Re: Gilman's Westerns

1

Best not to supply a link.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:29 AM
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You're too helpless to click on one of the vanishingly few blogroll links that still goes somewhere? Fine.

(Actually, I'm feeling kind of sheepish. I agreed to do this, and then I both got busy and realized I didn't actually have anything to say that made sense to me. My post was written between sections of a brief, and I'm really not clear either that it's coherent or that what it says about the books is anything I actually think is accurate.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:33 AM
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I mean I didn't say I was going to click on it. Tell me about the Crooked Timber, place. They short horses there, don't they?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:36 AM
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Only if they think the value of the horses is likely to drop. I've added the link.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:36 AM
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You did good, LB!

Those are hard books to describe coherently.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:42 AM
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Short horses don't have as far to drop.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:45 AM
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"Lizardbreath" is a pseudonymous lawyer, who likes writing about cake.

To the best of my knowledge, that is true. However it seems somehow less useful than it might be.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:45 AM
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Now I want to make a cake, but my office doesn't have a stand mixer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:49 AM
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They are -- very dream-like. I was having trouble writing around the fact that the books don't make sense, because that's clearly (to me at least) not a flaw in them, they're not supposed to make that kind of sense, and they're successful on their own terms. But there's no way to say "Of course, none of this makes sense" in a way that doesn't sound like a negative judgment of the skill of the writer, which wouldn't have been at all what I meant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:49 AM
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7: Oh, geez. When that post w up, Henry grabbed some text from the "About Lizardbreath" page, which at that time included a slam at my awful clients which hadn't been applicable since I changed jobs five years ago. I had neB edit the page here, and asked Henry to edit the post -- the 'cake' line was from an old review I did of "The Trouble With Diversity" here, and it was all that sprang to mind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:52 AM
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You do cake blog a fair bit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:53 AM
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LB wants to be the girl with the most cake blog.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:56 AM
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LB, did you like the West of Against the Day?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:57 AM
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Comment race!

U 14 CT 1.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:58 AM
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Didn't read it. Pynchon doesn't do much for me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:58 AM
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LB, did you like the West of Against the Day?

What about the fiwst hawf?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:03 AM
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16 took me a minute.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:10 AM
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I usually go for much more cerebral types of humor.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:11 AM
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17: 16 took me about 20 minutes. I guess I wasn't actually thinking about it all that time.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:26 AM
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Has anyone else here other than peep read either of the books? They're good -- they work well as genre entertainment but with all sorts of chewy stuff to think about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:26 AM
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I'm BALB, but I think 16 was somewhat more confusing than it might otherwise have been because there's no 'r' in half.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:27 AM
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Let's not forget that it's not that funny a joke.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:31 AM
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20: I haven't. I don't read much fiction these days.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:31 AM
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I think maybe Snark has! But he's enmeshed in work right now.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:34 AM
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I read Half Made World and thought it was stone genius for many of the reasons you point out, plus Gilman's ability to reference grnre tropes while totally avoiding cliche.

And it was a damn good story.

I was hoping Ransom City would appear in electronic before I went on holiday, and therefore put off buying it, but it looks like that ain't gonna happen.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:38 AM
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There's got to be some weird regional thing going on. I bought Ransom City electronically the day it came out. Is it maybe on US Amazon but not UK Amazon?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:40 AM
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Maybe. Certainly not yet available here. I cculd get an audiobook, but not Kindle. When Felix writes his response post on CT I shall go and nag him.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:43 AM
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25.1: What makes me really happy is that both Half-Made World and Ransom City seem to me not only to be excellent, but to be a on a real upward trajectory from Thunderer and Gears of the City (both of which I thought were good, but not spectacular). I haven't had enough authors whose next book I'm waiting for lately.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:44 AM
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27: It's available now on Amazon.com. Can you buy from there, or does it reject you for having a UK address?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:46 AM
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Dunno. I can try. Are Kindle files regionally coded?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:48 AM
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Do I understand this stuff? All I know is that if you can't buy it electronically, it's all Halford's fault.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 7:53 AM
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. . . on a real upward trajectory from Thunderer and Gears of the City

Good to know.

I bought Thunderer, but never got around to reading it. But having it on my shelf has kept me from buying any other Felix Gilman books -- might as well read the one I have, right. But this makes me think I should just take Thunderer back to the used book store and start over.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 8:10 AM
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Or, you know, keep it around. I didn't say it was bad -- I thought very highly of it when I read it, just that the westerns seem to me to be better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 8:18 AM
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I was having trouble writing around the fact that the books don't make sense, because that's clearly (to me at least) not a flaw in them, they're not supposed to make that kind of sense, and they're successful on their own terms.

I read Half Made World and thought it was stone genius . . . [a]nd it was a damn good story.

Agreed. Half-Made World (haven't read Ransom City) made very little sense to me but that wasn't, I agree, a flaw. I found it extremely compelling.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 10:40 AM
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Halford, look over thataway!

