I was typed on this sub some time ago but my answers were too vague and not that accurate I think. I’m doubting my type again and I need some new insight. submitted by
– Describe yourself in as much elaborate detail as possible (that still renders you anonymous, or to a level of acceptable comfort)
18 yo high school student just trying to survive IB. My gender is a questionable thing. I consider myself non binary because I’ve always felt extremely uncomfortable with talking about my gender and I wanted to obey all of the expectations and gender roles.
I hate all of the labels and sht. I feel like I’m an individual being that doesn’t fit anywhere but at the same time I feel like a part of humanity and I can connect to literally any human being. Doesn’t matter of nationality/age/gendesome other sht. I sympathize with everyone and I kinda feel like I belong to them. If I had to move to foreign country that I don’t know anything about, right now, I think I’d quickly adapt to the culture. I feel like everything and nothing at the same time.
I am diagnosed with severe social anxiety and I display some characteristics of avoidant personality disorder. It basically makes me unable to figure out my type since I don’t know what is true about my personality and what is a defense mechanism anymore.
I need some insight from other people because I’m so confused about my own self. I don’t really understand the concept of personality traits at all. I feel like a chameleon and I have no consistent personality.
– Why are you interested in knowing your type?
At first I was just curious because I’m really into psychology and I found the idea of cognitive functions interesting. But now I’m just mad at myself that I can’t decide on my type because I relate to few types but at the same type I relate to none of them. I just want to be certain. I have this issue that I need to be sure about my every decision and I hate that whenever I finally decide that “this is my real type, it feels right” then suddenly a few days later I find out that it can’t be my real type because the way that type is supposed to think doesn’t really describe how I think very well.
– Do you go to work and/or you in school? If so, what field/occupation/subjects?
I go to school. I changed my school a year ago. My first school wasn’t that bad, the teachers weren’t the worst, my classmates didn’t bully me for being quiet and I had not so bad grades. But deep down I hated that school. There were so many people that I felt overwhelmed and I had to close myself in the restroom every break. I just couldn’t handle this many people. And this school had such a depressing vibe for some reason. After one of my classmates almost commited a suicide it had become even worse.
I accidentally found another school that was way smaller (less people) and since it was IB it could mean I’d have better opportunities for universities abroad. And I could choose every subject. I didn’t think twice, I changed my school immediately. It didn’t matter for me that the exams would be much harder and there would be overall more work. And that new classmates might bully me or something. I mean, I was scared at first but I had to try no matter what. Now I think it was actually a great idea. I love this school even though I sometimes struggle with this much work.
My subjects are my native language, english, german, biology, psychology and maths. I chose them because I’m good at them. Except for math, it was obligatory.
– Describe your upbringing. Did it have any kind of religious or structured influence? How did you respond to it?
It was pretty chill I guess. My parents have always supported all of my weird interests that I wanted to try and some of my dumb decisions even if they disagreed with them. Although most people would say that I should be grateful to my parents that they were always generous to me with their affection and money, at the same time they never understood me. I’ve always been a very creative and imaginative child. I’ve always been daydreaming and I used to write stories a lot. My parents thought it was some sign of schizophrenia or something (it wasn’t) and told me to stop daydreaming and focus on school and grades. I remember whenever I tried to share some of my weird ideas with them, they were always telling me that it’s pointless and I have to be more down to earth. I was also very curious as a kid and I could sometimes research some really bizarre stuff because I found it interesting. I remember my parents once found my searching history and literally yelled at me for searching some useless knowledge. I’d understand their reaction if I was searching for p0rn or something like that but I was looking for some psychology stuff lol. I started to become very secretive at this point and now I always have to be in incognito mode and I have to clear my history frequently or I’ll become anxious that somebody is judging me. And I remember when I once told them about my anxiety they literally told me that it’s not a problem and I’m perfectly fine and I should stop thinking about such pointless stuff.
Religion wasn’t a very big issue for me. My parents are christian but they never tried to force anything on me. They tried to make me religious when I was a child but eventually let me choose whether I want to believe in that or not. At first I considered myself christian even though I didn’t know what it was even about. I was told since childhood that it is the truth so I didn’t question it at that time. But I eventually started questioning my faith. I didn’t like going to the church, the prayers and all. I didn’t really agree with some of the principles of that religion. I began to ask myself whether I really believe in god or do I “believe” because I’m scared of punishment. When I grew up, I started doing some research on the Bible and I realised that it doesn’t make any sense. I mean, it depends how you interpret it, for me it didn’t make any sense. Also, in my native country there’s something like religious education in school and it’s basically forcing christianity into kids. I hate this. I rember a priest that was „teaching” my class in middle school and once he could say that god loves and accepts everyone but then he could say something like gay bad, trans bad. Like the fck is this?!
– Do you need logical consistency in your life?
I have no idea what that inherently means but I’ll try to answer anyway.
I like to think that everything is connected and I can start overthinking things that don’t make sense to me, to find some explanations. I need explanations for everything. I used to be really anxious about what happens after death because that’s something I can’t explain. I mean, I can try but it wouldn’t be 100% accurate because I can’t check that unless I’d die. If I ever decided to kill myself, the reason would be probably that I just wanted to check what will happen to me. I created my own theory on what happens after death that I try to believe is true so I won’t have to kill myself. I somehow tried to base it on science but it turned out to be some irrational crap. But for me it makes the most sense so I assume it’s accurate since it can’t be proven right or wrong. It just depends what you believe in. I know my theory is not perfect and I only pretend I believe in it but I really don’t want to have to kill myself so I need to approve any explanation, doesn’t matter how irrational it sounds.
– How curious are you? Do you have more ideas then you can execute? What are your curiosities about? What are your ideas about?
I think I’m very curious. I want to know everything. Like literally everything. Possessing all of the knowledge possible and understanding the whole world and how it works had been my dream since I remember. Sometimes I can get into some bizarre interests that are completely useless for me but I still find them interesting, like marine biology.
Anyway, I have too many ideas and usually, I end up with nothing. My ideas can be about everything and anything but usually creative stuff like ideas for songs or novels.
– If money was not an issue, what careejob would you have?
I wouldn’t even go to work lmao. I’d just procrastinate all day.
At the end of the day I’d probably have to go to work because I’d be scared that I’d lose all the money and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself anymore and I don’t want to parasite on anybody so yeah, I’d have to go to work someday. But the thing is, I have no idea what job I’d like to have.
– Are you a free spirit or do you play by the rules? If so, why?
This is quite hard for me to answer. I have a weird relationship with the rules. Of course I don’t like being limited or told exactly what to do, I can be a little rebel sometimes. But at the same time I need some guidance. When I have no direction, my mind goes blank because I either have no idea what to do or too many ideas. When I’m doing some work for other people, I always have to ask about every little detail so they’ll be satisfied with my work. I have to do that because if I’m given too much freedom I tend to think backwards and do the literal opposite because I could understand the assignment differently or something like that. I don’t want others to be disappointed with my work.
I always think differently than it’s expected from me lol. I remember once there was a test at school about some poem and there was a task to interpret the last sentence or something. I thought it was about time loops so I wrote about it but when we were checking the test, the teacher said it was about death. I got half of the points for that task because my arguments were good but my interpretation wasn’t the same as the teacher’s and it was a bit out of the blue. Like my teacher probably didn’t even know where the hell did I get that from.
– If I asked you to take a shot with a football how would that make you feel? Would you be able to do it well? Would you enjoy it?
I’d die internally because it’d remind me of my trauma associated with team sports. I used to be bullied in primary school because I wasn’t good at sports. I could never follow the ball and the general action that was taking place because that sht was too fast for me. And I used to have anemia so I literally had no strength or energy to do anything. I’m still not very athletic so I’d probably do terribly. But I think I could enjoy it if it was just for fun and I wouldn’t be ridiculed for any mistake.
– If I asked you to write me an essay, would you enjoy it? What would it be about? How would it make you feel?
I love writing essays in english but I hate writing in my native language (it’s more complicated than english and even native speakers can sometimes make some really stupid and basic mistakes) so as long as it is in english I’d enjoy it. I have no idea what I’d write about. If I was given a topic I could write about literally anything but if I had to choose a topic myself I’d be completely clueless. I’d probably search for some ideas on the internet and then choose whatever seems the easiest to write because I don’t want to spend 7492810847 hours on that essay.
– Is it okay to crack a few eggs? If it makes an omelette? Do the ends justify the means?
I guess so. Do anything you want, just don’t hurt anybody else.
– Do you put things back in their proper place?
I never do that and it’s going to make me insane someday. I can sometimes put my phone somewhere and after 5 minutes I can completely forget where the hell I put it and then search for it for hours. I lose my stuff at home all the time because I put my sht wherever I feel like. I wish I wasn't this messy because it can be annoying but I can’t stand order either. I get inspiration from chaos and whenever I’m drawing I HAVE to make my desk a bit messy because when it’s empty and clean it feels as if my mind was empty.
– How do you behave around strangers, acquaintances and friends?
I have social anxiety so I act very awkwardly around strangers and people I don’t know that well like for example classmates. I’m very shy. I stutter a lot, I say stupid things unintentionally, I tend to zone out a lot. I’m also very quiet and I never talk unless I’m being asked directly. Even if asked directly, I can sometimes still keep quiet.
I can become overwhelmed a lot when I’m around other people and I sometimes have panic attacks or I can start crying for no reason.
I can’t do small talk, it’s pointless for me and it seems so fake. But if I ever approached somebody for the first time and asked them what is the meaning of life or something like that, they’d think I’m insane, so I don’t really know how to start a conversation. And I really hate questions like „how are you?". What does it even mean, like wtf. My social skills are so terrible, I wish I was born with some instruction on how to act in any social situation. Whenever I have to talk to a teacher or somebody else in a formal setting, I always have to ask my mom how do I say what I want to say in a way that will be appropriate. This sht’s exhausting.
I have no friends but my family is like my friends so I can say how I act around them. I think I’m the most “real” around them because I’m not scared they’ll judge me. I’m a completely different person when I’m comfortable. I can be a clown sometimes, I say a lot of dumb stuff intentionally because I don’t feel embarassed when I’m around my family. My family has so many inside jokes, most of them made by me lol. I can be very loud and talkative sometimes or even argumentative and I’ve heard so many times from my parents “if you only were this outspoken at school like you are at home”. If any of my classmates saw me like that they’d say it’s an impostor because there’s no way I could act like that lmao.
I also got more comfortable with my distant family and I’m not that shy anymore when I’m around them. I can confront my uncles whenever they’ll try to playfully bully me (I really hate when they do that) and I feel so good about that. I wouldn’t be able to do anything like that a year ago and I’m glad I’m getting more confident.
– Do you have exquisite tastes that you would expend effort or money for?
