Month: April 2014

@#$% Joseph Campbell

Right, culmination.

Who likes Joss Whedon stuff?  Raise your hand.  (Sorry, I just got back from PPWC, and I’m still in audience participation mode.)

Who likes…The Hero’s Journey?  Joseph Campbell et al?

My idea:  Joss Whedon is not writing straightforward Joseph Campbellian stories.  Also:  I am sick to @#$%^& death of straightforward Campbellian stories.

My history:  I have never really grokked Campbell.  I have gone to the classes and read the books (including the ones that are meant to reframe the journey from a more feminine perspective), I have done the outlines.  The closest I can get is Save the Cat, and even then I had to strip the more accepted outline down to a few points (opening, fun & games, reversal, bad guys close in [including moment of death], storm the castle).  So, yes, I know me some Campbell.  But I can’t write like that.  No worky.  I tend to go more with the seven-point plot outline, because then I don’t have to actually plot unless I feel like it or I hit a flabby spot somewhere.  Also, I tend to write to my strengths (ideas! all the ideas!) and seven-point makes me think in terms of character.  It shores up my personal weaknesses.  Okay?  Okay.

Recent events: I started picking apart Shadowmarch by Tad Williams.  (No, I won’t shut up about that book anytime soon.) Taking a look at the series, you have to stretch awfully damn far to get to the point where you could say that it follows a Campbellian story arc.  Then I started thinking in terms of how stories are built around different arrangements of characters and realized that Joss Whedon’s specialty is the Scooby Gang.  Then I went to PPWC and had a squee moment of listening to Chuck Wendig, Patrick Hester, Jim Hines, and @#$% I don’t know who else, possibly me, and they were bitching about Campbell, too.  I felt vindicated, after years of listening to people tell me to just open a little wider and suppress my gag reflex a little more, to try to choke down some Campbell, because if you don’t know Campbell, the implication goes, you don’t know story.  At the PPW member’s night on Monday, someone was talking about her novel and asking how to write the synopsis if there is no main character.  And we graciously told her how stupid she was for not knowing that really she did have a main character, she must, because all stories have a main character.  Which I now feel kind of weird about.

Finally, the cast list for the new Star Wars came out.  And there were two chicks and one black guy sitting in the center circle, and Stephen York put up a couple of really telling posts about his problems with the Star Wars universe.  (First post, second post.)

And by the time I got done with his second post, it hit me:  there are no women with agency (Leia gets rescued…not once but twice), no people of color with agency (Lando?  Bends over and takes it up the Darth), not even any alien races with agency.  Not even droids with agency.  Not because Lucas is racist or sexist (no idea, suspect probably not), but because that’s the natural story format of a Hero’s Journey:  there’s one hero, who fits the sociopolitical norms, who, because he fits the sociopolitical norms, is able to both change himself and change society.  You could even say that the natural age range of a Campbellian story is 18-24, the coming-of-age age.  In order to tell a proper Campbellian story, you need to be a) racist, b) sexist, c) agist, and d) biased against more than one single person on the “good guys” side having true agency in the story.*  Mano e mano.  In the end, even Han Solo is just there as an alternate Luke ego, because nobody would believe Luke could be everywhere at the same time.  Really, if it could be done, all Campbellian stories would be about one single character who played every single role in the story, from spear-chucker to Darth Vader.  Campbellian stories are about aspects of our character being split out and externalized.  So, really, it shouldn’t be any big surprise that it’s hard to write anyone in a Campbellian story where everyone in the story isn’t, essentially, the same.

Now, Campbellian folks argue all the time that all stories are Campbellian stories.

But isn’t that massively @#$%^& up?

“Hey, there’s only one story, there’s only one pattern that stories follow, and what you should really do is force your story to fit that pattern, even though, ha ha, it’s impossible that you could tell any other story, because there’s only one story, etc., etc.”

If every story were naturally a Hero’s Journey, then we wouldn’t have to try so hard to learn how to tell that story, would we?  And maybe, just maybe, those of us who struggle so hard to tell that story are trying to tell something else and are sick to death of being told that we’re deficient storytellers because we don’t fit that mold.

Now, Imma bring Joss Whedon into it.

