Experiments in Ontological Relativism

and Other Brain Farts

Review – The God Engines, by John Scalzi

Posted by Jason on August 13, 2010

In lieu of actual content, here’s a review I wrote recently on Goodreads. I might also have another one up later today. Also, new fiction, coming soon!

The God Engines, by John Scalzi

Cover of The God Engines, by John ScalziOverall I really enjoyed this book. My biggest problem with it is one that I often have with novellas: it felt too short and left me wanting more.

The setting was, for me, the most interesting part. I feel like a lot was just hinted at, and much more of this world exists in Scalzi’s mind. I hope he returns to it one day.

The ending, though it flows logically, left me feeling a bit… cheated. As I said, I was just growing to really like this setting, but the end leaves it changed irrevocably.

Overall, this was a good, quick read. The illustrations are beautiful as well. I’d recommend it to fans of space opera and dark fantasy.

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Soulless (part 1)

Posted by Jason on March 20, 2010

[So here’s the beginning of a first-draft work in progress. If the beginning sounds familiar to you, it’s because it was 50 First Lines #31. Of course, that line is still free for you to use however you wish, but this is my take on one way it could go. Let me know what you think!]

“You may feel a mild burning sensation as your soul is removed from your body,” said a pleasant voice. “Please try to relax.”

Daniel forced his fingers to stop tap-tap-tapping on the hard plastic arm of the chair and tried to slow his racing heart through sheer force of will. Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe it wasn’t too late to back out. He was sure that they had people do that all the time. Sure, all he had to do was stand up, maybe make a joke about the chair being uncomfortable, and…

“Your soul has been successfully extracted,” the voice continued in its conversationally unemotional tone. “Thank you for your kind donation. If you are experiencing any dizziness, disorientation, or loss of memory, please remain seated. These should pass within one to two minutes. If such symptoms persist, please press the call button next to your…”

The voice continued its pre-recorded monologue, but Daniel just blinked. That was it? It was already over? He glanced around the small, featureless room, but nothing seemed to have changed. Not that there was anything to change: there were only the four clinical white walls, drop panel ceiling inset with florescent lights, and the red plastic chair. And himself, of course. But he hadn’t changed either, or at least he didn’t feel any different. He hadn’t felt anything at all. Wasn’t losing your soul supposed to feel… well, feel like something?

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50 First Lines – #32

Posted by Jason on March 20, 2010

As the server crashed for the fifth time that afternoon, Takeshi tried to remind himself again how technology was making his life easier.

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50 First Lines by Jason Ramboz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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50 First Lines – #31

Posted by Jason on February 24, 2010

“You may feel a slight burning sensation as your soul is removed,” said a pleasant voice.

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50 First Lines by Jason Ramboz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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50 First Lines – #30

Posted by Jason on February 19, 2010

Well, Martin thought, scratching slowly at the stubble on his chin, that certainly is one big pile of meat.

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50 First Lines by Jason Ramboz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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50 First Lines – #29

Posted by Jason on February 18, 2010

Steam curled in long, ethereal wisps around the stars flickering in the water.

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50 First Lines by Jason Ramboz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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50 First Lines – #28

Posted by Jason on January 20, 2010

The monkey had run out of power before finishing the book again.

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50 First Lines by Jason Ramboz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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50 First Lines – #27

Posted by Jason on January 8, 2010

Though he would never know it, Samip was the most dangerous man ever to live.

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50 First Lines by Jason Ramboz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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On Hipster Irony, -isms, and Sea Monsters

Posted by Jason on December 14, 2009

In her review of Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters, Jaymee Goh made a wonderful, precise summary of a trend that has been bothering me very much lately:

“Modern humour apparently requires some jaded, cynical worldview in which we are to say something we know is an -ism in order to show how in touch we are with the bad, horrible world. But you know what? Knowing something is racist, and saying it while knowing it’s racist doesn’t make it any less racist. Or sexist. Or ableist. It’s still an -ism, no matter how you wrap it.”

Context is an amazing tool, to be sure. It can entirely change the meaning of a word, a phrase, an entire text. But context is a funny thing: it can be easily missed, and it can be changed. And I think the ironic hipster “oh-I’m-being-offensive-but-not-really-because-I-know-I-am-and-see-how-enlightened-I’m-being-by-acknowledging-it?” is on the verge of falling afoul of both.

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50 First Lines – #26

Posted by Jason on November 2, 2009

The train is full of the dead again this morning, dead eyes staring staring staring at my living flesh.

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50 First Lines by Jason Ramboz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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