Hypocritical Hyperbole

The Abomination of Obama's Nation

Why Scalzi can stick a spoon up his nose June 2, 2013

Filed under: Books — Micah Griffin @ 21:33
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He’s not the president of the USA. He’s not the president of a major fortune 500 company. He’s not the president of a home owners association.

He’s the president of a select group of writers. They write. They read. They publish. The organization has 1 (one) official paper. You would think he could read it. You would think he could see the blatant sexism and stop it if he actually cared. But let’s continue to praise this white dude for being such an upstanding feminist sci fi writer. Homeboy is going through standard bullshit apologies and doing the whole “I take full responsibility for my actions” garbage which means nothing in this instance. Taking full responsibility would’ve meant doing something before hand. Reading the article in it’s entirety there is no way he thinks they would’ve been open to some editorial direction. What would he have changed? A word here? A phrase there? The entire tone of the SFWA article was to praise sexism (and also racism). The article in question would’ve had to be entirely rewritten by a different human being, and thus not be the same article. Because there is nothing of value in it.

Why do you need a task force? This shit isn’t hard to stop. Maybe change the focus of your organization from protecting the interest of 50 year old white dudes?

But white dudes gonna stay reppin for white dudes and all you suckers are just gonna keep falling for them.

 

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Kraken: A sort of review January 22, 2013

Filed under: Books — Micah Griffin @ 20:13
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This is a book that can seriously only be written by a white man.  The detached romanticism of awful people is totally this white guy thing that runs rampant all over literature. Especially in the realm of speculative fiction. This entire review centers around one paragraph of China Mieville’s Kraken. It’s about nazis. It’s specifically about new worse nazis than the real nazis who have more fervor, more hatred, and more zeal than the 1940s nazis. Only these guys are weird. Because everything in every China Mieville book is weird.

Here’s the thing. Why do we need this? Why does this sort of thing continue to show up? This need to make your nebulous group of ne’er do wells so bad by comparing them favorably to other real world bad groups is just stupid, and really works for people who haven’t been or never will be effected by those groups’ past or present. Nazis are bad. People who subscribe to nazi ideals are still around. They suck. I don’t like them. I’ve run into them. They’re not pleasant. Being black, they weren’t terribly fond of my breathing the same air as them.

The thing that gets me is the lavish detail used. Mieville’s new nazis admired the originals but felt like they weren’t good enough. Auschwitz wasn’t effective enough. Their scope and the horrors they were inflicting weren’t grand enough. Didn’t create enough chaos.

What’s most infuriating about what happens in this book is that the “chaos nazis” are completely unimportant. It just read like China was really excited to write a passage about how the nazis could have been worse. So he created some people for whom he could spout his ideas through. They’re minor minor characters. They’re in for a little more than one scene and aren’t really heard from again. I don’t get it.

I guess when you’re white and writing for a white audience this sort of thing is cool. I think he was sitting around with his editor like “hey, aren’t nazis fun? i’d love ot write nazis. I’m gonna write nazis and people are going to eat it up. They’ll think to themselves ‘hey, this China guy. He really is smart and found a way to bring some new creepiness into the nazi idea’.”

Or, we’ll read it and roll our eyes. We don’t need nazis to be weirder and scarier than they already are. Concentration camps were pretty bad and I don’t actually need to waste a single second thinking about how they could have possibly been worse, thank you.

I long for a world where white people stop trying to come up with better nazis and better klansmen. The ones we have are pretty solid enough, thanks. You’re not saying anything. You’re not being profound or even clever in any way. You’re just trying to traffic in some sort of weird exploitation game.

The other thing that’s always annoying is throw away lines to try and fill the world with “diversity” while the whole of the story is anything but. You’re not quirky for mentioning a character that isn’t a character at all might possibly be gay while keeping every other major and minor character strictly heterosexual. Throwing up that one asian girl in a scene doesn’t make your book less of a white people party time. Cause she’s in one scene, and the white people are in every scene and are the actual characters.

