February 1st, 2008


[links] Link salad for a Friday

End of the Holocene? — Somewhat poetic, somewhat scary.

Kidney racketeering in India — A follow up on the recent thread about organ donation.

Livingstones — :: wants ::

That intact Titan missile base is up on eBay again — (Thanks to sheelangig.)

Navy test-fires rail gun — Results

Blowback from the GOP's Holy War — Juan Cole on Republicans, Islam and the law of unintended consequences. As Cole points out with respect to the term "Islamofascism", fascism is a European creation, not something out of the Arab world, yet we don't talk about "Christofascism", even with respect to Christian Identity and Dominionism.

[culture] Cultural referents r us

Cultural referents strike again! Based on an IM session today:

Poll #1131576 Gaslighting

Are you familiar with the verb "to gaslight", as in, "Joey's been gaslighting his girlfriend all month"?

That's a sexual reference, isn't it?
Of course I am, and I even know where the term comes from.
Quit making shit up, Lake, and write another story.

[fiction] Friday Flash — "Passive Voices"

Passive Voices

by Jay Lake

Mistakes were made. It was said that someone had been selfish, unthinking, greedy. Some people claim it was everyone's fault. Everyone knows it was someone's fault. Avoiding the issue has become the last, great sport of the human race.

The weather used to be good. It was talked about all the time, but nothing was ever done. Once upon a time that was a joke, until the skies began to kill. They withheld rain, they poured down searing sunlight, they killed through drought and fire and burn.

It wasn't always like this. There used to be green trees, between which an SUV could be driven on a Sunday afternoon until the leaves flickered by like a colorwheel on the brink of madness. There used to be golden fields of grain, over which an airplane could be flown while they were looked down upon like the glyphs of a great national written in triticale. There used to be clear-flowing rivers, on which mighty powerboats could be driven in a thrilling spray of mist while bikinis were worn (and removed) in foredeck play.

If only there had been some way to know what would happen next. If only someone could have expected the future. If only someone with a voice in radio had told the truth. If only someone in politics had looked past the next election.

Now everything belongs to the heat. Mistakes were made. Too bad no one was ever responsible.

◊ ◊ ◊

© 2008, Joseph E. Lake Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

[writing] About them there genres

So I was given this list of genres and sub-genres and asked to identify my short fiction corpus according to the parameters of the list. It was sort of whacky. Which led me to wonder what a relatively accurate list of genres and sub-genres in our field would look like. I fully realize this question is akin to sticking my hand in the blender to learn how sausage is made, but nonetheless, it's Friday night in Omaha and I have an hour or two before crashing out in this here hotel room.

So here's a crack. Hideously incomplete no doubt, but I encourage both serious commentary and a whale of a snarkfest. Not to mention suggested improvements.

(Note this post is being edited on a rolling basis in response to comments.)

Gothic Romance
  • Protogenre — Weiland, Manuscript Found in Saragossa

  • Promethean — Frankenstein

  • Tartarean — Dracula

  • Pre-Tolkien — Worm Ouroboros, Well at the World's End

  • Mid-Century — Gormenghast

  • Tolkein — The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings

  • Neo-Tolkein — Sword of Shannara

  • Post-Tolkein — A Game of Thrones

  • High — Tigana

  • Epic or Quest — The Dragonbone Chair

  • Dark — Pillars of the World

  • Romantic — Princess Bride

  • Humorous — Discworld

  • Urban — The Etched City

  • Literary — A Shadow in Summer

  • Contemporary — The Lovely Bones

  • Weird — Conan, Jirel of Joiry

  • Fetish — Slave Girl of Gor

  • Postapocalyptic — Hiero's Journey

  • Fairy Tale — Wizard of Oz, The Last Unicorn

  • Middle American — Something Wicked This Way Comes

  • Anthropomorphic — Watership Down, Redwall

  • Urban Faerie — War for the Oaks, Moonheart

  • Academic — Fool on the Hill, Tam Lin

Science Fiction
  • Early Modern — From the Earth to the Moon

  • Golden Age — The Skylark of Space

  • Silver Age — Foundation

  • New Wave — Lord of Light

  • First Wave Feminism — The Female Man

  • Humanist — The Left Hand of Darkness

  • Literary — Shadow of the Torturer

  • Cyberpunk — Neuromancer

  • Space Opera — The Mote in God's Eye

  • New [British] Space Opera — The Reality Dysfunction

  • New [American] Space Opera — Honor Harrington

  • New Weird — Perdido Street Station

  • Slipstream — The Physiognomy

  • Time Travel — The Time Traveler's Wife

  • Alternate History — The Guns of the South

  • Contemporary —

  • Outsider — Valis

  • Hard — The Star Dragon

  • Soft — The Martian Chronicles

  • Bio — The Helix and the Sword

  • Linguistic — Native Tongue

  • Epic — Dune

  • Transhumanist — Accelerando

  • Postapocalyptic — A Canticle for Leibowitz

  • Utopian — The Dispossessed, 1984

  • Prescriptive Political — Double Star, The Handmaid's TaleMilitaria — A Hymn Before Battle

  • Gedankenexperiment — The Machine Stops