MISC/REVIEW: The Girl Who Saved The World: Mega-Response

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Tue Jun 12 12:41:35 PDT 2018

I responded to the most recent Girl Who Saved The World post, and said I'd go 
back and do the rest of them - and I figured the most efficient way to respond 
to these excerpts was to gather them all together and go all the way thru. <3 
Thus, a bunch of responses collated into one mega-response.

So, going back to "I don't really want to think about how long ago..."

 > Sorry it has been a while.  I am cowriting a novel, and my co-author is highly
 > tolerant that I can manage 3000 words a day on many days, even though he views
 > this as catastrophically slow.

Your co-author certainly has high standards. o3o;;;;

 > Benjamin Franklin Technical Junior High School

It's fascinating that, even though this history is so deeply and thoroughly 
different, there are many things like this that could fit snugly into our world 
without change.

 > A few moments later, Mrs. Gostak was at Trisha’s side. Trisha pointed at her
 > computer screen. “I can’t go farther unless I do those two tests,” she said,
 > “and I have to do them in-class not at home and it won’t let me do them.”
 > Mrs. Gostak poked at the touch screen. “I’ll release the first one for you.
 > You have to do it all in-class this hour.”
 > “Got it,” Trisha said. “So if I’m done by three, I can do the other one?”
 > “The rule is one a day,”Mrs. Gostak said. “Unless your score on the first one
 > is absolutely perfect.”

On the other hand, this system isn't familiar, but it *feels* like things I've 
experienced, in a way that really gets across the texture of life in this world.

 > “No news,” Trisha answered. “But don’t worry. You,” she pointed at Ingrid,
 > “have the lead singer spot. I’m dropping out. I’ve already told him.”
 > “You’re what?” Ingrid said in amazement.
 > “Dropping music club. Quitting singing.  Going away. I finally got to hear the
 > recordings of the two of us, and your voice is way better than mine, so I
 > don’t see why I’m competing for lead voice,” Trisha said. “Other than my Mom
 > pushing me and he.”

And this tells us a lot about her personality.

 > “Sads on grounding,” Ingrid said. “You need any help, things you need, tell
 > me.”  She stared at Trisha’s back as Trisha headed down the stairs.  Grounded?
 > She wondered.  And does not know why?  What’s the point of that? It made no
 > sense.  What was the point of grounding someone, if they didn’t know why?

An excellent point.

 > “Come in.  Have a seat.” He took the data stick. “Mercury machines. We have
 > Silverplates, about the same.” He waited for his computer to interpret her
 > file.
 > “This is a six day a week activity,” he said.  “You get one miss a week,
 > unless you’re sick.”

There's something to be said here about the casual level of social control and 
surveillance here. It fits with the governmental attitude, definitely.

 > I did wish that Medico and the healing matrix would be a bit faster
 > about what they were doing, but I had to be realistic.  I had injuries
 > that would have put an ungifted person in the hospital for weeks, or six
 > feet under for rather longer..

I love Eclipse's dry humor.

 > GR, I cheat a tiny
 > bit on going to sleep if I’m reading something interesting. That’s
 > almost every night.

Def relatable. ``;

 > World news is terrible.


 > Others view uninvited foreign armies on their soil as
 > declarations of war.

I mean, I certainly would

 > The Federal Congress has done a partial
 > mobilization of the Army, not putting people into uniform but making
 > sure everything is ready to go on a few hours’ notice, including weapons
 > to people’s homes.

How 1776-y.

 > They’ve halfway figured out the sky octopus is someone else’s,
 > but popular sentiment is lagging behind. That kid who took all the
 > photos is a real hero, but each reconstruction of the creature is more
 > outre than the last. I thought it was quadridimensional, but six
 > dimensions? Really?

I'm curious to see how this links to everything else.

 > Her country is what
 > we call Antarctica, except on her world Antarctica is Polaria, a cold
 > temperate rainforest, thanks to really different ocean currents, an
 > extra continent in the Pacific, and a land bridge between Antarctica and
 > South America.


