05/22/13 Yuri’s Powers

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I had lunch with my drawing group on Monday, wishing one of our crew good journeys to Wales. That was fun. Tuesday I did a videocall guest lecture about creating comics for a school in Montague, MA to 5th graders. I enjoyed it, and I was told that they did too. Discussed with Dan the motivation to create art, always enjoyable to ponder. Other than that, I’ve just been drawing. Reading some poetry.

I heard they’re finally making a movie of “Ender’s Game” and so I re-listened to the audiobook. I have some a few issues with the book, but it’s still amazing (even if the author is unfortunately so extremely outspokenly anti-gay). Then I listened to “Silent To The Bone” a young adult book by Konigsworth, which was entertaining but I’m not sure holds up well under intense scrutiny. Next, “Pillars of the Earth” and “Mistress of the Art of Death.” Wheee!

56 Comments

  1. Bill Kamp

    Martina always suffer from her good deeds.
    That is actually a very cynical look on life.

    Which is really good for a Sci-fi usually surrounded with good decisions always taking the gold.

  2. I think that’s the best current description I’ve ever read used by someone to describe Orson Scott Card. He’s a great author, but nowadays everyone generally seems to write lame “hur hur, f*@k Orson Scott Card, hur hur hur” comments all over the internet. The wonderful quality of his writing has been forgotten as a result.

  3. Evil Midnight Lurker

    I pity Card rather than hating him. It’s long been obvious that he *is* gay, but raised in such a homophobic environment that he’s bound up his entire self-image in the idea that he’s straight and the “sinful temptations” he feels are part of being a straight male, somehow.

    That said, I will do absolutely nothing to put money in the pocket of a man who will use it to fund organizations that work to drive the openly gay to suicide.

  4. ronald

    So Martina did to Yuri what the GOB did to enslaved Eebs and what Red-9 sort of did to Martina herself (during the Brograhm’s Teeth sequence, when she made it impossible for Martina to disobey her). So that’s hypocritical on TWO levels. Hm.

  5. Christopher

    @Tony, thank you. I remember in High School reading about the painter Modigliani, and reading how he was a druggie and was abusive to women etc. I realized that the art and the artist are different things and can be valued differently. And so I appreciate his work, but like @Evil_Midnight_Lurker, I try not to support him financially and so I get his books from the library (which I do anyways, but I make sure I do in his case).

    @Jediadept, that was not a reaction I expected. Huh. Looking at @Ronald’s comment, I realize I should better clarify that it is just the telekinesis that was clamped, but did not remove her will (like what Dimitri did to Red-9)

  6. snogglethorpe

    Boy Martina is proving to be the most annoying character in the story, worse than dusty! She’s always sooooo angsty and self-righteous… I’m starting to feel kinda glad she bites it in the end.

  7. Christopher

    Self righteous? Really? By disarming a woman who slaughters without mercy, reflection, or remorse?

    I think the problem might be that I may bend reality with humor and sci-fi, but that I try to stay somewhat real with character growth. As fun as Yuri is, I can’t ignore that she’s essentially become a psychopath.

  8. Ivan the Terrible Poster

    It’s definitely a right and sensible thing, you just sort of generally lose any claims to friendship once you’ve performed nonconsensual brain surgery on someone.

    Unless you rewire their brain to make them your best friend forever.

  9. Christopher

    @Ivan, good point, it would put a strain on any friendship. Yet, at the same time, she would hardly be a true friend if she didn’t take this weapon away from her friend who is mentally unhinged and has used it to kill again and again.

    @scienceguy8, excellent point. I will have to ponder that.

  10. Heph

    Well i can understand Martina. An psychological unstable Yuri with weapons and telekinesis is like a armed Nuke- waiting to explode.

    Even without weapons and clamping her cybernetics make her a very very dangerous person to be around. She can literally rip you head of without getting into sweat.

