Alis

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About Alis

Alis Franklin is a thirtysomething Australian author of queer urban fantasy. She likes cooking, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. She’s never seen a live drop bear, but stays away from tall trees, just in case.

Lies, filthy lies, and national pride.

Americans don’t know much about Canada, and I don’t blame them. They live in the greatest country in the universe, apparently. The rest of the world is meant to plan itself around the U.S., rather than the other way around, and often that’s how things tend to go down anyway. Canada and the U.S. share the longest international border in the world, and yet, the average American could probably go their entire life knowing nothing really substantial about their northern neighbor beyond what they glean from Degrassi. When Americans do encounter Canada, it is usually in disguise — in movies and on TV, Toronto plays New York, Vancouver plays California, and presumably something else happens to the big empty space between those two cities (to its credit, Montreal can’t really play anywhere else, and Alberta hosts a lot of Westerns, but that’s about it). So I can forgive Americans for being clueless. I can forgive them their ignorance about this big, cold, confusing place just to the north of them. And that’s why I want to clear something up, once and for all, so I can put your minds at rest and save us all a lot of time and energy.

Here it is: Canada is fake.

Now, declaring a country “fake” is both a bold and boring statement. A lot of countries are fake, really; they all require a sort of collective willful suspension of disbelief. Patriotism feels a lot like being super into astrology — sure, you might not be hurting anyone, but don’t you think it’s a bit odd to be focused on what is essentially an accident of birth? So yes, maybe all countries are fake on some level. To achieve a collective identity among otherwise unaffiliated souls, most nation-states share the sort of commitment to the bit that Benedict Anderson, the scholar of nationalism, once described as an “imagined community.” The state itself is the best evidence we have for the claim that something can be both socially constructed and also terribly consequential — a border is an utterly unnatural thing, something that is so flimsy and nonsensical that states spend billions of dollars maintaining the illusion of their reality every year. Canada, the US, Australia, Belgium, etc. are all obviously unreal and also devastating in their real impact.
But when I say that Canada is fake, I don’t mean anything so universal or theoretical. Canada is not an accident or a work in progress or a thought experiment. I mean that Canada is a scam — a pyramid scheme, a ruse, a heist. Canada is a front. And it’s a front for a massive network of resource extraction companies, oil barons, and mining magnates.

Alex V Green on Canada.

I mean, the article says it’s about Canada… but I was thinking of somewhere a little more… immediately underfoot when I was reading it…

2020-04-23T09:33:01+10:0012th July, 2020|Tags: culture|

🚪

So this is just one tiny thing from a longer article about mass panics, but…

Apparently buildings have outward-opening external doors as a safety measure to help people escape in a panic situation, e.g. a fire. Huh.

It’s something that makes perfect sense and that I am now going to be thinking about every time I go through a doorway…1

  1. Our apartment door–and in fact all the interior doors in our apartment–for example, opens inwards, but the ground floor doors definitely do open out… []
2020-03-28T09:25:24+11:0010th July, 2020|

Office work.

This feels kinda weird to be posting from lockdown, but. Well. We live in weird times(And, hey. Fingers crossed that by the time it de-queues we’re all back to blowing our spit all over each other in our cube farms as normal…) Update: Sadly no.

(Also forever thankful that I live in a country that has bathroom stall doors that actually line up properly because seriously wtaf America?)

2020-07-10T07:09:51+10:009th July, 2020|Tags: work|

Laqis dress-ups.

Messing around with dress-ups for Laqis… also getting used to quick-and-dirty ways of painting/sketching in Clip Studio. Wings and tail not included for space/speed/laziness reasons.

The first is their “standard” outfit, the second for traipsing about the wilderness in the cold, then a ballgown, then a Fancyman Lord outfit, then SKYPIRATES!!!. Shiftweave, here we come!

2020-07-08T09:07:09+10:008th July, 2020|Tags: dungeons and dragons, my art, tabletop rpgs|

Iddy.

Very often hate reads are undertaken by people who fall outside of the text’s original demographic. I must stress that this doesn’t invalidate the criticisms (especially if we are talking about marginalised people deconstructing mainstream work written about them but not for them), but when it comes, say, to an unqueer white nerd who fundamentally believes all vampires should scary monsters and not romantic heroes, his point of view on Twilight may be useful but ultimately, I shouldn’t consume so much of his work that I internalise his voice. It would not be constructive. Because I am not trying to write for him.

I should not cultivate in my head a Critical Voice that is antagonistic to the premises of the genre I want to write in. That way lies compromising my ideas to appeal to hypothetical readers who would never actually want to engage with my work, all the while alienating people who are actually invested in the premise itself.

Jeannette Ng on not requiring what you hate.

Ng’s point here is that brutal, nitpicky critiques, sporkings, and hate reads can be fun… but they’re fundamentally poisonous to your own ability to write, because they stifle creativity. Part of learning is fucking up, and unfortunately when you’re a paid creative oftentimes the only way to fuck up is to fuck up publicly. But if the threat of the critical voice means you don’t have the courage to try and fail in the first place, you’ll never get anywhere at all.

And as Ng points out, this critical voice seems to hit marginalized creators the hardest. “Submit like a white man” might be a jokey thing authors say to each other when they’re angsting over whether to send this novel to that agent, but there’s a painful core of truth there. Because who is it in society who gets permission to fuck up royally, in public, and recover from it? Who gets lauded for “doing better” and who gets eviscerated for not being perfect in the first place?

These things matter.

As a personal confession, I do occasionally indulge in bouts of hate reading although, honestly, not that much given the state of Mt. TBR. But even when I do hateread I try and approach it constructively; obviously someone liked a work well enough to publish it, or make it popular, so… why? Dan Brown makes mediocre men feel smart. Twilight makes awkward teenage girls (and women who were once awkward teenage girls) feel loved. And, yes, usually there’s more to the story than just that (cough E.L. James cough), but…

But.

People like things for a reason, even if you don’t. It’s often useful to understand why.

2020-03-27T08:07:52+11:008th July, 2020|Tags: culture, writing|

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Dropping the bass… barcode-style.

2020-03-27T07:43:46+11:007th July, 2020|Tags: music|

Liesmith, chapter 12.

Alis’s Note
… let’s speed this up a bit.


Twelve

The world still hadn’t ended by Monday, which Sigmund decided to take as a good sign, even if it did mean that he had to get up for work. Sunday had been uneventful, minus a bit of ribbing from Em and Wayne about his date and the fact that their progression raid kept wiping on the last boss. But that was all regular, Really Real World stuff. No gods, no monsters—well, the ones on the computer, but pixels didn’t count—and, most important, no apocalypse. Sigmund had considered messaging Lain on Sunday evening, but had decided against it, and Lain, for his part, seemed to be respecting Sigmund’s tacit suggestion to leave him alone for the weekend. He did that a lot, Sigmund realized. Respected boundaries, at least when Sigmund set them. It was nice.

Read more »

2020-07-06T12:40:06+10:006th July, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|