Deconstruction Roundup for January 20th, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is looking forward to having a night out.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Let us know, please, if there are errors in the post. Or if you don’t want to be included. Or if there’s someone who you think should be included, which includes you. We can use more content. Or if you are fully nervous about doing something you haven’t done in a very long time. Or for any other reason, really.

The Renegades of Pern: A Transit Chapter

Last time, there’s a plot happening in Southern that nobody really knows yet, and Thella, Lady Holdless, evaded capture with her lieutenants despite the best attempts of the Lords and Benden to catch her by surprise. With one of her main strongholds captured, Thella is on the run without much for supplies or hiding places, until she can get the heat off of her and start to rebuild.

The Renegades of Pern: Chapter Eight: Content Notes: None

(Telgar to Keroon’s Beastmaster Hold, Present Pass 12)

The fallout from the failed raid opens the chapter – Jayge collects his pay and charges off into the wild, Perschar retires back to Nerat so as to paint less dangerous subjects, and Thella’s band find themselves still in the Hold they had, under the command of Eddik, making them no longer holdless and less likely to return to Thella. We then settle on Jayge as the lead for this segment, having decided on revenge against Thella and an attempt to save Readis from her as his course of action. Sticking close to Aramina is the long term plan, but for now, Jayge tries very hard to beat Thella to Igen. He failed. Brare, the one who served Thella chowder, is already dead, so Jayge sees if he can find the secret passage to Thella’s hiding place here. Nothing turns up, so he turns himself toward getting to Keroon by well-traveled means, fueling his journey with the thought of putting Thella in a pit that she can’t get out of and leaving her there to die, as she screams and begs to be released. At Keroon, he signs on to help move some animals to the Beastmaster Hold, while inquiring about Thella’s lieutenants. We finally get some connective tissue to the Toric story, as Jayge discovers here the regular shipments to Southern, and their unofficial nature. And then forges new shoes for his runner in a Smith’s forge, waiting to see if a contact of his comes through. It does, and so Jayge gets a mare to be delivered to Benden, some money, and an escort of other runner drivers going in the same direction.

Naturally, this means it’s time to switch back to Piemur and Toric. There has been some progress, maybe…

Piemur was back at Southern and had finally cornered Toric into fulfilling his promise to let him explore freely in the South. He had arrived armed with a polite request from Master Robinton, a request that, since it bore F’lar’s signet, was more of an indirect order.
“I’ve got my journeyman’s knot, I spent hours with Wansor, Terry, and that oaf of a Fortian, Benelek, so I’m qualified to keep Records that will be accurate as long as the Dawn Sisters remain in place. So you’ll know, my Lord Holder-”
“Don’t call me that,” Toric snapped, his eyes flashing so angrily that Piemur wondered if he’d overplayed his hand.

Why is Toric angry at being called a Lord Holder? It’s pretty clearly what he is, with more of a claim than many, although he hasn’t officially made the claim yet. (The next few lines past the quote are Piemur telling Toric what he needs to put together for when he makes that official claim.) Is it something like not wanting the title of the person he so forcefully rejected at the beginning? It is it that he doesn’t want to be in the same grouping as the sons that he’s taking on? With the way Toric is, I would have expected him to preen some at that address, not get pissed at it.
Also, Piemur has been getting progressively rougher around the edges than he was in Dragondrums. He had previously been characterized as clever, sometimes too clever for things, and very possessed of the wanderlust, and I still wonder whether he has an attraction to Sharra, but this Piemur is either working in the deep cover that requires almost becoming the mask, or someone took sandpaper to his characterization in this revisiting, that he’s so openly contemptuous of the others he just studied under.

Also, is this the first time anyone has mentioned that dragonriders have signet rings for their communications? Doesn’t that also posit the existence of wax and/or candles, which would make glow collection seem strange, unless there have been enough accidents that candles are used only for signatures, instead of for light and heat? Or ink of some sort, perhaps, for the rings to stamp a design on official documents?

A few of these things get answers in the next segment. Namely, Piemur definitely has a thing for Sharra, who has him rather firmly as a friend. That’s not important to Piemur, though, as he hopes that perhaps he can be useful enough to Toric to collect Sharra as a bride anyway. Piemur also has a dual purpose for exploration – both Toric and Robinton will benefit from his maps, and he knows that both Toric and the dragonriders will want as much of that land as possible. Piemur doesn’t care about the politics just as long as he can explore the place forever.

