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E Ticket*

Sorry about today. Family things cropped up. It happens. Anyway, a comment from tarkinlyon sparked today's topic. So, let's blame tarkinlyon if this doesn't work out. (I'm joking, of course. We can still blame Charlie for leaving you in my hands. Oh, okay. I guess you can blame me. If you really want to.)

Tarkinlyon asked which Fantasy books took me away to another place? Since I'm a habitual reader--I don't go anywhere without a book on my person--the list is vast. However, there were a limited number that were life-changers. So, I'll talk about those. Also? I'm not going to limit myself to Fantasy. I'm getting the impression that y'all seem to think women don't read SF. Or maybe it's just that you feel I don't? I'm not sure which. Nonetheless, here goes...

Learning to read wasn't easy for me. It wasn't until I understood that books were actually tickets to new and interesting places and adventures I couldn't otherwise have that I actually got interested in reading. The very first book to open the way for me was a biography of Helen Keller published by Scholastic Books. I knew that if she could do all the amazing things with her life that she did, I could do the same. I identified with her for a whole host of reasons. Then came A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I think it was the first SF novel I ever read. It blew my mind. Not only was the main character a female, but Meg's mother was a scientist. It was the first time I saw a grown woman in SF Doing Things. Combined with Mrs. Peel and Uhura on Star Trek, I got the idea that I really could do anything I wanted. I even fantasized about being an astronaut or a scientist. L'Engle hooked me on SF books as Nichelle Nichols did Star Trek.** I read SF like mad after that. I think it helped even more that it felt like contraband.

The next book that really affected my life was The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I became obsessed. I read everything about Tolkien and Middle Earth that I could get my hands on. I liked to draw. So, I spent hours drawing different characters. I re-read the books over and over. I read The Silmarillion at least three times. (That's hard core as anyone familiar with Tolkien's work knows.) That was when I started writing. My parents grew worried that I was turning into some sort of demonic, mental, freak. My books started vanishing from the shelves. I got lectured about my reading material. I was told I shouldn't write. (Girls can't grow up to be writers, see.) Finally, they consulted the family priest. Father Mulvihill, a Jesuit that taught High School, laughed and told them to calm down. "She's reading Tolkien? That's wonderful! She's fine. Tolkien was a nice Catholic writer. Here," Father Mulvihill said, handing them a boxed set of books. "Have her read C.S. Lewis next. She'll love it." I never got into C.S. Lewis. He was too preachy for me, but I never forgot what Father Mulvihill did for me. (And if you want to know where Father Murray comes from, it's Father Mulvihill.)

After that, I went through a phase where I didn't read anything but Fantasy. However, it started to get repetitive. <cue bored tone> Male [secretly royal] character goes off on a journey to find a [ring/stave/wand/gem-pick one save others for the rest of the series] of extreme power. While on the road he collects several friends [all male] who just happen to have abilities he might need in the end. Male character acquires magic item and incidentally picks up a princess somewhere in a treasure room. The End.</cue bored tone> After the 57th such mindless book, I dumped Fantasy and never wanted to go back. I read SF. I read Horror. I read Mystery. I read Classics. I did not ever read Fantasy.

I went through a Heinlein phase before I discovered he didn't seem to be even passingly familiar with the alien creature called "woman." (This, in spite of being able to imagine all sorts of alien creatures and understand them.) Dune was huge for me. (Except for the hokey ending.) I re-read the first book quite a few times. (My then Southern Baptist boyfriend was horrified. OMG! Spice might = drugs!) I read Omni magazine too. Later, I subscribed to Wired magazine when Omni went away. The only comics I would read were Gaiman's Sandman. I was serious about my SF.

And then I met my husband, Dane, who attempted to introduce me to this terribly nice Fantasy series called Discworld. I wasn't having it. Nope. No. More. Fantasy. Ever. "Okay," Dane said. Dane is--luckily for me--ever the patient man. "You like Neil Gaiman, don't you? Here, read Good Omens." Yeah. Good Omens was (to steal an expression from a punk friend) like having a bomb go off in my brain. Little did I know that Gaiman was a gateway drug into Terry Pratchett. With that, I discovered what I was missing by being so judgemental about Fantasy and even humor.

Now I read everything.

--------------------------

* For those unfamiliar with the term, it's a reference to a type of Disneyland ride

** I did get into Jonny Quest and Dark Shadows first, however. I blame Jonny Quest for giving me the impression that girls didn't have adventures. They never bothered explaining what happened to Jonny's mother from what I recall. She simply didn't exist and never had. No one missed her. It was as if Jonny was some sort of mutant hatched from an egg in his father's lab. That, combined with my truncated experience with Peter Pan*** gave me the impression that girls weren't welcome in Adventureland.

*** Mom stopped reading at the part where Wendy is shot down by the Lost Boy and is entombed in that mausoleum er... the little house for daring to fly to, let alone set foot on, Neverland. Yeah. Yikes.

93 Comments

1:

Gateway drug, heh. Yes. I though the same thing, but I went on to devour everything Gaiman wrote. Some of Pratchett. I figure when I'm retired (ha!) I'll have all those discworld (of which I've only read a couple) books to go back to.

LOVED CS Lewis, until the end, when I felt entirely and totally betrayed (not knowing a lot of Christian history and stories, it didn't strike that chord with me)

Just got The Silmarillion. We'll see. I like Tolkien whole bunches but if the story is buried in description and language I'll give it up.

Don't like A Wrinkle in Time *ducks quickly*. I just didn't.

I have, however, read many English mysteries. Love them!

2:

I must say that I have mixed feelings about Heinlein and women. Some people say that he didn't understand them and that his portrayal of marriage is bizarre, but I have also heard that many of his female characters were based on Virginia Heinlein, and his interactions between spouses on himself and Virginia. His marriages to Leslyn MacDonald and Virginia Gerstenfeld seem to have been successful, although Leslyn's health problems ended their relationship early. His female characters tend to have a strong sex drive and a peculiar eagerness to settle down as subsistence farmers having lots of children, but so do many of his men. Then there is his "dirty old man" phase, or writing "Time Enough for Love" while he had a clogged artery feeding his brain ... All in all, if I were making a list of things that I think Heinlein was wrong about, I am not sure if his ideas about gender would top the list.

3:

"Just got The Silmarillion. We'll see. I like Tolkien whole bunches but if the story is buried in description and language I'll give it up."

