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Archive for March, 2012

Forced Marriage

Since watching a Panorama episode about the 'honour'-based abuse and murder prevalent within many (mostly) Asian communities in Britain, along with the custom of forced marriages which is tightly interwoven with the honour system (many commentators, indeed, cite the forced marriage tradition as the crux of the problem), I've been compiling notes with the intention of writing a piece on it. Unfortunatley, lack time means that a hefty swathe of notes that still feel incomplete is all I've managed so far. I will get to it sometime but it might take me a while. In the meantime, though, I thought I'd let someone else do the work, by sharing this video I found during 'the course of my enquiries'.

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Archetype

Short stories seem to divide people quite sharply. Folks either love 'em or loathe 'em, it seems. I've always been on the love side of the equation. A well-written short has all the plot, background and characterisation of a full novel, but in sketch form, which the reader colours in for themselves. And I'd rather read a good story that achieves its aim in a few pages—or even a few paragraphs in some cases—than what should have been a short but got padded out to make a novel. My favourites are nearly always those which end on an actual or tacit ellipsis. You know what's going to happen next, but the author leaves you to imagine it; the ultimate cliffhanger, with no Next Installment…

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First off, watch this video. You might wonder at first how it fits with the title above but I'll get to that afterwards, I promise.

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A few months back, I churned out a little piece concerning a few clichés of the Galactic Empire strand of science-fiction. Now I turn my attention—possibly with a little more vigour, possibly not; it depends how lazy I feel—to another great staple of the genre. Time travel. Specifically travel into the past. Not the physics of the actual travel, you understand. That's way too heavy for my limited science. When it was purely the haunt of SF writers, 'explanations' consisted, if they appeared at all, of a few sentences of gobbledygook, a twist of the Time Dial, punch the big red button and off we go! Nowadays, with actual physicists getting in on the speculation, we get black holes and white holes being pasted together before the black hole is towed around the scenery at relativistic speeds. We get wormholes being threaded with exotic matter, whatever the hell that is. We get energy budgets that drain galaxies. Sod that!

Nope, I'll stick with the three main vehicle-types, which we'll call the Wellsian, the Tardis and the DeLorean. How they do what they do will not be discussed; they just do, okay?

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Redefinitions

In 1918, Second Lieutenant Walter Tull was recommended by his immediate superiors for the Military Cross in light of his leadership and gallantry under fire. The recommendation was refused at a higher level. He died in the Spring Offensive in northern France that same year, despite the efforts of several of his men who took considerable risks to try to save him. His body, like tragically many more, was never found. By all accounts he was a capable officer, brave in battle and liked and respected by both his superiors and the men under his command. So why, you may ask, did he not get the medal he'd been recommended for? Well, he was black. He was, in matter of fact, the first black officer to command white troops in the British army. It seems that there was a clause in the regulations regarding the issuing of medals, to the effect that the MC could only be awarded to men 'of European extraction.' In other words, white.

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