Archive | October, 2022

Now it’s Personal: Moral Relativism and The Harfoots

28 Oct

I tried to be objective last week, so here’s pure opinion.

I stand by that ROP could have completely omitted the Harfoot story. When I read Game of Thrones in Uni, I actually read all of Dany’s chapters and then I went back and read the rest of the story the way it was intended. I realized her story wasn’t affected the main story; and I’m not the only one because it was resubmitted as a novella and won some awards.

I’m also not going to be grumpy and say that there can be no creative adaptation ever. Sometimes I don’t like the direction or the decisions but see why they did it – there was a disclaimer at the beginning of The Bible TV series, I’m paraphrasing but it essentially said in the opening, “We had to make some choices but believe we stayed true to the spirit of the work”. In this, I agree – old stories tended not to be very character-driven, so sometimes you can make some very different choices and there are times the audience won’t like the direction you take them. That being said, I think it’s very possible to take liberties so long as you get the spirit of the story right.

That being said, there’s a reason that Heroic Fantasy emerged from the Sword and Sorcery tradition. Sword and Sorcery tended to be grittier and more grim; there had to be a more hopeful counterpart. Other people were inspired by Tolkien and wrote their own stories, because there were things they disagreed with or, they had questions. But they weren’t writing in Middle Earth, they created their own stories and games.

The idea that ‘how far you can touch evil’ or these other ideas of moral relativism doesn’t work in Middle Earth. If you want to make something along the lines of Game of Thrones there’s plenty of authors and materials that are like it. Joe Ambercrombie’s The Heroes, or perhaps The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Neither are exactly the same, but the former was inspired by ASoIaF. Going after Wheel of Time or other stories and wanting to remake them in the same vein as Game of Thrones isn’t true to the narrative and, I think ultimately because you’re being far too allegorical your work becomes dated.  I can watch the Peter Jackson trilogy every year and it feels timeless, whereas if in a few years I rewatch Rings of Power I’m going to have the same ‘Member Berries like when I rewatched Snakes on a Plane a few months ago. Shoot, I like the song, “I see Fire” by Ed Sheeran, but if I’m watching the Hobbit movies, I’m going to be comparing it to the end of Mulan where, I guess they didn’t know how to end it so it peaced out to a boy band. Rather inconsistent and, my nieces love the movie but it always throws me how random that ending is.

Concerning Harfoots

When we first meet the Harfoots, they’re a proto-hobbit who excel at hiding and while some people know they exist, they’re like elusive gnomes who you really don’t want them around, because they’ll steal from you. At first they come across as slightly grubby but charming, but it doesn’t take long for the depiction to turn south.

We’re introduced to the main character, Elinor Brandyfoot (Norri) with her friend Poppy and they’ve taken several young harfoots to go steal from a nearby farm. They’re taking berries and other nice food, and you’re sort of sympathetic because at this point, they’re eating live snails.

The hobbits migrate and go from place to place, and when he’s helping the others Elinor’s father sprains his ankle and his entire young family is concerned because they need him to pull their caravan to keep up. The harfoots even have a strange ritual before they start to migrate where they parade around chanting, “Nobody goes off trail – and nobody walks alone.” Then proceeding to read a book concerning everyone who’s died they left behind chanting, “We wait for you”. They’re portrayed as have a very stringent set of rules, but they do take people’s wheels and leave them behind. And not just the offenders – the entire family. (Why the offender just doesn’t tag along and abandon their cart is beyond me, but let’s not talk sense).

Norri befriends the stranger who crash lands in Middle Earth, and I’ll stand by my complaint that the Fallen Angel imagery is intentional, and I’m not impressed considering what Gandalf is. The harfoots are wary, but they tolerate him and get in the way of him learning magic, and every time they’re afraid of him they interfere or do something stupid.

The harfoots aren’t portrayed as a species that does terrible things for justifiable reasons, they seem to do things for the sake of the audience and moving their story line along with little care. I just finished  An Ember in the Ashes by Tabaa Sahir, it shows the grim reality of being part of a culture that is nasty and cruel. There’s no reason for any of what happens in the Harfoot story line, other than to move the story along in the direction the writers want and, it seems lazy and inconsistent.

