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Threader
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 01:35 pm:   

Here ya go.
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Threader
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 01:36 pm:   

Last few posts...



By Tivo on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 08:49 am:

Well guys it's been fun. I'm reminded of that Monty Python skit where medieval "scholars" engage in a rhetorical debate about whether a duck is wood or not, because they both float. Now I know how they came by their arguments.

As for the sale of SF (not SF/F - whatever that is), like I said, every agent and publisher in the business will confirm that "fact" whether you like it or not (Ellen acknowledged it as an "obvious" fact up-thread).

One thing’s for sure, though, I am on the wrong forum - bye.


By Nicholas Liu on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 09:43 am:

Classy.

By StephenB on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 11:05 am:

I mean, cor lummy crikey, Stephen. Have you been toking while posting again?

Actually, yes, you're right, I was.

I even contradicted myself, I guess, pointing out that D.H. Lawrence had Romantic sensibilities. Yeates is another one, who's certainly coming from Romantic influence. I just think that Lawrence, for example, was largely eccentric and unconventional within the Modernist group of writers. His individualism is a characteristic he shares with Romantics.

It seems, overall, Modernism was highly rationalistic, being a world view which was heavilly influenced by Darwin, Freud, and later Einstien. Who were all revolutionary in intellectual thought. Freud gave a more rationalistic explanation for the unconscious and irrational. This was both an exciting and daunting time. You can't deny that these writers were influenced by the dawning of the scientific and industrial age, as well as the tragedy of WW1. Yet, I agree it was an interesting era in literature, with a range of writers involved. I just think that era is done and past and we should move on into new territory. You've stuck with arguing semantics, but I notice you haven't responded to my points about the academic status quo.

One of the things I like about the Romantic poets, which are one of my favourite groups, is how they were so different and individualistic, even amongst themselves. Looking at the core group -- Blake, Woodsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Percy Shelley, Keats, along with Wollstonecraft and Burns. None of those guys can be pigeon holed into a single definition. They all shared Romantic sensibilities and ideals but they each had their own way of looking at things, which was sometimes in opposition with each other. Byron didn't think much of Colridge's Metaphysics and Woodsworth's theory and method, for example.

I think one thing which many of the Modernists share with Romantics is nonconformity. But I think overall, the Modernists were unified by what was at the time breakthrough science. Like Freud and the advent of psychology.

Anyway, I've had a bit of sleep and some coffee in me since last night.

By Huh? on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 11:56 am:

Who's Woodsworth?

By James M. Pfundstein on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 12:24 pm:

I nearly fell off my chair when Al Duncan quoted Stevens' _The Man with the Blue Guitar_. For years it's expressed to me the paradoxes implicit in fantastic literature.

They said, "You play a blue guitar.
You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar."

And they said then, "But play, you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,

A tune upon the blue guitar
Of things exactly as they are."

JM("Man and a woman and a blackbird walk into a bar")P

By StephenB on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 12:27 pm:

And Al, I still don't agree with your definition of reactionary. If you want to get into dictionary definitions, here you go:

reactionary, of, characterized by, or advocating reaction, esp. in politics.

That's from the Webster's New World dictionary.

That's what the word means. It doesn't specify whether it's resistent to change or anything like that. It's simply, as the word suggests, reacting to something, which is often promoting some sort of change.

I think somewhere in pop-culture or something, the word got associated with right-wing conservatism, but that isn't true.

The Romantic period, for example, was one of the most revolutionary times...

Perhaps you should rethink how you define reactionary?

If not, whatever. We shouldn't just argue semantics here.

What I've been really getting at, is how the academic establishment has been conditioning certain ways of viewing literature in those who go along with it. This is what I'm disagreeing with. Postmodernism is not at all rebellious or experimental anymore. It's become the status quo.

By StephenB on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 12:29 pm:

Romanticism never became the status quo, like Modernism has...

By AT on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 05:09 pm:

A question. Bruce Sterling hasn't come up in this discussion, though I think he writes trenchant SF. But I'm no encyclopedia, not even a scrap of paper in this field. Here's some of his stuff.
http://www.chriswaltrip.com/sterling/fiction.html
I thought his flash piece in Nature, "A Place to Call Our Own" was spot on.

By StephenB on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 07:46 pm:

Also Al, I should make it clear that I was unfair, saying that Modernism was entirely uberRationalistic. Just look at Virginia Wolfe --she was kinda crazy. But seriously, I still see it as a largely Rationlistic time and worldview.

That's not to say that's a bad thing, neccissarily. The Restoration had interesting work. The Romantics were also rational at times.

The Romantic writers are exceptional, I think, for the fact that they all were liberal; they all did new and experimental work; and pretty much all of them had a revolutionary spirit, in a time of great change and revolution, both political and industrial.

The Romantic era includes the gothic novelists like Anne Radcliffe, Gregory Lewis, Mary Shelley and William Goldwin.

Austen was the only writer in that period who was left untouched by all the revolutionary thinking and was instead perfecting the traditional novel of manners.

Sir Walter Scott was also unlike his Romantic contemporaries because he was conservative.

But the truth is, as you know, all the different eras had great, interesting and diverse work, including the Victorians and the Georgians who became associated with Modernism.

By StephenB on Monday, August 15, 2005 - 08:14 pm:

But whatever. I'm saying what doesn't need to be said. This is getting all too academic, instead of personal.

By James M. Pfundstein on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 12:33 am:

StephenB--

You might want to look at the 19th C. again. Wordsworth & Co. got more conservative as they got older, and the younger generation of Romantics (Shelley & Byron) despised them for it. (See the "Dedication" to Byron's Don Juan.)

Also, Romanticism really does become the status quo in the 19th century. Modernism was a necessary rebellion against all that stale creampuffery.

The reason why this matters for this discussion: fantasy and science fiction, as modern literary genres, really began to thrive as rebellions against 20th C. Modernism. If the Post-modernists are right about the day of Modernism being over, that has implications for sf/f. (Of course, the obituary for Post-modernism has been written several times, too.)

JMP("Pound of Prevention")

By Captain Literacy! on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 08:35 am:

And Al, I still don't agree with your definition of reactionary. If you want to get into dictionary definitions, here you go:

reactionary, of, characterized by, or advocating reaction, esp. in politics.

That's from the Webster's New World dictionary.

That's what the word means. It doesn't specify whether it's resistent to change or anything like that. It's simply, as the word suggests, reacting to something, which is often promoting some sort of change.


You know, if you're going to use a dictionary-based argument, you'd better learn how to use a dictionary. If a definition of a word (like "reactionary") itself contains the in-use root word (like "reaction") then you're best served by looking up "reaction" as well rather than simply assuming that you know what it means.

Good ol' m-w.com, for example, defines reaction thusly:

1 a : the act or process or an instance of reacting
b : resistance or opposition to a force, influence, or movement; especially : tendency toward a former and usually outmoded political or social order or policy

dictionary.com
3. a. A tendency to revert to a former state.
b. Opposition to progress or liberalism; extreme conservatism.