The thing to keep in mind with The Silmarilion is that it is the background mythology for Middle Earth. (And the pre-history too.) If you like reading about mythology, you'll be fine. If you don't... you're going to have problems. It's not a story like The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.

"Don't like A Wrinkle in Time *ducks quickly*. I just didn't."

No problem. It's not a requirement. :)

4:

"All in all, if I were making a list of things that I think Heinlein was wrong about, I am not sure if his ideas about gender would top the list."

We don't have to agree on this. It's not a big deal. I'm not going to tell you I'm an expert on Heinlein--because I'm not, and I did enjoy The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by the way. However, I don't know any woman who would react to rape the way his character did in Friday. That may have been post-stroke. (I strongly suspect it was.)

5:

Yes, Heinlein's treatment of rape, incest, and pedophilia is disturbing. I wish I could believe it was all the aftereffects of his stroke, but there are hints in his earlier works once you know to look. I don't agree with many of his ideas, and dislike most of his later works, but I do respect his skill as a writer.

6:

Lets all talk about our favorites.

As a child I was a bed wetter until puberty. I also liked to read books in bed. Thus, my parents had to pay for a lot of library books, and took away my library card. So, I got a coat and made a hole in the lining so I could sneak books out and wet on them.
I enjoyed Jules Verne and John Christopher.

When I was in sixth grade, I was reading The Stars are Ours in class when the teacher caught me. I was suspended and removed from class and sent to a Presbyterian school for a few years. Or it might have had something to do with bussing. That Andre Norton sure can write, even if he is part spanish.

There I stole a copy of "1984" from the library in the preachers office (they were big on anti-communism). That blew my mind, that was a pretty adult novel.

Once the world didn't end and I went back to public school, I was in a little clique that all sat together in woodshop class. One of our members introduced me to Tolkien (pretty good, I enjoyed it) and, even better, Kurt Vonnegut. I read Slaughterhouse Five, then over the following weeks I gobbled up all his other works.

While I read many books as a teenager (Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov, and Gordon Dickson typify)the ones that really took me were Space Merchants by Pohl and Kornbluth and The Best of Cordwainer Smith. Oh, and Harry Harrison. I liked The Stainless Steel Rat a lot.

From the commentary in The Best of the Hugos and from a book by Lin Carter I decided I wanted to be a science fiction writer. I never did, I can't write, I don't get people. How can they make mistakes that lead to stories? Why don't they just stay out of trouble and not get caught? But anyway, for some reason I went through a phase after Candide when I like sort of antiheros just falling from situation to situation. For a while I thought a satirical book called Bernhard the Conqueror was the best thing ever. Also liked Brunner, stuff like The Sheep Look Up, and later The Crucible of Time. Clearly an influence on more than just me.

I liked the Harold Shea stories by Fletcher Pratt and L.Sprague De Camp. Got into fencing because of that and The Three Musketeers movie (1976 version). There I met friends who played D&D and introduced me to authors like C.J Cherryh.

When I went down to Austin to go to college, but didn't really focus on college, I got into the Illuminatus trilogy, or tried to. I was sure it was good. Absorbed Zelazny's Amber series in one blissfull week, though, and still read it annually the way some people read Alice in Wonderland. Also started a collection of everything I could find by Phillip K. Dick just so I could go around asking people if they had any.

Later, after the drugs wore off, I read a book called The Third Industrial Revolution that really recruited me. I decided to only read hard science fiction. Loved a book called Men, Machines, and Evolution by James P. Hogan during that phase. Then I went to straight non-fiction, can't get any harder. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was good. Real long, too.

When I was stationed in Korea, there was a bookstore down on the main base that I got to go to sometimes. And whoever got books for that store had great taste that got me started back into reading science fiction for entertainment. Alastair Reynolds for starters. Stephen Baxter. I picked up a book called Accelerando, but didn't actually read it until I was in Iraq. When I came back I got another book by that same guy, Singularity Sky. Etc...

Shortly after I arrived in Japan, a guy that was supposed to be my boss returned from training for the next higher rank. Then there was a big scandal and I was his boss instead. Which meant that I got to sit in on his sexual assault trial. (They decided demotion was enough, since he didn't actually penetrate). But during the breaks I was reading Martin's Ice and Fire series.

While I was there I also got the whole Wrinkle in Time series, which I remembered wetting on. It wasn't as good the second time, so I gave it to a guy I knew who had daughers. Also gave him all my Dark Tower books, and Glass House which he had borrowed from me while we were on a field exercise and given back at the end.

Lately I've just been reading additional books by authors I already know. Maybe I should try new authors, sometimes that really pays off. Ordered some stuff by this "Stina Licht"...

7:

" I blame Jonny Quest for giving me the impression that girls didn't have adventures. "

I'm supposing here that you mean the original 60s Jonny Quest and not the 90s reboot.

It's funny but for me that USA TV series (which was bought and re-broadcast by one of our stations in the mid 60s) gave me an example that yes, women could travel around the planet alone, have adventures and rescue guys who had gotten in trouble.

All because of Jade.

And it was just because of a single episode, "Double Danger". I never saw the other one where she appeared.

http://www.classicjq.com/info/lists/JQWomen.shtml

I must have been impressed by Jade because in the mid sixties there were so few women in the other cartoons or in the "serious" SF (mostly Clarke and Asimov and a bit of Bradbury and PK Dick) that I had begun to read. She really stood out.

Even if I don't play games (computer or paper) I was delighted when I learned that the black-haired adventure heroine of "Beyond Good and Evil" was called Jade.

8:

I must have been impressed by Jade because in the mid sixties there were so few women in the other cartoons or in the "serious" SF...

You might want to check out the Jackie Chan Adventures, which features another Jade in animation. Actually, I like that Jade a lot; not only does she get into many entertaining misadventures, but she gets out of them as well, often by her own actions.

9:

I was big into the Verne and Wells classics as a kid, picking up Dune and LotR in junior high. But one book that I discovered as an adult that has blown my mind is Leonora Carrington's The Hearing Trumpet.

Carrington was most famously known as a surrealist painter (her works are breathtaking and weird and silly and full of everything that makes Surrealsism fun) but she wrote equally funny, weird and beautiful fiction as well, dreamlike, full of alchemy and mystical fart jokes.

