Abhorsen

Feb. 4th, 2017 03:11 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I finished reading this, eventually.
It took two weeks of picking it up, feeling my attention wander, reading a bit, then giving up and doing something else.
I'm sure it's a good example of the thing it's trying to be, but it's not my speed any more at all at all.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I just tried eating the 'vegetable lasagne' from the sainsburys free from range.
Gliten free pasta don't half take a lot of chewing.
It was a distinctive textural experience, to the point that I didn't really notice the taste, except to note that inly a few mouthfuls even had any.

won't be trying that again.



The magazine...

Dunnage for the Soul by Robert Reed...
I think I would bet a substantial bit of money that the author is not disabled.
Because it is ablist as all hell, while possibly attempting to satirise ablism?
It does that thing where someone society deems disabled turns around and makes people just like him, to leave them to see how they like it.
Read more... )

Alexandria by Monica Byrne is all made of feelings, and is quite a lot about impermanence and how sad it is. But it's not very much F or SF. It just put future dates on people finding the ruins. Made me feel things, but.

Wetherfell's Reed Runics by Marc Laidlaw
I looked him up and he appears to be an old white guy, so I'm not impressed with him inventing a not-Hawaii island and making the local characters there like cleaners and criminals. And bookstore guy, the point of view guy.
The plot is sort of... not? Like, it just shows us around the place, in the point of view of a guy who thinks he's a bad writer who can't describe it right, while kind of mocking tourists yet giving the reader a touristy experience.
I kind of didn't see the point. Like, stuff happens, but only a bit and around the edges.

There Used to Be Olive Trees by Rich Larson
interesting post apocalypse with lots of interesting nasties running around
and a bit of a gay love story
though I'm really tired of homophobic violence even in a futuristic hellscape.
really, we don't need that, there is plenty of drama, do something else.
Other than that, interesting characters, vivid setup, coherent plot.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
The story I just read "On the Problem of Replacement Children" by Debbie Urbanski says the author's son was just diagnosed with autism, so they wrote this thing about changeling myths. And I kind of want to pull those pages out and burn them. I think it's trying to process some big emotions and make things silly by exaggeration, but it might be making things scary on purpose, I'm not sure. The parent reactions are scary, that's probably deliberate, it's just so weird and distanced and choppy. Either way, that's not why my reaction. It's just this whole visceral reaction to yet another bloody framing of autism as if it's primarily about the parents. As if you can't talk to actual autistic people. As if there's an original and a replacement. I pretty much don't care what else the story does, if it does that.

Which is a pity, because the story right before that, One Way, was fun SF that took an idea out and booted it around a little. But it wasn't very good, the characterisation was irrelevant to what happened, there was stuff about wives and girlfriends that never clicked with the actual happenings, and things happened mostly to and because of men, for no good reason. But still, I liked the little what does this idea do bit, and was in quite a good mood. Until reading the next story.

Vinegar and Cinnamon was quite fun, but honestly I got wrongfooted by assuming Sam was a girl and felt cheated by the gendering and then my reaction wasn't specifically about the story. It was pretty neat, though.

The Regression Test by Wole Talabi was plain good, full of thinking and vivid. I'd rec that one. I'll be turning the ideas over in my head later

A Gathering on Gravity's Shore didn't do anything for me and I forgot it as soon as reading the next. Maybe it makes more impact as a sequel?

Homecoming by Rachel Pollack is a lot of running around showing off a whole layered world with a bunch of different players. But everyone was nasty and I didn't feel enriched to have read it.

I'm only up to page 162 out of 257, I just wanted to stop and let the annoyed out before I read the next bit.

I've been reading them a couple at a time since Wednesday. Is good reading, I think.

I had forgotten how much harder original fic has to work to earn my buy in, and how starting from scratch in a short form leaves things sketched in. Also you don't get that one zingy yaay that you're promised in every story found by searching by pairing. I feel like different reading muscles are involved.

Also I keep getting distracted by the characters in my head in the story I ought to be writing.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Lirael is a bit of a frustrating book. Like, I can see it is a complete story, because Lirael starts out with a problem and ends up having more or less solved that initial problem, but the bits that get solved are all her personal growth. The actual outside her head problems all remain. It's frustrating.