  11. Night-Gaunt

    Well it looks like the Furryites are geniuses too. Learn a language very quickly. Poor Yuri, still a psycho killer underneath all that wonderful furry and bionics. I do like that character. Poor Martina getting slings and arrows for taking precautions. Better than leaving Yuri in stasis isn’t it?

  12. Stone

    On one hand, Yuri has shown the beginning steps that she is able to take away her armaments. Perhaps she could have made the necessary steps to come back to sanity on use her powers responsible on her own?

    On the other hand, she has feigned being good before, only to fall off the wagon of crazy. And if you’re willing to rob an entire race of sentient beings (who were also done wrong in the past) of their inherent abilities, it would be inappropriate to treat your own species–let alone a friend–any differently.

    So…it is regretful, and she might hate Martina for it…but it was the right thing to do, I believe. Hopefully Yuri will understand some day, even if she does not forgive her.

  13. Ben Lehman

    Martina may or may not have done the right thing, but she sure as hell isn’t being Yuri’s friend. That’s not just removing telepathy, it’s a mind control device.

    Which is fine. It’s good to see her not just be a bastion of virtue, but someone who is perfectly willing to harm others if it makes her feel better.

  14. shaper

    Wasn’t her telekinesis already clamped because it came from an eeb who was clamped? I remember her hurting her head trying to use her powers too much. On the moral issue I note that I don’t recall Yuri killing innocents – just people who really deserve it. I might be misremembering though. Also I’m not a big fan of the ‘no one should have these powers’ position most of the characters seem to be taking. They weren’t complaining when those powers allowed them to save lots of lives. Moral issues aside: the nerve of Martina to do involuntary, harmful brain surgery and then justify herself by claiming Yuri is kicking her friend…

  15. Christopher

    Huh. This conversation is both fascinating and illuminating.

    Some clarification. @Ben_Lehman, it DID only lessen her telekinesis, as Martina states. @Shaper, the part of the eeb brain implanted was less clamped than normal and she learned to strengthen it and the red glowing ball she HAD on her hand also intensified it (I forgot if I put that in anywhere).

  16. Pete

    Hmm. After consideration, I’m also thinking Martina hasn’t done the right thing here.

    Yuri disarmed *herself* just because Martina asked her to, displaying a wonderful trust and bringing Yuri much closer to humanity than she’s been for some time.

    Then Martina immediately *betrayed* that trust by *disabling* Yuri, removing a wonderful, amazing gift, because Martina still doesn’t trust Yuri. That’s not only self-righteous, but self-defeating.

  17. jenny

    I think martina did great. She did what most people wouldn’t dare: cross the threshold into the land of doing the right thing for the majority of beings, at the expense of being called self righteous.

    Besides, self righteous means someone places a higher value on his or herself. Martina is doing the opposite by stopping mass slaughter therefore taking care of others, and thinking of others; in other words, NOT self righteous.

  18. Joal

    I can understand to a degree why Martina decided to do what she did, but was a little dismayed to see that Yuri had finally grown to the point where she trusted Martina, only to have that trust betrayed. It would have been hurtful.

    Martina did such a good job in persuading Yuri to disarm herself of physical weapons; it a shame she could not, for whatever reason, take the same open approach towards disarming Yuri of her telekinesis.

  19. jediadept

    Hi Christopher,
    I’m not suggesting that Martina is acting contrary to character, not at all;
    your writing and character development have a depth that I quite enjoy;
    I’m saying that Martina’s evolution has embarked upon quite a dramatic run:

    I see her on a self aware, race the clock/ends justifies the means, suicide run; trying to set the universe to her personal (perhaps rash) sense of right, before she disintegrates from within.

    Her projected internal conflict makes me sad; I certainly don’t respect her decisions / methods, but it’s a helluva entertaining ride, (I’m anticipating to see if I am even close to what you have in mind).

    Here are other reader’s points that I found interesting;

    Heph said~ I can understand Martina. A psychologically unstable Yuri with weapons and telekinesis is like an armed Nuke- waiting to explode.

    jediadept says~ Martina hasn’t been spending all that much time in the land of
    psychological stability herself; who should be judging whom?

    scienceguy8 said~ I think part of it is Yuri got this way because she was assaulted and violated, and now… viewership just sees this as further violation.