I buy apple stuff because it’s easier for me to use. I once had an android phone and it was a pain to use.
– How do you act when others request your help to do something (anything)? If you would decide to help them, why would you do so?
I think I’d help no matter how I’d feel about it. I lack assertiveness because of my social anxiety. With people I’m comfortable with, I think I’d still help no matter what. I’d just feel terrible as a person if I wouldn’t help.
– How long do you take to make an important decision? How would you go about it? And do you change your mind once you've made it?
I’m hella indecisive. I have to ask other people for some guidance or I’ll be lost. I literally cannot decide for myself. I also sometimes seem like I have no opinion on anything but I just see pros and cons in everything and I can’t decide on the best option. Everything is shades of gray and whatever I choose should be personal preference but I always look for the objectively best solution that will be approved by my inner critic and also other people. It’s exhausting because I can’t even choose a meal in a restaurant. I treat it like some very important decision while it’s so mundane. When it comes to food my final choice would probably be something I haven't tried yet that sounds good or whatever with shrimp. I’m always in a mood for some shrimp lol. I sometimes can choose something familiar but only when I really don’t know what to choose. After making my final decision, I always wonder what if another one would be better and I never feel certain about my decisions. I’m scared of making decisions because I’m anxious that my decision was the wrong one. I wish I could try everything in my life.
– If I asked you to design a plan of action, would it be easier to work alone or in a group? Do you ask for others’ opinions? or stick to your own guns?
It would be better to work alone because I cannot work in a group since my social skills are lower than the bottom of Marianas trench. I can’t even work with people I’m comfortable with. I feel like they distract and overwhelm me and I prefer to get some ideas from others and then execute everything myself. When I get some ideas from other people, it immediately stimulates my mind and I can quickly come up with something. I sometimes have great ideas while trying to create something out of nothing but I have the best ideas when I find some ideas from the external world that inspire me and I start from there. After I finish my work, I have to show it to others. I need some validation from them because I want to know if my work is acceptable. With any schoolwork, I have to first show it to my sister before I can show it to my teacher so I know I didn’t do any crap and I wouldn’t be laughed at. I can’t show anything to my teachers without being certain it’s good.
– A weekend best spent looks like ...?
If I could do anything I wanted, I wish I could go to the mountains or sightseeing by myself or with my family. More realistic best weekend would be a weekend where I don’t have that much work for school and I can actually relax.
– My biggest fears are ...
There’s quite a lot of that. Most of my life has been full of the feelings of fear and anxiety.
I’m really scared of social interactions and public speeches, being judged or rejected. I hate the feeling of embarrassment, it makes me feel so uncomfortable. I’m also really scared of crowds. When there are too many people around, I start panicking. I once got a panic attack at a wedding and nobody could calm me down, I was so overwhelmed (especially that there were many photographers and they were surrounding me so I couldn’t really escape from them. I didn’t want them to take any pictures of me so I put a jacket on my face whenever I saw them near me. Most of the wedding I spent outside sitting on a bench because there weren’t that many people there and there weren’t any photographers around).
I’m really scared of the future because I don’t know what to do with myself and I’m probably gonna end up lonely, depressed and addicted to some crap.
What I really hate is pressure and feeling controlled or trapped. Especially at school because I’m forced to do things that make me uncomfortable, like performing in front of people. And I feel like school has always been limiting my creativity and individuality.
I’m also scared of bugs. I hate them so much. I can start panicking whenever I hear a fcking fly.
– How much do you express yourself and what mediums do you do that through? Art? Writing? Talking?
Art is my thing. But I’m more into analyzing and critiquing art rather than creating. When I do create, I express my ideas more than my feelings.
I draw graphic novels. The funny thing is that I don’t even “like” most of my works. I mean, if somebody else created these stories and I was a reader, I’d rate them something around 5 on enjoyment. Most of my stories are based on some concepts I found interesting or I create stories to see how the public would react to it or just to check how I’ll perform at a specific genre rather than something that is personal to me.
I sometimes write songs and they also aren’t that personal to me. Some are, but most of my lyrics are about things anyone could relate to. And I like to create some really weird analogies. I wrote 8379287593 songs about comparing some random stuff to toxic relationships. Give me any random thing and I could transform it into a song about toxic relationships. I’ve never been in a toxic relationship tho. My sister also writes songs but they are so personal that only she knows what they are about. I hate that to be completely honest. I prefer lyrics that make sense and are easy to interpret given the context.
I think I create for the audience instead of myself.
I express my feelings through writing. I sometimes just write down my thoughts to let go of them and it’s very therapeutic for me. I sometimes post some of my thoughts on my twitter. I really need an audience lol.
– Generally where do you lean politically? Is it every man for himself? Should people be pragmatic? Does the government need to step in and help people?
I’ve tried to get into politics more because I might seem ignorant since I have no political views. I see pros and cons in everything and it’s really hard for me to decide what is the best. I somewhat agree with every side. I could say I’m libertarian because I value freedom a lot, but I don’t really know.
– Does it matter if something is factually correct for you to believe in it?
Depends. I won’t believe in something like flat earth but not everything can be scientifically proven. I can be a bit sceptical since science is constantly improving and literally anything can be proven wrong at any time.
– Are emotions/feelings an important aspect of your life? If so, then why?
This is a very tough question for me. I have no idea if emotions are just chemicals in the brain and the way I react to things or if it’s something deeper. I want to think it’s something deeper because it’s more optimistic and it could mean that feelings are something individual for everyone (and my therapist said so lol). I like to think that there is something in the world that is only for me. I got very obsessed with my individuality because I have a twin and we’ve been constantly compared to each other. People used to treat us as if we were one person. Now I have to be “different” in everything, so people will finally address me by my name and not per “twin” all the time.
I like to see myself as an individual being and I also see other people like that. I just love the idea that everyone is different but at the same time we’re all connected.
Are emotions actually important in my life? I guess so. I mean, I don’t really know, but my therapist told me that understanding my emotions is the key to curing my mental health issues and existential crisis. The thing is that I try to avoid my feelings as much as I can because when I’m left alone with my feelings I get depressed and start crying. Every night when I’m going to sleep, I start overthinking a lot since it’s the only thing I can do, so I started to distract myself from thinking by creating some fictional stories in my head.
A bit on my feelings because it’s really confusing to me:
I have trouble with recognizing my feelings and I sometimes have trouble being subjective. I can even be a people pleaser. I remember I had to write an essay for my english class about my thoughts on some quote and I first wrote what I think the author meant, then why it’s accurate and why it’s not and then in conclusion I wrote in which aspects I agree with the author and in which I disagree. Then my sister told me I did it wrong because I was supposed to write what the quote meant to me personally. But that was what it meant to me lol.
Whenever my therapist asks me about my feelings I always answer “I don’t know”. Because I just genuinely don’t know. Even when she once told me I can explain my emotions metaphorically, I still couldn’t. For some time I was thinking that I don’t feel emotions at all but my therapist told me I just feel differently than how I think I „should” feel. I have this weird inner view of how emotions “should” be and I’m quite anxious that it doesn’t actually work like that.
I can sometimes get really dramatic with my external emotions (shouting, crying, etc) but I never actually feel like that. I think that how I react is so different from how I actually feel. I never realise that I’m acting like I was angry in that exact moment but rather when people tell me that I was acting dramatic or something and after I’ll calm down I’m like “oh, I probably seemed angry at that time”.
– How attached are you to reality?
I don’t think I’m very attached to reality. I feel like I’m living in a simulation sometimes. The experience of life is so surreal, I can’t even explain it.
I daydream a lot. Maybe even too much. I can sometimes lay in my bed for hours doing nothing and just thinking and listening to music. I even wondered if I don’t have maladaptive daydreaming at some point. I sometimes get caught up in my thoughts and when somebody distracts me I can get frustrated. When I’m with other people I can sometimes zone out completely because, for example, I saw a plane and I started wondering how the hell does it exactly work that it can float in the air, completely ignoring the people I’m with.
– How thick skinned are you? Are you sensitive to criticism?
I am very sensitive actually. But I think I got more thick skinned over time. I used to be such a sensitive child that literally anything could make me cry. Not sure if I really got more confident or if it’s the medicine I’m taking for my anxiety tho.
I’m also a huge empath. Whenever I read a book or watch a film, I literally “transform” into the main characters and feel everything they feel. I remember I tried to read The Sorrows of Young Werther for school and I couldn’t finish it, I wasn’t able to handle this much negative feelings. I just read the summaries and hoped I’ll pass the test. I also started reading a manga called Chi no wadachi recently and it killed me.
I’m fine with constructive criticism. I like criticism if it’s intended to help me improve and I hate it when somebody does that just to sht on me. I can get aggressive sometimes when somebody criticizes me all the time, even when I improve my work and they still can see something bad about it. I really hate it because it doesn’t help me at all.
If I get insulted, I try not to care or not show that I care, but I actually deeply care at first. I usually forget about it and move on quickly but it’s still somewhat hurtful I guess.
Hi, Im Morrigan a non binary trans woman living in belfast, I was invited to a pathway review meeting in a personal capacity to help give my feedback and concerns, on the belfast gic brackenburn and how to get it up and running again whenever it does. I can say they are working on it but I have no timeframe. But i think other service users need to hear of my experiences in this meeting. I have never experienced a sheer lack of knowledge, and lack of concern for the service users for this service from the people meant to fix it. submitted by
Of the 5 or 6 trans people brought to this meeting, Only 3 were going to be active users of the serviceThe clinicians at the under 18 service and the adult gic were more concerned with screening for autism to the extent they talked over the fact that someone brought up the fact, that they had been personally excluded from gender care due to a possible autism diagnosis.
We experienced an ungodly amount of ableism from the nhs in regards to treatment of autistic trans folks, with one person at the meeting wanting to signpost to autism "treatment" services. ME and one other found this disgusting and corrected them saying its support services, folks need and it should be an opt in and not mandatory for treatment. We were talked over, by a lady from the KOI under 18 service saying that 17.2% of her patients have autism. I pointed out it is likely higher due to masking and lying as the screening assessments have just trained trans people to be good liars as well as any formal psych assessment would teach that.
When i brought up the lack of provisions for those self medicating or finding it difficult to get gp's to agree to shared care with private clinics, I was told thats a "complex situation". I brought up the fact it is a ticking time bomb as eventually someone will harm themselves due to a lack of harm prevention provisions given by gp's for those self medicating. And was ignored.
Me and a few other of the folks at this meeting, brought up lack of gp training with us relaying many experiences of psychosexual questioning, and barriers to care operating from gps. This seemed to be the only thing they actively listened to us on, that gps are failing to refer patients, and self referral should be an option.
