Log in

No account? Create an account
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-06-21 05:26
Subject: [links] Link salad stabs with its steely knives
Security: Public
Tags:art, books, christianism, conventions, funny, guns, links, personal, politics, process, publishing, race, religion, science, sex, videos, weird
I am at the top of the City of Milwaukie web page — Local hero?

The Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop: A Founder’s Perspective

But, but, but — WHY does magic have to make sense? — N.K. Jemisin makes sense. My first reaction to her essay was "b-b-b-but…" My second reaction was, "Duh, she's talking to me, Mr. Forest-for-the-Trees". Darn it, now I have to go think. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

he Incredible Resilience of Books — Books will not go away, no matter what happens to publishing. (Thanks to [info]tillyjane.)

Pulp Sci Fi — ZOMG! SF movies reimagined as classic pulp covers. (Via @jeremiahtolbert.)

The Avengers Intro - Firefly Style — Haha. Magnum geekery here. (Snurched from Lisa Costello.)

‘Star Trek: TNG’: Jonathan Frakes light years past ‘Farpoint’

Huge Moon Crater's Water Ice Supply Revealed

Police: Man claims leprechauns beat him up for dancing — (Via [info]danjite.)

This is how you beat the Tea Party — A very clever video about framing in a local election over library funding. (Via David Goldman.)

Stop trying to convert meReligion is a private thing, kind of like masturbation. And what happens if you masturbate in public? Heh.

The NPH and why evangelical Millennials can’t trust their elders — Shorter version of this post: Gays are people, too, Christian conservative leaders have been lying their asses off for the past generation about that, and the lies are becoming too obvious.

Candy canes and the manufacture of evangelical resentment — Ah, the self-valorization of the allegedly persecuted Christian. I have a number of otherwise perfectly reasonable Christian friends who honestly believe they are being persecuted in today's America. It's a bizarre narrative, to say the least, when viewed from outside their lens. Apparently none of them have ever asked any Muslim, Jew or atheist about who's persecuting whom.

Why I Gave Up On Being a Republican — What this writer does not acknowledge is the role that he and many other Republican moderates played in enabling the overwhelming growth of Republican extremism. That same Reagan Republicanism he laments was founded on the votes of bigots and extremists deliberately and cynically cultivated as useful idiots by GOP strategists like Atwater and Ailes, who never dreamed their pet lunatics would wind up running the asylum. I don't have much sympathy for woe-is-me conservatives who wake up today and wonder what happened to their party, given how clearly visible this trend has been since the 1980s, happily supported by those same conservatives when all it meant was trolling for votes. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Joe the Plumber Claims Holocaust Happened Because of German Gun Control — Shorter version of this post: Conservatives are revisionist idiots.

Obama's America: Transcending WhitenessAlthough conservatives are adept at the language of national unity, many of them ignore inclusion, and even speak in an explicitly exclusionary way. The "we" the Tea Party speaks of, for instance, is carefully defined to exclude as much as include. White anxiety--the negative reaction to our increasing diversity--is one of the main drivers of support for Tea Party conservatism. It is thus a primary obstacle to increasing support for an inclusive national unity, as Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson argue in their recent groundbreaking book The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Reducing white anxiety must then become a priority, not only for progressives, but for anyone interested in this country's future. This is where I tend to fail as a progressive and as a compassionate human being. My response to this kind of white anxiety, which pretty much is the conservative movement these days, is disgust. I want to denounce the arrant bigotry and dismiss these people as ignorant and foolish. That is neither constructive nor accurate, but I have to work pretty hard to try to get past the impulse, and often fail.

?otD: Can you kill the beast?

Writing time yesterday: 2.25 hours (work on outlines of Going to Extremes and Other Me, copy edits on Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 5.75 (solid)
Weight: 239.2
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

Post A Comment | 8 Comments | | Flag | Link

Jim Hetley
User: jhetley
Date: 2012-06-21 12:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The Holocaust happened because enough Germans wanted it to happen.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: jordan179
Date: 2012-06-21 14:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
(link removed to avoid spam filter)

If the magic in one's story does not "make sense" at least in terms of internal consistency

(look up "Magic A is Magic A on TV tropes)

then one is undercutting one's own verisimilitude. This is particularly-bad if there is something obvious that the characters could do given the displaed capabilities of the magic in one's world, which nobody is doing, and which no in-universe reason exists not to do.