The Hearing Trumpet is about a little old lady who gets packed away to a retirement village by her family. She ends up fighting the patriarchy for possession of the Holy Grain with the help of a bunch of other elderly ladies, a few werewolves and some bees. This is one of the few books I can't recommend it enough. I've gone so far as to give copies away like some deranged Evangelical hocking Bibles. It's that good.

10:

Heinlein is, in context, a child of the closing of the American frontier -- he was born in the generation after the whole western settlement thing ended. His parents had, in fact, migrated. The covered wagon thing was as real to him as he Space Shuttle is to a 20-year-old today -- they've seen it but they know it's over and they're not going on it.

This, more than anything else, shaped Heinlein's attitude to space: it was indeed, for him, the new frontier. And the whole thing about starting a dirt farm on an alien world and having lots of babies was probably an unquestioned generalisation he made based on his parents' generation -- which is, after all, where many of us get our ideas about the way we're supposed to live our lives.

Add to this: per Patterson's bio, Heinlein from his early teens exhibited interests in naturism and the free love movement that was then (in the 19-teens) getting its first tentative exposure on the back of first wave feminism (and a reaction against the patriarchal conventions of traditional marriage as practiced at that time); not too far different to the recurrent attitudes of the so-called "permissive" 60's and 70’s, if on a smaller and more tentative scale. (Some of these social trends seem to recur on a 50-year/two generation cycle). Takeaway: he was a 1960s teenager stranded in the 1910s.

No wonder he was frustrated by his milieu and took to writing SF -- he could be paid to imagine the world as it should be if it was sane and rational, rather than the horrible mess he was embedded in!

11:

My take on Friday is that the eponymous protag of that book is very badly damaged. She's basically something between a slave and a victim of extreme child abuse; thematically the book is about her journey to the realisation that she is a human being with some inherent value and dignity. (Plot-wise it's Heinlein running The Man Who Learned Better again, one of his classic structures.)

NB: when I decided to write my Heinlein tribute novel, Friday was the book I picked to riff off. Because what he was trying to do there was fascinating, even though he couldn't quite make it work properly.

12:

Does The Jungle Book count as fantasy?
Yes, but it is so embedded into our cultrue, that we don't even notice.
In the same way that it is almost impossible to find an SF&F writer who has not been influenced by the mathematician, C. L. Dodgson.

13:

At risk of boorishness, I forgot a couple.
Books I had to read in one sitting:

The Genocides by Thomas Disch. (The final scene haunted me for a long time)

Excession by Iain Banks (I don't just want to live in the Culture, I want to become a Ship Mind. Matter was good too, strong female character, Stina.)

The Peace War by Vernor Vinge
(the brain augmentation in it might be how the first stages of that segue to Mind would look).

Not fantasy though.
If it's just fantasy...well, there was this fantasy book I read where the protagonist took this drug and it transported him instantly to another world where there was magic and he was a warrior and became a hero. (It doesn't work). Forgot the title.

14:

I loved The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress when I read it as a teenager. However, I tried re-reading it around 2 years ago when I was in my mid-forties and I found I did not have the patience for wading through his politics.

It resonated when I was young and now I am older it irks.

15:

The early Culture novels of Banks are re-readable. I have re-read Use of Weapons and The Player of Games aprrox 5 times each in the last decade. I find the later Culture novels less worth of a second visit.

I am a huge Clifford D Simak fan. I read Time and Again every year. I also loved The Werewolf Principle.

In the realm of Philip K Dick, I find Ubik a good read every year too.

My first set of Peter F Hamilton novels were the Pandora's Start and Judas Unchained. I have re-read both at least 3 times now. The Void Trilogy was an excellent follow on but I do not know if I can manage a third re-reading of it.

I read a lot or Robert Silverberg when I was young but only remember The Time Hoppers.

Alastair Reynolds Redemption Space novels are good. Pushing Ice and Century Rain were excellent.

16:

I think the reason that your mother stopped reading at the point where Wendy was shot down, is that the fairies that built her the house were on their way home from an orgy.
It's just a one off throwaway line.

17:

Firstly, I'm not about to blame you for not doing anything; real life happens to all of us and is almost always more important than $new_blog_posting!

Secondly, I'd struggle to name specific influences in terms of authors, because I'm another one who is rarely seen travelling bookless.

Historically, I think I started off with Verne and Wells, then discovered Asimov and Clarke through a magazine that published an SF short plus science and technology features, then picked up EE Smith and Andre Norton at the library, LOTR at a second-hand book sale, and things sort of exploded a bit after than since we reach about 1980, me going to university, and an SF bookshop opening in Glasgow...

18:

I read delany's "the einstein intersection" at a young age, didn't really understand it and enjoyed it for what it was. it showed me the possibilities permissible in story telling and character, that those characters exist. I've been searching out his other titles ever since. - okay not so much the essays

I also think that some of le guin's short stories open the doors to the idea of a myriad divergent valid cultures. she's quite happy to talk about where some of her major works falter from half hearted thinking, but in the short stories, there's no room for any thing but the central idea - i.e. an author can be more experimental in a short story.

'have space suit will travel' is the best heinlein juvenile IMO, because of pee wee, [and the mother thing] despite them all being so sickeningly academically gifted and straight up. that was the book that let me know wanting to be an engineer was all right, despite being a middle of the road scholar.

I read out the two libraries (lending and school) as a teenager, so there's lots of stories that I don't remember now. they are all churning around in my subconscious occasionally asking why the world isn't as it should be. my parents never challenged anything i read, in fact they had a shelf of heinlien's, vonegut's and assorted british new wave writers. so i wanted to mention here some of the less obvious authors.

I came to mcleod's 'fall revolution' late, but even though it's a past future now, it still moves me, perhaps because I walk the same streets the characters did an see the possibilities. while being grounded in the real world, these stories give a voice to the potential of the future. - so those are the most recent stories that have pinged my e-ticket, because they could be true. I don't want to live in the laundry-verse, I might like to live in (at least some of) ken's - no not the shiny go faster bit

the best stories turn you world inside out, the next best are a comfort - however you want to take that comfort - , the least best leave you wondering if you'll ever get those hours of your life back, i.e. david eddings

Maggie

19:

My gateways were Asimov, and Bradbury, Zelazny, Tolkien, and a lot of the classics, thanks to my older brother. For a while, after Zelazny and Tolkien, I didn't touch fantasy (after a bad case of Shannara), but then got lured back into that.

Nowadays, in raw numbers, Fantasy outnumbers SF, but there is much more F than SF written these days.

