jennythereader: (* Card Catalog)
I've been thinking about how to sub-divide my science fiction books. The categories I see most people use ("Hard" vs "Soft," or "Space Opera," "Military SF," and the like) don't really work for me. They're too subjective and hard to define.

After a lot of thought I think I've come up with one story characteristic that is always a question in science fiction, but can be objectively evaluated: how far from Earth has human civilization spread? This also has the advantage of being similar to the trait I used for my Fantasy categories.

So, these are the categories I'll be using:
- Earthbound Human civilization only exists on Earth. There may be a tiny research presence on other bodies or artificial stations, but if an extinction level event happens to the planet the species is toast. Examples: The real world.

- Earth System There are significant numbers of people living in a permanent settlement on the moon or in other (natural or artificial) satellites orbiting Earth. The species might survive an extinction event, but not easily. Examples: The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.

- Sol System Humanity has spread through a significant portion of this star system, but has no significant presence around any other stars. The species would survive most disasters that only affect Earth, but is still vulnerable to Sol going nova or a similar disaster. Examples: ? (Can't think of any right now.)

- Local Systems Humanity has settlements at some of the nearer star systems, but has not spread into the majority of the Milky Way galaxy. Examples: ? (I'm drawing a blank at the moment.)

- Galactic Humanity has spread throughout this galaxy, but not beyond it. Examples: Dune by Frank Herbert

- Inter-Galactic Humanity has a significant presence in multiple galaxies. Examples: ? (still blanking)

Comments? Suggestions? Examples? (I'll edit examples of my own in as I think of them.)
jennythereader: (* Midnight Stories *)
One of my favorite activities for times when I have nothing to do but think has always been classifying the various sub-genres of speculative fiction. I used to try to make these categories based on what type of story the author was telling, but always found myself making new sub-sub-sub-genres just to hold one specific title which didn't quite fit anywhere else. These days the categories I use in my Kindle (for fantasy, at least) are based on what sort of connection the story's setting has to our real world.

They are:
- Modern Fantasy The book is set in something that looks almost exactly like the here-and-now. But with magical/supernatural elements. The magic might be hidden from the majority of the world, or it might be widely known. If it is widely known it has somehow had no major effect on technology, social conventions, or any other aspect of modern life. Examples: Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, most of Laurell K. Hamilton's work, Charles deLint's Newford books.

- Historical Fantasy Pretty much the same thing as Modern Fantasy, but set in an easily identifiable place and period in the past. Examples: Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, C.C. Finlay's Traitor To The Crown series, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

- Alternate History Fantasy A setting where the existence of magic has actually changed the world in significant ways. Examples: Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell, Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, Jacqueline Carey's Terre d'Ange series.

- Parallel World Fantasy Clearly not our world at any point in its history, but just as clearly is or has been connected to our world. The two most common ways this is done are [a] the fictional setting was settled by a group of people from our world in the distant past (could be voluntary, involuntary, or accidental) and [b] an individual or small group of people from our world visits the fictional world (again, they could have gone on purpose, by accident, or been shanghaied). Examples: Piers Anthony's Xanth series [both type a & b], Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series [type b], Sherwood Smith's Inda series [type a], Terry Brooks's Landover series [type b], Greg Keyes's Kingdom of Thorn and Bone series [type a].

- Secondary World Fantasy A setting that has absolutely no connection our world, except for the odd coincidence of humans being on both. Examples: George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy and its sequels, Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series.

- Fantastic Pre-history A setting that claims to be the history of this world, before anybody started writing things down. Examples: J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth books (made more explicit in the supplemental books than in the 4 main novels), all the books about Conan the Barbarian, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series (never stated, but implied.)

- Science Fantasy A setting that looks like fantasy (usually Parallel or Secondary world), but has elements that are clearly science fiction. Examples: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series (the fantasy to science fiction ratio varies from book to book), Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, Terry Brooks's Shannara series (esp. the recent books connecting it to his trilogy The Word and the Void.)

If you want me to edit in links to these books, just ask. I was too lazy to do it as I wrote the post.
jennythereader: (* Midnight Stories *)
One of my favorite activities for times when I have nothing to do but think has always been classifying the various sub-genres of speculative fiction. I used to try to make these categories based on what type of story the author was telling, but always found myself making new sub-sub-sub-genres just to hold one specific title which didn't quite fit anywhere else. These days the categories I use in my Kindle (for fantasy, at least) are based on what sort of connection the story's setting has to our real world.