 > The Polarian
 > legal doctrine is ‘treason is a hereditary disease’ so they executed his
 > children and grandchildren, too, but they are still losing.

Ewgh. You're very good at building worlds I want to stay far away from.

 > I worry about my friends.  I just can’t do anything to
 > help them, not at the moment. They would get suspicious that I just
 > happened to get beaten into the ground, right at the same time Eclipse
 > did.

Clearly you need to use one of your lifelike Eclipse robots to-- no, wait, never 
mind. *riffles thru old Superboy plots*

 > Durand’s video studio is calculated to bring out the splendor of persona
 > garb. The walls are bone white; a long-strand white shag carpet covers
 > the floor. Her chairs are aluminum thrones, mounted on central pedestals
 > so they can rotate, with backs soaring well above guests’ heads toward
 > an unseen ceiling.

Damn. STYLE.

 > Famously, she interviews each guest for exactly the
 > same time, with large timers counting down the seconds.


 > “Our first guest this evening is Her Brittanic Majesty’s ambassador to
 > the League of Nations, Lord Reginald Featherstonehaugh,”

Still love that name.

 > “Of course,” he answered, “Her Majesty’s government is primarily
 > concerned that the Key to Heaven should not fall into the hands of
 > persons whose interests do not align with ours.  I am inclined to
 > believe that each of my fellow Ambassadors, if not constrained by their
 > government to answer elsewise, would say the same thing. Officially, the
 > Namestone must be handed over to the League, where its powers will be
 > used to benefit all mankind. Unofficially, each Great Power would settle
 > for having possession of the Namestone. However, every Great Power has
 > its friends, and knows of powers that are not quite so friendly.  In
 > some cases, if power A gained the Namestone, there would be powers B
 > that would react most extremely vigorously to take it away. It would be
 > tactless of me to list powers A and B, but any student of politics would
 > have no trouble doing so.”

This is an honest summation, but not one I'd say as a public relations exercise. 
Unless, of course, I was trying to tilt public opinion towards... hm.

 > The collective wisdom is that Eclipse is
 > fair-haired, not too tall, slimly proportioned, and fluent in English.
 > The latter is not much of a clue, as many people around the world speak
 > the one true international language of trade, commerce, art, and culture.”


 > “There is concern that if Eclipse is found on the territory of one nation,
 > other nations may send forces to the scene to capture her,” Durand remarked.
 > “There should very much be concern that the lessons of the Summer War have
 > been forgotten,” Featherstonehaugh agreed.

I love these casual worldbuilding namedrops, have I mentioned?

 > Fortunately, the Murray fission suppressor ensures that atomic weapons are
 > unlikely to be used on a large scale, and perhaps not at all.

Oooooh, nice.

 > “Seeing that my time is almost expired, I shall end by complimenting the
 > Prussian Kaiser on his construction of Museums of the Horrors of War, a wise
 > decision that may cool the blood of impetuous youth.”

What a statement. <3

 > “But of course. The Namestone belongs to the League of Nations. There can be
 > absolutely no disputing of this most fundamental and obvious of facts the no
 > one can conceivably deny.

Which is why I take significant pains to emphasize this fact every time I speak.

 > It is also undisputed that the key step in advancing in this direction is to
 > give the League’s Persona Team proper, competent, and therefore Prussian
 > leaders. There are many historical examples showing the correctness of this
 > view…”


 > And at that point I started to fall asleep.


 > The one bit I had learned from Durand’s interview was bad news.  Someone had
 > figured out that I don’t look like the Eclipse on the wanted posters.  Worse,
 > they had a new educated guess as to what I look like, a guess that was much
 > more accurate than I liked.

Very good summation.

 >  “Brian! Brian Wells!”  Archie McDonald pointed at cashier’s table, from which
 > Brian Wells was emerging tray in hand. Archie waved and gestured ‘come
 > hither’.

Oh *my*. (No, no, not like that...)

