?

Log in

Recent Entries Friends Archive Profile Tags Jeamland
 
 
 
 
 
 
So, OUSFG has an award. This is its second year. It's voted on by the membership, and given to the best speculative fiction book receiving its first UK mass-market paperback publication in the preceding academic year. This is actually fairly straightforward--it's for books students will be able to find and afford. Last year Coalescent by Stephen Baxter won. The current shortlist is:
Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others (January 2005)
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (September 2005)
David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (February 2005)
Ian McDonald, River of Gods (April 2005)
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time-Traveler's Wife (January 2005)
Some notes: it's obviously not just for science fiction; it's obviously not just for novels; and goddamn, that's a hell of a list.

I mention this because this evening there is a balloon-debate discussion meeting, starting at 8pm, in the Lady Brodie Room in St Hilda's College, which means I'm going to have to decide how to rank them. And man, that's hard.

(On the subject of St Hilda's deciding to admit men ... I don't know what the reasoning behind the decision was, but I'm somewhat surprised that it happened, and it seems a bit of a shame, really.)

(And just to leave on a controversial note: I've finally got around to watching Deadwood--I'm about halfway through the first season at the moment--and I'm not terribly impressed. I think partly it's how stylised everything is; the dialogue bears as little resemblance to how people actually talk as that in The West Wing or Buffy, but where those shows were consciously presenting its characters as smarter-than-life Deadwood is constantly at pains to tell you how Real it is, how True To Life. The style doesn't mesh with the content, for me, in other words. Of course, that could just be a fancy excuse made up to cover the fact that I find all the characters except Jane excruciatingly boring; the episodes I've enjoyed most so far have been when circumstances have forced them to do something, as in, say, 'Plague'.)

EDIT: the ranking determined by the panel, in reverse order:
5. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
4. Cloud Atlas
3. The Time-Traveler's Wife
2. River of Gods
1. Stories of Your Life and Others
And those placings were almost all hotly contested. It'll be interesting to see whether the official result (announced Saturday) is the same or not.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Is it voted on by all the membership, or just those present at this debate? And do I (having paid my dues in Michaelmas Term 1991) count as a member?
By any and all who wish to vote. The actual vote isn't at this meeting, this is just the pre-vote debate. And if you bought a life membership, then I guess you'd count.
One of the things I rather like about Deadwood is how elaborate the dialogue is: I enjoy the juxtaposition in the way that the lowliest, most foulmouthed denizen of the town has an unconscious poetry in the way they express themselves. It's symptomatic of the series' entire approach: finding the moments of unintended poetry in an otherwise squalid and brutal existence. It's a show that thrives on undermining expectations and stereotypes.

For me the dialogue does ring true in terms of the writing style of the era, albeit pushed to an exaggerated level. But it probably doesn't resemble the spoken English of the era.

As for the characters being dull, I disagree - but I think they sneak up on you slowly. It's the Carnivale approach.
It's a show that thrives on undermining expectations and stereotypes.

I don't have time to get into this now, but this strikes me as rubbish. It thrives on pretending that it's going to undermine expectations and stereotypes, but doesn't actually do more than gesture vaguely in that direction.

And Carnivale's characters had me at hello, as you know.
which means I'm going to have to decide how to rank them. And man, that's hard.

Here you go:

1. Ted Chiang
2. Susanna Clarke
3. Ian MacDonald
4. David Michell
5. Audrey Niffenger

Problem solved! :P
Bzzt! Wrong, but thanks for playing.
has apparently achieved international fame. From some Ansible or other:

----------------------------------------------------------

STEPHEN BAXTER was the first to receive the Oxford University SF Group award for `best Speculative Fiction novel published in paperback in the preceding academic year'. In fact he was slightly bemused to learn in late November that `_Coalescent_ actually won last May, but the person who was supposed to e-mail you at the time and invite you to Oxford never got round to it.' That sounds like the OUSFG I remember.

