Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Incubus Dreams--chapter 32-33

So I discovered this really nifty dragon breeding game, that totally woke up my formerly buried Pern nesting instincts. In other news, I got fuck-all done today, but I have a really awesome set of dragons.

So how's Anita Blake doing?

Let's see, Nate's still in the office. She's doing that tell-the-truth-so-they'll-assume-you've-lied thing ("He's here in case I need to have sex") and her pride smarts a bit for having sex in the office.

I bet it does.

She leaves to take Nate to Guilty Pleasures, and Nate reminds her to eat because just like the ardeur needs sex, the inner beast needs meat and the inner vampire needs blood, Anita's inner human needs to be taken care of too. That means a burger, or fries, or something that resembles real food.

“It would be interesting if you kept a food diary to see if there was a correlation between starving your human body and the other hungers rising.”
Let me get this straight. Laurel K. Hamilton is writing a story where balance between needs is absolutely key to her main character's well being, and she is going to ignore this in favor of having sex.

Will, in fact, later demonize this idea--that feeding her human body will sate the supernatural stuff too--because it's not hard core enough.

Laurel K. Hamilton has spent the last twenty years writing a novel series about the downward spiral of addiction, and everybody knows it but her.

Nate gives her a very stern talking to and they head off to get a burger for Anita and a salad for Nate. Nate talks about how burgers make him bloat.

And then we take a detour right into psychological fuckery that must be read to be believed.

“Richard always talked about his beast like it was all his baser impulses, you know, lust, sloth, the traditional sins, but to sin implies a knowledge of good and evil. There was no good or evil, there was nothing like normal thought. I hadn’t really understood how all my thoughts are based on things. I’m always thinking about how one thing affects another. The consequences of your actions.”
Okay. The problem with the bolded part is that in this universe, a lycanthrope is not an animal. Being shoved into a situation where your self-control is challengened in no way shape or form removes your responsability to remain in control. A murder committed drunk is the same, morally, as a murder committed sober.Being human usually means you have awareness of your actions and their consequences. This is not something that you can abdicate. You CAN abdicate the reaction to said consequences--ie feeling guilty you killed someone--but you become an utter waste of eggs and sperm in the process.

Richard is a highly moral person, and he is aware that it is much easier for him to cross the line as a wolf than it is as a man. And unlike a drug user, Richard does not get a choice. He has a biological imperitive to place himself in a place that is not safe for himself or the people around him, once a month, every month.

“I stopped thinking about the Browns’ grief, their dead son. It wasn’t that I chose to ignore it. I wasn’t being callous, it just never entered my mind. It was just that they hurt me, and I got mad, but mad translated directly to food. If I killed them and ate them, then they couldn’t hurt me anymore, and I was hungry.”

And then you acted on that feeling by handling Mrs. Brown with unnecessary force, and by turning her son's death into your personal pissing contest. The fact that you lost control, Anita, does not justify the behavior you inflicted on the people around you.

She asks Nate how he avoids ripping into people, and he tells her to channel the animal feelings into sex, which is what they did in her office.

I get the feeling this is like getting heroin addicts onto methadone. It's less harmful but it's a lateral move, and that "less harmful" part is debatable.

Anita and Nate feel each other up while they wait for their salad and hamburger.

Thrilling action, ya'll. Just thrilling.

However, in the next chapter we get this absolutely breathtaking bit of description.

The alley was an alley,


Okay, the sentence goes on to say "cramped, smelly" and other things that are generally back-bar alley-ish, but seriously. This alley, guys, it's an alley. You might have missed all the nuances, so let me say it again. This alley is an alley.

And it is full of Nate's screaming fans. They're shouting his stage name of Brandon, but yeah, Nathanial has screaming fans. Because Anita must have the very best stripper leopard for her harem, ya know? OOOh, and of Nate's fans TWO of them are blondes and one has black hair, but it so obviously came out of a bottle.

The fan-girls get wary of Anita until both Nate and Anita say that she's security. One of them keeps pushing until a security vampire (...okay, that is for-reals, one of the coolest things I've typed all night) makes the girls go away. Anita says that one girl, a brunette, is taking things way too personally.

Then Anita finds out that the guy who should have kept the girls away from the stage door is also taking money to let in undesirables.

The undesirables being, you know, men. Yeah, men are strongly discouraged from going into Guilty Pleasures.

Doesn't that violate more than a couple laws?

Anita and Security Vamp AKA Buzz discuss how Bad Security Vamp Primo is fucking everyone over, and then some of those nasty unwanted men start heckling a dancer and a vamp comes to get Buzz to fix things, because it is "getting ugly". Anita goes along for shits and giggles and the chapter ends.

This book is going NOWHERE, isn't it?


