Typing Archives

January 2, 2007

Where To Boldly Go Went

Dang, I am too tired to really get into a discussion of the issues brought up in this post of TigerHawk's. It's too bad, because he's talking about something I've been wanting to get into writing about for a long time: how our society (by which I mean American society and Western society in general, though the American part of it is the only part I really have the authority to talk about) has changed in its attitude towards risk from a "risk is necessary and even good" viewpoint to a "risk bad! stay at home lock doors hide under bed!" viewpoint.

I'll at least try to get into some of it. Here's how I express my own point of view: I am a Captain Kirk girl as opposed to a Captain Picard girl. One of the main themes of the original Star Trek is the idea that human beings needed risk and adventure, often expressed as "freedom" but usually more openly admitted to be the need to have obstacles to overcome, rivals to compete against, and dangerous tasks to take on, in order to not stagnate and then decay and die out. How many episodes shows the OST crew landing on some paradise where ostensibly their every wish was granted but which turned out to be a trap of one sort or other? True, there was that one episode, "The Menagerie," where the crippled space captain ended up living a life of "illusion" in a "healed" body -- but even that show was geared towards the idea that even the illusion of free movement and physical fitness is preferable if reality consists of paralysis and constant medical care.

However, by the time they decided to resurrect the series (and I glom all the new STs -- Next Generation, Deep Space 9, etc. -- into one grouping, because the same overarching themes governed all the shows, with the exception of Enterprise, which I have not seen an episode of), times had changed and so had attitudes, so what we ended up with is a "future" where the characters were too busy questioning their own motives to get anything done; "superior" beings (such as "Q" -- one of the better characters in the new series, or at least one of the few really confident ones, until they decided he needed to question himself too), instead of being hoist on their own petard, were shown as being basically right about humanity and who had to be coaxed into giving us a "second chance"; war-weariness instead of eagerness to fight for a cause; lots of multicultural twaddle (Klingons turned into gruff teddy bears aliens, even Romulans weren't allowed to be good, old-fashioned enemies, the crew of the Enterprise had to understand them too); and lots and lots of therapy-speak with made-up alien neuroses sometimes, but not always, standing in for human ones (for instance, with the Trill alien-within-an-alien characters the writers seemed to be trying to confront issues of identity and sex, but they were in over their heads and the attempt, IMO, went nowhere).

The therapy-speak was the most annoying aspect of the new show. No one was allowed to simply be brave or adventurous or even rash -- everything had to be explained away according to whichever article in Psychology Today the episodes' writers had skimmed at the dentist's office. In the old misogynist days of Kirk and Spock, the character of Counselor Troi would have existed to have her complacently perfect psyche overset by a real emotion, usually expressed as a violent attraction to one of the major male crew members. And she usually would have ended up tragically killed (so as to leave the heroes free to go on adventuring), or simply never mentioned again, such as Scotty's lady love in "The Lights of Zetar." But in the later shows that wasn't allowed, and we couldn't get rid of her. (It is interesting that the women who often ended up meeting a bad end were the ones who were what we would have known in my childhood as "tomboys" -- "warrior" type women with "masculine" characteristics such as adventurousness, belligerence, and so on, and a marked lack of "nurturing" characteristics such as a tendency to talk about their and everyone else's emotions and feelings, unless it was feelings like "I'm going to beat up that Romulan!" -- characters such as Lieutenant Tasha Yar, who was played by Denise Crosby.)

Anyway, the two sets of Star Trek series, the original and the new, show how our society's attitudes towards risk, and people who seek risk, have changed, and not for the better. I guess the most obvious explanation for the change is the fact that the generation currently in charge of the arts, the news media, and the educational system -- hint, it was born after a certain war and the initials of its nickname are "BB" -- is growing old and sickly, so everyone has to live through their increasing fears of falling over and not being able to get up just like we had to live through everything else they felt and did. This can't be good, because after growing old there is only one experience left -- the one you don't live through. Then again, at least the grave is silent.

Next day update: hey! I resemble that remark. Actually, I have to admit Udolpho's bashing of scifi fans has an element of truth in it. Back when I was "into" scifi I was as geeky as they come. However, I hope I've cast off most of the "the mundanes don't understand me therefore I am special and better" attitude that too many science fiction afficionados foster in themselves. The fact that you enjoy reading/watching adventure stories where the characters are on other planets doesn't make you more intellectual than people who read spy stories or Harlequin romances.

