Welcome back! Sorry for the delay; I’ve been busy. Had a long depressed period, I started playing an Assassin’s Creed game from four years ago, re-read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, the new season of American Gods began, my brother got married, Saint Patrick’s Day happened… yeah, it’s a lot.

So now we’re back with Atticus and Oberon. He’s about to be attacked by monsters. He yells “Time to go home!” and makes a dash for his house because “I had to get away from the widow’s house or she could become a casualty.” Which is weird, because he didn’t feel this way about a Fomorian god appearing on the street in front of him. Look, if your characters act as if mook monsters are more deadly and likely to cause collateral damage than literal GODS then maybe you should rethink this worldbuilding?

As they dash, Atticus tells Oberon (who is still magically cloaked) that when the Fir Bolgs arrive for the fight, to go for the Achilles tendon, then dash away before they can do anything. The Fir Bolgs themselves appear, and though with their glamours they look like “nine assholes in Harley-Davidson riding gear” they are, in reality, almost naked and waving spears and shields around.

Uh… why? If a bunch of bikers ran around chasing a guy, wouldn’t you be alarmed? Yeah, it’s more subtle than half-nude giants with spears, but not by much. It’s still pretty obvious that they’re up to no good. The idea should be to avoid drawing attention, and it doesn’t do that at all!

So Atticus gets back to his house, but there’s someone already there! Only it’s Leif, his vampire lawyer. And of course, Leif agrees to get into a fight he had little reason to expect to take part in because… Reasons. Admittedly he is reluctant to do it, but Atticus offers him another glass of Druid blood when it’s over, and the Fir Bolgs are seriously almost right on top of them.

Also there’s this:

He grinned, his fangs lengthening as he smiled. “I have not had my breakfast yet.”

“Look at it like an all-you-can-eat buffet,” I said.

Okay, but there’s like nine of them.

It’s not that the book doesn’t give reasons for Leif to involve himself in this, it’s that I don’t think they’re good ones. By all logic, Leif should say, “Yeah, no, I’ll sit this out to make sure I don’t die.” Yeah, he’s a vampire, but their opponents? Are also magical creatures. Imagine if one of your friends/clients asks you to help him fight off nine gangsters to the death. It doesn’t matter if you’re a badass or not, Atticus is asking him to help fight off nine giants, and Leif agrees because he’ll get some food out of it.

It shouldn’t be this easy. But of course, it is, because this is Hounded and we can’t have this be too difficult for our protagonist.

So Leif leaps at the lead Fir Bolg’s throat and takes him down.

We get a description of Atticus’s tattoos lighting up as he absorbs power from the Earth. And by “a description,” I mean too much description:

I drew power from my front lawn, exulting in the feeling as it coursed through my cells after channeling through my ancient tattoos. The intricate knotwork traveled from the sole of my right foot, up the outside of my ankle and right side, until it snaked over my right pectoral muscles and around to the top of my shoulder, where it fell like an indigo waterfall to the middle of my biceps; there it looped around five times until it threaded down my forearm, ending (if Celtic knots can be said to end at all) in a loop on the back of my hand. The tattoos were bound to me in the most intimate way possible, and through them I had access to all the power of the earth, all the power I would ever need, so long as my bare foot touched the ground. In practice, that meant I would never, ever tire in battle. I suffered no fatigue at all. And if I needed it, I could whip up a binding or two against my enemies or summon up a temporary burst of strength that would allow me to wrestle a bear.

Two things:

ONE: I know I’ve harped on this a lot, but Atticus is overpowered. He never gets tired of battle as long as he’s touching the ground? I mean, that’s not an uncool power, and in a decent narrative I’m sure that would mean that he’d get challenged by snipers on rooftops or something. But you know how this book goes, so you know that’s not going to happen. All the enemies are going to fight him on the ground, where he’s strongest and won’t ever get tired.

TWO: That’s… an awful lot of description of how the tattoos run across his skin, isn’t it? I know we haven’t seen this before, but I would have thought something like “That tattoos leading from my feet up to my chest and arms lit up with magical power” would have worked? As it is, it seems as if Atticus is very concerned with explaining to us precisely how those tattoos run across his body, which is just weird.

I hadn’t been in a scrap like this since I’d waded into the mosh pit at a Pantera concert.

Who?

Anyhow Atticus puts his back to a tree, and then he points at a Fir Bolg and says “Coinnigh” which holds the target in place by opening the earth under him and closing it again around the feet. Except the Fir Bolg in question apparently is moving forward too fast, and so he actually ends up breaking off his feet with the momentum? That seems… unlikely to me, but that’s what happens, so he falls to the ground screaming.

Real fights don’t look as pretty as the ones you see in movies. Those are choreographed, especially the martial arts ones, to seem so beautiful that they are practically dances. In true combat, you don’t pause, pose, and preen. You just try to kill the other guy before he kills you, and “winning ugly” is still winning. That’s what Bres failed to understand, and that’s why I got rid of him so easily.

Just a mo.

First off Hearne, don’t lecture us about how “realistic” fights go when you just had one of the mooks rip off his own feet. I’m sorry; I don’t buy it! I don’t care how heavy, strong or fast he is, that’s a hard pill to swallow. Maybe it is possible, but it seemed more as if you’re just writing in a bloody action set piece and you wanted to get rid of another one of the enemies before he bothered the protagonist.

Secondly, do you watch martial arts movies? Because there’s pausing and posing, yeah, but preening? That’s not common in movies I’ve seen, for people to go out of their way to make themselves look good. They tend to look good anyway, because they’re actors and in makeup and all, but I can’t think of a single instance in my head where in the middle of a fight scene a character stops to make sure he or she looks good and straightens the outfit. If it does happen, it’s certainly not the norm. Like with the Jane Austen example in a previous chapter, it seems like Hearne is satirizing what he thinks is a common trope in a specific form of media, and it’s… not a Thing.

Thirdly: No, that’s NOT how Bres died. He was trying to be practical, remember? His plan was to use his glamour to make you think he was just talking while he tried to kill you, and you just happened to see through it. It was absolutely nothing about him trying to face you in one-on-one combat; his entire plan hinged on you not realizing the level of danger you were in.

So three Fir Bolgs are poking spears at him. I wasn’t planning on quoting too many details because I don’t care, but… let’s talk about this language, shall we?

If I rolled forward, beneath their thrusts, they’d just stomp on my dumb ass.

That meant that I had less than a second to do some impossible shit.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t swear in books, okay. Just because I’m making an active effort to swear less in my writing, doesn’t mean everyone else has to. But here it just reads so amateur. I’m cherry picking, yes, as it’s not as if he’s swearing every other word, but it sticks out. As if Atticus (and Hearne by extension) is trying really hard to sound like a hip adult. You ever encounter someone, online or in real life, who thinks the secret to being cool or funny is just adding swear words to sentences? There are ways to do it, for sure, but this ain’t it.

Yadda, yadda, Atticus cuts three spears, but they still stab him in the shoulder and gut, he binds another one with earth and that one does not rip off his own feet, and he kills some Fir Bolgs, I don’t care…

I wished I could do one of those ridiculous fairy-godmother routines, where you just wave a wand, some sparkly lights fill your vision, and then everything is all better, but my magic doesn’t work like that.

It kind of does though? Atticus goes on to explain that he doesn’t heal instantly, but reading this book it’s clear that he heals pretty fast, considering a bad guy hacked into his arm with a sword in the first chapter and he mostly had to deal with it feeling a bit sore for the next few hours. He can shapeshift, make amazing potions, heal himself, is immune to death and has super strength and endurance. So no, his magic isn’t quite ‘wave a wand and everything’s fixed’ but it’s pretty darn close.

I’m tired of how when we talk about urban fantasy there’s a tendency to be like, “_Dresden Files_ does it better!” but… Dresden Files does it better. Harry Dresden is a good wizard, but he’s more of a brawler, magically speaking. So he can call up fireballs well, but more subtle stuff, like healing and invisibility? Not his strengths, and he has to work harder for those and can’t do them on the spur of the moment.

