The Great Nitpicky Live Blog of El Goonish Shive
Me, I'm a religious person. I'm cool with the Jesus. I love the guy for saying crazy, radical shit like "love thy enemy".
I'm sure you know the story of the Good Samaritan, but did you know that the Samaritans were basically the arch-enemies of the Jew? When Jesus tells his people a story of a Jew ignoring a wounded Samaritans, the Jews will just think it's normal, but when he follows up with a story of a Samaritan going out of his way to save and help a Jew, now that is some far-out shit right there.
Anyway, I digress. Do you know what the problem with religion in this instance of the comic is? The problem actually isn't related to religion at all. It's that Shive just isn't interested in inventing or exploring other cultures. He's only interested in setting up circumstances and builds around details to support them and it's just painfully obvious.
He wants to exlain why Tedd has the TF gun, so he has him fix one for aliens. Now he needs to explain why the aliens can't just do it themselves, so, uh, sure, religion. They can't do it themselves because religion. The circumstance is set up, everything else is now irrelevant and not worthy of further exploration.
So in other words, all the other questions raised by the comic are irrelevant. What's the government on the alien homeworld like? What's their religion like (which didn't even get a name)? Why do they disagree with transformations? None of that is interesting because we already set up the situation we want, because it's not like science fiction generally tended to be about exploring the meeting of different cultures or anything like that.
Not that's even hard to come up with some half-assed explanations. Most faiths and religions here tend to say we're created in a godly image, or if you prefer the atheistic angle, we create our gods in our image. Let's say the aliens do the same, so to them their own is sacred, too. This wasn't a problem before they had TF technology, but now there's aliens taking on strange and unusual forms, sometimes even permanently. It's body-alteration to the extreme, it can be a scary thing even for non-religious people.
We could go even further and say it's even a big culture clash. How much do you adapt to a culture and how much of your own culture do you bring? Will and Gill not just completely adapted to one human culture, but they completely gave up their own, they even gave up their own native form. Alien leaders, both political and religious, and even the people I imagine would not be happy with that. It's akin to someone having to change their skin-colour to adapt to a different culture.
To the aliens, the TF gun would become the very symbol of abandonment to their culture. It will stand for betrayal to their own norms and values. Even if the aliens have a largely peaceful culture, you could imagine they would not think too fondly of people like Will and Gill.
But fuck that shit. That could be interesting. No, we had some flimsy bullshit vaguely explaining why the current cirumstances are as they are, so why care further? After all, we've got volumes of exposition for the minutiae of Dan Shive's fabulous magic system planned in the future, we cannot waste any figurative ink on this stuff.
In essence, this is really the same as Dominic Deegan's tale of the Heroic Rape. Culture exists only as far as it is relevant to plot. Personality exists only as far as it is relevant to the plot. The very laws of nature are at the whimsy of the plot. And even then they're all very mutable, changing at a moment's notice as the plot sees it fit.
And in the end, it's just an immersion-ruiner. It's the point where you stop reading the comic and the moment you start realising you're reading a comic. You start wondering why the author just chose to do things this way, you might think it was a stupid and out-of-place development, and as this goes on it gets harder to get back into the story. Your immersion gets slowly eroded away and you're left with wasted postential.
How did this rant start again?
17th Dec 10
17th Dec 10
(edited by: MrAHR)
17th Dec 10
(edited by: eX)
Thanks for the art plug, so glad to be reminded that someone likes it.
20th Dec 10
9th Feb 11
9th Feb 11
9th Feb 11
I have not read either of those comics, nor do I care if they have done it. They have either done it badly, or done it right. Either way, EGS does it badly.
10th Feb 11