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Photo Credit: Rayi Christian.

Photo Credit: Rayi Christian.

New Published Essay: “Sam Worthington: Negotiating Humanity in Avatar and Terminator Salvation”

I found out that New Human Fictions, edited by Nicholas van Orden and published by Inter-Disciplinary Press recently came out.

9781848883222

My chapter Sam Worthington: Negotiating Humanity in Avatar and Terminator Salvation is part of the featured essays. It is a longer version of the one I originally presented at an Oxford conference in summer 2012 and which was then published as “Sam Worthington: Hybrid” Faces in Navigating Cybercultures, edited by Nicholas van Orden, Inter-Disciplinary Press (UK).

This is the description of the book:

New Human Fictions addresses a range of themes relating to life in our digitally networked age. With contributions by emerging and established scholars from around the world, the chapters collected here explore intersections of cyberspaces and human communities. Video games, science fiction, architecture, viral videos, films, and digital spaces are surveyed; hybrid bodies and cyborg cultures are examined; and traditional distinctions between mind and body, human and machine, and real and virtual are happily disrupted. Three general themes develop throughout this book; these three themes focus on the programmable human, technology and the body, and the impact of technology on cultural forms and artefacts. The chapters collected here are often difficult, but through careful and generous reading they suggest strategies for living alongside and within our new human fictions.

My Writing Process Blog Hop

Image courtesy of khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thank you very much, Hayley (from Books Are Delicious) for tagging me in this writing process blog hop!

What Am I Working On?

The timing of this blog hop feels a little surreal to me, for right now I am not working on anything, since I have been suffering from a bad burnout all of April. I hope to be back on track around mid May though. I have been working on a lot of nonfiction/academic projects for the past year though. Right now, I have turned in the finished draft of my contracted book, Women in Science Fiction Television, so this is one huge accomplishment for me. I also have a few other papers (about Supernatural, Farscape, Avatar, Terminator Salvation, Star Wars) awaiting publication, but which are completed, unless I need to touch them up per the editor’s request. You can find all my published and upcoming publications on this page. I also am waiting on answers for other possible publications (about Yoko Tsuno, Pacific Rim, Star Wars, James Cameron’s Science Fiction movies) so I hope some of them will be positive!

The next project I want to tackle once I am back to normal and regular writing (besides my usual Star Wars roleplaying writing hobby which helps my creative muse and keeps me in the writing loop even when I suffer from academic burnout lie now) is a book proposal about Dana Scully from the X-Files. I have a few places where I plan to submit it to and I really hope I can find a publisher because I am very excited about this book project.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

I work a lot on female characters in Science Fiction narratives, most of them on screen (Television, Cinema, Video games). I know I am not the only one who does this, but I am often interested in exploring characters through theme based comparison, as shown in my book, and also certain types of characters, such as what I called the Warrior Mothers (which I hope to expand on in the future). I am well aware that there is still a lot of room to get more layered and richer female characters, but being able to see the good ones that existed, even with some limitations at times, is very important for me. I also have side interests that nourish my main research axis, such as vidding, some 1990’s and 2000’s Bollywood movies, and some French series and movies.

The fact that I write about what I am passionate about is also a driving force in my work and I believe that it shows, although I am careful not to be blinded by some personal preferences. I also don’t mind sharing and writing about the sometimes not so popular opinions I can have regarding certain productions or characters. I believe that all opinions when expressed clearly, politely can bring positive things to a discussion.

Why Do I Write What I Write?

I have written since as far as I can remember, and I already liked telling stories before this. I dabbed into poetry when I was a child, wrote my first novella (Science Fiction for children) when fifteen and completed my first novel (YA dark fantasy) when I was twenty. Neither of these are published so far, though I have good hope to self publish the novella later this year. They are both in French though. I still have lots of notes for other novels, series of novels either in Science Fiction or Fantasy, but I haven’t touched original fiction in years. I believe I will go back to this one day, but now, it is academic writing that is my priority and what I like doing best.

I wrote several research papers over the past decade due to my lengthy studies in film and media studies. In 2009, I started a Ph.D. (which I quit in 2012), so publications and conferences were important. This gave me a renewed and more vibrant love for academic writing, papers and books. Along with my other projects, my writing has helped me establish myself as an independent scholar. I enjoy being able to write about so many topics that I love and being able to contribute to conversations and research about them.

How Does Your Writing Process Work?

