Thursday, August 8, 2013

Incubus Dreams--chapter 76-78

The reason why you have not seen much of me lately, my lovelies, is we have had an honest-to-god fucking disaster at work, and I have been working my ass off to compensate. The depressing thing is, my lack of ass will not result in a higher paycheck. That's how shitty my job is.

The good news is, I have started on the next Gray Prince book Re: Drafting, and I'll probably shoot for 1.5-2K a day while I'm editing PT 2 of Dragon Breath.

I try very hard not to air my spirituality out on le blog, because I know a lot of ya'll either aren't Christian or just plain aren't. But given that I told you why I self published and most of you are still here, I figure you can kind of deal.

Spirituality and writing are, for me, really hard to separate. I think this is because when I write (I'd love to say "when most people write" but I don't know how most people write) my subconsious is on "low boil" and a lot of things come to the surface that would normally be that white sediment on the bottom. I've found a rather strange cycle with my books. Starbleached is not very spiritual. I don't think I could inject much God stuff in there if I tried. Dragon Breath, I'm going to categorize with Starbleached, though there's a couple chunks of spiritual stuff in there. Exiles is this very weird in-between, a fifty-fifty mix of what I guess most people call sanity and what I call spirituality.

And then there's Gray Prince. I really, REALLY hate to break this to you, kids, but it's about 75% esoteric Christianity. I do not intend to do this. I fully intend to write a relatively rational fantasy story about a nominally white dude empire building (...and I try hard to make that not problematic, but that's totally what I intend to do, for Reasons) and somehow three quarters of the way through I realize I've written parts of the Bible into the book that I find very, very weird, and they fit WAY TOO WELL for me to take them back out again. 

This gets especially weird when I use Tarot cards to break writer's block. Welcome to CW's universe.

(One day I am going to write an entire blog post about how the Streingth card in the Major Arcana fits in with the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den. That's going to be FUN)

What made this especially interesting is I started today fully intending to write at least three thousand words on A Promise Kept (my working titles suck) and instead wound up going to town, where I acquired (in this order) a MUCH NEEDED backup battery for my computer, a copy of Be Here Now, a brand new Tarot deck, and a collection of C.S. Lewis's favorite George MacDonald quotes.

(By the way, fantasy fans, if you have never read Phantasies, go get a copy and read it. George MacDonald is kind of the John the Babtist to Lewis and Tolkien's Jesus. You cannot fully appreciate LOTR and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe if you don't have Phantasies and the Curdie books as a background. They drew heavily on his shit. Bonus points: copyright has run out. Macdonald is FREE)

(Seriously. Phantasies is one of my favorite fantasy books ever. It's worth the read just for the beech tree. I may love him and all that jazz)

In other words, I feel locked, loaded, and mentally revived. Physically, I want to find a cool shadow to die in.

...this means I have to go from thinking about George MacDonald to reading about Anita Blake, don't I?

Okay. Compromise. I'm going to give you a kick-ass McDonald Quote, and then I'm going to read LKH's nonsense. Okay? Okay.

Quote For Truth:

It may be infinitely less evil to murder a man than to refuse to forgive him. The former may be the act of a moment of passion; the latter is the heart's choice. It is spiritual murder, the worst, to hate, to brood over the feeling that excludes, that, in our microcosm, kills the image, the idea of the hated.
I've been doing this shit for over a year, boys and girls, but tonight is the first time reading this garbage has actually left me feeling contaminated. Make of that what you will.

(Athiest friends: Please do not feel excluded. And if you do feel excluded, discuss, so that I know what not to do or say in the future. Just note that I found that quote profound enough to want to share.)

 Let's see. Last time we met Anita, she was witholding the address of a murdering vampire so that Special Forces would have to take her along for the ride. What kind of advice is she giving them?

AT MY SUGGESTION they put the sniper where he could see the windows, not at the front door. I really have to explain why this is so stupid? Do I?


This unit is St. Louis's version of SWAT. SWAT stands for "Special Weapons And Tactics". This means that this division has one job. And it is not understanding the finer points of executing a warrant--though they probably understand that better than you ever will. ALL this unit cares about are their guns and how to use them. And by that, I don't mean "point and shoot". I mean "be able to shoot well enough to shoot the gun out of the suicidal moron's hand" (NOTE: DISTURBING VIDEO)

This also includes knowing how to deploy assets advantageously so that when SWAT goes in, the situation is over. This is knowing how to go into a building. And most of all, this is knowing where to put the sniper so that the sniper can make the bad things stop happening before they start.

So LKH expects me to believe that the idea of good vantage point is so fucking foreign to snipers in St. Louis that ANITA has to explain where they should sit?