In any event, as long as Piemur got to set one foot in front of the other unto he ran out of land, he would let the disposition if it rest with others – such as the Masterharper and the Benden Weyrleaders. They deserved more of the South than Toric ever did. But then, Lessa had a habit of giving perfectly good Holds away.

Huh? If Piemur is talking about Ruatha, Lessa had no intention of giving it up, and it took Jaxom’s birth to take that away from her. If he’s talking about something else, I’m not sure we’ve seen it enough for it to become a habit attributed to Lessa.

In any case, the Southern segment finishes with Piemur getting permission to explore and then setting off with Stupid into the brush. Then we go over to Jayge, who has made the turn to go north to Benden, and really appreciates the mare he’s escorting. After a night in a farm, Jayge encounters a hunting party of kids going after wherries, who ends up escorting him the rest of the way to the Hold, where he delivers the mare and earns his delivery fee, as well as another endorsement for his warrant of character. The hospitality of the Hold is excellent, and Jayge receives a “blatant come-on” from a journeywoman, who then also contrives to give Jayge a good feel for her breasts during the serving of the soup. If it weren’t for the fact that Jayge spots someone much more interesting at the table, he might have been getting busy that night. The lady he spots is out of his league and destined for the Weyr, and as he finds out the next morning, is also the intended recipient of the horse he brought. She has him entirely tongue-tied, not that she knows how smitten he is with her. Despite the narrative being coy with her name, we have a big clue as to who she is.

“Ah, so you’d know burden beasts better.” For some reason the girl’s smile was tinged with wistfulness. “We had a yoke – I called them Nudge and Shove. They did a lot of it, but they never let us down.”

So, of course it’s Aramina, and she’s beautiful and destined for the Weyr, and possibly Thella’s designs. Jayge wants to stay, but has no excuse to do so. And that brings this chapter to a close.

The problem is, this chapter is filler. There’s no actual content here other than “Jayge takes a horse to Benden, and falls for Aramina. Piemur gets closer to being the Explorer of Pern.” This is the second filler chapter for the book, which is not a good sign – tightening it up would probably leave more room for Thella, who is the only plot worth following at this point.

Open Thread: The stories you want to read/watch/hear/play

(by chris the cynic)

Arisia 2017 is over, and I return to my home.  Half of what I did there was listen to panels on how we need new stories that are better than the old ones.  Stories where, as but one example, not everyone is a straight white cis male except perhaps for some tokens with low life expectancy.

One panelist talked about writing, “The stories you want to read but can’t find.”

What are the stories you want to read? (Or watch, or hear, or play, or whatever.)

[As a reminder, open thread prompts are meant to inspire conversation, not stifle it. Have no fear of going off topic for there is no off topic here.]

The last two weeks in the Slacktiverse, January 14th, 2017

(posted by chris the cynic; written by members of The Slacktiverse)

The Blogaround

  • Storiteller has been contemplating ways to resist fascism while also raising two kids and not letting her anxiety get the best of her. Here’s what she’s been writing about:
    • What Parents Can Do To Help Love Trump Hate was written the week after the election, but it holds more true than ever. While it is written for parents specifically, it also has a lot of tips for folks who want to resist but don’t have much in the way of time or resources.
    • Sharing Values with Family Stories tells the stories that taught Storiteller much of what she believes now, such as the power of hope, adventure, and letting kids be kids.
    • Storiteller has to be one of the few parents ever to actually look forward to The “But Why?” Phase, even if it didn’t quite go as she anticipated.
    • So much of society sees our kids as a reflection of us as people. But this is Why Our Kids Are Not Our Accomplishments.
    • In Scenes from a Christmas Vacation, she recalls the good, bad, and adorable of the last Christmas at her in-laws house and the first Christmas for her younger son.
  • chris the cynic wrote:
    • Sorry, again, about not getting a “This Week” post last week and about this one being days late.
    • In my super-person universe, I have two things.  The first is part of a larger project I envision about characters who had been turned to stone, stayed that way for varying amounts of time, and then are turned back.  Said larger project is called “The Petrification Chronicles”.  While I’m doing the story of Ge first, said story begins with Des being present to magically observe the attempted depretrification of someone else.
    • The second started as a thing about super-names, but when I needed a reason for the two characters to be talking in the first place I decided to add a giant ooze monster to the beginning.  The fragment is still called, “Lots of people have code names, it’s not that weird,” and it has the now-solo Mishap meeting a non-yet-named fire elemental.
    • I wrote about how I’m interested in the “almost” part of “almost always”, with the post focusing on my thoughts upon learning that mules are not, in fact, always sterile.  Just almost always.
    • I wrote about various not-ready-for-posting things sitting in draft form on the behind the curtain section of Stealing Commas.
    • In real life I ran out of heating oil and, because of time away from home, didn’t notice until the house was already well on its coldward journey.  Then I got oil and was warm again.
    • I wrote a bit about the impressions I was left with after my first day at Arisia.  (Not just my first day this year, my first day ever.)

