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sg1 poke

Two thoughts

In the Washington Post’s Style section today there was a fascinating article about what it takes to be an “extraordinary talent” as a writer in order to get your green card. I was thinking about our Farscape actors who have immigrated here and managed to get their green cards under the “extraordinary aliens” clause of INS and here are writers that although they win every literary prize in the book, are offered two books by Random House at a six-figure advance at age 28 writing in a language not their own (English vs. natural language of Chinese), and are supported by authors such as Salamon Rushdie, are denied permanent visas. It makes no sense.

Second, I was reading one of monkeycabal (Red)’s Christmas stories (Farscape/Dr. Who crossover called Hello, Major Tom) that was fabulous and that got me pondering. How does one build a characterization so that the use of a gesture or a few choice words makes you see, really see inside of them. Red’s characterization of Season 2 John Crichton was not only spot on, but deep, sad, hopeful, edgy, scary, wise, and funny as hell. I think first of all one has to have a great understanding of the character at an almost cellular level. Then one has to have a command of conversations and behavior traits as well as a great vocabulary and fearlessness to write that truth. But what astounds me most is how effortless it reads, as if Ben said the words himself and acted the part. I’m not familiar enough with Dr. Who in its current incarnation to judge the verisimilitude of those characters, but I assume they too ring true. I love Red’s ability to see John Crichton through other people’s eyes. I wish I could do that.

The story is about what makes a hero. What happens when we meet someone we look up to and they must be measured by what we might have read or thought about them. How do we measure up to our own maybe too high goals? The discussions of heroism vs. just being a man who keeps trying so rang true for me. I love the Dr. Who characters too and want to watch the show just to see them in action. The Doctor seems to be neck and neck with John on the angst and brilliance meter. I learn so much about writing when I read a great story.


I've always been sure a hero is just an ordinary person under extraordinary circumstances...very, very Farscape, I'd say. All the characters were ordinary in their own ways, yet were capable of extraordinary courage and inventiveness, when called upon.

All good "hero" stories are this way. Did you ever see the film, "Hero." It starred Andy Garcia and Dustin Hoffman. A very good case for what makes a hero.
Hi Christi!

I agree totally with your definition of hero. Red's story was interesting because it had a sort of fallen man who idolized John Crichton (he was from the future aka Dr. Who) and discovered that John was just a man, beaten down at that moment by his circumstances. Jack not only discovered the strength inside himself to keep striving, but helped to redefine what a hero was to John who had astronaut dreams as his model rather than this constant uphill battle to do what was right in terrible circumstances. The wonderful give and take of the story had so much underlying messages and yet was fun to read. I just want to learn to write like that. I'm very psychological and analytical in my writing--passionate at times, but not fun.

Hope your christmas fun with the chicks in FL. give lots of hugs.