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January 12th, 2009

10:21 pm: Aw, damn
Via ellen_datlow ....

Gavin Grant and Kelly Link report the death of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror series.



Current Mood: bummed
Current Music: Mozart "Requiem"
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December 17th, 2008

12:48 am: sf meme
Came to me from my friends list: kathryn_ironic  via fledgist 

Bold the ones you've read,
strike the ones you hated,
italicize the ones you couldn't get through.
Asterisks for the ones you loved - more asterisks, more love.
Use a + to indicate the ones you own. Use a - to indicate ones you used to own, but no longer have.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien +
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov *+
3. Dune, Frank Herbert *+
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Leguin +
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson ***+
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke **+
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe +
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov +
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras +
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish  +
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison **+
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester **+
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany *+
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey  +
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card +
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl ***+
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams +
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice +
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin **+
31. Little, Big, John Crowley **+
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny +
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick +
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement *+
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon *+
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith ***+
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute *+
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke +
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven *+
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys *+
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien +
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson *+
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner **+
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester *+
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein **+
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock +
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford *+
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer +

A few comments:
(Isn't this a relatively old list? Haven't I seen this before?)
A couple of these I don't own myself (16, 26, etc.) , but are certainly in the house. 
A couple I'm not 100% positive (5, 47?) if I ever actually read the thing, or just something similar.
A few of these really don't belong on this list. (14, 29, 41?)
Some of these, I'm now surprised that I ever would have finished a book (1, 21) that I didn't much like.

Current Location: Library
Current Mood: Regretting a wasted life
Current Music: Hawkwind, while I think about Moorcocks I've read
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November 8th, 2008

09:22 am: What kind of anarchist are you?
Over on LibraryThing, user MMcM linked to this quiz


Anarcho-Syndicalist 85%
Anarcha-Feminist 75%
Anarcho-Communist 60%
Anarcho-Primitivist 40%
Anarcho-Capitalist 35%
Christian Anarchist 35%

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July 19th, 2008

12:13 pm: Today's meme
1930s Marital Scale:   117

As a 1930s husband, I am:    Very Superior

From: http://www.magatsu.net/maritaltest/

Current Music: Benny Goodman
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July 12th, 2008

01:04 am: Movie meme
from LJer marydell:

IMDb's top 25 all-time box office hits. Bold the ones you saw in the theater, italicize the ones you saw some other way instead, and leave the unseen ones alone.

  1. Titanic (1997) $600,779,824
  2. Star Wars (1977) $460,935,665 
  3. Shrek 2 (2004) $436,471,036
  4. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) $434,949,459
  5. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) $431,065,444
  6. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) $423,032,628 
  7. Spider-Man (2002) $403,706,375
  8. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) $380,262,555 
 9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) $377,019,252
10. Spider-Man 2 (2004) $373,377,893
11. The Passion of the Christ (2004) $370,270,943
12. Jurassic Park (1993) $356,784,000
13. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) $340,478,898
14. Finding Nemo (2003) $339,714,367
15. Spider-Man 3 (2007) $336,530,303
16. Forrest Gump (1994) $329,691,196
17. The Lion King (1994) $328,423,001
18. Shrek the Third (2007) $320,706,665
19. Transformers (2007) $318,759,914
20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone (2001) $317,557,891
21. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) $313,837,577
22. Iron Man (2008) $311,708,133  (Note to self: This is not  Iron Giant, which I have seen.)
23. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) $310,675,583
24. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) $309,404,152
25. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) $309,125,40 

So I've seen 15 out of the 25, but only three of them were seen in the theater.
And several of them I saw ONLY because it was one of the duties of parenthood. 

Interesting how many of these are parts of series (I count only 8 stand-alones of the 25.  And it's probably safe to assume that Transformers II is on the way. It won't be long before EVERY top-grossing film is part of a series.)

It's mildly interesting that Shrek , Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back, and the first Pirates of the C... movies have all already fallen off the list of top-grossing movies. 

Only two of these 25 movies pre-date my Parenthood years;  fully 17 of the 25 are from the 21st century, so at least part of this meme is asking "How many movies have you seen lately?"

Now that my kids are into two digits of age, my familiarity with kid movies is waning:  I didn't even know that there WAS a Shrek 3.

Current Location: in front of the screen
Current Mood: geeky
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June 27th, 2008

10:46 pm: Today's book meme
According to The Big Read, the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books on their list. (Presumably, the six that were assigned in school.)

