Posts Tagged ‘Farscape

02
Jun
12

Spock the Super Hybrid and the Problems with Hybrid Vigor

Spock–is there anything that motherfucker can’t do?

Seriously, the man has not met a computer he couldn’t fix, a foe he couldn’t neutralize, or a mind he couldn’t meld. The only game he ever lost at is pon farr (which, I imagine, is why many Trekkies have such a hate boner for T’Pring) and even then he technically won at the kal-if-fee. (You might argue that Spock failed the Kobayashi Maru at the end of Wrath of Khan, but I’d say coming back from the dead counts as a pass.)

Spock’s vegetarian, Plomeek-infused awesome sauce unfortunately falls into a trope known in the biology world as hybrid vigor, which refers to “superior” offspring created by members of two different species mating. Optimally, the wee baby animal will have all of the strengths of mommy animal’s species and daddy animal’s species with few or none of the two species’ shortcomings. Spock has the supersmarts, strength, and long lifespan of a Vulcan and the adaptability and innovative thinking of a Human. Now, why’s this hybrid vigor business a bad thing again? Well, as I’m sure you’ve realized by now, alien species on Star Trek represent different nations and ethnoracial groups, and, even when it’s not entirely clear what group of real life Earth people a given Star Trek alien species is supposed to correspond to, interspecies interactions and conflict are metaphors for intercultural/racial tensions and cooperations. (Which makes that scene where Wesley Crusher asks a new Benzite crewmember how people of his species tell each other apart really messed up. Shut up, Wesley.) In Star Trek logic, Spock’s hybrid vigor results from metaphorical race-mixing.

Continue reading ‘Spock the Super Hybrid and the Problems with Hybrid Vigor’

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25
May
12

Why Scorpius is Awesome, part 2 of infinity: He’s one kinkoid motherfreller

Hello, readers. I’ve been bad; I haven’t posted in several weeks. Sorry about that. The blog and I have been very busy in real life (the space between computers). I got to meet Judith Heumann, a big disability rights activist who was one of the leaders of the 1977 occupation of the old Federal Building in San Francisco. We spoke a little about the blog and she asked me to link to it on her Facebook page, which was a very surreal, very early 21st century moment, you know, having this civil rights giant who won you all these rights before you were born ask to link your blog about disabled aliens on a social networking website. What’s next? Elizabeth Cady Stanton asking me to friend her on foursqaure? (I would decline; my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.) Anywho… I spoke at two symposia about the blog, Scorpius’ sex life, and how fans know more about sci-fi/fantasy than “scholarly” writers. At my department’s graduation, I got to talk about blogging as an accessible form of activism for nerds with disabilities. And then most astonishingly, I won my department’s Special Award for Excellence in Research and Senior Honors Thesis for writing this blog. Yeah. Shocked me, too. I honestly hope my mom’s clapping covered up me saying, “Holy shit,” as I walked up to get the certificate.

Enough about me. Today, I wanna give you folks the extended, unrated, director’s cut version of what I talked about at those two symposia.

One of the more pervasive stereotypes about people with disabilities is that disabled folks are asexual. PWD have worked to dispel this myth, but most mainstream efforts have come off about as subtle as a disabled cisgender guy getting up on top of a table and shouting, “I HAVE MADE SEX WITH MANY WOMEN IN THE VAGINA.” In the autobiographical-musical film, Tell Them I’m a Mermaid, the women have an extended rap session about how much they want the peen a man to love them. This display of heterosexual desire is particularly egregious given that many of those women are lesbians. Have you heard about The Surrogate starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt? It’s the second film about Berkeley poet Mark O’Brien to portray him as 100% heterosexual 100% cisgender dudebro (at least, base on the buzz surrounding the film). Apparently, when looking through O’Brien’s work at Bancroft Library, the director of The Surrogate skipped over the poems about O’Brien’s gender dysphoria and preference for Black men. My point: attempts to portray disabled sexuality have far too often been portrayals of disabled heterosexuality that do little to challenge heteronormativity, i.e. the way that “traditional” man-woman relationships are highly valued and understood as the building block of society.