We noticed that of the groups in the voluntary sector none of the transgenderNI groups were invited. Instead a group i had never heard of focus was invited. Later on after detailing my experiences I learnt that focus is a support group that requires proof of transition and signing an NDA to join and someone i talked to pointed out that they dont allow non binary people access so a Transmed group instead of folks from the BTRC which only by chance one of the people invited was a former volunteer and myself as a service user of the centre.
Im just relaying my experiences but folks dont get your hopes up for informed consent in Belfast anytime soon. To me, the few trans folks barring me and two others. Were brought in to be yes men to plans already made and criticisms were largely ignored especially the ableism shown to neurodiverse folks. to quote me and my friend at this meeting. We thought it was a shitshow and that any reforms to the belfast gic when it gets up and running will be largely inconsequential. They are still keen to keep the services within mental health instead of a move to the two options that were presented endocrinology and sexual health. The move to sexual health was to allow GUM clinics to handle simple cases, which basically what we gathered from the meeting meant non autistic folks or people without diagnosis of other psychological or mental health conditions but was shut down due to the need to screen for autism, after i had pointed out my own aspergers diagnosis was irrelevant and any comorbidity is largely inconsequential if the patient can actively give informed consent and understand the pathways
Hey lovelies, so I made a perfect score on the SAT essay, but I am an embarrassment at everything else, so this is just to say that an essay score doesn’t define you and is overall not as important as it could be. Also this is my own experience, I AM IN NO WAY A WRITING TEACHER, SO PLEASE DON’T COME AT ME IN THE COMMENTS.
My best advice: Write conspiracy theories for every essay
If I had to describe the tone of my writing it would be an academic high on crack.
so buckle up y’all. Also my internationals, I feel ya bc I am not native either- woohoo join the train
Now let’s get down to the actual essay.
My best advice is memorize an essay format because if you are like me and you cry in every section ( I am not even joking) the essay can be a trainwreck of panic, and no one needs that toxic energy in their last section.
So here’s my format:
This is my introduction: While the narrative of the 21st century human experience has resulted in [problem], the underlying causes are most often unexamined. In the article, “”, the author carefully deals with the underlying reasons for [problem] and overtly advocates for , and hopes in the end to [ purpose]. While doing so he employs several literary elements, including….
Note about purpose: this is given in the prompt, so all you have to do is reformat it.
Now for the devices and body paragraphs
GO IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER!!!!!!
Pick out three devices:
- make sure again that it is in order
- explain the effect on the audience
- connect it to the purpose>>>> super important
Now here is the format for these devices:
- Word choice
- evokes emotions or images
- characterizes the subject in a particular way
- sets the
- cultivate émotions
- associate positive or negative connotations with something
- Statistics/ Data
- indicate a problem
- point us towards a bigger issue
- make something harder to argue because numbers are perceived as facts, not opinions
- to effectively ground the authors argument
- to surprise readers
- to put a quantity in relation to another and effectively contrast
- Appeal to Authority
- raise credibility by showing that the author is not the only one who believes in this idea
- increase trust by showing that the argument is indeed well researched
- gain the same acceptance or authority that the authority figure derives from the reader
- establish a precedent that pushes people to act in the way that author wants them to behave
- Acknowledges the other side/making concessions
- address counterarguments, doubts, or fears that the reader may have
- establish common ground
- pave the way for new arguments to be made
- Analogies/ Comparaisons
- allow the reader to understand more complex concepts by connecting them to ones that are much simpler
- associate new ideas with prior one
- which leads the reader into eventual agreement as if he agreed with a prior idea, it is likely he will agree with the new one
- significant distinction is highlighted
- one option seems better than another
- create a binary mentality
- challenging assumptions
- enables this argument to proceed from a clean slate
- dismisses any preconceived ideas or biases that may run counter to his or her argument
- form an emotional bond with the reader through establishing a common ground with the reader
- Rhetorical questions
- gets the reader to imagine a certain scenario
- prods the reader into answering a certain way
- lays out common ground or assumptions that the author can build upon
- describe certain outcomes that may benefit his argument
- Appeal to identity
- one that takes advantage of the common values and beliefs of a group
- human behaviors that seek belonging
- gravitate towards an idea that creates a sense of belonging
- Strong directives
- using we portrays the reader as being on the same side as the reader
- stand in unison
- and appeals to sense of belonging
Note about this format:
Devices- I WILL TALK ABT IT MORE LATER BUT IT IS GOOD IF THEY MESH IN TOGETHER YOUR ESSAY WILL SEEM ALMOST MORE PUT TOGETHER
ALSO YOU DON’T ALWAYS WANT TO STICK THE FORMAT FOR THE DEVICES- USE THEM TO GROW AN ARGUMENT AND REALLY BUILD A FOUNDATION
THE FORMAT IS NOT A BE- ALL OR END ALL-YOU CAN CHANGE IT UP Also strong topic sentences:
Author engages the reader’s interest very early in the article. His use of [element] builds a steady foundation from which he launches his discourse
Without the author’s use of persuasive elements , the article would lose…. How to build strong commentary + get yourself the last points
-This is how I build my sentences- they need to be strong and make sense obviously
The implication is that…
The suggestion is that…
… serves to…
The inclusion of… helps…
… elicits …
… grounds her argument in reality so that even skeptical readers won't be
able to dismiss it
… marks the extent of the problem.
By appealing to our sense of…, the author…
The author exploits the fact that… to…
Given that…, …
… proves to the reader that…
By showing that there is…, the author…
… contributes greatly to the argument's persuasive power by…
- Always write more than 4 pages (preferably 5)
- for some reason College Board values length
So basically the analysis points are legit Satan’s lap dog because they are hard to get
Here are some tips to guarantee you some amazing success
- 1st tip:Use SPACE
- last two are especially important to include in your analysis
- If anyone wants some more explanation of space- I can make another post.
Example of the thing mentioned above:
This is especially resonant as the author writes this in a climate filled with threats of global warming; the author targets the general American public when he writes this as the administration in power is responsible for opting out of Paris Climate Treaty, and the devastating consequences of such an act along with the rise of natural disasters can only make his argument more persuasive 2nd tip
: point out flaws in the author’s argument- this is a hidden trick that always works
I am not talking trash and set on fire the author and the College Board, but you should mention some things regarding a weaker arg and how it could have been stronger so that means LIGHT ACADEMIC TRASHING Here is an example :
Ok on one of the essays that I took. The guy used a statistic to prove that trees did help reduce temperature. However he used a study from his organization that projected increasing temperature Here is what I said about it: The author through his use of statistics aims to establish a logical choice in the reader's mind. By using numbers from the World Health Organization, he tries to usurp the authority that this organization derives and prove that his choice is not only supported by facts but by experts as well. The use of numbers is particularly significant as well since numbers are often regarded as facts, and thus for someone to argue back, a reader would have to either indict or bring up new evidence. While this use of statistics is effective in this context, the author's use of statistics fails due to a misplaced correlation. In this case, a man's passion reveals his weakness, as he uses a study from his own organization to prove his point, which leads us to a possible reevaluation of the purpose not as something to promote the general well being of urban areas, but as a case of self interest and promotion for his organization. Moreover, the basis of his argument rests upon the fact that temperatures decrease based upon the increase of trees. However throughout the argument, the author fails to establish the correlation of this foundation, and by such weakens his argument. He does, in fact, bring up his study, but his study is only in regards to an estimation of the benefice of planting trees and is based on a misplaced correlation where he assumes correlation.
3rd tip: use transitions and nice words
- I can attach a list of good rhetorical words, someone just mention it in the comments.
- but I can't help you on the rest because my vocab was built from intense reading
- suggestion of New York Times- loads of essays are pulled from that place.
4th tip: Do you have a weaker paragraph?
- don’t worry we all do
- put that shit in the middle- 2nd paragraph
5th tip: Always read after each paragraph- like reread- prevents mistakes, and if you need to add more you can!
6th tip: paragraph order
-Quote- embed it properly
-Explain effect of the quote on the audience
-Add your spices>>> SPACE or ACADEMIC TRASHING
-Finish with a nice little purpose that explains how it strengthens the argument
7th tip: Try to find a second device
How to practice:
- find another device in it and mesh in how the two devices work together to create a very strong argument
- strenghtens and goes into detail of that specific device
Most people don’t have the time or energy to write an essay everyday
- but here’s my trick
- everyday I would practice writing a body paragh
- 17 minutes per paragraph
- 5 minutes to find the devices
Also this didn’t belong anywhere but here it is:
don't skip a line, indent>>>
some people asked for vocab so here it is https://blog.collegevine.com/the-50-best-vocab-words-for-the-act-essay/
-- strong words https://blog.prepscholar.com/sat-vocabulary-words
- good words to know https://www.oxford-royale.com/articles/words-phrases-good-essays/#aId=b0308864-2c59-4e78-ae70-668f431523a5
for transitions https://www.oakland.edu/Assets/upload/docs/OUWC/Presentations&Workshops/Rhetorically-Accurate-Verbs.pdf
>>>>> this is for your purpose mostly https://www.sydney.edu.au/content/dam/students/documents/learning-resources/learning-centre/writing/vocabulary-for-essays.pdf
>> this is all you really need honestly
Keep in mind, it is very hard to write and use fancy words in a timed write situation. Please learn the context or at least connotation of these words or else they sound forced. You also don't need fancy word for a good score if you use the sentence pattern you will be fine. The readers are looking for deep analysis if your analysis is trash even if you covered it up with fancy words, it is still trash and you won't earn points. Analysis first and vocab last.
| || |Completing the 2020 Bingo Challenge: Short Story Edition submitted by FarragutCircle to Fantasy [link] [comments]
One of the rules of the Fantasy
Bingo Reading Challenge is that you can read an anthology or collection for any of the squares. I’ve always been a fan of short fiction, so I’ve occasionally used this rule to complete my Bingo Card (I used three collections outside of the Five Short Stories square last year, for example). When planning my card for the 2020 Bingo, I noticed that several of the squares fit quite well for some of the collections and anthologies I had (a Star Trek anthology for Exploration, books with colors or numbers in their names, etc.). “What if…” I wondered, “…I can do it for every
Thus, my project is born: Complete my Bingo card using only books of short stories
, following all the other rules of Bingo. I did not
repeat a single author from one square to another, and I even made sure not to repeat editors, either. Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
A brief aside before we start, some terms I use that some may not be familiar to some:
- Anthology: A book of short stories by multiple authors, usually assembled by an editor whose name is attached to the book (i.e. The Book of Dragons edited by Jonathan Strahan)
- Collection: A book of short stories by a single author (i.e. Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor)
- Short Story Cycle: A book of short stories that has its own narrative (i.e. Moral Disorder by Margaret Atwood). Some similarities with “interlinked collection,” “mosaic novel,” and “fix-up novel” (The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury being a famous example of the latter).
