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bear by san

December 2021



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memo to a secondary character:

To: Gavin the Mechanical Basilisk
From: Elizabeth Bear
Date: 2007 01 11
Re: You request for promotion.

Dear Mr. Basilisk

We are in receipt of your application for a promotion to point of view character for the duration of our current work in progress. Unfortunately, we feel we must deny your request, for the following reasons:

  • We already have three POV characters, and that's quite enough in a book this silly

  • We have already satisfied the AI life form affirmative action requirement for this novel

  • You are thematically null, and your contract is covered under the "cool shit" rather than the "literary merit" or "narrative imperative" portions of the budget. We cannot currently afford to pay you as POV character.

  • If you were to become a POV character, we would be required by OSHA and BPSESW (but not SFWA) character standards to provide you with a plot arc and character development opportunities. We do not currently have any in stock that would suit a snarky four-kilogram nanotech colony that thinks it's a mythical animal.

We do thank you for your interest, however, and encourage you to reapply for a later novel, your continued survival and our satisfaction with your work permitting.


the Mgmt.


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I adore you.
That's cool shit.
If the book is that silly, put this in, verbatim.
At least as the dedication...
Damned suits.
Aw, give the guy a break, Bear.
Yeah yeah, I've already given one nanotech colony POV in this thing. Soon, they will all want it.
First rejection letters to writers, and now to mechanical basilisks. What new sort of monsters will you devastate next, you fiend?! Half-pony half-monkeys?

Meanwhile, the shredded wheat side asks: is it necessary to give a POV character a plot arc?
Nothing is necessary. But I think it's kind of lame not to. *g*
That's right! Show Gavin his place! You give a character a POV and soon they'll not only want their own plot arc, they'll want their own whole bloody series.
Dear Ms Bear,
we have been employed by Gavin the Mechanical Basilisk (hereinafter referred to as Gavin) to act as his representatives in the matter of his request for POV status.

We note from your correspondence that you assert that you have already fulfilled AI lifeform quotas for this book, however we would draw your attention to the Anthropomorphisation of Semi-sentient and Sentient Beings Act 2063, Section 3b para i:
In the case of beings expected to perform double duty as both mythical creature and anthropomorphised being then POV quotas shall be raised by 33% to accommodate the extra responsibility.
You may recall the case of K-9 vs BBC (2008) where it was established that K-9's contribution to Sarah Jane necessitated POV status.
We therefore request that you meet with our client at the earliest opportunity to discuss arrangements for his 33% POV.

We further note the thinly veiled threat 'your continued survival permitting' and would advise that any termination of our client would be considered malicious and we would instigate appropriate procedings immediately.

Yours Sincerely,
Pigeon Hed
AI Lawyer

What? Other lawyers?

Dear Mr. Hed:

We have received notice that you purport to represent Mr. Gavin Basilisk in the matter of Basilisk v. Bear. Please note that Mr. Basilisk has opted to select our law firm in the representation and has signed an engagement letter and sent us a retainer check. Please do not attempt to represent Mr. Basilisk further.

Very truly yours,
Gerald A. Disbarr
Dear Ms. Bear:

Our office represents Gavin Basilisk a / k / a "Gavin the Mechanical Basilisk" ("Gavin") in his continued literary endeavors. First, your assertion that Gavin is, in your words, "a snarky four-kilogram nanotech colony that thinks it's a mythical animal," is quite offensive to Gavin and the image he has been carefully creating. In fact, this may suitably lead to an action for libel as your defamatory comments may cause irreparable harm to Gavin's career. He may never be able to marry, have children, and perform unsuitable racial humor at the Laugh Factory due to your lamentable defamation. We thus ask you to cease and desist all further publication of this unpleasant description, as it is inaccurate and defamatory.

Further, the existence of a signed contract between you and Gavin, dated 1/5/07, details that Gavin would have at least 25% of the book devoted to him, and that it would be done so in a point-of-view that would be sufficiently accurate to present to the readers the delight and happiness that such a mythical animal would feel. After noting your excellent work with non-existent creatures such as vampires, fairies, and cyborgs, Gavin feels that you were and are the best writer to represent him in the literary arena. Failure to fulfill the terms of the contract, signed in triplicate and notarized by my housecat Simon, would be devastating and will certainly mean that Gavin will be forced to resort to legal means to enforce the contract.

We appeal to your good nature to reconsider Gavin's position. Should your good nature not prevail, I will, if necessary, have to report this possibly criminal conduct to the attorney general, a fully neutral third party, who happens to be my little brother Alan.

Very truly yours,
Barr, Disbarr and Crowbarr
Gerald A. Crowbarr

cc: Mr. Basilisk
(via e-mail)
Somebody else already made the same joke, I'm afraid.

tch tch.

You lawyers are so predictable.

Fortunately, in my universe, the only lawyers are in cages, and we ride them like ponies.

And you say characters aren't REAL


Why am I reminded of...

Marvin: "Reverse primary thrust, Marvin." That's what they say to me. "Open airlock number 3, Marvin." "Marvin, can you pick up that piece of paper?" Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to pick up a piece of paper.
::dies:: That whole thing about the sense of humour and being funny... in spades with many buckets full.
THank you. *g*
*g* I try.
The last time a character did this to me, I told her that she could have the second book as long as I could give her a love interest. (This was a threat.)

I'm writing the book in question for Novel in 90. She's one of four POVs, and I still ended up giving her two of 'em...

Maybe we could get a little bit of snarky basilisk flash fiction? Just to tide him over, you understand.
... I can't wait to read this book. o.O
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