Custom Search

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Who He?

After decades of reading science fiction, I've decided I don't really like science fiction that much. Basically I enjoy reading books by a handful of "sci-fi" authors who have cool ideas and write good stories. I'm including Margaret Atwood on that list just to piss her off, given her publicly expressed views on science fiction. Because she's obviously one of the three and a half people who read this blog and this will make her regret what she said about sci-fi.

Anyway, her sci-fi books (which she doesn't write) are really pretty good.

One thing I never understood was fanboys' obsession with "classical science fiction". I've read quite a few books by Heinlein, Asimov, Niven and Bester. They are okay and I can see how they may have been mindblowing in the period they were written/published. But the prose has aged poorly, there is little to zero character development and whatever plot can be surmised from the text usually ends when the author runs out of ideas or gets bored, not through any logical conclusion. Also I guess readers back in the day really didn't mind monologues that go on for hours. Maybe people talked that way in the 1950s/60s. Almost all the old people I know still do.

Bester may be an exception, if you read his stuff as a parody of classical sci-fi, or as Bizarro fiction 50 years before that was a thing. Not sure if this was his original intention and he's dead so I can't ask him. I've read Stars and Demolished Man. The latter title (sadly) has nothing to do with the sci-fi hit of a similar name, starring Stallone and Wesley Snipes. On my to-read list are Who He? and Golem 100. Here's the blurb for Who He?:

"A TV variety show writer who wakes up after an alcoholic blackout and discovers that someone is out to destroy his life."
It's supposed to be a "mainstream novel".

Newer sci-fi is also sometimes a struggle to get through. Much of it is written based on a cookie-cutter template of what sold at the time. Which is fine - writers gotta eat - but gets a bit tiresome after a while. Hard science fiction is also a hard sell for me, as is stuff with heavy worldbuilding. I like technology and science and all that, but quite a bit of it I don't understand, and if I wanted to read a physics textbook and edumacate myself I would buy one.

Military sci-fi is another thing I don't get and will probably never read. Mostly because I have a hard time wrapping my head around Napoleonic navies in space, or pitched battles in the year 3157 that rely less on technology than modern warfare in 2018. Vide: space marines. It's like zombie novels in a way - read one and you've kind of read them all.

I also don't give two shits whether the economic system is 'realistic' or 'sustainable' or not. Insert meme of fedora'd neckbeard. Real-world economic systems don't make sense, nor are they sustainable. If the story has dispossessed natives mining Unobtainium and living in slums, because something something evil Terran/Andromedan/Hrangan colonists, I don't need to know whether the supply chains are vertical or horizontal, or how the magic the hero local shaman uses ACKCHYUALLY works.

My favorite sci-fi writer wight now might just be Ursula K. Le Guin. Of the half dozen books of hers I've read so far, there wasn't one I found less than awesome. I'm sure she wrote some garbage too, but I haven't come across any yet. She also wrote the Earthsea series which I haven't read but have heard is pretty good. I'm not a big fan of fantasy but I might give it a shot.

Or not.

I've changed my approach to squatting and deadlifting slightly. No more singles or pushing max triples - building a strength base is more important. I'll just do a bunch of sets of (mostly) five and try to hit 30-ish total reps at high intensity. Basically anything over 385-405 lbs. counts as a working set.

Using this approach, I did:
  • Deadlift - triples with 405-415-425-435-445-455, then a double with 405,
  • Squat - worked up to 460x3 over six sets (26 reps total), starting and finishing with 395.
I also changed my deadlift stance, moving my legs out a bit wider while still lifting conventional. This seems to be working very well and the weights moved more explosively.

Bench press is still stuck at 325x6 for my top set. I don't expect this to improve much (ever), but I will start upping the weight and reducing the reps when I start my next pressing cycle next summer. If I can hit 325 consistently until then, along with a few back-off sets, I'll be happy.

Standing OH press - I haven't tried upping the weights in a while, but I have done multiple doubles with 205 a few times now.

No comments: