Procrastination Technique #1

500x_evenmoreamazingbooksThis will appeal most to the science fiction fans (what is the proper shorthand for that these days? Sci-Fi? Skiffy? SyFy? anyway…) but this week io9 will be doing a series they are calling the Book Vortex. Leading off with what appears to be an M.C. Escher-esque view of a library twisted appropriately into a vortex (click the image for a larger, more stomach-churning view), Annalee Newitz says:

Books are stealthy and portable and will outlast the data apocalypse. With a book, you can hide in the middle of a field with no electrical outlet and still escape to Barsoom or Downbelow Station or Dune. The written word implants a story in your brain, but lets you imagine all the details of how people look and move and speak. Even a comic book leaves room between panels for you to fill in an entire world of your own devising.

So after the Apocalypse when you can’t get any more batteries for your Kindle you’ll have to resort to the old skool way of reading: Turning pages. (Ok, sniping at Kindle done.)

They promise to bring us book lists, “agonizingly bad book covers” and I know we all love checking out the cover art, along with places to find free books online, essays, interviews, and more. io9 generally focuses on electronic media so I’m delighted to see them spotlighting where all those shows and movies come from: the written word.

You know, just in case you need a new excuse to put off doing something else.


12 thoughts on “Procrastination Technique #1”

  1. It was some weird-ass marketing tactic. They thought re-branding themselves would be a good thing. I honestly don’t know what they thought it would accomplish. io9 ripped them a new one right around the time it happened.


  2. You know I have an issue w/marketing tactics that encourage bad spelling and grammar. It’s insulting how they seem to think that science fiction fans are too dumb to care about spelling.


  3. The network was helmed for some time by Bonnie Hammer, who is now President of NBC Universal. I believe when she took over the Sci-Fi channel, she was the one who brought over the wrestling programs as she was also President of USA Network which has exclusive rights to WWE. She made some disparaging comment at the time about ‘getting rid of all the geeky science fiction'(not an exact quote). Mostly they changed the name because they can own the brand “SyFy” but could not own the term “Sci Fi.” But yeah, basically they have little regard for science fiction fans.


  4. Y’know, there’s good sci-fi and cheesey sci-fi, the same as with any other genre. I don’t read that much of it (back in my youth, I liked Robert Heinlein, but then I read that bad sexist joke “Friday” and since then I’ve been trying to figure out how to get my brain scrubbed of that and anything else he has ever written;) it just pisses me off that a woman who made her name hawking WWE projects thinks that sci-fi shows and their fans are too geeky for her.


  5. Believe me, there is no love in Sci-Fi land for Bonnie Hammer. But considering how much of wrestling is fake, it might actually qualify as science fiction (thinking of all the faux body slams that never seem to result in internal injuries). Or is it just bad melodrama?

    Heinlein, despite writing writing hard sci-fi, has a reputation for deplorable characterization. His characters tend to be very wooden, 2D. I don’t know the “Friday” joke, strangely enough. I’m sure I read some of his stuff back in the day, but don’t actually recall any of it.

    I was always an Asimov-Bradbury-Clarke girl. How ’bout that, the ABC’s of sci-fi 😀


  6. “Friday” was RH’s effort at a female protagonist – she’s supposed to be a genetically engineered test-tube-baby superhuman , who is somehow separated, as a child, from the scientist/father who created her, and thus spends the next 30 years trying to figure out what her mission is and why she was created. The ending is – surprise!- she just wants to be a regular gal who settles down (with some kind of pirate who raped her earlier in the book) to be a housewife and mommy. Her own super-baby, by the way, gets pregnant at 15. The author somehow thought this was a really clever commentary on womens’ role in the universe, but it makes my blood boil every time I think about it for the last 20 years.


  7. Wow, talk about Neanderthal mentality. Glad I missed that one. I’ve never even heard it mentioned. I think most men really believe women enjoy being raped, or at least that generation did. Clearly the title is a nod to “Robinson Crusoe.”


  8. Wow, I forgot about Robinson Crusoe – he even names the character after a colonialized sidekick. Why not just call it “Not as Good as a Causcasian Male” and be done with it? I think it was promoted, back in the ’70’s, to great fanfare (“Heinlein’s 1st female MC!!”) and fell by the wayside as all but the most insensitive readers saw it for the piece crap that it was.

    I don’t know that this book (or many by male authors, come to think of it) reflected a belief that woman enjoy rape, so much as the fact that these guys are fascinated with it, can’t leave the idea alone. Didja ever notice how John Irving’s novels always seem to include a rape scene? He doesn’t advocate it, or romanticize it, so much as he wants to somehow claim an experience that has nothing to do with him.


  9. I have heard of studies (don’t ask me to point to any, though) that claimed to have statistics as high as 75% or higher of men who admitted they would commit rape if they thought they could get away with it. There’s something about that power trip that seems to be universally appealing to men. I remember hearing a quote from Gordon Lightfoot (if you remember him) back in the 70s saying that what he’d like to do was to “find a really fast woman and domesticate her.” (remember when ho’s were called “fast”?) Maybe Lightfoot was/is a complete MCP, I don’t know but he sure seems to have a lot of company. Irving fictionalizing it is a way for him to live it vicariously.


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