member introduction thread

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Postby Keis » Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:46 am

Being a teacher I tend to associate reading with work - thats the problem! Mayby I shouldn't start reading most of the books in the first place, but then again 1/4 are very good.

On average I probably finish one novel per month and 3-4 non-fiction books.
I cant speak of the Soviet Union because there are no soviets and it is not a union but an empire. The 4 letters USSR represent 4 lies: it is not a union; it is not a soviet; it is not socialist; there are no republics. http://politikhuset.blogspot.com
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Postby Brightonian » Sun Oct 29, 2006 11:16 am

I hate not finishing novels too, though Ulysses took several attempts and I've decided not to count Finnegans Wake as a novel.

The only ones I can recall leaving unfinished are that one by Terry Pratchett where Death goes AWOL, Joseph Heller's book about King David, Dombey and Son, and Anna Karenina. Oh, and I couldn't get on with Neuromancer.

As this is supposed to be the member's introduction thread I'd better say a few words. I was born the year before Sputnik and now teach computer science to students for who the moon landings are ancient history. My introduction to SF would probably have been the Dan Dare strip in the Eagle, reinforced by TV programmes like Dr Who, Fireball XL5 and Space Patrol.

My SF reading has been pretty haphazard, ranging from Aldiss to Zamyatin via Blish, Clarke, Dick, Moorcock, Verne, Wells and so on. Nowadays I don't tend to read much mainstream SF though I dutifully subscribe to Interzone and admire Chris Beckett's work in particular. I'm more inclined towards fantasy, particularly the source materials such as Homer, the Arthurian/Celtic romances, Norse epics etc. I've also recently rediscovered comics: Dr Strange has always been my role model, and I've enjoyed Supreme Powers, Promethea and J M Straczinski's Fantastic Four stories.
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finishing

Postby hegemon » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:09 am

I also didn't finish a book by Joseph Heller -- it looks like Catch 22 was a one shot. And I haven't finished Ulysses or Finnigans Wake -- yet. One of these days. Do you have "A Skeleton Key to Finnigans Wake"? Very helpful. As for Anna Karinina, any year now, fur shure.
This is the race that will rule the sevagram!
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Postby Deadmandrinking » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:11 pm

Hey everyone, I'm DmD. I live in Australia, in pot n' porn n' fireworks city (most Aussies would guess that by now). I'm somewhat of a struggling writer, although the battle's more with actually getting myself to finish my projects rather than getting them publish. I may post some excerpts in the near future for desperately needed critiques.
Nice to meet you all.
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Postby Deadmandrinking » Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:13 pm

And I made a typo. Great writer I am! :D
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typo

Postby admin » Thu Nov 29, 2007 10:34 am

Since every book contains a typo, most writers make a typo in the first sentence, just to get it over with.
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Postby spacecat » Thu Nov 29, 2007 3:33 pm

Hi Dmd,
What kind of SF & F do you like?

I'm planning a post retirement trip to Australia - abit more than two years down the road. So are you in Sydney? Just a guess from your clue...
(=^._.^=)

I'm trading SF&F books at
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Postby Deadmandrinking » Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:32 pm

Canberra actually. Decriminalized pot and legal fireworks. Sydney's the city of sin - and rich snobs :) You'll like Sydney though, but try visit the rest of Australia as well (especially the country-side if you want the true 'Aussie experience'), just so you don't end up as one of the many tourists who's only knowledge of Australia comes from a big city full of tourists ;).

I'm more into Fantasy, reading-wise. Just to shoot off some names: Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings, David Gemmell, George R.R. Martin and James Barclay (whom I'm reading right now). I've also poked into some of the older 'sword and sorcery' works by Robert E. Howard and Fritz Lieberman - so I think that pretty much pins my favored sub-genre of fantasy.

Sci-fi wise, I'm not that well read. Dune, of course. Some of the Star Wars books (although that's fantasy imo), Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End + more than a few shorts by various authors. I'm also an unashamed fan of Star Trek (bar most of DS9).

