ljlee: (reading)
As previously discussed, my first foray into Anne McCaffrey's Pern series was a couple of out-of-order volumes that I found alternately intriguing, boring, and creepy. About twenty years later, I made a second entry the way it should have been all along, with Dragonflight, the 1968 novel that started the series.

My impressions were as follow:

Two positives, two negatives )

In short, as Julie Andrews sang, the very beginning is a very good place to start. Dragonflight was a better start for the series than my original introduction, and it certainly had a lot of fun elements. The experience was marred for me, however, by the narrative playing favorites and getting into outright rape/abuse apologia. (Yes, it was published half a century ago. No, that does not make it harmless.)

Next up is Dragonquest, which I read once before and have almost entirely forgotten. I don't have the patience to re-buy and re-read it, so I think I'll follow along with Silver Adept's deconstruction instead.
ljlee: cover to Apocalypse World (apocalypseworld)
I read the Pern series only in part and badly out of order. A long time ago, and we're talking around two decades, I found Dragonsdawn and Dragonquest in a bookstore and read them one after the other. I found them a) to have some good ideas, b) boring in the execution, and b) skeevy as hell in places.

Discussions of rape and reproductive coercion. )

Fast forward to the present, where [personal profile] chordatesrock got a bout of nostalgia about the series and asked if I wanted to read the series, in proper order this time. I decided to see if that made things better, and hoo boy. If I thought the abusive relationship dynamic in Dragonsdawn was bad, Dragonflight would deliver much, much worse.
ljlee: (muzi_shock)
Following on the discussion of the highly rapey Sky Maiden and Woodsman story, I looked through my niece's copy to see it for myself. It was just a standard telling, but there was a page at the end of the book talking about the "lessons" for children. I read it, wondering if it put the problematic elements of the story in perspective.

I don't have the book with me anymore, but here's the general gist of the note:

Rage. So much rage. )

This is just one book among thousands, of course, and it does not by itself create culture. I wouldn't even care if it weren't part of a consistent message we are bombarded with, over and over from all directions. There is no need to censor the media we consume, but there is a need to question them. The only harm is in pretending that stories told to children are apolitical, because acceptance of the status quo as "harmless" is itself political.
ljlee: bam bam (headdesk)
In the course of researching for my novel, which takes place in ancient Korea and parts of modern-day China, I turned to e-book bookstores among other sources. It seemed an easy start, a way to dip a toe in the waters without devoting too much space and money from the first go.

Unfortunately, that water I was dipping into? Actually sort of scummy. Now I did fish out one excellent book, a work of non-fiction that I liked so much that I read it all the way through even though only a small portion was directly relevant to my research. Unfortunately the other books I found on Google Play were all duds, particularly the historical fiction.

Bad history, horrible writing, and terrible art )

I am duly traumatized by my attempts to begin research via e-books. I'm not even getting into the nonfiction fails--bad history books based on a known forgery don't even make the cut after all the crap I've been treated to. Now look what you've done it, awful historical fiction--you've raised the bar so high, or sunk it so low, I can't even get a proper hate-on for run-of-the-mill bad books.

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L.J. Lee

June 2016

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