liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read: Very misc collection of essays and such
  • Via [personal profile] soon_lee: Ann Leckie on guilty pleasures. Leckie makes some fairly obvious points about how the concept of a "guilty" pleasure is often snobby and sexist, but expands on that with some interesting thoughts about criticizing tastes of those who don't belong to the group you want to identify with.

  • [personal profile] kalypso wrote Strange and Norrell fic. It's explicitly based on the TV series (which I've watched slightly under half of), not the book, and I think it really captures the atmosphere but not so much Susanna Clarke's distinctive voice. Massively spoilery for either the series or the books, though. And, uh, the fic is about gaslighting someone with memory loss, in case you don't know the books but want to read anyway.

  • Following links from something else, I found this Q&A with a sleep scientist, which makes a nice accessible summary of recent evidence. There's also quite a lot of discussion about SIDS (cot death) risk, which might make it hard reading for some; I really pricked my ears up at:
    But most people who want to ‘ban co-sleeping’ don’t think any of [the relevant evidence that the risk may be lower than thought] matters, because it isn’t an important or valued behaviour for them. It is valued by cultural minorities and breastfeeding mothers, not the people who (previously) made up the guidance.

  • History of the song L'homme armé, with a long and fascinating diversion about the Crusades and the fall of Constantinople.

  • [livejournal.com profile] siderea has a lovely piece Forward into light about the history of the US women's suffrage movement. Which reminds me, I am most grateful to all my American friends who are talking about voting, and especial kudos to people who've looked into ballot measures and elections for offices other than PotUSA where that's relevant in their locality. We don't do democracy quite like that but I'm alwyas impressed when people put serious effort into participating and citizenship.

Currently reading: Still In a time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor. He's in Austria atm and I have a weird second-hand nostalgia for 1930s Austria, since many people in the community I grew up with were refugees from there. It's a little too poignant to read Fermor looking back on the way of life that, writing in the 70s, he knew was about to be destroyed with the massive swing to the right and eventually the Anschluß.

Up next: I am not sure, I'm leaning towards Two serpents rise by Max Gladstone.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-26 02:34 pm (UTC)
kass: white cat; "kass" (Default)
From: [personal profile] kass
Ooh. Thank you for the Ann Leckie link.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-26 04:17 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
I'm thinking about the Leckie post with respect to the Sad Puppies, because Leckie was generally speaking someone who criticized the Puppies. And whereas I think it's clear that the Rabid Puppies were just vicious trolls seeking to mess with SF fandom, a lot of the talk from the Sad Puppy community was about how the books that they liked were never getting Hugo recognition, in spite of the fact that those books outsold a lot of the Hugo winners. It seems like, given this post, Leckie might say that the Puppy nominees were objectively bad according to 'standards', but we shouldn't shame the Puppies for liking them anyway. And I'm pretty sure "It’s entirely possible to like bad things and dislike good things." is just a more polished form of condescension, and is exactly what the Sad Puppies were revolting against.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-26 06:43 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
The Patterson biography of Heinlein is a hot mess of hagiographic terrible, though. Particularly in the "nobody could possibly have a reason for disliking late Heinlein other than malice or Not Getting It" bits.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 09:22 am (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
I think it's doing the SPs a disservice just saying "Puppies". The Sads that I've spoken to are clearly decent human beings, with a taste in books that does not conform entirely to my taste in books. The Rabids, I frankly try not to interact with, based on the image they're projecting.

They (the Sads) started out going "oh, look, we can game this thing and get One Of Ours to win!" and eagerly proceeded to do so. This, not entirely surprisingly, was not popular. I don't really care what people nominate for the Hugo(s), as long as they nominate in good faith (basically, they should have consumed the work(s) they're nominating; they should nominate the "up to N" (currently 5) works they consider most worthy of winning in each category). Slating really isn't within my definition of "good faith".

Then the whole "them/us" thing started a figurative wild-fire, drawing in the Rabids, who seem to mostly be motivated by a "no kindness, alt-right rox, keep non-us DOWN!" and exceptional slating. Including, but not limited to, managing to get Chuck Tingle's Space Raptor Butt Invasion on the final voting ballot, with the explicit comment "this will melt the brain of the SJWs!" (in this context, "social justice warriors").