Also: if we ARE involving a sniper, THE SNIPER SHOULD RESOLVE THE ISSUE. THIS IS WHAT SNIPERS DO. I refuse to believe that Anita Fucking Blake could end this situation sooner than someone whose entire purpose in life is to make the impossible shot. We're talking about somebody who can do intense algebraic equations involving wind sheer and target motion inside their own skull, in the heartbeat it takes to decide to inhale. Somebody who's got no problem wetting themselves if incontinence means they make the shot. Blog-readers, if your choice is to stonewall a sniper or surrender, FUCKING SURRENDER. The motherfucking court system will be more forgiving than the sniper. DO NOT FUCK WITH THE SNIPER.

  Anita goes on to discuss how the sniper can't "Just shoot vamps" because there might be good-guy vamps in the building. Anita. WHEN YOU INVOLVE A SNIPER YOU GET ALL THE NON-TARGETS OUT OF THE WAY. Seriously. You are talking about somebody who can hit a fucking postage stamp from across a fucking football field. DO NOT EVEN BEGIN TO THINK YOU CAN DO THIS BAMF'S JOB FOR THEM.

Oh, but what's Anita's logic for choosing windows for the sniper?

But anyone that flew out of the windows of our condo, they would be bad guys, and the sniper could drop them with impunity. Green-light city.
I have no words. Actually, I have plenty of words, but they're all coming on so fast it's gonna take me a second to sort them all out.

First off, I assumed that "Go for the windows" means "you can look into these, as opposed to a door, where you can't". So that, you know, the sniper can watch the hostage-taker make gestures into the phone line until he finally steps far enough away from the hostage that any through-and-throughs can't take the innocent out too. BUT APPARENTLY IT IS SO THE SNIPER CAN PICK OFF THE FLEEING BAD GUYS GOING OUT THE WINDOW.


Second: Your sniper is not going to wait for Mr. Dracula to go through the window, because bullets are what go through the window. Your sniper is going to wait until he has a clear shot at Mr. Obvious Bad Guy, preferably while he is on the phone with Mr. Negotiator, and Mr. Sniper is going to put a very large hole in Mr. Bad Guy's head as soon as everyone agrees it is safe to make Mr. Bad Guy go bye bye. It is not a sniper's job to take out the strays. The sniper's job is to end it. 

The most decisive thing Anita could do, realistically, if a sniper is in play, is make sure Mr. Bad Guy stands in the middle of that pretty picture window for about thirty seconds. 

 But of course the sniper's only job is to take care of the people Anita can't manage to shoot. That's why they went through all that training. It's so they can shoot the people running away. 

 I was still in the vest, even though I’d pointed out that nothing we were about to go up against would be shooting at us, and vests were useless for stabbing or tearing.
This is why we have stab vests as well as bullet proof vests. And that's probably what you're wearing right now.

It was like going up against Superman, and thinking Kevlar would keep you safe.
Here's the thing, Anita. COPS ARE GODDAMNED GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO. They don't go up against Superman with Kevlar. They go up against Mr. Gangster with Kevlar, and they also go up against him with stab-vests, because they understand that when the gun stops working, the knives come out. This assumption that the cops don't understand vampires implies that the cops have no idea what their job is. Vamps aren't new to this universe. Taking vampire gangs down would not be a new concept. THE COPS WOULD UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY NEED TO DO.

 But there is a bigger issue here: ANITA HAS NO BUSINESS BEING HERE. 

How do I know this?

Finally, Sergeant Melbourne said what few special tactical units will ever admit out loud, “We’re using bullets. Bullets can ricochet, and we’d just feel better if we knew you were safe from friendly fire.”
Anita Blake is a civillian consultant. FUCK the marshal grandfathering clause, she does not have the training or the skillset to be anything more than a civilian consultant and every single motherfucking thing she does proves that the ONLY place Anita Blake needs to be at a crime scene is BEHIND THE MOTHERFUCKING YELLOW TAPE. You want to know why the miniskirt at the crime scene bothered me so much? BECAUSE CRIME SCENE TECHS DRESS LIKE THIS:

Anita does not dress like that at a crime scene. Anita does not think the way an investigator thinks. Anita cares less about a crime scene than she does about her PRETEND gender solidarity. Anita is a civilian pretending to be a cop because it makes her ego feel nice. THEY WANT YOU IN A VEST SO THEY WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR A MOTHERFUCKING CIVILIAN DYING.

Hey, how does the victim Anita's going in to rescue get treated?

