mithen: (Default)
[profile] ran_dezvous asked me about Detective Conan, a popular anime here in Japan!

When my husband and I first moved to Japan 15 years ago, we decided to watch some Japanese shows to try and practice our Japanese. One of the shows we chose was Meitantei (Famous Detective) Conan.

This was a terrible choice.

Meitantei Conan is a long-running animated series about a high school boy and amateur detective who, when he runs across the nefarious Black Organization, is given an experimental drug that is supposed to kill him, but (unbeknownst to the villains) de-ages him instead. He decides to pretend to be his own young cousin, taking the name Edogawa Conan (Edogawa sounds like Edgar in Japanese, from Edgar Allen Poe; Conan from Conan Doyle). Through a rather convenient set of plot devices, he eventually moves in with his semi-girlfriend Mouri Ran (who doesn't know who he is) and her incompetent detective father Mouri Kogoro. While searching for the secret of the Black Organization, he ends up helping Kogoro solve crimes by using a special dart that puts Kogoro to sleep at convenient times and a microphone that lets him impersonate and throw Kogoro's voice. Kogoro starts to become famous as "The Sleeping Detective" who solves crimes while in a sleep-like trance (it's Conan solving them, but Kogoro is happy to take the credit and even kind of believes he's doing it somehow).

It's a great show, but it's a terrible show to to be practicing your Japanese with, because a lot of the cases revolve around language riddles,, Japanese is not an easy language for that. So after a while we had to kind of give up watching it unsubbed, but years later we came back to it, because we had liked the characters and the conceit! We’re not caught up anymore, but for a while we were watching it very regularly. I think we’ll get back to it at some point, once the English subs have made some progress--we’re too invested in the long-term overarching plot not to find out how it all gets wound up someday...
mithen: (Batman Loves You)

[profile] ran_dezvous asked about my reactions to Tokyo!  I actually live about ninety minutes from Tokyo by bullet train, but my husband has family that lives there so I go there three or four times a year.  Where I live now is a pretty big metropolitan area, but to understand my reactions to Tokyo you have to know that I grew up in a town of 4,000 people.  We had one traffic light in my town (it was a blinking yellow light). I spent my childhood in a place where I could (and did) wander out of my house and into the woods to climb trees and follow the nearby brook along its path.

(my backyard, pretty much)

So when I first went to Meiji Shrine in Tokyo I asked my husband "Is there ever a point when it's not crowded?"

(It was like this).

And he looked around and laughed and said "THIS is when it's not crowded."

(This is when it's crowded!)

I've gotten more used to the crowds in Japan--like I said, we live in a big city, the third-biggest in Japan.  But Tokyo's a totally different sort of thing.  For starters, the sprawl is immense and seems to go on forever.  You could drive for hours and still be in the Tokyo metropolitan area.  And like any fairly old city, the streets tend to be narrow and winding and confusing.  It's REALLY easy to get lost--Google maps has saved me so many times traveling around there.

I like Tokyo a lot!  I have a lot of good memories, and some that may not be good but are certainly memorable.  I visited the cutest cat cafe in the world there!  I've had the best pho I could find in Japan there.  My mother-in-law's ashes are interred there, in the family plot in the temple cemetery near where she grew up, and every year we go there and burn incense and leave flowers and listen to the crows call.  When the big earthquake and tsunami happened, we were visiting Tokyo and had to walk for four hours across town to get back to our hotel; the streets were full of tired, worried people--women limping in high heels, parents carrying toddlers through the night.  We've been line dancing at Little Texas, a country-western bar full of enthusiastic Japanese people in cowboy boots.  It's a wonderful city to visit, and if you find yourself there, let me know and I'll take the train to meet you!
mithen: (Misty Mountain Cold)
[profile] crooked_halo asked me what my favorite season was! When I was growing up in Maine, or going to graduate school in Minnesota, it was always spring, but now living in Japan it's fall, for pretty much the same reason--it's the point when unbearable weather breaks and you don't quail at the idea of leaving the house again. In the Northern US, spring is when your gut stops clenching up when you walk outdoors, things start to smell nice again, and everything starts to come to life once more. But here in central Japan, winters are pretty mild and summers are the agonizing season, where you step out of the house and are immediately drenched in disgusting sweat, where the air seems to cling to you like soup and the sun is your vicious enemy. Fall is when air starts to feel like air again as opposed to swimming through blood; things become crisp and clean and pleasant again and it's such a relief. I enjoy every day of it!
mithen: (Hand on Shoulder S/B)
[personal profile] navaan asked me to name some things I like from the New 52! I'll give you my four current favorite titles and tell you why each one has something I love in them.

