[Reviews] Because I'm Bored Reviews #1 (Spoilers)

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Sat Apr 30 16:08:05 PDT 2005

In article <1114839900.088783.64450 at l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
 <martinphipps2 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>ASH #58 - Big Break by Dave Van Domelen
     To avoid repeating this too often, since it ties in with a lot of the
points below: In 1998, about 2/3 of the world's population vanished,
including pretty much all of the paranormals (but not, as was later
established, purely mystical creatures like satyrs or merlions).  This has
resulted in a lot of things being messed up, culturally speaking, and stuff
that might have been too minority to matter in the real world finding itself
in a position of more power than it'd expected.  :)

>The problem with serious universes is that you have to take everything
>seriously.  So references to the Sans Rouge terrorist organisation
>fighting a "guerrilla war for the liberation of Quebec" have to be
>taken seriously even though the reader might suspect it was intended as
>a joke.  Granted, it wasn't that long ago that there were real
>terrorists in Quebec, namely the FLQ, but there have been two
>referendums since then and they've both (if only narrowly) gone in
>favour of federalism.  Presumably the Sans Rouge would be fighting for
>the liberation of Quebec from the majority of Quebeckers themselves.

     Tony established the Sans Rouge way back at the start of CSV.  The
Battle of Montreal was supported by the Sans Rouge because they felt that if
Khadam took over that city, the separatist cause would become the majority
view.  They were probably wrong in many important respects, but it became
irrelevant when their leadership ended up on Venus.  :)

>Of course, being Canadian and having lived in Quebec for six years (and
>having voted in the last referendum) that reference bothered me.  It
>also bothered me whe a Philippine woman was described as speaking "a
>Spanish/Tagalog creole".  First of all, Tagalog contains a lot of
>Spanish words but that doesn't make it a Spanish/Tagalog creole any
>more than English is a French/English creole by virtue of English
>having borrowed a lot of words from French.  It's modern Tagalog and
>modern English, respectively.  If Breaker didn't understand someone who
>was from outside of Manila then it is probably because the person was
>speaking Cebuano or some other Philippine dialect.  People were
>speaking different languages on the Philippines before the Spanish ever
>came: in fact, Cebuano is a lot like Malaysian or Indonesian.

     Okay, I thought Tagalog was a separate language, from my interaction
with a few Filipino grad students doing interview analysis in my research
group (and they didn't correct my misconception).  OTOH, see above about
death and scrambling and stuff.  It's quite possible that a creole of pure
Spanish and Tagalog has formed as shattered communities mixed together to
share resources.  Although it may not have had time to rise from a Spanish-
heavier pidgin of Tagalog to creole status.
     I do, however, run these stories past the other ASH writers to check on
this sort of thing, since Tony's a Canadian and a linguist, and Marc's big on
language as well, but guess it slipped past them this time.

>By placing ASH in the future, Dave gives it a sci-fi feel.  References
>to SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organisation?  A military
>organisation like NATO?  The analogy with the European Union would be
>SEAU: South East Asian Union.) and the Pacific State (actually in #57)
>are good and welcome.  I was surprised to learn, however, about the
>fate of Beijing, not having followed ASH all these years.  I had
>assumed that the ASH universe was a utopian future like that of the
>Legion of Superheroes but that might be because literature usually
>makes a point of painting the future as either utopian or apocalyptic
>in order to set the appropriate mood.  It doesn't have to be one or the
>other, I suppose.

     The SEATO name is indeed not very appropriate.  However, it is part of
Liebre's sucking up plan, referencing an old alliance that included America.
:)  Beijing got nuked in ASH #7, part of Devastator's plot to rip a hole in
the Barrier.
     ASH is at an uneasy balance between utopia and dystopia.  It's
post-apocalyptic, but the apocalypse was "clean" as such things go, making it
possible to stagger back into something resembling normalcy within a
generation.  Probably pushing it, of course, but if I set it back two or
three generations then I wouldn't be able to use any recognizable elements.
The world was lucky to have a few surviving social structures that were
strong enough to be used as foundations for rebuilding.

>I notice that Dave's writing compared to Arthur's (or my own) contains
>less dialogue and more description.  Again, this helps establish the
>serious mood: dialogue is ideally suited for character interaction,
>repartee, quips, jokes and anecdotes whereas Dave obviously wants to
>establish the settings in which he wants to move the characters around.
> I suppose it is analogous to creating comics with vivid backgrounds as
>opposed to having all the action set in the foreground.  At the same
>time, however, I find that stories in which the characters don't say
>much that I really don't get to know the characters and don't really
>care what happens to them.  This might also be related to the fact that
>Dave's background is in role playing games as opposed to actual comics
>or teleplays or movie scripts, which invariably contain a lot of

     Well, I find script-style to be a pain to read, and avoid it most of the
time.  It's best for being turned into a performance, not for being read on
its own.  My writing style is more influenced by novels and short stories,
where you know the text will be all there is, rather than being adapted into
a visual medium.
     I will use script or script-ish mode once in a while when I think it
will work better than prose, but I prefer to keep it to the level of spice,
not main ingredient.  And you may note that a lot of the "narration" in my
work is actually the thoughts of the character as opposed to a neutral

     Dave Van Domelen, suspects his heavy diet of the Baen boys in recent
years has strongly influenced his prose style.

More information about the racc mailing list