---- Dave Langford

----------------------------------------------------------

(On the subject of St Hilda's deciding to admit men ... I don't know what the reasoning behind the decision was, but I'm somewhat surprised that it happened, and it seems a bit of a shame, really.)

Meh. There's still two all female colleges at Cambridge, and I don't see that changing any time soon. Newnhamites in particular will get quite strident if you suggest that they shouldn't rule out admitting men.

I was keen to avoid an all-female college myself. I've never heard an argument in favour of them that convinced me of their need to exist. Perhaps the fact that some people want them to exist is enough, but without real justification I think they're open to accusations of sex discrimination.
There's still two all female colleges at Cambridge

Make that three - forgot about Lucy Cavendish.
(On the subject of St Hilda's deciding to admit men ... I don't know what the reasoning behind the decision was, but I'm somewhat surprised that it happened, and it seems a bit of a shame, really.)

I'm surprised that it happened because it seems odd that an all-women's college which goes back a hundred years can go co-ed after balloting the current members, who presumably knew they were going to an all-female college in the first place.

I am a bit uncertain about the idea of all-female colleges, but women who are at them seem to get along well with them, and if the single-sex environment helps them in their studies then I don't really mind. I don't see why we shouldn't have a single-sex all-male college, though, and I wouldn't want to go to a single-sex college myself (and I do feel sorry for those who get pooled and have to take a single-sex college or nothing).
I assume that the current members were made aware of the financial and recruitment issues (which they didn't know when they joined, why should they). Also some of them will have been pooled and have no particular stake in it(although I s don't feel sorry for them, having been in that position myself - it in no way restricted my ability to mingle with the opposite sex, and I had a clear choice: women's college at Oxford or somewhere else).
I cannot begin to express how fucking wrongheaded you are about Deadwood, cocksucker.

It's Shakespeare as it was meant to be done!
So much rightheadedness in a single motherfucking post :-)
You know, ever since Alison and Dan started watching and writing about Deadwood, I've been wondering whether Brits experience the series differently from Americans. My mother, for instance, had the myth of western expansion drilled into her as a child - the name Deadwood meant something to her, and she knew exactly how things were going to turn out for Bill Hickock (whereas, if I recall correctly, Alison was surprised by his death) - and even I got some of that secondhand. Deadwood is a show in constant dialogue with that myth, and while I certainly agree that exploding its premise and core assumptions is a significant part of the show's mission statement, I truly doubt that the writers are laying claim to historical accuracy (they'd be hard-pressed to do so, given the vast liberties they've taken with historical facts). They're presenting an alternate version of the Western, in which our core assumptions, whether with regards to the tropes of the genre or the facts of history, are constantly being overturned. Historically, this kind of approach has often overlapped with strongly realistic storytelling, but it doesn't have to - in the case of Deadwood, I think the writers are offering an alternate myth, and the dialogue is very much a part of their worldbuilding. It makes the town and its residents seem at the same time powerfully familiar and hopelessly foreign. Plus, it's very, very pretty and clever and the actors deliver it beautifully.

And just to make you mad: a local channel has been rerunning the second season of The West Wing, and while most of the dialogue is just as clever as I remember it being, there are scenes of such surpassing clunkiness, and others of such mawkish sentimentality, that I really think smarter-than-life is going quite a bit too far.

Oh, and as for the ranking:

1. David Mitchell
2. Ted Chiang
3. Ian McDonald
4. Susannah Clarke
5. Audrey Niffenegger (is it a rule that every good ballot has to have at least one stinker on it to even things up?)
I'm not exactly au fait with the details of the American West, but I did know where and how Wild Bill died, so that wasn't a surprise (though it was a shame--Carradine was one of the best things about the show). But by Real and True To Life I emphatically didn't mean historically accurate, because the show clearly isn't that. Rather, I meant that the show attempts to convey a sense of frontier life as a dirty enterprise, and that it tries to present its characters as psychologically real. Neither of which ring true for me, the former because it doesn't actually get very dirty, and the latter because of the conflict between the style and the content.

