sartorias: (Default)
Got in just before four a.m.

Since I am unable to sleep much past dawn no matter when I go to bed, I am soggy to the point of incoherence today, so I'm doing the sorts of things one does which require labor and no brain. (No list of boring chores follows.)

I left off Monday, anticipating the gathering at "fish." Shortly after I closed up the laptop, Cally Soukup, who is such a fun travel companion, said that K of [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha invited us over for a tour of the new house (wow, what a great place!) and of the Minnehaha Falls. We took off instanter, so we could get in this visit before fish.

K. turns out to be exactly the kind of guide I like best--knowing the history of a given place. As an added bonus, she also knows plants. (I was astonished to discover, for example, that there are weed trees. If a thing is green and gives shade, I've got a Tolkienian attitude toward it; I hate palm trees as they are boring to look at and give no shade) The falls were at their thundering best due to the surging waters all across the region--my pictures show many overflowing river banks.

"Fish" turned out to be the upper room of an excellent Japanese restaurant, which specializes in sushi. They had a delicious bento for those of us who don't do sushi. It was so crowded (maybe forty there?) that conversation was minimal, and anyway, we could only stay for forty-five minutes, as we still had to get down to Osceola, Iowa, for me to make my homebound connection.

Guided by my iPhone GPS, we made it there with time to spare . . . as it turned out, over three hours to spare. Cally took off for home (she womanfully drove several hundred miles out of her way to help me out, a generous act that I hope someday I can repay) and as the sun was vanishing slowly and I knew there would be no exercise for another two days, I took off for a hike around the town.

I love small towns, and scattered houses in no discernible pattern, build in architectural styles ranging from mid-1800s to the fifties or so. The station looked like it had been around for most of the twentieth century, a few modern touches added, like a Kwik-Ticket kiosk, but the iron-work grill, the oval scoured into the entry step from decades of shoes, were just as they'd been.

I worked hard on the trip back, intermittently admiring the spectacular scenery. (Not much animal sighting this trip--I missed the herd of wild mustangs galloping alongside the train the last morning, on the other side)

I am beginning to process the things I observed, and learned. Highlight: getting a chance to visit with many of the Scribblees, some of whom are reuniting for occasional critique sessions. There simply was not enough time for writing conversations of any kind--either those that included me, or those I listened to as others, used to a longterm dynamic, conversed.

I also reflected on the nature of Things, which can be extended to interactions. You know, the value of Things being so very relative. You can cherish a scrap of paper that everyone else considers a grubby scrawl, but it was given you by someone you love. Or maybe the name "John Keats" appears at the bottom, and suddenly its worth alters all out of proportion to the meaning it holds for you.

Such can be with interactions: I can remember, and consider, an interaction for years, well aware that my conversational partner will not remember the moment past the next day, judging from how utterly they had forgotten our last. ("We did? You were here? Oh, that had totally slipped my mind!")

Or maybe that is the dork legacy, because people reminisced about every remembered scrap of Mike Ford's interactions--and well worth remembering they were. I was thinking about the ineffable nature of genius as I read Keats' letters on my return journey. You forget he died before he reached twenty-five. What a mind! Then I had to go back and reread the sharp observations T.S. Eliot made about Keats and Shelley in his litcrit booklet.

I discovered that I need to learn how to use the Kindle better, as I couldn't navigate around, and making notes was tedious. I longed for a paper book; my Keats letters, bought used in the seventies, is falling apart. Time for a new.

On the journey out, with all those uninterrupted hours, I did get through Philip Bobbit's The Shield of Achilles at last. His gods-eye view of the evolution of the market-state was fascinating, and convincing, even if I found his historical b.g. a tad too tidy, and too arbitrary. (Castlereagh? Really? What about Talleyrand and his vision of Europe as a modern entity at the peace of Amiens, which didn't even get a mention?)

Would anyone like to see some of my trip pix? I am not a good photographer, and have very few of people; those I took, while trying to be unobtrusive, turned out uniformly bad. But I got some pleasant nature shots.
sartorias: (Default)
Got in just before four a.m.

