Jumpdrives & Cantrips

Grit, as Writ

I’ve been thinking for a while about grit in the SF genre, especially in fantasy. You can’t go more than a few reviews or browse more than a few book covers in a store without the use of “grit” somewhere. What is grit, and what’s the appeal?

LOOK! Boys wanted to sell GRIT! Continue reading

“make fibula crossbow”!?
March 31, 2008, 1429
Filed under: Rants | Tags: ,

I was all excited today because I got some comment spam¬†entitled “make fibula crossbow.” After all, it would be cool to make ranged weapons out of someone’s lower leg-bone.

Alas, it led to porn.


Interesting Stuff, Plus Subgenre Musings
February 22, 2008, 2258
Filed under: news, Rants | Tags: , , , , , ,

A few things of interest:

  • So cool to read about astronaut Steve MacLean’s experiences of reading in zero G… It makes me feel all wistful…
  • And while not really science fiction-related, this CBC article about the Google-sponsored race to the moon is interesting to see where each of the teams orginate.
  • Ridley Scott potentially involved with a Monopoly movie? (Yes, based on the boardgame.) This piece of news from Sc Fi Wire disturbed me a little–the man who directed Blade Runner getting stuck with an extended commercial seems wrong. Hasbro and Universal are in patnership on this one, and will also develop movies about other games, including Magic: The Gathering and Clue (I could swear we already had to put up with a Clue movie).

And I have to say that I’m always amazed by the tendency of people to categorise things beyond what anyone needs categories for. It’s almost like literary criticism becomes an extended version of Pokemon, because once you have cyberpunk, for example, it can level up to become pre-cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk (rarely neo-cyberpunk if you follow a different evolution path), biopunk, or steampunk. The element association is dystopian, just so we’re clear. And the funny part is that I’m not actually making up these terms. Most of them are out there if you look at people writing about this subgenre, and even more than what I’ve listed. Reading about it is a little like reading Pierre Bourdieu: somewhere in there is a point of some sort, if only the language didn’t strangle its own syntax.

To be honest, I participate in it as well as both a reader and a reviewer. There’s a need for common phrasing when you get right down to it, but how specific do you need to be without limiting perceptions? I mean, look at urban fantasy. There was a time back in the day when urban fantasy was a contemporary setting placed in a city of some sort and usually involved elves and elements of magical realism. Now it has narrowed focus to usually having vampires, werewolves, the Fae (“We can’t call them elves, that would be unoriginal!”) , and added a world-weary, sarcastic tone to the work itself in places.

Laurell K. Hamilton, who some people would consider the epitome of urban fantasy, is a far cry from Charles de Lint. The thing is, “urban” is more about the setting at this point, but the meaning of what urban fantasy is has changed over time in reader perceptions. The nomenclature end of things is something I find fascinating, and I think it really shows how people think about a particular body of literature at a certain point in time.

In any case, these thoughts will have to wait for continuation some day, as tonight I aim to read some Elizabeth A. Lynn, possibly some Dean Koontz. And tomorrow I get to see my husband for the first time in a week. But one last thing!

Tia from Fantasy Debut was kind enough to include Jumpdrives and Cantrips in a blogrolling post. I urge everyone here to check our her blog as well, especially if you like to see a more in depth reading experience. Thanks again, Tia!