Yes this week we wrap-up our thoughts on “A Dance with Dragons” and there is quite a bit to talk about. Meantimes there’s other stuff in the worlds of Swords and Lasers, including a couple top 100 book lists to debate. And debate them we do!
8/16/2011 The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
8/16/2011 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
8/17/2011 The Edinburgh Dead by Brian Ruckley
8/18/2011 By Light Alone – by Adam Roberts
8/23/2011 The Measure of the Magic: Legends of Shannara By Terry Brooks
BARE YOUR SWORD
TV and Movies
I would like to urge you to listen to Little Fuzzy with an open mind. The story is neither misogynistic, nor racist and I think that you may just find it delightful. Piper’s work, like that of Asimov and Heinlein, is a product of the 60’s. The characters smoke and drink martinis. True, there aren’t many female leading characters. The lead female character is named Ruth and she is no secretary. She is a powerful lawyer and central to the plot. For the early 1960s I’d say this was fairly progressive.
The cast of human characters is also fairly diverse racially and culturally. Piper envisioned a universe that was not America-centric and numerous characters have Muslim or Hindi names or were the products of interracial marriage. By the standards of the day, this would be considered very progressive.
What might throw you is the fact that the story is indeed dated. The good guys and bad guys are pretty well defined and protagonist Jack Halloway is not flawed in the way that people expect a good character to be. He’s something like an old cowboy, I suppose. Some of the technology is humorously dated — he has to run his movie film through a portable processing lab, for example.
The story addresses some very deep social issues, mainly what constitutes humanity. How do we decide when to confer human rights to non-humans?
This book was the first sci-fi novel I read as a kid. The gateway drug, one could say. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Side note: You’ll remember that during the live interview with David Gerrold at DragonCon last year, he mentioned that he had originally called his creatures Fuzzies but had to change the name to Tribbles because of the H.Beam Piper novel. Also, much of Piper’s work is available for free as it has slipped into the public domain.
Anyway, I had to speak up for one of my very favorite authors. Thanks for your awesome podcast. I hope to see you guys again at DragonCon this year.
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