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Do you have any links to any of Gary Kloster's short sci-fi, or a blog, or something? My Google-fu was weak and I had trouble finding him and wasn't sure if I had him or some other Gary Kloster in my search results.
Hopefully more info about the author will be forthcoming.
The only difficulty with that approach is that if you start with Brod and (in English) Edwin Muir, you are getting in the former a very specific agenda, and in the latter a very incomplete view since, at that point, most of Kafka's oeuvre hadn't been posthumously published yet. Not that you can't do it, just that some of the conclusions that are drawn are off the mark if Kafka's works are taken as a whole.
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.
1. Congratulations! I'm a huge fan of Kafka. My favorite of his is "A Hunger Artist," and my second favorite is "Amerika." My third favorite is "A Country Doctor" for the longer short stories, pre-Aphorisms, but it is currently in a tie with "In the Penal Colony." "The Castle" and "The Trial" are better written than "Amerika" but I like his earlier epic better precisely because it is incomplete (or more incomplete than "The Castle") and because it is a wonderful European POV of what America means to an urbanized Prague Jew of the 1920s, and can be read as a criticism of both Americanism and urbanization while also seeing these forces as inexorable.
2. Please don't stop with just reading Kafka! You do yourself a disservice if you fail to read the Kafka criticism of the last 50 years! A lot of what has been written is contradictory, but each critic has added to my understanding, and what with Kafka's last papers finally being prepared for the public after protracted custody disputes, now is a good time to revisit it.
3. Kafkatrapper is not actually more accurate (see my previous post above). BUT if you want to argue it is, and do a different reading of "The Trial" than I have, be my guest. But once you read the truly brilliant criticism, such as by Albert Camus, people who throw around such a facile term as "Kafkaesque" will make you resentful when you read its overbroad and generalized misapplication. At least, it makes me resentful.
<shakes head, mumbles> people don't know what they're saying
1. Claims of "concern for [fill in the blank] culture" make me think of the claims made against heavy metal in the '80s, and all the moral panics preceding it, including D&D. It just reads as ironic.
2. The invocation of Kafka left me very disappointed in the article as written. I was hoping for Kafka criticism. This is not it. I've read The Trial and I've read a lot of Kafka criticism. This was a shallow use of a story with many more dimensions to it that those he pointed out. An alternate reading (arrived at by several authors in the Ronald Gray anthology Franz Kafa: A Collection of Critical Essays): Kafka's K was guilty. There is no escape from guilt. The fact it can be invoked to make us do/think/feel things is not some flaw but the sum of its function, which Kafka was brilliant at describing. Does it make you feel bad? Then it is doing its job. Some external referent isn't necessary. The author seems to think this is bad for society. He is wrong. Kafka would tell him it is society, and, more than that, it is K.
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.
This is true of photography and filmmaking too, back in the 1880s-90s. When I studied film history in school, the reason given for the fall-off in female-produced content was a) "professionalization" and b) money (although those 2 points aren't really separate). Once Wall Street saw that [movies/comics/videogames] was making serious money instead of being just a fringe interest, they folded it into Madison Avenue's existing business model for selling stuff (i.e. Lowest Common Denominator selling) and co-opted it, making it harder for competing groups (e.g. women, minorities) to profit in an area that the Establishment suddenly wanted to compete in; when the Big Money shoved aside the Little Money, we saw a lot fewer women and minorities get the jobs and a lot less content directed at such low-dollar groups.
Simon Legrande wrote:
What if "Women are just naturally less interested in hard science" is actually true? Have there been studies by anyone to prove that women are just as interested in hard sciences as men are?
They've done studies of sex-segregated vs. mixed-sex classrooms that have shown that among student achievers in mixed-sex classes, the girls get lower grades in STEM classes than the girls in single-sex STEM classes. In other words, girls show greater aptitude and interest in STEM when in a society of females than they do in mixed company. Now whether or not the girls are more or less "interested" in science as a class than boys as a class really hasn't been compared (at least not in the studies I've read). Compulsory schooling means that kids have to take classes no matter what their interest level. However, better grades does imply that the girls are academically engaged with STEM subjects. The conclusion is that environment makes a big difference in interest/achievement. SO NO, women are not "naturally" less interested in STEM; social/environmental factors influence interest levels. There is nothing "natural" about it.
Female achievement in STEM workforce (in terms of jobs and measurements of achievement) is a whole different kettle of fish which I won't get into here. Schools provide sort-of-ideal controls for social experiment because of standardized curricula and natural division by age group and ability. Workforce studies are a lot more difficult to carry out and draw conclusions from. I'd assume video-game studies are even more complicated to control, although if the focus-group R&D money of several game companies was pooled and went to such an experiment it might provide fascinating results.