Atticus doesn’t have those limitations, really. He’s really good at melee combat, casting spells, healing and shapeshifting all on the fly. Again, yes, he’s immortal so he’s had practice, but it makes for a really boring protagonist who can do everything and has no troubles in battle. The best the bad guys could do is slightly inconvenience Atticus. At no point in here does he act like he’s at risk of actually getting killed.

So right, they kill all the Fir Bolgs. I could do a play-by-play, but I don’t care.

Oh and there’s this one Fir Bolg, who is going to try to whack off Atticus’s head, and so Atticus compares him to a golfer? And there’s this:

I put some earth power behind it, so I was fairly launching myself at the Fir Bolg’s would-be Phil Mickelson.

Who?

So this, and the Pantera concert comment above, I kind of wanted to add to the ‘Atticus makes pop culture references to seem kewl!’ count, but I had no idea who either of these were before Googling them. Was it a time thing? Are these Arizona things? This one is, because Mickelson went to the university in Tempe, where the book is set. But he’s certainly not the first person to people’s minds when you try to name a famous golfer.

I don’t know.

Moving on…

I cast camouflage on myself and my sword, and then I crept up behind the two immobilized Fir Bogs and stabbed Fragarach up into their kidneys. Cowardly? Bleh. Tell you what: Let’s debate the meaning of honor and see who lives longer.

You. You’ll live longer, no matter what, because you’re an ageless superpowered Druid who, oh yeah, IS IMMUNE TO DEATH!

Atticus feels the need to remind us that being practical instead of being “honorable” is smarter, but, like, duh. I don’t think your audience needs constant reminders of that. You can establish this character trait without spelling it out every time he does something “dishonorable” in a fight. And it’s incredibly hollow from a guy who made a deal with the Morrigan in the first chapter to prevent him from getting killed.

So there are nine giant corpses in the street and yard in front of his house. Atticus decides he can’t “ask the earth to swallow these guys” (that’s how he usually gets rid of bodies), because there wasn’t time and he thinks that he’s already asked too much of it already?

Uh, dude? It’s the Earth. I don’t know if it has those kinds of limitations. He talks as if the Earth is a sort of entity here, but it’s not like he talks to it, or it talks to him. They do each other favors, I guess? Anyhow, he can’t move soil around that fast.

But he hears police sirens! Ohes noes! The cops are on the way!

As if on cue, I heard sirens in the night air, and that drew my gaze to the parted living-room blinds of my neighbor across the street, whose large round eyes were staring fearfully at me as if I was the bad guy. Great.

You and your friend just slaughtered a bunch of giants (who were glamoured to look like bikers) in front of him! How did you think that was going to look, you shisno?! It doesn’t matter if they attacked first, seeing a guy and his friend wiping out nine bikers with a sword in front of my house would freak anyone out!

Atticus asks Leif, who is currently pigging out on the Fir Bolgs’ blood, to help him hide the bodies. Atticus tells Leif to go inside his house and get changed into his own suit, and bring out a fresh shirt for him (because there was apparently no blood on his pants?). Then to use his “freaky memory thing” on his neighbor across the street, as that guy was the one that called the cops.

And? Are you saying no one else in this neighborhood called the police or witnessed these events? Again, this is an American suburban neighborhood, as far as I can tell. People can be oblivious, but a battle in the street is kind of hard to miss.

Atticus uses his magical super-strength to drag the bodies and stack them in the back of his yard away from his driveway and then uses magic to camouflage them. To be clear: he doesn’t bury them, or even take them to the backyard, behind his house. Those bodies are still in his front yard, in a stack, just not near the driveway and not visible to the ordinary mortal. If someone came snooping through his yard, or a kid ran through there on his way to a friend’s house, he would discover those bodies. He even says later that people can still run into them “If they went snooping around the east side of my lawn”! And yet he’s not too worried about that.

The bodies that are in the street though? He can’t do anything about it, because Reasons. He says that his amulet’s power will drain too quickly if he tries to drag those away too, but that seems like an odd limitation right out of nowhere. So he just casts camouflage over them and the blood and calls it a day. You would think a car would run over the bodies if it drove on the road, but this doesn’t seem to occur to Atticus.

And he magicks his sword to be invisible too.

Leif returned in a minute, wearing a suit I had bought at the Men’s Wearhouse.

Why should I care where you bought the suit?

The narration also tells us that it doesn’t quite fit on Leif, as he’s a bigger guy. This book has a weird preoccupation with people’s clothes and fashion, actually…

Leif takes the bodies out of the street. Which Atticus just said he invisible’d? I don’t know how he saw them then. And then Leif goes to the neighbor, Mr. Semerdjian and mesmerizes him into forgetting all about it. And yes, the mandatory “Jedi Mind Trick” comment is there.

Atticus apparently doesn’t get along with Mr. Semerdjian?

He had held me in deep suspicion from the day I moved in, because I did not own a car.

Or maybe it’s because you look and claim to be twenty-one years old, and yet you don’t go to college, own a large house, always hang out with your expensive lawyers, own your own New Age store, sells herbs to college students, and constantly do things to draw attention to yourself like leave in the middle of the night to go hunting and entertain mysterious visitors. And given that you haven’t told us how long you’ve been living here, he might have picked up that you’ve been pretending to be twenty-one years old for years.

Also how does the “vampire hoodoo” that Leif do work? All we’re given is that he looks into the neighbor’s eyes and says “Look into my eyes. You didn’t see anything.” That’s it! We’re told that he can do that and accept it because he’s a vampire. We’re not really given any context as to how being a vampire works in this universe. Like with the werewolves, Hearne assumed that it’s fine to copy and paste the pop culture cliches onto his creatures without doing anything new. It doesn’t matter that Leif having this power wasn’t previously established until it was Plot-necessary, you’re supposed to presume he has it because, y’know, vampire.

Speaking of powers never previously established:

As they wailed down the street, I muttered a little something to magnify the scent of local plant life, which would hopefully mask the scent of so much spilled blood.

Yeah. That’ll work.

Three police cars roll up, “alerting all my other neighbors that the noise they had been ignoring was something to worry about after all.” No, duh. I think they’d have worked that out before the police arrived.

Six officers come out, with their guns out; one orders them to freeze, one orders them to put their hands up, and a third tells Atticus to drop the sword. And that’s where the chapter ends. Will Atticus face serious consequences for his actions?

Tagged as: ,

Comment

  1. The Smith of Lie on 25 March 2019, 14:36 said:

    Welcome back! Sorry for the delay; I’ve been busy. Had a long depressed period, I started playing an Assassin’s Creed game from four years ago, re-read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, the new season of American Gods began, my brother got married, Saint Patrick’s Day happened… yeah, it’s a lot.

    It’s good that you at least keep at it. So no excuses required as far as I am concerned.

    He yells “Time to go home!” and makes a dash for his house because “I had to get away from the widow’s house or she could become a casualty.”

    Way to keep the main character act consistantly between chapters ther Hearne. Sorry but I don’t buy Atticus now suddenly giving a crap about the old lady. Its almost like someone pointed that bit of druid-dickery to Hearne but he just felt the joke about Time of Troubles too good to change the scene, so he added this bit as a hand wave.

    Uh… why? If a bunch of bikers ran around chasing a guy, wouldn’t you be alarmed? Yeah, it’s more subtle than half-nude giants with spears, but not by much. It’s still pretty obvious that they’re up to no good. The idea should be to avoid drawing attention, and it doesn’t do that at all!

    Eh. Nine guys in any kind of clothes chasing him would be suspicious.

    Who?

    My personal bias shows here, because I had no problem identifying the band. They are not my cup of tea, but apparently as far as American metal goes they were quite influential. I guess being a big fish in metal pond does not exactly translate to mainstream awarness.

    I’m tired of how when we talk about urban fantasy there’s a tendency to be like, “_Dresden Files_ does it better!” but…

    As much as I love Dresden Files and I do love that series quite a bit, I think this is more telling in regards to the Urban Fantasy genre than Dresden Files. There are exactly two good Urban Fantasy series that I’ve found besides Dresden Files (Skullduggery Pleasant on the YA side and Rivers of London). Of the others they run the spectrum from trash to mediocre.

    So yeah, we keep running back to Dresden, because the alternatives are sparse.

    Who?

    Ok, this one I drew blank as well. And while I can sort of see Atticus use the metal band that is obscure for mainstream people as a part of building his tastes and giving him a scrap of characterization, there is no excuse to use some obscure, local celebrity when making this type of joke. Want to make a golf joke? Go with Tiger Woods. Sure, it is not fresh but at least people will know who you are talking about.

    Atticus feels the need to remind us that being practical instead of being “honorable” is smarter, but, like, duh. I don’t think your audience needs constant reminders of that.

    Except if he was practical he’d have legged it long ago. Or he’d shoot the Fir Bolg full of holes with an HMG. Or blast them to Kingdom Come with mines. Or baid a band of mercs to watch his back.

    But his whole preparation was a night of sleep and waiting for them to show like a gormless bastard. He is not practical and he is not smart, he just fights dirty. And believe you me, if I want to read about combat pragmatists, there are much, much better books out there for that.

    Also how does the “vampire hoodoo” that Leif do work?

    I am on the fence about that one. On one hand various types of hypnosis or mesmerism has been part of vampire lore for a while, so it is not exactly ass pull. On the other the way he just does it out of a blue with no apparent set-up is pretty meh.

    Will Atticus face serious consequences for his actions?

    Given the pace I’m working on my grand spite fic? He will, but it’ll be around 2525 byfore that heppens.

  2. Juracan on 26 March 2019, 21:59 said:

    So no excuses required as far as I am concerned.

    Thank you, friendo!

    Eh. Nine guys in any kind of clothes chasing him would be suspicious.

    It would! But bikers, at least in American society, tend to stick out a lot and already have a reputation as being a rough sort.

    As much as I love Dresden Files and I do love that series quite a bit, I think this is more telling in regards to the Urban Fantasy genre than Dresden Files. There are exactly two good Urban Fantasy series that I’ve found besides Dresden Files (Skullduggery Pleasant on the YA side and Rivers of London). Of the others they run the spectrum from trash to mediocre.

    …someone should do some sort of dissertation on that, actually. Because I think there’s good urban fantasy out there, there has to be, but there’s not a lot of it. I’ll look into it.

    And while I can sort of see Atticus use the metal band that is obscure for mainstream people as a part of building his tastes and giving him a scrap of characterization, there is no excuse to use some obscure, local celebrity when making this type of joke. Want to make a golf joke? Go with Tiger Woods. Sure, it is not fresh but at least people will know who you are talking about.

    I was kind of torn on this, because on the one hand, I really like the idea of an urban fantasy set in not New York or London that has a bunch of references to local culture that people not from that area might not get. But on the other hand, outside of geography and landmarks, there’s really not that much to go off of. It’s just random comments like this. And a bunch of pop culture and famous historical figure references.

    Except if he was practical he’d have legged it long ago. Or he’d shoot the Fir Bolg full of holes with an HMG. Or blast them to Kingdom Come with mines. Or baid a band of mercs to watch his back.

    But his whole preparation was a night of sleep and waiting for them to show like a gormless bastard. He is not practical and he is not smart, he just fights dirty. And believe you me, if I want to read about combat pragmatists, there are much, much better books out there for that.

    …I probably should have gone with that instead.

    I am on the fence about that one. On one hand various types of hypnosis or mesmerism has been part of vampire lore for a while, so it is not exactly ass pull. On the other the way he just does it out of a blue with no apparent set-up is pretty meh.

    Fair. But as I’ve said before, I’m not in the mood to be charitable towards this book. At times Atticus feels the need to sit down and explain stupid details about faeries and witches as if we were idiots, but when it comes to werewolves and vampires he just goes with the pop culture examples without bothering to mention it. It’s lazy.

    Given the pace I’m working on my grand spite fic? He will, but it’ll be around 2525 byfore that happens.

    Well if it happens at all I’ll be glad to wait.

  3. TMary on 15 June 2019, 19:51 said:

    Hi! I realize I haven’t been making any comments on the new sporks, but I haven’t had access to a computer of my own over the last few months, and that makes it difficult to leave my usual super-long comments, and I’m just not satisfied unless I do. Anyway, I have a computer again, so I’m able to comment now!

    Also, I feel you should know that my brother happened to see a copy of Hounded in the library and, since he knew I was reading this sporking, decided to bring it back for me. I’ve skimmed through the chapters that you’ve already sporked and I have…thoughts. I’ll probably just bring them up as they occur to me in the comments.

    My main one right now is that I feel like you really haven’t done justice to how irritating Atticus’s internal monologue is. Like, every word he says makes me want to belt him in the mouth with a copy of the book. I don’t know how you forge your way through it.

    Welcome back! Sorry for the delay; I’ve been busy. Had a long depressed period, I started playing an Assassin’s Creed game from four years ago, re-read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, the new season of American Gods began, my brother got married, Saint Patrick’s Day happened… yeah, it’s a lot.

    I’m sorry to hear you were depressed. I know it’s late, but I hope you’re doing better.

    And – if it’s not weird to say – congrats to your brother! My brother got married around the same time, coincidentally enough.

    Also, at the time I wondered if you might not do an update for St. Patrick’s. :P

    Look, if your characters act as if mook monsters are more deadly and likely to cause collateral damage than literal GODS then maybe you should rethink this worldbuilding?

    This suggests to me that the Fir Bolgs might kill Mrs. MacDonagh while battling with Atticus, but Bres would not have. Which doesn’t make me feel much better about the dude’s being dead.

    The idea should be to avoid drawing attention, and it doesn’t do that at all!

    Am I supposed to infer, from the sidhe’s increasingly outrageous and eye-catching glamours in this book, that they can’t just…turn themselves invisible, the way Atticus has done to Oberon? Because honestly, that would be my first choice if I had it. Even if Atticus can see through invisibility too, at least no one else can.

    So Atticus gets back to his house, but there’s someone already there!

    Oh, the spitefic opportunities that presents drools

    He grinned, his fangs lengthening as he smiled. “I have not had my breakfast yet.”

    “Look at it like an all-you-can-eat buffet,” I said.

    OK, here’s the thing. I don’t like vampires. At all. I never have, and I probably never will. This stems back to a minor childhood trauma involving vampires which left me near-phobic about anything to do with them. Even though I’m over that now, and I will read/watch media with vampires in it, I still don’t seek them out, and I still prefer stories sans vampires. I think they’re creepy (and I know that’s the point, but I mean creepy in a way that actively turns me off), and I don’t like thinking about them any more than I have to.

    I say all this not because I’m trying to make anybody anti-vampire or anything; if y’all like ‘em, that’s fine. I say it because I’m having a hard time telling if Leif is as horrifying as I think he is, or if it’s just me and my thing about vampires.

    I mean, isn’t the whole thing about the sympathetic vampire supposed to be that they don’t like what they are? That they hate having to survive off of the blood of the living and they fight against that compulsion as hard as they can? But here’s Leif, smiling creepily about getting his “breakfast” out of this fight, and that’s basically the whole reason he’s even joining the fight, to feed, and all the time all I can picture is one of those things leaping around eating people and I…brr. I don’t know about you guys, but my sympathies are completely with the Fir Bolgs in this scene, and it’s not just because they’re trying to kill Atticus.

    But, hey, maybe it is just my thing about vampires and there’s nothing wrong with this at—

    So Leif leaps at the lead Fir Bolg’s throat and takes him down.

    AUGH AUGH AUGH SOMEONE KILL IT KILL IT NOW QUICKLY BEFORE IT SPAWNS

    Anyway.

    Imagine if one of your friends/clients asks you to help him fight off nine gangsters to the death. It doesn’t matter if you’re a badass or not, Atticus is asking him to help fight off nine giants, and Leif agrees because he’ll get some food out of it.

    There are relationships where I’d believe this. Like, imagine if Harry Potter came bursting into wherever he was hiding with Ron and shouted, “Ron! Death Eaters!” Of course Ron would help. But Harry and Ron are pretty much brothers by the time the series ends, and they’re in the fight against Voldemort together. We don’t have any indication of that being the case with Leif and Atticus, so it doesn’t work as well here.

    And by “a description,” I mean too much description:

    I agree with both your points, but I have a couple more to add. One, that this is the wrong place for this description. If he really, really wants to describe exactly the path these tattoos take, in purple-prose-ish terms (seriously, “an indigo waterfall”? Does that sound like the Atticus who’s been narrating?), then I suppose that’s his prerogative. But this is not the time! There are Fir Bolgs attacking him right now! If he has to do this at all, it can wait till the action is over! Is he really that intent on showing off his pecs and biceps to us?

    Second, we know your tattoos give you your power as long as you’re barefoot and standing on the earth! You told us that already, at least twice now, I think! You don’t need to tell us again!

    Third, “if Celtic knots can be said to end at all”. Ignoring that this is not the time to wax poetic over Celtic knots, yes, Atticus, Celtic knots do have boundaries. They don’t stretch on into infinity. Otherwise the whole world would be one big Celtic knot!

    Anyhow Atticus puts his back to a tree, and then he points at a Fir Bolg and says “Coinnigh” which holds the target in place by opening the earth under him and closing it again around the feet.

    Being by this time thoroughly suspicious of pretty much everything Hearne does with the Irish language, I toddled off to teanglann.ie and looked up “coinnigh” for myself. And here’s the thing: I don’t speak Irish. What little I do know is picked up randomly, mainly from noting how similar (or different) it is to or from Gaelic (of which I have almost none). So for all I know this is absolutely right and Hearne knows exactly what he’s talking about and I’m clueless.

    But from what I can make out using Teanglann’s online dictionary, “coinnigh” means keep or hold in the figurative sense, usually. Almost none of these various meanings and phrases are related to physically holding an object. Hearne says it means “hold” or “detain” in the book, but Teanglann’s dictionary puts “gabh” at the top of the list when one searches for “hold” (and “gabh” is much more physical than “coinnigh”, from what I can make out, and also means “seize” or “capture”), and “detaining” is a little different from physically holding someone. Basically, I don’t know for sure that “coinnigh” is wrong, but I’m not one hundred percent convinced it’s right, either, and as Hearne doesn’t thank anybody for help in getting the Irish correct, I’m left to conclude that he probably just did a quick Google search.

    Actually, he probably used Google Translate, considering that when you try to translate “hold” into Irish there, it gives you…“coinnigh”.

    And guys, I’m sure you know this, but you should never, ever use Google Translate for Irish. As a matter of fact, Google Translate should never be your only source for any language – I would never, ever, in a hundred million years even consider using the Google translation for any language I did not speak without consulting at least two or three native speakers on whether it was right or not. At least with more widely-spoken languages, though, there’s more accuracy. With minority languages like Irish, well, you end up with books like this.

    Not to mention that even if “coinnigh” is right, it sounds wrong to just say “hold!” like that. You wouldn’t say it that way in English, you’d say “hold him”. I guess one could argue that it’s a spell and all, not a real command like you were talking to a person, so I’ll give it a pass here.

    And I’ll give the “Irish is for spells, English is for conversations” bit a pass too, just because I figure Atticus is used to using Irish for his spells. But I’m still giving it the side-eye.

    First off Hearne, don’t lecture us about how “realistic” fights go when you just had one of the mooks rip off his own feet.

    Thank you! I’d have accepted it if he said the Fir Bolg toppled forward and broke both his ankles or something, but to rip off his own feet just because they got caught…no.

    Secondly, do you watch martial arts movies? Because there’s pausing and posing, yeah, but preening? That’s not common in movies I’ve seen, for people to go out of their way to make themselves look good.

    And if it ever did happen, I think it would be played as a joke, and said character would get their butt kicked from here to Friday.

    You ever encounter someone, online or in real life, who thinks the secret to being cool or funny is just adding swear words to sentences?

    Oh, yeah, both my older brothers went through a phase like that. When each of them hit, you know, around fifteen.

    My point is that, to me, using a lot of swear words actually sounds extremely juvenile. Like you’re a kid desperately trying to sound more mature than you are. Either that, or an older man trying to sound younger than you are and missing the mark a bit.

    Yadda, yadda, Atticus cuts three spears, but they still stab him in the shoulder and gut, he binds another one with earth and that one does not rip off his own feet, and he kills some Fir Bolgs, I don’t care…

    Reading the book for myself, I realized how ridiculously long this paragraph was, and it bothered me both stylistically and technically. Technically, I’m fairly confident there are several different subjects within this paragraph, and a paragraph, in general, should be broken whenever there is a new subject.

    Stylistically, it bothers me because a paragraph break forces the readers’ attention on to a new subject, which is why if you really want a sentence to have a punch, it’s a good idea to put it at the beginning of a new paragraph, or even in its own paragraph (although it is possible to overdo this). And in a fight scene, you want lots of short paragraphs and short sentences, to mimic the effect of actually being in a fight: The chaos, the distractions, the new attacks coming from all sides, and the lack of time in which to really think.

    Here, it’s just a wall of Atticus snarking about how well he fights and how stupid it would be to do X, which leaves us with almost no dramatic tension at all and makes all the sentences blur together. That’s not good writing.

    I wished I could do one of those ridiculous fairy-godmother routines, where you just wave a wand, some sparkly lights fill your vision, and then everything is all better, but my magic doesn’t work like that.

    OK, this right here illustrates nicely my problem with Atticus’s narrative voice. He’s so full of himself that if you dissected him, you wouldn’t find organs, you’d find a whole other Atticus O’Sullivan!

    I was trying to put my finger on what, exactly, it was about his narration that bothered me so badly. At first I thought it was just his smart-alecky attitude towards everything, and that’s annoying, but it’s only half the problem. I could maybe tolerate a smart-alecky narrator who was flippant about everything, as long as he poked fun at himself, too.

    But Atticus doesn’t do that. He’s always making fun of and heaping scorn on other people and things, and always with this tone behind it that suggests he thinks he’s much, much better than they are. It makes me want to throttle him.

    I’m tired of how when we talk about urban fantasy there’s a tendency to be like, “Dresden Files does it better!” but… Dresden Files does it better.

    Heck, Harry Potter does it better! It just struck me, reskimming the series and comparing it to this, but there are very, very few wizards and witches in the Potterverse who are skilled at all different kinds of magic. Hermione, smart as she is, struggles with Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor McGonagall sticks mainly to Transfiguration, and you never see Madam Pomfrey get in on the fighting. It’s subtle, but it makes for different characters with different strengths and weaknesses who play off each other well, and makes it clear that magic is hard, yo, and it’s difficult to be proficient in even one area of magic, let alone all of them.

    You know what also strikes me about this book? There’s not really a sense of lots of different characters playing off each other. There’s just Atticus wandering through a sea of friendlies, unfriendlies, and iffies. There’s no really developed character except Atticus and maybe Oberon, and neither of them is that developed. I don’t feel like this is a world with people in it.

    I put some earth power behind it, so I was fairly launching myself at the Fir Bolg’s would-be Phil Mickelson.

    I mean, I guessed this was probably a golfer. I just don’t think this joke is worth making an obscure reference. It’s barely a joke.

    Atticus feels the need to remind us that being practical instead of being “honorable” is smarter, but, like, duh. I don’t think your audience needs constant reminders of that. You can establish this character trait without spelling it out every time he does something “dishonorable” in a fight.

    This is not grade school, Hearne, you don’t need to show and tell.

    You know what this reminds me of? The Fault in Our Stars, and Hazel’s insistence on telling us that “ALL THOSE OTHER BOOKS ABOUT CANCER DON’T TELL YOU WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE. THIS IS WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE. THIS IS REAL, THOSE WERE ALL NOT REAL.” And that doesn’t make me think it’s real. As a matter of fact, it keeps reminding me that it isn’t real!

