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 23:54 on 05-09-2013, Michal
It seems like he's taken a page from Larry Correia, who incessantly whinges about much the same thing.
at 21:54 on 05-09-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
That was quite a rant. It must be nice to be able to use terms like 'sociology', 'social democrat' and 'conservative' and whatnot and just define them in just the way you want for present purposes and just write whatever happens to come to mind and call it wisdom. And in the case of 'modern' and 'progressive' not define them at all and pretend that everybody must realize what exactly your blathering about. Apparently there is no world outside the US too. Go figure.
at 19:24 on 05-09-2013, Cheriola
I didn't read that commentary essay, I just idly scrolled down to the comments to see if there were counter arguments. Then I noticed... only 3 of the 50 comments come from people with recognisably female names, even though almost all commenters seem to have signed with their real names. WTF?
at 19:13 on 05-09-2013, Michal
That was charmingly incoherent.
at 17:41 on 05-09-2013, Arthur B
Oh joy, it's inspired another OH JOHN RINGO NO incident.
at 17:34 on 05-09-2013, Arthur B
If there's one good thing that came out of Scalzi's Hugo win this year, it's that the announcement sent Voxy into a flailing rage.

Even there the Hugos are kind of taking the lazy way out though - I mean, prompting Vox to rant or say something vile isn't exactly master trolling. Surely fandom can aspire to taking on less soft targets?
at 17:21 on 05-09-2013, Michal
I think the robot stories are cute, and that's about all--which isn't a bad thing considering I find most of the sf stories from the "Golden Age" fairly dull, and "cute" is a huge improvement on that. I do remember liking the Foundation trilogy a lot when I was 13, and then going on an Asimov reading binge that stopped because I didn't end up being quite so enamored by anything else I tried.

If there's one good thing that came out of Scalzi's Hugo win this year, it's that the announcement sent Voxy into a flailing rage. Very much appreciated. Meanwhile, I'm just gonna assume the award was actually a belated one for Old Man's War, because the shortlist for best novel was unusually weak all around.
at 11:36 on 05-09-2013, Robinson L
Yeah, that's how I took the stories in I, Robot, and I enjoyed them as such - just not as much as I enjoy stories with strong characterization.
at 11:11 on 05-09-2013, Arthur B
Asimov's robot stories are fun but you do have to take them as logic puzzles in working out how the Laws of Robotics have managed to screw up this time rather than stories that are at all interested in character.
at 10:53 on 05-09-2013, Shim
He's actually got a pretty broad range of things (within his niche); I always liked his short stories, because he's got a knack for interesting ideas and knows the science - and it also counterbalances his relative weakness in characterisation. There's quite a fun set of science-based mystery stories, for example (called Asimov's Mysteries in my version), and some decent smaller novels with adventure/mystery elements.
at 10:36 on 05-09-2013, Robinson L
I've only read the first Foundation novel (and aside from that, only I, Robot and Nightfall from Asimov's oeuvre). Like Dick, I tend to find his ideas more interesting than his characters - he does better with his characters, but on the other hand his ideas (though cool) are less mind-blowing. So far, Nightfall is by far my favorite, despite the "uh-huh, and?" ending.

Maybe the reason the Foundation series is so highly regarded, though, is that it's structured more like an epic than Asimov's other stuff?

I started Stranger in a Strange Land several years ago, but just sorta stopped after a while and had no interest in picking it back up again.

On the other side of the coin, I read The Man in the High Castle, a year or two ago, and while it managed to hold my interest throughout, I obviously didn't get it at all, and I didn't like it so much that I feel a particular urge to reread until I figure it out.
at 22:19 on 04-09-2013, Shim
I really never got the Foundation thing. I loved Asimov's other stuff, so I find it really weird how that seems to be what gets the attention.
at 21:41 on 04-09-2013, James D
Yeah, there's a reason I cited that and a latter-day Foundation novel as examples of books which only one because of whose name was attached to them. I'm convinced that Foundation's Edge only got the Hugo because the original trilogy missed out, and as for latter-day Heinlein, ugh.

