These two weeks in the Slacktiverse, February 18th, 2017

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

The Blogaround

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 February 17th, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who is looking very forward to a good time tonight.)

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.

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Philip Sandifer: Eruditorium Press

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 boggled at the way in which incompetence and corruption have taken over. Or for any other reason, really.

The Renegades of Pern: Action in the South, finally!

Last chapter, more pieces got moved, dragons died, riders changed, and we got ever closer to the end of The White Dragon and the promise that we might actually go somewhere with this Southern plot.

The Renegades of Pern: Chapter XII: Content Notes:

(Present Pass, 15.10.19)

“Young Lord Jaxom, with Piemur, Sharra, and Menolly, has found a vast settlement, buried under volcanic ash and dirt,” D’ram announced excitedly.

YES!

This is where the story should start, after Jayge and Aramina are done with Thella. It’s a little bit before the end of The White Dragon, so it’s good for getting everyone back up to speed with what happened, since we’ve spent nearly a decade in other Passes, expanding the mythos and exploring origin stories. Now we can come back to the story at hand from a different perspective and charge ahead.

This chapter opens, after the announcement of the discovery, with Toric learning how big things really are on the South, as well as the Hold for Robinton, while hoping that he can hold Benden to promises and negotiate with Sebell about who he will and won’t take for Southern, now that he’s official. Sebell takes the opportunity to quote a fragment of a very old record.

“‘When man came to Pern, he established a good Hold in the South,'” Sebell murmured, his eyes shining almost reverently, “‘but found it necessary to move north to shield.'”

Toric isn’t sure he believes it, but everyone troops over to the dig site in the morning all the same. Not before we get some interesting information, though.

“An older man needs interests that involve him in life. Don’t worry, Sebell.”
“At least about your Master’s health,” Toric said sardonically. “He’s got both Menolly and Sharra, hasn’t he?”
D’ram realized that his mention of Toric’s sister had not been as circumspect as it might have been, just as he also remembered that Menolly was Sebell’s wife.

Wait, when did that happen? I remember Menolly and Sebell having a fire-lizard fling, and Menolly declaring her love for Robinton, and Robinton trying to pass Sebell off on Menolly, but there appears to have been a joining while we were faffing about in the South rehashing another book! This, we lose an opportunity to see what sort of ceremony happens when houses get joined, or Crafters marry. It’s a perfect opportunity for worldbuilding and it sailed on by.

As they circle the site, Toric reflects bitterly that he can’t have the whole continent to himself and that he has to let stupid Northerners in. He recognizes that Fax failed because he tried to use fear. He thinks greed works a lot better. Past that, there’s no denying the place was inhabited, but Toric thinks the Ancients were pretty stupid to have built in the shadow of the volcano and out in the open where Thread could get them. Hindsight is always perfect, Toric.

After landing, Toric joins the crew of Craftmasters and Weyrleaders with the intent of stopping encroachment on “his” continent, with a dismissive assessment of Jaxom and the project of excavation. At least until they open up a place and discover artifacts. Then Toric regrets encouraging everyone else, and excuses himself back to Southern.

The action stays with the excavation, with Piemur composing a quick message for Jayge and Aramina, describing what had been found, and gets a short reply before the fire-lizards burst in with Jaxom and Ruth and news of the discovery of the shuttles, which the fire-lizards confirm with imagery of the first settlers arriving, giving us yet more reason to believe that the fire-lizards have a collective memory that outlives each individual one. Assuming, that is, that fire-lizards aren’t as long-lived as the dragons would be without the Impression bond.

Everyone, including Robinton, traipses out again, and the discovery of the maps on the walls of the rooms convinces Piemur that Toric shouldn’t hold the whole continent any more.

Also, somewhere in this time, Toric has kidnapped Sharra, because the next scene starts with Toric in a fight with his other siblings over Sharra and Jaxom. Toric thinks Sharra can match better than the young Jaxom and Ruatha, the siblings think it’s a good match, being to a rider, an intelligent lord, and to someone of her choice, instead of her suppressing her desires for him. Toric dismisses them all with a warning not to interfere, and summons Dorse, Jaxom’s stepbrother (who was mentioned in the last chapter as a person coming south with a good recommendation, but I didn’t think would become important) to stand guard over Sharra, as well as instruct his own fire-lizards in what to do with Sharra’s. Satisfied that Sharra won’t be going anywhere, and thinking he needs to accelerate the plan to be fully confirmed as a Lord Holder, Toric goes to bed.