They are:
- Modern Fantasy The book is set in something that looks almost exactly like the here-and-now. But with magical/supernatural elements. The magic might be hidden from the majority of the world, or it might be widely known. If it is widely known it has somehow had no major effect on technology, social conventions, or any other aspect of modern life. Examples: Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, most of Laurell K. Hamilton's work, Charles deLint's Newford books.

- Historical Fantasy Pretty much the same thing as Modern Fantasy, but set in an easily identifiable place and period in the past. Examples: Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, C.C. Finlay's Traitor To The Crown series, Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

- Alternate History Fantasy A setting where the existence of magic has actually changed the world in significant ways. Examples: Jonathon Strange & Mr. Norrell, Katherine Kurtz's Deryni series, Jacqueline Carey's Terre d'Ange series.

- Parallel World Fantasy Clearly not our world at any point in its history, but just as clearly is or has been connected to our world. The two most common ways this is done are [a] the fictional setting was settled by a group of people from our world in the distant past (could be voluntary, involuntary, or accidental) and [b] an individual or small group of people from our world visits the fictional world (again, they could have gone on purpose, by accident, or been shanghaied). Examples: Piers Anthony's Xanth series [both type a & b], Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series [type b], Sherwood Smith's Inda series [type a], Terry Brooks's Landover series [type b], Greg Keyes's Kingdom of Thorn and Bone series [type a].

- Secondary World Fantasy A setting that has absolutely no connection our world, except for the odd coincidence of humans being on both. Examples: George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy and its sequels, Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series.

- Fantastic Pre-history A setting that claims to be the history of this world, before anybody started writing things down. Examples: J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth books (made more explicit in the supplemental books than in the 4 main novels), all the books about Conan the Barbarian, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series (never stated, but implied.)

- Science Fantasy A setting that looks like fantasy (usually Parallel or Secondary world), but has elements that are clearly science fiction. Examples: Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series (the fantasy to science fiction ratio varies from book to book), Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, Terry Brooks's Shannara series (esp. the recent books connecting it to his trilogy The Word and the Void.)

If you want me to edit in links to these books, just ask. I was too lazy to do it as I wrote the post.
jennythereader: (* Bedside Reading)
Back in September, I asked if anybody had a guess for how long it would be before the New York Times added a E-book bestseller list.

My guess of a couple of years was off. Actually, they'll be starting early in 2011.
jennythereader: (* Bedside Reading)
Back in September, I asked if anybody had a guess for how long it would be before the New York Times added a E-book bestseller list.

My guess of a couple of years was off. Actually, they'll be starting early in 2011.
jennythereader: (Giles 012)
While I was down at Harmony Drive this weekend [livejournal.com profile] nounsandverbs loaned me the book 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?. Overall it was pretty interesting, but I'm going to wait to do any detailed post on what I think about the theories behind it until I've read some of their other books as well.

The other thing I'm going to do once I've read more of their work is start my own research project on how the generation an author is from affects their choice of time periods they write about. My current theory is that when an author writes contemporary fiction (which I define as anything set less than 20 years before it was written) they will usually choose to make the protagonist a member of their own generation, and that when they write historical fiction (that is, stuff set more than 20 years before it was written) it will be more likely to focus on either their own generation as children/young adults or on their generation's parallels from earlier cycles.

For example: by this theory an author of historical fiction who is a member of the 13th Generation (born in the 1960's or 70's) would be more likely to write characters who are fellow members of Nomad generations (like the Lost Generation), than they would be to write about Prophet generations like the Boomers or Hero generations like the Millennial and G.I. generations.

A list of Strauss & Howe's named generations

My theory may end up being revised, or even abandoned, as I read more of Strauss and Howe's work. I'm looking forward to working on it, though. It's the first big picture, "how does the world fit together?" project that has come to me since my giant family tree of European nobility died a fiery death in a computer crash.

I know, I know. I need to suck it up, go back to school, and get my sociology degree already.

Edit: I should probably also look at movies, TV shows, and plays, but I can't figure out how to determine who the primary creator is. The writer(s)? The producer? The director?
jennythereader: (Giles 012)
While I was down at Harmony Drive this weekend [livejournal.com profile] nounsandverbs loaned me the book 13th Gen: Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail?. Overall it was pretty interesting, but I'm going to wait to do any detailed post on what I think about the theories behind it until I've read some of their other books as well.

The other thing I'm going to do once I've read more of their work is start my own research project on how the generation an author is from affects their choice of time periods they write about. My current theory is that when an author writes contemporary fiction (which I define as anything set less than 20 years before it was written) they will usually choose to make the protagonist a member of their own generation, and that when they write historical fiction (that is, stuff set more than 20 years before it was written) it will be more likely to focus on either their own generation as children/young adults or on their generation's parallels from earlier cycles.