I always keep a notebook with me when I’m not at the computer because I tend to have ideas for future papers/books out of the blue. I have four sub folders in my academic writing one: archive (drafts of published papers and documents from previous talks), in progress (what is accepted for publication but not published yet), published (final digital versions of published papers except when they were published in hard copies. These ones are on a shelf in my room) and various. The last sub folder comprises sub sub folders with what is submitted (and for which I am awaiting answers), book projects, WIP (some proposals that were turned down but that I can rework/resubmit at a later date) and one document which is my master list of paper ideas. This scary thing never ceases to grow.

I like being organized so I know where I can find things and I make sure to update my master list whenever I have a new paper idea. The book ideas tend to stand on their own as mentioned above. I admit that I don’t work on any projects, beyond the note taking, unless I have a place to submit it to for publication. I don’t like writing when I have nowhere to submit to. Finding call for papers where I can submit is extremely important for my nonfiction/academic creativity and focus, especially with all the trillion ideas I have. So, I check this site a few times a week, to see which call for papers I can respond to and then I go on the hunt in my master list and turned down abstracts to find something matching and that I feel like working on at the moment. My upcoming book proposal about Scully necessitated further research for publishers though, as I am interested in reaching out to American University Presses. I like that just like for other papers and previous books, there are guidelines to the different places I can submit to.

I enjoy working with deadlines and word counts. It helps me organize my schedule (so I make sure that I don’t accidentally pile up tons of deadlines at once and panic) and progress in my work. Right now, I am already with three other calls for paper I could answer to, depending on how things go.  I always then work from my notes and then make sure to establish the structure of the paper or book, so I can break my word count into smaller parts. I tend to focus on a project at a time when writing. When I was writing my book for example, I was focusing on other papers in between chapters. It is funny how I can easily multitask, but writing several projects at the same time doesn’t work for me.

I always try to be early on schedule, and the fact that all my writing goes through a friend of mine who has extensive experience editing, helps a lot, because she needs time to do the proofreading and editing work before I can submit. I admit that writing in English is much more natural to me now than writing in French, and I am glad to see the improvement I have gone through over the past few years, both thanks to my academic writing and my roleplaying hobby.

Tag People!

More Vidding Thoughts

A while ago, I wrote about the videos I shared on YouTube, which had the most views, with how some of the results surprised me, while others didn’t’. I thought that it might be interesting to post about the other side of the coin, i.e. the videos I shared over the past few months that got less than 5 views for the time being.

#5. If I Will It All AwayAlien franchise, Music by Evanescence.

#4. I’d Give My SoulAvatar, Music by Within Temptation.

#3. A Tale As Old As TimeBattlestar Galactica, Music by Nightwish.

#2. Be Everything You Can BeStar Wars, Music by Shania Twain.

#1. We’re All Part of This Journey Battlestar Galactica, Music by Within Temptation.

When I look at this list, I find it as random as the most viewed ones (though the most viewed one included a Game of Thrones video which made sense with the hype around this television series, especially as this is currently airing). Contrary to the most viewed, I have sorted these out, not by number of view, but by posting date, for a few of them had equal views so far. Ironically, I find it weird that my Alien video has only so few views in comparison to the Prometheus one and I would have really thought that my Star Wars videos (one of my favorite ones I’ve made) didn’t get more popular either. As for the Battlestar Galactica ones, I’m surprised that A Tale As Old As Time has so few views, despite being a Starbuck centric, in comparison to my Anders one, for example.

Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hyena reality / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So, that was my little bit of randomness and vidding musing for today and I hope that you all have a good weekend. I have a few posts I have on my mind for the upcoming week, both the answers to the writing process blog hop (thank you Hayley for tagging me!) and some thoughts regarding academia and social media. I am also trying to come up with a good idea of post to submit to Fangrrrl.com, and might be inclined to write about Star Wars influenced me as both as a fangirl and a scholar.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Wishing you all a wonderful 2014 filled with joy, good health and success!

Before jumping back into book writing as from tomorrow if all goes according to plan, I decided to finish on my recap posts, as I recently did with books and videos. This time, I want to look at what I achieved in terms of publications in 2013 and what I have to look forward to for 2014 and even 2015.

In 2013, I had three new publications: 1 eBook, 1 article and 1 eBook chapter. The two first were in the USA and the second one in the UK:

I am very excited about the 8 other publications I have upcoming for either 2014 or 2015. Most of them are chapters or articles, but one is my contracted book Women in Science Fiction Television, which is the one upcoming publication I am still in the stage of writing – until I get eventual edits to make in for the other ones, in case editors and publishers request as such. Those upcoming publications will be in the USA, the UK and Canada.