It is pretty, though, I'll give you that.

And just to make you mad:

Nice try, but I'm on record as saying that the early part of the second season of The West Wing is fatally wounded by the excessive patriotism (the scene on the steps of Josh's apartment is a particular offender; Ainsley's reaction after her first visit to the White House is another). But that's a different problem to Deadwood, I think; The West Wing always idolises the political life, and early S2 is a case of going too far, rather than there being a fundamental conflict between what it's saying and how it's saying it.

5. Audrey Niffenegger (is it a rule that every good ballot has to have at least one stinker on it to even things up?)

Well, consensus in the room was that there wasn't a stinker; and Niffenegger did much better than I expected her to...
Deadwood is constantly at pains to tell you how Real it is, how True To Life.

Rubbish. You can address adult issues and live-as-lived within an avowedly fictional framework. Deadwood plays fast and loose with history, does with its dialog what Iain describes, and asks us to enter its world, rather than attempt to enter ours a la the docudrama. Deadwood isn't trying to be 'real' - it is, as Abigail says, myth. But it is myth which seeks to get to the crooked heart of things, it is myth with psychological rather than hagiography. It is myth which prefers to tell us something true, rather than wrap it up in a nice bow and give it to with chocolates and mawkish greeting card.

And if you find the characters boring, you need to tell me how Gunn and Fred were so omgfascinating back in the day.
And if you find the characters boring, you need to tell me how Gunn and Fred were so omgfascinating back in the day.

They weren't, though I kinda liked them. But so much else was interesting.
I loved Jonathan Strange. Guess I gotta go and read the others if they ranked better than that one!
That's seems pretty right-headed. Well done, OUSFG panel!
Hello guys! I have some questions. I mean need some help.
Where i can read more about this problema?
Please, don't derect me to http://google.com i know about it.
Please derect me with some links.
thanks!
UCAKK^^
Hi again guys! Nice site and forum.
I need some help where i can read more about this problema?
I tried http://google.com , but with no succes.
Please help me.
Hello, guys i have some questions about this thema.
Can anyone help me?
Many thanks.
Hi. I find forum about work and travel. Where can I to see it?
Best Regards, Michael.
a6a7d2745ee994377352f07b209ce0d6
hello administrators of site coalescent.livejournal.com I not so a long ago I am vLeesburg
and so, that I cut intercourse short with very good a man, Lady- Michelleporkon, and now try to find him, last that I know so it that he lives in citi, and often vi
sits the resources of type your coalescent.livejournal.com, nik at negoMark Joanneporkon
, if suddenly will see this nik write that this man wrote me . I very much I strongly test a boredom without socializing with this man.To reason wanted to say thank you and to wish successes to the team of developments and web masters your resource. So to hold boys. Only little request of,sdelayte prepotent spam filter and little by little begin ustavat' from every there Viagra
hay!!
good project :)
senks :)
National Transportation Safety Board recently divulged they had funded a project with the US auto makers for the past five years. The NTSB covertly funded a project whereby the auto makers were installing black boxes in four wheel drive pickup trucks in an effort to determine, in fatal accidents, the circumstances in the last 15 seconds before the crash. They were surprised to find in 49 of the 50 states the last words of drivers in 61.2% of fatal crashes were, "Oh, Shit!" Only the state of Texas was different, where 89.3% of the final words were, "Hey Y'all, hold my beer and watch this!"
Don't Worry, Be Happy! =)
Hi all!
Gambling online casino. Receive a $555 Welcome Bonus!Play their popular 5reel-Slots now! Monthly Reload Bonus Every month receive an incredible Free Reload Bonus! Get a 25% Super casino Bonus Deposit with an E-Wallet and receive a 25% bonus everytime you deposit Please visit for more info
pokercasinophp.com
Thank you