28 Oct 2013

extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Chris Beckett - Dark Eden
A spaceship crashes on an unknown world. Several generations later, the descandants have filled up their valley. A dude decides something must be done.
Vaguely interesting society, could have gone without the main character wanting to establish male supremacy etc in his breakaway tribe. Also, the characterization of the spaceship's only woman made me go gaah. And the characterization of the main character's mother. Also, the main character is meant to be likeable, despite being something of an asshole.
Bechdel pass.

Chris Beckett - The Holy Machine
The whole world has become a patchwork of religious totalitarian states, apart from Illyria. Our (male) main character decides to run away from the totalitarianizing Illyria, with a high-quality sex bot.
Came across as saying that all high-tech/atheist societies are morally bankrupt. The main character's mother comes across as a shy ten-year-old girl. (Beckett had a decent idea and went too far with it.) Also, the main character is meant to be likeable, despite being something of an asshole. He still gets the girl.
Bechdel pass.

David Brin - Sundiver
There are aliens in the Sun. Our (male) main character is called to help with the investigation.
Unlike Brin's The Postman, I was able to slog through. Suffers from Smurfette Syndrome. The main character is made of Boring. Brin's style of writing bores me. The only woman is competent, but for whatever reason, doesn't do anything in the climax, even though her doing something would make more sense than the actual climax. Also, she's tossed off as a reward to the main character, even though they have zero chemistry.
Bechdel fail.

Gary Gibson - Angel Stations
A wavefront of radiation is traveling towards Earth. First, however, it will hit and sterilize Kasper, which has sentient aliens. The story of people wanting to save the Kaspians.
Suffers from Smurfette Syndrome. All the important aliens are male, even if female ones exist. Bonus points for lesbians, even if it's only in flashbacks. Not only readable, but interesting.
Bechdel pass.


Generally, when a SF author needs to come up with a culture that differs from the current mainstream, zie creates male supremacy, often religiously mandated. (See: Masada from David Weber's Honorverse, The World Whose Name Eludes Me from Gary Gibson's Shoal Sequence) Not only is this annoying to those of us who would like to have even the smallest feminist sympathies, it is repetitive, overdone and boring.
So, when I started reading Dark Eden, I was happy: a matriarchal society! Finally! Then, Beckett starts writing in a way that implies that all the society's woes are the result of its insularity, which is caused by its matriarchality. And by the end it's patriarchal, militarized, etc. Agh.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Sharing a Finnish-language song that embodies the Finnish attitude.
And might work as a prompt for the writing-oriented in you.

Lyrics and translation )
Taas lapset pihalla näät
ikkunas alla leikkivän leikkejään
Taas siihen paikallesi ikkunaan jäät
siihen ikkunaan jäät

Lennät vuosien taa
Ne muistot päivittäin sut valtaansa saa
Ne joutsenlauluun etsii taas laulajaa
etsii taas laulajaa

Nuo hetket syntymästä kuolemaan
kun silmäluomiin heijastuu
Saa toiset uskomaan kai jumalaan
toiset saatanaan tai mihin vaan
Muttei kuitenkaan tähän maailmaan

Sä kerran löysit myös sen
tuon puolen vuosisadan rakkauden
Sun oli helppo olla onnellinen
olla onnellinen

Nyt mitä vaistollas teet
kun linnut pesästään on pois lentäneet?
On enää valokuvat kellastuneet
Ne selaat taas uudelleen
ja taas uudelleen

Et ehkä sääliäni kaipaa
Ei se saa tuskaa puutumaan
Tuo tuska laulun tämän kirjoittaa
Tuo tuska kiinnii saa kenet vaan
Tuo tuska kiinni saa

Suruhuntusi näät
Se viisi vuotta sitten sai hengittää
Sut joutsenlaulu silloin sai itkemään,
sut sai itkemään

Tahtoisit olla niin kuin silloinkin
kun peityit huntuun valkoiseen
Se jäänyt on jo ajan jalkoihin
niin kuin sinäkin

Tahtoisin yrittää
mä että silloin veden pinnalle jään
kun joen tulvivan mä uomistaan nään
kun joen tulvivan nään

Nuo naiset marketeissa kärryineen
ja miehet kantabaareissaan
Nuoruuden lähteestä kai haaveilee
ja tuska laimenee tai miten vaan

Taas hetken lähempänä kuolemaa
Ei haihdu tuska milloinkaan
Tuo tuska laulun tämän kirjoittaa
tuo tuska kiinnii saa kenet vaan
Tuo tuska kiinni saa kenet vain haluaa

You see the children in the yard again
Playing their games under the window
You stay there at the window again
Stay there at the window

You fly back years
The memories take you over daily
They're looking for a singer for a swan-song again
Looking for a singer again

Those moments from birth to death
When reflected upon eyelids
Makes some believe in God
Some in Satan, or anything
But not this world

Once you found it
The love of half a century
It was easy for you to be happy
Be happy

Now what will you do with your instincts
When the birds have flown out of their nest?
You only have the yellowed photographs
You leaf through them once again
And once again

You may not wish for my pity
It won't make the anguish numb
That anguish writes this song
That anguish catches anyone
That anguish catches

You see your mourning veil
Five years ago it got to breathe
Then the swan-song made you cry
Made you cry

You'd like to be like you were
When you were covered by a white veil
It's already been trampled by time
Like you

I'd like to try
To stay on the surface
When I see the river flood from its channel
When I see the river flood

Those women in the market with their trolleys
And men in their bars
Probably dream of a fountain of youth
And the anguish dilutes, or whatever

Again a moment closer to death
Anguish never fades away
That anguish writes this song
That anguish can catch anyone
That anguish can catch anyone it wants
 
Lyrics and translation )

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