  • 2015: Women in Science Fiction Television, Scarecrow Press (USA).
  • TBA: “John Winchester – the orchestrated fall from grace”, edited collection, Edwin Mellen Press (USA).
  • TBA: “Mara Jade: Pillar of the Star Wars Expanded Universe”, Macro/MicroCosm, Vraeyda Media (Canada).
  • TBA: “Revisiting Indian Traditionalism in Shabd“, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Anaphora Literary Press (USA).
  • TBA: “Sam Worthington: Negotiating Humanity”, Visions of Humanity in Cyberculture 7 and 8 (hard copy volume), Inter-Disciplinary Press (UK)
  • TBA: “Talyn, the heroic journey” in an edited collection on Farscape (USA).
  • TBA: Stories in Post-Human Cultures, co-edited with A. Brackin, Ph.D., Inter-Disciplinary Press (UK).
  • TBA: Transmedia Practices: A Collective Approach, co-edited with A. Brackin, Ph.D. and JT Velikovsky, Inter-Disciplinary Press (UK)

Besides those accepted publications, I am also currently waiting for answers regarding 5 more possible ones. I think that 4 are in the USA and 1 in Taiwan.

  • 2 full fledged articles (Star Wars: Jedi Knight, Brotherhood of the Wolf)
  • 2 article proposals (Lost Girl/Once Upon A Time, Vidding)
  • 1 guest blog post proposal (David Nolande)

Once I am done with completing my book for Scarecrow Press, I am planning to start working more on another book project I would like to tackle next, should I find a publisher. Right now I have 3 or 4 book projects, but this one I’m planning to focus on next is one about Dana Scully from the X-Files.

Goodbye ‘Beyond Hope’

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John seems to be fitting for this post inspiration. And yes, this is the clip of him singing it on the Muppet Show because this is how I discovered the song when I was a child. And it’s always the images that come to mind when I think about that song, even as I try to figure out which fandom I am going to vid for it, as I know one day I will.

After having had a fannish website for the past eight years, Beyond Hope, which had been hosted at different places, I closed it permanently today. It was a choice that took me some time to make. Since I had started vidding, I always had that website, but in this last year, I worked on refocusing much of my online activity. It felt that it was time to un-clutter so to speak. With my decisions to create my YouTube channel and this new version of my professional website, I realized that Beyond Hope was becoming redundant. So it was time to let go. Here, I have been talking about vidding on a more regular basis, besides my research, and will continue to do so. I enjoyed the experience of my fannish website and will keep good memories of it. I would also like to thank Fox Estacado, who hosted Beyond Hope for the past few years, which was my best hosting experience until that day.

And while I am on the topic of vidding, I am proud to say that the next one I will make will be my #300. It is difficult for me to wrap my brain around that number, but I am glad for this creative outlet. I have been vidding a lot for the past week, including for the ones that will be a gift set for my father for this upcoming Christmas. I had some ideas at first, but out of the four videos, only one was really expected. The rest was really out of the blue and spur of the moment, including in styles that aren’t normally mine, but I am very happy with the result. Now I just need to make up my mind on what I am going to do for this milestone video, though I believe that the muses have already decided, which means I will probably have to go through 201 episode + 2 movie materials for the chosen fandom. And here I was avoiding TV shows for the past year. I don’t think my brain will ever listen to me.

Before I return to write about Battlestar Galactica and the X-Files, I leave you with the Avatar video I last uploaded on YouTube, I’d Give My Heart, on some Within Temptation music. And just because I have to say it, the band’s latest single, Paradise (What about us?) featuring Tarja Turunen? I can’t even begin to express all the love I feel for this song!

Sam Worthington: Hybrid Faces

Yesterday, the eBook Navigating Cyberculture,  edited by Nicholas van Orden, published by Inter-Disciplinary Press, became available. This eBook is the result of the 7th Global Conference: Visions of Humanity in Cyber Culture, Cyberspace and Science Fiction which took place in Oxford in July 2012. My chapter ‘Sam Worthington: Hybrid Faces’ is included in this eBook, along with many great papers.

