I’m still mega-busy, so brief production notes today.
(And if you’re wondering why, I purchased a house. I got a steep discount due to the fact that the previous owner had smoked in it for 20+ years. Figured some cleaning, some painting, new carpets, shouldn’t take THAT long. But everything is a bit longer than I thought, and more importantly – new things I didn’t anticipate keep cropping up. DAMN YOU, PLANNING FALLACY! /shakes fist So this project has kinda taken over my entire life.)
Things I Thought Were Annoying: Having to re-record every single line with the name “Lachlan” in it in the first episode, because I found out I had mispronounced it a few days before it went live, and then having to splice them all in. /grumble
Things I Found Out Are ACTUALLY Annoying: Having to re-record the entire friggin’ second episosde because when I was done recording it the first time I clicked “Save” and my computer thought it would rather hard-crash than save. /killmenow
Things I Was Surprised By: When trying to make the water sound-effects go from above-surface to below-surface I wasn’t sure what to do and started playing around with the effects options. Almost the first thing I tried worked (literally – it was the second thing I tried). An extremely simple low-pass filter gives you that trademark Murky Underwater sound. Which immediately made me suspicious. Maybe being underwater sounds like that *because*it’s an easy effect to do, so it’s used a lot, and we associate that sound with being underwater. Does being underwater actually sound like that IRL? Now I have to go a swimming pool and test. It’s entirely possible that water acts as a great low-pass filter IRL, but I got my suspicious-eyes on you, Hollywood!
The Language of God
Scott Alexander blogs at SlateStarCodex.com, and it’s currently my favorite blog. Amazing insights, sharp humor, and excellent writing.
SFX: Pencil on Paper, Campfire, Ball Rolling, Leaves Cracking, Sonic Ray, Banging on Metal Door, Instruments Falling, Neck Snap, Adwellian Beer Fest Components
(My life is crazy busy right now, no production notes this week)
Podcast: Play in new window
Sometimes you don’t notice things until you’re looking for them.
When I realized there was going to be a many-months gap between the end of Roles and the Final Arc, I started looking around for other stories to podcast in the interim. You read things differently when you read for a podcast. It’s not just “Do I like this?” but “Would the audience like it? Can I do it believably? What SFX would I need? Who would voice this character?”
Perhaps due to a quirk in my circle of friends, or my psychology, or the direct effects of the Self-Actualization arc, I feel like I have a fair bit more female voices I can call on easily than I do male voices. So when I see female characters I immediately snap to “Yes, X can do her, Y can do her, Z can do her, and I still have people left over” and when I see male characters I think “Crap… I can use A for him, but B and C wouldn’t really work for these roles, and that leaves me without anyone to voice Supporting Character!” So I feel a twinge of emotional pain when I see a lot of male characters and few/no female characters, because it means production stress for me.
And when something produces a flash of pain, you quickly notice when almost every single thing you read produces that pain. There are very few women in most SF.
I don’t want to attack anyone, and it’s really not something anyone in particular should be faulted for. Most characters don’t need to be a specific gender, they could go either way. So when an author chooses to go with a male character there’s no reason to fault him, it isn’t malicious. Whatevs.
But when everyone unconsciously chooses male consistently, you end up with a sea of fiction that feels fake in the aggregate. It feels like genre fiction happens in worlds that simply don’t have women in them, at least not as agents that matter. All those little twinges of pain add up and you think “Holy shit, what the hell is going on here?” It’s something that I wouldn’t even have noticed until recently.
Over the past few years things have been getting significantly better. But when people ask things like “Why do we need Women Destroy Science Fiction? Isn’t that sexist?” I tell them to try producing a podcast with more women than men voice actors and then come back and try asking again.
It’s not about people in 2026, or skinks, or Martians. And the dog does NOT talk.
Earthfic was written by Alicorn. It can be found at her website, alicorn.elcenia.com, which contains quite a few works by Alicorn, all freely available. They include Luminosity a rationalist Twillight fanfic, and Elcenia an original fantasy fiction series, among others. They’re all quite good!
If Harriet’s voice sounds familiar, it’s because she’s voiced by Ginny DiGuipepsi, formerly of Not Literally. She’s currently appearing as Arya in Ask Westeros. She’s striking off on her own now, and can be found blogging at Ginny Writes.
Podcast: Play in new window
Maybe I take this sort of thing too personally, but recently I saw one of those lists of highly-regarded books. This was a diverse list, and had a few titles in a large range of fields, including Science Fiction, and Fantasy. It also contained Literary Fiction. And in that category? Friggin Murakami.
You know how something like Wind-Up Bird Chronicle gets placed under Lit Fic? Goddamn cultural appropriation. Whenever a good piece of SF actually manages to sneak under the radar and get the attention of the Lit Fic crowd they decide that it couldn’t POSSIBLY be SF, because they would never like something as low-status as science fiction! So things like Flowers For Algernon or The Handmaiden’s Tale get re-classified as Literary Fiction in the face of all reason, simply because someone highfalutin liked it and thought it was tarnished under the SF label.
I probably don’t need to say this to the readership/listenership of HPMoR, but to put this in perspective for the two other people that stumbled here somehow – imagine someone saying Neil deGrasse Tyson couldn’t possibly be black, because he was too smart, so they would be classifying him as “white” from now on. That’s… well OK, that’s worse honestly, comparing the two is a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s similar.
What I’m saying is, screw every single one of those uppity bastards.