December 21st, 2005

bear by san

10:35 AM, PST

Happy solstice to all, and to all a long night! (Or a short night, for those of you south of that equator thingy.)

APOD demonstrates.




The Onion strikes again:

CIA Chief Admits To Torture After Six-Hour Beating, Electrocution



In a semiserious question, is my eyesight getting worse, or is the *&^%%$*^^%&%^ text on websites getting smaller?

We don't all have 27-inch monitors, guys.



Also, I'm going to be taking a bit of a break from reading quite so much livejournal, so if I need to know something, please feel free to comment or email. I'm swamped, as they say.
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bear by san

(no subject)

As I begin the serious part of the revision, I note these things:

* My line of direction in this book sucks. I think it's been fiddled too much, and there's bits poking out every which way.

* I am, in part, neurotic about this book because I think it's the closest thing I've written yet to an important book. (Which means it will sink without a ripple, of course.) It's a farce--in a really quiet, underhanded, dark, Kit-Marlowe kind of way--and it's a spy novel and it's got strains of criticism of feminist and libertarian and liberal and conservative SFF running through it, and I am really, really proud of a lot of the things it does.

Really, I think it's a book about how everybody's Utopia is somebody else's dystopia.

But as a result, it's really packed.

* And I love the characters. Love them to death. I want to do them justice.

* It's written in a pretty plain style, which means I can't hide my missteps under fancy footwork.

* It's got a metric butt ton of exposition. Making three cultures, three political systems, one hundred fifty years of history, an alien species, and a thoroughly dysfunctional forty-year love affair plain enough to the reader that he can understand them all without talking down is hard.

Also, that totally ignores all the bloody SF in the damned thing. Of which there is a metric butt ton. And somewhere in here, I need to explain what a brane is, apparently....

* Again, everybody in this damned book is smarter than I am. I keep writing these things. I need some books with boneheads.

VERDICT:

Science fiction is hard. Literary fiction is hard. Spy novels are hard.

Trying to write all three at once? What was I smoking?
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bear by san

In Jersey, everything's legal as long as you don't get caught.

Memo to Bear:

Readers will expect cultures to behave in what seem to them "logical" fashions, despite the evidence of the real world that they do not.

Therefor, when producing a society in which there is both a serious need to keep the population down, combined with a widespread general oppression of women and/or homosexuals, please to point out to the reader some of the underpinnings of those attitudes.

Also, Bear, it is important to note that a significant proportion of readers are not going to pick up on the fact that if you wipe out everybody in the Northern Hemisphere, your remaining population is likely to be heavily skewed Muslim and Catholic.

However, comma, if one more person says to me "But if you are trying to limit population growth, you're going to be encouraging homosexual relationships," I'm going to bite them on the unfounded assumption.

Because, first of all, being gay doesn't mean you don't want to have kids, and in a society with a better-than-21st-century level of reproductive tech, it doesn't mean a damned thing anyway (we have birth control and we know how to use it.)

Let's talk about institutional homophobia in 20th century China, for an example.

Bias is not founded in logic. It's founded in the fear of people who are Not Like Us.

On the other hand, enough readers are ripping on that particular issue that I guess I need to 'splain.

...no, wait. No time. I sum up.
bear by san

(no subject)

Hal Duncan speaks for my tribe.

I think there's a lot of truth to what Lou and Gary are saying. SF as deprogramming? Hell, as a gay kid growing up in Central Scotland, I can identify pretty strongly with the picture Lou paints of his childhod environment. The New Town housing scheme in Hellwinning where I grew up was built in the 70s to take the Glasgow inner city overspill and punt it out to greener, more suburban pastures. Result? Take the razor-gang culture of Glasgow and cross-breed it with the small town mentality of an Ayrshire village. Subsitute "catholics" for "blacks" and you get the picture. The Scots, much as I think wey're an innately socialist culture, also gave the world the Orange Lodge and the Masonic Order and, eventually, the Ku Klux Klan. I remember the National Front, Skrewdriver, all of that same "prejudice and ignorance" that Lou puts his finger on. And I remember how reading Robert Heinlein (of all writers!) opened my eyes to issues of sexuality and gender, with works that, for all their self-indulgent libertarian tosh, presented ideas of group marriages and alternative lifestyles that helped me come to terms with my sexuality. Samuel R Delany kicked the door wide open, but it was Heinlein who unlocked it, so to speak, when I was that 14 year old kid finding solace in the local library, devouring Asimov and Bradbury and -- holy fuck -- the crazy, whacked-out drug dreams of PKD. Questioning the accepted order of things? Damn straight.

He links Lou Anders, who is also smarter than I am.

Really, with these guys around, I find I don't have much to add to the conversation except the occasional Amen.
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