Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 18:02 on 08-05-2012, Robinson L
Alasdair: Well this is interesting: a brief discussion on the use of the young white male loser archetype in modern American fiction and what it says about the relationship between the contemporary American male writer and the female reader. It also articulates one of the reasons I don't like modern American fiction.

Well, that hit uncomfortably close to home; probably would've hit a lot closer a couple of years ago.

I can't figure out what the author is trying to say about Houellebecq, though. The tone of the piece seems to imply that his approach is superior, but when I parse out the arguments the article author seems to be saying that both he and the writers of the Male Loser archetype are jerks - the difference being that the Loser writers are passive-aggressive jerks whereas Houellebecq is upfront about being a jerk.

Anyway, thanks for sharing, Alasdair.

@Andy: I second Arthur's request for a review, and I don't at all mind waiting until July. I can be patient.
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at 16:48 on 08-05-2012, Arthur B
I don't think anyone else will be able to read the books before then. :)
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at 16:37 on 08-05-2012, Andy G
You may have to wait till July if you want it to be by me!
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at 16:26 on 08-05-2012, Arthur B
I'd be very interested in an article about them then. :)
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at 16:20 on 08-05-2012, Andy G
I would happily have read 50 more. They're self-contained stories so things don't tend to get strung out too much; actually, more happens in the first book than in the entirety of ASOIAF.
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at 16:10 on 08-05-2012, Arthur B
That's the series where Cook wanted to drag it out for 60 books but was forced to settle for a paltry 10, wasn't it?

Funnily enough I've never been tempted to start on them.
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at 15:39 on 08-05-2012, Andy G
Have any other Ferretbrainers ever come across Hugh Cook's Chronicles of an Age of Darkness (The Wizards and the Warriors, The Walrus and the Warwolf, etc.)? I've finally finished the final volume 15 years after reading the first and it feels quite a momentous day. Can't recommend them enough - may write an article when I finally have a spare moment.
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at 02:48 on 07-05-2012, Sonia Mitchell
By the way, does anyone know how to get blood out of sheetrock? Things kind of escalated.


That's not the way we do things on the FreedomShip, Alasdair.
We buy it new from the biggest mall in the world. Bargain price, tax free, includes installation.
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at 02:25 on 07-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
So who am I supposed to ask for directions when I'm on the Freedom Ship?

I'm sure one of the hundreds of public TVs running commercials on a 24 hour loop will eventually tell you where the place you want to go is. And if it doesn't, then the free market has spoken.

By the way, does anyone know how to get blood out of sheetrock? Things kind of escalated.
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at 02:15 on 07-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Utopias don't need a police force, silly.

Of course they do. How else would they be able to defend themselves from wreckers, diversionists, and bandits of all stripes?

As for FreedomShip, I think they have decided to forgo the authoriarian structures of a traditional police force and rely on a grass-roots form of self-directed community activism, in which each business onboard the ship is responsible for the security of its own premises and the good behavior of its employees, while the ship's security will step in to handle the occasional interorganizational dispute. No need for any sort of comprehensive law code here: common sense and the invisible hand will quickly provide balance and resolve all disputes.

Now if you excuse me, I need to deal with one of my cashiers. He's been stealing pens from the supply cabinet, so I'm going to have him beaten with rebar and propped up in the employee break room as an example to the rest of the staff. So much easier than filing termination paperwork, wouldn't you say?
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at 02:12 on 07-05-2012, Sonia Mitchell
So who am I supposed to ask for directions when I'm on the Freedom Ship?
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at 01:44 on 07-05-2012, Michal
Utopias don't need a police force, silly.
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at 01:34 on 07-05-2012, Sonia Mitchell
Re: FreedomShip, the objective to
Develop the standard in education (US grades K through 12) for the entire world
is jarring even next to the rest of their aims.

Also, funnily enough, they don't seem to mention their police force for this community of 100k people.
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at 15:28 on 06-05-2012, Arthur B
@Arthur: I have actually thought it'd be fun to do a short-story TF, but I dunno how you'd actually do it.

I suppose we could pick out a bunch of single-author short story anthologies (so yay to The Wind's Twelve Quarters and Lord Peter Views the Body but Dangerous Visions doesn't qualify) and read one story per episode.
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at 15:16 on 06-05-2012, James D
They tried that in The Filth. http://www.jlroberson.org/scansdaily/filth_zero_02.jpg

It didn't go too well, except the US President ended up with DD's.
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at 11:17 on 06-05-2012, Wardog
Also I'm sayin, the last time we built a massive ship it didn't exactly go well, did it? And lead to the death of Leonardo di Caprio so we should really think about that we're doing here.
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at 08:45 on 06-05-2012, Shimmin
It also sounds like an ecological pain to me. I mean, leaving aside the massive ship itself and the toxic materials built into it, it'll burn tons of fuel, and the passengers are to commute to the shore and back by plane. Yeah, great. But their claims about building a special community are rather undermined by their constant focus on the commercial aspects.

@Kyra: clearly the Dreaming Void series is the place to start, no?
@Arthur: I have actually thought it'd be fun to do a short-story TF, but I dunno how you'd actually do it.
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at 06:49 on 06-05-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
Grant Morrison's Filth had a story line wher an ocean liner with an utopic community disintegrates into an apocalyptic nightmare, because the series (kindof) main antagonist messes around there. Related to the them and Wallace's essay, check out the newest Simpsons episode: "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again."

The ferries into Baltic sea between Stockholm, Tallinn, Helsinki and Turku are basically giant malls with cabins and a huge helping of drunken Scandinavians(well, Finns might not count as such), so this is not a surprising development to me. At least it's not SeaOrg.
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at 03:09 on 06-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Ah, that silly ol' thing.

When looking over the proposed design features, the sentence "The shopping mall, one of the world's largest, would also be one of its most beautiful" filled me with so much sadness. It's just the idea that someone would want to design a utopic new community, and the best thing they could think of to put in it is a shopping mall.

Christ, it even looks like a goddamned mall too.

This also caught my eye: "As it circumnavigates the world, Freedom Ship would make a series of offshore stops, including exotic tropical islands accessible only by sea. These stops would provide the ship's residents and entrepreneurs with extensive and varied touring and business opportunities, and bring a continual stream of visitors to the ship to patronize its shops, restaurants, and entertainment facilities. The ship would provide as many as 40,000 tourists to ports around the world. These cities and countries would eagerly anticipate this influx, as well as the major market the ship represents for local farmers, fishermen, and merchants."

It's remarkable. I've never seen a parasite think so highly of itself before.

FOR FURTHER SUBJECTS ON THIS TOPIC, please consult "Shipping Out", David Foster Wallace's essay in the January 1996 issue of Harper's Magazine (later expanded into "A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again" in the essay collection of the same name, as well as Ian Edginton and D'Israeli's comic short story Leviathan, which initially ran in issues 1351 to 1360 of 2000 AD and has since been collected in a standalone graphic novel.
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at 02:39 on 06-05-2012, Michal
Plans for a giant city ship.

What could possibly go wrong?
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at 00:37 on 06-05-2012, Arthur B
It is.

First season, Girl Books For Girls special, second season. Much listening pleasure awaits.
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at 00:27 on 06-05-2012, James D
Newbie question, what is TextFactor exactly? Some sort of Survivor-type voting contest between books you guys pick?
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at 00:21 on 06-05-2012, Wardog
Flash Fiction - a word per episode :P
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