Didn’t finish this off yesterday, sorry.
It was always the mainstay of the old serial adventures, whether on the page, the airwaves or the silver screen: the cliffhanger moment where the hero/ine faced certain death and then managed to escape, usually by doing either thrilling derring-do or pulling we now would call a McGyver out of their hat.
To relive a classic moment involving both derring-do and C3PO’s impression of McGyver, feast your eyes on Canadian comedian Charles Ross, of One Man Star Wars fame, doing this version of the classic trash compactor scene:
(recorded at Sydney’s Cracker Comedy Festival 2008)
Amazing, isn’t it?
The other great escape in speculative fiction is moving from one lifestyle into another totally different. Many of my favourite SF novels, especially by women authors, involve a central character escaping from either explicitly abusive situations or from stifling conformity (or both), and in contrast to the classic Hero quest (where the young Hero is scooped up by a Wise Mentor who reveals his Quest) female protagonists usually have to rescue themselves in some way right at the start of the story before they can go on a journey of self-discovery.
How exciting it can be to discover these characters as a young reader, in a narrative that not only acknowledges real harm from the betrayal of trust or the frustration of wishes to pursue one’s own road, but that shows female characters leaving the “protection” of their families and not immediately falling victim to a gruesome fate. They may have great struggles and challenges, but they are not helpless victims who are easy prey out in the world away from their families.
One strong favourite is The Chronicles of Mavin Manyshaped by Sheri S. Tepper, which is one trilogy written for young adults describing events in the Land of the True Game (there are two other trilogies describing the same broad events but with differing subplots, one through the eyes of a boy named Peter and another through the eyes of a girl named Jinian – each reveals slightly different discoveries and aspects of the great conundrum of the True Game but each is a stand-alone series as well). The Tarma and Kethry and Kerowyn novels by Mercedes Lackey are also strong favourites, although I find Lackey’s strong romantic focus a bit cloying in large doses – still, she doesn’t shy away from the fact that there are way too many abusive parents and manipulative lovers in the world, so I guess having true romances as well helps to sell the concept that not everyone in the world is a monster. I’m doling these out to my daughter as she seems to come ready for them, what others would Hoydenizens recommend for a thirteen year old tomboy with a sensitive streak?
P.S. I think I really want a shirt with this logo:
Categories: arts & entertainment