    It’s the same thing here. Atticus really, really wants us to know that the fight he’s in isn’t like those fake fights in fiction, where people look good and fight fair, and it reeks of an author who is deeply insecure about his own writing ability. Just having Atticus fight would have been much more effective and tense. And then, if he really wanted us to see that Atticus thinks fictional fights are stupid, he could have had a bit at the end where Oberon says, “Huh, that wasn’t anything like the movies. I thought it’d be cooler”, or something, and Atticus could reply, “Real fights aren’t like that, Oberon.” Accomplishes the same thing, and feels a lot less like he’s talking down to the audience.

    But he hears police sirens! Ohes noes! The cops are on the way!

    gasps Is my spitefic from last chapter coming true? Oh goody, oh goody! bounces in her chair

    Yes, yes, I know there are more chapters after this, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

    that drew my gaze to the parted living-room blinds of my neighbor across the street, whose large round eyes were staring fearfully at me

    How in the heck can you see his eyes from across the street? What, does Atticus have super-vision now, too?

    as if I was the bad guy. Great.

    A sympathetic protagonist in this situation would keep in mind that they really don’t look like the good guy, and not sit there sneering at somebody else for not being a mind reader, but I think we’ve established that Atticus is not a sympathetic protagonist.

    Atticus asks Leif, who is currently pigging out on the Fir Bolgs’ blood,

    Aside from that, I always question this about vampires in general1: How much blood can they hold? When do they stop being hungry? And where does the blood they drink go?

    To be clear: he doesn’t bury them, or even take them to the backyard, behind his house. Those bodies are still in his front yard, in a stack, just not near the driveway and not visible to the ordinary mortal.

    To paraphrase Sophia Petrillo: “Sure, let nine dead giants lie there. It’s gonna be ninety degrees tomorrow, it won’t be pretty.”

    He says that his amulet’s power will drain too quickly if he tries to drag those away too, but that seems like an odd limitation right out of nowhere.

    Yeah, he’s like, what? Three feet from the grass? His amulet needs a new battery, if the life is that bad.

    he looks into the neighbor’s eyes and says “Look into my eyes. You didn’t see anything.”

    AAAAAUUUGH

    IT COULD MURDER EVERYONE YOU EVER KNEW AND LOVED IN FRONT OF YOU AND THEN MAKE YOU FORGET IT HAD EVER HAPPENED

    If you need me, I’ll just be hiding under the bedclothes, gibbering. Thanks for reminding me of why I don’t like vampires, Hearne.

    Also, Silas from The Graveyard Book did this much, much better.

    Or maybe it’s because you look and claim to be twenty-one years old, and yet you don’t go to college […]

    I gotta say, as someone who does not go to college despite being college-age, I feel like this is something he should be questioned about a lot more. I dunno, maybe I’ve just got nosy neighbors, maybe it’s because my siblings and I have lived in this neighborhood for years and we’re always going on walks, but I hit eighteen and suddenly everybody wanted to know whether I was going to college or not.

    I muttered a little something to magnify the scent of local plant life, which would hopefully mask the scent of so much spilled blood.

    Pfft, yeah right. Blood reeks. It has a very strong, very unpleasant, and very unmistakable smell. Plant life alone is not going to disguise it.

    Also, I’d love to know how this fits under the definition of “binding”.

    Three police cars roll up, “alerting all my other neighbors that the noise they had been ignoring was something to worry about after all.” No, duh. I think they’d have worked that out before the police arrived.

    Where exactly does Atticus think he lives? Piracy-era Port Royal? I live in a suburban American neighborhood, and if a group of people go walking down the street at night talking loudly, I look out my window to see what’s going on, because that’s not normal.

    I am also a overly-nervous worrywart, but hey, every suburb’s got one, right?

    Will Atticus face serious consequences for his actions?

    Of course he will, Juracan, didn’t you read my spitefic?

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a nice patch of sand to dig a hole in for my head. Toodle-oo.

    Oh, really quick:

    Smith of Lie: Way to keep the main character act consistantly between chapters ther Hearne. Sorry but I don’t buy Atticus now suddenly giving a crap about the old lady. Its almost like someone pointed that bit of druid-dickery to Hearne but he just felt the joke about Time of Troubles too good to change the scene, so he added this bit as a hand wave.

    There are bad fanfic authors who do that sort of thing, but their excuse is that they update whenever they have a chapter. Surely this was all handed to an editor in one piece, right? How did the editor let that go?

    Except if he was practical he’d have legged it long ago. Or he’d shoot the Fir Bolg full of holes with an HMG. Or blast them to Kingdom Come with mines. Or baid a band of mercs to watch his back.

    But his whole preparation was a night of sleep and waiting for them to show like a gormless bastard. He is not practical and he is not smart, he just fights dirty. And believe you me, if I want to read about combat pragmatists, there are much, much better books out there for that.

    Atticus is a jackass who likes killing people and knows he’s got enough power to save him from any mistakes he makes! And I hate him! I hate him so – much!

    I’ll, uh, come rejoin you all when my blood pressure’s back to normal. See ya.

    1 Out of purely scientific curiosity, you understand. whistles and hides a stake and mallet behind her back

  4. Juracan on 16 June 2019, 21:03 said:

    Also, I feel you should know that my brother happened to see a copy of Hounded in the library and, since he knew I was reading this sporking, decided to bring it back for me. I’ve skimmed through the chapters that you’ve already sporked and I have…thoughts. I’ll probably just bring them up as they occur to me in the comments.

    My main one right now is that I feel like you really haven’t done justice to how irritating Atticus’s internal monologue is. Like, every word he says makes me want to belt him in the mouth with a copy of the book. I don’t know how you forge your way through it.

    Noticed that too, huh? It is really irritating, and hard to convey to someone who hasn’t read the book. I think part of it is that I don’t want to have too many blockquotes on these sporkings. Typing out long sections of the book just get headache-inducing, and the less of that I have to do the better.

    But I forge through so I could deliver you lovely guys this spork.

    I’m sorry to hear you were depressed. I know it’s late, but I hope you’re doing better.

    Yes and no? I’m less depressed, but I’m feeling sick today so that’s not great.

    Also I will convey the congrats to my brother.

    Am I supposed to infer, from the sidhe’s increasingly outrageous and eye-catching glamours in this book, that they can’t just…turn themselves invisible, the way Atticus has done to Oberon? Because honestly, that would be my first choice if I had it. Even if Atticus can see through invisibility too, at least no one else can.

    That’s… actually a really good question. If I had to guess, it might be because turning invisible/camouflaged is something most people don’t know how to do magically? It’s dumb, but it’s the only thing I can think of.

    I mean, isn’t the whole thing about the sympathetic vampire supposed to be that they don’t like what they are? That they hate having to survive off of the blood of the living and they fight against that compulsion as hard as they can?

    Generally, yeah. I think one could also write an interesting vampire who was an unapologetically terrible person, but Leif is neither of those. He’s just… kind of there, as a serial-killing vampire who just happens to side with Atticus because he gets what he wants from him.

    You’re going to have fun with the next chapter, I can tell.

    But from what I can make out using Teanglann’s online dictionary, “coinnigh” means keep or hold in the figurative sense, usually.

    Interesting. I didn’t dig too deeply into this, but it doesn’t surprise me that Hearne didn’t either, considering how he presents Irish mythology?

    Here, it’s just a wall of Atticus snarking about how well he fights and how stupid it would be to do X, which leaves us with almost no dramatic tension at all and makes all the sentences blur together. That’s not good writing.

    Basically. Can you blame me for not including it in the sporking?

    He’s always making fun of and heaping scorn on other people and things, and always with this tone behind it that suggests he thinks he’s much, much better than they are. It makes me want to throttle him.

    Get in line. What makes this even more infuriating is that in-story, he’s entirely correct, as he constantly outwits and overpowers everyone else that he comes against.

    You know what also strikes me about this book? There’s not really a sense of lots of different characters playing off each other. There’s just Atticus wandering through a sea of friendlies, unfriendlies, and iffies. There’s no really developed character except Atticus and maybe Oberon, and neither of them is that developed. I don’t feel like this is a world with people in it.

    True dat. Arguably it’s the first book in a series so the more nuanced character development might be saved for further installments, but I think that’s a weak excuse. Why would I want to come back to a series where none of the characters really stand out?