And for the 2016 nomination round, I think the Sads did the right thing, they had a list of (roughly) 12 works, saying "read these, your fellow Sads have said they're good". They didn't manage to get nearly as much onto final ballots as the Rabids did, but I suspect that EPH may actually change that. And during this year's WSFS business meeting, I did thank Kate Paulk for doing a recommended reading list, rather than a 5-item slate, and wished her luck going forward.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 12:32 pm (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
I genuinely don't know the true history between the Sad and the Rabids. But my recollection as a somewhat interested outsider was that the Rabids basically split off because the Sads were insufficiently radical (with, admittedly, some of the Original Sads rapidly jumping into the Rabid camp; at least Torgersen did).

I accidentally ended up with a "Puppy Flagship" book (for want of a better word) as part of a book bundle, back in 2013. Here's the bookmeme post that resulted, and that is the main reason I am never, ever, reading a Kratman book again.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-28 06:20 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I had an interaction with Sads, pointing out that when they rant about SJWs ruining fandom, they're also arguing against things like people working to ensure people like me (wheelchair users) can actually get in the front door of cons, in a hope that would let them gain a better understanding that SF/F does need change to better integrate minorities. When I pointed out that most SF work that features disabilities are cure narratives that have done no research within the community whatsoever, flying in the face of what many disabled people actually believe, Torgerson himself popped up to inform me that disability isn't a community, it's an affliction that should be pitied, and that all disabled people want to be cured. Well, that's me told.

At least one of the other Sads in that conversation was repeatedly and violently homophobic in his comments and none of them saw any need to challenge his behaviour. But apparently my arguing that they should respect minorities enough to do the basic research was beyond the pale.

So if it comes to arguing there's a clear divide between Sads and Rabids, I'm not sure it holds up in practise.
Edited Date: 2016-10-28 06:21 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-29 09:07 am (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
That is horrible.

I think what I was trying to say is "just because you happen to like one type of books doesn't automatically make you a horrible person", but I don't think that being a horrible person excuses you from being called a horrible person. And by their own keyboards everyone who self-labels as a Rabid Puppy is a horrible person.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-29 10:23 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
"just because you happen to like one type of books doesn't automatically make you a horrible person",

Oh, absolutely. I mostly like those sorts of books myself, apart from the ones that turn into didactic Libertarians shall conquer the Earth tracts. The problem isn't the books, but the politics some people surround them with. They see the books failing to win awards, and presume they are facing political exclusion. But if you step back and look at the books they're advocating, the quality of writing that raises it to award winner just isn't there. If certain professional authors doesn't understand the difference between 'best seller' and 'award winner' is a qualitative one, not a quantitative one, then I think that they're deluding themselves on several levels.

But I think the reality beyond that is a reasonably significant portion of the people calling themselves Sads really do have a problem with writing that doesn't pander to their view of the world and that forefronts the perceptions of minority groups. We're seeing that same phenomenon reflected in US politics, there is a considerable grouping on the right that is not comfortable with actual equality and will see commonality of views with anyone who rails against that, whether it be Donald Trump or Theodore Beale. They might protest at labels, but their actions and beliefs speak louder.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-10 04:55 pm (UTC)
damerell: (shopping)
From: [personal profile] damerell
I don't think one can really argue that the slate-era Sads were just acting in good faith promoting works they liked. One can't ascribe it all to the slate compilers, either; either the individual Sads were nominating works they hadn't read (which is clearly bad faith), actually agreed that the stuff was brilliant (see below), or were grinding axes by nominating stuff just to annoy.

Besides the obvious inclusion of Beale, who manifestly did not end up on the slate purely by coincidence, it stretches belief to suppose that a movement opposed to "boring message-fic" could have so consistent an admiration of John C Wright, when all his output is extremely obvious and ham-handed Catholic allegory.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-26 07:52 pm (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
FWIW, I had reservations on most of seekingferret's post, but I thought the point was, "i like it but it's bad" may be an unfair description of "guilty" pleasures, for the same reason "guilty" isn't right. Although I'm not sure what description WOULD work -- I think there is a way in which "guilty" pleasures are less good than other things, but I'm not sure what it is, when I agree that they are "good" if the ways they are being enjoyed.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-28 09:28 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
I would have found it hard to resist the temptation to mock the claim that Warbound: book III of the Grimnoir chronicles is a better book than Ancillary Justice.

I actually did read Correia, and burst out laughing when I heard he felt he should be nominated for a Hugo. I really liked his Monster Hunter books, but I liked them because they were good pulp adventures, not because they were good writing. If you looked at the quality of the writing, there were at least three other urban fantasy series I was reading where the writing was better than Correia's, and I still wouldn't have nominated any of them for a Hugo.

