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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

The world keeps you honest.

Last night I rocked the world. Today, I'm derivative but very competent, and maybe a little too smart for my own britches. (Reflection's Edge has a review of Hammered up. )

Well, it's not like I haven't heard that before. And I do really like deconstructing genre; it's true. It's one of the major reasons I'm a genre writer.

I'd say overall it's a positive review, and I really like seeing what my work looks like from the outside. (Dang, she caught on that everything I write is political thrillers disguised as other genres!) Sekritly, narcissism is the reason I write; I like seeing people talk about my brain.

Speaking of which, only three copies of Hammered left at Amazon! (I'm suspending my check-once-a-day-policy until they're gone. It's not like I'm *looking at the sales rank* after all.)

Good writing night last night. Rang in the new year in Yorkshire, Boston, Columbus, Toronto, San Antonio, Illinois, Calgary, Las Vegas and Nome. Which was pretty cool, despite the five-hour gap for the Atlantic. Next year we should make sure to hit Newfoundland and maybe Iceland too.

I also got all the paper edits input to One-Eyed Jack and added a short scene and a bunch of snippets here and there that hopefully made the internal arcs a little clearer. (Nothing like your protag telling you a major fact about his pre-mythic life shortly *after* you finish the book. Thanks, Jack-Jackie. Thank you very much.)

So today, I have one more scene to write, and a bunch of twiddling to do.

I should probably get on that, shouldn't I?


*g* That's actually a strongly favorable review - Romie's very picky. Did you read her review of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell?

If it's any consolation, I was forced to loan her the book to read & review when I was half way through, and I'm dying to finish.

Happy New Year's!
I did! And have been living in dread ever since.

Did she used to have a career selling cereal? *g*

Wel, I hope you get to read it soon, and I look forward to your impressions as well.

I keep hoping somebody other than the Unsinkable Harriet Klausner will put up a review on Amazon. But no luck so far.

Re: well, if you haven't heard....

I hadn't heard.

As long as you promise not to be overly nice. *g*

And Shadowrun is like Bladerunner with dice pools--and magic.

One thing I am wondering about the review is where the "jargon" and slang in the book are supposed to be. One of the characters--Razorface--uses a touch of Black English, but that's the extend of it, other than a few military and medical terms, and some well-worn SF terminology.

Re: well, if you haven't heard....

*g* No shock you thought of Brunner, really--the book's strongest influence is Stand on Zanzibar. And there's probably a fair amount of Geo. Alec Effinger influence too, including a When Gravity Fails joke. I tend to think of *myself* as a "New New Wave" writer, if I have to belong to anything. Or "Eco-Gothic," which describes the...ethos as much as anything else. (Peter Watts and John Brunner also encompass what I think of as Eco-Gothic. It's not so much a literary movement as a descriptive term.)

And Cyberpunk is dead, really. Or dead in terms of cutting age stuff. It doesn't really exist any more as a subgenre. In any case, the writers you mention--Brunner, Dick--and Zelazny, and Varley and so on and so forth (the experimental character-driven writers), are much heavier influences on me than Cyberpunk in general.

Although I read and really liked Pattern Recognition, which is not Cyberpunk, of course. But rather good.

Re: well, if you haven't heard....

Sheep Look Up is the ecological disaster one. Shows up in Children Of The Thunder, too. (Boy, he had good titles).

Yeah, the last fifty pages of Pattern Recognition needed to be a hundred fifty pages. I thought the book was claustrophobic, but I liked that about it. And his sentence level work is v. shiny for me these days.

And yeah, there's no Cyberpunk in Dick.

Lots more in Brunner, anyway.

Of dice pools and magic

Of the two roleplaying games based on the Cyberpunk genre, I think Shadowrun is closer to Neuromancer than Cyberpunk 2020 was. Because there's a lot of magic in Neuromancer, if you look closely (hell, the title is a clue). By Mona Lisa Overdrive, the magic in Gibson's novels was getting quite overt.