    Pete said~ Yuri disarmed *herself* just because Martina asked her to, displaying a wonderful trust and bringing Yuri much closer to humanity than she’s been for some time. Then Martina immediately *betrayed* that trust by *disabling* Yuri, removing a wonderful, amazing gift, because Martina still doesn’t trust Yuri. That’s not only self-righteous, but also self-defeating.

    jediadept says~ Both statements spoken with greater eloquence than I used!

    Jenny said~ … self-righteous means someone places a higher value on his or herself. Martina is doing the opposite by stopping mass slaughter therefore taking care of others… not self-righteous.

    jediadept says~ By your own definition, Martina is indeed placing a higher
    value on her own opinion of what is right and what is wrong… thus self-
    righteous.

    shaper said~ Moral issues aside: the nerve of Martina to do involuntary, harmful brain surgery and then justify herself by claiming Yuri is kicking her friend…
    I’m not a big fan of the ‘no one should have these powers’ position most of the characters seem to be taking. They weren’t complaining when those powers allowed them to save lots of lives.

    jediadept says~ Would “Martina’s Law” have been applied so quickly if Yuri
    could have brought back Luunock back?

  20. Jeff

    Ironically, Dmitri (the boozer and sex maniac) now appears to be the only main character unmotivated by fear and uncorrupted by power or hypocrisy.

    I hope Martina ends up realizing what’s she’s become before she dies.

  21. Christopher

    @Jeff, Hmm. Dimitri tried to bring out the good in Dal, and then finally shot her. Dimitri also telekinesis-clamped Red-9, his best friend. Is it different or is he just more fun when he does it?

    Oh, and what has Martina become? Specifically? I’m curious about people’s thoughts and am trying not to assume.

  22. Stone

    She’s become the “parent” of the Universe, so to speak. Much like the US involves itself with other countries to impose it’s moral standards (sometimes in ways that brooks no arguments), Martina is taking care of wrongs as she perceives them without any kind of discussion or second thoughts.

    It is true that Dimitri did a similar thing…perhaps the difference in our reactions is because he shows remorse at being forced to do these things? Because Dimitri gave Red-9 a chance, before feeling like he had to do it. Not to mention he removed the potential from himself, too. Martina, on the other hand, shows no real visible signs of remorse (no doubt due to her repeated psychological traumas), and didn’t give Yuri a chance even when Yuri appeared to be surrendering her aggression and powers.

  23. geo

    So we are suppose to forgive Yuri because she suffered repeated physical and psychological traumas and at the same time not forgive Martina even though she suffered repeated physical and psychological traumas?

  24. Joe

    “Dimitri also telekinesis-clamped Red-9, his best friend. Is it different or is he just more fun when he does it?”

    It’s way different – he followed up by doing it to himself. If he hadn’t, he’d have lost a friend and gained a very pissed off Eeb. It also helps that Red-9 had been prepared for the idea by dealing with the issue, intensively, for some time before it all happened.

    That is NOT the sort of thing you underhandedly do to someone, with no warning, if you’re their friend. Especially if they’ve made it clear that they see you as someone to look up to, and immediately perform an act of great trust.

  25. Muzhik

    I think Martina took away Yuri’s smoker. Back in the day, alcoholics who were trying to beat the bottle might keep what today is called a stash — a small bottle kept in a safe place, just in case, for those times when you needed to take the edge off things. In time, the word was adopted by spies. Agents (or operatives, depending on your side) would keep stores of cash, identity papers, etc so that if they needed to disappear — from people on their own side — they’d go get their smoker. Yuri’s telekinesis was her smoker: even after giving up her weaponry it was something she wanted to keep around, you know… just in case.

    @Geo, Well, yes! That is … I think … maybe …
    Oh, look! Snickerdoodles!

