S&L Podcast - #236 - Time Travel is Frustrating

We wrap up what people thought about Time and Again by Jack Finney. Some loved the imagery, some got bored, and some thought he was just too hard on New York City.

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Louie: As previously reported, you can watch the first episode of The Expanse TV show right now. Three weeks before its SyFy premiere on DEC 14.
Joanna: On a different note, it's Worldbuilder's time again, and all kinds of creative and geeky activity and prizes are caught up in that. It's a big fundraiser for Heifer International run by Patrick Rothfuss.
Stephen: Nebula have released their reader guide for 2015 in all categories. 
Sandra: Nominations For the 2016 Nebula Awards Are Now Open    
Which reminds us, the Goodreads Choice awards voting just closed!   
Sandra: Orbit Books announced yesterday that they were expanding their SF/F line by 50% next year to publish a whopping 90 books starting in 2016.
9 sci-fi authors went to Microsofts research labs and wrote a book - @usuallymatt    

An Unattractive Vampire joins the Inkshares Collection
How is this for whiskey nerdism (deep breath):

First, both Tom and Veronica are drinking whiskey. Scotch, bourbon, Japanese, Irish, Canadian -- they're all whiskey. It's like how all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Each subdivision of whiskey has its own rules. Scotch, for instance, can only be made in Scotland. You can make something exactly like it somewhere else, but you can't call it scotch. And even within scotch, there are sub-sub-divisions (single malt vs blend vs single grain, etc etc)

As for Japanese whisky (let's not get into whiskey/whisky right now): Tom is drinking whisky from Japan's first whiskey distillery, pioneered by a guy named Masataka Taketsuru, who loved Scotch, studied distilling in Scotland, and in 1920 fell in love with and married a Scottish woman named Rita Cowan. He returned to Japan, set up whiskey distilling at what would become Suntory, and met with very little success because Japanese drinkers did not like the burly taste of single malt (they preferred the tamer flavor of blended scotch) that Taketsuru so adored.

Ten years later, after his contract with Suntory was up, Taketsuru quit and started his own distillery with the aim of making Scottish style whisky again. And that's what Veronica is drinking: Nikka.

There was recently a massively popular soap opera about Taketsuru and Cowan called MASSAN that aired on NHK and caused a massive spike in interest among Japanese women in becoming whisky drinkers. Which is why, Veronica, that Nikka 12 year old you're drinking won't be available in the Us (or Japan) anymore. They're running out, and dropping age statements so they can use younger whisky without the stigma of a young age printed on the label (by law, the age on the bottle reflects the youngest whisky used; so if you make a brand by mixing 50% forty year old single malt and 50% 4 year old single malt -- you just made a 4 year old whisky). - Keith Allison
Help needed from the group - Where to start the Shannara saga?   
Next month: Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey       
Wrap up:    
Time and Again by Jack Finney
1880s via the 1970s (long but worth the read) 
What did you think?
Joanna: I found it kind of sleepy until I hit somewhere around 60%, and the Pickering plot picks up. For most of the book I was wondering if the author forgot about the [fact that Dazinger had asked Si to see his parents meeting, but then it got addressed in the very end.    
Colin: I listened to the Audible version of the book, and have to say that I enjoyed the experience. I instantly felt 'at home' with the conversational story telling style and was quite happy to be swept along wherever the story went - listening whenever I could until I had finished the whole thing.

That said, the story is not hard hitting, nor does it try to address big issues. The mechanics of the time travel, don't really bear close scrutiny. It just is what it is - a cleverly plotted mystery where the action happens to be taking place 90 years in the protagonist's past. I can see why some people could have been frustrated by the overly descriptive writing, but the richness of the text is really what sells the time travel aspect. The author must have researched it very closely - or he at least gives that impression."    
Matthew: I have to say other that other then the vivid descriptions of 1882 New York, I kind of hated this book. I grew to despise the main character, and in the last third of the book began to think of him as either, at best a well meaning idiot, or at worst self important anti-hero. After reading another thread, I see the Social commentary the author is trying to get at with the architectural changes of New York, and the anti-""ends justify the means"" style of government. However in the end I am left feeling dissatisfied.
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