Me not being a Heinlein fan, I found this essay provocative, but ultimately I couldn't swallow it:
... it is not only in the juveniles that one can observe Heinlein’s efforts in the late 1950s to revisit old haunts in a humorous fashion; for 1959 also brought the publication of the story “`All You Zombies –,’” wherein Heinlein returns to the theme of multiple versions of oneself interacting by means of time travel, first effected in “By His Bootstraps,” but adds a sex-change operation to further complicate matters and transforms a thought-provoking exploration of the implications of being a “self-made man” into a fun-filled sexual romp.
I don't know about you, but "fun-filled sexual romp" is the last set of adjectives I would use to describe a story that comes closer to the existential horror of Philip K. Dick than almost anything else Heinlein wrote. You might as well call Hellraiser a comedy of manners.
See, I like the idea that Heinlein was testing his audience and seeing how far he could get away with "being Heinlein", as it were. (The essayist is spot-on in that the number one character in any of his works is the author himself.) But even that doesn't go halfway towards explaining nonsense like The Number of the Beast.
I also agree that a lot of the military-libertarian SF that sprung up in Heinlein's wake can't be pinned exclusively on him. Why do that when you can just blame the very living authors responsible for such dreck?
Me and my leaky memory. I need to write more things down.
I remember — where, is another story — reading an essay from someone defending the right to create literary experiments, on the grounds that reading "around-the-house-and-in-the-yard" stories bored him. That admission pointed towards a few possibilities:
But once I got done picking all that apart, I had to confront something: How is my love of a particular kind of (non-gimmicky) storytelling better than his love of a particular kind of (gimmicky) storytelling? Doesn't this come down to nothing more than taste, so let's just leave it at that? To me this would be the most ameliorative answer: you have your House of Leaves and I have my House of Sand and Fog, and we'll both go away happy.Read more
Most of the reading I've been doing this year has been to rediscover a number of classics that are now back in print via new translations that are far better than the fusty ones I read in college. Much of Dostoevsky, for instance; Anna Karenina, Doctor Zhivago, The Three Musketeers, many others.
One thing that stood out time and again as I read — although the new translations had little to do directly with this — was something I've mentioned before, but which was brought home far more completely this time: There was a time when a book was not written to be anything but a book — or, at the very least, the idea that it could be something other than a book was a tertiary concern.Read more
The other night a bunch of us from the Fan to Pro circuit were chatting about what it would take to get a game maker to create something aimed at the female-gamer market — the U.S. / English equivalent of an otome game, for lack of a better label. That in turn inspired me to go back to my previous post about live-action anime adaptations and ask myself: Where in this list are the live-action shojo anime projects for Western audiences?Read more
By now most any reasonably well-read person has seen articles talking about Nate Silver's statistical analysis of the election, or Billy Beane's "moneyball" approach to outfitting the Oakland A's with competitive players via number-crunching. The Quants, we are being told, are winning. A good rundown of all this, including how it relates to medicine as well, can be found at Respectful Insolence.
So what's wrong with taking the same approach to determine the commercial viability of creative work? If I'm willing to admit the future belongs to The Quants, what's so distasteful about, say, focus groups? For lack of any better way to put it, it's the idea that creativity comes from a formula or a checklist — that if you build something which theoretically appeals to this crowd, then that many people from that crowd will like it.Read more
My colleague Steven Savage weighed in on the anime-to-live-action adaptation problem, which he sees as being dominated by five issues.
A shame I can't remember where I read this — it wasn't even all that long ago — but there was some interview with a Hollywood exec who quoted the whole line about story being paramount in filmmaking, and then followed that up sarcastically with something like "Not after $200 million, it isn't."
He might well have been paraphrasing what had been said about Avatar, possibly even by James Cameron himself: when you have that big a budget, you can't gamble with storytelling experiments. You have to go with what you know works to get asses in seats, and that means time-tested formulas.
There's a lot of truth to this, but there's also just as much blinkered behavior.Read more
I normally don't post about politics (so skip this if you want), but the election brought back to mind something I really can't keep my mouth shut about: the amazing arguments people use not to vote.
(Note: this is not a completist list — this is just a rundown of some of the arguments that baffle or irk me more than most.)Read more
Updated: Thank you. Even if things had turned out differently, I would have said that.
Tags: enough said
Grit your teeth and give this article, about plot holes and film logic, by Film Crit Hulk at BadAssDigest, a read. The ALL-CAPS FORMAT gets wearying after a few grafs, but I'm an old hand at this sort of thing (it comes with cutting your teeth on a 2400-baud connection, I guess), and the points made in the article are worth a post here, because they hit me straight in the fountain pen.Read more