Eragon, For the Love of God

Several things self needs to get off her chest right now:

OH but FIRST: SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

  • Eragon’s thighs are flayed to the bone. Yup, that’s right. His first dragon ride is excruciating hell.
  • Second, he allows his dragon to take him far away from his uncle, who last we see of him is calmly tending to his horses, completely unaware of the drama that is about to turn his life into chaos. So Eragon and this dragon (It bothers self that Eragon and the dragon have very fraught conversations that almost sound like something from Mills & Boon. Hello, dragons don’t have to be so girl-y, yeah? Even if they ARE female dragons named Saphira?). Then, because Eragon’s thighs are flayed, he can’t get on the dragon to go back and warn his uncle. Yes, that does sound like a plausible reason for hiding out in a forest for a while. Absolutely. If self’s thighs were flayed like that, she would never get on a dragon’s back again. Ever. Uncle or no uncle.

But then Eragon is a brave boy so he does get back on the dragon. And during this second dragon ride, his old wounds open, and fresh blood goes trickling down his calves, and UGH UGH UGH. But yeah, Paolini sure can write gruesome dragon rides. She’ll grant him that. She’ll never forget the writing here, that’s for sure.

Further gore: The Uncle. Is lying under the floor boards. He’s badly burned. A clear liquid oozes from him. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. It is necessary to take yet another dragon ride. By now, Eragon’s thighs must be thoroughly shredded. Self, that’s disgusting. Stop making this worse than it has to be. Obviously, with that dragon on the cover of this book, the dragon will continue to be a player. Perhaps Eragon can devise pillows for under his thighs. Whatever.

But, back to the dragon. This dragon is so creature-ly that she gets tired. When she gets tired, she froths at the mouth. Self must say, she loves Paolini’s dragon writing (except when Eragon has to get on his dragon’s back with the bloody thighs). The dragon is a beast. An animal. A creature. Needs to be fed. Poops. Froths at the mouth. Etc

Self can hardly wait: Eragon has a dream or a vision or a hallucination or a premonition of two dragons! Obviously, one of the two is Saphira. The other, given how girl-y Saphira is (at least, in conversation) has to be her OTP.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

What It’s Really Like To Raise a Dragon: ERAGON, pp. 44 – 45

And also, don’t forget, the mind-reading. And self won’t bother typing SPOILERS because Duh, it’s mostly description.

Mind-Reading, p. 44:

. . .  the dragon, in turn, would lightly brush against his mind. These mute conversations filled his working hours. There was always a small part of him connected to the dragon, ignored at times, but never forgotten. When he talked with people, the contact was distracting, like a fly buzzing in his ear.

Creaturely Aspects, p. 45:

If there’s any type of writing at which Paolini particularly excels, it’s when he has to describe the dragon. This dragon is no airy-fairy being, it is hard, and it has sinews and corded muscles, and its teeth are like daggers.

It also produces “giant dung heaps.”

And “had rubbed against trees, stripping off the bark, and had sharpened its claws on dead logs, leaving gashes inches deep.”

(One thing Paolini doesn’t describe, though, is how a dragon smells. Because this dragon is such a creature, self is certain it must have a particular odor. As all earthly creatures do. And despite the mystery of its origin, this dragon is most definitely an earthly creature. But anyhoo.)

Eragon goes to the forest and is able to summon the dragon with his mind. First it appears as “a fast-moving speck in the dusky sky.” Then, it dives, pulls up sharply, and levels off above the trees.

The dragon is no mere symbol or plot device, it’s a real thing. This is how the dragon lands: It banks slowly and spirals “gently down to the ground.” And then it backflaps, and lands “with a deep, muffled thwump.”

Ooh, self likes!

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Because, You Know, There Always Has To Be a Quote of the Day

ERAGON!

Got a little behind on this since self had such a busy weekend and moreover last night did not sleep a wink due to usual stuff: list of annoyances; hating on self’s doctor; slights, both real and imagined; and the universe.

“Last year’s security has deserted us; new dangers have appeared, and nothing is safe.”