Of course, you may also be served simply by looking up the word "reactionary" in the first place, and not just avoiding those definitions which don't suit your ignorance:


m-w.com: relating to, marked by, or favoring reaction; especially : ultraconservative in politics


dictionary.com: Characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative

I anticipate some whining about how the above definitions only say "especially" or about how there are other definitions as well on some of those entries (yes, "reaction" means a number of things) but it's rather clear from the context that Al was using the word correctly and that his definition is standard.

Just because YOU'RE TOO STUPID to know something, doesn't mean that you get to "disagree."

By StephenB on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 09:48 am:

James: I know about how Byron hated some of Wordsworth's methods.

You have a point, but I guess back then, the education system was different. I don't think Romanticism became ingrained into academia quite like Modernism is today.

Captain Literacy:

You're funny, but none too bright, I see.

Clearly there is more than one definition of reactionary. Al brought out a dictionary definition to support the definition he was going by, before me. He used dictionary.com, just like you have here.

Personally I'd prefer to not use dictionary.com because I don't really like it compared to some print dictionaries. Thw definition I provided is staraight from the New World Websters dictionary and is perfectly valid.

If you want to go by the dictionary.com definition, go ahead. I don't care. That doesn't make you right and me wrong.

Anyway, I'm wasting my time with a nitwit like you...

nit: 1 the egg of a louse or similar insect 2 a young louse, etc.

wit: 1 powers of thinking; mental faculties 2 good sense 3a) the ability to make clever remarks in a sharp, amusing way b) one characterized by wit.

By StephenB on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 10:02 am:

I guess I just really like the core group of British Romantics. Partly, James, like I said, because they were each so individualistic and had different methods, etc. As a whole group, I identify with them.

I think with Modernism vs. Romantics, it comes down to not just Rationalism vs Romanticism, which are different approaches to poetry and writing. One more intuitive and less contrived, looking inside to the imagination as apposed to seeking external objective truths.

It's really a matter of Realism vs Romanticism. Modernism was about realism. I think it was really cool how they applied psychology and through stream of consciousness, tried to give a more accurate portrayal of how people think. But realism isn't always good and it isn't inherently better than romanticism. The two can be combined to good effect, of course.



By Captain Illiteracy on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 10:08 am:

Start a fucking new thread, will ya? You guys are killing my browser. Soon I won't be able to keep up with this scintillating display of wit and wisdom in the service of an argument that I have never heard debated before.

By Huh? on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 10:09 am:

Virginia Wolfe? You mean the author of YOU CAN'T GO HOME TO THE LIGHTHOUSE AGAIN?

By StephenB on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 10:17 am:

The very same.

By StephenB on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 10:18 am:

Go ahead. Start a new thread..

By Tomas Pelos on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 12:03 pm:

Yes, Sir Walter Scott was also unlike his Romantic contemporaries because he was conservative.

But also because he wore blue pantaloons.

The Modernists never wore blue pantaloons.

Except for Virginia Wolfe, who was a Realist.

The Realists also included Realist writers like Stephen Crane and HP Lovercraft.

HP Lovercraft was different because he was conservative and was influenced by Nietzsche.

There were gothic novelists who were also Realists, like Joyce Quaker Oats.

Back then the education system was different!


By StephenB on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 01:21 pm:

Lovecraft wasn't a Realist. You jokin' Tom? He didn't go along with the Modernist thing.

James: To continue about what you were sayin'. The Romantics were not at all popular in their time, aside from Lord Byron. In fact they were often mocked and hated.

Because of that, I think some people like to put emphasise on Byron and what he said. Personally, I like 'em all, and think they all did great shit.

Woodsworth was the first to really reject traditional poetry. He was about the whole "Poetic Spontaneity and Freedom" thing. Describing good poetry as "the spontaneous overflow" of feelings. Before, poetry was considered an art with classical precedents and rules. Romantic poetry is sometimes called "Nature Poetry", for obvious reasons. Paticularily Woodsworth, Shelley, Colridge, and Keats, were adept at capturing nature. Woodsworth was also fascinated with the ordinary and common, making it not so ordinary. As well as outcasts. He wrote about the lower class, pastoral and rustic life. He wrote about peasants and stuff but he also liked the outcasts and delinquents -- convicts, vagrants, gypsies, idiot boys, mad moms, etc. He wanted to shatter custom and refresh the everyday sense of wonder. Check out his "Lyrical Ballads".

That's what Byron was outraged about. He was alone in instisting that Dryden and Pope layed out how poetry should be done. He didn't want to write about commoners. He said: "Peddlers," and "Boats," and "Wagons"! Oh! ye shades Of Pope and Dryden, are we come to this?" He wanted to keep the traditional form, despite his liberalism. Byron often made use of the fascination with the forbidden and the appeal of the terrifying Satanic hero. His long form narrative poem, "Don Juan," was a great innovation in the satire mode.

There's the fascination with nature and the ordinary with the Romantics, but at the same time, with the supernatural and strange. Colerigde and Woodsworth were good buds. They both dealt with the ordinary and both were also interested in unusual modes of experience and altered states of conciousness, but Woodsworth didn't really write about the supernatural. He did, like Blake and Colridge, write about visionary states of consciousness, commonly found in children, but not adults.

Coleridge wrote about the supernatural quite a bit. He was heavily interested in dreams and nightmares. He opened doors of mystery and magic, to poets. Like Blake and Shelley and most of the others, he was well studied in the occult and esoteric lit.

They were into "Strangeness in Beauty".

Keats also wrote a lot about the supernatural in the Romantic mode, like Coleridge. Keats had an erotic love affair with death. The mingling of pleasure and pain and destructive aspects of sexuality. Him and Byron were very much gothic. With the same phenomenon explored later in Gothic fiction.

The writers before the Romantics were writing about society (paticularily high society) and distrusted radical innovation, trusting in the good sense of humanity and tradition. The Romantics were interested in solitary protagonists, who were separated from society, because he rejects society or society rejects him. Fascinated by outlaws and rebels in myth, legend, and history. Shelley's drama "Prometheus Unbound", of course, refers to the greek champion. Byron had heroes like Manfred and Don Juan. So, previously in literature, what they called "pride" and those who overstepped the "limits of man" was attacked. To the Romantics, these guys were heroes.

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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 01:43 pm:   

The alienated nonconformist heroes were also, at times, portrayed as sinners but often with redemption or retribution. My introduction to Coleridge was, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," when I was 13.

And thanks, to threader...
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Huh?
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 01:55 pm:   

"Colerigde and Woodsworth were good buds. They both dealt with the ordinary and both were also interested in unusual modes of experience and altered states of conciousness, but Woodsworth didn't really write about the supernatural."