Also both Lirael and Sameth, the point of view characters, are epically depressed at various points. Read more... )

So now all the problems are set up, and two teenagers are on hand to do anything about them, and I should to to sleep and leave them hanging between books.

And I don't want to, because from here it mostly seems like mentally ill children in danger. I think I may have left the age range where I can read them growing through trauma into heroism and not just want to yell at the olders who should still be looking after them. Even though I know very well that they're about as old as kids who can join the army in the here now; that don't exactly sit right these days neither.



So basically I like the library bits, but I mostly want to get these kids proper mental health care and get actual mature adults who know what they're doing in to help.


And I'm fed up of magic that runs in bloodlines, too, but that's a different argue and more about politics. Still, it's why responsibilities land with crushing weight on these young people, instead of being taken up by a university full of responsible adults, so, fed up of it.






... I should go write my own stories. People in their forties setting out to have adventures because they've got enough experience in they think they can probably handle them. ... granted no one on their first adventure straight away can handle them, but more mature people can fail in more interesting ways.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I just gave up on reading this book, skipped to the end, and was not impressed.

It's about a man with a psychic big cat, except apparently it being psychic is meant to be a big reveal, rather than immediately obvious. Read more... )

Add to that an epic lack of female characters worth the name, and a main character who is a total dumbass and acts like nobody else has a brain yet is clearly really ridiculous, and I give up. I'm not the slightest bit inclined to read the middle of the book.

And that takes work, because who wouldn't want a psychic big cat partner of their very own?

If it takes being mind melded with an entire planet and quite possibly giving up on that whole individuality bit, ma. Do not want.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I am in a good mood today
and started following tumblrs from more fandoms
but so far ones that show up on the sides of the tumblr recommended, because it's still puzzling and weird about boundaries to actually go find fans on tumblr

I actually like two current ongoing shows!

Supergirl
and
Legends of Tomorrow

they're both fun to watch!

I was wondering if that was going to happen again, like, ever.

I liked quite a lot of Lost Girl but then got very annoyed with bits of it. But that was pretty good. But not ongoing by the time I got it.

And on my To Watch pile there's all of Leverage and two seasons of The Librarians, so that's a bit promising.

Also there's Dark Matter, which has been recommended to me by the guys at the pub, because there are women in it.

Lots of things to see and stuff I'm not annoyed with and shows I'm looking forward to.

:-)



I would also like to watch season 2 of Agent Carter, but it doesn't appear to be DVDs. How do you see it if it isn't DVDs? Okay so i know a bunch of answers but none that my equipment is set up for. stupid multi level no ease of access boo. maybe it is DVDs later?



But today I am feeling more cheerful about media.




Also last night I read the latest Tanya Huff book about Torin Kerr, space marine gunnery sergeant: An Ancient Peace. It was why I didn't go to sleep until four in the morning. Excellent book, proper amounts of whoosh and boom and funny that shouldn't be funny and horror and eventually hope.
The only problem with this series is that humans can only write so fast.
:-)



and next week I shall order more new books
and get to leave the house at least twice
life is pretty good :-)
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2032 books :-D

I have catalogued 2032 books :-D

And there is a very good chance that that is all the books :-D



... I mean, lets face it, it's never all the books
but it is all the boxes, all the bookcases, all the shelves
gone through at least once and put into LibraryThing.

:-D

... is there a way to back up LibraryThing?
... not that I'm paranoid, it's just the first time in my life the catalog is a near approximation of reality...



There's still all the magazines, the Analog, F&SF, Galaxy, IF, Asimov's and Venture
and those will go in the LibraryThing, probably, but I may have to type them all in manually, which was the case for far too many of the last couple of shelves and takes half way to forever. The idea of adding manually a whole bookcase of magazines, which are skinny and very numerous... oooooh, that's going to take a run up.



So for a while the number of books in the catalogue maybe might go down instead of up.
I mean, that seems fundamentally unnatural, but I've given away several feet of books by now, on account of them being actually rather boring.
Since everything is in the catalogue from now on if I decide anything else is boring the count might go down.

... but it's entirely possible for me to go to a book shop once a week if I feel like it, so let's face it, that number is unlikely to shrink much.