20:

One of the first SF novels I read was Firebird by Charles L. Harness and RiverWorld by Philip Jose Farmer. Talk about Gateway drugs. Not exactly high brow, but that led me to read Dune, twice within a year.
I'm Dutch and for English at school we had to read an English book and after just having read Dune (Duin) I asked to read Dune Messiah Which clocked in a respectable 300 pages, but my teacher insisted to read Dune even after I told him I had already read it. I could have gotten away with skimming the text in English, but I loved the book even more reading it in it's original language. The whole 600 pages of it. At least two times more than anyone else in my class had to read.
The rest of the series followed quickly. Although I refuse to read the prequels. Don't really see the point.

21:

> took me away to another place?

I started off with early Norton, Heinlein, some Asimov, the usual. I didn't care much for Moorcock, Silverberg, or Dick; "social" SF bored me. Still does, for that matter.

I'd read a few fantasy novels, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I found tedious. I didn't care for fantasy much, but due to the shortage of new material available, I'd try a fantasy story before, say, a detective story.

Then I came across "The Guns of Avalon" by Zelazny, and quickly found the other three. (the final one hadn't been written yet) de Camp did something similar decades before, but I hadn't encountered the Harold Shea books then; Zelazny's "realist fantasy" approach was new to me, and changed my attitude toward the genre.

A whole lot of people have riffed off Zelazny since then, so I guess I'm not the only one who was impressed...

22:

Interstellar Pig by William Sleator was my first palpable taste of suspense. Hitchhiker's Guide was the first book I laughed out loud at. My parents love mysteries, so there was lots of Christie and Stout lying about. But I really loved taking a break with Shel Silverstein. He was so unassuming. The pictures helped, too.

23:

For me it was Moorcock's The Warlord of the Air (I've never been able to get very far into LOTR).

Moorcock's little dime novel may well help account for my Advanced Left-wing Opinions, that and all the Orwell I was reading around that time (I have to say I prefer Raymond Williams' book on Orwell to most of what the Trotskyist with big feet wrote).

Anyway, The Warlord OTA is one of those books that stays in your head for a long, long time. I reread it last year for the first time in a quarter century and it was like I'd never been away.

Re: Heinlein. I get the point about him being a product of the closing of the frontier, but seriously, why was he obsessed with incest? I'm sorry if that sounds like an attempt at trolling, but I honestly do mean it as a genuine question.

24:

Para 3 - The Amber saga blew me away too, despite my Dad (I was ill and he went to the library for me) deciding that I'd really like to start with "The Guns of Avalon" rather than "9 Princes in Amber", so much so that the momentum carried me clear through the Merlin chronicles once they were written, and a couple of Amber Diceless Roleplaying campaigns.

25:

Yes, Heinlein's treatment of rape, incest, and pedophilia is disturbing. I wish I could believe it was all the aftereffects of his stroke, but there are hints in his earlier works once you know to look. I don't agree with many of his ideas, and dislike most of his later works, but I do respect his skill as a writer.

I couldn't agree more.

26:

I'm supposing here that you mean the original 60s Jonny Quest and not the 90s reboot.

Oh, good grief. I didn't even know they'd rebooted it. Ha! That said, I believe that when straight white male characters have a monopoly on adventure in SF there is a problem. It isn't that straight male characters have adventures in SF. There's a distinction.

27:

This is one of the few books I can't recommend it enough. I've gone so far as to give copies away like some deranged Evangelical hocking Bibles. It's that good.

I've written that title down. It sounds fantastic. Older women almost never have adventures in SF or Fantasy. (With the exception of Sir Terry Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax.) I'm so reading that.

As for pushing books we love on others, I do that quite often myself. I was a bookseller for six years. It's in my blood. I can't help myself. (And yes, Charile's books are among those I push on people. My neighbors across the street can verify this. :))

28:

Takeaway: he [Heinlein] was a 1960s teenager stranded in the 1910s.

I can see that, actually. When I read Stranger in a Strange Land I did so with the attitude: this is a book that is of its time. Ah, the 1960s and that first wave of Feminism.

Thanks for the observation about the 50 year cycle. I'd noticed (during some research for last novel project) that the Georgian era seemed to have a lot in common with the 1960s, frankly.

29:

I never got on with Heinlein. I trace this back to my childhood and my first experiences of reading SF. I remember picking up a Heinlein juvenile and being shocked within the first few pages by some political point he made. I put the book back on the library shelf unread. Later on, I attributed my reaction to my being brought up within a deeply socialist culture in South Wales. Whatever, I never really went back to him.

30:

One classic author NOT mentioned so far ...
The one that got me started, though I knew Wells & Verne existed, and was intending to read them, but my father had a pre-war Penguin copy of: "Last & First Men", by Olaf Stapeldon @ home ....
What a way to start - right in @ the deep end.
For fantasy, apart from CLD/LC of course, no-one has mentioned the nearly 700-year old work by a well-known ex-inhabitant of Florence, originally published in instalments, 1308-21.

31:

She's basically something between a slave and a victim of extreme child abuse; thematically the book is about her journey to the realisation that she is a human being with some inherent value and dignity.

This is why I stuck through with it until the second or third book. That was a concept I thought interesting. It was also the first time I'd seen it done with a female character. However, when Heinlein began to seriously flub it, I quit Heinlein altogether. The fact that I stuck to it that long should tell you something. It is nice that he tried. Doesn't dismiss the problems, however. (As you pointed out.)

To repeat a previous statement: Female characters are difficult for male authors to write--even established, talented, and knowledgeable authors. It doesn't mean one shouldn't try. It was obvious to me Heinlein was trying. He just failed. It happens.

32:

Excession by Iain Banks (I don't just want to live in the Culture, I want to become a Ship Mind. Matter was good too, strong female character, Stina.)

Ohhhh, I like Iain Banks. I really do. Thanks for that one.

33:

However, I tried re-reading it around 2 years ago when I was in my mid-forties and I found I did not have the patience for wading through his politics.

That happens to me a lot, particularly now that I'm a writer. I haven't re-read Heinlein. I'm almost afraid to do so. Not that it matters. There's waaaay too much good stuff to read the first time. Did I mention I have a giant pile of unread books? This is what comes from working in a bookstore and being a professional writer on top of it.

34:

I'm enjoying all the recommendations this post has spurred. Yay!