- Reprint and Original: Many anthologies/collections reprint stories published previously (reprint) vs. originally written for the book in question (original). Some collections will mix it up (such as a reprint collection with one original story to encourage readers who have read the others to pick up the new book).
What did I hope to accomplish by doing this particular short fiction challenge? Some of my friends will complain about the Five Short Stories square (especially the hard mode requirement to read a book), and I wanted to spite them a little bit and also demonstrate that there’s a lot of different and interesting books out there to read in that format! Planning:
The hardest thing about this was the original planning, as several books I thought would be an easy match for the square didn’t work because another anthology I planned to use already included that author, so I had to dig a bit deeper to find something that didn’t repeat any authors. Also, in past Bingo Challenges, my cards are usually quite fluid as I shift books around throughout the year. Because of all the authors I was juggling, I couldn’t easily do that (though it was vastly easier to do with collections instead of anthologies, for obvious reasons). Numbers:
For this card, I officially read 32 books
for the 25 squares: One of those books was quite short, so I read an additional three to meet the length requirement. For the original Five Short Stories square, I decided to be obnoxious and read five collections. These 32 books included 1 short novel (included in one of the collections), 8 novellas, 106 novelettes, 498 short stories, and 3 poems
for a total of at least 2,739,975 words
(the rough equivalent of reading the first nine novels of The Wheel of Time
). I read 189 different authors
. In addition to the 32 books above, I read 15 “pre-Bingo” books—books I felt I needed to read to be able to read the anthology or collection I actually used for my Bingo Card. Fifteen of the 32 books were ones I already owned. Nine books I checked out from the library. Five books I bought specific for
Bingo, and three books were free (gifts or free online). 1. Novel Translated from Its Original Language: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales
by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (reprint collection)
2. Setting Featuring Snow, Ice, or Cold: Frozen Fairy Tales
- Reason: I couldn’t read my first choice so I looked through my TBR list to find another SF/F collection I thought would be a translation. It also won the 2010 World Fantasy Award for Best Collection.
- Favorite Story: “My Love” as I really liked how the characters grew apart and then back together again.
- Recommended: Only if you like short depressing literary fiction that mostly hinge on dreams and ghosts.
- Hard Mode: Yes, Pretrushevskaya is a woman.
- Other Options: I really wanted to read Xia Jia’s A Summer Beyond Your Reach, but she had a story in another anthology I read. I also considered one of Ken Liu’s Chinese SF/F anthologies (Invisible Planets or Broken Stars). I read Jurado & Lara’s Spanish Women of Wonder last year. Etgar Keret’s Fly Already, Kenji Miyazawa’s Once and Forever, or Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge also looked promising.
edited by Kate Wolford (original anthology)
3. Optimistic Spec Fic: Ingathering: The Complete People Stories
- Reason: I literally searched snow and anthology and this was one of the early options.
- Favorite Story: tie between “The Stolen Heart” by Christina Ruth Johnson and “Death in Winter” by Lissa Sloan; the first just felt great, and the second has this haunting feel I loved.
- Recommended: Yes; a good selection of fairy tale-inspired stories. Read during the summer, though, it felt really cold.
- Hard Mode: Yes, every story is in a snowy or cold setting.
- Other Options: I’m kind of mad that I didn’t come across Snowpocalypse: Tales of the End of the World (edited by Clint Collins and Scott Woodward) until after I read my original choice. I like silly titles.
by Zenna Henderson (short story cycle, 1 original to this book)
4. Novel Featuring Necromancy: The Book of the Dead
- Reason: I’ve had a copy of this book for a couple years, and I needed an excuse to read it. It’s actually an omnibus of Henderson’s two People collections plus some previously uncollected stories. I’ve read the first People collection (Pilgrimage) several times people).
- Favorite Story: I’ll say “Ararat” here, but the first six stories (the original Pilgrimage collection) are amazingly wonderful and heartwarming.
- Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Zenna Henderson deserves more attention.
- Hard Mode: Yes. <3
- Other Options: If Henderson’s book hadn’t worked out, I considered Heiroglyph (edited by Ed Finn & Kathryn Cramer) and Salena Ulibarri’s two Glass and Gardens anthologies (Solarpunk Summers and Solarpunk Winters), but that would’ve required juggling my card.
edited by Jared Shurin (original anthology)
5. Ace/Aro Spec Fic: Life Within Parole, Volume 1
- Reason: I asked Jared Shurin (pornokitsch) if he knew of any anthologies with a necromantic theme, and he rattled off five or six options before remembering that he himself had edited an anthology about mummies. I don’t know how you forget something like that.
- Favorite Story: tie between “Old Souls” by David Thomas Moore and “Three Memories of Death” by Will Hill (non-SF/F)
- Recommended: Yes, but it’s out of print! Several of the stories were reprinted in Paula Guran’s The Mammoth Book of the Mummy, including “Three Memories of Death.”
- Hard Mode: No, through several do have mummies as protagonists.
- Other Options: I was considering Brian McNaughton’s The Throne of Bones since the description seemed rather death-magicky. At this point, the Paula Guran anthology above would probably be a good choice.
by RoAnna Sylver (collection, mix of reprint and original)
6. Novel Featuring a Ghost: Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
- Reason: A friend found this on Claudie Arseneault’s asexual recommendations website, which was good, but I felt I needed to read her novel Chameleon Moon first to understand the collection. I’m glad I did.
- Favorite Story: Reluctantly “Phoenix Down” as it felt the most self-contained.
- Recommended: Only if you loved Chameleon Moon, which I only recommend if you like a sample of the writing. It’s amazingly diverse in representation, but my frustrations with the novel related more towards its pacing and worldbuilding. Plus I don’t like superheroes.
- Hard Mode: Yes, half the stories have an asexual or aromantic protagaonist.
- Other Options: My original choice was Common Bonds: An Aromantic Speculative Anthology edited by Claudie Arseneault, C.T. Callahan, B.R. Sanders, and RoAnna Sylver, a Kickstarter-funded book. However, due to the pandemic, the publication was pushed back, and I didn't want to wait any longer. I also seriously considered Chuck Tingle’s Not Pounded in the Butt.
by M. R. James (collection, mix of reprint and original)
7. Novel Featuring Exploration: No Limits
- Reason: I just searched ghost anthology, and this was a top result. I have actually never heard of M. R. James before this year, but I gather he’s a huge influence since he’s written so many ghost stories.
- Favorite Story: “The Mezzotint” as it was the one that creeped me out the most.
- Recommended: Yes, but only if you realize that it’s got an older style to them (since this book came out in 1904), and that most of these stories won’t creep you out in the year 2020.
- Hard Mode: No, the ghosts are either antagonists or obstacles.
- Other Options: I actually don’t know, I stopped searching after I found the book. M. R. James does have 3 more collections of ghost stories, though (all of 4 of which have been gathered in Collected Ghost Stories by M. R. James).
edited by Peter David (original anthology)
8. Climate Fiction: Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction
- Reason: I read the first few Star Trek: New Frontier novels back in the late 1990s, but never finished it, so I got all the books for a personal readthrough. Star Trek is by definition perfect for the exploration square, so I read the books. However, I was reading them in publication order, so I had to read the first 14 books before I could get to the anthology!
- Favorite Story: “Waiting for G’Doh, or, How I Learned to Stop Moving” is a rather funny story about the security officer Zak Kebron at the beginning of his career.
- Recommended: Yes, but only if you’ve read at least the first six Star Trek: New Frontier novels (all the stories are set before the first book, but most of the characters aren’t really established until you’ve read the first four).
- Hard Mode: Maybe, nearly all the stories feature exploration, but the plots are often about backstories for the main characters of the series.
- Other Options: I considered James Alan Gardner’s Gravity Wells (his novel Expendable is a perfect exploration book, so I was hoping the collection would work). Past anthologies that would probably work is Federations edited by John Joseph Adams, Galactic Empires edited by Neil Clarke, and maybe Alastair Reynolds’s Deep Navigation or Galactic North.
edited by Manjana Milkoreit, Meredith Martinez, & Joey Eschrich (original anthology)
9. Novel with a Color in the Title: The King in Yellow
- Reason: A friend recommended to me as this theme was getting difficult for me to find, as all my other options included stories by authors I had to read for other squares. This book was produced from a short story contest run by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative at Arizona State University and judged in part by Kim Stanley Robinson.
- Favorite Story: “On Darwin Tides” by Shauna O’Meara, which follows a “sea gypsy” in Malaysia as she struggles in this new dystopian future.
- Recommended: Only if the topic appeals to you—because it was a contest, the stories are mostly from amateur writers and the quality mostly shows. It’s free online, though, and there’s a second book, Everything Change II, which I’ve been told is better.
- Hard Mode: No, most of them are apocalyptic or post-apocalypse.
- Other Options: My original choice was Drowned Worlds edited by Jonathan Strahan, but there’s also Loosed upon the World: The Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction edited by John Joseph Adams, and I imagine a lot of solarpunk-themed books could work for this, too.
by Robert W. Chambers (original collection)
10. Any Fantasy Book Club Book of the Month OR Fantasy Readalong Book: Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea
- Reason: I already had it (it’s available on Project Gutenberg)
- Favorite Story: “In the Court of the Dragon” which felt like one of the creepier stories to me.
- Recommended: Honestly, no. Only half the stories are SF/F, the other half are all stories about bohemian artists in Paris. This book is known for the stories involving “The King in Yellow” play, but they didn’t really work for me.
- Hard Mode: Yes.
- Other Options: I considered using Judith Tarr’s Nine White Horses, the anthology Blackguards, Jack Vance’s Wild Thyme, Green Magic, Walter Jon Williams’s The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories, Black Feathers edited by Ellen Datlow, or How Long ‘til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin.
by Sarah Pinsker (reprint collection, 1 original to this book)
11. Self-Published Novel: In the Stars I'll Find You & Other Tales of Futures Fantastic
- Reason: The Goodreads Book of the Month club picked it for June this year. I did own or read all the other options that were available at the time.
- Favorite Story: tie between “And Then There Were (N-One)” and “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind”
- Recommended: Yes! There’s only one story I would rate less than 4 stars in this book.
- Hard Mode: Yes, I actually led the discussion for the book in June.
- Other Options: We don’t read very many collections or anthologies for the Fantasy book clubs, so my only choices were Fritz Leiber’s Sword and Deviltry (Classics club, November 2017), Mahvesh Murad & Jared Shurin’s anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories (RAB, May 2018), and we currently have Daniel M. Lavery’s The Merry Spinster for FIF (September 2020). There’s also the Dresden Files read-along which did two of Butcher’s collections, and the Uncanny Magazine Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction/Fantasy read-along (those would’ve been rereads for me, though).
by Bradley P. Beaulieu (mostly reprint collection)
12. Novel with Chapter Epigraphs: Not the End of the World
- Reason: I already owned this, it was basically the oldest self-published collection I had.