I also finished L.E. Modesitt, Jr.'s The Soprano Sorceress. It wasn't as dull as it was made out to be, but it was not as interesting or exciting as it ought to have been, judging by the title/cover. It's one of those books that just didn't live up to its potential but wasn't frustrating/boring enough for me to not finish reading it.
Things that specifically got on my nerves:
Modesitt, Jr. has some late-'90s views of feminism that make Anna, the protagonist, a bit of a Mary Sue, in that other characters/obstacles are sometimes set up as straw-men so a feminist Aesop can be delivered (dang, I TV Trope too much!). It's not something that bothers me so much as I feel it doesn't do justice to a topic that deserves a more nuanced portrayal, even in fantasy novels. I could say, "At least it isn't misogynistic drivel," but as a reader I still hoped for a higher standard than "After School Special."
The large cast didn't help round out the world as much as it ought to have. The villains were an ensemble; the BBEG didn't get enough face-time or active moments in the story (except for very early on), which made the plot feel less urgent and disconnected. I don't like it when villains just cackle evilly and scry on people most of the time and then the Mary Sue comes in and wipes them out before we get a chance to really know them.
Finally, one of the characters, Daffyd, who dies in the end with no real payoff, is one of the few Modesitt actually spent a lot of time building up with an interesting background and motivations. I thought his relationship with Anna was actually worth exploring more than it was and I was frustrated that his death didn't lend anything to the story.
I may read the next book in the series, but more likely I won't.
I'm reading Iain Pears' An Instance of the Fingerpost. It's slow going. I can't read it before/after I eat because it's about Oxford vivisectionists in the 1660s. Each time I try to describe to my sister what's happening now in the story, she gives me this look that says WTF? Why did you tell me that?
I read Lord of Light first and I didn't find it experimental or hard to grasp at all. But I read/watch a lot of sci-fi, so maybe I'm used to the sort of world-building where not everything gets explained and tied up in a pretty bow at the end.
I picked up The Soprano Sorceress by L.E. Modesitt Jr. from the .50c pile at the library sale. It isn't bad, but it ain't good either.
I just read Neal Shusterman's Unwind. It was published fairly recently (2007). I liked it and it was a quick read. It is young-adult sci-fi, but it is definitely "hard" sci-fi, because most of the things that happen in the novel are things that could potentially happen in the future (e.g. extending the range of transplantable organs to include parts of the brain).
@DM Wellard. Don't forget to mention that he was also a great director of large-scale, important movies. I don't know that in future we'll see movies with the scope and size of "Gandhi," "Cry Freedom" or "A Bridge Too Far" - or if we do, all the 'extras' will be digital creations and the scenes will all be performed in front of a green screen. The kind of directing Attenborough did may one day be a lost art.
Ross Byers wrote:
I felt the same way about Redshirts. The jacket copy made it out to be a non-stop hilarity-fest from start to finish, which got my expectations way too high for what was actually delivered.
If you can find a Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature at your local library, or you can access an Ebscohost or Proquest database through your college or university (assuming your class is through such an institution and their subscription includes a genre serials index - a big if), they just may have Analog included.
Analog's forum page seems to be down for repair, but a first step could be trying to contact the magazine through their website. Some of the retailers they list on the website might also have information about the contents of their back issues. This would be most helpful if hearing the title of the story or reading it jogs your memory.
This might be a good first step in your search.
Uncle Taco, your spoiler just made me want to read the Perdido book. Specifically
the anthro-insect-lover part.
It just scratches this itch I've been having ever since reading Butler's "Bloodchild"...or maybe since I first read Kafka.
I've just finished re-reading Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief. I just discovered there's a bunch of sequels and I needed to refresh my memory about what happened in the first book before reading those. 1997 was a looooong time ago!
I finished the Nalo Hopkinson book, "Report from Planet Midnight." The transcription of her speech at the international sci-fi convention was the best part of the collection; it digs into race issues in fantasy/sci-fi. The two fiction stories were good, but the one about Caliban and Ariel I liked better than her time-travel story (since I <3 Shakespeare & seeing people mess with Shakespeare*). The author interview was alright, but some of the interviewer/editor's questions were weird: e.g. "What kind of car do you drive?" - wtf kind of question IS that? As if a car or its possession say something specific about a person and her work! Answer: Hopkinson doesn't have a car and doesn't drive in LA; very similar to Ray Bradbury, in that he also wrote sci-fi in LA and didn't drive.
*except for "Shakespeare in Love." I can't stand that movie!
