Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Blogging and Reading and Blogging, Oh My!

I couldn't put it down.

Linnea Sinclair's Hope's Folly that I discussed in the context of the formula novel in my post
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2009/02/dissing-formula-novel.html

is truly a page turner that hurtles to a satisfying conclusion of the Romance -- (a beautifully twisted HEA) leaving room for a sequel though in the SF plot. (Sequels are GOOD).

If you are puzzled or dissatisfied by the novels publishing is presenting to you these days, (or buying from you to publish), you have to read Hope's Folly and Linnea's comments on another blog, about the mixed-genre author's real estate problem - how do you treat two separate plots simultaneously in the same space usually alotted to one plot?

Good question; good discussion at
http://magicalmusings.com/?p=3502#comment-63203 (scroll up for Linnea's post).

And Linnea started a really interesting discussion on goodreads.com on how to label the kind of thing we call Alien Romance -- SFR is currently being lumped with PNR (Paranormal Romance).
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/104604.Should_SFR_be_part_of_PNR_

And Linnea just posted a comment on that topic suggesting a solution using goodreads.com

I couldn't figure out goodreads.com well enough to navigate to Linnea's seed post for that discussion that's drawn over 60 comments so far. Maybe she will give us the URL in the comments to this post.

Meanwhile, on this blog, Margaret Carter brought up the recently published research about love and brain chemistry and Rowena Cherry noted the relationship between this brain chemistry research (that has been investigating all kinds of human behavior related to brain function) and Astrology (one of my own favorite topics - see my Astrology For Writers series of posts on this blog).

They've pretty much covered those topics.

So I'd like to point out that browsing among these blogs we all frequent and following authors you find stimulating (via a feed like RSS or friendfeed.com or Atom or technorati.com -- see links at the right of this page) -- will keep your thinking from going stale, and avoid or blast through writer's block.

Writers, inside their stories, are actually discussing a topic of interest to connected communities. It's like a big cocktail party -- writers circulate from group to group (reading other writers' novels) and make a comment now and then (write a novel) to contribute to the general conversation.

Writing is a social activity done in solitude! What a contradiction. No wonder we're stressed.

But with the internet, you can circulate a little each day by using a piece of software that collects pertinent (and impertinent) commentaries from all over the internet and presents them to you in a window on your desktop.

The software is called a feed reader, and there are lots of them available free around the internet. There are also websites like google that provide you a feed reader with your free email account. (if you use gmail, look at the top line of links in your mail page for READER and click - follow the directions and experiment. I quickly out-grew the google reader.).

I don't have a problem with downloading and installing software, but I do research it first. So I asked on LinkedIn and got recommendations.

FeedDemon.com is where I found the recommended download of a very tame and obedient FeedDemon feed reader.

To add a website like http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/ to FeedDemon you just have the FeedDemon software open on your desktop, use your browser to go to the website you want, then click in FeedDemon to add the site to your feeds, and the URL appears in the add slot. Click, add it to a folder provided by feeddemon and presto, you can follow what happens on that page.

I follow several newspapers and other well capitalized websites on subjects I'm interested in, and a number of blogs -- PLUS I follow people by name. It costs something for websites to provide feed, but it's free to the user like you. Blogspot has the feed capability built in, so we who post can be followed.

A Feed Reader is a kind of search software that is of the Web 2.0 world.

It really simplifies your online life.

For example, I wanted to point you to a really nice blog called Galaxy Express which did an article linking to several of our Alien Romance posts on Dialogue.

I just opened my FeedDemon software, clicked the MY CLIPPINGS folder and right there was this URL for you:
http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net/2009/02/fine-art-of-dialogue.html

It was there because I saved it there, true, but how could I not save such a really nice mention of our work here!

If you leave FeedDemon open while you're online, it will (if you want) auto-update on the latest news you're tracking.

Not every website is capable of being accessed by Feed software -- but I think that is going to change. It's a Web 2.0 invention that really works. It doesn't usually access posts on social networks which try to keep you in a private sphere.

Privacy is what the Web 2.0 philosophy is all about, privacy and user choice.

Oh, which brings me to another item that turned up this last weekend.

Opinion has it that Facebook has turned inimical to the writer's health with a recent re-wording of their terms of use which appears to be a copyright grab.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/02/17/facebook.terms.service/

They'll probably change that wording again after the furor erupted. Other services that have tried this have had to yield.

But there's another huge topic (at least as big as Astrology and Love-Brain Chemistry) in the entire legal philosophy behind "copyright" -- which is utterly obsolete in this new Web 2.0 world.

The USA has been thriving on our intellectual property law and philosophy, trademarking and copyrighting. If you invent it or make it, it is yours to profit from, and you get to keep most of what you make. (almost most) This gave the USA dominance in the 1800's and 1900's.

We try so hard to honor the property rights on Blogs. What's posted belongs to the poster -- but we also want our words read, or why post at all? So we want small pithy quotes distributed to other blogs with links to the main article -- and OUR NAMES bandied about with links to our homepages.

We want to be part of that cocktail party conversation which is the blogosphere, moving from group to group, participating in the discussion. But we don't want to be invisible. We want to stay attached to our words, no matter who repeats them.

On the third hand, we don't want to be too public.

