Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Final Warning Spork Part 14: Special Edition

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This week, Alesand helps me close out the book as we spork the epilogue. Read the rest of this entry

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Weekly Haiku

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I’ve recently become interested in and have started writing haiku, so I thought I might as well post them on the blog (especially given how inactive I’ve been lately). In reading about Haiku I’ve come across a lot of different, sometimes conflicting definitions of exactly what haiku in English should be. I’m still not entirely sure what the most widely excepted rules are, but I’ve settled on (at least for now) the classic 5-7-5 format.

I’ve also come across the idea that a haiku should contain two separate sections or ideas. I’m still a little unclear on what exactly this entails, but I’m trying to work it into the haiku I write (though the first one I wrote, The Beach, doesn’t really follow that structure).

Anyway, my goal going forward is to write about one haiku a day and post the weeks worth every Monday.

Hope you enjoy!

The Beach

The man sits alone

And watches the tide roll in,

Peaceful in his thoughts.

(space)

Wasted Time

What dull frustration:

A day wasted in tarry

On things of small worth.

(space)

Driving/life

Calm on the highway.

Would that life were as carefree

As the smooth paved road.

(space)

Moonlight

Moonlight on water.

Cool breeze tickles naked skin

and tussles our hair.

(space)

Little Moments

Oh simple pleasures.

What joy are new things in life

When shared with old friends

~NekoShogun

The Final Warning Spork Part 12

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Sorry for the lateness! The internet went out Tuesday and Wednesday, I was busy Thursday and Saturday, and I forgot Friday. Better late than never, I guess.

Chapter 64

The flock get fed by robots, and along with human food they get birdseed, which is apparently the funniest thing ever because the flock all begin laughing and making jokes. In other news, JPatterson still has no idea how to pull off suspense.

Anyway, Gozen comes in and tells the flock that they’re now going to be auctioned off, and also that there’s a hurricane hitting Miami and that the city has been evacuated. Why is this auction taking place in the middle of a hurricane? No, that was an actual question. Please answer, because I haven’t the foggiest.

Chapter 65

The flock meet the Uber-Director, Max calls him both UD and BoxBoy, is predictably idiotic, the Uber-Director predictably finds her inane snark horribly insulting, and of course is silenced by her wit.

And that’s the chapter. Bleh.

Chapter 66

So the auction starts, and apparently the Uber-Director’s plan was to put the flock in a conference room with nothing but Gozen to stop them from doing anything, including talking or moving about or generally trying to sabotage things. What I take from this is that JPatterson has no idea how to write intelligent villains.

“Silence!” the UD said again as the people on the screens began to murmur to their unseen partners. He spoke to them: “As you can see, they are functional, with a limited, though useful, intelligence.”

“Limited intelligence?” I broke in, outraged. “Bite me! You’re the last person to talk about limitations! At least I can… swim! And fly! And digest by myself!” (pg 225)

Remember, we’re supposed to like Max, she who would insult people based on their physical disabilities.

Oh, and then Gazzy does something.

I swear to you, it was literally a green mushroom cloud. (pg 226)

Given Gazzy’s name, I think you can figure out what’s going on. I’m not wasting any more words on this.

Max talks about how the flock generally act ridiculously through the auction, then worries about the hurricane.

I’d flown in some pretty intense storms, but if we’d been outside now, we would have been splattered against the building like gnats. (pg 227)

Sounds fun!

And then, showing JPatterson’s incredible skills of foreshadowing, the windows implode.

Chapter 67

The flock take cover under the room’s table, and

“There’s a hurricane report on TV,” she [Angel] said. “It says it’s almost a Category five, and they think it was caused by global warming.”

There was that global warming again!

“There have always been hurricanes,” I pointed out.

“Not at this time of the year. Plus, there are many, many more of them now, and they tend to be stronger and more destructive,” Fang told me.

I looked at him. “Okay, maybe global warming is bad,” I admitted. (pg 230)

Remember, they’re in a small room in a skyscraper open to a hurricane. And they’re talking about global warming.

This is the most contrived, ridiculous, horrendous, idiotic writing I’ve ever read.

Chapter 68

Apparently Iggy and Fang had torn their coats into ropes while the auction was going on. How did they not get noticed, and why did they do that in the first place? JPatterson logic!

