Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Times When You Wonder If Any Of It Is Worth It

1) You dither for seven weeks, thinking and writing about an interesting but not-completely-successful novel.

2) You finally finish a complicated, seventeen-hundred word review of that novel, highlighting some aspects of the author's style and career that don't seem to have been noted before.

3) One of your readers boils that down to "Andrew Wheeler thinks you're into bondage."

4) Shrug and move on.


Robert Hutchinson said...

It's almost as though making "nudge nudge" asides about an author's private life serves to distract mightily from an otherwise worthwhile review.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I said "Andy Wheeler...." I want to see what Charlie says when he gets home from the con.

You have to admit that lots of authors write about things they don't do themselves, and there really wasn't that much bondage in the book. Your assumption that if he wrote about it, he must do it, is really unfounded.

Andrew Wheeler said...

MJ: There's hardly any "let me tie you up consensually for our mutual sexual gratification," no.

But I think you've missed a lot of Saturn's Children if you don't think that it's inherently about sex, limits, and control. Think about the entire purpose of Freya's line (and her deeply conflicted thoughts about that purpose) and in particular the "breeding" sequence late in the book.

Stross writes as a Hard SF writer, so the concept of limits are intensely important in his work; limits on possibilities are what Hard SF is all about. Saturn's Children is a pastiche late-Heinlein novel, which means it has strong sexual elements running through it.

I wrote a seventeen-hundred word review of a novel, containing thoughts about a fictional work. (With one sentence of humorous aside buried in the middle.) Charlie's personal life has nothing to do with anything, it's Freya's personal life that I was writing about.

Anonymous said...

You'll have to do better at signalling humorous sentences, then. Most of us seem to have taken it seriously.

Of course it's about sex. And while they were trained for all kinds of sex, bondage is pretty mild compared to some human preferences. Think what he could have showed us. But it wasn't so much the actual sex as the fact that that was what they were made for, and didn't have humans to please.

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