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Grab Bag

Okay, well, straight from the title of this post:

Good News: I have started a new novel, and it’s not my SF-jail novel (which I think I’ll work on, off-and-on, for a while, but which isn’t my main focus now): it’s a kind of a futuristic espionage thing, but with several interesting (I think) twists. So far I’ve mapped out some of the background, and I have a pretty good handle on at least two of the main characters. One of the main struggles for me will be to maintain neutrality when faced with the two vying organizations envisioned in the novel. In a sense, I prefer one, but in another sense, I really dislike both.

Here’s the (tentative) opening line, from a female spy named Jane Siffler:

Never underestimate the mousy brunette with the B tits and the underwhelming ass. Never underestimate the mousy brunette with the B-cup tits and the flat ass. She’ll get you every time, even if she’s not sure which side you were on.

Even she she’s not sure which side she’ll be on when it all comes down.

Yes, she’s a double agent. Her cat is named Ethel… yes, named after a famous double alleged agent. Her cat has a storage unit attached to its stomach, and a wireless relay in its tail.

This novel is paranoid, nasty, brutal, angry, and somehow more brutally honest because of it. If you find that Siffler’s own opening comments succeed in dehumanizing or objectifying her right from the start, if you feel like she’s been a little degraded by her Cold War experience and the role she’s taken in it, then I’m on the right track. Maybe hearing Richard Morgan connect the dots between violent-fictional catharsis and ESL work flipped a switch in me? Well, my book probably won’t be ultraviolent, but there’s a deeply nasty side to it which I am also seeing as clearly connected to, well, all kinds of problems I am actually critical of in real life, but which criticism of seems to lead nowhere. And perhaps the novel itself is even about that, too.

Other Good News: I have a working DVD burner installed in my computer. Yay!

Bad News: The semester’s about to start. All my free time for novel-drafting will be reduced to times when I am not in class. Which, mind you, is a lot of the time, but still… I think I shall have to start copying everything to a project-dedicated sub-blog for my eyes only, so that I can work on this novel from the office, from home, etc.

Still More Good News: My schedule actually looks pretty good, all said.

Even More Good News: Lime’s almost finished her big exams for the year! Friday is her D-Day! (D here stands for Decisive Victory.)

A Question or Two:

1. My sister says that the wound inside her throat from a tonsilectomy was, in an emergency situation where the scab fell off and she bled profusely due to mismedication, cauterized using cocaine. Would the same method work on a flesh wound, say, the wound inside the shoulder of, say, approximately one inch in diameter, and two-to-three inches deep? What about an electrical current: could a standard current used for powering a computer monitor actually do this, or would the general harm caused by electrocution outweigh the benefits of cauterization?

2. How would one go about manufacturing a “lite” form of cocaine? I mean, other than diluting it? Would this even be possible through some kind of chemical alterations? Yes, yes, I know: Cory Doctorow did it first with decaf crack cocaine in Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom, but I’m wondering if it’s really, truly possible.


Recommendations: If you’d like to hear fascinating interviews with all kinds of SF, fantasy, and horro authors, checkout the audio interviews in The Agony Column’s archives. There are enough MP3s to keep you busy for a good long while. Free and legal fiction of the same kind (and many other kinds) in text form can be found at Authorama, and finally here’s a pretty cool interview with Charles Stross who seems as quirky and writing-obsessed to me as I seem to a lot of my friends back in Canada. He’s better by far… for now.

UPDATE: Whoops, Ethel Rosenberg wasn’t a “double agent”. Something I read today as well as the piece on the couple at wikipedia suggest she wasn’t an agent at all. How sad.

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