The problem with the harfoots ultimately is that the director emphasized the ‘burglar’ aspect of Bilbo, when the reality is that the majority of hobbits are rather fond of doing the opposite of an adventure. RoP chose to emphasize how dirty and gross they were as opposed to what Tolkien depicted.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Hobbits like good food and good cheer, and while most of the world goes on without really acknowledging they exist, because they’re not great scholars or heroes or do much of anything that anyone would deem important. They invented golf by accident. The creative direction RoP took them was to make them decidedly thieves who eat snails while they’re still raw and wriggling and abandon entire families when one of their own becomes injured, which only happened because he was helping the others. There are cultures who are like this in real life – but one of the earliest precursors of civilization is how people help their sick and injured. And for a people who have hearts bigger than their feet – why they think they have big feet is a mystery; to them that’s normal – so far the only thing I know about harfoots is I wouldn’t want them migrating near my town.

I could go on but I’ll talk about my grumblings in another post.

If you’ve read this far I’ll say writing-wise I haven’t gotten my edits back from last month, but the novel’s a borderline beast (the longest my publisher wants, but I will write longer). I wish Puppet Masters was done, but it’s coming along. It will need some revision. NaNoWriMo is probably not going to be a thing this year – my goal is to rewrite a project and send it in to Champagne by end of January. It’s possible because it’s mostly done but I need to shorten it.

I have more to get done in the meantime – I found some more anthologies with topics I’d like to submit to, so that’ll be more than enough in the meantime. Rogue Healer 4 will be started sometime in the spring, and I’ll have to pick a project to self-publish. At the risk of reneging next year, I think it’ll be Derelict Knights but, no promises at this point.

Thoughts of Rings of Power

17 Oct

I’ll talk just about the show here, I’ll talk about certain specific aspects with other posts. Paragons, moral complexity, etc. I’m also not going to give my opinions on the deviations from the lore (elves being affected by cold, mithril being key to elven survival, etc).

People have been nervous about Amazon’s giant adaptation from the second age of Middle Earth for years and when it came out, there was controversy about the actual numbers and review boming. We’re approaching the 20 year mark of the completion of all the Peter Jackson film trilogy of The Lord of the Rings, which were generally loved by audiences but were not by the Tolkien Estate. The attempt for Peter Jackson to redo the magic with the adaptation of The Hobbit wasn’t well met with critics or critical audiences, but people like me can shut their brain off and enjoy what’s in front of them. I’m not sure about what rights the showrunners have  –  they have the rights to some characters but not all of it if I’m not misunderstanding, which means they have the rights to adapt The Lord of the Rings but not parts of The Simarillion, so certain characters and lore can be alluded to but not outright named.

               Rings of Power essentially followed battle-hardened Galadriel in the second age as she discovers proof that Sauron, Morgoth’s greatest general, is still poses a threat to Middle-Earth. Her proof is discarded and she and her team of warriors are sent to Valinor, their birth-land and paradise, but Galadriel is pulled back to Middle-Earth to try to wrestle her demons and defeat Sauron and the remnant orcs as they seek to take The Southlands. The elves, meanwhile, are being diminished and their immortality is threatened. Meanwhile, a stranger crash-lands from a meteorite and joins a group of secretive harfoots, proto-hobbits who have not yet established a shire.

None of this sounds bad, but the best example of what someone said was, “And now pretend a ten year old wrote it.”

That’s kind of cruel, but I agree that a lot of the writing in Rings of Power was classic examples of things I did as a very young writer in Junior High and High School. There’s contrivances and things that need to happen, or things just sort of happened and they worked out and we focused on things that weren’t important while more important stuff gets glossed over.

The main character of the show is Galadriel. Galadriel isn’t the powerful sorceress ruling Lothlorien, she is a battle-hardened commander looking for the last traces of Sauron and evil in the land. She’s portrayed as greatly competent, but it’s usually at the belittlement of others and it looks cartoony and we need to be reminded of how awesome she is. One could argue that she is a very young elf and hasn’t grown into the character we are familiar with by the third age, but the problem is that she’s inconsistently written. I think she’s meant to come across as a character who is so driven she is blinded by everything around her, so when she’s inconsistent or angry it’s meant to be her hatred of evil getting the better of her. Instead, we have a character who comes across as rude and angry at characters who would have been her allies, and without the grace and wisdom of a thousands-year old being. She’s inconsistent, telling Halbrand she needs Adar alive but then coming across like a genocidal maniac literally a scene later. Ironically, she was also meant to be one of the characters who saw through Sauron’s manipulations and lies, so in this story, her befriending him diminished her power. (I still think they should have gone the Tauriel route and made her an original character, but I digress).

