"Real magic can never be made by offering up someone else's liver." ~ The Last Unicorn.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


At first the words "halo, abstain, prayer" did nothing for me. But, in my usual way, I've gone and twisted them a bit.


Twin steel halos around his wrists. The thought catches at his lips and pulls them into a smile, for what could be angelic here?

"What is funny, pet?

It's something Rob has to remind himself constantly: do not be a writer here. Turns of phrase become strokes of the cat so easily. Abstain from the metaphors and witticisms that paid for the cuffs, the straps, the whip.

"I asked a question." Jean's words, the English still tinged with Nice after five years, precede his touch on Rob's face. "What is in your mind?"

"Nothing, sir."

"Truly? I do not come here to play with nothing."

Jean kisses him hard, his teeth pinching Rob's lower lip until he whimpers.

"That is reason for being here," Jean says. "For worshiping me with your tongue."

And after he steps away, as the air hisses around the lashing straps, Rob writes a new prayer: "Punish me, Master, for I have sinned..."


Critique welcome. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


If you have to steal, get this book. Murder may be acceptable. China Mieville grabbed the ink of the giant squid and shot it into his printer and wrote this magnificent book.

Billy Harrow is just a employee at the Darwin Center in London; a mollusc specialist, with a talent for preserving specimens in jars. And then one day, an entire giant squid, tank and formaldehyde solution included, vanishes from the depths of the Center.

From there, it's a whirlwind of paranormal cults and the very spirits of London city fighting over when (and how) the world is going to end. Billy rises above the Everyman status he starts off with, stumbling through an epic journey to discover what his place in history will be.

Magical beings hiding in plain sight in a major metropolitan city is not a new idea. But Mieville makes it new, by creating a wholly unique culture, with intricate laws and nasty politics. No Sidhe or vampires here; they're replaced by Londonmancers and Chaos Nazis and the Ocean as a sentient, ancient power. Trust is a nice idea here, and while some of the betrayals are predictable simply because they're inevitable, there's a lot of surprises in store.

One being Collingswood. An investigator in Scotland Yard's paranormal/cult squad, Collingswood is tough, smart, and a wonderful example of a London chav--complete with the slang and accent. She's also a female character who exists entirely independent of male interest, except as a full equal amongst her colleagues. Don't look for romance in Kraken--this is not a world where love has a chance. While at first I thought she was a token spec-fic woman, there as a prize for the hero once he lives through the Big Battle, Collingswood cuts her way through the plot on her own considerable merits.

I lied, I confess. There's a smidge of romance. Marge, offhandedly introduced as a girlfriend of one of Billy's mates, outlives her significant other and goes on to find her own path through the midden. I appreciate her loyalty to her late boyfriend; it's not the obsession of "one true love," but the rage at a world where someone she cared for can vanish with no apparent consequences. Her quest is not a vendetta, and her stakes rise with each discovery and victory.

Are there issues? Sure. The plot goes a bit wonky at times--too many threads, not enough stitches. And the ending... in as spoiler-free a way as possible, it's one of those twists based off an insignificant little clue that no one but the author could have possibly worked out. Bit like Mad-Eye Moody in the fourth Harry Potter. Very much "OMG that's what was going on!" for the second before you begin to maybe feel a bit cheated. I will say no more.

However. Mieville can really fucking write. He's a master of the craft of writing. Some sentences are so beautiful I stopped to read them several times, trying to imprint their cadence into my own meagre talents. Others made me laugh out loud with their brash tune. My only quibble with his writing is his slight overliking of the word "pugnacious." It's not a quiet word that sits in the back and can be looked over. It sounds awkward to the mind, and when it shows up more than once or twice in a novel, it stands out. Mieville takes no prisoners with his vocabulary; English-major me had to go to the dictionary a few times. God, but I love smart writers, even when they're a little too free with their cleverness.

To sum up: It's fun, feminist, and has the giant squid. Run, do not walk. And aspiring writers, take notes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


My 3WW offering. This week's words: phase, stumble, grimace.



She grimaced and danced away from that dream. It hurt, that vacuum beneath the dreamer’s plunging self. Even if they always woke up before they hit the ground, it did her no good.

Pink flying hippos! I can fly with them, and mum and dad are here flying with me and they aren’t fighting anymore—

She phased gently into the child’s dream, unknitting herself from the aether souldrop by souldrop. For a moment she flew, and took the memory with her. Another piece to make her. The hippos she left for someone else, but she borrowed a giggle.

The next one confused her. She wasn’t sure why the men with black-and-white faces were there, nor why they drove with the dreamer in a horse and buggy over the ocean waves. But she took the word “kiss,” because she liked the sound of it.

It resurfaced, one mind over. She tried to ease into the tumble of sweat and heartbeats, but the intensity made her stumble. Some souldrops were left behind; she lost the flying (the new ones were the easiest to lose) but kept “kiss.”

And then she understood “kiss.”

She was most reluctant to draw away from that dream. From it, she gained hands, and touching, and a kind of happiness she’d seen in no other dreams.

Back to the aether, slipsliding into her place in the universe.

She substantiated back into herself, dark as the night sky between the stars. Fitting, for she was the night sky between the stars. Each tiny drop, glimmering with dream-joy, came alight as she scattered them over her hips and thighs. Around her, other angels returned to their places, absorbing new ecstasies to project during the day and light their planets.

She wondered if any of them had “kiss.”


I'm not really sure where this came from, but I like it. Critique welcome.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A short piece of my liver, thanks to 3WW

3WW, or Three Word Wednesday, is simple: three words, every Wednesday. Write, link, comment. Here's mine, for the words joke, leverage, and remedy.


Our Geometry

I am their vertex, the joining spot between them. We form an obtuse angle, he and she and I. It’s an odd form of love, to some, but we like it, though they don’t always like each other. Over and over I find remedies for their conflicts, quietly decreasing the degrees of our angle with a safe joke and my tongue in the right place. Love is leverage, in the right hands.

Sometimes they touch and spin out, flying apart until we reach 180 and I must try to join us together again.

But when it works, we form a different straight line. His cock in my cunt going through to my mouth on her clit. New leverage of hips and arms and legs to form angled positions until we are truly one. But the burst of pleasure will not remedy their clash of minds. They each leave with a light joke over discomfort. Our geometry continues.