Pavilion Digest: April 2003

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Alex Jay Berman
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Postby Alex Jay Berman » Wed Apr 23, 2003 12:08 am

Name: Alex Jay Berman
Source: unca20030523.htm
JUSTIN: Even with a bit of woe in your voice and pain in your step, it's great to hear from you! When you have time and energy, please do share some tales of your Italian idyll with us.


ANGRY CANDY is, I think, the best of Harlan's collections of fiction. But I've already said all I can about the book in the review I wrote for Rick and this hyar site.
(Having said that, I can't wait until the NEXT new collection comes out, with "Incognita, Inc.," "Goodbye to All That," and more ...)

Gary Wallen

Postby Gary Wallen » Wed Apr 23, 2003 4:02 am

Name: Gary Wallen
Source: unca20030523.htm
A belated notice: Avenue Victor Hugo Books in Boston has reopened after their move a few doors up the block. My first find in the new space was the February 2001 F&SF, with "From A to Z in the Sarsparilla Alphabet," which I failed to pick up when it came out.

May I suggest checking out the April 23 Zippy the Pinhead in your local paper, or online at zippythepinhead.com.

Tony
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questions

Postby Tony » Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:19 am

Name: Tony
Source: unca20030523.htm
1. What is LOCUS?
2. The book VIC AND BLOOD -- is this new or old material? I just recently read A Boy and His Dog and enjoyed it, so I'm curious about this new project.

Thanks
Tony

BrianSiano
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Postby BrianSiano » Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:30 am

Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20030523.htm
Re Hathor's comments about glitches in King's books. I've seen similar web pages devoted to glicthes in the Harry Potter series, too.

I'm of two minds about such glitches in fantasy literature. On the one hand, yeah, it's nice to get the details right, because there's always someone out there for whom a glitch ruins everything. (Sadly, a lot of them read mysteries, and get huffy when the guns aren't accurate.)

And sometimes work of SF or fantasy transgresses common sense in some really egregious way. But that's not always a bad thing. Sure, there's crap like _Outland_, which tried to present itself as a grittily realistic depiction of space life, so its mistakes ruined the movie as anything more than a two-hour distraction. On the other hand, _Eyes Wide Shut_ didn't make much concrete sense-- but as a dream, as an evocation of mood, as an examination of the human condition, it'll succeed. (Give it time.)

There's a bit in the last _Harry Potter_ book that gets a lot of people worked up. In the book, Voldemort spirits Harry to a dangerous place with a device called a Portkey. The inevitable question is, why didn't V use it on Harry earlier in the story?

To me, this is idiotic. Why worry about it? It made for a better story. Why not imagine that Voldemort wanted a dramatic pizzazz to his actions, and take that as an explanation?

I'm working on a novel of my own, and there are areas which I absolutely _refuse_ to have it match the real world. It's about two boys in a suburb who catch on to some sinister aspects of their hometown. But, even though I have one character use a cell phone, I refuse to have my characters use computers. And the story will _not_ contain an explanation why there aren't any.

Why? Because I fuckin' _hate_ computers as dramatic devices. Sure, someone like Bruce Sterling or Neal Stephenson can spin terrific tales with computer issues. But for the most part, computers turn adventure stories into descriptions of people sitting at desks, negotiating obstacles that don't even _exist_. One might as well write a story about a kid playing Nintendo. I always thought the _South Park_ movie did a great parody of these scenes, when Kyle yabbers about hacking the encryption algorithms before discovering the _Scheisseleibe_ site.




John K

Postby John K » Wed Apr 23, 2003 6:53 am

Name: John K
Source: unca20030523.htm
BRIAN SANO--

I tend to agree with you. I think there's a group of readers that looks hopefully for minor errors, and takes a sort of cruel delight in finding them, and in pointing them out.

That said, I think getting the small details right is important. While a reader might cheerfully accept a ghost, a small error regarding, say, her hometown might take her out of the story, and distrust the author.

I don't know. You hope for a certain generosity from your readers. Paradoxically, maybe you have to earn it.




Non Combatant

Realitybuilding in Fantasy Worlds

Postby Non Combatant » Wed Apr 23, 2003 7:49 am

Name: Non Combatant
Source: unca20030523.htm
I'm reminded of an interview Mel Gibson gave near the opening of "Pocahontas" where he was asked about the outrage of many people over the total lack of historical accuracy in the movie. Gibson said something to the effect of, "Well, I highly doubt there was a talking, swordfighting raccoon involved in the real story, either!"

