Sunday, August 2, 2009

I accomplished some writing this weekend, mostly on a new story, "Untimely Ripped." It's interesting to me, for now. Also still working on "Design." "Design" is definitely SF; I don't know what the other is.

Read two short stories. "Saving Tiamaat," by Gwyneth Jones (from The New Space Opera, eds. Dozois and Strahan), is an impressive far-future story of humanity. It apparently links to some of her novels. She's a smart writer, highly imaginative, and writes well. I ordered one of her books from the library. "Nawabdin Electrician" is the first story in Daniyal Mueenuddin's collection of linked stories, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (a reference to Capote's "Other Voices, Other Rooms"?). An entertaining tale of an enterprising man with too many mouths to feed, it didn't end satisfyingly, but I'll give the other stories a try nevertheless. Mueenuddin is a New Yorker darling, and I don't tend to care for their fiction choices; we'll see.

I also started Molly Haskell's classic study From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies. First published in 1974, the book was revised for a 1987 edition--and I wish there were an even newer edition so I could hear her analysis of the current state of affairs. There do seem to be more roles for middle-aged women, and more flexibility in how roles are conceived, though many of the problems she identifies with Hollywood's (and America's) view of females are even more firmly and disturbingly entrenched.


Luke said...

So far, I've enjoyed "Saving Tiamaat", "Glory" and "Minla's Flowers" the most in THE NEW SPACE OPERA. "Valley of the Garden" is interesting too..

William Preston said...

I'm reading too many things at once to likely read everything in that collection, which I have out from the library. Last time I had it out, I read, and enjoyed, "Muse of Fire" (though it somewhat falls apart into the plot of the first Star Trek movie by the end; as someone who teaches Shakespeare, I appreciated the plot) and "Who's Afraid of Wold 359." Guess I really should read the Egan.

Thanks for coming by.

Luke said...

Haven't read "Muse of Fire" yet but plan to.

Seems you moved from LJ to BS, as I moved from BS to LJ. Like ships passing in the night, as it were! (jk)

William Preston said...

I read "Glory" last night. Though mostly interesting, it felt unbalanced. The opening is so invested in explaining technical stuff that was the equivalent of "and then a miracle happened" (though I kind of bought the gist of the physics until suddenly there were nanobots on that moon), it's a bit of a shock when other parts of the story are raced through and given insufficient weight. There was much to admire, but the story felt more like an assignment than something he was moved to write.

As for "ships passing," it sure beats ships colliding.

Luke said...

Haha. Yeah. I actually couldn't get into "Glory" the first time I read it due to all the technospeak up front. The later parts, and also the Reynolds and Baxter stories, suffer from the same sort of sterility of characterization that marks a lot of "hard SF", I think.

William Preston said...

I wouldn't characterize "Glory" quite that way--though perhaps you're right, and "sterility" fits. He places his humans in an interesting situation, and he provides a human solution and raises humanistic questions. However, I never for a moment felt like the main character cared about her mission or felt terribly put out by having to exist in an alien form. (This wasn't completely clear; when introduced, the characters seem to naturally talk in the alien speech pattern, as their brains just naturally do it, but then later he mentions them speaking an Earth language to each other. He also slips up and refers to a "month" in the earliest section, but that's just an error.) He raised questions, but didn't exactly dramatize them. As I said, it felt rushed. Maybe something like that needed a novel, or just less of that front-end science and more weight given to the character.