Since I am unable to sleep much past dawn no matter when I go to bed, I am soggy to the point of incoherence today, so I'm doing the sorts of things one does which require labor and no brain. (No list of boring chores follows.)

I left off Monday, anticipating the gathering at "fish." Shortly after I closed up the laptop, Cally Soukup, who is such a fun travel companion, said that K of [livejournal.com profile] minnehaha invited us over for a tour of the new house (wow, what a great place!) and of the Minnehaha Falls. We took off instanter, so we could get in this visit before fish.

K. turns out to be exactly the kind of guide I like best--knowing the history of a given place. As an added bonus, she also knows plants. (I was astonished to discover, for example, that there are weed trees. If a thing is green and gives shade, I've got a Tolkienian attitude toward it; I hate palm trees as they are boring to look at and give no shade) The falls were at their thundering best due to the surging waters all across the region--my pictures show many overflowing river banks.

"Fish" turned out to be the upper room of an excellent Japanese restaurant, which specializes in sushi. They had a delicious bento for those of us who don't do sushi. It was so crowded (maybe forty there?) that conversation was minimal, and anyway, we could only stay for forty-five minutes, as we still had to get down to Osceola, Iowa, for me to make my homebound connection.

Guided by my iPhone GPS, we made it there with time to spare . . . as it turned out, over three hours to spare. Cally took off for home (she womanfully drove several hundred miles out of her way to help me out, a generous act that I hope someday I can repay) and as the sun was vanishing slowly and I knew there would be no exercise for another two days, I took off for a hike around the town.

I love small towns, and scattered houses in no discernible pattern, build in architectural styles ranging from mid-1800s to the fifties or so. The station looked like it had been around for most of the twentieth century, a few modern touches added, like a Kwik-Ticket kiosk, but the iron-work grill, the oval scoured into the entry step from decades of shoes, were just as they'd been.

I worked hard on the trip back, intermittently admiring the spectacular scenery. (Not much animal sighting this trip--I missed the herd of wild mustangs galloping alongside the train the last morning, on the other side)

I am beginning to process the things I observed, and learned. Highlight: getting a chance to visit with many of the Scribblees, some of whom are reuniting for occasional critique sessions. There simply was not enough time for writing conversations of any kind--either those that included me, or those I listened to as others, used to a longterm dynamic, conversed.

I also reflected on the nature of Things, which can be extended to interactions. You know, the value of Things being so very relative. You can cherish a scrap of paper that everyone else considers a grubby scrawl, but it was given you by someone you love. Or maybe the name "John Keats" appears at the bottom, and suddenly its worth alters all out of proportion to the meaning it holds for you.

Such can be with interactions: I can remember, and consider, an interaction for years, well aware that my conversational partner will not remember the moment past the next day, judging from how utterly they had forgotten our last. ("We did? You were here? Oh, that had totally slipped my mind!")

Or maybe that is the dork legacy, because people reminisced about every remembered scrap of Mike Ford's interactions--and well worth remembering they were. I was thinking about the ineffable nature of genius as I read Keats' letters on my return journey. You forget he died before he reached twenty-five. What a mind! Then I had to go back and reread the sharp observations T.S. Eliot made about Keats and Shelley in his litcrit booklet.

I discovered that I need to learn how to use the Kindle better, as I couldn't navigate around, and making notes was tedious. I longed for a paper book; my Keats letters, bought used in the seventies, is falling apart. Time for a new.

On the journey out, with all those uninterrupted hours, I did get through Philip Bobbit's The Shield of Achilles at last. His gods-eye view of the evolution of the market-state was fascinating, and convincing, even if I found his historical b.g. a tad too tidy, and too arbitrary. (Castlereagh? Really? What about Talleyrand and his vision of Europe as a modern entity at the peace of Amiens, which didn't even get a mention?)

Would anyone like to see some of my trip pix? I am not a good photographer, and have very few of people; those I took, while trying to be unobtrusive, turned out uniformly bad. But I got some pleasant nature shots.

Facebook

Mar. 10th, 2011 04:15 pm
sartorias: (Default)
I just got back from the post office. The branch I use is near Leisure World, so the average age of the customers actually makes me feel young.