Who is, say, the main character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?  Good!  Got it in one.  What’s her character arc?  Her major change?  Well, she totally makes this major change (in the series) from being an airheaded valley girl to being savior of the world!  Wait, that was the movie, and it was kind of a ridiculous comedy.  I mean, girl vampire slayer, amirite?

Okay, so Buffy in the series goes from becoming a female badass to being…a female badass.  I mean, she goes from being testy and direct to being…testy and direct.  Wait!  She goes from learning that she has to have a team in order to succeed…to learning that she needs to open up the scope of this whole “team” thing.  Okay, she doesn’t really change.  What happens to Buffy is that she goes from being one person who tries to do it all…to facilitating for a lot of people all working together.  Buffy’s status isn’t guru.  It’s team lead.  Same pay scale, more experience.

Here’s another hint that perhaps Whedon isn’t using the Campbellian structure here:  Giles?  You know, that mentor guy?

Doesn’t die.

And, not only does he not die, he’s shown to be completely wrong more than a few times.  And he ends up flying in the face of his mentors more than a few times, too.

Wait, wait.  There’s more.  The main character of the series has an opposite-sex friend with whom she does not have sex.

Now, Joss Whedon isn’t afraid to play with the Hero’s Journey; see The Cabin in the Woods.  (I have issues with the ending, but okay, see it anyway.)  Main character (female) goes from being weak virgin to (spoiler) aiding and abetting in the end of the world.  

Tell me what the Hero’s Journey is in Firefly.  Tell me the radical change that Mal makes in his character.  Tell me how essential it is that his huge emotional change drives the plot of the story.  You know who has the transformational character arc in Serenity?  The bad guy.  Campbell practically lays down the law that the bad guy is a kind of shadow of the good guy, a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t go through a transformational character arc in a story.  And Whedon just kind of goes, take that, Campbell scholars!

Remember, every story is Campbellian, to someone who likes Campbell.  It’s a monomyth: one-story.  There can be only one.

Thus:  I am done worrying about Joseph Campbell.  I never really felt it.  And, you know what, that whole “mono” part of the “monomyth” is bullshit.  I’m not saying don’t tell a Campbellian story.  Great!  Fine!  Have fun!  Subvert away!

However,  Joss Whedon doesn’t have to use it if he doesn’t feel like it.  So I don’t either.

Nyaa.

 

 

 

*Isn’t it possible to have a Hero’s Journey featuring a woman, person of color, non-cisgendered, non-normative character?  Sure.  But the main point of the Hero’s Journey is that the hero comes back with something that both benefits him and his society.  When a woman returns with that elixer, who the hell can she give it to?  Her mom.  Her sister.  She can’t benefit society, only that section of society that isn’t higher up on a ladder than she is, and she can never truly hit the top of that ladder unless it’s a matriarchal society, which doesn’t resonate here an now.  A lot of the time when you see powerful books that have a hero-like journey without the main character being normative, you see either a tragedy (a figurehead on a throne or the main character is actually a very sympathetic villain [cough Mists of Avalon cough]) or the character “sacrificing” themselves for the good of society, which conveniently gets them out of the society’s hair (why do the minority characters like Dobby always have to die/fade out/get disenfranchised towards the end? Because they disrupt the monomyths of society, duh).  Nothing really changes in the so-called “feminine” hero’s journey.  And if it did, it would only create a society that reflected that main character: their gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.  I suspect that for people who can only imagine one story framework, it becomes of vital importance to defend their primary place in the monomyth, because if someone else wins, they must, of necessity, make everyone else lose status.  That’s monomyth for you.  The Scooby Gang seems to be a better framework for plurality.  Or triads of ego/id/superego.  Or soap operas.  Or buddy stories.  Or even non-Campbellian heroes, like freaking Conan.  Tell me that Beowulf is a Campbellian story, all about how B. has to learn a major life lesson in order to defeat his foe.  Just tell me how Campbellian structure is a one size fits all…

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Internet

I think I’m going to let my Bon Appetit magazine subscription go.

It doesn’t cost me much:  $1 an issue.  And shelf space, and reading time.  I like the content (although I’m still annoyed about Conde Nast picking Bon Appetit over Gourmet).