In Case You Missed This

No submissions this week.

Things You Can Do

No submissions this week.

–Co-authored by the Slacktiverse Community

Deconstruction Roundup for January 13th, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who engaged professionals, disengaged finances, and got out of a bad situation.)

The point of these posts is threefold:

  1. To let people stay up to date on ongoing deconstructions. (All ones on our list, including finished and stalled ones, here.)
  2. To let people who can’t comment elsewhere have a place to comment.
  3. To let people comment in a place where people who can’t read Disqus can see what they have to say.

Ana Mardoll: Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Ross: A Mind Occasionally Voyaging

RubyTea: Heathen Critique

Vaka Rangi: Eruditorium Press

Silver Adept: Here on The Slacktiverse

Let us know, please, if there are errors in the post. Or if you don’t want to be included. Or if there’s someone who you think should be included, which includes you. We can use more content. Or if you are completely waiting for the other shoe to drop hard. Or for any other reason, really.

The Renegades of Pern: Attempting The Plot Again

Last chapter, we spun our wheels a bit getting Piemur up toward the end of Dragondrums, and witnessed Thella raiding Jayge’s caravan, killing and destroying in their wake, only leaving when Readis falsely called a dragonrider in the vicinity.

If Thella finds out, based on her previous inclinations, Readis is dead. As, it seems, is the plot. Let’s see if this chapter fixes that.

The Renegades of Pern: Chapter Seven: Content Notes: Cavalier treatment of life

(Lemos, Southern, Telgar, Present Pass 12)

The plot sticks with Jayge, who is beginning to feel more solid as a possible protagonist, except that he basically keeps having to react to everything happening to him instead of being able to act in any sort of manner. The train captains for the caravan strike a deal for the winter to get everything repaired and replaced in exchange for helping finish expansions and being part of the patrols looking for Thella and her raiders. Jayge talks with a man that can split wood with a thrown axe, Swacky, about the sketches and the ambush, and both quickly come to the conclusion that the ambush was planned for the train, with the idea of crushing so the wagons and creating a total party kill. Had the wagon train been arranged as it had been before, the whole thing would have been a loss. Jayge swears revenge, but Swacky tells him no and that Thella should be turned over to justice…because the line is longer than Jayge about who gets revenge.

Also, worth mentioning is this exchange:

“How would Asgenar know what she’d steal?”
Lord Asgenar,” Swacky corrected, tapping him smartly on the knuckles, his expression severe. “Even in your own head, boy.”

We saw that same construction with Piemur back in Dragondrums, if I recall correctly. Possibly with Menolly before him. It’s an interesting repetition. Admittedly, since this entire book’s attempt at a concept is that the people who hold power over others can basically do whatever they want to those under them, including turning them out without cause or exploiting them into slavery, it makes sense to have it drilled into someone who has “betters” that they should always refer to them by those titles, even in their own minds. Which is why Thella encourages her renegades to break that idea in their own minds. And also might give context to the idea expressed in the past chapter about Lady Holders always being Lady Holders, because of that firm mental control. The foundations of Pern rest on that idea, of Lords and riders always being that way, even in the mind.

The rest of the conversation is about the mysteries of Thella and the attackers, and the way that any caves discovered will be sealed up to try and deny Thella hiding places and supplies. Then the narrative jumps to Toric, who is entirely incensed at the most recent crop of legitimate northerners arriving on his shores. Since these are Holder sons, of course, they have an entirely different attitude toward hard work and building themselves a home. Piemur manages to play to Toric’s sense of superiority and butter him up with the idea of treating the new sons no more special than anyone else, as a pseudo-revenge.

“Let ’em go. The smart ones’ll want to learn. The dumb ones’ll kill themselves off.”

