Here It Is: The Thing (Or Things) That Came Out of Roscoe

RIP Roscoe. Very sad. His best friend locked him in a room and nailed plywood boards over the doors and windows. All Roscoe could do was watch as his friend worked, his face looking ghostly and sad.

Don’t every tell anyone that teenagers can’t make the hard decisions.

Now we’re in a forest, p. 253. That monster, Drake, who is really two teenagers in one (Brittney’s the other one — she keeps trying to kill Drake because she’s good, see? And Drake is bad. Only, they’re the same body. So Brittney hasn’t got it all figured out yet.) hears something approaching. Something big.

It was silver and bronze, dully reflective. It had an insect’s head with prominent, gnashing mouthparts that made Drake think of a Benihana chef flashing knives ceremonially. Its wickedly curved mandibles of black horn or bone protruded from the side of its mouth. It smelled like curry and ammonia.

Plague, A Gone Novel, p. 253

Is that a giant cockroach? Self haaaates cockroaches!

She even hates spiders. Which is why Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time left her feeling a little, how shall we say, detached.

Not content with scaring the bejesus out of his readers with the above description, Michael Grant has to describe how they move:

They ran in a rush on six legs, stopping, starting, then skittering forward again at alarming speed. Their tarnished silver wings folded back against bronze carapaces, like beetles or cockroaches.

Stay tuned.

Penny in PLAGUE, a GONE novel

These characters — a whole slew of them — are as vivid and realized as can be. They talk like teenagers, they drink like teenagers, they swear like teenagers.

p. 220:

“You okay?” Caine asked Diana.

“She’s perfect,” Penny said. “Perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect skin. Plus she has legs that work, which is really cool.”

“I’m out of here,” Caine said.

“No,” Diana said. “Help me lift her back out.”

“Yeah, Caine, don’t you want to see me naked? I’m still kind of hot. If you don’t mind my legs. Just don’t look at them. Because they’ll kind of make you sick.”

Both of Penny’s ankles are broken. And because all the adults have disappeared, and that includes doctors and nurses, “there was no way to fix her legs . . . and nothing to treat the pain but Tylenol and Motrin.” All that’s holding Penny’s ankles together are “two pairs of socks.”

How did both of Penny’s ankles get broken? Caine broke them. But Penny still has to live with Caine and his girlfriend, Diana. She doesn’t wash or go to the bathroom, which is why Diana finally decides to take matters into her own hands, and drags Penny to the tub (at least there is running water).

Diana maneuvered to bear most of Penny’s weight and lower her bottom first into the hot water. Her twisted pipe-cleaner legs dragged, then followed their owner into the tub. Penny screamed. “Sorry,” Diana said.

“Oh God, it hurts, it hurts, it hurts!”

Did self mention that these books are listed as YA? But there is nothing YA about these characters. She can’t believe she never heard about these novels until she saw a stack of them on Charles’s desk on the lower floor of the London Review Bookshop, a month ago (There are nine books in the series). To her great surprise, the author turned out to be American. And the characters were American teenagers in self’s own home state of California. To think she had to go all the way to London — to the London Review Bookshop — to find out about them.

Pretty good reading, this one. And the horror — the horror — is stellar.

Stay tuned.

Plague, A Gone Novel: Sentence of the Day

  • Edilio (one of the less self-absorbed characters): “You know, Albert, you want so bad to be the big man, the Donald Trump of Perdido Beach, why don’t you go deal with Drake?”

So Donald Trump is not beneath the notice of the ultra-cool American teens of Perdido Beach, California — ?! Who would have thought? (After reading the sentence, self looked up the book’s publication date: 2011)

Better Than It Needed to Be

Self has been reading Plague: A Gone Novel. She’s still less than a hundred pages in, but already she is grateful for the writing: when a book about southern California teen-agers trapped under an invisible dome and having to deal with urges and drinking and plague, not to mention insects that burrow inside them, turns out also to be well- written, she is all : Too much! First the Adrian Tchaikovsky space opera, then this! What are the odds? What has she done to deserve etc.?

The Gone books have two main protagonists: Sam and Caine. The two are twins who’ve been separated at birth: their single mother gave Caine up for adoption, but kept Sam. Caine, naturally, grows up to be a bad boy. Because of his malevolence, Caine has been exiled by the other kids to an island off Perdido Beach. He is accompanied in exile by a beautiful girl, Diana, who’s in love with him. On p. 70, Caine and Diana start making out and then they argue. Caine starts lifting boulders with his finger and flinging them around (so, magic powers!)

“Sometimes I hate you!” he yelled and with a flick of his wrist sent the boulder flying off the cliff and falling toward the water below.

