Elmore Leonard’s “Fire In the Hole”

Self checked out a collection of Elmore Leonard short stories from the Redwood City Public Library early this year. She hasn’t managed to get to it yet. COVID happened, and then self’s mind flew out the window.

This afternoon, while browsing through her stack of “To Read” books, she encountered the Elmore Leonard collection, and immediately turned to the title story.

Opening line:

  • They had dug coal together as young men and then lost touch over the years.

omg!

Justified!

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Timothy Olyphand and Walton Goggins! Those two actors were born to play Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder. Did either of the two ever win an Emmy? Did the show itself ever win an Emmy? For the six years of its run, self doesn’t think she ever skipped an episode.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Books Are Life

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New COVID Reading, post-Expanse:

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Also, the Wisdom of Amos Burton

James Holden is our bleeding heart hero. Fortunately, Amos goes with him to Ilus. Although nothing happens (sorry, fan fiction shippers), there is priceless priceless dialogue.

Cibola Burn, p. 291:

James Holden: “There will be people who think I’m very selfish.”

Amos: “True. But also, fuck ’em. They’re not us.”

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Wes Chatham as Amos Burton on The Expanse

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Outside, in a Ship Suit: BASIA

The description of Ilus is quite lovely. This is from the Basia POV. You’ll note self is making good progress: she’s almost halfway through Cibola Burn.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

p. 281

Seventeen hundred kilometers below, Ilus spun past at a dizzying pace. Alex had told him that the Rocinante had an orbital period just under two hours, but Basia couldn’t feel it. Floating outside the ship in microgravity, his inner ear told him that he was drifting, motionless. So instead the universe appeared to spin far too quickly, like some giant child’s toy. Every hour, moving from dark to light, and then an hour later back to darkness, the sun rising from behind Ilus, spinning around behind him, and setting again briefly. Basia had been outside long enough to see the change three times, the center of his own cosmos.

The planet’s one vast ocean was in night.

Thinking about how beautiful and strange Ilus is, self suddenly remembers a short story she read when she was but a child: If I Forget Thee, O Earth.

She forgets who wrote it, but wow. What a story.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Reads of Julys Past

Self is still reading Cibola Burn. What can she say? It’s been a busy week. Havelock and Naomi are together (She’s his prisoner; they should hook up). But Holden is still Naomi’s titular boyfriend (though he doesn’t think of her much, not for almost 300 pages)

Self does like Havelock. Which is why, if Naomi were to start developing feelings, self would not mind a bit. Besides which, she loves their conversation while she is Havelock’s prisoner.

Did self say caged? Indeed she did! Naomi is in a cage, and she has to do all her business in that cage, including pee-ing.

Perhaps her affection for Havelock developed from the actor who plays him in the series. (He survives a pole sticking out of his chest! He visits a Belter brothel to learn how to speak Belter! He knew Miller!)

Someone on goodreads has written a thesis in the guise of a review on Cibola Burn, and hundreds of people apparently read it and liked it. So Americans do read! Probably as much as, or more than, POTUS!

This post is about all her favorite reads of Julys past. Herewith:

July 2016:  Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart (Is this ever going to be a movie?)

July 2017:  Barbarian Days, by William Finnegan

July 2018:   Manderley Forever, by Tatiana de Rosnay

July 2019:   Open Heart: A Cardiac Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table, by Stephen Westaby

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Amos and Holden, CIBOLA BURN

There is an ease between these two characters that makes Naomi almost superfluous.

There is so much good fan fiction about these two. Honestly.

It’s not self’s main ship, but the Amos/Holden fan fiction is mostly better than the Nolden fan fiction (Also, BTW, Naomi/Drummer fan fiction is pretty good)

pp. 144 – 145:

“So,” Amos said when Holden exited the town meeting that night. “How’d it go?”

“I must have done it right,” Holden replied. “Everyone’s pissed.”

They walked along the dusty street together in companionable silence for a while. Amos finally said, “Weird planet. Walking in open air at night with no moon is breaking my head.”

