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Robotech Rewatch 62: Rick Hunter’s Sure Spunky

Warning, Rick Hunter does not appear in these episodes. Or at all. Ever. When the excitable narrator implied otherwise in the ‘next week on Robotech’ at the end of The Midnight Sun, Ms10 (who was on Minecraft and firmly Not Interested in Robotech) perked her ears up.

HER – Is that?
ME – No.
HER – But he said Rick Hunter.
ME – He lied. It’s there to make you think he’s going to be in it.
HER – He’s not in it?
ME – Didn’t I tell you that Rick Hunter never ever comes back?
HER – But maybe?
ME – No.

See? See? Even the modern generation of kids who have access to Wikipedia still get their hearts broken by this damned show pretending that it’s going to follow up on the adventures of the original Robotech crew and then not doing it.

This is a particularly dire example of that.

1653897-sera_02EPISODE 77: The Midnight Sun

More cold weather and mountain passes to be travailed. The geography of this place is insane. Weren’t we just at tropical water level five minutes ago?

Princess Sera, meanwhile, is having an emotional meltdown about being into that pretty human boy.

The freedom fighting crew enjoy a mountainside dinner. Lunk really likes steak. This fact cannot be emphasised enough.

Marlene has another of those head-attacks of hers and everyone is smart enough to actually get their weapons out immediately, because she’s totally a belweather for Invid violence. Turns out this is just a panic attack, not a sign of imminent doom. At least, that’s what the crew think, because the Invid squad, led by Sera, are being super sneaky.

Sera struggles emotionally with how hot Lancer is, and fumbles the first sortie, inadvertently warning them as to the Invid presence. (Well, second warning, since Marlene totally warned them already) The pitched battle continues to be punctuated with Sera’s inconvenient emotions.

Also, I really think Lancer should wear some sort of coat, as his off the shoulder number seems inappropriate in the snow.

Marlene, freaked out by the gunfire, starts wondering about the meaning of life. The meaning of life, Marlene, is that if a bunch of giant battle droids shoot each other up on a snowy mountainside, they’re probably going to cause an avalanche.

WHOOSH.

There’s a lot more shooting and a lot more snow. At one point, Lunk actually causes a second avalanche because it wasn’t snowing enough.

Sera faces off against Lancer and Marlene, and is caught in an emotionally fraught staring-and-emoting contest with Marlene. No one wins.

The others come to the rescue, and end up knocking Sera and the other Invid into a frozen ravine.
Rand asks the all-important question of why the Invid didn’t shoot Marlene and Lancer. Scott promptly mansplains a good explanation, which means no one actually suspects her at all. Good covering for your non-girlfriend totally by accident, Scott!

Well, Lancer suspects her, but he’s too busy being nice to Marlene to let it bother him.

Sera watches the gang leave, wondering why she spared them, and why anything.

I’m starting to suspect that the Regis’ problems with effective military intelligence stem from the fact that no one knows anything about anything. This also covers her parenting problems.

Cannot emphasise enough how much this character is not Rick Hunter.

Cannot emphasise enough how much this character is not Rick Hunter.

EPISODE 78: Ghost Town

Annie and Rand are cheerful while riding through the arid ‘wild west’ section of the ravaged Earth. The terrain is… awfully flat and dry considering they were only just in the snow last week, though the previous episode did telegraph that they were finally out of the snow and looking forward to travelling on the flat.

Scott wants to make sure that no one gets any genre-specific pleasure at all from the fact that humans have built cowboy themed towns in bomb craters. No fringed cosplay for you, Annie! No fun for anyone, ever. No fun.

Marlene’s role as worst spy ever continues to torment her, as does the extreme ringing in her ears that she gets whenever the Invid are near.

Oops, looks like Rand and Scott are going to get to play cowboy after all – they are arrested by the local sheriff on the grounds that he doesn’t like them, and they’re downright shifty looking.
Also, I’m not sure if I even need to mention this, but every character in this talks like Yosemite Sam.

Lancer, driving Marlene around in the jeep in the hopes that her migraine can provide vital clues as to the whereabouts of the Invid, is stopped by a bunch of cowboy-talkin’ varmints and promptly decides to a) pretend he and Marlene are honeymooners and b) mimic their accent.

Tourists, never mimic the accent of the locals. Never. It’s embarrassing for everyone.

The varmints, who are possibly crazy as loons, given their tendency to laugh broadly at just about everything, lead Lancer and Marlene to a crashed battle fortress. An SDF-what now?

The fortress has the words Mars Force written on it (um, okay) and when Lancer tries to discover if it’s the SDF3 and if it has anything to do with Admiral Rick Hunter, they all play dumb at him.