Woodsworth? Was he also buds with Virgina Wolfe?
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 02:00 pm:   

Nope, lovers... in spirit.:-)
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 02:15 pm:   

The beat poet Allen Ginsberg, when reading some William Blake in his harlem apartment, at 26, said he saw the visionary poet visit and speak to him.

I've heard different versions, where this heppened while he was masterbating...
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Tomas Pelos
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 02:32 pm:   

Lovercraft was a Realist under my definition because he believed in realism. Remember the educational system was different then.

Also because he followed the scientific ideas of Einstain and Freud and in that sense was a Modernist although also conservative.

Lovercraft like Keats had an erotic love affair with death. And with Robert E Howard although this is less well known.

Lovercraft distrusted radical innovation but liked other kinds of innovation so long as his meals were not affected.

Robert E Howard wrote about solitary protagonists like Prometheus who were sinners but not too much. He was a Romantic like Virginia Wolfe and Wollstonecraft.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 03:10 pm:   

L'Hovercraft

Franglais for those nifty boats that used to run across the Channel (before the Chunnel)?

J("Jean Bertin")MP
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 03:12 pm:   

Do you mean to call him Lovercraft?:-)

Anyway, he may have shared the Rationalist worldview of the modernists, but his writing wasn't in the modernist or realist mode. A lot of the Modernists were also conservative. but I'd say he was more like the Victorians.

Yeah, I can see your comparison with Howard to the Romantics.

Virginia Wolfe, is my fav Modernists, along with Lawrence. She rebeled against what she described as the "materialism" of many of the Modernist novelists. Like the Romantics she felt that looking within, is where the truth of human experience lay. She was a great innovator in stream of consciousness. Like the Romantic Wollstonecraft, she was a feminist, concerned with the position and constrictions, of women.

Aside from Yeates, of course. As I said before, I think D.H. Lawrence, who was very individualistic in his time, was also a Romantic. Underneath his realism, he explored the unconcious in Romantic ways. He was quite like Blake actually, at home with cosmic imagery and the universe and all that's deep rooted in the individual and nature; at constant war with the artificial and mechanical, with all the restraints and hypocrisies that civilization imposes on the individual. His explorations of individuality in nature and other individuals, in new ways and with new things to say, wasn't what the english novel was supposed to do at the time. He was also not appreciated in his time. He was often condenmed by his contemporaries and some of his books were banned. I'm going to try and read all his novels, eventually...
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 03:23 pm:   

This, by the way,

at home with cosmic imagery and the universe and all that's deep rooted in the individual and nature; at constant war with the artificial and mechanical, with all the restraints and hypocrisies that civilization imposes on the individual. His explorations of individuality in nature and other individuals, in new ways and with new things to say, wasn't what the english novel was supposed to do at the time.

I got, though, not word for word, from an antho.
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Billy Bondage
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 10:39 pm:   

Like the Romantic Wollstonecraftsman, I am also concerned with the positions, and constrictions, of women.

Aside from Yeates, of course.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - 10:56 pm:   

:-)
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Gary Wassner
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 05:18 pm:   

The girl "...waded out to a gravelly shoal, and was seated like a Buddhist, staring fixedly at the water-plants that rose succulent from the mud of the low shores. What she could see was mud, soft, oozy, watery mud, and from its festering chill, water-plants rose up, thick and cool and fleshy, very straight and turgid, thrusting out their leaves at right angles, and having dark lurid colours, dark green and blotches of black-purple and bronze. But she could feel their turgid fleshy structure as in a sensuous vision, she knew how they rose out of the mud, she knew how they thrust out from themselves, how they stood stiff and succulent against the air."

Lawrence was incredibly romantic in many ways but he was also a severe realist. His characters cover the gamut and it is often difficult to determine where his true affinities lay. It is also no wonder that he was banned when he was first published. He's as provocative as Nabakov. I happen to be reading Lawrence right now.
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Alison Croggon
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 06:28 pm:   

It's news to me that the modernists were rationalists - but with such a diverse bunch it's a bit hard to generalise. Just to point a quick stick, although there are many others, what about the Surrealists? Definitely influenced by Freud, for sure, but deeply, er, surreal...which is to say, foregrounding the irrational -

Gary, I just read Women in Love. It drove me crazy, but I still read it all the way to the infuriating end. I don't get the Lawrence thing. Passages for sure of sublime writing, immediately followed by passages of pure clunkdom, appalling dialogue, ridiculous characters... That appalling racism. The weird ideas about women and sex... and more weird ideas about women and sex... and Maleness and Dark Gods... What was wrong with the man? (Oh, he was a fantasist?)
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 06:48 pm:   

Gary, which novel are you reading? Right now, I'm reading "Sons and Lovers".

Alison, I haven't gotten to "Women in Love" yet, but I think I'll like it. I don't think I'd agree with some of your criticism..
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 07:08 pm:   

Alison, your reaction is actually how the critics reacted to his controversial novels, turning away in bewilderment and condemnation...

Gary: He was a Romantic, but you have to sometimes look beneath the surface of some of his work, to see that.
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Gary Wassner
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 07:12 pm:   

That passage was from Women in Love. I don't agree with everything you said either, though I totally understand where you are coming from. He was a troubled, confused and very sexual man. And he tries to work it all out in his books. Think of the times he wrote in. His women are unusual perhaps, but they were in many ways very liberated and his men were much more intimate and sensitive than was expected of men then. I don't find his characters ridiculous though. Some I suppose were supposed to be. Hermione (spelling?) represented a class and category, but Ursula was brilliant in her own odd way. The men are very modern and very conflicted.

Like Proust, I live for those passages of sublimity and I forgive him all the rest.
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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 07:22 pm:   

Yeah, exactly Gary. What was wrong with him? Well, he had issues and was eccentric, but he was also a genius, who was more intouch with the universe than any other writer of his place and time.

He believed in intuition and the dark forces of the inner self, and instead of letting rational faculties overpower them, they must be brought into harmony with them. Which I feel is true. But that's not something you can just put into words like that, right... His ideas came through in his work...
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Gary Wassner
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 07:31 pm:   

It's odd, but I have always viewed him as being much more modern than most authors today who are attempting to deal with similar subjects. His brilliance for me is in his kaliedoscopic view of personality. When you stop twisting it, things seem clear, but as soon as another moment passes, everything is turned upside down again. His static characters are less than human but his troubled ones are almost hyper-human.
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Stephen
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 07:34 pm:   

Oh yeah, he was ahead of his time, no doubt. He didn't fit in with the Modernists. He was a complete individualist and original thinker. I like people like that. I like people who are eccentric and have issues and shit...
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gary wassner
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 07:44 pm:   

Some of us write for that very reason. We have issues and we want relentlessly to resolve them. Everyone has issues, but some are more aware that they do. Some live in ignorant bliss. Lawrence's books are as fresh to me today, despite the social trappings, as anything could be. His concerns are timeless. The eccentricity makes him eminently interesting and his books compell you to be introspective when you read him. I find myself thinking and rethinking the issues he raises during and after I close his books.