In 2009, two Science Fiction movies were released featuring the English born, Australian actor Sam Worthington: Terminator Salvation by McG and Avatar by James Cameron. In both movies, Worthington portrays characters with an augmented body: Marcus and Jake Sully. These characters offer hybrid figures that are possible faces of the Cyborg. First comes the topic of engineered humanity, which poses the question of the place of the original body versus its engineered version, either as upgrade or as a full new being. With those two versions of the Cyborg, both characters offer developments and projections of what possibilities our science has been working on, and has seen come to life during the latest decades, even if, as it often is, the Science Fiction movies’ universes are a few steps ahead of real life. It also tackles the issues of the applications of said scientific creations and upgrades, in terms of ethics, including those due to military usages. The topic of what could be called ‘war and peace’ is developed in the postmodernist ‘no future’ dimension of the storyline of both movies. The two characters portrayed by Worthington have different goals, from the militarist weapon in Terminator: Salvation, to the peaceful alternative to violence as the Avatar program in Cameron’s movie. This leads to the third crucial aspect of those hybrid faces, which is how Worthington’s characters have to find themselves. They (re)discover who they are through the transformations they undergo with their augmented body, of which they both aren’t aware from the beginning of their quest in these movies. The question of path given and chosen also tackles the issue of death in rebirth in a quite literal manner.

This is the chapter I am currently expanding for a new version, for the upcoming hard copy volume for Visions of Humanity 7 and 8. Thanks to the other presentations and then articles, it gives great food for thought. Having rewatched Terminator Salvation today for that project, I was surprised to realize how well the movie fit not only in the franchise (which I enjoyed either for the movies or the TV series, at the exception of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, that I still find rather boring), but also in regards to James Cameron’s overall style when it comes to his Science Fiction projects. Thus, I am even more appreciative of McG’s accomplishments with how he directed the fourth Terminator movie.

On a side note, I realized that despite having enjoyed his acting in a good many movies, Christian Bale is somewhat stuck in my head as either Laurie in Little Women, if I go the nostalgic route, or as John Connor in Terminator Salvation. In the latter role, I have a particular inclination towards his leader moments, and the speeches he gives as a figure of the resistance against Skynet.

The Never Ending Writing (and Vidding) Process

One of my favorite things in 2013 is the endless list of publications I’ve been working on. After three articles, an eBook and co-editing another eBook during the summer, I am still juggling between more projects. I was starting my book project Women in Science Fiction Television (contracted with Scarecrow Press for 2015) but it was placed to the side until October. I was luck to be invited to revisit my paper about Sam Worthington’s characters in Avatar (James Cameron, 2009) and Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009) for a hard copy volume. I originally presented it at the Inter-Disciplinary.net conference: Visions of Humanities in July 2012. The original chapter is still to be published in the conference eBook. I have begun to work on an expanded and edited version. I am curious to  get confirmation of the other papers in the section my chapter will be in. I saw all the other contributions when at the conference, and hope that they all will agree to be included, as I hope to be able to ‘dialog’ with what those authors develop in their own papers.

Besides academic writing, I am also excited about a fiction project. I am currently waiting for a cover to be finished. Once it is done, I will be able to self publish (through Amazon) a novella I wrote years ago. It is in French and will be Science Fiction for children. I am curious to see how it will do, and how to really work on the possible communication about it, as I never had fiction published before. Those last years, I have mostly been working on academic writing, but I am still hoping to return to more fiction writing down the road. I still hope to translate and touch up a novel I wrote almost a decade ago, which is dark/heroic fantasy.

When not working on writing projects, I am still working on more fan videos. I am quite thrilled that the muse is back since this summer. 2013 is a good vidding year for me, after mostly dry spells for the past couple of years. I have a few vids I want to work on. Of course, I keep having ideas coming out of nowhere, like the one that led to my most recent video: Live or Survive (see below). When stumbling on a cover by Natasha St Pier of a French song by Daniel Balavoine (Vivre ou Survivre) I just had to vid the Dark Knight trilogy again. I find it interesting that I can have very powerful inspiration to vid (certain aspects of) movies that are far from being amongst my favorites and with which I even have numerous issues. I still dislike most of the female characters (in any Batman movie I’ve seen so far) though I realized that I actually do enjoy Rachel Dawes more than I first thought when I watched the trilogy. I think that I enjoy the fact that she is the female character who is the most able to make choices for herself and can have a life that doesn’t necessary involve Bruce Wayne (yes I still ship those two together, but it doesn’t take away my appreciation for Rachel’s independence).