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27 May 2006 @ 06:42 pm
3 things: job and weather; story complaints; review of "Burn"  
1. I closed the shop Thursday and Friday, and will close again Sunday and Monday. I seem to be closing 3-4 days per week lately, which is fine by me (I actually like the dead time from about 7pm onward; it lets me read or hash out plot issues in my stories), but is kind of funny since I was hired with the understanding that PM (the manager) needed an opener.

She seems to have twigged on that I'm really not at my best before 9-10am, whereas I am generally quite awake in the evenings and nights. And both AO and DB (hired a couple weeks to a month after me, to replace Weaselly Guy, who finked out and vanished without giving notice, and ET, who joined the Navy) are good openers, so it all seems to have worked out.

Unfortunately, it absolutely poured yesterday evening, and I'd been optimistic and worn my leaky sneakers, so my right foot was squelching like mad by the time I got home, and the shoes were still unwearable this morning. So I'm wearing my nicer -- but slightly painful after several hours on my feet -- black shoes instead.

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2. On a mostly unrelated note, chapter 5 of "Lemonade" is at 2,200 words -- already longer than some of the earlier chapters -- but I'm not even done with Duo's POV section. He and Faith will just Not. Shut. Up. And Sasuke, after a bit of inadvertent fanservice, has decided to ignore them both. They're not even noticing -- they're just sitting there trading backstories and so on, which is nice, and it's writing itself, but damnit! It's not helpful!

I'm going to work on that more tonight and see if I can get them to wind up so I can do Sasuke's POV section, and then maybe go back and edit a few hundred words out.

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3. Yesterday I read Burn, a rather fascinating short novel by James Patrick Kelly. To summarize, in a complicated, space-faring, and high-tech future, there is a world run on Henry David Thoreau's principles of simplicity. However, the previous inhabitants of that planet don't want to be assimilated or run off, and they fight back by starting forest fires in an effort to keep the agrarian society from spreading. Spur, the main character, is a firefighter, who kickstarts the plot by accidentally calling an important galactic figure because he's in the hospital and bored.

Burn is a story in the classic science fiction tradition of making you stop and think, about the nature of humanity, and social structures, and where to draw lines between what's wrong and right... which it does very well. It also very neatly incorporates Thoreau's focus on simplicity into the writing style. I like that.

However, I think the book could profitably have used 5 to 10 more pages -- not enough to overload the story, but just enough to flesh out the setting a touch more, so readers wouldn't have to work quite so hard to tease out the implications of various things. This isn't because I want readers not to think, but because I believe in clarity, and I'm afraid that leaving so much unsaid or only hinted at will mean that a number of layers will fly right over people's heads, and leave only the surface story, which would be rather bare without the underlying stuff.
 
 
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
 
 
 
madam ypsilonerised1810 on May 28th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
eek .I th kni'd hate that book. i have bad experiences with boks wher not enoug hwas said(Butthe nagian it coudl be that enoug hwas sadi except iw too impatient to lok for itand that m ybrian is only made fortheose boks wher liek y ousaid, the reader doenst' havetothink.) /downplaying.
Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...: butterflyedenfalling on May 28th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
It works all right just on the surface level, though that is, as I said, a bit bare. It just has a lot of stuff underneath that as well.
madam ypsilonerised1810 on May 28th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
Butthat seems to be whta I meant. if the outside story is basedo nsothign deepr that's only hinted at (and msot ofthe tiem it was incases wher I got some kind of lcue and it seemd to say 'scrw you if yo udont' knw what i mean, jsut reado nand good luck missign the point!" you know, mockery liek that. liek if you don't know greek mythology you wont getthis.
unles it's more like if you only know thoreau by name you wont' notice much more.