melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-04-06 04:24 pm

(no subject)

I have been watching the Hugo and Nebula noms come out and be raected to with glee. Finally a set of Hugo noms where I actually legit want to read nearly all the nominations! I was almost tempted to buy a vote again and then I remembered that the reason I only did it in the Puppy years is that there was no way I could read everything in a year with a proper nominations list, and I came to my senses. (I haven't even managed to pull The Snow Queen out from under my bed yet.)

But yay for the series category! That was long overdue, and they all look like series that deserve being the first series winner, even the three and a half of them that I have not read. (OMG a category where I had already read almost half of the nominees!) For those of you voting, I suggest picking one that doesn't already have ALL THE HUGOs.

(True story: I once met Lois Bujold, back when I had just started reading her stuff and didn't understand, and complimented her on her chunky author necklace with the interesting sfnal beads all along it, and she was like, "oh, right, those are all my Hugo awards". And that was several Hugos ago, iirc.)

Anyway, since this has once again become an all sff-fandom all the time blog, can we talk about Nebula award nominee Every Heart A Doorway? Because I read that one, and I liked it! Okay it was very clearly a book about the characters and worldbuilding with a mystery plot tacked on as an excuse, but I support that choice. And there are lots of things about the characterization and the way it lined up with the worldbuilding that's really interesting. Or how it just wasn't vicious enough to say the things *I* needed someone to say about kids' portal fantasy (I think I might have needed one set at the school for kids who *don't* want to go back.) or how I kind of think that one yuletide fic did a lot of it better than the original.

But on the whole, I liked it, it was fun and diverse and had things to say, would recommend,


I can't get over the fact that she made "Logic" and "Nonsense" as two opposite divisions of portal worlds.

Someone who thinks "Logic" and "Nonsense" are opposites isn't qualified to write about logic, definitely isn't qualified to write about nonsense, and absolutely isn't qualified to write about portal fantasy as a genre, because if you haven't read The Annotated Alice you don't have your foundation, and if you have read The Annotated Alice I don't understand how you could think they are opposites. The main theme of the books that basically founded the genre is how nonsense and logic are indistinguishable much of the time.

Yeah, there is some talk in Every Heart a Doorway about restructuring the classification system, which is good, but the nonsense/logic problem never comes up and *that* is their basic problem and how can none of the characters have ever properly read Carroll?

I know I'm coming on strong here about a book I basically liked but dammit Gardner's Annotated Alice is one of my foundational texts and where I learned at least 75% of what I know about formal logic and everything I know about formal nonsense. (Hell, you don't even have to have read Gardner, you just have to have made any attempt at all to understand Alice!) (Or, for that matter, to have spent much time in a traditional Fairyland.)

I spent a lot of time after reading that book grumbling to myself reclassifying worlds on a nonsenselogic - sense axis instead. It works a lot better. Narnia is basically 100% sensible. Alice is of course all the way on the nonsenselogic end. Orcus balances pretty well in the middle. (Most of the worlds in McGuire's book that we see anything of to speak of are classed under "logic" but leaning hard toward Sensible But Not Particularly Logical, much like her protagonist. Which is probably good because I suspect anyone who thinks nonsense and logic are opposites would fail utterly at writing real nonsense.)
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[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-04-06 09:44 pm (UTC)(link)
It's a really good Hugo set this year! I've only read some of them, but hope to get to a bunch more soon.

I don't know if you've read the invisible library series by Cogman, but the worlds there are Order-Chaos spectrum which could be described as Storylogic-Physics maybe. It works really well in universe.

McGuire seems like a lovely person, but I don't really get her fiction, unfortunately.
kore: (Default)

[personal profile] kore 2017-04-07 09:52 pm (UTC)(link)
McGuire seems like a lovely person, but I don't really get her fiction, unfortunately.

Yeah, me either. I keep trying because a lot of my friends like various stuff she does, and she writes in multiple genres, but it just doesn't work. I did like the series she did about the hitchhiking ghost Rose, but that seems to have been a one-off.
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[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-04-07 10:07 pm (UTC)(link)
I've only tried a couple, but I've bounced off so hard that I think it's just that we're not really interested in the same kinds of stories somehow.
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[personal profile] sylvaine 2017-04-07 05:42 am (UTC)(link)
The beauty of logic *is* that it can do easily be strictly followed ad absurdum.

I am so happy that the Hugo noms are not filled with terribleness again. The SFF fandom did good.

I really want Rivers of London to win for best series because I am very much a fangirl, but all the noms look great.
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[personal profile] lizcommotion 2017-04-07 05:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah this speaks to me but I can't poke it too hard or I will also start gibbering with rage anytime the Nonsense/Logic dichotomy comes up. It's like...trying really hard not to notice the bar of dead pixels on my TV.
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[personal profile] seekingferret 2017-04-07 08:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Heh, you've earned my standard rant about how you shouldn't call it buying a Hugo vote, you should call it buying a Worldcon supporting membership. I mean, being honest, it doesn't buy you much beyond the Hugo vote... of significance, it buys you the ability to vote on future Worldcon locations, it buys you a copy of Worldcon publications (which are mostly pretty useless if you're not attending except some essays about the GoH), and not much else. Some people have been trying for the past several years to get the supporting membership to confer some other voting rights on Worldcon rules voted on at the Business Meeting, but so far unsuccessfully.

But the terminology matters to me because the Hugos matter to me in relation to Worldcon, not on their own. Paying 40 dollars to vote on a random SF award is stupid on its own terms, when there are awards you can vote on for free that are also prestigious in the community. Paying 40 dollars to vote on the Hugos in years when you're not attending Worldcon is meaningful if you're invested in the Hugos as a representative of the collective taste of Worldcon fandom and Worldcon matters to you. It's a way to stay connected to Worldcon when you're not attending, and to invest both money and participation in the institution.
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[personal profile] kore 2017-04-07 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I was really quite pleased at all the diversity this year, in the series and best novel and graphic stories especially, plus other categories. There seems to have been a real attempt at gender balance, at least until you get to the depressingly all-male Hollywood stuff. The rabids did their best to claw their way in but didn't seem to get too far.

I didn't like Every Heart that much, but YES on Gardner's Annotated Alice being absolutely formative. I still love that book. Carroll himself IIRC used absurdist propositions in his symbolic logic book, and the first syllogism I ever learned was from Ionesco:

All cats die.
Socrates is dead.
Therefore, Socrates is a cat.

(A variation of this at St John's was: "God is love. Love is blind. Ray Charles is blind. Therefore God is Ray Charles" but it doesn't work as well.)

It's meant mockingly but IMHO when you put nonsense into logical form the logical form becomes more clear, not less. Lear's poetry is another great example of nonsense that makes sense, while someone like Ogden Nash is appearances aside very sensible.
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[personal profile] kore 2017-04-13 10:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, Phantom Tollbooth, that's such a wonderful book. The Humbug! Leaping to conclusions! Even the movie's good.

The diversity in the noms was great and the voting change really does seem to have worked, since the rabids got exactly one nom in every category and in most of the larger categories it was stuff that almost certainly had properly earned votes as well.

YES, exactly. I hope this means they've been beaten, in the important way -- they can still come scratching and sniffing at the door (LOL) but they can't chew everything up and piss all over it like before.