The next day, Toric goes over to get Jaxom away from Sharra. And now we get to see what happened with Lessa…

“Holder Toric,” the boy said casually, over his shoulder.
“Lord Jaxom,” Toric replied in a drawl that made an insult of a title.
Jaxom turned slowly. “Sharra tells me you do not favor an alliance with Ruatha.”
Toric smiled broadly. This was going to be entertaining. “No, lordling, I do not! She can do better than a table-sized Hold in the North!” He caught the Harper’s surprised look.
Suddenly Lessa, a hint of steel in her eyes, appeared beside Jaxom. “What did I hear, Toric?”
“Holder Toric has other plans for Sharra,” the boy said, more amused than aggrieved. “She can do better, it seems, than a table-sized Hold like Ruatha!”
Toric would have given much to know who exactly had repeated his words to Sharra. “I mean no offense to Ruatha,” he said, catching the flicker of anger in Lessa’s face though her smile remained in place.
“That would be most unwise, considering my pride in my Bloodline and in the present Holder of that title,” the Weyrwoman said.
Toric did not the casual time of her voice.

Wait, hold on. Toric is mad at whomever told Sharra, because somehow that got relayed to Jaxom? When he just insulted Jaxom in front of a Harper (intentionally) and in front of Lessa (unintentionally)? Also, even though he’s small and white, Ruth exists and could be used to make Toric’s life a merry hell. Or bring down dragons who would help with that.

Resuming this uncomfortable situation…

“Surely you might reconsider the matter, Toric,” Robinton said, as affable as ever despite the warning in his eyes. “Such an alliance, so much desired by two young people, would have considerable advantages, I think, aligning yourself with one of the most prestigious Holds on Pern.”
“And be in favor with Benden,” Lessa added, smiling too sweetly.
Toric absently rubbed the back of his neck, trying to keep his smile in place. He felt unaccountably light-headed. The next thing he knew, Lessa had put her arm through his and was escorting him to the privacy of her mound.
“I thought we were here to dig up Pern’s glorious past,” he said, managing a good-natured laugh. His head still swam.
“There’s surely no time like the present,” Lessa continued, “to discuss the future. Your future.”

Ah, there’s that Sith Lord Lessa that I’ve missed for so long, giving Toric a mind-whammy to soften him up so that he can be given everything he has, but not the actual continent itself. Toric talks about what he’s claimed, but, as we know, the meeting is to keep him occupied while Jaxom rescues Sharra. At which point Toric basically loses it.

Toric felt his composure leave him. “You! He thrust his arm out at Jaxom, wanting to do many things at once, especially swat down that — that — impudent excresence. He was livid with the indignation of being under obligation to that — that lordling! That leggy, undeveloped boy! He wanted to rend Jaxom limb from body, but little though the white dragon might be, he was bigger than Toric, stronger than any man, and both dam and sire were not far away. There was nothing Toric could do but swallow his humiliation.

And the rest of this chapter plays out as it did in The White Dragon, with Jaxom getting blessing to marry Sharra and Toric headed back to discuss the size of his actual Hold.

How nice for Toric to finally notice how outgunned he was when things finally blew up in his face with Jaxom and Sharra.

Hooray, we’ve finally made it to the end of the last book in this timeline we left. That means we only have a few chapters left and we will actually start moving forward again from this point. It’s time for some new content! I’m so excited.

Writer Workshop February 15th, 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!

Open Thread: Love or lack thereof

(by chris the cynic)

We live in an imperfect world.  Friendship, which is a really important kind of love, is seldom what we mean when we use the word “love”.  Romantic love, which is what we generally mean when we use the term, has some real problems around it.  People who are seeking it or have found it all too often lack support, people who don’t want it are often pressured in its direction.

Yet for all that things surrounding it are bad, love is generally a good thing and today,  day set aside in honor of at least one of the Saints Valentine (there were so many that at least three of them have associations with this day of the year) is, Chaucer tells us, a day that’s totally about love.

Now we could all brush up on our Middle English and study the poem “Parlement of Foules”, or we could just talk about love, lack of love, things surrounding love, and so forth.

