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Book Review: Under the Dome by Stephen King February 1, 2010

Posted by frostwolftfirerose in Fiction.
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Well, this is a first.  I actually got teary-eyed with a Stephen King–will wonders never cease?

First the negatives.  The book is packaged in a way that seems environmentally unfriendly.  There’s a lot of white space, and I wonder what went into making the decision for that.  Because the book only took me about 6 days to read (after work, on lunch hour, etc.), I am pretty sure that it could have been packaged much differently, and do hope that the paperback will be.  It affects how I read a book to see how it’s packaged, and I did feel a bit perplexed and disturbed about the wastage that went into its manufacture.

Also, I felt the primary antagonist is a bit too broadly written.  Screams “BAD GUY HERE, TARGET ON BACK” from the first time we met him.  Having said that, the characters around the main-tagonist, as well as the book’s protagonists are well-drawn.  I could see myself meeting most of these folks on the street.

Those are my only two negatives on the book.  Mostly, I found it an easy read, and one that kept me going.  Of course, SK is a master of the compulsive read, right up there with J. K. Rowling and others.  No heavy sledding here.  And I like the omniscient narrator even going into the mind of a woodchuck who gets bisected in the first 10 pages.  Woweth.

The book recapitulates The Lord of the Flies by W. Golding, only for people who have allegedly outgrown elementary school.  As I read the book, I felt like the characters were as if under a glass, like a grasshopper or ladybug caught by a child and sealed in a jar with some airholes.  Maybe a little flora to help the critter “feel at home.”  In terms of SK’s other work, I must confess to not having read much since Needful Things.  I think that was the last one of his I read.  There was much thematically that overlapped.  Of course it brought to mind The Stand, particularly toward the end of the book.

I appreciated also that the book brought together the scientific and the mystical.  We don’t really find out the origin of the Dome that is created around Chester’s Mill, though we get a glimmer of that source via a mystic device.  (NOTE: I’m not putting spoilers in here–I like it when people comment who are in the midst of the book as well as those who’ve finished it.)

I read this book because of people on lifeaftertheoilcrash.com’s forum website doomers.us were writing about the book, and it made me curious.  I wanted to see how it stacked up with J.H. Kunstler’s World Made By Hand and other “doomer” fiction.  It’s not really fair to compare the two, so I won’t.  Each has its strengths and its distractions.  With Kunstler, I appreciated his point-of-view though I couldn’t identify with it.  Leaves out too much to be useful IMHO.  (People of color, gays and lesbians, pagans, street people–these peoples are going to be molto importante when TSHTF.  Just a tad too middle class for me, and a bit anti-urban which is unfortunate.)  King’s story goes for the more universal themes and it brings in the Golding and other sorts of observations.  There is an urgency in it that I perceived as well, and that also fueled the book to its conclusion.

If you’re like me and hate lugging around a huge book like this one, I would wait until it comes out in paperback.  (It’s good, but not so good that you should throw your back out.)  Very good for passing the time.

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Sometimes, the Courage Not to Blog November 17, 2009

Posted by frostwolftfirerose in Fiction.
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The thing I have to say today is this:

I have nothing to say. I have no shame about that.  I just feel like … there’s open space in my head, and it’s actually quite lovely thank you very much.

I have nothing to add to a conversation.  “How about those Broncos?”

There are some things that I could probably post about.  But nothing comes to minds, right now.

crickets…

Impressions of One Second After by W. Forstchen July 10, 2009

Posted by frostwolftfirerose in Civilization Anonymous, Fiction.
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OK, I thought I would be doing the same sort of thing I did yesterday, but I’ve had a highly time-intensive task to perform.  Guh!

I just finished William Forstchen’s One Second After, last night.  Stayed up late to finish it.  Have to say this genre isn’t really a favorite of mine, but I found it gripping nonetheless.  To observe how the North Carolina town attempted to weather a storm post-EMP – well, I had to say I was nervous.  Of course in this genre of TEOTWAWKI literature, about the only one that includes a fluidly sexual perspective is Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing, which is perhaps my favorite of the genre as it also incorporates the multidimensional reality in which we all swim. 

I won’t compare the two, other than to say that as far as incorporating a gay/lesbian perspective IT CAN BE DONE AND IT HAS BEEN.  /soapbox.

That being said, the protag Matherson is quite sympathetic.  I did become engrossed in his story, and was sad when some of the other characters started dying off.  In this genre, that’s inevitable.  It helped me also to put into perspective an event that occurred several years ago–the East Coast blackout of 2002.  At the beginning of the time, it was disorienting, but there was a sublimely mystical but also celebratory energy afoot.  Like it was a taste of something delicious to come.  But also, I could feel it was a bit like the 7 of cups in the tarot–quite ungrounded.  I wanted the energy somehow to be earthed.

I got to at least meet my neighbors that lovely evening, and there was a fabulous full moon out as I recall.  The light of the night was fairly luminous.  At the time I was overweight and working overnight, and I was up while everyone else was asleep.  On that particular night, however, things were quite a bit different.  I did relish quite a bit.  There were signs for me, and actually Ben F. told me to read both The Tipping Point by M. Gladwell and Anne Rice’s Tales of the Body Thief, for some odd reason.  (I did read Gladwell–helpful in some respects though I think it was merely the title itself that was the message–and I have not as yet read the other. I think I might have the time and inclination soon.  I hear it’s funny.)