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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 07:53 pm:   

Yep, same with me man. It makes me less troubled by how troubled I am.:-)

It seems odd to me, that a perfectly well adjusted person without many issues, or at least blissfully ignorant about them, would want to write just for the money.

But it's more than just resolving issues, it's also exploring thoughts, feelings and ideas in different ways, I guess.

I don't know.

What kinda stuff do'ya write?

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StephenB
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 08:29 pm:   

The eccentricity makes him eminently interesting and his books compell you to be introspective when you read him. I find myself thinking and rethinking the issues he raises during and after I close his books.

I'm going to roll with this Gary, and this may sound strange. When I read his work I get a very vivid sense that part of me is there, observing these people, who are very real in my mind's eye, but at the same time a part of me is traveling elsewhere in my minds eye, tapping into the my dark unconcious. Like I'm dreaming two differnet dreams simultaeously. Does that make sense? It's just an experience I've been having tonight..
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2005 - 12:17 am:   

Yeah, that probably sounds strange. It's not something I can explain, that way. So never mind.
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Gary Wassner
Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2005 - 07:29 am:   

Yes, it does make sense to me. Probably part of the reason you are so moved by his characters is that you relate so much to the thought processes. I find that if characters struggle with issues that I struggle with and think in a way that I do, then I too experience that dual sensation. The mind gets bifurcated while you read and one inner eye watches the story and one watches your own path under similar circumstances.

Have you ever read The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood?

I write Epic Fantasy. It's my venue for exploring and dealing with what we are talking about.
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StephenB
Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2005 - 01:42 pm:   

That's not exactly what I meant, it's hard to explain this way, so I won't bother. But I hear what you're sayin'.

Haven't read or heard of The Berlin Stories. Is it about WW2?
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Gary Wassner
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 07:42 am:   

I wouldn't say that. It was set in the pre-war days.
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Captain Literacy
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 04:33 pm:   

Personally I'd prefer to not use dictionary.com because I don't really like it compared to some print dictionaries. Thw definition I provided is staraight from the New World Websters dictionary and is perfectly valid.

If you want to go by the dictionary.com definition, go ahead. I don't care. That doesn't make you right and me wrong.


Yes it does. It makes you wrong and STUPID and a LIAR too. You can't just wave away a definition you don't like because it isn't in print. You certainly can't wave away a definition cited from the online clone of a print source (www.m-w.com IS the Merriam Webster).

And you're a lying shitsack when it comes to Webster's New World too, since the definition of "reaction" (which you need, when the definition of "reactionary" is "of, characterized by, or advocating reaction, esp. in politics") contains:

3. a movement back to a former or less advanced condition, stage, etc.; esp., such a movement or tendency in economics or politics; extreme conservatism.

That's p. 1117 of the Third College Edition.

It's amazing that this discussion keeps on rolling on, given that there is nothing to do but endlessly correct a number of people who DON'T KNOW SHIT. God, who the hell is stupidest: Stephen "I Can't Use a Dictionary" B; Tivo, Yet Another Failed History AND Science Major; or the stupid twat who thinks Lovecraft was a "realist."

The word you are looking for there, cuntdrip, is MATERIALIST.

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StephenB
Posted on Friday, August 19, 2005 - 06:14 pm:   

Then of course there's the other option. The guy who gets all angry and insulting over a dictionary definition. Who thinks he's pretty smart because he can copy down dictionary definitions. That's pretty stupid.

You clearly don't like me, but I take that as a compliment.

As for the term. Well, I'll say it again, just 'cause.

To me, reacting to something politically, is just that. It doesn't have to specify any more than that, although, sure, it can. The French Revolutionaries were reacting to tyranny. You can call them radical reactionaries. Or just radicals. I don't care.

There's really no point in having a conversation with someone, like yourself, who's so dim, narrow, literal minded, and vicious.

So if you want you can shout, cry, and call me names all you want. I really don't care. In fact, I find it kinda funny...
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JV
Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 07:26 am:   

Captain Literacy:

This is just a thread on a messageboard, for chrissakes. Don't get all bunched up.

The most offensive thing is that you can't post your real name, not the eccentricities of the other various posts.

JeffV
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Gary Wassner
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 07:27 am:   

And the next most offensive aspect of your post is that I read it and wasted however much time doing so.

Jeff (i assume I am talking to the right Jeff) I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and they didn't have any of your books. I asked them at the desk why they would have a shelf of Goodkind and no books by you, but my words were wasted on deaf ears. I had wanted to purchase Veniss Underground, and I walked out with Ender's Game instead. How about Borders?
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Captain Literacy
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 08:59 am:   

Who thinks he's pretty smart because he can copy down dictionary definitions. That's pretty stupid.


I agree, which is why I peed all over your shoes when you copied down a dictionary definition, and DIDN'T EVEN DO IT CORRECTLY.


To me, reacting to something politically, is just that.

To you? To YOU? And who the hell are YOU? You see, fuckadoodle, words actually have meanings that people use. You don't get to make up your own. And if you DO make up your own, you don't get to appeal to a dictionary that actually disagrees with you to say that you haven't made up a thing. Remember, you were the dope who wrote:

That's from the Webster's New World dictionary.

That's what the word means. It doesn't specify whether it's resistent to change or anything like that. It's simply, as the word suggests, reacting to something, which is often promoting some sort of change.

I think somewhere in pop-culture or something, the word got associated with right-wing conservatism, but that isn't true.


Except that it IS true, your dictionary DOES specify, and pop-culture had nothing to do with it.. You're just knock-you-down-and-shit-in-your-mouth wrong.

There's really no point in having a conversation with someone, like yourself, who's so dim, narrow, literal minded, and vicious.


Dim? Narrow? Literal minded? From the guy who argues, first, that he is using the CORRECT definition of reactionary as based on the dictionary, and who then argues that the ACTUAL dictionary definition is irrelevant becaue it doesn't match whatever happens to be in his head? No wonder I'm not worth having a converation with! You can't huff and puff and bluff your way into conning people into believing that you know what you're talking about when people like me are around.

Vicious? Have you earned better treatment? Of course not. Cretins don't rate anything other than a ruler to the knuckles. Only EQUALS can communicate equally. Sobbing like little girls about how horrid it is that I don't post my real name (Captain Seymour J. Literacy, US Navy!) when you gaggle of Special Intellectual Olympians are so flummoxed by the language you use you don't even know what you mean from one post to the next is just shitcockin' sad.



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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 09:24 am:   

Only EQUALS can communicate equally.

The tone of your posts makes me wonder if you think anyone can communicate with you equally.

(I'm flashing back to that moment in Broadcast News when someone says to Holly Hunter's character, "It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room." and she says most piteously, "No, it's not.")
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Sergeant Semantics
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 10:11 am:   

Clearly, Captain Litaracy doesn't know much about language if he thinks that dictionary definitions are somehow indisputable, fixed or sacred or that they cannot be messed about with or consciously or unconsciously adjusted by the people who use them.

