Strange Horizons: 2011 in Review

Erin Horáková: Most of 2011 was consumed by writing my Masters thesis on how we construct the literary illegitimacy of fanfiction. Of my reading list, I’d recommend N. Katherine Hayles’s mature and engaging My Mother Was A Computer (2005). Among other things, it discusses the role of books and digital culture not as a struggle for dominance but as a dynamic remediation.

I embarked on an epic re-watch of my childhood friend Star Trek: The Next Generation, in part as a response to my wretched estrangement from Doctor Who. Last year’s Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol,” rounded off an increasingly worrying series with its own, not unrelated, issues. I haven’t watched Doctor Who since. Steven Moffat continually devalues narrative causality, while simultaneously sacrificing consistent and engaging characterization (especially where women are concerned) to the narrative. Moffat has created a Cyber-Who. It has the body of something I know and love, but its heart’s been ripped out. Fans of long-running shared canons often weather writers they dislike, but increasingly I wonder whether this particular process is reversible—whether the show will ever be able to grow out of Moffat.

I enjoyed much of the genre television I did watch. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a charming, fun, well-written cartoon that sidestepped many of the problems of 2011’s higher budget film comic adaptations: ThorCaptain America, and X-Men: First Class. Some of the criticism of Game of Thrones occasioned by the new series—along the lines of “X happens in the book, and X is bad, therefore this is a bad book, which only rabid misogynist geeks would defend”—was the sort of stupidity favored by Harold Bloom. Social justice and good writing are hardly incompatible. As a feminist nerd, I find both the adaptation and the original Game of Thrones compelling.

For 2012, I’d wish for more Katherine Hayles’s style of intermediation thinking in the blogosphere. This would value the demands of good writing, good genre-work, and good feminism, seeing these as potentially synergistic processes rather than forces locked in a struggle for dominance.

Full article here


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