- Favorite Story: tie between “Flashed Forward” and “No Viviremos Como Presos” – both dealing with a lot of emotions.
- Recommended: Yes, the only other stories by Beaulieu I’ve read were 2 co-written novellas, and I felt this collection was better. I haven’t read his novels so I can’t compare.
- Hard Mode: Yes, at the time of this post, it has 18 ratings on Goodreads.
- Other Options: There are hundreds of options, but I could’ve read Lawrence M. Schoen’s recent collection The Rule of Three and Other Stories (his other collection, Buffalito Bundle, has stories featuring The Amazing Conroy and are lots of fun.)
by Kate Atkinson (short story cycle)
13. Novel Published in 2020: Shadows & Tall Trees 8
- Reason: This was another difficult square, as I knew a short story cycle had the best chance of having epigraphs before every story. I finally found this book by Kate Atkinson. (Ironically, I realized later that my Politics choice also had epigraphs.)
- Favorite Story: “The Cat Lover,” I guess.
- Recommended: No, unless you like literary magical realism where stories just kind of end.
- Hard Mode: No, all of the epigraphs are quotes from Latin or Shakespeare.
- Other Options: Apparently, Retief! by Keith Laumer would’ve worked from my options. It really is a difficult thing because in a collection some authors might have an epigraph for a story, but not all or most of them.
edited by Michael Kelly (original anthology)
14. Novel Set in a School or University: Sideways Stories from Wayside School
- Reason: I picked this off Locus Magazine’s forthcoming books list and bought it.
- Favorite Story: tie between “The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell” by Brian Evenson and “Child of Shower and Gleam” by Rebecca Campbell – the first is creepy as hell, and the second is strange and lovely.
- Recommended: Yes, if you’re comfortable with weird or darker fantasy stories.
- Hard Mode: No, Michael Kelly has edited several anthologies before.
- Other Options: I had planned to use The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu, but I needed Liu for another square. I also considered A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell, and I had three anthologies from Joshua Palmatier I could’ve used (Apocalyptic, Galactic Stew, and My Battery is Low and It is Getting Dark) but I needed another Palmatier anthology for another square. Any of the various “Best Science Fiction or Fantasy of the Year” type anthologies that came out in 2020 would’ve been appropriate as well (Jonathan Strahan, Neil Clarke, Rich Horton, Paula Guran, Ellen Datlow, Bogi Takács, and Jared Shurin all edit “Year’s Best” or “Best of Year”-style anthologies).
; Wayside School is Falling Down
; Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger
; and Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom
by Louis Sachar (short story cycles)
15. Book About Books: Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore
- Reason: Strangely, one of the first books I thought of for this square. Plus, the most recent book had come out. I decided to read all four as each book is really short (only about 20,000 words per book). Only the first one or two was a reread.
- Favorite Story: None, they’re all funny and good.
- Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Maybe better for kids, but I smiled a lot while reading these.
- Hard Mode: Yes.
- Other Options: Witch High edited by Denise Little would’ve been good, but included a story by Esther M. Friesner whom I needed for another square. A Kickstarter-funded anthology, Schoolbooks & Sorcery edited by Michael M. Jones, would’ve worked, but it’s not out yet.
edited by Paula Guran (reprint anthology)
16. A Book That Made You Laugh: Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma and Other Stories
- Reason: This was another difficult square because did you know that searching “book anthology” does not narrow things down at all?? I finally hit upon just searching “library anthology” which did the trick, but this one anthology predetermined at least 3 other squares because of its authors (I couldn’t use Ken Liu, Xia Jia, Amal El-Mohtar, and others because they were all in here).
- Favorite Story: tie between “In the House of the Seven Librarians” by Ellen Klages and “Summer Reading” by Ken Liu. Klages’s story about “feral librarians raising a child” is just wonderful, and Liu’s is very, very sweet.
- Recommended: Yes, absolutely. This also contains Scott Lynch’s excellent “In the Stacks” and I will never not say no to Kage Baker.
- Hard Mode: No, libraries are an integral part of most of the stories.
- Other Options: *gestures wildly* I don’t know!
by Alex Shvartsman (mostly reprint collection)
17. Five Short Stories:
- Reason: Alex Shvartsman edits an annual humorous SF/F anthology series called Unidentified Funny Objects (the 8th volume is out this fall), but even though I have them all, they all shared authors with other squares until I remember that I had two collections from Shvartsman, and this was one of them.
- Favorite Story: “Things We Leave Behind” is a semiautobiographical story about books. Absolutely lovely.
- Recommended: Yes, but I understand most won’t share his sense of humor. He also tends to write very short stories, so don’t read these for immersion.
- Hard Mode: Yes.
- Other Options: Books making you laugh is so subjective, so any author you like probably has something that could work (you only need one story to make you laugh after all). John Scalzi has a couple collections that could work, Connie Willis has a great sense of humor.
Not for Use in Navigation: Thirteen Stories
- Reason: To be obnoxious I decided to read five collections for this square (instead of just five short stories). I decided to read 5 that I already owned by women/non-binary people. I picked semi-randomly (Hand and McHugh), by older ones I owned (Wurts), and by a couple new ones I was excited about (Datt Sharma and Slatter).
by Iona Datt Sharma (reprint collection)
Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories
- Favorite Story: “Quarter Days” is a full third of this book, and it’s an interesting post-WWI setting with magic.
- Recommended: Yes, they have an interesting outlook, and one of the stories has an Indian wedding in space.
by Elizabeth Hand (reprint collection, 1 original)
After the Apocalypse
- Favorite Story: “The Least Trumps” should appeal to the booklover in every single one of us.
- Recommended: These are definitely interesting stories, but I’d only recommend for “The Least Trumps” and “Cleopatra Brimstone.” She’s got a poetic style here that didn't always work for me.
by Maureen F. McHugh (reprint collection, 2 original)
Sourdough and Other Stories
- Favorite Story: “Special Economics” which follows a Chinese girl trapped into working at a factory.
- Recommended: Yes, though it’s also one of the few themed collections (versus themed anthologies) that I’ve seen, with every story dealing with apocalypse in some way.
by Angela Slatter (mostly original collection/short story cycle)
That Ways Lies Camelot
- Favorite Story: “Gallowberries” which features Patience from the Tor.com novella Of Sorrow and Such as a young woman.
- Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Every story is in the same setting, and they all interconnect with each other. I can’t wait to read more from Slatter (I already have The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings).
by Janny Wurts (mostly reprint collection)
- Favorite Story: tie between “Wayfinder” and “That Way Lies Camelot” – both are great stories, the first a coming of age, and the other is bittersweet.
- Recommended: Yes, definitely. In addition to the above, “Dreambridge” is also awesome. I wasn’t as fond of the three ElfQuest stories, but it was interesting to read Wurts’s 4 Fleet stories as I never realized she ever wrote anything close to straight science fiction.
18. Big Dumb Object: Alien Artifacts
- Hard Mode: … Yes?
- Other Options: This is the most open-ended square for this particular Bingo Card, especially since at the time of this post, I own 121 unread anthologies and collections.
edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray (original anthology)
19. Feminist Novel: Skin Folk
- Reason: This was one of the books that made me realize I could do an all-short-story card. I thought the anthology’s theme would perfectly encapsulate the square.
- Favorite Story: “Me and Alice” by Angela Penrose – a kid finds a strange artifact while digging at a site.
- Recommended: Yes, though a few stories weren’t to my taste.
- Hard Mode: No, while the classical BDO is present in several stories, most would fall in the wider definition being used for Bingo.
- Other Options: I’m at a loss here, as I never looked for more after I found this.
by Nalo Hopkinson (collection, mix of reprint and original)
20. Novel by a Canadian Author: The Very Best of Charles de Lint
- Reason: I owned this already from a Humble Bundle.
- Favorite Story: “And the Lillies-Them A-Blow” – a woman is inspired to reconsider her life.
- Recommended: Yes.
- Hard Mode: Yes, Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born Canadian.
- Other Options: I had a few other books from the same Humble Bundle called Women of SFF. Most of them would’ve worked.
by Charles de Lint (reprint collection)
21. Novel with a Number in the Title: Nine White Horses: Nine Tales of Horses and Magic
- Reason: It appears I picked this up in 2014 for some reason (I’ve never read de Lint before this year). But he’s Canadian!
- Favorite Story: There are honestly too many to say, but I’ll say “In the Pines” for now.
- Recommended: Yes, yes, yes. I basically added everything he’s written to my TBR.
- Hard Mode: Maybe, it was originally published in 2010 with Tachyon Publications, but in 2014 it was reprinted by de Lint’s Triskell Press (which is the copy I have), which would count.
- Other Options: A friend sent me an anthology edited by Dominik Parisien called Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction, though I would’ve had to juggle square to get it to work. Nalo Hopkinson is Canadian, so Skin Folk would’ve worked, too. Jo Walton has a collection called Starlings.
by Judith Tarr (reprint collection)
22. Romantic Fantasy/Paranormal Romance: Once Upon a Kiss: 17 Romantic Faerie Tales
- Reason: At the time, the only collection I had with a number that I could use.
- Favorite Story: “Classical Horses” – an absolutely lovely story that mixes real life and fantasy, and appeals to my Classics nerd background.
- Recommended: Yes! Tarr is a wonderful writer.
- Hard Mode: Yes.
- Other Options: I could’ve used The Golem of Deneb Seven and Other Stories by Alex Shvartsman, Nine Hundred Grandmothers by R. A. Lafferty, and The Rule of Three and Other Stories by Lawrence M. Schoen.
published by Anthea Sharp (original anthology)
23. Novel with a Magical Pet: No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar
- Reason: My original first choice was a bust when I realized quickly that the stories involved love, but were not romance stories. This was an emergency backup as I was nearing the end of reading for this Bingo Challenge.
- Favorite Story: “The Bakers Grimm” by Hailey Edwards, which is a sweet little story about baking under pressure.
- Recommended: No. 99% of the stories are direct appeals to try to get you to buy their books. Many of the stories don’t even really feel like short stories. I had a friend who only read urban fantasy who was adamant that she hated reading short stories and I couldn’t figure out why. Now I do. Many of these read more like vignettes than proper short stories.
- Hard Mode: No, the HEA Club hasn’t done any anthologies or collections for me to participate in.
- Other Options: My backup would’ve been to find some paranormal romance series and look for a collection or anthology in that world, but it would’ve involved more prep reading.
edited by Mercedes Lackey (original anthology)
24. Graphic Novel (at least 1 volume) OR Audiobook/Audiodrama: Eerie Archives, Volume 1
- Reason: Valdemar is an easy setting to choose for this square, and even though I had stopped reading the yearly anthologies (they’re up to 13 or 14 now), I decided to grab the 8th anthology from the library.
