Category Archives: boding

Fan Coolness….

Long ago, I wrote a blog answering the question, “If I mail you a book, will you sign it?”

It that blog (which included a flow chart that I’m still pretty proud of) I explained the truth of the situation. Specifically, that I’d be happy to sign your books, but there are complications. Books get lost in the mail. Books get damaged. It takes time for me to sign a book, time to package and unpackage it, time to go to the post office, money to ship it, etc.

Generally speaking, it’s easier, safer, and faster to just buy a signed book in our online store: The Tinker’s Packs. Plus the money you spend there goes to charity, so it’s a double win.

Still, I know what it’s like to become attached to a book, and to want to have that particular book signed. So in that blog I told people if they *really* wanted to send me a book, I’d sign it, provided they followed certain rules. Most important among these is that they include return postage and send me something cool.

I expected the requests to kinda die down after that. But I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

In the years since I posted that blog, I’ve received hundreds and hundreds of gifts. So many that I can’t even begin to put an accurate number on it.

And for years, as I’ve opened the packages, I’ve thought to myself, “This is so cool. I’ve got to show this to people on the blog….”

Unfortunately, with rare exception, I never get around to it. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

But a couple weeks ago, I got something I really want to tell you about.

The package showed up, late in the afternoon, and I dug through it looking for the toy surprise. A lot of times, getting a package or a letter from a fan can be the high point of my day.

At the bottom of the box I found something heavy wrapped in cloth. When I picked it up, my first thought was, “It’s a knife.”

Now this isn’t a first for me. Folks have sent me knives before. Someone sent me a knife they’d carved themselves out of wood. Someone else sent me a skinning knife from Alaska once.

But this was *really* heavy. So heavy that I almost thought it couldn’t be a knife. I have a knife made from a railroad tie, and this was heavier than that.

When I unwrapped it, I found this:

The entire knife was metal. Everything. Blade, guard, handle. Everything out of solid metal.

I looked at it and thought: Did someone make me a copper knife?

Then I thought: No. Nobody would do that.

Then I thought: This really looks like a copper knife.

Then I thought: Seriously?

So I brought out the letter and read it. It was from a guy named Tait and his friend Loren (no relation). Who run a little site called Esoteric Garage. They explained that they they liked to goof around with forging things as a hobby. And when they were talking about my books they came to the conclusion that, “a copper knife could be really useful if you wanted to kill a namer.”

Then I thought, These guys have been reading the books really closely.

I geeked out pretty hard. I called Tait and told him that this was the coolest thing I’d seen in months. He confirmed that the entire thing was copper. Even the rods that hold the handle together. Clever stuff.

After I got off the phone, I was still all excited about my knife. And I started to think, “I think I’ve been wrong about copper weapons. I think you could probably really fuck somebody up with this.”

So there I was, at the work house, holding a knife. And you know what it’s like when you’re holding something like that. When you pick up a nice  baseball bat, you want to swing it around. You pick up a hatchet, you want to cut some wood. Some things yearn toward their purpose. Some things are the embodiment of a purpose. Some objects are practically crystallized verbs.

What I’m getting at, is that I was filled with a powerful urge to stab something.

This is not my best expression ever. Apparently, this is what I look like when I’m trying hard to repress the urge to stab.

I should stress that this urge was, first and foremost, scientific. You see, this sort of thing is research for me. The more experiences I gather, the more effective I am as a writer.

Luckily, I’m able to control my scientific urges to a certain degree. This is especially fortunate, considering Amanda, one of my assistants, was in the workhouse with me.

So, in the interest of science, I stepped back and stabbed the nearby doorframe as hard as I could. Because, y’know, it’s my house, and I can do whatever the hell I want.

What did I learn from the experiment?

1. I made a good choice in hiring Amanda. As I stood there, looking at the knife sticking out of the wall, she said. “I kinda figured you were going to do that.”

2. You can definitely fuck somebody up with a copper knife.

3. Copper’s more durable than I suspected.

Also, I was reminded that my readers are very cool. Because not only did Tait send me a knife as a present, but he mentioned he might have something to donate to worldbuilders in a couple of months….

Thanks so much, Tait. Rest assured that I’m pretty sure you’re not legally responsible for anything I do with this. At worst, you’re accessory-before-the-fact.

Have a good weekend everybody,

pat

Also posted in cool things, fan coolness, geeking out, Science | By Pat72 Responses

Concerning Hobbits, Love, and Movie Adaptations

So the other day a friend forwarded me a link to the very first-ever film adaptation of the Hobbit.

It’s only about 10 minutes long, and worth your time. I’m embedding it here as an example of why I’m extremely leery of anyone ever making a movie out of The Name of the Wind.

Isn’t that an absolute trip? They added a princess to the story and everything.

Now it turns out there are good reasons for why this adaptation was bizarrely short and startlingly off-script. But rather than summarize them, I’ll just link over to a post where the guy that made the film explained why it turned out as it did. It’s actually a really interesting story.

After watching it on youtube, I saw a link and followed it over to watch the trailer for the Hobbit movie.

