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Foz Meadows

Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Fiction and Excerpts [2]

Archivist Wasp to Pern: Five Potentially Amazing SFF Adaptations That Need To Happen

Please enjoy this encore post on potential SFF adaptations, originally published February 2016.

Last week, I wrote about the new golden age of SFF adaptations and what, in my opinion, makes them work. This week, I’m going to delve into my personal wish list of Things I Want: five(ish) adaptations I wish existed, the forms they should take, and why I think they’d be awesome.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

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Kindness Amid Monstrosity: Kate Elliott’s Crown of Stars

I first encountered Kate Elliott’s work in high school: I remember seeing her Jaran books in stores, but it was the first volume of her Crown of Stars sequence, King’s Dragon, that ultimately provided my introduction. It’s a series that opened my eyes to a lot of different ideas, both SFFnal and political, and while I didn’t always have the language at the time to describe why the books were so important and compelling to me, there were nonetheless moments where they socked me right in the heart.

One of these moments—the definitive such moment, in many ways—happens at the end of the prologue to book two, Prince of Dogs. It’s somewhat tricky to explain why this particular section is so powerful to me, much as it’s difficult to explain to someone who’s never read the Discworld series why Night Watch is its pinnacle (FIGHT ME): nonetheless, I’m going to attempt it.

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

We Can’t Just Adapt Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books, We Have to Transform Them

It’s been coming on for a while now—easily for years; arguably for decades—but as of 2016, I’m calling it: We’re officially entering a golden age of SFF adaptations. Exactly where and how the trend started is hardly an isolated question, though I’d argue that the release of the first Harry Potter film and Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring back in late 2001 had a great deal to do with it. Not only were both films extraordinarily well-received, but they showed the major studios that, provided you got the fanbase onboard with the first installment, you really could bank on the sequels years in advance. With the special effects budgets needed to make SFF narratives work no longer cost-prohibitive to everyone beyond the biggest players, the steady trickle-down to television was inevitable.

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On Queerness, Subversion, Autonomy, and Catharsis: B.R. Sanders’ Ariah Reinvents the Bildungsroman

Some books are so completely an experience within themselves, so wholly another world—a world that takes up residence beneath your skin, like an inverse tattoo, indelible and sacred—that it’s impossible to fully describe their impact. For me, B.R. Sanders’ Ariah is such a book. I can tell you I cried three times while reading it, twice in a gasping way where I physically shook; and they were happy tears, too, the kind that spring up when the right words in the right order and context burst in your heart like a comet.

I can tell you that Ariah embodies the true potential of Bildungsroman in terms of the protagonist’s journey to adulthood, and that its intelligent, powerful, emotive discussion of gender, sexuality, culture, racism, imperialism, language, family, love, autonomy and personhood, among other things, is evocative of the best aspects of both Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor and Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice. That these books have been nominated for, and won, some of the most prestigious awards in the field should, I hope, convey my full meaning: that Ariah deserves a place among them. But none of that tells you how it made me feel.

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Juggling 8 Protagonists: Netflix’s Sense8

This is my third attempt at writing about Sense8, the new Netflix series created by the Wachowski siblings and J. Michael Straczynski, and likely not my last. The problem is that I feel too much, too intimately about this show to be anywhere near objective; and yet I want to be objective, because I love it with the fire of a thousand suns and am therefore desperate to explain, in glorious, technical detail, exactly why everyone else should love it, too.

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Victims and Villains: The Women of Orphan Black

Anyone who doubts that women contain multitudes should really watch Orphan Black.

It’s not just the consistent complexity of the characterisation, although lead actress Tatiana Maslany’s astonishing performance as multiple, distinct clones is so eerily perfect that it’s difficult to believe she isn’t secretly a single persona applied to quintuplets. (At the Hugo Awards afterparty at LonCon3 last year, I had a fascinating conversation with Orphan Black writer Will Pascoe, who told me that on set, he once turned to ask where Cosima’s actress was, momentarily forgetting that she and Sarah were being played by the same person.) No; it’s the underlying tension of nature versus nurture: the idea that people—that women—don’t just contain a single, pre-determined version of themselves, but endless possibilities.

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Catching Up with The 100

If you haven’t been watching The 100, a CW show adapted from the young adult works of Kass Morgan, then take it from me: you’ve been missing out. Full of complex, well-written characters and boasting a thoroughly diverse cast and crew, The 100 is easily one of the best things I’ve seen on TV in the last few years, and in the wake of the Season Two finale, this seems like an ideal time to stop and talk about why.

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