Joseph Brenner

Joseph Brenner

  • Commented on What else can you do with a Big Dumb Booster?
    Hugh Fisher @ 86: "First stage for Orion drive space vehicles?" Freeman Dyson has commented that the thing that really made the economics of the Orion Project look good was it's advantages in getting a lot of mass up out...
  • Commented on What else can you do with a Big Dumb Booster?
    42: "Something like Musk's launcher would make space solar a potentially viable operation, at least if you could build a solar power array that could "unfold" in space once it's at the right orbit." Musk is on record [1] as...
  • Commented on Suspense is the key
    Re: 48 "Doorways in the Sand" was one of my favorite books when I was a teenager, and I've read it several times, but I hadn't noticed that every chapter starts with a flash-foward, though don't doubt that it's true...
  • Commented on Suspense is the key
    Granted, you need to care about what's going to happen, but for me personally the doctrine of "suspense" is really trashy and off-putting (though I gather it's also really popular, so you have to wonder "what do I know?"). Me,...
  • Commented on Suspense is the key
    96: that's besides the point. You read stuff, it works or it doesn't, and you if you're so inclinced you think about why it works or it doesn't (and if you're not so inclined you just recite some critical cliches...
  • Commented on Suspense is the key
    I think the real issue here is that communication involves context, and you can't develop context without saying *something* first, so the initial things you say have to rely on pre-existing shared context; the "hook" then is stuck relying on...
  • Commented on Mendel Acquisition Squares : A Game of Futures
    I'm not hip enough to understand most of these jokes, but I thought "2" was funny, imagining flashmobs of citizen stringers with cellphones descending on any hotspot thought to be ripe for news. As for 1, Mysql isn't that easy...
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    A few more little bits: "Actually, that'd make a cracking space opera" It was starting to sound like the A.E. van Vogt style of paranoid fantasy. The "wife is retired assassin" bit reminds of the recent Sherlock series. The fantastic...
  • Commented on Defining space opera
    Okay, back to basics, let's talk about horse opera. Ann-Marie Hendrickson (on WBAI's now long-gone late-night anarchist talk show "The Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade") had recently discovered Gene Autry films, and was surprised by how left-wing their central premises were...
  • Commented on Defining space opera
    "... Buddhist space operas, but that's probably just my ignorance showing again. They certainly should be possible." Zelazny's "Lord of Light" is pretty close....
  • Commented on Defining space opera
    "I think to be dramatic, space opera must not be Star Wars, where the first mass murder is simple special effect." That mass murder was actually dramatized by Alex Guiness, which if you think about it is not a bad...
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    "I'm *still* waiting for The Galactic Pantograph" Yeah, same here. That would be a place to start, for a writer looking for places to start. What would that book have looked like, and could you write one like it now?...
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    Note: by this definition, "Atlas Shrugged" is space opera, except that a lot people don't notice it was deranged....
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    Some thoughts on a different kind of gender-swapping: "Male" genre fiction exaggerates human agency, whereas "female" genre fiction nearly eliminates it. In male fiction, the lone rogue male runs around with a gun being tougher, faster and smarter for just...
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    Okay, try this as a revised definition of space opera: the space opera takes a single weird notion about how-it-all-works, and takes it seriously (or pretends to), writing a galactic-scale and millenium long scenario using it as the single hammer...
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    Yeah. My first thought: "... it's no accident that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father (Vader is Dutch for 'Father') " Sure it's no accident. Lucas was lifting elements from Kirby's "New Gods" comics (where, by the way, their power...
  • Commented on Deploying the monomyth in Space Opera
    Hell, I'm still trying to read through the *last* two threads about space opera. Anyway: The "hero's journey" stuff sounds like a weak place to start-- you can end up writing some lame-ass quest fantasy if you don't watch out....
  • Commented on A small research question
    Re: Jocelyn Ireson-Paine, at 107:"Why have no human diseases evolved that are fun to have and to spread?" In the early stages of catching a cold, I often feel an odd burst of energy that keeps me up late at...
  • Commented on A small research question
    My favorite parasite is the lowly hookworm which I'm sure Charles Stross finds boring, but I like the peculiar life-cycle: (1) skin (2) blood stream to lungs (3) coughed up and swallowed (4) excreted in feces ready for the next...
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