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Showing posts from August, 2019

Reread somewhat juvenile Dinosaur Beach, which I enjoyed as a kid/teen

I was wowed by Keith Laumer's Dinosaur Beach in my early teens, and have been curious whether I would still enjoy it as a much more advanced-in-years adult. It was definitely a mixed bag, but I'm glad I reread it both because I did enjoy aspects of it, and it is pretty interesting to see what held up to more informed attention, and to identify it. (Hence this blog entry... (-: )

Some of what I say below might constitute spoilers. But I think what I reveal is in such general terms that I think they might make up for the surprise of their presence with curiosity about how the delivery of the revealed items were implemented. None the less, still spoilers.

My reservations with this book are of the sort that pulp novels generally suffer - shallowness in characterization and connection, and particularly endemic to science fiction, shallowness in the science.

I think the latter - specifically, shallowness in time travel theorizing - was not contrary to Laumer's purpose and style.…

Proud of sister Susan

An article from my Google Alert for "chief manheimer": San Mateo residents weigh in on police chief recruitment, as they're looking for candidates to fill the position of Police Chief from which my sister, Sue, is retiring.

I'm not privy to the inside situation, can't tell whether or not there are undercurrents of internal and interpersonal politics, but it seems like these people are saying - not so overtly, but not so subtly - that we want what she was doing. People in roles that probably don't require saying nice things, in a situation where it's not about saying nice things about the person who's leaving.
Chairez hoped the department’s next leader would follow in Manheimer’s footsteps in understanding San Mateo’s diversity and establishing trust with all community members. [...]
Harker said he met Manheimer at a Service Academy session some five years ago, and was impressed with her nuanced understanding and approach to complex issues like human t…

Science fiction: perspective on Neil Stephenson's writing from rereading Frank Herbert

I'm planning to get to Neil Stephenson's new novel, Fall; or Dodge in Hell sometime soon. I've reveled in some of his books, and look forward to the new one. However, having reread one of my favorite books of all time, Frank Herbert's The Dosadi Experiment, brings me to a more clear perspective I have on reservations about Stephenson's writing.  I got clear about it thinking about Stephenson's writing relative to Herbert's and the writing of another favorite, William Gibson.

It all has to do with characterization.

I find Herbert's characters more gripping than Stephenson's. Herbert's primary characters tend to be iconic: super-able, in way that aren't entirely realistic, but relatable and deeply appealing to me. Stephenson's characters are much more realistic - not so idealized, more in the post-modern mix of contemporary convincing detail, including imperfection and commonplace nuance that has the feel of normal people. William Gibson i…