Scott is furious at being arrested by the cowboys of cowboy town, especially when his and Rand’s abandoned Cyclones are promptly ‘rustled’ by local kids.

Lancer’s varmints turn out to be veteran soldiers who were part of Admiral Hunter’s original SDF3 expedition, then returned after the second Robotech war only to drop out of society and get into weapons profiteering.

Lancer is horrified by the traitorous happiness of these deserters, and learns that they have been receiving messages from Admiral Hunter, which they have been ignoring. What, you mean we might (no) actually get to hear a message from our baby Rick (no), are we talking actual proper inter-Robotech continuity here? (no)

To prove that Marlene isn’t the only terrible spy, Lancer inadvertently gives away that her head is full of Invid signals, which makes the horde of varmints suspect (half correctly) that they are Invid spies.

Lancer snogs Marlene to prove that they’re not aliens, which… okay, I’m pretty sure that only proves they’re not Zentraedi, surely not all aliens are kiss-adverse? Anyway, it’s a thinly veiled excuse to ship Lancer and Marlene for one episode – wow, the boys are all lining up for her, aren’t they? Scott has been too slow with his agonised stalker routine, and she’s practically going steady with both Rand and Lancer now.

The floppy haired dude on the screen (who looks enough like Rick Hunter that you think – maybe for a moment – but NO) tells the base that Rick Hunter is planning to attack the Earth and is calling on all survivors to destroy military targets. Oh, it’s like Rick’s personal assistant. Well, that’s nice.

One of the varmints replies cheerfully “Rick Hunter, he just won’t give up,” and another agrees, “He’s sure spunky like that.” This is the best bit of the episode.

I like the detail that these boys were in the SDF forces so long ago that they don’t even think of Rick as an Admiral and have no proper military respect for him. Because, remember when he was just that 16 year old kid who liked planes and was drafted and kept getting promoted a lot? Good times. (also why do we never hear any shout outs to his wife Admiral Hayes-Hunter, who was totally promoted before him and should be further along the military track?)

Gabby, one of the veterans (so named because he’s silent, haw haw) takes his battle armour and goes to attack the Invid, promptly getting himself killed after a whole episode of brooding and trying to fix the communications array. It turns out that his son is Rick Hunter’s personal assistant, AKA the dude sending them messages from Admiral Hunter’s fleet. Because apparently it’s always been the same kid doing that job, and it was Gabby’s only way to see his son even though he could never talk back to him.

It’s all a bit tragic, and enough to inspire the varmints to get their act together and get their old battle fortress (really a WHOLE BATTLE FORTRESS?) up and running again.

Those crazy old coots have got the junkheap off the ground! Also, Rand is both ‘sonny’ and a young whipper-snapper. I feel this should earn him some cowboy points of some kind. If he gets called whipper-snapper three times, he gets to be sheriff, right?

A bunch of stuff gets blown to kingdom come, cowboy style.

I choose to believe that the cranky codgers are Konda, Rico and Bron. Except for the one who is obviously Nobby from the Discworld novels.

They all get themselves killed, of course.

Man, this end of the show is kinda bleak.

robotech thirdThis weekly rewatch of classic animated space opera Robotech is brought to you as bonus content for the Musketeer Space project.

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2. Diane Marchant & Kirk/Spock [SF Women of the 20th Century]

grup3p2Fanfic, and slash fiction in particular, is a huge part of SF fandom history – and its overlapping communities have mostly been built and shared by women.

Diane Marchant is generally regarded as the writer of the first published fic featuring Kirk/Spock – the ship which popularised slashfic as a fan phenonenon. And she was Australian, to boot!

You’re welcome, rest of the world.

The story, “A Fragment Out of Time,” published in Grup #3 in 1974, contained a steamy sex scene but named no names (and played the pronoun game, so it wasn’t even clearly marked out as a m/m relationship).

Still, the piece was illustrated with a Kirk & Spock picture drawn by Diane, making her intentions fairly obvious, and a cartoon underneath the final page of the story shows Bones saying to Kirk: “Impossible….. No, Jim. I warned you about messing with aliens…….. especially Vulcans.” (The look on Kirk’s face in the cartoon implies he has just been told about the existence of slash fiction. Oh, sweetie.)

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Robotech Rewatch 62: Awkward Shirtless Holiday Camp

Keep your scanner tuned to this station. Robotech is back!

EPISODE 76 – Metamorphosis.

Marlene (AKA Ariel) is the worst infiltrator ever, because she has failed to send any spyware back to the Invid Regis.