I’ll be honest sometimes one of the main reasons you lose something in adaptation is that depending on the style of the writer, you can be in a character’s head but it doesn’t always translate well on screen. A training montage can take several chapters but you can put some appropriate music and show brief clips, and get the same idea across. Lots of books are written in the first person so you get their perspective, but it doesn’t always show the exact same way the author presented.

A better writer could have shown that Galadriel has PTSD or is on the very edge of falling into darkness or something interesting – but right now Galadriel comes across as Always Right and The Best Rider or Swordfighter or whatever we need. I don’t blame the actress I blame the writing; and like I said you don’t have to explain everything to the reader but there needs to be some payoff in the story and not just her being a simultaneous amazing hero and victim rolled up into a neat package. If Galadriel is damaged like she alludes to with her ‘best friend trying to exile me’ there should be some literary payoff there that shows it.

And this poor writing comes across just about everywhere. Things happen because they need to happen, and the audience is treated like we’re stupid for questioning what’s going on. I think because the showrunners wanted to tell a massive story they started with the idea that they needed multiple story threads and they didn’t spent much time developing anything with its own unique edge; you see similar costume designs and ideas running in areas that should have been secluded and have their own aesthetic.

Characters notwithstanding, dealing with Adar is the best part of the show (the good guys are dry to put it mildly) and Adar turns out to be one of the first Uruks, or elves that were twisted in darkness and he could no longer stand by as Sauron used his children. Orcs are a twisted version of elves and their nature is corrupted, but he points out that they are also creations and worthy of life. Their goal is to have a homeland where the sun doesn’t burn them. They’ll kill and destroy to get it, but it’s a very simple motivation and given how the good guys act around the orcs, it’s kind of understandable. The orcs were mistrated by Morgath and Sauron, and elves and humans kill them on sight. The sun burns them, but they want a world they can live in.

Character-wise the most enjoyable part of the show for me was getting to the dwarves. Now, I think I have a soft-spot for dwarves and the plot around them meanders and whether we talk about contrivances or teleporting it doesn’t make sense, but I like the character dynamics of Elrond, Durin and Nissa. Contrivances aside, and I’m not saying I like the part of making the Mithril the key to the elves’ survival, spending time with the dwarves was easily the most enjoyable part of the show.

The part I liked least was the parts with the harfoots. The story with the harfoots was meant to build up another potential Sauron figure and it falls flat. The Harfoots themselves aren’t likeable as characters and a people. It could easily have been infused in the second season with the introduction of more characters. I know that I said I wasn’t going to talk about my issues with the lore, but I’ll throw this out: I really didn’t like that they made Gandalf have fallen-star symbology or that they made the Harfoots eat live snails. These were deliberate choices I think the showrunners were trying to shove down our throats, and No thank-you we don’t want any more caravan-abandoning, off-trail death-mocking, distant hobbitses. I don’t care if we get the introduction of what will be a very old friend.

The show ultimately wants us to be familiar with other material and doesn’t respect the average watcher’s intelligence. Want to hit your characters with a pyroclasmic flow? Let’s argue that Galadriel and Arvondir could survive it because they’re elves. Let’s go a step further and say that it’s magical. You can’t burn the buildings down and have the humanoid characters be okay. Pompeii is famous for what happened and it happened so quickly, that people didn’t stop what they were doing if they didn’t see it coming. This could have been a moment where Halbrand did something to indicate he wasn’t completely evil at this point, or have Galadriel or some other character do something to lessen the blow – like Arwen (really Elrond and Gandalf) making the river sweep away the Ringwraiths in Fellowship. Instead, we get people covered in ash and the world is on fire.

Now, a final bit that’s come out this week was that the showrunners wanted a slow burn and this is all just set up for what’s coming.

I’m a chick who reads really long series without issue and really like that it takes a long time to get out of the Shire in both The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. I love me some good backstory and really enjoy reading and writing prequels. I roll my eyes when I’m criticized that it takes a long time for the story to get set up, and I’ll grant I’m not a perfect writer but I don’t mind other authors taking their sweet time with the pacing.

Years ago a friend and I were chatting about the silliness in the second Hobbit movie, and he told me he didn’t mind stretching out a kid’s book into three because he liked spending so much time in Middle-Earth. We’re the demographic where we don’t care so long as the story is good and it seems that the set designs and costumes were done with something resembling love and care.

I did watch the first episode with my dad. He hasn’t been keen to watch more. My nieces and nephew I think have lost interest after watching a few episodes.