I am doing a happy dance
and I texted my mum
because this is a momentous occasion.


All! The! Books!
:-D
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I got to the end of this book and was mostly puzzled.
Like, however did the writer come to the conclusion that could work, even for two pages right at the end of the book?

The book is about a society where genetic engineering produced the first Optimen 80K years ago, and Optimen are believed to be immortal with the right medical treatment. So all future engineering is about making Optimen, or making the conditions optimal for Optimen. This has led to 80K years of stasis and totalitarian rule by an elite who think they'll never die.

Optimen have enemies, Cyborgs, who think that the proper way forward is upgrades for everyone. But for different reasons Optimen and Cyborgs both have a problem: they flatten out their emotions, either by replacing them with computer logic, or by keeping their biochemistry on such an even keel they mostly only feel boredom.

Read more... )



The compromise between emotionless stasis and crazy change is slow pregnancy with its inevitable calming effect and consequent life extension in the ten thousand year range.


... so, no, I couldn't at that point suspend disbelief even for the remaining handful of pages of this book.


So either it's very poorly understood science fiction or it's a mess of a metaphor, but the whole nausea and rejection reaction right at the end made it fail either way.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm all tired and stressy now, because the world keeps making Noises from quite early in the morning, and it's annoying.

Also because books.

I mean, when I buy a book new, I often research it a little, I buy from recs lists, I maybe know the author already, and I have some idea what I'm getting. Or, you know, I run out of book and pick up something with a nice cover. Either works sometimes.

But these 500ish books I inherited... looking them up hasn't been very helpful. Somehow people reviewing old books don't feel the need to mention the underage noncon parts. Trigger warnings like woah, yet never mentioned. And whatever the reviewers are looking for in a book, star rating does nothing helpful either, because wildly not matching my opinions thus far. So what am I left with? Reading one at random and hoping. And thus far? That has been stressful, and intermittently ugly.

But when I decide a thing, like that a whole author's work is just blah so far so I may as well send a foot of books away at once, well that's stressful too. Because what if secretly six inches down the stack there's a book that would change my life? You never know.

And never mind that a bare handful of these things meet my basic reading criteria in the first place - the ones by women I have mostly read already, some of them thirty years ago. The ones about women are... rare, and frequently poorly labelled. The epic and blatant sexism is really difficult to get away from if I'm going to read those decades. There's so many stacks of books where they don't even make sense because women are just moved around like dolls, be the girlfriend now, ignore all the reasons not to, who knows how women think? Ugh. Or women are there to think about babies. Or the basic failure of imagination that is projecting tens of thousands of years into the future while preserving the systemic sexism of stereotyped media of the 1950s, ignoring even the reality of the 40s which they ought to have known about, and writing well into later decades. The simple assumption that doctors are men and nurses are women? How do they even get stuck thinking that, let alone deciding it's true of a future so far away it's multiples of humanity's entire written record out?

And the racism... jeez, the basic difference in assumptions about what's polite, or how you talk about humans. It boggles the mind. The times the writer is apparently trying to be nice about someone they've known a really long time, but all they're telling the ages is they were a little colored woman servant... I mean typing that feels wrong, but they were clearly sad of them and trying to be nice about them. So do you adjust your brain filters? It leaves a feeling like tripping over the steps every time. And then there's the times people are trying to be helpful and positive but they just end up with stereotypes like strong blacks or subtle orientals.

The basic idea that people are people are people, all of them just as much people as the straight white male manly man protagonist, well, that's ... that's advanced stuff, apparently.

So then I think, how about I skip the sixties. How about I leave the seventies alone for a while. The eighties can keep. Possibly I could just leave the books be until I've read some things I actually like for a bit. That would be nice.

... and then I get all anxious, because who knows, I might be skipping something important!

*facepalm*



I know I'm making progress. I know I've sent away entire bags full of books, shelf feet at a time. I know I am keeping books that will be an interesting collection to refer back to in the future.

... it's just making me really anxious, because what if?

*sigh*



Onwards.

And maybe upwards.

