piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
what i want to know is how the hell you think yourself qualified to pontificate on the quality of today's SFF if you say shit like:

I am basically disatisfied with what is produced and so I read very little of it. (the person's currently favoured reading material is bujold's vorkosigan romp).

or

I've been very, very disappointed in what science-fisction releases have made it to the shelves the last few times I've been in a mainstream store. I think my last actual purchase was a reprinted Heinlien novel.

catch-22, anyone?

oh, and i am gonna take your opinion real seriously if you can't even spell the name of the single famous author whose work you consider worth buying. nevermind that if your taste is stuck on heinlein, and that is what you consider "good SF", we don't even need to bother talking.

on 2006-10-25 23:51 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mhw.livejournal.com
Well, I agree that there is an awful lot of dismally weak (though often also simultaneously horribly thick) stuff out there, particularly at the fantasy end. Frex, you'd have to pay me a lot to read any of Robin Hobb's stuff.

But ye Gods! China Miéville! (my current "I'd give my left bollock to write so well" writer)

on 2006-10-25 23:55 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] klwalton.livejournal.com
Perdido Street Station made me *swoon*. I do *not* apply that word to myself very often.

on 2006-10-26 00:29 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
sturgeon's law applies everywhere. :)

indeed, miéville, and he's only one of many. iain banks, octavia butler, greg egan, ian mcdonald, connie willis, charles stross, karl schroeder, robert charles wilson, gwyneth jones, nicola griffith, ken lacleod, samuel delany, nalo hopkinson, cory doctorow, and i could go on and on. i have a reading list a mile long, and that's not counting the happy escapist stuff (eg. bujold) at all. and now there is even some fantasy i like reading, which wasn't always true.

and no, my taste has not declined. :)

on 2006-10-26 03:01 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
ken macleod. serves me right for mocking another person regarding spelling. :)

on 2006-10-26 14:21 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ritaxis.livejournal.com
I can't read China Miéville, though it's easy for me to acknowledge that he's good at what he does. But there's a lot of good sf out there, and it's really quite various. The question is, how do readers find what they want to read? And how do writers find their readers?

It's more complicated than it ever used to be, that's all.

on 2006-10-26 19:34 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
yeah, i don't find everyone on my list equally accessible to me, but i think they're all excellent writers, and across quite a variety of style and subject matter, putting the lie to this idea that what makes it to the SFF shelves these days is poor crap compared with ... whenever those people discovered the one thing they apparently like.

i would say that it's hard to find writers who defy easy genre classification, because many bookstores have yet to learn to double or triple-shelve, for heaven's sakes. but has that ever been any easier? at least more of them seem to exist now.

i don't see how it's more complicated to find what one wants to read, could you explain?

i find it less of an effort now (which isn't exactly the opposite, i know), what with even online tools that occasionally produce a total unknown to me when i ask to see something "similar to what i liked before". and online buying in general -- i can now easily pick and buy books even from abroad. and i can look inside books that are nowhere near my physical location. and read reviews and recommendations somewhere else than in my local newspaper (which way way back hadn't ever heard of SF). now the local bookstores all have SFF sections (wasn't true way way back either), as does the library. they're not all great, but at least they're there.

if i had my act together i'd subscribe to locus so i'd know what's coming out. but i don't. which means i often run years behind in reading what's hip. :) but i keep lists. this is actually a side effect of me having so many more sources of books now; i read a lot fewer reviews and rely less on recommendations by others.

other than that, i pick the same way i always picked -- i go to the bookstore and spend hours looking at books, shelf by shelf, pulling out many of them to read a few pages. that's how i discover most new-to-me authors.

on 2006-10-26 14:50 (UTC)
lcohen: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] lcohen
my rant would take off from here to be about people who consider heinlein to be good poly. that's happened to me twice in the past two weeks.

on 2006-10-26 19:14 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
*boggle*. so, did you introduce those two people to each other so they can start a line marriage? :)

on 2006-10-26 19:42 (UTC)
lcohen: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] lcohen
they're both straight men. which totally makes sense, if you think about it.

on 2006-10-26 20:03 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
it certainly is typical. :)

on 2006-10-30 07:58 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] embryomystic.livejournal.com
*snerk* That amuses me (and makes a great deal of sense, yes).

on 2006-11-01 16:31 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mhw.livejournal.com
*snerk* It so does.

on 2006-10-30 08:01 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] embryomystic.livejournal.com
You know, I'm thankful for the fact that I read Heinlein when I did, because the poly elements made me think, 'Hey, you know, it really isn't just me'. That said, I have to be in the mood to read around the really ridiculous and/or offensive bits, if I want to reread Stranger in a Strange Land, or whatever. The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

on 2006-10-30 09:19 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
i think it's great that heinlein did that for you.

unfortunately, i didn't read heinlein until i already knew about poly, and had already read SF that suited me better. in consequence, his work mostly annoyed me. like so much golden age SF it just hasn't aged well. i think my favourite remains the door into summer; at least that's the one i didn't give away.

that reminds me -- one of the sfnal things i would really like is a time machine for my mind: i would love to be able to read something as if i lived at the time it was written, with only the knowledge of that time. i bet SiaSL was awesome when it was published.

on 2006-10-31 20:30 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] embryomystic.livejournal.com
I have a lot of trouble reading almost anything written/published before a certain point (I still haven't determined what point it is, but of course there are exceptions in every era), because the bias is just suffocating. Upperclass white men pontificating to other upperclass white men about things that 'everyone' knows. Makes me physically ill, sometimes. I don't find Heinlein to be that bad, but there's definitely a strong whiff of that about the works of Robert A.

that reminds me -- one of the sfnal things i would really like is a time machine for my mind: i would love to be able to read something as if i lived at the time it was written, with only the knowledge of that time. i bet SiaSL was awesome when it was published.

That would be brilliant. I'd like one too.

What Would Buddha Read?

on 2006-10-26 19:30 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] huashan.livejournal.com
What I have learned is that people like what they like, and it doesn't matter if it's what I like. It's nice if it is, because then we have some common interests to talk about, but often it doesn't matter. People like what they like, I like what I like. It's all entirely subjective, even who the best writer is unless we're talking strict grammatical rules or something.

But certainly people should spout off about things they aren't very knowledgable about less often.

Re: What Would Buddha Read?

on 2006-10-26 20:14 (UTC)
ext_481: origami crane (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] pir-anha.livejournal.com
people's likes are subjective, but if one can find nothing one likes out there it does not follow, and is in fact extremely unlikely that "everything out there is crap". and if one doesn't even look anymore, how does one rationally decide that it's all crap?

i never talk about who is "the best" writer; i don't think it would be possible to say even if we could agree on all the factors that make somebody a good writer. i do think that there are a lot more factors than grammar that we can agree on (good grammar is not sufficient, and it is in fact not even entirely necessary if the rules are broken for a purpose and that works). besides, i am poly, i don't do "the best". :)

but i don't actually have to like reading a writer to acknowledge that they're good at their craft. i don't even have to like an entire subgenre and can still acknowledge that it contains some quality products (like, i hate reggae, but it wouldn't occur to me to claim that all reggae is crap).

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