- Favorite Story: “A Dream Reborn” by Dylan Birtolo, a beggar girl with a gift grows a conscience.
- Recommended: Only if you’re a Valdemar fan and you literally can’t get enough of the world (I’d recommend sticking with the novels up until the Collegium Chronicles).
- Hard Mode: Yes, Companions can usually speak telepathically with their Heralds and a select few others.
- Other Options: I’m sure there’s a themed anthology perfect for this, but I honestly don’t know offhand if there is one, since this was an easy choice for me.
edited by Archie Goodwin (original comic book anthology)
25. Novel Featuring Politics: Retief!
- Reason: I searched “comics anthology” into my library’s digital catalog. This showed up.
- Favorite Story: No real favorite, but I guess “Flame Fiend” by Eando Binder, about a man desperate to avoid fire.
- Recommended: Yes, if you’re interested in 1960s horror comics anthology magazines. Each story is about 6-10 pages long, but many felt like cheesy horror to my modern eyes.
- Hard Mode: Maybe, each story is standalone, but this book contained the first 5 issues of Eerie comics. I’m going with No because Eerie is a running series.
- Other Options: I considered The Escapist (inspired from Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), a Mouse Guard comics anthology, and Thrilling Adventure Hour before finding Eerie. I also though the Eisner Awards were a good source of finding potential comics anthologies, since that's a category.
by Keith Laumer (reprint collection)
- Reason: I knew the main character was a problem-solving diplomat, so this was an easy pick.
- Favorite Story: “Diplomat-at-Arms” which is a great story of following an experienced old man on a mission, and “Cultural Exchange,” a really funny bureaucratic tale (and this one is free on Project Gutenberg).
- Recommended: Yes, with reservations. They’re all stories from the 1960s, they’re bureaucratic galactic pulp fiction where Retief always knows better than his bumbling superiors and women only show up in secretarial or minor support roles. The stories also feel a bit repetitive as a whole, so if you read these, space it out.
- Hard Mode: No, several of the stories feature royalty.
- Other Options: I felt like this was a nebulous category, but offhand, I’d suggest Do Not Go Quietly: An Anthology of Victory in Defiance edited by Jason Sizemore & Lesley Conner and Resist: Tales from a Future Worth Fighting Against edited by Gary Whitta, Christie Yant, and Hugh Howey for two explicitly political anthologies, and maybe something like Harry Turtledove’s interlinked collection Agent of Byzantium for an alternate history take on a Byzantine special agent.
- Favorite collections: The Very Best of Charles de Lint by Charles de Lint, Ingathering: The Complete People Stories by Zenna Henderson, Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker, Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter, and Nine White Horses by Judith Tarr
- Favorite anthologies: Ex Libris edited by Paula Guran and The Book of the Dead edited by Jared Shurin
- Favorite overall short stories: In addition to my favorite stories in the books above, I’d also give a special place to The Very Best of Charles de Lint (“In the Pines,” “In the House of My Enemy,” “A Wish Named Arnold,” “Mr. Truepenny's Book Emporium and Gallery,” “Pixel Pixies,” “The Badger in the Bag,” “Timeskip,” “Into the Green,” “Birds,” and “Pal o' Mine”) and to Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea (“And Then There Were (N-One),” “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,” “Our Lady of the Open Road,” “Wind Will Rove,” and “A Stretch of Highway Two Lanes Wide”).
- An Aside: My father died suddenly in the middle of my reading for this challenge. The books I read from Zenna Henderson and Charles de Lint really helped me during this time, with de Lint’s book making me cry multiple times (in a good way).
Sometime last year after touting one short story or another to my friends, I said, “Oh, I don’t think I read *that* much short fiction,” and they all looked at me funny for some reason.
Oh. Never mind. I get it now.
All joking aside, I’ve read SF/F magazines off and on growing up, and I always enjoyed the occasional Year’s Best Science Fiction
anthology from Gardner Dozois, and Robert Silverberg’s Legends
anthologies were rather formative to my growth as a fantasy reader (that’s where I read George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb for the first time). Some of my favorite writers have done amazing short stories (in fact, I think I like Alastair Reynolds better at the short length than the novel; witness my love for his story “Zima Blue”!). Even if you don’t read more than the usual five short stories for the Bingo Challenge, please consider branching out! I hope I’ve shown with my own card how much variety is out there.
If you’re not sure where to start, your favorite author may have some short stories of their own, either in an anthology or one of their own collections. Mary Robinette Kowal is one of my favorites, and I loved her collection Word Puppets
. If they’re prolific enough, they may have a “Best of” book, like The Best of Connie Willis
or The Very Best of Kate Elliott
. Trying one of the Year’s Best anthologies I mention under #13, Published in 2020
, is also a fun way to explore short fiction.
And even though I didn’t read any for my Bingo Challenge, there are tons of SF/F magazines out there to read from on a daily, weekly, monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly schedule. My personal recommendation is for Asimov’s SF
, and Fantasy & Science Fiction
for subscription-only options, and places like Clarkesworld
, and Tor.com
for free online stories. There are also some great magazines/sites like Beneath Ceaseless Skies
and Daily Science Fiction
Looking at award lists is a fun way to get started, as most of the major awards also have short fiction categories. Find out where they were published and try out a magazine issue or an anthology.
I’ll end this with the following:
- an interview by our own tctippens with Jonathan Strahan over at the Fantasy Inn Podcast where they discuss not only his new anthology The Book of Dragons, but reading short fiction in general.
- Editor Jared Shurin ( pornokitsch ) just came out with The Best of British Fantasy 2019 this past June: check it out!
- One of my favorite short story writers is John Wiswell, and I’d like to link two of his wonderful stories: "Tank!" follows a sentient tank attending its first SF convention, and "Open House on Haunted Hill" is a very sweet story about a haunted house trying to get sold to a new family. Both stories are quite short and you can read each in just a few minutes.
- And finally… this is what the internet should be: Naomi Kritzer's "Cat Pictures Please"
Alright, home stretch foax. This section's a beast. Hang in there and keep sharing your insights! All together now... Section 66 submitted by
"You will want cause and effect. All right." (663) What an opening - it's almost confrontational, mocking our need for clear narrative structure and causality.
We discover that Thanatz was tossed overboard in the same storm that sent Slothrop off the Anubis and off on his adventure with Frau Gnahb. Thanatz is rescued by someone even stranger - an unnamed Polish undertaker
(think on the etymology of that word) who happens to be a lightening aficionado. I'll stop here and comment that, earlier, when Slothrop fell into the water before and
after getting on the Anubis, it brought to mind the river Styx in Hades - another underworld. It washes clean one's identity and memory. Makes you forget who you are. And there's traditionally a ferryman, Charon, to help people cross it. Can't help but think that's who saved Thanatz here, carrying him from the land of the dead to the land of the unliving, the preterite detritus of WWII. (An aside: Speaking of Styx, has anyone listened to Mr. Roboto recently? That song has some Gravity's Rainbow vibes.)
Our undertaker here is inspired by the Franklin myth and is trying to get struck by lightening in order to experience that "singular point, [that] discontinuity in the curve of life" (664) passing from a rate of change of positive infinity to one of negative infinity in the blink of an eye. Seems there's something of a conspiracy among those who have been through this point of infinite inflection - a secret society of lightening heads who are aware not of another
reality but of a new layer of reality laid on top of our own
. Insight into a higher level of reality, of hidden systems.
We get an example of the content of the lightning-aficionado's publication A Nickel Saved
and it's supposedly full of coded messages for Those Who Know, each part being a veiled reference to other topics that contain the true meaning, requiring a true paranoid's ability to see (make?) connections. For example, there are repeated mentions of April, Easter, and Spring - the season of rebirth. To an Amperage Contest and lightbulbs failing - Byron the Bulb's attempts to strike back, perchance? A screen-door salesman - what is a screen door except a permeable interface?
But our undertaker isn't interested in secret knowledge - he just wants to be a better businessman - and he deposits Thanatz on the shore and rows back off into the storm. Here, Thanatz meets a group of 175s - men formerly imprisoned in the Dora camp for being gay - who have formed their own solitary community in this isolated section of northern Germany.
I suspect some of this imagery may initially shock readers - concentration camp victims who want to return to their prison
? Who set up their own 175-Stadt to recreate the conditions of their imprisonment? But think about it - just last section, we saw Katje, someone who's been used and abused by those in power, balk at the thought of being truly free because she had become dependent on systems of control. She had integrated those control systems as part of her identity, her sense of self. "She needs the whip," Blicero wrote of her (662). Just like Katje, these men became so conditioned to depend on a system of total control and rigid social hierarchies that they don't know how to function without it. Their 175-Stadt doesn't seem like such a ridiculously dark, inappropriate caricature now, does it? Because isn't that a central point of this book - that everyone has been conditioned to need
control, to need Their System, to not know how to function without it? Slothrop was our perfect everyman from within this system, and look at what it took for him to actually be free (and even then, the ideal of America still has a colonial outpost in his head). But in their 175-Stadt, these men at least control their system of control. They built it, they staff every level of it, and it's entirely under their control. An isolated state, separate from the broader System. But is there a ruler in this system, a king? No, simply the figment
of Blicero. His name, his specter, looming over everything. A system of control with no real king? We've seen that before.
Not only that, but this micro-society is not based strictly on the SS command from Dora, but what the prisoners inferred
about the rocket command structure in the Mittelwerke. So even their "recreation" of their imprisonment is an approximation of a different system. I'd also stop here to comment that, is this imagery really as ridiculous/insane as it first appears? I'd say no, since the queeS&M community absolutely took inspiration from Nazi uniforms as symbols of dominance and control, repurposing it into fetishwear. But then, as in this 175-Stadt, the control is by choice,
as is the submission. As we've seen elsewhere in this book (Blicero's Oven-State), turning submission into a fetish can be a form of rebellion, since it subverts Their means of control (fear of pain) and turns it into a source of pleasure. Is it truly control if you're choosing it? Enjoying it? No one said this book asks easy questions of its readers...
Thanatz keeps looking for answers, and gets swept up amidst the vast swarms of preterite Displaced Persons being shifted across the zone. What's concerning is that these supposedly-free, albeit displaced, people, are shuffled without purpose across the Zone, with minimal food, water, or medicine, being "herded into wire enclosure[s]" and shipped around in freight cars, "deloused, poked, palpated, named, numbered, consigned, invoiced, misrouted, detained, ignored" (669). It's almost impossible to miss the painful similarity here to the treatment of Jews and other victims of the Holocaust. Only here the mistreatment isn't out of some pathological hatred, simply a system without a place for so many people, and without the committed resources to actually, effectively help them. The thought is unsettling, since we like to imagine that only Naziesque hatred could prompt such brutal mistreatment, not apathy.