They had a picture of her up on their Web site and we’d all seen it. It was a publicity shot for a stripper bar, so we tried to look at her face.

...These chapters are going to take for. fucking. ever. to flog, aren't they?

ONE: way to slut-shame your victim, Blake. I mean, WOW. HOW DO YOU DO THIS SO CASUALLY.

TWO: There could be identifying marks on places other than the face. I know of one case where the only identifying mark on a victim was the videotaped tattoo on her ankle (The victim survived, and identified herself via said tattoo.) You shouldn't exclude vital areas of information just because you don't like the victim's job. 

But surely, SURELY, LKH CANNOT piss me off more than she already has. guys have been reading this blog long enough to know I'm going to follow that up with a god-awful quote. Brace yourselves:

I didn’t ask if the men had a harder time looking at her face than I did. She was covered by hands and a few well-placed pieces of cloth, but the illusion was that more skin was showing than really was. Distracting, and meant to be. I’m sure if Ms. Morgan had been told she’d be kidnapped by murderous vampires, she’d have left us a nice, less glamorous face shot.

I. Hate. This. Book.

Most of the tactical team seemed to think I was a civilian and treated me that way.


Hey, let's take a break to address something else: 

My thighs rub together when I walk, thank you very much.

 Due to Lots of Reasons, I put on a lot of weight when I started working at my current job. I'm about 5'6, and I didn't start having the thigh rubbing issue until the last 20 or so pounds. I'm currently about 170.

I'm a B cup. Possibly a C.

Anita, as proved by Affliction, is a triple-E cup size. She's very short, and (being very generous) probably about 140 lbs. (I think cannon is more like 125, but like I said, I'm being generous.)

Most of Anita's body weight is boob. 

And that's assuming that she's 140. If she's the idea 125, Anita literally does not have the thighs to rub together. It is physically impossible for Anita to have thigh meat if she has EEE size boobs. 

I mean, I have no intention of judging, but if you're 125 and EEE, having thighs means atrophying a couple of kidneys. Maybe you can count Anita's ribs under her boob-meat. I don't know.

GOOD FUCKING GOD. PARAGRAPH BREAKS. (It's all gun paraphanalia. None of it involves a gun-bra. I am unimpressed)

I think we're supposed to go "Anita knows guns". All I go is "Anita knows how to order things from gun catalogues".

Finally, after describing the number of places Anita can put a gun, and letting us know that Anita doesn't get snipers at all, the chapter ends with them moving into position.

Next chapter:

IT WAS ONE of those buildings downtown that had been rehabbed until outside it was an architectural wonder that had been saved from demolition, but inside it was ultramodern, ultrasleek, with carpet and almost empty halls, as if once they agreed on the two-tone paint job, they couldn’t agree on anything else.
Jesus Christ, and the woman lives in this city. She lives in this city, and this is the best she can do.

Guys, I've lived around or IN Corpus Christi for over ten years. Fuck, it's been almost twenty years since my family moved here the first time. And ever since I've been here, we've had the old Courthouse. EVERYBODY in Corpus, or near Corpus, knows the Old Courthouse. We can rant about the Old Courthouse. About how we don't want it destroyed, we want it fixed, and WHY THE BLAZING BLUE JESUS FUCK can't the city pull its head out of its ass and manage to fix the goddamned old Courthouse before it implodes, it was a very nice job they did on that southern entrance a couple years ago, but it's been YEARS since anybody TOUCHED the goddamned thing, so why--

Then you have that other old building that got turned into trendy condos (I don't like the trendy condos because they fucked with the windows when they remodeled the building) and there's the Many Lighting Fixtures on the Lexington (WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE FLUORESCENT BLUE) and that AWESOME LED light show on the Harbor Bridge, and DO NOT GET ME STARTED on what happened to the Columbus Ships (seriously. It's a train wreck with international reprocussions. Short Version: Corpus Christi pissed off Spain. The entire nation. And they're still pissed.) I would think that someone who has lived in their city as long as LKH has would manage to find an interesting story about this building beyond "It was one of those buildings". This kind of remodeling job would be a big deal to long-term residents of St. Louis. ( fact I remember friends of mine suggesting condos that resemble this very much way back around the time this book was released, so I think whatever LKH is talking about here was actually a REALLY BIG DEAL to St Louis residents at the time)

I'm beginning to understand why we focused on sex.

Anita decides that the condo's owner is undead. Not Dead-dead, but undead. And Evil undead. Because she called in sick and then stopped answering the phone.

Anita. If you re undead you can still place phone calls.

LKH really sucks at describing Special Forces insertions. It's not fucking ballet already.

