–A little dehydrated? Your clothes will know.

–nuqDaq ‘oH puchpa”e’? Babelfish Universal Alien Translator could be possible.

–You might need that Babelfish for this. “Nerdic,” a new language.

–So say we all? The Great Geek Manual and Watching BSG both enjoyed my Battlestar Galactica Thursday Thirteen post. Thanks very much!

–It’s a draw. Ron Moore and David Eik annihilate each other at the end of each BSG episode.

–Moonflowers.* Pretty.

* Great band name?

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This week’s Danger Gal profile is about Sirantha Jax from Ann Aguirre’s novel GRIMSPACE. If you haven’t read this book yet, please note that spoilers follow.

GrimspaceSirantha Jax is a Jumper, part of a small group of people genetically attuned to navigate ships through Grimspace. Such abilities lead to a shortened lifespan, but Jax is unique among her kind, having survived over 500 jumps and living to the ripe old age of 33. The story opens after the destruction of her ship and with it the death of hundreds of people, the least of which was Jax’s pilot and lover. Jumpers and their pilots often become involved due to the nature of Grimspace where their minds must intertwine. Jax finds herself in a psych lockup with memory loss from the event when March breaks into the station and offers escape — at a price. His rogue Jumper has just died, so getting off the station means jumping one more time, a jump that could be her last.

Once past this initial conflict, Jax learns that March and his crew are trying to create an alternate group of jumpers to wrest control of Grimspace away from the Corp monopoly. Jax’s journey becomes one of moving from caring only about herself to caring about a cause, and March is the catalyst for this change. Aguirre’s choice of first person point of view plants the reader firmly in Jax’s mindset, that of an acid-tongued smart-ass who wants to think she cares only about herself, but as SciFi Weekly points out:

Sirantha never really manifests the celebrity jumper’s snobbery she ascribes to herself. True, she often puts her own needs and wants ahead of other folks’. But that’s not rock-star attitude. That’s the behavior of a grief-stricken person who has narrowly escaped death herself, and who is compelled to help people she barely knows and doesn’t like.

This makes Jax likable for me, and also lends credibility to her character arc. Her inaccurate view of herself makes it that much more believable when Jax finally joins March’s cause. Jax’s voice is so strong, that adding other points of view in the story would have been distracting. March’s psi abilities, specifically his ability to read Jax’s mind, gives the reader a round-about point of view from March as well.

March is a catalyst and example to Jax. He’s made his own journey into caring about something larger than himself, but he’s had to sacrifice parts of himself to get there, a void it seems only Jax can fill because of their unique psi connection. The jumper-pilot relationship is an intimate one, but March’s psi abilities increase that exponentially. Jax’s unique compatibility provides a stabilizing effect and enables March to interact with others more easily. Jax’s smart-mouth attitude is ultimately a cover for her not believing in herself, for falling into the trap that all she has to offer is the J-gene. She tricks herself into believing the few moments of bliss in Grimspace are all that really matter to her. However, March’s psi abilities enable Jax to see herself through someone else’s eyes, and she becomes stronger from that interaction when Jax realizes the difference she can make against the Corp. Through March’s example Jax finds the tools needed to transform herself and also complete March’s own final transformation into a more well-rounded individual.

Plus, when Jax tells March to “frag off” in her mind, it’s fun.

I agree with SciFi Weekly in that Aguirre writes March as “interestingly dark and driven, without turning him into a bad-boy alpha-male cliche.” Both Jax and March subvert stereotypes, mostly by flipping emotional expectations. Aguirre writes March as, initially, the more emotionally aware of the two and Jax is the one unable to easily commit. March’s hard-won emotional balance was learned from an older female teacher, a gun-toting wild woman who sacrifices herself for the greater good. I found this Obi-Wan Kenobi twist on the usually-evil crone stereotype refreshing. Also, Jax often makes decisions based on what she wants out of life rather than out of fear of how people will judge her if she chooses the unexpected.

Three more books are expected in this series, and I know I’ll be looking for them on the bookshelves. Check out the following reviews for more information on GRIMSPACE:

[Many thanks for the insight, Mr. FuManchu]

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1. It’s Science Fiction. You can say “it’s just a drama that happens to take place in space,” but the main conflict/plot — and most of the inter-/intra-personal conflict — comes right out of a Science Fiction premise. If describing it this way brings an audience to Science Fiction who normally wouldn’t chance it, then great, but this show is asking Big Questions About Humanity and what it means to be human, the kinds of questions Science Fiction poses all the time.

2. Starbuck, in all her frakked-up craziness.

3. Jamie Bamber’s perfectly amazing fake American accent.

4. It portrays a polytheistic society, and doesn’t try to make the case that this kind of religion led to their destruction. The Colonials didn’t create the Cylon “toasters” because they’re polytheistic, they created them because humans make mistakes all the time. It’s easy to see how our own largely monotheistic society could create the same technology and seeing that comparison is part of the show’s Big Question About Humanity.

5. Starbuck, in all her frakked-up craziness.

6. The multicultural crew of the Galactica: We get to see characters portrayed by such diverse actors as Grace Park, Edward James Olmos, Kandyse McClure, Alessandro Juliani, Stephanie Chaves-Jacobsen, and Rekha Sharma.

7. Jamie Bamber’s guns. (Does this mean I have to make this a Gaze post as well?)

8. All the strong female characters in the show playing every role from president to fighter pilot and press secretary to mother and priestess. I was ready to get indignant at the last episode’s development with Rekha Sharma’s character Tory Foster — that the other three male Cylons expected her to sleep with Baltar to get information from him — but then Baltar had a real human moment and created a great story reversal. I’d still rather see a female character at the helm of that kind of reversal though, and hope I get it with Starbuck at some point.

9. Waiting to see who else is suddenly going to pop up in Baltar’s demented head.

10. Starbuck, in all her frakked-up craziness.

11. For Science Fiction, it’s actually pretty low-tech.

12. Dogfighting in space has no sound because there is no atmosphere in which sound waves can travel. Doh. (Take that, Lucas.)

13. The writers just plain rock. I want to be one when I grow up. They “re-imagined” one of my favorite childhood shows into the dark, edgy drama I knew it had at its heart once stripped of the cheese-factor.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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Weekly Roundup

-Real Women don’t do technology. NOT! Zuska explains women geeks.

-Men really do have two brains. Someone tell Steve Martin. Evidence that Men Think With Their Junk.

-Fire burn, and cauldron bubble: Soap bubbles recreate Jupiter’s turbulent storms

-The deal is strong with this one. Stay tuned for a Star Wars Deal or No Deal special.

-You knit what? For those cold nights on the Millennium Falcon.

Q and A with Science Fiction author Linnea Sinclair.

-I must have one. Fun toys from Kidrobot (via IO9).

-“I do believe you’ve spic’d my span.”
Homestar Runner comes to Wii.

-What am I reading this week? DESTINY (ROGUE ANGEL BOOK 1) by Alex Archer. Read a Realms of Fantasy Interview with Archer.

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