Muse by Craig Ranapia

Read Post

Muse: Monday Linky Love (With Added Geekery)

56 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

  • DeepRed, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Hell, yes. That's falling into the genre snob trap of "Well, X. (which I happen to like) isn't really genre fiction because..."

    Something to the effect of, "X perverted the whole genre for us."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And props to Michael Chabon who is adamant that he does write Genre Fiction.

    JEWS WITH SWORDS! :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    JEWS WITH SWORDS!:)

    A genre of one is still a genre, right?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to James Butler,

    I find it marginally more engaging that an Austrian with terrifying steroid-nourished man-boobs, but YMMV. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    …they’re not “really” writing genre fiction but allegories for things worthy of the attention of grown-ups.

    Yeah, a similar approach is used by some to try and “excuse” 1984 from being classed as science fiction.

    Anyway, in other news, there are reports that Tim Hetherington, one of the directors of Restrepo, on at the World Cinema Showcase currently screening in NZ, has been killed in Libya.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1122 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Steve Parks,

    Yeah, a similar approach is used by some to try and “excuse” 1984 from being classed as science fiction.

    That is, if it can even be classified as fiction these days.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to DeepRed,

    if it can even be classified as fiction these days

    I understood it was thinly-disguised satire and that the title was originally 1948 but it was thought a bit too close to home.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Steve Parks,

    there are reports that Tim Hetherington, one of the directors of Restrepo, on at the World Cinema Showcase currently screening in NZ, has been killed in Libya.

    I got a nasty little jolt when I read that this morning.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2291 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Sacha,

    I understood it was thinly-disguised satire and that the title was originally 1948 but it was thought a bit too close to home.

    Thinly disguised satire of Stalinism, yes. As for the name, that’s one suggestion, by Anthony Burgess apparently. As far as I know, it was always intended to be set in the future, after a nuclear war, and featuring technology that wouldn’t have been available at the time the book was written.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1122 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Steve Parks,

    As far as I know, it was always intended to be set in the future, after a nuclear war, and featuring technology that wouldn’t have been available at the time the book was written.

    It's said that Orwell invented cyberpunk, and Gibson merely perfected it - mileage may vary. At the very least, Orwell laid the groundwork for the genre.

    And perhaps the best adaptation of 1984 that isn't actually 1984...

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Steve Parks,

    As far as I know, it was always intended to be set in the future, after a nuclear war, and featuring technology that wouldn’t have been available at the time the book was written.

    That's kind of the fascinating thing about SF, though; it can feature medieval-level technology and still be firmly SF-nal. I'd argue it's the *future* bit that makes 1984 SF. Everything else is just sort of window-dressing.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    Maybe. I agree that changes in the level of science or technology don’t have to be advances, necessarily. But in this case, the point of the argument that it isn’t SF seems to be that the future setting itself is just window-dressing. That is, it isn’t about the future at all – that’s just a way to distance his story from being ‘a bit too close to home’ as Sacha put it. I think that’s doubtful. It wasn’t set in the future at a whim. If it had been set contemporaneously he would have had to change a lot of the story – in the 1940s people wouldn’t be spying on each other through a ubiquitous transceiving television system. So the future setting and technological changes go hand in hand. There are other ways to argue for its SF status (social science fiction, dystopia) but for me the technological change is the clincher.

    Not that it’s a very good story anyway. Brazil is better.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1122 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Steve Parks,

    not that it’s a very good story anyway. Brazil is better.

    Which is why everyone knows “Brazil’ eh?

    Right?

    Urm, not?
    Good. It was fuckin' forgettable frass-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    That’s a bit harsh.
    I suspect Steve’s comment about “better story” may not have been entirely serious – but it really depends on what kind of “story” you’re expecting. If you want a conventional plot, sure, you’ll probably find Brazil disappointing.
    Brazil relies on images rather than words, and it mixes dream with reality to such an extent that the storyline is obscured and conventional narrative dives out the window – but (i) that rather goes with the visual medium, and (ii) the possible victory of dream over reality (even while fully acknowledging the bleakness of that reality) is the film’s entire point. There are clear parallels (both conclude with the hero having been broken by the state) but Brazil ’s message is ultimately more optimistic, and more nuanced, than 1984 ’s. And, in that sense, it could indeed be called a “better story”.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 808 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    (even while fully acknowledging the bleakness of that reality)

    … and also, simultaneously, acknowledging the insubstantiality and uncertainty of a “dream” victory, with the ambiguity of the final lines.
    It’s not a tidy conclusion at all, but it’s one that’s niggled away at me more than 1984 ’s did.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 808 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to linger,

    Islander, I wasn’t commenting on the popularity of Brazil (although it seems fairly well known and generally well regarded). Neither would I deny the cultural resonance that 1984 has achieved (although only a very small faction of people who use terms like ‘Big Brother’ would have actually read the book).

