Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Wolf Gift--chapter 19

Let's get business out of the way first, mkay? Buy my books. They're cool.

There. I've done my daily dose of promotion for the day.

One thing I've found, writing in three different universes at once is that each series has its own characteristics. In trying to get the next gray Prince book done (and it's going BEAUTIFULLY so far) I've realized that I seem to consistantly write the fucking book in the wrong fucking order. Which means I have to not only rearrange all the pieces, I have to do massive scale rewriting to make it all fit (IE take the "When we Last Left Our Heroes" segment out of what used to be the beginning and is now the 1/3 way point and shove it into what used to be the 1/3/ way point and is now the beginning). AND YET IT GOES WELL. I like this kind of editing a lot. Understanding how all these scattered pieces fit together.

Part of me wishes I hadn't written the damn thing, so that I could enjoy and gush about how much fun it is working with it without feeling like a self important jerk.

And it's gonna be a fun book. So there.

Right. Now. Where are we?

Ruben and Laura are in the World's Perfect Mansion, waiting for his transformation.

I want you to know I stopped re-reading Redemption of Althalus for the eleventh time to do this. And as dumbed down as that book is (a lot of kindergarten language is employed. Which is weird, because a lot of the topics discussed ie time's relationship to space, is a little bit above most adult's pay-grade) I am now longing for the let's-throw-sheep-at-the-bad-guys scene.

Ruben is sitting on the sofa with Laura. She's wearing one of those Ophelia-esque nighties, he's in an old sweater and jeans. They're watching TV. We all absolutely needed to know this.

The thing about breaking books up into scenes and chapters, blog readers, is that it allows you to skip massive blocks of bullshit and go straight for the interesting parts.

We get a three-page transcript of what Ruben and Laura are watching on TV because it is on Ruben and Anne Rice assumes that we find Ruben half as interesting as she does.

News Flash: We don't.

Ruben changes the channel, but apparently he is on every station.

Yeah, that's what happens when your kill count starts needing both hands. They're not doing it because they like you, Rubes, they're doing it because you eat people. OH BUT THEY ARE BAD PEOPLE. Well, you know, there's also an argument that prostitutes "deserve it" when serial killers hunt them down because their job isn't socially acceptable (For the record, if you agree with that, please get off my blog now). The problem is that the criminal activity does not originate in the victim. The victim does not think "Oh, I'd like to be robbed/raped/murdered today" and somehow magically put that thought into the criminal's head. In other words, THE NATURE OF THE VICTIM NEVER JUSTIFIES THE ACTIONS OF THE CRIMINAL.

Ruben, you decided you wanted to kill them, you found something to justify it, you hunted until you found circumstances that matched that justification, and then you killed them. That makes you a murdering son of a bitch who needs to go away.


We find out that Ruben gave Laura a tour of the fucking house--thank GOD this one was off camera--and that she fell in love with the master bedroom.

Not the conservatory. Not the massive grounds. Not the libraries full of rare books, or the hallways full of rare art, or the fact that this house is, in its defense, probably fucking gorgeous. No. SHE FALLS IN LOVE WITH THE MASTER BEDROOM. 

Oh, and this is in accordance with Ruben's master plan.

Fuck fires, Rubes. Go die in a nuclear reactor.

We find out that the orchid trees got here. We find out what color the flowers are, that some of the flowers got damaged in transit, and that the flowers came here in wooden pots.

God forbid, we not know what the fucking orchid trees got shipped in.

 There is a fountain! And the computers and TVs and blue-ray disks are all working! And...wait. WAIT A FUCKING MINUTE.

Those (INCREDIBLY FUCKING EXPENSIVE) Bose players were specifically DVD players. Anne Rice went out of her way to let us know that Ruben owns the "I'VE GOT TOO MUCH FUCKING MONEY AND I LISTEN TO RUSH LIMBAUGH" version of DVD players.



Ruben's mom wants him to get tested by a Russian specialist in Paris. Again. This is the third time this has been mentioned. Yeah, we're definately going to do an eleventh hour LKH-esque ass-pull for a villian, aren't we?