Udolpho's criticism of science fiction on literary grounds is the basic genre vs. "literary fiction" argument that I've discussed elsewhere. I'm not up to getting into it here -- I'll just say that there is crap in all genres. I won't argue for the literary merits of Dune or any of Heinlein's novels -- for one thing, I haven't read those books for years. To tell you the truth, I don't read much science fiction these days -- the old mainstays that I've got in my bookcases like Andre Norton (who never made a pretense of being anything other than a storyteller), Jack Vance (his writing style is somewhat elevated above mere storytelling, but unlike many writers of modern lit-fic, he doesn't let his prose get in the way), and a few others. Very few new science fiction novels find their way into my home these days. Most of the stories are either rewrites of the same old stuff, more "hard" scifi, or dreary "thought-provoking" socio-political polemics thinly disguised as entertainment. The fantasy genre is in even worse shape. I've actually been trying to catch up on the Canon.

In any case I never seemed to get out of scifi or fantasy what other people seemed to get out of it. For instance, many of my female friends who are still big fans are really into the "power" aspect -- that is, the "magickal" or "psychic" powers the characters, especially female characters, are granted in many fantasy and science fiction novels. I never was really interested in that aspect except insofar as it was necessary to drive the story forward. I think that Andre Norton was one of the few people who (however inconsistently) was able to write about men and women with "powers" without making the idea ludicrous or an obvious deus ex machina. Other science fiction fans are really interested in the idea of societal improvement due to fabulous technological advances/alien contact/offshoot notions from various Social Darwinist fancies. In other words, it's okay to dream about eugenics and "improving the race" if you say it's just fiction.

One complaint against genre fiction is the fact that characters are usually set up to a variety of standard templates, and are in fact simply better-looking, more successful stand-ins for the authors of these stories, or deliberately set up to be blank enough that the reader is able to make the character into a stand-in -- stronger, cleverer, and more heroic -- for himself. This is mostly true (except in the case of a very few works), but that can also be true of literary fiction. Making people is a dangerous business.

Anyway, more later, maybe, in a new post. Right now I want my tea.

May 12, 2007

Book Notes

(Oops update: this review is from 1994, which I could have seen if I'd actually read the byline right there at the top of the article. So the current conflict has nothing to do with the novel. Or does it? See my comment. I'm going to leave this post as is; just make timeline adjustments as necessary.)

Hm. Tom Clancy has emitted a new tome. Now, we are currently at war with the crazy jihad branch (or perhaps one should say "trunk, "root system," or even "entire tree") of the Muslim world. Which is centered in the Middle East. And who do you think are the dastardly villains at the center of Mr. Clancy's plot?

The Japanese.




Sorry, folks, I've got nuthin.' Really.

Except to note that the example of prose Mr. Buckley quotes --"Yamata had seen breasts before, even large Caucasian breasts" -- has replaced my former favorite example of bad sexy-talk from a book (in this case one of Allen Drury's dreadful Cold War spy novels): "Irina went to the shower to douche and towel herself dry." I can't remember the name of the novel that contained this bit of sparkling romantic prose, probably because I don't want to. But I swear by Jack Ryan's "sword" that I've quoted that bit exactly as I read it some time in the early 80s.

(Link to the book review via The Anchoress.)

May 15, 2007

Of books unread

I was at the bookstore the other day -- I'm dangerously close to a Barnes and Noble now -- and I was wandering through the science fiction and fantasy isle. I picked up a new hardcover, one of those thick ones with arty jackets and lots of overblown praise from people who are important (I guess) in the science fiction and fantasy world. I opened the book at random. Here are the words from a character of this phantasmagoric, richly imagistic, wildly conceptual, stunningly original (to use standard blurb words for these kinds of things) work of fantasy: "Fuck that shit."

I put the book back.

I tell you what, I ask so little of the world. I ask only that I not have to read "fuck and suck" and suchlike terminology in stories about fantastical otherworlds populated by myth-spawned creatures and larger-than-life heroes. I can't imagine Aragorn saying to Sam "fuck it, the little fucker ran off to Mordor with the ring," can you? It looks like the only fantasy novel I'll be buying this year is The Children of Hurin, and maybe the last Potter one when the frenzy has died down. As for the rest, I've got a ton of classical reading to catch up on. You know, books from back in the day when bad old oppressive laws and customs meant authors actually had to think before they wrote.