The Regis transforms two other Invid using ‘biomass reconstruction’ which turns them into conventionally attractive humanoids with adorable hair: Sera and Corg.

She believes that the humanoid form has been categorically proven to be the most flexible and useful life form for surviving this planet, based largely on that time all her dinosaurs got blown up. Cute hair for the win!

awkward shirtlessOur freedom fighting bikie gang are relaxing on a tropical island (bwuh?) because beach time = not throwing hissy fits and quitting the team. Annie finds an abandoned military base from the Second Robotech War, and they get scavenging on the grounds that a boat might be more surprising in their planned attack on Reflex Point than a fighter plane.

Turns out Rand is pretty good at welding. Who knew?

When Rook is injured badly in a skirmish with a patrol, they promptly find themselves an abandoned paradise resort where she can rest up while they swim, frolic and fix up a bunch of mecha.

Rook is a bit of a grinch about fun in the sun, but a shirtless Rand eventually convinces her to enjoy their impromptu holiday.

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Where Have All The Friday Links Gone

poster2My Fridays are so much more jam-packed than they used to be so Friday Links have fallen by the wayside. Whoops! I have so many juicy bits and pieces saved up, though, I had to do one today.

Judith Tarr visited Charlie Stross’s blog to ask the question Where Have All The Women Gone – or, more precisely, to talk about why that question is so damaging.

Also on Charlie’s Diary, Nicola Griffith brought the stats to the party with her post Data, books and bias looking at the gender breakdown of awards versus how seriously those awards are taken. Stirring stuff that will be super useful for Alisa’s thesis.

Some Australian SF Year’s Best Tables of Content! Fablecroft’s Focus 2014 collects an elite selection of work which has received acclaim via national and international Awards recognition. Over at Ticonderoga, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene have compiled the TOC for The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror. I’m honoured to be in both books, with two different stories – Focus is taking “Cookie Cutter Superhero” and Ticonderoga are taking “The Love Letters of Swans.”

My thoughts are on women’s role in the history of science fiction right now, so I was delighted to read Vonda McIntyre’s post at the Women in Science Fiction website, talking about “Starfarers,” the best long-lost SF TV show of all time. A diverse cast, an original premise (university faculty steal a starship when their travel funding is cut) and unusual aliens… oh and it was totally a hoax she made up in order to get through a dull panel topic at a convention. It has its own fandom. Oh, SF community, this is why we still love you.

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1. Raccoona Sheldon & “The Screwfly Solution” [SF Women of the 20th Century]

030-PseudoSignaturesI’m feeling a bit defensive about Raccoona right now, after re-reading the excellent biography James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips. Like many people, I’d always got so swept up in the Tiptree legend that I let Raccoona fall by the wayside.

But she’s terribly interesting, particularly in light of a recent article about the different reactions that an author received from agents who received her manuscript as being authored as a man, or as a woman.

Writing science fiction under the name James Tiptree Jr from 1967, Alice “Alli” Sheldon quickly became known as an important, groundbreaking writer in the field. She did her networking via correspondence, often by writing fan letters to her fellow writers, though she was also befriended by many editors who encouraged “Tip” in his work early on, giving personal feedback and demanding more work from him as his reputation grew.

Julie Phillips, in the epic biography James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, tells the anecdote of how Harlan Ellison rejected a couple of Tiptree’s trunk stories from Again, Dangerous Visions in 1969, and gave the writer a second chance along with an ultimatum: “You can do better than this, and I expect you to do so.” In a later letter, he instructed Tiptree to write something that was “brilliant,” to “bust your ass” and demanded: “A story on which to build a first-rank reputation. The best story you ever wrote.”

Inspired and challenged, Sheldon wrote “The Milk of Paradise,” a story that Ellison not only published but raved about directly to Tiptree: “You are the single most important new writer in science fiction today. Nobody touches you! Not me, not Delany, not Blish, not Budrys, not Disch, not Dick…”

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SF Women of the 20th Century: Introduction

TansyRR.com banner

Regardless of when you think science fiction started, and how far back you want to trace its origins (cough, Mary Shelley, cough, Verne and Wells, cough, Margaret Cavendish, cough, Lucian), the 20th century was undoubtedly a time of great development for science fiction as a recognisable genre. SF was in the pulp magazine, in the cinemas, on our radios and televisions, in novels and comics and artwork and fanzines and jewellery and action figures and glam rock.

And while 20th century science fiction is so often framed as a masculine genre, as a sexist genre, as a boys club, and as a hub of male geekery, male childhood, male second childhood and a world peopled by old white men, it was always a place where women existed, and worked, and played, and created wonderful things.

