May. 1st, 2017


May. 1st, 2017 09:07 am
dmilewski: (Default)
The garden is definitely growing. Well, the weeds are growing. I filled on trash can full of future mulching, and went onto a second with only 30 mins of work, most of that coming out of the blueberry beds. Meanwhile, the blueberries are coming along nicely. We need to net them, so I'll need to pound in some stakes soon.

I made pancakes with weekend using yeast instead of baking powder. That was fun. My liquid to solid ration was a bit off, so they didn't fluff quite as expected. I also had to do some mad substituting because we were short on supplies. Even so, they were still a success. The bread this week is honey wheat. It came out a bit moist, so I think that I didn't have the oven warm enough.

I tacked my boot problem with Linux on my new PC. Turns out that funny things happen with UEFI. While Windows 10 plays well, my Linux didn't. Once I got Ubuntu in on UEFI mode, I was finally able to set 17.04 as my default OS.

I'm back to working on my long dormant list of 70's writers. Now I'm using web-scraping technology to help me along. Over the last few days, I've been entering my author list into a spreadsheet. My first goal will be to download book lists, then download web pages, and then develop an offline engine to distill all that data.

I wrapped up Tanith Lee's Silver Metal Lover. Review soon. Really that good. Now I'm onto Damia by Anne McCaffrey.

Hitting the used book store, I located an early Cherryh, the first of McCaffrey's Acorna series, and three Freedom's Landings, giving me the whole set. My McCaffrey backlog is now rather long.
dmilewski: (Default)
I've heard and seen this said. "I just don't see McCaffrey and Romance." Well, it's there if you look for it. The early Pern novels had it more than the later Pern, while her non-Pern series often had elements. I haven't reread everything yet, so I can only mark what I've read or remember. In general, the romance arc goes like this: people find each other, eventually they get it on, then get pulled apart, then get back together better than before, this time for real and without caveats. If the romance isn't the A plot, it's the B plot, or otherwise in there.

Dragonflight - Lessa is carried away by a handsome dragon rider at the end of the first section. Section two, are they together or not. By the end of section three, they're together.

Dragonquest - Much of the story concerns the romance of F'nor and Brekke. F'nor and Brekke get together, Brekke loses her dragon, F'nor stands by her and eventually wins her back from sorrow.

The White Dragon - Halfway through, Jaxom gets sick, falls in love with his nurse, their isolation gets interrupted, she gets kidapped by her brother, he rescues her, and they declare their love. The setup is just about as stock romance as you can get.

The Ship Who Sang - Liberated female ship and many live-in boyfriends. (Really, it's just that blatant.)

The Rowan - Based on her romance SF short story.
Damia - Based on her romance SF short story.

Powers That Be - Woman + seal guy romance. Love making in a natural hot tub behind a waterfall.

Acorna - Based on her romance short story.

Restoree - Flat out romance.
The Coelura - Flat out romance.

No One Noticed the Cat - A kid-friendly romance.
dmilewski: (Default)
This book has no reason being this good. Tanith Lee's The Silver Metal Lover (1981) should have been a train wreck of a book, a totally misconceived notion with no possibility as working. As a teenager, I passed up this book many times, the subject matter looking uninteresting to me. In a way, I was right, because at that age, this book would have been beyond me. Now, however, she riveted me from beginning to end.

The story is almost entirely interpersonal, a romance, not of the modern romance arc, where the happily part is mandatory, but more like the romance of previous decades, where an entire arc of a tragic relationship would be followed. That doesn't mean that the ending isn't satisfying, it just means that the ending gives us closure in a different way than the happily ever after.

I felt particularly riveted by the first person prose style, which drops us solidly into the character's idiosyncratic point of view and kept us there, through all her changes, both internal and external. Jane is a spoiled rich brat, but not really, still capable of growth beyond herself. Her friends are varied and almost mythic in their portrayal, some more obviously than others.

The world most resembles that of Blade Runner, which hearkens back to Metropolis, with the absurdly rich living high up, and everyone else living low down, where the rich simply can't comprehend the everyone else part. In particular, the rich's fear of violence is out of proportion to the actual dangers of the world. This resemblance is reinforced with Silver, the robot that Jane loves, and the story's examination of what a robot lover means. How human are they? Is a human's love for a robot real? Given the imminent production of real sex-bots, the question is of even more importance today.

You won't find any shooting or starships in this SF novel. The fate of the world isn't at stake. In fact, the fate of nothing is at stake, except for that of Jane and her lover. 

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