Archive for July, 2002

Fun with Spelling

Tuesday, July 30th, 2002

Freeshell’s back, and I bet you didn’t even notice it was gone.
Here’s something I found on-line and saved for Lori:



Monday, July 29th, 2002

i’m a cat. what kinda
pet are you?

quiz made
by muna.

In Search of the DS9 Encyclopedia

Sunday, July 28th, 2002

I’m just trying to write a little Garak/7 fic here, and I can’t find the DS9
Encyclopedia. It used to be at,
but if you go there now and wait ten minutes you’ll get a message claiming it’s
moved to,
the catch being that the encyclopedia exceeded 0catch’s bandwidth limit and has
been blocked.

So where is it? What kind of fandom can’t find bandwidth for its biggest
website, the one that’s linked everywhere? It’s as if Delta Blues
were down and out and no one said a thing about it.

Seema, I’m holding you personally responsible.

Snow Crash, Diplomatic Immunity

Sunday, July 28th, 2002

Well, no one’s going to listen to me if I criticize Snow Crash, which was, I admit, a funny book. The dystopic future was spot-on; I especially appreciated Uncle Enzo. The characters didn’t rise to the same level of development - no surprise for sci-fi.

There was one twist of non-characterization that’s really beginning to annoy me, though - I call it lover ex machina. The last time I spotted it was in The Eyre Affair, in which the heroine’s ex-boyfriend is alluded to ad nauseum until the author finally produces him at the end. In Snow Crash, the hero’s ex-girlfriend makes a few cryptic remarks before disappearing for most of the novel. In the end, if you’ll pardon the spoiler, the known lead character is united with the unknown ex for happily ever after.

I object. If you’re going to write a romance, you should write it - with both characters on-stage for a significant amount of time. If you don’t want to write a romance, then don’t try to cash in on the happily-ever-after by pulling the ex out of a bag and awarding them to the hero as a literary bonus prize. It’s sheer laziness, and it’s jarring to the reader who has been rooting for the best supporting character of the opposite gender - not for some off-stage no-good ex who left Our Hero for an inadequately explained reason long before the novel began.

I would have thought that one was obvious.

I made a killing at the library last week: I snagged a copy of Diplomatic Immunity, Lois McMaster Bujold’s latest Vorkosigan novel. I have to admit, I was disappointed. I noticed about halfway through that the novel wasn’t going anywhere in particular - it really was just another case for Miles’ unique blend of detective work and one-man space operatics. At that point I thought the pacing was off; I had to finish the whole thing before I realized I was looking for something that wasn’t there. My other pacing problem came near the end, when Miles spends what could have been a significant portion of the novel semi-conscious. Instead of following Ekaterin’s actions, LMB just let the whole section drop. I wonder if she intended to all along, or if that was an unfortunate cut.

I think Diplomatic Immunity is a triumph of the series over the novel - there is nothing new here, either in plot or characterization. Instead, everything from the sidekicks to uterine replicators to lovable misfits from Jackson’s Whole to Cetagandans is taken, in whole or in spirit, from earlier in the series, and the setting is from Falling Free. A Civil Campaign was also heavy on series background, but at least it featured some character development.

The novel, people who write how-to-write books say, is the hero’s evolution under outside pressure. Miles does not evolve here, and neither do the secondary characters. That doesn’t make Diplomatic Immunity any less entertaining as space opera, but LMB herself might admit it’s not a real book:

[Barrayar] turned into the book it always should have been, a real book, where plot, character, and theme all worked together to make whole greater than the sum of its parts. It turned out to be about something, beyond itself. –Lois McMaster Bujold

If anyone (and it would probably have to be Liz) can tell me what Diplomatic Immunity was about, I’d love to hear it.

The End of the World, As Usual

Friday, July 26th, 2002

I’m always a day behind the news because I read it in the Metro
instead of watching on TV or paying attention to the radio in the morning. No
sooner had I found out that we’re all going to die of
Asteroid 2002
than the sky was declared less likely to fall. Armageddon amuses me,
so I’m glad there are other signs of the End out there.

