"I'm getting married!"
Anne V - 11:02am Aug 18, 1999 PDT (# 582 of 584)
The actual getting invited is not that hard. What's difficult is the slow crescendo of nausea and horror, as you realize over a period of months that you rsvp'd yes - yes to everything in a wild moment of uncharacteristic courage and friendliness, and now you have committed to 1. a shower which is also a sleepover party, because it's taking place on a tiny useless island with very intermittent ferry service and there is no power, and a very high percentage of your fellow guests are going to want to a. read your chart b. read your cards and/or c. tell you how they hit on your date at the last wedding you were all at together, where does he live now, anyway? 2. Finding a date who will be able to pretend not to be panic-stricken when he sees that there will be dancing of unfamiliar sorts at the reception 3. Completing the card that the caterer sends around to make sure that the vegetarians and the vegans and the parents will all be able to eat, and realizing only after you have mailed it in that your date will eat none of the foods which you have selected, because he doesn't like anything that tastes like more than one thing 4. Finding a date who will not go sit in the car after he has been kissed about 30 times by complete strangers of all genders and orientations, many using their tongues, in church 5. Going to the rehearsal dinner, at which, if any of the family dinners of the last 6 months are adequate predictors, the bride will drink 2 glasses of wine, and have a screaming fight with her mother and the mother of the groom, who will pour her more wine and describe her vituperous shrieks as openhearted truthfulness 6. riding herd on the grooms younger brother, a friend of one of your children, who will be the first best man that you have ever seen do an ollie at the altar. By the time the wedding actually happens, the service seems really beautiful, and the reception like raw heaven, because very soon you will get to go home, feed the date some really simple food, and stare at your nice white walls for a bit.
Science Fiction and not Fantasy
hello_c - 02:25pm Aug 19, 1999 PDT (# 64 of 79)
Here's a rhetorical question: why do mainstream writers who dip into SF write such bad SF, even when the results are good books in other ways? Richard Powers, Lessing, Margaret Atwood... I feel they explain too much, which leaves them little room for unexpected consequences, which makes their speculative constructs oversimple and overexposed, like bad stage machinery. I wonder if mainstream editors force them to do it; Cryptonomicon is certainly farther in that direction than Stephenson's other books.
Diana Wynne Jones said her one book aimed at adults (fantasy, sorry) turned out poorly because editors for adults said everything had to be explained in detail; she could get away with allusion and ambiguity when writing for children, who know they have incomplete knowledge.
No evolution in Kansas. What's next, gravity?
Jenny Reece - 12:08pm Aug 14, 1999 PDT (# 103 of 420)
Technically, Kansas teachers are not (yet) "forbidden" to teach evolution: the teaching of "macroevolution" is no longer "required"-- there IS a difference, although of course this ruling is the wedge in the door. But let's not overstate the power of this decision. Teachers with scientific training will still be able to present their students with the building blocks of the scientific method they will need to understand their world, even in Kansas. I would even like to propose that the creationists have one good point: there are things in our lives and universe that can't be explained by empirical science as developed in the West in the last few centuries. Myth is, "as a matter of fact" a good way to think in a non-linear way about the imponderables of human relationships with each other, with other beings of various kinds, and with themselves. Myths, whether Hebraic, Babylonian, or Roddenberrian, help us to tell the truths about Life, Death and Whatever which that religion we know as Science can't handle. I'll even add Yet to the end of that sentence, because, who knows? Obviously the Hebrew myths (which indeed share a common world view with many other ancient cultures-- the notion of "plagiarism" is a silly anachronism in their oral-culture context) have lost a lot of force for some modern people--including some contributors to this thread. The creationists and fundamentalists, alas, have increased this disconnect by their wanton misrepresentation of their own Bible, which is deeply offended at being read as if it were a compendium of empirical scientific factoids. Many of us continue to revel in the wonder, humor, mystery, and yes, truth made available through the Hebrew Scriptures (aka "Old Testament") as well as through the sacred writings of other traditions. Please don't think that Fundamentalist religion represents the only alternative to materialism and existentialism. Many scientists also have room in their universe for a Prime Mover, a God/ess within whom and with whom we are all evolving into something we have not yet been able to imagine.