Picture of the Day: Ice Climber


Ice climber
Originally uploaded by Jvstin

Although some people think I am “adventurous”, in reality I am less adventurous than most people that I meet. Take for example the subject of today’s picture. While at Gooseberry Falls, i encountered a group of people who had come to ice climb the frozen waterfalls.

So today’s picture is an action closeup of one of the climbers.

A few brief thoughts on the Nihilism in Fantasy Debate

So if you have not heard already, the topic du jour in Fantasy is an article by Leo Grin, called the “Bankrupt Nihilism of our Fallen Fantasists
Go ahead, read it. The comment threads are interesting too.
http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/lgrin/2011/02/12/the-bankrupt-nihilism-of-our-fallen-fantasists/

I’ve seen one defense of it (from Mr. Wright) and a lot of people thinking that this is nonsense. Mr Abercrombie, mentioned by name in the article as being a star of this nihilistic fall, has a measured response to it:
http://www.joeabercrombie.com/2011/02/15/bankrupt-nihilism/
There are many other responses, on twitter and elsewhere.
Anyway, in my opinion, his points ARE nonsense. It’s even funny and pitable in a way. I don’t recall Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser (whom he only mentions in a comment thread) being moral compasses of what is good and right. He’s longing for a past in Fantasy Literature that never, ever was.
And he seems to be trying to make a political point. Recall this paragraph from his article.
Soiling the building blocks and well-known tropes of our treasured modern myths is no different than other artists taking a crucifix and dipping it in urine, covering it in ants, or smearing it with feces. In the end, it’s just another small, pathetic chapter in the decades-long slide of Western civilization into suicidal self-loathing. It’s a well-worn road: bored middle-class creatives (almost all of them college-educated liberals) living lives devoid of any greater purpose inevitably reach out for anything deemed sacred by the conservatives populating any artistic field. They co-opt the language, the plots, the characters, the cliches, the marketing, and proceed to deconstruct it all like a mad doctor performing an autopsy. Then, using cynicism, profanity, scatology, dark humor, and nihilism, they put it back together into a Frankenstein’s monster designed to shock, outrage, offend, and dishearten.
Wow. The Fall of Fantasy into Nihilism is a Liberal Plot!
Grin also seems to be extremely selective in his reading of modern fantasy. Even if you exclude urban fantasy, there are plenty of authors who don’t fit into the round hole he is putting the genre. And what is wrong with shades-of-grey characters anyway? Not everyone and everything is black and white.
And just where are the contemporary women fantasy writers in his thesis, and their work? Has he never read Elizabeth Moon, Kate Elliott, Elizabeth Bear, Robin Hobb?
Then again, some of their work might explode his brain.
Grin’s last words on his article were
“Call me humorless, call me old-fashioned, but I daresay the good professor had a much better idea of war and heroes than the nihilistic jokesters writing modern fantasy.
To be continued. . . . .”
We’ll see what he further has to say. Bring the popcorn.

Picture of the Day: Frozen Gooseberry River Valley


Gooseberry River Valley
Originally uploaded by Jvstin

This is what the Gooseberry River looks like when snowed and fully frozen. I’m standing just downstream of the lower falls on the river bed here (they are behind me), and am looking toward Lake Superior. You can see the bridge that hikers take to cross the river in the middle background. Some of my shots of the lower falls you’ve seen before were taken from that bridge.