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Messages - rozencrantz

Writing / Anyone else doing nanowrimo?
November 02, 2006, 01:58:49 AM
Heck yeah. My HD crashed right on November 1, but I'm still plugging along on borrowed disk space.
Writing / Recommended reading
October 15, 2006, 12:00:29 AM
I suspected as much. Somehow, though, I'm repeatedly surprised by how subjective something that seems so clear in my head can reall be.

Sometimes it feels like there are two things that share the same name. Like, I've gone through some Peter Jackson movies and tried to figure out what is so appealing about them, and the only conclusion I can reach is that there must be two different Peter Jacksons, and I've just always come across the bad one. I really cannot imagine something in a Murakami novel being nonsensical and amaturish, it's really like we've seen different words on the page.

Those really sharply divergent spots in our worldviews are fascinating and frustrating, because I feel so strongly that there must be some way to reconcile them, even though I've seen no evidence that it's true. Can't argue with taste, after all.
Writing / Critic alert! ^^
October 14, 2006, 06:00:27 AM
First, it took too long to get going. That's easy enough to fix, just cut out some of the details of the conversation, the bit in the cafeteria, anything that doesn't move it forward. Or just leave it because some jerk on the internet isn't going to tell you how to pace your story.

But some jerk on the internet *is* going to tell you to rewrite their conversation, because it is one of the most offensively demeaning portrayals of social awkwardness I've ever seen. If I could hold a normal conversation just by saying "I think I can I think I can" I wouldn't be in the fix I'm in now. Your description of easy answers that just turn him around right there are the kind of condescending delusion that perpetuates the belief that people with Asperger's Syndrome are just lazy.

Otherwise, it looks like an interesting story. I certainly want to know what happens next, especially if you really did kill off the main character.
Writing / The Comics List
October 14, 2006, 05:34:02 AM
This goes with the book list, but for comics, because I read way more comics than books.

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, words and art by Hitoshi Ashinano - Cheery. Post Apocalyptic. Slice of Life. Different New Things. When I think of everything I think a comic should be, I think of YKK. It's quiet, spare, sometimes entire chapters go by with no words at all. Everything is beautiful. Three generations go by quietly, and it never feels restless, never feels like something should happen. It's a perfect portrayal of what heaven might look like, a world completely free of "want" or "need". And it doesn't have an ending, just a place where there stop being more chapters. It doesn't end abruptly, it doesn't feel unresolved, but it isn't tied up in a neat little bow.

Azumanga Daioh, words and art by Kiyohiko Azuma - One of those rare stories that manages to be really funny and really moving at the same time. I laughed until I cried and I just cried, both.

Cerebus the Aardvark, words by Dave Sim, art by Dave Sim and Gerhard - Who is Gerhard? Nobody seems to know. He's one of the best lanscape artists I've ever seen, but Dave Sim is so outspoken that he gets swallowed up. But his backgrounds stand testament to his genious. I haven't read all 300 issues, but I've read what's considered the core of the comic, and it's amazing. Jaka's Story is the moving, human portrayal of a young girl's coming of age, Church and State is a multilayered political alegory full of fascinating characters, and Mothers and Daughters is an intricate, collage-like look into the mind of a man losing his grip on the world. Just don't try to take the mysoginist polemic to seriously.

Sandman, words by Neil Gaiman, art by just about everyone - It has its ups and downs, but Sandman is a remarkably rewarding book, full of allusions and poignant one liners that seem to ring with otherworldly significance. Every time I read it, I get the feeling that I'm being told something extremely important, if only I can pay enough attention.

Saukkosotilaat/Otter Soldiers, words and art by Elina Hopeasaari - This is the closest thing to fantasy you'll find me reading. Santa Claus is dead. The elves are trying to keep this quiet so that they can continue to gain influence among the "nice" children and eliminate the "naughty" ones. The art is impressive, the people really look like people to an unnerving degree, none of the slick lines you find in Japanese and Japanese-influenced comics

Epileptic, words and art by David B. - It's a french memoir about growing up with an epileptic brother, but the art has a Oaxacan sensibility to it. The way he portrays his family reminds me of...