What would you think if I told you I was "gay"?

If I said to you "glamour", would you think celebrity girls in magazines?

If you felt that something was terrifying would you say, instead, that it was "terrific".

These words may or may not have their original meanings in any dictionary but, in their contemporary usage, nobody would use them the way they were originally. It's only a matter of time before their original meanings are ditched from dictionaries (if they haven't already been) as has been the case with countless other words.

I'd say that anyone who believes the dictionary to be some kind of bible of meaning is demonstrating, not idiocy necessarily (of the kind that everyone apart from Captain Literacy possesses), but ignorance and a certain lack of comprehension of the subject of which they profess to be the living master.


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JV
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 10:43 am:   

(Gary--in response to your question. Veniss and City are out of print. But Bantam is reissuing Veniss in September and City of Saints in April 2006. Both will be available everywhere. As will my new novel, Shriek in 2006) JeffV
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StephenB
Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 03:58 pm:   

Yeah, pretty much, Captain Literacy, I wasn't saying that that is the only definition of reactionary, or that the definitions you guys use is wrong. Try using your own brain for a second, instead of clinging to the dictionary. Reactionary tends to imply a conservative, right wing reaction. All I'm saying, is that it need not automatically imply that, in every case. If you don't want to see it that way, then like I said, that's fine, I don't care. What I don't understand, is why YOU care so much. Why this upsets you so much? Why you need to feel better than other people? And why you're so vicious? Because, really, I have little tolerance for people like you. I see enough of it, people tryin' to put each other down to put themselves up. It's pathetic. But it still can get me down.

I'll assume you're an American. I think that any Americans who stand outside the democrat/republican box, who think it all sucks and know how corrupt things are. Who are truely liberal and left wing. Who are trying to wake people up, ARE reactionary, but in a good way. You don't have to see it that way. I'll even admit, in that one post, with Al, I was being kinda sloppy when I was all stoned. So what. My main point still got through. Al teased me about it a bit, but it's all in good humour. He just pointed out the more conventional use of the word. Instead of arguing semantics, you should look at meaning in context. You put your comprehension in question, Captain Lit. One of my points was that we shouldn't just follow along with what ever academia tells us to. We shouldn't look to academia for guidance and approval. Sure, there's lots to learn from the academic literary establishment. But ultimately, I feel we should look within, to our own hearts and minds. To rebel against the status quo. Against conventions and traditions. But not just for its own sake. I mean this in politics, spirituality etc etc. But right here, we're talkin' literature, which can include fantasy and science fiction, which is generally dictated to people by academia.

I don't know what else to tell you. I don't like you. I've spent too much time on this already. I don't know if you have anything interesting or constructive to add to the discussion. If it turns out you do. Surprise. Feel free to join in. Otherwise, shut your mouth.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 04:03 am:   

Unfortunately for Sergeant Semantics, the fact that the meanings of words change over time doesn't mean that every language user has the privilege of Humpty Dumpty, assigning whatever meaning that suits him to a given word. This will kill any real conversation as rapidly as a volley of abuse will, even if people continue to beam politely at each other across the virtual table, talking a mile a minute and saying nothing.

I wouldn't have complained in the terms Captain Literacy did. (Sailing under false colors is all very well, but you should raise your own flag before you fire a broadside.) I do share his outrage, though.

Personally, I've been following the thread only in the hope that "Tomas Pelos" or "Billy Bondage" would post again. But they're far from here, steering their lovercraft across uncharted cyberchannels.

JMP("Pirate Roberts")
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Tomas Pelos
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 07:59 am:   

"I think that any Americans who stand outside the democrat/republican box, who think it all sucks and know how corrupt things are. Who are truely liberal and left wing. Who are trying to wake people up, ARE reactionary, but in a good way."


I agree! They are also fascists, but in a good way! Because fascism as I define the word is about being into fashion and no one is more fashionable than those who stand outside the democrat/republican box, like Lovercraft and Virgina Wolfe, who were Realists and also liked to wake people up, especially at two in the morning with some silly question. We should not have our words defined by academics who dress poorly or by the dictionaries they write but follow our own hearts and words.

It is not ok to be sloppy when stoned. Just look at Mary Magdaleen, who dressed fashionably even when the sinners stoned her. She was also a fascist and a Realist! But not a Romantic like Wollstonecraftsman!
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Sergeant Semantics
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 10:16 am:   

"the fact that the meanings of words change over time doesn't mean that every language user has the privilege of Humpty Dumpty, assigning whatever meaning that suits him to a given word."

I see your point, James, but we should never underestimate the flexibility of language, as demonstrated above all in it's literary use, where meanings are liable to be bent out of all their apparent shape or where devices, such as metaphors, are liable to alter meanings altogether to the point that their "literal" definitions are no longer applicable in the context of how they are used.

I could have described Captain Literacy as a pedant, which he most certainly is in relation to this argument. I could have equally described him as being less of a sun and more of a breath of darkness in relation to shedding any light on the subject of language. Who would deny the legitamacy of this flagrant alteration of the meanings of words whose meanings are apparently fixed in some kind of linguistic avatar of ultimate meaning?

Clearly Captain Literacy is not a "breath of darkness" in a "literal" sense, but that's how I choose to apply these words in order to describe him figuratively. Are the figurative meanings less viable than the literal ones? I could just as easily call him a blade of grass in a bed of roses or a tortoise trying to swim with turtles. You can criticise the quality of the metaphors, but not the validity of the meanings I've given them.


These words are mine, yours, everbodies; we can change them and play with them as we see fit. Where else did they come from? From some overhanging verbal heaven that we have accessed through our prayers? From the dawn of time? From God perhaps? And does God mind if we alter the meanings to suit the purposes at hand? Surely not, given that that's what countless people have done in order to try and "desrcibe" God.

And there are those who will tell you that all words are metaphors -- that all words refer to something they are not (the word "God" is perhaps the best example, refering to something that cannot be seen to be described). The objects or concepts that words refer to do not inhabit these words like the core of some linguistic nutshell.

And anyone IS free to assign, as you eloquently put it, "whatever meaning that suits him to a given word". This is what James Joyce did with the word "epiphany", whose meaning, formerly, was exclusively religious. This is what Wallace Stevens did when he created the word "mindscape" to describe some kind of phenomenon that occurs in his poetry.

Happens all the time. And, in fact, sci-fi and fantasy is an area that demonstrates this to perfect effect. "Interstitial" now has an extended meaning in describing a particular narrative characteristic or technique. Cyberpunk has altered the meaning of two words by bringing them together to make one. Cyberspace is another one. But who would have said to Gibson, "You can't do that! That's not in the dictionary! That's not a word!"

And, without recalling the details, I seem to remember that Chaucer did a fair bit of gerrymandering with a variety of languages and words that became the basis for the modern english vocabulary (or middle or early modern or whatever). Why should he have the privilage of manipulating meanings and no one else?

