Jeri by B. A. Hartman


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Post March 18, 2011, 09:41:22 PM

Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Purr twee lee, indeed! That was fun!
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Post March 22, 2011, 01:35:04 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

I thought the 'Nerd' was well-portrayed, especially since he seemed to relate everything in his life to some SciFi movie, book or comic, no matter how weak the connection might have been.

The football as engine-part/power source(?) thing was a bit weird, but then I thought of Null-Point space, and realized there is so little of value to football, it might actually make some sense.

Holding the cypher with odd sybols up to the window didn't make much sense, but it was indeed, a fun romp.

Good job, Ms. Hartman.

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Post March 24, 2011, 03:34:30 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

It’s personally unimaginable that I could be in such disagreement with Bill and Lester, but I was disappointed in the direction this story took. I liked the beginning; it was edgy with a biting satire. However, when this hot mystery chick showed up, the story went downhill fast, turning into a juvenile fantasy tale very quickly. I read on for awhile, hoping it would turn into something like M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water, that takes Paul Giovanni’s character from a lonely fix-it man to a messiah figure who enlists the help of others to save the best part of our world.
But no such luck. The story became as silly as Run, Forest, Run when the nerd grabs the football and ‘accidentally’ makes a touchdown. Forest Gump, however, eventually had a meaning to its madness, this just erodes into syrup.
Slaughterhouse five was mentioned and I thought maybe the story would head in that direction. Vonnegut uses his satire as a way of taking the main character on a journey from complete desperation during the firestorms of Dresden during WW2 to a complete freeing of the spirit in a speech just before he is assassinated. He also has a mindless, bimbo with him ‘on the Tralfamdorian planet’, but the depth of Vonnegut’s work is nowhere to be found in this juvenile tale.
I’m usually griping about the last line, but you could have cut this story off after this encounter,
“"Who are you?" I managed to stutter.
Batting lashes as long as fern fronds, she held out her green hands in what I perceived as a motion of helplessness. "Purr twee lee?"
I’m not amused at long eyelashes or women who can only say ‘Purr twee lee.”
Specifically:
LIKE: "It's a satellite, I told myself, or a piece of cosmic trash, like a defunct space toilet from the Mir."
Like: "You know, earth isn't so bad," I said, in a poor attempt to cheer her up. "We've got great movies like Logan's Run and Waterworld.” (I really do like Logan’s Run.)
Hate because it is too much of a cliché’: “She was wearing the button-up shirt I'm forced to wear for church. I always feel like a complete dork in that shirt -- at least, more of a dork than usual. But Jeri made it look good. “
Like: “The men's locker room was my own personal ninth level of hell. The combined odor of Clorox, Lamisil, and sweaty jockstraps brought back painful images of having to bear (bare) my hairless, underdeveloped body among a communal shower of testosterone-fed muscle.”
Hate: "Apparently, the fact that she was green was overruled by the fact that she was ridiculously hot." No – anyone would notice and be asking questions.
Hate: "When we finally separated, I walked Jeri to her spaceship and helped her inside. Big, glossy, green tears started to fall from her eyes. I put my hand under her chin and turned her face toward me. "It's all right, sweetheart," I said. "We had a great time together, and I'll never forget you." STUPID! Whether it's a woman writing this drivel or a man - there is very little here of value.
That's my opinion.
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Post March 24, 2011, 07:29:58 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

bottomdweller wrote:It’s personally unimaginable that I could be in such disagreement with Bill and Lester, but I was disappointed in the direction this story took.

Like: “The men's locker room was my own personal ninth level of hell. The combined odor of Clorox, Lamisil, and sweaty jockstraps brought back painful images of having to bear (bare) my hairless, underdeveloped body among a communal shower of testosterone-fed muscle.”

That's my opinion.



Michele,

Interesting to me is your 'Like':

How did you know just what it was like to be the SECOND-to-last boy in Junior High to"'Get a Hair?"

Though later, I saw the advantage of late blooming in my own life. And I came to not only accept it, but to embrace it.

Though I noted your "correction". . . . . . .

'bear': as in tolerate

as opposed to:

'bare': as in show


Are you sure you're correct?

Perhaps, like such subjects as Alien Abductions, certain folks just have no idea where these feelings originate.

Or maybe, they just have no right to judge.

Hmmmmm?

From a perspective of having lived some of these perspectives, I say she (Ms Hartman) nailed it.

You really gonna disagree?

