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Tue, Nov. 16th, 2004 11:06 pm
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[personal profile] oyceter
Hee, I accidentally submitted a review for Rebecca Tingle's The Edge on the Sword, a YA historical, to Broadsheet even though I know full well that Broadsheet is for women writers of speculative fiction. Apparently my brain must somehow equate pre-modern times and girls with swords with fantasy. My brain is quite odd. But to be honest, historical fiction has about the same appeals fantasy often holds for me. For the shallow aspects, you've got people wearing fancy clothes and swords and kingdoms and the like, which, unfortunately often turns into derivative junk. But on a deeper level, both of them seem to be about world-building, about creating (or re-creating) a world with enough detail and facts and sensations so that I begin to fully believe that I live there, that I know that world almost as well as I know my own. I know both must have their own difficulties -- creating a world from scratch is very different from trying to resurrect a world from the past. And it must be rather nice to be the only specialist on the world you have created, knowing all the little nooks and crannies that aren't necessarily let out to the reader but are there in the background all the same. Historical fiction is subject to more nitpicking on a purely factual level (much like me sitting and having lots of fun listening to two otaku nitpick The Last Samurai. Ok, I admit, I was doing a good deal of nitpicking in my head as well). But then, having tried to create a world out of scratch in my own head before, I'm not sure which is the scarier option ;). Researching a known period, having facts on your side, is also very comforting (so speaks she who is enamoured of research). Anyhow, historical fiction and solid world-building fantasy occupy the same space in my head, apparently.

But I think the more magical type of fantasy in which the world-building isn't quite as important as the characters and the images is usually equated with fairy tale, fable, myth, and legend.

Still, no wonder I've been on such a fantasy kick after reading Dunnett. And no wonder I keep picking up YA historicals.

Called my mom today. She has been greatly encouraged by the fact that I have seemingly taken her advice and started exercising. Very minimally exercising, but still exercising. So now she has decided that since I do apparently listen to what she says, she should begin urging me to exercise even more! And to cook! *sigh* I should have know caving wouldn't make her stop complaining ;). Oh well. As my boss says, she's a mom. Of course she does this.

I keep almost getting into a big gender-role-inspired rant on why everyone keeps asking me if I cook and why everyone keeps encouraging me to cook. This is particularly annoying when people start offering me American recipes. I'm sure it is meant with the best of intentions, but to be honest, I'm Chinese. I prefer to cook Chinese food. I don't think anyone is really implying anything -- rather, they're all being quite enthusiastic about the things they like to cook, or things they find easy to cook. And I don't want to be snobby or anything. But, I mean, I've eaten Chinese food for most of my life, and the thought of cooking something like a taco salad or meatloaf or the like is much further away than the thought of cooking good rice porridge. I suppose mostly it's people of good intention not quite realizing that, to me, Chinese food is comfort food, not strange and exotic and difficult to cook. Actually, that's probably a very good metaphor for much of my life -- people tend to assume I'm a fully integrated Asian-American with great knowledge of pop culture and whatnot, which I am not, or they assume I'm a fully integrated Chinese person in Taiwan (before I open my mouth, that is... and not using the term "Taiwanese" because I'm still not quite sure if it is an ethnic label or not, and seeing as how my grandparents are from China...), which I am also not. Mostly I feel like a person for whom all things are vaguely foreign and exotic. Anyhow, back to the almost-rant. I keep wanting to start ranting on why people only seem to push me to cook, and not the boy, but luckily the boy has nipped this mid-bud and said his parents annoy him about it too. Although sometimes when I am there, it feels suspiciously as though they are urging me to cook for him, which is vaguely creepy.

In other news, I have found out that I sort of know [livejournal.com profile] fannishly's cousin from Taiwan!!!! OMG SO WEIRD!! SO COOL!! And I had no idea when I found her LJ (or she found mine)!! The internet (and Taiwan) is a very small world indeed. Actually, I attribute this more to the Taiwan factor, since apparently everyone with some sort of connection to Taiwan who has ever been in America will somehow end up connected with someone else I know with a connection to Taiwan. And if you think I'm bad, it's ten times more extreme with my parents. I used to joke that my dad would meet someone he knew every time he walked through an airport.

Randomly: Is there any sort of good "how to write book reviews" website ala all those good "how to write sci-fi/fantasy" sites out there? Nyargh, must remember not to be too ambitious, but I suppose there is no harm in trying, yes?
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