beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
NSFG meets downstairs at The Ribs of Beef from 8pm, topic from 9pm

1st and 3rd Weds of every month through 2014

Wednesday 5th February - Open Meeting - bring ideas for future meetings
Wednesday 19th February - “Here be Dragons” (to tie-in with the Dragon

Topics cover science fiction and fantasy, as well as whatever else comes to mind, TV, movies, books, comics, etc etc

everyone welcome.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I'm reading a fic - Stargate, post reveal, though it could apply to any SF first contact story:

"Wars over stupid things like land or oil or religion had to stop before someone or something came along and picked us off while we were squabbling amongst ourselves."

And that sounds shiny, sort of, but it misses a lot of the point of why wars happen. Maybe boss people go to war far away for an extra slice of pie, but for most of history there's also wars that are just about survival. Land equals survival, on account of needing food and buildings and all sorts. Oil is kind of essential these days. And religion, to the true believer, is absolutely about survival, not just in terms of the eternal fate of their souls, but in the day to day saving of the righteous here on Earth.

After first contact, I don't believe the whole Earth will do anything all at once. There's seven billion of us, we're going to have seven billion reactions. Some of the people will understand the new data in terms of the old, and for some of them that means the war in heaven and the very real and physical presence of demons, or other intelligent life with an inherent moral standing. A LOT of people will hear there are whole new worlds out there, while they and theirs are starving down here, and they'll decide their only chance of continued life is to get out there. If they believe America's control of the gate is absolute, then America gains a lot of control on Earth, but that's not how a lot of people respond to American power in the here now. Even if governments all agree to America's terms - and shyeah, right - there will be smaller groups who think the system is corrupt and the only way to achieve freedom is to attack the system. Hence 'freedom fighters', or terrorists. All of which ignores that some people will want something to come along and pick us off, for reasons many and various. In Stargate especially this entire galaxy was controlled via myths and the old gods, with Goa'uld and Asgard both playing. Why would that suddenly break? Science? Science can only prove how god is doing it, not that god isn't doing it: see Intelligent Design. The assorted monotheisms would have a large something to say about a resurgence in the kind of polytheisms exploited in the Stargate 'verse, but how would they respond to Ori? It wouldn't be monolithic, and where there are disputes there are conflicts and there can be wars. Plus there's people who think humans have screwed things up enough someone else should have a go. Or people who reckon they can profit from it. All sorts of reasons.

Humanity is not going to respond in one unified way, and there's nothing in the near future that leads to universal peace. Even if there's some tech development to get us to a Star Trek like post scarcity future, ideological differences have fuelled wars enough and can fuel plenty more.

It's depressing.

But it's the main thing I never could buy about Star Trek without imagining frankly scary intervention of technology, that humanity all held the same opinions now, and were happy to.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Am reading Accelerando

Am about ready to give up on concept of science fiction.
The future is not only weirder than we think, it's weirder than we can think.

Any properly plausible future isn't very much to do with humans.

Don't know what stories I could make that are any plausible at all.

Could make more a bit like Stargate where now humans run around meeting people of coincidental similar development.

Would involve ignoring how unlikely that is.

Also I have no idea what morality looks like once so many possibilities exist.

A wow story

Mar. 4th, 2012 03:48 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
"Story of your life" by Ted Chiang
winner of the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella
so I'm a bit behind on noticing it's really very good.

Also, now I want to show it to Daniel Jackson.

It's about language and ways of seeing the world and it builds up slowly but as quickly as it can and clicks together with that beautiful inevitability of a story where all the parts are doing their work.

It's about aliens and mothers and daughters and not understanding each other and why it's good talking anyway.
... if it could be said as quickly as an 'it's about' statement it wouldn't need to be a novella.

I stopped reading to tell the internet I likes it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I've been reading my way through The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 24
I just finished reading The Sultan of the Clouds, by Geoffrey A Landis. It took me all afternoon. I kept getting distracted by, well, any and every thought that wandered through my head. Not a great sign.
It felt weirdly retro though, like it expected me to need telling a lot about Venus that I thought wasn't very new.
Mostly the problem was the point of view character. I realised early on he's actually a creepy sort of person, and not long after that that the story doesn't know it. Read more... )

So I think this gender stuff is part of why it felt like an old story to me. I mean, surely in new stories women get to have a personality and decide things and maybe possibly have adventures?