1. Action Comics
My favorite take on Superman in the New 52. Greg Pak's Superman is very much Clark, rooted in Smallville (a fair number of his stories have revolved around Smallville, which contains a refreshing mix of names and faces from lots of different ethnic backgrounds), a decent guy and a hero. He's very much in the "You can't save them all!"/"WATCH ME!" vein of Superman heroics, and feels both young and mature at the same time.

2. Batman Eternal
This weekly series had a kind of rough beginning and I think it still suffers from some herky-jerky storytelling due to having a lot of different writers, but it has the advantage of having a bunch of very interesting female characters it's developing, including Stephanie Brown/Spoiler, Harper Row/Bluebird, Julia Pennyworth (taking over for her father while he's injured), and a Selina Kyle who's currently running the Gotham underworld and doing pretty well at it, thank you very much. Basically any title that brings us a Steph Brown who's resourceful, talented, and (maybe most importantly) was never tortured to death with a power drill gets a thumbs-up from me, but it's winning me over as a story of its own too.

3. Gotham Academy
This one's still really young and I'm not sure where it's going, but it's a very fun "Harry Potter meets Gotham" premise: Olive Silverlock and her friend Maps Mizoguchi are students at Gotham Academy, which may be haunted and definitely has a lot of secrets. I've spotted a bunch of little Easter eggs that make me really excited to see where this goes, and the art and writing style are refreshingly different from most of the rest of the New 52.

4. Grayson
I was pretty dubious about this one, which has a presumed-dead Dick Grayson going undercover in Spyral, the secret spy society, but boy have I been won over. Seeley and King write Dick Grayson like a dream, maybe my favorite version of Dick that I've read--not just in the reboot but in modern comic books. The tension in the book is whether Dick can keep his heroic ethics while working for the shadowy and frankly sinister Spyral, and so far the answer is a resounding "He's Dick Grayson, of course he stays a hero." The series also has a rebooted version of Helena Bertinelli, who works for Spyral but also seems like a good person and has definitely got chemistry with Dick. As a side, snarky note, I found it interesting and frustrating when I posted some scans from this title on Tumblr that a couple of people reblogged it and added some pretty angry commentary about how they "made Helena so damn ugly" in the reboot. So what does this take on Helena look like?

Oh, also "Grayson" has some really gripping spy plots that are very well-written! Basically, imagine Dick as an anti-gun James Bond (there was a really powerful issue about his refusal to use a gun) with all of the action and wit and--I won't say none because nothing's perfect, but only a tiny fraction of the misogyny.
mithen: (Hand on Shoulder S/B)
[profile] luciferapollyon asked: If DC Comics called you up today and asked you if they could publish one of your Superbat stories as a full length comic which one would you pick; who would you want to draw it and why that story and why that artist?

I thought this might be hard, but it wasn't really once I thought about it! First, I could rule out anything set in canon continuity because...because I don't want my pairings to be canon. *runs and hides for a bit* See, I really prefer pairings that are non-canonical and will almost certainly remain so, because it keeps me from getting over-invested about where canon is going and whether my ships are endgame or whatever. I know myself and I think if I had that kind of pressure on my fannish consumption it would make me miserable. I like my little "nah, it's not canon and I don't care" corner of fandom.

SO if I ruled out anything set in something like canon, that leaves a story that could become some kind of Elseworld or alternate timeline where things went much differently and it became a world where Clark/Bruce could happen. And from there I ended up wanting to see From This Day Forward, which is set in an alternate world where Krypton didn't explode and Kal-El has to enter an arranged marriage with Bruce Wayne, much to the dismay of both. I was just re-reading the beginning and started cracking up because I remembered I had included the entirely canonical Silver Age fact that Kryptonian couples are supposed to cut their way out of a giant wedding cake together. And that's a big part of the reason I'd love to see it as a comic--anything that shows Kryptonian culture is automatically a favorite, and that story is probably the most developed Krypton I have.

