||[Jul. 8th, 2009|11:53 pm]
I've been on a novel-(re-)reading binge for the last week or two; not sure why.|
H. Beam Piper's Fuzzy novels: Reread all 3, currently on Tuning's Fuzzy Bones, which was written before the 3rd manuscript was rediscovered. I'm noticing details about pacing and suchlike this time through them. The funny thing about old scifi is not the misses on technology prediction (no computers, etc.); it's the cultural anachronisms. The mild sexism is already dated (mentally gender-swapping some of the characters helps alleviate the annoyance), and MAN does everybody smoke and drink a LOT!
And before that I re-read a bunch of Iain M. Banks.
Consider Phlebas: Banks' novels have enough going on in them that it takes me a couple reads to feel like I have a handle on what the point of the story is. I think the point of this one is mostly just that war is really stupid. There's also something about how the Culture doesn't so much cheat to win as rewrite the rules, but I can't really articulate it yet.
Against A Dark Background: What I got from it this time is an indictment of aristocracy on the grounds that people are people, and when you concentrate an enormous amount of power in the hands of a few individuals, when they have drama, which they will, because they're people, the repercussions get magnified immensely. And that's bad.
Excession: The study of the Outside Context Problem is in some ways a foil for the smaller-scale plotlines that are about the need to be who you are. Trying to be someone you're not is just going to mess you up, especially when you're up against something bigger than you.