Charle Stross just posted a polemic on why he hates <a href'"http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/10/the-hard-edge-of-empire.html#comment-64882">steampunk</a>, most of which seems toreflect the thought that because it is set in the 19th century, it should reflect all the horrors of that time. Tobias Bucknell says basically the <a href="http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/10/the-hard-edge-of-empire.html#comment-64882">same thing</a> with an added hate on fantasy thrown in. China Meiville gets the hate on for <a href="http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=7813">Tolkien</a>, again, ostensibly, for not being dismal enough in it's portrayal of the landscape. Hell, JJ Sutherland cronies up with <a href="http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=7813"> this</a> on an NPR blog.
So, what's with all this "Fiction sucks if it's not historically accurate and condemning everything I don't like about the past" nonsense? I mean, sure, most steampunk might glorify some aspects of Victorianism a touch too much. But so what? Did Stross bitch about Neal Stephenson proclaiming the Victorian ethic superior in the Baroque Cycle? Why do people spend so much time hating on fiction that they don't like, instead of moving on to what they do like? Hell, did Charlie Stross even read Boneshaker (which he points out for scientifically inaccurate zombies, for christ's sake)? It's not exactly saying life in 19th Century American was a laugh riot. But that's not what fiction is about. Or at least not what I read fiction for. I want compelling characters, in compelling situations, that hold my attention. If I want history, I'll read a history text. I'm certainly not caring about historical accuracy in a book with ZOMBIES!! Get real.
I guess I'm saying that if Stross and Bucknell and Meiville are so broken up about historical hegemony and imperialism, maybe they should move out fo fiction and go work in Africa with the peace corps. But quit bitching about books that people obviously like just because they aren't what they like.
I have to say I liked Boneshaker better, but only just a little bit. And I didn't love either one of them. I had problems with the endings in each and similar problems with character in each...that being that I hated one of the POV characters in each. With a passion. To the point that those chapters detracted from my pleasure in the story.
I hated Zeke in the Boneshaker, and I hated the Jaidee/Kanya pair in The Windup Girl.
I also felt that the ending was the weakest part of each novel...Boneshaker kind of dribbled off at the end, for me and The Windup Girl...well, lets just say that my sense of justice is offended by The Windup Girl's ending. Kind of like it was by Babe 2: Pig in the CIty. I felt appropriate come uppances were missing and the supposed good that was to come to my favorite character (who was, in fact, the only innocent in the story) was going to be just as bad as all the other options, given who it was being offered by.
Now, I liked great chunks of both books. The first 22 or 23 chapters of The Windup Girl were some of the most compelling writing I've found in a while. It kept me well gripped. I just wish, in both cases, that the endings had been more satisfying to me.
See, that is my actual quest. I have a bunch of half-written stories and articles and screenplays and I can't seem to finish them because my editor destroys them before I can reach the end. I've tried writing late at night. I've tried writing in the morning...I'm just wondering if I need to try opium?
Or absynthe, at least (although, I don't think absynthe would work - I hate anise and I don't particularly have any greater control over my editor when drunk than when sober).
Yes, my dog is getting allergy shots. We are hoping that the shot course will ease the way he breaks out and gets staph infections all the time. He's mostly allergic to mold. And we have a basement in the house, so there is going to be mold of one sort or another.
The funny thing? Well, Linus is allergic to cats.
Singers like Avril Lavigne (I could make 1 really really great album from her 3) and groups like The Veronicas are doing innocuous pop, but it's innocuous pop that is fun and bold (for pop) and holds my interest. Add to that the slightly older Sara Bareilles, who IMO should win the Grammy for album of the year this year, as Little Voice was WAY better than anything else put out on a major label, and my musical taste has subverted from old singer/songwriters like James Taylor and Jim Croce to a younger set who has the concerns and desire that I share, even though I'm supposedly to old to really care about such things.
My very latest obsession is Julia Nunes. She's a college student going into her sophmore year who just decided last year that she was going to put out a CD (and she's putting out a second one at the end of this summer)and posts homemade videos of her singing her stuff on You Tube. She is 1) completely cool and I wish I could hang out with her and 2) very talented. While she doesn't always write the best lyrics in the world, she write very strong musical lines and she has some damned fine songs. Some of my favorite songs at the moment. Go watch her: http://www.youtube.com/user/jaaaaaaa. I have to say that one of the most endearing things about her is the joy that she gets from people enjoying what she is doing. She is genuinely floored that people actually like her stuff and deeply appreciative. Most artists I'm seeing in the world today could take a lesson from that. Buy her album off iTunes. Support her or someone like her. We need more of that.
Coleslaw, creamy dressing
1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup of shredded parsnip
Usually this works out to be about 4 or 5 small carrots and 1 large parsnip (that's the sizes I usually find in the grocery store).
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 shallots minced
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
salt and pepper to taste
mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, shallots, sugar, white vinegar, dijon, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a bowl and taste. Add more sugar if necessary.
Mix the cabbage, carrots, and parsnips into the dressing and taste. add more salt and pepper as needed.
This recipe provides about 8-10 servings.
If you've never had a tasting menu (often called a Pri Fixe menu at restaurants that only server tasting menus), it's a series of small portions over 7 to 11 courses.
Tonight we had 8 courses...
1) Buffalo Mozzerella anti-pasti. one with mushroom and fried sage, the other with imported Itallian tomatoes.
2) Savory doughnuts wrapped in proscuitto - one wrapped in San Danielle and the other wrapped in Parma.
3) Poached Dover Sole with some stuff on it.
4) Potato Gnocchi with parmesian
5) Risotto with saffron and marrow
6) Beef with lentils and 100 yr old balsamic vinegar
7) Three cheeses with condiments
8) Lemon Marmeletta
Okay, first let me say that there was nothing bad on this menu. I probably wouldn't eat the fish on a regular basis, but it was okay. The doughnuts were marvelous, and the risotto fantastic. Everything else was good, but I want a meal of just the doughnuts and the risotto. It comes with a level of contentment. However, I could eat more.