For artist--assuming I couldn't have Rai_Daydreamer, whose art is still my mental image of Clark and Bruce, and would have to settle for a mere professional artist--I'd probably go with Jae Lee, the current artist on Batman/Superman. I don't always like his Superman because he doesn't look at all like a kid from Kansas--there's a very inhuman, almost eerie quality to him that I find off-putting--but I think he'd be GREAT at drawing a Kal-El who was wholly Kryptonian:

I also think Lee would do an amazing job of drawing Krypton, as he's really good at surreal, unearthly landscapes and cityscapes. Here's Lee drawing Clark and Bruce in a city park in Gotham that looks like something out of Lovecraft:

I'd really love to see what he'd do with Krypton!
mithen: (Misty Batman)
[personal profile] jlvsclrk sked me to talk about what I enjoy about writing Clark and Bruce! TWIST MY ARM. :)

meta and scans below the cut! )
mithen: (Misty Mountain Cold)
[personal profile] starsandsea asked me to talk about Tolkien a little! And I think this time I'm going to take her literally and talk about the Professor a bit: specifically, his relationship with his wife and the way that became a theme in his work.

For starters, you have to know (and most of you probably do) that the Aragorn/Arwen love story in Lord of the Rings is basically a retelling of the Silmarillion's major love story between Beren and Luthien. Many of the basics of the two stories are exactly the same: a human man encounters by chance an elven maiden dancing in a forest and they fall in love. But the fates of Elves and Men are different: Elves live on eternally, while Men die and pass beyond the world to an unknown fate. In both stories, the maiden's father resists their love and sets obstacles in their way, demanding extravagant proofs of the man's worthiness. In both stories, the man eventually proves his worth and wins the hand of the maiden. And in both stories, the maiden chooses to forsake her immortal birthright and become mortal; when the man dies the maiden dies also of grief and her soul is lost to Arda forever.

What I didn't know as a younger reader was that Beren and Luthien (and thus by extension Aragorn and Arwen) are basically self-inserts for Tolkien and his wife. He met Edith when he was 16 and she was 19 (an age difference that at the time must have felt like the age difference between his female elves and male humans) and fell in love. His guardian (they were both orphans) disapproved and forbade him to have any contact with her until he was 21. Tolkien acquiesced and cut all ties for four years--and on the day of his 21st birthday wrote her a letter saying he loved her still and he hoped she would marry him. She wrote back saying she was engaged to someone else, but made it clear that she had assumed he had forgotten her and she still loved him. Tolkien immediately set off to where she was living, she met him at the station, and at the end of the day returned her ring and was engaged to Tolkien. They married soon after, just before he left to fight in France. She was Anglican and converted to Roman Catholicism to marry him--by the beliefs of the time, effectively giving up her place in the afterlife, like Luthien and Arwen.

When he was on leave from World War I, he came back to England and met her in a blossoming hemlock grove, where she danced for him--an image that became essential to both of his great romances. After the war, they had four children together, and although their marriage wasn't always happy (they clashed about religion; she didn't like being the wife of a professor) it seems to have been a good marriage.

But here is where real life and the canon part ways, and here is where I always tear up: unlike Luthien and Arwen, Edith Tolkien died first. Tolkien wrote his son after her death, "I never called Edith Luthien--but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief part of the Silmarillion. . . . But the story has gone crooked, & I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos."

With this in mind, it always seems both fitting and heartbreaking that as far as Tolkien was concerned, the death of Arwen is the end of his world: “There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by the men that come after, and elanor and nimphredil bloom no more east of the sea.

“Here ends this tale, as it has come to us from the South; and with the passing of Evenstar no more is said in this book of the days of old.”
mithen: (Blossom Bird)
[personal profile] me_ya_ri asked me to name five favorite moments for a character! To no one's surprise, I've gone with Clark Kent. *grin* These actually serve as a good introduction to which trade paperbacks and stories are my favorites with Superman as well...