“I hear you. My brain keeps trying to find Orion and the Big Dipper. What’s weirder is that I keep finding them.”

“That ain’t them,” Amos said.

“Oh, I know. But it’s like my eyes are forcing those patterns on stars that aren’t really lined up the right way to make them.”

The scene continues. It’s such a charming conversation, not forced in any way. Love it.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

“This planet is officially ours now” — CIBOLA BURN, p. 109

If you have not read the books, stop reading right now. SPOILERS.

The pace is picking up.

It always happens in a James S. A. Corey book, at least with the books that followed Leviathan Wakes.

The Rocinante lands on Ilus. Holden and Amos see “hardpan dirt, with small shrublike plants.” There’s even “a cloud of biting insects.” Oh, eeeewww. Mosquitoes? “But a number of them bit, drank their blood, and dropped dead.” YES!

Amos and Jim keep walking.

They arrive at what “looked like a shantytown.”

Humans, Holden realizes with some amusement, have traveled “fifty-thousand light years” to build “houses using ten-thousand year-old technology.” That’s rich.

Holden thinks: “Humans were very strange creatures, but sometimes they were also charming.”

They encounter a crowd of people. In true Holden fashion, Holden drops his bags, smiles, and waves (lol). Amos “smiled too, though he casually rested his hand on the butt of his pistol.”

Here are the intrepid duo, discussing . . . something . . . :

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Captain James Holden (Steven Strait) and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham): Two of her favorite characters on the show

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Progress: CIBOLA BURN

It’s taken self two weeks to reach page 100 (because so many things). Nevertheless, here she is!

“We’re dropping in twenty minutes,” Murtry said. “It’s a long, fast drop, and some of it’ll be choppy. I’m bringing us down just east of the Belter camp. Smith and Wei are camp leads. Our first priority is reaching and reinforcing the office down there.”

“What about the Barbapiccola?” someone asked.

“Screw the Barbapiccola! What about the Rocinante?”

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Casting Brilliance: Burn Gorman as Adolphus Murtry

“Havelock, good to see you. I’m going to need a minute.”

“Yes, sir.”

“So I’m putting you in charge of the ship.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. I’m leaving you in a crap position,” Murtry said.

Screaming Firehawks, the Roci’s coming in hot.

Stay safe.

Anna Volodovna: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 404

PATIENCE, dear blog readers — Only 200 more pages to go!

(Self remembers someone telling her, years ago, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET OVER THIS NOVEL. She’d been reading Banana Yoshimoto, who writes very slim books, but she would parse every page. Thank your lucky stars she’s not doing that with Abaddon’s Gate!)

Here comes social commentary, you knew it would come, of course it’s Anna Volodovna’s point of view:

  • You have allied yourself with stupid, violent men, and you are trying to convince yourself that being stupid and violent will work. That makes you stupid too. I will never help you. I’ll fight you now.

Woman! YES YES YES!!!

The characters she likes best in Abaddon’s Gate (apart from Holden, goes without saying) are Bull and Clarissa Mao. These are the two most violent people in the novel; what does it say about self that she identifies? Self is so NON-VIOLENT!

Nevertheless, she loves these flawed, mistaken, and yet courageous characters.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

The Generation Ship: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 343

Self is still here! She managed to make it through a very dramatic weekend, and continue reading Abaddon’s Gate (Not another quote! Dear blog readers must be thinking: When will this end?)

One thing that’s always fascinated her about this series is the way the authors explain gravity and how space stations meant to accommodate whole cities would need to generate it.

Point of view in p. 343: Bull (She loves the Bull point of view because he’s the character-most-likely-to-explain-hard-science)

  • Spinning up the drum had meant stripping away as many of the alterations that had changed the generation ship into a weapon of war as they could. The medical stations and emergency showers had all been turned ninety degrees in the refit, prepared to use under thrust or not at all. What had been designed back in what seemed like ancient times to be floors had become walls, and now they were floors again. The whole thing was a hesitation. A stutter-step in industrial steel and ceramic.

See what she means?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

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