June 2023 Archives

Let me crib from wikipedia for a moment: the Bechdel test, named after the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, is a measure of the representation of women in film and other fiction. The test asks whether a work features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

Once you start looking at popular media, it's striking how common it is for TV, movies, or fiction to fail. Media rep of characters on TV is about 75% male, and it's very common indeed for women to be presented in roles that frame them primarily or exclusively in terms of their gender role.

I've been aware of the Bechdel Test since the late 1990s and actively using it as part of my unconscious checklist for how to write a novel that doesn't suck in some way, but even keeping it in mind, I sometimes fail. And I think it's worth looking at where and why that happens.

So I decided to compile this score card for my books. (SF novels first, then Merchant Princes and Laundry Files.)

This was a very casual off-the-cuff response to an interview I did for Amazing Stories, an online reboot of a famous old pulp SF magazine's brand. The questions were a whole bunch of generic one-liners (pick any five), and this one in particular caught my attention because it pushes one of my hot buttons about SF: "If you were to write a love story between a human and an alien, what challenges would they face?"

We're all grown ups here so I'm not even going to bother looking for a way to ask ChatGPT for its reply. (I refuse to create a ChatGPT account because their user database will be hacked, sooner or later, and for a novelist, to be seen using it is potential career poison.)

I'm afraid I maybe took the question too seriously--or not seriously enough, because it deserves a book-length answer just dissecting the assumptions underlying it and tends to make me twitch uncontrolably and grind my teeth. I field tested my answer on an evolutionary biology professor: feel free to pick nits.

So: "If you were to write a love story between a human and an alien, what challenges would they face?"

(Answer below the fold.)

So, I get these random ideas for SF/F from time to time, and I have no idea what to do with them, and sometimes when I don't want to use them I post them here.

This is one of those. (I have a couple of novel-length projects queued up behind the current work-in-progress: I do not need this right now, for values of "right now" that include the next couple of years by which time everyone will have forgotten this.)

Requirement: How to get a High Fantasy Magic System that kinda-sorta resembles software engineering ...



About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2023 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2023 is the previous archive.

July 2023 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Search this blog