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 11:29 on 04-11-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
Gnomes? Please, Janne, this is science fiction.

B-b-b-but they're real? Oh, yeah science fiction. I should not go blabbering about secrets.

It could be The Number of the Beast, with its facile, ridiculous cosmology

A few years ago I decided to try and read something from Heinlein, since he was considered such an important figure in the genre and I had never done so. I didn't really do anything to find out what to read, so when I stumbled on <en>The Number of The Beast in a flea market, I just thought that it was a bit of a silly name but showed some promise. I haven't tried reading Heinlein after that anymore. I suppose he has some good books? That particular one was just soul-crushing. It had the nipples as emotional barometers, weird incest vibes and what not, but the worst thing was that in addition, it was so boring, I just couldn't go on even to find out what the next stupid thing would be.
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at 10:49 on 04-11-2013, Arthur B
It could be worse. It could be Farnham's Freehold, with its fear of a black planet and the wittering about "lifeboat rules" (which translate to "in a survivalist situation you need a violent strongman dictator running the show")! It could be The Number of the Beast, with its facile, ridiculous cosmology and its characters whose emotional states are tracked based on their hyperactive nipples! It could be Time Enough For Love, in which the immortal Lazarus Long adopts a small child so that when she gets old enough she can marry him! It could be To Sail Beyond the Sunset, in which Lazarus Long's mother has a really alarming parent/child incest fetish running through her entire life!

Early Heinlein was enough of a minefield but from Stranger on his bibliography becomes this absolutely bizarre disaster area, I don't envy you the experience of revisiting.
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at 08:53 on 04-11-2013, Adrienne
Arthur B: Yeah, that'd be the one. Trust me, I would NOT have picked it up again if not for having someone specifically request that I do. Really at this point I am only getting through it by bribing myself with promises of John Brunner.
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at 03:35 on 04-11-2013, Arthur B
Ah yes, Stranger In a Strange Land: also known as Whaddya Mean You Girls Won't Have a Threesome With Me, Are You Prudes Or Squares Or Something, I Thought We Were Meant To Be All Liberated Now Thanks To The Pill, Need I Remind You That I Am Robert Heinlein?
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at 22:46 on 03-11-2013, Adrienne
In other news, I'm rereading Stranger in a Strange Land (at someone's specific request, not because I actually wanted to). And it's a good thing I'm reading an ebook, because I'd've thrown it across the room several times by now if I were reading a paper copy. Seriously, SMH.

I am planning to reread Shockwave Rider immediately afterward as a palate-cleanser, to remind myself that there were SF authors in the 60s and 70s who were NOT reactionary, sexist, gender-essentialist assholes. In the process I'll make notes for the review of said novel that I threatened Arthur B with ages ago, and write it and send it to Kyra. :)
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at 16:55 on 03-11-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Gnomes? Please, Janne, this is science fiction.

It's very. serious.
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at 11:35 on 03-11-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
Given how Truman is also a member of the financial Illuminati that rule the Earth (who include amongst their number a 500-pound Samoan, a luchadore, Emperor Palpatine, and a 2500-year-old devotee of Set)

Are the Swiss bank gnomes a part of illuminati as well!?
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at 00:39 on 03-11-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
In the post-War economy it would have been a wasteful extravagance when the Washington DC Masonic Temple has a perfectly good sex dungeon.

That actually shows up in the comic too. Given how Truman is also a member of the financial Illuminati that rule the Earth (who include amongst their number a 500-pound Samoan, a luchadore, Emperor Palpatine, and a 2500-year-old devotee of Set), he probably figured he could have two.

One of the best things about this comic is that I don't have to make anything up to get across how nuts it is.
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at 00:08 on 03-11-2013, Arthur B
In the post-War economy it would have been a wasteful extravagance when the Washington DC Masonic Temple has a perfectly good sex dungeon.
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at 00:03 on 03-11-2013, Michal
...Harry Truman converting the Oval Office into a Masonic sex dungeon...


You mean this didn't actually happen?
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at 22:49 on 02-11-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
I knew it had to happen: I finally managed to find a nutso alternate history story that didn't make me cringe.

It's Johnathan Hickman's current continuing comic series The Manhattan Projects, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. Part of the appeal is seeing what crazy new shit is going to go down, like, say, with Harry Truman converting the Oval Office into a Masonic sex dungeon, but it also continues Hickman's interest in the uncomfortable relationship scientific progress has with personal ambition and society as a whole.

It's also convinced me that Oppenheimer is the most terrifying man who ever lived.
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at 02:09 on 01-11-2013, Alice
Also, something funny for Adrienne: animals being jerks gif series (4th of 4, with links to the previous 3 parts). And I hope things are/feel better soon!
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at 02:04 on 01-11-2013, Alice
Re: Sleepy Hollow

Doesn't really have much to do with the original Washington Irving that I can see, but oh well.


I noticed this too, though I suppose Tim Burton's version didn't either (at least thematically), and I quite enjoyed that one as well. Though I do find it interesting that modern adaptations all seem to have (deliberately, one assumes) reversed the "there is nothing supernatural going on" of the original story. Then again, I suppose "Ichabod Crane's romantic rival scares him off by pretending to be a headless horseman" wouldn't make for a very interesting film/tv show/whatever.

As for the current adaptation, I enjoy it overall - love Abbie, love Jenny, love the diversity of the cast, love Ichabod's transference of hero-worship from General Washington to "Leftenant" Mills, very much enjoy the "Ichabod adapts to modernity" stuff...

But the level of research in the show seems to be at the level of "the writers have read the first paragraph of a few Wikipedia articles" (oh God, the Roanoke episode!), and there's been some pretty cringeworthy racial stuff (~evil gypsy witch~ in the second or third episode, faily representation of Native Americans the episode after that) which seems at odds with the casting/characterisation otherwise.

So I'm hoping those two things will improve over the course of the series, because I'd really like to wholeheartedly love the show, but as it is I'm not quite able to.
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at 00:02 on 01-11-2013, Robinson L
Adrienne: Oh, i love Tim Zahn! His stuff is usually good fluffy fun! Where's the story?

So do I, for similar reasons. I've been reading it in a collection of novellas and short stories called "Star Song and Other Stories." I just finished it about an hour ago, and I'm not actually too impressed by it - it was okay, but it didn't wow me.

(I actually met him once, too, at a con several years back. He's a very nice man.)

Cool. I have not met him (9 Worlds was only my second con ever), but I've heard/read several interviews of him, and he does sound like a very nice man.
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at 22:38 on 31-10-2013, Adrienne
Robinson L: Oh, i love Tim Zahn! His stuff is usually good fluffy fun! Where's the story?

(I actually met him once, too, at a con several years back. He's a very nice man.)
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at 22:30 on 31-10-2013, Bookwyrm
I hate the world today. Someone tell me something nice, or funny, or uplifting, please?

Well when I hate life, this video puts me in a good mood.

Also Happy Halloween everybody.
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at 21:23 on 31-10-2013, Janne Kirjasniemi
Talkin' bout cookie monster, this has always improved my mood. Because it is very nice.

This, on the other hand I'd push as uplifting. While the movie itself is superb, this scene has a full story in itself, ending with a really cathartic resolution(well, the scene, the clip goes a little too long).

And exploiting the same source there's this, which I guess is a bit preachy, but a good song nonetheless.
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at 20:30 on 31-10-2013, Robinson L
Oh, also, this being All Hallow's and everything, this is probably a good time to mention that I'm greatly enjoying Sleepy Hollow, in contrast to my sisters ... who are obsessing over it.

Basically, take your standard tough cop + amateur Odd Couple (a la Bones, Castle), throw them into a Buffy the Vampire-esque setting, add a Book of Revelation garnish, dial up the silly a notch, and give the whole thing a genuinely multi-racial cast, and viola. Oh, and the whole thing takes place practically within spitting distance of my home town.

Doesn't really have much to do with the original Washington Irving that I can see, but oh well.

Happy Hallows.
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at 20:00 on 31-10-2013, Robinson L
Ulllch, well, I tend to be pretty terrible at this sort of thing when I'm put on the spot, but, here goes.

I'm currently reading "The Play's the Thing" a short SF story by Timothy Zahn which has actually prompted me to laugh out loud.

In the first scene, the narrator is explaining how he got assigned to the entourage of the first alien ambassador to Earth, through what turns out to be a misunderstanding. When he finds out he sticks with it, though out of bloodimindedness (as his colleagues have been making snide remarks about his "relative usefulness").

Besides, the briefcase they'd handed me that first day had contained a presidential plea for my cooperation and about two bucketfuls of money, both of which I was far too patriotic to walk away from.


Later, the ambassador (which is humongous) ends up making a scene at a Broadway show, which sends the audience running for cover

With the ambassador's second below even the actors lost it, scurrying for the wings like they'd spotted a critic with an Uzi.
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at 19:49 on 31-10-2013, Melanie
I hate the world today. Someone tell me something nice, or funny, or uplifting, please?


What about "Cookie Monster Learns a Lesson from Tom Hiddleston"? Alternatively, the Sad Cat Diary.

Also, a cute comic about a kitten and halloween.
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at 17:20 on 31-10-2013, Adrienne
I hate the world today. Someone tell me something nice, or funny, or uplifting, please?
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at 20:45 on 30-10-2013, Arthur B
Not started it yet (going to dig into it tonight after I'm done watching In the Mouth of Madness), but I can believe a product of the Dear Esther crew feeling inert.
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at 19:06 on 30-10-2013, Alasdair Czyrnyj
So I played Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, and I'm in a bind: I didn't like it, but I can't figure out why. I mean, it's wrapped in an atmosphere of industrial anxiety, and it evokes the anxiety of the late Victorian era, the struggles of modernity and modernism, and mankind's propensity for apocalyptic thought, stuff I'm normally really interested in...and yet it seems so inert. It has me baffled.
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