And again, the cavalier attitude toward life on Pern manifests itself, this time through Piemur, who I would expect to have a very different point of view on the matter, considering how he was nearly killed himself by foul-tempered people at the Harper Hall. Coming from Toric, that line wouldn’t bat an eye, but from Piemur, it seems very off.

After this short and somewhat pointless interlude, it’s back to Asgenar, who came on with K’van, showing Larad that his sister is alive and the head of a raiding band, although they haven’t yet made the connection between Aramina and why Jayge’s wagon train got hit so hard. Seeing the information displayed before him, after some deciding, Larad decides to disown Thella and points out the most likely place she would be using as a base camp on his territory. K’van makes a suggestion that is sound, with an accompanying joke that would make no sense.

“Lord Larad, might it be a good idea to send one of your fire-lizards to see if anyone’s in that hold?” K’van asked. “I’m always taught not to assume anything.” He chuckled. “Ass–you–me!”

So tell me, how exactly does that joke work if you only have runnerbeasts, herdbeasts, dray beasts, and other such things? I’m sure there are plenty of asses on Pern, and that some of them are donkeys, but you have to have the name, and the connection that makes calling someone an ass a derogatory thing, before you can joke about how assume makes an ass of you and me. There has to be proof that the word hasn’t died off in two thousand rotations of linguistic drift and so forth. Worse, K’van makes another joke not too soon after which is linguistically and culturally perfect.

“Dragons make useful go-betweens,” K’van said in a droll voice. Asgenar stared at him for one second before he broke out in a peal of laughter. Even Larad, who was not quite as quick to see a pun, chuckled at last.

That is a joke I have no problem believing exists and persists on Pern, because of all the work done to set up the idea of between. it makes the earlier joke that much more frustrating to have to read.

Anyway, the fire lizards are dispatched and return with an affirmative of occupation, while Larad pulls up very detailed records and maps of that possible space to attack, so as to give Asgenar every advantage. The maps are clearly Ancient construction, because the ink didn’t fade from them and they’re permanent, unlike the paper Asgenar had been able to produce to this point. After saying that plotting needs to happen, the narrative skips to the arrival of the fighting force to catch Thella, who knock out the sentries and get inside with the troops, only to find that Thella, Dushik, and Giron have again evaded them, and worse, set off a deadfall to bury everyone inside. The dragons are making short work of the avalanche, the soldiers have captured everyone else, and we are introduced to Robinton’s inside man, Perschar. Once everyone is accounted for, Readis is also not among the captured, which disappoints Jayge. (He and Swackey were mentioned earlier as connective tissue, but otherwise not really important to the matter)

Having discovered the extent of the storage present in the Hold, the two lords, the Benden Weyrleader, and the Brown Rider Rapist agree that the best course of action is to leave the holdless bandits in this place for the winter, since they won’t be able to get out, with enough supplies to last through the snowmelt, and then return in the spring.

“I tell you what,” Asgenar went on. “Let’s leave them with enough to keep them going through the winter – what with the snowslide and all, I doubt they can get out, and I’m certainly not going to ask Benden dragons to give them the treat of their sordid lives. Let’s see who’s alive come spring.”
F’lar and F’nor found that solution amusing, as did the troopers, who tried to disguise their grins. At the last, a slight smile tugged at Larad’s mouth, and he began to regain his usual manner.

Because the thought of leaving people who might turn on each other to gain more share of the supplies left to not starve is apparently amusing. Then again, considering what all of those involved think of the holdless, we should probably be glad they’re not just hauling them out into an arena to fight each other for the chance at freedom.

Thus ends the chapter. I’m still not entirely sure what purpose Toric has at this point, since every time we see him, he’s just complaining about this or that it expanding his Hold or otherwise marking time while the rest of the book chases Thella. I’m sure it will become important soon enough, perhaps if Thella attempts to escape to the South, but otherwise, Toric is just taking up space.

Thella, on the other hand, has all the right makings of a heist movie, including the daring raids and the outsmarting the dumb heroes. If only her character had more care taken with it…

Writer Workshop January 11th, 2017

(Posted by chris the cynic)

Those of you who also frequent Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings will find this somewhat familiar.  Here, as there, it was requested that there be a regular post to talk about writing projects (and other artwork-creation). Thus this post exists.

Pencil by Elisa Xyz

What are you working on? How are you feeling about it? What thoughts and/or snippets would you like to share? How does your activism work into your art? What tropes are you hoping to employ and/or avoid? Are there any questions you’d like to ask or frustrations you’d like to vent?  Writing workshop below!