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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

Reading and Writing Maunderings

I'm reading the first Jim Butcher "Harry Dresden" book, and enjoying it. (Just keeping up on my stablemates). It's a nicely built world. The writings a little more transparent and the characterization a little more on-the-nose than I like, but what I like isn't necessarily the most commercial stuff out there, and this is much more engaging than most of what I've read on the popular end of SFF lately.

My husband bought the whole run the other day. He never does anything by half-measures.

Of course, in some ways, this is bad, because it's got me thinking about the books I eventually want to write on the human perspective of what happens after Bridge of Blood & Iron. And all the stuff I want to do with Kelpie and with One-eyed Jack. And whether those universes (The Stratford Man/Bridge of Blood & Iron/Glass of Rain universe and the One-eyed Jack & the Suicide King universe) are actually the same universe, after all.

As I suspect they are.

And I don't need to be planning a series out four or five books ahead when I haven't rewritten the first one to make it marketable yet. Still, I have a lot of stories to tell about those guys--the Fae, the Prometheans, and all the people caught in between them. I suspect that one could go on for a very long time: it's such a varied universe. There's the possibility for a Victorian book (Yeats! Crowley! Railroads! Irene Adler! The Tsavo Lions! (hee. I could bring back Magnus!) ), and there's also the potential for a little something revolving around Keats, Byron, and the Shelleys. In addition to bucketloads of second-world urban fantasy taking place more or less in the here-and-now.

And then there's the Eddas. And the science fiction stuff. Oh, so many ideas. So little time.




because jim introduced me to the OWW and therefore is directly responsible for getting me published and meeting all you fine people, I too read his books.
i do, however, think his worldbuilding is very narrow and Harry, himself isn't 3d for me, he's very precise and very this-and-this and there's not enough of him for me to care about him.

that being said, I'm reading book 5. Something about it has improved for me, but I don't know what it is yet.

i want to love these books. But i look at them and i look at LKH (I met Jim on an LKH fanlist, easy to see where his inspiration came from) and then I look at my couriers, that just took this HUGE leap from silly charming fun into 'hey they're real people with really f*cked up pasts' and I wonder if books about charming entertaining people that I can neither love nor loathe will ever be enough for me.

i suspect not.

anyway, that's my tangent.

what i meant to say is "i'm on book 5."


Re: butcher

Yeah, I think agree with those points, and that's what I mean by on-the-nose: the characterizations aren't quite complex enough to bring the characters alive on the page. It feels surfacy.

But as near as I can tell, surfacy sells better than contradictory/rounded, in terms of characterization.

Won't stop me from writing the things I like to read, of course (as if it could) and I agree with you about the silliness and charm.

Because there's that magic in Doug Adams, where these characters are absolutely ridiculous people--Dent Arthur Dent, fer cryin' out loud--and yet he can make you live and die for them.

Re: butcher

Nod. In some ways, I think Butcher is doing is LKH much, much better than she is now. I don't rmember much about the characters from book to book; I don't have anyone within them that I adore (in fairness, I did during the early LKH).

That said, I do think they're marvelous fun and very clean, enjoyable reads. And I love how much Harry gets knocked around -- he's magic and all, but he's just a guy and that always appeals to me.

Re: butcher

Hmm. There seems to be something odd going on with your threading, or is it just me?

Re: butcher

It's just you. Actually, it's the boxen in the S2 style sheets.

To be fair, I've read exactly one scene of an LKH novel, and that decided me that they Weren't For Me. So I cannot compare and contrast.

Butcher's stuff is fun, though. It's nice to read something fun.

Ooo. Sorry about that.

I'll see if this style offers a better color scheme. This is one of the defaults. It looks okay on my monitor: gold and olive, but I'm not wedded to it.

Essentially, I've got this three-book metanovel (It's not really a trilogy, but three standalone books that tell one larger story, somewhat like Dave Duncan's King's Blades books) that's referred to collectively as The Edda of Burdens that's complete and waiting its turn in the chute.

Those currently stand alone.

There's a modern urban fantasy called Bridge of Blood & Iron that needs a rewrite before it's ready to submit: that's January's project. It's got Arthurian and Celtic balladry and good old American blues music as influences. I call it "The Tam Lin" book, which is true, for certain values of Tam Lin.

It's set in the same universe as The Stratford Man (which is also known as "Will & Kit's Excellent Adventure") but 400 years later.

One-Eyed Jack & the Suicide King is a novel sharing the same cosmology as those last two, but not otherwise related. Currently only in the proposal and twenty pages stage.

I also have ideas for two more historical fantasies set in this universe--the Yeats book and the Keats book, as they are currently being referred to (Since I already have the Shakespeare book, it seems like a natural progression). I also have ideas for two more modern fantasies that lead off off BRIDGE. One a direct sequel (a/k/a "the Kelpie book", the other an outsider's take on the aftermath of events in those two books, which second item could spawn a little series-ette of its own. Or not. Depending.

Hammered and Scardown are two 100K science fiction books that tell one 200K story. That's what my agent is currently shopping: they're complete.

They need a third 100K book, which has the hated working title Worldwired, to finish out their arc. I know what happens in this book, but it's still a bear cub that needs to be licked into shape before I can start writing it.

Essentially, it all depends on what I sell first, assuming I ever sell anything at all.