  1. Erm, not to be gross here but sex (particularly the kind that soaks your clothing with fluids) has a smell. A very obvious one.
    Anita's not fooling anyone, they're just too creeped out to mention it.

    Of *course* men are discouraged from entering GP. Anita can't be there all the time, and gay business without her to watch is just icky.

    Not to give LKH credit here, but everything I've read suggests that female strip club patrons are the worst (not all, but the majority). They're grabby, don't tip, try to draw attention to themselves, and buy into the whole "I can't be a predator because I'm female/ men want sexy touchings all the time" So I can understand the layer of disgust that seems to coat the perception of the women here.
    I'm not saying that people who go to strip clubs are bad, mind you! Just that most often their behaviour is bad.

  2. "I’m always thinking about how one thing affects another. The consequences of your actions.”

    "I'm always thinking about what actions will result in the most gain for me. I am always considering any consequences of any actions that affect me and what I want."

    There, I fixed it.

  3. Something that I've been pondering over the alst few days...

    Some series are set in a sort of timeless now. The Bernie Rhodenbar books by Lawrence Block come to mind, where Bernie is eternally in his early thirties and the series is always set in The Present. Events in previous books are referred to, but only in broad strokes.

    Some series are linear. Each book is about a distinct series of events taking place in a specific point in the lives of the characters. The Harry Potter series is a perfect example of this sort of series.

    The Anita Blake series started life as the second type, and there seems to have been a fairly specific set of character arcs built into the series. Anita is a monster-hunter who becomes tempted by the monsters, and must deal with her own increasing urges towards monstrous behaviour. But at some point the series shifted towards the first type. The series is now set in The Present, and character arcs are now either confined to trivial things or are reset for the sake of the longer series.

    The problem is that LKH made this shift in the middle of Anita's arc towards monstrosity. Anita Blake is now stuck forever in the act of becoming a terrible person. However she tries to minimize or justify her actions, the fact is that her actions are ugly because that's the point where her character was frozen.

  4. ....even if it's not illegal, turning away male patrons just seems like it would mean losing money. Like, that's just really weird to me.

    1. Then Anita finds out that the guy who should have kept the girls away from the stage door is also taking money to let in undesirables.

      The undesirables being, you know, men. Yeah, men are strongly discouraged from going into Guilty Pleasures.

      If this is a private club they may be able to keep men out if they can prove that would directly support the club charter. Just a guess on my part, I'm not sure how US law would deal with that. But if this is a private club then this bouncer letting men in would be fired in a heartbeat because, hey, private club. Members and guests only.

    2. That and...well, this is probably going to be really problematic, but I've found that the specific patrons this club seems to have are TERRIBLE customers. The joke in the service industry is that women and foreigners don't tip. I'll modify that to young, preppy women. They all have the same kind of makeup and clothing, they all treat waitstaff like shit, and they never tip well. Just given the bare-bones descriptions LKH has given me, the customer type is really obvious.

      I would not want a club with that customer type, and ONLY that customer type, and even if JC is heartless enough to endure it, I sure as FUCK would not want to work there, especially in a strip club where customers would feel (wrongly) entitled to touch. Or do more than touch.

      I mean, I'm at the point *NOW* where I wish I had a stage name to give customers. That's the first thing Nicky's done that feels perfectly in character, though I'm amazed he gets to be Brandon and not something like "Dick Charger" or whatever the male stripper equivalent is to "Candy Floss"

    3. The joke in the service industry is that women and foreigners don't tip.

      Tipping is a huge deal in the US, less of a big deal in Canada, and very much less of a big deal in the rest of the world. In fact in some parts of the world it's just not done at all. And men often tip to impress people - Either women that they're with, or the other guys at the table, or the wiatstaff if they're female. I suspect that's less of a deal for female customers.

      The young preppy women you're describing just sound like douchebags to me. I suspect if they were douchebros they'd tip better to try and impress people, but the rest of their behaviour would be the same.

      And yeah, JC sounds like exactly the kind of boss to allow or even encourage bad behaviour from customers. The customers get to have their fun and they keep coming back because the other clubs set limits on their behaviour.

      Dirk McMeatslab.
      Hugh Hardbeef.
      Rock Hungwell.

    4. I get that, which is why I give foreigners some credit.

      The nice Canadian couple who come in every day for their very first tourist week in Texas? Yeah, a ten percent tip is just fine.

      The Welsh guy who comes in AT LEAST twice a week, makes loaded comments about orgies and wild parties and a lot of inappropriate come-ons and then consistently tips ten percent despite softball hints that maybe something more than that would make up for having to deal with unwanted sexual innuendo? Yeah, not so much. The last few times he's come in I've conveniently been too busy to take him. It's not the shitty tips, it's the sexual come-ons combined with the shitty tips. If you're gonna be an ass, pay me more to put up with you.