    I suspect Steve’s comment about “better story” may not have been entirely serious – but it really depends on what kind of “story” you’re expecting.

    I was being a bit glib with ‘story’ yeah. If I were to expand I would have explained why I found Brazil to be more effective cinema than 1984 is literature. But you’ve done that excellently, better than I would have. So I’ll just go and have another cup of coffee instead.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Parks,

    (although only a very small faction of people who use terms like ‘Big Brother’ would have actually read the book).

    Perhaps more than you think, though. I'm not sure how long it lasted, but, along with Brave New World, 1984 was a common text in 6th form English study when I was at school.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    And I can confirm, for the record, that Game of Thrones is awesome.

    Watched it last night, haven't read the books, not so impressed. Thought the second half was a fairly incoherent series of rutting scenes (our sons were a bit embarrassed by it). Oh well ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Steve Parks,

    it isn’t about the future at all – that’s just a way to distance his story from being ‘a bit too close to home’

    A standard literary device for centuries - often easier for an audience to hear about their culture if the tale is painted as being about somewhere else.

    1930s and 40s Europe taught a lot about extremes of human nature and Orwell was a talented observer and analyst of it. Like Shakespeare, that basic insightfulness resonates across time and cultures whether it's dressed up as a tale about kings in a far-flung land or about folk in a time that strangely resembles home.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15711 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Roger Ebert hits the highway to Fogey Town in Does anyone want to be "well-read?"-- but, thankfully, takes the by-pass and ends up with a rather sweet reflection on reading by inclination

    I think the last thing you could accuse Ebert of being is a "fogey"- while some have laid into him for not considering computer games "art", he's long been a prosyltiser for online communication (as far as back as the early 90s in fact), and few reviewers have remained on top of the prevailing trends in cinema as he has. For all his flaws, he's still arguably the art of movie making's greatest diplomat. In a way that linked blog is merely a continuation of one of his most common musings- how do we consume information, and how does it affect how we form our opinions?

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 434 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Perhaps more than you think, though. I'm not sure how long it lasted, but, along with Brave New World, 1984 was a common text in 6th form English study when I was at school.

    It was for me too, and I think it still is. As for its sci-fi credentials, I'm with Anthony Burgess in that it makes a lot more sense if you view it through the prism of 1948 and the social upheaval and pervailing austerity of the era--although much great sci-fi probably is rooted in the present-day neuroses in some form. Me, I just find it more hilarious when Liberterians and Randians invoke Orwell or try to "rehabilitate" him as some proto-cold warrior. Clearly they didn't read any of other novels, essays, short stories other than 1984...or anything beyond that novel's first chapter.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 434 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Littlewood,

    As for its sci-fi credentials, I'm with Anthony Burgess in that it makes a lot more sense if you view it through the prism of 1948 and the social upheaval and pervailing austerity of the era--although much great sci-fi probably is rooted in the present-day neuroses in some form.

    I'm not sure you can call 1984 sci-fi, but I think it certainly relates to British speculative fiction's rich tradition of dystopia.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17938 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm not sure you can call 1984 sci-fi, but I think it certainly relates to British speculative fiction's rich tradition of dystopia.

    Yeah, that's true- Ballard and Burgess were of course, the two authors who took up the mantle most assiduously in his wake- although I dare say Orwell couldn't've conceived an entire novel revoling around a man getting literally trapped in an traffic island beneath an underpass, as Ballard did! ( Concrete Island, a novel so-deadpan in its execution it's utterly terrifying.).

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 434 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thought the second half was a fairly incoherent series of rutting scenes (our sons were a bit embarrassed by it). Oh well ...

    So's The Tudors when you get down to brass tacks. :) I'm wondering if the real problem (if it is a problem) with Game of Thrones is that HBO has made a ten hour movie, not heavily-serialised episodic television. Will be interested to see how many people will make that kind of investment.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11614 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Sacha,

    A standard literary device for centuries - often easier for an audience to hear about their culture if the tale is painted as being about somewhere else.

    Yes, although I think that part of the point Craig was making here was that this allegorical or satirical aspect shouldn’t be used to defensively deny that such and such a piece of work is not really "genre", or fantastical or what have you. Gulliver’s Travels is satire, but it’s also fantasy.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1122 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.