In the doom and gloom news, a Korean woman is
with a human clone
. One probably shouldn’t trust a news service called
Pravda - it protests too much, as it were - but one part of the
article I know to be true from other sources: The big force behind cloning is
the Raelian sect, which believes mankind
was left here by aliens. Besides their
cloning projects, they’re also into
crop circles and hedonism.

The most disturbing man bites dog story I read this week was about the
new centipede
in Central Park. There should not be anything new under the mulch. The
Wisconsin plan to kill
deer with Mad Deer Disease
pales by comparison.

Chronicles of Jemima

Friday, July 26th, 2002

The only book which doesn’t take place in Narnia
at all, per se,
you’re the story of a voyage to find the end of the world and hopefully the
Seven Lost Lords (remember Rhoop!). You contain some of the most unique
people and places and beautiful descriptions of the whole series.

Find out which Chronicles
of Narnia book you are.

The answers were a bit of a giveaway, even after many years out of Narnia.

For something more practical, see the latest issue of
zendom, in which Christine
gives helpful advice on evolving from a tree sloth into a writer.

Trek to Blog

Thursday, July 25th, 2002

The numbers of VOY bloggers seem to be increasing. I was checking out
what I believe is
Astrogirl’s blog, but she doesn’t
exactly sign it anywhere. From there I found some of the old J/C crowd, like
JinnyW and
Yael, and also
this lovely J/C fic quiz:

the fic quiz.
because sara said to.

I might as well be C/7, indeed. You can check out the other possibilities
from the results
. It certainly says something about JetCdom that the only insulting
result (”Creation of Braga”) is the one for canon.

And I was about to get all sentimental about the bad old days. I think I’ll
get back to that Garak/7 fic, instead.

For the Spatula

Wednesday, July 24th, 2002

Here’s a link for Veronica, compliments of Seema:

Save Martha!

Singular Their

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002

I’m a proponent of they as the neuter singular pronoun in English.
I came across defenses of singular their back when I used to read
Jane Austen fanfic. In fact,
this page is
probably the very one I came across in my fateful search for Jane
Austen-related material. Many fanfic addictions must begin with such nebulous
desires for more, though most don’t lead to
The Derbyshire Writers’ Guild.

I think Liz was recommending new fandoms as a way to revive flagging
muses. Maybe I should go back to my first fandom - maybe I should write
Jane Austen fic. (For an amusing JA metafic, see
. The grass isn’t any greener on the other side of 1900.)

Terrible Twos

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2002

I’m two years old this month, and in response to yet another poll on
Zendom I wrote up my thoughts on my first fanfic (by start date rather than

Title: Marriage
is Irrelevant

Author: Jemima
Series: VOY
Date: July-September 2000

This was my first fanfic, and also my first work of fiction.
I was pushed over the edge after a few weeks of heavy reading of the
Janeway/Chakotay Story Index, specifically when I read a story in which
Janeway gets amnesia and forgets she’s married to Chakotay. I thought
the more interesting question was how they’d gotten married in the first
place - I came to the conclusion that it must have required serious
professional help. Or rather, the muse came to the conclusion and
pestered me with the story for days before I started typing it up for her.

This story was 100k long, with a focus on the alien professionals and Tom
Paris, universal narrator and screw-up, and a certain weakness in the areas
of B’Elanna and Tuvok which it took me quite a while to get over. You can tell
from the title that my interest in Seven of Nine goes back to the very beginning. A few other common factors from my writing, such as short stories about aliens embedded in the longer story and, of course, marriage, also made their debut in this fic.

It took me about three months to write the thing, starting exactly two years
ago. I could finish a story of that length more quickly now. I had no clue
what I was doing and I suffered from perfectionism, so I worked over the
story until I practically knew it by heart. I’m sure it suffers from wandering
POV, since I was still wandering a year and half later when I wrote my first
Buffy fic.

MII is one of my favorites among what I’ve written - I’m not
ashamed of it, but then I never posted it to ASC. I wrote other stories
while this one was in progress and posted those to ASC (one won an award);
it wasn’t my writing
I was reluctant to let out, but the sappy theme deterred me. I try to restrict
the sap to fora where it’s welcome.