Date: 2017-06-01 04:06 pm (UTC)
redbird: full bookshelves and table in a library (books)
From: [personal profile] redbird
That's an impressive consensus on "didn't hold my attention."

Date: 2017-06-01 04:49 pm (UTC)
austin_dern: Actually predating the Tron sequel.  You can tell by how the chest patterns look. (Tron)
From: [personal profile] austin_dern
It makes me relieved. I remember reading the story and thinking this was all ... all right, but I wasn't getting caught up in it. And I can take not clicking with a story, but a story that gets so much praise for so long? And that isn't from like 1954 when they'd give you a Hugo award just for showing up? I wondered what was with me.

Date: 2017-06-01 10:50 pm (UTC)
elusis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elusis
I had already read "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "The Domesday Book" and liked them, so finding this novella was like an enjoyable return to a friend's home - even if it was somewhat dull and a little forgettable, the idea of it was nice.

Don't know what it might have been like to read it without the others first, though I guess this review series gives me one idea.

Date: 2017-06-03 12:21 am (UTC)
narmitaj: Lunar Module looking like a face. (Default)
From: [personal profile] narmitaj
Unless the above is a meta-joke comment that whooshed over my head, in which case apologies, but 1954 is an odd year to excoriate for any lacklustre forgettable hackworkiness of the Hugos - for a start, although the Hugos started in 1953, there wasn't one in 1954.

The Retro Hugo for 1954 (awarded in 2004) had a shortlist comprising Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), Clarke (Childhood's End), Clement (Mission of Gravity), Asimov (The Caves of Steel) and Sturgeon (More Than Human). They're now almost 65 years dated and may not be to many young people's taste, but I wouldn't have thought of any of them represented "just showing up". I haven't read super-widely in sf, but I did read all of these, probably in the mid-late 70s (when I was a teen-to-21 myself).

I've also read 1953's Hugo, The Demolished Man (Bester), but I haven't even heard of 1955's winner: Clifton/Riley, They're Rather Be Right aka The Forever Machine. (I've heard of it now, but by next year I will be back to not having heard of it again, I expect)(Sounds pretty poor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They%27d_Rather_Be_Right ).

Date: 2017-06-03 10:51 am (UTC)
scott_sanford: (Default)
From: [personal profile] scott_sanford
Dang, that is an impressive shortlist. Not everyone will like everything on it but none don't deserve to be there.

Date: 2017-06-01 05:01 pm (UTC)
dsrtao: dsr as a LEGO minifig (Default)
From: [personal profile] dsrtao
The only Willis book I have managed to finish is Bellwether. Everything else has... failed to hold my attention.

Date: 2017-06-03 11:19 am (UTC)
mrissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrissa
I recently reread it, and I am with the Young People: it wibbles, it wanders, it does not use the setting effectively.

Date: 2017-06-01 04:55 pm (UTC)
ironymaiden: (Belle)
From: [personal profile] ironymaiden
I also don't understand why Blackout/All Clear won awards. <3

Date: 2017-06-01 10:50 pm (UTC)
elusis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elusis
I don't understand why they're so disliked, though I'm not sure I'd have called them award-winning. :-/

Date: 2017-06-02 12:19 am (UTC)
jsburbidge: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jsburbidge
Partly shoddy historical research, like putting the Jubilee Line in London during the blitz; partly because they would have had far more impact at half the length.

I didn't mind them excessively myself, but they're not my favourite Willis.
Edited Date: 2017-06-02 10:41 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-06-03 07:05 am (UTC)
ironymaiden: (do not want)
From: [personal profile] ironymaiden
One of the things I hated was the infatuation with showing off all the research. And it's not even right? What the hell.

Date: 2017-06-04 06:33 pm (UTC)
yammerhant: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yammerhant
Connie Willis is notorious for her poor research.

Date: 2017-06-02 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
Now we're up to SF recent enough that it being called "old SFF" makes _me_ feel old. :)

Man, the cold war has been over a long time, hasn't it? Off topic, but I wonder how deeply people's thinking has changed now that they reach adulthood never having lived with not merely the possibility, but the likelihood of mass death and the destruction of civilization. (Sure, dystopias remain popular, but they're gloomy fables for a gloomy age: they lack the solid, quotidian everyday _reality_ of nuclear annihilation).

Date: 2017-06-02 02:36 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
Climate change will happen, sure as fate, sure as death. The only questions are "how fast?" and "about when does it stop?"

I think you'll find that awareness is widespread among millennials.

Nuclear war was never more than might happen; it's also the lesser calamity.

