Thursday, November 18, 2010

China MiƩville's Perdido Street Station

Where to begin with this book? That's kind of hard to answer since I don't clearly remember where the book began, seeing how its completely unrelated to the conclusion of the book. I enjoyed the book and the man clearly has the imagination of someone on some serious drugs. Its just... I'm not totally sure what just happened. Bug people and political science and crisis energy and killer insects and reanimated corpses? It was almost too much.

Additionally, next to nothing in any of the characters' story lines get resolved by the end. What kind of book does that? Only one living character has any sort of resolution at all and the remaining characters don't even hold over to the sequels. What gives, man? I actually liked a few of these characters and now they've just wandered off into the ether of your crazed psyche.

Maybe I'm being too hard on the book. The characters were enjoyable, the dialogue lively and entertaining, and the descriptions were vivid (to say the least). The writing was really, really good. It was just a mess of good writing, is all. I've been told that even the author acknowledged this and he turns it around for the better in the other books. I'll give it a shot one day. I'm sure my first book won't be as good as this one, so who am I to criticize? In the meantime, I'm going back to some classic sci-fi with some giant sandworms.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Seventh Horn - Excerpt 3

He waited until he had heard the old man crinkle and crackle himself to the floor in order to retire for the evening while Charlie followed shortly thereafter. Their breathing slowed after just a few minutes and Ark took that to mean that this was the best time to sneak out and run like hell. He turned his head to look over his shoulder and saw that Micah and Charlie had indeed retired for the evening. He rolled to his stomach and quietly pushed himself up onto his feet. He tip-toed one foot at a time in the direction of the door like some ridiculous sleuth. Charlie stirred and rolled onto her back. She rubbed her eyes and let out an exaggerated yawn. He quickly came to a standstill.

What the hell am I doing? I swear I’m the worst vampire ever. Who else besides me forgets that I have these damnable powers? He stood up straight like a civilized individual and simply told them both to keep sleeping with his thoughts. That’s much easier, you idiot.

He walked around the remnants of the lobby chair that the priest had been sitting in and noticed a black object resting on the torn cushion. Ark strolled over and picked it up and saw that it was Micah’s precious Bible. He lifted his eyes toward the sleeping humans and they were still quite unconscious. The holy book found its way to Ark’s cargo pants-style pocket and he quickly hurried around the chair and out the door.

He stepped out into the black night of the ruined city. The nights were always quite miserable to try to traverse. Once the light of the hidden sun went beyond the skyline, the entire landscape became as if covered in the thickest of ink. The moon and stars did little from their secret vantage points to light the overcast skies. He meant what he had said before. Where the hell would he go, anyway? He had left everything behind. Nothing had any meaning anymore. The only two people who didn’t want him dead explicitly were in the building that he had just departed. So they claimed, anyway.

That’s what it came down to. Leave now and be hated by all or stay and keep someone, anyone, close for once. By their closeness to him however, they meant to use him. If he didn’t serve a purpose they’d probably shoot him without a second thought.

Deep thinking and making decisions were not Ark’s forte and he’d never claimed otherwise. When he did think, he usually did so to the strum of a cigar-box guitar. He hated himself for so quickly abandoning it after just recovering it. Maybe one day he’d be able to go back to retrieve it, but for now it was left in the hole-sweet-hole in the wall back on Grays Ferry Avenue. The place was probably staked out by vampire hunters at this point. It’s not like he just left it behind for no good reason, though. If he hadn’t, they would have shot…

Charlie. Charlie was the reason he left his home again and thus left his favorite thing in the world behind. Charlie was why he hadn’t taken more steps into the nothingness of the dark on Filbert Street. Charlie made him want to die – but in a good way. He felt that he should, but didn’t know why he should want to potentially sacrifice himself for the sake of this girl. He felt his left hand’s fingers twitch in a pseudo-air guitar as he tried to find his answer in absence of his music maker. He strummed with his right on his pant leg and felt an unfamiliar weight rest against his right knee. He had already forgotten that he pilfered the old man’s book. Reading was as good as any method to get him to try to think without the guitar, but there wouldn’t be any sunlight for a while still. Traditionally, lighting a fire in the middle of the darkness is frowned upon. Nocturnal predators flock to a light like a moth would to a flame. The rule applies to humans however, and a human Ark was not. He found a nearby barrel that had recently been used for this very purpose and struck up a light.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Seventh Horn - Excerpt 2

He sat, awaiting the impending destruction of all the lives that didn’t deserve living anyway. He talked to himself and discussed things to help reinforce the fact that he should go along with this genocide. When they get to hell, I hope they all look at that little bitch and just slap her around for getting them all killed. I tried to be nice, what else am I supposed to do? I’m a vampire, they’re just lucky that they got these few extra hours to live since I’ve arrived anyway. He was right in that fact. Any other vampire wouldn’t be walking around taking in the sights. They wouldn’t be conversing with the townsfolk and allowing little screaming children to run off to alert the authorities. No, any and every other member of the Vampyr would have swiftly decimated every form of sentient life in the area without hesitation. They would’ve carved their name into the still living flesh of the human who had misheard their name. They would’ve decapitated the priest who reprimanded them about their ethics. A Vampyr would have ripped a little whimpering child in half. That’s what vampires did. It’s about high time I joined those fucking devil-spawns then. Come on, meatbags. Bring it on.

