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Wrote about Annie Bellet
If you read the linked article in Wired magazine on the first page of the post in the thread, she talks about why she declined her nomination. It was because she didn't want to be associated with the slate and have politics dragged into it, not because she was pressured. She explicitly states that she wasn't pressured. She felt the nomination was tainted.
I don't think this article was that well written. Mostly a matter of tone. Calling sci-fi "one of literature's crummier neighborhoods"? It mischaracterizes what sci-fi has historically been about by describing it as just "lazers and aliens" and also denigrates the fans, unless I'm misled in thinking the term "trufan" is pejorative. And it treats the awards as if there's some dividing line between "Sci-fi then" and "Sci-fi now." You'd think a Wired culture journalist would be more nuanced and knowledgable about the history of the genre. Even the so-called Golden Age she describes and that the sad puppies have nostalgia for (the one era of sci-fi that due to pulp presses was more about "lazers and aliens" than any other) wasn't just "Forbidden Planet" with its troglodytic, 1950s Hollywood misogyny.
Mischaracterizing what sci-fi is and has been historically buys in to that: "yes, it was all about space vixens and manly white-man's lazers, all about escapist middle-class and blue-collar fun and any serious ideas weren't read or appreciated." Have I read some of the "Planet Stories"? Yes. Are they fun? Yes. Are they more deserving of awards because of how they were written and their populist appeal than "Dhalgren" or "The Left Hand of Darkness"? No. Not more deserving. Just different. Can't we have both "big idea" sci-fi and "populist" sci-fi without someone saying "no, now you've ruined it"? And the idea that today's version of Delaney or Le Guinn is a threat to today's version of H. Rider Haggard is ridiculous. That seems to me to be what the puppies are arguing. This makes me very disappointed in Wired. It makes me very disappointed in the fandom.
I guess I'm fan-ranting.
Just had this thought: some of Kafka's work would fit right in in Nidal: "A Hunger Artist," "In the Penal Colony." Heck, a Kuthonite could have written "In the Penal Colony"!
Knowing something about Kafka's background and predilections, he'd probably be writing Nidal fanfic if he were around today.
Apparently the hobgoblin city of Hongol in Tian Xia will be in the "Distant Shores" book.
Marco Massoudi wrote:
Set, I'm surprised to hear you speaking well of catfolk, given your own heritage!
I hope the Southern Garund city is either a city in
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
The comrades might also like Butler's short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories. Butler didn't write much short fiction, but what she has written is excellent! "Bloodchild" gets the most press and awards, but I personally like "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" the best out of the collection (or maybe I have "Bloodchild" anemia). "Speech Sounds" is also great, especially since Butler and I are both from SoCal and I know some of the places she describes in the story; I can't drive by the Music Center without thinking of that story.
In my opinion, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is the best of the Sergio Leon spaghetti western trio. The others lean more heavily on , while intensifying the violence of, standard western tropes -- but TGTB&TU expands outwards and builds this whole fantasy west in an almost archetypal pastoral that is like no other western.
The "Ecstasy of Gold" theme, "The Good's" theme (Dadadadada...Wa-waaa-wa), and the standoff scene are right up there with the Odessa Steps scene in Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin as a defining moment of cinema.
I also agree that Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is better than the other two films that precede it. The 4th Indiana Jones film...<shudder!>
Currently reading: The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett.
Because I saw the movie first, all the characters sound like their counterparts, even on dialogue that wasn't in the film. Joel Cairo looks more dashing in the book, but it is hard to beat Peter Lorre for his good looks, innit?
Since the monsters don't get much direct sun exposure, they need darkness-enabled features. I'd like to see something involving spores, or those bioluminescent bacteria, like angler-fish have. Something different than your standard "it has darkvision" response. Not everything should be able to see in the dark. I also like the monsters that have tremor-sense, echolocation, or other work-arounds for the darkness condition. It just feels more organic to me. So I hope we get some monsters with those alternative qualities.
Samnell, I don't know if you are still reading Civil War stuff, but I thought of you while reading this news item about abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy: Lovejoy's will found.
Oh, and I'm reading stuff. Serpent's Skull AP, to be exact. I liked the fiction by Robin Laws. It has a "Magnificent Seven" vibe, though the plot is very different from that movie.
Hi. I'm looking for a regular Pathfinder group in west LA. I tried looking on Warhorn.net, but Warhorn's website has changed since I last visited it and most of the stuff listed on there seems to be PFS specific or tournament/convention based. I'm cool with PFS, but was wondering if there are any Adventure Paths going on that I could join.
I agree with the Neil Gaiman article, although his evidence is much weaker, being drawn from Pratchett's life, than the evidence in Pratchett's books.
How can anyone read Pratchett's Night Watch and not think he has a lot of darkness in his soul? Yes, he is sending up torturers and secret police, but...he's sending up torturers and secret police!
I recently re-read his Monstrous Regiment. The part where Tonker says, "Yes, they were very good at seeming," about the Poor Girls Working House is just like a punch to the gut.
Anyone who calls Pratchett a "jolly old elf" is clearly not thinking about Terry Pratchett's elves.
I had a bad experience at a convention with a smelly, large, very hairy man playing cross-gender at my table and doing it VERY badly, in the vaudevillian "man dresses up in coconuts and wig...makes pouty face...so-called hilarity ensues" way. He went through all the stereotypes about how "women" act: slutty, cares only about the gold/lootz, afraid to be a front-line fighter, dumb, etc.