May 17, 2007

Books in a can

I was prepared to sneer at this approving piece on condensed books, because over the years I've become a book snob who must read The Whole Thing or nothing, when a thought occurred to me: condensing a large book is surely a great way of revealing whether or not the book actually has a good plot and structure. Padding your writing with extraneous baggage in the form of treatises and side-issues and whatnot is a great way of hiding weaknesses. And such severe editing could even reveal the work's true nature. For example, there's a good mystery story struggling to escape from all the speechifying and pontificating in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugs.

May 22, 2007

Panties wadded

Oh dear, another day, another panjandrum of the culturati circles the wagons against those dastardly bloggers. Not that I disagree with everything in Schickel's article; I also believe that good writing is an elitist enterprise that is the opposite of "democratic." But I suggest that his opprobrium against "bloggers" messing about in the sacred field of criticism is a bit of a ruse.

I think that what Shickel fears is not so much that an army of "cultists" with badly-written screeds about the virtues of Phillip K. Dick will be considered to be "critics" just as good as he (or the illustrious names he cites) is, though writers do hate it when lesser talents get attention and worse, make money. But I don't even think that he fears real competition from some talented unknown who can write as well if not better than he can. What this column actually is is a letter to his editors, and the people who own the newspapers that publish his syndicated column. His citing of people like Sainte-Beuve (yes I have heard of him) and Edmund Wilson are meant to remind the media mavens that they had better not follow the latest fashion and drop him in favor of some gaggle of nobodies that they won't have to pay as much for (or even better yet, get for free); or even worse, decide that since he can put pen to paper (so to speak) he'll be willing to do anything for money, such as, say, turning his talents to writing articles on vitamins for the food section or something.

He can see the way the wind is blowing in the media, and he doesn't like it, and I can't say that I blame him.

(Via Lileks, and here's more commentary on Libertas.)

May 23, 2007

Day Jobs

My favorite Important Author Who Had A Day Job, for personal reasons which some of you might figure out, is Franz Kafka, who worked in the insurance business.

(My previous post on the pretentious and frightened Mr. Schickel is here.)

July 2, 2007

Heinlein et al

Meh. When I was a juvenile I read some Heinlein, including The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (I suppose, I don't remember the book very well so I guess I didn't find it all that memorable much less the earth-shattering, life-changing opus that libertarians did). But the bloom wore off, I haven't read any Heinlein since (my favorite science fiction authors are Andre Norton and Jack Vance, if you must know). This retrospective on Heinlein by Steve Sailer reminds me why.

Heinlein seems to be revered mainly by men. I sometimes joke about being a man in a woman's body, but I guess I'm a real girl after all. Jack Vance has a standard manly, fighting-machine kind of hero, but there is a remote, ironic, and philosophical tone to his writing that adds layers to the surface conventions of his stories that Heinlein's lack. Andre Norton was, of course, a woman, but her heroes (and heroines) tended to be anything but weaklings -- yet her stories, even though they all ended on hopeful notes, lacked the rather overbearing optimism that made Heinlein ultimately unpalatable for me. In her more recent books she got into goofy New Age-ish feminist magick stuff, at least for plots, and her stories suffered accordingly. Her best stuff was written in the 60s and 70s.

Oddly enough, all three writers are/were Americans, and wrote or still write (Vance is still alive, if ancient) science fiction, but that is about all they have in common.

By the way, whenever I'm sick (so far -- knock on wood -- with nothing worse than strep throat, or the flu) I read stuff like H.P. Lovecraft. Really, for some reason reading Lovecraft just seems to be the thing when sick in bed. Somehow all that stuff about "unnameable horrors" and the "sunken city Rl'yeh under the sea where dead Cthulhu lies dreaming" is just comforting. I wouldn't read Heinlein in that case -- I think all that stuff about genetically-enhanced Super-Mid-Americans striding surefooted (though wisecrackingly) across space would just make me tired.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

Update: I wrote all this before reading all the he-manly comments from the manly men on Sailer's blog. Steve Sailer is a normal guy (he reminds me a lot of me, in a way), but some of the libertarians and other... people who frequent his blog comment thread remind me of Florence King's dismissal of macho English majors as the sort of people who "carried razor blades to cut the pages of European paperbacks." Betcha they can drink whiskey straight without even coughing (much).