“Just sometimes?” Diana raised one skeptical brow. “I hate you almost all the time.”

They glared at each other with a look that was hate but also something else, something so much more helpless than hatred.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Too Many Parallels

Self finished Shards of Earth after four days of staying-home-all-day and not-changing-out-of-pajamas, four days of asking herself HOLY COW is-this-the-best-space-opera-she-has-EVER-reador-what and howis-jug-eared-Idris-Telemmier-the-hottest-space-hero-of-all-time?


Plague, self’s current read, is giving her plenty of reason to reflect on January 6 Committee Hearings drama.

How was it fair? Caine was a liar, a manipulator, a murderer. And Caine was probably lying in satin sheets with Diana eating actual food and watching a DVD. Clean sheets, candy bars, and a wonderful, willing girl.

Caine who had never done a single good or decent thing was living in luxury.

Sam, who had tried and tried and done everything he could, was sitting in his house with a raging headache, smelling vomit with a pair of ibuprofen burning a hole in his stomach lining.

Plague, A Gone Novel, by Michael Grant, p. 39

Fan of . . . Space Opera, Fantasy, and Dr. Ruth Galloway Mysteries

For this challenge — The Fan of . . . Challenge hosted by Jez Braithwaite — self didn’t want to just say Books. Sure, she spends most of her time reading, but she wanted to specify that she gravitates towards certain types of books, depending on her mood.

This year, she’s definitely into space opera (Shards of Earth), fantasy (The Mermaid and the Bear), and Elly Griffiths’ Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery series.

Sentence of the Day (Also: Spoiler Alert!)

You’re barreling along on p. 380 of an Adrian Tchaikovsky novel and you’re feeling it, really feeling it, swept along by the dense prose and the unspace and the intense flashbacks to what happened on Berenhof, when . . .

OLLI: “Son of a bitch, I knew it!”

And Solace sends the message.

NOOOO! Airlock her now, Olli!

Self can’t even.

Stay tuned.


In the seventy-eighth year of the war, an Architect came to Berlenhof.

Idris had put out on the Pythoness.

— Shards of Earth, p. 363

The above is a flashback. Tchaikovsky made us wait 363 pages to finally learn the full story of what happened on Berlenhof, where Solace and Idris first met.

Another thing self appreciates about Tchaikovsky is his sense of scale. When a ship is targeted, it doesn’t just explode: The Locust Ark, sister ship of the Pythoness, “was shredded across fifty kilometres of space.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Havaer, the Government Man

Self is so glad that she has Shards of Earth to keep her mind off the unspeakable tragedy that is Renegade SCOTUS. Anyhoo, it’s doing double-time duty this weekend, and self has just been barreling along.

She’s now in a Havaer section, and it is pretty much generic hard-boiled detective stuff. Though Havaer is far from her favorite character, the dialogue has a certain Raymond Chandler vibe. Havaer has been interviewing a witness, a lawyer named Thrennikos who’s been contacted by Idris sidekick Kit (a beautiful lawyer; self hates Kit for having had such wonderful adventures with Idris while poor Solace, Idris’s close friend, was stuck on an all-woman ship and put into cryogenic sleep for, off and on, 40 years).

Thrennikos: Officer, these are my new clients, representing the Broken Harvest Society. They share your interest in my earlier visitors. And in anyone asking questions about them.

Havaer: And the currency your new clients are paying you is . . . ?

Thrennikos: Not skinning me and wearing me like a cloak, yes.

Threnniko’s New Client: Government man, my name is Heremon, herald of The Unspeakable Aklu, the Razor and the Hook.


What follows is a torture scene. Dammit, Adrian Tchaikovsky, why do you have to make even the torture scenes so full of balletic blood splatter and beautifully articulated flayed organs?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mesmon the Tothiat

Self has a favorite character. She won’t reveal who it is just yet, but now self is vested. She’ll only read Book 2 of The Final Architecture if her favorite survives Book 1.

Fight Scene, Deep Space, p, 208:

  • She got a hand on his helmet and wrenched at it, yanking his head to one side. He stuck a boot to the wall behind her and used that purchase where her neck met her shoulder. Stupid infantile move, except she felt it, and her armour’s stress warnings redoubled. She felt the first worm of worry creep in through the cracks. She could see he’d hit her so hard he’d broken his own wrist, the hand bent at a crippled angle. Even as she registered his injury, the joint snapped back into place, the damage repairing itself before her eyes. Through the rents in his mangled gloves she saw skin seal and bones realign even as he came in to hit her again.

So Mesmon can never be killed? No matter how many holes you put in him, he’ll be back? Uh-oh.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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