Bill Wolfe
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Post March 25, 2011, 09:05:08 AM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

I have two objections to this story. The first is its stereotypical portrayal of the characters involved, the teenage boy and the hot chick alien. It’s like holding up a picture of the Tombraider girl against one of the goddesses from the paintings of Michael Parkes’. And I use the term goddesses decidedly, setting the term apart from the definition put forth by the trainwreck Charlie Sheen.

Charlie Sheen is kind of the point. Who is this misogynistic boy going to grow up to be? – Charlie Sheen. This destructive attitude is clearly stated in a passage near the end.

“Did you do this? I wrote on the bottom. She shook her head. So I gave it to her for her to copy, and she gave me the prettiest smile she had ever given me -- which was also the only smile she had ever given me. So Jennifer was being nice to me now. So what. Compared to a White Star like Jeri, Jennifer was a Borg Cube.”

This kind of misogyny ruins the chance for real men and real women to honest relationships. Jennifer is a thinking, normal female – so far from the fantasy hot chick incapable of putting a sentence together – in spite of the fact she was suppose to be an astronaut from a distant galaxy. I can guarantee that if Jean Luke had crash landed on Earth he would find more to say that “Purr dee loop,” and he would not have repeated it over and over.

Basically, why is it not okay to demean someone in literature because of their race – but it is okay to demean someone because of their sex. Birth of a Nation was a true representation of racist attitudes – but we’ve grown beyond that. So why is this misogynistic attitude okay?

My second objection is that the author started the tale out with such great writing. I like the style of the first few paragraphs – biting and satirical. The fact that it reminded me of Vonnegut means that I expected better – and I am righteously disappointed.

P.S. I’m not happy about this HE-covery. 90% of jobs created since the beginning of the recession have been handed to men. I guess we females shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about eating or feeding our families. Some big strong man will take care of us if we act stupid enough.

There it is.
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Post March 28, 2011, 06:11:47 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Michele,

I for one, actually not only enjoyed this piece of fiction....but I found myself laughing out loud at certain points. Not everyone is destined to be a "serious" writer and set forth new and deep tenants of thought for the masses. In fact, it is often the author who can plug into the intended audience's pop-culture psyche, who becomes the newest author on the "best sellers" lists.

Just look at J.K. Rowling, if you need evidence of that. Wasn't her Harry Potter series dismissed by more serious writers as "little more than childish fantasy"? Yet, that lady, a former school teacher, laughed all the way to the bank.

This story was perfect for any male who has given up hope that ANYTHING amazing, or simply unique, would ever happen to him. Conversely, I thought the image of the girl was great--who knows--in her world, maybe she is the outcast and ‘ugly duckling’?

Be that as it may, what guy wouldn't want a bombshell to grace his life --just once? This is a geeky, nerdy senior, still in high school, whose mom makes cartoon-shaped pancakes for breakfast, and whose life is --at least from his perspective--boring and uneventful.

I enjoyed it. The story didn't take itself too seriously, and the author obviously had a grasp of what it means to not only be the outcast....but to have something 'unbelievable' happen, that impacts a life for GOOD.

So what if the imagery used was typical....it is still what every nerdy, geeky kid, only hopes would happen to them. What a way to top off your senior year in high school!! Just my humble opinion.....

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Post March 28, 2011, 07:45:38 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Well, welcome to the forum, Lady (and I hope you don't eventually regret joining).

This piece was obviously not intended to be taken in any seriousness, and I didn't. It was just a fun read.

I'd be interested to see how Ms. Hartman handles serious topics.
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Post March 29, 2011, 11:30:09 AM

nature with a beauteous wall

bottomdweller wrote:“Did you do this? I wrote on the bottom. She shook her head. So I gave it to her for her to copy, and she gave me the prettiest smile she had ever given me -- which was also the only smile she had ever given me. So Jennifer was being nice to me now. So what. Compared to a White Star like Jeri, Jennifer was a Borg Cube.”

This kind of misogyny ruins the chance for real men and real women to honest relationships.
I think the key here is "which was also the only smile she had ever given me." Let us have a look at the relationship of Jennifer and the narrator up to that point. The story does not give us much to work on as, frankly, there has been no relationship. Still there is the incident of the spilled drink.

When the narrator accidentially spilled Jennifers drink, what could have happend? In a polite society both parties would say "sorry" - situation resolved. A bit less polite but not unwarrented might have been something like "Hey, watch where you're going." from Jennifer . She even might have made fun of his clumsiness. None of these things happend as she just storms off, failing to ackowledge any incident, thereby failing to acknowledge the presence of another person, failing to acknowledge that person.

