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Swirlygate Atlantis
Polaris Interview Questions 
07.14.08 13.20
A hardy thanks to one and all who spoke with  us this weekend at Toronto's Polaris convention.  We got some excellent footage and some even more wonderful interviews with fans, authors, actors, and a very memorable "paradox of Doctors" (what else would you call a flock of the guys?).

We're very curious, however, about everyone's responses to the questions we asked our interviewees.  Please read our questions below, and feel free to respond to them in the comments.  We always love a good discussion.

Thank you, and we promise, there's another episode on it's way!

1)      What is your favourite sci-fi cliché?
2)      What is the one sci-fi cliché you could be perfectly happy never seeing ever again?
3)      What is one thing you'd like to see in a sci-fi show, for example, a bathroom in a Puddlejumper or a vegetarian Wraith? Why?  It can be a cliché or it can just be anything they've never done before.
4)      What do you think about gender and gender roles in current sci-fi? Classic Sci-fi?
5)      What do you think about fandom activities such as cons?
6)      What do you think about fandom activities such as fanficcing or fanviding? Do you do them? Are they legal? What makes you love/ hate it?
7)    What is your particular relationship to sci-fi/fantasy? Are you a reader? A creator? What is your personal history with the genre?
8)    Do you read or purchase academic popular culture/sci-fi text books?
Comments 
07.21.08 17.03 (UTC) - questions
1) The 'waking up in another person's body' cliche...so many shows have done really funny things with it...and some not so funny.

2) The 'reboot' or 'memory wipe' cliche that so many shows fall back on when they do something that would drastically alter the show's cannon.

3) Hmm, well the bathroom thing was done on Firefly just to show fans that there WAS indeed a bathroom (unlike in the Enterprise) so I think I'm good for that one ;) I'd just really like to see more SUCCESSFUL relationships on pretty much ANY sci fi or just regular show. Aside from the occasional Star Trek couple and Wash and Zoe, writers tend to go by the 'fans don't want to see the characters actually get together' principal...which I think is a load of crap.

4) I think that current sci fi is largely heading towards the 'female superhero' trend, whereas classic sci fi tended to have just short skirts and supporting roles. That said, even the current female superheroes where short skirts unless they are Starbuck...don't know what that says, but it's just an observation.

5) I think cons are a wonderful idea to get fans together, give people the ability to network if they are creators in the genre and turn what was previously a very private hobby into something public and shareable.

6) I wrote a lot of fanfiction over the years and I wish I knew how to make fanvids. I think if you aren't doing it for profit, you can only be PROMOTING the show or whathave you, rather than taking from it. Creation is the highest form of flattery and until concepts like ownership EXISTED, this simply would have been the way of continuing popular folklore.

7) I'm a reader, a viewer, not so much a creator anymore but someday that might come back to me. I got into it when I started watching Buffy. It introduced me to the internet communities out there, and got me to check out other sci fi shows that I could connect with others over.

8) I purchase as many of the pop culture texts and novelizations as I can get my hands on (and my budget allows for). I really enjoy the academic side, as well as the goofy side.
07.21.08 22.05 (UTC) - Polaris Interview Questions
1) My favourite sci-fi cliche: I do love a good 'rift' in the fabric of reality which leads to a magical realm via a closet, cave or forest arbour. A temporal bleed is always fun, too.

2)Basically any cliche that's become a joke, and there are so many, and subsequently the plot material of Futurama. Although one of my pet peeves is the use of sound effects in the vacuum of space. Dead people tend to pop up a lot in sci-fi shows, too.

3) Bathrooms! Yes. A stranded away team in an alien community never asks to use the toilet? Not even after a banquet! Also, why is 20th century culture completely abandoned by every future civilization. Star Trek: Voyager's Tom Paris character touched on it, but it wasn't enough for me. Captain Picard listens to Mozart, but he's never heard of the Beatles?

4) Sci-fi has always experimented with gender roles. Originally Star Trek TOS's 'Number One' was a woman, Majel Barrett, until the network stepped in. But of course popular sci-fi has always reflected the times in which it was created. Flash Gordon's Dale Arden was very much a damsel in distress when initially created in 1934, yet the character has evolved to suit cultural zeitgeist.

5) Cons, I haven't been to many, but I've enjoyed the ones I have attended.

6) I've never heard of 'fanficcing' or 'fanviding'. I'll have to look into it.

7) I am both a reader and creator of sci-fi/fantasy, and I've been a fan since seeing Star Wars in 1977. It was my first foray into the genre and I've been addicted to the sci-fi/fantasy culture ever since.

