Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Here be unicorns. И музика и филми, вдъхновени от човешките ни книги. И всичко, дето ви е на сърце, ама не може да се побере в ^такива^ тесни теми...

Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Fri Dec 03, 2021 10:59 am

Хрис, тук съм силно несъгласен. Наистина силно. :(

Вчера с Дес се заприказвахме какъв е същинският ни проблем със „Сиела“. Имам предвид оня техен опит да докарат „Дакси“ до фалит. (Ти знаеш ли пълните подробности? С Дес си говорихме, че си заслужава да хванем Вярата да ни ги разкаже от първа ръка.) Като оставим настрана принципите ни, за мен – за човека Калин – е изключително напрягащо да виждам как насочваме хора към продукти, чиято евентуална покупка ще налее още пари в касището на една от най-отявлените мутренски групировки, които имат присъствие в бг книгоиздаване. Те са силни заради парите си. Какво става, като им дадем още?

Затова наистина моля да помислиш как хем да запазим ефекта от колажа ти, хем да не водим хората при съответните продукти. Най-лесно сякаш ще е да премахнем линковете към всички „забранени“ издателства.

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До темата СМИР +/- Meta ще стигна също – когато се познаваме достатъчно добре с тях.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sun Dec 05, 2021 12:01 am

По повод на „Сума: 40 истории от отвъдното“, в Гудрийдс Diana wrote:Моля ви, превеждайте ги тези книги по един, особено толкова кратките. Ужасно дразнещо е разминаването в стила и редуването на мъжки и женски род...


Кал wrote:Редуването на родовете беше замислено като начин да компенсираме „безродовостта“ на английския език; в оригинала като цяло не става ясно (и всъщност няма значение) какъв е полът на невидимия слушател. Ако можем да измислим и една такава „безродова“ форма в българския, ще ни помогне не само в художествената литература. ;)

Разностилието може би има нужда да го погледна пак – оттогава мина много време и не помня доколко сме се стремили към хомогенност (нито колко хомогенно звучат историите в оригинал). Но помня, че всеки от двамата преводачи редактира преводите на другия, а имахме и трети редактор от издателството. (В това отношение „Фабер“ са най-внимателното издателство, с което съм работил – ако „Мозъкът“ ти е харесал, виж и „Инкогнито“.)
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Dec 21, 2021 10:14 am

Мой отзив за „Тера фантастика 2021/бр. 21“:

С тоя брой като цяло не се разбрахме. :(

Конкретни впечатления (само от допирните точки):

~ От „Безпрецедентното нашествие“ на Джек Лондон (публикуван за първи път през 1910 г.) ми настръхна косата. Започвайки с това наблюдение за взаимната неразбираемост на Изтока и Запада (на която са посветени цели книги като The Geography of Thought):
[Западните народи] бяха пропуснали да отчетат едно обстоятелство: че между тях и Китай няма общ психологически език. Мисловните процеси на двете раси бяха коренно различни. Между тях липсваше общопризнат понятиен апарат. Едва-що западният ум успя да се докосне до китайската душа и веднага се озова в безизходен лабиринт. Китайският ум проникна в западната душевност също толкова повърхностно и на свой ред се намери срещу глуха, неразбираема стена. Всичко беше въпрос на език. Не беше открит начин да се внедрят западните разбирания в китайския ум. Китай продължи да спи. Материалните постижения и прогресът на Запада бяха затворена книга за него; а Западът не успя да отвори книгата. Някъде дълбоко в недрата на съзнанието, в душата, ако може така да се каже, на англоезичната раса е заложена способността да откликва на късите саксонски думи; някъде дълбоко в подмолите на китайското съзнание я имаше способността да откликва на своите си китайски йероглифи; но китайският ум не можеше да реагира на късите саксонски думи; нито пък англоезичният мозък реагираше на йероглифите. Тъканта на техните души бе изплетена от съвършено различни материали и ментално те бяха чужди едни на други.


Минавайки през това обобщение, с което хем искам да се съглася, хем нещо (Тибет?) ме смущава дълбоко:
Китайците не бяха империалистическа раса. Това беше трудолюбив, пестелив и миролюбив народ. Той гледаше на войната като на неприятна, но необходима работа, която понякога се налага да се върши. И така, докато западните нации се караха, биеха и се впускаха в световни авантюри една срещу друга, Китай спокойно продължаваше да се труди край своите машини и да се размножава.


И стигайки до тоталната биологична война, пред която бомбите над Хирошима и Нагасаки са като новогодишни фойерверки... Бррр!

(Единственото успокоение е, че – също като с атомните бомби – светът веднага си взима поука и забранява биологичните оръжия. Ама... след дъжд качулка, а?)

~ „Медночервени листа“ на Георги Марковски до последно ме изумяваше с експерименталната си постройка. Чуйте например този пасаж:
И пак се занизаха дните. Привечер момъкът се защурваше из гората, опираше гръб о някоя скала, изваждаше кавала и притваряше очи. Душата му напираше през дупките изпод пръстите, прелетяваше над тоя чуден свят, луташе се между небето и земята, скършваше се, падаше в нозете му. Веднъж като минаваше край манастира, вдигна глава и видя, че две месечини греят – едната горе на небето, другата – на прозореца на една килия. Беше млада монахиня с бяло лице в черните одежди. Прикова поглед в нея, момичето вдигна ръка, та се прекръсти, привърза единия край на ленената си коса о желязната решетка, пусна другия долу. Вдигна и момъкът ръка, та се прекръсти, улови се за спуснатата плитка, покатери се по каменния прозорец, изви желязната решетка, озова се в манастирските покои. Срещу него стоеше светлоока хубавица.

– Ти ли свириш вечер?

– Аз – смутено рече момъкът.

– Всяка вечер те слушам. И на мене ми се поиска да полетя над тия планини, а не мога. Само през решетката ги гледам.

Оттогава момъкът всяка нощ взе да идва при Лазаринка.


Той се появява насред иначе съвсем съвременно звучащия текст.

Откъм съдържание ми е трудно да преценя доколко повестта обогатява фантастичния канон, съществувал към онзи момент. Но амбицията ѝ определено впечатлява.

~ Братя Стругацки го заковават:
(...) бъдещето — това не е грандиозен приют за инвалиди на пенсиониралото се човечество, а милиони векове разрешаване на последното и вечно противоречие между безкрайността на тайните и безкрайността на знанията.


~ От колажа на Николай Тодоров за Стърджън ми стана мило.

Аз съм рус, синеок арийски протестант с дълбока неприязън към привилегиите, които се разпростират към някого заради тези случайни обстоятелства.

(...) Мисля, че никой не може да стане човек, докато не е бил несправедливо наранен.

(...) Вярвам, че най-съзидателната сила на човешката мисъл е смехът заедно с някого и че най-разрушителната е присмехът към някого.


Дали иде времето и на моя обзор: „Теодор Стърджън, първопроходец“?
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dess » Thu Dec 23, 2021 3:33 pm

Да му се не знае [заменете с по-вулгарен израз по ваш избор], май не съм чела по безобразно скучна книга от Blood and Bone на Есълмонт, която превеждам в момента. Досега се оплаквах, че тия епоси въвеждат твърде много герои и на твърде много места се случват твърде много неща... при което поради постоянното прескачане не можеш да следиш къде какво беше. Е, тук в първата половина се случва само едно нещо – пет-шест групи хора (изгубих им бройката, варират от двама през неколцина до цели армии) пътуват към (май) едно и също място, където явно ще стане Големият въргал ТМ. Само че докато стигнем до там, четем само как се влачат през джунглата, потят се и ги хапят комарите – първо едните, после вторите, после третите... Тук-там някой поизмира за цвят, едните гладуват, другите боледуват... Ама НИЩО друго не става вече 320 страници!!! Естествено, през цялото време си нямам идея ЗАЩО половината искат да стигнат там, wherever that is, и по-лошото е, че не ми и дреме. Но определено тая книга е new low за мен в поредицата – досега от кълбото сюжетни нишки поне една-две ми бяха интересни. Тук просто е невъзможно, защото на всички се случва едно и също НИЩО.

Край на rant-а. Не препоръчвам дори за заклети фенове на епоси, щото даже тях ще отчае, според мен.
Reachin' for the stars... Why wait for one to fall?

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Люба » Thu Dec 23, 2021 11:27 pm

Вчера ми подариха стихосбирката "Трохи на хартия" на режисьора, актьор и не само - Марий Росен.
Кръстен на баба си Мария.
И силно се намерихме с нея (стихосбирката), тях (стиховете) и него (поета).

По-долу споделям някои. Прекрасни моменти, леки, усмихващи и качващи в другото общуване с ... всичко.

всичко което съм
изгубил

е това което ми
остава

-------

изведох обувките си
на разходка

стоя си бос и чакам
да се върнат
--------
сърцето блъска
отвътре

но как
да му отворя

----------
облягам се назад
и падам

бездната е толкова
уютна

---------

потъват корабите
в океана на сърцето

-----
умореният
звяр

разхожда своята
клетка
---------
думите които
премълчаваме

сами говорят
помежду си

-----
тук е останало
твоето отсъствие

сядам до него
и му галя ръката

---------
уча грешката
наизуст

за да я повтарям
без грешка

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:50 pm

Мой отзив за „33: Каталог на въображението“:

Усмихлителна. А пък ако сте и визуални, обещавам, че ще се кикотите-блещотите.

Екстра начин да си кажем „чао“ с 2021-ра. :)

Най-усмихналото ме:

~ Кученцето-Водач от „Искаш ли да поиграем?“ посвещава посветените в некои скрити материи:
Водачът прошепва на Съзнанието:

– Здравей! Аз съм тук, при теб, за да те съпроводя из света на въображението ти!

Съзнанието отговаря:

– Къде си? Не те виждам!

– Тук съм! Точно пред теб. Само притвори очи, и ще ме видиш.

Съзнанието в този момент излъчва сигнал с определена честота, който ефирното създание улавя и моментално се материализира пред очите на Съзнанието в зависимост от неговата представа. Или, така да се каже, Водачът „придобива формата на съда, в който е поставен“.


~ А! Ето къде са отишли останалите!
Контаврите са реално същите като кентаврите, само че с по-малко расови комплекси. Те нямат против да наричат себе си с очевидното – а именно, че са наполовина коне – и се гордеят с това. Кентаврите са много по-докачливи, свадливи и претенциозни. Затова и си измислят за какво да се заяждат.

Въпросните кентавро-контавърски войни се водели редовно по инициатива на кентаврите, защото според тях контаврите били родоизменници. Контаврите удържали фронта и често се увенчавали с победа, но в един момент им дошло до гуша и отплавали далеч зад Сивите морета, където заживели в хармония с елфите.


... А ние, изостаналите?
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:25 am

Мой отзив за „Перлата на Феникса“:

Изненадах се от чара и добросърдечието на тази история, при все заемките от много други (или може би именно заради тях?). А като знам колко по-опитен е станал авторът в скорошните си романи, се питам докъде ще стигнат „Хрониките“...

Любими моменти:

~ Книгата е очаквано неогладена като първи опит на млад автор; но пък е неочаквано мила (особено в епохата на гримдарка). Например тази сцена:

Тримата бяха съблекли поне горните си дрехи, та да изсъхнат, и Алекс, вече без доспехи, се сви на кълбо с поглед към стената, за да не смущава елфата. Роло бързо бе успял да заспи и тихо похъркваше встрани.

Лиянна приближи Алекс.

— Още ли ти е студено?

— Д-добре съм — отвърна момчето, но нов пристъп на кашлицата го задави.

— Стой мирен и се отпусни — каза елфата и започна да го масажира по раменете. Алекс страшно се сконфузи, а после почти изврещя, когато пръстите на елфата го стиснаха за изстиналите мускули. Постепенно обаче из тялото му се разнесе топлина от раздвиженото кръвообращение и той заспа.

Кажете честно: точно така ли очаквахте да се развие масажът?

~ Една особеност на гримдарка – а всъщност и масата „развлекателно“ писане – която го прави неубедително, е лековатото отношение към насилствената смърт. „Перлата“, при все че е дебют, избягва тая клопка:
Оркският вожд вдигна примирено ръце, сетне се почеса по главата… и изтегли иззад гърба си огромен арбалет, който насочи към елфата.

— Играта свърши, деца — каза той и се ухили. — Парите, богатствата и оръжията. След това ще си помисля какво да правя с вас.

Смехът на орките зад гърба му бе красноречив.

— Ако се възпротивите, тя умира. — Очите му блеснаха злобно. — Дайте ми каквото искам, и ще ви оставя на мира.

Роло се озъби в отговор.

— Защо не се пръждосаш — каза той, вдигайки сабята си, — в геената, от която си изпълзял?

Оттук нататък всичко се разви много бързо. Оркският вожд изруга и стреля към Лиянна, която мълниеносно се отдръпна встрани… но Алекс бе по-бърз.

— Не! — извика той и инстинктивно се метна на пътя на стрелата. Тя го удари в гърдите, изкара му дъха и го запрати в скалата, където той се свлече омаломощен. В това време сабята на Роло прониза гърлото на мерзкото същество, което ги беше нападнало, и то се свлече долу, хъхрещо зелена кръв. Миг по-късно Клаус натисна едно от копчетата на странния уред и от няколко негови тръби изхвърчаха шрапнели, които разкъсаха трима от оставащите орки. Последният се метна към Роло, но ловкият моряк с лекота блокира тромавата атака на ятагана и оркът падна, гърчещ се в предсмъртни конвулсии.

— Алекс, добре ли си? — попита Лиянна, трескаво спускайки се до поваления младеж.

Бронята го бе спасила от наранявания, но той се олюля, докато се изправяше, наблюдавайки мъртвите орки. Гледката на окървавените и разкривени трупове го потресе дълбоко. Наистина, младежът бе посякъл немалко блатни духове, но те бяха неестествени същества, разпадащи се в локва мътна вода. Това бяха твари от плът и кръв… В кръв…

В много кръв.

— О, Боже — прошепна той и се отпусна на скалата.

Стана му лошо и за миг му се стори, че ще повърне, но успя да го подтисне. Заля го обаче пристъп на слабост и той щеше да се свлече на колене, ако Лиянна и Роло не бяха го подхванали от двете му страни.

— Добре ли си? — повтори Лиянна. В очите ѝ се четеше истинска загриженост.

— Да — пресипнало отвърна Алекс. — Нищо ми няма. Просто…

— Не си виждал мъртви досега — каза разбиращо приближилият го Клаус.

Момчето кимна. Роло го потупа по рамото.

— Ще се оправиш. И аз бях така първия път.

Алекс свали шлема си и отпусна глава назад. Прохладният вятър посипа русите му коси със скреж.

— О, Боже — повтори той.

Още не можеше да осмисли станалото. Беше ужасно. Знаеше, че е нямало какво друго да се направи, но това не го правеше по-малко отвратително.


(Проблема с „безгрижното насилие“ го чопля тук.)

~ Внасянето на герой от нашата реалност във фентъзи свят е благодатна почва за закачки:
Алекс извади меча и постави шлема на главата си, сабята блесна в ръцете на Роло.

— Най-после да стане нещо — процеди морякът.

— Аз щях да съм по-щастлива и без премеждия по пътя ни — рече Лиянна и се намръщи.

(...)

— О, Боже! — извика джуджето, като го видя. — Това е дракон, бре момко! Дръпни се от него!

Роло обаче вдигна пръст някъде над Алекс и прошепна:

— А това какво е?

— Нещото, което стана — отговори Лиянна саркастично, но и тя бе пребледняла.

Към тях се задаваше огромен великан със зеленикава брадавичеста кожа, бивни, излизащи от устните му, и грамадна бухалка, която влачеше по земята.

— Пещерен трол — въздъхна Клаус, — стар съм вече аз за тия работи.

Алекс вдигна очи към голямото същество, а дракончето изписка и се скри зад него. На момчето му идеше да се разкрещи от ужас, но като видя оръжието му, изведнъж почувства прилив на остра неприязън, която си носеше от своя свят. От устните му само се отрони:

— Батър. Мразя батърите.

Или:
(...) морякът се просна по очи, останал без сили.

— Бедната твар — констатира майката със съчувствието, с което богаташките в света на Алекс коментираха умрелите гълъбчета. — Явно е взела-дала.


~ А понякога закачките даже нямат нужда от нашата реалност:
— Остави момчето да помечтае! — каза Клаус на Роло, смеейки се. — И по-странни неща са ставали.

— Вярно е — кимна примирено Роло. — Веднъж една гномка се влюби в блатен дух.

Клаус избухна в гръмогласен кикот, а Алекс зяпна:

— Шегуваш се.

— Какво стана? — попита смеещото се джудже.

— Тя реши да го свали, като го хлопне с бухалка по главата. Той се разпльока на много неприятна локва. Гномката се почуди какво става, пък после се изкъпа с нея.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby frog » Thu Jan 06, 2022 7:02 am

След като ми се затри трактатът за класацията на БНР, за около 5,5 часа прочетох "Дневникът на една принцеса" от Саулюс Шалтянис. Успокоявам се, че и аз мога да чета стабилно.
Толкова мило, толкова трогателно, красиво, такава любов... в края поне 10 стр. не са за мен, но ги изчетох. Много плаках. После на финалната сцена с главните героини пак плаках, а я бях прочела преди минути.

http://www.naukaiizkustvo.com/%D0%B4%D0 ... 1%81%D0%B0 - имало ги в "Болид" (отбелязвам замечтано... за чувала, който бих помъкнала дори само с две заглавия от това издателство).
В "Озон" се изчерпва :( ... https://www.ozone.bg/product/dnevnikat- ... -printsesa

"Дневникът на еврейската принцеса" е роман за живота на еврейското момиче Естера Левинсонайте в Литва по време на Втората световна война и следвоенните години в семейството на влюбени млади учители. Гола и окървавена, тя допълзява до къщата на Владас и Милда в сватбената им нощ. Това е история и за един разкошен диван, в който тя преди войната скрила своя дневник, пълен със самота и фантазии. Това е и историята за физическото оцеляване на едно момиче от ямата на смъртта и за още по-тежкото духовно възкресение.

