Interesting post from Sam’s blog about separating constructive criticism from just being a hater. This is relevant to my interests because lately I’ve been spending a lot of time wrathfully tearing books to shreds. It’s like a reminder to check myself and make sure I’m doing it constructively, at least.

The Eagle: most homoerotic movie of 2011?

So I saw the trailer for it back in December or something.

“In 140 AD, two men – master and slave – venture beyond the edge of the known world on a dangerous and obsessive quest that will push them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism.”

Me: That looks AWESOME.
Friend: Sempai, it looks terrible.
Me: Yeah, but in the AWESOME way.

This just in! It is indeed everything I’d hoped it would be — terrible, in the awesomest of ways. Here is the kinkmeme, you are welcome. It’s even spawned porn in Latin. Oh, INTERNET, what will you think up next?

Irate Gabriel is irate

Read Thomas M. Disch’s On Wings of Song. It started out very engaging and I was thinking to myself, “Huh, I should really look into more stuff by him.” By the end I was more than ready just to be done with it.

Shit I do not approve of:

– Homosexuality as an outward manifestation of the character’s/society’s internal decay. Fuck off. I am not your metaphor for psychological dissipation. This is a narrative I am tired of hearing.

– “Lady or the Tiger” endings. What, you think it’s somehow more improving to leave the readers to hazard their own guesses at the ending? That it’s somehow more virtuous than “spoon-feeding” it to them?

Bullshit. Do your job and finish your damn story. If I wanted to be in charge of the ending, I’d write the whole thing myself.

I suppose I can’t speak for everyone, but to me there is no sense of closure or satisfaction when I don’t know what happened. It feels like a gimmick masquerading as something thought-provoking, a cheap ploy for attention and condescending to the extreme, like an English teacher stopping me in the middle of the text and demanding that I interpret and analyze it, with the complacent assumption that their book is even worth such exegesis. This just in: if you have to resort to tricks like that, it’s probably not.

**

Grar. I’m going to go settle my temper with a box of wine and Bujold’s Sharing Knife series. For those books, at least, I have nothing but praise. Should probably write it down or something, so I don’t start coming off as relentlessly negative.

Hmm hmmmm.

Read Diana Gabaldon’s Lord John and the Private Matter and Greg Egan’s Teranesia today.

What is it with authors giving their gay characters random fits of heterosexuality? Not even bisexuality, but temporary lapses in their stated sexual preference — and it’s funny, because I can count of straight characters I’ve read with similar lapses on, let’s see, no hands.

“Flesh and Fire”: This book is unfairly maligned. By me.

I’d like to preface this by stating that Flesh and Fire, by Laura Anne Gilman, did nothing to deserve the dissection that is about to follow. It’s not bad. Plot and characterization are more than passable. It wasn’t a chore to read to the end. Truly, it is an overwhelmingly adequate novel. (Though it did take 265 pages for a character with a sense of humor to show up…) That said, the book’s flaws are far more instructive than its virtues, so let the nitpicking begin.

How to be better than 'okay'

Batch o’ book reviews, now with 40% more irreverence

I probably should have posted sooner, just to say that no, my plane did not go down over the Pacific, and yes, I got out of Japan (three weeks) before the quake. But mostly I’ve been busy, what with all this READING, HOLY MOLY, there are BOOKS EVERYWHERE and they’re in ENGLISH and if I want to read a particular book I can go to a LIBRARY where they have books in ENGLISH and I can go CHECK IT OUT, RIGHT NOW, oh my GOD.

Oh yeah, and I got a job translating smartphone apps. That means I can work from home, and also I can wear eyeliner and never shave. Happy days!

Back to the books. So there’s a distressing trend I’ve noticed recently, namely that nothing thrills me anymore. When I was a teenager I had terrible and indiscriminate taste in books so I could read anything, all the time, and be perfectly content. These days, the bar is set so high that I find myself not bothering to finish half the crap I pick up, on account of it being crap, crap, mediocre, or offensive and also crap. Oh, to be young and stupid and not know the difference again. ;_;

But hey, everyone likes to hear shitty books get panned!