For example: by this theory an author of historical fiction who is a member of the 13th Generation (born in the 1960's or 70's) would be more likely to write characters who are fellow members of Nomad generations (like the Lost Generation), than they would be to write about Prophet generations like the Boomers or Hero generations like the Millennial and G.I. generations.

A list of Strauss & Howe's named generations

My theory may end up being revised, or even abandoned, as I read more of Strauss and Howe's work. I'm looking forward to working on it, though. It's the first big picture, "how does the world fit together?" project that has come to me since my giant family tree of European nobility died a fiery death in a computer crash.

I know, I know. I need to suck it up, go back to school, and get my sociology degree already.

Edit: I should probably also look at movies, TV shows, and plays, but I can't figure out how to determine who the primary creator is. The writer(s)? The producer? The director?
jennythereader: (* Beginning Of Knowledge)
What if the Diggers, after they were pushed out of Surrey, had emigrated to America and survived as a movement.

I think it would be especially interesting if they went to New England and, along with the Quakers, ended up as kind of a counterweight to the theocratic society built by the Puritins.
jennythereader: (* Beginning Of Knowledge)
What if the Diggers, after they were pushed out of Surrey, had emigrated to America and survived as a movement.

I think it would be especially interesting if they went to New England and, along with the Quakers, ended up as kind of a counterweight to the theocratic society built by the Puritins.
jennythereader: (Flying Owl w/Full Moon)
Body: Both knees are bothering me.

Book Review: I read World Made by Hand: A Novel over the weekend. It was good but... superficial somehow. For all that the topic is pretty serious, the author seems to only touch the surface. 6 out of 10.

Hearing: Nancy Pearl Book Reviews; This American Life (Episode 400 is not one of their best, although the last story was pretty good); and Dan Carlin's show Common Sense. This episode of Common Sense is pretty depressing (starting with "honor" killings in the middle east and going on to human rights in general and what we as a nation can really do about other nations not living up to our standards), and I think when I'm done with it I'm going to put on my "Good Mood Music" playlist and cheer myself up.

Etsy Find: Etched Silver Carpe Diem necklace.

Project Follow-up: I got a little bit of cordialing and a little bit of knitting done this weekend.

Randomness: If you could meet a character from a book, who would it be? Why? What would you want to ask them?
jennythereader: (Flying Owl w/Full Moon)
Body: Both knees are bothering me.

Book Review: I read World Made by Hand: A Novel over the weekend. It was good but... superficial somehow. For all that the topic is pretty serious, the author seems to only touch the surface. 6 out of 10.

Hearing: Nancy Pearl Book Reviews; This American Life (Episode 400 is not one of their best, although the last story was pretty good); and Dan Carlin's show Common Sense. This episode of Common Sense is pretty depressing (starting with "honor" killings in the middle east and going on to human rights in general and what we as a nation can really do about other nations not living up to our standards), and I think when I'm done with it I'm going to put on my "Good Mood Music" playlist and cheer myself up.

Etsy Find: Etched Silver Carpe Diem necklace.

Project Follow-up: I got a little bit of cordialing and a little bit of knitting done this weekend.

Randomness: If you could meet a character from a book, who would it be? Why? What would you want to ask them?
jennythereader: (* Card Catalog)
I know I have a lot of fellow SF&F fans reading me, many of whom are more or less active at Cons and other aspects of fandom. Given that, I figure I can't be the only one who has incorperated terminology from some of my favorite books and movies into my everyday speech. I'm not talking about repeating a character's catch phrase because it's funny and more-or-less appropriate, but rather using the made-up words or phrases in regular conversation the same way the characters would have.

The one word I notice myself using the most is "Grok," from Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land. Superficially, to grok something is simply to understand it, but it implies an extremely complete understanding of all the nuances and complexities of the subject.

A phrase I sometimes use is "on the gripping hand," from Niven's The Mote In God's Eye. It's used with "on the one hand ... , on the other hand ... " to give a third option.

How about you guys? Any words or phrases you've swiped from books?

(I'm also testing if this crossposted to Facebook. Let me know?)
jennythereader: (* Card Catalog)
I know I have a lot of fellow SF&F fans reading me, many of whom are more or less active at Cons and other aspects of fandom. Given that, I figure I can't be the only one who has incorperated terminology from some of my favorite books and movies into my everyday speech. I'm not talking about repeating a character's catch phrase because it's funny and more-or-less appropriate, but rather using the made-up words or phrases in regular conversation the same way the characters would have.

