In truth, writing straddles the line between an art and a science, as much as I find that phrase cliché and overused. When something is defined as “the art and the science of blank,” it’s really just a way to avoid having to rigorously explain the entire topic. This is why leadership is always defined as an “art and a science” – no one wants to go through the effort of reducing to explicit, technical principles all of the different variations and intricacies of leaders. However, that’s a subject for another day. Writing, at least fiction writing, truly is an art and a science.
In my literary tour of the ancient world, I've visited Iceland, Europe, the Middle East, India, and the Mediterranean, and I have plans to visit China (that will be next week's review, sort of). The perhaps obvious gaping holes in this journey are Africa and the Americas, which simply do not have the same ancient literary traditions as the other locations I've mentioned. I could be reading ancient Greek literature for the rest of the year at least, but even finding a single title authentic to the Americas (as opposed to a history of the region) was a challenge. Eventually, I stumbled across something called the Popol Vuh.
need to have different languages for different cultures, or measurement systems based on the length of the Prime’s big toe, or different calendars that never quite line up properly. It’s your world, and you’re free to design it in as orderly a fashion as you could desire. But you shouldn’t.
established a social media presence. Granted, that’s only through GoodReads, for the moment, but it’s a (painful) start. If you’re tired of reading my book reviews here on the site, you can also find them posted on GoodReads, along with a list of books I’m intending to read, and a progress bar for books I’m currently reading.
I came across this particular text when I was browsing through an actual bookstore, and added it to my list almost entirely because of the author on the cover; everything I've read of Asimov's, from his Robot books, to two massive compilations of his short stories, to Foundation, which is one of my most frequently referenced books, has been enjoyable, so I figured I was pretty safe to add Fantastic Voyage to my reading list, even though the description didn't sound very compelling to me. It's surprising, therefore, that I mostly found this story disappointing.
Some of the episodes I've written for Blood Magic have been memorable to me, for one reason or another: the first two because I wrote them and revised them so many times before they became part of this series, the season one finale, Borivat's story in Cracks in the Ice, or even the recent Contaminant. In some cases it might be because of the amount of time I spent on the writing, or how difficult the writing was, or, less commonly, how much I personally enjoy a given episode. Should I admit that I remembered very little about Unbalanced before I did my pre-revision re-read?
inspires strong opinions. Most people, and even many authors, use rules of grammar and understanding of grammar as best practices that help enable clarity of communication. Some people, like me, get a little too fixated on the rules of grammar, like avoiding dangling prepositions. The outlier is a particular part of speech that many people, and not just those who wield the pen on a regular basis, apparently love to hate: adverbs.
This is as much a history book as it is a science book, so it strongly appealed to my polymath tendencies (I should really write a post about the polymath/Renaissance Man concept). In fact, if I were going to teach an introductory course on thermodynamics, or wanted to introduce someone to the topic, I would highly recommend this book, rather than using a more traditional textbook.
By now, you may have seen our post announcing that IGC Publishing will no longer be hosting advertisements, or at least noticed that advertisements are no longer appearing on the site. That for the most part doesn't affect the site's formatting, but it did mean that I needed to develop a different way to indicate a section or chapter break in our stories, since I had originally intended to use the advertisements like commercial breaks. So I broke out my limited graphic design skills, and attempted to create something suitable.
Recently, I've been twitching for a more rigorous intellectual challenge for the science and engineering side of me, which has led to me researching the millennium problems, designing scientific experiments, and adding books like Eight Amazing Engineering Stories to my reading list. In other words, I was rather looking forward to this as an interesting and in-depth look at a selection of technologies and the stories of how they came to be. Unfortunately, it turns out that what I consider in-depth is a little different from what people writing a companion book for a series of YouTube videos considers in-depth; so yes, I have to admit that I found this book a little disappointing, and am glad that it only took me a couple of days to read, but that does not mean you should stop reading this review, or even that you shouldn't read the book. Let me explain.