Friday, April 19, 2013

Follow Friday - The Trajan Bridge Was Built in 105 A.D.

It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the two Featured Bloggers of the week - Bookworms Avenue and Words Fueled by Love.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: If you could hang out with any author (living) who would it be and what would you want to do?

My initial reaction to this question is to choose science fiction author and l'enfant terrible Harlan Ellison. Ellison is a brilliant writer with dozens of excellent stories, a Star Trek writing credit, a shelf full of Hugo and Nebula awards, and a creative consultant credit for the television show Babylon 5. Based upon watching several interviews of his, he is also an incredibly interesting and erudite individual, seemingly capable of issuing brilliant off-the-cuff insights on any topic at all. However,  is one of the most cantankerous people in science fiction, and the disputes and arguments that follow him around are almost legendary. He allegedly assaulted Charles Platt at a Nebula awards banquet, criticized Gene Roddenberry for changing the Star Trek script Ellison wrote, had his name removed from the credits of The Starlost in a dispute over changes to the show, sued Fantagraphics for defamation, sued James Cameron for allegedly stealing elements of The Terminator from him, groped author Connie Willis onstage at the World Science Fiction Convention, threw such a fit over not being given an award for the film adaptation of his story A Boy and His Dog that the convention organizers scrounged about and found a Hugo Award base to mollify him, and has generally been litigious and argumentative on a regular basis for most of his life. As a result, I would only want to hang out with Ellison if I could be guaranteed that he would be in a good mood.

Which, I suppose, means that my real choice for what author I would want to hang out with would be the equally brilliant, but far, far less irascible Ursula K. Le Guin. Ever since I first read her Earthsea books when I was a teenager, I have been hooked on Le Guin's fiction. As good as her fantasy fiction is, her science fiction work is better, and novels like The Dispossessed, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Lathe of Heaven complement short fiction like The Ones Who walk away from Omelas and The Word for World is Forest, resulting in a body of work that raises thoughtful questions about gender, wealth, poverty, justice, and morality, as well as a host of other issues. Her work delves into a number of anthropological themes, which is understandable as her father earned the first Ph.D. in anthropology in the United States. Le Guin is also no stranger to controversy as she was very vocal in her criticism of the SciFi channel's horrible adaptation of her Earthsea series and she also recently resigned from the Author's Guild over their endorsement of Google's digitization of books. But her fights seem to be more carefully chosen, and directed towards advancing her particular artistic vision, whereas Ellison's anger, righteous though it is, seems to be more broadly aimed. Which means that I think a conversation with Le Guin would probably be less likely to turn into a conflagration, and why I think she would be a superior choice.

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  1. Cool post - two interesting and very different authors.

    1. @Julia Rachel Barrett: They are very different in terms of personality, and the distinct difference are a big part of why I would want to spend time with them.

      But as writers I think they are closer than people might think. I remember seeing an interview of Harlan Ellison that took place shortly after Dangerous Visions was published, where the interviewer was asking what was in store in the soon to be published Again, Dangerous Visions, and as part of his response Ellison gave gushing praise to Le Guin for her daring and original speculative fiction.