I have a new issue on my desk.  Open the front cover, and…there are four double spreads of ads.  Then a brief features TOC.  Then an ad.  Then a slightly more thorough TOC.  Then an ad.  Then yet more TOC.  Another ad.  An advertisement for Bon Appetit online (Twitter, specifically).  Then another ad.  The Masthead.  An ad.  Editor’s letter.  Ad.  RSVP (reader-requested recipes) for a page.  Ad.  This continues until page 90:  No two sequential pages are content; the magazine is over 50% direct advertising content.  The well is full of content, with no direct ads (this is the travel issue, though, so plenty of indirect advertising here) until page 138.  Solid ads until page 150.  151-152, content.  153, ad.  154, content.  155-157, ads.  158, recipe index occupies 1/3 of page, rest is ads and advertiser listings.  159-161, ads.  162, a short closing interview with Alain Ducasse.  Inside back cover and back cover, ads.

One hundred and sixty-four pages:

TOC, Masthead, recipe index: 4 1/3 pages.

Content: 83 pages, many of which advertise restaurants, their owners, or products you might be interested in for purchase.

Ads: 77 2/3 pages (approximately).

I’ll read the issue.  But I’m paying someone to let them advertise to me.

This is not content that I couldn’t meet or beat elsewhere, for free, on the Internet.  The advertising in the magazine doesn’t fit me, as a consumer (the @#$% does Chanel No. 5 have to do with freaking cooking?  It’s a $1-an-issue magazine: I am not the demographic.)

There are cooking magazines out there that would be worth subscribing to, say Lucky Peach, although I’d be far more likely to do it if I could get it autodelivered to my Kindle.  But I am paying someone to let them advertise for me.  It’s not that I mind the staff at Bon Appetit getting paid.  But the ads-to-content ratio is such that I can guarantee, that over the course of a year, that I can save $12 worth of time and have a richer, more varied, more informative (even prettier) food-porn experience by cruising cooking blogs rather than flipping past ads and bullshit pseudocontent in that magazine.

It’s one of those obvious things that’s been coming for a long time.  But I finally hit my tipping point.  I’ve subscribed for…maybe six or seven years now, and to Gourmet before that.  Ta-ta, Conde Nast.  Have fun.

Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference Folks Start Here

Hello!  You are probably here after having spoken to me (DeAnna Knippling) at the Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference (or saw me in babble mode and were kind of leery of speaking to me directly; I can’t blame you).

Here are some reasons you might be here:

  • I sent you here for free stuff.
  • You wanted to find out more about me.
  • You’re spying on me and are looking for blackmail material.

My always-free stuff can be found here.  You can also sign up for the newsletter, which includes free stuff when you sign up AND news about additional free stuff when it becomes available.  And, honestly, you can always ask me for a free ebook copy of something if you promise you’ll review it for me.  No rush.

You can find out more about me here.  This includes a bio, my freelancer rates, information about buying books, etc.

You want to blackmail me?  Cool, me too.  Here’s the plan:  You send me a thousand bucks, and I’ll bribe my husband to dig up some dirt on me.  He has ALL the photos.

Hasenpeeper Stew

IMGP0012

 

Hasenpeeper Stew

1 box of instant chocolate pudding mix

2 c. milk

1 box (12) rabbit peeps

5-6 pieces of small candy per serving

Mix chocolate pudding according to package directions.  Pour into 6-8 serving dishes, about 1/4c. per serving.  Add one whole peep and two half-peeps to each serving dish.  Drop candy into serving dishes as decoration.

–I can’t say this was delicious.  But it certainly looked funny (and somewhat gross), which was good enough for us.

Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference Tips

Eh, I didn’t mean to write this.  I just ended up writing in the comments of someone’s FB post anyway:

