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Trillian Astra (Trisha McMillan) and the Fictional Panel

2009 February 19
by AH

Similar to Solomon I feel like I owe a better explanation of my character to the class and some additional information and thoughts that did not manage to surface during the panel in class today.Although I do think that the axes that we mapped our characters on (time and genre) were interesting, I still think that it would have been interesting to use some of the same axes that were used during the first panel.

  • For example, location. Some of our characters did end up or originate on Earth in one place or another. Trillian, or perhaps I should call her Trisha at this point (pre-space name), originally lived in Islington, England. Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, is also British. I would bet that if asked to pinpoint an Earthly origin that most of the characters would still originate in the US and Europe, similar to the first panel group.
  • In class we discussed the classes that our characters are meant to attract as audiences, but I still think that it would be interesting to discuss the characters’ classes. Throughout her various lives and times, Trillian/Trisha always belongs to the middle or upper middle classes, when such a thing exists. Several of the other characters (Barbie, Ken, Janeway, and Dr. Manhattan among them) are fairly upper class or in positions of power. Then we could better compare the character’s situations, opportunities, characters, and gender/human flexibility with those of the working or “lower” class fictional characters such as G.I. Joe or Frankenstein.
  • Another note, most of the fictional characters presented were generically caucasian. Trillian is described as looking vaguely Arabic with an English accent, but is played in television shows and in the movie as a Caucasian woman with an American or Canadian accent. Why was this changed? How does race fit into the characters that we chose and know so well?
  • Perhaps this last point seems extraneous to a class on gender and technology, but another general trend was that all of the characters are humanoid figures. With such a wide range of characters to pick from from science fiction, fantasy, and the internet, the gaps that are left in our portrayals are quite large.

Considering these omitted axes, perhaps we can get a better grip on the technologies that worked through the characters’ creators to forge the personalities and stories that we saw today at the panel.

One Response
  1. February 19, 2009

    Good point about race. I think I was so focused on the contiuum between human and machine, I forgot that race existed.

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