Thanks to the briefing, I knew the layout of this condo almost better than my own house.

Let me remind you guys what Anita did during that breifing:

They went back to their briefing, and I went back to counting the minutes and wondering if there was going to be anything alive in the condo by the time we hit the door.
That's the end of chapter 75. You were not paying attention, Anita. You were sitting above it as Miss Know-It-Better-Than-You.

Fuck it.

They find a horrifically raped, spread-eagled body on a kitchen table. Anita's first reaction is "It's another stripper." Mine is, it's the condo-owner. But apparently her panty-hose indicates she's a stripper. Somehow.

It is implied that she died via sodomy, via a wine-bottle.

And then the hostage starts screaming, so everybody rushes the hallway, end chapter.

Next chapter.

Please let Anita do something competent. PLEASE let her do something competent. PLEASE--


So she rushes down the hallway and ruins her night-vision, because OF COURSE special forces wouldn't know how to manage that. And somehow the vampires manage to not only kill and eviscerate the cops, but strip them out of their body armor in the time it takes for Anita to get down the hallway.  Okay, whatever.

And then...things get confusing.

Holy objects go off. We lose all pronouns for a while, but I think Anita pinpoints the bad vamp and demands that the other cops turn his chest into a very large hole. They agree to do so.

So things eventually resolve to the hostage bleeding to death on the bed, and a female vampire--probably the condo-owner--pleading for her life.

Guess which one Anita Blake focuses on:

Mendez had glanced away from the vamp to me, then farther back to his sergeant. “I can’t shoot someone who’s begging for her life.”

 “It’s okay, Mendez, I can.”
It's kind of telling to me that we didn't come here to save the victim. We came here to kill the vampire. So now the victim is dying and Anita, once again, does not give a flying fuck about that.

They debate the morality of Anita shooting the tiny female vampire to itty bitty pieces. In fact, let me show you excactly how this death is described:

I fired into her face from less than two feet away. Her face vanished in a spray of blood and thicker things. Her body sat up very straight for long enough that I pulled the trigger into the middle of her chest. She was tiny, not much meat on her, I got daylight with just one shot.

She's tiny and fragile and female. This is repeated over and over. And then we debate how morally right it was for Anita to kill her for three kindle book pages. Meanwhile, the other victim is bleeding to death on the motherfucking rape-bed.

FINALLY they get the girl out of there, and the chapter ends with some nonsense about how the dead aren't leaving. 
This was three straight chapters of ungodly suck. HOW CAN THIS WOMAN STILL BE CALLED PRO COP. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.


  1. Gah. And she still tries to claim that Anita is right and justified at all times, which is like the paladin claiming he still gets to be Lawful Good after stabbing all the kobolds in the back because he really really wanted the gold idol they just happened to have lying around.

    Also her incomprehension of snipers is maddening. Judging from the last couple of chapters of Affliction, she hasn't learned anything since, either :/

  2. I just want to say that I admire you for being able to read this and actually make coherent paragraphs after. I would be so squicked that I'd have to use the brain bleach.

  3. There is so much mean-spirited judgemental victim-hating shit packed into this chapter I don't even know where to begin.

    But wow, way to dehumanize and belittle the sex worker here. The only picture available of her is a publicity photo? She's all naked all over the place so even the people sent in to rescue her/and/or identify the body are distracted by her boobs? By the time we actually get to her she's been reduced to a piece of bleeding meat who's only story-purpose is shock value? HOLY FUCKING WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU LKH!?

  4. I notice this weird thing in fiction where people like to bring in special forces people just to make them seem inferior and ineffective. In the Dark Knight Rises they do this, bringing the SF guy in just so he can so shit he would never do if he were in fact such a bamf and get summarily murdered for it. I don't know what that's about.

  5. "Short Version: Corpus Christi pissed off Spain. The entire nation. And they're still pissed.) "

    This would be a better story than Incubus Dreams. BTW, we had one of those ships here last summer. Are y'all the reason we didn't have the other two? ;-)

    1. Yep. Short version: we parked them in the industrial canal just below the bridge and the Pinta and Santa Maria got sideswiped by a barge. Insurance gave the city a very large amount of money to fix the boats with, so instead of doing something dramatic and FIXING THE BOATS the city built an elaborate dry-dock off the History/Science museum and put the Pinta and Santa Maria in it, where they've been quietly rotting ever since. The Nina got parked just off the T-heads in the waterfront docks off Ocean Drive.

      Frankly, I'm amazed the Nina is still seaworthy. I noticed about fifteen years ago that it had severe dry-rot. I knew they had taken a couple of tourist groups out on her but I didn't know it was recent.