Correia's a good action writer, but that's about as far as it goes. His characterisation is nothing to write home about, and he cannot write female characters (or isn't interestd in female characters). If I'm nominating books for a Hugo, I'm looking for a good story AND good writing. The Ancillary series did that, and with an innovative setting, Correia is standard urban fantasy, with extra guns - which is true of a lot of the Puppy authors.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-26 06:53 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
The thing is, Leckie makes very clear in that essay that she likes some bad things too, so reading that as condescension seems off to me. (Unless you are arguing for abandoning any distinction between bad things and good things altogether, which as a person who writes with ambitions to get better, is a thought that I am not willing to entertain because it makes me want to slit my wrists.)

Fwiw, I'd be willing to argue that what I have read of John C. Wright's fiction is bad by several plausible metrics. (Not that he's selling hugely enough for a purely market-based metric to show him up as a great figure in the field either, sfaik.)

If the Puppies were sincere about wanting to recognise good books in the directions they felt were not being recognised, they could have set up an award of their own for it for less effort than they put into complaining about it and trying to hack the Hugos. It's not like the field does not have numerous other awards for specific directions within SF.
Edited Date: 2016-10-26 06:54 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-26 07:11 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Unless you are arguing for abandoning any distinction between bad things and good things altogether, which as a person who writes with ambitions to get better, is a thought that I am not willing to entertain because it makes me want to slit my wrists.

Well, yes, and no. I'm arguing for de gustibus non est disputandum, which doesn't require that I abandon my own sense that there are good things and bad things, but does require that I not try to insist that my taste for which things are good and which are bad is in any way objective.

I'm not really clear on how to parse 'liking bad things' in this context. If she likes them, in what sense are they bad?

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-26 07:25 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
I'm arguing for de gustibus non est disputandum, which doesn't require that I abandon my own sense that there are good things and bad things, but does require that I not try to insist that my taste for which things are good and which are bad is in any way objective.

That is a subtly different thing from arguing that such objective standards do not exist, though.

I'm not really clear on how to parse 'liking bad things' in this context. If she likes them, in what sense are they bad?

I don't pretend to speak for Ann Leckie in this context, but speaking for myself; there are plenty of things I like to read betimes that I recognise as bad books. I have a sweet tooth for some shapes of intricacy of plot which I will read even in contexts where characterisation is weak, where implications of worldview or political positions have clearly not been thought through beyond the immediate, and such like. I am not willing to claim that books that have qualities I enjoy are thereby good books.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 09:10 am (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
I suspect that's what I tend to class as "brain candy". Tastes good, fills you up, short-term, but probably not what you want to consume all the time.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 02:49 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
I'm sure our definitions of good and bad are stepping all over each other all over the place, I have no doubt that's part of the discrepancy. But I don't understand at all what it means to say that you can't stand Britten, but think he's a great composer. Or rather, I can understand it if by great composer you mean something different than 'composes music that moves me greatly', but I don't see the value in that definition. What value do you place in Britten's greatness?

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 09:08 am (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
My recollections of what I've seen Ann Leckie say about Puppies can be summarised as "you know, slating is not on".

As someone who nominates for and votes in the Hugos, as well as reading MilSF, I almost never nominate the MilSF, because as much as I may enjoy reading them, they're seldom as good as the things I nominate (and as and when they are, I have and will nominate them; if they're on the ballot, they'll get ranked as I feel appropriate).

I also don't think she's saying "objectively bad", but "subjectively not as good" (which may look like an equivalent statement, but I will argue at length that they're entirely different value judgements, even if they end up with the same "rank these from best downwards" order). But I am basing that mostly on having spoken to Ann, not on having read everything she's been writing on the subject.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 05:07 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Her post includes this line, which is really one of the only things I'm reacting against, because without this line I don't think I have much of a problem with what she's saying:

And not because I think there’s no such thing as standards–just because I like something doesn’t mean it’s particularly good.

I'm trying to understand what 'standards' means if it's not supposing some external objective scale on which merit is evaluated, because otherwise how could she think something is bad that she likes?

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 11:12 am (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
I had quite a long response saying I mostly understood your last sentence, and that a lot of people did have a legitimate objection that a sort of work they liked was under-represented in hugos, but explaining why I didn't think the sad puppies (at least the higher-profile people organising it, not everyone who agreed with them without knowing as much about it) were actually acting ok. But I think other people have mostly covered it, I can unpack more if needed.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-27 05:10 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
No, I'm certainly not defending the sad puppies' behavior.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-10-26 10:02 pm (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
Thank you for the pointer to the article on L'homme Arme. Very interesting, and I have a number of settings with that cantus firmus (as well as the recent Jenkins Mass for Peace).

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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