35:

Then I'm going to recommend Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief - a copy of which is on my coffee table in front of me so I could type his name right off - and The Fractal Prince.

Word of warning though, these are books that are not so much meant to be read as reread and reread - compulsively.

36:

I think the reason that your mother stopped reading at the point where Wendy was shot down, is that the fairies that built her the house were on their way home from an orgy.

Interesting. I own many copies of Peter Pan. I don't ever remember coming across that line. (I just looked for it and didn't find it. It's possible that this is an edited version.) I asked my mother about it. She doesn't remember why she stopped.

37:

From Wikipedia:

In the novel Peter and Wendy, published in 1911, there are fairies on Neverland. In the part of the story where Peter Pan and the Lost Boys built a house for Wendy on Neverland, Peter Pan stays up late that night to guard her from the pirates, but then the story says: "After a time he fell asleep, and some unsteady fairies had to climb over him on their way home from an orgy. Any of the other boys obstructing the fairy path at night they would have mischiefed, but they just tweaked Peter's nose and passed on." In the early 20th Century, the word "orgy" generally referred to a large group of people consuming alcohol.

38:

the best stories turn you world inside out, the next best are a comfort - however you want to take that comfort

Oh, yes. THIS. Aren't books wonderful?

39:

Nowadays, in raw numbers, Fantasy outnumbers SF, but there is much more F than SF written these days.

It's a phase. Everything cycles.

40:

I could have gotten away with skimming the text in English, but I loved the book even more reading it in it's original language. The whole 600 pages of it.

I admire people who have more than one language. (This is why I try so hard with Irish.) It was very insightful of your teacher to have you reread Dune in English. What sorts of distinctions did you discover? I'm curious.

The reason I ask is that I failed to mention Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre as a big influence on me. Long ago, I had a not-so-great relationship. My ex-boyfriend took a number of things with him that he shouldn't have when he left, including the television. For a little over a year I went without because I couldn't afford to buy a new one. It worked out well in the long run. I decided to re-read the books I already owned and this time I'd expand my vocabularly by looking up any words I didn't know already. When I re-read Jane Eyre I didn't just discover new words, I had an epiphany. Charlotte Brontë used multiple means for words and sometimes used all the definitions at once. It blew my mind. To this day I'm a little sad that my teacher didn't point this out. Still, to make the discovery for myself was a treasure.

Anyway, did you make any such discoveries with Dune?

41:

Are you sure you really want to know the answer to that one? Whether it was a family tragedy, a personal kink, or an attempt to make his readers question their own values, the answer is likely to be ugly. And I'm not sure that any of us really knows why we are interested in some things but not others (the conscious mind is a facade not a helmsman). Given his strong belief in privacy, and loud insistence that he was an entertainer not a self-conscious artist, if Heinlein had any thoughts on this I doubt they will ever be made public.

42:

I liked Amber quite a bit too! Good stuff.

43:

Noted. I'm so very okay with that. Ha!

44:

Sean, thank you for that. HAHAHA! I love it. And you know what? I bet that was the reason.

45:

I've just realised that Amber and LOTR are the only 2 High Fantasy series I own that I'm keeping so I can reread them rather than because they've not made it into the charity box yet!

Other topic - As a bookseller, you actually told people that "I think you'll enjoy this". That makes you the second bookseller I've known (for values of known anyway) who did this (Sidebar for UKians - I'm not counting Richard and Marion or Roger because they didn't know my tastes well enough due to lack of regular sales to me)

46:

It was very insightful of your teacher to have you reread Dune in English. What sorts of distinctions did you discover? I'm curious.

I can't really remember apart from that the story flows better in it's original language and that certain words for example the fremen would be translated and that what is insinuated in the original was made explicit in the translation. The English translation of the Dutch for Fremen would be Free men.
O and the translation for Spice as a translation makes no sense. They choose a word that sounded similar, but in the context of the story had no meaning. Spice translated back, would mean mortar as in brick and mortar.

47:

All that talking of Heinlein made me remember one of his books The number of the beast. It had the best cover ever for a teenage boy pre internet.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/5637324-het-getal-van-het-beest

Can't remember the story at all, only that there were no robots attacking naked women.

48:

Some sort of warning that this was going to demand that we joined FriendFace would be nice.

49:

It doesn't require FaceBook; that is simply one way to sign in. You can also sign in using GoodReads (making your own account). http://www.listal.com/book/het-getal-van-het-beest-robert-a-heinlein is another link for it.

50:

Sorry I wasn't aware of the need to sign in.

51:

#48 thro 50 inc - Cheers guys; that is one of the worst and most misleading pulp covers I've ever seen.

Also, I genuinely did get hit with a request to join FaceBook and aside from having no intention of ever doing so, am presently on a borrowed computer, and on my Mum's user account on it!

52:

Its hard for me to remember the first SF and Fantasy. I do know that a boxed set of Heinlein's juveniles (Have Spacesuit Will Travel, Citizen of the Galaxy, Starbeast and Tunnel in the Sky), followed by Starship Troopers. Then there was H. Beam Piper's Uller Uprising which rocked my world and if I'd known it was based on one of the Indian Mutinies I'd have been on Flashman and the like in a second.

But Heinlein didn't come across so well as I got older. The attitudes on women and some of the unstated assumptions at least.

After that, I discovered David Drake and many, many others and haven't looked back since.

53:

Now, I didn't read all the comments (there are 52 of them!) and I do agree that Heinlein was a rather misogynist chappy...but Podkayne of Mars is a rather well written novel - and the protagonist is a teenage girl, who is brilliantly written (her voice in particular shines throughout the novel.) But yes, the rest of his novels don't deal with (or acknowledge the existence of) women.

54:

Gosh. Life changing reads. That's a tough one.

Dune and LOTR are probably my favourite books. If I had to go to a desert island I'd be gutted to leave either behind - but a strong third doesn't immediately spring to mind. I read both when fairly young (I was at middle school - so 9-12 years old) and they both changed my ideas of what books could be. Something with depth and heft (and I'm not just talking about the word count ;-)

Actually - a third book has just sprung to mind if I stop thinking of just fiction. Hofstadter's "Godel, Escher, Bach" was another read for me that changed my ideas of what books could do.

Give me Dune, LOTR, and GEB and I could probably happily entertain myself for a few years ;-)

There are books, often series books, that I love - but are more like comfort food, or a good Hollywood blockbuster, or a night down the pub with good friends. They're entertainment and I reach for them as a source of joy in bad times. PTerry's disk world, Douglas Adams' HHGTTG series, Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat books, OGH's Laundry series, Butcher's Dresden novels all come to mind.