Finally, he's rescued by the Schwarzkommando thanks to his knowledge of Blicero and the firing of Rocket 00000. Here, we learn a bit more about what happened that day. Looking into Blicero's eyes, he saw windmills reflected, though none were in the area. Another four-way mandala, like we saw last week with Slothrop. Thanatz isn't in great mental shape by this point, and he's beginning to equate Gottfried and Bianca both as his children. Why? Because he felt some sense of responsibility to them? Because he failed them? Either way, the Schwarzkommando learn all they need from him about that fateful noon on the Heath, though we do not. The section ends with a simple touch of hands between Enzian and Christian, a moment of connection, of trust. Section 67
Man, how do I even start
summarizing this complete doozy of a section? As Weissenburger writes, "In this episode the narration begins to fragment." (344) Ya don't say... Well, here goes.
We being one serious trip of a section with Slothrop, as part of a rather unimpressive team of quasi-superheros (the "Floundering Four") fighting against evil ol' Broderick Slothrop amidst the factory-state (a Metropolis-like iteration of the Rocket-State with movable buildings?!
). Broderick, in the role of comic book supervillain, keeps trying to off Slothrop, but our hero has a lucky streak just wide enough to keep him alive.
Right off the bat, we see another image of the chessboard - the whole factory-state is laid out in a grid, and it's all A Game of Chess, as der Springer already informed us, and our movements are limited. Crucially, "Your objective is not the King - there is no King - but momentary targets such as the Radiant Hour."
(674) How can you win at chess when there's no King?
How can the land be restored and the cycle renewed if there's no King to die and be replaced?
Slothrop is joined by a truly slipshod lot: Myrtle Miraculous, the only one who seems to have actual powers; Maximilian, a suave Black club manager who can flow with all natural rhythms and thus able to navigate any scenario with ease, and Marcel, a mechanical chess player (an embodiment of the Mechanical Turk
, but crucially, one without the hidden human operator
. No hidden Grandmaster lurking inside Marcel here - nope, this android's the real deal.
This section includes one of my favorite quotes from the book: "Decisions are never really made
- at best they manager to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all-round assholery." (676) I can think of several times where I've been able to relate to that scenario all too well.
Their chances for success and failure are equal, but these opposing odds don't cancel each other out
- instead, the two opposing forces just create a "loud dissonance". The crew undertake some truly hallucinatory adventures through the Racketen-Stadt which I will not attempt to summarize, as that would be an exercise in futility. But we are treated to flashes of Slothrop, "Broderick and Nalline's shadow-child, their unconfessed, their monster son," (677) getting locked in an icebox, piloting a mobile building
through the grid-streets of the factory-state like a giant chess piece. One line really jumps out at me, here, that I think is important: "Their struggle is not the only, or even the ultimate one. Indeed, not only are there many other
struggles, but there are also spectators
, watching, as spectators will do, hundreds of thousands of them." (679) Makes me think of the "glozing neuters," mentioned earlier - of the masses of people who are just trying to live their lives, neither part of any conspiracy nor actively aware of being subject to one. Must be nice. At the same time, the idea of other, simultaneous struggles, is noteworthy - it brings to mind the concept of intersectionality, and how people realizing their unique, individual struggles share common sources, and common traits, which they can work together to fight.
We end this sub-section in an arena for these exact masses, where our heroes are on a stakeout, with Slothrop in full drag waiting in the Transvestites' Toilet for a message.
You may be wondering about the multiple instances of cross-dressing, in various iterations, throughout the book. Slothrop in drag and Blicero in a wig and merkin come to mind. One aspect, I'd say, is that it reflects a blending of two (as far as society is generally concerned) binary opposites. A crossing-over, a transgression against the status quo and an option other than 1 or 0.
Eliot, in his Notes on The Waste Land, wrote,
"Tiresias, although a mere spectator and not indeed a 'character', is yet the most important personage in the poem, uniting all the rest. Just as the one-eyed merchant, seller of currants, melts into the Phoenician Sailor, and the latter is not wholly distinct from Ferdinand Prince of Naples, so all the women are one woman, and the two sexes meet in Tiresias. What Tiresias sees, in fact, is the substance of the poem." (Emphasis mine).
Cue Crutchfield the Westwardman's world of only one of everything. Likewise, the women in Gravity's Rainbow often blend together, share traits or imagery. So do the men. The joining of the two sexes in Blicero, as well as Slothrop here at the end, is significant. The Low-Frequency Listeners
The introduction here of the character of Rohr, the Keeper of the Antenna, specifically as a Jehovah's witness, was odd. It's such a specific subsect of Christianity. Then we see - he heard a man on the radio, dying, asking for a priest. Rohr says, "Should I have got on and told him about priests? Would he've found any comfort in that?" (682). In what? I had to look it up, but when I did, it clicked - Jehovah's witnesses apparently do not have priests, because they are all ordained
. There is no separate priest caste in their church, and thus no Preterite/Elect division. In this section, we also learn that the Nuremberg trials are getting underway. Mom Slothrop's Letter to Ambassador Kennedy
You start to feel even more sorry for Slothrop as you realize just how terrible his parents apparently were. His mom cares enough to at least write another letter asking Ambassador Kennedy as to what the hell happened to their son, but her letter quickly devolves into drunken ramblings complaining about striking workers and managing to make an innuendo about Jack Kennedy while also dismissing her love of her sons. Oof. Maybe Otto was right with his conspiracy of mothers... On the Phrase "Ass-Backwards"
An entertaining linguistic debate between Säure and Slothrop on American idioms, specifically ones involving a reversal, as in the case of "ass-backwards". The section then slips into a story of Säure, in his youth, breaking into the home of a young woman, Minnie, who is unable to hear or pronounce umlauted letters, and thus manages to shout the word "helicopter" rather than "cute robber" well before the vehicle was ever invented. Her cry is heard by none other than a young aerodynamics student. The word is taken as a prophesy and a warning of the helicopter's symbol of the police state, with armed officers hanging out the sides, aiming down at their targets. My Doper's Cadenza
It begins with a serenade from Bodine, and then an exploration of the tenement building "Der Platz" that is home to numerous drug addicts, dope peddlers, and general ne'er-do-wells. They are building an anti-police moat
around the building, entirely underground so as to avoid detection, saving breaking through the street for the end. Shit 'n' Shinola
Another idiomatic diversion for Säure. A beautiful line is tucked away in here - "from outside, the Hall is golden, the white gold precisely of one lily-of-the-valley petal in 4 o'clock sunlight, serene, at the top of an artificially-graded hill." (687) This building, the Schein-Aula (Seeming-Hall), suggests "persistence, through returns of spring, hopes for love, melting snow and ice, academic Sunday tranquillities, smells of grass just crushed or cut or later turning to hay..." (688) Yet again, imagery of spring, of a return to life from the dead season of winter, of the cycle.
We return to the Roseland Ballroom, where shit 'n' Shinola do actually come together. "Shit, now, is the color white folks are afraid of. Shit is the presence of death, not some abstract-arty character with a scythe but the stiff and rotting corpse itself inside the whiteman's warm and private own asshole
, which is getting pretty intimate. That's what that white toilet's for.... that white porcelain's the very emblem of Odorless and Official Death." (688) Here Pynchon cuts straight to the point - the almost pathological fear of death and its connections to fears of blackness, excrement. Shit, Death, and the Word. Edwin Treacle hit on this back on p. 276 when he tried to show his colleagues at the White Visitation "that their feelings about blackness were tied to feelings about shit, and feelings about shit to feelings about putrefaction and death." The cycle of life is too organic, too messy. Better to replace carbon with silicon, to hide shit with porcelain, to treat people with dark skin as "other" or sub-human to avoid acknowledging that their non-European, communal ways of life were, in fact, totally natural. An Incident in the Transvestites' Toilet
Not King Kong, but a small, costumed ape comes up to Slothrop, who's wearing a Fay Wray dress while waiting in the bathroom for a still-unspecified message. We get a Miltonic blank-verse poem (thanks, Weissenburger!) about the movie King Kong, written in the voice of Anne Darrow (Fay Wray's character). It's honestly quite good - I love the line "in your own stone living space" - the internal rhyme there sounds really nice, and I like the riff on living stone / Livingston, both of which have popped up previously. In the poem, Darrow talks about when she was tied up, hung by the natives as an offering to "the night's one Shape to come" (689), echoing both Greta Erdman's scene in Alpdrücken and the Hanged Man card of the Tarot (willing sacrifice, sacrifice that prompts a return, a renewal of the cycle). Darrow says she prayed, "not for Jack," her suave costar, but for her director Carl Denham, "only him, with gun and camera... making the unreal reel / By shooting at it, one way or the other-" (689). Throughout GR, we've seen a film motif, and this really brings it home. The analogy of a gun to a camera, both of which make the unreal real (a camera creates films that interpret real life - the "unreal reel
", a gun makes death, which we've blocked away and tried to avoid, real and inescapable). The director is in control of the movie, the actors, the story, of how it works and what is told. Darrow ends by asking Carl to "show me the key light, whisper me a line..." - a key light
is used in cinema and photography to not just shed light on the subject, but to do so in a way that provides form and dimension to the subject and the scene. So Darrow is asking for the director to literally give her form and definition, to tell her what to say next.
This ape, though, isn't so Romantic as ol' Kong though, and is much more direct. It hands Slothrop an anarchist's bomb straight out of the comics pages, and takes off. Slothrop freezes and is saved by a helpful transvestite who takes the bomb and flushes it down the toilet. But it explodes anyway, sending geysers of water up out of all the toilets. A Voice comes out of he Loudspeaker informing everyone that it was, in fact, a sodium bomb that explodes upon contact with water. Tellls everyone to get the "dangerous maniac" who threw it. That was supposed to be Slothrop, but he was saved by his indecision and the kindness of a stranger, who is now set upon by the other occupants of the toilet. A Moment of Fun with Takeshi and Ichizo, the Komical Kamikazes
We now jump to a pair of comically-mismatched Kamikaze pilots stationed on a remote island well away from any conflict. One flies a Zero, the other flies an "Ohka device" which is basically a rocket-bomb with a pilot's seat. They get moonshine from their radarman, Kenosho, who mocks them daily for the lack of opportunities to fly to their deaths and who comes up with haikus that, while in the right format, really miss the heart of what a haiku is supposed to be. Streets
Back to Slothrop, now, and a catalogue of the streets he's traveled down and what he's seen. We get a meditation on the absurdity of army chaplains, who worked for the Army and "stood up and talked to the men who were going to die about God, death, nothingness, redemption, salvation." (693) And it does seem a bit absurd when you consider that the Army that employs the chaplains is the same entity sending the men off to die. We see a bus driver (perchance our maniac bus driver from earlier?) driving through town in the night, his passengers looking out the windows, their faces "drowned-man green, insomniac, tobacco-starved, scared, not of tomorrow, not yet, but of this pause in their night-passage, of how easy it will be to lose, and how much it will hurt..." (693) Going back to the Waste Land, the phrase "I do not find / The Hanged Man. Fear death by water." is symbolic of a death without return (drowning) contrasted to the sacrifice/return symbolized by The Hanged Man. These poor passengers, it seems, aren't to expect any return.
