Wednesday, 12 November 1997:

Totality of Opinion

Tonight I finished Gibbon's Decline and Fall, which turned out to be a pretty good book, although with a little too much overt mysticism for my tastes. (There are passages which could be easily interpreted as SF or fantasy, but there are other passages which are clearly not grounded in reality, and which therefore weakened the book somewhat for me.) The book also presents its protagonist with a choice at the end, and although she makes a choice we're not told what she decided, which is frustrating. Even worse than a story which sets up an impossible situation and doesn't adequately resolve it is one which doesn't resolve it at all. But it should make some interesting discussion tomorrow night.

This is the only Tepper book I've read (we'll be reading her latest, The Family Tree, next spring), but I understand her work generally is very female-centered. I sometimes catch myself, when reading something like this or the comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For, thinking, "Ya know, she should present a more balanced, more intricate male view, here." Which is ridiculous, really; how often does most male-centered fiction present a balanced, intricate female point of view?

And really, no single story should try to be all things, or present points of view from both genders, just as no single government program should meet the needs of all citizens (which is the basic flaw with the argument of the yahoos who scream "I don't want my tax dollars spent on yadda-yadda-yadda!"). That a single work presents an extreme or unbalanced point of view is hardly a bad thing. Now if the entire body of SF presented such a point of view, then I'd be worried...

I think the cats have really loved having me sitting around and reading the last couple of nights. They've been snoozing on my lap, prowling around and jumping up to be skritched every so often, and generally being a lot more affectionate. Clearly, I need to spend more evenings reading. Especially since in the winter it afford me an excuse to drink hot chocolate!

I'm feeling steadily crummier this week. I've got some low-grade virus which makes me stuffed up and is making my throat sore, but not enough to make me stay home from work. I think it's getting worse because I haven't been sleeping well. I want to make a big push to reach a certain point at work by the end of this week, so I hope I can make it without missing either of the next two days. And then it's the weekend, so hopefully I can get over this...

The mysterious journal-reader from work checked in again today. Or at least I presume it was the same person. How mysterious!

A friend from APA Centauri sent me a copy of the "best of" collection by The Box, a fun Canadian rock group from the 80s and early 90s. Sadly, they broke up after their fourth album, The Pleasure and The Pain. They did some very entertaining stuff, evolving from a synth-based to a guitar-based group over their career. I've got all their stuff now; except for that final album, it's pretty hard to find. But I recommend it.

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