The tolling of the bells could be heard in the distance followed by a few short blasts of gunfire. They had gotten Maggie’s message and they couldn’t wait to march to their collective death, it seemed. True, for any other vampire, a decent-sized group of individuals could overpower a single bloodsucker, not withstanding a few casualties. Ark wasn’t just any vampire though. The human refugees of the university had never witnessed anything like him before. Nobody had. What monster could kill a human with a thought? What vampire could drink a human from a hundred feet away? They had no idea what sort of killing machine they were about to face. They thought it was just your everyday, run-of-the-mill killing machine. Little did they know, and little did he know, that Ark had the potential to be one of the most powerful beings on Earth. All the same, here they came. The lambs walked to the slaughter with their heads held high. The undying arms of the abyss waited for them just ahead.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Seventh Horn - Excerpt 1

“Ark, no! Please!”

He tried to run away from the words that were all too familiar. He didn't have far to go, though. Trouble was just ahead. It always had this funny way of finding Ark at the worst times. Not that there was ever really a good time to find oneself in trouble.

“'Zat him?”

A posse of men, ten in number or so, rounded the bend and were armed for battle. They appeared to be looking for someone of a certain description.

“Yeah. 'Bout six foot, blonde hair, loner. She said he had purple eyes, though.”

“'Ey you, Ark! Tell the devil that I'll see him soon when ya get there, a'ight?”

With that, the men in front of the mob fired upon him. Ark swiftly ducked into the alleyway. Fortunately for him, either the men forgot to aim when they unloaded at him, or they really never expected to hit him. Either way, he was lucky. He could sew up and heal pretty quickly these days (one ability he was actually grateful for), but a few rounds to the chest or face would probably do him in. He was only half Vampyr or something, after all.

“Wait, stop! You don't know...”

Ark peered around the corner. He was pretty damn sure that if they couldn't tell what color his eyes were before, they could certainly determine they were violet now. The two biggest guys up front dropped their weapons, let their eyes roll to the back of their heads as they gazed upward to the gray heavens. One dashed his face on the curb as he fell and the other went to his knees and rolled on his side. Ark tasted no decent visions in their memories. The taste was still fresh and robust however, and that was exactly what he wanted and needed. Fuck their memories.

“Ark! No! Stop!”

A flurry of bullets rang off of the dumpster and wall which Ark was currently hiding behind.

“Stop shooting, you assholes! He could kill you all where you stand. Stop!”

They stopped briefly. “You with him there, lil lady? That there vamp killed a poor little girl's family last night. She told us the story and we're out here to set things right. Blood for blood! Ya hear that, motherfucker!?” Another blast of lead ricocheted off the edge of the wall.

Ark heard him just fine. Maggie, the girl that he spared the night before, survived the gauntlet to the nearest town where she promptly told the story of a vampire who killed her parents. It must have seemed like a message from an evil and sadistic vampire, daring them to come and play. Couldn't be farther from the truth. Ark didn't want anything to do with anyone anymore.

“I'm sorry there, lil missy. But if ya ain't gonna let us take him down,” Ark heard a rifle being cocked, “we're just gonna hafta take you down with him.”

“Wait!” Ark put his hands up so they could be seen above the dumpster. What the hell am I doing? “If I agree to come back with you for your 'justice,' you have to promise to leave the woman alone. Alright?”

“Ark?” Charlie was obviously just as, if not more so, perplexed by his actions as he was.

“Deal! Get out here now or we'll shoot her down right here!”

“Alright! I'm coming out. Don't shoot!” Why am I doing this?

“Fuck you, stand up!”

Ark arose calmly and slowly trying to focus on his attackers, the self-proclaimed defenders of justice. He could almost hear their thoughts. They were all very angry. Angry enough to be willing to tie him up long enough to perform a public execution back home. That was better than letting them shoot her and then having to kill them all. If he killed them, who knew when and where the next posse might show up. He stepped out onto the street, still facing the men and stood in front of Charlie.

“Ark, listen to me. Do – Not – Kill – Anyone. Do you hear me?”

Ark turned his head just slightly enough to direct his words behind him, yet still keep a good eye on the gunslingers. “I hear you. You're going to come get me then, I presume? You need me and all you said.”

“I'm pretty sure I know where they're from. If I'm right, I can have you out by the end of the day and nobody else has to die. We might even be able to get us some help. Just promise me.”

“So - You need me?”

“Are you thinking with your dick again?”

“Uh, I don't think so. Maybe?”

“Yes, I need you. Whatever. Just promise me.”

“Fine, I promise - promise to not kill anyone I don't have to, anyway. And you'll owe me.”

“Close enough. Now get the fuck over there, you ass.”

He began walking slowly toward the crowd. “You know you like my ass.”

The third largest man of the original group turned his head to the side, as a dog might when confused by an odd noise. The man with the rifle beside him must have misunderstood the conversation and thought he had been addressing him. “The only time I'll like your ass, son - is when it has a few more bullet holes in it.”

Charlie simply stood where she was, rolled her eyes and shook her head as Ark let out a laugh.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Clyde King

Although I am currently in the middle of writing The Seventh Horn for National Novel Writing Month, I felt like posting up a little something on here.  I don't want to completely forget about my casual posties while I'm endlessly slaving away on another project.  Here's the first paragraph of the story I will write at some point in time called Clyde King (for the time being).

"The trees whipped by at an unforgiving pace. The two men sat facing one another in the train’s cab silently and somberly. The sheriff reclined as he peered at the flying landscape, boot-tapping a rhythm to match the incessant click-clack of the rails below. As usual, the outlaw sat serenely, seeming to memorize the lines and scars of his hands."
That might be my next project.  If not it will be the one directly after XII. Should be fun.