Web 2.0 domains require that you sign up for an account with the "real" you, but they allow you to upload any photo or sketch or icon for yourself and to invent a screen nickname. People who read what you write and get irrationally furious shouldn't be able to invade and ruin your "real" life.

So we are redefining "privacy," which is an essential element in Romance and even Sex.

At some point on this blog, because we focus on Science Fiction Romance as well as Fantasy Romance and Urban Fantasy -- we really ought to discuss the Art and Science of Futurology.

Linnea Sinclair's HOPE'S FOLLY does a perfect job of reticulating the Romance plot, hits every "beat" of the story, integrates all the images artistically into the Romance. But it falls short on futurology, on where the technological possibilities of today will lead us by interstellar times, and what's coming with that new Intel chip they're now building factories to produce.

Here's another post to base futurology on that could affect how, when, why and who falls in love:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7891132.stm

This item was all over the news this past week about the theoretical breakthrough indicating there could be billions of "Earth Like" planets in this galaxy. SF predicted that, but now we have solid indication that it might be so. We still have the impossibility of traveling to those planets because of the light-speed barrier, but it's only a matter of time until that's dispensed with, too. Look how many impossible things we do today without thinking about it.

Most of us don't read SFR for futurology. In fact, SF may be on the wane as an artform simply because we're already living in "the future" that SF predicted, and it missed big time with predicting the impact of the internet on people.

But SFR is the prefect venue for a new cocktail party topic on how the current and easily projected new technology developments (Medical Records digitized; Designer Cancer Treatment Cocktails unique to your own genes) will impact the way we relate to each other.

In the 1970's some people predicted the Women's Movement would break up families. Men were paid more than women doing the same work so the men could "support a wife and kids" and it was considered imperative that the wife NOT WORK OUTSIDE THE HOME because kids require at least one person's full time attention or they won't grow up to be good people.

Today the last few furbishes are being put on the equal-pay-for-equal-work issues, Hillary put a big frison in the thickest Glass Ceiling, and the VP Candidate among the Republicans has a child who got pregnant out of wedlock and nobody thought that totally disqualified her from running for VP. (OK, the teen did marry the father, but they're just kids -- I saw an interview with the teen mother on TV all played very hard-news-interview style. Today the broken family is a non-issue, even in Romance novels where wives and mothers routinely work outside the home.)

Where is the futurology on the topic of Romance -- futurology that could take into account the online dating services computer programs, Astrology being "outed" as legitimate science, and the impact of the IM, bloggosphere world on Relationships?

Yes, all those have been done in Romance, but have they been done with complete SF style futurology?

Point me at some good books where the SF hits the futurology hard, and the Relationship trope changes on impact.

That was one original (1940's) definition of SF -- "The impact of Science on People, on Society, on Culture."

I know there are thousands of novels in PNR I haven't read -- and thousands of SF novels I've never heard of -- but even Amazon can't point me at exactly what I'm looking for in SFR. That's why this blog is so precious. Look at the writers who contribute!

Jacqueline Lichtenberg
http://www.simegen.com/jl/

4 comments:

  1. Thank you, Jacqueline. What a lot of really useful links! And what an interesting blog.

    Do feel free to add any links you'd like permanently on the site to the sidebar.

    Settings
    Gadget
    HTML

    Rowena Cherry
    "Space Snark"

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  2. Jacqueline, thanks so much for your kind comments on FOLLY! As for the link to Goodreads, I'm not sure if their links show up differently for members/non-members.

    But essentially, the SFR/PNR discussion is:
    http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/104604.Should_SFR_be_part_of_PNR_?comment_id=4044448

    If that doesn't work just go to

    http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/390.Paranormal_Romance

    and then General Discussion and it's in that section.

    I'm swamped with stuff today and have to run over to the club and play Golf Wife as huz is in a tourney there. I'll be back! ~Linnea

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  3. I've added your blog to my rss feed already, using Brief 1.2 which is a Firefox addon. Works great, updates once/day, pretty flexible display options.

    Love your teaching articles. I've been sharing links to your pov articles all morning with my writing loops.

    As for futurology, check out Time Enough For Love, The Past Through Tomorrow, and Stranger In a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. The relationships in there are quite, well, different!

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  4. Jwhit:

    Thank you for following this blog and for the tips on Firefox which I know a lot of our readers use.

    On Heinlein -- he was one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite people. He was such a gentleman of Old Fashioned Charm with a ready smile and impish sense of humor.

    But though his books are still among my all time favorites, I do understand why many readers find his work dated, sexist, and even covertly racist. His politics were always off beat, too.

    But that just gives the contemporary reader a glimpse of the very real mindset of his day.

    A reader who can get through all that though has a rare treat in store. Heinlien, among all the futurologists (and he was included in a government task force doing futurology in WWII to thwart our country's enemies -- and they succeeded) nailed more of the significant developments than any others.

    His readers, like the fans of Star Trek, were inspired to grow up and invent the things he talked about. The moving sidewalks in air terminals are one such, the waterbed another.

    Heinlein's AI computers also were "impossible" when he wrote them. Today, not so impossible.

    He understood the dynamic drive of Business to reshape the world, and showed us the concept of Future History.

    He taught a generation how to PLAY in the world of SCIENCE.

    I loved that man.

    Jacqueline Lichtenberg
    http://www.simegen.com/jl/

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