This is where lies the difference between Jeri and Jennifer. What these two have in common is outstanding physical attractivity - by the narration and thus in the eyes of the narrator. But, while Jeri treats him as a person, Jennifer so far had not. That is what makes her a borg cube as compared to Jeri. And that way that sentiment is a sign of onsetting not of misogyny but of a certain grasp of reality.
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Post March 29, 2011, 11:41:06 AM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

My argument wasn’t against the description of the nerd, nor was it against a fun piece of adolescent adventure. Rather, it was against the betrayal of women as creatures who need to be ‘hot’, have nothing to say, need to be rescued and sleep in a closest.

It’s interesting that Lady Angelica (hi!) should bring up Harry Potter – because the teenage girl portrayed in that – Hermione Granger – is the exact opposite of stupid and ‘hot’. She is brilliant, sensible, and rescues her companions constantly.

Sure, the fair damsel in the tower waiting to be saved by the mighty warrior might be a fun fantasy piece from the 1950s, but the less I see of these ridiculous caricatures – the better I like it.
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Post March 29, 2011, 01:21:42 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

bottomdweller wrote:My argument wasn’t against the description of the nerd, nor was it against a fun piece of adolescent adventure. Rather, it was against the betrayal of women as creatures who need to be ‘hot’, have nothing to say, need to be rescued and sleep in a closest.

It’s interesting that Lady Angelica (hi!) should bring up Harry Potter – because the teenage girl portrayed in that – Hermione Granger – is the exact opposite of stupid and ‘hot’. She is brilliant, sensible, and rescues her companions constantly.

Sure, the fair damsel in the tower waiting to be saved by the mighty warrior might be a fun fantasy piece from the 1950s, but the less I see of these ridiculous caricatures – the better I like it.


But Jeri didn't need to be rescued -- given a little help to find usable parts, she fixed her spaceship herself. In effect, SHE rescued the narrator from his status as an invisible (or scorned) non-entity by accompanying him to the dance. I was also struck by the fact that (ogling aside) the brief relationship between the narrator and Jeri was entirely innocent -- he never "made a move on her", never assumed that she "owed him" much for his help, and admired her skills as a spaceship mechanic almost as much as he admired her looks. Now if Jennifer treated him decently, and rebuilt an engine in front of him, I'm sure he'd find her just as appealing...

Also, Jeri had plenty to say -- the narrator was simply unable to distinguish between her various vocalizations (except for differences in pitch and duration) and rendered all her speeches as melodious but (to him) nonsense sounds. Whether Jeri was accompanying the human-audible sounds with subtle gestures, ultra- or infra-sonic tones, or even telepathy, the narrator missed the meaning (and accordingly, so did we, lacking the Omniscient Third Person viewpoint). (Think of the "wah waaah wahwahwah waaaaaah" used to represent adult speech in the Charlie Brown cartoons.)

By ignoring everything except the adolescent male focus on the female characters' appearance, bd is being rather sexist herself! (Now, Denise Richards as a scientist in one of the Bond movies -- THAT was a ridiculous caricature.)
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Post March 29, 2011, 03:47:33 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Robert_Moriyama wrote:(Now, Denise Richards as a scientist in one of the Bond movies -- THAT was a ridiculous caricature.)


Bond: (Pierce Brosnan) And you are...
Dr. Jones: (Denise Richards) My name is Christmas, Christmas Jones. (Says with attitude) And you can knock off the jokes, I've heard them all!
Bond: (With decent Russian accent) I don't know any doctor jokes.

Should have said at the end of the movie...

Bond: I thought Christmas only came once a year!

(I did NOT just say that) :roll:
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Post March 30, 2011, 07:52:11 AM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Hey, If Angela can be Lady Angelique - maybe I can be Dam(e) Bottomdweller! Now, how can I change that...where's that button...
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Post March 30, 2011, 11:27:10 AM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

bottomdweller wrote:Hey, If Angela can be Lady Angelique - maybe I can be Dam(e) Bottomdweller! Now, how can I change that...where's that button...

Your avatar suggests that Damn Bottomdweller might be more appropriate . . . ;D


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Post March 30, 2011, 08:57:18 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