  26. Joal

    Having suffered greatly and sacrificed much as a result of her own actions, any reluctance that she once had to inflict pain on herself for what she perceives as the greater good has now disappeared.

    Her empathy still exists, but because she is willing to inflict pain on herself, the same willingness now extends to those around her, even her closest friends.

    Joe: “It’s way different – he followed up by doing it to himself.”

    I’m sure she would have been perfectly willing to do it to herself, if she’d had to.

  27. CompaniaHill

    @Givesgoodemail: Yep, Card’s an asshat, but Ender’s Game is still worth reading. Just don’t buy it; borrow it from a friend or the library or something. (I’m a firm believer in “voting with your dollars.”)

  28. VincentG

    Not wanting to put any speculation into was is after all an imaginary character created by a comic strip writer, but…
    If I was in Martina’s shoes, with the character she has, I would venture that she would care about whatever would come after all this is done. What future lies ahead for Yuri, a tortured and now slightly deranged young lady with an arsenal she can (and did) destroy spaceships without as much as a second thought? She used the Eeb telekinetic power to kill Filneous by having all the blood vessels in his brain pop. Basically, she has the maturity of a child, but with an arsenal she is unwilling to give up and actually *enjoys* using.
    Some day, she would have to return to ‘normal life’, and what Martina did was ultimately in Yuri’s best interest.

  29. Evil Midnight Lurker

    @various people: I still read some of Card’s earlier work, from before his rapid descent into brain-eater territory. (He was on a long slow slide for a while, I think, then something happened while he was writing Children of the Mind and he just lost it completely. If I still had a copy, I could point to the actual chapter break where it happened)

  30. Awesome

    I have read and re-read the third-to-last panel many times, and I still cannot figure out what the furryite is saying. “Is me worth tied only to me good as food” makes no sense. Is there punctuation missing or is it supposed to be gibberish?

  31. Ray

    Martina was right.

    Yuri was an unstable personality capable of killing without consequence.

    She is still an unstable personality and still capable of killing, but now she can be held responsible. In other words, her power to kill is now the power of an ordinary criminal who can be brought to justice, and not the power of a Goddess.

    Someone who can be brought to justice, or stopped, can be worked with and brought back to sanity and trusted with little things in a progressive course of therapy. A Goddess cannot be.

    IOW, Yuri would have no chance of achieving sanity if Martina had not done this.

    And, for what it’s worth, Earth itself as a center of complicated feelings of a wacko Goddess, was in dire danger if Martina had not done this. Sooner or later, in response to something, wacko!Yuri would have come to destroy her home planet.

  32. brashieel

    I feel pretty ambivalent about this. Martina is definitely betraying Yuri’s trust here. At the same time, Yuri has killed an awful lot of people for no particularly valid reasons (as opposed to Martina, who killed a lot of people for very defensible reasons.) Further complicating this is the issue that both of these ladies are pretty broken at this point. They’ve both been badly injured, betrayed, and generally shat upon by the universe.

    That said, if I had to live in that universe, I’d be very glad Martina just did that.

  33. Ken

    Yeah it sucks from a friendship standpoint, and yes, Yuri was making progress back to the light side.
    Martina is the captain again and is acting the part. “The good of the many…”
    There were a few times [at least] where Capt Kirk would’ve brainclamped Spock if he could’ve.

  34. ronald

    @Ray: Sooner or later, in response to something, wacko!Yuri would have come to destroy her home planet

    That seems a TAD presumptuous. AFAIK Yuri has demonstrated absolutely zero interest in returning to Earth at all. I’m just sayin’.

  35. P

    I don’t care for Martina or Dimitri. The “oh no, they have too much power” is a copout. (using that logic, to keep earth safe they should wipe out all the spacers) All most all the characters have unstable personalities and have of killed without much much consequence.

    Yuri (over) reacted to those she found as a threat, and now that she believe that she can trust no one (and i don’t blame her). It would have been It would have been kinder to just kill her, rather than render her defenseless.

    kicking Martina to the floor showed far more resistant than i suspect was deserved.

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