mneme: (Default)
I'm willing to sing about punching Nazis, but I'm not willing to seriously advocate that doing so (or censoring them) is ethically and morally right.

Ken White (Popehat) has an excellent post as to why not. (oddly enough, -do- read the comments here).
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
I first heard of Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea: Economy and Society, ed. Michael D. Shin, from a post by [personal profile] thistleingrey. What's sad about this book is not that it's poorly written or conceived, but that it's priced so damn high; the lowest price I'm seeing on Amazon is over $100 (!). This is a translation of a collection of essays by Korean historians about Joseon-era Korea, particularly emphasizing the viewpoint of the common people rather than the yangban (nobles) and royalty. As such, the topics are ones that, as [personal profile] thistleingrey notes, are rarely discussed about this period in English. I found the introductory essay by Michael D. Shin particularly valuable, as it discusses Korean historiography and how it has been affected by, e.g., the Japanese occupation and Korean nationalism; it was really great to have it put the rest of the book in context.

I found this interesting as additional background and research reading for my current novel WIP, DRAGON PEARL, although I am not choosing to base my space opera setting very closely on historical Korea, let alone Joseon. For example, Joseon Korea tended to become more patriarchal as time went on due to the influence of Neo-Confucianism, and I wanted to depict a society more egalitarian in its attitudes toward gender. Earlier periods of Korea were kinder to women, but not only is there less material on earlier periods to begin with, it is damn near impossible to find such material in English, and unfortunately I am not fluent in either Korean or Classical Chinese.

Also, I was fascinated by Seo Tae-Won's "The Military Life," which mostly amazes me in that I'm not sure how the Joseon military system was even able to function! For example, many commoner households owed military service to the government, but they were not paid or equipped or given uniforms, which was hard on their families, especially if they were needed at home for the farming...yikes.

Meanwhile, the most entertaining of the essays (if you want to judge them that way) are Jung Jin Young's "Did Fake Genealogies Exist?", which drily notes that it can't be possible that EVERY SINGLE KOREAN comes from a yangban lineage, and discusses some more complicating factors in Korean family lines, and the very last one, "The Outhouses of the Royal Palaces" by Hong Soon Min.

Here is the table of contents for the curious:

Part One: Economy
1. Farming in the Joseon Period
2. A Typical Day and Year in the Life of the Peasantry
3. The Tax Burden of the Peasantry
4. Currency and the Value of Money
5. The Merchants of Seoul
6. The Joys and Sorrows of the Itinerant Merchants
7. Foreign Trade and Interpreter Officials
8. Salt: White Gold
9. Seeking Work at Mines
10. When Did Joseon's Population Reach Ten Million?

Part Two: Society
11. Rural Society and Zhu Xi's Community Compact
12. Why Did Peasants Create the Dure?
13. Did Fake Genealogies Exist?
14. The Baekjeong Class
15. The Rebellion of Im Ggeokjeong
16. Did People Divorce in the Joseon Period?
17. The Educational System
18. Military Life
19. The Penal System
20. Eating Culture
21. Liquor and Taverns
22. Tea and Tobacco
23. The Outhouses of the Royal Palaces

Thank you to the generous benefactor who donated this book.

(no subject)

May. 22nd, 2017 01:05 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
I owe ten guest blog posts in connection to Raven Stratagem.

So far I have the following ideas:

- Kel military rank structure and culture (why I decided to go with army ranks). (Highly relevant to the plot of RS.)
- Statting out characters for my continuity bible.
- The Shuos, bureaucracy, and that summer job I used to have working for the Cornell Engineering Registrar.
- Ridiculous fuck-ups (uh, except worded more nicely) and how I like using them in fiction, or, why Seth Dickinson and I are antiparticles--cf. Seth's Tweet:
one of my rules for baruworld is that nobody (even extras) can be conveniently bad at their skill. prisons hold, archers shoot straight, etc

By the way, he's not wrong, it's just a different philosophical/aesthetic approach to world/plot. :p
- ?????

Any other ideas?! I have to...come up with...more of these...maybe something on game design and the Shuos?!

too awesome not to share

May. 22nd, 2017 12:49 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: recreational (peaceful) tank (recreational tank)
War Aircraft through the Lens of a US Army Training Manual [Ars Technica]. There's a link to the PDF of the training manual, which I have duly downloaded. Don't forget to read the comments--some comedy gold in the anecdotes/quips there. One of my favorites:
bthylafh Ars Tribunus Angusticlavius
MAY 21, 2017 12:15 PM
Voyna i Mor wrote:
JPan wrote:
In the German Heer ( army ) we said that reconnaissance is overrated: If you see an aircraft shoot it down. Nobody likes the Luftwaffe anyway.

Doesn't the US have a similar policy, except that the operating principle of the US Army is broader, i.e., if you're not sure what it is, shoot it?