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ

5) Complain about the list

    1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
    2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien   Even as a kid, I found the politics disquieting.
    3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
    4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling     Only the first one. (I get the idea, really.)
    5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
    6 The Bible- KJV
    7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
    8 1984 - George Orwell
    9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
  10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
  12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
  13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
  14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
  16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
  17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
  18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
  19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger      (Should I?)
  20 Middlemarch - George Eliot        Even though Mill on the Floss is better.
  21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
  22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
  23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
  24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy      As Woody Allen says: "It's about Russia."  I should read this again as an adult.
  25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
  27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
  31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
  33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis        I've looked inside but certainly never read the series
  34 Emma - Jane Austen
  35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
  36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis    (How does this deserve two places on this list?)
  37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini              Too new.
  38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres      I started it but gave up
  39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
  40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne      The first book I read to myself
  41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
  42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown     (Why is this here?)
  43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez.       Started it.
  44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
  45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins       My wife tells me I should read this. She has good taste.
  46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
  47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
  48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
  49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding    (Hell, I’ve lived it.)
  50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
  51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel        I will never read this.
  52 Dune - Frank Herbert
  53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons        No, but I saw the movie
  54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth       I’m a few percent in, might finish it if I live to be 300.
 56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon     (I’ve never even heard of this. And it's ahead of Dickens?)
  57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
  58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
  59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
  60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez.      Started it.
  61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
  66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac       Let the record show that this does not bear up to re-readings later in life.
  67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy.
  68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
  69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
  70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
  73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett     May have read this as a kid. Certainly I’ve seen some sort  of         movie version, which seemed familiar.
  74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson     (But what is this doing here???)
  75 Ulysses - James Joyce                    I’m glad I did, too.
  76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  78 Germinal - Emile Zola.       It’s in the house, anyway.
  79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray      Who doesn't love Becky Sharp?
  80 Possession - AS Byatt
  81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
  82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
  83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
  84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert         Sentimental Education was better.
  86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
  87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
  88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom    (Why is this on this list?)
  89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
  91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
  92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks       I really, really don’t like his non-sf stuff.
  94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
  95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
  96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
  97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
  98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare        Isn’t this is covered at #14?
  99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I propose deleting some of the modern trash, and sending in some great big Henry James doorstops in their stead.

And some of the contemporary novels really don't belong in this company (Dan Brown and Tolstoy? Helen Fielding on a list without Henry Fielding?); nor do the couple of non-fiction books belong.

Come to that, why should there be ANY 21st-century works on a list that has Shakespeare?

Current Location: surrounded by books
Current Mood: List-making
Current Music: Talking Heads: 77
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June 23rd, 2008

10:09 pm: Today's quiz

Your result for The Deep and Meaningful Winnie-The-Pooh Character Test...


"Do you know what A means, little Piglet?"

"No, Eeyore, I don't."

"It means Learning, it means Education, it means all the things that you and Pooh haven't got. That's what A means."

"Oh," said Piglet again. "I mean, does it?" he explained quickly.

"I'm telling you. People come and go in this Forest, and they say, 'It's only Eeyore, so it doesn't count.' They walk to and fro saying 'Ha ha!' But do they know anything about A? They don't. It's just three sticks to them. But to the Educated--mark this, little Piglet--to the Educated, not meaning Poohs and Piglets, it's a great and glorious A.

You scored as Eeyore!

ABOUT EEYORE: Eeyore lives in his own thistley corner of the forest and wonders why people don't come to visit him more often. He is master of the Guilt Trip, and is always gently forgiving his visitors for neglecting him. Eeyore considers himself to be smarter than the other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood, and is often exasperated by their habit of having adventures and general merriment.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are an anxious person, and you tend to expect the worst. Your friends find you somewhat cynical at times, because you have found that it is best to expect disappointment. You often feel unappreciated by the people you work with, but you rarely actually try and do anything to change that fact.

Your close friends admire you more than you think they do. They wish that you would learn to stop worrying so much and actually start trying to fix what is bothering you. If something is making you unhappy... change it!

Current Location: Pooh Sticks Bridge
Current Mood: depressed
Current Music: House on Pooh Corner

March 22nd, 2008

03:07 pm: "Daybreak"
This young woman, in Maxfield Parrish's "Morning"

was also the model for the reclining girl in 1922's "Daybreak"

Her name was Kitty Owen.
And her grandfather was William Jennings Bryan.

