I had a dream there was a Pacific Rim 3 and it was really bad. It involved nuking Australia (which failed to solve the problem), sending the Kaiju to the moon and then blasting the moon out of the solar system. Newt transplanted the consciousnesses of some kaijus into little lizards and let them run amok in a tiny scale model of a city. He got funding for this.
Some nerds on the internet: you can’t make your OC too awesome because then it’s a Mary Sue and nobody will like them
Guillermo Del Toro, a man with balls: his name is STACKER PENTECOST and he leads a LEGION OF GIANT ROBOTS that are piloted by HIS FAMILY and he funds by SELLING MONSTER PARTS ON THE BLACK MARKET and he’s played by IDRIS ELBA
“The villain was this tech guy that had invented basically sort of the internet 2.0. And then they realized that all his patents came to him one morning. And so little by little, they started putting together this and they said, ‘Oh, he got them from the precursors.’ The guys that control the kaiju. And then we found out that the precursors are us thousands of years in the future. They’re trying to terraform, trying to re-harvest the earth to survive. Wow. And that we were in exo-bio-suits that looked alien, but they were not. We were inside. And it was a really interesting paradox... To me, the hero was Mako Mori. I wanted her not only to live, I wanted her to be one of the main characters in the second movie.”
so let’s chat about IRON WIDOW
We interrupt our regularly scheduled aesthetic posting with a special message about the upcoming science-fiction YA novel IRON WIDOW by non-binary cosplayer, history buff, and YouTube sensation Xiran Jay Zhao (links to their website in the next post)
I have a longer, more formal “review” of this book scheduled for the release date (September 21st, 2021) but I really, really want to hype this book up as much as possible as early as possible to encourage people to pre-order it. I haven’t been this excited about a YA book in quite a while. Let me tell you why!
- It was pitched as PACIFIC RIM meets THE HANDMAID’S TALE in a world inspired by Chinese folklore and history, where boy-girl teams pilot giant mecha to fight alien monsters -- but the psychic strain usually kills the girls. But only the girls....hmmm...something fishy is going on here...
- The main character is a reimagining of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor of China, who decides she’s going to assassinate the boy who murdered her older sister by volunteering to be his next co-pilot. She assassinates him so well that she kills him through their psychic link and becomes a dreaded IRON WIDOW!
- This makes her very interesting to the government, which would really prefer to make her disappear, but can’t afford to waste that kind of psychic power -- so they pair her up with a ~dangerous criminal~ to pilot a new mecha, confident that he will be psychically strong enough to overpower her
- This backfires spectacularly, and suddenly Wu Zetian and her co-pilot have to manipulate both pop culture and the government just to stay alive.
- Plot ensues.
Why should you read this book?
Go back and re-read that plot summary until you understand why BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!!
- We have a polyamorous F/M/M mutual relationship, I repeat, we PRE-EMPTIVELY SOLVE a LOVE TRIANGLE with POLYAMORY
- Wu Zetian is an amazing anti-hero and I mean that with all my heart. She is constantly doing stuff in this book that made me go, “Wait, can you do that?” She WILL cut a bitch. Also, she uses a cane or wheelchair because she has bound feet, and you can tell that Xiran really went the extra mile to think about how to portray this and how it affects the character. A lot of YA protagonists can start to feel “same-y” after a while to me, but Wu Zetian REALLY stands out.
- The world is really, really cool? There is SO MUCH going on with the aliens and the mecha and the world they’re living in which I cannot spoil except to say that your primary emotion through the third act will be “?!!!?!!?!!?!!!” AND even outside of the meta plot, there is so much thought and detail put into the rest of the setting, it is so beautiful and it feels like you’re really there. Plus every character is a reimagining/reference to a historical or folklore figure and it was really neat to go on a little scavenger hunt of “Oh! I recognize that name!”
- IRON WIDOW will do for YA sci-fi what CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE did for YA fantasy -- if it gets support. Xiran has talked about how they couldn’t get an American publisher to even consider publishing this book because publishers didn’t think American audiences would be interested in Chinese folklore or idol culture or a story about giant mecha, which?? Have they MET the internet?? They were also told that schools and libraries will be reluctant to stock IRON WIDOW because of the polyamorous romance. BUT that is why I really hope people show up for this book because it is SO DESERVING OF SUCCESS and it could open so many doors for other writers and for the whole YA landscape
- Xiran Jay Zhao is a really cool non-binary author and their writing is as charismatic and entertaining as their other content. I just think they’re neat!
- And one more thing? The cover looks like this:
the main thing I’ve gathered from the Pacific Rim director’s commentary is that, even though a lot more of PacRim was done with CGI than I had realized, it still holds up almost 10 years later because of how intentional Guillermo Del Toro was with building in details, flaws, weathering and environmental factors, and, primarily, love and respect into every single model.
He helped animate every single creature and robot by hand on his tablet, he praised the animators for every single shot and talks about how brilliant they are, how hard they worked on every detail, he treats all of them like human beings, like geniuses, just as integral to the film as himself and the actors. The animators themselves talk about how intentional and detailed his ideas were, how helpful and insightful he was when he spoke to them about changes, when he came to them with new ideas.
There’s also a hell of a lot of practical effects woven in, which add to the believability, but the CGI holds up first and foremost because he saw it as an art form to be cultivated and loved just as fiercely as everything else, not a ‘wow’ effect to be slapped in for budget cuts.
people being shocked charlie day is the lead in a romantic comedy like “he can do romance???” he sure can bud lemme tell you about a little number called pacific rim