Chapter Two

Apparently the “Archive” is the most important building in the kingdom. Dragons collect data to store it in the building’s core for Reasons that may or may not become clear. Inside, there’s millions or circular dishes filled with gooey black orbs that look like “sugary tar” (seriously) and they hold megabytes of data. Wow. You’d think in this incredible society they’d be using gigabytes, or maybe even terabytes. Apparently not.

The orbs all looked like giant caviar, dripping with dark fluids from their supple surfaces as if to contain embryos and cerebral nutrition within shelled walls and savory, salty substance. And assuredly, they were just as tasty as they appeared (page 34).

OK.

Hundreds of dragons are dropping off their bits of gathered intelligence that they have gathered. Meanwhile, Dennagon is hurrying along and hating everyone.

Feeling sick at having to remain with all of his low-life colleagues (page 34).

Knowing the author is an Asian supremacist makes me wonder just how much of himself he’s channeling into his protagonist.

Apparently, these orbs of knowledge are actually intended to be eaten. Dennagon thinks about how he used to sample them a lot, and they were delicious.

He knew they tasted like the finest bloody meat whilst sending surges of orgasmic information to one’s head (page 35).

In this world, this is fairly normal, but Dennagon is an abstainer. He feels that something about the orbs is not quite right and has been starving himself for a few years now and living off animals.

Another dragon, Thargon, bumps into him. A few other sentries gather round and make fun of him and the fact that he’s an idiot. Dennagon points out that he collects more knowledge in a day than they do in a year. This is a bit insulting, so the other dragons grab their weapons. Dennagon draws his sword and says they’re welcome to attack any time.

The brutish comportment of his antagonistic colleagues lessened at the sight of his weapon (page 36).

What –

Attempting to maintain their masculinity, they shirked, hiding their cowardice behind euphemistic visages (page 36).

The –

Thargon spit out reptilian slaver (page 36)

Fuck?? Seriously? Euphemistic visages? That doesn’t make any fucking sense!

It’s almost as if Eng decided he was going to try and write an entire novel in the style of The Eye of Argon. And succeeded.

Thargon tells Dennagon he’ll never amount to anything and then chows down on an orb. The information inside – “physical laws, astronomical constants and chronological facts” are absorbed into his memory. Hopefully they aren’t all incorrect, like Eng’s understanding of the concept of force.

Dennagon heads in to where the dragon king is waiting, a bit nervous, since he’s late. The king takes the form of a black shadow that is “spiraling above the throne in an omnipotent dance of conflagrations that echoed the mystery of a thousand riddles” (page 38). The king is named Drekkenoth – oh hey, that possibly bad guy from the prologue – who launches into some helpful “As you know, Bob” exposition. We learn that the world is getting fucked up, sapiens are roaming the land and destroying things, and their only hope is to gather all of the planet’s knowledge before man destroys it. Interesting. Just a few pages ago there was a reference to Planck’s constant, which was discovered in 1900 by a man. I take it, then, that this story is set after 1900, and that men have existed and therefore discovered Planck’s constant, but something happened and now men have lost all their knowledge and have turned back into rather stupid knights while dragons are the most technologically advanced creatures on the planet? Which would explain why they’re standing by and letting man destroy the planet? Either way, none of this makes any fucking sense, and I don’t have a lot of faith in Eng to provide a plausible explanation before the book ends.

Drekkenoth says Dennagon is their greatest warrior.

“Of this I am aware,” replied Dennagon humbly (page 38).

I don’t think you know what the word “humble” actually means.

Drekkenoth asks why Dennagon doesn’t hang out in their wisdom circle. Blah blah, apparently there isn’t much time left in the world, and totality is coming, which means the world will merge into a single unification and stuff. Dennagon says they should attack the sapiens head-on. Drekkenoth points out the sapiens aren’t human anymore – they have powerful souls, and if the dragons attack the sapiens will bring about a powerful metaphor for death. This thesaurus abuse is starting to drive me crazy.

Drekkenoth lapses into meditation which Dennagon takes as his cue to leave. As he leaves, the other dragons notice him.