I mean, considering some of the stuff I've read lately, TV and film tie-ins from the 90s onwards are looking like literature, because already they have characters I could like and some borders on the situations they'll put them in that on the whole I can live with.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
In the last couple days I read Tiger Tiger and then, while trying to decide what I thought of it, started reading Golem100.

That one is easiest to comment, because I've stopped reading now and I'm getting rid of it. Read more... )


So, TigerTiger.
Read more... )

The people don't work in this book.

And yet, I read it all.

I want to figure out the trick.



I also rather want to rinse my brain out, for the second night in a row, but on the bright side once I get rid of this kind of thing I know the remainder will be safe to re-read.

*sigh*
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today's book from the inherited pile turned out to be a good one. Gender balanced, or near enough to it I didn't notice, varying ethnicities, and a neat science/social puzzle to solve.

It's about a bunch of scientists sent from Earth to figure out why the first alien civilisation ever discovered is all dead. And it's particularly fraught because they're brought out there on humanity's first and thus far only FTL spaceship, and the world back home is not so sure that exploration is what they want to do with their money when these are the kinds of things they're finding.

Read more... )

This one buys its shelf space handily. Will read it again later and have a think about bits of it.

Just maybe also rewrite the ending in my head.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This one was pretty much nasty. It looks like it's going to be about an AI exploring a new planet, and it turns out to be about child abuse and rape and murder and blood drenched colonial history and slavery and many layers of nasty. It's all exploring the nature of mind and self and personhood, but I just don't feel the need to go through bleeding sewers to do that. Plus I don't know what it was trying to do with race, though those themes are prominent, but I feel starting by killing Africa is at best a mistake. So I will not be keeping this book.

Also it did that thing where it messes with language to say that future people is different, but it messed with like grammar and punctuation, and was mostly just annoying.

I thought I had more to say about it than that. I mean, it tried some proper big thinking. But I dislike the tools it used to do it with, so, all done.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I read this last night and it was quite a nice story.

Read more... )

I liked the action, I liked the characters well enough, it's skinny but does interesting things in the page count, and it follows through on its science fiction bits in an interesting and methodical way. Plus it makes the other Biggle book I've got look better by emphasising different parts.

So I'll be keeping these two.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Well that was a waste of an afternoon.

It looked like it would be about time travel. It appeared to kick off with time travel to Byzantium. But it turns out the setting is a future so far away that everywhere has been explored and understood, so reality got really boring, and the only remaining good in the world is entertainment. It isn't time travel, it's some kind of full immersion massively multiplayer RPG, very sketchily described.

He gets sent in to rescue a girl and does so with a bunch of killing and striding around like he owns the place. Meanwhile back in reality he has three female assistants, appearing in just that one scene, who keep telling him what to do without caring about him very much. Even the secretary who lets him grope her doesn't seem to put her heart into it any more. So sad.

... ugh. This point of view guy made me feel like I was wading through slime for the whole book. But it was short, so I read it anyway, and that was not as it turns out worth it.

The girl he rescues does have a name but she keeps being referred to as the girl. I got slightly confused at some points because he seemed to be introducing a new and unknown character, given that he only referred to her as the girl and described her physically. But no, it's the same girl, he just can't be bothered to remember her name and feels the need to describe her boobs a lot.

Sometimes, when they discover something important, she grabs his hands and makes him grope her boobs.

... at which point I become sure the author has not met a woman.

... actually I'm not sure he's touched a boob. Would you describe them as pulsing? As, like, a primary characteristic? I'm not sure he ever said throbbing but pulsing was definitely mentioned. Which is not a characteristic I would put top of the list. About boobs.

So he gets recruited to set out into space to visit a planet where weird things happen to time. And it's an incoherent mess with paper thing characters that just... I don't know what the author thought he was doing, but he failed. At some points I imagined them as Red Dwarf characters but they fell just short on exaggeration and lacked the required whimsy. They were just bad.

And then when they get to the alien planet of mysterious alien things where danger and excitement lurks around every corner and they have to discover something entirely new to science using only their wits? That's when the girl grabs him and has sex with him. A lot. Even though they only have two days on planet before their brains melt. That's when she decides sex is the important thing.