Of course, I'm always looking to expand my reading, so any recommendations in either genre's are welcome.
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DS9

Postby admin » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:30 am

Let me suggest you may have given up on DS9 too soon. The 9 part conclusion was some of the best Trek of all time. My favorite is NextGen, but it does tend to be a little static; it took a while to start to develop major story arcs. In DS9, there are dramatic changes, finishing up with an all out intersteller war.
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Postby spacecat » Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:30 pm

DmD,
I hope to see lots of Australia, plus Sydney. I am a big fan of beaches so I'm planning on Magnetic Island, and the Cairns area, and the Sunshine Coast, as well as Uluru and the Blue Mountains.
But I'm sure it still won't be enough time to see as much as I'd like.

I tend more towards the SF end of things but I also read some fantasy. I've read 4-5 books from the authors you mention except for Barclay and Gemmel.

Some of my fav fantasy authors are Guy Gavriel Kay(I suggest starting with the Liosns of Al-Rassan or Tigana). And also Robin Hobb - Assassin's Apprentice, etc.

And since you are in the land down under.... Have you heard of the SF-Books trading site?
It was started several years ago by a guy in Melbourne. It is a global trading site but has most of its members in either AU or the US.
Here's a link to check out -
http://www.sf-books.com/
No pressure - I know not everyone is into trading. I sure wasn't until I got so many complaints about the space my books were taking up in our home -

What? Too many books?!?!?! :shock:

First I snuck used books into the house but eventually I began trading. It's fun to see the books you've read turn in to unread ones.
(=^._.^=)

I'm trading SF&F books at
Paperbackswap.com

Tell'em spacecat sent you!
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Re: member introduction thread

Postby Ehkzu » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:30 am

Ehkzu

20 year career as computer journalist, specializing in writing about software--especially complex business systems
--includes writing hundreds of articles, editing thousands; also spent a year or so as editorial director of my company's conference division

Previous career: high school teacher for several years, after getting teaching credentials in Elementary Ed, English, Social Studies, Biology, Physical Education, and Art. Wound up actually teaching AP English, Algebra, Basic Electronics, and the school's Gifted Student program

Earlier gigs: ad agency copywriter; public relations copy writer; corrections officer in juvenile detention center; bookstore clerk; rent-a-Santa Claus

Avocations: scuba diving with spouse (California, British Columbia, Baja, Cozumel, Bahamas, Caymans, British Virgin Islands, Hawaii (Big Island, Maui), Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea); bicycling (14 centuries), riding a tandem frequently with spouse; car camping in the Sierras and California Coast; casual observational astronomy; cosmology; natural history.

TV (everything by Joss Whedon, Babylon 5, Red Dwarf, New Who (not Old Who), Farscape, Lexx, Sara Connor Chronicles, Battlestar Galactica (new), Dark Angel until it got silly, Roswell, Andromeda sort of, Stargate Atlantic sort of, Cleo 2525, the Starlost, the dozen good episodes of Star Trek Next Generation, Xena Warrior Princess (really), plus a bunch of non-scifi stuff, especially House, So You Think You Can Dance, Veronica Mars, Heroes).

SciFi/Fant movies: 2001 in Cinerama, Serenity, Spirited Away (Miyazaki), T1 & T2, Forbidden Planet, This Island Earth, War of the Worlds (remake with the little Scientologist wack job and Girl Who Screams), Existenz, Lord of Rings trilogy, Galaxy Quest, 12 Monkeys/La Jetee, Dark City, Return to Oz, Kukushka (Russian/Finnish), Star Trek IV for Sarah Silverman, Dune for the scene with the Navigators only, Akiru.

Sci fi reading: Got started with Tin Tin, Dr. Doolittle's Adventures, HP Lovecraft and suchlike, Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov yada yada. Read thousands of novels. Tend to prefer hard sci fi like Niven/Pournelle's Mote in God's Eye; agree with some other posters about not appreciating attempts to amp up the literariness and dilute the science/technology. That said, favorite author is probably Joseph Conrad & of course Shakespeare for playwrights & Joss Whedon for screenwriters.

Pet peeves in scifi: How filmmakers who know nothing about biology have created a set of expectations about aliens that have no kind of evolutionary model and don't meet the minimum needs any intelligent alien must satisfy. How filmmakers who know nothing about physics & technology have created a host of dazzlingly beautiful, meaningless images of space ships and everything else that again create reader/viewer expectations divorced from reality. CGI is great but it's no substitute for actually thinking about this stuff.