There are some books that are life changing because what was happening in my life rather than because they were "good" books. For example one of the many reasons I was saddened to hear of the death of Patrick Moore yesterday was that his (frankly awful ;-) juvenile SF "Spy in Space (A Scott Saunders Space Adventure!)" was the first novel I bought with my own money at age seven. I've still got it and it gives me a warm feeling every time I encounter it on the bookshelf. There are novels that are bookmarks into bits of my life.

There are also books I adore because they managed to give me a "how the f**k did you do that you clever bastard" moment during reading. The closing chapters of Bank's "Use Of Weapons" springs to mind where he managed to do the novel-length equivalent of turning a picture of a vase into two faces. The books that make you want to figure out how the author /did/ that darn sneaky trick. (The reveal of the narrator in Rule 34 did something very similar to me too - bravo Charlie - bravo).

55:

*My take on Friday is that the eponymous protag of that book is very badly damaged.*

I read Friday in my early teens at the same time I read a couple of Fleming's Bond books (which were a surprise after Roger Moore :-)

I remember thinking the reactions of both characters in the face of extreme abuse (rape for Friday, torture for Bond) seemed "broken" - not how a normal person would react. That brokenness was what made them useful to their employers.

That was something that quite surprised me about the Bond books especially. As a kid I'd quite like to be Bond in the films... but the idea of being the Bond in the books would give me nightmares.

Whether that idea was in the head of the authors I'm unsure...

56:

Now, I didn't read all the comments (there are 52 of them!) and I do agree that Heinlein was a rather misogynist chappy...but Podkayne of Mars is a rather well written novel - and the protagonist is a teenage girl, who is brilliantly written (her voice in particular shines throughout the novel.)

This one hit me a bit sideways. I'm unsure whether you meant to say that Heinlein wrote a well-written female character or whether you feel the book itself was well-written. If it's the latter, please ignore this comment. If the former... um... unless you've been a teen girl you really aren't going to know whether a teen girl character is expertly written. That starts to wander into territory where an outsider is dictating what an experience is like for someone who has lived it. That's just not cool. You know? You're allowed to guess as an outsider, but you're never allowed to state definitively.

And don't worry. I'm using these exchanges to remind myself of the boundaries too.

58:

While that one's awful, I think this one for Harry Harrison's 'Planet Of The Damned' just edges it.

And life-changing reads... hmmm: the Illuminatus! Trilogy, because being able to read and follow that is mental exercise, and doing so while fifteen essentially immunized me from conspiracy theories through overexposure. Neuromancer, which was like being hit upside the head with a half brick in a sock. And while OGH's Lobsters, in the 20 Years Of Year's Best, didn't change my life, it hit me at roughly the same time as a bunch of other things and the aggregate definitely left a crater.

59:

That's like saying "Unless you've ever lived in a post-Singularity age you can't write about post-Singularity characters!" replace "post-Singularity" with any descriptor (Elf, worshipper of Cthulhu, vampire, etc.)

I prefer to think of Terence "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." (I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.) And I think Heinlein did a bang-up job on Podkayne.

60:

Three finals down and graded, one to go! Heinlein was never a biggie for me, the way that Lester Del Rey was. Thinking back on it, my big blow-away books were "Mrs. Pickerell Goes to Mars", read to us in kindergarten, "The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet", read in the second grade, and then the very 'adult' Andre Norton. "The Zero Stone" was huge, all that baggage of Forerunners before Forerunners going back who knows when into pre-history. She had a sense of galactic and historical scope that had never before occurred to me - up to that point, people were out in space having adventures, sure, but it was kind of like any other foreign place far away, like New York or Paris or the bottom of the sea.

61:

That's like saying "Unless you've ever lived in a post-Singularity age you can't write about post-Singularity characters!"

No. It isn't. Please think carefully about my words. I did not say one CAN'T write. I did say that an outsider not ever dictate to another being what their experiences are. There's an important distinction between those two statements.

62:

Let me try again. My brain keeps dropping out words and letters. Arrrgh.

Please think carefully about my words. I did not say one CAN'T write about something. I did say that an outsider should not ever dictate to another being what their experiences are. There's an important distinction between those two statements.

63:

My brain and/or fingers also do that. I am not dyslexic. I am also an incompetent proff reider. I'm falling slightly in love with Chrome though, because it's managing to speel-chuck (sic) on the fly for me.

64:

I agree Stina, @ 56 Podkayne is far to perky, and weirdly knowing. Her internal voice is disjointed and incomplete: She whines about her little brother and the twins, as if that's an innate behaviour, rather than a result of a childish frame of mind. It's been a while since I read the book, but from what I remember she behaves like a spoilt six year old until she has to save the day and then she's - oh yes I've found my manifest destiny. To me it's if lots of social normative behaviours like make up and dress code and certain types of acts are treated as biological imperative by the author and the story.

Compare Podkayne to OGH Wednesday [from iron sunrise] she's a real person with doubts and hopes, who just happens to be a young women. 'Who just happens… ' by this I mean no flag waving -- i made my protagonist a girl !!1!!!!1 eleventy

Podkayne is a badly cut out character, with teenage girl traits grafted on. I suspect she comes off worse than Heinlein's other juvenile hero's because she has further to travel, in terms of her culture to reach hero status. H doesn't seem to have made much adjustment in putting his people on Mars in this story compared to some of the other young adult stories, so the characters fit badly into the plot. So all the hoops Podkayne has to jump through sit badly on her. Some how nice girls who stay at home transform into sexual athletes with multiple PhD's in Heinlein's world. Magic?

Admittedly, I came late to this book, I consumed most of my Heinlein before the age of eleven, and a lot else besides. the library didn't hold it [i wonder why] so I must have picked it up from a second hand shop at university - so it never featured in the role model territory growing up

Maggie

65:

This whole Heinlein Business made me think of the GAP series by Stephen Donaldson, also a life changing book for me, but a series I have trouble recommending especially to women as the abuse suffered by the female hero is of Blood meridian proportions.
yet the few women I know who read it, not only love it but considered it among there favorite books. I also consider it a favorite.
The same with his other famous series The Thomas Covenant chronicles
I guess S. Donaldson gets away with it is the consequences of the abuse. The corruption guilt and poison effecting everybody.