You can identify an unknown force by firing one shot and judging the response. If the unknowns respond with precise, regimented rifle fire, they are British. If they respond with heavy machine gun fire, they are German. If they hunker down and in fifteen minutes you are killed by artillery or an airstrike, they are American.

(I may have a grimdark sense of humor.)

Man, I wish I'd kept around my M.A.X. Chosen icon...

(no subject)

May. 21st, 2017 08:33 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
Dear Jedao,

The next time you are annoying to write, I'm going to hurl you into the world of Warhammer 40,000, and then you'll realize I'm a nice author. I mean, the very least of the Sisters of Battle would eat you for breakfast. So behave, m'kay?

Your Yoon

from the Starfinder RPG Wiki

May. 21st, 2017 07:01 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
On Solarians in Starfinder (upcoming tabletop RPG):
Solarians are mystical melee combatants who harness stars and black holes to create weapons and armor from energy, and can manipulate these balanced, fundamentally opposing forces of energy.


(household includes a gravitational astrophysicist)

ME: How are stars and black holes "fundamentally opposing forces of energy"?

HOUSEHOLD GRAVITATIONAL ASTROPHYSICIST: The statement actually makes no sense whatsoever.

ME: Just checking. How come I don't get to sling around stars and black holes?

DRAGON: Because you spent your point on Perfect Pitch, Mom.

ME: *starts to cry*

CAT: *walks across keyboard*
lizvogel: Chicory flowers (Landscapin')
I spent half the day fighting more of the lawn into submission, after the other half was eaten by more digitally-oriented clean-up. I didn't even try to work on the remaining downed trees that need to be cut up; it was just too windy. So the enormous tree limb that came down in my parking space wasn't really necessary.

On the plus side, it merely dinged the hood of my car before rolling off, causing no operational damage and only minimal cosmetic. I've been pulling back a bit when I park, in case of just such an eventuality. So it could be a lot worse.

It even politely rolled off to the side, blocking neither parking space nor the rest of the driveway. But there's still what looks like an entire tree laying there, and I'm the one who'll have to deal with it. So yes, I am farther behind after working all day than I was when I started; I estimate I accumulated an extra ten hours of work to do, not an hour after I'd done a whole bunch of work.

Excerpt from Raven Stratagem!

May. 18th, 2017 02:56 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
Excerpt from Raven Stratagem up at

Raven Stratagem (the sequel to Ninefox Gambit) will be out from Solaris Books on June 13, but hey, why not read ahead?

By the way, the bee-catching trick is real. I used to go door-to-door in 2nd grade trying to sell bees for a nickel each but for some reason no one ever bought one.

Also, don't try the trick on hornets or wasps! They're much meaner.


May. 16th, 2017 09:54 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: M31 galaxy (M31)
Recent reading:

Forthcoming on August 1 is Marina J. Lostetter's debut sf novel Noumenon, which I had the pleasure of reading as an ARC. The premise: in the near-ish future, a physicist discovers an anomalous interstellar object (a star? an alien construct? something else entirely?) and the people of Earth agree to send a fleet of their best and brightest on a voyage to study the object for twenty years, then come back to report their findings. They take this business of best and brightest seriously, too, because the voyage will take multiple generations and the generations will be composed of clones. Also accompanying them will be an AI that develops its own distinct personality.

As you might imagine, everything that can go wrong eventually does go wrong. If you've read generation ship novels or stories before, you can guess some of the failure modes. But what makes Noumenon interesting is how the social change is contrasted with the theme-and-variations aspect of the clones and how their society evolves first in planned ways, and then goes entirely off the rails of what the mission's founders accounted for. Lostetter follows the voyage through different clones and different generations, skipping time to give a panoramic view. Even small events have consequences that reverberate through the generations: a boy's discovery of how the population is managed (since we have a closed system...) leads to insurrection and beyond.

I'm not sure what my favorite part of the novel was--the interplay of personalities and consequences, or the anomalous interstellar object. I held my breath reading the last twenty pages because I wasn't sure even then whether the book would stick the landing, and after enjoying the ride I desperately wanted it to stick the landing. Well, it stuck the landing--the ending marries theme and plot beautifully, in a way that really resonated for me. Recommended.

am I doing things wrong?

May. 13th, 2017 08:45 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
From Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love:
For Setting, I need: the magical system (if there is one), the basic political system, and the general feel of the places where the action will be happening. What is the technology level of this world? What kind of culture are we in? Who has power and why? How did the world get to its current state? If I'm writing a fantasy, I'll also do a creation story and work out the pantheon at this point. For science fiction, I figure out how humans got into space.

A lot of this makes sense to me, but...

In like 99% of cases where I'm writing spacefaring sf/f, it would occur to me to work out how humans got into space just as much as it would occur to me to work out how they invented the wheel: not at all.

*slinks away*


May. 12th, 2017 07:52 am[personal profile] lizvogel
lizvogel: A jar of almonds that warns that it contains almonds. (Stupid Planet)
If your cause encourages you to be horrible to people in the advancement of it, maybe it's time you got yourself a new cause.

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