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December 2021



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writing companion to wolves _ truepenny

It should be out any day now if it isn't already,

so, here's an open thread in which to ask questions and/or comment on A Companion to Wolves.

Be warned, comments likely will include spoilers, speculation, and hot wolfcarl-on-wolfcarl action.


I liked the novel. I'm hoping that there might be more stories in that world.
I'm taking it for granted...
I am also waiting on the great and terrible amazon.
I can't look, because apparently I won't have it until the end of the month. The UK appears to have a later release date, or else my supplier is telling me wild inaccuracies.

Going to sulk now.

The wolves are cool. I like all the wolves! My friend's comment, though, was that humans are in heat all the time. How come it doesn't work that way, instead of the wolves affecting the humans? & why is the urge to mate necessarily directed towards the person mated to the wolf your wolf is mating with? I.E., couldn't the wolfsprechend & the wolfjarl both shtup other people during heat, if everyone was so inclined? Is it pack sense?

Tin is my favourite character besides the wolves.

There were some cool names in there! I collect cool names. :) I liked Thraslaug & Thurlot or whatever that smith's name was at the end (I collected it by writing it down, evidently, not by memorising it).

It felt a little more like a straight action book than I expected (well, maybe not 'straight';) though, having read some of yours & Sarah Monette's other books.

Thanks for writing! :)
Actually, humans do undergo oestrus: it's a common misconception that we don't. It's just a nearly-silent one, and we're sexual *capable* between times.

But we don't experience anything like a wolf's oestrus, except for possibly being sixteen and passionately in lust (that's meant ironically. ;-) ). It's not comparable to anything in human experience.

The humans aren't really competent to go against the wolves' wishes at that point in time. And the wolves aren't interested in negotiating.
What drove me crazy through the entire book was wondering why on earth there weren't female wolfcarls. Er, carlas. I mean if sexual contact between men was so societally disrespected wouldn't there have been efforts to try to get women invovled? I'd have thought this might get a least a sentence or 2 in story. Ok, my detail oriented brain kept demanding an explanation at the very least. It's like that, my brain.

For the same reason there weren't any female vikings in our world.

*g* You're thinking like a modern American person, not a 9th century Norse one. Gender roles just *aren't* that flexible in their society. They would not, honestly, ever even have *considered* the possibility, any more than you'd get up in the morning and consider bleaching your clothes in piss.

Also, frankly, speaking as a modern day feminist woman? 97% of women wouldn't last a week doing a wolfcarl's job.

Barnes & Noble

Thanks for the heads-up that Barnes & Noble had the book. I went to a store that was near me, found a copy and came home and cancelled my Amazon order!

After reading the book, now I would like to know when the next book in this world will be available? :)

As others have commented, it is a bit confusing with all the character names (along with their wolves' names), any possibility of having a web page that gives us more information on each of the wolfcarls who have a major interaction with Isolfr? I especially I had trouble trying to remember if a character who was courting Isolfr, was older or younger than him. I think that Vethulf is a couple of years older, but I'm not sure about Skjaldwulf.

Re: Barnes & Noble

Glad you found it!

Skjaldwulf is older, as wolfcarls go, which means he's in his thirties. (And one of the oldest ones around. Grimolfr and a couple of others are fortyish.)

A more detailed web page is unlikely, because of the potential for spoilers, and also the time outlay involved. Of course, Sarah might get ambitious and surprise me.

There aren't any immediate plans to do another book in this world--we're both pretty swamped--but you never know. Something might happen one of these days....

Just finished; no real comments at this time, but enjoyed.

Thought of 2 questions

So you won't be bored in this thread...

1) [This may have been careless reading on my part; I had some trouble keeping track of all the names, but that's my problem, and not specific to this book.] What happened to the bridegroom of Njall's sister? Did he survive the battle, or was she freed to marry someone more or her choosing?

2) Thinking of the story of the first partnership (nice job on the alliteration, btw), I can understand what the men get out of hanging with the wolves -- the pack sense, among other things.
But what's the benefit of the arrangement to the wolves? How much of it boils down to "opposable thumbs"?

Re: Thought of 2 questions

1) She's probably stuck with him until the end of time, unfortunately.

2) Wolves don't have fire, or axes. ;-)
After having read the book yesterday, I've been thinking of its beginning and the boy on the stairs, and how the world just kept opening up and tilting and opening up again. It was a wild ride.

So as not to go on and on, I'll try to keep to just the traditional three points (four if one counts the shared desire for a character cheat-sheet ;) ) just now, and try to keep them short as well; it feels peculiar in that they aren't directly about the protag, but they're at the top of my mind today.

• First, you two had me cheering when you went there with the orcs trolls—without making Isolfr's decision too easy.
• Second and secondarily, you actually had me worrying that Viradechtis might not make it through.
• And last (but related to the first), for all that the wolf-carls' human society is predominantly male, it was very satisfying to see how women were interwoven throughout the story and the world, with appreciation for their roles as they stand as well as their roles as they shift. I'd love to see Alfgyfa's apprenticeship.

Questions are in the "What, if anything" line:
• ...did you really want to put into the book but find necessary/appropriate to leave out?
• ...can you tell us about what those two other books in the world might be about?
(Yr. Importunate Reader is concerned about the shift between "We kind of have ideas for two other books, but if they get written depends on getting our contracted work finished first...." to "Something might happen one of these days...." Let me just encourage you to put them in the queue, please. ;) )
• ...did make it in the book that's particularly dear to your heart? (I'm thinking a tidbit—though it could be bigger—that gives you the warm fuzzies or makes you proud or was an OMG! inspiration in the night or was something you just really liked. Whatever.)

