I fucking LOVE books

Talking about the love of books. With a lot of swearing.

Supernova


Chuck Wendig asked his penmonkey minions to write a 1000 word flash updating a fairy story. This is my attempt. It’s my first attempt, and I’m not sure I’m especially good at flash, but hey. I can only get better.

When a rich man has a daughter, people expect her to be cosseted and spoiled. When that rich man owns the worlds largest private space-fleet, people exoect her to be named something silly like Supernova. When that man made his money in some less than ethical ways, the people who hate him will hate her. Which is why no-one outside of her fathers huge compound of houses ever saw the young Supernova from the day she was born till the day she turned sixteen.

 

It had been a lonely upbringing for the poor girl, of course, though she hadn’t known it, surrounded as she was by people who were paid to love her and care for her. In reality, she had no idea of how to talk to real people.

 

Still. As one of her three dressmakers put the finishing touches on her dress (value: The yearly profit of a small country) for her she whirled around the room, giddy.

 

“And daddy has said he might even introduce me to some boooys!”

 

“Yes miss.”

 

“And won’t they just think I’m the prettiest?” She stopped to look in the mirror, patting at her face.

 

“Yes miss.”

 

“Oh, I’m so excited!”

 

“Yes miss.”

 

On the day of the party, she was squeezed into the expensive dress, her hair dressed. She looked quite the little eligible heiress. Outside some hippy types were protesting, but, kept from everything but the most banal of entertainment channels, she had no idea.

 

Her party was excellent. She danced. She flirted, in her amateur, obvious way. She could have been shaped like a donkey and talked like a lumberjack, and none of the men would have cared. She was rich. The word had a beauty of its own. But somehow (don’t ask how, dear reader) a protestor found their way inside the ballroom. Dressed in a hire suit, the handsome young man danced with the girl… and she. Was. SMITTEN.

 

Rich girls always pick me who will upset their daddies.

 

Shame he was only dancing with her to inject her with a concentrated dose of Hyperflu, the illness that struck down her daddies worked. Within minutes she was writhing on the floor, dying.

 

Her daddy did the needful.  The needful being rushing her away to a cry chamber where she could sleep until the cure was found… and arresting the young man who’d given her the disease, who trust me, was already feeling pretty grateful. She’d had such pretty brown eyes, and she’d looked so unhappy when he stabbed her.

 

And so it was that they locked her in away. Even though he felt guilty, the young man (who’s name was Paul, but we all know the princes name isn’t important) refused to help her father develop the cure… unless the cure was given to the workers. Despite how her father loved his girl, he would not be blackmailed. So for two years, as they argued, she slept.

 

When the father gave in, it was discovered it would be one hundred years to develop the cure. At this, the young man and the father wept, because they had not expected it to take so long. The normal hyperflu could be fixed in a decade, but her dosage had been so high…

 

The father would die, long before she woke, but the young man worked on the cure until he was an old man, watching the business for her. It was kept in trust, long after it’s value was gone. The space fleet he’d built was outmoded. Still he worked, and when he got old, he grew a vat baby, and taught his ‘son’ how to complete the cure.

 

And then, one day, when 100 years had passed and the world was horribly changed, they went to give the girl a cure without thinking of how it would effect him. A young man in love with a girl he only knew from his fathers stories. The watchers of a dead legacy.

 

They gave her The Kiss, and she opened her eyes. They weren’t even brown. They were green. The young man (Paul II) had his heart shattered. And as for Supernova? We’ll I’d say it was better that she died, and for two years she felt that herself, but she managed. She married a starship engineer, and went travelling, and if sometimes she wondered what could have been, well, I don’t blame her.

 

And if you wonder how I could know such a thing… Well, she is my grandmother. So, though it was a cruel thing to do to a girl, I am grateful for her freezing.

 

 

 

(My other idea was Stilt, a short based on Rumplestiltskin about a girl who claims she can make any account go into profit, and bribes a hacker to help her out, but I didn’t know enough about hacking or banking. I still intend to write it soon.)

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Oops


I really let this slide. Things got a bit carried away and keeping up with blog became a lot more difficult. With that in mind, the nature of the blog is changing – I wills till be talking about how much I love books 9so much, you guys) but I will also be posting weekly flash fiction and details about my success in publishing as well.

Don’t worry, it’ll never become just an ordinary, boring book blog.

A field in Wales is a dreadful place to have a panic attack.


Especially when you’re camping in a silent, almost deserted campsite.

Oh, I was safe, utterly so – within a few yards of a farmhouse at all times, and never more than a mile and a half away from a village or town – but it was off season, wo we only had two other tents on the field… which eventually became JUST us. And it turns out there are downsides to a good imagination, in that my mind combined it’s horror obsession with animal instincts… and voila. Panic attack. I had to make my husband take me to the toilet.

Fortunately, I had books.

Read more…

Old books can be kinda (very) racist/sexist/homophobic


So, how do I  reconcile liking them?

It’s NOT enough to justify it to yourself as an attitude acceptable at the time. I mean, sure it WAS an acceptable attitude at the time (though, to think there weren’t individuals fighting that long before it became a societal push is foolish.) but we, nowadays, know it’s not.

I like to think I’m as unracist as is possible. I mean, I accept I have priveleges others won’t (I’m a white girl born in the UK) but I reckon any racism I perpetrate will be accidental and out of ignorance rather than hate.  I think it’s impossible for me to say I’m not racist at all, and talking about how racist you aren’t always leads people to believe you are… but as things go, I am fairly unprejudiced.

