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A Dollhouse fic I wrote for [ profile] doll_ficathon and my first Bones fic that I wrote in response to yesterday's angst-tasticness.
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(Some background for non-fandom people reading this: There was recently an online contest for writing fanfiction based on characters from Joss Whedon shows. Since I'm a fan of said shows and miss doing creative stuff, I decided to try my hand at it. The outcome was four stories inspired by literature from four different eras.)

The January  [ profile] still_grrr  challenge was to create fiction or art inspired by classic literature throughout history. After hearing that anyone who answered all four prompts (one each week) would get a cookie participation banner, I wrote the four stories below.

Week 1: Ancient to Renaissance literature.
Parable of the Artificial Duck

This one's based on characters from Dollhouse. It's a scene with two scientists and a man whose brain they recently reprogrammed to save his life. Now the guy's paranoid (for good reasons) that they made some changes to his "software".

Week 2: Neoclassic to Victorian literature.
Ghazal for a Slayer

I intertwined a classical Urdu poem with scenes from a dysfunctional (but compelling) relationship between two characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This story will probably make the least sense to someone not familiar with the show, but poetry fans will want to check out the references in the author's notes.

Week 3: Edwardian to Modern literature.
The Barter Economy

I think I'm most proud of this one. It comes closest to a classic short story in flavor, and the mood was inspired by Heart of Darkness and The Gospel According to Mark, both stories that begin in the alleged light of civilization and move toward a creepy and very human darkness. This is also the story that has kept me up at night - I think I committed race-fail in my depiction of the Lanai-ur tribe, and intend to rewrite it at some point.

Week 4: Anything before 1960
Battlefield of the Gods

I did not expect this story to get the positive response it did. There must something about  watching fallen gods acting like spoiled, self-centered twenty-somethings that resonates with our most primitive instincts. Readers not familiar with the Buffyverse find this inaccessible, though it's probably the in-jokes that make it work for those in the know.

I'm hugely grateful to whoever nominated this story for the No Rest For the Wicked Awards (In two categories! WOW!). Wednesday was the worst day I'd had in months, and learning about the nomination gave me a much-needed boost. Thank you, anonymous saint!
bobthemole: (Default)
Dollhouse will be on FOX at 9/8C tonight (Friday) before going on hiatus until December.

There's going to be back-story on how Sierra/Priya came to be a Doll; previous episodes suggested she was coerced into it.

Adelle DeWitt, of course, insists that all Actives were willing volunteers. And while she has convinced herself that the Dollhouse is a font of blessings for all humankind, she's not actually an idiot and I'm curious too see how she rationalizes that Sierra/Priya's situation holds up to even her perfunctory morals.

bobthemole: (Default)
As far as premises go, Dollhouse may be one of the creepiest things to hit network television in a long time. A biotech firm develops the technology to extract all memories from a person's brain and replace them with custom memories and skills. In the finest capitalist tradition it hires out customized people (called Actives ) to people rich and influential enough to pay the multi-million dollar fee. The Actives are engaged in tasks including espionage, hostage negotiation, cult infiltration, midwifery and - most disturbingly - romantic and familial relationships.

The Actives, or "dolls", are supposedly volunteers contracted to lend their bodies to the Dollhouse for five years, after which they will have their original memories restored and be given several million dollars in compensation. In reality, at least two of the Actives were manipulated or forced.

Actives aren't just programmed to do things, they are written to BE fully realized people who want to do those things above all else. You want a date to your ex's wedding? Then by Jove, the Active will be in love with you all the way down to the biochemical level. People who can afford to hire an Active often come with high levels of entitlement, so everyone is happy with the arrangement. The Dollhouse gets paid, the client is satisfied, and the Active is wiped clean of the latest mission leaving a personality-free shell that spends time in a luxurious spa setting until the next job.

And then entropy happens.

The human brain has a tendency to defy expectations. Some Actives squirrel away traces of memory from each of their engagements, and develop a rudimentary personality even in their wiped state.

The problem is that this rudimentary personality is NOT the original owner of the body. The original owner who, by the way, agreed to abandon the body for a period of five years. So who gets to say what the body is or is not allowed to do? Is it the original owner who may or may not have been a willing donor and is now residing on a hard drive? Is it the Dollhouse which holds the contracts? Or is it whatever personality currently resides in the body?

We've already met three Actives who have realized that they don't own their bodies. Each reacted differently. Now we're waiting to see what happens next.

Save Dollhouse.
bobthemole: (Default)
Dollhouse, the most interesting show on TV right now, continues to have poor ratings because of underwhelming publicity.

The first season got to a slow start but soon raised some very interesting ideas about identity, mind-body duality, consent and self-deception. Heck, it's the first time I've seen someone explore the notion that a mind is not entitled to consent to what happens to its body. Or a mind feels guilty because it is using someone else's body and doesn't want to give it back because that will mean its own death.

Thematically this may be Joss Whedon et al's most complex and ambitious work ever and it's heartbreaking that it may be canceled mid-season because no one watches it.

If you are even mildly interested in this show, I hope you'll consider watching it this Friday at 9/8C on Fox. We need to muster up the ratings so the show can make it to the POST-APOCALYPTIC  FUTURE that the creators have planned.

If you have a Neilsen box and watch it, I will send you baked goods. DVR it and watch it again!
If you don't have a Neilsen box, watch it any way.
You can also watch it streaming from Hulu or FOX On Demand. If you are outside the US, try this trick.
Watch it repeatedly! You can even have it streaming in another tab with the sound on mute while you surf the internet.
Or download it from iTunes or Amazon.
Or buy Season 1 on DVD. Or Blu-ray.

More information about the potential cancellation is available at [ profile] blank_dolls , specifically here.

Brought to you by a Dalek in a propeller beanie.
bobthemole: (Default)
How awesome was Miracle!? Madeline is a completely different person from Mellie, tough and less eager to please.

I wonder if the DH made any "adjustments" to Madeline's personality before returning it to her body. I don't see how spending (less than) five years on a hard drive helps someone cope with the death of a child.

And who decided that all of Miracle Laurie's characters would have names that start with M, and with E, and contain L and I? Just like "Miracle" by the way. It's so confusing!

Echo, again, was underwhelming. Granted, it'd be hard for anyone to portray a personality free doll who spontaneously develops a moral and existential philosophy. But Eliza Dushku (whom I otherwise adore) Is. Not. Doing. It. Right.

It might behoove the Dollhouse to shell out some money and make Topher take a class in endocrinology. Srsly, man. You make "glandular changes" and expect a wipe to reset everything? Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus of the brain in response to electric signals, but it gets dumped into the posterior pituitary where it is stored for a while. Ergo "reprogramming the brain" wont get fuzzy maternal feelings out of the system until the hormone is all secreted. Note, this is an abbreviated and hand-wavy theory based on google searches, and real medical students and doctors will glare at me, but the point stands. TOPHER! DO YOUR  HOMEWORK!


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