Thursday, August 1, 2013

Incubus Dreams--chapter 61-62

Yeah. So I'm doing a Kickstarter.

Ya'll will get the official announcement here soon-ish. Like tomorrow morning.

I have learned a lot today. I have learned that trying to nail timing for a kick-ass piece of trailer music is HARD AS FUCK (Let's try two seconds for that slide. No. Okay, let's try one point five. No. Okay, one point two five. Too soon. One point three five? One point three? When you are adjusting things by tenths and hundredths of a second just to get things to change on a beat, you've either gone insane or hit nirvana and all I can say is, it required lots of booze.) I have learned that the Kickstarter "start project' interface hates Firefox and Internet Explorer equally (FIREFOX: WHY WILL YOU NOT UPLOAD THINGS. IE: WHY WILL YOU NOT SAVE TEXT CHANGES THAT I HAVE MADE. KICKSTARTER: WHY DO I NEED TO HAVE TWO BROWSERS OPEN JUST TO COMPLETE YOUR FORMS I DO NOT KNOW THIS PLEASE SEND SCOTCH)

That said, I am almost done gathering things together for Kickstarter's consumption, and I will Post Things as soon as Things exist to post.

ALSO: Dragon Breath drops August 5th. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BOOK I cannot emphasize this enough.

And also the kickstarter. Because it would be very sad if this did not work.

Also-Also: Chronic blog-reader and all-around awesome person Duamuteffe has decided to take one for the team review Affliction for us. I know I will be following this because I don't want to read that god awful mess we must all support our fellow sporkers.

Go visit. Go support. Go. Now. Do.

The next chapter does not open with a call from Zerbowski. However, it DOES open with Anita and Zerbowski getting out of a car together. As Zerbowski is married and not on the List of Men to Do the table flipping promised in the previous review is regretfully set aside. Instead, we're probably about to have crime scene fail, which is now MUCH preffered to Sex Scene Fail, because only one of these can scar us for life and so far, it is not the one with black lights, luminol and little shower foot booties.

Which, once again, Anita doesn't have.

I guess Zerbowski never needs to use shoe impressions in court.

And you know what? this is the very first time I've made it through a kindle page and nothing's sucked. In fact, I need to point out something good:

“You’ve seen our house, it’s perfect, everything in its place. Even our bedroom is immaculate. The car is the one place that’s mine. It gets to be as messy as I want it to be.”
This is Zerbowski speaking and I get this. This is called "CW's Craft Table" in this house. (Let's just say GLITTER and leave it there)

Anita then points out how many people don't know they've got a vampire "living" next door, and she brings up the predator/prey dynamic, and you know what? That doesn't suck either. Because the problem with using vampires/werewolves/mutants as a metaphore for, say, being gay or trans, is that a vampire can overpower your will and kill you, a werewolf can hulk out and kill you, a mutant can burn your face off if he loses his glasses (Seriously, I would not want to live next to Cyclops that day when the lenses in his glasses fall out and Jean Gray can't find that stupid fucking tiny screwdriver in the glasses repair kit) and a gay guy is a guy.

( know, it probably says awful things about me that I just realized equating gays with cyclops means straight people think gays can kill them just by being gay.)

And then Anita brings up one of the things that I've kind of loved about this series from day one, about how the myth about vampires being all powerful is usually just that, and you're far more likely to wake up dead and a master vamp's flunkey forever than you are to wake up dead and a master vamp yourself. Which is a really good reason not to become a vampire. Other than the whole, you know, being dead part.

The vampire isn't as cool as the Zombie Magnate from several chapters back, but he doesn't suck (heh heh) either. His reaction isn't pissing contest with Anita. It's "Aw shit, why are the cops here?" which I am sure all of us can agree with.

I am beginning to suspect that this chapter may not suck. On the one hand, I am sad because that means humor will be more difficult. On the other hand, nobody is fucking anybody else so this is automatically an improvement.

On the other hand, I may have spoke too soon. Anita starts playing "mine is bigger" the second she gets in the vampire's door.

When we were inside, he shut the door and went to the couch. From a coffee table that had almost as much crap on it as the backseat of Zerbrowski’s car, he fished out a cigarette and a lighter. He lit up without asking if we minded. How rude.

(...what would cigarettes do to a vampire? Do they get a nicotine buzz off it? What if you locked a vampire with a pack-a-day habit into one of those silver chained coffins, and then put a pack of cigarettes on a stool just outside of it? WHY ARE THESE QUESTIONS NOT ANSWERED)

Anita also complains about there not being any other chairs. I am imagining this apartment to be something like my one bedroom place from way back in '10, and I now want to fart in her general direction. Seriously, Anita. If you live alone in a cheap-ass apartment, you don't need more than a couch. Unless you entertain. I don't imagine this vampire entertains.

