Tag Archives: Science Fiction Transmedia & Fandom

Interview of Natacha Guyot: Author, Star Wars fan, and Comparative Geek!

Our blogging friend and Comparative Geeks contributor Natacha Guyot, of Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom, has a book coming out this week! It’s about Star Wars, something she has blogged here about before.

The book is called A Galaxy of Possibilities, and it’s out on September 9th. Details below on how to get it! But with that all coming together, we thought it would be fun to interview her about the book and about Star Wars. With that, I hope you enjoy!

CG: So let’s start with the easiest and hardest question: why Star Wars?

N: I have been a Star Wars fan since I was a child. I grew up with the Original Trilogy, the Expanded Universe books and video games and loved the Prequels when I was in my teens. Star Wars has been important in my decision to get into professional cinema school and then go to university for Media Studies. There is so much I love about Star Wars, the story, the characters, the themes. There is a richness that allows for rewatch, reread and so many things to research, even almost 40 years after A New Hope’s release.

Galaxy - Revised CoverCG: This isn’t the first edition of A Galaxy of Possibilities, but a revised edition. What brought you back to the text to add more?

N: The first edition came together rather organically but I still had the impression I could develop a bit more. It was when I began thinking about a print edition that I realized I could truly add bonus chapters. The original edition was a bit short was a good print version. In the end, I revised everything besides writing two new pieces. I think that the new edition makes for a more meaningful essay collection in regards to the themes I develop in it: representation and storytelling.

CG: What got you writing about Star Wars in the first place?

N: Several of my first times in writing had to do with Star Wars, included my first published piece, nonfiction about Christian symbols in the movies (shortly after The Phantom Menace release if I recall correctly). Many of my research papers in higher education involved Star Wars one way or the other. Continuing to work on this fictional universe is natural as I grow as an author. I had several pieces about Star Wars that eventually gave birth to the idea of A Galaxy of Possibilities and from there; I wrote more chapters and organized them.

CG: If you could live in any Star Wars era, which would it be and why?

N: This is a tough question! Can I travel in time to visit several of them?! It is a tie between the Old Republic and post Return of the Jedi eras. I’d rather avoid war times, so I could travel more without being in danger. I think I’d need a few lifetimes just to see all the planets and people I’d love to meet.

CG: We are pro-Time Travel at Comparative Geeks, so that answer works!
Star Wars has a new studio at the helm in Disney. What are you hoping they bring to the universe? What are you afraid that they bring to the universe?

N: I’m not really afraid of what could happen. Even if they produce books, movies or TV shows I don’t like, I will just pretend they don’t exist. I did this before with every story that took place after the end of the New Jedi Order series. In such large media franchises, it is rare to like everything. I am also in what seems the minority who loves the Prequels!

As for what I’d hope to see, I would like to see TV shows and/or movies taking place in the MMORPG, The Old Republic times, with some of the game’s characters. This would be a treat!

CG: One of the big things that happened with the Disney purchase was the end of LucasArts. How do you feel about the future of Star Wars video games?

N: I have played a fair number of the Star Wars video games, though mostly the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight series and the KOTOR ones. I hope to see more Bioware/EA games for the franchise. Right now, I am looking forward the third expansion of SWTOR. As long as it is RPG games, I may be likely to play them.

CG: I have to admit, I learned the word Transmedia from you and your blog. Tell us about your interest in it!

N: I like that Transmedia has a more inclusive ring to it than its predecessor Multi Media has. With how stories can be shared on so many platforms, it adds to their “mythical” aspect in how they touch so many people and can last in their minds.

I got acquainted with the notion after high school, when I studied more about media franchises, and it happens that several universes I love fall into this Transmedia category. I have worked on franchises, especially Science Fiction, for the past ten years. This is how Transmedia started to be included in my nonfiction writing.

CG: This isn’t your first book about Star Wars. What else have you written?

N: I wrote an eBook about Star Wars: The Old Republic and how female characters were portrayed in the MMORPG. Back then, only the original game had been released, but I hope to write about the game again within the next couple of years, now that several expansions have been released. My second year’s paper research (from my first MA) was also published (in French). It looked at Star Wars’s multicultural influences and how it turned it into a “cult” universe.

The next Star Wars book project I have is one about the Prequels and why they matter. After seeing so much hate for them, I feel the need to show that they have qualities and that they shouldn’t be put under a rug.

CG: Alright, so the revised edition of A Galaxy of Possibilities is out on September 9, 2015. Where can people get their (digital) hands on it?