[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.]

Deconstruction Roundup for February 10th, 2017

(by the Slacktiverse and others; collected by Silver Adept, who attempts to continue living their life while in an indeterminate state.)

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.

Fred Clark: Slacktivist

Froborr: Jed A. Blue

Mouse: Mouse’s Musings

Philip Sandifer: Eruditorium Press

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 excited about some future events, dreading others, and wishing that larger events would be reversed. Or for any other reason, really.

The Renegades of Pern: Still Treading Water

Last time, we skipped ahead in time, with more of Piemur attempting to explore the South, and finally getting to go range away from Toric. Where he met Aramina and Jayge and their tiny tot Readis in the ashen remains of Paradise River Hold. I’m loath to believe that a continent change is enough to dissuade Thella from pursuing them both out of revenge, but there’s plenty of places to hide in the South, so maybe that’s it.

The Renegades of Pern: Chapter XI: Content Notes: Sexism

(Present Pass, 15.08.28 – 15.10.15)

The chapter starts with Saneter desperately wishing Piemur was there, as T’kul and B’zon have gone off (to their deaths, if I recall correctly), the other dragons are making a racket and there isn’t a fire-lizard to be found anywhere. Which puts Toric in full panic mode, because something is happening that Benden probably needs to know about and there’s no way of contacting them fast enough for it to be relevant. They both then hear the cries of dragons at the death of one of their own, and Toric rushes out to find out what happened. He’s intercepted by D’ram, who is the new Weyrleader of Southern, relaying the news that we have already heard about how Salth overexerted himself in the mating flight, so basically the time of the old guard has come to a close, all hail Benden who controls all and sees all.

Toric is very pleased with this development, although he hides it well enough to adopt a neutral tone about T’kul’s death. The narrative then lets us contrast his quiet ambition with Mardra’s loud and public grief, which disgusts Toric because he’s heard more than enough of Mardra and T’kul fighting. Toric heads back to Southern, musing on how much he needs Piemur.

Speaking of, we switch scenes to Piemur, Jaxom, and Sharra (and Ruth and fire-lizards), at the cove where Menolly and Robinton washed ashore, delivering the news of T’kul’s death and Robinton’s heart attack.

“That arrogant, addlepated, insufferably egotistical, altruistic know-it-all!” Piemur shouted, springing to his feet. “He thinks Pern won’t manage without his meddling, without him knowing everything that happens in every Hold and Hall on the entire planet, North and South! He won’t eat properly, he doesn’t rest enough, and he won’t let us help him even though we could probably do the same job even better than he can because we have more sense in our left toenails than he does.” He knew that Sharra and Jaxom were staring at him, but he could not stop. “He’s wasteful of his strength, he never listens to anyone, even when we try to get him to see sense, and he’s got this wild idea that only he, the Masterharper of Pern, had any idea of the destiny of Weyr, Hold, and Hall. Well, this serves him right. Maybe now he’ll listen. Maybe now…”

It’s nice to know how much you care, Piemur, but I’m quoting you mostly for truth, because that really is what Robinton has been doing this whole time. And getting away with it, because it’s nice to have a direct line to the author and the author’s designated avatars. Piemur learns of this from the information about how the dragons kept Robinton alive. He decides Sebell doesn’t need to know about Jayge and Aramina at Paradise River Hold for now.

Piemur also has an opinion about the relationship between Jaxom and Sharra.

Piemur knew that, but he just did not like the idea of Sharra and Jaxom together. Perhaps Toric saw it another way. An alliance with the Ruathan Bloodline, and a kinship with the Benden Weyrwoman, Lessa, might prove invaluable to him.
[…Farli gives Piemur the missing piece of the queen egg puzzle, as the fire lizards all flock to Ruth forever…]
Piemur was unhappily sure of Jaxom’s feelings toward Sharra. And, knowing her as well as he did, he was dismally convinced the attraction was mutual. Either if neither of them knew it yet. Or maybe they did. But Piemur did not intend to make it easy for them. He would have to think of distractions.

And what might your reasons be for wanting them not to get together, Piemur? As you have noted, the alliance of bloodlines might be good, and would certainly help bring Toric further into a solid legitimacy argument for Southern. If that’s what you’re working for, then Sharra and Jaxom are a good match. But I suspect Piemur still thinks he has a chance for her. Bad Piemur.

