Archive for geology love

I am an even bigger geek when it comes to magmas

Posted in Books with tags , , on December 18, 2007 by Cara Marie

Nice work Evvy, going down into the magma chamber and meeting your friends who want to blow the whole thing open. I am a little concerned that it didn’t occur to her sooner but I guess her studies have been more focused on actually using crystals and things? And Luvo said they’ve never actually been by a volcano.

Whereas, I live on a subduction zone, and igneous petrology is my most favouritest. Lake Taupo, which I visit every summer, is the caldera left by a massive eruption that occured a few thousand years ago, and it was learning that that made me want to be a volcanologist in the first place. Poor Evvy, you are so deprived.

The magma spirits really made me very happy. In, you know, the ‘ha ha, they’re forcing you to help them try and escape and erupt all over you!’ kind of way. Yeah. I would be interested to know what kind of magma it is? I suppose we will find out when the whole thing blows!

I am a total geek

Posted in Books with tags , , on December 10, 2007 by Cara Marie

I’m listening to Melting Stones, which is Tamora Pierce’s latest book, released as an audiobook a year before the print edition. It is very exciting for me! It’s odd listening to a story, but I had been looking forward to this, because Evvy is the main character. She was the reason I loved Street Magic so, because she is a stone mage. That book is so bashed up…

Rosethorn can’t understand why Evvy is getting so excited, being on a volcanic island. POOR EVVY IS FROM CONTINENTAL BASIN. Of course she is over-excited. I wonder how people who aren’t rock geeks react to Evvy’s waxing lyrical? I suppose they don’t go wondering about whether or not you can use magic similarly to looking at a mineral’s optical properties… and how magical knowledge might relate to scientific knowledge… but mostly, oh Evumeimei, I want to take you on field trips with me.

I will stop now. But Tamora Pierce, you rock my world.

geeky fiction

Posted in Books with tags , on August 29, 2007 by Cara Marie

Today I read one of the books I got for my birthday, Carbon Dreams, by Susan M. Gaines. It’s set during the 80s, and the main character is an organic geochemist. A female organic geochemist. And it’s about her research, and it’s about climate change, and it’s about the responsibilities that scientists have towards the public. Also, the joys of organic produce.

I would be hesitant in recommending it to people, mostly because of the science content. Because it talks about her research, it gets quite intense. I’m majoring in geology, so it’s not so unfamiliar to me as to be offputting. In fact, it’s interesting for me. But I don’t know how interesting it would be to people who aren’t science geeks, and it is important.

I really enjoyed it. It appealed to my geology geekiness; it appealed to my interest in woman as scientists, and how they deal with what society expects of them; my interest in the ethics of science; and of course, in climate change. As to the second, I was a bit worried that when it mentioned Tina’s complete lack of desire to have children it meant she would have changed her mind by the end of it. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case; although that doesn’t mean it didn’t cause difficulties for her.

One of the women working on her PhD did end up leaving to have a baby – mostly as her adviser wouldn’t let her take a year’s leave. Her brilliant female adviser who didn’t believe a woman scientist could be merely competent. And who ended up being quite power-mad. In a good way, story-wise. Hopefully things are easier for female scientists now, although I wouldn’t count on it.

Carbon Dreams was an engaging book, and it’s given me a lot to think about. Which is probably the point. Although things like the equator-crossing initiations were also a lot of fun. You know, general drunk scientist hilarity. Because there’s nothing like being stuck together on a cruise ship for five weeks, when it’s for work and you’re not getting any sleep. Fun times. (Not that that’s ever happened to me.)

Dark Alchemy – edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois

Posted in Books with tags , , , , on June 30, 2007 by Cara Marie

Dark Alchemy wasn’t as exciting as I thought it might be. It had a good selection of authors, which is why I got it, and of course what can be wrong with a collection about wizards/witches/mages and so forth. And they were decent stories, but none of them really stunned me. Maybe I have been reading too much science fiction. Fantasy short stories just aren’t cutting it.

My favourite was Orson Scott Card’s Stone Father. I am not sure if this is entirely on the story’s own virtue, because I am a geology student and so if a story talks a lot about rocks I am pleased. I am adoring of anything with stone mages (thus Street Magic was always my favourite Tamora Pierce book). And the main character really liked rocks. Yay! And was very good at clambering up steep outcrops! I am not, which sucks for me. It is really quite amazing how fast some people can get up there. Eep.

Nancy Kress’s Stone Man I did not like so much. The main character had had a rather terrible life and complained about it a lot and was rather difficult. While it was understandable, I have little sympathy for angsty teenage boys. Also, despite having stone magic I got no sense that he actually liked rocks. The fact that it was stone magic he had didn’t really matter to the story. This is a disappointment to me. Winter’s Wife by Elizabeth Hand was much better. The title character I think actually was a rock! Like a rock who had decided to be human. A granite, actually. There were some really lovely descriptions in that one, particularly of the house Winter has built and carved out.

My least favourite story in the collection was by Kage Baker, whom I have never read before – The Ruby Incomparable. It was sort of the story of this girl’s life – the daughter of a professional dark lord and the Saint of the World – how she did great deeds, fell in love with a toymaker for no apparent reason whilst nursing him back to health, and then wondered why none of her great deeds satisfied her until she found fulfillment, and a new challenge, in having her first daughter.

It was bearable enough until it got to the falling in love part. It reminded me of Juliet Marillier’s true love type stories. Except told very tersely, and with none of the emotion and detail Juliet Marillier brings to her writing. And maybe I’m young and haven’t had my maternal instinct kick in, but I don’t like being told the only way to find satisfaction in life is to have babies. It wasn’t as if the story wasn’t reasonable enough; it was the way Kage Baker told it that bugged me.

I would far rather have heard about Svnae’s parents, her ‘living goddess’ mother who ran her husband’s household and bore him fourteen childreen and still managed to keep up correspondance with her disciples.

…that was the only story I really found objectionable. Most of them were enjoyable, if not especially inspiring. Neil Gaiman wrote one of those lovely comfortable short stories for children that he does, and Peter Beagle writes as beautifully as ever. I still find Patricia McKillip hard going. And Jane Yolen sure writes one sexy Elijah, guilty as I feel for saying that.

I suppose the collection just felt quite variable quality-wise, or at least in terms of what I like, and I haven’t come away from in enthusiastic about someone new. However, it does make me like Orson Scott Card more than ever. It was the longest story in the book and there is a bad geology pun waiting to happen here but I will resist. World, you need to produce more stories for rock-lovers, please thank you.