Her Protector’s Pleasure, Chapter Two: Slay, Slay, Slay

Wow, self is really enjoying this bodice ripper! The writing is so completely immersive! Chapter One was set in a male brothel in Regency London, and ended with the brothel Madam’s own special man being appropriated by the widow MC for … well, dear blog readers can guess.

Chapter Two takes us to the Thames River Police, which is nowhere near as interesting as the brothel. There are two protagonists: one is a member of the Thames River Police (as dear blog reader might have guessed), the other is a man in his fifties whose name is so close to that of the male prostitute that self first thought they were one and the same, until she came to the spot where the the author describes the man as being in his fifties. At which point, self said, Oh.

Anyhoo, blah blah blah goes on between the two.

Self is alternating between Her Protector’s Pleasure and Cibola Burn. In Cibola Burn, SPOILER ALERT! Murtry and Holden meet. Holden waves and smiles, Murtry shoots a man right in front of Holden. TROUBLE, this man MURTRY is TROUBLE WITH A CAPITAL ‘T.’ Self adores Burn Gorman, the actor who plays him in the TV series  The Expanse. And of course it goes without saying that she adores Steven Strait.

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.

#amwriting of First Contact

Cortez had just conquered the Aztecs, and their ancient cities were filled with gold.

The Spanish thought there was gold in the Philippines, too.

First sight of the Philippines by the Spanish:

  • Limasawa has the shape of a finger thrust into the ocean; its topography is generally flat. Butuan is much larger, a ring of beach surrounding a mountain wreathed in clouds, whose topmost peaks flash in fading evening light, flash like prince’s metal.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

Bull: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 217

Yes, it has taken half the afternoon for self to move ahead nine pages. But to be honest, she’s been so distracted by the news. Last night, she watched the escalation of the protests and there were rubber bullets being fired (at journalists) and tear gas and all kinds of mayhem. She prays no one gets hurt tonight.

As the day winds down, self settles down for her most deeply immersive reading. It’s a good thing she stumbled upon The Expanse (she’s only seen one season, the fourth), she really didn’t expect to read beyond Leviathan Wakes, but here she is.

She’s liking the split point of view more and more (At first, she found it annoying, she was impatient with the Miller sections in Leviathan Wakes and the Prax sections in Caliban’s War). In Abbadon’s Gate, there is not that much Holden (Self loves his point of view, always) but Clarissa/Melba’s gives her chills. And she didn’t expect the authors to use Bull’s at the point when the Behemoth (she only wishes they’d thought of a better name) enters the Ring, but here we are at p. 217, and the Bull point of view is very effective here:

They made the transit slowly, the thrust gravity hardly more than a tendency for things to drift toward the floor. Bull couldn’t say whether that was a technical decision on Sam’s part meant to keep them from moving too quickly in the uncanny reduced speed beyond the ring, or Ashford giving the Earth and Mars ships the time to catch up so that they’d all be passing through at more or less the same time. Only if it was that, it wouldn’t have been Ashford. That kind of diplomatic thinking was Pa’s.

Probably it was just that the main drive couldn’t go slow enough, and this was as fast as the maneuvering thrusters could move them.

galaxy wallpaper

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Ring: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 208

At the center of the spectral Ring is a station.

James Holden: “We’re calling it a station pretty much only because it sits at the center of the slow zone, and we’re making the entirely unfounded assumption that some sort of control station for the gates would be located there. The station has no visible breaks in its surface. Nothing that looks like an airlock, or an antenna, or a sensor array, or anything.”

Beyond the station is a “slow zone.”

Holden again: “… the most intriguing factor of the slow zone, and the one that give it its name, is the absolute speed limit of six hundred meters per second. Any object above the quantum level traveling faster than that is locked down by what seems to be an inertial dampening field, and then dragged off … ”

Think of the slow zone as a kind of garbage disposal, only GIANT. Super giant. Because it dragged away an entire spaceship called the Y Que. And the only reason the Rocinante made it through the zone was because Holden gave his pilot a nav package that specified a speed just below that of the Y Que’s. He’s pretty smart, and that is why she has no problem with his being the Captain of the Rocinante, even though not everyone may be enamored with his character.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Generation Ship Nauvoo

Abaddon’s Gate, p. 53:

He passed through the transfer station and down towards his office. The rooms and corridors here were all built aslant, waiting for the spin gravity that would never come.

Must take a moment to thank the authors for giving ships names like Rocinante, the Somnambulist, and the Y Que. Even Nauvoo has something inexplicably romantic about it.

Unfortunately, the Nauvoo is re-named the Behemoth. And there’s nothing romantic about that.

What’s in a ship’s name? Something very, very important. Millenium Falcon is a dud. The Nostromo is fabulous.

Self is not above borrowing for her ship’s names: Kobayashi Maru (thank you, Star Trek training exercise) and Mohenjo Daro.

Self’s great-grandfather wrote for an underground newspaper in Manila. He used a pen name: Ang Kiukok.

In her next science fiction story, she’ll use Ang Kiukok as the name for a very wee ship. A racer, maybe. She’ll connect the two words and name her ship Angkiukok.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Melancholy

Perhaps it’s this damn covid-19, but self is feeling mighty melancholy today.

To match her mood, today’s excerpt from Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves is from a section called Finality and Grief:

  • It remains unknown how widespread the sense of finality is and how much it relies on a mental projection into the future. But members of at least some species, after assuring themselves by smell, touch, and revival attempts that a loved one is gone, seem to realize that their relationship has permanently moved from present to past . . . It also reminds us that all emotions are mixed with knowledge — they wouldn’t exist otherwise . . . Life goes on, as it should, but individuals are unique.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Sentence of the Day: LEVIATHAN AWAKES

Chapter One: Holden

“If we flip the ship right now and burn like hell for most of two days, I can get us within fifty thousand kilometers, sir.”

World War II Memoirs, Hoover Archives

When Stanford libraries were still open, self used to go there just to read. Her favorite thing was to read World War II memoirs. There were also transcripts from the war trials conducted by the Americans in Los Baños. These memoirs are all in the bowels of Hoover Archives. She once bumped into the writer Karen Tei Yamashita there! We were surprised, to say the least. She was leaving the archives and self was just entering.

General Yamashita was tried, convicted, and hung within three days. Self remembers reading that his young American lawyer was very green and CRIED when the verdict was announced. He apologized to Yamashita for not defending him better. The lawyer attended the hanging, as a sign of respect. That must have been hard.

Self did photocopy a handful of memoirs, from the single copy machine in the Hoover Archive reading room. She stashed them in her closet and had so many adventures, so many travels, that she did not read them again until today.

First memoir: “Sometimes it seems that you just can’t be doing the things that you find yourself continuing to do.”

This from a memoir written by the wife of an American mine executive. Her husband chose to stay with the mine, but he sent his wife away, and she caught passage on a boat headed up the Agusan River, a boat packed with fleeing Filipino families. Never once does she bring up the fear and sadness she must have felt at leaving her husband. But she describes seeing the dawn break, day after day after day, so her insomnia must have been terrible. “Someone else made the coffee . . . ”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Hilary Mantel in NYRB, 11 January 2007

She had not been encouraged to consider physical decay; when she had made her triumphal entry into France, and crowds turned out to see her, ugly people had been warned to stay away.

— from The Perils of Antoinette, a review by Hilary Mantel

That is such a Hilary Mantel sentence. The tone is so calmly authoritative that one doesn’t even pause to ask: WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR ‘UGLY.’ (Missing teeth? Pox-scarred skin? So many possibilities!)

The NYRB is making the entire piece available, through April 2020.

 

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