When you build a fantasy world readers will occupy it for a time and, in the case of many hyper-imaginative fans, this escape takes the form of reality building. They move in and immediatley want to point out the dents and holes, remodel to suit and squat in what is, essentially, the author's construct. But if the author is the builder and architect, does that mean he still has to live there?

That guy who writes books that nitpick Star Trek episodes really annoys me, though. I can't get behind a god that allows that kind of parasite to make money doing find of hack work.

Doug

Postby Doug » Wed Apr 23, 2003 8:02 am

Name: Doug
Source: unca20030523.htm
Tony -

1) Locus is a magazine (with a fairly nice web site counterpart) devoted to the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror publishing industry - everything from interviews to book reviews, from news and notes to awards ballots and results, author events, convention listings, forthcoming books - an excellent resource for seeing who's doing what.

2) I asked the same question a little ways back; Harlan's response was as follows:

"DOUG: The forthcoming edition of VIC & BLOOD contains the complete Corben color graphic version of the three already-published sections of BLOOD'S A ROVER, plus all three of the text versions of the original stories ... together in one volume for the first time. New intro. Plus NEW material, such as "sidebar" excerpts from the never-to-be-published memoir "From the Wit & Wisdom of Blood" and some new Corben artwork that you haven't seen. But the Corben wraparound cover is worth the price of admission alone. This has been a sweet little Edgeworks Abbey / iBooks project. Give it a look. Should be out in a couple of months."

Hope this helps!

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BillGauthier
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Postby BillGauthier » Wed Apr 23, 2003 8:42 am

Name: Bill Gauthier
Source: unca20030523.htm
Harlan and Forrester: You're welcome.

Now about mistakes/glitches:

I agree that mistakes should be avoided at all costs, but it's inevitable for some to slip through. Typos suck, wrong information does, too. But if the story doesn't rest on a wrong fact, it shouldn't matter much.

"While a reader might cheerfully accept a ghost, a small error regarding, say, her hometown might take her out of the story, and distrust the author."

That happened to me, in a sense. When reading King's TOMMYKNOCKERS (we've all discussed the lack of literary merit this book holds, so let's ignore that fact and move on, thanks), the poet character (Jimmy Smits in the movie) is thinking and thinks about MOBY DICK and Ishmael's walk through Bedford, Massachusetts.

I stopped.

Ishmael didn't walk through Bedford, wouldn't have if he'd wanted to go whaling, because BEDFORD, Massachusetts is not near the ocean, it's on the northwest side of Boston, away from the ocean. However, NEW BEDFORD, Massachusetts is on the ocean. Ishmael (or, in reality, Herman Melville) walked New Bedford's streets to go whaling. I didn't distrust the author (the story was already in doubt), but it did make me stop and say, sheesh, SOMEONE fucked up. For all the bad stuff my city has been associated with, the one good thing was fucked up.

Otherwise, yeah, most of it doesn't matter much. I've never had a story fall apart thanks to a glitch. I try to get facts as close as possible in my own stories.

Bill

BrianSiano
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Postby BrianSiano » Wed Apr 23, 2003 9:26 am

Name: Brian Siano
Source: unca20030523.htm
Sorry to post twice today, but it's slow at work, and I'm angry.

Thanks to links at Locus, I found two largish reviews of the McSweeney's book. One's from the Washington Post, the other from the San Francisco Chronicle. Here are the links:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 105431.DTL
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar ... Apr10.html

So why am I angry? The reviewers discuss a number of the stories in detail. So why, when they can list damn near every _other_ writer in the collection, do they fail to mention Harlan's presence?

Granted, the other writers make for a helluva competition for attention. But still...



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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed Apr 23, 2003 12:49 pm

Name: Frank Church
Source: unca20030523.htm
Brian, just be lucky the story wasn't mentioned. Harlan's story is mentioned in the Village Voice, and the critic said it was weak, because it was quote, "jokey".

Harlan, how about sending the Voice a love letter. Laced with arsenic, of course.

-----------

Did you see all those bloodied heads in Iraq? If that is what religious freedom is, then count me out.

----------

Harlan, that is one ass kicker of a little bug you all have there. May the healing process be on the wings of angels.

-------------

Chris L, welcome back to the fray, my elitist friend. Curious about your opinion of the movie, Sling Blade? It is one of my all time faves. Wanna see if you are willing to get a leg broken. Lol.