A couple of women my mom's age were talking farther up the long line while I was reading Richardson's Pamela; when I heard "Facebook" I tuned in, as they weren't keeping their voice low, and I'm used to refs to Facebooks coming from people younger than I am.

Though I do not have a trustworthy memory for exact words it went kind of like this:

A: I didn't like that Facebook at first. It changes every time you go onto the Internet, and you can't find what you wanted from the day before. But I've kind of gotten used to it, and you know, everybody is on it.

B: I know, I know. Just everyone, no matter if you want to hear from them or not. They're all on it, and more every day, it seems.

A. Well, it's cheaper than calling across the country. And you do get pictures. I've seen more pictures of my grandkids in the five months since I've been on it than I got in ten years before my son got us the computer.

B: I like the pictures, but what I don't like is all those request things. What do you do about the request things?

A: Request things?

B: You know, when they send you a note in your email box, and it says that "So-and-So" wants to "be friends." But it's somebody you don't really know.

A: I just ignore those. I figure, it's someone trying to sell me something.

B: Yes, I get that. But what if it's someone you do know, but you haven't talked to them in twenty years? I got one just the other day, {Spouse's} old boss's wife, the last Christmas card I sent her came back return to sender, must have been in '93 or so. And she'd stopped sending me cards before that. Now she suddenly wants to be my friend on this Facebook. Why has she got a sudden interest in me now?

A: Maybe she wants to catch up on old times?

B: I looked at what she puts up. All bragging on her daughter, how smart she is, how rich. How big a house they got. Their kids are the smartest in the world.

A: Yeah, a lot of people do that. You just skip on through it.

B: I don't think she wants to catch up with me at all. I think she just wants more people reading all that bragging.

A: Well you don't have to click the friend thing.

B: And then what?

A: What do you mean, then what? Nothing happens.

B: If I don't, will she think I hate her, and say mean things? I don't like this "friend" thing when they aren't friends. My real friends, none of them are on it. It's like every horn tooter we knew when we lived in Michigan, before [Spouse] retired, is on it, and it's like they got nothing better to do then to sit there on a chair and type up commercials all day and night about their rich kids. Some days, I want to throw that computer out the window.

A: (laughing) Did you know you can get Facebook on your phone now? You better get used to it, 'cause you can't get away from it!

B: Not mine! My phone's got no Internet on it. I got enough trouble with all the stuff it's already got on it. (shaking her head) Seems to me there'd be a whole lot less bragging when you had to type it all up on a typewriter, or write it out, and find an envelope and a stamp, one at a time.

Facebook

Mar. 10th, 2011 04:15 pm
sartorias: (Default)
I just got back from the post office. The branch I use is near Leisure World, so the average age of the customers actually makes me feel young.

A couple of women my mom's age were talking farther up the long line while I was reading Richardson's Pamela; when I heard "Facebook" I tuned in, as they weren't keeping their voice low, and I'm used to refs to Facebooks coming from people younger than I am.

Though I do not have a trustworthy memory for exact words it went kind of like this:

A: I didn't like that Facebook at first. It changes every time you go onto the Internet, and you can't find what you wanted from the day before. But I've kind of gotten used to it, and you know, everybody is on it.

B: I know, I know. Just everyone, no matter if you want to hear from them or not. They're all on it, and more every day, it seems.

A. Well, it's cheaper than calling across the country. And you do get pictures. I've seen more pictures of my grandkids in the five months since I've been on it than I got in ten years before my son got us the computer.

B: I like the pictures, but what I don't like is all those request things. What do you do about the request things?

A: Request things?

B: You know, when they send you a note in your email box, and it says that "So-and-So" wants to "be friends." But it's somebody you don't really know.

A: I just ignore those. I figure, it's someone trying to sell me something.

B: Yes, I get that. But what if it's someone you do know, but you haven't talked to them in twenty years? I got one just the other day, {Spouse's} old boss's wife, the last Christmas card I sent her came back return to sender, must have been in '93 or so. And she'd stopped sending me cards before that. Now she suddenly wants to be my friend on this Facebook. Why has she got a sudden interest in me now?

A: Maybe she wants to catch up on old times?

