neongrey

01/02/17 - A History in Lace (5653 words)

15 posts in this topic

This does run a little long, fwiw.

As it is, please consider this a standalone short and look at it accordingly. It is set concurrently with Waning, but right now I don't have a need to consider how it fits in with the work being done there.

The only specific thing I'm looking for on this is the plot; specifically if you feel it's present enough to sustain this as a story unto itself. If it leaves you wanting more, that's fine; if it leaves you requiring more, that's where I need to know.

Otherwise, just go for whatever compels you to go for it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I can tell you right off that the title grabs me, for sure.

Overall

Plot: Hm. I don't think it could be a stand alone. I like it, actually, I like it the best out of everything you've presented on the board thus far, but it might need a bit, hrm, a bit of wrap up at the end for it to stand alone. On the other hand, it grounds this world so quickly, and answers so many of my questions in such a short time, that it should definitely get 'out there', somehow. 

Overall I loved it, and if that were a prologue or intro to a book I would keep reading for sure.

As I go

- that final sentence in the first paragraph is thick and hard to parse

- 'She's' certain, not 'She' on next line

- page one: She out over the windowsill, puts her arm out, maybe? Leans?

- page two: I've just started into Ancillary Justice, and the gender discussion here rings very familiar

- page three: I remain confused as to what lamina is/are

- page five: that scene with the servant and the braille on the knit... LOVE. Those two need to find some time together *cough*

- page seven: I feel more grounded in this world just from this little segment alone than from everything else I have read in-world

- page eight: oh yeah. Shipping hard

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As usual, similar response as @kaisa, with the qualifier that I do think it could stand alone, if the ending is punched up a bit (a lot). Many words below, as I was traveling in the car and had time to ruminate...

Overall, I love the worldbuilding and conversation about "other" and how people perceive things differently. I felt the ending was lacking as it moved the focus away from these points. Even the title points more to what Ilnathoa is doing there and promises (I think) some more spywork or some secret revealed. Aside from that, this piece is very strong, and could be turned into a thought-provoking short story.

Notes while reading:
pg 1: much better explanation for the lamina. I like that Ilnathoa can use it to step to another place.

Pg 1: "Clutter" repeated within a couple paragraphs.

pg 2: the caterpillar and the introduction of forms and excessive politeness is very good. This sets up the whole exchange between Ilnathoa and Hailin well. It's an interesting take on assumption of the unknown as well. On the one hand, it makes Ilnathoa feel alien, on the other, she makes good points about the constructs of language.

pg 3: "Why, it will devour the world, of course."
--very cool. I"m drawn in by the alien feeling of the worldbuilding and this ends the scene with a lot of tension.

pg 4: "about the colours of the things she is wearing"
--Unclear. About the colors Ilnathoa or the servant is wearing?

pg 4: I like the idea of recording into lace. A very tactile memory. All of the description of their writing is lovely.

pg 5: Selling lace as painting...Also very cool.

pg 5: "telling of the ugly heart of a people who think they know beauty"
--Lol...very meta.

pg 5: "She cannot resume knitting with her fingers trembling so"
--Don't quite get this. I don't know why Ilnathoa is nervous (?). I didn't get that impression from her conversation. More smug, if anything.

Pg 5: "Love is... a myriad concept..."
--A bit confusing. Ilnaotha is thinking before this, so I assume it's her speaking, but it could be either. I don't know who's taking which side in the discussion, so either could be postulating this statement. We find out at the end of the phrase that it's Ilnathoa, but it would be clearer if we know before.

Pg 6: Hm. This discussion about love is a bit more esoteric. The previous ones were enjoyable because they were worldbuilding. This one might get a little preachy, debating a philosophical point, especially to the point of forcing change on others. Starting to lose me a little. Not that it isn't a good point, just a little too on-the-nose.

pg 6: At the bottom of the page you address the war and note that Ilnathoa's people started it, though there's nothing of what the war is about or why it got started. Especially if this is a stand-alone story, I want to get more of that information. Maybe it's later on? I wouldn't mind a little more of this in the main story either. The whole war has been pretty vague.

Pg 6: "Less strange than the people of the swamp."
--same thing here. I didn't know there was another species involved. Might be better just to leave the mention out unless it comes up again. Drives a lot of unanswered questions.

pg 7: You sort of hint the war is religious in nature and that better communication might solve the problem. I'd like a little more about this, if that's the case.

pg 8: "Ilnathoa slides her legs out of the closet, lands her slippered feet on the floor. She rises to her feet and shakes out her veil, letting it settle just above her waist."
--This is about the most description we get of her. You remark on how alien the species are to each other, so I'd also like a little more description. I still have no idea if Ilnathoa is mammalian, reptilian, or what. She has a heart, and no eyes, and presumably feet and hands but no wings, and that's about all I know. The rest could be anything. Does she have hair? Scales? flippers? tentacles?

pg 8: "Their hands, their cheeks-- is the whole of these aelin so smooth?"
--This makes me think she might be scaly.