Carry a small notebook for book recommendations and a to-do-when-you-get-home list that you can take, unobtrusively, to meals.  Wear the comfortable shoes unless you’re pitching, because this isn’t ACTUALLY a corporate job interview and the pros get that.  Find the backup toilet over by the Aspen Room.  Remember that you are an introvert and take a few sessions off to hide, and leave the mass of bar partiers when you feel like it, not when you’re about to burst into tears from all the extroversion floating around.  Eat to prevent constipation (sorry, but it’s true).  Be able to politely and briefly answer the question, “What do you write?” (name your genre(s); don’t necessarily pitch your book laboriously) and then remember to return the favor.  Don’t get into arguments–just treat disagreements as character studies–put them in your next story.  There will be people there who think they’re better than you are based on some arbitrary BS (published more, awards, where they went to school, etc. etc.)–again with the character study (everyone bootstraps).  When you hear criticism of a) your work or b) anything that sounds like your work, especially from agents or editors, ignore it (again with the bootstrapping–you don’t know what you don’t know, and the Little Miss Sarcastic of the bunch can shove her attitude problem about poorly written manuscripts up her @##).  Try the water with the floaty fruit bits; the kind over by the front desk is usually the best, and they fill that more often than they do the ones by the con areas.  Go outside, especially if it’s snowing:  there’s usually crabapple blossoms about con time, and the ones out front are gorgeous.  If possible, drive past the front entrance and park by the back door.  If you want a book signed, buy it right away in case they run out by Saturday; you can bring in already-purchased books and get a sticker on them to show they’re paid for.  Always go see the forensics/CSI talks:  Tom Adair rocks, but I haven’t seen a single one of them that wasn’t mindboggling.  If you’re worried about asking a stupid question, ask it at mealtimes.  You can always stop at someone’s breakfast table and say, “I have a quick question that I wanted to ask but was too shy to at your XXX session,” even if you don’t feel comfortable sitting at their table.  Some people will have their “professional” faces on all the time.  Some people will be excessively cliquey.  Mostly people are cool, even the pros.  The only people who’ve ever been outright snippy to me were agents (although the great majority of them have been perfectly wonderful, and the snippy ones generally don’t come back).  Volunteer to help out in the Green Room if it ever comes up.  Even just an hour of making sure nobody needs something is worth it.  You probably won’t need the handouts IN the sessions; you can always write, “See the handouts” in your notes.  Travel light and use a backpack rather than a crossbody bag if possible.  I don’t recommend bringing a laptop unless you have a room:  you just keep worrying about the damn thing, and paper notes are fine.  If you tweet, use the hashtag (which I can’t remember at the moment UPDATE: #PPWC2014), so you can see what else is going on–often times juicy stuff gets passed around on Twitter that nobody else finds out about until days later, if at all.  When in doubt, trivia is a good conversation starter.  Most writers collect stupid facts the way a magpie collects shiny things.  If you haven’t seen Firefly, don’t admit it in public unless you want to start a 15-minute “ohyoushouldseefireflywhatswrongwithyou” guilt fest.  You will probably stutter/blather when it’s vital that you don’t; everyone gets that and will probably be going, “OMG THEY THINK I’M WORTH STUTTERING FOR SO CUUUUUUTE.”  Don’t try out new tech at conference.  Don’t bring it if you must run it off a power cord.  Don’t be the person whose question starts off with a rambling description of your book, even if your question is about your book.  If the person giving a session interrupts you, just let it go.  Promise yourself that you won’t even consider any criticism until after conference; just smile and nod and write it down.  Schedule it for later.  Recommend your favorite books.  Nobody’s read everything.  Smuggle in some good chocolate.  Don’t try to work unless by work you mean that you are going to get some wordcount in:  in fact, try to get some wordcount in if at all possible.  It’ll make you feel 1000 times more confident.  You’re not going to have the focus you need to answer emails or handle other people’s drama:  if at all possible, get everybody from the rest of your life agree to leave you the hell alone for the weekend unless they’re part of your recharge from all those writers.  I have to go home at night; otherwise I make myself sick.  When you’re around a group of writers, especially pro or semi-pro writers, be prepared for this weird pushing sensation to come out of them.  They’re (we’re?) ambitious, and a lot of sanity gets pushed out the window.  In some ways that’s good; in other ways, it’s extremely hollowing:  “Buy my crap.”  “Did you buy my crap?”  Etc.  Conference is good, but…real life is the truly satisfying part.  Although you may feel like you want to run away and join the writer-fairies after you leave on Sunday.  Eh, it’s a lie.  Nobody lives like they do at conference all the time.

And, dur, what sparked this were JT’s two posts on same:  here and here.

Sorting Stories by Essential Characters

Ray, my daughter, had been in the hospital since Friday.  She’s feeling better (and is home now), but I spent most of the first few days feeling drained and brain-dead and reading the Belgariad:  comfort food.  And watching cartoons:  more comfort food.  I think I’ve overdosed.  Nevertheless, I’m not up for anything stronger.  I tried to read some Chuck Palahniuk and had to bail after a few seconds.