B: I looked at what she puts up. All bragging on her daughter, how smart she is, how rich. How big a house they got. Their kids are the smartest in the world.

A: Yeah, a lot of people do that. You just skip on through it.

B: I don't think she wants to catch up with me at all. I think she just wants more people reading all that bragging.

A: Well you don't have to click the friend thing.

B: And then what?

A: What do you mean, then what? Nothing happens.

B: If I don't, will she think I hate her, and say mean things? I don't like this "friend" thing when they aren't friends. My real friends, none of them are on it. It's like every horn tooter we knew when we lived in Michigan, before [Spouse] retired, is on it, and it's like they got nothing better to do then to sit there on a chair and type up commercials all day and night about their rich kids. Some days, I want to throw that computer out the window.

A: (laughing) Did you know you can get Facebook on your phone now? You better get used to it, 'cause you can't get away from it!

B: Not mine! My phone's got no Internet on it. I got enough trouble with all the stuff it's already got on it. (shaking her head) Seems to me there'd be a whole lot less bragging when you had to type it all up on a typewriter, or write it out, and find an envelope and a stamp, one at a time.
sartorias: (Default)
I actually posted this once before, some years ago but the conversations around the net I gleaned it from have cycled around again, so why not?
sartorias: (Default)
I actually posted this once before, some years ago but the conversations around the net I gleaned it from have cycled around again, so why not?
sartorias: (Default)
I've been rereading my ARC copy of Jo Walton's Among Others again, preparatory to writing up a review when it comes out in a couple of days. (I've also been having an e-mail exchange with the author about it, which I will post here--I think it's really interesting.)

Right now I want to talk about one aspect of the book that I don't think is spoilery if you have seen any of the reviews or discussion of it: a trope I have always loved is fictional characters talking about fiction. The weird thing is, it's got to be real fiction that they talk about--either stuff I've read or that I've talked about. A.S. Byatt is a wonderful writer, but I found myself bored with Ash and LaMotte because they seemed watercolor compared to the Brownings and others of the time; I couldn't 'see' them or their work in my mental landscape of the 1800s. It's been the same with most other books that are centered around writers and work that didn't exist.

But let Anne of Green Gables, say, and Diana, talk about Tennyson's poetry, or about novels of the fin-de-siecle, and I'm as fascinated as when I read old letters and diaries and find people talking about their reading.

I kind of liked The Jane Austen Club except that I the characters' opinions were so much alike that I got itchy, and no one seemed to be able to perceive the paradigm of the time. But the idea of the book? That I loved. (And the quotes about Austen at the end were worth the price of the book alone.)

Among Others shot itself to potential favorites list before I got into the story just because Mori, the protagonist, whose journal we are reading, talks about her science fiction and fantasy reading--and she is discussing books I've read. I think this is the first time that sf and f gets referenced in this manner.

Sometimes books I read at the same age she is in the story, though I was a teen ten years before she was. (Oh, that's another thing I love, when fictional characters mention dates during my lifetime, I get this quick image of what I was doing at that time.)

Mori and I didn't have the same tastes, though we overlapped at Tolkien and Henderson, but I find it intensely interesting to find real fiction discussed within the fictional frame. Especially when the characters reassess.

Anyway, does anyone else enjoy this, and in what works?
sartorias: (Default)
I've been rereading my ARC copy of Jo Walton's Among Others again, preparatory to writing up a review when it comes out in a couple of days. (I've also been having an e-mail exchange with the author about it, which I will post here--I think it's really interesting.)

Right now I want to talk about one aspect of the book that I don't think is spoilery if you have seen any of the reviews or discussion of it: a trope I have always loved is fictional characters talking about fiction. The weird thing is, it's got to be real fiction that they talk about--either stuff I've read or that I've talked about. A.S. Byatt is a wonderful writer, but I found myself bored with Ash and LaMotte because they seemed watercolor compared to the Brownings and others of the time; I couldn't 'see' them or their work in my mental landscape of the 1800s. It's been the same with most other books that are centered around writers and work that didn't exist.