Саулюс Шалтянис (1945), писател с младежки дух, в контекста на съвременната литовска литература се отличава с по-широки културни хоризонти и по-голяма вътрешна свобода. Творчеството му прекрачва литературните граници - то раздвижваше, освежаваше и осветяваше литературния живот в Съветска Литва, вдъхваше оптимизъм, създаваше нова форма на гражданска съпротива - освобождаващия човека смях.

Това с духовното възкресение не го разбирам...
https://bg.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D0 ... 0%B8%D1%81

Така е написана книгата и е толкова топла, че си я представих като филм от моя фестивал. Имаше един много хубав унгарски филм. Не със сходен сюжет, макар че там пак се крият от властите и много сладко се обичат, но атмосферата много ми напомни.
Дори облеклото на хората си представих и донякъде как изглеждат. Разположението на мебелите.

Сега се чудя на кого по-напред да я подаря и дали да не си я запазя за всеки случай, да не вземе да свърши...

Началото (историята на героинята) ми напомня на началото на "Хана", макар и повече от сюжета да не ми е познато https://noshtnaliteraturata.com/book/hana.
18:57 - https://bnt.bg/bg/a/grafichniyat-roman- ... na-prekhod
https://bnr.bg/hristobotev/post/1012282 ... grigorovem
Бесовете ви чувам“ ~ Jane Eyre Grisel. I refuse to be there for you when you need me.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:36 am

Мой отзив за „Чеда на магията“:

Макар че тази част е по-ошлайфана от първата, имам чувството, че авторът не се е забавлявал толкова. Най-много ми липсваха закачките с нашия си свят. А и цялостното настроение е някак по-мрачно.

Хубавото е, че все още сме на другия полюс спрямо гримдарка. :D

Любими моменти:

~ Скечът със Северна Корея е свеж. :)

А развръзката му е:
Архимагът потърка очи.

— Бяхме прави, макар че нямахме идея колко изобретателен е злият барон. Той ликвидира бащата и майката на Джеси, докато бяха още в Ралмия, и само нашата преждевременна реакция спаси самия него, след като го скрихме в затънтен край на Земята.

— Затънтен? — възмути се Майкъл.

— Е, не е Северна Корея, но не е и Лос Анджелис — отвърна Арлеан.

— Откъде идва тази шега със Северна Корея и как знаеш толкова за нашия свят? — попита Джеси.

— Трябваше да изберем къде да те скрием, и проучих малко вашия свят. Северна Корея беше вариант, но стигнахме до извода, че между нея и барона разликата е чисто козметична — отговори елфът.


~ Тъкмо вчера си говорихме с другарчета за типовете хумор, които ни въздействат. За мен този е един от тях:
Тиара отведе Майкъл в широка зала в подземията на замъка, постлана с големи количества слама и със стени, отрупани с оръжия.

— Тук — каза тя — ще изживееш доста неприятни мигове, но в крайна сметка гарантирам, че нивото ти ще е над това на средностатистическия гоблински мародер.

— Много мило — направи гримаса Майкъл. — Ти, предполагам, си сърдитият даскал. С кой обаче ще се боря? Остроухата хърба или брадатия? Ако е джуджето, се надявам да не е с автомат…

— С мен ще се бориш — хладно отвърна Тиара.

Майкъл се опули.

— С теб? Виж, не че съм против равенството между половете, но като цяло има причина в спортовете момчетата и момичетата да са разделени…

— За мен е тежка присъда, че не печеля одобрението ти — отвърна Тиара, — но от друга страна, съм била избрана от дракона Вилхелм, язден някога от самия велик крал Александър.

(...)

— А колко те бива, ще проверим сега. Пробвай да ме удариш.

— Сигурна ли си? — погледна я скептично Майкъл. — Да не плачеш после?

В следващия миг кракът ѝ се стрелна нагоре и намери лицето му.

— Ще ридая като вдовица — ехидно отвърна момичето.

Или:
— Я да видя ти докъде си стигнал. — Далвон приближи чина на Джеси.

— Оу — възкликна, — светкавици. Това е… доста трудна магия, ако искаш, я пробвай. Бавно кажи заклинанието на глас, докато вдигаш пръсти към някаква цел, по възможност нежива. Едва ли ще стане нещо, но…

Във въздуха се чу съсък.

— Оу — повтори архимагът, скръбно гледайки разбитото си бюро, — наистина си талантлив.


~ В кое отношение Сашо Драганов превъзхожда Толкин?

Скрит текст: покажи
Че при него и орките могат да се държат човешки. ;)

— Ти ще ми се поклониш и ще извършиш каквото ти кажа, в противен случай брат ти ще умира с векове.

— Не го слушай, Радж… — простена Якад. От ноктестата лапа на Саркорос захвърчаха ситни червени искри, които обвиха окования и го накараха да запищи. В килията се разнесе мирис на опърлено.

— Направи каквото трябва, Раджак. Доведи ми момчето магьосник. Избий спътниците му… или не, почакай. Доведи ми и двамата братя живи. Останалите не ми трябват.

Старческото лице на барона се изви в усмивка, напомняща нагъната маска, изпод която надничаше истинският вид на съществото.

— Ти си добър воин, орко. Ще се справиш. Или… — направи кратка пауза — никога повече няма да видиш Якад.

Сетне баронът се разсмя оглушително и сънят изчезна.



Раджак се събуди. Беше още призори. Всички останали спяха. Той се изправи на крака и погледна спътниците си. Джеси, момчето с тъмната тайна, съкровената цел на барона. Майкъл, наследникът на онзи, който бе убил господаря му и бе направил възможно идването на кошмарния му наследник. Далвон, старият архимаг, който си играеше с огъня и разчиташе, че безумният му план ще сработи. Тиара, арогантната драконова ездачка, всъщност пионка на стария Вилхелм. Бе убил родителите ѝ. Колко щеше да му струва да убие и нея…

В следващия миг се засрами от мислите си. Те го бяха приели като един от тях, бяха се вслушали в думите му, бяха му дали шанс и бяха му се доверили.

Щеше ли Якад да се зарадва на такова спасение? Щеше ли да е спасение изобщо?

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:31 pm

Мой отзив за „Изумруда на Базилиска“:

Тук забавлението беше повече, отколкото в „Чеда на магията“... но лакомото ми сърце искаше още. (Е, „Перлата на Феникса“ вдигна висока летва. :))

Любими моменти:

~ Равните възможности получават шанс:
— Казваш, че е бил много добър и все пак ти си го убила? Въпреки че той е… — Джефри се запъна и поклати глава.

— Въпреки че е мъж, да. — Тя се усмихна студено. — Уверявам те, мой красиви рицарю, че мога да се оправям с по-силни от себе си противници, има си начини: ловкост, умение, гъвкавост… ако ги нямаше тези неща, досега Ралмия щеше да е под пълния контрол на троловете.


~ Дотук най ме развесели скечът с лютите чушлета, който кулминира с:
— Намерих я съвсем малка — каза джуджето, колкото на Джеф, толкова и на себе си, — беше сама в гората и много уплашена. Скоро разбрах причината — керван елфи е бил избит от гоблини и орки. Затова и малката стана ловец на чудовища. И всичко това, защото аз я отгледах. Научи се да се бие, да ловува, да тича, да стреля. Само да яде люти чушки не я научих.

— И добре, че не си! — обади се старият рицар.

Джуджето не му обърна внимание, а продължи да говори на Джефри:

— Обаче не бях я виждал влюбена.

— Тя… — Джефри се ококори.

— Тя те обича — усмихна се джуджето, — а и ти си я обичкаш, нали така?

— Много — призна Джефри.

— Тогава няма от какво да се боиш — разсъди джуджето, — скоро пак ще се съберете. Любовта побеждава всичко, за нея няма прегради.

Сетне отхапа от чушката в ръката си:

— Само лютите чушчици имат по-голяма сила.


~ Аман от стереотипи!
(...) Рудолф дъвчеше една от лютите си чушки в ъгъла, а Чарли говореше нещо на Хелана.

— Не! — изписка драконът. — Абсолютно не!

— Ама защо? — Чарли изглеждаше много разочарован.

— Не съм ти кобила! — отговори му тя. — Днес ще искаш да ме яхнеш, а утре ще ме впрегнеш в каруца!

— Само малко? — примоли се момчето.

— Не!


~ Е... тя работата не била съвсем така...
Скрит текст: покажи
Почти по същото време на другия, много по-пуст край на езерото кацна Хелана. Чарли слезе от нея и погледна към отсрещния бряг.

— Какво е това място? — попита изумено момчето, виждайки десетките двойки елфи, които се прегръщаха, целуваха или си пееха на фона на магическата музика, обкръжаваща цялата гора.

— Това е място на обичта, човече. — Зеленият дракон отпи от сребърната вода. — Драконите също имат такова, огромен връх в Планините на Забравата, от който влюбените от нашия вид се спускат към земята със сплетени нокти, за да се разделят и отлетят малко преди фаталния удар, бълвайки пламъци.

— Звучи красиво, но защо ме доведе до тук?

Хелана, която бе навлязла във водата до шията, се обърна към младежа.

— Знаеш ли, че някои червени дракони владеели силна магия, която им позволявала да поемат по-малка форма, на гущероподобни хуманоиди?

— Да, но… — Чарли остана с отворена уста, когато люспестият звяр пред него грейна в зелена светлина и на негово място от водата излезе прекрасна красавица с яркозелена коса и пронизващи очи.

— Зелените можем повече от червените, но само когато обичаме.

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:16 pm

Мой отзив за „Нощта на Змията“:

Добродушността и закачките с нашия съвременен свят все така ми липсват... Като че Сашо Драганов с времето се е повлиял от по-стандартния формат за писане на този тип фентъзи и е поизгубил онова, което го отличава от останалите.

Любими моменти:

~ Един сериозен:
— Оххх — залитна той настрана и се хвана за челото, — какво стана?

— Ти ги уби — прошепна Тамия и го подхвана, когато той залитна — изби ги всичките.

— И аз убих един — чу се гласът на Райлин. Тамия се обърна раздразнена към него, искайки да му каже да не се хвали, и в следващия миг видя погледа му. Русото момче изглеждаше съсипано.

* * *

— Не исках да стане така — измънка Райлин половин час по-късно. Тримата се бяха отдалечили от злокобното място и си бяха напалили огън на малка полянка, сгушена между скалите.

— Те бяха двама — продължи с обясненията си елфът — и ме нападаха. Когато единият се откри за удар… исках… мислех…

Райлин не довърши:

— Но не исках да стане така.

— Нямал си друг избор — каза Тамия, разбирайки момчето, поне на теория. Баща ѝ бе говорил за шока от убийството, за разочарованието и за самоотвращението.

Тя самата обаче не бе убивала. Бе виждала смърт, да, но лично да убие — не. Очевидно и с Райлин бе така.

— Сега разбирам защо тате не обичаше да говори за битките си — тъжно въздъхна Райлин. — Винаги съм си мислил, че е славно и героично, че орките просто падат и умират. И ги няма.

Гласът му се повиши.

— Не знаех, че те поглеждат, че очите им обвиняват, питат…


~ И един смешен:
Леденият дракон нежно подхвана доспехите му с лапи и го отнесе до гнездото си.

— Така — каза той, — аз теб пощадя, но има условие.

— Кажи.

— Ти стане мой ездач! — каза Готлиб и погледна елфа очаквателно.

Райлин премигна.

— Иначе аз ям — пошегува се леденият дракон.

— Ти… искаш… да те яздя? — не можеше да повярва елфът.

— Да, разбира се. За мен това бъде престижно. Наследник на златен Рилзан. Други дракони в планина пукнат от завист.

Райлин въздъхна. Не така си бе представял дракона си, но нямаше избор.

— За мен ще бъде чест да бъда твой ездач, ледени Готлиб.

— Ти говори сериозно?

— Напълно.

В следващия миг Готлиб го близна по лицето.

— Ама наистина? — плесна с криле той. — Сериозно?

Елфът поклати глава. Това бе невероятно. Понечи да се изправи.

— Чакай! — спря го Готлиб и го бутна с лапа по гърдите. — Ти ранен.

Сетне внимателно близна раната от лявата страна на челото му. Момчето усети как по него се разлива приятен хлад.

— С теб живее хубаво. Прави заедно подвизи, стане велики.

— Кога ще спреш да говориш така? — обади се още Тамия, която си седеше заледена.

— Какво значение има, нали теб ям — отвърна с равен глас Готлиб.

— Не, не, чакай! — сепна се Райлин. — Не можеш да я ядеш! Изобщо не можеш!

— Защо? Да не би тя отровна?

— Просто не може! — отговори Райлин.

Готлиб потропа с нокти.

— Когато се излюпих, видях мама мъртва и аз сам. Научих яде всичко, което намери, гъсеници, мишки. Защо не елфи и хора? С какво са по-различни? Джуджетата, да, те космати, но…

— Ама не може така! — настоя Райлин. — Те са разумни. Имат чувства… обичат се… не може просто така да ги ядеш.

Елфът се намръщи.

— Аз съм твоят ездач и ти казвам, че няма да ядеш разумни същества.

Готлиб трепна и се намръщи. След това приближи Тамия и я освободи от ледения ѝ затвор.

— Досадно има ездач — каза той на Райлин.

(...)

Внезапно гласът на Готлиб разцепи тишината:

— Абе, Райлин? Гномите не много разумни. Става за ядене?

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Darth_Sparhawk » Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:46 pm

Много благодаря за милите думи и вниманието, отделено на книжките ми. Позволих си да напиша и новина в Цитаделата 8-)
https://citadelata.com/%d0%b2%d0%be%d0% ... %bd%d0%b8/

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:12 pm

Пък аз да кажа, че като видях „г-н Ненов“, първо се зачудих „Кой пък беше тоя?“... а после се засрамих. :D

Но се радвам, че отзивите са ти донесли заряд. :)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Darth_Sparhawk » Mon Jan 17, 2022 5:19 pm

Определено. Дълго време имах комплекси за Ралмия и наистина се зарадвах на ревютата, даже ми дойде енергия за работата по шестата част, която бях занемарил...

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:10 pm

My review of The Last Legends of Earth:

Reading this was an infuriating experience. The beauty of Attanasio's ideas, words, and even certain moments of his characters' relationships gets mauled by some of the most meaningless antagonists in all of speculative fiction and the brainless use of violence as a cure-all.

I'm not sure I'll ever try anything else by him.

Still, here's the beauty:

~ Attanasio knows both the "how":
The air was so dense, it read as water. Looking down into it, down past the riven cliffs and shining clouds, Chan-ti Beppu felt giddy. She had never before journeyed below the clouds. Just visible among the flying vapors and the thermal jellies of air, her destination sparkled, the sea-mountain city of N’ym. There, if anywhere among the worlds, love waited to join space, memory, and the blue light of northern weather into a man whose story would complete hers.

... and the "what" of writing:
Nappy Groff nodded and frowned with doubt. “The road to N’ym is long. But the road to the heart is without end and tireless as a circle. (...)”


~ Beauty indeed:
She baffled his suspicions and cosseted his longings. Most vital of all, she shared his passion for beauty. Before sunrise, they were already on the streets, and with her at his side, he met the world anew. Beneath the raucous ivy of garden walls, they discovered graven murals of fauns and dryads in their rootwoven snuggeries; they caught glimpses of real elves in the smoky violets of a slovenly yard. Suspended by the charm of a dark wood flecked with fireflies, they stood hand in hand on the crest of a hill staring beyond the city, while the galaxy set and several comets feathered the purple zenith.


~ And sense of wonder:
Geometrodynamics guided this stage of world-building. Using the immense potential difference that she had earned on her journey up from a denser gravity shell, Genitrix molded space itself. She dented space where she wanted worlds and smoothed it out where she wanted distance, allowing constraints inherent in the genetic material she had found to guide her.


~ The science:
“Genitrix, make your point.”

“These DNA molecules I’ve found are not just replicating sequences. They serve another equally important and parallel purpose aside from coding the physical structures of lifeforms. Look at this molecule—”

The spiral structure rotated in the viewer, and the perspective rode up the axial channel and stared down from the top, revealing again the ornate symmetry.

“I see the image, Genitrix. Now what are you getting at?”

“Well, what does this look like to you?”

“A molecule of DNA.”

“You’re seeing with your preconceptions, Gai. If you didn’t know what this was—if you had no idea of how small it is—what would you think ...”

“Genitrix, I’m too upset about all that’s happened to be much impressed by anything you’d have to say right now. So say it and let me get on with my work.”

“An antenna. The DNA molecule is the most complex and sensitive antenna that occurs naturally. It transmits and receives waveforms.”

“So?”

“So! You’re thinking like a Rimstalker. You forget that we’re not on the range where energy levels are many times higher than here. This is as close to the vacuum as life gets. Here very subtle energies make big differences.”

“Genitrix—”

“The DNA antennae in every living being transmit the waveform of that being during its lifetime. When it dies, its transmission ends but the waveform persists in the vacuum indefinitely. You do recall that light has no rest mass and therefore does not diminish over time? Individual photons meet extinction only when they actually come in contact with matter. But matter is so extremely tenuous out here in the vacuum that most light will never touch matter during the entire lifetime of the universe.”

Gai studied the screen intently for a moment, and then realization opened in her. “You ... You’re saying that the waveforms of these creatures—these Tryl—are still present?”

“Until Know-Where-to-Go completed the first stroke and stepped up our energy, we lacked the power to detect them. But they are here—all around us. And so is everything that ever lived. All of this ancient world’s life preserved in waveforms.”