But I think maybe Gibson tries to be Alfred Bester - The Stars my Destination is very early SF and features evil corporations and corrupt governments. Impressively, the science of it doesn't seem horribly dated.

Re: Of dice pools and magic

Ooo, Bester!

And The Stars My Destination has one of my favorite opening lines of all time.

I agree; Gibson owes a good deal to the New Wave.

Re: the Unsinkable

She's a legend in the industry.

I think she may be a cabal.
Not one nod to it being a first novel, indeed the 'experienced' would make me think you'd novelled in another genre or corner of the genre. ::grins:: And some interesting company in the 'you may also enjoy'. Ooo I get to learn about reviews from your experiences too...


Just call me your friendly neighborhood Ukrainian Mine Detector.

Damn, this scene is putting up a fight.
Bear, you knew the Mohawks were champion steelworkers in NYC when you put that bit in, didn't you?

*grin* Clardy, in "High Iron" over at the elizabethbear blog, is Mohawk too. Although it's pretty subtle.

And if people don't get the symbolism in Hammered, it's a little more pointed up in Scardown. Since the bit with the eagle didn't get cut.

Actually, *one* of the things I was aiming for was a bit of a deconstruction of Cyberpunk tropes--one reason why the protag is female, and older, and ugly, and why the cyberware is not so pretty shiny live fast die young. I wanted to take apart some of the things I disliked about a lot of Cyberpunk... such as the feeling I often got that a bunch of the writers didn't understand that a lot of the people who live in the 'hood *care* about the 'hood, and go out of their way to make it better.

Walter Mosely's Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned was in some ways pivotal for me in this respect.

On the other hand, the reviewer is certainly entitled to what she got out of the book, and if it's a cyberpunk adventure romp that she got, that's fine by me. It's how the book is packaged, after all.

I can think of one sympathetic Cyberpunk protagette--Sarah in WJW's Hardwired. Who's a stone killer... but I like her.

Re: no, not the hairstyle

*g* The old paperback book is a Three Investigators novel, because that amused me.

Oh, yeah, Signy Mallory and Cirocco Jones are both definitely present in the archetypes who preceed Jenny. And Ellen Ripley, natch. I've always loved crotchety tough old women....

Re: the Iroquois thing--well, and the thing is, everybody mentions she's Mohawk. Nobody mentions she's Catholic. *g* Which is pretty unusual in genre too.

Re: no, not the hairstyle

...isn't that a John Varley story?

*don't kill me*
...and maybe a little too smart for my own britches.

Typically a comment from someone wishing they'd thought of something first. :)
We had a party last night - I announced that Elizabeth Bear had agreed to be a Guest of Honor at a future Writer's Weekend (to be determined) and it turns out that one of our guests, Shelly Baur, wrote a 4.5 star review of Hammered for one of the last editions of Amazing Stories. She recommended we all read it, of course. Which I will do, just as soon as my copy arrives from Amazon, dammit.
*g* Dang, now I have to find that review!

I am looking forward to meeting you in person, by the way.
I'm looking forward to meeting you, too!
Hope you don't mind me gossiping about you...check this out:

I am very flattered. What lovely things you say about me....

To be fair, Jenny does have a good lust going for a worthy gentleman (gotta get that sex scene in there somehow, by gum!) but it's not her major motivating force.

Actually, come to think of it, her major motivating forces are her children (not one of whom are biologically hers) and her sense of duty and/or survivor guilt. Which are often the same thing, aren't they?
I know you're not looking at the Amazon rankings, but at the moment yours is higher than mine. Rock on, Ms. Bear!
*g* That's only because I'm in paperback....

Which reminds me, I need to score a copy of OMW and pile it on my to-read pile. SO I can read it in 2007. :-P
Damn, I missed New Years, and I was really looking forward to it. Got my copy of _Hammered_ from Amazon though. :)
we missed you!