Scans from Birthright, JLU, Superman for all Seasons, All Star Superman, and Hitman below the cut! )
mithen: (Batman Loves You)
Prince0froses asked me for some favorite songs! I have to preface this by saying that my taste in music is both omnivorous and terrible--give me something simple and cheery and I'm happy. And I had to pick a way to narrow down a bit, so I decided to go with "5 Songs that I loved or that meant a lot to me in 2014."

An odd mix of music by DJ Earworm, Rosi Golan, Lewis Watson, Sakanaction, and CFO$ below the cut )
mithen: (Misty Batman)
[personal profile] northernwalker asked: You've just won the lottery! It's a multi-million dollar win. What are the first three things you'd buy? Would you quit your job/move/make other drastic life changes?

Ooooh, this is actually a very hard question about my job. See, I love my job, I really do--every semester brings new and interesting challenges and frustrations, and it never gets boring. However, in recent years the workload has been slowly accumulating until this year I'm finding it quite hard to keep up with work and fandom, and that's galling. I could potentially drop to a different contract with fewer committee responsibilities, but...then I'd lose my office, and I do love to have an office (with walls and a door! All those years ago I thought Les Nesman of WKRP in Cincinnati was an oddball, but now I realize walls and a door are invaluable at the God, I have become Les Nesman).

That said, my choices for what I would purchase with my lottery winnings are clear:

1. College educations for my nieces
2. A personal secretary, bilingual in Japanese and English, to do my paperwork and keep track of my deadlines. *luxurious sigh*

The rest would probably go into a retirement fund, to be honest! I am both boring and paranoid (oh no, I am Les Nesman...)
mithen: (Steepled Fingers)
Crooked Halo asked me about my writing process!

I don't tend to write on the spur of the moment, which is sometimes a problem--that is, I don't tend to think, "Oh, that would be a great story" and immediately sit down and write it while my emotion is high. I have a file of story ideas and they can sit there for literal years before I get to them (I think I planned and researched this wrestling AU for two or three years before I even started writing it). That means that sometimes the inspiration and emotion can drain out of an idea if I'm not careful, or canon can move so far past the idea that it doesn't make sense anymore (I had a story planned where Clark was the avatar of the Flamebird entity and Bruce the avatar of the Nightwing entity, but the reboot happened and the concept of Nightwing and Flamebird as Kryptonian gods with human avatars disappeared and it just became too much hassle to do the info dumping in the story to make up for that). On the plus side, it means I tend to write stories that I'm committed to on an intellectual level in addition to an emotional level, which I hope leads to stronger stories.

Usually once I decide what I'm going to write next I sit down and talk it over with my husband to see what he thinks might work and where it might go. He's really the "plot-maker" and if a story has a lot of plot you can be pretty certain he had a hand in it. This is the stage I'm at right now about a story I want to write with Bruce asking Clark to help out training a superpowered Damian--it's a great idea, but it has to be more than a few scenes, there have to be changes in the Clark/Bruce relationship brought about by the situation, and I'm not sure what those will be yet.

Once I've got the plot hammered out in tandem with my husband, I sit down and write it--my favorite part, but it's pretty mundane. I'm a very linear writer, so I just plod ahead doggedly until I reach the end. At some point, I generally have a crisis where I can't think of a good title and I threaten to junk the whole story because I hate having boring titles. Both of my long series right now have basically I-can't-think-of-anything-else-ah-screw-it titles, alas.

Once I'm done, my husband gives it a beta look, fixing (I hope!) any spelling/grammar errors, finding places where the action isn't clear, most recently pissing me off by informing me that Sindarin lacks the proper phonemes to make a convincing word that sounds like "cheetah." ("FINE OKAY I'LL MAKE IT A DWARVISH WORD ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?")