Outside of all that stuff though, Kraken is kind of fun? It’s traditional weird fiction. I’m not a huge fan of it, I feel like the entire genre is trying a little bit too hard. The story of a missing squid and a bunch of London colts has predictably funny moments and the book does an excellent job of not taking itself too seriously. It’s never depressing, which is a quality I admire more and more in books these days as the unyielding tide of dark gritty fiction washes over the landscape. I think part of the goal early on is to disorient you along with the main character, but it didn’t really hold with me. I could be reading that part wrong though. The most hateable thing about the plot is the ever stupid “there’s a world right under your nose that all these entities cover up with all these weird bad guys and boogey men and secret cults with magic powers that no one has ever heard of!” Get out of here. Second to that is the main character being a special chosen one brought into that world, even though thos one in particular doesn’t think or know he’s special but everyone else thinks or knows he’s special so then he magically becomes special. It’s dumb.

 

Imaro: A More Diverse Sword and Sorcery Adventure September 28, 2012

So I’m doing this thing and it was hard to figure out what book I wanted to review for this. I put all this phantom pressure on myself find something new and interesting or a lesser known author or novel to do, but that felt like trying to hard  and being too cute. Then I thought more carefully about why I wanted to be a part of this More Diverse Universe tour to begin with and it became clear.

Due to a variety of factors of my childhood I feel  in love with action books. I liked the idea of a mostly singular hero who kind of obliterated everything in their path. I didn’t really do fantasy books for most of my youth. They were dumb, wizards are stupid, all the different races were dumb, and all the humans were white. That wasn’t a real conscious decision I made at the time (though it is now), but there was always something to having someone specifically described to look like you (or how you would hope to grow up in your power fantasy) that was full on badass. So it wasn’t that I said out loud “I’m not reading those books because no one looks like me” it was more that with action/thriller/suspense/crime/mystery books people did look and talk and act like me to some degree and I would keep going back for more.

The one exception was anything Robert E. Howard had his hand in. Thematically, I found Conan and Kull’s adventures to fit in with my favorite video games which consisted of running right and hitting stuff. It was simple and effective. There was not fluff to it.  No time for overly complicated plots or massive worlds. Just hero – enemy – adventure to  enemy – kill enemy. It’s pretty good.

Then one fateful day I am just blobbing along the library and was cover hunting until I ran into this:

There was no way I wasn’t going to read this. Look at it! There’s a big Black dude about to be stabbing a lizard monster thing. I’m in. (Note: This book was in the African-American fiction section, which I’m grateful for because that’s the only thing that probably saved it from the Library tossing it years earlier. But seriously Greensburg library. Go jump in a hole.

Then I open the book and instantly am struck with how different it was from Conan and Kull and the world of Robert E. Howard. I didn’t realize how old Howard’s stories were because how would I know? But the world that Charles Saunders created wasn’t just different because there were black people and it was in a fictionalized fantasy Africa, it was different because it was written with a style and authority that Howard never reached for.

Where Howard’s books sought to exotify everything (seriously, everything was written to be exotic to his all white 1930s readers) these stories by Saunders were written to make this fantasy Africa full of verisimilitude. (I wish there was a less academic word for that). The world was  bright and vibrant and whole. The magic used by the Wizards felt wholly real to the world. Since it wasn’t trying to push how weird it was, it allowed  you to absorb this setting more thoroughly.

The book itself is exquisitely written. It holds up spectacularly. It’s been a joy to go back through this past week. The story follows Imaro, a lone warrior who is ostracized by his tribe. The result of this life makes him stronger and tougher through his childhood until he has his coming of age. From there the story rockets off in spectacular fashion as he runs into a variety of different groups of peoples and spirits. Imaro as a character is someone you can easily follow. He doesn’t always make the right decisions, but the decisions he makes (which are appropriately quick and well reasoned) leave you satisfied. There’s no point in the first novel where you have to put the book down to figure out why he did something.

That isn’t to say that the story is shallow, but there’s a clarity of focus with both the character and the story that keeps the pace moving and motivations clear. It’s a very good example of what I like most about fantasy (and stories in general). I’m not a fan of convoluted for the sake of convolutions. I don’t feel like everything needs to be epic. I don’t feel like everything needs to be so dark and I don’t need to feel like my main character can die at any time for me to feel tension.

Charles Saunders does a stand up job at creating tension, mystery, and other buzz wordy emotional responses without getting too dour or going for that forced emotional manipulation stuff. Imaro is constantly challenged by a variety of foes clearly intended to bring out different aspects of his personality and teach him new lessons as he moves on in his adventure, and without fail he meets all of these challenges and succeeds in a remarkable way.  There is something truly awesome about knowing your hero is going to manage to get out of this incredible perilous situation but not knowing either what it will cost or how he will do it.