Date: 2017-06-02 06:56 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
1. Climate change is a gradual process with "intolerable" conditions always perceived some distance in the future: during the Cold War, nuclear war could be tomorrow given a malfunctioning radar system.

2. Awareness is widespread, but so is denial. Very few people denied the possibility of nuclear war.

3. Depends on when the war happened: full blown atomic war in the 1980s could have pretty much exterminated humanity throughout much of the northern hemisphere. Short of full blown Venus scenario, it's hard to see climate change being quite so calamitous.

Date: 2017-06-02 07:09 pm (UTC)
mmcirvin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mmcirvin
The level of climate change we'd get by burning every ounce of burnable carbon in existence might actually exterminate humanity, eventually. But I think that is far from inevitable, Trump or no Trump.

Date: 2017-06-02 08:32 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
All it takes to exterminate humanity is enough climate instability to break agriculture.

That's not very much. It's already happening in a few places. The current atmospheric carbon load might be enough to do it. (We've only got about half the expected warming from the current atmospheric carbon load.)

Agriculture breaks long before the seas rise or the summer temperature excursions get generally unsurvivable.

Date: 2017-06-02 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ba_munronoe
There's quite a leap from "makes our current agricultural practices unsustainable" to "exterminates mankind." But IIRC you've always been opposed to James's Nightmarish Future.

Date: 2017-06-02 11:37 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
The key is instability; agriculture depends on enough predictability to know what to plant when. If you haven't got that, agriculture doesn't work. The more warming, the less predictable things get.

Date: 2017-06-03 10:54 am (UTC)
scott_sanford: (Default)
From: [personal profile] scott_sanford
Combine agricultural failure with the widespread lack of hunter-gatherer skills. We could see some dramatic population implosions.

Date: 2017-06-03 07:46 pm (UTC)
vom_marlowe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vom_marlowe
Agriculture is currently beginning to break in the US breadbasket, where I live. The unpredictability of the weather is an enormous problem, much bigger than most people who aren't farmers are willing to admit. The other big problem is the extreme temperature changes, which are great at killing plants. That's entirely outside the drought, which is also killing things--plants, cows, water tables, structures--albeit in somewhat patchy areas.

It worries me.

Date: 2017-06-04 12:08 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I've been full-on terrified since I drove up to visit my farming sibling in 2012 and the hay was coming off in late August.

Throw in that heat reduces yield in generally badly understood ways and the ways that are somewhat understood are really intractable (pollination is temperature sensitive in a big way). Somebody studying bison diet figured out that the size cline, always attributed to selective pressure for larger body mass/better square/cube heat retention the further north you go might well be forage quality, instead. Somebody else is trying to figure out how to do the same study on moose. Bison eat something like four hundred kinds of plants and are surprisingly selective eaters. If everything is temperature sensitive the prospects of breeding it out or genetically engineering something else in aren't the best.

nullschools.net doesn't help; you can watch the Gulf Stream stop in mid-Atlantic and the Greenland ice sheet bleed to death down the Davis Strait if you look at Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly and current. Or you can look at wind patterns and notice that the Peace River country is way warmer than Toronto and the big loops in the jet stream are starting to look like north-south air circulation rather than east-west.

Date: 2017-06-02 04:32 am (UTC)
sethsellis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sethsellis
All you have to do is look at contemporary US politics. Any one foreign policy move by Trump, had it happened during the Cold War, would have ramped up the nuclear panic. I was told as a teenager (in the 80's) that the most probable way to WW3 and nuclear armageddon wasn't a sudden showdown between the superpowers, but an escalating series of wars of interest in other countries, sort of the way everybody reluctantly got into WW1. But the combo of the World Wars being in the same century, and the looming possibility of nuclear war, made that unlikely to happen. Stability uber alles, even uber justice, was the international rule.

But not any more. Not to say nuclear war is looming, but I think the spectre of it is firmly lodged in the "fiction" part of many people's minds now. Kind of like calling people Nazis, now that i think of it.

Date: 2017-06-02 06:31 pm (UTC)
ethelmay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ethelmay
I don't think either nuclear war or Nazis seem all that fictional at the moment, even to people much younger than myself.

Date: 2017-06-02 07:04 pm (UTC)
sethsellis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sethsellis
I don't think so either, personally, but I think if it were culturewide, we wouldn't have gotten here in the first place.

Date: 2017-06-04 12:09 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I think the present circumstances are a special case; a Trump-Putin nuclear exchange seems implausible because Trump and Putin are clearly on the same side.

Date: 2017-06-02 04:33 am (UTC)
sethsellis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sethsellis
I was thinking, "I don't know, I remember liking it," but then I realised I was confusing it with "Jack." I have no memory of this one at all, apparently.

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