Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Being a consulting engineer can basically be boiled down to one description: Letting everyone know how badly they are going to suffer for not doing things right.

This week is sort of a "Reading Week" for me, as I'm spending some time catching up on my reading and doing some research on various things.

What I read this weekend

Warren Ellis' STORMWATCH VOL 1 - 4 and THE AUTHORITY #1-4: The most politically aware comic writer of our time, Warren Ellis produced a great Sci-fi TV series on Paper called Stormwatch, and the big-budget movie spinoff The Authority. These are some of the best comics I have ever read, and quite frankly, if you care about good political drama, sci-fi, or superhero, you should get these too.

What I'm going to be reading this week

God Emperor of Dune - I read Dune and Dune Messiah, and I found that my interest waned. After the miniseries got released, I'm starting to catch up, and I'm impressed with the level of detail Herbert put into his society and ecology. This is Science Fiction's answer to Lord of The Rings in terms of creating a functional environment, and it is a very good tale to boot

Tao of Jeet Kune Do - By pure accident, I'm reading this on the week that marks the 30th anniversary of Bruce Lee's death. Weird coincidence, that. Not much of a heavy read, the two key messages are : Keep it Simple and Stay in Shape.

The Ingenuity Gap - Thomas Homer Dixon is attempting to explain the depth the social, technological, and environmental problems and the societies they have created, and whether or not the societies and complex systems are capable of creating solutions. It's very dense, but also very insightful.

Other Notes

Chuck Dixon, Get a Clue

I was reading an interview with really-long-time Batman writer Chuck Dixon the other day, where he implied that the company he's currently working for is superior to those pumping out nothing but super-hero comics because Crossgen's material is "Genre Fiction"

This arguement collapses for anyone who's even had a 1st year course in literature, but let's make sure Chuck gets the message

"Genre Fiction" is just a formula, it follows the dramatic formula that any sophomore highschool student knows, and it uses the techniques and forms of the genre, whether it be western, romance, horror, etc (aka "Genre coventions"). EVERY PIECE OF FICTION DOES THIS.

What this means is that genre fiction is genre fiction no matter how good or bad the writer. To put it another way, the hack who writes the romance novels that lie on the pharmacy bookshelves is no different from the great classical romance writers because they both use the same FORM; the difference is that one writes well, and the other writes poorly. So saying that Crossgen is better simply because it offers genre fiction is patently ridiculous. So, if I want good Sci-fi, do I pick up Chuck's SIGIL comic, or Herbert's DUNE books? Which one do you think is the better writer?

That's the difference.


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