The one word I notice myself using the most is "Grok," from Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land. Superficially, to grok something is simply to understand it, but it implies an extremely complete understanding of all the nuances and complexities of the subject.

A phrase I sometimes use is "on the gripping hand," from Niven's The Mote In God's Eye. It's used with "on the one hand ... , on the other hand ... " to give a third option.

How about you guys? Any words or phrases you've swiped from books?

(I'm also testing if this crossposted to Facebook. Let me know?)
jennythereader: (Blue Fractal)
Body: My lower back is not happy, and my gut is testy.

Book Review: I finished The Secret Garden last night. I'd forgotten how much of the story happens before Mary ever meets Colin, and how vague the author is about the day-to-day work of healing both the garden and Colin.

Reading: I started The Great Influenza last night. I had never realized just how late medicine in the US was awful, especially compared to Europe.

Hearing: Done working through my back-log of Marketplace episodes! Started on my BBC History Magazine podcasts.

Etsy find: A fun scarf

Project Follow-up: Found the jar! A half gallon mason jar is about $3.00 at Michaels, and it's more than big enough for the cherry cordial. I moved it, and added the concentrated cherry juice and an additional 2 cups of vodka. Filtering is planned for a couple of weeks from now.

Tonight's Project: I have all the pieces for my Wicked Faire accessories, tonight I plan on putting them together.

Randomness: One of my favorite sub-genres of speculative fiction is alternate history. Lately, I've been really in the mood for alternate histories of the 1500's, especially ones where the change point involves the Tudor rulers of England. Some scenarios that I think sound really interesting are:
- Arthur (Henry VIII's older brother and Katherine of Aragon's first husband) lived long enough that they weren't able to rationalize a way for her to marry Henry
- Arthur lived long enough to take the throne
- Edward or Mary managed to have a child who directly inherited the throne
- Elizabeth married and did or did not have a child

Does anyone know if anyone has explored any of these ideas? Or anything similar?
jennythereader: (Blue Fractal)
Body: My lower back is not happy, and my gut is testy.

Book Review: I finished The Secret Garden last night. I'd forgotten how much of the story happens before Mary ever meets Colin, and how vague the author is about the day-to-day work of healing both the garden and Colin.

Reading: I started The Great Influenza last night. I had never realized just how late medicine in the US was awful, especially compared to Europe.

Hearing: Done working through my back-log of Marketplace episodes! Started on my BBC History Magazine podcasts.

Etsy find: A fun scarf

Project Follow-up: Found the jar! A half gallon mason jar is about $3.00 at Michaels, and it's more than big enough for the cherry cordial. I moved it, and added the concentrated cherry juice and an additional 2 cups of vodka. Filtering is planned for a couple of weeks from now.

Tonight's Project: I have all the pieces for my Wicked Faire accessories, tonight I plan on putting them together.

Randomness: One of my favorite sub-genres of speculative fiction is alternate history. Lately, I've been really in the mood for alternate histories of the 1500's, especially ones where the change point involves the Tudor rulers of England. Some scenarios that I think sound really interesting are:
- Arthur (Henry VIII's older brother and Katherine of Aragon's first husband) lived long enough that they weren't able to rationalize a way for her to marry Henry
- Arthur lived long enough to take the throne
- Edward or Mary managed to have a child who directly inherited the throne
- Elizabeth married and did or did not have a child

Does anyone know if anyone has explored any of these ideas? Or anything similar?
jennythereader: (* Books 001)
Name a book. If I've read it I'll tell you what I think about it. These might be as a reply to your comment, or might be as a separate review post. If I haven't read it I'll ask you to convince me that I should.
jennythereader: (* Books 001)
Name a book. If I've read it I'll tell you what I think about it. These might be as a reply to your comment, or might be as a separate review post. If I haven't read it I'll ask you to convince me that I should.
jennythereader: (* Card Catalog)
Having signed up for a CSA, Tom & I are expecting to end up with a lot of vegetables this year. I have one good vegetarian cookbook, but I'm looking for recommendations for others, especially ones that are veggie-centric but not vegetarian.
jennythereader: (* Card Catalog)
Having signed up for a CSA, Tom & I are expecting to end up with a lot of vegetables this year. I have one good vegetarian cookbook, but I'm looking for recommendations for others, especially ones that are veggie-centric but not vegetarian.
jennythereader: (* Books 001)

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write - WSJ.com

An interesting article about how ebooks will change the writing and publishing industry. While I don't agree with all of his conclusions, I do think he makes some good points.

March 2015

S M T W T F S
12 34567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 28th, 2017 07:04 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios