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Re: [mythsoc] Ellison

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  • Ernest Tomlinson
    ... From: David S Bratman To: Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 10:53 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Ellison [on
    Message 1 of 29 , Feb 4, 2003
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "David S Bratman" <dbratman@...>
      To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, February 02, 2003 10:53 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Ellison

      [on the prospect of getting insulted by Harlan Ellison]
      > Somehow I've never considered tongue-lashings to be pleasurable
      > experiences, even long afterwards.

      Who said anything about pleasurable? Memorable, I said. And great currency
      at parties; a flaying from Ellison is probably worth ten stories about car
      accidents or digging through the dumpster for my retainer in junior high

      > And a great shame, too. Pre-1980s Asimov is by far my favorite of all the
      > SF writers of his generation (the ones who arrived in the 1937-49
      > Campbellian period). Yes, I like that old Foundation trilogy, but it was
      > the first book-length SF I ever read, at age 15.

      The problem--one of the problems--with the Foundation stories is that
      Asimov, often unable or unwilling to _show_ us the resolution of the crises
      he has set up, resorts to long conversation scenes in which we're told,
      rather than shown, that the crisis is resolved. The last story in the
      original _Foundation_ provides one of the most egregious examples: Hober
      Mallow invites his enemy Sutt over for tea and tells him, and us, at length
      that he's solved the latest Seldon crisis--and that's that. Also, Asimov
      has a rather strange idea of psychology.

      > Is it fashionable to deride _Neuromancer_? Not anywhere that I've been,
      > but perhaps I don't get out much.

      I'm thinking mostly of r.a.sf.written, where I don't think I saw a single
      positive comment about _Neuromancer_ in three years. Gibson was universally
      derided for his computer illiteracy and his inability to follow up on the
      success of _Neuromancer_.

      > Nor did I find the prose too memorable...

      I'll never forget many of the scenes from _Neuromancer_, particularly Case's
      dream of knocking down the wasp's nest, and seeing the Tessier-Ashpool logo
      embossed on the side. (I'm not sure why that scene is the one I can least
      forget.) You're right, _Neuromancer_ is more style than story; individual
      scenes work, but the whole is less than the sum of its parts. But compare
      _Neuromancer_ to _Snow Crash_--urgh, there's a _bad_ book.

      > Do you like classical music? I gathered from an earlier post of yours
      > mentioning it that it had been stuffed down your throat by your parents
      > you wound up disliking it.

      Not disliking it, just not liking it as much. About half my LP collection
      is classical music, though these days I listen more to rock. I'll elaborate

      > You beat me, then. I didn't give up on popular music entirely until I was
      > about 27 (which was 1984, so it's hardly comparable), took immediately to
      > pocket calculators and electric typewriters (neither of which were
      > available, at least to me, when I first could have used them), and prefer
      > FM radio to AM because there's more classical music on it.

      I liked the Selectric; that's a good typewriter, and I'm convinced that I
      can type about 20 wpm faster on it than on any other machine. I also own a
      "Coronamatic" or similar Smith-Corona electric, with manual-style typebars
      and shifting, but I don't like it as much. Word processing, though, has
      probably defiled my writing habits permanently, and it would be hard for me
      now to return to typewriting.

      Perhaps we can meet someday at Potlatch. Probably not this year, because I
      have no money to travel to San Francisco.


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