The racial equivalent would be a white man wearing black-face to a convention to portray a "black" character and saying, "Where da white women at?" and "I sho' love watermelon, yessir" right in front of a group of black players.
As a cisgender woman that guy made me VERY uncomfortable. I suspect he would make cross-gender women uncomfortable too. Hell, I think he'd have made Norman Bates uncomfortable!
If you, dear reader, are going to play cross-gender, I recommend you do not do that. Divest of your stereotypes. Or, if you must use them, mediate them with positive qualities and develop a well-rounded character before you sit down at the table. If my first ever gaming experience had been with that man at the table, I would have walked away and never looked back, and later on, if I had kids, I'd be very reluctant to let any of my children play role-playing games for fear of them becoming like him.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
My own experiences in the academy (well, state university) were pretty boring. No postmodernists, no idiot professors, nobody who wanted to junk Shakespeare, nobody who wanted to replace the canon with feminist slave narratives by transgendered people with mobility impediments. Although, come to think of it, I never was assigned any Dickens. But I did have one guy make us read The Canterbury Tales and The Time Machine in the same class, so that's gotta be worth something.
I wouldn't mind having Canterbury Tales and The Time Machine in the same class at all. My undergrad didn't spend enough time on Chaucer, IMO. But what I couldn't stand was having Frankenstein and Wordsworth in the same Eng Lit class. There is only so much elaborate description of nature that one mind can endure. If I never read about a Swiss alp or an English hilltop again, it'll be too soon.
Some further thoughts on THoC:
The aspects of the novel that seem most D&D-like are:
Oh, and the contest the heroes are forced to compete in is a bit like some contest-based modules where the PCs need to use their own particular skills to succeed.
There's even a Thief character in the story who uses his pick-pocket skills to get around in alt-Philly, and is forced to compete against the Chief of Police in the "Hunger Games"-like contest.
If I were to borrow from THoC for my own role-playing game, I'd probably have Ulithia be a place, because the White Weaver is certainly cool, but the more satiric-alt-timeline stuff I likely wouldn't use. However, I could see someone else using it, especially if they like mixing in "real world" stuff with their fantasy, like the "Reign of Winter" Pathfinder book where the PCs get to kill Rasputin.
A review of Francis Stevens' The Heads of Cerberus:
The plot may be a bit hard to summarize so please bear with me. The premise of the book is that three normal people from 1918 (the modern day when the story was serialized) accidentally snort the "Dust of Purgatory" and travel to an astral-plane called Ulithia, where time flows backwards & forwards. The lady in charge there (The White Weaver) tells them to pass through the moon-gate, and when they do, they think they've returned home to 1918 Philadelphia...it looks just like the normal world they left! Almost...
It turns out the moon-gate leads them to another dimension, an alternate-dimension future (the year 2118) where they're stuck in a dystopian society, where the lower classes are known by numbers, not names and all knowledge is controlled by a corrupt elite. Because they're outsiders and ignorant of alt-Philly's laws, the good-guys are to be put to death! But! There's a chance for them to escape death by competing in a "Hunger Games"-like contest (only less "Hunger Games," more...Gulliver's Travels meets Star-Search). Action and adventure ensue. Guns and fist-fights are involved; two of the adventurers fall in love with each other in the course of fighting for their lives (hetero-style, because 1918).
Finally, at the very last minute, they manage to escape by ringing the big red Bell of Doom that EVERYONE says they Should. Not. Ring. (that part really does remind me of some D&D games I've played in). The alt-Philly timeline dissolves and they find themselves in the "real" Philadelphia they left, and discover that only several hours had passed in their world, while many days had passed in alt-Philly world.
The sci-fi part comes in when the guy who was trying to steal the "Dust of Purgatory" in the first place explains Star-Trek style that the dust is really a strange alchemical substance that allows people's "sympathetic vibrations" to vibrate in a pattern that leads them to become out-of-phase with the atomic structure of this world, and helps them visit the astral plane of Ulithia; that there are other worlds "within worlds" through the moon-gate and infinite-timelines, that they just visited one of them. The explanation reminded me of that episode of ST:NG when Ensign Ro Laren and Geordi LaForge are "out of phase" with normal matter because of a cloaking-device malfunction (ep: "The Next Phase"); only in this case, instead of the protagonists being able to see-and-hear the "real" Philadelphia, they're totally phased into alt-Philadelphia. When the Bell of Doom gets rung, the "sympathetic vibrations" of the bell knock their molecules back into alignment with the world they came from and they return home.
Okay! I read "The Heads of Cerberus"! Time for a review.
My preliminary thoughts, which I wrote on a secret map made of moonlight:
A more involved review to follow (spoilered for length/and-or you really want to be surprised!)
The Francis Steven books came! I got "The Citadel of Fear", but, more excitingly: "The Heads of Cerberus" in a 1st edition library binding, with illustrations and a foreword by Lloyd Arthur Eshbach! He describes THoC:
Of her works, only The Heads of Cerberus can be called science fiction -- though even in this story a strong inclination toward a wilder fantasy is evident.
More review will be forthcoming, once the novel is read.
Introducing the next Appendix N read: Manly Wade Wellman!
I think one of the commentators on the Tor message-board is correct in saying that the reviewers have it backwards: they are judging the books by their latter imitators (such as the X-Files) and not appreciating them as progenitors.