“But wait a minute. This world was destroyed in a nova two billion years ago. Whatever light persists should have expanded through a time-cone at least two billion light years wide.”

“Yes, much of that light is indeed flying through spacetime. But spacetime is a tesseract. Think back on what you learned during your training about the physics of outer space.”

“My specialty is weaponry, Genitrix.”

“Then let me remind you: Spacetime is a manifold. Think of it as a tesseract, a four-dimensional cube. Yes, light propagates through space but also through time. And, as we know, light has no rest mass—it is timeless. That means that light is itself a tesseract vector. For three-dimensional beings, light is what is visible of the fourth dimension. In fact, if one were poetically inclined, one might say that light is the window on the infinite.”


~ And the ethics:
Gai stepped out into her plasma body, and the diurnal strobe stopped somewhere in the night. Before her, three wraiths wavered in and out of sight, tall, narrow, bipedal creatures. Three of them solidified into plasma bodies shaped very much as Genitrix had predicted the Tryl would look, from the horn stubs on their skulls to the throat frills and brilliant markings that seemed to glow in the galaxylight.

What did one say to beings who had been dead billions of years? “Greetings, Tryl. I am Gai, a Rimstalker—”

“We know,” one of them responded in a genderless voice plump with vacancies. The Form sent its translation to Gai telepathically. “Genitrix has informed us already. We have agreed to appear here that we might talk directly with you, the mission commander.”

Gai tried to read feelings in their features, but these faces were too strange—noseless but for two tiny holes, lobe-browed, and with huge eyes, colorless in the dark yet luculent with withheld light. “Genitrix has told you of our mission?” Gai asked.

“Yes. That is why we must speak with you.” The three Tryl shared a look as if silently communicating, and then the speaker continued. “We are appalled that you have returned us from the Light to aid you in war. The Tryl are a peaceful species. We no longer war.”

The directness of the Tryl disarmed Gai. “I’m sorry that we have—appalled you. I would not choose this to be the reason for returning you from the Light—but I have no choice.”

“Is that true?” the Tryl asked with obvious incredulity. “You seem a free agent. Even your artificial intelligences display almost full autonomy.”

“Yes, I have free will. But, you see, my people, the Rimstalkers, are being threatened with extinction by the zōtl. The zōtl—”

“Genitrix has told us this already. We do not see how that delimits your free will.”

Gai stared at the Tryl with incomprehension, then ventured, “Most of our other missions have failed. Maybe all the others. I must succeed against the zōtl or my people will die. I have no choice but to elicit your help.”

“Is that true?” the Tryl repeated. “We sense that you have divorced yourself from the truth.”

“I don’t understand.”

The Tryl conferred again briefly before continuing. “You feel that the zōtl’s hostility has usurped your free will. That is your feeling—but it is not true. You have a choice. You do not have to resist the zōtl.”

“What?” Gai shouted, and the Tryl images wavered and almost vanished. “Why would I choose that?”

“Because that is the enlightened choice.”

“To let my people become extinct is enlightened?”

“Yes—enlightened—illuminated. Extinction means that your people will shed their physical forms and become pure light—as we have.” The Tryl nodded their heads in unison. “How can you still fear extinction? You are talking to us, who have been extinct well over five billion years.”

“Talking to you may be possible here in outer space, but on the range we have no means of talking with the dead. It’s different on the range. Survival is our only choice.”

“The truth is everywhere the same. Survival perpetuates suffering. To survive, you must kill zōtl. To kill zōtl, you must offer them bait—living, sentient beings, who must suffer a great deal before you can hope to poison the zōtl with the O’ode.”

“I agree, our plan involves much suffering. But it is the zōtl who began this atrocity. We are struggling to conclude it for all time.”

“All time?” An annulate laughter chimed among the Tryl. “In time, there is always suffering—zōtl or no. Far better to leave time behind and become light. You are becoming light anyway. As individuals all Rimstalkers must die. And what happens when you die is no different on the range than what happens when life dies out here in the vacuum. Your waveforms persist forever in the tesseract—and that is where the mystery reveals itself.”

“The mystery?”

“Of being. Of light. Of consciousness. Mind is not matter. Mind is energy and belongs to the mystery of energy. Mind is the light of this dark creation. Mind’s destiny lies outside time.”

“The destiny of mind may be outside time, but the destiny of the Rimstalkers is made or broken right here. My people have not endured their history so that the zōtl can devour them.”

“Yet, they are being devoured—and you alone cannot hope to save your whole world.”

“I can try. I will do all that I can do—with or without your help.”

“What is, is. Everything is best. The universe is precisely what it should be, down to its smallest and most energetic photon.”

“You, obviously, have not seen the zōtl. They are not what is best for the Rimstalkers. Everything is not best. The zōtl are evil. They raid our homes, they kill innocents—and I will give my life, if I must, to stop them.”

“Then that, too, is best, young soul. You must be what you are. As we, also, must be what we are. Long ago, we transcended the polarity of this dark and cold creation. There is no good or evil for us. There simply is.”

“So what will you do when Genitrix begins reproducing your bodies and feeding them to the zōtl?”

“You would do that, knowing what we have told you?”

Gai paused only a moment. “Yes, I will. This is war. You are a casualty. Whether you cooperate or not, the zōtl won’t care. And, as you say, everything is best.”

The Tryl conferred silently. Gai listened for their thoughts and heard nothing. When they faced her again, the light in their large eyes had dulled. “Resistance only tightens the trap. We will not resist you. We could overcome you in many subtle ways that would sabotage your mission—but then you, or others like you, would find another species to mire in flesh and subject to the cruelties of the zōtl. Do you think by doing this for your people you are any better than the zōtl? No, we shall not have others suffer in our places. We will take the pain upon ourselves—though under protest, Rimstalker. We will not for a moment cease trying to convince you that survival is not worth fighting for. Do not give your life to the dark. Do not keep your people enslaved to the genetic programs that keep them in the dark. You are a conscious being. You are not just a body. You are a mind. You are the light of the world.”

The Tryl plasma bodies dissolved in a flurry of sparks.

“Well,” Genitrix spoke from the Form, “what do you think of the Tryl?”

Gai stared at the space where they had disappeared. “I think,” she said slowly, “we should send them to talk with the zōtl. Then we’ll see how deep their enlightenment runs.”

“They are pure light, Gai. They are but traces of what they once were. Perhaps their philosophy will become more pragmatic when they are made to live – and feel again.”

“Do we have any other options? Have you found other lifeforms that we can use to bait the zōtl?”

“There is a plethora of genetic material at hand, Gai, most of which I have not finished sorting through. The Tryl are clearly the most advanced of what we’ve found, though I may be able to come up with something less sophisticated in this jumble that will still appeal to the zōtl.

“Look into it. Maybe we should conduct interviews with other dead species. There must be a less noble lifeform for this sacrifice.”“That would take time, Gai. Meanwhile, Chalco-Doror is gearing up to produce Tryl.”

“Then I say, produce them. Everything is best, after all.”


~ Time and memory:
“Teacher!” Joao shouted, and the echoes of his dismay tripped away loudly. “You said nothing – about dying.”

“What need be said? Everything living dies. Certainly, I am no different.” The Tryl took the human’s hands and squeezed them reassuringly. “Rejoice for me. In a few moments, I will again be only light.”

“But my mission. How am I to go on without you?”

“Memory is time’s tenderest mercy. That mercy will guide you as well as I.”


~ This happens too:
Her whole life had been devoted to exobiology, and the privilege of field work in a state-of-the-art explorer had powered her dreams since childhood. She and Mich had met in the competitive frenzy of doctoral camp on Ren. She, the daughter of a renowned engineer on Cendre, and he, a factory supervisor’s son, both determined to use their intellects to escape the dreariness of life in the swamp cities. She took first place honors, and he placed not too far behind. They graduated at the time that the Foundation sponsored a scientific survey of the wild worlds, and both locked into a dead heat for the choice position of bioscience field expediter on one of the expensive explorer vessels. To assure securing such coveted work, they married and offered their talents as a package. For five years, they worked together on the Alan Guth, exploring the wild worlds, before they fell in love during an argument about spontaneous nucleation of protein crystals.

A year later, Rafe was born.


~ There's only one Bulgarian author whose flamboyant vocabulary and cavalier attitude to violence remind me of Attanasio: Yancho Cholakov.

~ The DNA idea elaborated:
“When people die, they return to light, where all life originates and persists. Physical bodies are but temporary storage units for this energy—capacitors, if you will. At death, these capacitors release their energy to the tesseract-field, and the waveforms then are subject to the laws of the t-field—causal laws determined by the characteristics of the waveforms. And what are those waveforms, after all, but the action-patterns of our lives—behaviors, memories, thoughts.”

“We are light,” Buie understood.

“Yes. All life is fundamentally light,” the lizard-man explained. “And these waveforms of light, like radio waves, persist invisibly all around us until they are picked out of the t-field by antennae tuned specifically to those wavebundles. Those antennae are gamete-DNA, which initiate the growth process of a new organism. Vegetative waveforms are subject to vegetative antennae and become plants again somewhere among the manifold worlds of the manifold universes. Animal waveforms likewise are susceptible to reception in animal forms. Human DNA is precisely tuned to receive human waveforms.”

“Then death is not the end of consciousness?” Buie asked.

“Not at all. Consciousness persists among the physical forms suitable to it. The helical strand of DNA in the gamete cell—the fertilized egg cell—is among the most complex open antennae in creation. It will receive only one waveform from the t-field—the one waveform whose characteristics match its genetic potential. Thus, waveforms of destructive, unloving behavior will be received by DNA that itself has been shaped by such action-patterns—usually of a physically deformed nature.”

“You’re talking about karma,” Buie huffed with surprise.


~ Ah ... the limits of love:
Gai watched them silently and invisibly for a while. She recognized Chan-ti Beppu from Ned O’Tennis’ memory of her, when Gai had met the last Aesirai during her one trip into the Overworld to program his strohlkraft’s computer. Ned had visualized her so clearly: a peculiar human (Gai thought), her hair streaked, eyes braced by wire lenses, features not as symmetrical as Gai supposed human beauty required. But Ned loved this woman in a way somehow beyond romance. He had risked, maybe lost, his life for her, for here she was without him. What did The Book of Horizons say? Where love reaches its limit, loyalty begins.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Mon Jan 17, 2022 11:57 pm

My review of Together We Will Go:

This is, ultimately, a story about comradeship and finding people that get you--perhaps even more than it's about freedom and choices.

It's also about beauty. So much beauty:

~ Ohhhh that beginning:
Everyone says first-person narratives are bullshit, that there’s no suspense because you know that whoever’s talking can’t die by the end of the story, otherwise who’s writing it? Well, by the time you read this I’ll be dead, along with maybe a dozen others, so I guess the joke’s on you.


~ Now there's a contemporary story:
If you’re over thirty and reading this, you don’t understand that the road between Get a Degree Avenue and Here’s Your Job Boulevard broke down a long time ago. But that’s not your fault. You don’t understand because you can’t understand, because that’s not the world you lived in.

The Civil War was stupid lethal because the generals weren’t living inside the war they were fighting; they were living in the last one. During the Revolutionary War, muskets were shit. You had to get up close, closelikethis if you wanted to hit anything. So when the Civil War came along, the generals used the same tactics they’d used in the Revolutionary War: they ordered their soldiers to line up in rows, elbow to fucking elbow, so close to the enemy they could see each other’s teeth before opening fire with weapons that were a hell of a lot more accurate than muskets. They fought the next war using the strategies of the last one, and six hundred thousand soldiers died because of it.

So when our parents said, Go to college and get your degree so you can get a job, we did it even though we know it doesn’t work that way anymore because we wanted to make you happy, because we wanted to believe what you believed, that the rules still applied, that you walked out of college with a degree in one hand as a recruiter shook the other, offering a job and a salary and a desk and maybe a pension plan that they’ll take away before you get to actually use the goddamn thing but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? But that’s not true anymore. We will never, ever have the same opportunities you did. Full-time jobs are fading fast, replaced by part-time jobs where you get paid shit money to work long hours that are constantly being shifted around so there’s no stability, no benefits, and no backtalk or you’re fired, and there’s nothing you can do about it. And the American Dream of owning a home someday? How? With what? Everyone I know who graduated college came out $50–80K in the hole for student loans they’ll never pay off, which by the way also shoots down their credit rating, so there’s no savings, no loans, nothing to invest, nothing to buy a home with, and the planet is frying and in thirty years most of us will end up climate refugees, so yeah, there’s that to look forward to. And in return we get shit upon from On High for living at home or not having ambition or putting experience ahead of owning stuff because in case you weren’t paying attention we can’t fucking afford anything.

And that’s why you don’t understand. Not your fault. Not your paradigm. It’s just what it is.

So when I graduated with a degree in writing, my parents expected me to start making a living as a writer rightdamnitnow. What followed instead was seven years of part-time work and full-time rage, sending out short stories and novels and This doesn’t suit our needs and Come back another time and Sorry we can’t help you and Get the hell out.


~ I love the mix of deadly (hehe) serious topics and, well, this (note: Lisa has arachnoiditis, which means she is in constant pain):
After that, I kind of shut down. I don’t remember much of the last few years. I’ve never traveled. Never had a boyfriend because I creep out the boys; they don’t know how to talk to me and they’re worried they’ll hurt me if they kiss too hard, so whatever mental boner is required for more than that goes limp. I’ve never had sex, never even had an orgasm until I realized I can’t climax from outside stimulation alone. It took a dozen tries before I could get a vibrator deep enough inside to fix the problem. At first I was afraid of passing out from the pain and having my folks walk in to find me sprawled over the bed with a buzzer in my bush, but eventually we became good friends.


~ We get introduced to moar adorable characters:
“Ohmygod, you’re right,” Lisa said, as though there had been some debate about the subject, “you are blue! I couldn’t tell outside. That’s so amazing! Blue is a god color, because there’s blue sky and blue water and blue eyes and blue gems like sapphire, turquoise, and aquamarine but no blue people, because God keeps that color for herself unless you count the people in that movie, what’s the name, the one with the blue people, everybody saw it, you must’ve seen it but what was the naaaame—”

Avatar?” Karen said, and glanced at me like Holy shit, does this one come with an off switch?

Avatar, right! That movie was such a spiritual experience! It makes you understand that everything has meaning, but meaning can also be a trap, you know? Sometimes we start with the story of us, the meaning of who we are and how we got here, like religion or spirituality, and we see everything that happens to us through the lens of that meaning. Other times it goes the other way, we start with all the things that happen to us and we make stories about it until meaning comes out the other side, so blue is meaning and story and that’s amazing!”

Tyler had no more idea what the hell she was talking about than the rest of us, but she hugged him anyway. “From now on, you are my good luck charm!” she said, then turned and whooped! her way down the aisle.

“I got to the pickup spot an hour early,” Tyler said, “because I didn’t want to risk missing the bus. She was early too.”

“How early?” I asked.

“Fifty-eight minutes,” he said, and the look on his face said everything we needed to know about that hour.


~ ... with moar fascinating backstories (note: Tyler has Eisenmenger syndrome, which keeps him constantly tired):
I didn’t have many friends growing up because hello, blue, so I didn’t date much. Only reason I made it to prom with a girl from social studies class was because she was afraid I’d fall over dead if she said no. Had another date in my freshman year at UPenn. I think she was trying to show how open-minded she was, but when she took my hand and it was cold, she shrieked. Literally. She didn’t mean to. Spontaneous reaction. So yeah, no second date on that one.

Never thought I’d get laid, but a year later I met this girl who seemed to like me and said she wasn’t bothered by the blue or the cool skin, and we had sex on our second date. Later, when she didn’t call or return my texts, I found out that the only reason we got together in the first place was that her friends dared her to fuck me because they wanted to find out if my dick was blue. And no, I’m not telling you.

(...) I don’t know if this is the right place to put this—I didn’t see any other tabs for personal information, and to be honest the online interface Mark’s using wasn’t thought through very well—but if anyone should ask after I’m gone, I’d like my headstone to read:

Here Lies
TYLER WESTON
Because Frankly, He’s Exhausted


~ Boisterous fun works even better in contrast with quiet beauty:
“We’ve added a new exhibit.”

I turned to see an older woman standing by the gift shop. “Paperweights. They’re part of the Elizabeth Dengenhart Collection. We don’t get to show them very often, so you came on a good day.” She pointed down the center aisle. “Row seven.”

“Thank you,” I said, and went where directed more out of courtesy than interest. What could be so amazing about paperweights?

But they were beautiful. Hundreds of glass spheres containing butterflies and flowers and swirls of color like little galaxies. Others were shaped like crystal hammers, owls, cats, purses, tiny glass shoes, and figurines. I smiled as I walked down the row of glass cabinets, taking in their beauty. Not just beauty, trivial beauty. A paperweight was designed to do one thing: keep pieces of paper from blowing away. Literally a thing to put on top of a thing. You could use a rock to do that, or your keys, or a pen, or a million other mundane everyday items. Instead, someone decided to create little moments of beauty to do the simplest, smallest job in the world, because why shouldn’t that be beautiful?

For some reason, that thought made me ridiculously happy.

By the time I got back to the bus, everyone else was already on board, waiting for me. “We were starting to get worried,” Dylan said, and grinned at me. “You okay?”

“I’m good,” I said.

And I was.


~ Ah. My soulmate in the book is the craziest one (at least so far):
Two in the morning. Crazy Lisa’s finally gone to sleep and now it’s just me. God, she makes me—what, crazy? So we’re both nuts?

No. At least not literally. I mean, I’m not schizoid or whatever they call it, it’s not like there are a bunch of different personalities in here, it’s not Crazy Lisa and Quiet Lisa and the Sandman and Randy the Meat Puppet. There’s just the two of us, the same person but with different minds, I guess. That’s what being bipolar/manic depressive is all about.

