Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thinking about Slipstream

We were over at Half-Price Books last week and found this in the “Collectible” section for $5:
Check out SPACE: 1970
So we bought it. 
 
As our massively house-rewritten Marchland campaign verges on narrative collapse (the Unseelie dragon has proposed to the Seelie half-puma/half-sidhe and we all know marriage is the death knell of every romantic comedy), I find myself once more considering* converting Slipstream into something we could both enjoy.  Unfortunately, everything related to Queen Anthraxa is kind of chauvinist (she’s a sex robot gone bad! who sexes the life-force out of unwilling men! and has a cadre of lookalike clones! and an army of brutish ape-men!) and the plot twist with that Valkyrie who sacrifices herself to save everyone is also a little skeevy (and didn’t we just have that in 50 Fathoms?).  Don’t get me wrong – I like the kinkiness of cross-species space opera romances A LOT – but there’s a lot of subtext in the Queen Anthraxa stuff that just plain rubs me the wrong way.

One way to fix it would be to remove Anthraxa’s weird, rapey backstory.  A genetically-perfect artificial woman created to be a sex toy who then turns on her creators is a goddamned hero, damn it!  If I wanted to keep her as the villain – which I kind of would want to, since nothing raises Robin’s hackles higher than the villain being sexier than her character – then I’d rewrite her as a self-made villain.  Perhaps she could be a near-human alien who was either born with her powers or engineered them herself who surrounds herself with clones because she is pathologically incapable of trusting anyone except herself… or maybe she’s the hive queen of a race of insects that just look remarkably human.  In either case, her ruthless tyranny would be born from a simple lust for power, and not cast as the hysterical over-reaction of a rape victim.

As for the Valkyrie?
I think this guy would do nicely as a substitute.

*Considering, only considering, Robin. 

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