As for conversation, communication is based on an agreement between communcators who submit to an idea of meaning which is, even at the moment of an agreement being forged into a semblance of sense, by no means inviolable or immune to ambiguities. Misunderstandings and misconceptions occur all the time. Take a look through some of the threads of this noticeboard. It's bound to happen because the meanings of words are extremely volatile, just as much as our capacity to understand them.

And then there's something like slang, a phenomenon whereby new meanings are conceived in the course, one would imagine, of conversations. New words and abused meanings popping up all over the place.

If I asked you once upon a time to "hit me with it", you probably would, with whatever came nearest to hand, in an understandable attempt to shut me up. But if I say the same thing to you now, you'll know that I'm urgently requesting a specific piece of news or information that will probably upset me. Someone, somewhere, most likely in the US, one day stretched the literal meaning of "hit me" to include something else, giving it a metaphorical counterpart which has since become embedded the literal function of this word and taken it beyond its initial usage.

But, on the whole, the point I'm making is that language is not fixed but immensely, perhaps infinitely, flexible and that it contains an infinite range of possibilities as regards the interpretation, comprehension, manipulation or deliberate creation of what is meant.

But perhaps the point above all is to silence the abusive and ill-informed rants of someone who has flagrantly abused the literal meaning of the words he has chosen to describe himself as Captiain Literacy.


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Corporal Succinct
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 10:39 am:   

In future, Sergeant Semantics, confine yr remarks to a reasonable # of words. No one reads beyond three or four paragraphs at a time in this context.

That is all.

Corporal Succinct
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Sergeant Semantics
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 10:59 am:   

Deploying forces was part of my battle plan to overwhelm the forces of Captain Literacy.

But I take your point, sir, and am, in fact, due for early retirement due to an old word wound.
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Sergeant Semantics
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 11:04 am:   

I meant -- deploying forces in large numbers was part of my battle plan.

Sorry, seems I'm suffering from battle fatigue.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 11:19 am:   

Sergeant Semantics wrote "And, without recalling the details, I seem to remember that Chaucer did a fair bit of gerrymandering with a variety of languages and words that became the basis for the modern english vocabulary (or middle or early modern or whatever)."
_____

This sentence communicates no real meaning, partly because the writer does not seem to know what "gerrymander" means. That's the real penalty for using the Humpty Dumpty method of word definition: people will simply fail to see what you're driving at. If you're actually trying to make a point, this presents a problem.

"Namoore of this, for Goddes dignitee,"
Quod oure Hooste, "for thou makest me
So wery of thy verray lewednesse,
That also wisly God my soule blesse,
Min eres aken of thy drasty speche."

--Chaucer, Tale of Sir Thopas

JMP("Percyvell")
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CS
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 11:22 am:   

Sergeant:

Understandable. Word wounds never completely heal.

Corporal Succinct
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Sergeant S.
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 12:16 pm:   

Yes I damn well do know what gerrymandering means. A couple of things. And my adaptation of it above is perfectly legitimate, based on:

"to manipulate or adapt to one's advantage"

Which is what Chaucer is doing in the verse you quote above.

You've actually proved the point of some of what I was getting at, James. Definitions are by no means fixed or clear, to the point that there can be no consensus agreement on them.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 02:27 pm:   

Sergeant S. insisted, "Yes I damn well do know what gerrymandering means," and went on to prove that he didn't.

"Gerrymander" is best left as a useful (and precise) item of political jargon, but to be considered "gerrymandering" in a broader sense an act has to involve some sort of unfairness or unscrupulousness. "I gerrymandered a cup of coffee" or "I gerrymandered my tax forms" would be perfectly fine usages according to Sergeant S.'s uselessly broad definition, but no one (except, possibly, the speaker) would know what the statements were supposed to mean. If one is using words to make some sort of point, this presents a problem. If one is just using random words to inflate a sentence and decorate a page, maybe it's not a problem.

JM("Montoya")P
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Captain Literacy
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 03:57 pm:   

I wasn't saying that that is the only definition of reactionary, or that the definitions you guys use is wrong.

Bullshit, little man. This all started when you said:

To say that the military SF is the truely reactionary stuff is a joke. What are they reacting towards? The military? Last time I checked war's still going on and the big powerful governments have big powerful militaries. An anti-war book would be more reactionary.


That's you saying that reactionary doesn't mean "extremely conservative" and that it CAN'T mean it! But of course milsf is reactionary, that's what makes it so good! God bless military SF for showing those hippies whatfor!

You can whine about "academia" all you want, hell, you can whine about "popular culture" all you want too, but neither of those groups of folks switched the definition of reactionary around when you weren't looking, fuckadoodle. You just didn't know what the word meant, because you're an idiot. That's okay, idiocy is curable. Unless you're also a sobby little bitch, which you are.

So you ran off to a dictionary, SAW that Hal's definition was right, pissed your little pink panties about it, and then IGNORED that to quote only SOME of the definition and say: "That's what the word means. It doesn't specify whether it's resistent to change or anything like that. It's simply, as the word suggests, reacting to something, which is often promoting some sort of change"

So, we've already determined that you're a lying shitsack.

Then I showed you two more dictionaries and their definitions. You ignored one, then complained that the other was "online" and thus somehow suspect. Then I went to YOUR dictionary and showed you that the definition does too specify the area of political spectrum in which reaction takes place.

Then you said that you didn't care about the dictionary after all. Because you can't handle fucking wrong about anything. And you're still arguing that "reactionary" can mean radical -- as if the US Left only sits around and waits for my Commander and Chief to do something before it hatches scheme after filthy, Commie scheme!

As far as Private Semantics (consider this a field demotion, puke!) we're not talking about a word in the midst of some expansion of change. We're talking about one cockaninny on the Internet who doesn't know what "reactionary" means and who tried to bluff his way past it, because He Can Never Ever Be Wrong, otherwise Uncle Larry won't touch him in the no-no place anymore, the way he likes it.
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Captain Literacy
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 04:02 pm:   

Oh, and because there is NOTHING I love better than serving a pigeon-chest a bowl of shit (well, outside of shelling huts on the shore I mean) here's another quote from Stephen B:

I think somewhere in pop-culture or something, the word got associated with right-wing conservatism, but that isn't true.

And here he is now:

I wasn't saying that that is the only definition of reactionary, or that the definitions you guys use is wrong. Try using your own brain for a second, instead of clinging to the dictionary. Reactionary tends to imply a conservative, right wing reaction. All I'm saying, is that it need not automatically imply that, in every case.

Golly, it's amazing how you can change your position without changing your mind that way, sailor. Ever think of working for intel instead?

We shove pukes like you in the torpedo tubes in this man's Navy. HOO-WAH!

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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 04:34 pm:   

Okay asshole, that first quote, I wrote when I was baked. The New World's definition is exactly as I wrote it, though I didn't include the definition of reaction. But for the last time -- I DON'T CARE. Fuck, can that sink in?