    You know what this reminds me of? The Fault in Our Stars, and Hazel’s insistence on telling us that “ALL THOSE OTHER BOOKS ABOUT CANCER DON’T TELL YOU WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE. THIS IS WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE. THIS IS REAL, THOSE WERE ALL NOT REAL.” And that doesn’t make me think it’s real. As a matter of fact, it keeps reminding me that it isn’t real!

    That’s actually a really good point. Because one thing that really bugged me in TFiOS is that it kept loudly proclaiming how much it was subverting the norm… and then played many of those tropes straight, just denying that it was doing it. Being all like, “No, Hazel didn’t love this dramatic romantic notion of Augustus, she loved the REAL him!” when our last bit of the book is his melodramatic letter to the author guy.

    Hounded is a bit the same. “That’s not how real fights work! Also, here’s a guy ripping his own feet off.” Really, Hearne? Really?

    What, does Atticus have super-vision now, too?

    Probably.

    How much blood can they hold? When do they stop being hungry? And where does the blood they drink go?

    Look, Hearne isn’t interested in answering any questions about vampires or werewolves that aren’t already answered by pop culture osmosis.

    To paraphrase Sophia Petrillo: “Sure, let nine dead giants lie there. It’s gonna be ninety degrees tomorrow, it won’t be pretty.”

    I think he says somewhere that he’ll use his Druid magic to try to make the plants smell more and mask the scent. Like you said, it wouldn’t work because gore straight-up STANKS, but Atticus probably doesn’t care.

    IT COULD MURDER EVERYONE YOU EVER KNEW AND LOVED IN FRONT OF YOU AND THEN MAKE YOU FORGET IT HAD EVER HAPPENED

    I mean, this dude regularly goes and kills and eats people, so yeah, he’s probably done that.

    Also, I’d love to know how this fits under the definition of “binding”.

    If I had to guess? He “bound” himself to the plant life so he could make it do whatever he wanted.

    Well, you’d need Juracan for detailed look but from what we know about Leif I’d say he falls into “villainous vampires” rather than “sympathetic vampires”. And I say that as someone who is rather fond of vampire fiction (Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines being one of my favourite games of all time and Hellsing being one of favourite anime/manga). And he isn’t even fun kind of evil, he just seems like murderous arsehole.

    He is. Which would be fun in its own sort of way, if it was done right. But it’s not. Leif is just kind of there. He’s just a serial-killing vampire who happens to like the protagonist. He’s not sympathetic, he’s not interesting, he’s just… a vampire.

    And to add insult to an injusry, the fights seem to be exactly like those fake fights in fiction. The bits and pieces quoted in the sporking are really not that much different from hundred other books. Combat Pragmatism? Seen it done already and done better (see Acts of Caine for a good book with a combat pragmatist protagonist). Gritty realism? Pretty much any historical book has more down to earth and less overblown fights. Hell, Flashman who is mostly concerned about running aways has been in more tense and gritty fights! Application of smart tactics? Haha, as if anything Atticus did was smart!

    Honestly a straightforward Errol Flynn-style sword fight would be more of a surprise in fiction at this point. And it’d be great!

    Well that depends how much of our thier powers were used. Generally we they can hold about as much as an average person has inside 4.5 to 5.5 liters. Just keeping the state of undeath wastes a little, but running around and doing all the awesome vampire stuff burns into it.

    Well there you have it—

    What aren’t you telling us, Smith?

  5. TMary on 17 June 2019, 02:19 said:

    Well, you’d need Juracan for detailed look but from what we know about Leif I’d say he falls into “villainous vampires” rather than “sympathetic vampires”.

    Except I think we’re supposed to like him? And I don’t know why.

    But I’m glad it’s not just me, in any event.

    It’s Atticuses all the way down!

    I literally almost made that joke! And then I felt like I couldn’t make it work, so I changed it. XD

    And to add insult to an injusry, the fights seem to be exactly like those fake fights in fiction. The bits and pieces quoted in the sporking are really not that much different from hundred other books. Combat Pragmatism? Seen it done already and done better (see Acts of Caine for a good book with a combat pragmatist protagonist). Gritty realism? Pretty much any historical book has more down to earth and less overblown fights. Hell, Flashman who is mostly concerned about running aways has been in more tense and gritty fights! Application of smart tactics? Haha, as if anything Atticus did was smart!

    And it’s not even so over-the-top ridiculous that it’s fun to read about! Or if it is, it’s hidden under poor writing and Atticus being an insufferable fathead.

    Well that depends how much of our thier powers were used. Generally we they can hold about as much as an average person has inside 4.5 to 5.5 liters. Just keeping the state of undeath wastes a little, but running around and doing all the awesome vampire stuff burns into it.

    I hope that was helpful.

    It…was? toys nervously with a bulb or two of garlic

    In any event, I think Leif’s eyes might be bigger than his undead stomach.

    Juracan: Noticed that too, huh?

    It is really irritating, and hard to convey to someone who hasn’t read the book. I think part of it is that I don’t want to have too many blockquotes on these sporkings. Typing out long sections of the book just get headache-inducing, and the less of that I have to do the better.

    Also, isn’t quoting too much of the book bad form in sporking?

    But yeah, I found him annoying, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had the undiluted version in my hands.

    But I forge through so I could deliver you lovely guys this spork.

    And we’re ever so glad you do :)

    Yes and no? I’m less depressed, but I’m feeling sick today so that’s not great.

    Aw, well I’m sorry to hear that. :( Hope you feel better soon!

    Also I will convey the congrats to my brother.

    Thanks :)

    That’s… actually a really good question. If I had to guess, it might be because turning invisible/camouflaged is something most people don’t know how to do magically? It’s dumb, but it’s the only thing I can think of.

    I guess we can call that the in-universe reason. I suspect out-of-universe, it was that Hearne thought the various glamours were funny and didn’t think too hard about why they’d be using them.

    Generally, yeah. I think one could also write an interesting vampire who was an unapologetically terrible person, but Leif is neither of those. He’s just… kind of there, as a serial-killing vampire who just happens to side with Atticus because he gets what he wants from him.

    And I wouldn’t have a problem with a vampire who was unapologetically terrible (well, aside from the obvious problems), as long as the author acknowledged how terrible they were. But here it feels like Hearne either doesn’t notice how bad Leif really is, or doesn’t care.

    You’re going to have fun with the next chapter, I can tell.

    Next chapter as in Chapter 13 or Chapter 11? XD

    Interesting. I didn’t dig too deeply into this, but it doesn’t surprise me that Hearne didn’t either, considering how he presents Irish mythology?

    Yeah, that’s why I keep second-guessing him. I realized that I never actually commented on Chapter 8, but wait for it – I will have rage about Granuaile’s name.

    Basically. Can you blame me for not including it in the sporking?

    No, not at all.

    Get in line.

    Here, I’ll hold him down, you beat him up.

    thinks about her own physical strength

    On second thought, maybe you should hold him down while I beat him up. That’d work better.

    What makes this even more infuriating is that in-story, he’s entirely correct, as he constantly outwits and overpowers everyone else that he comes against.

    Oh gosh yes! And I find it really hard to believe nobody read this book and said, “Uh, Kevin, this guy is kind of swell-headed, and the fact that he always wins everything is just making him more swell-headed. Do you want to take it down a notch, maybe?”

    True dat. Arguably it’s the first book in a series so the more nuanced character development might be saved for further installments, but I think that’s a weak excuse. Why would I want to come back to a series where none of the characters really stand out?

    Honestly, the first book has more to worry about than later installments. It has to be able to stand on its own, in order to make people want to keep reading. And off the top of my head, I can think of five different first books in a series where the characters were developed and interesting, not just the main characters, but all the characters around them. And those were kids’ books!

    Because one thing that really bugged me in TFiOS is that it kept loudly proclaiming how much it was subverting the norm… and then played many of those tropes straight, just denying that it was doing it. Being all like, “No, Hazel didn’t love this dramatic romantic notion of Augustus, she loved the REAL him!” when our last bit of the book is his melodramatic letter to the author guy.

