Abigail Nussbaum Profile picture
Blogger, critic, computer programmer. 2017 Best Fan Writer Hugo winner. Mastodon: @abigailnussbaum@tooot.im
Jan 13 6 tweets 2 min read
Kaleidoscope: yet more confirmation that when writers talk about "freeing" themselves from storytelling constraints - in this case, a single narrative structure - what they actually end up doing is abdicating the responsibility to make choices about their story. And the thing is, making those choices is part of the writers' job. How the audience experiences your story is as important as the substance of that story, and a major part of your work as a storyteller.
Mar 22, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
The thing that gets me about the Lauren Hough/Lambda Award business is: this is a dispute between Hough and the award. Yet somehow it has become a reason to attack trans critics of Sandra Newman's novel, even though everyone knows they had nothing to do with the Lambda decision. Whether or not you believe that the Lambda decision was justified, I think it's clear to everyone that @AnaMardoll, @scumbelievable, and other trans people who criticized The Men weren't in charge of it. So why are they being called to account for it?
Oct 21, 2020 5 tweets 1 min read
Something I keep thinking about is that coronavirus could have been a huge gift to Trump and the Republicans. They act like it was his 2008 financial crisis, but really it was more like 9/11 - something that could have boosted their favorability in exchange for very little work. All they had to do was nothing - stand back, let the CDC take the lead, use the playbook Obama left them, and take credit at the end. Hell, even Kushner's testing plan was apparently pretty solid before it was abandoned because they thought the virus would only hit blue states.
Oct 20, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
Haven't seen anyone talking about #Helstrom. Which is good, because it's a really unimpressive show. But it also means I have no one with whom I can share my awe at Hulu somehow managing to capture all the weaknesses of the Netflix MCU shows, and none of the strengths. I had problems with Hulu's Runaways, but it at least had its own style. #Helstrom is just the Netflix MCU special: vague and roundabout plotting, difficulty establishing stakes, annoying characters, and - most of all - murky, boring visuals.
Sep 22, 2020 7 tweets 3 min read
Not quite sure how to feel about this week's #LovecraftCountry. Taken on its own it's a strong hour, anchored by a fantastic Jamie Chung, who's never been less than magnetic in anything I've seen her in. Someone give her a show already. But as part of the ongoing story of #LovecraftCountry, it feels like an odd fit. Are we just supposed to handwave the fact that Tic is apparently a war criminal? Is this something the show is going to revisit, or is it in the past?
Sep 15, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
Wait, so "pretend that we can make it 2019 again by wishing really hard" turned out *not* to be viable business strategy? I am shocked and amazed! theatlantic.com/culture/archiv… I realize this might be hard to believe given everything on the news right now, but most people aren't stupid. They're not going to risk getting and spreading a deadly disease just to see a movie that's going to be on VOD in three months.
Sep 14, 2020 27 tweets 5 min read
So JK Rowling’s latest Cormoran Strike book (which is 900 pages long! WTF!) is apparently about a trans serial killer. I think we all knew this was coming, though I personally thought that lead times would put this plotline off until book 6. This has caused people to bring up The Silence of the Lambs, which feels like an excuse to talk about my increasingly complicated feelings towards it.

(This discussion is of the book, not the film, which is a faithful adaptation but misses the book’s point in several key ways.)
Sep 12, 2020 14 tweets 4 min read
Continuing with the Dune theme, I've decided to rewatch the 2000 miniseries. I remembered being pretty meh about it, and it only took 3.5 minutes to remember why. A definite "but I was going into Tosche station to pick up power converters" vibe about this version of Paul. Image The special effects paradox: CGI from 2000 looks worse and less believable than practical effects from 1984. Image
Sep 11, 2020 13 tweets 3 min read
Everyone kept telling me that this was the WRONG version, so I've tracked down a copy of Lynch's original. So instead of watching the last 1h15m of the Smithee version, I'm going to watch 2h15m of the Lynch version. Yay? Ah, now that's more like it.

