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Musings of a Hardcore Neophile - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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February 17th, 2018


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11:14 pm - Musings of a Hardcore Neophile
This article about how most people’s musical tastes and favorite song are from their teens finally convinced me to write about the fact that I’m not like that, and in fact I don’t truly understand what it’s like to be like that. There are books and songs from my teens that I still enjoy, but when I reread or listen to them now, most of my enjoyment comes from the fact that they contain elements I like, and that I now often like better in far newer material. I have been fascinated by Lovecraft’s mythos for a very long time, but I’d definitively say that (for now, and such things regularly change for me) my favorite two mythos works of fiction are (in order) Ruthanna Emrys Winter Tide (2016) and Caitlín R. Kiernan’s Daughter of Hounds (2007), and while I love the sense of wonder I got from Arthur Clarke’s The City and the Stars, but these days I’m far more likely to think of Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Quantum Thief, or one of many excellent novels by Alastair Reynolds when I think about my favorite novel for evoking a future that is wondrous and strange.

Even more than that, assuming roughly similar quality, I’m always inclined to like a sequel to the original for pretty much anything. Obviously, quality matters – I enjoyed The Matrix Reloaded more than The Matrix, but the last one simply wasn’t as good. Also, while my two favorite Star Wars films are (in some order that shifts regularly) Rogue One and The Last Jedi, I thought all three of the Star Wars prequel films stank when I saw them, but if the recent Ghostbusters film had merely been as good as the original (instead of IMHO considerably better) I would have said I enjoyed it more than the original, because it’s the one I saw most recently.

Similarly, while I still like music by a few artists that I discovered in my teens (primarily Al Stewart and Renaissance), I am far more likely to listen to Al Stewart’s albums from the last 15 years than I am to his older work. Naturally, this also applies to RPGs – all things being roughly equal, if there are meaningful differences between editions of a game, I always prefer the later edition.

Also, the above link about musical taste and favorite songs also mentions that musical taste as a general thing also tends to be set in the teens. This is mildly true for me – folk-rock still forms the core of my musical taste, but rap didn’t even exist when I was a teen, and there’s a moderately amount that I quite like (Flobots and Guante head that list), and I disliked punk music in my teens and disliked industrial music in my 20s, and now there’s a moderate amount of folk-punk and other forms of post-punk that I love, especially EMA’s music.

In any case, from what I’ve noticed about other people, my sort of neophilia is fairly uncommon. I’d love to know if anyone else feels the same way.



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