Magical Mondays: Time Travel in Storytelling

stargate-sg1Time travel is not my favorite storytelling trope, if only because if not done well it can leave a narrative more than a little confusing and hard to follow. This can especially be a problem when a narrative jumps around in time completely out of order and without warning, which is something that both Final Fantasy XIII and The Grudge did. This trope’s big crime, however, is that it all too often results in plot holes or creates events that either cannot happen or that nullify the importance of other events. Worse yet is when the time travel in question has no actual impact on the rest of the story and ends up being a pointless waste of time. A good example of this would be Star Ocean: The Last Hope, where Edge goes back in time to an alternate reality of Earth, blows it up, and the entire subplot serves no purpose other than to turn an otherwise generic protagonist into a detestable murderer.

That is not to say that time travel itself cannot be used well. Plenty of stories have utilized it in ways that improve their narrative and add to the plot and worldbuilding. There is, however, a wide chasm between creative and cliché, and for every good use of time travel, there’s a dozen or so bad uses.

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Shadowhunters and Alternate Realities

A lot of sci-fi and fantasy stories like to delve into alternate realities at some point—and why wouldn’t they? Alternate realities can be a lot of fun. They allow writers to discuss characters from multiple perspectives and explore “what if” scenarios, which can certainly be interesting. After all, a character in one dimension may have completely different motivations and personal history to their counterpart in another dimension.

Shadowhunters Clary and MagnusI love alternate realities. I love seeing how the same character reacts to different situations and upbringing, and I love how seeing these differences presented in an alternate reality helps to inform that same character in the main reality. Thankfully for me, alternate reality storylines are everywhere, from Charmed, to Stargate SG-1, and now even in Shadowhunters. These storylines are interesting character studies and an effective way to teach both the characters and the audience the consequences of bad decisions. Because this is often the purpose they serve, alternate realities are almost always dystopias compared to the main reality. Very rarely are they used for the opposite purpose—to be utopias compared to a main dystopian world. So I found myself pleasantly surprised when Shadowhunters did just that in its latest episode.

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Fanfiction Fridays: W is For Wordless by misaffection

Stargate SG-1I’ve mentioned before that I love stories where enemies have to work together, and as a result, I have read and recced numerous fanfiction that does just that. This month, I tried desperately to find a story that broke out of my comfort zone and wasn’t about some evil asshole being forced to get along and cooperate with the good guys. I was unable to succeed in my endeavor, and so I am here today to rec yet another fic to you about some evil asshole being forced to get along and cooperate with the good guys.

During Stargate SG-1’s tenth season, our heroes go on a quest to find the Holy Grail. These episodes, “The Quest” Parts 1 and 2, were incredible. I swear that they only existed because the writers thought it would be awesome to see our heroes team up with two of their worst enemies and make them all fight a dragon together. As such, when I found a fic taking place during “The Quest”, I just had to read it. W is For Wordless starts right after the dragon is defeated and the characters are gated to a new planet in order to meet Merlin. The fic follows on with the second half of “The Quest”, except that it’s told from the perspective of one of Ba’al’s clones.

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Stargate SG-1, Clones, and Villains

It’s no secret that I love Stargate SG-1—it’s got aliens, mythology, and some kickass female characters. Unfortunately, Stargate still has a lot of failings, and watching Orphan Black has brought to my attention at least one more thing that Stargate has done wrong. About halfway through the show, we meet the System Lord Ba’al. Like other Goa’uld, he’s a parasitic creature that has taken over an innocent person’s body called a symbiote. Eventually, when the Goa’uld start losing power, Ba’al tries hiding out on Earth for a bit. While there, he gets the bright idea to clone himself, and the entire storyline never sat well with me.

Ba'alClonesTo start, the whole cloning thing just seemed like a cheap copout to have our villain be in multiple places at once and allow our heroes to kill him over and over and over again without actually getting rid of his character. When I was younger, I also had some concerns for how the show handled this from a more moralistic point of view, and as I said, it wasn’t until watching Orphan Black that I realized exactly what was so wrong with this storyline. For a show that’s so focused on bodily autonomy, I don’t think anyone really thought through the implications of having one of their villains clone himself.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Girls Want To Be Chosen Ones Too

mila_kunis_jupiter_ascending

I mean, I’m not one for princess fantasies, usually, but even I would love to be a space princess.

Lately, I’ve grown so tired of watching male “chosen ones” and “jerks with the heart of gold” save the day and get the girl. Representation matters, and girls want to be chosen ones too, and not just princesses in distress. Women are allowed to hate the world and be brilliant while reluctantly saving the day. And we should be able to see ourselves, our stories, and our fantasies reflected on screen too. I’m always on the lookout for female characters subverting generally male character tropes, and today I would like to tell you about some of them and why they matter.

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Lady Geek Girl & Friends’ Best of the Blog Thursdays

Hiatus Spongebob Pic ThursdayHello, readers, we here at LGG&F have an announcement to make. Starting off 2015, we are taking a short break and will be on a hiatus for a couple days. We will return with new content January 6th, but until then, we’re reblogging some of our favorite posts for your enjoyment. Happy New Year, and we’ll be back soon! And also, if you like what we do here and are interested in joining the LGG&F team, don’t forget to check out our Careers page and drop us a line!

Theatre Thursdays: How I Learned Representation Matters. Fiyero discovers the importance of representation through musicals.

In the Heights tells the stories of multiple people living in the NYC barrio of Washington Heights. The music, composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is known for being one of the first hip-hop scores to find some success on Broadway. The production is also known for having a predominantly Latino cast and this is what really spoke to me.

Theatre Thursdays: Sex Work as Portrayed in Musicals. Saika takes a look at stigmatized sex workers through the lens of musicals.

As with many other forms of media, prostitution is shown as pretty much the lowest possible rung a woman can reach. Sometimes it’s used as a code word that means ‘she has a tragic backstory’; sometimes it’s used to show just how low she has been brought. Either way, if you’re a sex worker in a musical, odds are you’re gonna have a bad time.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Goa’uld: When Our Gods are Aliens

Stargate HaTak shipStargate will always be my favorite science-fiction show ever. If Jurassic Park is what got me into science, it was Stargate that continued to encourage me over the years. And though Stargate has had numerous problems starting out, it ended up being progressive in many other areas. All in all, Stargate: SG-1 was a fantastic show, and one that I was sad to see leave the air. And not only did the story delve into aliens, strong female characters, fantastical science, and various minority issues, such as racism and slavery, it also featured a lot of mythology. Unfortunately, the mythology, while being a central part of the story and adding depth to the narrative, is not the best from a more religious perspective.

Spoilers for the whole series below.

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