melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-03-21 03:57 pm
Entry tags:

FMK #5: MEN who are MEN

FMK #4's F winner was "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald, at a v. reasonable ~200 pages, and I will be reading it tonight.

K was "The Pilgrim's Progress". I wanted to be good, I really did, but I opened it up just to see what it was like, and, like, two paragraphs in I realize this is the book that taught the world that Heaven is full of pretty girls in white dresses with golden harps, and also notice that some previous owner has hand-annotated my copy, and, look, I can't. But I did move it from the fiction shelf to the Penguin Classics shelf where it can keep company with its boring and elderly brethren, does that count?

I am realizing that the nature of the votes here is that we are going to disproportionately vote out timeless classics that people have Opinions on while all the ones that are just Bad and Boring stick around forever. Feel free to vote K just because you know nothing about it and don't know why anyone would own it!

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Anyway, enough with courtesans and princesses and all that girly stuff. Today we are going to vote on MEN who are MEN.

erratum: "The Clockwise Man" is actually 2005, copy-paste error, oops. All the other 1976 ones are actually 1976.
Poll #18103 FMK 5: MEN who are MEN
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 43


The Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov (1976)

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F
14 (36.8%)

M
7 (18.4%)

K
17 (44.7%)

The Clockwise Man (Dr. Who New Series Adventures) by Justin Richards (1976)

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F
5 (18.5%)

M
4 (14.8%)

K
18 (66.7%)

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (1953) (1976)

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F
16 (53.3%)

M
7 (23.3%)

K
7 (23.3%)

The Duplicated Man by James Blish (1953)

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F
10 (37.0%)

M
2 (7.4%)

K
15 (55.6%)

The Female Man by Joanna Russ (1975)

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F
20 (54.1%)

M
16 (43.2%)

K
1 (2.7%)

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (1897)

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F
13 (37.1%)

M
9 (25.7%)

K
13 (37.1%)

The Iron Man by Robert E. Howard (1930)

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F
7 (22.6%)

M
2 (6.5%)

K
22 (71.0%)

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. by Michael Avallone (1965)

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F
15 (55.6%)

M
1 (3.7%)

K
11 (40.7%)

The Multiple Man by Ben Bova (1976)

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F
3 (11.5%)

M
1 (3.8%)

K
22 (84.6%)

The Simultaneous Man by Ralph Blum (1971)

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F
3 (13.0%)

M
1 (4.3%)

K
19 (82.6%)

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Shannon Hale (2017)

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F
18 (50.0%)

M
18 (50.0%)



(I also once owned copies of The Man Who Folded Himself and The Boy Who Reversed Himself but it looks like they have been dispersed away. ):
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-03-22 01:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, 'The Stars My Destination' has a rape-into-love plot and relies on sexism, ableism, and the main character abusing other characters and then having them forgive him to make him become the Hero He Was Meant To Be. I read it because it was a 'classic' and became nauseated by reading it but stuck grimly through in the hopes it would improve once the character 'turned a corner' and ... it didn't.

http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Alfred-Bester/Tiger-Tiger.html

Maybe some of the other stuff is better. Heck, 'Fondly Fahrenheit' has long been one of my favorite stories, despite traces of the same attitudes in who is erased or victimized. I can see why Bester won awards? But to me it's just not worth it; in fact, the skillful bits are basically sugar-coating the dehumanization of entire categories of characters.

So maybe I would actually vote for you to read it and then decide, if I was being intellectually honest. But I'm just so angry at him for 'The Stars My Destination.'
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)

[personal profile] beatrice_otter 2017-03-23 04:03 pm (UTC)(link)
I think that was the one I started to read the first few chapters of and then threw across the room in horror.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-03-24 03:46 am (UTC)(link)
Probably.
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-03-22 03:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Bester is kind of a mess- he's 'important' as one of the only real proto-cyberpunks, writing stories about people living at the margins of the future in an era when most SF heroes still wore labcoats or spacesuits. His stories are often stylish and intricate, but his social conscience feels a lot less... structured than Gibson's. It's not clear exactly how he feels about marginalized people and society's responsibility to them. I think The Demolished Man is worth reading if you're a fan of old SF- at the least, it'll explain a handful of the jokes from Babylon 5, but it's not a book I've ever wanted to return to.
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-03-22 05:37 pm (UTC)(link)
It's not a terrible comparison. My sense is that Smith was more of an oddball person and was for that reason more isolated from the rest of SF Fandom and its genre conventions than Bester, and that shows in their work. But I do think there are commonalities.