66:

Stina, I think what a lot of people have a problem with is "If [you meant to say that Heinlein wrote a well-written female character] ... um... unless you've been a teen girl you really aren't going to know whether a teen girl character is expertly written." The trouble is that having been a teenaged boy, or a pregnant single mother, or a refugee (just to pick three life experiences at random) does not give someone unique insight into all teenaged boys, pregnant single mothers, refugees, etc. ... although they are likely to understand better than someone without that experience. I think that the idea "only an X can understand X" underestimates the human capacity for empathy and imagination and quiet listening. I think that both you and your critics agree about this!

Please feel free to ignore this, with my apologies, if you feel I am kicking a dead horse.

To change topic, de Camp is another excellent early 20th century author whose treatment of gender in his early stories is very early 20th century. An essay by his wife, and her frequent appearance as co-author in his later works, hints that she helped open his eyes; he also travelled a lot. The treatment of hunting in the "Gun for Dinosaur" stories is interesting here ...

67:

@54:
There are also books I adore because they managed to give me a "how the f**k did you do that you clever bastard" moment during reading.
---
For me, that novel is Tim Powers' "The Anubis Gates." I read it straight through, flipped back to the beginning, and read it straight through again, going to work the next day rather short of sleep...

The story starts off as a fragmented mess, told from different viewpoints in the 20th and 19th centuries, then back in the 16th century. It kept bringing up new characters and subplots until I started losing track of what was going on. And then, slowly, he began fitting it all together, like stones fitting into a mosaic. By the time you get to the end, what looks like a random bunch of story snippets seems like an inevitable progression of events.

It may not sound like such a big deal, but I've read too many novels by Big Name Authors, edited by experienced editors, printed by Major Publishers, that left dangling bits all over the place. Including many more that ran along fine until they just... stopped, and left me examining the binding to see of the last pages had fallen out.

"Dinner at Deviant's Palace" is quite good, but the rest of Powers' novels haven't managed to hew to those standards.

68:

Basically this.

I did think she was a reasonable character, and any character that moves from being a child to saving the world(s) will have some inconsistencies. She had to grow up. Quickly.

And no, I haven't been a teenage girl, nor will I ever be, but I still think the Terence quote covers this. As Sean said, no teenage girl has a unique insight into the lives of any given teenage girl. We are all different, yet all the same.

69:

"That Andre Norton sure can write, even if he is part spanish."

I know *almost* everybody knows this, and it's a really clever reference, but I'm still going to point out that Andre Norton was female. :)

(And wrote under a male pseudonym due to gender discrimination)

70:

I was being funny. That was my thinking at the time as a twelve year old. Her ruse worked. Kudos to Alice Mary. Hopefully that kind of thing won't be necessary any more.

71:

Go-Captain @ 35
Hannu R - well, I have both books, am currently struggling with "Fractal Pronce" & I still haven't got a clue as to which charcters are real & physical, & what is imagined or in cyberspace.
Very confusing, as well as fascinating.

paws4thot @ 45
Another "fantasy" series not mentioned so far, & another subject writers can't keep away from: The matter of Britain"
"The Once & Future KIng" & sequels by T. H. White ....

72:

On the note of Iain M Banks, check out "Surface Detail" for an interesting and complex female protagonist -- much better than "Matter" in my opinion. (Also has one the best ship characters from any of the Culture novels).

73:

"Are you sure you really want to know the answer to that one? . . . the answer is likely to be ugly."

You're probably right. On a happier note, I am glad to say that there is finally a point on which I am in full agreement with Greg Tingey - that is the 'essential reading' status of Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men.

Re: female characters in SF. Wasn't a big criticism of SF from literary chaps that it tended to have poor characterisation in general?

74:

Response to clause related back to my #45 - These days, the only Arthurian stuff I own is related to the Celtic warlord and/or the original Cornish, Scottish and Welsh myths, and not to Mallory's chivalric knights (well, other than Monti Python ik den Holi Grail anyway).

75:

Reading Quantum Thief and Fractal Prince. I've thought, 'I need to read this with a highlighter and notebook at hand. Where's the wiki on this? Is there an annotated edition?' And I get particularly fraught when I don't know which virtual reality I'm in, when, where and with whom. It doesn't help that I am, to be honest, a bit dim. And this guy is so much smarter than me.
But, posthuman characters I care about, Wow! ideas, intricate puzzle box plotting - I still get those 'Of course!' moments.

And Fractal Prince has a bloody great blow your socks off ending. Well worth perservering.

76:

Best fantasy book IMHO is by Greg Bear: Songs of Earth and Power
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_Bear#Songs_of_Earth_and_Power

A faery story done right

77:

Which has just come out in ebook form (as its component halves).

78:

Interesting to know, but since I hardly ever read a fiction book (or view a movie) twice I am not the market they are going to tap.

79:

Am I the only person who reads Hannu Rajaniemi's work and find that it makes sense? After having read fairly widely across the genre, and having developed the ability as a child to develop a fuzzy concept of the meaning of words I didn't know through their context, Hannu's books are fairly obvious. I do think that the 'Fractal Prince' is a bit more reader friendly than the first one, although maybe that's because I have read the first one. Sure, I didn't quite understand how the whole city thing worked, but I am rather disapointed in the quality of the reviews of the Fractal Prince, e.g. Adam Robert's one.

80:

"The trouble is that having been a teenaged boy, or a pregnant single mother, or a refugee (just to pick three life experiences at random) does not give someone unique insight into all teenaged boys, pregnant single mothers, refugees, etc. ..."

Oh, I very much agree. It doesn't. I was merely attempting (and perhaps badly) to point out that an outsider does not have grounds to tell an insider what their experiences are. It does not matter how much research one does. You will never be able to speak from authority. The moment you do, you're in danger of discounting the insider experience. Does that make better sense?

"Please feel free to ignore this, with my apologies, if you feel I am kicking a dead horse."

I think it's an important distinction to make, actually. I wasn't clear in my original response. I'm very glad you pointed it out.

"To change topic, de Camp is another excellent early 20th century author whose treatment of gender in his early stories is very early 20th century."

I'm going to have to look into de Camp. Obviously, gender is a topic I find interesting.

81:

"For me, that novel is Tim Powers' "The Anubis Gates." "

I realllllly liked The Anubis Gates.

