atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#2377: I knew it!

The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya is shaping up to be almost exactly what I suspected it would be. My hunch was based on the few images and screencaps from the movie that I'd seen; and having read the story up to the point that Kyon finds Yuki (post-disappearance) and has his first conversation with her, it looks to me as if I was right.

Not sure how long I have to wait until the next book comes out. This story will probably consume 3 or more volumes of manga; the damn movie is like 3 hours long, as I recall.

* * *

Ever since I replaced the Jeep's TPS the thing has been getting 16 MPG. WTF. It was getting 18 MPG before, damn it.

* * *

Doug Powers snarks about the Stewart/Colbert nonsense.

* * *

That was a pretty busy week. Now it's an amazingly quiet Saturday afternoon, and I think I want a nap.

* * *

Yesterday, while waiting for Mom and haircut, I read a compilation of four fantasy novellas called Mean Streets. It's headlined by Jim Butcher, and he provides a neat Dresden Files novella--The Warrior--as the first of the four stories. It was the best of the four. All four novellas featured established characters from series by their respective authors.


The second story in the book was a piece called The Difference a Day Makes by Simon R. Green. His main character, John Taylor, is a private investigator working in a place called "Nightside".

Green took great pains to explain--at length, ad nauseum, about how gritty and grimy and sinful and debauched and hellish and perverted and awful and...etc Nightside was. And he didn't do it once; he did it several times in the first 20 pages, as if to emphasize just how grim and gritty and perverse and... a place it was. The first couple of times, fine--but after a while I was saying, out loud, "Okay, yeah, it's a flesh pit, yada yada--we get it. You can stop describing it now and get on with the goddamned story already."

The story itself was not very good, and it built to a climax which was well-worn. The big moment was supposed to be when Taylor finally found the woman's husband, and we were supposed to be shocked and horrified by the state he was in when we finally got to see him.

Problem was, Green had so over-emphasized how terrible and awful and hellish and... Nightside was, I was expecting the guy to be a lot worse off than he was. Problem number one was that he chose this and knew what it entailed, and I can't get worked up over someone making an eyes-open decision who gets royally fucked up, especially when the guy knew what would happen to him before he made the choice.

Problem number two was the complete lack of anything surprising happening. We knew the guy would be fucked up from the get-go; there was no way he could be anything but, given the circumstances and Green's penchant for describing Nightside as tawdry and lurid and gritty and grimy and....

There was no way he could be rescued, no way his wife could have a good outcome, no way the story could be anything but grim and dreary, and it was obvious from the get-go.

It was not a very good story.


I didn't even bother to read the piece by Kat Richardson. Her reputation preceded her; there was an Eternity Road post about her work which convinced me never to read it, so I didn't.


Last in the book was Noah's Orphans by Thomas E. Sniegoski. The main character, Remy Chandler, is an angel in disguise.


...if you're going to start from the premise that God exists and created angels for His own purposes, can you really justify going against the canon for such a setting?

One of the strengths of the Prophesy series of movies (the ones starring Christopher Walken as Archangel Gabriel) is that it follows the Judeo-Christian cosmology pretty closely. It simply asks a question: "What if Lucifer was not the only angel to rebel, but another angel rebelled later?" It works well because it stays inside the established rules.

Sniegoski's story assumes only that (A) God exists; (B) He has angels. Everything else is open to interpretation.

This particular novella also assumes that the Flood happened, as written in the Bible, and Noah indeed gathered all the animals into the ark.

...but the animals which were deemed unworthy, those were allowed to expire. Okay, strike one: none of the animals of the earth were deemed "unworthy". The Flood was meant to wipe out the evil of humanity and also to erase the Nephilim, children of humans and angels, which had the power of angels with the souls and free will of humans. (Bad combo, that.)

Strike two comes from the existence of another sentient race God made. He originally made humans and "Chimerians" and then decided humans were more interesting, so the Chimerians were 86ed in the Flood.

Strike three: The Chimerians weren't wiped out in the flood. Okay, I'm pretty sure that if the Creator of the entire freakin' universe decides that your race is going to be wiped out, it's going to be wiped out. If a God Who is all about "choices and opportunities" decides that creation ain't big enough for Him and your race, you'd better update your life insurance and buy a plot. You know?

It was, though, the second-best story in the book. That wasn't all that hard for it to manage, given the competition, but at least this story had an intriguing idea behind it, unlike the bit from Green.

Minus points for a totally incomprehensible plot twist. I mean, I understood it, but I didn't understand why it was even in the story.

Minus double points for consistently misspelling "magic". Let me get this out of the way right now: if you spell it "magick" or "magyk" or "magiyck" or any of a hundred billion other incorrect spellings, STOP DOING THIS. Sniegoski insisted on spelling it "magick" all the damn time, and every time I saw it my brain tried to pronounce it "mah-gike". It was distracting--infuriatingly so--and it's the mark of a rank amateur. It's not arcane or mysterious. It's a freaking misspelling. If you're trying to differentiate between arcane magic and angelic might, may I suggest using real freakin' words like I just did?


The worst part is, I expected this going in. I had avoided buying this book for a couple months because I was confident that Butcher's piece would be the only really good story in the bunch, that the rest would be mediocre to crappy. That's how these things almost always are.

And then, after buying it, I let it languish for a couple months after Mom finished it, again because I expected this.

Waste of time? Meh. If you've got nothing else to do, okay. Waste of money? Meh x 2. The Butcher story is really good, and the other two stories I read didn't lead me to feel as if I'd been ripped off.

But I don't think I'd buy this book again.

* * *

It kind of makes me want to resurrect my own attempts at modern fantasy. I have a couple stories (which have "dog's breakfast" status at the moment) which could probably be smelted into something much better than anything in that book save Butcher's effort.

The stories center around a former lawyer who found a grimoire, and translated it, and now delves into the supernatural both to increase his own understanding of it and to become more powerful himself: he's made some powerful enemies just by learning this stuff, and needs to be able to defend himself. He has two college-age kids helping him. The stories suffer from insufficient conflict, and I'm not sure how to fix that, because (for one) it's been literal decades since I even read them. Because:

They also suffer from being crap. I did a lot of research into folklore to write them, so they have a good underpinning in what is commonly understood about the supernatural; but the stories are still crap. They're well-researched crap. To hell with it.

* * *

"More parts=more shit that can go wrong" department:

Borders has those faucets which have an IR sensor in them, so they turn on when your hands are in front of them (most of the time) and off when there's nothing in front of them.

They were broken.

Having spent an hour at SuperCuts after driving for half an hour, I needed to wee, and hit the bathroom in the bookstore before even starting my shopping. I'd gotten some hair gel on my hands and wanted to wash it off, anyway.

Finished my business, went to the sinks--sign on the mirror said "FAUCETS ARE OUT OF ORDER."

When was the last time you went into a public restroom and couldn't wash your hands? Because the damn faucets didn't work?

* * *

Yeah, that nap idea is sounding better and better. I think I'll heed it.

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