That’s just part of it. The setting is magnificent. The first time I read this book I had never been exposed to anything like it. Any other books that mention Africa or a clearly Africa inspired section was mummery (usually done up in literary black face). In Imaro we are able to explore a ficionalized Africa that is as diverse as real Africa. The books makes excellent use of the fact that the continent is large and that sort of difference creates space for people to lead wildly different lives. There are the typically nomadic tribes as well as stationary cities. There are plains and grass lands and mountains and deserts and none of them feel stagnant. Saunders fully explores the different life styles of all of these people in these short bursts, and each person or group of people we meet fills the world out a little more. They’re not just set pieces either, you run into the different tribes or members from them here and there without it feeling too coincidental. The Sorcerers of all these different places are geologically appropriate as well. It’s just a nice touch.

Charles Saunders’ Imaro is a book I can’t recommend highly enough. It still holds up to this day and the sequals he’s done more recently are good as well, and expand the universe in fun ways. He also has written a series of Sword and Sorcery books with a female protagonist, Dossouye, that I would highly recommend.

Imaro got railroaded by stupid publishing mistakes and a moderate dose of good old fashioned America racism for 20+ years (Imaro was initially published in 1981 and didn’t make a return until 2006) and it’s good to see Saunders in the Fantasy writing game again. Not just that, but there’s a whole group of black writers doing Sword and Sorcery titles (they’re calling the genre Sword and Soul) and it really excites my little heart that they’re alive and that it seems to be working for them financially  enough to keep doing it.

If you made it this far you deserve a cookie. Or just how about this badass cover

 

SFF Community Face Check September 13, 2012

Filed under: Books,comics,Movies,Social Commentary — Micah Griffin @ 19:47
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This is a post that’s treading a lot of old ground, but all the recent stuff going on in the world of Science Fiction and Fantasy (and speculative genre fiction as a whole) made me think about it again. All this genre fiction is phenomenally racist and comes from places of phenomenal racism. Yeah exceptions, but look at the whole of it. Old days it was a bunch of white dudes patting themselves on the back for writing thinly disguised social commentaries that made themselves feel smart. Now it’s white dudes and white chicks doing the same shit and not really saying anything. It’s this big joke that no one is actually in on. The genre is filled to the gills with people  high on their own supply of white liberal bullshit.

Think about different races of fantasy/sci fi characters. Note how absurdly monolithic they all are, not just in appearance, but in cultures and motivations. Note how that’s how they deal with their ideas on racism. It’s always some white people coming into contact with aliens of some sort and they make a bunch of allusions to superficial conflicts and racism is bad, except for when it’s necessary because those aliens are uniformly out for blood and murder.

It’s no real secret, but that’s how white people view race relations. All of us different monsters are monolithic in appearance and approach to life. We’re not nearly as good as the default humans and our complaints are minor and could be easily fixed with some nice white intervention. We either desperately need help, or are too angry and need to be killed off or otherwise controlled in some way. The most we’ll get is a seemingly advanced society that is secretly even MORE awful at it’s core than the white people who come in to fix the problem could have ever realized. These magic alien societies are always corrupt. Unless they’re super white elves (shout out to Pratchett again for being awesomer than all his peers on that) who are more white and more pure than even the humans could hope to be.

I actually have a decently low tolerance for this kind of story telling because I didn’t grow up reading this stuff. I read crime fiction and military thrillers. There were always people of color around in those books. All the big genre heavyweights are ultra conservative pro guns pro military anti non white people white men, and yet, their books were a million times more inclusive. Looking back, now that I’ve spent so much of the last eight to ten years reading the Science Fiction/Fantasy stuff it is staggering how different the worlds are.

The reason is that on the whole, political thrillers, military thrillers, action suspense, spy novels and all that stuff over there doesn’t pat itself on the back. The people I talked to about those books growing up weren’t doing dances of joy about how progressive they were. They knew they weren’t. Dudes had guns strapped to guns strapped onto cannons on the back of their ford trucks. They didn’t give two shits about the idea of inclusiveness or any of that liberal nonsense. Their social commentary was blunt and the ideas didn’t match up with mine at all, really, but somehow it all felt less offensive. It was less skeevy that what seems to have been going on in SFF for the past sixty or so years.