Slothrop also, at this point, learns of the bombing of Hiroshima from a discarded Army newspaper, the photo of the atomic blast placed in poor taste next to an image of a pin-up girl. The bomb's mushroom cloud is compared to the Cross, to a capital-T Tree. But which tree? Is this a meditation on the deadly, unforgettable knowledge of how to split the atom, or of the tree of life, with the citizens of Hiroshima as a sacrifice made... but to what? I'm honestly not sure. Would love your thoughts. Listening to the Toilet
As others have noted, this book in many ways is about the drug counterculture and hippie movement of the 60s/early 70s. This is the most overt in this section, in which we learn that listening for the cessation of the flow of water to the toilet in the pipes is a cue that a police raid is imminent - shutting off the water being a way to prevent the flushing of illicit substances. But it takes a special ear to hear the cessation
of a subtle, pervasive white noise. What if the sun, in fact, massive furnace that it is, emits a constant, low-level roar that is so incessant we don't even hear it? What if eddies in the current of the Soniferous Aether cause rare spots of true quiet, where the noise is no longer transmitted and anyone in that spot can hear their own heartbeat it's so quiet? Interestingly, there are "quiet rooms" designed to absorb nearly all sound, used for precise sound calibration. I remember reading that most people can't sit in one of those rooms for more than 30 minutes or so because it's literally so quiet that you can hear the blood flowing through your veins, and people have even reported auditory hallucinations as a result. But why this digression? Maybe because we need to be asking what other white noise is out there that we've become completely deaf to? I think Roger and Jessica found a pocket of this quiet, early in the book, where the "noise" of modern society and all its associated obligations was muted by the War. Witty Repartee
A return to our Komical Kamikazes, and a meditation on the ubiquity of the Hotchkiss machine gun across nations, independent of alliances. We get an image of a false King - an inbred idiot lying naked in a dumpster, attracting the attention of potential revolutionaries. But they can't decide if he's "a diversionary nuisance planted here by the Management, or whether he's real Decadent Aristocracy to be held for real ransom" (698). While the would-be revolutionaries are debating in the alley, sentries with the aforementioned Hotchkiss guns take positions on the rooftops, aiming down... Heart-to-Heart, Man-to-Man
A dialogue here between Slothrop and ol' Broderick, with dear old dad interrogating his wayward son about a modern electric drug. Slothrop reassures him that he'd never shoot raw electricity - no, they dope themselves with waves
. Major pre-Cyberpunk vibes here, with Broderick warning "Suppose someday you just plug in and go away and never come back?" to which Tyrone replies, "What do you think every electrofreak dreams about? .... Maybe there is
a Machine to take us away, take us completely, suck us out through the electrodes out of the skull 'n' into the Machine and live there forever.... We
can live forever, in a clean, honest, purified Electroworld-" (699). Matrix, anyone? Not to mention the waves of radio, TV, etc. and the simple, episodic, controlled reality they offer. Pleasantville also comes to mind, with all its commentary on the shows of the era. Some Characteristics of Imipolex G
We learn that Imipolex G is the first erectile
plastic, stiffening in response to certain electronic stimuli. The potential of a layer of controlling wires just under the outer layer of Imipolex, making it a second skin - a synthetic interface. Alternately, there's the potential to control it via a projection of "an electronic 'image; analogous to a motion picture." (700) My gods, I made it through this section... Section 68
Tchitcherine now, dealing with a spook, Nikolai Ripov, from the C
ommissariat for I
ctivities. His pal Džabajev has run off with "two local derelicts" (700) and is impersonating Frank Sinatra
and wooing the ladies of the Zone. We get the line, "While nobles are crying in their nights' chains, the squires sing. The terrible politics of the Grail can never touch them. Song is the magic cape." (701) - Seems another example of folks recognizing the game, the Grail quest, for what it was and checking out - deciding not to play and just enjoy themselves while the Elect lose sleep over the endless searching.
Ripov explains to Tchitcherine how "the basic problem... has always been getting other people to die for you." (701) Religion used to serve as an effective control for that reason - death isn't quite as scary if you think you're going to heaven. But modern society has moved on, and needs more secular sources of control, like a commitment to "History" as if you're part of some great narrative, sacrificing yourself for some imagined end-goal of what society is "supposed" to be.
Seems Tchitcherine was doping on Oneirine theophosphate. Wimpe, his dealer, argues that a man is "only real at
the points of decision. The time between doesn't matter." (702) Points man again - the moment of decision, of choice, that splits the future in two. Points of control. Contrast that to:
"Datta: what have we given? / My friend, blood shaking my heart / The awful daring of a moment’s surrender / Which an age of prudence can never retract / By this, and this only, we have existed." (The Waste Land, Part V: What the Thunder Said - emphasis mine).
Both are arguing that it's these key moments, irreversible junctures in our lives that make us real. Not what comes next, not what people say about us, just our
moments. Integrate those moments, run them fast enough (say 24 frames per second) and you might even approximate something close to a person...
We learn that Oneirine apparently leads to "the dullest hallucinations known to psychopharmacology" (703) - hauntings of the mundane, the almost-normal. Tchitcherine's Haunting
Tchitcherine hallucinates that Ripov is interrogating him, and he becomes fixated on the question of whether or not he was supposed to die. Seems like part of him wants to believe in life after death, in some hope for meaning, which goes against the Soviet doctrine and thus isn't exactly endearing him to those above him. Thankfully this is just an Oneirine haunting, except... wait, it's too real
- no subtle violations of reality. He tries to escape, but is outnumbered. But no execution for him here - just a reassignment to Central Asia. A cold and operational death. Section 69
"The dearest nation of all is one that will survive no longer than you and I, a common movement at the mercy of death and time: the ad hoc adventure." - Resolutions of the Gross Suckling Conference (706)
In other words, they seek a nation that does not function independently of its citizens
- one that is not some separate identity with a quasi-personhood (much like how corporations are legally "people"). Rather, a nation that is inextricably linked to the people and that will die when they do. No immortality, no denial of the cycle or death.
But poor Roger's still dealing with Jessica, and now with Jeremy, too, who he's at least amicable with. But he's struggling with their acceptance of the System, their embracing of it. Jeremy's all about reassembling the rockets and firing them, asking "What else does one do with a rocket?" (note how disassembling it
or at least not using the weapon
isn't even an option...).
Jeremy's even so kind as to invite Roger to a fancy dinner with a bunch of corporate bigwigs, including folks from Krupp, ICI, and GE, and hosted by one Stefan Utgarthaloki, whose name should be a giant red-flag that something's amiss with this shindig. Roger picks Seaman Bodine as his date, the two having struck up a rather theatrical friendship, dress in their absurdist best (Bodine in the mother of all zoot suits), and join the party.
We get some insight here into the nature of rebellions, and the danger of them not only fizzling out or failing, but of being co-opted as a tool to "help legitimize Them" (713). Of either dying or "living on as Their pet" - it brings to mind the corporate branding of "rebelliousness" as cool, as "a phase" that it's normal to go through and eventually grow up from. Treating the idealism of youth, the desire to make the world better and to fight against the problems of the system before you become numb to them, as a normal phase of life is such an effective way to neutralize it culturally. How many people have heard the phrase "you get conservative [i.e. more resistant to change] as you get older"? How many of us have seen youth-led movements being dismissed as examples of immaturity, for example? Between that and companies stamping their logo on it (hello, Hot Topic), it's a way to change the cultural narrative around any movement against the status quo to one that's dismissive, just accepting enough to let people burn off their energy and eventually fall into line. Because how else can you continue to live a decent life in a society that refuses to change? You either go build a shack in the woods somewhere, die, or acclimate to the system and just focus on being comfortable yourself, not constantly fighting for change. It's a depressing thought, and I'm sure Pynchon saw a lot of that attitude in the 60s. I have to wonder - do non-industrialized societies have "teenage rebellion" as a normal part of life? Is that a part of human nature, like we tend to think, or is it an explicit reaction to reaching maturity in a system that is anti-human and anti-nature?
Anyway, back to the dinner party - between the depressing, anti-social music (kazoos?!
) and the lavish dinner, things seem fine, but there's a plot against the Roger and Bodine. Fortunately a journalist, Constance, tips off Bodine that they might just be the main course of this feast, so Bodine cues Roger to begin the evening show - an absurd gross-out session that they planned in advance with the aid of now-deceased Pudding communicating via medium Carroll Eventyr. The pair recite an increasingly disgusting list of alliterative dishes, triggering "well-bred gagging" and guests to flee, though a few find it all quite entertaining. But it's enough to break up the dinner party and allow our heroes to flee. Note: If you made it this far, actually read all this, thank you
. Bloom warned me this was a longer section, and boy, he wasn't kidding. I think this is longer than some college essays I wrote... Damn fun, though, and I hope you've found my thoughts informative, interesting, useful, or if nothing else, sufficiently diversionary for a spell. I truly look forward to seeing what you other fine foax have to say on these labrynthine sections. Questions
- In the lightning-aficionado's "A Nickel Saved" excerpt, are there any other references or hidden ideas you can find? I have to think there are.
- What is the meaning of the windmill reflected in Blicero's eyes? How do you interpret the imagery in this scene in general?
- 175-Stadt. Oven-State. Hund-Stadt. Rocket-State. Factory-State. We've seen numerous examples of specialized micro-states across the Zone, experiments in different forms of society. What are your thoughts on these? Are they hints at ways to find alternate societies, or manifestations of humanity's tendency to divide by category and put of fences?
- In the "Shit 'n' Shinola" subsection, Pynchon connects Jack Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Tyrone Slothrop. What do you make of this intersection?
- In "Streets," the bombing of Hiroshima is presented as being similar to the Cross, "it is also, perhaps, a Tree..." - the capitalized "Tree" here could be the tree of knowledge, the tree of life, the tree from which the Hanged Man dangles, or perhaps something else. What's your interpretation of this imagery?
- In Section 69, we see references to the Albatross, famous symbol from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It's presented that Slothrop is the (now-plucked) albatross, but it's not clear who killed this bird, or who's wearing it around their neck. They? Any ideas?
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