I think this is the veneer for Tolkien’s work, because it’s trying to portray moral relativism as opposed to good versus evil. It wants you to know these are elves when they don’t act like elves, and they think that the audience is dumb and that readers aren’t saiting their appetites that were inspired by Tolkien by reading other books that have done it better than Rings of Power.

Fix your writing. Know what you’re writing, and what deeper philosophical themes your author is about before you do adaptation. Listen to Tolkien Scholars and hire people who love the work; they can answer better questions about philosophy and lore than I ever could. But fix your writing.

Why I care about the quality of the writing

10 Oct

I got one more episode to see of Rings of Power – I think the general consensus is the show is massively suffering from weak writing. I’ll wait until I see the final episode before I talk about it, but here’s a little preamble. I admittedly can be a bit of a jerk when I R&R anything. I also can admit when something is or isn’t for me, or conversely when something isn’t as good as it could be but it’s up my alley. I don’t mind that you like stuff that I don’t.

I started writing young so I had a lot of questions no one I knew could really answer. How much should I describe setting? How often do I need dialogue tags? How do stop doing this thing that even I find annoying? Writing well is hard. Some things are easier than others and over time you improve, and some stuff is pretty subjective.

I wrote my first series in High School, I took writing classes University, both for credit and beyond, but I’m not the best writer on the planet.

I never claimed to be, nor do I think I ever will be. I care about language, but I don’t enjoy grammar and lexis the same way other people do. I usually write at the level I would want to read, and there’s certain things I like that other people don’t, so I will irk some people. There’s trends that are technically fine and I don’t care for. Honestly, that’s the reason my first book came out and you had to wait a few years for the next book was because people were criticising that Tower of Obsidian could have been written better.

I’m not making excuses about the editor or I never got to travel or I’m not as well read. Tower of Obsidian’s not my first novel, I have a degree and I went to classes where they didn’t want me there. I doubled down on my ability to do story craft. I also started my career in paramedicine, and I don’t want to whine but it’s honestly been a struggle. It’s not been the easiest mentally and the cracks are starting to show.

That being said, you don’t have to be the best artist in the world to make that comic or paint that picture because then we wouldn’t have much stuff being produced. I also think people need to take chances and not everything works, but one bad batch of dialogue or a stupid scene won’t wreck a book for me. What I found unforgiveable was going to all these classes and being told that my preferred genre, science fiction and fantasy, was trash.

I don’t need to defend it – better authors than me have done so.

My job is to hold my writing and other media to a higher level.

So when I’m talking about how things could be better, the response is often to attack the person (ad hominem) or previous works as opposed to the actual criticisms of the work. Sometimes, I see hit pieces on problems that didn’t exist but companies want to stir up controversy or talking points to garner interest. Example:  “Well we haven’t seen strong female characters before” and I’m like, “You mean, like Ellen Ridley? Oh, you don’t like her? Sarah Connor? By the way I’m named after a Star Wars character.”

When Disney released the sequel Star Wars Trilogy, people were attacking each other because of issues that weren’t there. “Well the OG trilogy was inconsistent, and the prequel trilogy had some terrible lines of dialogue”.

If I was hand-picked to carry on the legacy of something that popular, I think I should strive to do better as opposed to strapping on what is deemed the weakest parts like armor. Saying, “Well this was weak dialogue and this was cheesy” is fine, but that’s not an excuse for me to have weak dialogue and, depending on the tone, we may be Space Opera or more along the lines of Rogue One. I complained that the sequel trilogy did Finn dirty. Know who agreed with me years later? The actor.

I have one episode of Rings of Power left, so when I complain about things like, “How come the Pyroclastic Flow destroyed buildings, but we see people untouched?” or “If Twenty years are the blink of an eye to an elf, why is Durin getting disinherited instead of telling Elrond and Gil-Galad they’ll mine the Mithril when he’s running the show?” it’s my writer brain. Thing is, you don’t need to have a writer brain to think about things you see in the media that don’t make sense.

I think ultimately what needs to happen is to admit not everything that glitters is gold and, people aren’t wrong for pointing it out. Pointing out problems in a work doesn’t mean that you dislike it; any more than me saying, “This is the best part of the song” means I dislike the other parts.

