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review 2018-11-13 16:23
Non-Sexist Rip-Roaring SF: "The Number of the Beast" by Robert A. Heinlein
The Number of the Beast - Robert A. Heinlein

(Original Review, 1980-08-31)

Robert Heinlein's agent had hoped to get $1 million for his latest novel, "The Number of the Beast." What he had to settle for was half that, and not from his accustomed publisher nor from any of the houses with heavy SF publishing programs. The U.S. book rights went to Fawcett Columbine, and the resulting trade paperback is $6.95 per copy. Is it worth it? Very likely not. It's full of science fiction community in-jokes. Its payoff depends heavily on your being able to recognize not only the bylines, but also the principal characters and personalities of a fair number of other science fiction writers.
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


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review 2018-11-09 12:45
Conveyor Belts: "The Past Through Tomorrow" by Robert A. Heinlein
The Past Through Tomorrow - Robert A. Heinlein,Damon Knight

(Original Review, 1980-10-13)

People have complained about roads as conveyor belts as represented in Heinlein's THE ROADS MUST ROLL as being an inefficient means of transportation because of a number of reasons, some of those being energy efficiency and the problems of handicapped people using them. Instead of building them as a single conveyor belt, how about building them as a variable speed conveyor belt (by this I mean a conveyor belt that at different locations on it can have different speeds).
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


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review 2018-08-25 23:55
Femina lupa feminae: "Nights at the Circus" by Angela Carter
Nights at the Circus - Angela Carter

' "I do think, myself," I added, "that a girl should shoot her own rapists." '

In "Nights at the Circus" by Angela Carter

Then I thought about it from a different angle. This is a novel written by someone who very strongly holds political and social views, for sure, and a novel which reflects those views in its themes and story, but is it really a Political Novel in the didactic/polemic/instructional sense?

I believe a lot of Carter's writing draws on fantasy and horror traditions; I first encountered her writing via a collection of fairy-tales and folklore and coming in that way to her own fiction meant I was completely fine with abusive puppeteers, winged women and panopticons in the tundra.

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2016-11-14 23:18
Wonder Woman (1986-) #9 - George Pérez,Len Wein,George Pérez

This Wonder Woman series is just absolutely amazing.   I'm loving how innocent Diana is, and how she doesn't allow the world to bring her down.   She retains her optimism: when light shines on greed and corruption, she uses her own inner light to banish it all. 


How timely a message!


In this issue, The Cheetah is introduced - or perhaps reintroduced - as a nemesis.   She's strong, sleek, powerful and purely a predator.   She's hunting Diana, both as the Cheetah and in her civilian identity, but in different ways.   The human uses lies to lure in Diana, and when she becomes the Cheetah she literally, physically hunts Wonder Woman down. 


She's a chilling enemy, and yet one that Diana overcomes, as well.   Her time in Boston has come to an end, and although the woman she's been staying with - and her daughter - beg Diana to stay, she must go home to her mother.   As much as she wants to stay, she reminds them all that she has a family of her own. 


It's her time to go, and she does, with souvenirs of her time in man's world.   I"m eager to see where this goes next.  Love, love, love. 

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text 2016-08-10 01:11
Stand by the King, Stand by Your Brother
The Shawshank Redemption - Stephen King
The Body - Robin A.H. Waterfield,Stephen King
The Shining - Stephen King

When I received the incredible opportunity to meet Stephen King, I pondered for days beforehand about what to tell him, what I wanted to share with this man who had shared so much with me through his words.

And then I knew.

But If I were to get the words out in the moment, it had to be a just-us.


My husband went first. Then I stepped forward and King's eyes smiled into mine and held them. I leaned forward, the distance balanced between no one can overhear/this is special and I'm a crazy stalker who is going to bite off your nose. His eyes told me he understood. And then I told him.


I told him that "The Body", the novella that became Stand by Me, helped me, with every reread, with my delayed and complicated grief from my little brother's death. In the obvious ways at first, but, finally, as I aged--


through Chris, as he cried about wanting to go somewhere where no one knew him and start over (unable to shoulder my identity as the Older Bereaved Sister, wanting to drop it)


and as Chris, in the quoted scene below, tells Gordie that he is stuck in his grief, stuck thinking the wrong brother died, stuck in his anger, and that he has some writing to do.

King had looked down while I was explaining, to carefully sign my first edition of The Shining. When I got to that last specific bit, he finished, dropped the pen, and met my eyes again. His eyes were damp.


"I am so very glad," he said, "and so, so very grateful you were able to tell me."


We looked silently at each other for another moment. He slid me my book, and said, "What was his name?"




He nodded as a man does when he mentally puts something in his pocket. "Eric."




The movie came out when I was in high school, still in the middle of it, still trying to figure out the answer to the question about how many siblings I had. The truth--one but he died? Way to bum everyone out, Morticia. None? Betrayal. Just being tasked with that (tasking myself with it) ramped up the grief-anger. Perfect timing. This movie owns a piece of my heart, and I don't want it back.


Gordie: Fuck writing, I don't want to be a writer. It's stupid. It's a stupid waste of time.
Chris: That's your dad talking.
Gordie: Bullshit.
Chris: Bull true. I know how your dad feels about you. He doesn't give a shit about you. Denny was the one he cared about and don't try to tell me different. You're just a kid, Gordie.
Gordie: Oh, gee! Thanks, Dad.
Chris: Wish the hell I was your dad. You wouldn't be goin' around talkin' about takin' these stupid shop courses if I was. It's like God gave you something, man, all those stories you can make up. And He said, "This is what we got for ya, kid. Try not to lose it." Kids lose everything unless there's someone there to look out for them. And if your parents are too fucked up to do it, then maybe I should.




Thank you, sweet, loving Naomi King, for sharing so much of your father with the rest of us weird motley fools and discontents. Please accept this story as a token of gratitude from one Constant Reader, who is a better and healthier person for it.


Impetus: http://wilwheaton.net/2011/03/though-i-hadnt-seen-him-in-over-twenty-years-i-knew-id-miss-him-forever/

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