I haven't read the Foundation series since I was a teenager but I remember the later ones being at least readable, though inferior to the original trilogy (which wasn't that great to begin with).

Of course, Foundation's Edge beat out The Sword of the Lictor, which just makes me want to hit everyone who voted.

at 21:17 on 04-09-2013, Melanie
What about the parts that are basically a heavy-handed author screed about how not being poly is just unelightened and awful? Weren't those... great?

Ooooo, or the parts where it turns out it's alright to murder people willy-nilly because they'll get reincarnated anyway. So it's not really murder it's just, like, a time-out.
at 20:34 on 04-09-2013, Arthur B
Yeah, there's a reason I cited that and a latter-day Foundation novel as examples of books which only one because of whose name was attached to them. I'm convinced that Foundation's Edge only got the Hugo because the original trilogy missed out, and as for latter-day Heinlein, ugh.
at 20:21 on 04-09-2013, James D
Have you actually read Stranger in a Strange Land? I tried years ago and just found it godawful, couldn't even finish it. I think I threw in the towel right about when Heinlein started describing in great detail how awesome the Martian was at kissing.
at 10:46 on 04-09-2013, Arthur B
I don't get too fazed by who wins the Hugo these days because if you look back at its history it's quite clear that it's always been this insane mixed bag of genuinely classic stuff (Man In the High Castle, The Demolished Man, books which would never have even under consideration if they didn't have a big name attached to them (Stranger In a Strange Land, Foundation's Edge) or if they weren't riding the crest of a publishing fad (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).
at 05:13 on 04-09-2013, Ibmiller
I'm actually pretty mad that Redshirts won. Mostly, I think, because I love Scalzi's Heinlein fanfic way more than I was mildly amused at his Trekfic. Plus, I loathe Trek in nearly every iteration, so this bland, overly cute mess just doesn't cut it for me.

Hopefully that's a minirant of the sort you were looking for? :)
at 01:44 on 04-09-2013, Michal
So Redshirts won the Hugo Award. Thoughts, anyone? I thought it was an amusing but otherwise utterly pointless novel.

This, on the other hand, looks amazing. (Dramatic reading here.)
at 22:35 on 03-09-2013, Alice
My response to anything to do with the 50 Shades film pretty much boils down to o_O -- mostly because I can't see why, (especially?) as an actor, you'd want to be part of it. I mean, on some level I can see the reasoning of "massively best-selling books --> huge ready-made film audience --> profit", but I'm not sure step two necessarily follows from step one.

It strikes me that this is going to be a film meant to please fans of the book, which means that they're likely going to (have to) stick pretty closely to the book!story. But I can't see how that won't restrict their audience - I'm not sure how they can film what's in the book without running into problems vis à vis ratings.

I feel like the (a?) reason the book is so popular is that it taps into people's fantasies of one sort or another. But those fantasies are pretty personal, and it strikes me that a book is a better medium for allowing people to engage with those fantasies than a film would be -- for one thing, a book allows you more freedom to fill in blanks such as what exactly the characters look and sound like. For another (and perhaps more importantly), the fantasies that 50 Shades taps into are, err, ones I'd imagine most people would rather engage with in private, rather than in a room full of strangers.

Honestly, though, I think the 50 Shades phenomenon is just completely lost on me, so I may well be wrong and it'll make squillions of dollars at the box office...

(I will say that a lot the response I've seen to the Charlie-Hunnam-is-Christian-Grey news is people bemoaning his choice as if he were Raleigh Becket. Which I find sort of understandable but mostly a bit weird.)
at 12:13 on 03-09-2013, Arthur B
I can't wait for the subplot where Ron Perlman is Christian Grey's stepdad who wants to keep Grey Enterprises on a self-serving and overtly criminal bent whilst Christian reads up on anarchist political philosophy and daydreams about steering things in a more idealistic direction but never really follows through on that.
at 12:42 on 02-09-2013, Kit
So, um, Coriolanus starring Tom Hiddleston, anyone? Please tell me that somebody will be going (and reviewing), so that I may at least experience it vicariously :)