Also, why would Grace still be freaking out over Ruben? He looks healthier than he did before, there's no sign of rabies. Sure, he's acting a little flakey, but my first reaction when my TWENTY THREE YEAR OLD son started skipping work and rolling in his cash would not be "RARE AND SPESHUL-SNOFLAKIE DISEASES". My reaction would be "Is it heroin? It's heroin isn't it." and an attempt to get him into rehab. And IDK about you, but I think California is more than equipped to handle rich people on drugs. We wouldn't need to go to Paris.

 Also, reporters want Ruben to comment on the Man-Wolf because Ruben is special. The end.

His boss wants him to do a deep reflection piece on the Man-Wolf.

Lady, I've been stuck with Ruben for ninteen chapters. There are mud puddles that are bigger drowning hazards than this kid.

And then we go back to Ruben snuggling with Laura. And snuggling with Laura motivates him to write. And we get the entire piece in quote blocks, because we really want to read the murdering werewolf's attempt to play to the "DIE WOLF" attitude of the world while still covering his ass. Reading about actual werewolfy things would be too much to ask. Also, it's just Anne Rice attempting to be deep and talk about human subconsious and hero worship and I would be much more inclined to listen if not for Laura. Including a co-dependant damaged woman in the story because nobody else would fuck Ruben without asking Ruben to change his behavior (namely, not kill people) makes your "GOD I AM SO DEEP" blathering look like crayola scribblings on the side of a nursery wall. That, more than anything, showcases that you don't really get the dark side of humanity half as well as you think you do.

Laura thinks it's brilliant. Because her only reason for existing is to affirm Ruben's existence, and that's not sarcasm, that's her entire purpose as a character.

And then we wander back into ANITA BLAKE territory:

“Tell me the truth, if you will,” he had said. “Are you disappointed that I am not the Man of the Wild you imagined? I think you saw me as something pure, unburdened by moral constraint. Or maybe, maybe having to live up to an entirely different code because I was something not human.”

WHY ARE STANDARD MORALS WRONG? I could understand if, say, there was an arguement about homophobia or racism or the bullshit that allows rapists to have paternity rights in most US states, because "standard" morality condemns these things when it should not, but the "moral constraints" Ruben is talking about are NOT KILLING PEOPLE OUT OF HAND IN HORRIBLE WAYS. LKH had the same thing: Morals are WRONG because they won't let us kill people out of hand. Morals are WRONG because they frown on us discarding sex partners once they start asking for committed monogamous relationships. Morals are WRONG because they demand HONESTY and HUMILITY and, you know, NOT KILLING PEOPLE WE DON'T LIKE IN NASTY WAYS.

Why is "treat other people with dignity, and don't be an ass" so fucking hard to understand? It's not like having values means somebody can't be a BAMF. Imitate Bayard Rustin. Imitate the women who walk palestinian children to and from school. Imitate German Jehovah's Witnesses during the 1940s (Google it. And yes, I know about their homophobia and how the Watchtower sucks. You still need to Google it.). Imitate the Muslems who protected Christians during Christmas services in Egypt. Imititate the Egyptian Christians who protected the Muslems during their prayer services. Harriet Tubman. Oskar Schindler. Chiune Sugihara. Eva Mozes Kor. Corrie Ten Boom. FUCKING GANDHI. Write a main character with positive values standing up for those values under overwhelming odds, and you'll find that the bad-assed motherfucker status is much, much higher than it ever would have been if you gave them a gun.

Ruben is not bad-ass. He's just bad AND an ass.

Laura replies to the quoted bit thusly:

You’re a mystery the way a sacrament is a mystery.”

For fuck's sake. Anne. Park your ego a minute, will you?

For those of you who don't know (And I really hope it's like, two of you) the Holy Sacrament is mostly unique to Catholicism. It's the belief that after the blessing of comunion is preformed, the little white waifers literally become Christ's body, and the wine becomes Christ's blood. It makes the person partaking in the Communion an actual participant in the sacrifice of Christ. Most non-Catholic denominations do NOT believe in this, my own brand being one of them, but to a Catholic this is the most sacred part of their religion.

Anne Rice is a Catholic.

Basically she just had one main character call the other main character equal to God.