Pg 9: Hm.  The ending. Sweet, in a way, but I think too soft. At this point, I'm more interested in what Ilnathoa is than what her name means. Nice that she is sort of forming a relationship with the servant, but I don't think that's the focus of this piece. It seemed to me more focused on the subject of "other" and how different types of people regard each other, and so I was expecting some revelation or duplicity from the priest, or a little stronger reason for why Ilnathoa is in the Aelin's realm when their negotiations are taking place with her people.
 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/2/2017 at 9:50 PM, kaisa said:

- that final sentence in the first paragraph is thick and hard to parse

- 'She's' certain, not 'She' on next line

- page one: She out over the windowsill, puts her arm out, maybe? Leans?

yeah, plain ol' cleanup work, ty.

On 1/2/2017 at 9:50 PM, kaisa said:

- page two: I've just started into Ancillary Justice, and the gender discussion here rings very familiar

Fortunately for the gods of legalities, the only connection here is that I'm familiar with what it does there. I've never quite bounced so hard off of something that I didn't actually hate as AJ, which is a shame, because the author's such a delightful person.

On 1/2/2017 at 9:50 PM, kaisa said:

- page three: I remain confused as to what lamina is/are

Not something I'm going to sweat, tbh.

On 1/2/2017 at 9:50 PM, kaisa said:

- page eight: oh yeah. Shipping hard

Regrettably, Ilnathoa here opts to not, which I think is the thing I do need to sharpen further, because it's the knot that ties the rest together. It seems the actual point of the story isn't coming through here much at all.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Overall, I love the worldbuilding and conversation about "other" and how people perceive things differently. I felt the ending was lacking as it moved the focus away from these points.

The story's actually intended to be about (insofar as intent matters, which is very little) the ethicality of participating in an establishment one considers fundamentally immoral. Which, as above, I think isn't coming through as much as I'd like.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

pg 1: much better explanation for the lamina. I like that Ilnathoa can use it to step to another place.

This is actually unchanged.

4 hours ago, Mandamon said:

This one might get a little preachy, debating a philosophical point, especially to the point of forcing change on others. Starting to lose me a little. Not that it isn't a good point, just a little too on-the-nose.

I'm okay with this, because this is message fiction, because you have taken a wholly unintended but valid message, and because this is about what Ilnathoa does with what she learns.

5 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Nice that she is sort of forming a relationship with the servant, but I don't think that's the focus of this piece.

In a manner of speaking it is, but only insofar as it pertains to Ilnathoa's conclusion that to pursue anything with her, regardless of the servant's own victimization, is a level of complicity with an immoral establishment beyond what she is willing to provide. Which is definitely where I need to sharpen this.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, neongrey said:

I've never quite bounced so hard off of something that I didn't actually hate as AJ, which is a shame, because the author's such a delightful person.

Glad someone else has the same reaction. I read all three books because I really wanted to like them, but never really did.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is, regrettably, very much Not My Genre.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Mandamon said:

Glad someone else has the same reaction. I read all three books because I really wanted to like them, but never really did.

See, now I feel better, too. I had a hard time getting into AJ. I don't actively dislike it, but I won't read any more in the series, likely. The immediate chapters I enjoyed, but the flashback chapters are just... hard reading and quite frankly, boring.

ETA: Wanted to add that I'm only halfway through, so my opinion may very well change.

Edited by kaisa
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I liked this, but I felt the characters, especially the "humans," came off as too obtuse at times. I'm not much of a sci-fi reader beyond some comic books that probably don't qualify for the hard genre (no Dune or Asimov or whatever their modern heirs are) so maybe I'm not sophisticated as to some of the whys or wherefores. 

It just seemed a bit over the top to have two species meet one another in a space context but also have such little respect or expressed capacity to understand. Like, if I'm dealing with an alien bird lady, why am I affected if the alien lifeforms misgenders me? On Earth, that would grind my gears or trip me up because I'm in a shared cultural space with equals who are showing either ignorance or intolerance or disrespect. The alien is just seeing words and titles and aliens and probably not the way someone presents and almost definitely not anyone's genitals or what have you. Obviously, there's a different social norm and way of thinking, but it seems to be a bit too internalized on the human's end for my way of thinking. How are the humans in this situation not going into this with mindset of the inherently different and therefore so surprised by everything? We're not all human beings in this setting and as much as we have been brutal colonialists and invaders in the past, a shared space-faring human entity would know that and would have also spent the time thinking about the things we're thinking about now. What religious or cultural beliefs wouldn't be at least partially upended by becoming space faring society or meeting other forms of sentient life?