I also have more or less developed ideas for two standalone fantasy novels (Les Innocents and The House of Masks, the first one quasiEdwardian second-world mystery thing, the second a WWII historical), a sequel or two to the EDDAS, and a standalone science fiction novel (Carnival).

Probably WAY more than you ever needed to know. I mostly blather here because I can think out loud about priorities without annoying my friends. *g*

Re: Ooo. Sorry about that.

Probably WAY more than you ever needed to know.

No need but much desire; heartening to know that other people have Things To Do lists on similar scales to my own.

[ Colour's much better now; little icons rather than words to read or add comments still grate fwiw ]

Re: Ooo. Sorry about that.

<[ Colour's much better now; little icons rather than words to read or add comments still grate fwiw ]>

Sadly, doesn't seem to be anything I can do about that that's currently within my livejournal programming skills.

Wanna read all these

Lookit that, it all fit in the subject line ;)

Re: Wanna read all these

*g* Stratford Man is the best, I think. And Hammered/Scardown the runner up. But that's good. "I hope I've improved since then."
For the benefit of those of us who have recently come in, have you anything public that sets out what these projects are and how they relate ? I'm getting a "coming in at the middle" feel from this post.

Also, the shades of green in which your comment fields are coming up are damn near illegible to me; contrast between text and background is way too low.
Victorian book please.


But Eddas are good too. Anything is good, really. :)


But I hate the Victorians.

And Victorian Faeries are so laaame.

Re: Argh!

Have you read Ian McDonald's King of Morning Queen of Day ?

Re: Argh!

No, I haven't.

I was thinking more of, The Blue Fairy Book and so forth. *g*

Honestly, the Victorian period overall does very little for me. Even more unfortunately, it's a pivotal point in my cosmology, because of railroad building. Which would require even MORE explanation--

Re: Argh!

I think you might like KoM, QoD.

In brief, it's a generational novel about three Irish women interacting with a Faerie of sorts; a girl who moons over Yeatsian faeries and indeed briefly meets Yeats while her father is convinced he's communicating with aliens; a slightly older girl in the 1930s, dealing with romantic Irsh rebels and Beckett-type tramps [ and getting a really cool riff on Molly Bloom soliloquy ]; and a 1990s section which is somewhere between Clive Barker and cyberpunk, modewise.

I have very little critical judgement of this book, a lot of why I love it is having lived in some of the places where the action is set - he does sense of place like nobody else - but I still think it leaves most urban fantasy gawking in the dust, and it's one of the only two novels about Ireland I've ever found bearable. [ The other is also by McDonald, Sacrifice of Fools, which is basically Alien Nation set in day-after-tomorrow Belfast. {"But are they Catholic aliens or Protenstant aliens ?" } ]

Re: Argh!

I will add it to the list.

*dies, crushed under list*

Seriously, it sounds *very* neat.


It rather shocked me that you only just realised you're really writing the stories of one very varied universe - one concept, if you will. After BTMB, when I read Jenny's story, it all clicked for me.

But then again, it may be that you're too close to your own work . And I have all that practice watching King build his own and begin to climax it in the Dark Tower series.

I'm going to try to do the impossible, though. I'm going to try to build several different universes before I'm done with this writing thing. Don't try to stop me, I'm working on fooling myself .

Re: Surprised

Hmm. And my immediate response to your post is that you get much better drugs in Trinidad than we do here in the states. Either that, or the books you were betareading were not the books I thought I was writing.

I don't actually see any way that the hard SF universe of Hammered could be reconciled physically, cosmologically, or historically with either the multipostapocalyptic second-world Norse fantasy of the Eddas or the real-world Celtic/Arthurian/folk-process mythology of the Otherkin books (the Bridge universe). I can kind of jam the Jackie stories into the Bridge universe--in that they're both real-world urban fantasy--but that breaks down for two reasons: at the end of Bridge, which is set in 1997, the world changes utterly... and Jackie's world never undergoes that transformation. And the magic systems in the Jackie stories and the Otherkin books do not mesh at all: in fact, they contradict each other.

Much as I joke about Jackie being a shadow of Kit, it doesn't work.

I've actually noticed that readers really seem to want all of this stuff to work together, though: cpolk insists that the Prometheans must have something to do with Hoover Dam in the Jackie stories (which doesn't work, because the Dam does things that the Prometheans would be totally opposed to), and Larry spent an entire crit on "The Train They Call The City" trying to bend it to fit into the Hammered universe (which it patently doesn't.)

And the Garrett stories are another second-world fantasy setting entirely.

Which probably means I'm spread all over the place, and to which I say, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin, and so forth.

But then, I've never been able to understand how so many writers can work quite happily in one series, one world, one subgenre. One character, even.

Although it seems to work very, very well for many of them, I would get really bored really fast, I think.

Re: Surprised

There is a Walter Jon Williams comment, from memory as I've not been abel to find it on a quick Google, to the effect that although "reno" as a common term for AI in Aristoi is a reference to the character of that anme in Hardwired, they're not set in the same history, it's just that in the Aristoi universe Hardwired is as significant and formative a piece of Great Literature as Moby Dick.

So, in which of your secondary worlds do the books about the other secondary worlds exist ?

[ Maybe I shouldn't let the systems-programmer voices interact with other people's novels. ]

Re: Surprised

Hmm. You know, I don't think that any of my books exist in any of the other universes. Well, if I manage to publish the second-world stuff, it may very well exist in the real-world fantasies.

But I'm not sure it would ever be noticed, since I very rarely write about people who read genre literature.