Summary meeting March 24 (Okorafor, Wells, McGuire)

BSFG March 24,  2020

„All Systems Red“

  • What did you like? –> Murderbot as a protagonist very funny, “too many series to watch”, space & science fiction nice; good story on few pages, did not felt rushed /// reminded of the first Alien movie = organic, realistic sci-fi world without too much dys/utopia, story told from POV of a machine /// humour of Murderbot –> member told partner the entire plot, challenged to think about identity in pronouns & doesn’t fit into binary systems & “it” –> notice more when other people talk about Murderbot –> felt degrading in parts –> was not meant to be harmful
  • Criticism: the ending before the enemy was defeated –> felt rushed, knocked out –> you don’t get to know what happens; too fast-paced; ends with a cliff-hanger –> not so happy about it; plot solid but underdeveloped (too generic), ending predictable, revelations boring, telling the story through the eyes of murderbot –> why is Murderbot so human?–>did not make much sense? –> felt stupid?; others disagrees à it is explained / made plausible, watches so many tv series; counter: why was it watching it for the first time?; Murderbot so human à what makes a person a person –> assign identity / personhood (take it away by using pronouns, “it” instead of “they”) /// what makes us human? Turing problem. // Mind over matter? /// social anxiety made it more human /// thought of it as a person à make connections with other people –> emotions –> can it feel emotions? –>social anxiety? –> embarrassment felt –> see it as a person –> not limit a person (in German male pronouns) –> the way the others treated it made it feel like it only pretended to be human /// side characters –> sci-fi scientists –> did not start a witch hunt when they found about murderbot, skeptical –> organic way /// found family –> friends –> adopted /// spiritual ending: identity search –> cowboy riding into the sunset // also a bit sad //// searching for one’s identity after achieving freedom à family would have been restrictions /// not as deep as you wanted it to be /// would read it /// funny // see all


  • What did you like? –> world-building into small book –> different people & species –> little examples made it feel it very vivid –> hair coded which related to her people; /// fast-paced, tiny novella –> so much happened –> living spaceship really cool; /// mathematics = sort of magic –> Himba /// space university /// Afrofuturism / Africanfuturism (Okorafor prefers this concept) –> not based on Western culture /// recent and actual discussions at space university –> artefact –> our reality connected to something spacey –> mind-boggeling // intellectually challenging /// give something back from colonial times /// magic system // beginning really cool /// discriminated against for her hair à hair then an advantage /// introspective things /// flashbacks
  • Critcism: pacing fast, dragging in other parts –> needed a bit more time, after everyone was murdered –> did not feel right that one of the medusa could go to space university then too /// felt very YA-ish /// deus ex machine –> magical artefact /// otijze can heal the wounds was a bit too much /// meduse committed war crimes –> trying to not make them the sole enemy  /// ending rushed /// did not feel logical /// synopsis –> did not see them being friends –> more telling than showing –>crafted in a very simple fashion –>very strange ending –> would have needed more time & space /// both sides are bad /// Binti can still make peace –> handled wrong in the novella /// Binti traumatized /// cannot put things on the same level /// novella should have been longer –> spend more time on the repercussions /// shocking à we liked the world building more than the story

„Every Heart a Doorway“

  • What did you like about it? Transboy, ace character –> representation in novella already easy /// felt more like a children’s book /// quirky characters /// also very adult /// idea of post-portal-fantasy survivor group with “Silence of the Lambs” /// environment from all the different worlds –> logistics really got some of us hooked /// survivor community /// deconstruction of fantasy /// concept / idea brilliant –> staying? What happens after that? /// unexpected turn in the middle –> nice, surprising /// premise incredibly strong –> new ideas about portal fantasy great /// characters seriously damaged –> wanted to go back even though all of them wanted to go back –> adapt to new situations, adapt to new situations /// problematic nature of all the dark princes and dark lords –> exposed as being problematic and harmful /// humour was great –> Jack mad scientist // do teenagers talk like that? /// they aren’t normal teenagers any longer –> nonsense world –> lost grasp on what we think of as normal /// they are not normal and that’s ok /// characters were nice –> most important for a story /// school –> getting to know together etc. /// safe space –> supportive headmistress –> understanding
  • Criticism: the ending was predictable and rushed, murderer not shocking /// murder mystery part was disliked –> unexpected –> negative thing –> wanted another story /// mystery not so mysterious –> how the murders were treated –> way they deal with death was weird  –> incredibly insensitive –> made us dislike some characters –> how the body was treated –> felt terrible /// balancing flimsy parts and heavy parts not well done here /// all done on purpose to show how weird the worlds are –> fit /// social dynamics would have been more interesting /// mean girl narratives –> judge each other / novel punishes the popular girls –> one of the mean ones, not needed to mourn them /// female support important /// too simplistic / think more about it à skeleton indicates space next to Jack /// first half brilliant

Thank you for the great discussions via Discord! 🙂


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