Anyway, this morning, after ditching writing for several days, I woke up having dreamed about…sorting stories by number of essential characters.  The ideas here are not fully developed; it’s mostly just a starting point, I suspect.  But it struck me as bloggable.

The general idea is that the kind of story you can tell depends on the fundamental relationships between your characters…which in my dream was of UTMOST importance to group by the number of characters involved.  Not the total number of characters, but the number of essential characters–for example, the number of essential characters in a romance is either two or three, depending on whether a third character is getting in between the two main characters or not.  There are probably more characters in the story–and they have important roles in the plot–but, in the end, the story’s all about the two (or three) main characters.  There are plenty of characters who are important to the plot, but there are fewer characters who are essential to the story, and…you get it.

1 character:

  • Hero story.  Not all stories with heroes have only one essential character, but sometimes the hero is the only person who’s really important.  James Bond generally fits here.  The Die Hard series.  Bugs Bunny.  Ben 10 (he was in an id/ego/superego trio for a while, but has since moved on).  Richie Rich.  The Abhorsen series.
  • Antihero story.  For some reason, I keep getting stuck on Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” for this.  Pop. 1280 is another.  Hamlet…He hates his uncle, but his essential question is whether or not to kill himself.  “To be or not to be…”
  • I’m not sure whether Alice is a hero or antihero, to be honest.  I’m tending towards anti.  I should probably dig deeper into the difference between the two.

2 characters:

  • Lovers.  Most contemporary romances fall in this category; there’s often some subplot that feels tacked on in order to make a point or extend the length–I suspect it feels tacked on because the writer’s trying to make it feel like it’s part of the main plot instead of a subplot (I hate it when the resolution of the plot all hangs on something that doesn’t really matter in the love story.  Pirates?  Really?!?).
  • Enemies.  Hannibal.   The Fugitive.  The Silence of the Lambs is a great film…but the bad guy has always felt tacked on to me.  He’s a McGuffin.  Samurai Jack (although some episodes vary).  Tom & Jerry.
  • Frenemies.  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  Ferris?  Is the antagonist of the movie.  He thwarts Cameron at every turn.  Cameron tries to lead a normal, boring life.  Cameron fails.  Dexter’s Laboratory.
  • Buddies.  Buddy stories are often almost Frenemy stories:  two unlikely companions must learn how to get along in order to…  The Fafrd and the Grey Mouser stories.  Of Mice and Men.  The Flintstones (although they have solid subplots revolving around the wives–that is also a buddy relationship).

3 characters:

  • Love triangle.  A note:  Ferris Bueller isn’t a love triangle story, because Simone is really just scenery with very little agency (a sexy lamp).  She could be dropped and you’d still have almost the same story.  Casablanca.  Gone with the Wind.
  •  Id/Ego/Superego.   Three very different characters try to co-exist.  The Powerpuff Girls.  Ed, Edd, and Eddy.  There is sometimes a trio like this hidden in the middle of a Scooby gang or a soap opera–especially in particular episodes–for example Buffy/Willow/Xander).

4-5 characters:

  • Scooby gang.  Often revolves around a main character (Buffy; Scooby-Doo) surrounded by a mismatched team that must learn how to work together.  If you could call Joss Whedon a one-trick pony, this is his trick.  Many superhero teams are a Scooby Gang.  When there are more than five characters in what looks like a Scooby gang, there’s often a traitor in their midst (e.g., The Matrix).   The Belgariad.  Cowboy Bebop.  The Hobbit.  The Princess Bride (even though it would make a GREAT sitcom or even a soap, had it been an ongoing TV show).
  • Sitcom Gang.  Like a Scooby Gang, a mismatched group of characters that revolves around a main character.  However, the main character is often the relatively normal one of the group rather than a leader, and the characters never really learn to work together (except during Very Special Episodes).  Bob’s Burgers.  The Cosby Show.
  • Transcendant.  One or more of the characters achieve godhood or transcend their mortal limitations.  Akira.  Generally, these stories annoy the crap out of me.

Lots of essential characters:

  • Superhero Soaps.   Sagas, multi-generational stuff, mythologies, “universes,” etc.  Lots of characters in episodic stories, that, in the end, become more than the sum of their parts.  Many smaller groups break out of this, for example, the Wolverine/Cyclops/Jean Grey triangle (which is both romantic and id/ego/superego) that operates within the Scooby Gang of a particular X-Men team.  There is no “main” character, when the entire “universe” is taken all together.  The Young and the Restless.  The Marvel Universe. Most MMORPGs.  The Eddings’ collected works.  Various mythologies.  The essence of these worlds is that fundamental relationships between characters can, and do, change over time.  Lovers might soon be enemies; enemies might soon be shoved in a Scooby Gang.  The Lord of the Rings. 

0 characters:

  • Utopia/Dystopia.  In a true utopia/dystopia, none of the characters matter (usually).  The main exception for me is A Clockwork Orange–antihero.  A lot of Kafka and HG Wells fits here.  Katniss Everdeen doesn’t–she lives in a heroic love triangle with a dystopian setting for color; it’s no Brazil.

I’m pretty sure I’m missing some fundamental divisions.  I also want to note that there are Shakespearean variants to consider for most of these, in which the main relationships are repeated or contrasted throughout intertwined subplots.

Another interesting example is Star Wars, which at first seems like a classic Hero’s Journey story that should be easy to pick apart…but there are so many essential relationships that shift in and out of importance (Luke/Scooby Gang, Luke/Vader, Luke/Yoda, etc.) that I’m going to say it’s a Superhero Soap…or perhaps a Space Opera 🙂  And when you pull back to the larger Star Wars universe, it is of course totally a space opera.  Likewise (for our purposes here) the larger Star Trek universe.

So:  let me know what I’m missing, and where you’d put various stories.  I doubt this is an end-all be-all kind of system, but it’s helping me explain why I don’t like some things:  for example, Ray and I watched some Bob’s Burgers yesterday, and it was great Sitcom Gang stuff.  But then we watched Ruby Gloom (kids’ cartoon), and it was terrible.  It was supposed to be a sitcom, but a) all the characters got along, and b) they really didn’t have strong differences between them.  Weak!

Update:  Dan Bressler asks about Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.  I’d say Roland is faced with a choice between becoming part of a Scooby Gang or playing the hero (or antihero).  To Scoob or not to Scoob, that is the question.

 

 

Review: Cold Turkey by Carole Johnson

cold-turkey-cover-rgbCold Turkey

by Carole Johnstone

I received a review copy of this ebook in exchange for a review.  Available via TTA Press, with additional links as I get ’em.

Okay.  So there’s a short story in Stephen King’s Night Shift called “Quitters, Inc.”  I like it.  It’s about a guy who quits smoking. I thought “Quitters, Inc.” was all there really was to say with regards to quitting smoking, that is, the entirety of what needed to be said in the horror genre, possibly even the sum total of everything that needed to be said, fictionally, about quitting smoking in any genre.

No.

The writing in Cold Turkey is excellent.  You are not here; you are uncomfortably there, with Raym, teaching his dead-end teaching job at the same dead-end school that he went to when he was a kid, under the same Head.  You’re stuck in the same teacher’s lounge.  You’re with the same girl that he’s been with since University.  And they hate each other:  but why bother giving each other up?  They’re used to each other, after all, which is the sum of Raym’s life.  Until now.

Because Raym wants to give up smoking.  Cold turkey, as the title says.

Ah, but Raym’s brain isn’t entirely with the program.  Raym’s brain wants to keep smoking, thank you very much.  Raym’s brain wants to keep everything stacked up in its neat little misery.

Now, in the hands of any other writer, Raym and his brain would square off.  Sometimes Raym would be on top.  Sometimes his brain would be.  But in the end, Raym would stop smoking, all would be well, etc. etc.

Not so here.

Along comes the tally man, who counts up the number of cigarettes you’ve had, and…

But that would be telling.  Suffice it to say that the tally man counts, and that he counts very well; he counts very well indeed.

I can’t say that reading Cold Turkey would ever help anyone quit smoking.  Maybe it’s just for those of us who have to put up with smokers, quitting or smoking. I admire people who have quit smoking…but they are indeed self-justified pricks as smokers, and then whiny pissant assholes while they’re quitting, and this book captures both of those states very well.

An evil little git of a story with an evil little hook at the end.  I enjoyed this very much.

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