Solar by Ian McEwan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Perhaps it’s schadenfreude, or simple voyeurism, but only Ian McEwan and Margaret Atwood can make unlikeable characters so engaging. McEwan is also a master at believable immersion in the technical aspects of the characters’ world, in a way that myself, a former scientist, is totally engrossed. McEwan nails how scientists think, interact, and the hypocrisies and benefits, habits and mannerisms, as well as the unique demands on the mind and “real lives” of scientists. Reading this book was like being back as a professional scientists. The conversations were realistic, the thoughts and judgments of the characters were completely like the people I’ve worked with. Continue reading “Solar by Ian McEwan (Goodreads Review)”
In which I alienate the entire sci-fi short story readership, fellowship, and mothership.
I just got back from Paris. Yes, I’m fancy. It was great, thanks for asking. I wrote a short story while I was there (which, given what I’m about to tell you, probably will never get published). On the way back I got to watch two recent sci-fi movies and I found them interesting to compare, particularly given my previous arrogance about “entertainment” (he said disdainfully), I was surprised which one I enjoyed more. Continue reading “The Nifty, Geeky Story”
In which I alienate Phish fans
What is it that makes readers connect? Sincerity and honesty. The kind of sincerity I’m talking about might be called being “serious” but as Alan Watts pointed out, the word “serious” has a sort of dry unfunniness about it, and that isn’t what I’m getting at. Fantasy literature in particular has this problem, much less than it used to, that it’s hard to take seriously a book about wizards and dragons. Ursula LeGuin seems to have eventually convinced everyone to take such books seriously, but not without plenty of books getting written to convince people otherwise. Wizards and dragons sound like childish topics, until you read Gene Wolfe, Stephen R. Donaldson, or dare I say Robert Jordan?
Continue reading “Let’s Get Serious!”
I just got home from a screening of All of Me, a documentary about anorexia and bulimia made by a local filmmaker. The depth of the movie really surprised me, and the lack of awareness that people have about these topics now. During the Q&A afterward I told the director about my first reaction on seeing the poster for the screening was “I haven’t seen that in a while.” Continue reading “Eating Disorders: the Movie of the Week”
How I learned to stop being myself…
Over the past ten years I have gradually given up the childish dream I had of having a Ph.D. in science. I now have a Master’s degree, but the road to not having a Ph.D. led me to realizing that my interests actually lay elsewhere. I have embarked on a career of fiction writing, after realize that what really matters to me is clear expression of language and beautiful concepts, and telling stories. Over the course of graduate school I sunk to denying my personality, a process that I am just getting over. Yesterday I got my appendix taken out, and I feel those surgeons took out a whole lot of fear and conflict I was having over showing people who I really am. For lack of a better concept, in graduate school and in the jobs I had before graduate school, I tried really hard not to be myself. I unwittingly agreed to this when I joined the lab.
Continue reading “Liberate tutame ex infernis”