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6 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +2 points

@Mark-- since I don't have twitter, and can't tweet at you, allow me to wish you a Happy Book Birthday here.

I know, from what you've said, that this new book is very dear to your heart. Congratulations on what looks like a very successful launch.

Can't wait to read it. But... I Am Not Prepared!

6 days ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +3 points

As Yeats famously says, Too long a suffering makes a stone of the heart.

It's no wonder that Essun, tied into the Obelisk Gate, turns some of that stone-making outward.

"This is the first time you've ever seen a stone-eater made of alabaster."

Typical of Alabaster: he's always doing what no one has done before him. One last bit of pointed commentary on the world that made him, not just a heart of stone, but stony through and through.

1 week ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +6 points

"No voting on who gets to be people.'"

Such a simple principle, so rarely followed.

( I had one of those conversations on line, recently: someone complained that the "1619 Projecvt" was bad history, because of course the United States hadn't been founded on slavery and racism. I mentioned the "3/5ths" compromise, which embeds differential treatment for enslaved persons and free persons, right there in the founding document. Him: it was a Compromise, the young Union wouldn't have held together without it! Me and others: so you're saying we wouldn't have had a country without race-based slavery; how is that different from saying that race-based slavery is a founding principle of the country? Unpleasant as it is to admit. our Founding Fathers were voting on who gets to be people.)

(ETA: I have not read/seen the 1619 project materials and have no opinion of the quality of the scholarship. It just annoys me that people are so unwilling to even consider anything more complicated than "brave patriots fighting for freedom." Unpleasant as it is to think about just whose freedom they were willing to ignore.)

"Not one more child."
... in a pessimistic mood, I'm beginning to wonder whether that will ever be true, without icing the whole damn human race. I'd settle for "mostly true," but even that seems to be a frail and fragile hope.

2 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +7 points

"Not anymore."
"Should I take your word for that? Or listen to what I feel myself to be?"

Always the question, isn't it. Who gets to be human. Who gets to decide for themselves. Who gets to decide for other people.

"You ate her."
"I've eaten many."

... Okay then.

Kinda human, at that. One stone eater eats another, one comm eats another, that's people for you. It's also very human that the stone-eaters aren't, so to speak, a monolith (pun intended!). They disagree with each other just like humans do, just like the members of Castrima are doing right now.

So Essun is allied with a Hoa and his faction, who want to keep the human race alive. Essun has few hopes left about the human race or her place within it, but the idea of a world inhabited only by stone-eaters is terrible to her.

Nassun, on the other side of the continent, has just allied herself with Hoa's enemy, the gray stone-eater, the one who wants humans gone. Nassun has narrowed the list of people she cares about down to one, and she'd see the world lost to spare him pain.

This can't end well.

2 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +3 points

It's severed limbs two chapters in a row. Enough is enough, right?

3 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +4 points

Oh, Tonkee. She would probably be difficult to live with in real life, but that single-mindedness of hers is a lot of fun to read about.

Well, it's all fun until the arm-cutting-off bit, anyway.

I am really not a visually-minded person. I have no trouble with Castrima, and its mini-Fulcrum-chamber, as a piece of world-buildingl But I'm having a lot of trouble imagining what it all looks like.

But, giant rusting underground geodes! If you've gotta hide, that must be an interesting place to hide in.

3 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +4 points

Yes, the YW planets did have humanoid versions with which mere humans could converse. (Pluto was my favorite.) I can see how that makes a difference.

3 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +5 points

Haven't read -- seen? -- those. But since one thing leads to another, the bit about the giant nervous system reminded me of Ursula K. LeGuin's "Vaster Than Empires and More Slow," with its sentient world-forest.

3 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 0 replies · +5 points

Original purposes can be repurposed easily -- it's the deadciv tech, whatever those iron chairs were supposed to be used for, they've been repurposed into surgical devices used to torture and mutilate children.

And it's also the sessapinae-- their natural (or genetically altered?) purpose is to sense and control the motion of the earth (or whatever else can be done with their peculiar brand of magic). Warrant repurposes them to sense and control other people using orogeny.

And it's the children themselves -- their original "purpose" or at least potential is to grow up as orogenes. Warrant repurposes them into a force with which to control orogenes.

As children, their natural "purpose" is to grow up with their family or clan or comm. Warrant and the Fulcrum both repurpose children, citizens, human beings, into tools.

And the whole system -- orogenes, nodes, Fulcrum, Guardians, Warrant -- is apparently the frontline army in an eternal war between humanity and Father Earth. I don't think that the purpose of any species is constant conflict with the world which produced it.

"Those in power want to control breeding" -- they probably do. The primary social structure is referred to as the "use-caste" -- notice the caste part of that. One of the features of a caste system, as opposed to a class hierarchy, is that you're born into your caste and you can't achieve your way out of it. If you're born poor, you may achieve wealth; if you're born to uneducated parents, you may achieve education. But caste is assigned depending on who your parents were, and there's nothing you can do to change that.

But if that system is going to work, that is, if caste boundaries are going to be maintained, there have to be rules about who can marry who, who can have children together, who can pass along inheritances or alliances to which children.

I don't think that Stillness use-castes are completely rigid-- but from what we've seen, changing your caste means leaving your comm and your family. In the case of orogene children, whether they end up orogenes or Guardians, they're going to be forcibly removed from their families. You can't have a caste of orogenes itf you leave them integrated into their original relationships.

I'd forgotten that the Eitz we met in Nassun's last chapter was the kid whose family Schaffa murdered. Oh dear.

3 weeks ago @ Mark Reads - Mark Reads 'The Obelis... · 4 replies · +5 points

"Him again." And you'd rather not. We have to agree with the narrator, we'd rather not.

Schaffa is a terrible person who's done terrible things and has had terrible things done to him. No wonder we'd prefer not to think about him.

AS for the Earth-- I have an unreliable memory -- were you around when we read the Young Wizards books, and specifically Games Wizards Play? I got used with that one to meeting the planets as thinking, acting characters. And if Jupiter and Saturn and Pluto, why not Earth?

Hmm, maybe because we and Earth have done some fairly terrible things to each other. It's easier not to think that there's intention behind an earthquake, and not to think that something consciously notices when we poison a forest with a nuclear meltdown-- yeah, let's go back to knowing that Earth is only the planet on which we reside.