They use these ropes to keep Total and Akila tethered as they get buffeted by winds through the skyscraper, eventually crashing through to a balcony.

Chapter 69

Fortunately for the flock, they quickly end up in the eye of the storm and on ground level. Akila is missing, and this combined with Angel’s broken arm really sets Max off and she flies up at Gozen, who is wrapped around the Uber-Director, who is falling out of the skyscraper.

Chapter 70

“I saw the UD shout, “Don’t let go!” though I couldn’t hear him. (pg 238)

I’m glad Max has her priorities set to “lip-read” as she goes to fight the big bads in the middle of a hurricane.

Max kicks Gozen’s arm, which makes him, a robot, lose his grip and fall away. Right. She then lets the Uber-Director die as well, because he’s “a machine, someone’s consciousness hooked up to a bio-mechanical body.”

Yeah.

Oh, and then Akila falls out of the sky and lands on Max! What a lucky coincidence!

Chapter 71

The flock stay in the eye of the storm until they can get out of the hurricane. Given that it was category four going on category five, I’m pretty sure that would mean waiting for it to get over the ocean and then flying through a gigantic, still-formidable storm. But what do I know?

Max goes “okay global warming is bad I’ve learned my lesson” because who didn’t see that coming? and then the chapter ends. It was literally half a page, by the way.

A (short) Review of Shades of Milk and Honey

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Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal, offers up a simple promise: Jane Austen with magic. Just as it sounds, Shades is a charming and intimate fantasy in which the characters play center stage and the magic drapes around them to create a rich and captivating world.

Set during the regency in the English countryside, Shades of Milk and Honey concerns itself with the life of Jane Ellsworth, her family, and their genteel neighbors. At twenty-eight, Jane, whose skill with glamour (magic) and the arts are the envy of her sister, Melody, has all but resigned herself to the life of an old maid. Then, when a two new arrivals come to town, romance pulls Jane and her sister into its whirling dance.

Jane and her sister feel like real siblings, with all the love and tension and occasional resentment that that entails. Indeed, all of the characters offer an impressive degree of vibrancy and life, even if Mrs. Ellsworth is somewhat flat. Many of of the characters feel familiar as well, even to someone (such as myself) only passingly acquainted with Austen’s work. Mr. Vincent, for example, bears a striking similarity to Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) in both his mannerisms and personality, and Mrs. Ellsworth is a dead ringer for Mrs. Bennett (also pride and Prejudice). Indeed, the Ellsworths as a whole are strongly reminiscent of the Bennets.

At its heart, Shades is a fairly standard, but well crafted and enjoyable romance novel. As a whole, however, it feels like something more. The magic and the setting weave together believably, and the rich prose so perfectly matches the period that at times I could almost imagine it had been written by Austen herself. The book can at times feel aimless since Jane’s goals and ambitions are somewhat vague, and her pursuit of them almost nonexistent, but the story moves with sufficient swiftness that the reader is never bored.

~NekoShogun

The Final Warning Spork Part 11

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What is the point of this book?

I suspected you wouldn’t have an answer.

Chapter 58

We had to get her [Angel] back to the station, have someone look at her ankle. We all heal supernaturally fast, but if her ankle was broken and it healed wrong, they’d have to rebreak it. (pg 193)

Ignoring Max’s mention of their idiotic healing rate, I have a question: when, exactly, did Max learn this piece of medical information? Was it a part of the never-explained “training” they went through with Jeb? If so, why did they learn that? Did one of them break a bone and want to keep going, but had to let Jeb set it? Wouldn’t that, then, be an interesting story that could give some character development for both the flock and Jeb?

Like, seriously. This is basic stuff.

So, our heroes are stuck in the snow, getting colder by the second, waiting for rescue. What is the best way to heighten the tension here? According to JPatterson, it’s to have Total make the worst, most infuriating speech in existence. I won’t subject you to the atrocity, but any lingering tiny bit of suspense is GONE.

Max thinks that they might be acting sluggish because of a lack of air, so she punches (!) a hole in the ice.

“Is the storm over?” Angel mumbled.

“No,” came a deep, odd voice from outside.

My eyes flew open wide, and so did Fang’s. Normally my body would have been instantly flooded with adrenaline and I’d have been in full-on fight mode, but this time I could barely react, barely raise my arm.

