Loving the wolves and buggers Nov20

Loving the wolves and buggers...

War. The word drenches up images of carnage, of good guys and bad guys, of friends and foes. The definitions differ depending on which side is telling the story. We are always the good guys of course. The other side is the enemy. We must hate the enemy, for if we are the good guys, that makes the enemy evil. In our world today, if I were to simply go by the media’s reports, I would conclude that there are enemies around every corner. A disgruntled teenager, a particular people group, a certain political party, zombies. Well, maybe not that last one. I can see that wars are going on everywhere. Refugees are fleeing by the millions from places like Syria and finding the doors of their countries of hope slamming shut in their faces. So it seems to me that this idea of figuring out who is the good guy and who is the bad guy is pretty important. Who is the enemy? Someone who looks a little different? Someone who doesn’t believe the same things I do? Why are we so afraid of the different? Why do we make what is different into the enemy?Perhaps foes can live side by side and even become friends. In Orson Scott Card’s book Ender’s Game, Ender is taught to hate the Buggers (the alien race that invaded Earth). Despite the prevailing mindset of pretty much every other human being Ender knows, he finds himself drawn to understand this alien race and, in doing so, learns to love them. It is this love that ultimately gives him the understanding of how they live and operate, and that allows him to destroy them. It is also this love that drives him to write a book that helps...

Identity like Tigana’s Sep09

Identity like Tigana’s...

During my time in Norway, I was mistaken by a Norwegian for an American. I quickly corrected him, saying that was akin to me calling him a Swede. Touche. As a Canadian, I am used to defining myself as “not American.” This is very common amongst Canadians. I’d argue that we Canadians do have our own defining culture, but we are more commonly defined by something that we are not. In Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, Tigana is a country of renown, and its people take pride in themselves and where they live. Tigana is the glittering gem of the five fingered peninsula. However, all that changes when the magician Brandin seeks to conquer the peninsula. When he allows his only son to lead the charge against Tigana, the son is slain, and in his grief Brandin vows to wipe Tigana off the map. Not only does he destroy them through military means but he also uses his magic to wipe the memories of Tigana from every person living except those born in Tigana before the casting of the spell. Those born there are able to remember and speak the name Tigana but no one else can hear Maybe it’s time to focus on the good things that come with the name instead of simply defining it by what it’s not.them say it. Instead, Tigana is now known as a version of the country they most despise; Lower Corte and Corte respectively. What does it do to the identity of a people when they can no longer be identified by the name they exalted and placed pride in? When so much of their identity now becomes a railing against, an identity of “not Corte?” The few survivors must struggle to maintain who they are and...

Why we named our son after science fiction characters Aug12

Why we named our son after science fiction characters...

“You named your son what?” You heard right. Ender Hoban Helo Rudge. That is my, now two-week-old, son’s name. I have always been fascinated by names. I love looking up name meanings. I love experimenting with which names go well together, and contemplating how my feelings about certain names are influenced by people I know. As a child, my dolls had to have extensive extended families just so I could name them all. Naming children though—you know, real live babies— well, the stakes are a bit higher. Not just any name will do. All three of these characters have a powerful story to tell. There is something beautiful about naming a child after a treasured family member or valued friend. I mean, my husband and I did that with kid number one! The problem with baby number two was that nobody had a name we liked enough to pass on. Plus we wanted something unique (not weird, unique). So we turned to the things we love for inspiration: science fiction, fantasy, video games, books, TV shows, movies. And when our son was born on July 27, 2015, we gave him his science fiction-inspired name. Here is why these three names made the cut: Ender In the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Ender spends his childhood being trained to fight an alien race called the Buggers. Despite obstacles, he manages to win by obliterating the entire alien race during what he believes to be a training exercise. I am not saying our son will grow up to save the entire human race from alien invasion (although, hello, that would be COOL). But Ender was able to defeat the enemy because he understood them and he understood them because he loved them. If he had realized the training exercise was real, he would not have been able to do what he did because he truly loved the Buggers. This compassion is what also leads him to later become the Speaker for the Dead. Ender, as Speaker for the Dead, was also instrumental in shaping my husband’s thinking around how he sees other people and interacts with them. Hoban Hoban “Wash” Washburne (ironically, the character who hates his first name and so goes by a nickname—our son can thank us later that we put this as a middle name) is the pilot of the ship Serenity in the TV show Firefly. Serenity’s crew takes what jobs they can find, sometimes legal, sometimes not. These folks also live in a world where right and wrong are often muddled by simple factors like wanting to survive and eat the next day. Into this, Wash speaks as the voice of reason, often questioning decisions made by the others on the ship, including the captain. While he respects the authority of those in charge, he is not afraid to speak up against it when he feels the situation warrants it. Wash is also a character of compassion and integrity, as demonstrated when he shows compassion to the poor soul in “Bushwacked,” who witnessed a Reaver attack and went mad. Helo Battlestar Galactica is a show littered with a multitude of complex, dynamic characters. Most of them live within some shade of grey as they navigate ethical and moral dilemmas of epic proportions. In this world of grey, Helo shines as the moral compass of the show. His sense of right and wrong doesn’t waver and he speaks out when he senses that others are veering from what is right. You heard right. Ender Hoban Helo Rudge. Helo shows compassion to the Cylons, and is the first human to selflessly love a known Cylon. He changes everything when he and his Cylon partner have a baby. No longer can humans look at Cylons as “Toasters.” They are living creatures, breathing, bleeding, procreating. All three of these characters have a powerful story to tell within their mediums and have impacted me in profound ways. When the movie Serenity came out, I was...