Jul 30 2006

GOSH FRANK MILLER

(This text was originally posted on LiveJournal. It has been reformatted (awkwardly) for use on WordPress.)

elongated_tito just made me watch Sin City. I know it’s kind of, like, done to complain about the movie’s treatment of women, but. Yeah, okay.

( Eleven-year-old girl that Bruce Willis has just rescued from bad guys tells him, ‘I’m still a virgin, thanks to you.’ )

And I just ended up taking the movie a lot more seriously than I meant to, and I think I’m stopping here and putting this under a cut.

I just finished Rocannon’s World, Ursula LeGuin’s first published novel. It’s definitely by LeGuin, so it’s good, but it’s also definitely early. It has a Huge Faceless Mystery Enemy Who Cannot Be Reasoned With And Must Be Destroyed. This isn’t something you associate with LeGuin, and she clearly wasn’t comfortable with it – they’re the reason for the Journey, but just barely have a name, are there only at the very beginning and very end, and then are only kinda-sorta there.

The protagonist defeats them with the help of a Mysterious Wise Man On A Mountain, because, being a basically sensical character, he cannot overcome a nonsensical problem on his own, and thus requires an equally nonsensical deus ex machina.

In between, he deals with smaller and more comprehensible crises which are recognizably human, animal, or weather. Those parts are LeGuin. Fortunately, she learned to drop the end-paper.

Random note: I’ll eat something generally thought inedible if Rosemary Kirstein hasn’t read this book, because (elliptical spoiler for both Rocannon and the Steerswoman series) her Demon Cities are Rocannon’s Angel Cities.

(This entry edited a few times over a few minutes after posting it, because my genius comes in spurts, like mustard.)

Continue reading “GOSH FRANK MILLER”


Jul 15 2006

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I just read The Left Hand of Darkness. I think I was thirteen the last time I read it, and I still don’t really have anything to say about it. Maybe about forty years has changed stuff enough that it’s just not as big a thing for me as it is for The Old People?

I don’t know. Pronouns are very heavy to me – it feels like cheating that LeGuin calls her hermaphrodites “he.” It’s the same reason I feel uncomfortable with seeing slash as feminist-to-the-bone, and why I refuse to entertain the idea that Torikaebaya Monogatari could have been written by a woman*. Maybe some people can read a character explicitly described as male as androgynous or female, but I just can’t, and I have trouble buying the writers could, either. “He” probably is the default pronoun in my head, but that doesn’t render it genderless in the absence of explicit football and power tools.

I have written a paragraph criticizing The Left Hand of Darkness in my LiveJournal. I am unconventional and brilliant! You will offer me an awesome job in Japan at once.

Okay, two things.

1) The edition I’m reading – the one with the crazy ice-heads on the cover – has a lot of typos. One of the place names is spelled three different ways.

2) On the back cover there’s a blurb from Michael Moorcock calling it “as profuse and original in invention as The Lord of the Rings.” Isn’t Moorcock supposed to hate Tolkien?

-

* Though of course Torikaebaya doesn’t have pronouns, and I was going on about that before, and, yeah. But Sensei told me he was pretty sure that at least some of the titles would have to have been read as completely gender-bound, so I’m going to pretend it’s the same thing and just totally ignore all attempts to call me on it.