I haven't been able to Google up much information about Kitty herself, but her family - even ignoring grandpa WJB, who was not the wingnut of "Inherit the Wind" - has an astonishing story. Kitty's mother - Bryan's daughter Ruth Bryan Owen - was a prominent feminist, was elected to Congress in 1928, and had a fascinating life: three husbands, three nationalities, four children, several careers.

(Not only did Kitty's grandfather and her mother serve in Congress, her half-sister Helen Rudd Brown (noted as "daughter of Ruth Bryan Owen"), ran for Congress herself, in 1958 and 1960 (and lost). According to http://politicalgraveyard.com/families/1185.html , Helen Rudd Brown was still living in 2003.)

This family gets more interesting the deeper one looks:

(Note that WJ Bryan's wife - Kitty's grandmother - was a lawyer herself. Back in the 19th century.)
Not only was Ruth Brown Owen the first woman Representative from the deep South, but when her Temperance stand cost her her seat, FDR appointed her ambassador to Denmark. Where she met and married her third husband. Ruth Bryan had apparently dropped out of college in 1903 to marry and raise a family; was divorced in 1909, and only married Major Reginald Owen (a Brit, no less) in 1910 - so either the girl in "Daybreak" was about 11 years old, or (less likely) she was a teenager who took her stepfather's name.

Here's a photo of Eleanor Roosevelt arm-in-arm with Ruth Bryan Owen:


Anyway, let's take a moment to reflect upon Parrish's masterpiece, "Daybreak":

This was considered to be fine art in 1922, and it was the most popular art print of the 20th century (the figure "one for every four American homes" is commonly cited) - but let's note that over eighty-five years later, in today's climate of panic, it counts as kiddie-pr0n: the naked girl is Parrish's daughter Jean, who was all of eleven years old. Parrish couldn't have sold this to the American public in the 21st century; he'd be lucky to talk his way out of jail just for having painted it.

Times change.


Current Location: The Oaks, Cornish, NH
Current Mood: surprised
Current Music: Bach, Art of Fugue (the Emerson Quartet arrangement)
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February 21st, 2008

01:32 am: Datlow's Inferno
I started reading science fiction as a kid, 'way back in the '60s, so I absorbed the Party Line of the day, the one that was promulgated back during the 'New Wave' Wars: that 'science fiction' was but a subset of the larger universe of 'speculative fiction'.

'Speculative Fiction' (known to its friends as 'SF') included 'science fiction', but also includes 'fantasy', and even some of the more supernatural flavors of 'horror'. Slipstream, magical realism: it can all be subsumed under the larger umbrella genre of "SF".

So, while I'm basically a 'science fiction' sort of guy, ideologically I've come to feel an obligation to keep abreast with what's going on in all the other corners of the field.

And for much of this, I've come to rely upon Ellen Datlow: her roundup in the annual series The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror is - in many years - most of what I see in those sub-genres. I'm perfectly happy to let HER find stuff and bring it to my attention. (And her original anthologies are worth tracking down, too.)

So when I heard that she had a new anthology of original horror, I took a peek. Now, let's announce up front that I am NOT by temperment a 'horror' reader, and the peek was from between my fingers; but even so, I can recognize a good story when I read one.

There's good stuff here. You can trust Ellen Datlow.

Current Location: Cowering under the covers
Current Mood: Afraid. Very afraid.
Current Music: Night on Bald Mountain?
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February 11th, 2008

10:39 pm: Today's quiz

What's Your Political Philosophy?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Green

The Green Party believes in an America where decisions are made by the people and not by a few giant corporations. Their environmental goal is a sustainable world where nature and human society co-exist in harmony.



Old School Democrat


New Democrat


Foreign Policy





Pro Business Republican


Socially Conservative Republican


(lifted from LJ'er "Orange Mike")

(And as he noted, there are some problems with the quite constrained construction of the questions.

Spreading "freedom" by force of arms is an extremely dubious idea, but seems at the root of several of the questions.

"Should people have tax-free ways to save for college?"
Sure: but we as a nation could send every college student to school for free for less than we're currently burning in Iraq. That's not even in the same universe as these questions.

"Should the states be allowed to provide health care?"
Sure: but National Health should be a federal priority.

"Should certain rights be reserved for 'marriage'?"
Well, OK: but 'marriage' should be an available option for same-sex couples.

A question on whether we should move to a flat tax?
Which implies that something as basic as progressive taxation is now up for grabs....

Political discourse in this country has shifted over to the lunatic right.

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