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Search tags: space-opera
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text 2018-04-20 06:17
Reading progress update: I've read 105 out of 268 pages.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

No matter how mad, bad, and dangerous a civilization gets, unto every generation are born the lonely and the uncool, destined to forever stare into the candystore window of their culture, and loneliness is the mother of ascension. Only the uncool have the requisite alone time to advance their species.

 

This is beautiful. Btw, I´ve been one of the uncool kids. I didn´t try to advance our species, though, but still. I love how the uncool kids get recognition.

 

And so it was that, eventually, between drawing meatship schematics in the dirt and dreaming of a world where she didn´t hate literally everyone, the shiest and most sensitive of Yurtmaks began to plan the most ambitious massacre in the history of the galaxy: the murder of stupidity.

 

I like the idea behind this plan. It´s going to be difficult to achive this (and I might not be okay with the inevitable bloodshed), but good luck with it.

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text 2018-04-19 22:43
Reading progress update: I've read 12%. - remember Bowie's Starman who'd like to come and meet us but he thinks he'd blow our minds? Well, I just met him and he was right
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

I'm three chapters into this book and I'm blown away. The style makes hyperbole seem like restrained understatement. This book is so extrovert it makes my head hurt.

 

Take "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" then double the speed and triple the volume. Replace the urbanity of "Don't Panic" with the existential bluntness of "Life is beautiful. And life is stupid." Then use four decades of contextually dense pop-culture references as rebar to allow the concrete of your narrative structure to rise rapidly from nothing to mind-blowing complexity that is almost disturbingly easy to grasp - like Wile E Coyote, you can run with these ideas as long as you don't look down.

 

So, what are the ideas? Well

"Life is beautiful. And life is stupid."

The stupid part means that sentient races fall into galactic war because we races are hardwired to ask:

 

Which of us are people and which of us are meat?

 

Once you decide that you are people and they are meat, attention turns, not to living in peace but to whether you:

 

"eat, enslave, shun, keep them as pets, or cleanly andquietly exterminate them all. "

 A century after having ended the Sentience Wars, all races are agreed that this can never be allowed to happen again. Cue the invasion of Earth at this point.

 

Meanwhile, the focus is definitely on the personal, even if the person focused on is a burnt out ex-global rock star who is now decades away from mega-fame and has just had his third solo album fail.

 

Why the focus of on one person? Because:

 

"The story of the galaxy is the story of a single person in it. A cover version, overproduced, remastered, with the volume cranked up way past eleven and into the infinite."

 

This is the kind of book I want to read in one sitting but can't because:

 

1. My head would explode

2. I keep having to stop to take notes.

3. I don't want this ride to end.

 

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text 2018-04-19 17:16
Reading progress update: I've read 41 out of 268 pages.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

"[...] I don´t even know why you would bring up the Internet. The xeno-intelligence officer responsible for evaluating your digital communication required invasive emergency therapy after an hour´s exposure. One glance at that thing is the strongest argument possible against the sentience of humanity. I wouldn´t draw attention to it, if I were you. [...]"

 

First off, I would say the xeno-intelligence officer doesn´t know which sites to visit on the internet. Clearly he isn´t familiar with Booklikes. Other than that, he might have a point.

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text 2018-04-18 22:47
Reading progress update: I've read 24 out of 268 pages.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

For his part, little Danesh inhaled a heady, unleavened diet of science fiction films, despite his grandmother´s insistence that they were neither halal nor anywhere near as good as Mr. Looney of the Tunes, as she called her favorite American programme. He had spent many afternoons, surrounded by siblings slaloming through the furniture, trying to convince his nani, the very one who would drop lemons in Piccadilly Square years later, that Alien was far, far better than Elmar Fudd and Bugs Bunny, far more serious and meaningful than a goofy, dumb cartoon, only to be hushed by a wave of her hand and a brief lecture on her personal philosophy of pop culture criticism.

"Jee haan, but they are the same! One hunts, one runs; one chews the carrot, one chews the Sir John Hurt. One makes Egg that go BANG! One makes Acme traps that go BANG! See? Sameful. Only Mr. Looney of the Tunes is more actual, on account of how aliens live in your big Danesh-head and bunny rabits live in Coventry. Also, mine is bright and happy and makes a colorful noise, so I put it on top of yours that is droopy and leaky ands makes a noise like a dishwasher [...]"

 

Hahaha. Nani is awesome!

 

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text 2018-04-18 21:29
Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

"They landed, if it could be called a landing, in everyone’s lounge rooms at once at two in the afternoon on a Thursday in late April. One minute the entire planet was planet-ing along, making the best of things, frying eggs or watching Countdown or playing repetitive endorphin-slurping games or whatnot on various devices, and the next there was a seven-foot-tall ultramarine half-flamingo, half-anglerfish thing standing awkwardly on the good rug.

Crystal-crusted bones showed through its feathery chest, and a wet, gelatinous jade flower wobbled on its head like an old woman headed off to church. It stared at every person in the world, intimately and individually, out of big, dark, fringed eyes sparkling with points of pale light, eyes as full of unnameable yearning and vulnerability as any Disney princess’s.

Those not in possession of lounge rooms encountered the newcomer in whatever places were most familiar and intimate to them. Anyone at work had quite a surprise waiting in the break room. Some, absorbed in accounts payable or receivable, absentmindedly hung their suit jackets up on its towering hat rack of a head; its long greenish-ivory neck flushed pink with embarrassment. A slender, glassy proboscis arced up from the center of its avian skull until the weight of the round luminous lamp at its tip bent the whole thing down quail-style between those trusting eyes, where it flickered nervously, its fragile-looking legs poised like a ballet dancer about to give the Giselle of her life. But every Homo sapiens sapiens in the biosphere, at that moment, came face-to-face with the feathered beyond."

 

*gulps* Tomorrow is Thursday. And we're getting to the latter part of April.

 

Should I be reading this so close to bedtime?

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