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. ):
recessional: a photo image of feet in sparkly red shoes (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-03-21 08:59 pm (UTC)(link)
The Pilgrim's Progress's endless popularity makes sense when you realize that it became a classic in a context where you were literally not allowed to read things That Would Not Make You More Holy. There were no harmless anything: stuff EITHER made you A Better (Protestant) Christian, or it Damned You To Hell.

Because TPP was an Allegory for Christian (Protestant) Struggle and the Correct Path of the Soul to God, you were allowed to read it, and because at that point people (especially young people) were STARVED FOR SOME KIND OF ADVENTURE STORY OH MY GOD, it became SEMINAL AND CENTRAL.

But it is, and always has been, Terrible Writing, Terrible Boring Allegory, and The Worst.

/opinionated Social History and Literature Degree Holder/MLIS Candidate. >.>


Also I don't feel any of the books this month are altar material. Did you mean to only have two possibilities for Squirrel Girl? Totally fine if you did, just wondering.

(TBH I'd go with K for it if it were there because I honestly find her so incredibly annoying she gives me a tension headache, but, you know. People vary on that. >.>)
Edited 2017-03-21 21:02 (UTC)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-03-21 09:28 pm (UTC)(link)
When I look back on my time and realize how many hours of my life have gone to reading sexist Ben Bova novels, I am filled with regret.
recessional: a photo image of feet in sparkly red shoes (Default)

[personal profile] recessional 2017-03-21 10:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I know for a fact at least one of the subcultures that loved Bunyan thought Milton was Sinful, you could tell by how sympathetic he made Satan. (I think there's also the factor where if this is in fact the sea you swim in ALL THE TIME the allegory eventually seems less "I am being punched in the face" and becomes more Well Of Course That's How The World Works, and becomes very affirming and reassuring instead.)
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[personal profile] snickfic 2017-03-21 10:48 pm (UTC)(link)
And he's just so DULL. I only read one and honestly didn't even notice the sexism because it was just the most boring kind of hard SF. It read like it was trying to be ~educational or something, because it certainly didn't have engaging characters or story.
snickfic: (Default)

[personal profile] snickfic 2017-03-21 10:57 pm (UTC)(link)

Yeah, maybe that's what I mean. I don't know. I have read some pretty boring nuts-and-bolts SF, and Bova wasn't even that. There was just no there there.

seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)

[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-03-21 11:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Bova is baffling that way, because eighty percent of his books are incredibly dull and the other twenty percent is actually cracking and fun- the Sam Gunn stories for example. I can never predict which way it's going to turn out ahead of time, though.
Edited 2017-03-21 23:02 (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-03-22 04:18 am (UTC)(link)
Really, really, really kill the Bester. He creeps me out so much.
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[personal profile] katherine 2017-03-22 05:19 am (UTC)(link)
I liked The Boy Who Reversed Himself (although not so sure about the ending) but it's been a long time since I last read it through.
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[personal profile] stardreamer 2017-03-22 05:47 am (UTC)(link)
The Man Who Folded Himself kept me good company thru one long boring afternoon sitting in the jury pool (I didn't get called up). It was engaging enough to hold my interest, but I've never had any desire to re-read it. I do still have it, though, because I got it signed at a con somewhere.
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[personal profile] rachelmanija 2017-03-22 06:21 am (UTC)(link)
Ditto. I don't recall much beyond enjoying it and the amazing scene where ketchup packets become sublimely delicious.
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[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.'
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[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-03-22 01:55 pm (UTC)(link)
I actually really enjoyed Jumping Off The Planet.
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[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: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (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.
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)

[personal profile] lannamichaels 2017-03-22 06:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I haven't read any of these, but I'm the heretic who just gets BORED BY ASIMOV, so take that vote with as much opinion behind it as you like. ;)
(I don't mind some of Asimov's short stories that I've run over.)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)

[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-03-23 01:08 am (UTC)(link)
I do too. Actually.

[personal profile] plinythemammaler 2017-03-23 08:41 am (UTC)(link)
The pilgrims progress was like my favourite book as a child and teenager! I clearly have to reread it as an adult omg, I remember it as non stop thrilling adventure!!! .....the funniest thing about this us the last battle really hacked me off at the same age
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[personal profile] beatrice_otter 2017-03-23 03:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm on the "like the Robots, bored by Foundation" side, too!
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[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.
jain: Erin Gilbert rehearsing her lecture. (ghostbusters erin)

[personal profile] jain 2017-03-24 12:35 am (UTC)(link)
I assume your copy of The Bicentennial Man is the novelette (perhaps in the collection The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories?), which is why I voted fuck. If by some chance it's the expanded novel Asimov co-wrote with Robert Silverberg, then change my vote to kill.
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[personal profile] alatefeline 2017-03-24 03:46 am (UTC)(link)
Probably.
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[personal profile] petronia 2017-03-24 08:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I absolutely loved The Demolished Man - I would actually say, if you're going to read a Bester at all, read that one; and Bester is worth reading once because he's an amazing stylist. (Cue the old Simpsons joke about Bester being underrated where Bradbury is overrated.) Someone's already had a conniption over The Stars My Destination upthread, and that's the worst it gets. XD; I actually read part of that one very young, and by the time I returned to it as an adult, I was willing to read it for Bester.