To be fair in this, the story was not what I would normally read—simply because I usually don’t find teenager dilemma as something I want to visit. But that’s a personal preference. The story itself was enjoyable for what it was—a “not serious romp” in the world of a nerd who’s visited by an alien. As such, it’s easy to move along and, although everything is predictable, it ends well. I agree the main character is a bit misogynistic, but, since we’re not meant to take any of this as serious, I’m not sure how offensive it really is…matter of fact I took it in completely the opposite way. It is satirical in its approach and if we accept that the MC has allowed his own stereotype to define him, than we should understand that he would see the world through the same system of stereo types. I take nothing he says seriously as he is incapable of seeing the world around him as it truly is. His parents can’t be as hollow and flat as he makes them out to be and I doubt the rest of the school is as simple as he portrays. That’s the beauty of the story I think…we are given a story completely infused with the adolescent fantasy of the MC and his tainted perspective. And even though he sees everything as a reference to fantasy/Sci-Fi pop culture, his telling sounds more like a juvenile version of a John Hughes film in which Duckie and Ted the Geek become the hero. In that way this becomes a serious satire on how we allow stereotypes to define us and the world around us… (besides—he solves one set of code telling him not do drugs and then complains how easy everything is to solve and yet he can’t solve the alien’s message—there must be things beyond his grasp like…oh, I don’t know…people).

Well, there it is. Although not my usually read, this one was fun and could be read in different ways—pure dopey fun or a commentary on us all…
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Post March 30, 2011, 10:55:57 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Damn . . . I'd just love to know what the author thinks of all this . . . her breezy lark turned into a socio-psychological treatise . . . :lol:
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Post March 31, 2011, 12:53:24 AM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Lester Curtis wrote:Damn . . . I'd just love to know what the author thinks of all this . . . her breezy lark turned into a socio-psychological treatise . . . :lol:


... which reveals the obsessions of the reviewer rather than those of the author or her characters...
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Post March 31, 2011, 07:58:19 AM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Robert_Moriyama wrote:... which reveals the obsessions of the reviewer rather than those of the author or her characters...


Ouch!

And yes. I agree. There's an old saying:

"Porter! Can I get some help with all this excess baggage?"

I really do understand the various points made by Dame Bottomdweller (Gotta Capitalize Once You Add The Title. . .).

But there is an aspect to current American SciFi—TV style—where women are especially objectified. The title alone is a prime example. Jeri Ryan, who portrayed Seven-Of-Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, passed-out four times on the set due to dehydration and heat stress. They had wrapped her in so much tight rubber and plastic, that she could barely breathe. Combine that with the hot stage lights and the fact that she had to maintain that Barbie-Doll figure, meant she couldn’t even drink water when she was squeezing into the costume.

Let’s just say that the Producers knew their demographic. The fact that the character was also insanely brilliant, isn’t why she was so popular. They cranked-back on this, over time, but even her later clothing was always so tight that it looked sprayed-on.

And THAT’S the ‘Sci-Fi’ that the adolescent male in this story most identified with. Again, though BD is right, it’s also the point. This kid IS the demographic. He’s the product of this other. . .dirty. . . aspect of the fantasy behind the SciFi.

Sure, we like to think about flying around the galaxy in a ship with phasers and universal translators that make everyone speak English. . .

But the fantasy doesn’t end there, and maybe by pointing-out how the bad stuff brings down the cool stuff in this popular aspect of Science Fiction, Michele is doing us all a favor.

In many ways, it’s pure marketing. And it’s a scourge on the integrity of the field of ‘real’ Science Fiction. But it’s also a fact of life that we just have to deal with.

I see this entire discourse as a testament to Ms. Harman’s writing. She evoked passion with mere words.

Ain’t that what we’re here for?

Bill Wolfe
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Post March 31, 2011, 10:57:53 AM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

This thread has also become a cautionary to writers, in a way . . . if you're looking for a 'sounding board' -- someone to read your material and comment on it, be prepared for anything.

I have one friend that I can't give anything to, because he obsesses over every word, seeking deep ramifications and hidden meanings. I sent him something a couple years ago -- I don't even remember what it was, likely not even my own work -- and he said he was going to write a response to it . . . a few pages of material, if I recall, and he still hasn't finished his critique of it.

It's good to know this happens, though. The writer has no control over reader response, which can be altogether unexpected.
I see this entire discourse as a testament to Ms. Harman’s writing. She evoked passion with mere words.
But did she get the response she hoped for?
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Post March 31, 2011, 11:32:06 AM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Lester Curtis wrote:...But did she get the response she hoped for?


I suspect that YOUR initial comment was all she was aiming for. The rest of the thread tends toward doctoral-thesis-on-the-existential-ramifications-of-the-"Sam and Janet Evening"-knock-knock-joke territory.
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Post March 31, 2011, 01:30:10 PM

Re: Jeri by B. A. Hartman

Bill_Wolfe wrote:Jeri Ryan, who portrayed Seven-Of-Nine on Star Trek: Voyager, passed-out four times on the set due to dehydration and heat stress. They had wrapped her in so much tight rubber...had to maintain that Barbie-Doll figure.

All serious actors suffer for their art. I understand Sir Ian McKellan had the same problem! :(

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