I got that diagnosis when I was fourteen and my hormones were all over the place, which is also when the hypersexuality kicked in and Crazy Lisa started fucking everyone in sight. Quiet Lisa kept hoping that some of the older boys (or the men) would say no, that they’d see I was too young and out of control, and try to help me instead of screwing me. But none of them ever did. Chick comes onto a dude, he gets all excited, like he’s some fucking sex god, so he has to slam it in because he’s too full of himself to take the ten seconds to figure out it’s got nothing to do with him and everything to do with me being completely out of my head. Except for the guys I scare off, like Mark. I don’t blame him. I’m scared too. Been scared ever since the world flipped upside down and everything stopped making sense.

And that’s why I’m here, Mark (if you’re reading this, you said you wouldn’t but I don’t trust promises). I’m tired of being scared and out of control. Tired of being zoomed from Lithium to Epitol to Depakene, Loxapine, Haldol… one drug cocktail after another and they don’t work and my hands are constantly shaking and I sleep all the time or I can’t sleep at all. Tired of the endless crying and yelling. Tired of hurting people when I don’t mean to or they don’t deserve it or shit even when they do deserve it like My Stepmother the Bitch because I still hate myself afterward. Tired of feeling useless and stupid and not being able to hold down a job, which means I’m constantly borrowing from people or selling my clothes just to get by, then I end up blowing it all on new clothes when I’m manic because Crazy Lisa thinks that will solve everything and she’s brilliant and somehow she’ll figure out a way to make a million dollars by Thursday but it never happens because she’s Crazy Lisa. (...)

When I’m not all hypered, I spend most of my time sleeping or lying in bed for days, feeling useless and stupid and judged, drowning in credit card bills for things I didn’t want and don’t need and can’t return and all my friends keep saying why can’t you just control yourself like I actually have a choice, and thinking all the time about hurting myself or killing myself.


(Yes, I'm bipolar too. With much more self-control and much less sex drive, though.)

~ And pure sweetness:
Mark sighed like he’d just been asked to donate blood. “Okay, fine. So during my junior year at college, I was dating this girl named Tracy.”

“Nobody cares!” Lisa called out.

“Fuck off,” Karen yelled back. “Keep going, Mark.”

He crossed his arms tighter. “I was taking animal biology to meet my science requirements, and for homework one weekend we had to go to the zoo and monitor different animals, writing down everything they did for a four-hour period. Each of us was assigned a different animal: zebras, chimpanzees, sloths… I got stuck with geckos.

“So when I went to the zoo that Saturday, Tracy came along to keep me company. But it turned out that the only geckos they had were the nocturnal kind that spend their days sleeping. I mean, yeah, sometimes they’ll lick a leaf, or turn around to the sun, but the rest of the time there was just nothing going on.

“But I still had to write it all down, so I’m sitting on this low wall by the lizard cage, and it’s hot, and after a while we’re both sleepy and Tracy leans against my back because there’s nowhere else to lean. And she falls asleep like that, her arms around me from behind, her head on my shoulder, and…”

He frowned and looked off. “I know it sounds stupid, but as I sat there in the warm sun, with her asleep against my back, it was just kind of perfect, you know? I could feel her breath on the back of my neck, real slow and soft, and I didn’t move even though I was cramping up because I didn’t want to wake her, and I thought, y’know, for all the shit that’s going on in my life, for this one moment, everything’s okay, everything’s good, everything’s beautiful.

“So like D said, it wasn’t like this big moment, or a revelation, or looking at some painting and having it blow the back of your head off, it’s just… I was happy, and it was perfect, you know?”

And ... you decide for yourselves:
“Lisa?” Karen called. No reply. “Lisa, come on. You ever had a moment of perfect beauty?”

And from the bunk came a stream of curses and insults so loud, so profane, but so intricately constructed that all we could do was listen in absolute no-kidding awe, like if Notre Dame Cathedral was made entirely of fucks, and it just blasted through the bus, line after line assembled in waves so breathtaking that it would’ve made even the best coder in the business kill himself and it just kept going, rolling and roiling and filling the bus like a big black cloud until we could barely see each other.

It. Was. Amazing.

When she finally stopped, I wasn’t sure if we should applaud or bury her in the desert with a stake through her heart to keep her from rising again.

“Now, that,” Vaughn said, breaking the silence, “that has just become my moment of perfect beauty!”

And everyone laughed. Even Lisa.


~ The sheer diversity of the presentation boosts the delight:
Hi, I’m Audio Recorder!
Tap the icon to start recording.

UNIDENTIFIED MUSIC. LAUNCH LYRICMASTER? Y/N Y

SONG FOUND: CLUSTERFUK, “DRY EYES.” DOWNLOAD? Y/N N

MARK ANTONELLI:
Okay, so Barnbirds opened the festival and since we were late getting in we missed a few songs at the start, but most of those were from their new release, they hit all the good songs in the second half.

One of the security guys said there’s seventy-five thousand people here tonight, and they expect a total of two hundred K over the weekend. We’re packed in tits to backs and balls to butts. Frottage paradise. Chicks in rompers, cat-ears, corsets, capes, G-strings, bras, veils and bigfoot fuzzy boots. Guys in glow-in-the-dark tiger shorts, unicorn hoodies, ballet costumes, ninja masks, raver-swing jackets, and for some reason I’m seeing a lot of panda onesies in the crowd. Must be some new anime thing.

I used to think raver costumes were just another kind of cosplay, like dressing up to look like Thor or Scarlet Witch or one of the guys from Mortal Kombat, but when I said that to a girl I was dating last year, she reamed me a new one. She said cosplay is dressing up to look like someone else. Raver wear is about dressing up to look like your real self, the one you can’t let out anywhere else if you want to get a job or a degree. So it’s kind of like they’re wearing the inside on the outside. You’ve got death-metal fairies and—

LISA: Hi! What are you doing?

MARK ANTONELLI: I’m—

LISA: Dance with me!

MARK ANTONELLI: I’m in the middle of—

LISA: You can do that later! Dance with me!

MARK ANTONELLI: In a minute—

VOICE 8: Excuse me, is this your drink?

LISA: Oh, hey, sorry, here, let me—

VOICE 8: I almost tripped over it.

LISA: Thanks.

VOICE 9: Why aren’t you dressed up?

LISA: I am! I’m dressed as a living dead girl!

VOICE 9: You look normal to me, but cool.

VOICE 8: Hey, as shitfaced as I am right now, we’re all living dead, right?

VOICE 9: Living dead Delta Gamma Epsilon!

LISA: Frats!

VOICE 8: Fucking A! All of us, man. Came down in a group.

MARK ANTONELLI: Screw it.

END RECORDING


~ But hey! Bipolar people are people too!

It was almost dark by the time I was strong enough to step outside.

So of course the first person I saw was Lisa.

She came over to ask if I was okay, and even though I knew that what happened wasn’t her fault, that she was the one who got attacked, I was angry and in pain and I wasn’t thinking right and I totally lit into her.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?!” I yelled. “You never let somebody touch your drink or hand you a cup at one of those things! That’s the rule, you know that!”

“I do! I’m sorry!”

“Don’t fucking I’m sorry me, Lisa! You were out of control! You didn’t give a shit what happened to you or us, or—”

“It wasn’t on purpose, none of it was! When I get like that, I don’t go that far!” She was crying and yelling, not at me but at herself. “It’s like there’s some part of me that thinks she can’t be hurt, that she’s too smart to get roofied, so when he handed me the cup the front of my brain didn’t even think twice and the whole time the back of my brain is screaming, What are you doing?!

“I’m not stupid!” she said, fists balled up and crying hard. “When I get manic it’s like I can’t see something dangerous when it’s right in front of me, or I just don’t care! I mean, shit, nobody else does, so why should I? And I’m sorry you’re in pain and Tyler got screwed up! I’m sorry about all of it! It’s tearing me apart and I can’t stand being in my own skin anymore and if there’s anyone who can understand what that feels like it’s got to be you or I am completely fucking alone here!”

“You’re not alone, you asshole!” I said, and I realized I was crying too. “None of us are! That’s the whole reason we’re doing this! So we don’t have to be alone, so we can rely on each other! We do care about you!”

“Bullshit! I’ve seen the way you look at me. I piss you off!”

“Oh, hell yeah. Hugely. Like all the time. You’re a jerk, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care.”

“I’m not a jerk!”

I just stared at her.

“I’m not,” she said, and laughed. “I’m just fucked in the head, that’s all. I’m nutty as squirrel shit.”


~ And this is ... damn.
This is the second time I’ve tried to write about what happened at the festival. I spent most of my first attempt blaming Crazy Lisa, writing about how she’s acting out and getting more and more reckless. Sane Lisa never would’ve let someone she didn’t know handle her drink, but Crazy Lisa did it because like I told Karen she thinks she’s way too smart to fall for something like that so the drink couldn’t be drugged and even if it is there’s nothing left to lose, so why the fuck not? And everybody had to pay for her choice.

So yeah, that’s what I said and that’s what I wrote, and it’s bullshit. I need to accept that there is no Crazy Lisa and no Sane Lisa, no Loud Lisa and no Quiet Lisa, there’s Just Lisa. Having “her” to blame for my stupid choices made it easier to live with whatever shit followed. It’s the lie that helps me keep going. Well, we’re heading for the end now and I don’t want to keep lying anymore.

The truth is that I’m fucked up. I’m making bad choices. I’m out of control. Not her. Me.


This is hard.

Sometimes, it's even true.

~ Guys! I finally know what I am!
Most of my friends put their preferred pronoun in their Instagram bios—he/she, him/her, they/their—but I respond to any and all of them. I like to think of it as collecting pronouns: the more I get, the more fun I’m having. To get the obvious out of the way, because that’s apparently important to people, I think of myself as post-gender. I was trying to figure out how to explain that because sometimes it’s a paragraph and sometimes it’s a term paper depending on who I’m talking to, and I have no idea who will be reading this in the aftermath. Then I noticed that one of my fellow passengers has a cat with him, and that’s perfect.

When you visit a friend and find they have a cat, you just see it as a cat in all its pure catness, it doesn’t require further definition. You’ll probably get a name, and if you ask, whether it was born male or female, but even after you have that information you still don’t think of it any differently. It’s not a He-Cat or a She-Cat or a They-Cat. It’s just a cat. And unless the cat’s name has any gender-specific connotations you’ll probably forget pretty fast which gender it was born into.

My name is Theo, and by that logic, I am a cat.

What I was or was not born into has nothing to do with how I see myself. It’s not about going from one gender to another, or suggesting that they don’t exist. Some of my friends say that the moment you talk about gender you invalidate the conversation because you’re accepting the limits of outmoded paradigms, but I’m not sure I agree with that. I just think gender shouldn’t matter.

If you’re a man, aren’t there moments when you feel more female, like when you’re listening to music, or your cheek is being gently stroked, or you see a spectacularly handsome man walk into the room? If you’re a woman, aren’t there moments when you feel more male, when you have to be strong in the face of conflict, or stand behind your opinion, or when a spectacularly beautiful woman walks into the room? Well, in those moments, you are all of those things, so why deny that part of yourself?

For me, it’s not about being binary or non-binary. It’s about moving the needle to the center of the dial and accepting all definitions as equally true while remaining free to shift in emphasis from moment to moment. It’s about being a Person, not a She-Person or a He-Person or a They-Person.

(...) When you go into a clothing store, you don’t just go to the “one size fits all” rack. You look for clothes that fit your waist, hips, legs, chest, and neck, clothes that complement your form and shape, and reflect not just how you see yourself but how you want to be seen by others. If it’s still not quite right, and you can afford it, you get the clothes tailored to fit exactly who you are.

That’s what I’m doing. Post-gender is one term for it. Another might be tailored gender. Maybe bespoke gender. But definitely not one-size-fits-all. The world doesn’t get to decide what best fits who I am and how I choose to be seen. I do.


~ How do people commit suicide?
At risk of overthinking everything—and as someone who got a BA in Gender Studies and made it halfway through the Master’s program for Political Theory, that’s apparently something I do all the time—I think there are two ways that people commit suicide.

The first way people kill themselves is a kind of spontaneous combustion. It comes out of rage or shock or sudden deep depression and catches you by surprise, and before you even realize you’re doing it, you’re reaching for the gun or the knife or the pills. It’s as if something inside you gets too sad or too angry to survive anymore and it explodes, taking you with it. I think it happens most often to the very people who don’t think they could ever kill themselves, because they’re not paying attention when their switch gets flipped in the middle of something awful.

The second is more like a time-delay fuse. It comes when you’ve been wounded for days or weeks or years and you finally reach a point when your heart gets very quiet and very still and you realize that you simply cannot live in the world anymore, when you say, I have no purpose here, no place, no function, no reason to keep going. Why stick around when you’re not free to be yourself, you’re not wanted, your future isn’t what you thought it was going to be and every day you’re being elbowed a little further off the planet? It’s not that you can’t take it anymore, it’s that you refuse to take it anymore. The decision doesn’t come like a lightning bolt out of anger, despair, or self-pity; it’s more like standing up on your hind legs and announcing to the world, You’re all a bunch of assholes and I never asked to be invited to this stupid party in the first place so I’m outta here.


~ Love:
I remembered the day I went out to score some party favors and left the door open by accident. We were squatting in this abandoned apartment, no water or heat but it had a roof and walls and that was all we needed. I hadn’t had Soldier very long and he was always looking out the window like he wanted to go for a walk. It was a pretty rough area, so I kept the door closed so he wouldn’t wander out and get grabbed or lost or hurt, but this one time I was withdrawing pretty hard so I was kind of spaced and not paying attention so I forgot to close the door when I went out.

When I came back and saw the door open, my heart just sank. I ran inside, figuring by now he was long gone, but there he was, sitting in his favorite spot, right where I left him, front legs tucked under his chest, really calm, just looking at me like, Of course I wouldn’t leave, as if I could’ve gone away for five years, and he’d still be sitting there when I came back, waiting for me. And I realized how any time I left the room, wherever he was when I left was where he was when I came back. Whenever we went for a walk, he always stayed beside me, never getting too far behind or ahead, so I’d always know he was right there.

And I finally got the message.

Soldier didn’t need to show me all the time that he loved me. He knew it and I knew it and that’s that. What he was doing was giving me a safe place to put my own love.

It’s like he was saying, I’m never going to leave you. I’ll wait for you. I want you to know that I’ll always wait for you, that it’s safe to love me, that you have a place to put all the feelings you can’t give to anybody else because it’s too dangerous, because you’re worried they won’t understand, and they won’t wait for you. I’m here. I love you. And I will wait for you. I’m not going anywhere.

And I just started crying.

That’s why I can’t let him die alone. I can’t let him go too far ahead of me, or fall too far behind me. We walk together. When he gets to the other side, he’ll wait for me until I come to pick him up and hold him. And I don’t want him to wait a minute longer than he has to.

It’s love that put us on the road, Mark, or whoever’s reading this. Love is what put us on the bus, and love is what’s going to carry me and Soldier across to someplace where we can play forever.

Crazy, huh?


~ After the following section, I think I understand people who get riled up when I introduce myself through my bipolar a bit better:
So now I’m feeling even more like a stick in the mud with a baseball bat (which I guess makes it two sticks in the mud) as I walk around looking for something to hit even though I don’t much feel like hitting anything. (...)

Then I see it, beside the entrance to a clothing store.

A full-length mirror.

A blue full-length mirror, with me right in the middle, blue on blue.

I don’t attack it. I don’t break it. I don’t raise the baseball bat and smash my reflection into a million pieces because I’m not that much of a cliché, okay?

Instead of me hitting the mirror, everything I see in the mirror hits me.

The shopping mall is blue in the reflection.

The stores are blue, the baseball bat is blue, Lisa beating the shit out of Ronald McDonald is blue. Both of them are blue. All of it is blue.

And I realize that I’ve been looking at the world through this blue filter ever since I got diagnosed. When I meet someone for the first time, I explain why I look this way before even saying my name. My illness actually walks into the room before me. It’s bad enough that I let it take center stage, defining and literally coloring every relationship and conversation. What’s worse is that I’ve been using it as an excuse to hold back, so I don’t have to engage with other people, so I can stay stuck inside my own self-limiting self-pity… the illness won’t let me do this, the illness won’t let me do that, the illness might not let me get all the way to San Francisco… hiding so far inside the blue that my whole world looks like this mirror, and yeah, okay, on reflection (ha!) maybe that is an obvious metaphor, maybe I am a cliché, and maybe all of that has been obvious to everybody else, but I never had that thought before because there are some things you never really understand until it’s five seconds to midnight.

I’ve been doing it all backwards, like I’m the disease that’s living in this body instead of a body that has to live with a disease. I’ve been quiet when I should have roared, even if that meant coughing up blood; I’ve sat silently while others walked or danced instead of running flat-out even if it meant falling over dead because at least I would have done something instead of letting the disease define me.


~ Can you say no?
I turned back to Vaughn. “Want to dance?”

“I can’t.”

“Your leg broke?”

“No, I just… I don’t know how to dance the way you dance.”

“Black girls dance same as any other girl, with our feet on the floor and our hearts in our heads.”

“I wasn’t talking about that,” he said, and he looked kind of hurt. “I mean I dance like an old fart dances, not like the way everybody your age dances.”

“Then dance like that,” I said. “You do you, I’ll do me, and we’ll meet in the middle.”

“We’ll look silly.”

“Yeah, I know. It’ll be great.”

Took me about two minutes of dancing around him before the smile finally came back a little, and he danced with me.

Nobody says no to a sunny disposition… and lives! LOL


~ The contrasts hit like sledgehammers:
We’d just finished working this out when I saw Jim standing behind me. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”

“You already are,” I said. “What’s up?”

“What happened back at the mall, that wasn’t right, man.”

“I agree. We can’t have that kind of infighting going on.”

He nodded for a moment, then glanced over his shoulder to where Theresa was standing by the river. She put him up to this. Doesn’t want to do her own dirty work.