They ceased their incessant persiflage as he moved by, only to hurtle jeers at his ascetic disposition (page 41).

There are times when chapters of a spork refuse to give me a particularly idiotic phrase to use as a section title, and there are times when a chapter gives me far too many.

Fortunately, the dragon’s incessant persiflage doesn’t bother Dennagon at all:

They didn’t matter in the slightest, their somas as phantasms piffle in the wind (page 41).

That is a real sentence.

We cut forward and there’s an entire paragraph of intense thesaurus abuse that tells us that nothing is happening. Here’s a sample sentence: Yet, even as the water bore its own sapphire tint, it had islands embedded upon its vistas to break the smooth uniformity that existed not in the universe (page 42). Or, in other words, the ocean has islands. It’s super-helpful information.

Dennagon dreams about Shevinoth, first king of the dragons, flying around the moon, in considerably more pretentious prose than what I just used. In the dream, Shevinoth lands on the moon and pulls out a glowing sword and starts digging a hole in the surface. He doesn’t get anywhere. Eventually Shevinoth looks at Dennagon and asks “What is art?” Then there’s a huge explosion which burns Shevinoth up. Well, that was a useful dream sequence. Maybe later there’ll be a scene where Dennagon is forced to fight the True Reality of Art and we’ll realize this scene was Foreshadowing, but I doubt it.

Dennagon wakes up, covered in sweat. Sure, reptiles don’t sweat, but he’s a dragon, so that doesn’t really matter. He spends a few moment thinking deeply about irrelevant things.

We cut forward. Dennagon takes a stroll. There is a great deal of thesaurus abuse. Eventually he gets to a secret place and starts digging until he unearths a bunch of fossils! Which I guess he hides here, buried beneath layers of dirt and rocks. Because that’s not going to break anything. They’re not dragon fossils. From the description, I’m guessing dinosaurs.

There’s another, stranger one, that is made out of highly advanced technology. Dennagon spends some time assembling it.

The finished piece was a creature of metal and circuits, dented at the edges, but whole nonetheless (page 49).

Dennagon thinks it’s strange, because he can’t think of a reason to explain such highly advanced machinery that’s so old.

Not knowing everything makes Dennagon think about the Lexicon. Supposedly, if he touches the Lexicon, he’ll become all-knowing and all-wise and have the mind of a god, which sounds awfully convenient. I wonder if it’s going to happen at some point in this book?

Suddenly, there’s a rather large explosion. Dennagon realizes that a battle has begun, because it would have taken an army of magicians to create said explosion. While that might be true, isn’t it equally plausible that an army of magicians have just placed a sneak attack against them and then casually went home, since the text doesn’t describe a battle commencing?

The conflagration boiled up from the ground like the expanding sac of a red-warm embryo (page 51).

Gross.

There are explosions of radioactive emissions, even though nobody but an omniscient narrator would be able to say whether the materials were radioactive at this juncture. Dennagon looks out and the smoke and flying debris and clouds of dust is so thick that he can’t see anything. He immediately determines that it must be an enemy attacking and decides he’s going to fuck them up.

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Comment

  1. swenson on 7 August 2014, 14:56 said:

    They didn’t matter in the slightest, their somas as phantasms piffle in the wind

    I’ve tried, and I have no clue what “soma” means in this context (it’s that drug from Brave New World, isn’t it? And Google says it’s a Hindu ritual drink as well. Neither use makes any sense in this sentence), but “phantasm’s piffle” means ghost pee, right?

    Ghost pee.

    What a lovely image.

  2. Rorschach on 7 August 2014, 15:09 said:

    Per the dictionary somas means “the body of an organism as contrasted with its germ cells”.

    So it’s really just an incredibly pretentious and mildly inaccurate way to say “Their bodies as ghost pee in the wind”.

    It makes about as much sense either way, honestly.

  3. Epke on 7 August 2014, 15:32 said:

    “spiraling above the throne in an omnipotent dance of conflagrations that echoed the mystery of a thousand riddles”

    So an all-powerful dance of a massive and destructive fire that is mysterious? What’s so mysterious about a spiralling pillar of flames in a story about dragons and magic?

