Ory and the Big O

So this is today’s Friday flash, inspired from the letter O. It’s not quite what I intended. The letter is O and the only thing I could think of is Big O. Wikipedia has an article on it.

Ory saw the mailman first, dragging the mail cart behind him. Ory  listened, still and quiet in front of the door, to the scratches as the mailman opened the mailbox. The mailbox lid was loud as he snapped it shut.

Only then did he ring the doorbell.

Grinning, Ory yanked open the door. The mailman held a brown box before him. Green tape sealed the sides. The word BIG O was stamped all over in the box in a lurid, eye-searing pinks and yellows.

He signed for it, snatched it into his arms, slammed the door shut and sprinted with it into his room. Ory laid it gently on his bright green pillow. His red O scissors made quick work of the tape.

While fluffy foam nuggets spilled out of the box. He reached in and dumped handfuls on the floor. More handfuls. Two more handfuls.

Finally, he dug out the matching t-short, shorts and lanyard. He held up the shirt in front of him in the mirror. It was green, with a pink and yellow BIG O in the middle.

He thought: Finally ready for Big O camp! Finally!

N is for Notorious

I am picking the word Notorious for this year’s Hugo awards.

It’s going to go down in history. All the people associated with it will likely be remembered for years to come. So, yeah, notorious.

I am hoping this doesn’t break the Hugo forever and ever. I am hoping it doesn’t set the tone for next year’s; I don’t like the idea of years and years of infighting, arguing and partisan politics. Just like real politics in this country, yeah? I disapprove of this mirroring of life and art.

That will destroy the Hugo.

If they don’t want that, all sides will have to cease and desist by next year. Because if one side does something, the other will have to respond. I cannot believe it will result in anything but the destruction of the Hugo.

I dread it.

But the Hugo will happen this year, because it isn’t destroyed yet. It had better happen next year, too, hopefully, with less drama. (I am not hopeful.)

And the awards haven’t even been awarded yet! I suspect this will all get worse when the winners are announced.

For those of you don’t know what Hugo are and what this present drama is about, there are plenty of blog posts on the topic. Plenty. The internet is overflowing with them.

M is for Magic

Magic is the thing I like best in books, especially in fantasy. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Micky Mouse and Sword in the Stone were probably the first fantasy I ever watched.

I loved Sword in the Stone and watched it over and over again.

These movies have no rules – not that I remember! – not like the rules of magic I countered in later books. But I love them anyway.

This is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on YouTube:

I think, despite how old they both are, these two movies are still as good as when they were first made. And The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was first made in 1940 and The Sword in the Stone in 1963.

L is for Lycanthrope

If I Google lycanthrope, it tells me this:

ly·can·thrope

/ˈlīkənˌTHrōp/

noun

noun: lycanthrope; plural noun: lycanthropes

  1. a werewolf.

Origin

early 17th century: from modern Latin lycanthropus, from Greek lukanthrōpos ‘wolf man’ (see lycanthropy).

So wolf man turned into werewolf. These days, in urban fantasy, it means werelions, werepanthers, wererats, pretty much any type of animal that the author decides a person can turn into.

I also know there are so many werewolf stories that many, many people are tired of them. They abound in romance and in urban fantasy. They used to be a staple of

Jason: on my favorite werewolves from the Anita Blake series.

horror (I think they were still a horror trope) but I am not familiar enough with horror to know how often they occur now.

The thing this, I am not tired of them. I am more careful than I used to be, yes, but I would really to find more good werewolf stories to read.

I am not quite so welcoming of the werewolf story close cousin: the vampire story. I continue to read series I started years ago, but I don’t look for new ones and I think I am pretty close to burning out entirely on vampires.

I am not sure why I should be so much closer to burning out entirely on vampires, but there it is. Maybe the concept of a person who can turn into an animal(s) is just a lot more interesting.

How about you?

K is for Kill

I finished reading The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley recently.

It got me thinking: A lot of books have characters who kill. Maybe not easily, maybe not often, but in the course of the book, they kill sooner or later. Some do kill easily.

Some of them take killing more seriously: Anita Blake, Dexter, Valyn from The Emperor’s Blades and a quite a few others in the same book. Quite a few from other grimdark fantasy, too. (I like that word: grimdark.)

Someone like Anita Blake only turned into a killer later in the series; she didn’t start out killing very easily.

Dexter has been a serial killer since early childhood. Maybe he had kind and gentle feelings when he was born, but maybe not.

Valyn is a soldier. And, yeah, soldiers of all ilk kill. That is their job. And he is not without the gentler feelings. But he kills when he must.

But I wonder if, after lots of betrayal and treachery, if he manages to keep any of his gentler feelings.

I am dreading that he won’t. I don’t want to watch turn him an emotionless killer. I don’t think he will ever turn into Dexter (he doesn’t have quite that much childhood trauma!) but still. I am sort of dreading reading the next book.

J is for Journaling

Through today’s random internet browsing, looking for inspiration for this post, I found an article on what some famous authors have to say about journaling: http://flavorwire.com/367030/10-famous-authors-on-the-importance-of-keeping-a-journal

(And, also, quite a few fruitless minutes on how to spell journaling, because WordPress keeps flagging the spelling I am using.)

I kept a journal once when I was younger, but I wasn’t good at it. I could go for weeks without a single entry. Or write other, non-life-journal type things in it (i .e. new interesting words, character names, the occasional doodle, like that.) Sometimes I would forget to date my rare entries.