I won’t deny that I got a bit of a tingle watching it. But honestly, my response was half-tingle, half anticipatory dread.

A dread-tingle. Or dringle, if you prefer.

You see, the first video I posted up there was bad enough to be good in a funny train-wreck sort of way.

But the trailer makes me think that the Hobbit movie is going to be good enough that big pieces of it will make me want to vomit pure bile.

“But Pat,” I hear you say, “Why the concern? The Lord of the Rings Movies were good!”

Yeah. They were good movies. I won’t argue that. They were also moderately okay adaptation of the books.

And yes, I’m aware that referring to something as ‘moderately okay’ is the very definition of damming with faint praise.

Without going into it in any detail, (that would be a whole separate blog’s worth of post) my main problem with the Jackson adaptations is that they lose the subtlety of the original stories.

It’s like this: Tolkien’s books were full of subtle tension, drama, action, good characters, and a world of startling and immersive richness.

Jackson’s adaptations had some brilliant action scenes, great special effects, some pointless action scenes, drama, melodrama, a lot of panoramic cinematography, good casting, and an inexplicably Scottish dwarf with all the character depth of a Disney animal sidekick.

So I’ll say it again. Good movies. Ah hell. I’ll even admit that they were great movies just for that fight scene with the rock troll in Moria.  But only moderately okay adaptations.

In the Hobbit trailer, I see the same thing happening. The Hobbit was a lighthearted story about a slightly bumbling average-Joe who goes off on an adventure and discovers hidden resources inside himself. (Spoiler alert.) It was fun. If the book came out today, it publishers would probably market it as YA.

While it had action and drama, it was not an action-packed Hollywood-style dramapalooza where Gandalf and Galadriel have emo makeouts.

I can tell in my bones that the movie is going to be chock full of scenes that were never in the original story. I’m not talking about a little extra dialogue here and there. I’m talking about completely invented cutaway scenes that stuff more action in, and subplots that were only barely alluded to in the book. My off-the-cuff prediction? At least 20 minutes worth.

It will be a good movie. Maybe even a great movie. But it will also be, at best, a moderately okay adaptation of the subtle, sweet book that I grew up loving.

You know that it’s going to be like? It’s going to be like wandering onto an internet porn site and seeing a video of a girl I had a crush on in high school. You probably knew someone like her. The smart girl. The shy girl. The one who wore glasses and was a little socially awkward. The one who screwed up the curve in chemistry so you got an A- instead of an A.

She was a geek girl before anybody knew what a geek girl was. And that was kinda awesome, because you were a geek boy before being a geek was culturally acceptable.

You liked her because she was funny. And she was smart. And you could actually talk to her. And she read books.

And sure, she was girl-shaped, and that was cool. And she was cute, in an understated, freckly way. And sometimes you’d stare at her breasts when you were supposed to be paying attention in biology. But you were 16. You stared at everyone’s breasts back then.

And yeah, you had some fantasies about her, because, again, you were 16. But they were fairly modest fantasies about making out in the back of a car. Maybe you’d get to second base. Maybe you could steal third if you were lucky.

And maybe, just maybe, something delightful and terrifying might  happen. And yeah, it would probably be awkward and fumbling at times, but that’s okay because she’d be doing half the fumbling too. Because the only experience either one of you had was from books. And afterwards, if you make a Star Wars joke, you know she’ll get it, and she’ll laugh….

That’s the girl you fell in love with in high school. You didn’t have a crush on her because she was some simmering pool of molten sex. You loved her because she was subtle and sweet and smart and special.

So you stroll onto this porn site, and there she is. Except now she’s wearing a thong and a black leather halter top. She’s wearing fuck-me red lipstick and a lot of dark eye makeup. Her breasts are amazing now, proud and perfectly round.

Someone’s taught her to dance, and she does it well. She’s flexible and tan. She has a flat midriff and walks like a high-class Vegas stripper. Her eyes are dark and smouldering. She has a riding crop, and she likes to be tied up, and her too-red mouth forms a perfect circle as she sighs and moans, and tosses her head in a performance designed to win any number of academy awards….

And what’s the problem with this? Well… in some ways, nothing. What you’ve found is perfectly good porn. Maybe even great porn.

But in other ways the problem is blindingly obvious. This girl has nothing in common with your high-school crush except for her social security number. Everything you loved about her is gone.

We loved the sweet, shy, freckly girl. We still remember her name, and after all these years she lives close to our heart. Seeing her in lipstick and stiletto heels dancing on a pole is like watching Winnie the Pooh do heroin and then glass someone in a bar fight.

It just isn’t something that I look forward to seeing….

And that’s how I’m going to feel when I watch the Hobbit.

I’ll be one part entertained, two parts nostalgic, two parts irritated, three parts outraged, and one part oddly titillated.

And I’ll watch it, and I’ll enjoy it, and afterwards I’ll go home and feel more than slightly sad….

pat

Also posted in Being a Curmudgeon, Consistent Verb Tense Is For Bitches, movie talk, My High Horse, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat171 Responses
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