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These are a few of my favorite things:

-The Eberron Campaign Setting for D & D. Influenced both by film noir and the sensibilities and aesthetics of steampunk, the world of Eberron gives a substantially different (and I think, richer and more nuanced) feel to the world it depicts than most campaign settings. There's a lot more room for moral ambiguity, post-colonial analysis, and moving beyond the familiar tropes of D & D - but enough high adventure, swashbuckling, tomb-raiding grave-robbing and other archaeologically incorrect dungeon-raiding practices (though they're acknowledged as such) to feel like the same game.

-Planetary by Warren Ellis - a vicious look at a world full of superhumans, approaching the genre from a different angle, telling a story that changes your basic assumptions about the moral and practical ramifications of superhero comics while still being a vehicle for one Hell of a story. Also vicious and cynical, which I'm usually a fan of ... but I also read Spider-Man Loves Mary-Jane religiously.

I am all about alternative takes on classical media. Which reminds me of a rant, actually, (two rants,. more actually) about the reasons why modern, mainstream superhero comics are getting boring and weighed down by the baggage of their own storytelling tropes ... but, um, maybe I should talk about that some other time?

- TV Tropes, which discusses and deconstructs pretty much every convention, theme, motif, metaphor, trope, and genre in any and every media, including real life. WARNING: Even more addictive than Wikipedia, says the guy who once read nothing but Wikipedia and Questionable Content from 10 PM until noon.

We won't talk about how long I've spent on TV Tropes. We really won't.

-Mackerel sushi.
matt_doyle: (Default)
Thinking about it, there's not much more I can discuss in any meaningful, interesting way on this topic - my point, I think, was simply that I tend to think of parents as figures of great ambivalence, and that in my mind, they are rarely ciphers in a character's past. Thought gets put into who they were and how they shaped the person we see. Likewise, that the ambivalence of those relationships is a recurring theme in my work. There's No Rainbow Bridge Across the Generation Gap isn't really about that sort of issue, but echoes of the thought are present, even in the title. Self Loathing is much more focused on issues of identity construction, but as a story about clones, the figures we model ourselves after and the ambivalence with which we regard them is pretty obviously packed in there.

As the original subject line says: it's something that I like to write about. It interests me.

Now to get to work on my actual post for the day. I have no idea what it's about yet.
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In either the first or the second season of Lost, there's an episode entitled "All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues." Just seeing it made me laugh, more with wry self-recognition than humor. Write what you know is the mantra, and boy, am I familiar with this subject.

My father is one of my heroes. During the Vietnam War, he took part in the second-most successful draft action in US history, burning tens of thousands of draft cards. As a result, he did time in prison, and he met my mother while he was on probation, when both of them participated in the Continental Walk for ... either Peace and Social Justice, or Nuclear Disarmament, I can never remember that part. I am proud of him - he gave years of his life to serve his country and save American lives, if in a different way than any soldier. I'm proud of veterans, too, even if I'm not proud of the wars they fought in, but I fully embrace the pacifist and activist traditions of my family. My father has also written a staggering number of newspaper articles on nuclear disarmament and on the abortion issue, though his uncompromising use of language has meant that few of them are accepted for publication. I identify with him as a writer, too, even if my own writing is very different.

And yet.

The reason I'm writing now as Matt Doyle is that my father did not want his last name attached to any sort of writing that would sanction gay marriage or gay adoption. Despite his peace-movement past, my father currently identifies himself as a Republican, and despite not attending church with any frequency, draws a pretty hard line of conservative Christianity. All my life I have been subject to verbal abuse, criticizing my every flaw or failing, yet almost never responding positively to any significant accomplishment or achievement. He introduced me to science fiction, got me hooked on Star Trek and Star Wars before I could read, then spent my teenage years deriding the genre as garbage and a waste of my time. He has never hit me or any of my family, but sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me is a damned lie anyway.

In cat macro, the title of this post would be My Issues: Let Me Show You Them.

And yeah. This works its way into my writing and my gaming. Parental figures are important to everyone, of course, because they're a foundational part of everyone's identity, whether by their presence or their absence. It's an issue I go back and explore, again and again. In Running In Her Veins, the main perspective character, Jordan, is adopted, and the plot centers around the fact that her biological father wants her dead. Exploring Jordan's construction of self in relation to her family - the biological, the adopted, and the self-chosen - would more or less include recapping the entire plot and giving away several key twists in the story, so I won't do that here. But the other perspective characters have parents too, and though none of them are so much as mentioned in this book (at least, not more than peripherally), I've thought about them.



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January 2014



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