Blankets, words and art by Craig Thompson - Beautiful, not-quite-there art, and a great portrayal of a family's dynamics. They're a pretty scary family, they can be really brutal at times, but they very clearly love eachother and only want what is best. But sometimes they don't get that.

Alien Nine, words and art by Hitoshi Tomizawa - This comic suffers from multiple reader disorder. Some people talk about Alien Nine as that comic that has really cute drawings of violent fights and gross aliens, and a main character who cries too much. Other people talk about Alien Nine, that touching study of three girls suffering through puberty together before all of their friends, the terror of sexuality personified in the creatures they fight, and a main character who suffers from a crippling anxiety disorder, at times too consumed by fear to even move. I read the second version, and loved it.

Saikano, words by Shin Takahashi, art by Shin Takahashi et. al. - There is something really appealing about the idea of my personal frustrations and difficulties being tied to the fate of the world. And the main characters' relationship so closely paralels my relationship with the woman I love that it's uncanny. Except, y'know, she isn't the angel of death.

Chobits, by CLAMP - See my article The Problem of Chobits. I resent this comic for being so much more moving than it deserves to be.
Writing / Recommended reading
October 14, 2006, 04:01:28 AM
Oh dear. I can already see I'm not going to fit in here well. I'm far more of a slice-of-life/realism person than a fantasy person, I don't even like the I-don't-like-fantasy-except stuff, like Harry Potter or His Dark Materials.

Still, I might as well throw my two cents into the ring. My favorite kind of book is the kind that puts small amounts of magic into realist settings, where people react with irritation and denial, rather than acceptance and a-questing.

A Dream of Red Mansions, Cao Xueqin: It's my favorite book, if only because I see so much of myself in the main character. It's unbelievably long (2500pp) but every page sheds light on the lives of over 400 characters, most of them women. In the introduction, Cao Xueqin explains that late in life he realized that all of the women he had met had been far superior than the men, and he wanted to create a proper monument to all the girls he had ever known, of high or low birth, so that they would never be forgotten. Jia Baoyu is a beautiful realization of the "brilliant degenerate" archetype.

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami: Murakami is one of the most intense writers I have ever encountered. His words cut like a laser. I could never read his nonfiction book about the Tokyo Subway bombings, because he captures all of the emotions of the moment, all of the confusion and terror. Kafka on the Shore, instead, is a far more pleasant book, more about all of the good things in life. I could recount the plot, but that would be pointless because Murakami's power is in making you feel incredibly strongly about completely made up things.

Naked Lunch, William Burroughs: Please don't try to look for a story. Also, please don't blame me when you throw up. It's pretty much a chain of vignettes that all flow into eachother, all of them with amazingly sharp images and incredible writing, and most of them really sickeningly graphic.

The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenger: It's just a really beautiful love story about two people dealing with their exceedingly strange circumstances as best they can. One of those I-don't-cry-at-books-and-I-cried books.

And the currently-reading list is "House of Leaves", by Mark Danielewski, and "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoyevski. Both of which are so far very well written, though "House of Leaves" is more to my liking so far.
Writing / What you think is the most common charachter?
October 14, 2006, 01:48:38 AM
I think some of the most overused characters are so used because they are so usable.

Yes, I actually mean something by that:

Alyosha Karamazov, the main character in The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevski, is a textbook Mary Sue: A man who, were he to find himself in a foreign country where he did not speak the language and did not have a penny to his name, would be taken care of and want for nothing because he was so incredibly likeable, and if anyone ever didn't like him it was only because they were jealous of how much everyone liked him, and if they ever met him they would like him too.

But the reason that everyone can identify a MS is because they are all very similar, even though different people are acting out their own sueish desires. So when you see a well written sue, you don't see it as masturbatory, but rather as a character who you can identify with almost immediately, because he speaks to something shared in all of us.
Knowhow Trading Post / Science Fiction Readers:
October 14, 2006, 01:29:01 AM
I subscribe to a SF monthly (Analog) where accuracy in SF is a pretty contentious topic.
So I think I might be able to help you.
But, I don't do IM ever nope nuh-uh.
But you can email me: rozencrantz at gmail dot com. I check it several times a day.