    “What is art?”

    And then he turned into Oscar Wilde and laughed scornfully at Dennagon.

    Dennagon, Drekkenoth, Shevinoth… why do all these sound like they’re right out of Dungeons & Dragons?

  4. Apep on 7 August 2014, 15:46 said:

    It’s almost as if Eng decided he was going to try and write an entire novel in the style of The Eye of Argon. And succeeded.

    Oh, it’s worse than that. I’ve seen bits from The Eye of Argon, and while it’s full of spelling errors, grammar errors, and beats a thesaurus like Kunta Kinte, at least you can kind of figure out what’s going on.

    But this? This thing goes beyond that.

    Attempting to maintain their masculinity, they shirked, hiding their cowardice behind euphemistic visages

    They didn’t matter in the slightest, their somas as phantasms piffle in the wind

    What do these sentences even mean? My god, even if Eng hadn’t been forced to get psychological help, this should have proved he needed it.

  5. Tim on 7 August 2014, 21:21 said:

    Eng really doesn’t understand the difference between knowledge and trivia, does he?

  6. pug on 7 August 2014, 22:24 said:

    What do these sentences even mean? My god, even if Eng hadn’t been forced to get psychological help, this should have proved he needed it.

    The first one is about trying to look tough, but your face revealing how afraid/cowardly you really are. The second one, I think, is about not giving a shit what’s going on around you because you’re just so damn happy. Thus the soma? Maybe?

  7. sanguine on 7 August 2014, 22:26 said:

    Does Eng actually think these words make his writing better? The word “conflagration” just rubs me the wrong way, too… and it’s probably Paolini’s fault.

    By the way, I really love your sporking style, Rorschach. You always manage to make me laugh!

  8. The Smith of Lie on 8 August 2014, 04:46 said:

    Sad part is that idea with black pellets feeding dragons information is pretty interesting. In better work this could be a source of plot driving conflict – society being literally fed manipulated information and hero who for some reason learns to trust his own research. To push it in context of the Eng’s world, thiere could be Equilibrium-esque plot about dragon society being manipulated into belief that humans are destroying the world and led to think them little more than brutal apes, while the ongoing war is not as clear cut as that. Say, the history of dragonkind includes a “remember Alamo” parts that never actually happened.

    Lexicon could come into it as the only sure source of knowledge, that would allow the hero to discern what is real and what is fabrication. The Jocasta or Jocelyn or whatever was she called, could be part of rebel faction looking to uncover the truth and maybe cease hostilities with humans.

    Fantasy distopia with dragon cyborgs is a concept with potential. Sadly it got drowned with euphemistic visages.

  9. swenson on 8 August 2014, 08:06 said:

    Yes, yet again a book with a promising premise is drowned under stupidity.

  10. pug on 8 August 2014, 10:41 said:

    The word “conflagration” just rubs me the wrong way, too… and it’s probably Paolini’s fault.

    I actually liked that sentence in Eragon. It was purple without being too purple; more like a pleasant, soft lavender.

  11. The Drunk Fox on 9 August 2014, 11:38 said:

    I like that simile, pug.

    And Rorschach, good spork, but I do have one minor nitpick; the fossils Dennagon digs up are his personal stash of dinosaur fossils. IIRC, he even states outright that they couldn’t possibly be from dragons, and the descriptions heavily imply dinosaurs (and this is neither the first nor the last time dinosaurs come up). Apparently he has a secret collection that he just… buries under rocks. Because surely that won’t damage them, and surely no one could ever find them there…

  12. Rorschach on 9 August 2014, 16:56 said:

    And Rorschach, good spork, but I do have one minor nitpick; the fossils Dennagon digs up are his personal stash of dinosaur fossils.

    Hat tip. Re-read and you’re correct. I need to stop sporking at 2am, I miss things.

    Made some edits.

