My notes on The Cyber Mermaid Dating Diary
With references to the original Alice in Wonderland
The Cyber Mermaid is a satire on online dating, dating chatrooms and cyberspace.Online dating is now the mainstream method for meeting potential dates and I felt that it would be the perfect subject matter for my first book.
Most of the scenes in the book take place in cyberspace. I chose the image of a mermaid in a fishbowl for the front cover as I felt it expresses some of the claustrophia not only of dating sites but of cyberspace in general.
I had in mind the cheshire cat when it came to creating the online characters in chatrooms who are forever appearing and disappearing into the 'cyber neverland'.
For some of the cartoons that accompany the diary, I have used disembodied features - eyes, teeth, lips - a nod to the disappearing cheshire cat, bit by bit, until only it's teeth are visible - in relation to how we get the chance to portray ourselves in our profiles and how limited the templates of our profiles can be in expressing our real characters.
The cheshire cat's teeth are also visually echoed in the cartoons with the shark's teeth and also in the cyber rose with spiky pronounced thorns - a reminder that the romantic quest is not always easy and smooth.
The Cyber Mermaid is quite gullible at times but as it is written as a diary and is based in cyberspace, she can only tell you what she 'sees' ( which is limited ) and thinks she knows.
Could not resist giving the Mad March Hare a flitting appearance. It represents some of the madness and absurditiy that seems to be increasing in cyberspace although it could be fair to say that its appearance is in fact, a breath of sanity amidst all the insanity of cyberspace.
The book is a satire on cyberspace - a place with its own rules, a place that is in constant change with the march of technology and lots to make fun of. I had in mind the unfriendliness and the unrulyness of the characters in Wonderland towards Alice.
'Wonderland' is referred to as 'underland' in Tim Burton's 3D film whereas The Cyber Mermaid is set in an 'underwater cyber world' and is a 'playground of let's pretend...'
The Red Queen could be 'The Controllers' who control who is and who isn't allowed inside the fishbowl - the dating site and chatroom. I was thinking particularly of moderators in media chatrooms and how some of the things bloggers say, are occasionally censored and deleted.
Some cartoons coming up later will echo some more of Alice in Wonderland. In one of the cartoons already posted, The Cyber Mermaid, is '...drifting...floating...in a cyber sea of unreality...'
I chose to create a mermaid as the main character of the diary, because being online, living online and 'through the screen', maybe we have all become somewhat displaced from our human lives.
Jane Air 17 Feb 2011
The Cyber Mermaid cartoon blog will continue throughout 2012.