8) I do purchase and read a number of academic popular culture/sci-fi texts spanning the entire spectrum of science and interests. They're vital to my fictional conceptions. Knowledge is power, the power to dream.
01.25.09 22.56 (UTC) - Re: Polaris Interview Questions
3) Hahaha! That irked me for years, until I finally realized it was probably just down to music rights. I actually would have enjoyed some more contemporary Federation culture as well. Like the horrible Klingon music The doctor's holokid liked in Voyager.
05.05.09 01.49 (UTC) - Re: Polaris Interview Questions
Not to jump in here uninvited, but that is why they don't use current music. They can't afford the rights. The reason they always play classical or 'standard' music (see ST: TNG, Data sings a love standard and Riker plays old-style New Orleans jazz) is because it's out of copyright. There was an interview with the guy who wrote most of the scores for ST:TNG and he was upset he wasn't allowed to guess what 'future' earth music would sound like, and that he was limited to composing background or incidental music.
01.25.09 22.53 (UTC)
1) What is your favourite sci-fi cliché?
Mermaids! Or actually that's more of a fandom cliche. Anything where they're transformed/ improbably pregnant/ get amnesia, or are otherwise radically changed.

2) What is the one sci-fi cliché you could be perfectly happy never seeing ever again?
The 'Its rape, but in a funny way' cliche. (Stargate Atlantis and Supernatural, take a bow)

3) What is one thing you'd like to see in a sci-fi show, for example, a bathroom in a Puddlejumper or a vegetarian Wraith? Why? It can be a cliché or it can just be anything they've never done before.
Hmmm. I'm not sure. It would depend on the sci-fi show. For Atlantis, I would have liked to see more daily life (I guess Sunday sort of did that). Or more of those council guys.

4) What do you think about gender and gender roles in current sci-fi? Classic Sci-fi?
See 2. Suffice it to say we have a long way to go.

5) What do you think about fandom activities such as cons?
I'm theoretically for, but I've never been to one.

6) What do you think about fandom activities such as fanficcing or fanviding? Do you do them? Are they legal? What makes you love/ hate it?
Fanfiction is the best thing ever! Not really into vidding, though I've seen some good ones. And yes, I think they're legalish. I like the theory that states that Fanfiction is a continuation of the ancient oral story telling traditions. Where a story is retold and changed over and over again.

7) What is your particular relationship to sci-fi/fantasy? Are you a reader? A creator? What is your personal history with the genre?
Mostly a reader, but I have written some stuff in various fandoms. I started out in Buffy (I wish I had delicious back then. I've read so much great stuff, but I've forgotten the how and where). I've flirted with Highlander, Star trek DS9, Cupid, Charmed (don't judge me. I had a crush on Chris), SG1 and have finally found a new home in SGA fandom.

8) Do you read or purchase academic popular culture/sci-fi text books?
Not really, although I do like to read meta online.
05.05.09 01.45 (UTC)
1) What is your favourite sci-fi cliché?

Time travel. Whether it changes the future or loops back in on itself, I love it when writers play with time.

2) What is the one sci-fi cliché you could be perfectly happy never seeing ever again?

I hate-hate-hate it when it all boils down to the father/son relationship. Sure, it's important, but what about the daughters? The mothers? Lost in Space irked me in particular. The fact that Will Robinson felt neglected by over-obsessed Daddy was the entire rationale for his destroying the universe. His sister didn't matter at all.


3) What is one thing you'd like to see in a sci-fi show, for example, a bathroom in a Puddlejumper or a vegetarian Wraith? Why? It can be a cliché or it can just be anything they've never done before.

I'd like to see a female character who just happened to be female, and wasn't female to prove a point about femininity or sexual desire or be someone's GF by the time the credits roll. And who wasn't in love with the hero. Like Zoe's relationship with Mal wasn't sexual (on Firefly).

4) What do you think about gender and gender roles in current sci-fi? Classic Sci-fi?

Sci-Fi is representative of its times. I don't expect classic sci-fi to be feminist. In current sci-fi, well... BSG got it as right as possible so far. In the episode "33 minutes" (and I could be wrong on the number), Starbuck slugged Apollo - and he slugged her back w/o blinking. And she boxed the guys w/o anyone making any sort of deal about it. She was just another soldier, another warrior - and that was cool.

But it can go overboard into Whedon territory, where the "humor" is that some stick figure female routinely kicks guys' asses. That can be unexpected and fun, but it's not realistic. Heroines can have muscles, too.

5) What do you think about fandom activities such as cons?

Love 'em. Attend 'em. Organize 'em.

6) What do you think about fandom activities such as fanficcing or fanviding? Do you do them? Are they legal? What makes you love/ hate it?

Again - I love them. I write fanfic, collect vids, share both. Legal? Yes - it's transformative, parody, free advertising. I personally have bought hundreds of dollars of original material solely based on the fanfics & vids I've seen.

7) What is your particular relationship to sci-fi/fantasy? Are you a reader? A creator? What is your personal history with the genre?

I read, write, discuss. My father was a huge fan since he was a kid and has a collection of very old, very classic sci-fi from the 30s on up. I loved the adventure stories (Tarzan, for instance) over the technological stuff, but we both watched classic Star Trek religiously. He used it as a feminist teaching tool for me, believe it or not.

8) Do you read or purchase academic popular culture/sci-fi text books?

I haven't so far, but I wouldn't be averse to it. Scholarly examinations of popular culture can be illuminating - and extremely, hilariously, offensively wrong.
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