jade_sabre: (harthdarth:  livejournal)
[personal profile] jade_sabre
So three things.

1) I went to Barnes and Noble today because I have a $35 gift card to spend and left feeling extremely discouraged, in part because they didn’t have the one book I was looking for (WP has requested Catholicism for Dummies because he is a darling dear) and mostly because there’s such a narrow selection of books available there. I KNOW there are many more (good) books in the world than what’s represented at B&N (why oh why is the Paranormal Romance section so large), but if it’s not a classic, recent release, or bestseller (the latter two of course are absolutely no recommendation of goodness), it’s not there. I’d rather go to a used bookstore because I know there will be a bigger selection and I can pay a more reasonable $1-5 for a paperback instead of $8. But I also know that I have developed an almost crippling case of new-book wariness. I can never find the YA books y’all talk about, and the ones I do see don’t appeal to me, and as far as “adult” fantasy book/series go I’m never sure where to start and whether or not I’m going to get what I actually want from it.

And there’s a lot a lot a lot of hack writers out there, or mediocre writers with pretty good plots who have churned out book upon book because they keep selling (R.A. Salvatore), but it’s been so long that I’ve had lots of time for pleasure reading that I’m not as open to just taking a bazillion books home from the library and blasting through them, maybe loving one or two and not caring about the rest. I’m going to join the library in Savannah as soon as I get some mail to my name and hopefully that will help—I’ve fallen out of the habit of library-going. Anyway the point was that since I’ve had so little time for reading, I’ve wanted to find books that I know I will enjoy, which are beautifully written, and I have no idea where to start looking. I AM AFRAID TO TRUST.

And the longer I go without reading, the longer I go without writing, because the two feed each other.

Help. (Right now I’m in the mood for a bit of the mythic, I think? Unnamed queens and dragon-fighting heroes. Quarkie, I looked for the Riddlemaster books but haven’t found them yet. I also looked for Curse of the Chalion and they didn’t have it either.)

2) I am reading a book now! It is a book WP gave me to read many many moons ago—the second book in the BattleTech Twilight of the Clans series. I read the first one and absolutely despised it, much to his sadness, but I am enjoying this one more for what it is—I mean, it’s Mike Stackpole, and I loved his X-Wing books, and I recognize a lot of his tropes, and he’s super-heavy-handed on the politics (which is what the book is mostly about, thankfully) so it’s not the most subtle thing, but I’m getting invested in seeing the femme fatale destroy her political opponents (hint: she is one of the villains, so the likelihood of this is zero), and at least it’s not the first book.

(Other reasons to enjoy this book—the events of the first one finally got mentioned in this one, and these people correctly interpreted those events as “disgruntled man got manipulated by undercover agent who stirred up his disgruntledness into betraying his entire people for the sake of getting some command back,” unlike the first book, which seemed convinced that what he was doing was intelligent and honorable. Disgruntled man was an idiot.)

3) This leads me into what was going to be a comment on [livejournal.com profile] beth_shulman’s journal and is getting too long and is probably going to keep being long so, here you go. She was talking about not liking science fiction, and then Quark commented about having no idea where to start in science fiction (like me and all books it seems these days), and so I was like okay look guys I think we need to do some redefining.

REPLYING TO THIS BECAUSE why make my own comment when I can just piggyback off Quark.

So first I think what we have to do is make a difference between "science fiction" and "space opera" because the two are different things. The original Star Trek generally falls into the former while Star Wars is squarely in the latter. I mean yes in recent years books have come out with schematics of SW ships and the like, but my parents have old from-the-seventies books of Trekkies trying to work out the actual science of warp drive. People are Star Wars fans for the Force, the story, the epic battles; people are Star Trek fans for the technology and the struggle with big questions and ideas and the limits of humanity.

(also I am having SO MANY IDEAS brb jotting things down)
(oh boy settle in for the long run. This sucker is almost ten whole pages in Word, FYI.)