“Yeah,” he said, “and that’s why we think you need to choose whether you want Lisa to stay on the bus or us.”

Even Dylan looked surprised. “You’re kidding, right?”

“No, look, there’s just one of her and two of us, so we kind of outvote her, and we bring a lot to the table. Theresa’s got tons of credit cards if we get in trouble, I’m good with repairs… from what we can see, all Lisa does is yell and make trouble.”

“She was here first.”

“Yes, she was,” Jim said like it shouldn’t matter. “Meanwhile, Theresa’s tired and upset, so we’re gonna wait in the bus while the rest of you do whatever you’re gonna do because it’s best to keep Lisa and us apart at this point.”

“Okay,” I said, “let me think it over and get back to you when we’re not in the middle of things.”

“I appreciate that, because it’s real important to keep Theresa on the bus because—”

Whatever he said after that got lost because at that moment all I could hear was Zeke.

I’ve never heard any man cry out like that. Not even my grandfather when his brother died. There was just this awful sound coming from way down deep inside him, loss and pain and anguish and sadness, and he was rocking back and forth, his face pressed into Soldier’s fur. Ever since he’d gotten on the bus, he’d always been smiling, just goofy Zeke and his secret cat, and now he was broken right down the middle and no one knew what to do about it. Then Karen knelt down next to him and put an arm around his shoulders. Theo was next, then Lisa and me and the rest. Zeke was quiet-crying now, but once in a while a sharp Ah! slipped out, like his soul was trying to catch its breath.

Everyone was crying. It didn’t make any sense. We came on this trip to die, we’re okay with dying. But there we were, crying with a guy we barely knew, because something he loved more than anything else in the world had just died, leaving him alone in ways all of us could understand.


~ Tanatos and Eros, hand in hand (or at least hand on, umm...):
When I opened my eyes again, I was spooned behind Dylan, my left arm under his head. Careful not to wake him, I peeked past him to the bedside clock: 7:45 a.m. He’d set the alarm for eight. So I had fifteen minutes to make this happen.

I reached around and lightly stroked his chest. I guess army guys learn how to shut out the world when they sleep because he didn’t even move. Okay, challenge accepted. I let my hand drift south until it slipped beneath his shorts. I’d never touched a penis before, and I was surprised by how soft it felt. They were always so rock hard in porn that it never occurred to me it could be this soft and velvety. I felt a thrill go through me, like an explorer who had just discovered a whole new country.

Then it twitched, and I knew Dylan was awake.

“What are you doing?” he asked without turning around, his voice low.

“What does it feel like I’m doing?”

“We had an agreement.”

“Yes, we did,” I said, but didn’t remove my hand. “We agreed nothing could happen last night. It’s not night anymore.”

“Still, we probably shouldn’t do this.”

Aha! He said probably! His dick finally got his brain on the line.


~ Another reason why there must be one:
“So do you believe in God, or an afterlife?” he asked.

That settled it. We were definitely at the stoned part of the conversation.

“No on both counts. I think the whole afterlife thing is just the bullshit we grab on to when we get old because we’re afraid of dying.”

“Not sure that’s true.”

“Come on, even you have to concede that one.”

“Not really,” he said. “See, everybody I ever knew who was old and dying—my grandparents, a couple of teachers I had when I was a kid, the drill instructor who trained me and came down with brain cancer—were okay with it at the end. They never talked about being afraid to die. They talked about how great it would be to see their old friends again, about how they were looking forward to being reunited with their parents, husbands, and wives on the other side of this life. When somebody dies, we miss them, and that feeling never really goes away. We just keep on missing them. The longer you live, the more of people you miss, until the idea of dying is less about Oh, shit, I’m afraid and more about I’ll finally be able to see all my friends again… everyone I’ve missed so much.

“So no, I don’t think it’s the fear of death that makes us believe in an afterlife. It’s our love for everybody we ever lost.”


~ Why do people commit suicide?
“I was thinking about the whole suicide thing—”

“I don’t want to talk about that right now, not on our last night—”

“I don’t either, but it’s important,” he said, and sat up a little. “See, I think the reason people kill themselves—”

One of the reasons. We’re all different, we don’t lie down in rows.”

“—is because they think they’re never going to be happy again, that every day is going to be miserable and awful and lonely and painful and they might as well check out because there’s no chance they’ll ever be happy.”

“Okay, fair. So?”

He looked at me with eyes so intense I could feel them burrowing right through mine and scratching at the other side of my skull to see what was back there. “Are you happy, right now? With us?”

“Dylan, come on, don’t do this.”

“I’m just asking. Are you happy… with me, and us, right here, right now?”

“Of course I am. I love you. I never thought that would happen to me, or that it could happen this fast, and maybe it’s because I don’t have time, but… yes, I love you and I’m happy when I’m with you.”

“What about tomorrow?”

“You mean the vote?”

“No, leave all that aside, I’m just talking about us. Do you think there’s a chance, just a chance, that for ten minutes tomorrow you could be happy with us being together, like this?”

“Dylan—”

“Five. Five minutes. Do you think you could be happy for five minutes?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Why?”

“Because if it’s possible, then maybe you should think twice about tomorrow.”


~ Why do we write or read stories like this one?
I opened the archive and pulled out the quote. “ ‘The first way people kill themselves is a kind of spontaneous combustion. It comes out of rage or shock or sudden deep depression and catches you by surprise, and before you even realize you’re doing it, you’re reaching for the gun or the knife or the pills. It’s as if something inside you gets too sad or too angry to survive anymore and it explodes, taking you with it. I think it happens most often to the very people who don’t think they could ever kill themselves, because they’re not paying attention when their switch gets flipped in the middle of something awful.

“Theo’s right. The reason so many people are vulnerable to suicide is because they think it could never happen to them, so they don’t know what to look for, what feelings could lead to making that decision. But the archive is full of all of us talking about why we decided to check out early, the whole thought process is right there, so anybody reading this will know exactly what it feels like to make that choice from the inside out. For some people maybe it’ll be like a flu vaccine, giving them a little piece of the real thing so it immunizes them, so they’ll know what that impulse feels like when it comes, and maybe they won’t be as vulnerable because now they can recognize that feeling for what it is instead of being ambushed by it. And maybe they won’t make that jump, or at least they’ll know enough to wait and think about it some more. (...)”


~ And finally, where am I? What do I think~feel about killing myself?

There's no brief (and satisfying) answer. For now, let me just say that I have never been in so much pain as most of the characters here. Waiting for those five minutes of happiness--the hell with happiness, of purpose--has been relatively easy, even when I've waded across ten months of emptiness.

I don't know what I'd do if the pain reaches Spider levels.

Also, I do believe in an afterlife. One with a nasty catch: if little me takes a shortcut that Big Me doesn't find satisfying, we'll be back, rinse and repeat. (Of course, there's a nice catch too: Big Me is smarter and more forgiving than little me, so Ze can find satisfaction in a lot of choices.)

The rest is here, in Bulgarian.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Dess » Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:55 pm

Хората четат, отразяват, пък аз... пак се връщам да мрънкам за моя Малазан, който ако не беше файл (в чисто новичкия ми лаптоп!), а хартиен том, вече щеше да е излетял през прозореца и преседял час-два в снега. Следващия път, като ми стане скучничко, препратете ме тук да си припомня да не предизвиквам съдбата. Щото в последната една трета на тая книга скуката рЕзко преля в поредица от гнусотии, като с всяка следваща авторът явно е целял да надмине себе си. Подробностите ги крия, щото не са за всеки.
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То не бяха подкожни паразити, избликващи през всички телесни отвърстия, експерименти с хора, произвели всякакви уроди, зомбита във всевъзможни степени на разложение, изтръгване и консумация на сърца... и това на фона на лежерно клане и пръски телесни течности.
Абе, на всяка втора страница някой герой не издържа и драйфа от гледката. А горките читатели, не знам, да си държат кофа под ръка до нощното шкафче ли?!

Ако в тоя форум случайно се навърта някой почитател на Есълмонт, който ще си го причини това, за да си довърши поредицата – съболезнования, друже. Не ми се мисли какви изненадки ни чакат в последната част.
Reachin' for the stars... Why wait for one to fall?

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:53 am

Ah, the Witcher.

On Goodreads, Oleksandr wrote:(...) here in Ukraine even before the games the series had a modern classic status (also in neighboring countries) and most reviews I've seen hate TV series, esp. for playing to current US sensibilities, incl. multi-racial diversity - after all in neither Poland nor Slavic countries the share of nonwhites is small and it is seen as a version of cultural appropriation (the critics don't use this term but their arguments are in line with using this term in the US)


Sarah wrote:I'm not surprised that's the case. Interesting to hear your points about cultural appropriation/erasure. In the books I believe very few characters are explicitly described as white. But most readers will read them as white. The game devs made everyone white and now so many people are attached to the game depictions.

Perhaps they didn't go far enough to diversify the cast. Some critics say the inclusion of POC were a bit problematic as they were almost all minor characters while most of the people in the world and nobility are white (the actress who plays Yennefer is mixed-race but "white-passing" so I don't know how that fits into the argument).


Кал wrote:Oleksandr, interestingly, the book series places a HUGE emphasis on racism too. Basically, the way humans treat all the other races is oppressive and exploitative and, in a nutshell, disgusting.

What is hard to translate in cultural terms is that Sapkowski was most likely inspired by the way both Germans and Russians treated the Polish during World War Two: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crime ... rld_War_II We have two very white nations making short work of a third one. This is an aspect of Europe that Americans sometimes find hard to understand. We don't need skin differences to hate each other's guts; we can very well do it on grounds of language, etc. ;)


Oleksandr wrote:Yes, it can be seen on many levels. Dwarves in the Witcher are based on Jews to a large extent, even their language with long words emulates German and at this part of the world most Jews used Yiddish which is originally based on a High German vernacular. With Elves it s more complicated - they are either Poles oppressed by Russians/Germans or Ukrainians oppressed by Poles... or different other oppressed groups that used military means to "pay debts" to their oppressors, like Croatian Ustaše (with Serbs as oppressors), or Irish to English


Кал wrote:Yes, your explanation makes it even more nuanced and interesting.

It's also fascinating when you look at the rising Nilfgaardian Empire and the overhaul of its governmental system. I caught myself thinking: Huh? Is that the advent of the USSR?

Empires (and imperialist thinking) suck--no matter what they call themselves. :( On our modern world map, I can see at least three of them.


Oleksandr wrote:The earliest stories of the series were originally published in the mid-80s, in yet-Soviet Poland, so at least on surface Nilfgaard was Nazi Germany - in these stories they had good manufacturing, and there is a fashion for black leather (which can be an allusion to ss uniform or just that period rockers' fashion)

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Wed Jan 26, 2022 5:45 pm

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Кал wrote:Empires (and imperialist thinking) suck--no matter what they call themselves. :( On our modern world map, I can see at least three of them.

Ъ... аз тук ще agree to disagree-на, като ре-итерирам едно заключение, до което стигнахме като извод преди години заедно с брат ми: Няма лоши обществени строеве, има лоши хора, които злоупотребяват със системата.

Flip side: Дадени обществени парадигми клонят към естествен empowerment на участниците в тях и обратното; респективно аз съм фен на първите.

(The Emperor: "I'm a good guy, so I let you all be good guys, too! Thus our society is good!"
Back Row Heckler: "And what happens when you die? Good society dies too?"
The Emperor: ...)
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Wed Jan 26, 2022 11:07 pm

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Аз не мога да кажа дали съм съгласен да се съгласим, че имаме разногласия :D, понеже не съм обяснил какво значи „империалистическо мислене“. Понеже никой не ме е питал.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Feb 01, 2022 5:40 pm

My review of Ingathering:

The People stories took me to a place I'd nearly forgotten about--a place (or should I say a sense?) that a part of me has always missed. (Fortunately, not the defining part.) The same place that Kalinda the Goddess refers to in David Zindell's The Wild when she says, "I am lonely, and I want to go home."

And had that been my defining part, Ingathering would have been one of my defining books, a five-star one. Even now, it made me cry tears of catharsis for at least four-and-a-half stars. ;)

Still, after the first dozen or so stories built around the same premise, I found myself longing for variety. I don't recommend reading this collection in one go. Use it as a medicine--one or two stories at a time, when the heart grows heavy.

I'm definitely reading Zenna Henderson's other stories, though.

Here're the ones that touched me the most here:

~ After finishing (and exulting in) Together We Will Go, what do I find in the very opening pages of this collection?
The familiar, so reasonable voice was speaking again. Pain like this should be let go of—just a momentary discomfort and it ends. No more breathing, no more thinking, no aching, no blind longing for anything. Lea moved along the walk, her hand brushing the railing. “I can stand it now,” she thought, “now that I know there is an end. I can stand to live a minute or so longer—to say good-by.” Her shoulders shook and she felt the choke of laughter in her throat. Good-by? To whom? Who’d even notice she was gone? One ripple stilled in all a stormy sea. Let the quiet water take her breathing. Let its impersonal kindness hide her—dissolve her—so no one would ever be able to sigh and say, That was Lea. Oh, blessed water!

There was no reason not to. She found herself defending her action as though someone had questioned it. “Look,” she thought, “I’ve told you so many times. There’s no reason to go on. I could stand it when futility wrapped around me occasionally, but don’t you remember? Remember the morning I sat there dressing, one shoe off and one shoe on, and couldn’t think of one good valid reason why I should put the other shoe on? Not one reason! To finish dressing? Why? Because I had to work? Why? To earn a living? Why? To get something to eat? Why? To keep from starving to death? Why? Because you have to live! Why? Why? Why! (...)”

A pattern?

Or a reminder about a question that just the other day I figured out I need to ask my friends:

What is your deepest fear?

(And the solution to this conundrum, right there in the book--it's so fascinatingly intrusive and no-nonsense. Don't we all dream we had solutioners like that. ;)

~ Oh, young love:
I suppose my first realization came soon after I started to school and fell in love—with the girl with the longest pigtails and the widest gap in her front teeth of all the girls in my room. I think she was seven to my six.

My girl and I had wandered down behind the school woodshed, under the cottonwoods, to eat our lunch together, ignoring the chanted “Peter’s got a gir-ul! Peter’s got a gir-ul!” and the whittling fingers that shamed me for showing my love. We ate our sandwiches and pickles and then lay back, arms doubled under our heads, and blinked at the bright sky while we tried to keep the crumbs from our cupcakes from falling into our ears. I was so full of lunch, contentment, and love that I suddenly felt I just had to do something spectacular for my lady love. I sat up, electrified by a great idea and by the knowledge that I could carry it out.

“Hey! Did you know that I can fly?” I scrambled to my feet, leaving my love sitting gape-mouthed in the grass.

“You can’t neither fly! Don’t be crazy!”

“I can too fly!”

“You can not neither!”

“I can so! You just watch!” And lifting my arms, I swooped up to the roof of the shed. I leaned over the edge and said, “See there? I can, too!”

“I’ll tell teacher on you!” she gasped, wide-eyed, staring up at me.


(The MC's voice in "Gilead" is amazing throughout the story. It sets Zenna Henderson up there with Theodore Sturgeon and Peter S. Beagle.)

~ Although it's still early to tell, I believe this passage from "Pottage" sums up a major theme of Ingathering:
I stepped out into the August sunshine after the interview and sagged a little under its savage pressure, almost hearing a hiss as the refrigerated coolness of the placement bureau evaporated from my skin.

I walked over to the quad and sat down on one of the stone benches I’d never had time to use, those years ago when I had been a student here. I looked up at my old dorm window and, for a moment, felt a wild homesickness—not only for years that were gone and hopes that had died and dreams that had had grim awakenings, but for a special magic I had found in that room. It was a magic—a true magic—that opened such vistas to me that for a while anything seemed possible, anything feasible—if not for me right now, then for others, someday. Even now, after the dilution of time, I couldn’t quite believe that magic, and even now, as then, I wanted fiercely to believe it. If only it could be so! If only it could be so!


~ "Pottage" offers an insight into how our perceptions of the outside world change with familiarity:
I looked across the dry creek bed and up the one winding street that was residential Bendo. I paused on the splintery old bridge and took a good look. I’d never see Bendo like this again. Familiarity would blur some outlines and sharpen others, and I’d never again see it, free from the knowledge of who lived behind which blank front door.


And a reminder that decent people come from our own people too, not just the People:
“You realize, of course, Dr. Curtis, that we’d rather you wouldn’t discuss Bendo or us with anyone else. We would rather be just people to Outsiders.”

He laughed shortly, “Would I be believed if I did?”

“Maybe no, maybe so,” Valancy said. “Maybe only enough to start people nosing around. And that would be too much. We have a bad situation here and it will take a long time to erase—” Her voice slipped into silence, and I knew she had dropped into thoughts to brief him on the local problem. How long is a thought? How fast can you think of hell—and heaven? It was that long before the doctor blinked and drew a shaky breath.

“Yes,” he said. “A long time.”

“If you like,” Valancy said, “I can block your ability to talk of us.”

“Nothing doing!” the doctor snapped. “I can manage my own censorship, thanks.”

Valancy flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be condescending.”

“You weren’t,” the doctor said. “I’m just on the prod tonight. It has been a day, and that’s for sure!”


And a peek into that quiet, terrible Yearning that I, too, have felt--only I didn't know there were others:
“Well, do you want to try it? Do you want to go?”

“Do I want to go!” I cried, scrambling the clips into a rubber-band box. “How soon do we leave? Half an hour? Ten minutes? Did you leave the motor running?”

“Woops, woops!” The doctor took me by both arms and looked soberly into my eyes.

“We can’t set our hopes too high,” he said quietly. “It may be that for such knowledge we aren’t teachable—”

I looked soberly back at him, my heart crying in fear that it might be so.