For posting...lately I've been posting almost as I'm done, which just reveals that time has been tight for me recently. There've been times in the past when I had a backlog of six or seven chapters waiting to be posted.... *sighs* I try very hard not to let more than twenty days go by without an update in my series, and so far I have never failed at that, but it's been a scramble the last six months or so! I've never written two long series simultaneously, and I underestimated how much of an energy drain it would be to keep both of them going at a reasonable pace. They've each got another twenty chapters or more to go, though, so there's no respite in sight anytime soon. Fortunately, I love them both and they're really different so they give me a lot of variety in writing, but I miss having time to write one-shots!
mithen: (Swan Princess)
[personal profile] aralias asked me about being on Freedom City back in the heyday of mailing lists! A little background: Blake's 7 had (has) two major mailing lists--one was more general-interest, and Freedom City was more free-wheeling and open to fic and shippiness. I got accidentally unsubscribed from Freedom City at some point and never got back in, so I'm mostly describing a period of time from 2005-2007 or so (and just my own personal impressions, of course! There are people on my flist who may well have been there too!)

Mostly I remember the meta with fondness! There was a constant flow of discussion about characters and episodes, and because of the feeling of a mailing list, you felt pretty comfortable saying anything, knowing that the people hearing you were all interested in B7 as well. The shift to LJ was actually hard for me, because I feel uncomfortable posting things that are definitely not the reason people followed me. Tumblr is...well, I guess once you reach Tumblr you have to just embrace the chaos, but it still makes me unhappy at times! Freedom City was opt-in, so everyone wanted to talk about B7. And because it's a closed canon that's been over for decades, you could be pretty sure that everyone was well-versed in canon. There were people who had favorite minor characters (Carnell, Jarriere, Og, Bayban, Brian the Spider) that they promoted with zeal and humor, lots of favorite conspiracy theories about how to explain odd quirks in the show. There was also a fair amount of fic, a lot of which wasn't overtly shippy (both a con and a pro for me). There was a lot of focus on creating clever, unexpected, experimental fic, which was a lot of fun to read even if I have no talent for writing it.

I learned two important lessons from Freedom City that have been useful in my fannish life! The first I learned when the topic of whether Blake was a sociopath terrorist or not came up for the first time, and the list became embroiled in heated debate on the topic. Everyone had very strong views, forcefully argued. Eventually the dust settled, the debate died down, and I thought, "That was interesting! I'm glad we've got that settled for good now." What can I say, I was young and foolish and had not learned the essential fact of fandom: wank is perennial. It slumbers beneath cordial exchanges, ready to break out afresh with a new stimulus. I think we had basically that same argument every three or four months--someone would make a glancing reference to Blake's character and suddenly we would all be having the same arguments over again. It was like the WWI Christmas Truce in reverse--usually everyone would be playing cricket and singing songs together, and then everyone would dive into their established trenches for twelve hours of intense sniping, then back to the cricket-playing. I thought that was odd at the time, but it was my first lesson in the fact that every fandom has these sorts of flash point issues that are always ready to ignite.

The other lesson I learned when someone--I think it was Predatrix, and am ashamed I don't remember--posted a short story to the list. She's a better writer than I am by a long shot, but I guess I was in a snarky mood or something, because I forwarded it to my husband with some snotty opinions about it.

Except instead of forward, I sent my bitchy message to the whole list.

Words cannot describe my utter mortification--I actually laid down on the floor and wept with shame, I felt so horrible. I'm blushing right now just remembering it. Predatrix was amazingly gracious about it, much better than I deserved, and my humiliated apologies were generally accepted. And this is where I learned to never be snarky at all if I could help it, and if I MUST get something off my chest, to do it as privately as humanly possible. But mostly from then on I have just resisted the urge to rip things up. What the hell, it's just a story or a post, what am I going to gain being nasty about it? If the person in question saw my "clever" remarks, how would it make them feel? Because who knows, they might. To be honest, probably that mistake, coming so early in my fannish life, served me pretty well, because it drove home that being positive is a LOT less likely to make me feel horrible in the long run than being negative. I was very, very lucky that people were forgiving to me--but Freedom City’s atmosphere was like that.
mithen: (Swan Princess)
Alas asked me to talk about "strong female characters"! goes!