Self does love these types of quotes, these almost-Biblical-sounding ones.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fan Fiction, 2015: Unleash Your Imagination

“Unleash your imagination” is the banner of the grand-daddy of all fanfiction sites, which went up 1998: fanfiction.net

In the fan fiction universe, so far 2015, self has made a few interesting discoveries:

  • The 100 (the book) has NO fan fiction. The TV show has plenty, but they’re mostly Bellarke (Bellamy + Clarke). To which pairing, self can only say: MEH!
  • The Infernal Devices has a few hundred fan fiction, but most are JESSA (Jem + Tessa) which self most decidedly does NOT ship. Self also thinks it is particularly hard to write fan fiction for The Infernal Devices universe because the characters just don’t travel well to modern AU. Can you imagine Will Herondale as a modern college student? No, thank you.

In the Everlark field (in which self has been happily gamboling, for about two years now), the list of stories is exploding. OMG, self has so many faves. Here are a few of her favorite authors (not sure where they’re from or if they’re even American. Self only knows for sure when they say things like, “There is a really good Cuban restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey . . . ” or “I’m hosting a Hunger Games fan fiction writers meet-up at the March Rodeo in Austin, TX . . . ” Sometimes she’ll even read things like: “Can’t upload now, in the middle of a biology test!”)

The aliases (Of course, in this field, everyone is pretending to be someone else) of her favorite writers are:

arollercoasterthatonlygoesup * atetheredmind * dracoisalooker76 * ImBeautifullyHuman * just-a-dram * Mejhiren * passionately curious * Ronja * titania522

This is only the tip of the iceberg. And there are many fan fiction writers who literally disappear when they’re work goes into the 10,000 kudos range and they take everything down so they can turn it into a published book.

Strangely, self never got into the Harry Potter universe. But ‘s okay. With the number of new stories being posted every day for Everlark, she will never run out of stories to read.

Stay tuned.

2nd Quote of the Day: 3rd Wednesday of August 2015

Self is back to reading Howard Jacobson’s novel, The Act of Love.

Oh, the places this book has traveled!

When she really likes a book, she cannot stand to finish it.

She’s on p. 247, when she encounters this fabulous sentence:

All the men in our family my father’s age had themselves whipped as a matter of course.

After self reads that fabulous sentence, she simply can’t stand to read anymore, so many FEELZ to process, so instead she turns to the books she has lined up to read after she finishes The Act of Love:

  • George Eliot’s Middlemarch
  • Leon Werth’s 33 Days, translated from the French by Austin D. Johnston
  • Richard Norton Taylor’s The New Spymasters: Inside Espionage From the Cold War to Global Terror
  • three books by Ruth Rendell (British mystery writer, one of self’s favorites. She passed away May this year): A Judgment in Stone, Tree of Hands, and A Sight for Sore Eyes

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: 3rd Wednesday of August 2015

I don’t think writers are much smarter than other people. I think they’re more compelling in their stupidity.

— David Foster Wallace, quoted by Anthony Lane in his review of James Ponsoldt’s film about Wallace, in The New Yorker August 10 & 17, 2015

Self has never read David Foster Wallace. She resolves to add Infinite Jest and Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

Stay tuned.

Extremely Anti-Climactic: The Conclusion to the Book Series, THE 100

Self went searching all over the fan fiction universe for stories featuring her favorite gal, Glass.

And do you know how many she came up with?

Zero. Zip. Nada.

Which came as a horrible shock. Because, how can that be? This girl is the Katniss of the series. And she isn’t even low-born. No, she was raised on Phoenix, which is the equivalent of The Hunger Games’ Capitol. And she crawls through air vents, space walks (with no prior training in space walking), and hauls her boyfriend’s sorry ass through deep forest while eluding feral Earthborns!

But anyhoo.

(There were hundreds of stories, BTW, on Bellarke — that’s Bellamy and Clarke)

MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS SPOILERS DO NOT READ; CONCERNS THE ENDING OF THE TRILOGY!

The last self saw of that wishy-washy boyfriend of Glass, Luke, he was heading in one direction with Camille, and Glass was heading in another.

Self really wishes she could reach into the book and slap Luke. That’s the second time he’s dumped Glass. The first was after she was “Confined” (Euphemism for: Incarcerated. Euphemism for: JAILED!), and now, when Glass’s mother has twisted her ankle and everyone is racing for the dropships to get off the spaceship which is running out of oxygen, he dumps her again. All because that stupid rival for Luke’s affection, Camille, has re-surfaced and tells Luke that Glass was the reason Luke’s roommate and pseudo-father figure, Carter, was executed. Luke has the dates of Carter’s birthday and death day TATTOOED on his torso, in case readers need to be reminded how much Carter meant to him.