(By the way, for everyone complaining about "A Alan Smithee Film", it's very clear that they just replaced Lynch's name in this frame and didn't bother to replace the preposition because that would change the centering. Image
Sep 10, 2020 13 tweets 3 min read
In honor of the new trailer, I am watching the 1984 Dune. Thirty second in and I already have questions. Image Ah, the eighties. Image
Aug 30, 2020 15 tweets 3 min read
My plan for Saturday was to finally watch I May Destroy You. Then I woke up to the news of Chadwick Boseman’s death and that plan seemed even more fitting. First, because I was already sad, so a show dealing with such a difficult topic felt appropriate. But more importantly, because for years Boseman has been, to me, a standard-bearer for the tremendous flowering of black talent that we’ve been privileged to witness, as more and more black artists and creators take the reins of their careers and help others up along the way.
Aug 16, 2020 26 tweets 5 min read
My perennial problem with discussions of dark n’edgy vs. light n’fluffy – which is absolutely coming up in the most recent iteration – is that no one takes the time to define the terms. For example, when we say “dark”, do we mean tropes, or themes, or aesthetics? Take Christopher Nolan, who is often referred to as a trailblazer of “dark” superhero stories. Except that Nolan’s Batman films aren’t really that dark thematically. They have plenty of schlocky comic book tropes, and of course moments of inspiration like the ferry scene.
Aug 11, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
I said this already when the cast was announced, but it bears repeating:

Black Sybil Ramkin: fantastic
Young, thin Sybil Ramkin: bad
Vigilante Sybil Ramkin: runs counter to everything the Watch novels were trying to say and everything Vimes stood for Just think what a perfect time this would have been for a series that actually embodied what the Watch novels were about: the idea that policemen are civilians, that justice has to be done in the light, and that the powerful must be held - publicly - to account.
Jul 29, 2020 10 tweets 2 min read
This open letter is causing a bit of a fuss, which is frustrating on several levels. First, because there was never any chance of the Jeddah bid winning this year's site selection vote, and everyone involved (including the Jeddah people, probably) knew it. file770.com/writers-circul… But second, and more importantly, because look, are we going to pretend that the US, where the only other competing bid is sited, is some bastion of human rights? That traveling to it is perfectly safe (and possible) for anyone who wants to?
Jul 28, 2020 20 tweets 3 min read
Thoughts on this year's Emmy nominees, as I scroll down the PDF of the full nomination list, like a true fanatic. emmys.com/sites/default/… 1. I am a known Mandalorian skeptic but even I will concede that nominating Taika Waititi for his voice work as IG-11 is 100% valid.

(Shame he gets no directing nomination for episode 8, though. His direction brought a sudden burst of life to an otherwise airless show.)
Jul 26, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
Paternal grandfather: owned an aluminum import business
Paternal grandmother: supermarket teller, then bookkeeper
Maternal grandfather: owned a gas station and car repair service, sold heating oil
Maternal grandfather: teacher, then homemaker

Only the maternal side are American The thing I find fascinating about my grandparents' career paths is that they were all disrupted and redirected by 20th century upheavals. The Holocaust and WWII for my paternal grandparents, the Great Depression for my maternal grandparents.
Jul 26, 2020 8 tweets 3 min read
My disappointment with The Legend of Korra is well-documented, but this essay by @jeannette_ng says it better than I ever could, and gets into problems with the show that went completely over my head. medium.com/@nettlefish/th… In particular, the way that the show, when it tries to imagine how the Asian-inspired fantasy world of The Last Airbender might look if it modernized and industrialized, falls back on American and European imagery as its default. Image
Jul 19, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
Starting the second season of Dead to Me, and I have to ask: does the show realize that Jen and Judy are terrible, terrible people? Jen is obviously worse, but she's also more interesting, because her anger is usually pretty justified, even if she acts on it in destructive, selfish ways. But Judy's passivity and susceptibility to stronger personalities is also pretty damn harmful in the final run.
Jul 14, 2020 10 tweets 2 min read
Having played and enjoyed Return of the Obra Dinn earlier this year, I've finally gotten around to playing Papers Please from the same developer. So I can at last agree with all your praise from 2013. Yes, I am this XKCD strip: xkcd.com/606/ The thing I find fascinating about both Lucas Pope games is that at their core, they're very familiar puzzles given a new life by a strong story. Obra Dinn is a logic puzzle, but to solve it you have to unravel a story of Lovecraftian horror and colonialist hubris.
Jul 9, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
You know that joke about how the older you get, the more Giles seems like the most attractive man on Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

A corollary to it is that the older you get, the more you agree with Joyce when she tears Giles a new one in the S3 premiere. Me at 16: noooooo Joyce why are you being so mean to Giles can't you see that he's worried about Buffy too

Me today: if this were my kid and some librarian had been training her as a child soldier and then LOST HER, they'd be picking up him up in tiny little BITS
Jun 14, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
I hope it's clear to everyone that if WB and Nolan persist in this homicidal plan to release Tenet in July, pirating it would not only be permissible, but the only ethical act.

The sanctity of copyright does not oblige you to risk infecting and being infected by a deadly disease And quite frankly, fuck the bottom line of anyone whose calculation is seriously: "they'll have such terrible FOMO that they'll be willing to risk death to avert it." Fuck them just in general.