[LMB] BD: Other nominees?

Tony Zbaraschuk tonyz at eskimo.com
Sat Jun 4 02:14:39 BST 2011


On Fri, Jun 03, 2011 at 03:03:38PM -0400, Thad Coons wrote:
> > James Nicoll wrote:
> >
> > In the time travellers' defense, many of them are idiots and they seem to
> > be extremely badly educated about the past, given that one of them is
> > confounded by the terror that is a revolving door.
> > *Tony Zbaraschuk wrote:*
> > **
> > I have never really liked Willis' novels; great atmospherics, often,
> > but most of the plot suffers from the fact that her people are
> > rampaging idiots.
> 
> I wonder how much of this impression is because is because they
> *are* idiots, or because their ignorance and befuddlement when
> encountering unfamiliar or unexpected elements of contemp culture
> is so often exploited for comic effect. What one person finds
> at least mildly humorous simply irritates another, I suppose.

Quite possibly.  The thing with Willis is that I read _Doomsday Book_,
and remember liking it at the time, but almost everything resembling a
plot point has dropped out of my memory.  Episodes stick, but why or
wherefore things happened are beyond me to explain.

> Most people experienced with foreign travel can recount at
> least a few hilarious / hideously embarrassing moments
> (experienced, observed, heard of) stemming from cultural
> ignorance. 

Including myself.  But I don't _like_ reading about such episodes,
or remembering them, and I actively cringe whenever I get the sense
that someone is Enjoying That Miserable Ignoramus F*cking Up.  (This
may be connected to why I can't bear to re-read the dinner party
in ACC.)

People getting What's Properly Coming To Them, on the other hand,
is something I can enjoy (which is why I can read Cordelia's Talk
With Miles the day after without wincing too much.)   

> Connie Willis definitely uses the notion that the
> past is a  foreign country, and what her characters think they
> know about it is sometimes gratifyingly confirmed and
> sometimes treacherously wrong.

Perchance, but while I read tDB and have enjoyed a number of her short
stories, I've never really felt the urge to pick up anything else of
hers.  


Tony Z

-- 
Anton's was the one trade which, along with philosophers, always
understood the precedence of epistemology. -- Eric Flint, "From the Highlands"



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