Tuesday, January 1, 2013

NIC chapter 26 + Planet Bob Update

The good news: I survived New Years.

The bad news: I've decided to push Planet Bob's release back to this weekend. Why? Well, it's not as polished as I'd like. Also, Amazon changed something in how they process the files I upload (HTML) that totally fucking breaks HTML formatting. What I usually do (format in word, save as HTML file, upload to KDP) won't work anymore. I've got to add a couple fun steps with another program I know fucking nothing about (Calibre. It's a good program. It's just new. I hate learning curves with passion and fire, sports fans. Passion and fucking fire) to have a .mobi file that isn't FUCKING BROKEN.

Seriously: Fuck you, Amazon, for not notifying sellers about the large number of issues with Paperwhite's formatting, AND for not making sure that your new products don't fuck up your old ones.  I know that you're really just geared towards the big companies that can actually afford InDesign (Which doesn't actually mesh with .mobi files and requires a plug in, apparently) and fancy programing, but letting people know you've changed things in small and monumental ways would have been nice.

The other good news: Using this method, I can make all the other formats on my own. .mobi, .epub, everything else. I've meant to learn how to do this for a while.

The best news ever: NIC starts updating again RIGHT NOW.

...fuck, this book sucks. I forgot how much this book sucks. This book fucking sucks. 

To remind you of the utter suck, Anita is following Richard, her ex best beloved, to rescue a wereleopard Richard stuffed down a hole. Okay, one of his underlings did, but Richard is responsible. The SS didn't get away with saying "Well, somebody else decided to use the showers that way" you know. Richard being suddenly all on Anita's side had her flip from "Richard is SOOOOOO fucking useless" to "Richard might be a good Alpha/Ulfric after all!"

Because agreeing with Anita = being worthy of leadership. Bullshit. Richard passed the buck and let somebody under his command take the blame for a fucking terrible choice. He should not be a leader.

Anita says she wouldn't have found the oubliette if she hadn't known it was there. Last chapter she said she didn't know where it was. So she has failed the test the wolves presented her. By their laws, the wereleopard should be dead meat.

Hey, Laurell, you started listening to your editor yet?

Oubliette is French for a little place of forgetting, but that’s not a direct translation. Oubliette simply means little forgetting, but what it is, is a place where you put people when you don’t plan on ever letting them out. Traditionally it’s a hole where once you push someone in they can’t get out. You don’t feed them, or water them, or talk to them, or anything to them. You just walk away.
Guess not. By the way, gang, I would be willing to bet that the intended audience for this book will have watched Labyrinth multiple times. Hoggle's explanation of what an Oubliette is beats this one hollow.

Also, it was established that you had to go back to the oubliette here frequently to inject shift-preventing drugs into your victim, and the oubliette has a screw-in lid. Uh...if you have to go back 1. it's not an oubliette and 2. PUT HINGES AND A LATCH ON THE LID.

Also, LKH fails at basic biology. She says that people talk about you "starving to death" in what I assume is the oubliette. You would not starve to death. You would die of dehydration long before your body gave out due to lack of calories. Maybe a little water would get in, but you'd be licking it off the walls. At least she mentions what the floor would be covered in.

Richard, why was your first move as Ulfric not to fill this hole up with concrete?

Gregory is down in the bottom, of course, and Anita then pisses me off, hard:

Gregory wasn’t the strongest person I knew, not even one of the top hundred. What had it done to him to lie there in the dark with the stench of old bones, old death, pressed against his body? Had they explained to him how they’d leave him there to die? Had they told him every time they screwed the lid back in place that they weren’t coming back, except to drug him?

Why? Because he didn't kill fifteen people with his teeth? Being a victim does not mean you're weak. It doesn't mean you're strong. It means someone else broke your defenses and harmed you.

And hey, anybody here watch Mythbusters? Anybody here watch the episode where they tested Chinese water torture? They put Kari in the restraints, under the drip, and even though she was perfectly safe, with friends, and knew she'd be released the second she asked, she was reduced to tears in a very short period of time.

This is damaging to any person, and using the fact of their captivity to enforce a perception of weakness IS WRONG.

Oh, and Anita is claustraphobic and almost has a fucking panic attack on the climb down. This, and not Gregory's torture, takes up ALL of the chapter. So Gregory is weak for being chained up by a gang of enemy werewolves and shoved in a hole for several days, but Anita is strong for having a panic attack while climbing vollentarily down the same hole. God forbid she have to be strong for somebody else.

Richard offers to let her get out of it:

I shook my head. “I have to do it, Richard.” 

“Why?” and his voice held the first hint of anger, like a slap of warmth.

 “Because it scares me, and I have to know if I can.” 

“Can what?” 
“If I can crawl down into that hole.”

Not everything is a fucking pissing contest, Anita.

And of course, Richard's offer to let her off the hook is seen as him trying to be a big manly man, and not because Anita is about to pass the fuck out from a panic reaction, and that having her collapse on the ladder would not be a good thing for anybody. Look, you're not weak if you have issues with dark spaces or holes. You have a phobia. I have a phobia about stinging instincts, especially bees and wasps. I see a bee, I am on the other side of the fucking room long before my brain has a chance to think, "Oh, look, a bee". I understand that there is no rational connection between the object of your phobia and your reactions. That's why you, Anita, should be the last person on earth to go down that hole right now. You should try to manage your phobias, but you do that in a safe location with controls in place. You do not try to do it when someone else's life is dependant on your actions.

They are not trying to challange Anita's dominance here. They're trying to be human beings and keep this situation from getting any worse. Anita getting a compound fracture by falling down the ladder into a puddle of raw sewage would be the definition of "getting any worse". And just because the person offering to go down instead of Anita has a penis doesn't make this a gender thing. It makes it a sane human thing.

 But no. Anita has to prove she's better than everyone and go down the slippery shaky ladder and risk falling on top of Gregory and breaking a limb, just to prove that she's the biggest, baddest thing in the world.

God help us, that's the end of the chapter.

By the way, we're WAY past the halfway point of the actual text, and not nearly halfway done with the chapter count. There's gonna be a couple two-pagers up ahead, isn't there?

Next chapter: I hope you like the Saw movies, because the next part is torture porn.


  1. A) I think it's a good idea to hold off on the release until the book is polished and ready. This is your business, even if it's a small business, and professional products are good.

    B) In the Vorkosigan Saga (Which I have mostly loved, up until the last couple of books which I have merely liked because they are clearly about winding things down and sending everyone off to Happily Ever After) one of the characters gets locked into a small dark water-lock in the dyke (Levee, you pervert) around London. He spends hours in complete darkness, wondering if the tide will come in before he's found. He's from a militaristic culture of Manly Men, and is himself a broad-shouldered tough guy with combat experience. No one mocks him when he develops claustrophobia as a result of this experience.

    Hamilton has issues.

  2. Seriously, I love how you point out just how messed up her attitude is towards anyone who was a victim of anything, or who even just has natural weaknesses and/or spots where they are not absurdly superhuman automatons. It's CREEPY.

  3. It's really, REALLY hard for me not to go off on LKH for this stupidity. Making vunurability or weakness a negative trait is debilitating in the development of a human being, be it a fictional character or a real child. Weakness is a part of being human.

    You find out what your weakness is, and you cope with it. By doing this, you develop streingth. You don't get strong by denying you ever had a weakness. You just get stupid.