July 22, 2007

On becoming evil

Dr. Weevil has been reading Wilkie Collins -- a rather neglected author, I believe. He seems to have favored the epistolary style of writing, and also the story-within-a-story-within-a-story style, as in The Guilty River. Anyway, I found a copy online. This passage interested me:

"Looking out of window, I saw a brutal carter, on the road before the house, beating an over-loaded horse. A year since I should have interfered to protect the horse, without a moment's hesitation. If the wretch had been insolent, I should have seized his whip, and applied the heavy handle of it to his own shoulders. In past days, I have been more than once fined by a magistrate (privately in sympathy with my offence) for assaults committed by me in the interests of helpless animals. What did I feel now? Nothing but a selfish sense of uneasiness, at having been accidentally witness of an act which disturbed my composure. I turned away, regretting that I had gone to the window and looked out.

"This was not an agreeable train of thought to follow. What could I do? I was answered by the impulse which commands me to paint.

"I sharpened my pencils, and opened my box of colors, and determined to produce a work of art.

To my astonishment, the brutal figure of the carter forced its way into my memory again and again. It (without in the least knowing why) as if the one chance of getting rid of this curious incubus, was to put the persistent image of the man on paper. It was done mechanically, and yet done so well, that I was encouraged to add to the picture. I put in next the poor beaten horse (another good likeness!); and then I introduced a life-like portrait of myself, giving the man the sound thrashing that he had deserved. Strange to say, this representation of what I ought to have done, relieved my mind as if I had actually done it. I looked at the pre-eminent figure of myself, and felt good, and turned to my Trials, and read them over again, and liked them better than ever.

And the thought struck me: this more than resembles the actions of contemporary artists and writers, who supposedly crusade against injustice with their works of art, yet in the face of real injustice are either silent or actually attack those who attempt to actually do something about the injustice in the world. This problem is obviously not unique to our century. Perhaps this is the answer to questions like "what has happened to feminist criticism of the way women are oppressed in Muslim societies?" and "why is the media so eager to portray our military in a bad light but virtually silent on the horrors perpetrated by our enemies on their own people?"

July 23, 2007

Terrible news

This is truly terrible news.

Update: more sadness.

(I forgot: I found out from Ace of Spades.)


Nobody else die, okay?

July 27, 2007

War stories

I haven't said anything about Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the would-be new Hemingway who thought that going to war would make him a Writer, because better writing has already been done on the subject. Though the idea of a big deal magazine like the New Republic falling hook, line, and sinker for what were obviously tall tales -- and lamely written ones at that -- is beyond amusing. But I will say that when you've lost the kids at Reason magazine's Hit and Run blog, who must still be regretting they did that article some years back on the lack of movies about life under Communism, you've pretty much lost your chance to shine in the Progressive sun.

(Via Ace.)

Update, much later: the discussion over at Hit and Run has become useless so instead read this. By the way, the writer of that article is a leftist. With a head on his shoulders. His must be a lonely world. Oh, and apropos of nothing, "Scott Thomas" reminds me of nothing so much as my ex-boyfriend -- though my ex's sludgy, unreadable prose was a bit more polished, and he was one of those backwards-macho types who think they can achieve manly cred through a pacifist pose (he never got tired of telling the story of how he drove across Texas all alone! in a car covered with "subversive" bumper stickers! And with long black hair! And he saw a burning cross from the highway! And he thought he would be killed by the six-fingered redneck at the gas station! Who looked at his hair funny!), there was that immediate jolt of recognition. (Via Tightly Wound.)

July 30, 2007

Has anyone ever talked to you about Jesus Christ?

-- Oops, I meant Robert Heinlein.

August 2, 2007


Is it just me, or is this column by Opinionjournal guy Daniel Henninger almost completely incoherent? And it's not that I don't know the subject matter -- I'm not particularly familiar with any of the celebrity names he invokes because I don't care about that stuff, but that doesn't mean I can't have a general idea of celebrity scandals and their cause and effect. But there is something fundamentally wrong with a passage like this:

Back then, an egg was just an egg. Barry Bonds came into the game in a time of cloning. All sciences advance, including business science. Sophisticated new business techniques of marketing and branding names across platforms, powered by the rocket fuel of electronic media, made it possible to "stretch" a sport far beyond the last out or buzzer. The seer Charles Barkley once said: "You got guys who can't even play that got jerseys, shoes and everything."

