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Sat, Feb. 3rd, 2007, 11:52 pm
Real life is better staggered between weird fiction. BUT WHICH IS WHICH!?

It was hardly a statue befitting a hero. No fault of ours, thought Jamal, after the installation, it looked fine. Time hadn't been kind to the bronze giant, in fact, it was downright torturous, but in a very witty way. Without the platform beneath his boot, his pose turned from gallant to goofy, and the elements wore down his fierce heavenly gaze into a blank, stupid stare. Perhaps the very substance of the earth itself, normally silent in these matters, were subtly detailing their opinion. Jamal had terrible nightmares about the sky, red in midday, booming with tearing apart into fire and stone over the plaza and--

I had an arguement with a roommate about the comparitive merits of Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein. He maintained that Dick was a terrible misogynist and Heinlein was brilliant and questioning. I argued that Dick, faults aside, wrote very refreshing characters in interesting environments, and that Heinlein had a habit of using his characters and settings to lecture about his fickle and sometimes acidic opinions. He'd mostly read the short stories of both of these authors while I had mostly read the novels. In retrospect, we both could hove gotten more out of that arguement then we could ha--

"Sick." said the madam, and she crashed the automoton on the floor.
"But!" her daughter implored.
"Ill!" follorwed by another crash.
"Robots don't--"
"Disease!" Bam!
Science fiction authors wrote about theoretical computer viruses that could infect humans, the young woman thought helplessly as her mother raged against the confused machine, but how could they have known that, oh! it was the anti-virus software they should have worried over?

How could it be that I've become enough of a nerd that I'm willing to write an ethics paper on a particularly prickly scenario encountered while playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends? Nevermind, perhaps I shouldn't reflect on that while I'm so close to it.

He ducked to move closer to the giant fox-like creature. "I know your real name!"
"Do you, now?" the ancient wonder questioned, her voice as beautiful and powerful as an avalanche.
"Yes, and I know that you'll be bound to any mortal's will that can command that name," the skinny young American opened the weathered book at his chest. "I've researched in libraries lost in sands of glass to find it, swam through my own soul and braved the forest of black pine to find you."
"I'm aware." The creature's knowing smile turned to gentle sadness as the human continued.
He faultered. "Your name, it is Janeth Autumn-Rodes Forever Breaknot?"
She sighed. "I was beside you the whole time, but I could not make you understand that the magic of names is not limited to my kind, but all things. When you name something, or understand its name, you own it in a way, you grasp the very handles of the souls, and that's not something to be treated roughly."
The book droped from his hands, stunned as he understood that his companion was not behind him as she had been, but before him in her true splendor. Before he could speak, she proved her point.
She closed her eyes. "Malcolm Theodore Creigwright, go get me a sandwich."
His eyes downcast, he shuffled into the kitchen that hadn't been there before. As he rifled through the fridge for the sprouts, the kitsune wept for the first time in hundreds of years.

Sun, Feb. 4th, 2007 09:53 am (UTC)

Robert A. Heinlein is a militaristic, neofascist hack and his name shall not be mentioned in my presence except as a subject of derision. So there's that.

Also, excellent treatment of the classic "bitch get me a sandwich" scenario.

Sun, Feb. 4th, 2007 10:50 am (UTC)

I've never read Starship Troopers, which I can only assume you've experienced based upon what others have said about it, but those themes seem like they would come into conflict with his anti-authoritarian and self-determinism novel-long rants bents found elsewhere. He had black lead characters in the late 1950s, and other such rockin' in-your-face social subject matter for the times, so I can't hate the old bastard, but I've got my disagrements with a few of his ideas, or maybe just the ways he presented them.

circuit_four got me thinking about all that again.

Come to think of it, a lot of sci-fi authors tend to have those super-elite characters, those Neitchzean supermen types. Well, not always that far, but they're always the absolute very bestest in at least three skills, and their flaws are normally dramatic in nature. Arthur C. Clarke had a lot of those, as did most of that second generation writers. I wonder what was going on with that. Strange, because that kind of ideal is out of reach for the stereotypical fan of science fiction. It's a wonder more of them didn't end up with terrible complexes as they tried to absorb those impossible models when they're younger. Maybe that's exactly what happened and I didn't put it together until just now. Maybe.