Because it turns out the entire book, the space exploration, the unique spaceship, the danger and death and all that, has all been set up because of this woman's sex life. Because, as it turns out, she once shagged the point of view character, and he forgot her, so she set this all up so she could bring him to the planet where time stands still and just, like, keep him.

Women, right?

*ugh*

*shudders*

especially since he keeps going on about how she's so young she hasn't finished her education yet and here he is a drunken middle aged man having a crisis to even be noticing her and blah blah ugh blah and yet it's her that's the manipulative creepy one?

And all through it there's this complete lack of acknowledgement that women are in fact people, and that sex is a communication shared with another person. Sexual urges are some kind of base animal thing that takes away reason and intelligent faculties, it's entirely about the man and his reactions to stimuli, and that makes women walking traps that lure men into losing themselves. And it's just super creepy. Especially since everything's fine while it's him desiring her, but when she desires him then it's like alarm bells and warning signs, he can't be having with that. That's when it turns out to be a time trap she's trying to set up. And there's so many times she's talking but the book doesn't tell what she's saying, just that point of view guy isn't listening, until she starts screaming 'hysterically'. He assumes she's making no sense and tunes her out routinely. And that? That is who he wants to have sex with? No, that is what he wants to have sex with. Or not even with, another word.

On the plus side in the end she ends up frozen in time with the other man, who seems happy to see her. On the minus side she ends up frozen in time with a man, because that's her whole goal in life.

And I felt like reading this was walking through slime.

So, this book is going out. It's right on the borderline of binning it.

It's like it doesn't know how to be humans and that makes the whole thing not make sense.

Zero stars, waste of paper, can't believe it's apparently the start of a series.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This book says it was published in 1968, so I was ready to be unimpressed by it.
And the 'twist' ending I did indeed see coming a mile away. I mean, it didn't set up any alternatives, it just did the thing where we could see it and relied on us not seeing it. Seeing it from nearly the beginning made the plot a bit tedious.
But it had some fun layers. Read more... )

I'm not sad to have spent time reading it, but I'm very on the fence about giving it shelf space in the future. It doesn't suck, but it doesn't rock. If I run out of shelving again (hah, when, when I run out of shelving again) I think this'll be front of the queue to get gone.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Had other plans for today, but then I started reading The Fifth Season
Trigger warnings so far for Read more... )
That is a tough read. That is a very tough read.
It takes the question 'why don't the mages in this setting rule the world' and answers it really thoroughly, and it's bad for everyone.

It's a well written book but I'm feeling like I should have read more about it before I started reading it.

So now I'm going to keep reading it until it is finished, to see how things turn out.



ETA having finished it: That did not get nicer. With that setup it should not get nicer. It was quite a lot not nice.

I don't think I can have proper opinions on that book because it was not something I wanted to have read. It was not a fun reading experience, it was very tough. The world building was internally consistent and the characters made sense given the premise, but, that meant mostly it was bad sadness about slaves and I would like to read something quite different now instead.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I just finished reading Rage of a Demon King, volume three in the Serpentwar Saga according to the cover. There's probably more, the ending has an ominous TBC all over it, but this was the last REF book I bought. Back when they were new I think I gave up because the book club realised I was too poor to support my book habit, but now I've re-read them I'm pretty sure I'm not going to read any more.

Read more... )

So I think on balance they keep their three inches of shelf space, and I don't get any more.



But the strands that are about Clerics are kind of interesting. Read more... )

But what I am interested in, about clerics or otherwise, is something like the greatest good for the greatest number. Not rising to the top of a very unequal system, but making the system better for everyone. Fantasy novels that work by levelling up their characters over a maximum of three books to be boss of pretty much everyone else, they aren't really playing that game, even if they switch from nobility to trained military as the means of rising.



I don't know what I want to read, but this isn't it.
I'll go read something else.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I don't know why I'm still reading this series.
... completeness, I guess.

It's like someone suggested to the author that maybe, possibly, he could try writing more women?
so he pondered, and thought, you know, maybe some male characters do need more motivation.
so he added rape. and prostitutes.

*sigh*

Read more... )

This book is going back on the 'to sell' pile and I'm really unimpressed.

'teenagers learn to do violence and command people' is no the only valid plot.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Ugh.