It's funny how the conservative right wing types are considered reactionary, when we're living in a world fucking dominated by those assholes. Hmmm, isn't it funny how authorities use language to control and manipulate people...

But hey, man. Keep up the good work. Doing whatever the fuck tools like you do.

I like the insults, keep 'em commin'. They so witty. HOO-WAH! What the fucks that? You think you're Al Pacino. You're sooo fucking tough. I'm soo afraid of you.

You're a dumb fuck. You think radical is always left wing, and reactionary always right? You're living in a black and white world, there tough guy.

And you're still arguing that "reactionary" can mean radical -- as if the US Left only sits around and waits for my Commander and Chief to do something before it hatches scheme after filthy, Commie scheme!

There isn't much of a U.S. left, left, asshole. Chomsky's one of only widely active and recognized left wing voices in America. What do ya think he's doing, dipshit?! He's been reacting against U.S.A.'s foriegn policy of manufactured consent, murder and exploitation from his get go. Against a country which shits on everything and everyone not in the big time. Against pricks like you.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 04:58 pm:   

When has America ever had a left wing government in power? Tell me, please.

You think democrats are left wing? Sorry to burst that bubble, but they're authoritarian right wing, just a little bit less so than republicans, which isn't sayin' much.

Tom Payne was reactionary and a radical. He paved the way, but America was really founded by a new sort of aristocracy, who wanted to have their own power. George Washinton was part of an elite little group, known as the free masons. Find a copy of the free mason's own bullshit, "History of The Free Masons" book, and you'll find his mug proudly displayed on last page.

America is a big shame.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 05:02 pm:   

Or a sham, which I meant, but it's also a shame.
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The Sergeant's Widow
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 05:09 pm:   

No James, you're wrong. Gerrymandering can ALSO mean, quite simply:

"to manipulate or adapt to one's advantage"

Especially when used in its BROADEST sense, which includes a figurative sense, when the reapplication of a word into a fresh semantic setting can have an effect of ENHANCING, not cancelling, the intended meaning.

You, James, lack a grasp of how individual words will behave when placed in relation to OTHER words, when individual meanings become part of a tapestry of meaning which is the alchemical response of words to one another when placed in a PARTICULAR CONTEXT! If you cannot grasp the meaning of my husband's former use of "gerrymandering", then the limitation is yours, not his. So "Loosen up, girl!" as my father used to tell me when I actually was one.

And even if it didn't mean what my husband said it does, which it does, the point is this:

Your insistence in trying to prove my husband wrong on this point smacks of the pedantry of Captain Literacy.

Your failure to address any of the other, more important issues he raised regarding the function of language, and your determination to linger on a groundless technicality, proves that he has won this particular battle.

He died a disappointed man, believing that he would have received some enjoyable and perhaps enlightening ripostes to his former spiel, ones that may have even forced him to rethink his position. Instead, he received more feeble pedantry, more contrived logic, more dull reasoning; and it pains me to think that he died without being able to enjoy the spoils of victory he so richly deserved.

My husband led a short but active life, which involved a great deal of gerrymandering on the side with the women folk. But I didn't mind. I loved him most of all for his money, which I have now inherited, and for his ability to put a stop to fruitless discussions with the kind of nonchalance that I, his widow, am showing now.

The cause of his demise, the doctors tell me, was death by boredom, a most painful way to go. I'm just glad that, finally, the whole thing has come to an end, which is probably true of a lot of people.

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The Sergeant's Widow
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 05:11 pm:   

Oh dear, Captain Literacy's back. What a pity my husband wasn't here to put him in his place.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 05:23 pm:   

Anyway, now I hate that I'm involved in this discussion, which has become a mean spirited pedant fest. Except for the Sergeant.

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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 06:46 am:   

The Sergeant's Widow wrote (in part) No James, you're wrong. Gerrymandering can ALSO mean, quite simply:

"to manipulate or adapt to one's advantage"

_____

Evidence, please. An assertion of authority carries no weight on a matter of fact; and the assertion of authority by a pseudonymous pseudo-widow of a pseudonymous pseudo-sergeant of nonsensemantics... well, you do the math.

As defined in your family idiolect, "gerrymander" would describe any activity governed by intelligent self-interest. A word which meant so much in theory would mean nothing in practice.

I've addressed a narrow issue rather than any broader one for reasons of concision. It was easy enough to show the good Sergeant's general unreliability on words by showing how ineptly he used a particular word.

You might want to get a second opinion on his cause of death, though. The gasbag who wrote the entry above (at Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 10:16 am) must have had a pretty high tolerance for boredom.

JM("Miserere, Dominus: Serviens mortuus est")P
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 08:20 am:   

Maybe this is what is wrong with SF: too many conversations that enter a decaying orbit. Soon we'll be debating the meaning of "is". Soon after that we'll all disappear up our own asses.

JeffV
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Jeff P
Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 - 01:10 pm:   


quote:

Soon we'll be debating the meaning of "is". Soon after that we'll all disappear up our own asses.




Yeah? Well, I think you're wrong! :-)
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Doug_finnerty
New member
Username: Doug_finnerty

Post Number: 4
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Monday, September 15, 2008 - 03:27 pm:   

This might be slightly off-topic, but I couldn't find "Part One". One thing that I think is seriously wrong with SF is the way that some of the genre's best books are allowed to go out of print. One example being a past Hugo Award winner "The Snow Queen" by Joan D. Vinge. Another example is the much revered and equally unatainable "The Dying Earth" by Jack Vance. If
e-piracy ever takes off for books the way it has for music, we'll only have the @*#%!:-( publishing industry to blame.
One thing that has gone right in the world of SF so far this year? Against much worthy competition, Michael Chabon's "The Secret Policemen's Union" has won this year's Hugo. A sign perhaps that the SF genre is maturing.

And now back to those English language wars. Hopefully the three-year old cease-fre still holds. Otherwise, les chapeaux-noir of the Accadame Francais shall be back to bury the survivors.
(you were expecting "blue helmets"? ha!)
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Gordon_van_gelder
Member
Username: Gordon_van_gelder

Post Number: 729
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 - 06:41 am:   

Excuse me, Mr. Finnerty, but are you suggesting that if an author or publisher decides not to reprint a book or if they elect not to publish an electronic edition, then it's their fault if people break the law and produce an illegal electronic edition?

I respectfully disagree.

If a writer like E. L. Doctorow or the late Octavia Butler decides they don't want one of their early books reprinted, they're entitled to make that decision about their work.

By the same token, if Tor or Dell or Ace assesses the market for a book and chooses not to reprint it, that's their choice. I published several reprints when I worked at St. Martin's Press and almost all of them lost money. (The ones that didn't, as I recall now, were nonfiction books on writing like Damon Knight's CREATING SHORT FICTION.)

