October 14th, 2009

question

Question of the day, #1

So I was thinking about the recent rants from "oh noes, girl cooties in my SF" people. I was thinking about which traits of mine are most crucial to my reading experience when reflected in characters. I do not, for example, find it particularly difficult to care about male characters, or non-white characters, or homosexual characters. But I was pretty sure that if I thought about it, I would come up with some things where I really did want characters to be "like me."

What I came up with is loyalty.

I don't require a character with whom I can identify; caring is enough. But when a character is blithely disloyal to people who are showing them loyalty, I have a hard time not putting down the book and walking away.

How about you? What traits do you want to share--or at least not blatantly not share--with a character in order to care about their story?
question

Question of the day, #2

One of the recent issues of New Scientist had an impassioned plea for adding a biology Nobel Prize. What do you think of this? More generally, when do you think it's the right idea to expand an existing prize and when is it better to come up with a new prize? And how much should determining the intent of the originator of the prize matter?