Anyhoo, Glass manages to get her mother on the last dropship. And just as that last dropship is about to take off, a soldier wants to pull Glass off and take her place, and then who should come running into the dropship at the last minute to bonk that soldier on the head and take his place? Yup, that wandering boyfriend, Luke.

Meanwhile, he seems to have become separated from Camille, who is last seen running into a different dropship, all thoughts of Luke forgotten in her anxiety to LIVE.

The dropship Glass and Luke are on gets its roof peeled off during the re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere, but, regardless, everyone on that ship survives, with only a few concussions and serious-but-not-mortal injuries.

Meanwhile, other dropships have unfortunately crashed or exploded or whatever, and presumably Camille was on one of those, because in Book 3 she never puts in an appearance. Which is just too bad, because self would have loved to see Glass belt her one. And Luke seems to have had his memory slate wiped clean, because he never brings up Camille OR Carter. Ever again. Instead, he injures his hand. Then, while trying to fend off some feral Earthborns (creatures who survived the hell of nuclear radiation and even multiplied and spread all over Earth and now feel threatened by the new arrivals), he gets speared. Bleeds gouts of blood. Glass has to put him on a sled and singlehandedly drag that sled through deep forest, all the while dodging arrows from Earthborns.

This is a very exciting part of the book, dear blog readers. Self lost track of the number of times she found herself gasping in admiration over Glass’s absolute single-minded determination to save Luke’s life. There were so many times she wanted to yell, “Girl! Dump that guy! He’s not good for you! Why don’t you get with Wells instead!” But, no. She let Glass be heroic. And a heroic Glass is REALLY REALLY fun to read. She single-handedly hauled a sled with Luke on it for MILES! Her abs must be so toned!

But she makes it! And the last we see of her, a doctor is telling her that Luke will live. He doesn’t even have to have his leg amputated, which makes him a better survivor than Peeta Mellark.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Sequel to THE 100, And the Saga That Is Glass and Luke

Honestly, the way self is storming through this series is simply amazing!

She skips over all the Clarke, Wells, and Bellamy chapters. Because there is only one way this is all going to shake down: SURVIVAL!

SPOILER SPOILER MAJOR FEELZ AND SPOILER

No, what’s really gotten self’s attention is a character called Glass, who was completely vanished by the TV series, mebbe because she has this obstreperous boyfriend named Luke, who’s from a lower class of human. Well, he got her pregnant and she was imprisoned for an illegal pregnancy, but Glass nobly refused to spill the identity of the father, instead she gave the authorities the name of Luke’s roommate, Carter, who’d been lasciviously pawing at her whenever Luke wasn’t around, thereby proving very deserving of his fate: execution.

While Glass is imprisoned for her illegal pregnancy, Luke shacks up with his best friend, Camille.

Naturally, this story line sucks. Especially when Glass ESCAPES from her evil captors just as she’s about to be shipped to Earth with 99 other juvenile delinquents, and crawls through air vents and all manner of obstacles, only to make it back to Luke’s flat, where he opens the door to her knock, and she sees — Camille.

Luke redeems himself by dumping Camille almost immediately, but come on. Redhead vs. blonde? No question.

Then, Camille gives Glass all manner of side-eye, talks trash, swears she’s going to kill her or some such. But doesn’t actually get an opportunity until the whole space ship has to be evacuated because there’s an unfortunate oxygen leak, and in the crush to  make it to the dropships — think Titanic, only outer space — Glass’s mom sprains her ankle, can’t walk, has to be carried by Luke, and then Camille materializes, whispers to Luke the damning secret that Glass has been carrying around all this time: that in fact Glass gave up Luke’s dastardly roommate Carter so that Carter (and not Luke) could be executed for the crime of illegally impregnating Glass. And what does Luke do at this moment of terrible uncertainty? He has no problem with ditching Glass and her unable-to-walk mom and dashes off hand-in-hand with Camille.

