Showing posts from 2019

The Outcast

We've been rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation recently, and we've reached The Outcast, an episode which I'm sure has been discussed in more depth by more qualified people than I. Nonetheless, here is my Hot Take. On the face of it, The Outcast is about a member of a gender-neutral alien race who expresses a gender identity, and deals with the consequences - persecution, potential abuse, and a "cure" for their condition. Which is all fine and interesting as far as it goes; it sounds like a startlingly prescient subject for a network show from the early 90s, boldly tackling such topics as gender-neutral pronouns ("it doesn't really translate," they say, and diligently avoid them throughout). Here's the thing though: I'm pretty sure it's not actually about gender. In the context of the period, gender dysphoria was not a thing that was being discussed in any sort of a way. From the language and imagery used, from the "bashing&

The Justice League

The air in the Hall of Justice rippled horizontally, like water down a sheet of glass, and two figures stepped through as if from Nowhere.   "--was a difficult one," Danu was finishing as she appeared, "I don't want to make a habit of coming here."   "That's okay," said Dane, looking around at their grand surroundings through the red tint of his goggles. "If we get the thing, that shouldn't be a problem."   "Alright, your world, your rules," Danu shrugged. "Now are you going to tell me how we steal this?"   "Oh, we're not," said Dane with a faint smirk. "Don't even try. No, I'm pretty sure they already know we're here - my plan is to --"   A bow string released with a snap. Dane whipped out a hand and a blast of force surged out to deflect the arrow before it reached Danu - it hit a wall and exploded into a tangle of nets.   As Danu stepped back through her portal, Dane tur

Fic: At the Gates of the Underworld

Thor frowned at the flowers on the path, at the cryptic inscription, and at his fellows, each disappearing in turn through the forbidding gates.   They'd explained the way in, yes; eat the poison flower, die. Or something. But there'd been talk about the meaning of the second verse, an antidote to allow your return to the living. Those who'd understood it had gone on ahead and the solution had not been passed back to the group with any great clarity.   He was not afraid of death, he'd demonstrated that enough. Nor was he afraid of what lay ahead within the underworld, though surely many of the denizens of Hel's realm would bear him a grudge. However ... it was not his wish to be separated from his love, so soon after finding her, for the want of a flower or a whimsical rhyme.   Looking back on the path, he saw one other - the skald, Scheherazade, standing proud and alone with a golden arrow tucked in the folds of her cloak.   "I shall remain to protect the

Fic: Identity

James wrapped his hand around the hammer's handle, and his world exploded. "Thumper," said Officer Haynes, and James' sullen demeanour was split by a reflexive grin. Almost nobody used his real name, these days, bar the few local coppers who'd got to know him in their professional capacity, Haynes among them. It was always an obscure pleasure, but the thrill only lasted a moment before his frown returned. Smiling made his bruised eye ache.   Haynes crouched down outside his patrol car to address the fourteen-year-old ragamuffin in the back seat. "What was it this time?" he asked.   "They said I wasn't real," James replied sulkily. "They said I didn't have a mum."   Haynes clicked his tongue and looked over at the other boys, being tended by his partner and a first-aider. Between the four of them they had something like a decade and four hundred pounds on James, but they'd somehow still come off worse. Picking on a kid

Fic: A Summer Storm

There was a tension in the air.   James Foster navigated the baking, crowded streets of London in June with an ease borne of decades of experience. Of course, it helped that he was a man over six feet tall and notably broad, and even in this notoriously self-involved city the crowds naturally parted before him. Not that he was particularly aware that this was unusual. As far as James was concerned, this was just what crowds did when you walked towards them - this bubble of personal space into which nobody would dare trespass. That's simply how crowds work! Otherwise people would be walking into each other all the time.   As the sun beat down on the crowds James could feel the familiar pressure of a building storm, the clouds gathering above the tower blocks determined to reach critical mass and turn the winding roads into a mess of new rivers. It was always a distraction, like the clouds were gathering inside his head, squalling and clamouring for attention. He squinted up as one