But let Anne of Green Gables, say, and Diana, talk about Tennyson's poetry, or about novels of the fin-de-siecle, and I'm as fascinated as when I read old letters and diaries and find people talking about their reading.

I kind of liked The Jane Austen Club except that I the characters' opinions were so much alike that I got itchy, and no one seemed to be able to perceive the paradigm of the time. But the idea of the book? That I loved. (And the quotes about Austen at the end were worth the price of the book alone.)

Among Others shot itself to potential favorites list before I got into the story just because Mori, the protagonist, whose journal we are reading, talks about her science fiction and fantasy reading--and she is discussing books I've read. I think this is the first time that sf and f gets referenced in this manner.

Sometimes books I read at the same age she is in the story, though I was a teen ten years before she was. (Oh, that's another thing I love, when fictional characters mention dates during my lifetime, I get this quick image of what I was doing at that time.)

Mori and I didn't have the same tastes, though we overlapped at Tolkien and Henderson, but I find it intensely interesting to find real fiction discussed within the fictional frame. Especially when the characters reassess.

Anyway, does anyone else enjoy this, and in what works?
sartorias: (Default)
My son is taking driving lessons at a place just far enough away that it would be more hassle to drive home and have ten minutes of work time before slogging back to pick him up. The spouse does one lesson and I do the other. On my turns, I've taken to hanging out at the B&N over by the college.

So yesterday, I was cruising the A-G section of SF/F for new arrivals on the shelves, when a couple of college age people started talking in the shelves right behind me. I'm suppressing gender, but otherwise they sounded early twenties or mid at most.

Their talk (minus a zillion ums, likes, and prepositional phrases that went nowhere) was more or less like this:

A: Oh Name of the Wind I loved that, have you read it?

B: Ugh!

A. You didn't like it? I thought it was awesome!

B. You would. That guy was so Mr Perfect I couldn't stand him, or the story, which was just him being perfect at everything that came along. But then you would like it, you like Honor Harrington.

A. What's not to like? You like that Butcher guy.

B. Harry Dresden is not a Mr. Perfect.

They went from there to Dr. Who to the different doctors, and moved along.

I thought that a good reminder that there is a readership out there who really likes what others might peg as Mary Sue or Gary Stu. Not like this is anything surprising or new, but hey. It's always interesting to hear people talking about books. Especially people who are not my age, and who are supposedly in somebody's demographic for Doesn't Read Books.

I've always preferred heroes and heroines to angsty, amoral, mean-spirited protags or anti-heroes, but I get bored if they are standard or seem to be H because the authorial fingers forces everybody to say so. As I was driving back, I tried to sift over my kid and youthful reading to pull up books with obvious Mary Sues. There were some, but my favorites were stories in which the protag seemed to earn their way to heroism.

Maybe readers' definition of earning varies. Some think that emotional suffering is enough, others prefer a story in which the protag outwits a worthy antagonist. (That's my favorite, though emotional growth is a big plus.) I tend to be turned off by the "winning through pity" trope but I guess some readers get a catharsis from that type of story. When I was little I liked the "If you wish hard enough..." I was trying to remember when that type of story lost its appeal. I think by the time I turned 12.
sartorias: (Default)
My son is taking driving lessons at a place just far enough away that it would be more hassle to drive home and have ten minutes of work time before slogging back to pick him up. The spouse does one lesson and I do the other. On my turns, I've taken to hanging out at the B&N over by the college.

So yesterday, I was cruising the A-G section of SF/F for new arrivals on the shelves, when a couple of college age people started talking in the shelves right behind me. I'm suppressing gender, but otherwise they sounded early twenties or mid at most.

Their talk (minus a zillion ums, likes, and prepositional phrases that went nowhere) was more or less like this:

A: Oh Name of the Wind I loved that, have you read it?

B: Ugh!

A. You didn't like it? I thought it was awesome!

B. You would. That guy was so Mr Perfect I couldn't stand him, or the story, which was just him being perfect at everything that came along. But then you would like it, you like Honor Harrington.

A. What's not to like? You like that Butcher guy.

B. Harry Dresden is not a Mr. Perfect.

They went from there to Dr. Who to the different doctors, and moved along.