This was the book I was complaining about yesterday. The one with the highly symbolic disability that goes away once he has confidence in himself. The one where secretly he wanted deformity and chronic pain as an excuse to fail, and once he lets go of his fear he can walk again. That one. That is very ablist indeed.

It did not get better.

Read more... )

I know the book is from 1992 and you can make excuses for old things, but I am really not impressed.

The writing is fine, the plot is fine if you don't mind campaign write ups, the ablism, sexism and racism is not fine.




I want to do better than this.

I want to do impeccably sourced better than this.

I want to collect history books where women have power, and do work, and exist in every role men ever did. And then I want to recombine them into a rich and full fantasy setting. And write a best selling series set there. And open up the world to other authors to do the same thing. And make the many and varied stupidities of epics like these ones so clearly evident that they'll just be embarrassed about them forever.



... all of which involves putting words on the page all in a row until a story is finished, so it remains unlikely, but I really want to.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I am reading a book right now that is ablist as all hell.
It's a fantasy where there is healing magic, so when a boy is born with a malformed foot, they use magic to try and fix it. When the magic doesn't work the book explains that this is (a) because the gods want to teach the boy a lesson and (b) because secretly he wants to be disabled, as an excuse to fail.

... I don't know why I'm still reading this book.

And it's not like it's just a couple of objectionable characters saying shit. It's an actual central mechanism of the book. It's the medium through which the protagonist gains and expresses character growth. He magics his foot better and then the chronic pain is all in his mind and as long as he maintains the right attitude it will stop hurting. In the meantime they give him nothing to help with it, because it is all in his mind. So he should just think happy thoughts. To fix his chronic pain. From having the bones in his foot rearranged and regrown. Because gods. And morals.

... no, I know why I'm reading this book, it's because it was a present and the handwriting in the front suggests it was from a relative now departed so I don't want to throw the book away and therefore want to find some kind of redeeming feature in it.

But it's basically about a couple of teenage boys chasing after a couple of damsels in distress, and one of them has to be more confident and take risks and lose his fear of failure and then will be magically healed of his lifelong disability. Which he wanted. As an excuse.

... I really, really don't like this book.

It also doesn't help that it's part of a long series of two teenage guys going on quests, often involving rescuing the girl, always involving getting the girl like she's a present. Each guy has one girl, except for when they're competing for the prettiest one, who gets replaced only when they come to an agreement between them that the girl shall choose which guy she likes. Because that is something that takes on average a third of the book to decide. That a woman has a choice in boyfriends. And then, once they're all neatly paired off, the book takes a break so the next generation can become teenage boys. Because once the quest is ended and they've levelled up as high as they're going then clearly there's nothing interesting to write about in, for instance, getting to know this woman they met on a quest.

I think I remember now why I have the next three books in the To Sell pile. It doesn't matter if they're individually good, because they're going to be about two teenage boys questing for women. My epic level not caring is... ugh.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Think I'm keeping this one.

The future as seen from 1966, complete with flying cars, adaptable houses, very specific fashions, and programmable food that may become illegal if you try and modify it.

There's lots of women, wife and mother and school teacher and researcher and astronaut, which is about all the things men are too. It's pretty domestic so it don't feel like discrimination when the women are domestic too.

Read more... )



It's funny how I react different to the different yesterday-futures. Some of them are only wrong enough to bork my suspension of disbelief, but others are so wrong it's funny, and then it's just another SF book about a new civilisation.


Also funny was I kept forgetting this wasn't set in England. I think it's because it was in schools and at home, so I kept mapping it to my home.



Yesterday-futures always have the wrong things change the wrong amount. Like we expect the stuff we understand to keep on zooming ahead, always miss the truly new, and then the story skips the thing where a lot of the ordinary yesterday will still be around.

Science fiction is proper tricky.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
So, I finished reading the book.

*blinks*

Okay, so, it turns out that the way it writes about women is among the least of this book's problems.

Read more... )



If the point of the book is that humanity is kind of shitty and there will be arseholes wherever we go, well, point made.

