melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2017-04-24 06:30 pm

FMK: Growing Up Weightless

I went to the March for Science yesterday! It didn't have as many people as the Women's March but then what would? It still took a solid two hours to get everyone funnelled down Constitution Avenue.

Also if you are ever at the Capitol end of Constitution with a few minutes to kill, go look at The Spirit of Haida Gwaii outside the Canadian Embassy; it's in a nice quiet corner and I found more to see in that one sculpture than in the entire National Gallery sculpture garden.

...also if you are ever on the Mall and need wifi, find an idling coach bus to loiter near.

I brought Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford to read on the metro, and I don't have a huge amount to say because basically it was everything I wanted for a book about coming of age in the Moon colony: lots of exploring the Moon with so much depth of worldbuilding, and lots of fun with low gravity. It is not really a plot-focused book (and I am not sure I ever quite figured out what was going on with the secret agent plot thing) but I didn't care because I just wanted to go visit the Moon for a few hours and that it delivered perfectly, and the characters were fun and diverse and it was well-written and nothing screwed up my suspension of disbelief and heterosexuality only intruded via the MC being deeply oblivious to it, and what more can I ask really.

The summary on the back made it sound like it was going to be all about Stultifying Overdeveloped Civilization vs. the need to Colonize the Free Libertarian Frontier, which is probably the main reason I put it off because I'm not really feeling that lately, but it is actually about Being A Reckless Teenager Who Thinks They Are Immortal vs. Being A Caring Parent Who Knows They Are Not, which works a lot better; it certainly doesn't actively fight that old plotline, but it also manages to remain deeply ambivalent about who is making the better choices and point out how complicated the relationships between them are, right to the very end.

I did almost nope out early, though, because the teenage friend group who are the main characters spend a lot of time playing VR D&D, and I just could not manage to care about what happened in their roleplay campaign. I enjoyed the geekiness and the way the RP was used to develop the characterization and relationships, but the way it was set up, the characters were introduced by walking into a room and logging into the game, and then we have ten pages of them being fully subsumed into their RP campaign before we even have a chance to meet them in RL. And they're mid-campaign doing something complicated, and the plot of the game never actually matters to the book, so I just really could not make myself care about the RPG play-by-play sections. Later in the book, the RP plot description is a lot more condensed and focused on how it's affecting the character dynamics, and we also know the characters well enough to see what is the characters coming through and what isn't, and it was fine, but that first section just didn't work for me. Plus I never quite got straight which RL name matched to which RP character. but he and his dad do have a Swordfight Of Bittersweet Bonding Moment in the RP VR and there are some things I am weak to, okay.

I wonder if that's related to why I never liked Ford's How Much For Just The Planet as much as I know a lot of y'all did; the book, iirc, is at least half LARP, and I never had enough time with the characters *outside* the LARP to care or figure out who was what - if I'd gotten all the meta references it probably wouldn't have mattered because I would have been coasting on that, but I wasn't hooked in to fandom-culture enough when I read it to get all the references.

p.s. speaking of, does the deeply tragic-yet-honorable dude who accidentally sold his soul to the evil corporation being named Ballantine have epic fandom backstory and if so, where can I read about it in detail?

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