The classic example of this would be a world in which, say, every lord has a court wizard who can fly over or push down walls, and yet every lord lives in an expensively-built medieval castle complete with high vertical walls. Bonus verisimilitude destruction points if this becomes a major plot point, in that the brilliant protagonist defeats the foe by realizing that he could use magic to defeat the enemy's walls.

One can, of course, imagine low-order reality "dream worlds" in which "wishing will make it so," and this can work too (note Lovecraft's Dreamlands), provided that the writer has a good idea of the methods and limits of such "wishing." The Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath would not have worked as a story if Randolph Carter could have simply wished for anything, anytime he wanted: he just would have wished himself into his dream-city on the first page, end of story (and if he didn't, then the reader would be wondering "why?"

Instead, notice what Lovecraft did. He established that ony an "experienced" dreamer could consciously get what he wanted, and that these were mostly rather mundane things from the POV of the Dreamlands: it was an exceptional and unique thing that Carter had managed to find a whole city and that, in fact drove the whole plot because it was seducing the Gods of Earth away from the rest of the Dreamlands. Because Carter could mostly only dream the convenient appearance of things like riding-beasts and clothing and stuff like that, he had to embark on a quest to find his city.

All stories with magic will have an implicit magic system, even if the rules are never spelled out. To take classic European fairy tales, the usual reason why "wicked witches" are able to do magic is implicitly because they have sold their souls to the Devil. We often miss this because we do not share the world-view in which those stories were first created, told or even written down (the Brothers Grimm may not have believed in effective diabolism; but their peasant informants probably did).

If one violates the implict magic system one has established, the readers will notice this. Humans are good at pattern-seeking and we tend to notice when a pattern is broken. We feel a sense of "wrongness" when a pattern is broken, and this sense of wrongness will destroy the story.

This is why magic in fantasy has tended to evolve toward a more logical presentation. This is true even if (especially if) the system of magic doesn't correspond all that well with real physical laws. For instance, in Tolkien's Middle-earth reality responds to chanting and singing because it was sung into being at the Creation. Our world wasn't, but his was, and thus it makes perfect sense that more singing can change it.

There are of course subtle logical inconsistencies here, but verisimilitude can survive subtle illogics. It can't survive a complete lack of concern for internal consistency. And neither can the stories which stand upon it.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: rekre8
Date: 2012-06-21 15:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Like jordan179, I have to argue with the magic post because for the plotline, for respect of your readers, internal consistency *has* to be there. Otherwise, if our character does magic that could solve a problem on page 250 as a major plot point, why did said character not do something on page 5 and the climax never happened? Spoils a lot of stories, that does.

Deus ex machina in a book drives me up the wall for the same reason.
Reply | Thread | Link

wyld_dandelyon: a wizard writing
User: wyld_dandelyon
Date: 2012-06-22 04:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:a wizard writing
There is a difference between maintaining internal consistency and squashing mystery and wonder into (basically) min-max game mechanics. I find min-max game mechanics boring even while playing RPGs; I want a higher standard of storytelling in my fantasy.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link

User: shelly_rae
Date: 2012-06-21 16:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm not checking into any hotel named California. Also, I always name any horse I ride--even in the desert.
Reply | Thread | Link

User: ulfhirtha
Date: 2012-06-21 23:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
A good mix, as usual.

Frakes raised my opinion of him considerably at a convention during ST:TNG's run when someone asked him if he was going to leave the show before its run was over (perhaps for films or some such). His response ? "Do I look stupid to you?" Good man ;-)
Reply | Thread | Link

wyld_dandelyon: a wizard writing
User: wyld_dandelyon
Date: 2012-06-22 04:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:a wizard writing
The Book Burning Party Party! What a wonderful story.

Reply | Thread | Link

User: mmegaera
Date: 2012-06-23 04:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Religion is a private thing, kind of like masturbation. And what happens if you masturbate in public?

This. Is. Brilliant.
Reply | Thread | Link

my journal
January 2014
2012 appearances