 > She doesn't have some sort of gift, does she?" MacDonald took a bite of fried
 > chicken thigh.
 > Brian glared at Archie. "Not a polite question.

Very good.

 > Besides, it's Janie and I who have gifts, which we wouldn't have told anyone
 > about.  Except that idiot Emperor Roxbury showed up with his stupid giant
 > robots. Why did Roxbury have to show up here? Now I have the principal, the
 > guidance counselors, the school psychiatrist, and half my teachers wanting to
 > be real sure Janie and I don't lose our tempers.

Fascinating. This backstory is coming out in bits and pieces.

 > It's complicated. But she wouldn't want to say no. She just can't say yes,"
 > Brian said.

Oh, that's a visceral feel.

 > "He disappeared," Brian answered. He drank half of his glass of milk. "That's
 > been a super-incredible pain-in-the-neck. There were all these people who
 > think Eclipse learned her City of Steel move from Janie. But she’s never met
 > Eclipse. We don't even know what Eclipse looks like. Not for sure. So there
 > are all these crazy people. They think Joe taught Eclipse. No one knows how to
 > find Joe. You saw the papers.  We had the National team and a bunch of people
 > from the Federal District on our doorsteps. I met Speaker Ming!  And Krystal
 > North!"

More context! :D

 > "You're the best Five Games player this school ever had. But I saw your
 > picture in the paper. You and those Grandmasters. And the Speaker of the
 > House. That was really frigid. Are you all right?"
 > "I'm just great," Janie said.

I can't tell if she's being sarcastic or not. X3

 > "If I said something to you, could you repeat it to her?" Janie said. Ingrid
 > nodded.  "Mom and Dad said that Brian and I can't talk to her unless they're
 > in the room listening. But there's something I'd like to say to her, and I
 > can't, because I don't want my parents to hear it."
 > "That is totally weird," Ingrid said. "Of course I will. And I won't tell
 > anyone else what the message was."
 > "Please tell her. Brian and I both love her. And neither of us can figure out
 > why mom and dad are mad at her. We just can't. It doesn't make any sense."

Weeeeeird. I didn't realize the dissonance here from the chapters with her family.

 > "That was this morning. She only gets lunch money. But I think she's dipping
 > into her piggy bank to get enough to eat at lunch. She's a real jock, and eats
 > a lot just to keep up her weight." Janie shook her head. It was all so crazy.


 > "Mom, today is Wednesday. That's me cleaning up my room. So I will. And I'll
 > start the dishwasher after dinner so we can hear ourselves talk while we eat."
 > She wondered what her mother was going to complain about now. There had to be
 > something.

*Ouch*. Man, that's painful - intense domestic stress here.

 > "Trisha, dear? Wasn't there something else you wanted to say to me?" Abigail
 > asked.
 > "Ummh, well, no, mother. There wasn't," Trisha said.

Guuuuh that's a stomach-twisty thing. @-@

 > So she would start at the top, oil the ceiling and wall maple surfaces in the
 > fourth floor room, clean the windows, dust the valences and the chandelier,
 > clean the desk and shelves, make sure everything in the drawers was very
 > neatly arranged, make sure the books on the bookshelves were all at the front
 > of the shelf the way her mother liked them not the back the way she liked
 > them, dry mop the floor, repeat in her third floor bedroom, be sure her bed
 > sheets and blanket passed the quarter test, clean under the bed, check all the
 > places where she had clothing to see everything was straightened up and
 > properly stacked, completely clean her bathroom including the walls and
 > ceiling, realize she had better clean all the slats in all of the blinds, use
 > flight to pick up the bed mattress and clean the edges of the bed, make sure
 > her plants were all watered, realize she had better dust the top of her books
 > and the bookshelves behind the books, stack her CDs in the compartment under
 > the window seat so they completely hid where the secret compartments were, and
 > double check everything.

