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I have finished reading Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire.  WHEEE!  I made a point of not acquiring it until Official Release Day, because I'd love to see this book hit one of the newspaper Bestseller Lists.

I kind of want to talk about what happens in this book, but honestly, it's already been said in the above-linked thread.  It's been said better than I would've put it, too.

So instead, I'm going to talk about the preview of the following book, One Salt Sea, not due out 'til September 6th.

The truth of the matter is that no one in the world can write a combat scene like Seanan McGuire can.  You could see this on a silver screen, but to see it perfectly in your head?  When you've been in San Francisco once in your life, in thick fog, driving through en route to Massachussets, during the day?  No author I've ever read has gotten a complex action scene like this to be so vivid as I read it.

It's not just the crossbow bolts and steep decline of the hill and scream of the rapidly accelerating wheelchair-bound person, either.  Earlier in the scene, we had a brief reference to the tip of a tail that constantly curls and flutters, probably an involuntary action; so as two people try not to get shot, and zoom down that hill, I can still see the flutter of the fin, and the lovely blue blouse rippling in the increasing breeze.  I can see the torn fabric on one side of the chair's back.  I can even see the faint glint of the ever-present cars parked at the side of the road, and hear the growing creak of sea-warped wood as they approach the bottom of the hill....

If you're not reading Seanan McGuire yet, you probably should be.  Try Rosemary and Rue, if you like detective stories, and try Feed (by Mira Grant) if you like zombie horror.  I probably won't be reading the sequel to Feed because the first one grabbed hold of my heart and wrenched so hard, so to make up for that I'm passing my copy to a friend who adores horror and recommending it to anyone of like mind.
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Critic's Foreward: This is disorganized as hell, because I'm working on it in between several other projects.

Of Eideann's MotU fanfics, I actually like Revelations and Regrets better than Highest Bidder. Note that I had to think about it in depth to reach that conclusion! As I theorized years ago, one of the main undercurrents in Highest Bidder seems to be the ways in which a single, very powerful event can catalyze character growth in some very distinct personalities. Characters on the "Good Guy supporting side" become stronger, more emotionally versatile people, while characters on the villainous side of the divide are at least becoming more *interesting*.

Nonetheless, I like R&R a little better, and I think it's in part because some of the key contrasting personalities *don't* grow so far out of their old selves, with a few critical exceptions: the unevenness highlights those exceptions, while adding comparative depth to those who remain unchanged.

I coulda swore I cut this once already. )
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I owe Laurell K. Hamilton a mental apology.  Here's how that came about:

I purchased the hardcover of Blood Noir within the first week it was out, and mostly I enjoyed it every bit as much as I'd anticipated.  The one really jarring item for me, avoiding spoilers as much as I can, is that at one point the main character is very upset because villain interruptions prevented her from taking her daily birth control when she'd had sex on a certain day, and she knows that she isn't suited to being a mother.

"It doesn't work like that," I thought.  "If you've been taking b.c. pills for quite a while, it isn't right that day that a miss causes trouble, but the next month.  ... isn't it?"

So, yesterday at my annual physical, I asked my doctor about it.  I explained loosely about this scenario in a romance novel, where the main characters have the boinkies and then get, essentially, kidnapped by the bad guys and held prisoner for a few days, and since she didn't take her pill at suppertime the same day that she'd previously had sex, female lead could be pregnant now:  it doesn't work that way, does it?

With great glee, she said, "Oh, yes, it does, and it's wonderful that FOR ONCE a book got it right!"  If you're gonna get kidnapped and you're not on the patch, make sure your birth control pills get kidnapped along with you.

Ergo, I was totally off on that, and LKH was absosmurfly right, and I hope to get a chance to tell her so at Dragon*Con this year.
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Under the cuts are a pair of essay/rants I wrote in another forum, slightly cleaned up to be less context-specific, on the topic of Being a Reader.  I expect the forum admin to delete the thread shortly, and wanted to save these for future reference: I might someday discover I'm off the mark, here.

I started off the first essay by quoting the prompter's arc-wide complaint, and then quoted (with citations to episode and chapter) two specific examples that directly countered his claim.  I could've posted more, but two seems like a solid argument where three (or more) seems like haranguing.


The person who prompted the first rant replied with something rather unsettling, and I had to call him on it.  The full body of work currently contains fifty-four completed short stories, some of them novella length, a couple possibly novel-length.  I'm a fairly fast reader, and I cannot quite read them all in one lazy Sunday.  The prompter started the conversation discussing "most of the main story", which later turns out to be inaccurate -- he's only read a little under two-thirds of it, and is decrying supposedly widespread flaws across the entire work.

NyQuil dreams

Tue, Nov. 6th, 2007 13:56
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NyQuil is a great solution to certain troubles, but it does something to really rile up my subconscious while I'm under its effects.  I'll never get addicted to the stuff because I don't want to have those sorts of dreams any more often than strictly necessary.

This morning, f'r instance, I dreamt of suffering a home invasion, and being unable to bring in cops.

Now, folks will say that it's impossible to read or deal with numbers in a dream; and that's not true.  I think it's more a case of what's considered "work" and what's "as natural as breathing":  I can read in my dreams, no trouble at all, and even write in them (though that often fails to turn out as I intend, in the dream).  I can do basic math, counting and adding and subtracting, but any multiplication beyond "four people, with three doughnuts each, is a dozen doughnuts, so yes, I think there's enough to be sharing with Dad" devolves into chaos.  I've read some very interesting books during dreams, and some pretty boring shopping lists, and that's just not a useful test of whether I'm experiencing reality or fiction.

What I'm saying is that not only can I dial 9-1-1 on a cellphone in a dream, but that I can figure out it's not my cellphone when I navigate to the address book and can't find Huntsville Police Nonemergency or Madison Police Nonemergency as entries.  I can count seven screenfulls of telephone numbers I don't recognize, five numbers to a screen, and realize this means I've got the bad guy's phone and it lists thirty-five potential informants or accomplices, all while shouting at the 911 telemarketer that this is NOT how the emergency service is supposed to work, I am NOT buying a gift certificate for a future search-and-rescue opportunity, and why the HELL won't they connect me to the Huntsville Police, they're NINE ONE ONE for Deity's sake.

Another thing I can't do in dreams, although I know this one's unique to me, is hit worth a damn.  When I try to attack someone, via fists or even open-handed slap or Magic Powers, I get the faintest sense of slow-motion impact and no progress at all.  During this Nyquil dream, I apparently figured out a way around it:  since the police couldn't be summoned, and the home invader family was still rummaging cheerfully through my home, I started putting enough pressure on the bratty early-teen kids' arms to leave bone-deep bruises, and make a threat to break their arms seem viable.  I knew I'm not strong enough to do that to adults, no matter how furious my self-defense might be, so I started shouting for C and D while digging out a weapon.  (And of course, still trying to get hold of my own cellphone so I could call in the proper authorities.)  What's the best thing to use against a bad guy with an advanced case of leprosy?  Crushing weapons, maybe, because if the bone is too damaged for the muscle to pull against it, he's not going to walk any further into my upstairs hallway no matter how little sensation he might have.

As far as I can tell, the theory that "emotional moderation control" is offline during dream sessions is correct.  I've had dreams where I know I'm overreacting, try to force myself to calm down and think, and wind up overreacting in another direction altogether.  Switching from livid to despairing to hysterical anxiety is exhausting.


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July 2017



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