or perhaps YAWP!

I've just been accepted into the great anthology "Wandering Weeds: Tales of Rabid Vegetation", edited by the equally great Frances Pauli and Jaleta Clegg.

Why is it so great?

It's an anthology of what happens when weeds--mostly tumbleweeds, but that's not exclusive--go a little wrong. Radioactive tumbleweeds, enchanted tumbleweeds, but mostly just pissed off tumbleweeds with a sore spot about the human race.

And it's awesome.

I can't say too much about it--lord, it hasn't come out yet, so I don't really know much anyway--but from what I do know, I know it's going to be AWESOME. So...you should all buy it when it comes out, since it's going to be awesome. Have I mentioned that yet?

Peace,
Voss

Friday, March 2, 2012

Queer Fish

Should I, could I, write this post?
Will you, will you think it's gross?
From Baton Rogue to Tuskaloos'
Everyone knows about Dr. Seuss

Okay, I'm not really a poet, and I'm no Dr. Seuss by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel like I need to honor him today. For those that don't know, today is Theodore Seuss Geisel day, in commemoration of his birthday. Today, had he survived, he would have been 108 years old.

Damn.

Of course, we probably all know his work in children's books (Sam I Am, Green Eggs and Ham, Oh, the Places You'll Go, The Lorax, The Butter Battle, Diffendoofer Day), but in that seeming inanity and simplicity, didn't he achieve the goal we all strive for? Is he not, at least a little bit, immortal?

Geisel and Dahl stand out as unique childrens' authors in my mind, mostly because they are queer fish.

Far fish, near fish, old fish, queer fish.

Why are they queer fish? Think about their work. Admittedly, they had some basic childrens' books, but they also didn't, and the books (I nearly wrote fish there, so you know) that aren't your average childrens' books seemed to stick around better. The Lorax is terribly depressing, The Sneetches is totally political and, again, not a happy story. The same can be said of Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and Matilda.

Why is that important? Both Seuss and Dahl decided that children could handle dark subjects and, yes, there are some Dahl books I would never read to children (Dahl fans know what I'm talking about.), but Seuss was a smashing success. The pointlessness of war, prejudice, deforestation--he presented them all in kid-friendly format, and with a unique, brilliant, and recognizable style. It's thanks to those two and, in America, mostly Seuss that we have as much freedom as we do in young adult and middle grade literature.

Theodore Geisel, I bow at your feet,
Voss