At the risk of going back on what I just wrote about the other day ...
As research-of-a-sort for the story I'm working on, I was given pointers towards a whole slew of space-opera type works. Some are more blatantly in the military-SF vein than others, but they all had certain elements in common. Most obvious was what other people have called "tech porn" — long, frothy descriptions of docking sequences, or elaborations on how this or that tech works.
My first reaction to most of this stuff was "Gawd, this is boring." Puts me right to sleep, it does. This from someone who writes about technology for a living — which is why it puts me to sleep. The last thing I want to read about when I get off work is some tarted-up analogue of what I was reading about on the job. I wanted to read about people, not machines.
Then I realized the audience for those books might well pick up anything from my own shelf — ostensibly about people, not machines — and have the back of their head hit the chair as they nod off, and I stopped fuming and started thinking.Read more
Some of you might remember that scene in Sideways where Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Hayden Church) are sampling some wine from a vineyard named "Frass Valley" (ha!).
Miles, the oenophile, is repulsed: "Tastes like the back of a f-in' L.A. school bus. They probably didn't de-stem, hoping for some semblance of concentration, crushed it up with leaves and mice, and then wound up with this rancid tar and turpentine b.s. F-in' Raid."
Jack's amiable reply is "Tastes pretty good to me," and he downs the rest of his glass without complaint.
I know more than a few people who are like this when it comes to, say, bad fantasy or sci-fi. I come back to them with my complaints about whatever I've been reading lately, about how the writing is just awful, and they reply with some variation of Jack's shrug-and-frown "Tastes pretty good to me."Read more
I have been reading, not very enthusiastically, Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. One of the major plot elements involves a writer who is hired to rewrite a young girl's fantasy story and make it more readable, a act somewhere between forgery and hoax. Oh, irony.
The book itself feels like the end result of such a larceny: it reads less like Murakami and someone who read several of his books and performed a point-for-point mimicry of his style. (I know full well he wrote the book, which makes it doubly depressing.)Read more
I don't normally read io9 (mostly a time constraint), but a friend linked me to a piece where the title tells it: Why We Can’t Have Great Movies. Two words: risk aversion.Read more