As I read your post, you seem to be suggesting that it's okay to condone piracy. If you don't mind my asking, why do you feel that way?
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Doug_finnerty
New member
Username: Doug_finnerty

Post Number: 5
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 07:17 pm:   

I hate it when I'm wrong. I should have known better than to say nice things about
e-piracy since (among their other bug-laden sins) the "product" delivered is probably inferior.

Mr. Van Gelder, you actually made a better point on what's wrong with SF. The titles reprinted by Saint Martins Press were probably worthy of resurection, but the fan base was not there to support it.

I do wish that Hugo/Nebula winners could be reprinted at least once per decade, market conditions permiting. As for my problem with finding a copy of "The Dying Earth", I can only hope that time is on my side and one day my chance to read it will come.
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John_thiel
Junior Member
Username: John_thiel

Post Number: 146
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 - 12:47 pm:   

I just came in here today and I've been wondering what was going on lately at the F&SF forum. It seems to have gotten kind of silent. Now I see all this. It looks like elder gods rising.
I've got biff and zow
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Doug_finnerty
New member
Username: Doug_finnerty

Post Number: 7
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Sunday, February 01, 2009 - 05:45 pm:   

It turned out to be not quite what I expected. But yes I did enjoy the book. Both Cugel sagas would make for two fairly decent movies. Perhaps "The Dying Earth" itself could be done as an anthology-style movie, with a different director assigned to each story.
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Jao
New member
Username: Jao

Post Number: 1
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Saturday, August 15, 2009 - 01:29 am:   

I'm sorry, but "e-piracy" is a myth. It just doesn't happen on any scale that you can measure. Why?

1. People would rather read a book than read a screen. Oh, they might read the first chapter or so of an e-book--try reading 500 pages of "e-text".

2. The Public Library can already carry any book for free...and there are millions of libraries. And no, that's not "millions of sales of your book" because most of them are networked so if you want one of their 10,000 copies of "Conan" you can order it.

3. You can print it out! You don't save enough to justify not buying the book vs. a stack unbound paper.

4. The only writers "hurt" are the writers no one reads anyway. Readers read the first couple chapters of their books and don't buy the paper version.
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John_thiel
Junior Member
Username: John_thiel

Post Number: 163
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, August 15, 2009 - 07:00 am:   

Hey, wow, it's been half a year since I heard from this forum! (via topic reply notification.) I was surprised to get a notification because things were so shut down I thought maybe I would never hear from this forum again.

Looking over what's written above, I suppose Captain Literacy has gone elsewhere along with several other vital animuses of the topic.

Just to liven the topic up again, I'd suggest the reason SF isn't doing so well is that it hasn't taken the next step---as is hinted at by various comments made above, the next step is for science fiction to become literature. Writers should aim at resounding pronouncements about life based on a cumulative scholastic look at how life has been in the past. And some writers are, indeed, starting to do this. It may be the next phase of science fiction. If you want space opera, just pull it forth from your collection of old pulps.

Just to answer the first-posting re-invoker of the topic's comment, I believe this points out a fact to the contrary of everybody's prognostications that nullifies the "computer is taking over the world of fiction" reasoning---it isn't really very comfortable reading from a computer screen...and nothing short of virtual can be done about it.
I've got biff and zow
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Jao
New member
Username: Jao

Post Number: 7
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 03:28 am:   

"What's wrong with SF / F" is a two part question. I'll give you the first part, and if there's any interest I'll write out the second part. These are only my opinions and should in no way be construed as "fact"--by which I mean that I recognize that my dates, titles, and series of events may be (at times) in error.

The first thing wrong with SF / F is "Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer's of America, Inc.". This is an out-dated and bankrupt organization that, like all organizations that outlive their usefulness, has become corrupt.

There are two awards given out by the SFWA; the Nebula's, voted on by all members; and the Grand Master distinction, which is thus: "Nominations for recognition as a Grand Master are made by the president of SFWA; the final selection must be approved by a majority of the SFWA® officers and participating past presidents."

So our focus here will be on the Grand Master award.

First, I'll eliminate the obvious, the writers who have to be on the Grand Master list in order for the list to have any merit: Heinlein, Clark, Bradbury and Ellison.

Now, you might not agree with my selections, and that's fine. But I'm confident that you can't find many other's on the list of "Grand Masters" that are the literary equals to my 4.

Which is where we come to my "Masters" of SF /F list. This list would include the likes of Asimov, Le Guin, Pohl, Simak and maybe...Del Rey and Farmer. Pick your own favorites; the main point being that they all wrote books of merit--at some time or another. But they're not equal to my "Grand Masters"; they're a notch below.

From this list, Le Guin rates most highly with me as being potentially on the Grand Master list. Asimov is a close second and he's also a problem.

Asimov wrote popular stories, he was a popular author, he edited a popular magazine. It's not out of line to say he was the face of sf for many years. However, he wasn't a great writer. He wrote well enough, but his books (as literature) had no literary merit. He was an "artisan". He wrote well enough for his story.

Back to that in a moment.

In law you have a concept known as precedent: which (badly stated) means that if the Supreme Court rules one way or another that something is law, then all other cases based on that decision are law.

Back to Asimov. Andre Norton wrote hundreds of sf novels, none of them great; without doubt she influenced the sf field. She was not, however, a great writer. I don't think anyone would argue that point. But she was (and Asimov was) given the title of Grand Master.

So that's the precedent regarding the SF Grandmaster award: it can be given for contribution to the SF field, rather than literary excellence in the SF field.

That elevates Norton and Asimov to "Grand Master"--their contribution to sf is without question.

That still leaves a number of "Grand Masters" off our list. Well, how did they get there? Precedence...and then corruption. The moment they made Andre Norton a "Grand Master" because of her contributions to the sf field, the gates were left open to every sort of "contribution".

At this point, a number of officers/presidents of SFWA (I won't name them) began voting themselves into "Grand Master" status--based on the the fact that their being a president/officer of the SFWA was a "contribution" to the field. And most of them made it.

So much for awards. They even made the Nebula nebulous.
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John_thiel
Junior Member
Username: John_thiel

Post Number: 164
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 08:14 am:   

What's a "master" anyway, one who makes no grammatical errors?
I've got biff and zow
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Jao
New member
Username: Jao

Post Number: 9
Registered: 08-2009
Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 - 04:21 pm:   

My post shouldn't be taken too seriously--I just made that crap up. Seemed like as good a topic for discussion as any. Who knows? It could be true.

My suggestion is that SFWA starts adding the words "ultra" and "super" to the Grand Master title; to further distinguish one GM from another. Kind of like those irradiated giant monsters from 60's Japanese films. Harlan Ellison can be first (he likes titles): "Harlan Ellison, Ultra Super Grand Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy".

Just you try and get his autograph.

I guess awards are useful for promoting books. Or not. One interesting thing about the Hugo/Nebula awards is that they've been around so long that nearly everyone seems to have one for something. A few more years and publishers will have to start promoting their writers and books with: "Never won the Hugo or Nebula!"

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