Finished the collection of Walter Benjamin. I liked the "theses on the philosophy history" the best of the essays, perhaps because it was either a) most clearly written, or b) most clearly translated. The didactic-materialist basis for his theses was over-done, but he brings up a critique of it himself (perhaps it was overdone FOR the purpose of deconstructing it, but we'll never really know), in the form of his critique of historical progress - he just doesn't take it that further step that maybe Derrida and the post-modernists take it (I read Derrida so long ago I can't remember).
Now I'm onto a collection of Nalo Hopkinson essays/short fiction that is part of a "controversial SF authors" series. Her writing doesn't FEEL controversial to me, but maybe I haven't examined it in the kaleidoscope of its implications for the genre...maybe.
Be sure not to die before you read Ancillary Justice.
I saw it won a Nebula award recently. I will mentally put it on my "to read" list.My "sci-fi project" (i.e. to read more sci-fi) has been underway a while, but sadly neglected recently...unless the Lady Trent novel I read counts more as soft sci-fi than fantasy. It's hard to say because the protagonist is a natural-scientist in the 18th-19th century sense, but the dragons aren't of the komodo variety; it sort of walks that fine line between genres since scientific explanations are given for SOME things in the novel, but by no means all of them. I suppose the same charges can be leveled against the Pern novels, though I haven't read any of those.
I'm wending my way through Walter Benjamin's Illuminations (translated by Harry Zohn). The foreword by Hannah Arendt is too darn long at over 50 pages, and presupposes a prior familiarity with Benjamin I certainly don't have. But once past the intro the collection has some interesting essays, including his essays on Kafka. I'm looking forward to those after I finish "The Task of the Translator."
Gore Vidal wrote:
Few academic discussions of Wilde? On what planet? Maybe, if you can't find it under Literary Criticism, try Queer Studies. I doubt there's anything he wrote on, short of a bar napkin, that hasn't been studied by some academics. I'm sure you'll find PLENTY there...and they will also have stuff about Gore Vidal, too (e.g. his The City and the Pillar).
Hasn't this whole discussion already been addressed by Aristotle in his Poetics? ...
It also depends on what kind of analysis you're doing. If you aren't keeping strictly to literary criticism but branch out into that mix of cultural-studies/criticism, lets say, like Walter Benjamin, then the thesis that started this thread isn't far off but you DO get to ask questions that are closer to "Could the Hulk beat up Superman, and why?" and get away with it in academia.
I'd say a big exception to this dichotomy of writers are "the good die young" school, or those who intend for their work to "die young." E.g. Emily Dickinson, Franz Kafka, Keats, et al. These aren't WEALTHY people I've just mentioned (though Keats probably wasn't too bad off), but they didn't make a living off their writing, and probably never would have. Some of them never wanted their works to be read widely at all.Also, some popular writers are also covered extensively in academia: e.g. Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison (but they won Nobel prizes, so maybe the people in Stockholm know better than the academics after all).
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.
But isn't "only trying to make a buck" associating the author's intentions with his/her writing?
If we do a materialist reading of "the novel" then every single novel in the Western canon, at a fundamental level, is firstly about the price of cotton-based vs. pulp-based paper and the savings on inputs to be gained by newer designs of printing machines and typefaces.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
[golf clap] This jives with my XP as both an English major and LIS student. I can say that there is nothing more satisfying than a good, annotated, scholarly edition of Robinson Crusoe with a great big index at the back, for undergraduate reading (or just pleasure reading!) but that I chose not to go into English for grad school because it did not seem focused on providing that kind of work.
I would say the one exception is the Shakespeare industry; never seems to be a dearth of professors working on their umpteenth scholarly edition of "Richard III."
[has flashback to the off-topic Richard III thread and considers quitting the internet]
I got some of the older issues of "Rat Queens" last week. I was LOLing by the second panel! I'm not a regular comics reader, but I really dig this comic. Quite a bit more blood splatter than I'm used to (I'm more familiar with the super-hero type comic, where there's not so much blood/guts, e.g. kid-friendly Superman) but the banter and the hi-jinks of the Rat Queens makes up for that. I'm not sure which character I like the best yet, they're all so darn cool.
Still reading the Francis Stevens collection. I laughed at the egregious racism and blatant sexism in "The Labyrinth." The sexism isn't SO bad compared to other works I've seen from the period (1910s-20s), but there are a lot of assumptions that we don't make anymore, and one particular gender assumption is the key to the plot, so I found the story less engaging than I might have otherwise.
e.g. that a single-woman is automatically assumed to have loose morals if she is alone with a man who is also single. #doublestandard.
I shouldn't have been surprised at the racism since Stevens was an influence on Lovecraft, but several of her racist statements still took me aback. I'd include an example of the racism here but I really don't want to feed THAT particular internet troll. I'll just say that Stevens took the "Yellow Peril" seriously in 1918 and leave it at that.