For example: intelligent aliens across the universe probably look like us--yet this proposition sounds ridiculous to most sci fi readers/viewers, because they haven't done their homework and instead, like George Lucas, have filled their heads with the products of special effects meisters.
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Re: member introduction thread

Postby spacecat » Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:30 pm

Welcome Ehkzu.
Interesting post and I must agree with many of your favs in TV, movies and reading.

My pet peeve in TV sf ... network producers who have no idea what actual sf fans might like and cancel things because they personally don't get it. Like Firefly for instance.
(=^._.^=)

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Tell'em spacecat sent you!
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Re: member introduction thread

Postby admin » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:05 am

I also saw 2001 in Cinerama, and was a big fan of Cinerama movies. Now we have Imax, which is even better.

I recently saw the Rolling Stones concert at the Imax, and I was the only person in that huge auditorium. Great concert, but is Imax going the way of Cinerama?

I have mixed feelings about Imax 3D. Great for nature shorts, especially undersea nature shorts. (I did my first open water scuba dive this summer, and got my Padi liscence.) I didn't much like the part 3D part not 3D Superman Returns. Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D was enjoyable, but I didn't see that at an Imax.
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Re: member introduction thread

Postby Ehkzu » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:59 pm

to Spacecat:

You're absolutely right. Premature cancellation by the suits has got to be the single worst thing about TV shows, and Firefly's cancellation was the worst of the worst. Thank heavens Whedon got the greenlight to do a movie that summarized the next 2 seasons at least.

I keep thinking the next new medium will be miniseries released on DVD, and if they sell, that spawns seasonal sequels.
Of course the other aspect of this issue it that the networks don't have enough of a piece of subsequent DVD sales. If they did they'd have more incentive to stick with an inventive show.

And to give the suits their due, I will admit they were right to demand that Whedon change the actress who played Willow in the unaired pilot (which I have on VCD). That gave us Alyson Hannigan.

As for the other poster who just got certified for scuba diving--congratulations. I'm bummed that I waited until I was 50. Diving is the closest any human will ever get to walking on another inhabited planet. Go somewhere great and it's a-ma-zing. After diving all over the map we discovered that Indonesia's the best, so we keep going back there. I don't even know how to describe it to a non-diver...I feel a little like Roy in Blade Runner trying to explain what he's experienced to Harrison Ford's character just before Roy expires in the rain.

But I will say to anyone reading this--if you love scifi, if you love fantasy, and you're not in an iron lung--learn to dive. No, you can't get the same experience watching the Discovery Channel in HD, great as that can be. Because it isn't just what you see--it's what you become: a truly 3-dimensional creature. Humans are normally as 2D as a cockroach. As divers we're big wet birds.

I remember the first time my wife & I encountered a big cuttlefish about a meter long. I was just hovering above he sand as we hovered, gazing into its enigmatic semicircular eyeslits, contemplating each other, the cuttlefish's circumferential fin-thingie rippling gently to counteract his breathing (water's thick, remember). You never forget stuff like that.

As for Cinerama vs. Imax--I vote for Cinerama, actually. The wideness is more immersive. I still recall the moment in 2001 when Hal rips the airhose off the astronaut's suit and the ambient sound of his breathing & suit machinery stops abruptly, his thrashing more slowly, and finally his still, small figure slowly dwindling in the distant sunlight as the motion created by Hal's assault carries him away from the Jupiter probe. That had such gravitas, and it needed not just a big screen, but a horizon-engulfing one.

As for 3D...I saw Into the Deep, which is about diving off California's Channel Islands, which I've done. That was a lot of fun (and not nearly as chilly as the actual diving there!). I'd like to try some more. I was actually around for the first round of 3D movies back in the 50s, led off by Bwana Devil I think the name was, featuring a moth-eaten old lion feebly roaring on cue. And some simple line animations. All with those red-blue paper/cellophane glasses, natch. The new polarized goggles are way better...
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Re: member introduction thread

Postby admin » Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:31 am

Actually, Bwana Devil was in polorized 3D, the first movie in that format. There was an earlier round of 3D movies in the 1940s that used red green glasses, and some of the fifties 3D movies used red green, but red green is black and white, while Bwana Devil was in color.

I remember that in the early 3D, the filmmakers were very leary of having anything come out of the screen at you. It was only used once or twice in a film. I still remember the lion's paw coming out of the screen -- the first time I'd seen that effect. In those days, we kids would sit through a long, dull movie just for one coming-out-of-the-screen effect.
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