“Look,” I said slowly. “If you had a hunger, a great big gnawing-inside hunger and no money and you saw a bakery shop window, which would you do? Turn your back on it? Or would you press your nose as close as you could against the glass and let at least your eyes feast? I know what I’d do.” I reached for my sweater.

“And, you know, you never can tell. The shop door might open a crack, maybe—someday—”


~ I was on my way to a meeting of our informal course on nonviolent communication when the following passage reminded me what it's ultimately about, underneath everything else:

viewtopic.php?p=33021#p33021

The People are fortunate to have an innate skill for listening: a superpower of empathy. But what's more important, as Lea above discovers, is the desire to listen. And that superpower's available to any of us.

~ Tell me ... have you ever felt anything like this?
There are no words—there are no words anywhere for my dream. Only the welling of delight, the stretching of my soul, the boundless freedom, the warm belongingness. And I held the dearness close to me—oh, so close to me!—knowing that awakening must come...

And it did, smashing me down, forcing me into flesh, binding me leadenly to the earth, squeezing out the delight, cramping my soul back into finiteness, snapping bars across my sky and stranding me in the thin watery glow of morning so alone again that the effort of opening my eyes was almost too much to be borne.

And if you have--how do you open your eyes?

~ "Wilderness" highlights the skills of a teacher:
The smoothness of the week was unruffled until Friday, when the week’s restlessness erupted on the playground twice. The first time I had to go out and peel Esperanza off Joseph and pry her fingers out of his hair so he could get his snub nose up out of the gravel. Esperanza had none of her Uncle Severeid’s fragility and waveriness as she defiantly slapped the dust from her heavy dark braid.

“He calls me Mexican!” she cried. “So what? I’m Mexican. I’m proud to be Mexican. I hit him some more if he calls me Mexican like a bad word again. I’m proud to be—”

“Of course you’re proud,” I said, helping her dust herself off. “God made us all. What do different names matter?”

“Joseph!” I startled him by swinging around to him suddenly. “Are you a girl?”

“Huh?” He blinked blankly with dusty lashes, then, indignantly: “ ’Course not! I’m a boy!”

“Joseph’s a boy! Joseph’s a boy!” I taunted. Then I laughed. “See how silly that sounds? We are what we are. How silly to tease about something like that. Both of you go wash the dirt off.” I spatted both of them off toward the schoolhouse and sighed as I watched them go.


Even when they go out of the ordinary:
The second time the calm was interrupted when the ancient malicious chanting sound of teasing pulled me out on the playground again.

“Lu-cine is crazy! Lu-cine is crazy! Lu-cine is crazy!”

The dancing taunting group circled twelve-year-old Lucine where she stood backed against the one drooping tree that still survived on our playground. Her eyes were flat and shallow above her gaping mouth, but smoky flames were beginning to flicker in the shallowness and her muscles were tightening.

“Lucine!” I cried, fear winging my feet. “Lucine!”

I sent me ahead of myself and caught at the ponderous murderous massiveness of her mind. Barely I slowed her until I could get to her.

“Stop it!” I shrieked at the children. “Get away, quick!”

My voice pierced through the mob-mind, and the group dissolved into frightened individuals. I caught both of Lucine’s hands and for a tense moment had them secure. Then she bellowed, a peculiarly animal-like bellow, and with one flip of her arm sent me flying.

In a wild flurry I was swept up almost bodily, it seemed, into the irrational delirium of her anger and bewilderment. I was lost in the mazes of unreasoning thoughts and frightening dead ends, and to this day I can’t remember what happened physically.

When the red tide ebbed and the bleak gray click-off period came, I was hunched against the old tree with Lucine’s head on my lap, her mouth lax and wet against my hand, her flooding quiet tears staining my skirt, the length of her body very young and very tired.

Her lips moved.

“Ain’t crazy.”

“No,” I said, smoothing her ruffled hair, wondering at the angry oozing scratch on the back of my hand. “No, Lucine. I know.”

(...)

There was a long moist intake of breath, and Lucine sat up. She looked at me with her flat incurious eyes.

“Your face is dirty,” she said. “Teachers don’t got dirty faces.”

“That’s right.” I got up stiffly, shifting the zipper of my skirt around to the side where it belonged. “I’d better go wash. (...)”


Luckily, it has its moments of playfulness too:
I was thinking of Lucine while I was taking off my torn blouse at home after school. I squinted tightly sideways, trying to glimpse the point of my shoulder to see if it looked as bruised as it felt, when my door was flung open and slammed shut and Lowmanigh was leaning against it, breathing heavily.

“Well!” I slid quickly into my clean shirt and buttoned it up briskly. “I didn’t hear you knock. Would you like to go out and try it over again?”

“Did Lucine get hurt?” He pushed his hair back from his damp forehead. “Was it a bad spell? I thought I had it controlled—”

“If you want to talk about Lucine,” I said out of my surprise, “I’ll be out on the porch in a minute. Do you mind waiting out there? My ears are still burning from Marie’s lecture to me on ‘proper decorum for a female in this here hotel.’ ”

“Oh.” He looked around blankly. “Oh, sure—sure.”

(...)

“Was it bad?” His voice spread clear across the band.

“Stay out!” I cried. “Stay out!”

But he was in there with me and I was Lucine and he was I and we held the red-and-black horror in our naked hands and stared it down. Together we ebbed back through the empty grayness until he was Lucine and I was I and I saw me inside Lucine and blushed for her passionately grateful love of me. Embarrassed, I suddenly found a way to shut him out and blinked at the drafty loneliness.

“... and stay out!” I cried.

“That’s right!” I jumped at Marie’s indignant wheeze. “I seen him go in your room without knocking and Shut the Door!” Her voice was capitalized horror. “You done right chasing him out and giving him What For!”

My inner laughter slid the barrier open a crack to meet his amusement.


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It is also the first story here that does away with the idea of exclusivity and shows we can all be People, no matter where we were born.


~ The question "Does the author have experience as a teacher?" soundly resolves itself in "Captivity":
The Francher kid shifted several times, easing the tension of his shoulders as he waited. Finally I said, “Sit down.”

“No.” His word was flat and uncompromising. I looked at him, the gaunt young planes of his face, the unhappy mouth thinned to stubbornness, the eyes that blinded themselves with dogged defiance. I leaned across the desk, my hands clasped, and wondered what I could say. Argument would do no good. A kid of that age has an answer for everything.

“We all have violences,” I said, tightening my hands, “but we can’t always let them out. Think what a mess things would be if we did.” I smiled wryly into his unresponsive face. “If we gave in to every violent impulse, I’d probably have slapped you with an encyclopedia before now.” His eyelids flicked, startled, and he looked straight at me for the first time.

“Sometimes we can just hold our breath until the violence swirls away from us. Other times it’s too big and it swells inside us like a balloon until it chokes our lungs and aches our jaw hinges.” His lids flickered down over his watching eyes. “But it can be put to use. That’s when we stir up a cake by hand or chop wood or kick cans across the back yard or—” I faltered, “or run until our knees bend both ways from tiredness.”

There was a small silence while I held my breath until my violent rebellion against unresponsive knees swirled away from me.

“There are bigger violences, I guess,” I went on. “From them come assault and murder, vandalism and war, but even those can be used. If you want to smash things there are worthless things that need to be smashed and things that ought to be destroyed, ripped apart and ruined. But you have no way of knowing what those things are, yet. You must keep your violences small until you learn how to tell the difference.”

“I can smash.” His voice was thick.

“Yes,” I said. “But smash to build. You have no right to hurt other people with your own hurt.”

“People!” The word was profanity.

I drew a long breath. If he were younger... You can melt stiff rebellious arms and legs with warm hugs or a hand across a wind-ruffled head or a long look that flickers into a smile, but what can you do with a creature that’s neither adult nor child but puzzlingly both? I leaned forward.

“Francher,” I said softly, “if your mother could walk through your mind now—”

He reddened, then paled. His mouth opened. He swallowed tightly. Then he jerked himself upright in the doorway.

“Leave my mother alone.” His voice was shaken and muffled. “You leave her alone. She’s dead.”

I listened to his footsteps and the crashing slam of the outside door. For some sudden reason I felt my heart follow him down the hill to town. I sighed, almost with exasperation. So this was to be a My Child. We teacher-types sometimes find them. They aren’t our pets; often they aren’t even in our classes. But they are the children who move unasked into our hearts and make claims upon them over and above the call of duty.


~ Ah ... what word describes this feeling?
The Francher kid was dancing—dancing all alone in the quiet night. No, not alone, because a column of yellow leaves had swirled up from the ground around him and danced with him to a melody so exactly like their movement that I couldn’t be sure there was music. Fascinated, I watched the drift and sway, the swirl and turn, the treetop-high rise and the hesitant drifting fall of the Francher kid and the autumn leaves. (...) The kid was just a larger leaf borne along with the smaller in the chilly winds of fall. On a final minor glissade of the music the Francher kid slid to the ground.

He stood for a moment, head bent, crumbling a crisp leaf in his fingers; then he turned swiftly defensive to the rustle of movement. Twyla stepped out into the clearing. For a moment they stood looking at each other without a word. Then Twyla’s voice came so softly I could barely hear it.

“I would have danced with you.”

“With me like this?” He gestured at his clothes.

“Sure. It doesn’t matter.”

“In front of everyone?”

“If you wanted to. I wouldn’t mind.”

“Not there,” he said. “It’s too tight and hard.”

“Then here,” she said, holding out her hands.

“The music—” But his hands were reaching for hers.

“Your music,” she said.

“My mother’s music,” he corrected.

And the music began, a haunting lilting waltz-time melody. As lightly as the leaves that stirred at their feet the two circled the clearing. (...)

Twyla was so completely engrossed in the magic of the moment that I’m sure she didn’t even know when their feet no longer rustled in the fallen leaves. She couldn’t have known when the treetops brushed their shoes—when the long turning of the tune brought them back, spiraling down into the clearing. Her scarlet petticoat caught on a branch as they passed, and left a bright shred to trail the wind, but even that did not distract her.

Before my heart completely broke with wonder, the music faded softly away and left the two standing on the ragged grass. After a breathless pause Twyla’s hand went softly, wonderingly, to Francher’s cheek. The kid turned his face slowly and pressed his mouth to her palm. Then they turned and left each other, without a word.

Heart-wrenching?

~ Are there any endings? (A question that Henderson shares with Beagle.)
“Francher,” I said, leaning forward impulsively, “do you ever wonder how come you can do the things you do?”

His eyes were quick on my face. “Do you ever wonder why you can’t do what you can’t do?”

I flushed and shifted my crutches. “I know why.”

“No, you don’t. You only know when your ‘can’t’ began. You don’t know the real why. Even your doctors don’t know all of it. Well, I don’t know the why of my ‘cans.’ I don’t even know the beginning of them, only that sometimes I feel a wave of something inside me that hollers to get out of all the ‘can’ts’ that are around me like you-can’t-do-this, you-can’t-do-that, and then I remember that I can.”

He flicked his fingers and my crutches stirred. They lifted and thudded softly down the steps and then up again to lean back in their accustomed place.

“Crutches can’t walk,” the Francher kid said. “But you—something besides your body musta got smashed in that wreck.”

“Everything got smashed,” I said bitterly, the cold horror of that night and all that followed choking my chest. “Everything ended—everything.”

“There aren’t any endings,” the Francher kid said. “Only new beginnings. When you going to get started?”


~ What does it take to be more than human? (A question that Henderson shares with Sturgeon.)
“I don’t care, I don’t care!” he almost yelled. “ ‘Thief’ and ‘stolen’ are words for people and I’m not going to be people any more, I told you!”

“What are you going to be?” I asked, leaning wearily against a tree trunk. “An animal?”

“No, sir.” He was having trouble deciding what to do with his hands. “I’m going to be more than just a human.”

“Well, for a more-than-human this kind of behavior doesn’t show very many smarts. If you’re going to be more than human, you have to be thoroughly a human first. If you’re going to be better than a human, you have to be the best a human can be, first—then go on from there. Being entirely different is no way to make a big impression on people. You have to be able to outdo them at their own game first and then go beyond them. It won’t matter to them that you can fly like a bird unless you can walk straight like a man, first. To most people different is wrong. Oh, they’d probably say, ‘My goodness! How wonderful!’ when you first pulled some fancy trick, but—” I hesitated, wondering if I were being wise, “but they’d forget you pretty quick, just as they would any cheap carnival attraction.”


~ I, like me, you thought Philip Jose Farmer was the first to introduce the call of nature into speculative fiction writing, Zenna Henderson beat him to it:
I put a piece of bread into her hands and said, “Bread.” She put the bread down carefully on the plate where I had stacked the other slices for dinner and said nothing. Then she glanced around, looked at me, and, turning, walked briskly into the thick underbrush, her elbows high to hold the extra length of gown up above her bare feet.

“Nils!” I called in sudden panic. “She’s leaving!”

Nils laughed at me across the tarp he was spreading. “Even the best of us,” he said, “have to duck into the bushes once in a while!”


~ "Return" (written in 1961) passes the ecological test--but barely:
I stood at the end of the so-precise little lane that wound so consciously lovely from the efficient highway. I was counting, through the blur of my tears, the precisely twenty-six trees interspersed at suitable intervals by seven clumps of underbrush. He just happened to be passing at the moment and I looked up at him and choked, “Not even a weed! Not one!”

Astonished, he folded his legs and hovered a little above eye level.

“What good’s a weed?”

“At least it shows individuality!” I shut my eyes, not caring that by so doing the poised tears consolidated and fell. “I’m so sick of perfection!”

“Perfection?” He lifted a little higher above me, his eyes on some far sight. “I certainly wouldn’t call The Home perfect yet. From here I can see the North Reach. We’ve only begun to nibble at that. The preliminary soil crew is just starting analysis.” He dropped down beside me. “We can’t waste time and space on weeds. It’ll take long enough to make the whole of The Home habitable without using energy on nonessentials.”

“They’ll find out!” I stubbornly proclaimed. “Someday they’ll find out that weeds are essentials. Man wasn’t made for such—such neatness. He has to have unimportant clutter to relax in!”

“Why haven’t you presented these fundamental doctrines to the Old Ones?” He laughed at me.

“Have I not!” I retorted. “Well, maybe not to the Old Ones, but I’ve already expressed myself, and furthermore, Mr.—Oh, I’m sorry, I’m Debbie—”

“I’m Thannel,” he grinned.

“—Thannel, I’ll have you know other wiser heads than mine have come to the same conclusion. Maybe not in my words, but they mean the same thing. This artificiality—this—this—The People aren’t meant to live divorced from the—the—” I spread my hands. “Soil, I guess you could say. They lose something when everything gets—gets paved.”

“Oh, I think we’ll manage.” He smiled. “Memory can sustain.”

“Memory? Oh, Thann, remember the tangle of blackberry vines in back of Kroginold’s house? How we used to burrow under the scratchy, cool, green twilight under those vines and hunt for berries—cool ones from the shadows, and warm ones from the sun, and always at least one thorn in the thumb as payment for trespassing. Mmmm—” Eyes closed, I lost myself in the memory.


~ "Michal Without" offers a lot of insights:
“About Deega,” she said. “You haven’t come for me, so I’d better explain about Deega. You might find it interesting. Aunt Lydie doesn’t like to hear it. It makes her uncomfortable.”

“Do you customarily go around telling your life history to strangers?” I jerked.

“Being rude is a dry way of crying,” she said, lacing her fingers together around her shins as she rearranged her legs. “It’s too bad men do not customarily cry. (...)”


And the issue of Otherness:
After supper was over and the calmness of night was pouring in through the windows, darkening the rooms, Michal came back, wistfully.

“Do you believe me a little?” she asked.

“Believe you!” I exploded. “That you can mind-read? That you can teleport? That you can home in on a geographical point like a pigeon? That you can gather up light as if it were daisies? That you can stop breathing, except that it’s cooler not to! Oh, I’ll enjoy your story and listen to each new development you dream up, but don’t ask me to believe!”

“Your mind,” she said scathingly, quite un-Michalish, “is about as flexible and receptive as your two hands right now!” I resisted the impulse to try to flex my swollen joints. “Supposing I told you I didn’t believe you hurt anywhere! I can’t see your pain!”

I was jolted. I found myself snapping back at her as if I were on her age level. “Anyone knows arthritis—”

“Of course,” she cried. “Lots of people have it. It’s—it’s customary!” she flung my word back at me. She leaned towards me, her eyes blazing. “What if I’m customary somewhere?”


And seeing the Other as someone who deserves to be seen as much as you:
He presented her another night with his toothless comb. His fluff of white hair looked the same combed and uncombed, so the lack of teeth didn’t affect his grooming—nor did the loss of the comb.

“I’m going to make you something pretty,” he said to her, hanging onto her hand. “I’ll give it to you when I get it all together.”

“Why, thank you!” she said. “Shall I guess?”

“Oh, you couldn’t guess!” he giggled. “Not in a million million years. It’s prettier than—”

“Ah-ah!” she laughed. “Don’t tell until it’s all ready!”

“I won’t! I won’t!” He clasped his hands over his laughing mouth. “I can keep a secret!” His voice was muffled and gleeful.

I had turned away uncomfortably from his elephantine playfulness, and opened my eyes only when Michal touched the back of my hand with one of her cool fingers.

“How can you put up with it?” I asked, needlessly whispering since he had gone off into one of his sudden naps. “That senile old man talking and acting like a child—”

“I’m not talking to a senile old man,” said Michal. “I’m talking with Mr. Apfel. He can’t help it if his mind is wrinkled a little along with his body.”


~ The language of "Katie-Mary’s Trip" ... wow:
See—we’ve got this pad, like—you know?—an old farmhouse with a broad porch all around it. The local yokels call it the hippy-joint, and when the local fuzz need something to fill out a shift, they cruise up and down in front of the place and make like busy.