Jaxom’s recovery is a useful excuse for delay, and so Piemur makes himself useful by helping create maps of his notes, detailing his system for measurement and observation, and telling stories.

“Those big spotted felines, by the way,” he told Sharra, “are not local to Southern. I saw them all along my way.” He tapped his elongated map. “Farli always warned me soon enough to avoid a direct encounter, and I’ve also seen some huge canines no cook would ever want to use as a spit turner.”

So we have very large dogs or wolves along with the cats that have no reason to be here? What exactly were these colonists thinking, bringing the large animals with no reason for being there? They had the opportunity to tailor their ecosystem to their liking. And yet, they seem to have brought and released things that are lethal.

As things go, Piemur’s distractions go on long enough for the arrival of people to build Robinton’s retirement home, which allows him to melt away into the thicket. He still wants to tell Sebell about Paradise River, but since he doesn’t know where Sebell is, he’s not going to exhaust Farli trying to find him. So Piemur sends back maps to Toric and others, and bides his time until things are complete, and takes the tour with Sharra, marveling at the craft on display, until the point in time where Robinton summoms him.

Since we’ve actually already seen that, the scene shifts away back to Toric, who is gathering allies for a meeting with D’ram, Sebell, and N’ton. Toric is suspicious of D’ram poking into his business at the Hold. The meeting group are talking about the reestablishment of Southern, and say they want to have the dragons fly and hunt the wild game, so they won’t be needing as much tithe – and they brought their own staff with them, so the ones currently attached to the Weyr can return to the Hold. Toric wonders what dragons will be able to see on hunting flights, which could spoil his plans. But also,

He could appreciate D’ram not wanting those slatternly drudges about a freshened Weyr. He did not want them about Southern, either. But there was an easy solution for that.

Okay, so slatternly has two definitions: “untidy and dirty through habitual neglect” or “of, relating to, or characteristic of a slut or prostitute”. While it’s entirely possible that Toric means the first, I suspect the second is what is meant, because Pern rarely passes up the opportunity to demean women, especially sexually. Toric’s solution, while unstated, isn’t going to be good for the drudges, who are already treated horribly.

There’s also a gift from Fandarel, a telescope (sorry, “distance-viewer”) that comes along with some casual commentary about wanting to open up regular trade with the North and that the mines Toric is operating could be the sites of ancient mining as well.

No, it was not compensation he was getting, Toric reflected. No matter how smoothly their ideas were presented, his full cooperation was expected. Those bloody [time-skipped] and that wretched queen egg had done him more damage than he had supposed! But he could make certain not to lose so much as a fingerlength of land he already held, or the riches above and below the soil. He also knew the place N’ton must have seen. Sharra had reported it to him the previous Turn. He had marked the huge lake and the three rivers that flows from it on his private map. He must be very careful. He must seem to cooperate while sending reliable men and women to hold what ought to be his.

Which will be quite difficult to do, Toric, against dragonriders. They’re bigger, stronger, and much more likely to cause discord among the people. They also have the Harpers supporting them. So you are still basically trusting that you can hide your work from them, now that they are quite literally in your backyard and looking for land of their own. Good luck with that, Toric.

Realizing he’s over a barrel, Toric does his best to be friendly to his visitors, and we cut back to Robinton, convening a meeting of himself, Jaxom, Sharra, Piemur, and Menolly. Robinton is ready to find more evidence of the Ancients, with a fairly detailed plan of how to do it. Piemur feeds him useful places to go looking, but keeps Paradise River from him for later. Just before their party sets out to find more things to show Robinton, Wansor and Oldive arrive. Oldive pronounces Jaxom fit for travel and lectures them on keeping Robinton alive. Wansor brings a bigger telescope with him, which they point at the Dawn Sisters and discover that they are the spaceships that brought the Ancients to the planet. Piemur is incredibly happy at this discovery, and the chapter ends with no real progress or novelty again.

Looking at b-roll is fun and all, but I still have yet to figure out what Toric’s purpose or conflict is, other than that he’s been smuggling and expanding, which isn’t illegal unless the dragonriders say it is. Thella’s been removed from the narrative, and so there’s no driving action that I can figure out for this chapter. We really need to be moving forward, because the book is about to be done.