Thanks a lot!

(Okay. One last thing. I loved hearing Skjaldwulf talk.)

Edited at 2007-11-25 03:20 am (UTC)
Hi! Glad you liked the book!

Actually, there's not much *I* wanted to put in the book that didn't wind up in there, though I can't speak for Sarah.

I don't know if there will ever be more books in this setting. It all depends on us having the time and inspiration to do it. (Something *might* happen one of these days, and that's the best I can offer.) As for what any sequels might be about, well, it's too soon to say anything concrete, but there's some lines of development left at the end of ACtW--Alfgyfa, after all; and Vethulf and Skjaldwulf have a lot of unexplored potential; and then there's the larger society, and what it's like off the front lines--there's civilized places farther South, after all.

And there's other troll populations in the Northlands. *g*

Sarah and I are divided on how me might explore any of those options, though, so before anything got written, we would have to come to agreement on what we might enjoy writing. (And we both have our own novels under contract, and an array of short fiction projects. Writing a collaboration is more fun than writing a novel by yourself, but not by any means appreciably less work.)

As for my favorite parts of the book--the whole thing was a tremendous amount of fun to write, because of the teamwork aspect and the fact that we knew where we were going and could take over work from each other when it got boring. The part I love best, however, is the bit where the Wolfmaegth is running south like mad from the Iskryne, trying to make it to the coast in time. I've always been a sucker for pell-mell dashes in the face of impossible deadlines, a narrative kink I blame on JRR Tolkien.
AT last Amazon has delivered! I am so enjoying the echoes of 'Dragonflight' though I'm sure I've missed a lot of subtleties. I love the alliteration, too.

It's also very interesting how remote the wolfcarls' society is from everyday life: even the vikings, as you know, Bob, had family life back home in the fjords, but these guys don't have that. It reminds me, oddly, of the trenches in WWI when the troops were almost wholly cut off from what we'd call civilised life. I suspect that condition is necessary when there has to be a dedicated warrior class whose sole job is to protect the rest.

Thank you both!
Yeah. Well, Isolfr makes a pretty good crack at a home life....
Why don't they, at least sometimes, just tie up all the wolfcarls who would be involved in the rut? No doubt it would be painfully frustrating for the tied up men, but frustration goes away after rut; rape trauma is worse and lasts longer. Plus maybe someone would come along and lend the tied up guys a "hand". Anyway I didn't get the feeling the wolves would be too upset by their brothers' frustration; after all Viradechtis seemed to get through her mating just fine despite Isolfr's distress. Seems odd that the idea of tying up wasn't mentioned, even if there were some reason not to do it.
The dominance battle involves the men, too. Everybody gets a chance to fight.

And it's not rape. Everybody involved consents, and knows going in what is about to happen.

They have a mechanism in place for limiting access to the bitch in heat; they either send her away, or they send away the dogs they don't want bred to her.
I spent months totally failing to find this in bookstores or in libraries, and then someone finally ordered it and I put a hold on it and waited three weeks for it to come in and then read it in about five hours. Uh. So put me in with the large group of fans sadly wishing it had been a little longer, or the ending more satisfying.

BUT I still loved it both from the "wallowing in id" viewpoint and the "fantastic queering/deconstruction of the tropes" viewpoint. You link reviews, so I know you've already seen everything potentially intelligent I might have to say about it. I just wanted to tell you that I understood what you and Monette were doing, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think I'll be buying a copy soon. *thumbs up*
thank you. *g*

(Hey. *I* thought the ending was satisfying!)
I've just finished this and thoroughly enjoyed it. I particularly like the challenges of traditional gender roles and the relationships that the wolfcarls and wolves develop with each other and with their packs.

I also liked the connection, however brief, that Isolfr manages with the troll female at the end.

Was the world this book is set in something that you had both developed before you started writing, or did you find that aspects of it came out during the writing process?

The answer to your last question is "yes." Some of it we knew in advance, some of it we grew as we went. basically, it was a big wonderful game of make-believe. *g*


Ok. I am a new reader to this book and I really wanted to comment on this topic because like some of the readers, I thought you were going to make this something that the character decided was a easy sexy thing. I really appreciate how you handled it. Isolfr makes the necessary decisions and accepts the consequences of his being bonded to a female wolf. There is no sugar coating. You don't make his first mating something out of yaoi fantasy where even if the encounter is rough, the character is all ok with it and really into it. And I think it was realistic how you portrayed your character after several rounds of rough intercourse. I really have no respect for writers who minimize such issues when they choose to write about them. That scene was uncomfortable and painful but it was supposed to be. And making him homosexual and thoroughly into what was going on would have been a cop out. You all handled it well, I thought.
Thank you very kindly.
I just recently got this book out of my library, and I'm about halfway through (on page 163) and I love the ideas and world, as well as everything else about it.

You're handling the explicit bits very well so far, and everything else is awesome. I can't wait to actually finish it, and see how Isolfr does.

So yes - I would be very, very interested in sequels/books in the same universe, and I would most likely buy them. :D
Thank you very much.

We've sold two sequels, the first of which should be out from Tor in early 2011.