    Or when he became so sick that he was incontinent and she basically fled the scene and left his parents to look after him…but we’re getting off the subject.

    Anyway, yeah, it’s bad enough when a book jumps up and down going “I’m subverting a trope! Look how clever I am!” but when it then proceeds to not subvert the trope, it’s even worse. Like, Frozen and how it drew attention to its “NOT ABOUT TRUE LOVE GUYS AND ALSO YOU CAN’T FALL IN LOVE IN ONE DAY” plot really ticked me off, but at least they did actually subvert the tropes.1

    I mean, this dude regularly goes and kills and eats people, so yeah, he’s probably done that.

    Off to gibber some more.

    If I had to guess? He “bound” himself to the plant life so he could make it do whatever he wanted.

    My brother suggested that he bound the scent molecules to the cops’ nostrils. X)

    Honestly a straightforward Errol Flynn-style sword fight would be more of a surprise in fiction at this point. And it’d be great!

    I mean, say what you want about those kinds of sword fights, but at least they’re fun.

    What aren’t you telling us, Smith?

    squinty look

    1 Well, kind of.

  6. The Smith of Lie on 17 June 2019, 03:26 said:

    I literally almost made that joke! And then I felt like I couldn’t make it work, so I changed it. XD

    It worked better with your joke as a set-up.

    What aren’t you telling us, Smith?

    It…was? toys nervously with a bulb or two of garlic

    Me? I am completely innocent and I certainly do not pretend to be a perfectly average, nerdy internet dude to hide that I’m a centuries old abomination against God and nature, perverting everything that is good and wholesome by my very existance and prolonging the cursed state of unlife by feeding on blood and life essence of puny mortals. That’d be ridiculous.

    And now look into my eyes Smith is perfectly normal and totally not suspicious guy.

    I’m glad we’ve explained that one anyways.

  7. Juracan on 17 June 2019, 11:33 said:

    Except I think we’re supposed to like him? And I don’t know why.

    Because he’s friends with Atticus, of course!

    Also, isn’t quoting too much of the book bad form in sporking?

    I don’t know if it’s bad form, but it’s kind of boring. And maybe it’s me being a bit wary, but I’m also worried that if I used too many quotes someone would look at the article and say it’s not Fair Use because I’m using too much copyrighted material.

    Hope you feel better soon!

    I hope so too. Although it’s possible that I end up sitting on the couch for the rest of the day watching Ministerio del Tiempo which isn’t so bad.

    Next chapter as in Chapter 13 or Chapter 11? XD

    Chapter 11 of the sporking. I talk a bit more about Leif being a serial killer.

    Speaking of vampires, I think maybe we should keep an eye on Smi—

    And now look into my eyes Smith is perfectly normal and totally not suspicious guy.

    I’m sorry, what was I saying? Was it something about Smith? I don’t know him but he seems completely trustworthy.

  8. TMary on 17 June 2019, 23:43 said:

    It worked better with your joke as a set-up.

    That’s what it was waiting for.

    And now look into my eyes Smith is perfectly normal and totally not suspicious guy.

    Aha! We’re not making eye contact, I – can – resist…

    Because he’s friends with Atticus, of course!

    Ah, yes, how could I have forgotten? Classic Sue/Stu morality: There is no good and evil, there is only the protagonist, and those who do not like them.

    It occurred to me, actually, reading Atticus’s story about how he got Freagarthach for myself (and by the way, that story outdid Stephenie Meyer’s characters for “telling a story in a way no human being has ever talked ever”), that Hearne missed a good opportunity for a morally complex villain. Atticus was complaining that Aengus and Lugh wanted to unite Ireland by force (which I don’t think is what happened, but we’re getting off the subject), but he even admits that in the end, it might have been better for the country. So the book came this close to acknowledging that the villain might have a point, and this close to having two sides who were both doing what they thought was right…but then dropped the ball and just made Aengus EEEEEEEEVUL. And I can’t help but feel that the reason he’s being portrayed that way is because he inconveniences Atticus, and Hearne didn’t acknowledge that a character can inconvenience the main character and not be the most villainous villain that ever did vil.

    And maybe it’s me being a bit wary, but I’m also worried that if I used too many quotes someone would look at the article and say it’s not Fair Use because I’m using too much copyrighted material.

    That’s what I meant by “bad form”, really. (Didn’t Rorshach once actually get sued for his sporking of “Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say ‘No’ to Drugs” because he used the entire book?)

    Also, yeah, too much quoting is boring.

    I hope so too. Although it’s possible that I end up sitting on the couch for the rest of the day watching Ministerio del Tiempo which isn’t so bad.

    Silver linings and all that.

    Chapter 11 of the sporking. I talk a bit more about Leif being a serial killer.

    Ah, yes, that. I look forward to that.

    I’m sorry, what was I saying? Was it something about Smith? I don’t know him but he seems completely trustworthy.

    Oh, Juracan, ya failed your saving throw.

  9. The Smith of Lie on 18 June 2019, 12:13 said:

    Aha! We’re not making eye contact, I – can – resist…

    But why resist? Resistance is difficult, it tires you out… Just let it go, relax and let yourself go with the flow… Why ever resist your good friend Smith?

    Ah, yes, how could I have forgotten? Classic Sue/Stu morality: There is no good and evil, there is only the protagonist, and those who do not like them.

    Oh yes, that BS. This is an easy way, along with feckless protagonist lacking an agenda, to make me hate a book with a power of ten thousand suns. And even shades of it in otherwise decent books leave me with bad taste in my mouth. I remember that Harry Potter had few moments of that protagonist centered morality that annoyed me (but I can’t reacall the details, I was never a potterhead).

    So the book came this close to acknowledging that the villain might have a point, and this close to having two sides who were both doing what they thought was right…but then dropped the ball and just made Aengus EEEEEEEEVUL.

    This is worse than if Anengus was straight up evil. A card carrying villain can be fun. Dio Brando comes to mind. But it requires work – he needs to be larger than life, have some personality and do some interesting evil stuff.

    Aengus, as far as the sporks allow me to judge, is a bad villain because he is pretty much a non-entity. He isn’t a complex villain with sympathetic motives or at least some kind of point or understandable goals. He is not a large ham EVIL. He just is there and Atticus tells us he is bad…

  10. Juracan on 18 June 2019, 22:37 said:

    It occurred to me, actually, reading Atticus’s story about how he got Freagarthach for myself (and by the way, that story outdid Stephenie Meyer’s characters for “telling a story in a way no human being has ever talked ever”), that Hearne missed a good opportunity for a morally complex villain. Atticus was complaining that Aengus and Lugh wanted to unite Ireland by force (which I don’t think is what happened, but we’re getting off the subject), but he even admits that in the end, it might have been better for the country. So the book came this close to acknowledging that the villain might have a point, and this close to having two sides who were both doing what they thought was right…but then dropped the ball and just made Aengus EEEEEEEEVUL. And I can’t help but feel that the reason he’s being portrayed that way is because he inconveniences Atticus, and Hearne didn’t acknowledge that a character can inconvenience the main character and not be the most villainous villain that ever did vil.

    And as has been pointed out in other comments, I think, Atticus takes the sword… basically because he was told to. He wasn’t even really motivated out of self-interest. We’re really given almost nothing when it comes to characterization in this book. Aenghus is evil for REASONS, Atticus is only reaction to Aenghus hunting him, and everyone else exists to help or hinder him.

    (Didn’t Rorshach once actually get sued for his sporking of “Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say ‘No’ to Drugs” because he used the entire book?)

    Did he? This I did not know. It might have been before my time as a sporker.

    Oh, Juracan, ya failed your saving throw.

    What are you talking about? Smith is our good friend. Completely trustworthy. I don’t know why, but I just have a good feeling about him…

    Aengus, as far as the sporks allow me to judge, is a bad villain because he is pretty much a non-entity. He isn’t a complex villain with sympathetic motives or at least some kind of point or understandable goals. He is not a large ham EVIL. He just is there and Atticus tells us he is bad…

    Exactly. And what’s worse is that he’s not even THERE. He doesn’t show up in the book until the very end, so we get so little of him that he might as well not even be in this book. So all we have for his evilness is Atticus and other characters telling us that the antagonist is an evil douchebag for no reason, when he doesn’t even haven on-page appearance.