Now, I know it’s not for real—this hippy bit. Not here. Lots of dudes and chicks stop here on their way to the Coast where the Real is. But they never stay here—not the McCoy. They all drift on in a day or two except the ones that can’t or won’t conform. They can’t buy the whole bit and so they drop out—too individual. Listen, if you think conforming is for squares or the establishment—think twice. You conform to the hippy thing or, brother, you’re out!
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Reason: ... готово

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Thu Feb 03, 2022 8:28 pm

In her review of Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains on Goodreads, Darcey wrote:The conclusions that Noren comes to are very similar to the ones I've come to in my own life. In high school I suffered from serious epistemic angst, and was actually a solipsist for several years since I couldn't prove the existence of anything beyond my own conscious experience. Finally I met a wise man, and I assumed that, since he went through life without worrying about these things, that he must have discovered some proof that anything beyond his own mind existed. He told me no, that proof was impossible to find, but that, in order to live our lives, we just had to stop worrying about it, and to go through life as if the world were real instead of constantly doubting it. That was definitely a revelation to me at the time. Several years later, in one of my adventures, I came closer to dying than I ever had before (or have since), and I felt that same deep unshakeable will to live that Noren found within himself in the mountains. And these days, I have a lot of existential angst around my own research: I work on AI, but am terrified that AI will destroy humanity or otherwise make our lives hell, and I struggle with this, wondering if I should continue to work on the topic, or just give up in despair. This book helped push me towards "keep working on it", "keep hoping", "do not despair or assume that the worst-case outcome is inevitable". This book was honestly really important for me to read at this time. But anyway, the interesting thing was, the book framed all of this in terms of "faith". For me I have always framed it in terms of acceptance, particularly of the unknown and unknowable, and hadn't connected it to faith before. But I see Engdahl's point. I still wouldn't characterize my own philosophical conclusions as "faith" so much as "acceptance" or "hope", but it makes sense Noren and the Scholars would understand it as faith.


Кал wrote:I feel shameless fascination whenever you start pondering the meaning of your AI work. Forgive me if I repeat myself; twenty years ago, I was thinking of going in that same direction (but then burned out badly and triggered my bipolar disorder--which changed my course completely). The questions of AI--starting with whether we can make it work, in our own lifetime, or ever--still fascinate me. And when I see someone who struggles with them on such a personal basis ... well. :)

It gets even more fascinating when you put "faith" and "acceptance" and "hope" side by side. Are they really different? That's an honest question, not a rhetorical one. Sometimes it seems to me the best part of faith I've ever discovered is the faith in everything going just where it should go. Even if I don't like it right now. Which is a form of acceptance.

Ah. Danlo will always be somewhere around the corner, smiling. :)

Thank you.


Darcey wrote:I'm glad you enjoy the reviews. :) I mainly post these for my own sake, so that I can have a record of my thoughts/feelings about books, and so I always figure I am either oversharing or boring people when I share personal details.

The AI stuff has been an ongoing struggle over the last 10-ish years. I started grad school in 2012, but I also struggled with burnout. That, combined with my fears about how AI is changing the world, caused me to drop out in 2015. For a while I considered leaving the tech world altogether, and running away to the woods to live a more primitive lifestyle. But eventually, I came back... partly due to financial constraints (I needed a job and this was the one I'm qualified for), but also partly because I felt like I couldn't look away; if AI was going to irrevocably alter the world, I might not be able to fix anything, but at least I wanted to be there to watch. So in 2019 I came back to grad school for the second time. Yet in the years since then, I've struggled to stay motivated to work on my research, since the fear of AI is so strong. I think the sort of hope expressed in this book, that I might actually be able to help, is both true, and very good for me to keep in mind.

Anyway, I'm not sure I made the right decision in coming back to work on AI; your choice might have been better. :) But since I'm here I might as well try my best. And your definition of "faith" is closest to what I believe: not that everything will magically turn out the way we want it to, but that, no matter what happens, it will ultimately be ok, and we will ultimately be able to philosophically reconcile ourselves to it. I think that might be a little different from the faith in this book, but it was close enough to my own viewpoint that I still found it inspiring to read.

Anyway I'm actually really glad you saw this review, because I was specifically thinking you'd like this series, if you haven't read it already. I would highly recommend it to you. :)


Кал wrote:Yes, and I'm glad Goodreads' inscrutable algorithm decided to show it to me. Maybe these guys have actually made the first true AI? A really moody one? :D

I'm adding this to my to-read list. What surprised me was how many years ago it was written; its concerns sound so contemporary. But then, I feel the same surprise as I read Zenna Henderson's stories in Ingathering--and realize people have experienced that same transcendent loneliness and that yearning for a grown-up, growing-up humanity three generations before me.

It's another aspect of faith: that there's always somebody else too. :)

(And yes, I'd love to ask you about your relationship with AI in far more detail. Or learn more about the current state of AI from a practitioner. If we can both clear up enough mental space for that--and my low phase doesn't retire my mental clarity too soon--I'll be happy to talk with you.)
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Fri Feb 04, 2022 8:41 pm

Е, реших най-сетне да запълня поредната "пробойна" в литературната си ерудиция и инициирах индустриален шпионаж, пардон, прочетох "Ерагон".

Ами, книгата има доста изкривена репутация в публичното пространство. Не знам защо се твърди, че Паолини е заимствал сюжета от "Нова надежда" (Междузвездни войни #1 от оригиналната трилогия), тъй като това е точно толкова вярно, колкото и твърдението, че Джордж Лукас е заимствал своя космически епос от "The Hidden Fortress" на Куросава (гледал съм филма, нищо общо).
Сега като се замисля, май тая репутация е обвързана повече със злощастната филмова адаптация, която обаче е съвсем друга боза.

Като цяло, книгата беше предълга и то не в хубавия смисъл. Действието беше основно пътуване от едно до друго място, с множество обяснения, но малко екшън. Скука.

Повествованието бъкаше от ПНК-та. Направо преливаше. Всеки втори абзац беше своебразно казване, без показване. Слава богу, инфодъмпове почти отсъстваха. (Подозирам, че са били масово изритани при редакторския процес.)

Историята? Ерагон дори не утрепа лошите, дето преследваше цяла книга. Вместо това затри един клиширан злодей, дето цъфна сумарно точно три пъти в историята, като последния път беше, за да бъде убит от титулярния герой. А покварения крал, за който се говореше непрекъснато, не го видяхме изобщо. С три букви - WTF.
Голямата финална битка(тм) в подземното кралство на джуджетата също беше изпълваща с неудомение откъм своята тотална липса на разбиране на понятия и материи като военно дело и психовойна, както и на чисто писателски похвати като темпо, динамика и (литературна) кинематика.

Персонажите също бяха незадоволителни. Всичките бяха недоразгърнати, или неубедително разписани, или и двете. Сапфира беше най-зле от всичките. Нейната характеризация на практика отсъстваше. Тя хем е изключително младо същество и се държи незряло на моменти (нормално), хем обаче плямпа (веднага щом се научи) като хилядолетен мъдрец и има претенциите да е такава. Изобщо, Паолини нещо не е бил наясно к'во е искал - могъщо създание, което се нуждае от израстване (а ла Темерер), или инстантен (като картофено пюре на прах) sapient plot device? Изобщо, Наоми Новик, при все нейните пикливо-недоклатени амбиции да подражава на Джордж Мартин, беше пресъздала образа на по(д)растващия дракон далеч по-кадърно.

Връзката между Сапфира и Ерагон също е... меко казано едностранна. Сапфира постоянно прави каквото си иска, рядко съобразявйки се с Ерагон (дори когато той ѝ се примоли), не споделя неща с него (включително важни такива) и има доста дразнещо покровителствено поведение спрямо него - при положение, че разликата им е 16 години! (В полза на Ерагон.) А моментите където можем да видим по-интересните ѝ интеракции с Ерагон? Познахте - ПНК. Имаме по някое друго изречение колко много си харесват един на друг компанията, ама нито веднъж не го виждаме в диалог. Бах мааму. И това ми се водят индивиди, които са неразривно свързани един с друг и на всичкото отгоре се и ценят? :roll:

Отново, ако искате да видите как подобна "рецепта" се изпълнява правилно, ходете да четете поредицата за Темерер.
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(His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade и Black Powder War (<-- тая само заради Iskierka); по-нататък нещата се скофтясват като цяло. Ако имате много силна воля в умението да си пишете headcanon-и, можете да четете до Victory of Eagles и просто да си представите, че Наполеон го потапят вовеки край английския бряг, вместо да бъде спасен от Diablo ex Nihilo-то, което после кара Новик да изсмуче още четири книги от пръстите си.)

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Поне Темерер и Лорънс остават епични - и симпатични - до края. И клането не е прекалено кърваво - повечето персонажи от поредицата стигат успешно до края ѝ.

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Ама "премахването от дъската" на Капитан Райли беше върха, ВЪРХА на глупостта. И като изпълнение, и като сюжетна обосновка.


Магическата система изобщо няма да я зачеквам. Уж е "структурирана", както много обичат съвременните читатели - всичко магическо да е обяснено! - ама всъщност не е. Манджа с грозде. И половин дузина типове заклинатели. Що? Щото "разнообразие" приятелю, ето що!

И накрая, това се води редактираната версия на книгата. Ле-леее, не ми се мисли как ли е изглеждала оригиналната чернова. :shock:

'Ма 'айде, от мен да мине - Паолини е писал тая история като тинейджър все пак. Самото постижение (ако не крайният резултат) си е достойно за уважение.
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Аз бях на 20 когато започнах моят първи космически епос и не го докарах доникъде. Пък и дори да бях, едва ли щях да имам една малка гвардия от хора, дето да го докарат до четивен вид, както при Кристофърчо. В моя защита мога да кажа единствено, че за космоса е по-трудно да пишеш кадърно - и затова масата жанрови писатели "тъпчат на сигурно" като драскат фентъзи. :P


Общата ми оценка е, че "Ерагон" е окей като gateway заглавие за читатели в диапазона 8-16 години. Извън това - твърде е дълга за леко четиво тип "плажен роман" и е твърде тъпа - пардон, клиширана* скучна - за да си я добави човек в житейския "Must read" списък.
*(ама то даже не е и клише)

Продължавам да чета поредицата нататък, ама само защото съм инатлив completionist.


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ПП. Това е поредното доказателство, че успехите на произведенията-феномени обикновено нямат нищо общо с тяхната художествена стойност. Ако Паолини беше на 40, "Ерагон" никога нямаше да прокопса; ако на Роулинг не ѝ бяха дали 50млн. долара за реклама, "Хари Потър" никога нямаше да бъде цанен за създател на YA жанра; ако Питър Джаксън не бе филмирал "Властелинът на пръстените" с 300млн. долара бюджет, досадните толкинови ултраси никога нямаше да станат толкова досадни, колкото са сега; и така нататък.

Дет' се вика, къде е бленуваната филмовата поредица по The Last Dragon Chronicles и шест-сезонният епичен сериал по A Requiem for Homo Sapiens? А?

Вие си знаете. 8-)
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Fri Feb 04, 2022 11:38 pm

Radiant Dragon wrote:Продължавам да чета поредицата нататък, ама само защото съм инатлив completionist.


Недей, уа. Животът наистина е кратък. Всичките ми 5-звездичкови заглавия в Гудрийдс си те чакат. :)

Примерно ако знаеш как ми се говори с някого за Together We Will Go...
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Sat Feb 05, 2022 1:52 am

Единствената книга, която някога не съм довършвал (за която поне помня, де), беше някакъв калпав трилър с гръмкото заглавие "Кръгът на Матарезе".
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...другата е "Властелинът". :lol:

Това беше на морето когато бях... 5-и клас? Нещо такова.

Оттогава, все съм тъп и упорит. :D

Влачих над една година Imajica на Клайв Баркър, но си я дочетох. "Граф Монте Кристо" го започнах под давление на майка ми след училище... и го дочетох. (Ок, това всъщност беше относително интересна книга). Ужасно скучните сай-фай книги с разните му там антропоморфни котки протагонисти, дето не помня дори как се казваше тая поредица или авторката ѝ? И тях прочетох. Leviathan на Питър Уотс също беше брутален snorefest в последната част от трилогията, ама и нея избутах. (И после бях награден с признанието на автора, че вече се бил уморил от нея, ама договор а-у, нали.)

Дори "Кралят на зимата" на Били Стефанов ѝ прелистих финалната страница, макар да четях по диагонал.

В момента се назлъндисвам на нек'во супер рандъм книжле на име "Богове и върхове", което разправя за Тибет и покоряването на Хималайте през 50/60-те години, но и него ще го дочета в някакъв момент.
(Почнах уж да го чета за вдъхновение за една ролева микрокампания, ама...)

Кал wrote:Недей, уа. Животът наистина е кратък. Всичките ми 5-звездичкови заглавия в Гудрийдс си те чакат. :)

Примерно ако знаеш как ми се говори с някого за Together We Will Go...


За тях ми трябват сили. Плашат ме в някаква степен, признавам си. :(
(Може би защото чувствам, че трябва задължително да ги разбера, като седна да ги чета.)

Ако много ти е на зор за TWWG, мога да я приоритизирам, след като приключа с Паолини. За "Легион" те изпуснах (а пък сериала - мен), но тук може и да вляза в крачка.

Иначе - Реквиема на Зиндел (тоя път целия!) ще го прочета, преди да седна за TCW #2. За да си зная къде е летвата. ;)
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sat Feb 05, 2022 10:31 am

За четенето на Важните Книги те разбирам напълно. Аз тая енциклопедия на религиите сигурно си я бях набелязал преди 7-8 години... но се изчаквах да порасна. ;)

А какво те кара да довършваш всяка започната книга?

Together We Will Go си струва да му даваш приоритет само ако идеята за това те пали. В смисъл: пали. Не го прави за мен, а за себе си.

Но ако има значение за избора ти: тя не е от трудните книги, а от емоционално вихрените.
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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Sat Feb 05, 2022 3:01 pm

Ами, мен ме палят драконите. Затова така свирепо изгълтах Телаллов (за който всъщност чаках 5 години), d'Lacey, аниметата Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid и Cross Ange, поредицата за Темерер и прочее.

Единствената драконова поредица, която мисля да не чета по принцип, е OG-то Dragon Riders of Pern, защото от това което съм чел като резюмета за нея, е Zeerust-нала до козирката и ще ми бъде все едно пак да чета "Планетата на приключенията" или "Демоничните господари" на Ванс.

За "Ерагон" също дълго я държах в лагера на "няма смисъл да се чете", ама покрай желанието ми пак да започна да чета активно (което просто изведнъж избухна) рекох да я подхвана, хем като нещо, което знам, че няма да ме wow-не (aka потроши), хем защото... дракони.

Впрочем, една от причините да чета толкова настървено "Хрониките на Елантра", дето Деси ми ги подметна преди ~3 години е, защото там също има дракони, които са бая съществени movers and shakers в повествованието.
(Другата причина е, че авторката има наистина fascinating талант да описва абстракции и прави доста дълбоки разсъждения върху силата и смисъла на думите/речта и как това оформя битието ни.)
(За битки и кинематика обаче е кръгла нула.)

Кал wrote:А какво те кара да довършваш всяка започната книга?


Не съм сигурен. Възможно е причината да се е изменяла през годините. Може би защото просто мразя да оставям нещата наполовина довършени. Може и да ме крепи надеждата, че накрая поне ще си е заслужавало по някакъв повод.
Скрит текст: покажи
Case in point: "Върколашки метаморфози" на Пелевин в последните 20% достига до наистина трансцедентални откровения - главата, където главната героиня разговаря с Жълтия господин. Ако бях захвърлил книгата заради ужасната ѝ циничност и простотия, нямаше да стигна до този бисер. Не казвам, че изкупва цялата книга, но за мен е подарък за усилията, които съм положил в изчитането ѝ - защото мога оттук насетне да цитирам само тази глава при подходящ контекст.
Case in point 2: Blindsight на Питър Уотс. Ужасна, студена, мрачна и умопомрачаваща книга. Защо си струваше прочитането ѝ? Защото някак си, като стигнах до финала, нейната тотално антиподна същност ми помогна да осветя собствената си вътрешна вяра и парадигми още по-силно. С други думи, мрака помогна на светлината да свети по-ярко и контрастно.
Case in point 3 (това полу-шеговито): Като прочетох "Кралят на зимата", вече имам референции как се пише напълно достоверен образ на тотален психопат (главния "герой"), без да преминавам в самоирония и/или хипербола.


За TWWG - пали ме идеята да имам палещи дискусии с теб. That fiery enough for you? :)
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Sat Feb 05, 2022 3:48 pm

Radiant Dragon wrote:За TWWG - пали ме идеята да имам палещи дискусии с теб. That fiery enough for you?


Bring it on. :mrgreen:

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Radiant Dragon » Wed Feb 09, 2022 4:10 pm

Отдавна не бях имал желание да запратя книга към стената.