I don’t keep one a personal journal at all these days. And all my attempts at keeping a proper writing journal, the kind where I intended to write down plot ideas, character descriptions, writing prompts, that kind haven’t really worked out really. I had one like that once.

I lost track of it. And the one after that. The third, one, too. The last version was a binder that is stuck in a drawer somewhere that I haven’t taken out in months and months. Years, maybe. (I can’t quite recall.)

I meant to fill it with:

1) short stories

2) notes and worldbuilding and character stuff for the WiP.

I didn’t do either.

If random ideas do come to me while out and about, I whip out my phone and type them into my Google Keep. (Incidentally, that is where I brainstormed ideas for A to Z challenge. I only got as far as the letter F.) I got recipes and assorted tidbits in there, too. Very little of it has to do with writing.

No, sometimes I use my Evernote on my computer for writing stuff. Sometimes. Like whole actual short stories and setting ideas and things like that. I guess Evernote is my writing notebook, except it doesn’t feel like that. It doesn’t feel like a real notebook, not the marble ones I used to have as child, not the spiral notebooks I got when I was a little older and definitely not like the binder I still have tucked away somewhere.

It’s just . . . I don’t know. I don’t use just one app, but even if I did, I don’t think it would have the same feel. And that sounds like what a lot people say about reading physical books instead of eBooks: it doesn’t feel the same, the pages, the smell, how it feels to hold a paperback. None of it is the same.

Maybe the Evernote/Google Keep combo does work like a writing journal for me and maybe I should call it that, but I cannot quite convince myself they work like one.

And none of it is similar to the personal kind of journaling those authors are talking about. In fact, this blog is as close as I get to that.

I is for Ice

This is a piece I wrote for #FridayFlash with the letter I as my writing prompt.

She pirouetted through her door.

Sunlight flooded the living room from the skylight overhead. She danced through the rays. Step, step, jump, arms at shoulder length, step, hands above her head, be graceful, turn her head just so.

She stopped on the final pose, and laughed. It was too perfect.

“You got the part,” her husband stated.

Lovely man.

She straightened, smiling up at him. “No.” But she would as soon as full dose of ice worked on her.

H is for Harsh Environments

A lot of dystopias have harsh environments that make it hard to survive. A few non-dystopia have harsh environments, too. There are a lot of different types, too, but a few things repeat over and over. They repeat so much they have become a little bit predictable. 

People have bombed all the life out of the planet or some disease ravaged all living things or the characters are on a planet that doesn’t quite support life or the climate destroyed everything.

Or it’s the culture that makes a dystopia: Brave New World is like that. The culture, far from providing a means to get plenty, takes it away from people. Maybe everyone but the top elite, maybe just women, but a lot of people.

The main character in The Hunger Games are in that situation because they lost a war years ago; Komorr in the Vor books by Lois Bujold is a planet where you have to wear air masks to go outside; parts of the main character in the Vor home is still radioactive from previous wars.

The Vor books are not dystopian, but they still have a fair number of harsh environments. (In fact, the whole culture is a harsh environment for the main character; he would have been killed for having been born with birth defects if he weren’t born to powerful parents.)

Catherine Asaro’s Undercity has a fairly harsh environment, too, full of tunnels and people who are not welcome above ground. Not in the schools and not in jobs, either, unless they sound like the people who live above ground. (Which is difficult without schooling.) I really like this one; it’s not usual sort filled with disease or sand or radioactivity or other war damage. The above ground do discriminate against everyone born in the tunnels, but I don’t think it was result of a long ago war.

So . . . I don’t know. I think I would like to see other types of harsh environments.

G is for Galactic Empires

There are lots of galactic empires in science fiction. Lots and lots. Star Wars, many David Weber books, the Skolian books by Catherina Asaro and the Vorkosigan books by Lois Bujold. I am sure there many, many more that I am forgetting right now.

Today we live in a world where there aren’t that many ruling queens, kings and princes. Even where royal families still exist, the monarchs are usually figure heads.

That is why it is puzzling to me that so much space opera have kings, queens and royals with real power. I mean, we go a hundreds of years in the future and we revert to monarchies?

It just strikes me as a little strange. (But fun!)

F is for Famous Books

So . . . there are a lot of famous books out there. Some are more the type you read in high school English classes, some you see on the New York Times bestseller list, some win awards, and some were first published decades ago and are still in print; everyone you know is reading it or plans to; there is a movie or TV show based on it.

Do you read famous books? 

I, sadly, haven’t read too many of these books. Most of the ones I had to read in high school English class were boring; most of the books on the New York Times bestseller list are not to my taste; I only really follow science fiction and fantasy awards, but I have read very few the winning novels; I haven’t read too many old books, because lots of times they’re written in a long, winding style and that just annoys me.

Sometimes I think I should read more famous books, because more people are likely to have read them (So I think anyway. How could famous books stay famous otherwise?) and if people around me get into random conversations about them, I will be more able to participate.

Also, to better understand, what about the book makes it famous. This is why I read Twilight and I still haven’t arrived at an answer. But! I can talk about it now and tell people exactly what I thought of it. So that’s a plus.

But more often I look at my reading options and think: this book looks so much better than the more famous one. I want to read it so much more and I don’t actually have to read this much more famous book. So I don’t.

I think this is why lots of people (anyway, most people who don’t read science fiction or fantasy. Sometimes even people who read science fiction or fantasy.) have never heard of half the books I read.

What about you?