Review of The Lunar Chronicles / Authorish Stuff

5 Oct

I’ll talk about Rings of Power soonish. We only have two episodes to go for this season. Personally not a fan but we have two to go, so let’s wait for it. I was willing to say “it’s poorly written” but I’ve seen enough stuff in the background and even some that’s understated that I think it’s done intentionally. Know how I I’ve said, “Respect your audience” again and again? Yeah, don’t serve the audience crap and say we just don’t understand or hate or have unrealistic expectations. Stuff I like I will talk about the weak bits. It’s not all negative that I have to say, but let’s just say that bad writing is a cardinal sin in my books.

I am jacking up the price to The Mermaid and the Unicorns on October 7, so get it now while it’s on sale.

Now’s the time to start planning for NaNoWriMo. Honestly my edits for Magus Gambit took longer than I expected, so I’m still not done the Puppeteers book, but I’ll get there. I got my portable keyboard back so I can work on it at work again in full force; right now what I’m honestly thinking of is fixing up another story to send to Champagne for the end of the year as opposed to writing Rogue Healer 4. I have a two book lead and honestly I could just spend time fixing stuff and sending them off to Champagne, but my priority is to get Magus’ Gambit edits done so the book can launch in the spring.

The Lunar Chronicles written by Marissa Meyer first novel Cinder came out in 2012, and I was surprised because I thought that Twilight influenced the cover and by this time there were already movies about those sparkly vampires. I think the hype about Twilight was still pretty much raging, and I’m pretty sure later novels were also influenced a little by The Hunger Games, which wasn’t a bad thing but it’s kind of neat to see things that were trendy and how trends have since changed. The first book Cinder was on my radar for a while, but then last year my niece wanted the box set for Christmas. It was slow going and I never got the box set, but she has all the books and she devoured them, so I requested the first book via library, although she probably would have loaned them to me if I asked nicely. On a side note, we were chatting about books that were obviously influenced by media that she wants to read, but let’s get on with the actual review.

The books are about four fairy tale stories reimagined in a cyberpunk setting, starting with Cinder (Cinderella) a cyborg mistreated because of her half-cybernetic status who finds herself at the center of a plot from the Luna, the former Moon Colony turned hostile nation, who developed a terrible disease which is wreaking havoc on Earth. When the Lunar Queen Levana produces a cure, she agrees to give it for a marriage-alliance with Earth, and it’s hinted that she only wants the hand of the young Emperor so can use his nation as a launching point for Lunars to invade Earth. And she very much wants the cyborg-mechanic Cinder dead, and not just because she’s stolen Kai’s heart.

The books mostly follow this plot while incorporating the stories of Scarlet (Red Riding Hood) Cress (Rapunzel) and Winter (Snow White) and in my opinion they’re the sort of YA science fiction that makes sense to the level of their audience. For instance, Cinder is a cyborg which is a reduced half-status that technically renders her as property, so she’s the one working to support her family (step-family) but she doesn’t get to keep the fruits of her labor. There’s a microchip embedded in everyone and Cinder can’t buy or do anything without being tracked, but it’s really only there for a plot level induced story; I didn’t think it was bad but it occurred to me more than once that, when characters were leaving in a marketplace in a hurry, that they were worried that they’d be flagged as being in a plague area when, there should have been markers and sensors on everyone and it would have logged purchases and who was at what table at what time, even if people were just passing through without making any purchases, the governments would easily have been able to access who was in the area. Same thing a book later when Wolf and Scarlet are traveling by train, and they have to jump to avoid being quarantined. You would be automatically flagged because your ID would have been registered while being logged. Compound this with Cinder being a fantastic mechanic and Cress being a great hacker (and not unrealistic given their respective situations) it just made me curious when they didn’t really talk about how other people would have circumvented the systems in place. There is a black market for microchips, but it’s really to accentuate the plot and not talk about how criminals would really have gone around the system, but I’m digressing so let’s move on.

For the most part the stories were fun although I think they were a little dragging, but once again I think that they were written with their target audience in mind: That is, younger teenage girls who wanted the heroines to be like their friends and get to know what’s going on in their minds. I don’t know why we don’t see more cyberpunk aesthetic aimed at this market; I took my niece to go see Alita: Battle Angel when she was 12 and given the amount of fan art and stories I’ve seen like this, I think lots of young people like the feel of the world and anything cyberpunk easily makes for a decent ‘I must rise against the system’ feel. One could argue that’s because these were character-driven and could have made for much tighter novels, but I think what made the books really work was that the author slowed down to make us care about characters and her reimagining of their stories. I think my favourite novel was Cress where she took a ton of liberties with the story, but it was still recognizable that this was the story of Rapunzel. I think it’s also at heart about the relationships and these girls finding their respective princes. The girls are very different from one another personality-wise; and it’s kind of refreshing to see more fragile personality types contributing to the adventures when it would have been really easy for the more practical and bold characters to do most of the action sequences.