“The storm is just beginning.” The deep voice laughed, and then the wall crashed down on us. (pg 195)

Well, that’s silly.

Chapter 59

Despite being half dead from hypothermia, Fang and I still had enough strength to immediately throw ourselves into the air, each of us holding one of Angel’s hands. (pg 196)

So one moment Max is too cold to do anything, and the next she’s able to throw herself into the air? Riiight.

They can’t fly away, however, because of a net. I’m quite amazed that it took four books for the badguys to think of nets.

Max recognizes robots and Gozen, who is apparently the one who made that idiotic one-liner. Then we get information on what Gozen looks like.

One arm was like an I beam: way too long, out of proportion with the rest of his body. (pg 197)

Er, Max, I’m pretty sure that I beams are beams shaped like an uppercase I. Not a “way too long” that’s out of proportion with bodies.

Yes, I know what JPatterson meant, but the grammar of that sentence says something entirely different.

Gozen and Max talk for a moment, and then Gozen breaks Angel’s arm. After a moment of surprise that JPatterson would actually do that, I find that I feel nothing about Angel’s plight.

Part Three: Moon Over Miami–or Something Like That

These part titles are absolutely idiotic.

Chapter 60

Just a reminder: the average chapter length in this book is 3 and a half pages. And that’s not counting the blank space at the beginning and end of chapters.

The present members of the flock get rolled into a jet which, if you recall, is in the middle of a blizzard. Somehow I don’t believe that someone could pilot a jet to a random patch of snow in a blizzard, but maybe that’s just me?

Anyway, as it happens the rest of the flock are in the jet. It’s a reunion yay!

Chapter 61

They’d [the rest of the flock] been grabbed one by one, back at the station. Some of the scientists had tried to fight and had a bunch of serious injuries to show for it. I felt sorry for them, but if you lie down with dogs… (No, Total, don’t get offended. The flock were the “dogs” in that metaphor. See, they hung out with–You know what? To heck with it. (pg 205)

Okay, so first, it sounds like Max is saying that the scientists are in the jet, even though they aren’t. That’s poor writing. Second, “You” should not be capitalized. That’s a hard rule of grammar, as far as I know. Third, apparently Max thinks that the scientists deserved getting hurt for being involved with the flock. Real nice, Max. Fourth, why is that parenthetical there? If Max doesn’t want to bother explaining the metaphor to Total, she can, ya know, edit out the metaphor. Or get rid of the parenthetical if she’s not going to follow through with it. That’s just basic logic.

Then Gozen enters the room of the jet the flock are in, and Nudge thinks his name is the same as Japanese dumplings.

Chapter 62

But according to Fang, she’s thinking of Gyoza.

Notice how annoying that “Chapter 62” bit was, interrupting my thought? Yeah, that’s exactly what the actual chapter breaks do.

Anyway, Gozen says that the flock are human, and thus are helping global warming, and so he will enjoy their deaths. I have a really strong feeling that the villain’s motivations are heading in atrocious directions, but I’ll hold off on a rant until the scheme inevitably gets revealed.

Chapter 63

The flock are taken to a skyscraper in what Max identifies as Miami in the most convoluted, unnecessary sequences in… well, this book is so full of unnecessary things, I guess it’s… the most unnecessary thing in this chapter? Maybe, I dunno, I haven’t yet finished it. Though I’ve read a couple pages so I’m probably halfway through.

*Sigh*

Gozen says that an auction will be starting soon, and then leaves. Max has Iggy look at Angel’s broken arm, and he helps with it. Not sure why he’s the doctor and not all of the flock, but that’s JPatterson logic for you.

Iggy smiled, proud that he could contribute to the flock this way. (pg 215)

Here’s JPatterson filling his “Max being omniscient” quota.

“On the other hand, this carpet is a tasteful ecru, with a thin cinnamon stripe close to the wall.” [Iggy said] (pg 216)

Look, Iggy, I can imagine you knowing basic colors from your time in the School, but if you had no education before you were blind, there is no reason for you to have any idea what “ecru” and “cinnamon” are, and so you shouldn’t be able to name those colors because you have no idea what they look like.

JPatterson’s failure to understand simple logic is really getting on my nerves, so I’m done for this week.