Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Archive for the ‘quotes’ Category

Fulica Atra

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Coots are racists. They are extremely unpleasant birds and once a coot (Troy Winters) made me so I angry that I punched him until both me and Troy were crying. It’s weird that they’re so different to moorhens who are actually a bloody good laugh.

Extract from ‘A guide to London wildlife’ by Gus the Fox.

Written by Martin

25 September 2012 at 20:48

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Spring, Summer, Winter

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Most so-called contemporary novels are freighted with nostalgia. Perhaps one reason for either loving or shunning science fiction is that it is relatively free of the poisons of forever looking back. It looks to the future, even when it looks with foreboding.

Brian Aldiss, 1996, preface to Helliconia.

…it is more as though the genres of the fantastic themselves have reached a state of exhaustion. In the main, there is no sense that the writers have any real conviction about what they are doing. Rather, the genre has become a set of tropes to be repeated and repeated until all meaning has been drained from them… The problem may be, I think, that science fiction has lost confidence in the future. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it has lost confidence that the future can be comprehended.

Paul Kincaid, 2012, review of 2012 best of the year anthologies.

Written by Martin

15 September 2012 at 08:19

Everything That Is Wrong With Commercial Fantasy In A Single Quote

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Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

George R R Martin, ‘On Fantasy’

Written by Martin

11 July 2012 at 08:57

Posted in quotes, sf

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Nostalgia + Delusion x Masturbation = Geek Culture

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Anorak’s Almanac 241:87 – I would argue that masturbation is the human animal’s most important adaptation. The very cornerstone of our technological civilization. Our hands evolved to grip tools, all right – including our own. You see, thinkers, inventors, and scientists are usually geeks, and geeks have a harder time getting laid than anyone. Without the built-in sexual release value provided by masturbation, it’s doubtful that early humans would ever have mastered the secrets of fire or discovered the wheel. And you can bet that Galileo, Newton, and Einstein never would have made their discoveries if they hadn’t first been able to clear their heads by slapping the salami (or “knocking a few protons off the old hydrogen atom”). The same goes for Marie Curie. Before she discovered radium, you can be certain she first discovered the little man in the canoe.

It wasn’t one of Halliday’s more popular theories, but I liked it.

Ernest Cline, Ready Player One (2011)

Written by Martin

30 May 2012 at 19:33

Posted in books, quotes, sf

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Desire Paths

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The post-war overspill developments seen on the edges of many of our cities were planned down to every concrete walkway, subway and pathway. But their green squares and verges were soon criss-crossed with desire paths: a record of collective short-cuttings. In the winter, they turned to sludgy scars that spattered trousers and skirts and clung to shoes, and during hot summers they turned dusty and parched. Once established, they fell into constant use, footpaths which have never entered the literature. These footpaths of least resistance offer their own subtle resistance to the dead hand of the planner.

Edgelands by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, 2011

Written by Martin

22 May 2012 at 11:06

The Most Horrible Breakfast In Science Fiction

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I intended to review The Lathe Of Heaven by Ursula K LeGuin but I am going to have to resign myself to the fact this isn’t happening. Before I throw my notes away, however, here is the source of a reference to page 78 which just says “horrible breakfast”:

He was not the thin, sharp-boned man he had been in the world of the seven billion; he was quite solid, in fact. But he ate a starving man’s meal, an enormous meal – hard-boiled eggs, buttered toast, anchovies, jerky, celery, cheese, walnuts, a piece of cold halibut spread with mayonnaise, lettuce, pickled beets, chocolate cookies – anything he found on his shelves. After this orgy he felt physically a great deal better.

Written by Martin

8 May 2012 at 19:11

Posted in food, quotes, sf

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Our Community, Your Establishment

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Reflecting on some of the ideas in his great book Culture and Society, Raymond Williams observed that it was only when he “realised that no one ever used [the word] ‘community’ in a hostile sense” that he became suspicious of it. On that basis we should be suspicious of “the literary establishment”, because it is only used in a negative way – like a squash court wall again, something that exists in order to have stuff hurled against it.

Geoff Dyer on the literary establishment: “There is no such thing as the literary establishment. I know this because I am part of it.”

Written by Martin

17 March 2012 at 10:52

Posted in criticism, quotes

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