Arya squatted on a moss-eaten log and wrapped her arms around her knees without looking at him. “There are things you must know before we reach Ceris and Ellesméra so that you do not shame yourself or me through your ignorance.”
“Such as?” He crouched opposite her, curious.
Arya hesitated. “During my years as Islanzadí’s ambassador, it was my observation that humans and dwarves are quite similar. You share many of the same beliefs and passions. More than one human has lived comfortably among the dwarves because he or she can understand their culture, as they understand yours. You both love, lust, hate, fight, and create in much the same manner. Your friendship with Orik and your acceptance into Dûrgrimst Ingeitum are examples of this.” Eragon nodded, although their differences seemed greater to him than that. “Elves, though, are not like other races.”
“You speak as though you weren’t one,” he said, echoing her words from Farthen Dûr.
“I have lived with the Varden for enough years to become accustomed to their traditions,” replied Arya in a brittle tone.
“Ah … So then do you mean to say that elves don’t have the same emotions as dwarves and humans? I find that hard to believe. All living things have the same basic needs and desires.”
“That is not what I mean to say!” Eragon recoiled, then frowned and studied her. It was unusual for her to be so brusque. Arya closed her eyes and placed her fingers on her temples, taking a long breath. “Because elves live for so many years, we consider courtesy to be the highest social virtue. You cannot afford to give offense when a grudge can be held for decades or centuries. Courtesy is the only way to prevent such hostility from accumulating. It doesn’t always succeed, but we adhere to our rituals rigorously, for they protect us from extremes. Nor are elves fecund, so it is vital that we avoid conflict among ourselves. If we shared the same rate of crime as you or the dwarves, we would soon be extinct.
“There is a proper way to greet the sentinels in Ceris, certain patterns and forms that you must observe when presented to Queen Islanzadí, and a hundred different manners in which to greet those around you, if it’s not better to just remain quiet.”
“With all your customs,” Eragon risked saying, “it seems as though you’ve only made it easier to offend people.”
A smile flickered across her lips. “Perhaps. You know as well as I that you will be judged by the highest standards. If you make a mistake, the elves will think you did it on purpose. And only harm will come if they discover that it was born of ignorance. Far better to be thought rude and capable than rude and incapable, else you risk being manipulated like The Serpent in a match of Runes. Our politics move in cycles that are both subtle and lengthy. What you see or hear of an elf one day may only be a slight move in a strategy that reaches back millennia, and may have no bearing on how that elf will behave tomorrow. It is a game that we all play but few control, a game that you are about to enter.
“Now perhaps you realize why I say elves are not like other races. The dwarves are also long-lived, yet they are more prolific than us and do not share our restraint or our taste for intrigue. And humans …” She let her voice fade into a tactful silence.
“Humans,” said Eragon, “do the best they can with what they are given.”
“Even so.”
“Why don’t you tell Orik all this as well? He’ll be staying in Ellesméra, same as me.”
An edge crept into Arya’s voice. “He is already somewhat familiar with our etiquette. However, as a Rider, you would do well to appear better educated than he.”
Eragon accepted her rebuke without protest. “What must I learn?”
So Arya began to tutor him and, through him, Saphira in the niceties of elven society. First she explained that when one elf meets another, they stop and touch their first two fingers to their lips to indicate that “we shall not distort the truth during our conversation.” This is followed by the phrase “Atra esterní ono thelduin” to which one replies “Atra du evarínya ono varda.”
“And,” said Arya, “if you are being especially formal, a third response is made: ‘Un atra mor’ranr lífa unin hjarta onr,’ which means, ‘And may peace live in your heart.’ These lines were adopted from a blessing that was made by a dragon when our pact with them was finalized. It goes:

Atra esterní ono thelduin,
Mor’ranr lífa unin hjarta onr,
Un du evarínya ono varda.


“Or: ‘May good fortune rule over you, peace live in your heart, and the stars watch over you.’ ”
“How do you know who is supposed to speak first?”
“If you greet someone with greater status than yourself or if you wish to honor a subordinate, then speak first. If you greet someone with less status than yourself, speak last. But if you are uncertain of your position, give your counterpart a chance to speak, and if they are silent, speak first. Such is the rule.”
Does it apply to me as well? asked Saphira.
Arya plucked a dry leaf from the ground and crumpled it between her fingers. Behind her, the camp faded into shadow as the dwarves banked the fire, dampening the flames with a layer of dirt so that the coals and embers would survive until morning. “As a dragon, none are higher than you in our culture. Not even the queen would claim authority over you. You may do and say as you wish. We do not expect dragons to be bound by our laws.”


С две думи: двоен стандарт.

Не ми пука автора на колко години е бил, като го е писал. Go fuck yourself, Paolini. :evil:
Скрит текст: покажи
А Ерагон е безгръбначник, задето не се решава да каже на тая флоьрца къде може да си завре уроците по елфическа "етикеция".


А ето prime evidence, че отношенията между Ерагон и Сапфира могат да бъдат доста adversarial:
“When we are in Du Weldenvarden,” she informed him, “I expect that you will not speak to me in such a familiar way, unless you wish to cause affront.” She stalked away.
Run after her! exclaimed Saphira.
What?
We can’t afford to have her angry with you. Go apologize.
His pride rebelled. No! It’s her fault, not mine.
Go apologize, Eragon, or I’ll fill your tent with carrion. It was no idle threat.
How?
Saphira thought for a second, then told him what to do. Without arguing, he jumped to his feet and darted in front of Arya, forcing her to stop. She regarded him with a haughty expression.

Дъ фък??

Колкото и да съм упорит, в момента има стабилни шансове да зарежа да чета поредицата по-нататък.
IN ORDER TO RISE AGAINST THE TIDE, ONE MUST FIRST BE BELOW IT.

Аз съм графист, а не кечист.
(Ама вече разбирам и от кеч, ако трябва)
Аз съм. Това ми стига.

'Tis I, master of the first floor, aspirant to the last, the Radiant Dragon.


Accepting reality since 2017

And loving it since 2021


And now, I step fully into the Light, complete and replete. The way to Ascension is open.
-- some Dude, circa 2022

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Re: Книги, автори, размисли творчески и човешки

Postby Кал » Tue Mar 08, 2022 6:29 pm

My review of Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart:

This is one angry book. And it may make you angry--especially if you like Trump. :)

But what made it really resonate with me was its hopefulness. I was already awed by Erikson's compassion and strife to awaken our own compassion in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. However, when I was reading his accompanying essays, I felt crushed by the bleak future of civilization he predicted. It was as if, no matter what we do, we're doomed. It's too late.

Not so with Rejoice. Admittedly, the premise of first contact with vastly superior--both technologically and ethically--aliens may sound like a cop-out. Removing violence from our daily lives makes so many solutions easy, doesn't it? Yet I believe the book offers a cornucopia of ideas that are completely practicable--or can at least nudge us toward our better, more grown-up selves and societies.

(The two reasons I'm not giving it five stars are that: one, twenty years of civic activism have familiarized me with most of those ideas; two, there could have been more showing and less telling.)

Specific impressions:

~ First contact finally done right:
She snorted, and then leaned forward and rubbed at her face. “And where do I [a science fiction writer] fit into all of this? What do you want from me that no one else can provide? Why aren’t you talking to, oh, I don’t know, the President of the United States?”

“It may come as a surprise to many humans,” Adam said, and there was a new tone to the disembodied voice, “but the assumption that an alien civilization is interested in reaffirming the artificial hierarchy you have imposed upon yourselves is invariably the first one requiring readjustment.”


~ Why would a more advanced species intervene?
“Now,” Adam said, “extend the notion of risk-laden juvenile life-forms. Increase the scale, so that individual biomes—as defined by single life-bearing planets—are viewed as immature individuals within a litter, an array of related offspring in any given region of the galaxy. Some will survive; many will not. Most complex life-forms are characterized by care for the young, by direct parents and by community—”

“And which are you, Adam? I mean, your three alien civilizations? Parents or community?”

“The analogy is not intended to be that precise,” the AI replied. “But I comprehend your need for a specific—if loose—category of behavior. Accordingly, consider us as community.”

“I see. As members in this region of the galaxy.”

“Yes, although the origin planets of the three alien civilizations all share the characteristic of being well inward, nearer the galactic core and therefore on the very edge of your region. Nonetheless, we possess a parental prerogative, or at least that of potential care-giver, for this region of the galaxy. Accordingly, we are governed by considerations of viability, and this is central in determining whether or not we Intervene in the development of any individual planetary life-form.”

“And we barely made the grade.”

“Your biome made the grade with ease, Samantha. Its consciousness, as characterized by humanity, did not fare as well.”

“So you considered giving Earth a lobotomy.”

“Yes, we did.”

“But Earth is just slightly too old, reducing the chances of a new consciousness emerging in time.”

“Correct, particularly given the level of resource-depletion already present.”


~ Ah yes. The media and (genuine) protests:
“That’s what I was opening this session with. Was going to talk about the Freedom Marches. A waste of time. Pointless. Silly, in fact. So we lost our freedom to kill and destroy—that’s kinda existed all along. We call them laws. You can’t kill your neighbor or anyone else, or you’ll go to jail. As for nations going to war, which is like sanctifying killing on a bigger scale, well, I’m not missing an end to that shit. I mean, I served three tours in Afghanistan, right? Been there, don’t wanna do that ever again. Good riddance is what I say on that stuff.

“And the destroying bit, all those rainforests going up in smoke and all that. The orangutans with nowhere to live. Even those gold prospectors up in the Yukon—you’re poisoning the rivers, man! What were you thinking? Well, time to find another line of work, bros. Gates closed and padlocked, all shut down.

“So sure, march about that. That lost freedom to dredge beautiful rivers and cut down trees. But I don’t think those marches will do anything. Face it, it’s been a while since marches did anything, even before the aliens arrived. And here’s the real kicker. For years now mainstream media’s been deliberately under-reporting on protest marches, at least in the West and especially since you-know-who became President. In fact, nine times out of ten they just ignore them, as if they never happened at all. So now they’re getting all frothy and calling on people to get out into the streets with banners and stuff? That, my friends, is a joke. (...)”

So if you see a well-covered rally, do you ask yourself "why"? ;)

~ The only aspect of the book that bugs me so far is its presentation of the Greys:
“The evolutionary path of their development is unique and, by most means of measurement, pathological. They are a species without empathy, as empathy impedes the psychic-feeding that gives pleasure to the Greys. Consider the sociopaths among your species, Samantha. They operate from a different set of rules, fixated around what they can and cannot get away with, and much of their daily activity is focused on deceiving others. Sociopaths are the consummate actors, because they learned very early in their lives that they are different, and that this difference offers a predatory advantage over all others. The Greys represent the ultimate expression of that sociopathy.” After a moment, Adam added, “It is unfortunate, Samantha, that your modern economic system has come to reward the sociopaths among you. Hence the necessity of dismantling your economy and thereby removing the incentive for rewarding sociopathic behavior.”

“So your average human sociopath will understand the Greys very well.”

“Yes.”

“Not to be reasoned with, then.”

“The task is virtually impossible in the absence of morality.”

Really? You've found ways to overcome the constraints of space and to make nanosecond decisions, based on the predicted behavior of all participants in a conflict--but you can't reason with 'sociopaths'?

There we go, back to nursery school. :(

(This gets even more jarring when later we learn that the ET technology has "cured" humankind of a variety of mental disorders--including sociopathy.)

~ For some reason, this observation cut to the quick:
If left alone, it could be that people got better, generation after generation. Their thinking changed ways. They took on wisdom and lived with it in their hearts. If left alone, people could rise up from what they’d once been. But that world didn’t exist. Instead, the people who never learned arrived, in blood and bullets, and made sure that nothing changed, that the old crimes repeated. They stoked the fires of hatred and made the darkness a place to be feared.

Could it be the war in Ukraine? Could it be the little wars I witness (or even take part in) every day?

~ Some goodies for the fans of proper science fiction:
The doorway to the bridge was larger and looked armored. It vanished at her approach. “How are you doing that?” she asked. There were no slots and no visible motion marking the door sliding one way or any other.

“Phase-shifting,” Athena said. “The mechanisms for track-guided entrance and egress are notorious for becoming misaligned, particularly after weapon-fire impacts or any other hull-twisting event. Although Adam desired otherwise, as I was in charge of shipbuilding I overrode his suggested parameters and installed proper technology.”

“You exceeded the tech level for this Intervention,” Adam said.

“For Pacifists you two sure bitch a lot,” Sam observed as she stepped onto the bridge. “And what was that about hull-twisting and weapon impacts? I thought the Greys had crappy weaponry.”

“There is another rapacious species in your immediate region of the galaxy,” said Adam, “as I may have mentioned. Somewhat more formidable than the Greys.”

“And you can’t slap some reason into them?”

“They are a non-centralized protoplasmic sentience,” Adam explained. “In effect, intelligent digestive juices.”


~ Brace yourselves for the most brazen, aptest plug:
“Samantha August.” The Canadian Prime Minister was sitting, straight-backed and intent, her gaze fixing on that of the Science Fiction writer, Robert J. Sawyer. “Tell me about her, please.”

Alison Pinborough regarded the writer, noting his steady, piercing gaze behind the wire-rimmed glasses. That he was the smartest person in this room was something she already knew, as the Prime Minister was about to find out. Scientists, of course, possessed their own form of self-assurance. Every one of them dragged an invisible library on wheels behind them, the shelves crammed full of esoteric information. A few of them had a talent for communicating what they knew, but many didn’t.

She assumed it was the same for writers. An old ex had once dragged her to a launch night for a local poet’s latest book. The man had been surrounded by women half his age, and naturally he’d been wearing an expensive sweater, turtle-neck, and he read in that standard (or so she’d discovered by the grisly night’s merciful end) leaden cadence, as if every phrase was gravid with significance. The other guest poets, with only one or two exceptions, pretty much matched that plodding rhythm when perched behind the microphone. It had been interminable.

But that was poets. None of them had this man’s ferocious energy.

In answer to Lisabet’s question, he said, “Yet another example of a brilliant Canadian Science Fiction writer virtually no one in this country knows about, outside of the aficionados of the genre. Never reviewed by the Globe, or the National Post. So, who is she, madam Prime Minister? Smart, opinionated, a feminist, a humanist. Frankly, I’m not surprised the ETs selected her.”

“Is that what they did?” Lisabet Carboneau asked. “Just … picked her from a hat?”

“I doubt it was that random,” Sawyer replied. “If there is a thematic continuity when looking at Sam’s stories and novels, it is compassion and a full comprehension of the human condition. Good writers don’t blink. They don’t shy away from hard truths.”

“So she’s a liberal.”

Sawyer frowned. “Excuse me?”

“Not the political party. Small ‘l’ liberal. Not a friend of capitalism or corporate interests, a believer in social welfare. An environmentalist.”

“More a believer in the dignity of humanity, madam Prime Minister. And that is the context we need for thinking about this. ET chose well.”

“There’s not a single CEO or banker who’d agree with you.”

At this, the author bridled and Alison steeled herself, thinking, uh oh, here we go.

“Madam Prime Minister,” Sawyer’s tone was now hard, “it is long past time we took those old divisions to the dumpster. Every single aspect of this intervention to date has made very clear—undeniably so—that our traditional economic platform will not continue. In fact, the very notion of progress has been severed from capitalism. We will advance, but that advancement is no longer dependent on entrepreneurial largesse, or market forces of competition and innovation. We will now advance because it is the right thing to do.” He paused but only for a single breath. “Proper governance at this moment is no longer chained to maintaining the status quo. No longer pressured by special interests. The old games are dead. Their very language is dead. And you continue to wonder why every world leader is descending into utter obscurity? Liberal? Conservative? Who the hell cares anymore?”

(...)

“Can you predict something? Anything? Offer me, since you clearly have an opinion on such matters—offer me a vision of what a leader of a country is to say now, or, rather, tomorrow. Not just say, but do—what am I to do? How do I lead? Give me my new language, Mister Sawyer.”

The writer sighed. “A language without obfuscation, Madam Prime Minister. Devoid of the usual bullshit, the platitudes, the evasive generalities that journalists don’t even challenge anymore. When was the last time a politician said anything of real substance? Said things and made promises that weren’t backtracked on? Nobody keeps their word, unless it’s a rhetoric of fear and hate, and even then it’s mostly a red flag to the wingnuts out there to go charging off beating the crap out of people with the wrong skin color or the wrong religion—”

“Listen—don’t throw me in with that … that man.”

“I’m not. I’m telling you how your average citizen sees politicians these days. We listen and we don’t buy it. Why? Because you refuse to tell us hard truths. You refuse to tell us we need to change our ways of living, pay more taxes, stop using cars, shut down the oil fields and the clear-cutting. We needed a drastic cut on carbon emissions—did you bite that bullet? Not really. Nobody did, barring a few small countries in Europe. The gas pipelines continue to be built, despite the opposition.”


~ Erikson and I have the same axe to grind ;):
“Cherrie didn’t ask the one question I wanted to know the answer to,” Joey observed, leaning back (but only slightly).

“Which is?”

“Why her?”

“Oh c’mon Joey,” King Con chided. “SciFi writer. You know. Books. Reading. Ideas. Imagination. Brains. And a whole effin’ vlogger career of no-bullshit take-that-you-assholes—”

“Language!”

“Right, sorry bud! Anyway. She’s tough and smart. That’s what I’m saying. A whole career thinking and writing about other worlds, about aliens and people and people and aliens. About our future, man. And it’s not all doom and gloom, her stuff. None of that boring dystopic grimdark we’re-all-ffu—fudged crap, right?”


~ This book in a nutshell:
Скрит текст: покажи
“Now, let’s get to that, shall we? There is something called a Blanket Presence now in place here on Earth. It created the forcefields. It stopped people from hurting one another. It stopped humans from continuing to degrade the planet, and damaging its capacity to sustain life.

“These initial interventions halted us in our tracks. I need not describe that to any of you. You have lived through it. I have watched it from on high, aboard an orbiting spaceship. I saw and shared your frustration, and like you, I was left wondering what awaited us—what might still be coming. And I wondered, is the answer to that question really to be found in what the aliens do next, or is it to be found in what we do next?

“Consider the natural world and the disasters that have descended upon us time and again. Hurricanes, tornados, floods, volcanoes. They arrive and for the victims they stop the world, they break the pattern and habits of living. Those who survive then emerge from the wreckage, or are helped from the wreckage, and there is grief and there is loss, and then we begin to build again.

“If it helps, consider the Intervention as a natural disaster. Out of our hands, beyond our control, and with its arrival, everything changes. The world stops, hunkers down, and will soon emerge into a new day. And we will grieve over what’s been lost, and in our new world, with its new rules, we will gather together and we will build again.”

These words Kolo understood, like a knife to the heart. He felt outside that future. He’d done too much wrong to belong to it. And yet, and yet … deep inside, the child with the tear-stained face slowly looked up.
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