82:

As Sean said, no teenage girl has a unique insight into the lives of any given teenage girl. We are all different, yet all the same.

Chris, I was attempting to make a fine distinction, and I made an error by using broad terms. Please read my response to Sean. When an outsider makes commentary on an insider's experiences it requires a certain level of caution. Were I to have approached my novels from the stance you're taking, I'd have been in for a very bumpy ride--even bumpier than I got.

Understand, I'm not reaming you out. You (and just about everyone here) have been far too reasonable and decent for me to treat you like that. I'm only attempting to demonstrate an important distinction, speaking as someone who has experience with the outsider/insider issue.

83:

"I know *almost* everybody knows this, and it's a really clever reference, but I'm still going to point out that Andre Norton was female. :)"

Thanks, Nathan. I left that one alone because I assumed everyone here already knew, and I wasn't sure what was going on there.

84:

"...an outsider does not have grounds to tell an insider what their experiences are."
The end point of that argument is that nobody has grounds to tell anyone what their experiences are, because we all experience things differently - even if the circumstances are identical.

85:

"The end point of that argument is that nobody has grounds to tell anyone what their experiences are, because we all experience things differently - even if the circumstances are identical."

Exactly.

86:

Another fan of (the other series named) The Avengers! It's so rare. (It's OK. Grant Morrison is one of us, too.) I realize this is a bit off-topic, but did it bother you when they replaced Mrs Peel with Tara King?

Both Emma Peel and Cathy Gale were essentially genius polymaths. They were from outside of the security establishment proper, and teamed up with Steed just for something to do, but they were so invaluable that they became constant collaborators. If anything on British television in 1967 was more progressive (and more progressively feminist), I don't know what is. Both of them are half Steed's age, and are constantly shown to be smarter, better trained, and more fit than he is.

I love Tara King, but she seemed like a bit of a step backward. While she was also made out to be smart and strong, she was far more submissive and fawning, and she was a trainee. Several episodes revolved around her being put in danger, and Steed saving her (whereas whenever it was Mrs. Peel in danger, this was subverted: by the time Steed arrives, Emma has dispatched the enemies and poured the two of them celebratory glasses of champagne, or is close enough anyhow). This is not merely an example of being even-handed, because Steed is in many ways a caricature of the entirety of British tradition (and also all of the reactionary elements associated with it).

Apparently, Linda Thorson was subjected to a lot of sexist discrimination while playing Tara King initially, and her portrayal reflected the actual power relationship between her and MacNee (who she saw as her protector). But, if that's the case, what the heck happened to the attitudes of the entire crew between when Diana Rigg left and when Thorson came? After god knows how many seasons with strong female characters, suddenly everybody reverted?

87:

I can't really comment; I'm not quite old enough to remember any of the 3 ladies from the first run of their episodes. All I can really say from the Channel 4 reruns(out of sequence as often as not) is that I felt the Tara King episodes to be somehow less satisfying.

Also I've a memory of an interview with Linda Thorson in which the interviewer made some comment about the show being closed down when she was on it, and her reply was something about how she'd made more episodes in colour than Diana Rigg had. Er, since when is "being in colour" a measure of characterisation, plotting and dialogue?

Certainly, I don't remember anything that might throw light on the matter in Patrick MacNee's biography. Speaking of which, I'd have said that John Steed was more the archetype of the "English gentleman" than a caricature thereof.

88:

"I realize this is a bit off-topic, but did it bother you when they replaced Mrs Peel with Tara King?"

I didn't like her for exactly the reasons you stated. Frankly, I hit that series via re-runs as a kid. So, I didn't get a sense of continuity, really. And I was pretty young. But Emma was just... amazing. When they replaced her I stopped watching.

"After god knows how many seasons with strong female characters, suddenly everybody reverted?"

It's a common response actually. See: Alien 3. I've done a fairly thorough deconstruction of it on my blog. I might do it again here. Maybe. But I'm not sure I want to be that hard on the poor moderators. I've been pretty rough on them already--what with the blog post on my books and all. (The moderators here are wonderful, hard-working souls. Bless 'em.)

89:

Interesting - given the places where we differ now, and the places where we almost certainly differed then, we seem to have had much the same reactions to both Emma Peel and Tara King.

90:

The end point of that argument is that nobody has grounds to tell anyone what their experiences are, because we all experience things differently - even if the circumstances are identical.

Bollocks.

I do not have any grounds to tell you, Dirk Bruere, what it feels like to be Dirk Bruere.

Now, I can listen to your account of what it's like to be you, and write a second-hand interpretation of that for other folks to read. BUT -- and this is an important "but" -- I may get things wrong. And if you want to issue corrections on those points, you have priority.

Now, generalize to other groups. Yes, I (a male human being) can write fiction with female protagonists, even from first-person perspectives. But if I'm writing such a protagonist and have her experiencing period pain in her right elbow, I might well be ever so slightly wrong -- and I'd have no grounds to stand on if, on being corrected by a woman with first-hand experience of period pain, I try to say "no, it's not abdominal pain at all, it's elbow pain you freak!"

Which is what that statement, "...an outsider does not have grounds to tell an insider what their experiences are", really means.

Hint: if you're worried about it there's a weasel option: simply don't try to describe the experiences of the in-group from the inside. (But that's a bit of a cop out.)

91:

"Which is what that statement, "...an outsider does not have grounds to tell an insider what their experiences are", really means."

Thanks for that, Charlie. It's exactly what I meant.

92:

True, but it means that describing the experiences of a group to which you do not belong is always going to be less accurate. Which is not to say that what is written is not good enough or even completely true. However, as the depth increases so will the accuracy fade. Like you say, nobody knows me as well as me, and similarly nobody in the out-group knows the in-group as well as an insider.

93:

'True, but it means that describing the experiences of a group to which you do not belong is always going to be less accurate."

Is there a problem here? I believe there are several studies and theories covering observer bias in science, psychology, and an entire branch of physics, no less. It exists.

This is why it will never matter how many years of study I put into the Irish situation I will always be outside of it. I'll never be able to speak in absolute authority for others. (More importantly, I don't want to.) It's a good thing for me to keep in mind when talking about Irish topics. Why shouldn't it be a good thing for white males to keep in mind when discussing other groups as well? This assumption that one can is part of that white male milieu thing I talked about elsewhere. It's also problematic and leads to trouble.

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This page contains a single entry by Stina Leicht published on December 9, 2012 10:32 PM.

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