Saturday, February 16, 2013

Duck Comics Advisory

Well, I dunno.  All I know is that, although for some reason I haven't been noting it here, I HAVE been writing stuff for my more popular blog this year: I wrote three entries on stories by the often-baffling Romano Scarpa, and just this moment I released a new English version of a long story about Marco Polo, which in my estimate is well worth checking out.

So, then...

…I guess I received my PhD a few days ago or something?  It is kind of a big thing, so I might as well mention it here.  It's odd: I keep vacillating between "holy shit, I can't believe I did it" and "huh.  I feel pretty much the same as I did before."  It seems like a big thing from a distance, and sure, it is, but you do it so gradually that by the time you get to the end, it's just sort of a fact of life--though it should be noted that, as recently as, oh, three months ago, I was still harboring doubts about whether I would be able to finish my dissertation to the satisfaction of my director, who does not fuck around.

In fact, that there dissertation is the most amazing thing: or, to be more precise, the fact that it exists at all.  It definitely does!  It's two hundred fifteen pages.  But I look back and think: wait, when the hell did I write that?  I mean, I clearly did; I have a folder on my computer called "Dissertation" that contains one hundred forty-four items, including all manner of notes and quotes and chapter drafts.  If you wanted, you could look through the various drafts and see how this shit evolved.  But man.  How is it possible that I actually DID this?!?  I'm super-lazy!  It just doesn't add up!  Phoenix Wright wouldn't buy this for a moment!

Well, in any case, it got written.  So THERE.  Was this whole thing worth it?  There are all sorts of people who will emphatically tell you NO! NO! NO!  DON'T GET A PHD!  YOU FOOL!  But that's not really helpful; it may make statistical sense, but when you try to apply it to an individual person, it breaks down.  Like BMI measurements.  I'll say this for it: it absolutely undoubtedly caused me to experience great intellectual growth that I would absolutely NEVER have done otherwise.  That's not nothing.  Then again…having a job and making some money is not nothing, either.  And in that sense, all I can say is, To Be Determined.

Still, the fact is, if I hadn't done it, I know damn well it would be something that would be nagging at me forever.  So, I'm glad I did.  That is all.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Felix Gilman, The Half-Made World (2010) and The Rise of Ransom City (2012)

The Half-Made World is not by any stretch "science fiction," and it's weird that Ursula K. LeGuin and The Cleveland Plain Dealer (I realized in proof-reading that I had initially written "Cleveland Pain Dealer," which sounds quite terrifying) claim it is in their laudatory pull-quotes.  What it is is a highly allegorical fantasy novel taking place in a general though not exact (when you try to make things correspond exactly, you inevitably run into trouble) equivalent of late-nineteenth-century America.
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