LNH: Limp-Asparagus Lad #58

Saxon Brenton saxonbrenton at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 29 16:06:17 PST 2007

On Monday 29 Jan 2007 Tom Russell <milos_parker at yahoo.com> wrote:

Yay.  A Tom Russell review.  <glows with inner contentment>  Tom, of
course, puts considerably more effort into the mechanics of reviewing
where stories are working or not working than I do, and as such they
are less frequent because of the craft and length.  So everybody
remember to treasure them when they arrive.

>He has a very definite, very literary prose style-- sentences that are a 
>lot of fun to read and brim with vocabularic verve-- and uses it to tell 
>stories about silly spandex-clad heroes eating cheesecake.  His work is, in 
>a way, very serious about being very funny.

Ah.  Thank you.  That's a much more succinct summary of what I'm aiming
at than the comparison I ripped off from that old _Ambush Bug_ review
about crumpling up the comic book genre , then flattening it out and
examining the wrinkles. The latter gives the flavour better, but still
reads like an anecdote rather than an explanation.

>Though, if I'm not mistaken, the Care Bear Stare only works after the Care 
>Bear Countdown...?  Someone please feel free to correct me on this if I'm 
>mistaken.  Anyway.

You are correct as far as the Care Bear Stare is being performed *by*
Care Bears.  Within the context of their show the Countdown leading to
the Stare is a part of their schtick and is as rigidly structured and
predictable as, say, the transformation sequences in Magic Girl anime
like Sailor Moon.  You know it's going to happen, and if the aficionados
didn't get to see it they'd probably be disappointed.

With regards to superheroes it means something slightly different: Care
Bear Stares, or plans, or assaults, or whatever, are an often derogatory
way of describing when the heroes combine their willpowers, or their
love, or some other ill-defined non-physical attribute in a manoeuvre to
overwhelm the bad guy - rather than using more concretely defined methods
like clever tactics, local conditions, the weaknesses of the villain,
etc.  Think of it as the mystical equivalent of a technobabble plot device.

Which is why the LNHers used it that way.  In its own way it's lazy,
cliche and possibly even a bit stupid - but for the Legion cliches are
just another tool to be used.

>That sentence is, in fact, somewhat self-mocking, and doesn't quite require 
>this latter comment:
>>         "I know the Writer was making
>>jokes about swampily mountainous arboreal desert farmland tundra, but
>>I don't think abandoned bowling alleys should be overrun with heavy
>>jungle like that."
>but it's actually twice as funny the second time around. :- )

As a piece of self-mockery you're right, it doesn't need the repeat.
That could stand on its own.  But it's also meant to act as a piece of
foreshadowing of Somian's shaping power, as well as tie in with the
`repeat a piece of weirdness' style of humour that you pointed out.

(Although the existence of the phrase is happenstance.  I read a while
ago a lovely quote by Carl Barks about his design philosophy for the city
of Duckburg, which was surrounded by all types of terrain and climates
to accommodate whatever Duck stories he might want to tell.  I was toying
with the idea of having the final fight on the site of a glacier face a
little way to the northwest of Net.ropolis, but at the last moment
decided to rip off the `swampy temperate forest mountainside deserts of
Faboo' that Dave used in Dvandom Force #95.  If you want part of the text
that was planned in advance to mock my writing style, you'll want Fuzzy's
complaint about paragraphs composed of run-on sentences.)

>There are some times when his mammoth, Proustian sentences make things a 
>little difficult if you're not paying attention:
>>     Swordmaster nodded. He had taken the lead as the ground team of
>>himself, Parking Karma Kid, Pulls-Paper-Out-Of-Hats Lad and the Whip
>>had moved in, using his abilities to hack a path through the thick
>>foliage with a machete composed of cosmic rays.
>Placing the "using his abilities" part of the sentence after the list of 
>other LNHers is a bit jarring.

Hmm.  A good point.  After I write my stories, in addition to having them
beta read by Jamas, I re-read them several times myself, adjusting words
or moving parts of sentences so that the text flows.  Oh, and I try to
chop run-on sentences down into shorter bits, because I wasn't joking
about that being a bad habit of mine.  I strongly suspect it's related
to me trying to compensate for another bad habit, of <Jamas paraquote:>
`Dropping doctoral theses into my text.'  Going on long digressions in
the middle of a paragraph is usually bad.  Sometimes I can get away
with adding little bits of extra information in dribs and drabs, but
sometimes I add in too much and it overloads the sentence.  At that point
it's no longer evocatively flavouring the text, but instead becomes a

Anyway, thank you for the review.

Saxon Brenton   Uni of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
   saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au   saxonbrenton at hotmail.com

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