Forrester
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Postby Forrester » Wed Apr 23, 2003 2:47 pm

Name: Forrester
Source: unca20030523.htm
TO: Jim Davis
RE: - Monday, April 21 2003 - Random Ellisonia . . .
From the April 2003 issue of Locus:
"Harlan Ellison has added the symbol to his name..."

Jim, do you mean ĦΛЯŁΔИ ΣĽĻĮΦИ ? Or is that Ĥ@Řζ@ŋ ЄĮΏŋ ?

"Lettuce & gennlemen, the Writer Formerly Known as ..."

If you were to choose a symbol, a pictograph, to represent (a) yerself and/or (b) HimsElf, Master Ellison (you young scalawag!) what would it/they be?

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Jon Stover
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Postby Jon Stover » Wed Apr 23, 2003 2:51 pm

Name: Jon Stover
Source: unca20030523.htm
Bill, NonCom, Brian&Hathor (did I miss anybody?): Sounds like trying to establish the border between verisimilitude and foolish consistencies...

I like worlds that make sense. LOTR pretty much does, but it too has its nitpickers. Gollum's colour changes. Barad Dur was built 500 years before its foundations were laid. Gandalf is remarkably stupid for 17 years, given that we're told only major rings can make people invisible, and that all the major rings are accounted for but one. And so on, and so forth. But the world is mostly consistent, and I believe in it for the time I'm reading -- nitpicking doesn't overwhelm my reading pleasure.

King does get sloppy sometimes -- it'd be a wonder if he didn't. My favourite non-nitpick involves The Stand. In the book, the general mispronounces Yeats as "Yeets." A subordinate realizes this but doesn't comment on it. In the miniseries, the general (played by Ed Harris) mispronounces Yeats as well, leading at least one reviewer I read to comment 'How are we supposed to take this series seriously when the creators don't even know how to pronounce 'Yeats'?' Grr. Arr.

I do think establishing or not establishing believeability shouldn't be subservient to the plot -- down that road lies the idiot plot, with all those movie characters who never divulge major information on the phone but instead set up the meeting that they never make it to. Or Star Trek eps in which the transporters are forgotten about because they'd resolve the problem in 30 seconds. Or this season's Buffy, for that matter, which seems to be plotted with a sledgehammer to make its character points.

And of course I think of the wonderful scene in _Who Framed Roger Rabbit_ in which Roger can only get out of handcuffs when doing so would be funny...

Cheers, Jon

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Barney Dannelke
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Day 122

Postby Barney Dannelke » Wed Apr 23, 2003 4:00 pm

Name: Barney Dannelke
Source: unca20030523.htm
*** Rick *** Is there a policy regarding anonymous posting on this board? I am double plus not for it.

- Barney [always]

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Ben
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Postby Ben » Wed Apr 23, 2003 4:12 pm

Name: Ben Winfield
Source: unca20030523.htm
HARLAN,

C'mon, you won't let something minus one-billionth your size kick your ass?! I'm 6'3, for heaven's sake, and you bulldoze me in a heartbeat whenever we disagree on a subject! USE YOUR WHITE CELLS AND TEAR THE %*#$ER TO PIECES!!

JON,

Too many times in my writings, after I've set up a brilliant sequence of events, a powerful, dramatic chain reaction that leads to an explosive climax, and I'm moments away from actually ADMIRING what I've written, I suddenly ask myself, "Wait a minute. Why don't they just climb up the stairway?"

And everything falls apart faster than Noah's ark infested by termites.

Sometimes logic holes ARE acceptable in certain stories, IF they're not too noticeable. I mean, heck, the Incredible Hulk's been around for 41 years, and STILL nobody asks why Banner's pants remain intact whenever he hulks out, while everything else goes.

Nobody asks, because the alternative is too horrific.

Tony
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed May 28, 2003 11:06 am
Location: Indy

vic and blood and stuff

Postby Tony » Wed Apr 23, 2003 4:44 pm

Name: Tony
Source: unca20030523.htm
Doug: thanks for the info on Locus and Vic and Blood.

Here is part of the current add for Vic & Blood rom PREVIEWS (available at comic stores everywhere)

"This Previews Exclusive hardcover edition includes exclusive, all-new original text by Harlan Ellison revisiting dialogue between Vic and Blood! Other features include an original Richard Corben painting done exclusively for this Collector's Edition. Signatures for both Ellison and Corbin are included in exclusive material sections of the book!"

My question is will this be available from HERC even though it says it's a Previews exclusive?

Thanks
Tony


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