She understands that the magic of names can slow the pulse of spirit, and therefore hamper love. This is why you see so many loveless old couples: mortals don't ususally understand how dangerous it can be. She weeps because he still has much to learn, and teacher and a student can't much else other until the teacher can no longer teach the student. Loneliness is heavy even if you have many tails.

Sun, Feb. 4th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)

Well, admittedly I take exception to the use of "Nietzschean" as a negative: I've always been a big fan of Nietszche, myself. Actually, the whole "ubermensch" thing was only a very minor theme in Thus Spoke Zarasthustra: it was mainly to show what average people's most likely reaction to your wonderful, earthshaking ideas would be, regardless of their specific validity. If Nietszche's work had any overarching theme, I'd say it's an endorsement of independent thought: however much society and it's various instruments try to drag you down, you have to just keep going at it, for your own identity if nothing else.

Actually, considering the massive criticisms of state authority present throughout his works, I guess you could call Nietszche one of the preeminent anarchist philosophers.

Mon, Feb. 5th, 2007 09:27 am (UTC)

Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm cool with Nietszche, but the ubermensch thing did originate with him. In and of itself, it isn't that big of a deal, but boy howdy have others done interesting things with it. Both Ayn Rand and the Nazi party were inspired by those ideas, although to different ends and, well, they both understood it in their own ways, as do a lot of people these days.

Sun, Feb. 4th, 2007 10:52 am (UTC)

Dang, my comment is almost as long as the post! What's going on with that?

Mon, Feb. 5th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)

"Malcolm Theodore Creigwright, go get me a sandwich."

I'm stealing this and making it immortal somewhere.

Mon, Feb. 5th, 2007 09:29 am (UTC)

Surely you are familiar with this magic: all human childrens' parents have an innate understanding of it. The kitsune is much older, and thus her grasp of magic is much, much stronger than our mothers or fathers.

Mon, Feb. 5th, 2007 08:41 am (UTC)

I don't see an awful lot of misogyny in Dick. Rather, he struck me as a bit of a pathetic character when it came to the female sex; not really able to relate to the ex-hippie burn-out generation of women his own age, and forever worshipping 18 year olds because of that.

Feminism and sci-fi actually make for good bedfellows. I'd like to read more feminist work, though I haven't even got around to Ursula K. LeGuin yet (I keep /starting/ one of her books, only to forget about it... argh).

Mon, Feb. 5th, 2007 09:35 am (UTC)

I can get behind that assessment. Rather, I think you are grasping at an aspect of the truth. Regardless, my roommate believes extremely strongly that Dick was a misogynist, and there's going to be no convincing otherwise.

It seems like feminism and science fiction should get along, but early and second generation sci-fi was very patriarchial and male-centric. It's hard to escape your roots, and the authors are mostly guilty of writing what they know. Should be that in sci-fi, that's a venial sin: the good author should always learn a little more than what he knows and write about that. ;]

Thu, Feb. 8th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC)
acertaindoebear: from the World-is-the-Word-for-Paper-Dept.

Every writer, every book I guess as well, has connotations and evoked feelings for me.

Heinlein is great for a pick me up. He strikes me as this guy who genuinely cares about us and this whole wonnerful mess we are in (what Zorba the Greek calls "life, the whole catastrophe") and who figured out how to work his way into a position where he could help the maximum amount of critters with his views. As he got older, I think he got more into a metaphysical state of being with his novels, which fits in greatly with my way of being. And his ideas still continue to influence, which is what any writer hopes for.

My first encounter with Dick was in school, before I ever knew about the concepts of Genre, when we read "The Electric Ant" and I thought that was such a trippy story. Then, I went through my angsty stage when I would pick his stuff up as something 'Important' to groove through the darkness with (The Form Destroyer is still up there on my 'Most Depressing Book' list). Now, I look at his stuff like that of an old friend, whose writing is inconstant in quality, but vibrantly, passionately creative.

And as for Kitsunes...that which one does not know about one shall remain silent enough is good enough for me *waggles eyebrows*

Thu, Feb. 8th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)

"How could it be that I've become enough of a nerd that I'm willing to write an ethics paper on a particularly prickly scenario encountered while playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends? "

You already did, in a sense...even though that Dungeons and Dragons campaign only occured in a dream. Which reminds me, are you still willing to see if that becomes reality?