Camille, you @@!!###

But this is no time to fall apart, because self is fervently wishing that Glass survives so she can meet up with Luke again and PUNCH THAT NO-GOOD BOY IN THE FACE!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Comet (p. 270 of THE 100)

Self, what are you doing? She means, what are you doing? This is so — AARGH!

She skips all the Earth chapters because she isn’t interested in Wells, Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia, Earth creatures, Earth bugs, or Earth anything.

Everything she wants to know about is back on the spaceship where Glass continues tip-toeing around her socialite mother (The future has socialites? On a space ship?) and her mother’s paramours and Glass’s love for Luke, the boy who has a convenient friends-with-benefits relationship with his “best friend” Camille (Why does the best friend have the same name as Marcus Bane’s vampire lover in The Infernal Devices? It is such a distraction, the two sharing a name!)

Since Glass’s chapters are only a third of the book, that means self is really only reading 1/3 of The 100.

Anyhoo, the entire spaceship has a viewing party for a comet. At least, the swells on Phoenix have a party (It’s rather lame: the mother has to wear old, stained gloves, but gloves are an extreme rarity in this dystopian society. Whenever self thinks of Glass’s mother, she thinks of Audrey Hepburn brandishing a cigarette, she knows not why.)

To intensify the mood of the excerpt self is about to share with dear blog readers, she’s including a picture self took of her cell phone in her handbag. She knows everything is too blurry to distinguish any objects in the picture. But the lighted strip actually did emanate from her phone, which was tucked inside her bag.

DSCN0979

“Look!” a little girl called out. A white line was rising over the outline of the moon. Instead of fading away like most comets, it grew larger, the tail expanding as it blazed through space. It made even the stars look dim.

Glass stepped forward almost unconsciously, and a couple leaning up against the nearest window shuffled aside to give her space. It was so beautiful, Glass thought in wonder. And terrifying. It was growing larger and larger, filling up the entire viewing space in the porthole, as if it were coming straight at them.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Pardon, It’s Back to THE 100

The coolest story line isn’t even in the CW TV series: It’s Glass. Glass. Glass.

SPOIIIIILEEEERRRRS!!!

Glass is Point of View # 4, which means she appears in Chapter # 4 (So tiresome, this multiple point of view thing. Self is skipping all the Clarke and Wells chapters. It’s just so un-interesting, what’s happening on Earth: The planet survived the radioactive apocalypse and is now some kind of fecund tropical garden, Clarke is becoming the Florence Nightingale of the group, Wells suffers acute unrequited love for Clarke, and Bellamy, aside from being very protective of Prim — ah, excuse self, she means Octavia — has very toned abs)

Unlike Bellamy and Wells who had to claw their way (metaphorically) into the ship headed for Earth (or Destruction, depending on the motives of the Chancellor/ Ruler/ Despot), Glass is smart. She figures she wants OFF the space ship to Earth. So, she manages to elude the guards and get off the space ship, and she manages to slip through all the search parties who are looking for her, and of course, it’s all because she is in love with a boy, and she fights like a tiger to get to the boy, Luke, and when she finally finally reaches his flat, and knocks on his door, he opens it, and SURPRISE SURPRISE there’s another woman right behind him, and Glass belatedly notices that the flat had been dark when Luke opened the door, so whatever he and this other woman had been doing before she interrupted was something they did in the dark, and . . .  and . . . self’s heart just breaks for that brave girl.

Moving on.

The other really cool thing about The 100 (aside from the fact that the author admits in her closing remarks that she didn’t think up the plot herself; someone gave it to her, and all she did was write it. Oh no, she dreamt up the characters. That’s right. Profuse apologies!) are the cornea slips.

That’s right: when a character gets a distant look in her/his eyes, and suddenly stops speaking, it doesn’t mean they’ve been hit by a tranquilizer blowdart. It means there is an incoming. Message, that is.

It is so cool not to have to dart to a cell phone or laptop to retrieve messages. Just have them transmitted to your cornea slip. That way, you don’t even have to look down and you will never ever be accused of having bad posture or worry about developing a double chin. You just tilt your chin upwards and read what’s on your cornea slip. Who ever thought of such a cool thang?

Thank you! Self would like to have one of those, if it can happen in the next 10 years (or while she’s still alive)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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