Bear in mind, I’m not talking about a character being prejudiced in some way- that’s just being honest to your character. I’m talking about the BOOK being prejudiced, which is a much trickier thing to realise or analyse. Very simplified:

If the book mainly puts one type of person into villain/hero roles, or only has one type of person in it as a vaulable character, it may be prejudiced

For example where all the bad guys are black and the good guy is white may not mean to be, but probably is prejudiced. There are much better and more in depth discussions online, and I strongly recommend a read through. ANYWAY back to what I was talking about.

How do we deal with being a fan of an author (especially one from a previous time period) while disliking their personal politics? Especially if those personal politics are very prevalent in the books?

Read more…

Some books are dangerous (but we still shouldn’t ban them)


Some books are dangerous, in the same way any media can be dangerous. Find a person whose mind is easily turned, and introduce them to some powerful and unwholesome rhetoric, add a sense of displacement from society and an obsession with proving themselves, and you can have a problem.

But, similar to the video games=violence ‘debate’ simply saying ‘this book is dangerous’ isn’t actually correct, and that’s why even the nastiest of books should be available for purchase. Obviously, some information should be kept away from the general public (like how to build a nuclear weapon) but in general we shouldn’t ban even the most distasteful of information.

Read more…

Best Books for Weird Teens.


I’ve noticed an unpleasant trend in YA books. They are filled with young women who lack agency, who believe their first love is to be their only love, who are controlled by the men around them. Obviously, there are those that aren’t – and those are the books I want to talk about today.

THE RULES: Every YA book in this post will:

  • Feature a woman/girl as one of the main characters
  • That woman may have a romance, but it won’t be the defining thing of her life
  • She lives her life for herself, even if it requires hard choices

My choices may not be yours, and thats fine. Feel free the recommend your favourites, ideally within these rules. THIS IS A TWILIGHT FREE ZONE. I LOATHE those fucking books and the message they send to young women, and I have no wish to get in an argument on the subject. Besides, this man can better explain my hatred. Read all of them.

Some of these books are older, some are newer. If you have a teenagerl, you could do worse.

Read more…

Rainy Day Books


On cold, rainy days when you don’t have to work, there is nothing better than a book. I have a tendency to wrap myself in a quilt on the sofa, use the fact that it’s raining as an excuse not to go for a run (My ankles are weak and I might twist one!) put on the TV to something like The Mentalist – something I can enjoy and follow with only a quarter of my attention – and read something. Usually not a new book, but something I’ve read a dozen times before. Something comforting.

 

However, my choices on the comforting may seem odd to other people, so I will explain them here. This will be very dull unless you enjoy people gushing about books and writers, and if you don’t – why are you reading this blog?

So, below the cut, I will explain.

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The first fictional character I loved.


Well, this is going to be a bit of a nerd girl cliche, really, but when I was around nine, I fell in love with Aragorn. Most teen or preteen girls are getting those first all-consuming crushes on an actor, or maybe an animated character, someone whose face you can actually see. But not me. I crushed on a man whose face I would never see, a man who was nothing more than ink on paper.

It would never have worked out. We just came from two different worlds, and besides, there was the whole Arwen thing.

Read more…

Only tangentially related to books


In that I am also, obviously, a writer. Perhaps it’s a thing. When you love reading and books so much, perhaps it’s natural that you want to write, bring some of that joy you felt to another person.

I NEED TO STOP GOING OFF TOPIC SO FUCKING MUCH.

Ahem.

I am a writer, as yet unpublished by anything more than a few non-paying webzines and the like (you can see my published works up there). This is fine! I’m at the start of my career. Now, one thing I don’t want this blog to be is yet-another-unpublished-writer-talking-about-writing blog. There’s only room for a few of those, and they are dull, so I promise to keep writing chatter down to a minimum (though I will tell you when I get published things and the like).

But what I would like to do is occasionally- very occassionally – post some of my shorter works that I don’t think I can find a market for on this blog. These will be things I like that, for one reason or another, I don’t think I can get published by someone else. You will not be getting my shitty rough drafts, but it’ll be something else for you to read other than my self-indulgent writing about books.

Also, it’s a way fro you to tell me what I suck at, and for me to practice my skills, and perhaps a way for me to see where I can improve. Also, if I have a schedule (1 a week/fortnight/month) I’ll get more into writing regularly as I should.

Do you like the idea? Would you keep reading, or go away?

BOOKS (give lonely children friends)


There isn’t a surface in my house that doesn’t have a book on it. My ereader has 86 on it now, and most of those were free. The concept of a reading pile confuses me, as in order to buy more books than I could read I’d have to buy two or three a DAY. I am a fast reader. I am often reading several books at the same time. Some books are favourites that I re-read over and over again, others are one off reads that I can take or leave.

When I say I FUCKING LOVE BOOKS, I mean I FUCKING LOVE BOOKS.

This can be a problem. I have been late for work because I was nearly finished with a book and I just had to keep going. I have stayed up till 6 am reading something. And sometimes good books can so affect me, that they disturb me for days or weeks after I’ve finished. For example, I love ghost stories, but reading a very good one (Dark Matter) while alone in winter was probably not the best plan. Reading the Zombie Survival Guide left me sleeping with a machete under my pillow for seven days (and indirectly is to blame for my writing for In Case of Survival).

I am, in many ways, the stereotype of the bookish, clever girl who lives too much in her head.  I am socially… different, and throughout much of my life my best friends have been between the pages of books.  When I read, I am not just reading a book – if it’s a good one, I am watching the lives of people, real people, who I loe and hate… I have cried at books, screamed at them, thrown them across the room in rage, been forced to put them down because I’m emotionally exhausted.

I was a pretty lonely kid. Children like me usually are, so my world was full of books. I’ve always been grateful for that. Loneliness was bad enough, if I hadn’t had an imagination and a love of reading to carry me through, I might have been a statistic. Reading and books made my childhood bearable.

 

 

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