David Palmer wasn’t president to make some sort of  political statement. He was president cause Dennis Haysbert was cool. Did Jack Bauer single handedly reduce the Arab-American population by half? Probably, and that’s fucked up. Thing is, no one is talking about how progressive a character Jack Bauer is. There aren’t legions of Jack Bauer fans talking about how Sunrow and Cochran (the show creators) are so feminist friendly and so forward thinking on issues of race. So when I say “it’s kinda fucked up how Jack killed Curtis and we quickly ran out of Black CTU agents” I’m met with a much less violent form of resistance. They get regular defensive because of race issues. Often times there’s a “Oh shit! I didn’t even notice.” There’s push back, but it isn’t the same as this conversation.

“How come there are no Chinese  people in this future where everyone speaks Chinese?”

“Oh, Joss probably did that on purpose as some sort of statement”

“What kind of statement? I’m too lazy to find Chinese actors to put in my tv show that I deliberately set in a universe where Chinese is the only language spoken other than English?”

“Why you bringing race into this? The show is brilliant. I’m sure there was a reason.”

“Yeah, racism.”

“No. You just think everything is racist. The show is full of black people, why aren’t you happy with that, you’re not even Asian.”

“Cause the show takes place in a world where everyone speaks Chinese, and yet.”

*Other person angrily walks away*

I’ve gotten more angry comebacks for talking about race issues the SFF/Super hero stuff than I ever got for talking about race issues in the generic Action Adventure/Thriller worlds. It comes down to the white liberal problem. It’s so hard for people who pride themselves on being forward thinking to be told they aren’t, or at least aren’t as forward thinking as they think they are. I mean. James Patterson is out here killing you guys. David Simon is making you folks look silly.

I think it’s time for everyone involved in SFF to take a step back. Stop congratulating yourselves on barely doing shit other genres have done before, and sometimes better. Not just writers and editors, but fans too. Especially the fans. Figure this shit out. You’re not nearly as good as you think you are, and it’s high time you recognized it. At your big stage you guys cheered on a stalker and dared anyone to say something. You’re a joke. You can spit as much game as you like about doing big shit, but we don’t believe you. You need more people.

 

Slavery By Another Name April 27, 2012

So, I watched a documentary called Slavery by Another name on PBS. I knew of the book and the original Wall Street Journal article, but a 90minute documentary is so much shorter and nicer. The documentary is excellent (like just about all of PBS’ documentaries) and has a bunch of personal touches that you can’t really get without seeing and hearing people. After watching the documentary it really made me want to read the entire book. The book is big though and will take some time to get through. Like most good non fiction texts it requires a lot of critical thought, self examination, and external research to get as much out of it as you can. So it took me over a month to read it, and it was well worth it.

You can (and should) watch the documentary here.

I think this book is absolutely wonderful. It has a lot of things going for it. First and foremost, the writer doesn’t do that thing that too many white writers of books on race and slavery do and capitulate, and make excuses for society, and sugar coat the actual motivations behind slavery. This book is very upfront about white supremacy and the role it played in all this.
So, what’s awesome about this book is that it’s told in the style of a story. It’s the history of one man and his journey through convict leasing. This framework allows for him to delve deeply into specifics of the situations. Not having this super detached look back at everything keeps the impact fresh. It also allows the author show larger ramifications of what was happening.
For instance, it’s interesting to know that someone could get arrested for vagrancy, but it’s more impactful to hear the story of what happens to a person who is arrested for such a frivolous charge and what happens to them. Then it’s even more unsettling when you get the numbers of how many people had this happen to them. Then you get to see the direct impact on the society as a whole. Then you go back to the personal story of the white people who got money for selling people into convict leasing.
This same thing goes for debt slavery peonage and a bunch of other systems. The book sort of works in this way from pre civil war up until the author concludes slavery actually ended around 1943 or so.
I really recommend this book. If you are curious as to where the stereotypes of black criminals came from, this book will tell you. It shows the direct correlation between bad policing (or at that time good policing) and high arrest rate among Afican-Americans. It shows how the country came to view African-Americans as criminals and why the system is as bad as it is today.
This book also shows the social ramifications of slavery politically. It shows how deliberate the PR push against African-Americans was during and after reconstruction. It shows how whites in America weren’t just passive observers to racism, but active participants. There wasn’t this giant wave of ignorance among white populations to what was going on, but an active apathy to how the system was working because they firmly believed that if anything good happened to African Americans that their lives would be made worse. It’s how someone like Woodrow Wilson gets elected, because running on a platform of White Supremacy spoke to a large number of people.
It’s a really good and informative read.