And I went to my home group of AA that morning and helped someone out who was having a meltdown.  Went to bed that morning, and got up the next afternoon, unable to work again that night, and I again hooked up with the fellow sufferer I had helped that morning, and found her better, and then I went about my day, wandering in the very dark streets of the East Village as night fell, and at around 8:15 or so the lights came back on downtown, and I burst into tears.  Totally unaware how much stress I was carrying.

Well, Forstchen’s book helped me become aware that if the blackout had gone on longer than another 24 hours, I’m not sure what would have happened in the City.  During an EMP, I would imagine people would panic actually.  Lots of death, lots of insanity, lots of violence, theft etc.  And then perhaps it would spread?  It made me wonder how my region would be affected.  Probably not so well, I would imagine.  In this way, S.M. Stirling’s book also diagrammed out the disintegration of the East Coast but it was more of a kiss off I felt.  Like, “these people are useless–let’s dispense with them for THIS fiction.”  (Oh, would it were there was a spec fiction book of pagan/gay-friendliness on the East Coast.  Guess that’s up to meeezles!)

The book sure felt gripping enough–I devoured it, but it was like Chinese food and doesn’t leave much of an afterthought.  Perhaps it will be more like an EMP blast itself–unfelt, but with an impact that arises later?  I’ll have to watch and wait.

Anyway, here I am, getting ready for the weekend.  I was hoping to write about many things, but alas time’s gotten away from me.  I had originally called this one “Multiple Streatms I”  But no.  It’s not multiple.  Perhaps next week.

Venturing into Fiction July 1, 2009

Posted by frostwolftfirerose in Capital Region Notions, Civilization Anonymous, Fiction, Mystical.
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So, I went and sat by Aurora Petra Majesta yesterday, and I let the earth and her Redoubtableness APM, speak to me.  She radiated a golden luscious light onto my person and into my etheric bubble, and told me to sit up–I’d been laying on the ground–and pick up my pen.  So I started this little thing.  I was thinking about where this is set.  It’s west of Troy, New York and east of Watervliet, and the little village of Stregaville is bounded on both sides by the Hudson River. 

So.

Houses in areas deemed less than middle class (whatever that ephemeral term might mean) suffer under the perception of shabbiness.  To the unthinking and class-conscious eye, a nicely kept home such as that of Michael and Andrew Laurentia-Barstow at 959 Shady Creek Lane would seem to still be a mite tawdry, and of a piece with more dilapidated structures nearby.  To wit, the poor former Monaghan residence on the corner of Schuyler Boulevard just up the street from the Laurentia-Barstow domicile was just the sort of Fallapart Estate that les haute stupides might believe was lower-middle of the middle class sort–overgrown weeds, cracked sidewalks, boarded-up windows hiding a presumed playground of viscosity and verdant flora efflorescing from grimy walls.  The house, once owned by a proudly middle-class family who had been caught up in that virtual blaze known as the FIRE economy like most other classic no-longer-Americans, had been through the ashes of foreclosure months hence.  Poor Anisette became an eyesore by all human standards.  She had been stripped of her gems long ago, and for all intents and purposes, appeared to be no more than a husk ready for firewood supply.

In the house-spirit world, she stood as a stark reminder of the vulnerability the various entities held in essence.  Meraldah, in contrast, felt quite a pride in the attention her human residents had lavished upon her.  A happy house spirit can radiate out a light from pure joyful existence.  To a discerning eye, one can sense a rather bluish emission radiating from the walls of 959.  In contrast, wilted Anisette waits for the inevitable day when some enterprising arsonist will sever her connection to the abode once and for all, and she can return to the pleromal space for defunct house spirits.  Shady Creek’s other house spirits felt her haunted presence and shuddered in discomfort, wondering which of them might be next.

Building spirits in general know of human changes before the wily and arrogant  bipeds do, and were aware that a change in human arrangements was coming due any day now.  The FIRE economy of Finance Insurance Real Estate had pretty much blown its engine up, and that slapdash vessel was sinking under its own obesity, its moribundia.  The pieces of paper which meant one thing but to the various householders in South Mahicanitauk as well as in Troy to the East, Watervliet to the West, and Maihicanitauk Center to the north ostensibly tenanted them in their domiciles.  This illusion suited certain deluded rogues who operated under the crazy fantasy that they could own pieces of Mama Gaia–silly humans!  Man plots, Gaia laughs!  As they believed they really held all the chits, while the hapless tenants believed they were paying down mortgages in the vain hope of property ownership themselves, they were all only participating in one great big scam that relied upon and required full complicity and the refusal to see anything outside that particular FIRE realm.

Too bad reality…

From Meraldah’s perspective, she was eager for the new arrangement to crest, but as with the other buildings, they could only feel something was coming.  They didn’t have the accuracy of knowing when it would occur, juts that it would occur.  This of course was less than reassuring with each passing day.  She wondered when William or Andrew or both of the fathers who had gone off to Vermont to get married and were raising rascals Lisa, Chango and Kai-Guo, would go off to their assignments only to return later that day with the news they had been released from those prison duties collectively called “jobs”, and which gave them the chits to be able to “pay” for the privilege of living within Meraldah’s walls.  Anisette had already seen that day come when both Jan and Ben Monahan were let go within days of each other, and had eventually moved away, never to return.  Taraquan, Nubica, Phynce and the other Shady Creek house spirits kibbitzed among themselves while their charges were elsewhere.

… to be continued…