Disclaimer: Keep in mind that I have been meaning, for years, to do a more academic exploration of this, beginning with just reading everything in terms of the development of sci-fi. I own a few mid-60s copies of a couple of the Science Fiction & Fantasy-type magazines (I bought one that has the last installment of Dragonrider by Anne McCaffery--until then I had no idea that the book made its debut in serialized form) and I've read several short stories, but I'm woefully lacking on Asimov and Anthony and Clarke and pre-sex-with-myself Heinlein and the like. For years I considered myself a sci-fi fan just because I've read over 100 Star Wars books.

(Halfway through this is occurred to me that [livejournal.com profile] sartorias could show up at any time and blow this whole thing to bits with things like “actual knowledge” and “having read all these things”—LET ME KNOW IF I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK.)

Suggested accompanying music.

Also I don't even remember what the OP was about. I'm just going to go with it now.

So, really, we have two different things going here--"science fiction" and what I'm going to call "space opera." I think most of what people end up reading falls more into the latter than the former.

onto the definitions!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-27 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fabricalchemist.livejournal.com
I'm so settling in to read all parts of this post :333

I have developed an almost crippling case of new-book wariness.

Sister, I hear ya. If it has fairies (sadly), vampires, or apostrophed names, it is slapped back on the shelf. The covers help ZILCH since they almost all have jumped on the "mysterious girl photo from DeviantArt with some PS filters and crappy font" bandwagon. I am really into Sally Gardnier's Red Necklace and Silver Blade right now, but there was definitely a bias (read: hot audiobook narrator) that assisted.

Also, we should keep some perspective here and remember that we were truly spoiled with discovering books like DWJ and MWT in our teens, and now those have more or less been exhausted. They can't all be gold.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-28 01:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jade-sabre-301.livejournal.com
omg guuuuuuuuurl I luve ur comments

I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN ABOUT THE COVERS. Everything I look at is like "oh man this looks like a Twilight ripoff." But I will look into the books you recommend! once I'm all married and gots a piece of mail at my new address I'm getting a library card so hard. SO HARD.

aw man poop on perspective why can't publishers just publish good books. :-b you are wise to speak these words.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-28 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fabricalchemist.livejournal.com
guuuuuuuuuuurl, guurl, if all books were that good then

1) we'd never get anything done
2) we'd never have emergency toilet papers handy
3) we'd probably just not even appreciate the absolute GEMS said books are

but omg as a graphic designer, to say nothing of being an avid reader, this new style of cover art hurts. If I have to see a Jellyka, Porcelain, Cowboy, or Zephyr-fonted title many more times (may Papyrus rest in hell) I think I will just barf. Back in my day we had legit lushly-illustrated covers that actually gave some teasy insight as to what kind of story you were hopping into. Oh, this is about moonlit shoulders of a purple-eyed sultry girl with an "edgy" tattoo in shadow? Hm, pass. She barely looks old enough to know what that look she's giving implies, much less be an actual werewolf/fey/vampire/magical girl with powers who was abandoned at birth/latent witch/I could go on but I'm just eating up text here

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-28 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fabricalchemist.livejournal.com
ALSO will report back on if I find anything good in my library travels and spare you some "guh, AWFUL" books

Just checked out some Fitzgerald; trust me when I say you can pass on the Kerouac

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-29 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jade-sabre-301.livejournal.com
THANK YOU. Great Gatsby is super-good.

if you even run into a book called "The Princess" that was translated from French stay far afar afar away.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-29 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fabricalchemist.livejournal.com
I didn't get Gatsby! For some reason every single copy in town is CHECKED OUT; rude.

WTF is "The Princess", I must know

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-29 02:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jade-sabre-301.livejournal.com
VERY RUDE what did you end up getting? I want to read another one of his books.

it is a trainwreck (http://jade-sabre-301.livejournal.com/203517.html#cutid4).