I thought that a good reminder that there is a readership out there who really likes what others might peg as Mary Sue or Gary Stu. Not like this is anything surprising or new, but hey. It's always interesting to hear people talking about books. Especially people who are not my age, and who are supposedly in somebody's demographic for Doesn't Read Books.

I've always preferred heroes and heroines to angsty, amoral, mean-spirited protags or anti-heroes, but I get bored if they are standard or seem to be H because the authorial fingers forces everybody to say so. As I was driving back, I tried to sift over my kid and youthful reading to pull up books with obvious Mary Sues. There were some, but my favorites were stories in which the protag seemed to earn their way to heroism.

Maybe readers' definition of earning varies. Some think that emotional suffering is enough, others prefer a story in which the protag outwits a worthy antagonist. (That's my favorite, though emotional growth is a big plus.) I tend to be turned off by the "winning through pity" trope but I guess some readers get a catharsis from that type of story. When I was little I liked the "If you wish hard enough..." I was trying to remember when that type of story lost its appeal. I think by the time I turned 12.

Payoffs

Oct. 15th, 2008 11:01 am
sartorias: (Default)
So I'm loading up the dishwasher, and thinking about payoffs, especially after a long series.
Read more... )

Payoffs

Oct. 15th, 2008 11:01 am
sartorias: (Default)
So I'm loading up the dishwasher, and thinking about payoffs, especially after a long series.
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
What a great weekend. Drove down early Saturday, and thanks to Deborah Ross, got to stay overnight.
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
What a great weekend. Drove down early Saturday, and thanks to Deborah Ross, got to stay overnight.
Read more... )

Jury Duty

Nov. 22nd, 2007 08:53 am
sartorias: (Default)
Things I observed while serving on a jury for a criminal trial:
Read more... )

Jury Duty

Nov. 22nd, 2007 08:53 am
sartorias: (Default)
Things I observed while serving on a jury for a criminal trial:
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
Overheard at a con . . .

Fan A: (to closed door) What's going to be in here?

Fan B: The panel on 'The Best Fantasy Worlds.'

Fan C: See you later, guys, I'll be in the bar.

Fan A: What? You, who've read every fantasy printed?

Fan C: Exactly. Or tried to read. If any authors are on that panel, I don't want to be anywhere near it.

Fan A: Why not? You don't like hearing them talk about their story construction and world building?

Fan C: Not with a title like 'Best Fantasy Worlds.' What we'll hear is how brilliant they think their own creation is. And if the other panelists have good manners, they either nod brightly and say, "Yep, sure is!" or else they play Dueling Mics to yap about how much better theirs is. I don't like any 'It's all about me' topics unless it's Terry Pratchett because at least he's funny.

Fan B: Well, who's on it? Or, maybe they won't be allowed to promote their own world, but have to talk about best worlds from other people?

Fan C: I'd go to that. Unless--

Fans A and B (together): Right, unless it's got Twilight fans on it.

Fan B: (waving hand) Yeah, we've been there, heard the rant.

Fan C: (arms crossed): Just saying.

Doors are still closed.

Fan A: So . . . what fantasy worlds are the best, anyway? I mean once you get Middle Earth out of the way?

Fan B: Who says Middle Earth is the best?

Fans A and C: What???

Fan B: Well, what do they mean by 'best'--most details? Longest worked on? Tolkien's got it made in the shade there, all right, except maybe for L Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson.

Fan C: And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--

Fan A: How about Barsetshire? With or without Angela Thirkell?

Fan B: (galloping over them) OR do they mean best stories from, or do they mean would you want to go there? Well, what I'm saying is, I wouldn't want to go to Middle Earth. There's nothing for women to do, and can you imagine having to ask Barliman Butterburr if he carries tampons?

Fans A and C: (noises of gross-out)

Fan B: Well, so what is it? Like, I love Glen Cook's stories, but I wouldn't want to spend one second in his world. Not one second. GRRM either. Any vampire novel, or one of those ones with evil faerie going around offing humans. I guess I'd go to Georgette Heyer's London because everybody is an aristocrat, and there's the great clothes and--

Fan A: (thumb to chest) Unless you're a Jew. All Jews in Heyerworld are greasy and money-grubbing.

