Thursday, November 28, 2013

Danse Macabre--chapter 34

There are a few things I ask writers to do for me. Not be shitty people isn't usually one of them. Knowing their craft? That's negotiable. It depends on what they're trying to do vs. what they're actually doing. Not blowing the only tension in the fucking book by removing it entirely? Yeah, that'd actually be one of the FEW things I ask writers to do.

Yeah, we're all about to find out that Anita Blake isn't pregnant.

When should this plot have been resolved? The last chapter, when Anita looks down and discovers she's bleeding, and then during the "summery" chapter when LKH says "It was just a period, not a miscarrage" because miscarrages are usually incredibly awful things further compounded by post-partum depression (Because the same mechanism applies)

Instead, it's getting resolved well before the three fourth's mark. When it comes to story values, LKH is fucking tone deaf.

Oh, and for tonight and possibly the next few nights I am without a computer with Kindle software, so unless the quote is worth typing, no quotes from the text. I'd say "You'll have to follow along" but frankly, unless you bought it a long, long time ago, if you're following along at home, you're either really dedicated or demented. I'll let you decide which one you are.

(For the record, I'm demented)

They go see the doctor. Anita's OBGYN is, of course, male. Anita makes it VERY VERY CLEAR that she does NOT WANT TO BE THERE. Anita's doctor proves that he is a saint by not protesting the number of men Anita requires, and by giving them a private room to wait in. Though I'd assume they'd manage to do this for everyone possible.

Anita also establishes that Joseph, the local werelion leader, brought a ton of people with him for Anita to snack on because he Does Not Like Haven. All caps are required. Haven, Sesame Street fetish aside, is apprently real bad news. I would like you all to apprciate that, if MLPFIM existed when this book was written, Haven would probably be a brony. With pink hair. His nickname would be Pinkie Pie and not Cookie Monster. I don't know if I should be glad or feel cheated.

They make very sure that Anita understands they brought her submissive people. Folks, if you are in a position where leaders need to bring you tithes of people to keep you from fucking up their lives? You've done something very, very bad and you've been doing it for a really long time.

Two of them are not old enough to drink, and this is established by having them study for tests while in the waiting room.

Obviously, neither of them will be picked.

LKH takes time to establish that natural bad-ass trumps military training via Claudia and "Lisandro". The wereheyena guard includes Graham, sadly, and somebody named Ixion. Anita reminds us all that Narcissus is a creepy abusive fucker bordering on cult leader, and that he renames all of his men once they're inducted into his pack. I'd like to know if he's still deliberately infecting gay and now not-so-gay men to make his pack more powerful, because NIC made that really fucking obvious and if that's still the case, the renaming is a version of Nope somewhere between the cultervention three chapters ago and the shower-rape of Anita.

The doctor comes into the room, notices that Anita is on the verge of making herself bleed, and just tells her to stop it. Dr. North (that's his name; I think he's blond) is officially the most laid back medical pro in existance.

We go over the "We've got four versions of lycanthropy WHICH BREAKS EVER ESTABLISHED RULE but no big" issue, and then Dr. North tells Anita that she tested positive for both Mowgli's and Vlad's syndrome, but negative for pregnancy.

How. the fuck. does that work.

LKH wants us to think that "OH ANITA IS JUST THAT SPECIAL AND AFFLICTED" but all I'm hearing is "I don't understand how blood tests work." A quick google turns up several sites that seem to indicate that all blood tests look for are abnormal blood chemistry levels which indicate, and I quote, "an increased risk of chromosomal abnormality" end-quote. There's nothing in my VERY breif google search to suggest that defect-specific blood testing is possible. It suggests that what a blood test does is identify the possibility of a birth-defect that is diagnosed via a series of sonograms and tissue samples. The blood tests aren't looking for genetic abnormalities, just hormonal ones. This is the medical equivilant of time of death being sometime last thursday, maybe. There's a posibility that these abnormal hormone levels could mean birth defects. They could also mean twins. I could see a test for Vlad's testing for vampire hormones of some sort that would not normally be present in a bite, but what the bloody blue fuck are they testing to discover Mowgli's? Are they testing for every possible single version of therianthropy ever? All the many non-human hormones an animal might have? Because these tests aren't "Let's look for non-human proteans". They're "Let's look for this specific variation of this protean that we know only shows up under this set of circumstances'. Blood tests, like most medical and forensic tests, can only look for what you tell them to see. That's not "general non-human proteans", that's "This very specific chemical that we've developed a detection test for". And if it is a non-human hormone that's breaking the placental barrier, how is this not making the mother routinely sick? Women have intensely severe reactions to babies that have a different Rh factor than theirs: they self-abort the baby. That's just a differing blood factor. We're now talking about a blood chemistry so dramatically different that it crosses the placental barrier and infects the mothers blood, and can be detected by a shotgun-style blood test. There is no fucking way these pregnancies should be carried long enough to be detectable, let alone to eat its way out of its mother.

And the thing is? Having these two tests is actually a pretty nice sort of worldbuilding. They don't fall apart because they don't make sense. They fall apart because we have to imagine a way for Anita to have the syndromes, but not the baby, and that means finding out how pre-natal blood tests actually work, and that leads to this pandora's box of PREGNANCY DOES'T WORK THAT WAY. And this all goes back to LKH wanting Anita to be that fucking special that she and she alone gets to break the universe's rules. If Anita were actually pregnant? We'd buy one, or maybe both tests. But Anita's not pregnant, and that brings up the never-to-be-answered-question of what could cause that kind of false positive?

Fuck it. Dr. North brings Anita onto the medical bed, and the chapter ends, as they have consistantly, with a special little tidbit of quotable angst.

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