Back to The Rorqual

Self has been working on her horror story for aaaaages. She leaves it for long periods. When she comes back to it, she feels as if she’s discovering everything anew.

She can’t quite remember why she named this piece The Rorqual, that’s how long it’s been. 

The Small Queen’s voice was melancholy yet defiant as she addressed the Men and Women of the Salt. We have always known about the Beast, she said. We have always known battle would be joined here, on the shore of the frozen sea.

Who Was Colonel Chabert?

From Andrew Brown’s Introduction to Colonel Chabert

The Battle of Eylau, fought under a heavy fall of snow on February 1807 between two rows of frozen lakes, set 80,000 Russians against 60,000 French. The French infantry, subjected to heavy Russian cannonades, fell back in disarray . . . What saved the Grande Armée from complete defeat … were the French cavalry charges repeatedly launched straight at the centre of the Russian and Prussian lines. One of these charges was led by Colonel Chabert: the troops under his command broke through the Russian lines, but . . . Chabert himself was cut down from his horse by a Russian sabre, and disappeared under the hooves of the 1500-strong cavalry charge led by Murat.

Colonel Chabert is a fictional character. But — what a point of view!

(Fighting for the other side: Prince Andrei Bolkonsky of Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Literature is amazing.)

Today the skies are smoky from wildfires. Wind is blowing from the east. (California just can’t seem to catch a break) Governor declared a state of emergency.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

A. N. Wilson: Foreword to COLONEL CHABERT

There are three categories of men in the Paris of the 1830s who habitually robed themselves in black: the Priest, the Doctor, and the Lawyer.

Next on the Reading List

Honoré de Balzac’s swift, short, and brutal novelette.

Sentence of the Day: ASYMMETRY, by Lisa Halliday

Now that his book was done, a number of deferred medical matters could be addressed, including a colonoscopy, a prostate screening, and some tests a pulmonologist had recommended to investigate a recent shortness of breath.

Asymmetry, p. 67

Very much enjoying this collection of novellas. The first one, Folly, reads a bit like Francoise Sagan, if Aimez vous Brahms were set in Manhattan.

Another sentence:

Considerations complicated by this maddening habit of wanting something only until she’d got it, at which point she wanted something else.

Stay tuned.

Deconstructing Swann’s Way

Self has to resort to all sorts of mental tricks to keep reading Swann’s Way.

She makes the decision, after reading to p. 44, that she’ll consider Combray and Swann In Love as two separate works — two novellas, if you will. And thus, she’s reading them simultaneously. Because if she follows the sequence in the book — she’s finished Chapter 1, and finished reading the part about the madeleine — Chapter 2 is a very long reminiscence about the town. While Swann In Love is about socializing, with all sorts of fascinating words to consider: for instance, the word “bourgeois.” Self, who is so easily exasperated these days (which is just another way of saying she is stressed), may get exasperated enough to stop reading Swann’s Way. And she would consider that a regrettable moral failure.

So, to forestall any such feelings of exasperation, she skips ahead to Swann In Love, resolving to return to Ch. 2 of Combray (and using two bookmarks) after she’s finished Part II.

Maybe she’ll even read Part III, Place Names: The Name before returning to Combray.

What a disgustingly eccentric way to read Swann’s Way, but there you have it. Self would love to extract maximum pleasure and understanding from this book, and this is the only way she thinks she can do it.

Stay tuned.

Hardly Seems Possible: #amwriting

  •  They tested the salinity in the top layers of ocean water left behind by the ice melt. The data was extracted from brine droplets trapped in pockets of glacier ice. The average was 35 kilograms ppt: 35 kilogram parts per thousand. Suddenly, after a month, salinity in parts per thousand had dropped drastically, to just above 20 kilograms ppt.

Would you believe self wrote this?

Reading it over, now, it all sounds like gobbledygook.

She started this particular story in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland (All her best science fiction were written at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig). That was really bold, since she’s never been to either of the Poles, North or South.

In addition, she’s the furthest thing from a scientist you can imagine. Put numbers and other hard data in front of her, and her mind will cease to function. She’ll go into shock.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Quote of the Day: ALL SYSTEMS RED

DSCN0195

  • And what was I supposed to do? Go off on this empty planet and just live until my power cells died? If I was going to do that, I should have planned better and downloaded more entertainment media.

— Murderbot, All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Love Murderbot!

All Systems Red, p. 19:

It’s been a hectic day. Murderbot had to rescue two humans from the clutches of a monster that resides in a crater, seriously injuring himself in the process.

Murderbot doesn’t care that he is injured, though. All he wants is to be alone in his cell so he can resume his video.

Finally he is alone in his cell!

  • So I set all the security feeds to alert me if anything tried to eat the habitat and started to call up the supply of media I’d downloaded from the entertainment feed. I hurt too much to pay attention to anything with a story, but the friendly noise would keep me company.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ALL SYSTEMS RED, p.32

Murderbot just saved two humans on his team from being eaten by a monster that lived in a crater.

The whole crew tries to be kind, but Murderbot is in a hurry to get away so he can continue watching vid in his room.

Mensah (the Leader of the Crew): Try to pinpoint any missing information. When we have a partial list, I’ll call DeltFall and see if they can send us the files.

Murderbot Interior Monologue: That sounds like a great plan, in that it didn’t involve me.

Murderbot (out loud): Dr. Mensah, do you need me for anything else?

lol

Stay tuned.

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