If it actually believed its own rhetoric about the outcast pioneer heroes... *shudder blergh*



I am not even slightly tempted to seek out further works by this author.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today I've been reading Orbital Decay. I am unimpressed. The primary narrator is a male science fiction author who goes to work on a space station to add realism to his book. Everyone is male unless Reasons. The Reasons is always so they can flirt with / be desired by men. One man has this terrible depressing problem of his ex wife insisting on having sex with him a lot. He always gets other women just eager to go home with him and she always chases them off and decides to have sex with him instead. I mean, humans are many and various, but somehow I don't see this as the main problem with ex wives. One space disaster happened because a woman was distracted by thinking about her boyfriend breaking up with her, so she didn't do her quality control job. After that I read the next time a woman shows up with some trepidation, since she's a shuttle pilot who got little sleep because she's mother to a one year old, and she spends the whole section thinking about her baby and wondering if she should even be in space any more. Plus flirting with the new guy while reminding him she's married. Because that's how women act. But it turns out the point of the section was for her to decide she likes space after all, because this new guy reminds her, so now she owes him a favour.

I mean, there are women, they talk, they even have skilled jobs. It's just seeing them through the eyes of this narrative is repeatedly uncomfortable.

It's not that they're uniquely incompetent, everyone seems to hate their jobs and be bad at them and dislike their coworkers and mostly argue with people. And yet. Not liking it.



I nearly gave up on reading when this latest woman was introduced with a long paragraph about how she really wants to be a stay at home mother. But I finished the chapter and it kind of fixed it. So I guess I'll give the book some more rope.

Not considering it worth the shelf space thus far.





Also I keep on repeatedly tripping over how old SF really could not get its head around computers and how fast they've developed, or data density in storage media. There's characters going nuts of boredom because they couldn't fit their own music or players in their weight limit. I mean, I think could get a terabyte USB thingy now, and it'll play on something that weighs less than a deck of cards, yet everyone has cards in space. I can understand why they didn't understand, but wow is it jarring.

The future from here is pretty much going to look like magic. Sufficiently advanced technology is just about go already. It's just going to be unevenly distributed.

Futures are weirder than we think and weirder than we can think, so I can't knock the past for missing.

Riftwar

Mar. 23rd, 2016 08:33 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I just finished reading the third Riftwar book by Raymond E Feist. Magician, Silverthorn, A Darkness at Sethanon. I've been reading them since I finished the Feist & Wurts Empire trilogy, and it has been a real slog. Stuff happens, and happens, and happens. I'm sure it made a very challenging D&D campaign, but it's a repeatedly unsatisfying book.

Read more... )

... I'm getting wound up and there's no point. It's old, it's a cliche partly because of building them, and it likes Kings because that's what you do in fantasy. It sounds like a write up of a D&D campaign and that's fine as far as it goes, even if it does lead to everyone getting levelled up and collecting their reward ladies at the end of every story. And it set out to create a fantasy universe of grand scope and awesome landscapes. But I kind of want to make him collaborate all the time because his weaknesses apparently can be polished away and it makes it frustrating when they aren't.

I still have like half a dozen more of these I could read. Wow is that unappealing right now.

And yet I'm going to keep giving them shelf space because of the context they give for the far superior Empire trilogy.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
This is the book I mentioned the other day that kicks off needing trigger warnings Read more... )

I can see why I didn't buy the next one in the series. It's a whole lot of nasty, and I would generally not be in the mood.

But on the other hand, weak though that is, there's a female protagonist, a second female character, and they eventually meet for a very short conversation that is not about a man. "Are you a mage?" "No but I'm going to be" iirc. And the protagonist has worked with women and thinks about them a bunch, even if they are currently surrounded by men. The two women are in different adventure parties effectively, the second one doesn't get to do much, and is pretty much only seen through a point of view character who makes BtVS Wes look worldly, charismatic and well rounded. He's so annoying to read as I think I skimmed until he met characters I actually... didn't like either, come to think.

Okay, so, there's nobody in this book I feel a particular need to spend any more time with. That would be why I didn't keep reading.

But I've read worse lately and have decided it's worth its shelf space.

... wow that praise is so faint it's going to keel over...

I think it's mostly not my kind of thing, even if it does have women in.



... I'm not currently sure what my kind of thing actually is, though, seeing as most of what I'm reading lately either goes in the gone box or achieves a review like this.

Possibly I've just stopped liking things.

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