I am not a writer, but I bought this book because I am curious about how writers craft sentences. As the author clarifies early in the first chapter,..Show More » this book is actually about building good LONG sentences. He explains how good, long, sustaining sentences are built. He cites many good examples from current and past writers. Some of the analytical observations and technical terms used to describe certain approaches in building sentences are bit too much for me, and I somehow doubt that Hemingway and other great writers studied these technical aspects of writing, but the materials covered in this book are still fascinating to me, and I now appreciate long sentences more. One small issue for me was that it took me some time to get used to this professor's tone of voice and his accents. You might want to check out the sample to hear his voice first to see if you are comfortable listening to the sound for 12 hours.
I've read many books and articles on publishing, so I go into every new material with a raised eye brow. There is SO much bad, misleading, and unhelpf..Show More »ul information on this topic that it leads many authors down the wrong path. NOT SO WITH THIS! This was a thorough, entertaining, and intriguing book/class on the publishing industry. Jane is AWESOME! she does a great job being unbiased in giving information about trade publishing and self publishing. This information she gives is accurate and up-to-date and she gives it in an energetic and encouraging way. I HIGHLY recommend this book for writers in all ends of the spectrum of publishing. I for one am inspired and encouraged to keep writing. This is one of the best investments I made for my career. Check it out for yourself.
After listening to these 24 lectures by Professor Gary Wolfe, I think the Hugo Awards for outstanding achievement in science fiction writing needs a n..Show More »ew category. This course should win Most Interesting History and Best Argument for the Literary Value of the Genre.
The overview starts with the19th century European and American roots of science fiction, through the American-dominated pulp magazine and early novel years, the transformative 80s and 90s, and into the new millennium. The chronological presentation is interspersed with lectures on the different icons and tropes of science fiction: space ships, robots, aliens, apocolypses, and dystopias all get thorough coverage. How sci fi has dealt with religion, history, ecology, and gender also get their own lectures.
There is all kinds of interesting stuff here. There are digressions about the difference between fantasy and science fiction (my favorite distinction was the premise that science fiction has planets--Mars, Arrakis, Barrayar--while fantasy has worlds--Middle Earth, Westeros, Chalion). Dr. Wolfe returns frequently to the paradox that the audience for sci fi books and short stories has always been a fairly small one compared to that for, say, mystery, romance, or even fantasy, whereas science fiction movies have huge audiences and have dominated the box office for decades--think 2001 Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Alien, Independence Day, and Avatar, to name just a few.
In both print and cinematic form, however, Wolfe notes that, in the eyes of Those Who Decree What Shall Be Considered Art (and those who give out the National Book and Academy Awards), science fiction "don't get no respect." His final two lectures are among the best, covering, respectively, the wide range of international and culturally diverse authors and their contributions that have appeared in the last 20 years; and what he considers hopeful signs of increasing recognition that the best science fiction is as good as the best "literary" fiction. He quotes author China Meiville's observation that, while the latter may bring readers moments of "Oh. Yes," good science fiction brings readers moments of, "Oh, wow!"
Dr. Wolfe is very obviously an expert, immersed in and enthusiastic about his subject. There's no dreary droning, no pedantic pomposity here. I suppose if you *really* hate being lectured to, this college-level course will not change your mind. But if you're at all interested in science fiction--or even in literature in general--I can't recommend this course highly enough.
I love the break down of this course. It is not the same five paragraph writing drills, but she walks you through different types, storylines, teache..Show More »s you how to make the read feel the words.
This course might have been better off with 30 or even 24 lectures instead of these 36 too-often painfully repetitious segments. Although the course o..Show More »utline looks like it would be inclusive and stimulating, in fact many of the lectures sound the same. I quit listening to several of them when what I thought was going to be a new and interesting topic became a reiteration of previous material.
Not that there aren’t some enlightening and interesting lectures on a couple of unexpected topics such as "Latino Detectives on the Border" and "The American Dime Novel," but for the most part Professor Schmid keeps returning to a few favorite themes.
The first and most repeated theme is the foundational (the professor is fond of such adjectives) roots of mystery and suspense fiction, which he attributes to Edgar Allan Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie. It would be pretty hard to argue with these choices, but their work (especially Poe’s "The Murders in the Rue Morgue") is referred to so often, and usually using similar words to make the same points over and over, that I began to wonder whether we’d make it into the 21st century. We do in fact get there, and in the process spend a lot of time with The Private Eye, another pet topic--again a fair choice that I thought it was overemphasized.
This is definitely a college “lit” course, of a type that emphasizes subjective analysis ("why does Dashiell Hammett tell us that Sam Spade's eyes 'burned yellowly'?") and literary criticism ("The noted critic xxx zzz has proposed that...."). It’s also a very academic presentation, heavy on the "here’s what I’m about to tell you, I’m telling you this, here’s what I just told you" formula. For what it presents, it is authoritative, and I did learn some interesting things, but it did not inspire me to explore the work of any of the new-to-me authors, or to try my own hand at mystery and suspense writing (at which I admit I would be awful, so that last is probably just as well).