Thursday, August 28, 2008

science fiction rambles

A few years ago, my sister was in college and in her strange Humanities class, she had to read a bunch of books including Watchmen and Neuromancer. She was fine with Watchmen, but Neuromancer was not so easy. We made an agreement, we'd read it together. Why together? Because I'm a bit more well-versed in the ways of science fiction and furthermore, I understood (and still understand) the trust factor.

If you know science fiction, you probably read Neuromancer or have heard of it. (It's biggest claim to fame in recent pop culture is that the first line inspired the writing of The Matrix movies...I like to believe there was only one of those movies.) If you aren't an SF person/reader, there's an aspect of our literature that will likely scare you off, it kept my sister from getting more than a few pages in Neuromancer: world creation. Science fiction (or speculative fiction) readers, and probably fantasy readers, are able to ignore the unfamiliarity. It's not that we'll never figure it out, it's that we know that we'll catch on, we'll understand, we trust the author. Readers of non-genre fiction sadly don't seem to have the same sense of trust, which is why they tend not to stray too far from books found in that ambiguous category called "fiction and literature." Things found in that category are based in a world everyone knows, which eliminates needing to trust the author, unless an author sneaks into that section based on other books (e.g., Cormac McCarthy, Karen Joy Fowler) or based on the age of the book (e.g., Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, William Shakespeare [who should really be in poetry and plays]).

Now, I forgot all of that until yesterday, when I read an interview with Neal Stephenson. He's actually the reason I could read Neuromancer without freaking out over the things I didn't immediately understand. In fact, after reading The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, Neuromancer was pansy stuff. But anyway, he said exactly what I've been saying to my sister for years now: the reader needs to trust the author. He even wrote a foreword to his book to help out the uninitiated. If only the uninitiated would pick up one of his books and trust him.

Or maybe it's an issue of imagination, but I'd rather think that it's trusting an author that's the problem. Too many people have read Harry Potter for it to be an imagination issue, right?

Also: Finished The Road, which I liked so much more than a person probably should. Started a Clapotis and am having difficulty with wanting to do all of the purl rows. And I'm loving Good Omens, but Neil Gaiman and I have a connection.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Forget heroin, it's nothing compared to yarn.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

marketing ploys

First, I should say that to some extent, I started reading The Friday Night Knitting Club reluctantly. There's the knitting aspect (I can knit well enough, but I crochet and the world's ignorance towards crochet actually does tend to injure some and piss off people like me). Then, there's the completely ignoring crochet aspect, which pisses me off more. And then, there's the part of me that really just wants to hunker down with more Neil Gaiman because for some reason that man makes me happy with whatever he writes.

But, I actually do like The Friday Night Knitting Club (I'm on page 205 of 366-ish). I appreciate the fact that none of the women are idiots (which I wish I didn't have to admit happens more often than it should with authors of all genders), the characters are fully formed, and it's not a story about people who hurt others for no reason. And the worst part about this book is that having spent more than 48 hours away from my yarn and my hooks and needles, I feel the need to go buy more. It's not the wanting a knitting circle aspect, because I have Yarn Club which is better, I think it's the fact that someone else is waxing poetic about one of my addictions and an addict can only take so much, and I'm weak.

Now, I must go find my bra to go shuffle off to a couple of stores. Here's why:

1) Although I bought yarn online for a baby blanket (it was on super sale at Webs), I need yarn for the future baby's older brother. I'm trying to decide on what Batman symbol to use. Classic and black and yellow? Modern and black and gray? I'm thinking classic as I can't endorse a child that young being a fan of the new Batman movies, even if they are awesome.

2) I need ideas for a wedding blanket. I have two and a half months for this next one and although I have ideas, I'm not sure that they are the right ones and I need to be around different yarns to figure out the best path. (The problem is that I have a certain style, which is probably very West Coast and very bright and very folk-sy. And the recipients are East Coast and attorneys and they are pretending to be traditional, which makes me think of boring colors, and boring colors are just rather difficult for me to work with.) But then I return to my problems because I'm not sure if I want them to have a blanket or something akin to a bedspread.)

Anyway, off to find bra and succumb to the marketing that is The Friday Night Knitting Club.

Monday, August 4, 2008

With the fourth season of Doctor Who over, I feel it's time to do my unsolicited recap:

1) New, but really a returned, companion: Donna Noble. I've read that some think she cries too much, that she's too loud, that she's annoying. And I agree, but disagree. Honestly, I like Catherine Tate so much more now that she's been on Doctor Who; she's proven her ability to act beyond comedy sketches. And I even like her show a lot more now. What's refreshing, though, is that she was just a friend, she didn't fall in love with the Doctor, she just wanted to hang out and travel.

2) Generally, the stories were weaker and the story arc harder to get into. Season one was Bad Wolf, season two was all about losing Rose, and season three was about the last of one's kind. And season four was about time folded to converge around Donna? Usually, you can feel the connection, but season four felt like a season without a theme. Then, again, season three dawdled along without letting Martha be much of her own person for far too long, as if the writers weren't convinced that she was as good as Rose.

3) The end. If one hasn't seen it, I won't say anything about it other than the fact that it weirds me out a bit. However, I'm super proud of David Tennant for doing what he did and somehow making me believe. But the end with Rose somehow felt dishonest. Donna's end was honest at least.

And now, I start to delete episodes from Tivo and eagerly await Steven Moffat's turn as lead writer. I love Steven Moffat.

Friday, August 1, 2008


So, I'm going to have to say that these couple of days haven't sucked. Sure, there are things that annoy me, things that I already know, things that I don't give a rat's ass about, but I am actually liking the class I am taking in Denver for work. The people are nice, bright, and motivated. In other words, they actually do group work and when we disagree, we disagree with reason. I love arguments where you learn. Anyway, it's a bit corporate whore of my to say this, but I do really like this class on how to be better at my approaching job function.

On other topics:

I will finish book number four on the flight home.

I am actually making headway on my version of Eva's Shawl, which I named after the most romantic character I could imagine (Marianne Dashwood*).

I return home to pieces of an afghan that I need to sew together and ship out.

No news from Joss Whedon.

*Is it just me or do other folks think that Jane Austen wasn't really a fan of Marianne Dashwood? Sense and Sensibility was clearly written from Elinor's perspective, but Elinor loves her sister. And yet, there's this tone of "what a silly girl Marianne is" and "look at what she did to herself by being honest about what she thought and felt". It's almost as if Marianne is a warning. Eliza (pregnant Eliza) is the girl who exists as the example of what could have happened to Marianne, but didn't because Willoughby actually ended up loving her, although not enough to ignore the monetary demands. And it's not that this treatment of Marianne is surprising when you have the stoic and perfect Elinor to compare her to, but it doesn't coincide with the tones of the movie and the recent miniseries. Marianne is treated as young, bright, and empassioned by the films, but Austen gives the character this tinge of foolishness (much like Mrs. Dashwood). It's almost a hint that Austen would be creating Emma, because Emma is the only protagonist ever treated as a bit of a fool. And I will say that I think Austen was brilliant in how she presented two sisters (Elinor "Sense" Dashwood and Marianne "Sensibility" Dashwood) and had them do a role reversal when it came to love. Not to say that Marianne didn't fall madly in love with Colonel Brandon (because only an idiot wouldn't), but she recognizes that it's different. And here I end my essay and commentary on S&S, but I would like to know that I'm not the only one who thought Marianne was treated a bit cruelly by her creator (and not by circumstance, but by characterization).