Douglas Blackmon does a great job with this. He acknowledges his privileges and gaps in his knowledge, and the book is better for it. It’s unfortunate, but due to racism this book is going to have more credibility. He won’t be perceived as having an axe to grind, and he uses that to totally sling axes right into the face of post reconstruction white society (including the highly racist north that pretends they had no part in all the bad business of Slavery and Convict Leasing and Peonage). I’m enamored with this book.

 

Fuck Your Sadness: Why Redemption in Indigo works so well for me April 7, 2012

I saw someone post something about how doing something made her cry and this was some deeply great emotional thing. That’s all well and good. What this got me thinking about was how sadness is held up as the pinnacle of emotions. Listen to people talk about books, movies, music, whatever. The way you know something is meaningful and important is if it made them feel. What they mean by that is they felt sad. They talk about these big gut wrenching scenes and the impact they had on them. I get it.  I’m not writing anything that wants to devalue those experiences. I’m writing to say that I just don’t get it.

It is all entirely lost on me. I missed that part of adulthood education that said you didn’t have a meaningful emotional reaction if you smiled. I just don’t live in a world where the highest praise you can give to a work of art is that it ripped your heart out. Well, actually I do, and it bothers me. It actually upsets me that there isn’t a language for validating the emotional reactions that aren’t just sadness and anger.

I just finished reading a book “Redemption In Indigo” and it’s a wonderfully touching book that is super well written. It’s not a fluff book, but all the words that I would use to describe my enjoyment of it are words that would be shared with trivial books. Redemption in Indigo is FUN. Redemption in Indigo takes itself with the appropriate amount of seriousness. The pace of the novel keeps it from doing any one thing for too long. I like all of the characters. Nothing in this book was designed to make me cry.There was some harsh material, but the way it was laid out to me let me feel comfortable in the situation.

What I want to say is that this is an excellent book that is full of emotional depth and will make you feel things. The things it will make you feel are pleasant, and that doesn’t make this book less of a literary value. Just because nothing life destroyingly awful happens to the hero doesn’t mean she isn’t someone worth getting behind emotionally. I am filled with happiness every time we meet her family. Her mother and father are supportive of her and her sister is a pain without being antagonistic or malevolent. The villain of the piece is remarkably well done. The way his story line plays out will provide great pleasure to you, I promise. I laughed so often through this book and that was a good thing. I felt embarrassed (which honestly, is much harder for me to read than being afraid that someone will die or having to sit through their entire village being slaughtered endlessly) a few times, but even those moments were tempered with good times. We got to see our hero act heroically in those moments and it does so much for the growth of the character.

There really isn’t much more to say other than it is awesome that this book exists, and other things that just make you happy exists. Not something that we excuse as purely escapism, but things that are of high quality that make us feel something other than sadness, angst, and upset. I like being intellectually and emotionally engaged with my media, but that doesn’t mean I want to be sad about it. You can do emotional stuff that’s fun. Happiness is an emotion. A song doesn’t have more depth to it because you cried after hearing it. That song that gets into your bones and vibrates excitement and urges your face to produce a smile or your foot to tap along has just as much if not more value and emotional weight.

So really, fuck your sadness. You can keep that shit. I’m going to go emotionally engage with some good fake people that make me feel good about stuff.

 

A Shadow In Summer: Spoiler Party March 10, 2012

Filed under: Books — Micah Griffin @ 22:23
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So two of the girlfriend’s siblings are all about the Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham. I had been meaning to get to it for a while, but never did. Now I did. It’s an interesting read. While I didn’t like the first thing I read from Abraham I do like certain points of his writing style. Some of that expresses itself better in “A Shadow In Summer” than it did in “Dragon’s Path.”

For me, the strength of Abraham’s writing is that he’s pretty good at using individual character plots to set up a larger scope for things to come. I felt like, while this first book is clearly a bunch of world building and set up none of it feels like wasted pages. A lot of epic fantasy stories have a problem where the first book in the series is a total trodger. I hate it. Good writers find a way to avoid this. Daniel Abraham is a good writer.

