I got a beef with Notion Club Papers and nowhere to put it

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Here's my beef with the Notion Club Papers, in condensed dialogue format.

Scene 1
Writer: "Here's my story with a space ship in it."
Crusty literary nerd 1: *grumble grumble*
Crusty literary nerd 2: "Preposterous!"
Crusty literary nerd 3: "I won't read another page of it!"

Scene 2
Writer: "OK guys, you got me. Actually, my dreams in real life predict the future."
Crusty literary nerd 1: "Well, duh, obviously."
Crusty literary nerds 2 and 3: "Tell us more!"
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Here's my beef with the Notion Club Papers
What? You think this is unrealistic or something? :rolleyes:
Clearly, you have no sympathy with crusty literary nerds of the comically fictional variety.
There's just no pleasing some people.

More seriously; you seem to be saying you can't invest secondary belief in the story. That happens. It's ok. You don't have like everything an author writes, not even if he's your favorite author.

And if you've managed to jump-start this sub-forum as a place to discuss all the stuff that doesn't fit in any other, that will be a Very Good Thing for us all!
 

NotACat

Active Member
I put mine in one of the "Mythgard Academy" forums, it would be nice if the admins could create a proper forum for each class.
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
it would be nice if the admins could create a proper forum for each class.
They created one for Hitchhiker's Guide. It was barely used. They stopped doing that.

But I agree with you: there should be a forum for each class, and it should be retained basically forever. Even though many would have to be created retroactively at this point. Asynchronous podcast listeners like me sometimes only get to a class years later: I just yesterday finished with "The Lost Road" class from 2016 (side-benefit of a long road trip).
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Often, a scene that a reader finds unbelievable is the part that is lifted directly from actual life experience ;) Because life does not happen in story format. ...
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
The story is not very well written, one of Tolkiens less good works. I like the overall concept, the idea behind it and everything, but not the story itself...
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
To expand on why the crusty nerds make me mad.

It is an example of people who are semi-scientifically literate thinking they are fully scientifically literate. At a basic principles level, FTL spaceships and FTL information transfer of any kind (including from the future, or instantaneous bi-directional information transfer over long distances) are both impossible for exactly the same reasons. If you want to scoff at the first story for science reasons, you need to scoff at the second story for the same science reasons. If you want to give the second story a pass, you should give the first story a pass.

As I listened to Corey's distillation of the story, I found myself getting more and more annoyed by the complaints about the spaceship story, mostly out of some sort of SF fandom loyalty I suppose. But my annoyance climbed through the roof when we heard how credulously the fellows treated the dream/mind travelling story with immediate acceptance and no quibbles.

The story of the crusty nerds is completely believable to me.
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Often, a scene that a reader finds unbelievable is the part that is lifted directly from actual life experience ;) Because life does not happen in story format. ...
"It's much easier for stupid plot twists to happen in reality than in
fiction, since nobody involved is concerned with preserving suspension
of disbelief." -- David Eppstein

"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't." -- Mark Twain

"Truth in her dress finds facts too tight. In fiction she moves with ease." [Rabindranath Tagore]

"Quick question - are there more tornados in Nebraska or Kansas? Most people will answer Kansas, although there are more in Nebraska. However, nobody can come up with an example of a tornado that hit Nebraska, and we can all come up with an example of one that hit Kansas. (Even though that one is fictional!)" -Tom LeCompte
 

Darren Grey

Member
I think the key here is that these crusty nerds are all Tolkien to a certain extent. He doesn't like the science-y stuff, but dream stuff interests him. In the modern day (or his modern day) he's far more likely to believe a story about dreams than about spaceships.

So you're complaints are essentially about Tolkien and his anti-machine tendencies and love of dream nonsense.
 

amysrevenge

Well-Known Member
Kind of. But it's not the love for dreams and the hate for spaceships inherently that I have beef with. It's the terms in which the dislike is cast.

Perfectly acceptable variant, that I would happily accept:

Writer: "Here's my story with a space ship in it."
Crusty literary nerd 1: *grumble grumble*
Crusty literary nerd 2: "Dullsville!"
Crusty literary nerd 3: "It's so boring that I won't read another page of it!"

Scene 2
Writer: "OK guys, you got me. Actually, my story is about pretending that dreams in real life predict the future."
Crusty literary nerd 1: "This is very entertaining to me."
Crusty literary nerds 2 and 3: "Tell us more!"

My objection lies in the complete rejection of the spaceship story being cast as scientific in nature and not just subjective taste. There is a very strong effort being made to say that spaceship stories, because of science, are objectively bad or lesser. And then it is followed up on with the complete acceptance of the dream/mind travel through time and space story, even though "because science" it should be just as bad at that objective level that we were given for the spaceship story.

Spaceship boring/dreams interesting: good criticism that I have no beef with, even if I disagree.

Spaceship bad because science/dreams good because science: bad criticism that I have beef with, doesn't really give you space to disagree.
 

Darren Grey

Member
Hmm, I take it differently than that. The crusty nerds are saying the space stuff doesn't work because it's hard to believe - it's an invented system that pretends it has grounding in reality. I don't have the passage to hand, but don't they say you might as well use a spell or wizard? That's more honest.

In a way the dreams are a more honest story, if you consider the dreams to be a type of magic.

I don't agree with the point, incidentally - science fiction can be interesting entirely because of the conjectural tech.
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Spaceship bad because science/dreams good because science
That may work fine according to 19th century science as understood by the characters. The crusty academics are a bit behind the times. I don't think any of them studied science at all. They've probably heard of Einstein, but have no understanding of any of the subtler consequences of relativity.

One of the attractions of science fiction for me is that I have to place myself inside the world-view of characters with very different assumptions, and avoid thinking "but they're just plain wrong!". But of course I fail at this when a really jarring mistake is made by the author. Here's one of my favorites:

"...the sky turned and the pole-star rose." [J.P. Sullivan]

I attribute this quote to dismal authorial ignorance, not to a cleverly subtle suggestion of global catastrophe.
 

kitfinn

New Member
Another comment on Notion Club Papers. Hallucinations can in fact come from one part of the brain to another. When vision is lost in an individual who has previously had it you can get Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

Diagnostic criteria and clinical features
Though no universally approved diagnostic criteria for the syndrome exist, the core features are the occurrence of well formed, vivid, elaborate, and often stereotyped visual hallucinations in a partially sighted person who has insight into the unreality of what he or she is seeing. There should not be any feature of psychosis, impaired sensorium, dementia, intoxication, metabolic derangement, or focal neurological illness.3-5 The syndrome occurs most commonly in elderly people, probably because of the prevalence of visual impairment in this group. The common conditions leading to the syndrome are age related macular degeneration, followed by glaucoma and cataract. These hallucinations, which are always outside the body, may last from a few seconds to most of the day. They may persist for a few days to many years, changing in frequency and complexity. They have no personal meaning, and many patients can voluntarily modify them or make the image disappear if they close their eyes. The imagery is varied and may include groups of people or children, animals, and panoramic countryside scenes.1,3,55

My mother used to see flying children.
 
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