This Week in Review

A couple of 4-star reviews bumped down my perfect-5 record to a measly 4.7-star book, but that’s fine. Sales seem to be ticking over and the reviews – although I still sort of know the people who made them – were very flattering. In fact, they’re flattering in a sense because I know the people involved. I know these guys wouldn’t dole out false praise. Similar to my extremely flattering review from Mr. Thepatriot in that regard.

Old Bill “Will in New Haven” Reich, my respected (but don’t tell him that!) frienemy from Usenet, hit me with a cute review in which he bemoaned the lack of sex scenes featuring Sally.

Yes, we'll done.

Only Will would put an apostrophe in “well”.

I suspected he would like the Sally character, and I’m glad he did. Even if “I liked the characters better than the story” can be taken negatively, I don’t take it that way – the characters will be following from tale to tale, so it’s more important to like them anyway. And yes. It is certainly a point well-made that sooner or later these red-blooded humans are going to have to get laid[1]. It’s just a little tricky, when the characters are at least initially and loosely based on people you know, to throw them into bed – either with each other, or with an assortment of strangers. But I’m working on it!

[1] Another issue I am wrestling with is their ages, which I am considering leaving unstated in any specific way except for the Blaran. The humans of the “39th Century”, you see, live to the age of two hundred or so. So sixty might well be the new twenty for these guys. But putting the young-spacegoing-professional characters into the 65-85-year-old demographic (not that this is what I am thinking of doing) is going to seriously freak out the readers and their preconceptions. They may never be ready for that. So, I’m going to have to think about it and it’s probably a topic for another blog post. I could use some outsider thoughts.

Then there was a review from “posous”, who I suspect might be APo from this very blog, compared me to a combination of Pratchett and Wodehouse, which is amazingly flattering and cool even if I am puzzled that a combination of two such amazingly witty and talented authors only apparently merited 4 stars.

Thank you, posous.

Okay, “Practhett”, which may be someone else entirely but come on, close enough.

Even so, awesome stuff and I appreciate it greatly. The more reviews I get, the more attention Amazon pays to this story and the more it propagates around the place.


About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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14 Responses to This Week in Review

  1. brknwntr says:

    The Eejits remain an option, if admittedly coming with their own bag of issues.

  2. brknwntr says:

    I see no reason why age should be an issue, elongated life spans means once you hit 25 or so, every one is effectively the same age until they hit the “old age” period. Unless you go the Hamilton route of “a few people in their later centuries have matured well past the foolishness of the young” route. Although it could be an additional … Thing? Perhaps a large age gap between crew and captain, could contribute to whatever the heck is going on with him.

  3. brknwntr says:

    I agree, stating an age tends to make me identify less with a character, because I then form the mental image.

    • stchucky says:

      I just realised (after making a map for myself) how ridiculously big the galaxy is and how long they would need to have been in space to get anything done and get anywhere. So even the most junior member needs to have been in action ten years or so. Beyond that, far as I’m concerned people can decide how old they want their characters to be.

  4. Bill Reich says:

    A character’s age can certainly change a reader’s reaction. For instance, when I was in my teens I started a book that I don’t remember now. After a few pages, it was revealed that the protagonist was twenty-eight. I lost interest because the guy’s life was almost over.
    On a more serious note, isn’t anyone fucking the Eejits? People have taken advantage of people like that for centuries. Have you no respect for tradition?

    Will in New Haven

    • stchucky says:

      Definitely a point worth exploring in later books.

      Given the status of the ables as “non-sentient wetware”, it wouldn’t be any more shameful than using a sex aid. At this stage I am assuming the ables are sterile anyway, by law – otherwise humanity would have engineered itself into homogenised nonexistence by now. Perfect bodies coupled with an imprinted personality, there’s just so many issues there when it comes to breeding choices. I think the logical step would be to make them functional but sterile. But then, I haven’t really talked about the way humans breed in the “39th Century” anyway.

      Now, the eejits … that’s a whole other issue because they’re functionally brain-damaged. Not only does this raise the danger of their instability and unpredictability, the likelihood of them having a meltdown mid-coitus or a host of other things, you also end up with the dilemma of “non-sentient sex aid” vs. “mentally handicapped human / child” and all allied emotional and cultural baggage. It’s going to be a lot of fun to explore that.

      • Apo says:

        I don’t know about you guys but when using a self-manipulating sex aid, it would be great if it had at least some idea of what it was trying to accomplish. My instant mental image is of falling out of the lofty spheres of desire with a thump in order to point out to the eejit what bit goes where.

      • stchucky says:

        Very true, this is a big problem for ables because they would be configured for some sort of shipboard job and not necessarily designed to learn to have sex properly. They would, in short, need to be configured specifically for this task.

        And it’s an even bigger problem for eejits, because their configuration is busted. So if you tried to have sex with Westchester, for example, there’s the risk that too much dirty-talk might suddenly make him go blind and start thinking you’re a forklift.

        Specifically configuring an eejit for sex, of course, brings its own unique (and possibly hilarious) issues. All of which I really should consider documenting.

        Apo, your mental image of the eejit as good-looking but fumbling virgin is, let’s say, a best-case scenario…

  5. thelinza says:

    Something you escape considering is how the characters are likely to treat each other based on age and the characters’ perceptions of maturity. A group of people like these goofballs already know each other well enough from being stuck on a ship with one another, that age isn’t really going to inspire any respect or lack of respect from each to the other. They already do/don’t respect each other based on experience. Anyone from off ship is going to have a very different approach, though; so unless you’re going to let the AstroTramp reconnect with civilization, it seems like you’ve managed to avoid this issue entirely.

    You crafty devil.

    You might group numerical age mentions with context, i.e., ‘Sally had survived four decades in the metaphorical hands of the Mygonites’ or ‘Contro was just nearing the middle of middle age, but as they say, octogenarians are at the prime of life.’

    • stchucky says:

      These are good ideas. I think I will just let the readers slowly absorb the “humans live to the age of about 200 years now” factoid I have dropped a couple of times into the first books, and let the characters get by on their own merits while the reader decides how old he or she thinks they all are.

      When they do meet outsiders, it’s usually in a situation (ie. an AstroCorps modular showing up at a little backwater planet) that changes the dynamic anyway, so anyone in a uniform is assumed to be respect-worthy until he says “Oi, ha ha ha, honestly! Beans on toast!” (for example). All people looking more or less 20-30 right up until the age of about 150 could also help with that. Grey hair, liverspots and assorted other stuff no longer shows up to mark someone as a revered elder. They have to mark themselves as one, by actually being wise and effective and proving their experience and talent.

      Hey, it’s my perfect future.

  6. Apo says:

    You only got four stars from me because hey, it’s your first published novel and you’re bound to improve – so how would I then rate your future works? Can’t make the scale go up to six stars…

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