Fan C: Or if you're a servant, you just love being in your place. Better be a pretty aristocrat governess, because you are guaranteed a handsome duke or earl, but he's bound to be one of her bullies she thought were so cool. I mean, who's gonna say no to an earl? Ick. Me, I'd go to Robin McKinley's Damar. Or one of Sharon Shinn's worlds. Neal Stephenson's worlds, definitely. Jay Lake's Mainspring world might be kinda cool, if you're into the gear thing.

Fan A: There are a lot of worlds I'd go to only if I can be someone else. Heroine for sure, unless it's somebody's tragedy. Sidekick's okay. Just not a redshirt. But there aren't many worlds I'd want to go to being a pudgy, far-sighted nerd who faints at the sight of blood and is allergic to pollen.

Fan C: Isn't that more of a cosplaying question than 'best fantasy world'?

Fan A: (shrug) Just trying to figure out what 'best' means. Best cool inventions, best story, best setting, best appendices?

Fan B: Well, my favorite fantasy writer is Terry Pratchett, but I wouldn't want to be on Discworld--Pratchett keeps going on about how much Ankh Morpork stinks. You ask for a glass of water and you're dead. And about the only hot guy is Carrot. The rest are all like Nobby Nobbs.

Fan A: There is only one Nobby . . . whatever he is.

Fan C: Gotta love that literary deconstruction. World to go to…hmmm…I bet Earthsea would be boring, it'd be just like Discworld in the way of better to read about than to be there. I dunno, where do people like to play with other worlds most? You know, fan fiction? That would probably give you an idea which worlds are 'best' for a definition of people liking to spend time there.

Fan B: Back to reading or writing about a place as opposed to your very own personal body being there. I'd read about Middle Earth if Tolkien wanted to come back to life and write more about Gondor or the Rohirrim. Especially if he gets some women in this time. But go there? No. And I bet all those people writing Joss Whedon vampire fanfic would sooo not want to live in Vamp America.

Fan C: Unless they could be Buffy?

Fan B: A bazillion twenty-year-olds would probably want Rowling's world, having grown up with Potter.

Fan A: I think 'best' means the worlds that are bigger than the stories. Like our world is bigger than any sense of history we've got.

Fan C: Sounds like one of those computer game things that take a million hours just to learn the rules.

Fan A: I meant sense of wonder bigger, not a lot of rules and lists of stuff.

Fan B: Definitely Neal Stephenson!

Fan C: Magic Realism Earth--that is, here with magical powers. I could get behind some powers. I'd begin with getting rid of all the vampires in Washington DC, and then . . .

(Doors open)
sartorias: (Default)
Overheard at a con . . .

Fan A: (to closed door) What's going to be in here?

Fan B: The panel on 'The Best Fantasy Worlds.'

Fan C: See you later, guys, I'll be in the bar.

Fan A: What? You, who've read every fantasy printed?

Fan C: Exactly. Or tried to read. If any authors are on that panel, I don't want to be anywhere near it.

Fan A: Why not? You don't like hearing them talk about their story construction and world building?

Fan C: Not with a title like 'Best Fantasy Worlds.' What we'll hear is how brilliant they think their own creation is. And if the other panelists have good manners, they either nod brightly and say, "Yep, sure is!" or else they play Dueling Mics to yap about how much better theirs is. I don't like any 'It's all about me' topics unless it's Terry Pratchett because at least he's funny.

Fan B: Well, who's on it? Or, maybe they won't be allowed to promote their own world, but have to talk about best worlds from other people?

Fan C: I'd go to that. Unless--

Fans A and B (together): Right, unless it's got Twilight fans on it.

Fan B: (waving hand) Yeah, we've been there, heard the rant.

Fan C: (arms crossed): Just saying.

Doors are still closed.

Fan A: So . . . what fantasy worlds are the best, anyway? I mean once you get Middle Earth out of the way?

Fan B: Who says Middle Earth is the best?

Fans A and C: What???

Fan B: Well, what do they mean by 'best'--most details? Longest worked on? Tolkien's got it made in the shade there, all right, except maybe for L Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson.

