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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • This person [salon.com] wasn't too impressed with Card in real life. Much of it is pendulum-swinging, but it's still good reading.
    • Ugh, that is disappointing. Yes, the reviewer did seem to be the worst possible matchup for Card. Dammit, why do heroes have to be zeroes? Can't someone be a good writer AND a decent human being, without secretly wanting to ban gays or whatever?

      --Nat

      • That old faithful: Douglas Adams? Or, as an editor, would he have been a bad writer, always pushing way past the deadline? =)

        He seemed perfectly lovely when I met him a couple of years ago.
        --
          ---ict / Spoon
      • Eno's advice is "Try to make things that can become better in other people's minds than they were in yours". A corollary of this as the artistic process (advertently or not) is that sometimes a complete twat can make things that read quite well. Orson Card is a case in point.

        To write a book, one needs to act confident in writing. And one particularly facile way to act confident in that specific cale is to be a narrowminded jackass in the general case. When you have no problem painting things in broad strokes, this removes the writerly question of how one can paint a good picture of part of the real world -- a problem that would nearly paralyze a less jackasinine person.

        Anyhoo, in reading Card's books, I got a strong Mormon vibe from it all, notably a manifestation of a persistent meme I ran into in Mormon culture, a meme I call the "World's Fair" model of cultures. Over there, there's the Japanese pavilion, where everyone's got on kimonos and those klopklop shoes, and they're sitting on the floor... and look, they're eating "soo-shee" with chopsticks! So darling, so quaint. Over there, there's the Swedish pavilion, where everyone is a blond Lutheran who likes lutefisk and Swedish meatballs, and when they talk, it sounds like "bork bork bork".

        All muy folklórico, muy auténtico. Monotonous. Predictable. Traditional. "Multiculturalism" only via whole planets of duly quaint monocultures. Ein Volk, Ein Welt! (...Ayn Rand?) It's all very 19th century, complete with its own space-Napoleons.

        His picture of a future involves no real novelty (i.e., weirdness) even over the course of millennia where humanity has thought of nothing better to do than skittering off to different worlds where they are free to become stereotypes. We the readers are treated to a tour of planet Chingchong Prime, or whatever he calls it.

        At least we were spared a visit to Italia Gamma, where everyone is presumably a hairy space-mafioso who eats a lot of pasta, says things like "Mamma mia!" and "Eh, wassamatta you?", and of course believes in the infallibility of space-Pope John DXLXIII. Altho that would have esthetically surpassed the Quaint Irishman Town from Voyager's holodeck.

        And I'd have loved to see precisely how overdetermined and queasy-making the portrayal of Planet Ashkenaz would be.

        Card's books reminded me a whole lot of Frank Herbert, even down to the biological determinist vibe, the Grand Themes of History, and the weak characterizations.

        Thanks, but when I want mindless soap operas, I know where to get them [nbc.com]. At least they are post-modern now.

        • makes sense from a mormon POV... After all, if each man and his wives are to populate their own planet after they die, you'd expect each planet to have it's own culture dictated primarily by the man and women who founded it's population.

          I've always thought that the mormon church should be providing serious funds to SETI and NASA. After all, if they truely believe in an afterlife and that particular picture of an afterlife, then the search for extraterestrial inteligence stands to do something very novel an