    It’s not even boring, it’s just plain weird. And bad writing.

  11. TMary on 9 August 2019, 20:05 said:

    But why resist? Resistance is difficult, it tires you out… Just let it go, relax and let yourself go with the flow… Why ever resist your good friend Smith?

    Oh, alright. After all, I did get a recruitment email from the illuminati in between reading your reply and writing mine. Who am I to judge?

    Oh yes, that BS. This is an easy way, along with feckless protagonist lacking an agenda, to make me hate a book with a power of ten thousand suns. And even shades of it in otherwise decent books leave me with bad taste in my mouth. I remember that Harry Potter had few moments of that protagonist centered morality that annoyed me (but I can’t reacall the details, I was never a potterhead).

    Oh, yeah, there’s a few1 moments in the Harry Potter series that have long been a bone of contention with the fandom. And I do agree that some of them are a little PCM-flavored and probably should have been thought through.

    Still, at least Harry never palled around with a unrepentant serial-killing monster whom we were expected to like simply because he was Harry’s friend.

    Aengus, as far as the sporks allow me to judge, is a bad villain because he is pretty much a non-entity. He isn’t a complex villain with sympathetic motives or at least some kind of point or understandable goals. He is not a large ham EVIL. He just is there and Atticus tells us he is bad…

    This too. I think the “unseen threat” kind of villain can work, where you never really encounter them until the end, but you know they’re backstage pulling the strings, but I feel like maybe that would work better if we weren’t sure who the threat was, and this was a mystery. Or, if we absolutely must know who the threat is beforehand, we have to see more evidence of his evil than what we’re being given, and have more idea of his goals.

    And as has been pointed out in other comments, I think, Atticus takes the sword… basically because he was told to. He wasn’t even really motivated out of self-interest. We’re really given almost nothing when it comes to characterization in this book. Aenghus is evil for REASONS, Atticus is only reaction to Aenghus hunting him, and everyone else exists to help or hinder him.

    Exactly! We’re just floating around in a sea of cardboard cut-outs! I can’t even call them stereotypes, exactly (barring, naturally, Mrs. MacDonagh) because they don’t even have enough character for that!

    And I did see in the book itself that Atticus was waxing a little philosophical about the terrible waste of human life this war had been, and all to satisfy Conn’s egomania, but he still didn’t do anything about it until ordered, and it rings a little hollow when what he did was “Grab the sword and start slaughtering the guys he’d been fighting with and then go on to fight with Genghis Khan for reasons”.

    Did he? This I did not know. It might have been before my time as a sporker.

    I believe so, yes. He didn’t spork it here, it was on a different site which has gone down since I read it, but from what I remember he said he actually got sued because he used the whole book, or almost all of it. I think so, anyway. It’s been a little while, and now I have no proof. :P

    What are you talking about? Smith is our good friend. Completely trustworthy. I don’t know why, but I just have a good feeling about him…

    Ah, okay.

    On a completely unrelated note, I don’t suppose you know any ways of breaking vampiric mind control? It’s for…a spitefic. Yeeeeah, that’s it, a spitefic.

    1 “A few”, she says.

  12. Juracan on 14 August 2019, 15:24 said:

    Oh, alright. After all, I did get a recruitment email from the illuminati in between reading your reply and writing mine. Who am I to judge?

    [spittake]

    HWAET!

    This too. I think the “unseen threat” kind of villain can work, where you never really encounter them until the end, but you know they’re backstage pulling the strings, but I feel like maybe that would work better if we weren’t sure who the threat was, and this was a mystery. Or, if we absolutely must know who the threat is beforehand, we have to see more evidence of his evil than what we’re being given, and have more idea of his goals.

    Pretty much? So much of Aenghus’s villainy isn’t on-page. So it really feels like all he’s done is just protagonist saying “He’s a dick, trust me.” But… we don’t trust our protagonist, who is also a dick, and we don’t get much sense of the villain who doesn’t personally appear until the end and doesn’t have coherent motivations other than wanting to take over the Irish gods. For Reasons.

    And I did see in the book itself that Atticus was waxing a little philosophical about the terrible waste of human life this war had been, and all to satisfy Conn’s egomania, but he still didn’t do anything about it until ordered, and it rings a little hollow when what he did was “Grab the sword and start slaughtering the guys he’d been fighting with and then go on to fight with Genghis Khan for reasons”.

    Yeah I don’t think anyone calls him out on this in-book. Ever.

    On a completely unrelated note, I don’t suppose you know any ways of breaking vampiric mind control? It’s for…a spitefic. Yeeeeah, that’s it, a spitefic.

    I don’t, but our great friend Smith knows a lot about vampires for some reason that’s totally not bad at all. Maybe he knows something?

    Or maybe your new Illuminati buddies?

  13. TMary on 14 August 2019, 17:11 said:

    [spittake]

    HWAET!

    No, really, I did. Look.

    I’m as confused as you are, dude. And mildly spooked.

    But… we don’t trust our protagonist, who is also a dick, and we don’t get much sense of the villain who doesn’t personally appear until the end and doesn’t have coherent motivations other than wanting to take over the Irish gods. For Reasons.

    Authors need to learn that characters are like people. We’re not going to take Joe Bloggs’s word for it that Johnny Everyman is a Bad Guy unless Joe Bloggs has evidence. ‘Cause we don’t know either of them. Same thing applies in fiction.

    Yeah I don’t think anyone calls him out on this in-book. Ever.

    gnaws on a pen

    I don’t, but our great friend Smith knows a lot about vampires for some reason that’s totally not bad at all. Maybe he knows something?

    Right, I’ll…ask…him.

    Or maybe your new Illuminati buddies?

    Hey, I said I got a recruitment email, not that I answered it…

    On a sidenote, I wanted to ask you something about commenting on future chapters. Specifically, Chapter 14, once I get around to it. See, that chapter made me so angry, in so many different ways, that I felt like my comments would just be reduced to Tasmanian Devil-esque gibberish. And then I thought that if I commented in the guise of one of my own OCs, I might be able to channel that anger into comments that were a little more constructive.

    Obviously, if you think that’s annoying, I don’t have to, I just thought it would work better, and be a fun experiment. But I didn’t want to comment as someone else on your spork without your permission. :)

  14. Juracan on 15 August 2019, 15:15 said:

    I’m as confused as you are, dude. And mildly spooked.

    That’s weird. It reminds me of two things:

    1) The time when my sister was going through files at the organization she volunteers at, and one person listed ‘the Illuminati’ under ‘Contacts’ and

    2) that time I was walking down the street and a guy was riding a bicycle the opposite way on the sidewalk on the other side with a cardboard sign proclaiming that he was anti-Illuminati and against the New World Order.

    Still, consider hiding? Because that’s scary that they’re e-mailing you.

    Authors need to learn that characters are like people. We’re not going to take Joe Bloggs’s word for it that Johnny Everyman is a Bad Guy unless Joe Bloggs has evidence. ‘Cause we don’t know either of them. Same thing applies in fiction.

    Yeah, basically. The other day I found myself thinking that telling us Aenghus Og’s actually a villain would work if this were, like, a children’s novel, but it’s so clearly not, so I don’t know how we’re supposed to buy this.

    Hey, I said I got a recruitment email, not that I answered it…

    Maybe don’t answer it. I don’t know how that’d go.

    On a sidenote, I wanted to ask you something about commenting on future chapters. Specifically, Chapter 14, once I get around to it. See, that chapter made me so angry, in so many different ways, that I felt like my comments would just be reduced to Tasmanian Devil-esque gibberish. And then I thought that if I commented in the guise of one of my own OCs, I might be able to channel that anger into comments that were a little more constructive.

    Obviously, if you think that’s annoying, I don’t have to, I just thought it would work better, and be a fun experiment. But I didn’t want to comment as someone else on your spork without your permission. :)

    I don’t see why not? I’d like to see your input on it and if that’s how you want to do it, I’m not going to stop you.