Christ, friggin' Cinderella level here @-@

 > "6:30 sharp," her mother answered.  "And you still aren't going to tell me why
 > else I'm doing this?"
 > "I think I already did, mother," Trisha said. "And you think there's another
 > reason. If I ever come up with it, I could tell you." And I might not, she
 > thought. You can not enjoy what I’m not enjoying. Mother was even better at
 > slamming the door behind her than Dad had been.

The level of passive-aggressiveness here is making my skin crawl. Well-done!

 > Brian sat at his desk, trying to concentrate on studying for tomorrow’s exam.
 > He wasn’t being very successful. Dinner had been a nightmare.


 > Janie sat at her computer keyboard.  She’d just finished notifying the people
 > in her correspondence games ‘family emergency, three day delay’ which the
 > rules let her use once.  Unless things got better, in three days she’d have to
 > resign her correspondence games.  That would be terrible for her rankings, but
 > these things happened. She couldn’t concentrate enough to play; she didn’t
 > think anything was about to get better. . It was a lot easier to be the girl
 > with the spine of steel over the game board than it was when things came after
 > you in real life.

Can I say that I feel like your characterization just took a big jump in this 
last bit? Like, damn. This is some intense stuff.

 > No, games were real life; family life was the problem.

That's a painful statement.

 > Trisha stood in her Tower Room. Today she’d made mistakes in Editing English.
 > Those mistakes held her back. She wouldn’t let that happen again. She always
 > felt terrible after finding she’d made a mistake, and today was worse.

Ow, perfectionist pressure-family feels

 > Dinner hadn’t been so bad. You just had to focus on not caring about the
 > people talking at you, so that it just did not matter what they were saying.
 > You listened politely, smiled, but you stayed completely outside the
 > conversation until someone demanded you say something. Then you said something
 > true, not that it mattered.

Owgh. Yeah, this is some excellent painfulness.

 > As a result, the few reports that you are receiving from the American Republic
 > and its citizens actually have some modest level of credibility. Instead of
 > complaining, you should be wishing that the people of other nations were as
 > discerning about the accuracy of the reports you are receiving.  For example,
 > the series of reports that Eclipse is a fifty foot tall woman  – that appears
 > to be a media bubble – possibly did not need to be sent on to Geneva.  Or
 > anywhere else.


 > There is also the possibility, implicit in the Ode to the Sacred Namestone,
 > that Eclipse, like the Martyr, is from another world, so that she came to
 > Earth to recover the Namestone for her people, and that having done so she has
 > ascended into the heavens.

Ohhhhh, that's a neat thought.

 > “I find the American attitude on supporting the search to be entirely
 > unacceptable,” Dreikirch announced.  “In this time of crisis, there is a
 > positive and absolute moral duty on all the people of the world to lend their
 > vigorous and enthusiastic support to the search for the Bearer.

Literally every single thing is an absolute moral duty, got it. Sure would hate 
to be German in this world and have the slightest tinge of scrupulosity.

 > “There are no world citizens,” Buncombe said.  ‘There are only citizens of
 > individual nation-states. Also, no one is obstructing your silly search.  They
 > are simply ignoring it.”

Heeheehee. Powerful assertions.

 > “You are wrong,” Holmgren announced.  “Dreikirch is right. All people are
 > world citizens.  Those who do not support the World Government, namely us, in
 > our search for the Holy Namestone are subject to arrest by the League Peace
 > Police and trial for treason against humanity. I shall be directing this point
 > to the Popular Assembly for their definitive final ruling.” The Popular
 > Assembly, Buncombe thought, was a fiction of the League Political Office,
 > League Chancellor Holmgren in particular.  It was a nonexistent organization
 > in which all nations, not only the Great Powers, were claimed to vote, each
 > nation having as many votes as it had citizens.
 > “There is no Popular Assembly,” Featherstonehaugh said.  “Your bureaucrats
 > cannot create a new branch of League governance out of whole cloth.”

Interesting. Such fictions can usually only exist without anyone pointing out 
that they are fictions...