He wants to have sex with her. He thinks that she won't want Human!Ruben, just Wolf!Ruben, and then says "Fuck it" and starts having sex with her anyway. They disrobe. They get in bed. The words "tangle of limbs" are used.

I do not have a good feeling about this. In fact, I have a very BAD feeling about this. Ruben, please stay human please stay human please stay human...DAMN IT!

 Suddenly he felt the violent spasm in his belly and in his chest; the ecstasy moved over the surface of his entire body; the prickling pleasure paralyzed him. He fell to one side, and sat up, doubled over.

More religious imagry is used--specifically, Laura is on her knees before him, and rises up praying--and I'm pretty sure Rice thought she was being subtle.

The chapter ends with him smelling Laura and enjoying it.

I'm now going to go read a story about teleporting European clones in the mideval ages who will win a battle by throwing sheep at the enemy. And I will think "As dumb as Gher's 'girl people' shit is, at least nobody is fucking a were-wolf mid shift."

"Or comparing them to Jesus Christ and thinking that equals depth."


  1. Eep, that comparison to the sacrament is just awful. It's true I'm not religious at all anymore, but I was raised Catholic, and a lot of the imagery still hints very emotional points (in a good way, not a traumatized way!) for me, so in addition to it just being crap from a writing perspective, it also kind of personally peeves me too even though, as an atheist/not-Catholic, I probably don't have any right to that.

    The whole thing with "but Reuben kills bad people!" reminds me of something a friend of mine brought up that I had never considered before: We don't just have laws and due process for the sake of the innocent. We have them for the sake of rapists, child molesters, serial killers, the lowest of the low. We have them to protect the people that we are going to hate most, who are the worst. You don't fucking lose those rights, no matter what you did, and that's in place to PREVENT us all just deciding to do Reuben's way and the slippery slope we'd all tumble down way too fast if we did.

    Not to mention, killing sort of breaks the whole superhero thing. Most superheros, unless it's supposed to be some kind of dark deconstruction thing like Watchmen or the 'dark antihero' team member like Wolverine, don't kill. They may not all have a vow about it like Batman (who arguably only needs it because he's the one most likely to do it if he didn't have one) but it's just something they don't do. They leave the bad guy tied up for the police usually, and when they do end up having to kill someone, it's usually a pretty big deal no matter how justified it was.

    If Reuben was being portrayed as a Punisher type 90s antihero (Punisher "employs murder, kidnapping, extortion, coercion, threats of violence, and torture in his war on crime" according to Wiki) then I could get behind it but he's clearly NOT being portrayed to us as dark, of questionable morals, anti-heroish, etc. at all. He's doing Right and Good and there's really no doubt about it at all in the narrative no matter how much he may pay lip service to 'oh, but was it wrong to murder?' afterward before the text and everyone in it validates him.

    1. RF, the imagry we grow up with is still with us. I have developed a love/hate relationship with most small churches (mostly because I feel like they all stick their hands in my pocket the second I go through the door) and yet "I Come To The Garden Alone" or "As the Deer" still makes me sob every time I hear it. And I think it's more powerful now because it's not religion (or rather, not just religion, as I'm still pretty religious) that it's twanging off of. It's my childhood. It's the happy parts of my childhood.

      In other words, being peeved because Rice is abusing Christian imagry to deify her murderous fuckwit main character is completely valid.

      As for the laws: EXACTLY. OH GOD THAT IS IT EXACTLY. YES.

  2. Reuben is a very Christlike figure. I distinctly remember that bit where Jesus said "Suffer the little children to come unto me, for they are meaty and delicious."

    So, actual thoughts...

    1 - Reuben is famous enough that other reporters will seek him out for quotes? Seriously? Does he have a popular blog aggregator or something?

    2 - Are there any people of other than whiteness in this story? I mean as actual characters, not just as "Oh this house needs a caretaker I guess they might as well be Hispanic".

    1. Not yet. And Rosy's ethnicity is unconfirmed. All evidence points to her being Hispanic, but the name isn't standard spelling and there's a lot of avoidance in her ONE PARAGRAPH OF EXISTENCE that makes no mention of ANY physical attributes whatsoever.

      Oh, and didn't you get the memo? Rubes is more famous than Elvis. He and Merry Gentry are tied.