The history of women’s participation in science fiction is often troubling and problematic and difficult to talk about, and enraging, and inspiring, and so many other things. But most often, the history of women in science fiction is forgotten. (Too often, it ends up being a conversation about ‘where are the women in science fiction’ which is pretty insulting to those who were standing there in front of you all along, as Judith Tarr describes in her recent essay Where Have All The Women Gone?)

History is a living, dynamic thing, and we shape it as people when we decide what is important and what is not.

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Galactic Suburbia Spoilerific – James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips

We’re really proud of this episode! Some serious in depth crunchy conversation to be had. Also, Skype us with feedback! You know you want to. Stream or download the episode directly here or via iTunes.

phillips tiptree

In which we celebrate Alli Sheldon’s centenary with the first of our James Tiptree Jr spoilerific episodes and stand in awe of her extraordinary life, and the hard work of her biographer, Julie Phillips.

James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Phillips

It’s Tiptreemonth, and this spoilerific is a bit different from our usual ones because we’re focussing on a biography – Julie Phillips’ biography of Alice James Raccoona Bradley Davies Tiptree Sheldon. Her life sounds a bit like a novel and it’s all the more amazing for being real…

Join us for our next episode when we talk about some of Tiptree’s short works, including

Houston, Houston, Do you Read? and

“Your Faces, O my Sisters! Your Faces filled of Light!”

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Robotech Rewatch 61: Underground Dirtbike Break Up Song

"Yes, Rand, the apocalypse is a bad time and place to confess your feelings. Always."

“Yes, Rand, the apocalypse is a bad time and place to confess your feelings. Always.”

Keep your scanner tuned to this station. Robotech is back!

Episode 75 – Separate Ways

Having successfully ditched Annie with that random jungle tribe (and not asking nearly enough questions about why there would be a random jungle tribe in a community that’s only been post-apocalyptic quite recently), Scott and Rand and Rook and Lunk and Lancer and Marlene do their thing in an abandoned city – their thing being fighting Invid a lot, and complaining that they’ve almost run out of protoculture.

Marlene hasn’t contributed much lately, but she rides on the back of Lancer’s bike, presumably because he’s the character least likely to sexually harass or be mean to her.

In a skirmish, Lunk’s beloved jeep, which has until recently been able to do anything a lightweight motorbike can do, gets crushed in a rockfall. Twice.

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Uncanny Magazine Year Two: The Return of the Space Unicorn

dillon2THE KICKSTARTER IS LIVE! 40% already, and the first day isn’t over yet.

Three-time Hugo Award-winner Lynne M. Thomas (Apex Magazine, Chicks Dig Time Lords, Glitter & Mayhem) and three-time Hugo Award nominee Michael Damian Thomas (Apex Magazine, Queers Dig Time Lords, Glitter & Mayhem) are launching a Kickstarter for Year Two of their professional online SF/F magazine: Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy. Each issue contains new and classic speculative fiction, fiction podcasts, poetry, essays, art, and interviews. Uncanny Magazine is raising funds via Kickstarter to cover some of its operation and production costs for the second year, with an initial goal of $18,700. The Kickstarter launched on August 11, 2015, and run through September 10, 2015.

 

Uncanny features passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, and provocative nonfiction, with a deep investment in our diverse SF/F culture. We publish intricate, experimental stories and poems with verve and vision from writers from every conceivable background. The Uncanny team believes there is room in the genre for stories that inspire the imagination, challenge beliefs, and make readers feel. With the hard work of the best staff and contributors in the world, Uncanny Magazine delivered everything as promised with the Year One Kickstarter. Uncanny has received outstanding reviews and community support.  Some pieces from our first issue in 2014 even garnered award nominations and a Year’s Best anthology inclusion. Though Uncanny has developed several additional funding streams to make the magazine sustainable, we’re not quite there yet. Which is why we’re running the Uncanny Magazine Year Two Kickstarter,” Lynne says.

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Robotech Rewatch 60: A Couple of Vines and a Coconut

annieKeep your scanner tuned to this station. Robotech is back!

EPISODE 74 – Annie’s Wedding

The rebel bikie flyboy bikie gang are running low on protoculture, which is bad news, so they decide to transport their gear to Reflex Point via raft.

Annie is totally into this plan, and Rook put her enthusiasm down by pointing out that this isn’t some silly jungle movie where all you need is a couple of vines and a coconut. I don’t know, Rook. We’ve covered just about every other genre lately. A little Tarzan action would liven things up!

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