October 2005 Archives

Is she or isn't she?

A planet, I mean. In case you haven't heard already, back in July some scientists named a possible tenth planet Xena. Now they've discovered the planet has a moon. The scientists--good geeks, all of them--named the moon Gabrielle. There is some debate on whether Xena is really a planet at all, but since I still think of Pluto as a planet I am not the best person to fill you in on that argument.

In addition to the "maybe not a planet" issue, I discovered another potential roadblock to claiming Planet Xena. As it turns out, the names "Xena" and Gabrielle" are only "informal" and the planets will be officially named at a later date: "The International Astronomical Union, a group of scientists responsible for naming planets, is deciding on formal names for Xena and Gabrielle."

Once I found this out, I hustled on over to the International Astronomical Union to see what the naming procedure is. As it turns out, the IAU web site has many helpful public FAQs, including one dealing with the topic of Naming Stars after People and Buying Star Names. I felt reassured knowing the IAU had thought through the process, especially when I considered the "Buying Star Names" issue. I mean, I'd be dissapointed if they chose not to name the planet Xena, but at least I can feel certain there will be no planet Paris Hilton or planet Donald Trump in the near future.

Even if the planet hasn't been officially named yet, I don't think it's too early for fan fiction writers to tackle this tricky subject matter. I can't wait to see the first uber fan fic featuring Xena and Gabrielle as celestial objects. It reminds me of a story that the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend, fan fiction connosieur that she is, once gave me to read. It's called Before the Dawn of Time by BladeMast. In this fic, the roles of Xena and Gabby are played by the universe and a light in the void. Similar, but not quite a planet and a moon.

Lasso of truth

Jeffrey at Sisyphus and the Cuckoo Clock Speech has a great write-up on the psychological theory behind Wonder Woman, plus a great story of how he came to research the subject. It turns out the force behind Wonder Woman also invented the personality assessment test used at Jeffrey's workplace. I can't stand those invasive personality tests. Next time some employer asks me to take one I'm going to say I've already taken it and I know I'm a FCKU.

Worth the Wait

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The hotness of Gina TorresI am one of those people who freaked out when Firefly was cancelled and, not surprisingly, I am also one of those people who went to see Serenity this weekend. (NO SPOILERS) I'm not going to say very much here other than it exceeded my expectations and you should go see it. Oh, and here's a lovely photo of Gina Torres.

One thing I would like to say about Joss Whedon is that he has done a superior job of maintaining the integrity of theFirefly story across multiple media. As it becomes more common for stories to be told over and across many formats--movies, TV, comics, games, fan fiction--audiences will be scrutinizing not just the way a story is told in one format, but how it is deployed across several. Some stories will be packaged in ways that disrespect the audience, cashing in on fan interest with half-hearted story extensions and silly licenses. Others will find innovative ways to knit stories across media experiences. For instance, I appreciate the way the Firefly comic book fits into the overall storyline. Also, I think Whedon did a remarkable job in making Serenity a movie that tells a whole story for new viewers and extends the original story for the fandom.

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