You can find the New Revised Edition on all Amazon websites, including Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia. You can also check the book’s Goodreads page. I hope you enjoy reading it! The print version will be available through several retailers within the next months as well. So stay tuned, if you’d like to hold the book in your non-digital hands.

Thank you very much for this interview, David and Holly!

Thanks to Natacha for the interview! Check out this book or her others, her blog, what have you! Find her on Twitter @natachaguyot!

Star Wars Rebels: Narrative Crossroads

Source: Wookieepedia

Source: Wookieepedia

While I don’t like everything in the franchise, I am a lifelong Star Wars fan. From the moment the animated series Star Wars Rebels was announced, I couldn’t wait to see it. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t love it as much as Star Wars: The Clone Wars (which I still wish hadn’t been cancelled, even though we got The Lost Missions). My concerns vanished into thin air as I watched the first season of the show.

Star Wars Rebels is a unique flavor that blends many familiar things from the franchise. This is the way to go in such long existing universe. Giving room for new stories and characters without erasing what came before (or after in a narrative timeline point of view) gives more heart to the new creations and productions.

Not many spoilers to follow for Season 1 of Star Wars Rebels!

Continue reading

Cleopatra 2525 Review

For 2015, I decided to start watching all North American Science Fiction shows (mostly since the 1980s but going back as far as Star Trek: The Original Series) I never saw before. I know I have enough to watch for at least a couple of years, but since Science Fiction, especially North American, is one of my main field of research as a scholar and nonfiction author, it is important for me to get this done.

One of the first series I saw this year was Cleopatra 2525 (2000-2001).

An exotic dancer, cryogenically frozen in the year 2001, is accidentally thawed out in 2525 by two female warriors who are fighting against evil robots which have taken over the world. The three join forces and try to escape the underground caverns to which humanity has been banished, meeting up with all sorts of strange creatures along the way. -IMDb

With the few reviews I had seen, I was worried that this show may just be horribly cheesy. It is cheesy and the whole “babe” aspect of the three female leads can’t be forgotten. The show has a lot of flaws because of how it didn’t always seem to know whether it should be serious or comedic and kitsch.

Yet, I liked it, and not just because of Gina Torres playing the trio’s lead, Elle. I never saw Torres act badly but I did care for her character, and even for the others, Sarge and Cleopatra.

Source: IMDb.

Source: IMDb.

Beyond the cheesy and cliché looks of the show, Cleopatra 2525 gives more depth to its characters and the overall story than one may expect when picking it up. There is patriarchy lurking around on several occasions, but women are most often seen as capable and don’t need men to achieve anything. They are able to stand their ground, without being emotionless drones. They watch over one another and kick ass as well as being emotionally strong.

I was also expecting romance to be a bigger part of the story given the looks of the show, but it remained much of a side note. To me the show mostly focused on family and friendship. Yet, Cleopatra and Sarge do have romantic entanglements at times, for better or worse. I very much see Elle as a demi sexual character, which I find interesting because such characters are needed in representation as well.

In a way, the hyper sexualized look of the heroines, meant for the viewer, is pretty normal in the fictional universe, which alleviates its cheesy side to a degree.

One thing I didn’t understand was why the show was called after Cleopatra, the member of the female trio who was frozen for many years before being awoken in 2525. It would have made more sense to have the show named after Torres’ character, Elle, for she is the leader of the group. With how significant Elle’s role as a woman of color is, it would have been great to see the show gets its title because of her.

Did you ever watch Cleopatra 2525? What did you think of it?

This post was by Natacha Guyot of Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom. Help thank her for her guest post by heading on over and giving her a follow!

On Dubbing and Subtitles

For the past dozen years, I have heard people complaining about dubbing for movies and TV shows on a regular basis and how somebody shouldn’t watch something except in its original language with subtitle if you don’t speak it.
Interestingly, I rarely hear that about videogames. If playing a game in a dubbed version is acceptable, it should be the case for movies and series too.

I have the chance to be French/English bilingual and thus don’t need subtitles for these languages, as well as I can read subtitles in them if watching something in another language altogether. It doesn’t mean that I am against dubbing.
I grew up in France before the DVD, so the technology back then definitely didn’t make it easy for us to be all set on watching things in their original language. Of course, we could sometimes find TV airings and even VHS in the original language with French subtitles, but it wasn’t the norm at all. This means that some of my favorite movies, that I have now seen in English, I still quote them in French because of my childhood.

I am fine with people refusing to watch something in dubbed version but I can’t stand people thinking of themselves as “better” than the ones watching dubbed version. This is something I find inadmissible. And I have seen become more and more of a trend. At first, I thought it was just in cinema school, but then I saw it spread out in my country.

