Reading Journal Entry: Three Hearts and Three Lions, by Poul Anderson

A groundbreaking fantasy when originally published in 1953, this Anderson work broke ground that has been tread and retread by many others, and thus will seem derivative to contemporary readers.

The hook: a modern-day man is catapulted into a world where magic is real and finds he is playing a crucial role in a battle between the forces of good and evil.

Yeah, we've only read that one about a billion times.... Let's see. Narnia. Joel Rosenberg. One of the Xanth books. The Spellsinger series. Etc. The difference is that this guy is an engineer fighting in World War II (this one goes way back, people). Anderson did it first.

That doesn't mean it's very good. It's reminiscent of Heinlein's Glory Road in that the protagonist has some fun things happen to him, wanders around an interesting landscape, and then saves the day, with much lack of direction and coherence. The wish-fulfillment is laid on pretty strong, as Holger Carlson finds himself stronger, taller, and more attractive to women of all races than he was in our universe. The female lead, Alianora, is underdeveloped and completely uninteresting. Worst of all, the big payoff - the mysterious identity of Holger's other self - is a complete wash-out.

Interesting for context of F/SF history; otherwise not recommended.

Random House wants its $$$

And more power to them.

From Publisher's Weekly:
"For its part, Random has put its stake in the ground about how it expects to be compensated for books that are viewed online. In outlining what is esstentially its terms of sale for digital viewing, Random said that for general fiction and nonfiction titles it expects to earn 4 cents per page for all page views that exceed more than 5% of the total book, a percentage that Random considers to be a fair "free sample." "

I find the 5% threshold interesting, since the 'fair-use' threshold for copying, etc. of books is, (IIRC) 10%.

"For more reference-type material, such as cookbooks, the price will likely be higher and the sampling threshold lower. The price vendors charge consumers for each page view will be determined by each company. Viewing will be limited to on-screen viewing, with no downloading, printing or copying permitted."

Yeah, that'll catch on quickly.

This is never going to work.

There is a nascent movement in terms of ebooks being downloaded and shared for free online, similar to the exchange of music online about, say, five years ago. Legitamate online music sales never caught on until iTunes, for two reasons: 1) the music was too expensive 2) there were too many restrictions on how consumers could use the product. Random House appears to be steering straight for the same shoals.

By the way, would someone tell me why they would pay money to look at a recipe on a computer screen when 1) they don't have a computer screen in their kitchen and 2) there are probably millions of free recipes online already?

I am in a bad mood

Because I can't get something awful out of my head. This bit of information jumped out of a whole set of pretty awful stuff (Cambodian genocide, land mines) as being particularly bad.

I haven't even told my husband about this, because what's the point? Why does he need to know this?

So, here's my awful factoid:

If a child steps on a landmine, and has a limb amputated (or is an amputee for other reasons, I assume), they need to go back to the hospital every 6 months or so to get their stump re-cut until they stop growing. Because their bones are still growing, and the bones will actually grow out beyond the flesh of the stump and get infected if not properly re-amputated.

This is the most ghastly thing I've ever heard. I can't imagine the horror, the pain, the struggle (especially in developing countries) to constantly re-access medical care.

So, now, maybe, having put it out there, I can stop thinking about it.

Hey, why don't you donate a few bucks to The Cambodia Fund, while you're thinking about it.

Chick Lit

Rebecca Traister wrote this. Maud Newton wrote this rebuttal.. Edward Champion said "Girls! Girls! Settle down!".

The question seems to be:

Are women bad feminists if they criticize chick lit?

Yes.

Unless they do so as part of a sweeping criticism of all forms of popular literature, like the romance novels, mysteries, thrillers, etc. that are its siblings.

Why? Because the impulse to criticize 'women's fiction' is at its heart a criticism of women.

Being female is a disadvantaged status. Sorry, folks, but it is. It's just not as easy being a woman as a man, if you want to do anything except carry a baby in your body. If you want to run for Congress, run a Fortune 500 company, or even get tenure at a top university, you're statistically better off being male.

Women know this. Everyone has their own way of compensating. One can out of the rat race and choosing a different value structure. One can choose specific industries that are more female frierndly. One can do any number of things.

One way to seek equality with the dominant class is to divest oneself of associations with ones’ disadvantaged group.

‘Chick lit’ is aggressively female. Therefore, women who have subconsiously adopted the ‘join ‘em’ method react aggressively to claims that chick lit represents their life experience. Denigrating this category (and other ‘female’ categories like romance) is a way of separating themselves from the female mainstream and by implication choosing association with the favored male class.

If you're going to call yourself a feminist, you should know better. Criticize individual authors. Criticize escapist fiction. But please, be more self-aware than to criticize 'chick lit'.

Hiatus

Book of the Day is on hiatus during November while I participate in National Novel Writing Month.