They ask him why he left the strip club. He says it was boring. Anita obsesses over his cigarette, and if she can make him put it out without looking rude.

Anita. It's his house. No, you can't.

And know, I talk a LOT about how this could have been a good book, but I've been actively entertained by the last few pages, and I just formed an emotional attachment with this vampire. See, he says he became a vamp because he was an alcoholic and vamps can't drink, and the Church of Eternal Life offered him an easy way around twelve step programs.

“I’m what my counselor calls an addictive personality. Do you know what that means, officers?”

OH YEAH. Steven King's autobiography/writer's book relates the story of an alcoholic who, when asked how much he drank, replied "ALL of it." An alcoholic drinks until it's all gone. Usually, this includes the Scope and Nyquil (Which, FYI, is about 40 proof. I checked). If an addictive personality drops alcohol, they switch to drugs. If they get off drugs, they switch to gambling. Or sex. Or casual computer games. The addictive personality always has something going. And people in the rehab business are ALWAYS offering a quick fix that isn't a program, and 99.99999% of the times these fixes fail (and most of the time the programs fail. Addiction sucks)


This is not a question. This is an accusation. I would have read the bloody fuck out of that book. And been greatful, because that plot--the drug-addict vampire--has been sitting on my sub-consious for years and I haven't found their story yet.

Instead, I just literally read forty chapters of sex. This is subtracting anything that could remotely be defined as substance--ten chapters is a generous estimate. And I could have been reading a novel about an addictive personality vampire trying to over come his fucked-uped-ness. Either way, this would have ruled. The cervix-punching? IT IS NOT THAT AWESOME.

...the vampire points out that he is now addicted to blood drinking, and that if he fucked up and his friend cried "force", Anita would have to kill him. Anita has no idea how to deal with this moral gray area.

I would have given a kidney to have been reading this book. HOLY FUCK.

Seriously. We sacrificed a book about addictive vampires and moral questions so we could read about cervix bashing and how "you can't rape the willing"? SERIOUSLY?

If I were in a book store, and this was the first chapter in this book, I'd have not only bought it, I'd be freaking raving about it. HOLY SHIT. How can you write this, what I am reading, and not understand that the last 60 chapters were nothing but utter suck.

You want to know why "Negative readers" keep reading? Because once a book, we get this. A brief flash of something that's good. Maybe it's not literature, but it would have been good.

Also, the leadership of the Church of Eternal Life can go collectively sit on a toilet plunger. Just, you know, for the record.

Anita realizes that the CoEL has done nothing to teach their vamp how to actually be a vamp and she starts freaking out. She and Zerbowski leave, confident that the vamp couldn't have killed anybody. He asks her what's going on. She says that the CoEL did something worse than kill this guy, they killed him and then did everything they could to make his new life a crippled one.

We have a addictive vamp plot and a religion plot. I am completely interested. WHY WAS THIS NOT CHAPTER ONE/TWO/THREE/SOMETHING CLOSER TO THE BEGINNING

Of course, the debate between Anita and Zerbowski never goes anywhere. After a couple minutes Zerbowski gets a phone call and they race off to a brand new crime scene where there may or may not be a vampire present.

next chapter.

The suck is back. We get a description of the crime scene that is basically "Anita is here and here is her opinion" for many pages. Including some kind of judgemental bullshit on the crime scene that I just don't get at all.

Also, Jessica Arnet is here. It's time for the "mine is bigger" fighting to commence.

Quick question: How do you become a professional writer and not recognize that the pissing contests and the sex are slowing things down? How can you be that freaking tone deaf to the necessary rythem of a story? most of the fun is getting that right.

Anita tells Arnet to go get air, she's about to faint. Arnet says that Anita isn't the only female who can handle this shit, and I'd say that's true in that there ARE women who can handle this shit, but first, Anita passed out twice at a crime scene during Cerulean Sins, and second, passing out in no way shape or forms indicates the size of your metaphorical balls. It means you either got overwhelmed, overheated, or you forgot to eat a few times. It's a medical condition.

Zerbowski throws Arnet out of the crime scene, and threatens to pull her off the case. I guess when you get in a pissing contest with Anita, that happens.

Anita points out that this could have been an accident--you don't jerk away from a vamp when they've got fangs in your femoral--and then points out that it doesn't matter, it's good for exicution either way. "there's no manslaughter" for vampires, apparently.

This universe has the most fucked up law system ever.

Anita comments that she wants to know how borked the Church of Eternal Life is when teaching vampires new tricks. Zerbowski wants her to put pressure on the Church to teach their vamps right. Meanwhile the guy, who we are implying didn't know how not to kill his girlfriend, is still utterly fucked.