This is disrespectful on two levels.

Caroline Beaune (1959-2014) was Gillian Anderson's French voice in The X-Files, The Fall and Hannibal. Source: Wikipedia.

Caroline Beaune (1959-2014) was Gillian Anderson’s French voice in The X-Files, The Fall and Hannibal.
Source: Wikipedia.

The first is that there are some amazing dubbing actors and actresses out there. They do a job in the industry, so they deserve respect. And bashing dubbing generally speaking isn’t right to them. In the last year, the woman who was Gillian Anderson’s French voice for years (from The X-Files to Hannibal) passed away. This made me sad and I know that I won’t be able to ever see a new movie or show with Anderson in French now, because the voice is as much attached to her as Gillian’s original one is.

Sometimes I can’t watch a dubbed version because I dislike the French voice, because it isn’t a right match or sound without enough emotions. I saw this happen mostly in the last decade, though it seems that we are back to have more invested dubbing actors again, which is great. So, if I have issues with a dubbed version, it is because of specific voice acting, not because it is dubbing.
Sometimes we also have some gems. I was in shock when I found out about the Jar Jar hate in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. I agree that Jar Jar isn’t so fun in English. But in French? He is hilarious and I always laugh whenever watching the movie in its dubbed version.

The second way dubbing bashing is disrespectful is to the audiences. There can be many reasons why someone chooses to watch a dubbed version even when they have access to the original one with subtitles in their language of choice. And none of them deserve to be mocked or scorned. Besides how some people might have a personal preference to it (which is their choice), it may also be easier for them in a significant way. A close relative of mine doesn’t speak English and is a slow reader, so if they want to really enjoy something, watching things in French is better for them, even though they make efforts to watch certain things with subtitles at first watch when a show comes out. Yet, they always rewatch said show in French to have a better picture of it when it airs in France. Some people may have visual difficulty reading subtitles due to the size of the text as well.

As for children media, you can’t expect them to read subtitles until they are fluent enough in their reading capabilities at a certain age. It doesn’t mean that you can’t expose them to other languages even if they don’t understand everything. I had books in English when little, even if I only managed to read a novel in English at age 14. If I ever have children, I hope to raise them bilingual, but this may very well mean they see Star Wars in both English and French for example.

I mostly mentioned French and English languages, but it applies to others. I have no problem watching Japanese anime in French or Japanese (with subtitles) but I prefer my Bollywood movies in original Hindi versions with English subtitles (though I made do with German subtitles once or twice because I really wanted to see the movie). I have seen Battleship in its German dubbing version, besides French and original English.

DVD and Bluray give us easier access to multiple languages in audio and subtitles now, but this doesn’t make up for all our consumption either. In big cities, movie theaters offer films in original version with subtitles, but not everyone – including myself – lives next to them. So, I have no problem going to see a new release in French either, if I want to see a movie on the big screen.
In the end, whether people watch a movie or series in its original version (with or without subtitles) or dubbed in a language they understand shouldn’t be reason for them to be judged and criticized. What matters most is that they enjoy what they are watching.

This post was by Natacha Guyot of Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom. Help thank her for her guest post by heading on over and giving her a follow!

A Little Something for International Women’s Day, March 8th

Maybe you’ve been following them, maybe you’ve been a part of the conversation. Maybe you just remember one of our most popular posts here and wondered what it was about. Well, last year’s Feminist Friday posts from here and other blogs have been published in an e-book!

The cover! It's a real thing!

The cover! It’s a real thing!

You can find the book, available March 8, on Amazon for $0.99. They wouldn’t let us run it for free, so we’ve decided that any proceeds will go to a charity to be determined. There is also a free version available on Smashwords.

As an e-book, all of the links are active, so you can go from pages in the book to the original blog posts, where you can still like, comment, share – all the good stuff. If you have not engaged with these posts before, be prepared! Most of them had well over 50 comments, some incredibly long and thoughtful. Some probably worthy of being their own blog posts…

The original post I wrote for it was about the Purpose of Education, which has been spruced up to include data from the poll at the end! Turning towards education for a bit made sense, as it was a topic which kept coming up in the comments of previous posts. I also added a lot of an international perspective, by referencing the documentary Girl Rising quite a bit!

We’ve written about Education a few other times here on the blog, here’s a few other good ones to take a look at:

Also, we have a whole category here on Comparative Geeks about Feminism, take a look:

One last thing. The cover was the design work of one Jennifer Miller, please check her out and if you need graphic design work, look her up for sure! And a big thank you to Natacha Guyot of Science Fiction, Transmedia & Fandom for the editing and organizing work!