Speaking of electronic access to things...if there are any UK commenters who have an Audible account and would be willing to consider a swap for a book that's available in the UK but not here, please e-mail me at mypseud at gmail. Ta.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 10:47 AM
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I've read them--and Gilman's older books--and loved them. As LB says, HMW and RoRC are much better, and simply great.

Re: ebooks--Tor, Gilman's publisher, has been going without DRM for awhile, so you should have no problem converting a file you buy anywhere into something you can use. (This actually confused me, because I was trying to run the DeDRM program on the Amazon file, and it kept giving me an error--it took me awhile to realize the error was because there was no DRM to [feloniously!] unlock.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:00 AM
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I mean, or you could email me, and I'll give you a copy. Or search the usual places. But you should probably be supporting Felix, what with him having been One Of Us, and all that.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:01 AM
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Too soon to go somewhat OT? It happens that I just read this WaPo piece on Amazon's bid to Kindle-ize reading:

Reading has its own cult. Scratch almost any reader and he or she will wax lyrical about books -- their magic, their lingering power, the characters, the transportive power of a few neat sentences. Shake any tree and 16 different, beautiful, heartfelt, well-crafted essays about the power of reading will fall out and bounce on the pavement. Show us someone reading for the first time, and we will cheer with open throats.
The commercial is there to channel all these feelings into reinforcing the notion that -reading is something you do on a Kindle. They're powerful feelings. And Kindles are so cheap, these days...

That will strike some as concern-trolling. No doubt. But I do take the final sentiment to heart:

The more Kindles in the hands of first-time readers, the more Amazon's control of Reading expands -- the truer it becomes that reading is just something you do on an Amazon device

Okay, it is concern-trolling, I suppose. Still .... This will probably always be something that frustrates me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:03 AM
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I don't want to fetishize the codex, but it's much less terrifying than centralizing records of reading. ("Updating Last Read Location...")


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:10 AM
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It took me a bit to parse that, clew -- I have never used a Kindle -- but it means that when you've bought an e-book to read on a Kindle, it's not actually independently and wholly yours on your Kindle, but somehow in Amazon's cloud and you're just accessing it? Sorry for the stupid question.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:38 AM
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No, you download it. You can read it when you're offline. But they check in with it behind the scenes when you're online, and retain control to tinker however they see fit.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:41 AM
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37: Felix was One of Us? I guess that's an off-bloggy kind of question.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:41 AM
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41: Boo.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:42 AM
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There's a file locally on your Kindle, as well as a record in Amazon's cloud that you own that book so that you can redownload it again if something happens to it locally. Amazon can communicate with your Kindle, though, and do things to your files -- there was a thing a couple of years back where they retrieved books people had bought that got people very upset.

And Felix was definitely One Of Us -- very very funny on the Fuck You Clown thread, and around off and on before and after that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:43 AM
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44.1: Right, I remember that dust-up. As far as I know, it's still problematic. (Even as a print book seller, Amazon periodically decides that we can no longer sell some book or other on their site; the reason is invariably opaque, and doesn't impact us terribly or anything, but it's obnoxious.)

44.2: Thanks, I didn't know; the Fuck You Clown thread was way before my time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 11:50 AM
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46

Felix was on fire on that thread.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 12:04 PM
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47

Thanks for the Half-Made World recommendation; I've been kind of meaning to find some new stuff to read, and it sounds like I'd like it.

As for e-book platforms, I'm mostly happy with my current Nook. I had some e-books from a previous device and I haven't got around to registering this with the necessary computer problem, but I think that's more a problem with me getting around to stuff than with the device. I'm pretty sure I could get rid of the DRM entirely if I wanted to, but it's not too hard to manage when I can be bothered.

||
Dinner with co-workers I'm attending a conference with, or not? It's free and probably at fairly nice restaurant, so in one sense I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. But I might only know one of these people, and even him not well, so it's not like these are friends. And "attending a conference" makes it sound out of town, but really this is within the same metro area. The alternative isn't room service or dinner at McDonald's, it's dinner at home with my fiancée. But this also kind of seems like one of those times I should schmooze or network or just be social for my own good, contrary to my anti-social homebody nature.

So how much does that really matter, exactly?
|>


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 12:16 PM
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39: You can always strike a blow for freedom and download an unlicensed copy of the ebook.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 12:36 PM
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47.last: In your shoes, I'd stay home, but you shouldn't (and I shouldn't). Go schmooze.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 12:38 PM
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I should shmooze more, so probably you should too, Cyrus. And drink some water, it's hot.

While there is a file for the book you're reading on your physical Kindle or phone-running-Kindle or whatever, if it's DRM'd, it's supposed to be inaccessible by any other program. In practice, and IIRC in law, one has not bought a copy of the book, one has bought access to Amazon's copy of the book. Since tech empires fall, I don't want my library to be only available if they're around maintaining the servers. Also, they have records of not just what I've bought, but how often I've read each book and what parts and how fast. This could be creepy.