 > Buncombe could count noses in advance. The American, British, French, Austro-
 > Hungarian, Russian and Japanese ambassadors would vote to sustain the appeal.
 > The IncoAztecan, Brazilian, Prussian, Chinese, Manjukuoan, Ottoman, and Sikh
 > Ambassadors would vote against the appeal.  Holmgren’s ruling would be
 > sustained. Lord Smoking Frog’s motion would be passed. Another giant step away
 > from world peace would be taken.

Good summation, with a distinct sense of things just unstoppably thudding into 

 > “Might I inquire,” Buncombe said, “Precisely what point we are being asked to
 > vote to have you take to your mythical Popular Assembly?”
 > “It is no myth!” Holmgren shrieked. “The Popular Assembly is the logical
 > outcome of the entirety of treaties founding…”


 > “Nonetheless, I endorse this question,” Lord Smoking Frog said. Holmgren’s
 > mouth snapped shut.  The IncoAztecans always supported Holmgren’s positions.
 > “It seems to me to be an entirely reasonable inquiry, which I anticipate will
 > be asked by the First Speaker, the Living Sun, as to precisely what motion you
 > are taking to our most fundamental legislative body, the Popular Assembly.”
 > “I will need a day to prepare an exact answer,” Holmgren answered.
 > “In that case, I move to recess until tomorrow evening,” Lord Smoking Frog
 > said.

Oh-ho. Fascinating.

 > “I was actually about to recognize Ambassadrix Masacarenhas da Silva,”
 > Holmgren said. “You do need recognition to make a motion.”
 > “I was about to invoke the consultation rule,” she announced.  “I believe at
 > least four of us wish to consult our governments.” Under the rule, a request
 > for consultations was good for a day’s postponement.
 > Holmgren tried to hide his frustration. He looked around the room. No one
 > moved. “Without objection, we have voted to recess, and the consultation rule
 > has been invoked. In some order,” he announced. The Ambassadors rose and
 > headed for the elevators.

An excellent sense of sidestepping inevitability - for the moment.

 > And I have finally found the overarching plot line.


 > Eclipse will save the world, by destroying the Namestone.  And then she will
 > realize that in the process of doing so she has wrecked her friends' family,
 > assisted in getting Spindrift (you are about to meet her) killed, and started
 > an all-against-all world war. Oh yes, she also summoned all the Invincible
 > Star Demons, and almost got the Sun turned into an ultranova  (entire mass
 > converted to iron all at once). She has to clean all this up, but at least one
 > problem is totally beyond her powers.

Fascinating. I look forward to seeing how this plays out; both the events in 
question, and Eclipse's internal drives and conflicts around it.

 > Today's Topics:
 >   1. LNH: Classic LNH Adventures #48: The Crimes of the
 >       Brotherhood the Conclusion (Arthur Spitzer)

(and why not leave a little comment on this bit~?)

 > Such an excellent reconstruction of villains of the distant past. Tricking the
 > information conduit into revealing information was particularly amusing. There
 > seem to be a surplus of universe-destroying villains, where "any" counts as a
 > surplus.

:D That's what the LNH is all about: magnificent exaggeration.

 > Lagneto of course acts by emitting lagnons, which are spin 1/3 particles. Not
 > spin 1/2? No, 1/3, because they spin slowly.

That is perfect and I should use that in something.

 > Shigetoshi  was accompanied by his wife Saigo Nene. Her presence was demanded
 > by her role as hostess. Besides, it was well known though never stated that
 > she ran the Satsuma Domain’s espionage operations in Switzerland, meaning she
 > was better informed about events than anyone else in the room.


 > Sometimes he wondered if his Federal District superiors were aware that Brazil
 > had a Prime Minister, let alone that Brazilian politics were unstable.

As an American, that's relatable.

 > “Alas,” Elizaveta said, “Holmgren will get his vote.  The positions of those
 > powers on this Assembly may well change, but Holmgren can charge forward
 > without restraint.”

Mmmmm. Inevitability.

 > Many of her countrymen, she thought, drank with vigorous approval any of
 > several Japanese vintages to which ample amounts of honey were added after
 > fermentation was complete.