WTF? Can this be translated into English? By the way -- I can't remember -- is Henninger one of the guys in the patronizing anti-anti-illegal-immigration club meeting that the WSJ folks were caught out on? That might explain his disinterest in actually communicating with his readers. If you can't get his highfalutin' jargon then you don't deserve to be reading him, chump.

August 6, 2007

Do Androids Dream of Electric Dragons?

This is so wrong upon so many levels I don't know where to begin:

I’m currently re-reading The Belgariad by David Eddings, and are now currently on Pawn of Prophecy. As I’ve been reading it’s struck me, The Belgariad doesn’t read like a fantasy novel. It reads instead like mid-twentieth century mainstream fiction. The style is more like Faulkner than Tolkien.

People approached The Belgariad expecting another Lord of the Rings, and got instead Steinbeck with sleep enchantments.

First of all, let's get out of the way the absurd idea that David Eddings writes like Faulkner and Steinbeck. I'm no fan of either, but I have read some of their work. I have also read two of Eddings' books -- the above-mentioned Pawn of Prophecy and the first book of the Diamond Throne book cycle (or whatever it was -- it may be that the books was "The Diamond Throne" and the cycle had some other stupid, clumsily-derivative-of-Tolkien name). Those were the only two books of Eddings' that I could bear to read; Eddings maybe writes on the level of whatever two-bit hack with a word processor is filling the grocery store book racks this moment. In any genre.

Eddings is an awful writer, flat, clumsy, slack in exposition and dialogue, unable to create an interesting character if his life depended on it. Which it doesn't, because he inexplicably has become a prolific and apparently much beloved writer of fantasy. But the American public's taste for dreck must never be underestimated.

The wrongness deepens further into the post. Two of the major characters, a kind of female Gandalf stand in, and her father, a kind of Elrond-in-reverse (as far as I recall -- it's been many years -- many happy, fulfilling years -- since I allowed Eddings' awful "saga" to pollute my brain):

...bicker and feud. They have issues. Petty issues. They’re not above scoring points and manipulating each other over the most trifling of things. When did Aragorn and Arwyn ever have a knock down, drag out, scream your lungs out and plant the frying pan in the living room wall fight over Aragorn taking the garbage out?

Never, because Tolkien wasn't writing a lame farce populated by sitcom characters.

It gets worse:

Edding’s is the kind of writer who would have Frodo say to Gandalf when he was safe in Minas Tirath, “You used me, you bastard. You knew I’d claim the ring, and so you told Sam to kill me and toss me in the Pit of Doom when I did. You didn’t have the balls you needed to do what you and your masters needed to do ages ago, so you arranged for a poor dumb schlub like me to take the fall for you. If it weren’t for Gollum I’d be a dead hero and nobody would be the wiser.”

If this is the impression Eddings gives his fans, he's even worse at writing fantasy than I remember.

The blogger who wrote all the above then ends his post with "we need more fantasy writers like David Eddings." (Italics mine.)


Where to begin... The idea of fantasy that this blogger -- and obviously, this novelist -- both have is the absolute opposite of fantasy. C.S. Lewis long ago tore to tiny bits the idea that fantastic literature is nothing but detective stories or something gotten up in magical clothes in one of his essays (currently the book is in a box -- he was speaking of science fiction, but at the time science fiction was little removed from straight fantasy), but here I will add my own not-very-humble statement to the prosecution. (And I will mostly use Lord of the Rings to illustrate my statements, because Tolkien is the template.) Fantasy as a literary genre is not "Steinbeck with sleep enchantments" It's certainly not supposed to read like "mid-twentieth century mainstream fiction"! The entire point of fantasy is to evoke an age so remote or removed from our own every day experience that the way we relate to the story is more akin to dreaming than to reading a work of mainstream fiction. Mainstream fiction is set in the "real world" of the human race's concrete experiences in actual time. Fantasy is based on our dreams and myths, which are a kind of cultural dream. Both genres are of course based in the realities of human nature and the world we live in, though some authors have tried (with little success, IMHO) to write something as unrelated to the human experience as possible.

