Saturday, November 27, 2004

When did all this content get here?

Does anyone else have the experience in surfing Blogistan that sometimes you'll click a blog on the blogroll, and you're really really sure it's been no more than a day or two since the last time you checked that blog, but then you discover that it's apparently been a week because there have been six or seven interesting posts since the last one you remember reading?

Anyway, so it is this week with me and View from the Foothills, which if you're not reading, you should be. The last post I recall seeing was this one, in which Will provides a couple of photos of the float his workplace will be operating in this year's Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena. (Will works at some fairly famous laboratory that does stuff with jets and propulsion -- if I could just recall the name of the place....) The float, to me, looks like it should be closing its eyes just before intercepting a nuclear warhead and saying, "Superman..."

(And by comparing the float to the character in the movie in question, I mean that as a compliment. I love that movie.)

Will has another good post here, about the phenomenon of a reader getting "tossed out" of a book's universe or narrative. It's a hard effect to describe, but it's a very real one. I wrote about a very vivid such experience here, when author Thomas Monteleone critically handicapped a scene that should have involved all manner of religious wonder with a truly awful metaphor.

Then Will writes a bit about "Mary Sue" stories, a peculiar subset of fan fiction wherein one injects oneself into the universe in question and then saves the day. I never wrote a "Mary Sue" story; in fact, even when I was writing Star Wars fan fiction, it never occurred to me to stick myself in there. I did have a high school teacher once who actually assigned us to do a research paper in the form of precisely a "Mary Sue" story, but I apparently didn't realize that the "Mary Sue" aspect of the assignment was an actual requirement, and thus completely ignored it. The teacher marked my paper down rather drastically, but that was fine with me, as I hated that teacher with a passion. (She's the one who decided that the other English classes could have their Mark Twain; we were going to read Ordinary People. Ugh.)

And while you're noodling around Will's blog, do check out his Thanksgiving post. I usually abstain from writing lists of things I'm thankful for, because I'm always afraid that I'll forget something big and I'm also afraid that I'm not currently thankful for something because it hasn't worked out that way yet and I'm further afraid that things I'm thankful for are things that may turn out to be serious errors later in life. But Will's list is pretty good. I can't imagine not being thankful for J.R.R. Tolkien, for instance.

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