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gkr
gkr
One more load
Brought another load of stuff from Bellingham. A fair amount of it is crap that will just be given away or tossed. All that's left there now are books, my vacuum, an ironing board, my cat, and a lot of dust bunnies. Everything but the dust bunnies comes back Saturday.

I vowed that I would cook all meals from scratch when I moved to Ferndale. That was partially because I wanted to eat healthier (sodium sodium sodium). But also partially because the kitchen in the place was the nicest I've ever had. It just begged to be used. I held to that except at the end because life got a little overwhelming. Even then I didn't make anything from a box. Anyhoo, on the drive back from Bellingham I decided to do the same for Seattle. It's not absolute, but I don't want to make piddly excuses for not following through either. First up tomorrow is something from chicken, as I had two frozen chicken breasts that thawed somewhat on the drive back. Use em or lose em.

Got back a little bit earlier than I expected, so I went to Elliott Bay Books for the Ben Parzybok reading for his book Couch. I was leaning toward buying it anyway, but the reading convinced me to get it. It's on the top of my To Be Read list, right after the Madeleine L'Engle and Milan Kundera books I'm currently reading.
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Comments
a_muse_d From: a_muse_d Date: November 18th, 2008 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
what Madeleine L'Engle book are you reading?
gkr From: gkr Date: November 18th, 2008 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I re-read A Wrinkle In Time a few months ago and it didn't hold up to my memory, but it was still decent.

Then I re-read A Wind in the Door a couple of weeks ago and was absolutely appalled at how awful it was.

So far, Planet hasn't been as bad as Wind, but it's pretty bad. I'll probably finish it tonight and get my review up tomorrow.
a_muse_d From: a_muse_d Date: November 18th, 2008 07:26 am (UTC) (Link)
A Swiftly Tilting Planet is my favorite book of hers. it's the most like a fairy/folktale of all her works.

remember, they aren't adult fiction. what are you judging them against? Narnia?
gkr From: gkr Date: November 18th, 2008 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
There's a number of things I don't like about it. Some of these are common to the previous two as well. Here's the ones off the top of my head.

1. There's no consistency to the "magic" in the book. Let's just write in a magic dog here. Echthroi winds now, but not other times. Time speeds up or slows down as a convenience.
2. Characters are always doing things because they "just knew" they were supposed to.
3. All the tests feel like they were arbitrarily designed. Wind was worse in this respect, but Planet is bad too.
4. I can't believe the characters. An early or mid-20s Meg acts like and is treated like a child, for instance. Or the town that gets whipped into witch-burning frenzy because someone is different and strange things happen, changes its mind to believe god did it and it's okay when someone does exactly what witches do right in front of their faces.
5. Everything is black and white. Good or evil.
6. Sinfulness and righteousness are apparently genetic. Mortmains are always bad. Lawcaes are always good.
7. Wrinkle and Wind at least had understandable reasons for why Charles Wallace and/or Meg were sent on these quests to save the world. To save their father, or to save Charles Wallace. Planet is "the world is at risk, you are chosen to save it".
8. L'Engle never just makes her point and moves on. Most scenes go far past the point where they continue to be interesting.

That's a sampling of the problems I find with the book.

Part of it is I am prejudiced against it after the awful dreck that was Wind, so all sorts of things are just irritating me, fairly or not. Wind was very much a pattern: here is your test Meg, followed by a bajillion pages of Meg whining about how hard it was. I wanted the bad guys to win to shut her up. Planet isn't causing the same reaction in me, though. Not that bad of one anyway.
a_muse_d From: a_muse_d Date: November 18th, 2008 09:08 am (UTC) (Link)

POSSIBLE SPOILERS

i read Planet first, so i didn't have the prejudice of Wind or Wrinkle to deflect off of.

actually, the first book in that whole mess i read was Many Waters, which i found intriguing as hell since i read it when i was in 5th or 6th grade and science fiction and fantasy were my blood and air, of which it had both along with the "foundation" in Biblical "history" which i found thrilling at the time, as well.

so after Waters, i read Planet, which was about a freaking Unicorn and what the hell can you really hold against a book with a unicorn in it? dude. it's a unicorn with an attitude problem; Welsh/Irish folklore mashing together with a South American twist; time travel that CHANGED events, not enough to cease existence - well, the point is for Charles to PREVENT *that* from happening. and the unicorns drink moonbeams. did i mention the unicorns? wait, did you reach that part yet?

Meg's always been a fucking wimp and a twit. she finally gains a bit of a spine toward the end - i'm not ruining anything about the book for you, i trust, since you don't like it already, anyway..?

the whole point of Planet is perspective. alternative realities. i think that was a big theme in Wrinkle, too. they definately never go *deep* enough in the books themselves, and that is something i always found frustrating.

i think that Madeline L'Engle's work gave me the jump off point to like the theories and ideas behind something like Donnie Darko and Tesla's science (i read a couple of Light and Darkness War comics when i was a kid that introduced me to his existence back in the day and sparked my curiousity about the reality behind the fiction).

Wind was douche-y anyway. and i think i'm getting that one and House of the Starfish confused in my mind. which one had the sort-of rape?


next kid's sci-fi/fantasy series you should read and shred through: Diane Duane's So You Want To Be A Wizard? books. i started with Deep Wizardry, and there are some Star Wars references!!! and it also deals with fighting the Darkness and the Evil (aka God and Goodness vs. the Devil) but it has a lot more Gray area.


Continuity isn't a prerequisite for science fiction/fantasy, especially when time travel/alternate dimensions are involved. that's why it belongs in that genre.


8. L'Engle never just makes her point and moves on. Most scenes go far past the point where they continue to be interesting.

it's kinda like in Quantum Leap when Sam doesn't leap off and he still has one more fricking string dangling to tie up.

2. Characters are always doing things because they "just knew" they were supposed to.

yeah i'm not fond of that tendency either. i seem to recall glaring and probably cussing out the characters while reading certain parts.

the town that gets whipped into witch-burning frenzy because someone is different and strange things happen, changes its mind to believe god did it and it's okay when someone does exactly what witches do right in front of their faces.

oftentimes this can be true in reality, too.

6. Sinfulness and righteousness are apparently genetic. Mortmains are always bad. Lawcaes are always good

this lends to a theory of mine that these are childrens books and meant to show examples of bad vs. good from the author's point of view, much like a parable would. pretty sure the names themselves are significant too.

Echthroi winds now, but not other times.

didn't they blow when the Echthroi were stronger? or just when they were angered? it's been a few years since i read the book.


i understand that most of my points are weak and i blame that on the fact that it's 1am and i lack the brainpower to seek out any support. heh. i go to sleep now. ni' night.
gkr From: gkr Date: November 18th, 2008 01:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: POSSIBLE SPOILERS

I don't think I've actually read Planet before, but I finished the book before I got back to email so it's not spoiled. Unless it's a murder mystery I don't care if a book is spoiled though. If it's good, it'll be good spoiled or no.

Anyhoo, different folks can get different things out of a book. Not all are equally valid of course. If you told me Planet was all about the righteousness of environmentalism, I'd think you were batty.

L'Engle was a very Christian writer, so her books are very much her idea of good vs. evil. Sometimes I think that's the best determiner of whether a book truly belongs in the young adult section or not. "Did the author have a moral or lesson they wanted teens to learn?" If so, it goes in young adult. If not, it goes in adult. That explains the stark good vs. evil bent in L'Engle's books. But only the most Cro-Magnon of Christian sects still push the idea that sin is hereditary. That idea is repugnant to me, and Planet's embrace of that theme really bothers me.
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