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 17:10 on 11-05-2012, valse de la lune
I liked bits of The Secret Books of Paradys, but a lot of it was meh. About Flat Earth, I liked the first one well enough, but the whole series is pretty deeply misogynistic; Death's Master is especially awful about this, but Delirium's Mistress isn't much better either despite having--or because it has--a female protagonist. It's stuffed from end to end with gender essentialism and... actually, yes, in that regard it's very like Vance's Dying Earth.

It's better than The Birthgrave, but not by much.
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at 16:51 on 11-05-2012, James D
Now now, the gods of the Flat Earth are vastly remote and utterly uncaring; it's the laughing, thirsting demons you have to watch out for. ;)

Yeah, it's a good series. I really liked the myth/fable feel of it, and to go minority warrior for a moment, the representation of gender and sexual minorities was quite good (probably racial minorities too, but Lee doesn't seem to be too explicit in describing race, like Ursula K Le Guin). I've read the first three and already have the next two.
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at 16:38 on 11-05-2012, Arthur B
I loved Night's Master. Vance/CAS-influenced interconnected vignettes with a cosmology that manages to be fanciful without being gimmicky, stuffed with the laughter of thirsting gods: what's not to like?
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at 16:16 on 11-05-2012, Wardog
Did you like those? The Secret Books of Paradys, I mean. Maybe I wasn't patient enough but I remember thinking: "wow, this is total guff." And I'm usually pretty into Tanith Lee.
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at 08:47 on 11-05-2012, valse de la lune
Hm, maybe. I've only read the first few "Tales from the Flat Earth" books, and I don't see too many resemblances there, but she's written quite a lot. Any books in particular you'd compare it to?


The Secret Books of Paradys.
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at 23:53 on 10-05-2012, Arthur B
My random quip has somehow inspired people drawing parallels between horse-themed sex games and My Little Pony.

I now feel 50 Shades of Shame.
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at 23:30 on 10-05-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi

I'm way ahead of you, there, Arthur. I'm already 400
pages into my new pony play trilogy, 50 Shades of Neigh.

I hope you're at least considering makin it an epistolary novel.

"Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned that friendship can take any form, some of them more confusing and harder to understand. But if you give your friends love and understanding, everypony is happier and more appreciative of each other in the end."
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at 23:22 on 10-05-2012, Sunnyskywalker
Artistic bad faith makes more sense, I guess. (So the books are the literary equivalent of Nice Guys, who go on and on about how nice they are, but they're insecure, and no one will sleep with them because they're too nice and insecure, those bitches, never realizing that in fact they aren't nice at all?) I was with Robinson in thinking the article was trying to talk about jerkishness, and not seeing why one kind would be especially preferable to the other. Some kind of artistic integrity at least sounds better than half-assedly disguising what you're really trying to write. I'd definitely be interested in reading more of what you have to say about Houellebecq, too.

Also, Arthur, now I am never going to be able to hear that song without thinking about jerkish French novelists.

Jumping back a bit... Bitterblue! Finally! *is excited*
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at 23:19 on 10-05-2012, Janne Kirjasniemi
He's a fatalistic misanthrope, and he's enjoyably savage in his writing in the
way only the French can be, but he also has his moments of true sadness and
beauty.

That sounds very interesting, and I will second a review. French misanthropes are usually worth getting finding out, even if the experience might be painful and exhausting. I'm adding him to my list.
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at 22:32 on 10-05-2012, Arthur B
It's got fearsome jaws (which none have survived). So possibly, but afterwards you might have to mend your genitalia with 50 Shades of Glue.
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at 22:22 on 10-05-2012, James D
Is the grue good at it?
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at 22:17 on 10-05-2012, Wardog
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten out by a grue.
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at 22:07 on 10-05-2012, Arthur B
50 Shades of Grue, in which characters have steamy, kinky sex if you read it before an arbitrary time t but otherwise write papers on the problem of induction.

And the action only happens when it's pitch dark. And usually underground.
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at 22:00 on 10-05-2012, Robinson L
I think the key argument of the piece is the sentence "The American authors, they want to be liked."

Thanks for clarifying Alasdair, for a while I was wracking my brains trying to figure out what the author was trying to say there. I guess I was expecting the core article's argument to focus on jerkishness rather than honesty about jerkishness. (By the way, I'm pretty sure the article author is a woman.)

I for one would be interested in a review of Houellebecq's work, even if he's the antithesis of everything I stand for; if it's a Ferretbrain contributor doing the review, it should at least be pretty interesting.
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at 21:58 on 10-05-2012, James D
"Low-hanging fruit" would make a pretty good sexual innuendo too.
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at 21:55 on 10-05-2012, Shim
50 Shades of Grue, in which characters have steamy, kinky sex if you read it before an arbitrary time t but otherwise write papers on the problem of induction.
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at 21:43 on 10-05-2012, Arthur B
I feel no shame at grabbing at the low-hanging fruit.

50 Shades of Grapes.
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at 21:30 on 10-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Hohohohohoho

I feel no shame at grabbing at the low-hanging fruit.
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at 21:22 on 10-05-2012, James D
with whom he will have a sexy adventure at the climax of the story.

Hohohohohoho
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at 21:08 on 10-05-2012, Alasdair Czyrnyj
How about a story where she is a vanilla rabbit and he is a big scary bondage wolf? 50 Shades of Prey.
I was going to use that title for a story I'm writing about a Native American man who gets sucked about an alien spaceship and has a whole lot of sexy adventures aboard/with it while looking for his girlfriend, with whom he will have a sexy adventure at the climax of the story.
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at 20:53 on 10-05-2012, Arthur B
The golem-themed one: 50 Shades of Clay.

The donkey one: 50 Shades of Bray.

The sequel to the donkey one where the entire farmyard gets in on the action in a sort of gangbangy retelling of Animal Farm: 50 Shades of Hay.

The dog training one: 50 Shades of Stay.

The one where the couple in the intense BDSM relationship also make cheese in their spare time: 50 Shades of Whey.

How about a story where she is a vanilla rabbit and he is a big scary bondage wolf? 50 Shades of Prey.

Here's a story where the central couple are constantly interrupted by a peeping tom who makes enthusiastic and inappropriate comments just as they are getting to the good parts: 50 Shades of Wa-hey!

And of course the flash fiction about a guy sadistically squeezing as many puns out of the poor, innocent title as he possibly can: 50 Shades of Wordplay.
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at 20:39 on 10-05-2012, James D
I think The Etched City has more in common with Tanith Lee than with Mieville, really.

Hm, maybe. I've only read the first few "Tales from the Flat Earth" books, and I don't see too many resemblances there, but she's written quite a lot. Any books in particular you'd compare it to?

The boilerplate heurestic definition I've started using is the one I nicked from Jeff Vandermeer big collection. In short, "New Weird" stories are urban secondary-world fantasies that use realistic, complex real-world models as jumping-off points for settings that may use some combination of sf and f mixed together. The writing is visceral, drawing inspiration from surreal and transgressive horror for tone, effect, and style, as well from the New Wave and their inspirations (Mervyn Peake, the decadents). It also seems to be aware of the modern world, and it has to shove its weirdness out in the open.

Any help?

Not much. I guess it's sort of urban sf/f in an invented world with horror and New Wave elements? It seems a very affected categorization, to me.
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at 20:26 on 10-05-2012, Wardog
Fluttershy: Oh...my. <whimpers>whimpers

PS - this image traumatised me.
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at 20:24 on 10-05-2012, Wardog
God I could do this all day...

BDSM Fairies: 50 Shades of Fey.
The Renaissance dubcon AU: 50 Shades of Nay.
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