A lot of the criticisms I have for this book are nuanced ones. I’m almost hesitant to write about a lot of them. Not because I think I’m wrong, but because I’m not sure I can word these in a way that makes sense to people who aren’t me. I don’t have any major problems with this book. I think it’s really good. It’s slow, but not from a lack of good pacing, but because it’s imparting a lot of information while trying to hide the fact that it’s imparting a lot of information.

So here we go. The thing that pulled me through the book was a character named Seedless. He’s (for lack of better wording) a god. Pretty much the entire story focuses around him. I really enjoyed how Seedless was the dominant force without being plastered on every page of the book. It isn’t some shadowy Palpatine stuff either. We get to see Seedless work at the other characters, we get to see how close he is to everything. We get to see how each relationship seedless has with people effects other people’s relationships with each other.

The main character he effects in this story is the poet (like a word wizard) that captured him. Due to the process it took to grab hold of seedless there’s a lot of the poet in him. They’re essentially the same person. Not just two sides of the same coin, but it’s kind of symbiotic emotionally. The exact details of their relationship is laid out early, but you don’t understand the full extent of it until well later on when it becomes important to know. It doesn’t explain why the poet is such a sad sack. I figure that dealing with Seedless isn’t great, but his life must have been a big pile of poo even before hand. Interesting stuff.

The poet’s pupil is a guy we met in the first chapter of the book, and when we rejoin them there’s a kind of hopefulness with the character that you just kind of expect to wear off. Happy go lucky epic fantasy characters either become wildly disillusioned, get ground into depression, or die. When the book is over this character had clearly been ground down a bit, but there are sparks of hope that remain. I like hope. Omniscient dark and dreary actually bore me, as well as make me not take the work very seriously. At all. So this was good. The character is naive at times, and makes some clear mistakes but they aren’t thrown at us over and over.

Unlike another character. Liat is a young mostly competent but naive and stupid girl. We know this because everyone (except our Friend Itani/Otah and the poet’s apprentice) remark at some point in time about how naive and stupid the girl is. Not that she lacks intelligence, that she is just naive and doesn’t know how the world works at all. That’s her main function in this book, is to be naive and feel hurt that she was used because she was naive. Then she beats herself up because she felt like she should’ve known better, and then everyone says “noo don’t feel bad. How were you supposed to know? You were used because they knew you wouldn’t know better.” The one thing about this I liked, is that she wasn’t amused by that answer at all, ever. Which is cool, because that’s a bogus thing to say to someone who is having a crisis of self confidence.

I guess that brings us to Itani/Otah. I think he’s the focal point of the story? That’s really a non important distinction to be made. He’s a majorly important dude for the story. See, there’s this mystical poet school that high born cast off males get sent to and no one ever leaves. But then he leaves and becomes a laborer. Shocking, I know. Afterwards he becomes all tangled up with our poet’s apprentice, Seedless, his lover (Liat, the stupid ninny), Amat (a woman who is STRONG and also cries a lot. Like, every time we see her she’s either about ready to cry or is in the middle of crying. She cries for every reason imaginable. From being tired, to being sad, to being hurt, to being stressed, to being angry. She is rarely afraid to let the tears flow. So many tears. She should get together with “Owl at Home” and they can have ALL the best tea. Not that there’s a problem with crying, who doesn’t like a good cry? it’s just that it’s complicated that no one else really cries in the story and this ‘strong’ woman does nothing but cry. Kind of weird is all), and the heads of state as well our the head of our mystery poet school.

Itani gets mixed up just the same way that everyone else does. They’re all part of some game that no one really knows the full scope of. I don’t know the full scope of it. Seedless seems to know a lot more than anyone else does, but that comes from him being such a nasty figure. No one trusts him, everyone hates him to some degree (except mostly the poet’s apprentice). Even though no one trusts him they all listen to what he has to say. They all kill themselves trying to figure out how much of what he says is important. I really am intrigued with the fallout from Seedless’ last act in the book.  Not the act itself, but all the fallout from it. The book distances itself from it a little bit and mentions that things could get weird, but it leaves all of that off to spend more times with the characters, which I approve with. This makes the ending feel way more like the ending to a book and a lot less like “Ha sucker, you spent dollar dollar bills this unfinished product!” That’s always good in my book.

I’ll definitely finish off this series.

I’m just taking a break in between books. I like distancing parts of a series my first time through them.