Justin Howe's Blog, page 6

February 19, 2014

In my last post I talked slight crap about fan fiction. And after a few moment’s reflection I thought, “Well, shit, have I really even read much fan fiction?”

So I sought some out.

I did a Google search for Firefly fan fiction and came up with gold. That’s been my reading material for the past two days. And beside the Craiglist personal ad aspects of some of it (erotic pairings of Book & Wash, Mal & River, and Jane & everybody), I think I’m getting a better handle on what it is in fan fiction t...

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Published on February 19, 2014 04:22 • 17 views

February 16, 2014

In most genre books I skip the sex scenes and the fight scenes.

All the fight scenes tell me is you the author have watched The Matrix (or MMA matches or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) enough times to describe it.

All the sex scenes tell me is you have an internet connection.

Having just finished a Western (Valdez is Coming* by Elmore Leonard; I recommend it) I saw it wasn’t these two things but the lead up and repercussions from them that made things interesting. It’s only that people are obvi...

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Published on February 16, 2014 23:06 • 25 views

February 13, 2014

“Out there far away the rest of the world has gone modern. With whole new jumping generations. And holy hell is the only thing we have up to date here. To make the stars bark. When the west’s awake. Over the cliffs and roaring sea. Where the moon hides and weeps at night.


The weary




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Published on February 13, 2014 06:11 • 14 views

February 9, 2014

artsinal snowpersonUnfortunately made by unpaid child laborers.

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Published on February 09, 2014 23:50 • 16 views

February 8, 2014

Here’s a superstition I’d never heard of before:

During my recent trip to the USA my mom came back from church with a handful of hay she’d swiped from the nativity display in the chapel. She’d heard from someone that keeping a bit of the hay in your wallet/purse would bring you good luck all year. So she doled out bits to my dad, brother, and me – and I dutifully tucked it into my wallet where it has dried out and become flaky brown powder.

Like I said, I’d never heard of this. Ichalked it up t...

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Published on February 08, 2014 01:35 • 15 views

February 6, 2014


Sometimes I wonder how effective it is having Native English Teachers (NETs) in Korean classrooms.

Some background for you all: the program that employs me is called EPIK. It’s a government agency overseen by the Department of Education. It was formed in 1995 and places NETs in public schools. Overall I suspect it’s a pretty expensive program to run. We’re paid quite well and receive other benefits like having our rent paid for along with receiving a decent renewal bonus. There are other progr...

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Published on February 06, 2014 23:09 • 18 views

February 5, 2014

What’s more important to you?

My wife’s a cartoonist and she’s been creating a comic for the past 6 months. In that time she’s built up something of a fan base.* One thing she’s noticed is that her fans are less fans of her comic as a whole than fans of this or that character. It got us talking about what makes us like certain books. Whether it’s the genre/series itself, the character, or the writer.

Put another way, when you read a Sherlock Holmes mystery, what’s more important, the mystery or...

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Published on February 05, 2014 20:58 • 13 views

January 31, 2014


… and we’re back. For now.

I didn’t intend to take January off, I just did. I went back to the USA for much of it. Survived the Polar Vortex. Saw family and friends. Bought books. Read books. Stuffed my luggage full of books and came back to South Korea.


Point of this post is I have no idea what to do with this blog. At the moment I’m a bit bored/tired of the Internet. Even the people I agree with annoy me. It’s become a tug of war between Scolds on one hand and Blow-Hards on the other. I know...

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Published on January 31, 2014 23:38 • 10 views

December 31, 2013

December books:

1. A Song of Stone – Iain Banks

I liked this 250-page novel better when it was an 8-page short story by JG Ballard.

After some undisclosed catastrophe causes the collapse of civilization an aristocrat and his sister-lover find themselves involved in a psychological game of cat and mouse with a Lieutenant and her rag-tag force of irregulars. Sophistry, nihilism, and an over-arching unreliable and unlikable narrator all make an appearance.

2. Hild – Nicola Griffith

I loved this book....

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Published on December 31, 2013 05:21 • 27 views

December 26, 2013

Goodreads has a 5-star rating system. I find it pointless to give a book a less than 3-star rating. If you don’t like the book that much, why keep reading it? (Although I did give 1-star in a fit of pique to a SF novel a few years back, likely because acquaintances raved about it.)

If a book gets 3-stars that’s my way of saying it was okay, and I liked it enough to finish it. 4-stars mean I liked it enough to recommend. 5-stars mean it was great, and I hope to reread it some day.

But over Chris...

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Published on December 26, 2013 21:51 • 26 views