Enter Scorpius.

Trigger Warning: ableism, violence against people with disabilities, sexual assault, BDSM roleplay

Continue reading ‘Why Scorpius is Awesome, part 2 of infinity: He’s one kinkoid motherfreller’

18
Apr
12

Why Scorpius is Awesome, part 1 of infinity

Trigger warning: this post contains discussion of rape, forced pregnancy, child abuse, and abuse of people with disabilities.

Spoilers: all of Farscape, including the miniseries.

Image: a screencap of Scorpius in the Farscape episode, "Season of Death." Scorpius is a Humanoid male with pale, almost reptilian skin, blue eyes, and thin black lips. His entire body save for his eyes, nose, and mouth is covered with a leather bodysuit.

The time has come, my friends, to introduce my absolute, hands-down, favorite character with a disability in all of fiction. Much like Madonna, Prince, and Yoshua, he goes by one name: Scorpius. Did anyone else feel shivers down their spine? Just me? Okay. Aaaanyway, here’s your primer on Scorpius, the central villain on Farscape. (If you’re reading/hearing this and you don’t watch Farscape, what is wrong with you? Seriously. Think about your life, think about your choices.)

Continue reading ‘Why Scorpius is Awesome, part 1 of infinity’

25
Feb
12

Where does disability come from?: Hynerian dominars and the social model

Image: Rygel, a grey alien with a tiny nose, pointy hairy ears, a big mouth, and a mustache, wears the robes of Hynerian royalty.

Meet Dominar Rygel XVI, just your average deposed monarch from the illustrious Hynerian empire. What’s a Hynerian, you ask. If you want to be crude about it, to use the words of the Human John Crichton, “a two-foot green slug” (“Won’t Get Fooled Again). Imagine if you will, then, a palace full of Hynerians (that is, with the exception of their Banik slaves, who, as Rygel would assure you, don’t really count). What would the architecture look like in such a palace? The furniture would be smaller and lower to the ground. If the palace had luxurious high ceilings, they’d be about seven feet high. The whole built environment would cater to people about the size of Rygel (and, if we’re being honest here, the whole built environment would cater to Rygel specifically). You’d have a bunch of Hynerians moving about in a world built for them (and a bunch of Baniks crouched over like John Cusack on floor 7 1/2 in Being John Malkovich).

But what happens if a Hynerian leaves that environment? Say, if their cousin Bishan deposes them in their sleep. What happens if they end up in a world made for much taller species? What then? Continue reading ‘Where does disability come from?: Hynerian dominars and the social model’

20
Feb
12

Disability in my sci-fi?

Hyperbole and a Half meme

Image: Background: a cartoon of a blonde woman punching the air with her fist and holding a broom in her other hand. "CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!" is handwritten above her head. Foreground: the caption: "LIST ALL THE SPACE CRIPS!"

Over Christmas dinner, I was telling my family that I wanted to write about disability in science fiction. My future brother-in-law, who is a big sci-fi fan, was doubtful that disability was covered often enough in sf for me to study it. (He had previously asked me if there was enough material to warrant doctoral programs in women’s studies. Apparently, he hadn’t heard that women and girls make up a little over half of the world’s population.) After that, I got to thinking about it and started to compile a mental list of characters with disabilities and disability themes in sci-fi/fantasy. In the interest of appealing to my fairly concrete minded brother-in-law, this list is limited to characters who would be read as having a disability in the US in 2012 rather than characters who demonstrate that disability is on a spectrum and culturally relative. The latter will come later. Without any further ado, I give you my rudimentary rundown of disability in sci-fi/fantasy.* You are forewarned: here be spoilers. Continue reading ‘Disability in my sci-fi?’




Space Crip

People with disabilities? In my sci-fi? It's more likely than you think.