Fan C: And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--

Fan A: How about Barsetshire? With or without Angela Thirkell?

Fan B: (galloping over them) OR do they mean best stories from, or do they mean would you want to go there? Well, what I'm saying is, I wouldn't want to go to Middle Earth. There's nothing for women to do, and can you imagine having to ask Barliman Butterburr if he carries tampons?

Fans A and C: (noises of gross-out)

Fan B: Well, so what is it? Like, I love Glen Cook's stories, but I wouldn't want to spend one second in his world. Not one second. GRRM either. Any vampire novel, or one of those ones with evil faerie going around offing humans. I guess I'd go to Georgette Heyer's London because everybody is an aristocrat, and there's the great clothes and--

Fan A: (thumb to chest) Unless you're a Jew. All Jews in Heyerworld are greasy and money-grubbing.

Fan C: Or if you're a servant, you just love being in your place. Better be a pretty aristocrat governess, because you are guaranteed a handsome duke or earl, but he's bound to be one of her bullies she thought were so cool. I mean, who's gonna say no to an earl? Ick. Me, I'd go to Robin McKinley's Damar. Or one of Sharon Shinn's worlds. Neal Stephenson's worlds, definitely. Jay Lake's Mainspring world might be kinda cool, if you're into the gear thing.

Fan A: There are a lot of worlds I'd go to only if I can be someone else. Heroine for sure, unless it's somebody's tragedy. Sidekick's okay. Just not a redshirt. But there aren't many worlds I'd want to go to being a pudgy, far-sighted nerd who faints at the sight of blood and is allergic to pollen.

Fan C: Isn't that more of a cosplaying question than 'best fantasy world'?

Fan A: (shrug) Just trying to figure out what 'best' means. Best cool inventions, best story, best setting, best appendices?

Fan B: Well, my favorite fantasy writer is Terry Pratchett, but I wouldn't want to be on Discworld--Pratchett keeps going on about how much Ankh Morpork stinks. You ask for a glass of water and you're dead. And about the only hot guy is Carrot. The rest are all like Nobby Nobbs.

Fan A: There is only one Nobby . . . whatever he is.

Fan C: Gotta love that literary deconstruction. World to go to…hmmm…I bet Earthsea would be boring, it'd be just like Discworld in the way of better to read about than to be there. I dunno, where do people like to play with other worlds most? You know, fan fiction? That would probably give you an idea which worlds are 'best' for a definition of people liking to spend time there.

Fan B: Back to reading or writing about a place as opposed to your very own personal body being there. I'd read about Middle Earth if Tolkien wanted to come back to life and write more about Gondor or the Rohirrim. Especially if he gets some women in this time. But go there? No. And I bet all those people writing Joss Whedon vampire fanfic would sooo not want to live in Vamp America.

Fan C: Unless they could be Buffy?

Fan B: A bazillion twenty-year-olds would probably want Rowling's world, having grown up with Potter.

Fan A: I think 'best' means the worlds that are bigger than the stories. Like our world is bigger than any sense of history we've got.

Fan C: Sounds like one of those computer game things that take a million hours just to learn the rules.

Fan A: I meant sense of wonder bigger, not a lot of rules and lists of stuff.

Fan B: Definitely Neal Stephenson!

Fan C: Magic Realism Earth--that is, here with magical powers. I could get behind some powers. I'd begin with getting rid of all the vampires in Washington DC, and then . . .

(Doors open)
sartorias: (Default)
I had to stand in a very long post office line. The elderly ladies from the local retirement home who preceded me in line were talking loud enough to keep distracting me from my book (which I haven't had a chance to read in weeks, so I was trying to recover the story). When one of them said in quavering indignance something to the effect of, "Every time a man joins any group there goes the end of the group!"
Read more... )
sartorias: (Default)
I had to stand in a very long post office line. The elderly ladies from the local retirement home who preceded me in line were talking loud enough to keep distracting me from my book (which I haven't had a chance to read in weeks, so I was trying to recover the story). When one of them said in quavering indignance something to the effect of, "Every time a man joins any group there goes the end of the group!"
Read more... )

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