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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.
@doc the grey:
Right now I'm still reading Francis Stevens, this time a short story collection. I recommend "The Nightmare" for its very Gygaxian features. Lost islands full of carnivorous giant plants and strange fungi? Yes, please!
Reviving (cloning?) the thread: I'd recently watched "Logan's Run" on TV so I had a lot of fun watching last week's episode. The way Jeff became a 5 was hilarious! Some of my favorite scenes in the show are between Shirley and Jeff, so I liked getting to see them spar once again. Joel McHale and Yvette Nicole Brown are my 2 favorite actors on the show.
What Kahn Zordlon said is unfortunately true. While in the U.S.A. we have the ADA and other laws to protect people with disabilities in the work place, oftentimes those laws get side-stepped or ignored. Don't lie about your ASD if asked, it's always best to tell the truth, but don't bring it up if you don't have to. Once you have the job, if you need reasonable accommodation ask for it discreetly through HR.
Feros's advice is also good. I'd also recommend if you get an interview to go over some practice questions the day before in the mirror, doing a self-interview. You should be able to find typical practice questions online, such as "Why do you want this job?" and "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" etc. Answer each question until the answer is fluid and concise. It doesn't have to be the same each time, but it should roll off your tongue easily.
Before/during/after the interview phase, it's really important to network with people in your field; if there's a convention, meeting, or social gathering in your area go to it! I know this can be hard/intimidating for people with ASD, but keep in mind that even the most socially-minded people can get nervous meeting new people in big crowds. I don't do this kind of in-person networking often enough myself but some of my best job interviews have come from it. I still don't have a job in the field I've trained in (this is due more to cutbacks in my field than any personal qualities, I think), but my network contacts have been invaluable in getting me to the interview phase.
I ended up reading Julie Halpern's Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. It wasn't that good a novel; it had some cute/aww moments and an "after-school special" vibe about personal growth, "being yourself" and "not judging books by their covers." The representation of D&D was not inaccurate, but not really detailed enough to give anything but a hint of what a high school gaming group is like. A lot of the characters' personalities were underdeveloped.
I've decided to read some non-fic for awhile. Geoff Nicholson's "The Lost Art of Walking." And maybe some more Francis Stevens after that.
2 points: 1) who are we actually talking about when we talk about the ASD community "itself"? Sure there are some people with ASD who feel talk of a "cure" threatens their identity as individuals, that any attempt to negate symptoms is a negation of personality, but others on the spectrum actively wish that they did not have the social deficits they are all too aware they have. It's a lonely life when you can't be sure of others' intentions towards you, eh? Actively educating yourself on body language, etc., can only get you so far when the "natural ability" to read people regresses or fails to develop in childhood.
2) I agree that society needs to move from a "victim" mindset towards people with disabilities of all kinds, especially ASD; and that a good faith effort to understand people on the spectrum should also be met by an equally good-faith effort on the part of people with ASD to understand and accommodate the ways of the "neurotypicals" with whom we all must live.
I speak of the Aspie's good-faith attempt to accommodate "neurotypicals" because I personally had a bad experience: as a tutor to a student with ASD who annoyed me no end by treating "tutor" and "I don't need to put in any personal effort" as synonymous. Having had an IEP and accommodation myself in school, having taken advantage of tutoring myself, in good faith, I had equally high expectations for the person I tutored. I know his lackadaisical attitude isn't true of other people with ASD/disabilities, and his attitude was likely a symptom of internalized victimization/learned helplessness, but it still irked me. Taking advantage of a service is one thing, taking advantage of people trying to help you is another. [/end rant]
Full disclosure: I received a Title 9 IEP when I was a child. I actually don't know whether or not I'd take a "magic pill" to erase my disabilities - at my age, I've arrived at a more nuanced understanding of how my diagnosis has both hindered me and benefited me (in the "it builds character" kind of way). I don't think I'd be able to put myself in a "pro-cure" or "pro-spectrum-acceptance" camp since ASD really isn't like cochlear implants, where one device can change everything.
I just finished Francis Stevens' Citadel of Fear. It was very 1918 H.P. Lovecraft-inspiring pulpy/racist (or is that synonymous?) entertainment. Features: vile monstrous creatures beyond mortal comprehension, evil idols, and women in nightgowns fainting hither and yon.
Now I am pondering reading
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.