I made it all the way up to Cryoburn. Then I had to stop. I don't think I'm psychologically prepared for the ending of that book. I know what's coming. I just don't want to face it. I'll give it a few days and maybe think about it again.
I have not yet slept tonight. Crawled into bed at two in the morning, laid in bed awake until now. Yaaaay.
There's a young, earnest, and not-entirely-normal marine biologist wandering around in my head. He stumbled across interesting things, and he wants to know more. He's about to fall into a heap of trouble, too.
Sometimes I feel guilty that my protagonists are most often male. But I figure, I'll try crossing over some other time. I wonder sometimes if it's terror of being called a Suethor, having crept subliminally into my brain, even while I can't mesh with the PPC on that point. I hope not. I don't know how long those things last. I suspect it's a lifetime. And that would suck. But I find myself more and more just straight-up not giving a flying rat's tailfeathers about who says what I am and am not allowed to enjoy/create. I wrote a Stu. Nobody said anything. I'll write Sues. I read Sues and Stus, too, and it's getting to the point where I do wonder if it's anything more than jealousy - "Your character is allowed to be only so awesome." I know it's more than that. I know when people complain - at least, the people I know - what they mean is "Everything goes right for this character, and it becomes boring to read about." In fanfic, there's the added subversion of the canon characters.
But I maintain that the way to respond to that is A) click the 'return to home' button and try again, or put the book back on the shelf and try again, or B) click the 'review' button and, gently but honestly, point out the issues you have with it. NOT "Oh my god this is a flaming sue, rewrite the whole thing OR ELSE," but... correctly. I dunno, once I found a Tortallan assassin who... eh. It was pretty bad. She appeared in Jon or Thayet's window, turned Alanna into a deranged anger-bot, immediately commanded the fear and respect of George and Jon, had the trust and care of Daine and Numair, was somehow related to Jon but had been brought up in a secret assassin's school and trained from five years on or so, had killed thousands of people after graduating at thirteen (was seventeen), politically significant... I winced. I wrote a review that basically said "Hey, I feel like the Tortallan court would be a lot more hesitant to trust a random-but-feared assassin who popped up in their palace at night, and also the math of your assassin doesn't quite work, she'd be a lot more believable of a character if you toned her back a little. If she's killed thousands of people in four years..." and crunched the numbers.
She got back to me over a year later, and thanked me for being honest, said she'd put a lot more thought into the story since and was working on the logic of it. Made me absurdly happy. I wish the kids I see in the PPC blasting "badfic" and leaving bad reviews would focus on concrit - at this point, they don't even concrit each other. It's a thing that older members have frequently grumped about - when people plug their works, they tend to get a "Great job, more plz, I laughed," reaction. Almost never a detailed... review. Something helpful. I don't bother plugging there anymore - most people don't bother reading stuff that's neither badfic nor a mission, and besides a handful of oldbies, I doubt I have a wide, breathless audience looking for more about the Cafeteria workers. Alas.
I am having fun with them when I write, though. Their only missions involve the purchase of food - the only on-site work I've done with them mostly was an excuse to have someone fling durians as a projectile weapon. (Yes, it is brought up that as cafeteria workers, they really should not have found themselves involved in a combat of sorts.)
The community... well. I'm holding my tongue. I would point out, though, that "Power corrupts" is hardly a 'new' philosophy, let alone a juvenile one. And it seems disingenuous to have a nice, long thread discussing how the community has meant so much to so many people, how it's saved some people from suicide or other terrible things, helped us through life drama and tragedy... and then have people talking about how 'real life' government principles, like checks-and-balances and balance of power and not putting 100% authority in any one person or group's hands - how all of that doesn't apply because this isn't important enough to warrant careful handling, I guess.
I would also point out that it's not so much disingenuous as flat-out dishonest to say you agree with a policy or decision, act like it's a good idea, never speak out against the rules and, in fact, set up a nice long topic of discussion so people can all talk about the rules... and then dismiss the entire system as 'sheer spite for authority' when the next authority crisis comes up. Not to mention the incredible bad faith it implies on the parts of, oh, I don't know, everyone who worked on it. And I cannot help but notice that that topic is something that has only come up in a room with very few people in it, and fewer actually paying attention - rather than a concern brought to the attention of the community.
So I guess I'm not holding my tongue after all. I think saying anything much above this, though, would be more venting my emotional reactions to the various factions and parties than saying anything of value. And if there's anything I've learned about online journalling, it's that your emotions are the part that should not come out.
His name is maybe Farid. He's single. He was in a relationship - getting ready to propose - but his research took him to the other side of the world, and he decided to break off with the girl rather than ask her to wait for him. (No, he didn't sit down with her and discuss it. Yes, he is a bit of an idiot sometimes.) His research is in the ecosystems of gulf streams, maybe, and he comes across, one way or another, something very interesting about some migration...
It's a bittersweet tale in the grand scheme of things. I think I know how it ends - on the main, actiony plot, anyway. I'm not sure how his personal life ends, and I suspect that's going to be important. I think I will be doing some research before I start this thing, too. I do not want to make marine biologists or physicists cry.
I am yawning, but somehow I doubt I will get much sleep in the remaining two hours before I have to get ready for work. Yaaaay.