I confess, I don't do very well by female characters in my fanfic! As a fanfic writer, I'm kind of obsessed with picking apart male narratives and male/male interactions; it's like studying a foreign language and neglecting to get better at my own native language, you know? And I'm always a little leery of the term "strong female characters" because I fear it getting used to reject female characters who aren't considered "strong" by certain standards but are still interesting. But given the topic, here are a few female characters from my favorites canons that I've particularly enjoyed:

Steph Brown, DC Comics. I never read her as Spoiler or as Robin, and the scans I've seen of her at those times never endeared me to her. But I fell in love with her as Batgirl in Bryan Q. Miller's run: the patron saint of sheer cussed stubbornness, who refuses to even stay dead, who makes a way no matter who tries to stop her, be it her father or Batman or Black Mask or Dan Didio.

Dors Venabili, Prelude to Foundation/Forward the Foundation. Isaac Asimov was not good at writing women. His most memorable female character was Susan Calvin, roboticist, who was one of those characters that's much better than the writer realizes. Asimov, I think, mostly just wanted her to be a frigid girl-scientist, but generations of fans have read a lot more awesome into her than Asimov ever meant. However, in two of his last books, Asimov finally created a female character who's interesting and fully rounded: Dors Venabili, Hari Seldon's wife. And all it took was making her a robot! Asimov always loved robots more than people, not that I blame him.

Charlotte Flair, WWE. If you haven't been following me on Tumblr you've largely missed my tumble into professional wrestling fandom--missmithen is about 25% superheroes, 25% Tolkien, 25% professional wrestling, and 25% other right now. Charlotte Flair is the daughter of (in)famous wrestler Ric Flair, and she's amazing. She's fierce and contemptuous in the best ways (her finishing move is called Natural Selection), and has developed into a very charismatic wrestler who isn't there to be eye candy. The way she shut down a crowd chanting for a different wrestler last week ("YOU DO NOT CHANT when a genetically superior wrestler addresses you!") made me want to crow with delight, as did her delighted smile when they shut up (it's not always easy to shut up a bunch of professional wrestling fans).

Morwen, the Silmarillion. Probably my favorite Tolkien woman. Her husband Hurin was taken prisoner in a terrible battle, and she attempted to raise her children on her own in enemy-occupied lands. She was proud and stern, and spoke little, and her family suffered more than perhaps any other family in Middle Earth (Morwen sends her son away to try and save him, and after a long series of cursed mishaps he meets up with his sister and marries her without knowing her identity, and they both commit suicide when they find out). Her death--she finds the graves of her children and her long-lost husband sitting at it, and dies in his arms there--is one of the saddest in Tolkien for me.

I'm missing many, I know it, but those are the ones that pop to mind when I consider my current main fandoms! There's a theme there of being strong-willed, stubborn, and never giving up, I think...
mithen: (Deaded)
[personal profile] rileyc asked me about this pairing, which I just wrote for the first time for Yuletide, but have loved for a couple of decades!

OK, I could go on for a LONG time about R. Daneel Olivaw and Elijah Baley. They're the main characters from Isaac Asimov's Robot mysteries: the two of them appear together in The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn, and (in flashback) Robots and Empire. Baley is a detective from Earth, while Daneel is a humaniform robot from an Earth colony. Baley--like most Earth people--distrusts and dislikes robots, but comes to first respect and then love (the word is used at least three times to describe how he feels about Daneel--the first time it is qualified to be love "like a friend," but the second two times it's simply love) his robotic partner.

Asimovian robots have three Laws that are necessary to function--later books explicitly argue that they're not programmed that way, their brains will not function without these Laws in place. The third, weakest Law is that a robot must protect its own existence. The Second Law is that a robot must always obey a human. And the First Law of Robotics is that "a robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm." Asimov created these Laws in the 1950s as basically a logic puzzle: most of his robot stories revolve around mysteries that play with the Three Laws. As the books progress and Asimov develops the society he's created, they also become ethics puzzles: what does free will mean to a robot if it must obey the three laws? Are they slaves to humanity, or purely altruistic beings? Or both?

