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[personal profile] garran
I read some books:
Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End
Sarah Monette, The Mirador
Laurie J. Marks, Fire Logic
Pamela Dean, The Secret Country (reread)
Pamela Dean, The Hidden Land (reread)
Pamela Dean, The Whim of the Dragon (reread)
Emma Bull, Territory
(Also Samuel R. Delany's The Motion of Light in Water; I can't decide if I think that qualifies as a novel for the purposes of this project.)

Today it snowed all over everything; I didn't have to consider whether school was going to stay open, because it ended yesterday, aside from the five or so term papers I have to write in the next two weeks (also, it's Saturday). I should write one of those papers every day or two so that I can be done all the rest by next Friday, and then spend a week on the relatively enormous Honours essay. I finished the first one today (having properly commenced it yesterday), so maybe it's possible.

I took my dog out briefly, and when we came back in he lay himself down on the rug in the front hallway and carefully licked all of the snowflakes out of his fur.

Date: 2007-12-03 01:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xorphus.livejournal.com
I want to hear about Territory, obviously. Also, what do you think about Vinge? I'm 2/3 of the way through A Deepness in the Sky (the first book of his I've read) and it's just so dense with ideas that I haven't really decided whether I like it.

Date: 2007-12-11 04:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] garran.livejournal.com
I read Deepness first, too, and it actually rather scarred me for Vinge. I have this idea of him as being incredibly ruthless to his characters, which, although it's consistently true to a certain extent in his writing as a whole, isn't as stark anywhere else as it is in that book, where things get awful pretty early on and a large portion of what follows is a chronicle of how impressively futile and painful the attempts are to keep them from getting still worse; having read that, though, I tend to flinch reflexively on the characters' behalf whenever villainy is introduced or advanced in one of his stories, in case that's where it's going. This makes his apparent general interest in looking at groups or individuals caught in apparently hopeless situations somewhat harrowing. On the other hand, I do admire the ideas, and the scale and fractal detail of them; he is very good at the sense of wonder thing. This newer book was more to the playful end of his tendencies than it was toward the dark.

I thought Territory was very powerful, but I suspect I'm lacking the education to understand or to talk very intelligently about a lot of the things that it's doing. This was my first real exposure to what Ms. Bull calls "the Matter of Tombstone"; I have since seen the film Tombstone (was this book the catalyst for your watching it, too?), which mostly served to convince me that I needed to reread this picturing Doc Holliday as a rather younger man.

The thing that's stuck with me most strongly is the ending -- I'm trying to avoid explicit spoilers, for the benefit of bystanders, but I mean the final conversation involving Wyatt. It seems like there's something very interesting being done there with the western trope of the stranger who comes to town and ends up facing down and meting out retributive justice upon the lawless local villains, and the difference, since there's magic, in the methods at that figure's disposal: that fairytale fairness-made-metaphysically-binding, instead of finally just shooting those as need to be shot. None of the other magicians in the story try to use their magic that way; they may feel that the purposes toward which they use it are just (although given their behaviour this may perhaps be hard to credit), but that's the only occasion on which a magician invokes it not in support of their own goals, nor as a defensive or investigatory measure in response to somebody else's magical move, but because they feel that it is necessary that there be an accounting.

Anyway. I will need to read this again.


-Andy H.

Date: 2007-12-11 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xorphus.livejournal.com
Yeah, the book was the thing that made me watch the movie, although my brother had been urging me to see it for about five years. I really like what you brought out about the trope-refraction at the end. (Presumably you are aware that there will be a sequel.)

Also, I liked Mildred even more (I worried that she was a bit Harlequin-romantic) when I saw that Emma Bull pointed out on her LJ that "she uses ettiquette like a martial art."

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Andy H.

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