More likely is that Amazon gets into economic difficulties -- like, is finally expected to turn a profit -- and suddenly there are many new fees for maintaining access to my library in a useful way; e.g. the Kindles and apps `don't support current files' more and more often and get more expensive. Lots of sunk cost for me to keep up with.

Books I expect to keep, I still buy in paper unless they're not DRM'd; those I back up the way I back up the rest of my data. (Sporadic overkill, is how.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 12:42 PM
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In practice, and IIRC in law, one has not bought a copy of the book, one has bought access to Amazon's copy of the book.

I believe this is correct. Hence the "proprietary" business.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 12:48 PM
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Thanks for the advice, but I finally decided not to go. It turns out to be the best time for me and T. to go see Iron Man 3. I don't really feel bad about it as long as there was some reason other than being antisocial, and I think I've been getting out and doing stuff more than usual lately anyway, so what's one dinner.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 1:44 PM
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Plan years 2012 and 2013.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 1:52 PM
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10: I thought updating the bio pages was just a thing that was not done. I mean, Bob's still there, Labs is still striving for tenure, and Heebie still lives on a river in central Texas just with her cats and her fancy boyfriend Jammies. Etc.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 1:55 PM
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53: It's always a relief when the direction of the 'cut and paste mistake' is from work to blog comment and not the other way around.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 1:57 PM
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Alameda's page has changed to reveal less info. Then there is Standpipe's page.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 2:52 PM
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I don't want to fetishize the codex

hghjkgdsajiogaro9ewtkl;gsdv

Uh, I just got a free album from amazon: I had a dead credit card saved to my account (which I rarely use) and was unprepared for "1-click" ordering to be "CLICK. Here's your new album! Oh hey, you didn't pay for your new album, asshole." Apparently I now have to change my payment information and download a second copy from scratch, or something. I bet this can wait until I'm done listening to copy #1.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 3:11 PM
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Speaking of updated situations, Iberian Beauty and I are now girlfriend & boyfriend.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 3:12 PM
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Which is which?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 3:13 PM
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57.2: I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 3:15 PM
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58: todos os sqüííííes! É muito adoravel. (N.b. this is total pidgin lusophoniness.) Does this mean you can hold hands without checking first?

60: I'm not sure I ever enjoy those movies that start out with a frivolous transgression and end in a bloodbath, but I can set up a Kickstarter if others want to see me flee Jeff Bezos and his deep-sea diving minions.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 3:40 PM
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56: What, the color of her toes is a secret now?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:30 PM
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58: Great, there goes the sex grotto. But any happy news from you is extra great, and you sound happy!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 6:41 PM
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Great, there goes the sex grotto.

What am I, chopped liver? Plus there's neb.

But any happy news from you is extra great, and you sound happy!

Ditto to this, definitely. Congrats, x.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 8:51 PM
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What am I, chopped liver?

If the sex grotto has chopped liver, I'm there.


Posted by: Opinionated Portnoy | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 8:56 PM
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Okay, good, we're up to three. Now we just need some women.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 9:20 PM
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67

Oh, no, having a girlfriend isn't enough to make me happy. I actually spent most of the weekend hiding from everything.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 9:27 PM
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Aw. Well, hopefully this is at least a step in the direction of happiness rather than away from it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 9:28 PM
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Iberian Beauty has already bought me a cognitive-behavioral therapy workbook, which my last serious girlfriend (2006-2009) didn't do until considerably later in our relationship. Unclear if this is a good or bad sign.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 9:30 PM
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47: Obviously it's too late now, but I would definitely have encouraged you to attend the dinner. I spent most of last week at a conference here in town. After one of the evening receptions I ended up going out to a bar and then a late dinner with some people I met at the conference, including two really interesting people who had come up from Mountain View, California. That was a fun night.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 10:23 PM
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Because they let you on their shuttle?

Linked article seems to miss that you can have company conversation on a company shuttle. Public places have casual & serious spies.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 10:43 PM
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Shuttle's the other thread, actually, but I did notice the overlap.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05- 6-13 10:46 PM
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69: "Free to be you and me, but not that much you."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-13 5:19 AM
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67: I didn't mean to imply that! Just that any happy stuff is a good thing in the larger picture.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 7-13 5:27 AM
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The Gilman seminar is going on, and he's taking a bit of heat for his treatment of (read the comments in both cases). I was wondering if that was going to happen -- the books' treatment of racial issues looked to me in part like a good-faith attempt to stylize away any treatment of the actual racial issues in the American West without erasing them from history, and that seemed like something that was likely to make someone irate somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 4:44 AM
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Drat, linkfail. I meant his treatment of racial issues.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-10-13 4:45 AM
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