(no subject)

Date: 2012-07-02 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fabricalchemist.livejournal.com
"Tales of the Jazz Age"? I figured it would be a good way to get into his writing, but I haven't got to it yet. Super immersed in the delicious "Silver Blade" and loads of graphic novels, goin back for more after laundry today.

Seriously, we have anywhere from 30-60 books checked out at any given time. It gets complicated remembering who's read what and what, therefore, needs to go in the return bag.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-28 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosaleeluann.livejournal.com
I AM ALSO HAVING A HARD TIME PICKING UP NEW BOOKS. Its just so hard to trust new ones. Sometimes its easier to trust an old one. Which is what I did--I just finished re-reading The Curse of Chalion. It was so good--again! You need to read it! It was so awesome! And then I found myself in a LMB mood so I grabbed the only other book by her that I own with is Komarr which isn't exactly what I'm in the mood for but it almost is so I'm continuing with it.

Not that that is important.

And I'm glad you're writing this because I knew I liked some "science fiction-y" type stuff that was sometimes called "space opera" but wasn't sure about what all that meant. And stuff. Actually I think the Miles books are the only science fiction-y (I mean space opera) books that I like that come to mind. So I'm glad you'll be clearing this up for me hopefully? Because I've been wondering about that. And also why Science Fiction and Fantasy are lumped together but are also distinctly different, whats that all about?

I am most definitely rambling.

So I shall just read your thingy that you wrote. Yes.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-06-28 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jade-sabre-301.livejournal.com
SO HARD because I've been burned by what's popular and people are trying to be edgy or twisty at the expense of telling a good, well-written story. I REALLY need to get my hands on Curse of Chalion--Quark quoted tons of the beginning of it to me and then somehow it never got into my hands. :( The only one of the Vorkosgian books I've read is the bundle of the first two--Cordelia's Honor and another one? And I had serious issues with Cordelia's...I don't remember what all it was, but the whole way in which she chose to have a child. The whole attitude towards it/the way it was treated in the book bothered me (I don't remember what exactly it was, but I remember feeling like it seriously violated my personal morals to the point where I was extremely morally opposed to her actions and didn't really like her because she was being selfish and evil. Or something), so it's been hard for me to go for any of the other books. But maybe the later books avoid this troubling issue!

Also, science fiction or sci-fi vs. fantasy is NOT THE SUBJECT OF THESE POSTS, and I only say that in all caps because you've already got me brainstorming about how to address that issue as well. :-b

(no subject)

Date: 2012-07-01 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] keestone.livejournal.com
Okay, I'm just finding these posts because BusyBusyNoTimeToReadFLIST, so I'm going to read through and see how much agreeing and/or ranting/pontificating and recs I'll end up with by the end. :)

But, just to say at the beginning . . . Space Opera is still Science Fiction, it's just a particular sub-category of the genre (that often gets paired with Military Sci-Fi, which I tend to be less than fond of). There are lots of sub-genres in the Science Fiction and Fantasy continuum. It's a big and varied genre.
Edited Date: 2012-07-01 01:25 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2012-07-01 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jade-sabre-301.livejournal.com
oh man I knew someone who knew a lot more about this than I would would come jumping in and be like YOU ARE WRONG. /settles back for the reading

I will grant your point about Space Opera being a sub-genre (and I'm sure you noticed that I got to the military sci-fi)--I was trying to do some differentiating with labels for the sake of "well, what are you actually reading?" And now I would like to do some fun playing around with calling the hardcore stuff "science fiction" and the softcore stuff "sci-fi" and wondering how much of what's out there now is even just "syfy" but I suspect there's some inherent snobbery in those labels. :-b

(no subject)

Date: 2012-07-01 11:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] keestone.livejournal.com
Oh hai! Apparently I wasn't signed in and just replied as anonymous. :/

(and I can't spell)
Edited Date: 2012-07-01 11:42 pm (UTC)

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