Why, and this might be a bit pedantic, would they not think to ask about the meaning/relevance of the silks they got before? If they think that these aliens are mindless savages with no written word... we should be in full colonization destruction disease rape strip-mining resources mode, right? If it's another sentient species that we respect as sophisticated and intelligent, "how do they write/transmit information" seems like it should have been on the top of our list of things to figure out. Humans just seem a little bit too befuddled and obtuse for the scenario. Maybe I think too much of people. Or maybe too little? I wouldn't have a problem if they were all lazy or stupid or unconcerned or condescending or racist or something, but they seem so sensitive to things that seem too artificial to have survived the vacuum of space and alien contact. Its too much of a genuine reaction. 

It makes sense for the main character to be so condescending and obtuse because its her race/planet that has been discovered and contacted and so they can be at whatever level of tolerance or inquisitiveness that they happen to be. I think it makes her seem a bit unsympathetic, but sure, that's the story you're telling. Barriers and communication and such. That's an interesting premise and, like I said, I'm pretty much a newcomer to anything that would call itself sci fi and not be just fantasy in space or sometimes maybe Star Trek so sure, I'm interested to see how this all goes... It just felt a little bit too much like Captain Kirk being really concerned about the Romulans wearing the right kinds of clothes or something? Like, if we're having that conversation, haven't we previously been forced to shed some of the rigidity of our thinking? I always assumed that was the point of space. 

Which is a long way of saying that I liked it, but I felt the premise seemed a bit off. Or at least assuming things about humans and people that I would not naturally assume. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you mind telling me what about that exactly suggested SF or a space context in the slightest so that I can scrub it from my work of sociopolitical fantasy? Or, for that matter, what you feel is indicating that any of these characters is human? Because if that's there, that needs to be gone too.

Edited by neongrey
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... oh man. Is it not? Wait. Yeah. Let me go through it again. I had never even considered it wasn't. 

Edit: @neongrey

Wow. Okay. Just scanning over it... full-disclosure, I'm dyslexic. As in actually full-on dyslexia alternative learning approaches and everything. It makes law school a whole thing. 

I read the whole story with "aelin" as "alien" and that probably set a backdrop to interpret everything else as aliens/humans seen through the eye of an other. I'll go back through more thoroughly and point out specifics if I see it. 

Wow, that's really embarrassing. I'm usually better about knowing when I get something so thoroughly jumbled. 

Edited by Yados
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah the hardest science in here is some intro level linguistics (you might be able to discern my opinion of sapir-whorf if you squint)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, neongrey said:

yeah the hardest science in here is some intro level linguistics (you might be able to discern my opinion of sapir-whorf if you squint)

I know, but I think the cross-culturalism came off as sci-fi to me. Plus my edit above which I don't know if you got a notification for or not. 

Mea culpa big time. 

Man, I thought the room was a holo-deck and everything. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Yados said:

I know, but I think the cross-culturalism came off as sci-fi to me. Plus my edit above which I don't know if you got a notification for or not. 

Mea culpa big time. 

Man, I thought the room was a holo-deck and everything. 

No harm, and it's an honest mistake (has it come up in the main works? i'm assuming not because you haven't mentioned, and it's also less present there, and also people using it as a name for themselves. glad i decided to edit out an instance of the actual word alien, as in foreign, in an epigraph, in close proximity to the word aelin lol), I was just very confused trying to figure out what you actually did read, lol.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I figure the fact that I am not at all caught up with The Waning of the Sun will help me to take this on as a separate work. Off we go then.

  • I like very much the jarring effect of Iln eating the caterpillar when the language preceding suggests gentleness and interest, almost a sense of companionship.

  • This is a language of invasion and of punishment” – great line.

  • I’ve never considered before now in reading your work (what, about 7 or 8 chapters?), how the word aelin is an anagram of alien – gosh, I am dense sometimes, but it was interesting to realise this. Then again, maybe that speaks to how effective the term ‘aelin’ is on its own – I feel it sounds ethereal, almost primal, as it should.

I enjoyed the complexity, the elegance of the language; it’s enjoyable to read for its own sake. I also enjoyed the situation and the interactions, and very much that there was ‘no’ fighting, it does make a nice change.

I suspect that the story was operating on a level that I did not understand. Complicity was a theme, that seemed clear, but I felt there were subtleties that were veiled (if you will), and that I was seeing hints of without understanding. I do find myself still thinking about that this hidden levels might be. Is Iln’s touching the servant what she considers to be complicity, that level of interaction? I suspect not.

I enjoyed revisiting the world you are writing, and I’m still interested to visit it again.

<R>

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one joke I had during the initial drafting was annoyance that i can't end it with ilnathoa ollying off into the sunset, throwing the horns with a cry of 'no ethical consumption under capitalism', but alas.

I've got one more redraft I want to do on this, once I finish the chapter I'm on, so we'll probably see this one again before too long.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.