Mmmmmmm. <3 <3 <3

 > “It seems that it has occurred to First Speaker Golden Buzzard that the rest
 > of the world does not agree that he is the Supreme Being’s avatar, and that
 > Holmgren may use the Popular Assembly to eliminate theocracy as a legitimate
 > form of government.


 > “I am reminded of historical events,” Buncombe said. His fellow ambassadors
 > paused their eating to look down the table.  “My ancestors, four and six
 > generations back, held American governmental posts just before the Summer War
 > and Crittenden’s War. Afterward they each wrote books about their experiences.
 > They emphasize how rapidly matters slipped from peace and calm to outright
 > conflict, with each player behaving like an actor in some ancient Greek or
 > Atlanticean tragedy.  No amount of reasoning could convince any of the players
 > that the dominoes were toppling, one after the next, with a conflagration as
 > the inevitable consequence, until there was actually a conflagration.”


 > “Holmgren wants his Popular Assembly,” Elizaveta said.  “He wants it so badly
 > he does not care what else happens, so long as he gets his Assembly.”

Ahhhhh, fascinating. So this is a fiction that is taking shape.

 > “Holmgren is almost as brilliant as Napoleon, the third of his name,” Davout
 > said.  “After he lost his second war, Napoleon the Third at least had the
 > sense to abdicate in favor of his son, without whom France might be ruled by a
 > Bourbon or, may God have mercy on the land of the hexagon, a President.”

a.) Heeheehee
b.) "Land of the hexagon"? Fascinating.

 > “There is another path here,” Saigo Nene said. “He is threatening to use the
 > League Peace Police against us. His Peace Police have some excellent personae,
 > but there aren’t very many of them. Few governments will agree to lend them
 > people from their National Persona Teams to the Peace Police, unless their
 > neighbors do the same. Oddly, the neighbors are never agreeable.  It would of
 > course be highly unfortunate, and something we would of course all work to
 > avoid, if his League Peace Police were to blunder into situations in which
 > their numbers became severely depleted.


 > After all, we all prefer world peace, and all recognize the great positive
 > contribution of the League Peace Police to meeting this preference. Surely,
 > then, none of us will be arranging situations in which Holmgren’s Peace Police
 > do poorly.”
 > “Oh, of course not,” Elizaveta Romanoff said blandly.


 > Emblazoned on her vest were four polychrome sigils.  Kang stared at them,
 > needing a moment to translate. Then he contemplated fleeing for his life.

An excellent moment.

 > “I am indeed Time’s Dagger,” she answered in flawless High Atlanticean.  “But
 > Joe will know me when he has met me as Spindrift. And he will deny that I am
 > his new friend who is a girl.”


 > I have been busy with other things but another part now arrives.  I think I
 > just solved my last programming  issue on a problem I have been working on, on
 > and off, for some months. My latest novel Against Three Lands is now up on
 > Smashwords and Amazon. 
 > The cover is by Japanese artist Morinekozion.

!!! Oh lovely :D Just bought a copy~

 > I am President of the National Fantasy Fan Federation N3F.org which among
 > other things gives annual prizes for works of fantasy very broadly defined,
 > including anime, comics, manga, and the like.  You have to be a member to vote
 > (electronic memberships are only $6/year)  but I can pass along suggested
 > nominations.
 > We are in the process of reviving our old fanzine Mangaverse; this will be our
 > seventh fanzine.

Oh, double lovely.

 > Readers looking for illos of characters may find it interesting to contact
 > ComickerGirl http://comickergirl.tumblr.com/ who will do illos on commission,
 > though she is currently booked up until June:

I love her art. <3 There are a *lot* of good artists who take commissions on Tumblr.

That's all for this installment, I think. The characterization has definitely 
improved, with some very powerful moments of interpersonal tension and 
stomach-wrenching emotion. There's still some stiffness in the dialogue, but I 
definitely think it's getting better.

Drew "excited to see what Eclipse does next" Perron

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