Baley and Daneel make a very classic odd couple: Baley is homely (Asimov's descriptions make it clear, I think, he mentally cast a more rumpled Humphrey Bogart in the role) and Daneel is basically perfectly handsome (I would cast Chris Evans in the role if I were making a movie of it now--superficially blandly blondly pretty, with more underneath than it seems). Daneel is unemotional; Baley wavers between gruff and demonstrative. Daneel goes by the book (or Law); Baley trusts his intuition and instinct.

Asimov writes Baley as moving from resentment to friendship to deep affection for Daneel: there's a beautiful scene where Daneel re-asserts that he would be willing to die for Baley, and Baley, overcome with emotion (for a stoic noir detective, Baley is overcome with emotion a lot in these books) asserts that he feels that would be a poor exchange indeed. There's another great scene where Baley suddenly realizes the villains of the book are after Daneel, not him, and he has to try to convince Daneel to leave him and flee to save himself, Daneel is extremely reluctant to leave him in danger, and Baley is terrified at how the First Law might lead to Daneel's destruction. At the end of his life, Baley asks that Daneel come to him and holds on to life until they can have a last conversation. He sends Daneel away at the last second because he fears the sight of his death would hurt Daneel, and dies the moment Daneel leaves his side. MY KRYPTONITE.

In the long run, the last conversation Daneel has with Baley leads him to an ethical epiphany: the Zeroth Law, that a robot must not hurt HUMANITY. Armed with this breakthrough, in Baley's name Daneel dedicates his life to guiding humanity toward a utopian future.

Daneel is close to immortal. So for 20,000 years he works in the background, trying to ensure the survival and happiness of the human race--all for Elijah Baley, as he explicitly states much later. His efforts eventually cross over into the Foundation series, once a totally desperate space opera by Asimov, where we discover that he orchestrates the very creation of psychohistory, the science that at the end of the series appears to be leading humanity toward a perfectly harmonious collective mind.

And so a grumpy, agoraphobic noir detective ends up shaping the history of all humanity for more than twenty millennia, because a robot loved and admired him. If that's not romantic, I don't know what is.
mithen: (Swan Princess)
Oh, I'm doing the January talking meme! You can find it here if you want to pick a day--anonymous comments are enabled and I'll crosspost from LJ.

Jan 1 - you're hosting a dinner party and your table seats eight. You can invite anyone you like, fictional or otherwise, regardless of whether they be dead or alive. Who are the lucky seven and why? ([personal profile] kizzia)

Oooooh, let’s see. I’m not going to over-think this but just go with some of my first thoughts...

1. My husband, because I am shy and socially anxious and can count on my husband to make conversation if I panic.
2. Carl Sagan, even though this will risk my husband only talking to him with starry fanboy eyes.
3. Jim Henson, just to see him again and for the chance to tell him how important he’s been in my life. Will also guarantee my husband doesn’t focus only on Sagan.
4. Neil Degrasse Tyson, because I suspect he and Sagan could keep everyone entertained just between the two of them.
5. If I have a universal translator, Sei Shonagon from Heian Japan--interesting and observant, with a rapier wit.
6. I would never risk inviting Sherlock Holmes to a dinner, but I think John Watson (especially the Victorian version) would be a wonderful dinner companion--assuming he didn’t get called away by abrupt telegram.

Let’s see… I think I need one more fictional person so Dr. Watson doesn’t feel alone, so…

7. Anne Shirley, particularly from the middle books when she’s less likely to spill jam on Sei Shonagon in an enthusiastic rhapsody, but isn’t quite as settled and respectable as she becomes after she’s married.

(Runners-up: I considered my heroes Bobby Kennedy and Atticus Finch, but it would be too depressing to have them find out how little the world has changed for the better. No one from Tolkien seemed quite safe to have for dinner, for any number of reasons ranging from “my pantry isn’t big enough” to “won’t stop talking about the silmarils,” though Faramir would probably have been my first choice from that world. I almost added Lois Lane, but Sei Shonagon edged her out. Bruce Wayne would be a disaster unless you got pretty lucky, and most versions of Clark Kent would be too unobtrusive. Briefly considered adding some professional wrestler, just for the entertainment factor...Triple H chatting with Sei Shonagon would be pretty fun.)


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October 2017

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