Fantasy stories often begin in some mundane, everyday setting -- Hobbiton (though a fantasy land populated by fantasy beings, the Shire was of course the old rural and village England of Tolkien's childhood), the Professor's house in the Narnia books, etc. -- but that is only to make the magical events that follow stand out with even greater sharpness.

As well, fantasy is about our extreme characteristics -- our most noble and our most base traits. Heroes in fantasy are more noble than they are in real life. That's why we don't have a scene in LOTR where Aragorn does something dorky. Evil characters are evil. That's why we aren't supposed to care about the families of the orcs killed by the Riders of Rohan. The side of good is all good, and the side of evil is all evil. This doesn't mean, of course, that there won't be conflicted characters -- we have Boromir, Wormtongue, Denethor, and Saruman. But their flaws also dovetail with the idea that there are only two choices, the Good and the Evil, and that eventually one side or the other will claim you forever.

Eddings' problem, and the problem many contemporary so-called writers of "fantasy" have is that they are not writing fantasy, and actually don't seem to like it very much. The evidence is what they remove from or botch in their fiction.

First to go, because it's easiest and also so rebellious, man! -- is the heroism. See, in real life people aren't heroes like that -- not all goody-two-shoes stuck-up and making all those boring speeches. People are complicated, man -- like they're not one thing or another, people who act like that are phonies!

That Aragorn, man, what a phony.

The second thing to go is all that weird "language." I don't mean made-up language words -- fantasy writers all seem to think that tacking a few -iads and -ils on the ends of words and a few vaguely Celtic or Finnish-looking phrases tossed here and there into their word-gruel like so many raisins is de rigueur, and in fact they overuse the device, where Tolkien was content to tell his story in English. I mean the antique speaking and writing style that is traditional to fantasy. Man, people don't talk like that anymore! So these writers, thinking they need to reach "the people," churn out stuff that calls to mind such producers of lyrical prose as Tom Clancy.

The rest is what I call "fixing what isn't broke." One favorite fix is to add more women in "active" roles. One Eowyn isn't good enough, not so long as Arwen is stuck back there in her daddy's lodge sewing that flag. Their heads filled with four decades of "women need to be shown in more empowering Roles," these writers went to their keyboards and produced legions of female warriors who could fight side by side with a man (or in front of one) without crying or getting cramps, female sorcerers as good as Gandalf, wise women galore, spunky girls who bicker and sass their way into the king's heart (only they turn him down in order to Remain Free -- to be killed by brigands or a disease that twelfth-century medicine couldn't cure... hey, if you're going to shove "reality" into a dream world why not go all the way?) -- and so on.

And then we have the issue of magic. If any of these writers are ever able to make it all the way through Lord of the Rings, they notice that there really wasn't a whole lot of actual magic performed. And what's even more unfair, none of the human or hobbit heroes gets to do any of it -- it's all done by the wizards (who are not human) or the evil Ringwraiths (who are not human any more)! It's almost as if Tolkien was saying that human beings (and hobbits) should not have magical powers. How unfair and limiting! This goes straight against the contemporary Western notion that mankind is capable of anything. Tolkien, obviously, did not subscribe to this view, but most modern fantasy writers do, and the idea that for a human to grasp at the power of an angel is to recreate the Fall is not anathema to them -- it's something they've probably never even heard of. So the typical fantasy novel has everyone and his pet dragon casting spells and writhing around on the ground in visions. This gets old after a while.

I could go on and on. (In fact, I have.) But I'll end with the effect all of this downgrading, flattening out, and fluffing has on the fantasy story: it breaks the wall. It jolts the reader awake from the dream. It reveals the gold and scarlet gems to be tinsel and plastic. It's like being told in a particularly unkind and mocking way that there is no Santa Claus, and by the way that Virginia chick died of diphtheria. And then going on to describe the symptoms of diphtheria in gruesome detail, and then trying to cop a feel. To do this is worse than a blasphemous act -- it's a destruction of the underpinnings of civilization, which is built on dreams and myths. The men with minds of metal and wheels have gone far down the road to replacing the stone of dreams with the plastic of "the real world" in all other aspects of our life already. It was only a matter of time before they got to fantasy. Just about everything that is published today under that heading seems to be written for robots.

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