But, in this case, no.


Oct. 27th, 2011 08:57 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Today me and my employee went to Norwich. We started at 1500 and now it is 2100, so that was a nice little outing. We got things done.

Read more... )

Norwich has an Occupy. I didn't know. I read the news, but not the very local. EDP has a story. The Occupy is set up around the Really Big Brain. That means they get the Dog Puppet Man singing to them. All day. Every day. And they're still there. That's commitment, that is.

There's also a stall just down the way from them selling blankets. Capitalism at work!

Waterstones in the Arcade has closed. I was a bit grumpy. Not so much because it had the prettier building, but because it had the better F&SF section. We went to the other Waterstones but they didn't have the copy of Cryoburn I'd been hoping for. I did get the latest PTerry. They had many, many shelves of that. But I found the selection somewhat lacking. Also, they had a little display book of 'guide to F&SF' or some such, with a 'if you like x you'll like y' section. It said if you like Elizabeth Moon you'll like Scalzi, David Drake, Orson Scott Card, and a half dozen other names. Guess what they all had in common? all blokes! Also, the recs suggest they were thinking of spaceships Moon, but the only Moon on the shelves was that dire Deeds of Whatserface, the fantasy thing. So it weren't much use. So, when I went to pay for the PTerry, I said, I didn't think it was a good list. All blokes! There's should be Lois McMaster Bujold, Tanya Huff, CJ Cherryh. Read more... )

... hmmm, writing it up, I mostly complained about books. But in the doing of things, I mostly had fun with eating and dancing.

Now my back hurts, but I'm in a much better mood.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
I was thinking on Romeo and Juliet for textual transformations. (I should really by now have been working on it, but seem to be stuck in the more bunnies phase). A lot of existing transformations seem to start with changing who exactly the two sides are, or why they're fighting. Read more... )

Really, going to fantasy and science fiction species can complicate hell out of anything, warring houses and starcrossed lovers definitely among them.

Add an extra gender and how many things go wildly different at once, just in R&J?
Or the poly systems Melannen was writing about in Love and Marriage: once you define love or marriage differently the whole of Romeo and Juliet changes around that difference.
Of course there's an argue that the whole definition of love and marriage changed around Romeo and Juliet, but that's kind of a scary idea. Love is not primarily defined by two teenagers who just met.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
big list of F&SF books somewhere thought were important
bold ones have read... or to be accurate I think I've read, I'm a bit fuzzy on that
strikethrough ones have read and hated
star for ones I read and really love
Read more... )

... That's actually a fairly small sample of the list.
And half of those I'm not 100% sure about.

The stuff I read most isn't on there. And what's with picking the earliest Brooks or PTerry? They got better as they wrote more. Much better.

Orson Scott Card otoh I stopped reading quite some time ago.

My list: Lois McMaster Bujold, C J Cherryh, the ones that spring to mind immediately. Exploring knock on effects of genetic technology, as well as the divergent cultures resulting from different ways to be human. Ringworld has a bunch of that stuff too, lots of different people.

There was just some documentary I was watching about the history of (British) science fiction. And it had a lot about all the things that really rather bore me - alien invasion, those big implacable eaters that turn up and either triumph or die. Blah.
But it also had as a theme Evolution, which actually is mentioned repeatedly in connection with Dickens and Beloved in class.

Homo Superior mentioned in Midwich Cuckoos.
Mutants that are hated and feared goes back a looooong way.

We are the aliens.

Now that's the good stuff.

Also it had about time travel, which is a great way to go visit human-aliens.

I love Doctor Who, but I think Stargate always had potential for more. Because it has aspects that could be just like Time Travel, in that they can step through their travel machine and end up in a culture just like it was out of a different time. But then those other times can step right back at us. Mix together, collide, have to find ways of reaching an accommodation, living together.

Now that sounds like fun.

It also has some great aliens, the parasitic/symbiotic goa'uld/tok'ra, and the Asgard, and the replicators and all sorts.

When it wanders into being a military invastion blow stuff up show it leaves behind all the stuff that most interests me.
But they frequently hang out in the science fiction places, with the ramifications of technological change and suchlike. And that stuff is fun.

... Yeah, I got from books to Stargate pretty quickly.
I do actually spend more time with TV than your actual print books.
Reading on the internet uses more time than either though.


beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)

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