Poor guy.

The chapter ends with them accomplishing absolutely nothing.


  1. So I'm going to ignore this chapter because my God this shit is still going on and it will still be going on in the next chapter and the chapter after that and... and instead post this nifty link

    which touches on a discussion about real-world discrimination and fictional superpowered 'minorities'.

  2. Thank you for the kind words! You definitely don't want to wade through Affliction, it's appallingly messy.

  3. (For some reason Google/Livejournal won't let me log in to Duamuteffe's LJ with my Google account. I refuse to make an LJ account on the grounds that I have too many frickin' accounts already, so here are my Duamuteffe-aimed thoughts):

    So maybe it's the straight guy in me, but I am fixated on Anita's breasts. As a rough rule of thumb for North American bra sizes, every step up in the alphabet (A-B-C-D-DD-E-EE-F-etc) is an inch of breast, as measured out from the chest. It's a very rough rule, and there's a lot of variation, but let's go with it for now.

    I've never heard of an EEE-cup bra, but I've never gone bra shopping so we'll put that down to inexperience on my part. Say EEE is a largish EE or smallish F, which means Anita is carrying around two 7-8 inch bags of fat (mostly) attached to her chest. The average width of a woman's head, as measured from ear to ear, is about 4.3 inches (Thanks, Google!). Anita is shorter than average, so her head is smaller than average. Say about 3.75-4 inches.

    Yes folks, Anita's breasts are each twice the size of her head. On a woman described as slim.

    Breast-weight varies (Google again), but I've found estimates that put the classic 34-DD 'ideal' in the 3-3.5 lbs range. That's each, so about 6-7 pounds for the Playboy slim-and-busty ideal. DD is 5ish inches, EEE is 7-8 inches, so Anita's bust is 1.5 times bigger than a DD. Thanks to the miracle of the square-cube law her breasts are thus about 3.4x heavier than a DD. So Anita is carrying 20-24 pounds around on her slim frame.

    Anita is 5'3" and slim, and a low-but-healthy weight range for a woman Anita's height is about 105 lbs.

    Rack included, Anita weighs 125-130 pounds. 20% of her body weight is breast.

    It is not safe for this woman to go outdoors on a windy day.

  4. Hi Ian - sorry about that, I am completely new to the LJ thing. I have enabled comments from "everyone, " and hopefully that means non LJ people as well now. Blogspot has it as defualt so I didn't realize it was something I had to search out and set.
    The breast thing is just amazing, isn't it? I don't know how she manages to stand up.

    1. Turns out the sing-in problem is with Google. They want me to create a G+ account before I can post with that ID. $^&#@!!

      The breast thing, like a lot of the little details I obsess over in these books, is just a symptom to me. LKH never seems to think things through beyond the initial cool idea. And some of her ideas are very cool. But without working the idea of a world with vampires and shapeshifters through, we end up with weirdness like people living in a modern day US where the undead can enslave, torture, rape, and murder them at will without repercussion. It's just weird.

      And with Anita's breasts, we end up with an action girl who climbs over fences, runs around crime scenes, gets into fights, and never has any problems with her breasts impeding her...

      But she looks like this

    2. Anita's boobs. Good God, Anita's boobs.

      I do not understand how you can have boobs and not understand the goddamned things BOUNCE.

      Having world-record sized gazoombas would not be fun. It'd be more "FUCK, MY BACK" and "FUCK, MY SHOULDERS" from the bra straps and "FUCK, MY BREASTS" because every pothole would freaking RESONATE.

      ...also, I've never found oversized boobs on skinny to be sexy, but then I'm female and straight.

    3. People react the way they've been trained to react.

      LKH absorbed a lot of social crap about conventional beauty, so she regards boobs as a kind of superpower. Anita has the best boobs, therefore they are big but don't sag or cause her any problems and are only ever referred to when it makes Anita look good. Anita gets all the best powers in this series.

      A lot of guys regard big breasts on slim girls as the ideal because that's what we're told, repeatedly, again and again, is the ideal. It's unacceptable to not regard the Playboy dream as the ideal body type. There's something wrong with you if you don't think 34D is perfect.

      People react the way they've been trained to react.

      But yeah, I really do agree that if you have a slender woman with large breasts as your PoV character, then you need to put some thought into how that effects her life, in the same way that you need to think about how being tall/short/heavy/whatever effects the character. "Oh God, potholes." "Oh God, street creeps. Time to break out the necromantic mojo..."

  5. Yup. Little gems like that crop up and ARE THEN SNATCHED AWAY. It's a rather unique feature of this series, really.