Dec. 11th, 2011

labingi: (Default)
My recent posts have pretty much been about RL, so I wanted to catch up with tiny thoughts on what I've been encountering in narrative.

Reading:

A Song of Ice and Fire (book 2): (It's hard to remember the name of the full series when the books don't actually put it on the cover.) I'm quite enjoying this series. I haven't read fantasy to speak of in many years and have grown to expect poor quality, but Martin is good. His prose is functional and uninspired--and occasionally incorrect, which is a bit embarrassing in text that purports to use a somewhat old fashioned English among educated characters. (It really shouldn't be too much to expect that he--or his editors--know the difference between "lay" and "lie" or what "lest" means.) That said, the story and characters are excellent. I like the dialogism inherent in the many sides of the conflict and moral ambiguity embodied in almost everyone. It gives a very real sense of quasi-medieval politics.

Watching:

Fate/Zero with a friend I'm not getting a chance to see very frequently, which is vexing because the series has grabbed me. I'm only a few episodes into this one, but if it keeps up this level of quality, it will be a winner. The series is advantaged by being a prequel about the parents of the characters in Fate/Stay Night. This means that the main characters are... parents (and uncles, etc.). This is amazingly rare in anime. Even those few series that are about adults tend to be about adults who don't have kids. Parents in anime almost always seen from their kids' perspective, i.e. semi-mystical beings who are there to be sweet or evil or make you do homework. It's intriguing to see a series that's actually from the perspective of people trying to manage their own lives/problems/feelings and be responsible for their young 'uns at the same time.

Behind the cut: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Akira, Grave of the Fireflies, Primer )
labingi: (Ghanior)
Perdita is away to the barber's--er, proofreader's--at last. I should say, Help the Gods is, as this is the edition I hope to release under that rather more interesting title.

Oh, Perdita, Perdita, I really don't know what I'm looking at when I look at you. My best analysis (21 years after I started writing and 11 after I "finished" the first edition) is that it has good parts and bad parts. In my most recent wordiness edit, there were moments it moved me to tears and moments that were just dull and a bit embarrassing. And there were some moments that were a bit embarrassing in a not-necessarily-bad-way, such as some slightly purplish romance. I wouldn't write that way today, but there's a reason it appeals, especially to young audiences, and Perdita is fundamentally a young person's book.

Here's my best assessment of the current version:

The Bad:
* Not very good prose. It's not as embarrassingly amateurish as the original, but it's very flat and rarely rises above functional.

* Those dang couple of plot points (no spoilers) that are just hard to justify in terms of character motivation.

* Some really dull bits, mostly surrounding Karmeena learning to mind read and the long, boring meeting--and, alas, as ever, chapter 1.

* Poor Laynia being stereotyped as seductress. I tried to make this interesting, but it still reads as stereotyped.

* My mom says the ending lacks resolution. I don't know. I think it's okay, but it is a "gray" ending.

The Good:
* Ethan and Sherayna, singly and together (overall: some bit read a bit "high school")

* Part 3--it's the part that seems most cohesive and moving.

* Leric. I still love him. He's one of those characters who is nothing like me yet whom I know well enough to just jump in and write. And Leric and Sherayna trying to work out their issues via playing First Causes is still a scene I love.

* The general theme, which one early reader summed up as "fanaticism." I think it makes its point.

(Ghanior--my icon--is not yet born at the time of this story, but I do think Ethan is one of his personal heroes.)

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