  13. Castor on 9 August 2014, 17:13 said:

    I think Eng actually has worse prose than Jim Theis. At least in Eye of Argon you could tell what was going on, and there was a kind of enthusiasm behind it. It seemed like Theis enjoyed telling his story and just wanted prose to fit his epic masterpiece. From someone who had a ton of issues with purple prose when I first started writing (I once used the word “digit” to describe a finger—ouch), I can kind of see why his prose was so god-awful. It’s still fun to laugh at though.

    With this story, it’s kind of obvious Eng got caught up in how smart he thinks he is. Instead of abusing his thesaurus to try to fit his vision of his story, like Theis, he wants to show how smart he is, and just comes across as pretentious. Kind of like Christopher Paolini, but MUCH WORSE.

  14. Juracan on 9 August 2014, 19:01 said:

    Yet, even as the water bore its own sapphire tint, it had islands embedded upon its vistas to break the smooth uniformity that existed not in the universe (page 42).

    What the fudge, man.

    I…I am baffled. It’s like someone decided to write a book that nobody wants to read. I cannot understand how this book got published at all.

    Please don’t tell me this book has fans.

  15. The Drunk Fox on 9 August 2014, 23:52 said:

    @Rorschach – No problem! [salute!]

    @Castor

    With this story, it’s kind of obvious Eng got caught up in how smart he thinks he is. Instead of abusing his thesaurus to try to fit his vision of his story, like Theis, he wants to show how smart he is, and just comes across as pretentious.

    Having read farther into the book than either set of sporkings shows, I think I can pretty authoritatively say that it’s even worse than that. It’s like the entire book is Eng going ‘MY LEARNINGS, LET ME SHOW YOU THEMand at least half of it is WRONG in addition to pretentious.

    @Jurican –

    I…I am baffled. It’s like someone decided to write a book that nobody wants to read. I cannot understand how this book got published at all.

    If memory serves, he went through a vanity publisher. Anybody who knows otherwise, feel free to correct me.

    Please don’t tell me this book has fans.

    I am extremely sorry to disappoint. (Unless I’m mistaken, and this guy is doing video readings because the text pretty much makes fun of itself unintentionally… or something.)

  16. A on 10 August 2014, 12:36 said:

    I think the main edge that Eng has over Theis is that there are far fewer typos. One thing that struck me about Theis is that he can use the same word in three consecutive paragraphs and spell it in four different ways. I don’t get the impression that either Eng or Theis did any revising after they were finished, but when I read “The Eye of Argon”, there’s no proof that the author even looked at the screen while he was typing.

    But even with that, Theis is still a better writer than Eng.

  17. Apep on 10 August 2014, 20:08 said:

    Well, The Eye of Argon was published back in 1970, and Theis was only 16 when he wrote it.

    Eng doesn’t even have those excuses.

  18. Tim on 11 August 2014, 05:10 said:

    I don’t think sixteen year olds spell that badly without teh substances or liberal application of a claw hammer.

  19. The Smith of Lie on 11 August 2014, 08:32 said:

    The Eye of Argon was obviously written with youthful enthusiasm. Yes it was silly (and a great source of comfort for me, since I can rest assured there is at least 1 person who writes even worse than me) but innocent in a way.

    Lexicon on the other hand is pretentious with big P. Every single quote that spork provides looks to me like a giant banner saying ‘LOOK HOW MUCH MY INTELLECT AND VOCABULARY ARE SUPERIOR TO YOURS YOU PEON! GROWEL AT MY FEET PLEBEANS!’ There’s a British word used to describe people who’d write this way. It starts with “W” and ends with “anker”.

  20. swenson on 11 August 2014, 10:18 said:

    Yeah, I have to give Theis a little credit, while there is painful Thesaurus Abuse in the Eye of Argon, it doesn’t come across like he thinks he’s smarter than other people, it’s just sort of… I think that was how sixteen-year-old Theis thought fantasy books were written.

    Which, let’s be honest, occasionally they kind of are.

  21. TMary on 6 November 2016, 03:59 said:

    “…their somas as phantasms piffle in the wind.”

    “Oh freddled gruntbuggly…?…thy micturations are to me- As plurgid gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.”