If I had to criticize, I think it’s something very similar that the author herself complained in that she made the Lunar Gift too powerful. I’ve experienced this problem before, and while she introduced the concept of shells (Lunars without the gift and also immune to manipulation) it honestly raised a lot of questions. For the most part, it’s royalty and the thaumaturges that have the strongest use of the gift, and while some people are selected because they’re easily to manipulate (guards, for instance) it strikes me as something that could be a problem in Lunar Society in general – it’s sort of gone into because at one point, Levana is badly burned and scarred because her sister took control of her, and that seems like something her parents should have anticipated (not so much the burning but children being children they don’t always forsee the consequences of their actions. Imagine being mad at your brother for ripping the head off your dolly and you make him run full tilt into the wall and give himself a concussion). Because they can control one another, not having a bioelectric signature gives away a shell, but it just felt like it was a major issue because it came across in the first book more like fairy glamour – they can make you see what you want, and even manipulate emotions. By the end Lunars were able to seize control of people and make them do whatever they wanted, including self-harm and suicide and even rape. I would have explained it that only a select few such as thaumaturges can manipulate the body, but given the advantages the majority of Lunars would have over Earthens, if there was prejudice against cyborgs all Lunars would be treated very suspiciously. It could have even been a status symbol to leave the sector if someone had a gift, and an aristocratic family could lose a member if they weren’t able to perform at certain levels. What we got was the rich aristocracy living posh and making themselves uber attractive and the commoners slaving in the outer sectors, giving it that Hunger Games vibe.

I think the big issue for me was that Levana obviously wanted Emperor Kaito so she could launch an invasion on earth, but the other leaders of Earth were all like, “I guess this is for the best” and sat on their hands. While Luna is developing biological weapons and enhanced soldiers, it’s also heavily implied that the Lunars are vastly outnumbered. The arguement is that they’re not willing to do anything because they have the antidote or that no one else is developing technology to block the Lunar Gift and I don’t understand why at least one leader would be all like, “We’re going to start putting holes in your pretty domes and watch the air leak out until we have what we want.” It culminates with Kai even giving a similar order himself – destroy Artemesia if things go south – he’s really doing everything to get that antidote, but it seems to me that waiting on a teenage Emperor while your people are dying on mass – and he has to marry the evil leader who set wearwolves on your people – I know the plot isn’t about what other world leaders would do (and quite frankly, most world leaders aren’t elected so they might not really care about their people) but here’s what I imagine the American regulars would be like, let alone the guys elected to office. For whatever reason, they’re hillbillies a la King of the Hill:

 “So yer sayin’ that really hot Moon Queen’s got the cure we’ve been inconvenienced with for the past decade?”

“Eyup.”

“But even though roughly 300 people die every day she won’t give it up unless she marries that pretty boy overseas?”

“Eyup.”

“The inexperienced teenage Emperor who just got thrust into his position and is still dealing with the death of his father?”

“Yup.”

“And the Moon Queen just launched some lycanthropes at the white house?”

“They got dropped outside of the city and made the commute even worse.”

“But tens of thousands throughout the country are DEAD? Well, maybe not our country we have freakin’ lasers and such.”

“Eyup.”

“Why haven’t we invaded the moon again?”

“I suppose it’s ‘cuz of them Lunar Whiles. They get in your head.”

“We have androids, don’t we? Things that can’t get taken over?”

“They have the vaccine we need.”

“Yes. Well, we have the air they need to survive and I think they can spare a vial or twenty if they want to keep those shiny glass domes up there intact.”

“But my gran wants to watch the royal weddin’. There’s all the rich folk from all over the world gatherin’ and it’ll be a spectacle. She also thinks the lost heir to the throne’ll show up and this whole ‘enslave earth’ thing will blow over, it’ll be fine.”

Seriously though, it’s quite an enjoyable series. If you’re a hard core science fiction fan questioning how they have artificial gravity on Artemisia, I’ll advise you that this is character-driven and meant to be enjoyed by audiences getting their feet wet in the genre. If you nitpick you’ll be unsatisfied, but if you’re looking for a book for a teenage girl, try it.