Review: Rocks Fall. Everyone Dies.

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Posted on : 2/26/2020 12:08:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

Rocks Fall. Everyone Dies. Rocks Fall. Everyone Dies. by Eddie Skelson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a 1-star review. That is more stars than it is worth.

The author is in dire need of a copyeditor and needs to retake 8th grade English/grammar.

I read less than a dozen pages before I was consumed with the urge to hurl this book across the room, Dorothy Parker style. Sadly, it was an electronic copy.

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Review: Eve of Darkness

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Posted on : 2/25/2020 11:38:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , , ,

Eve of Darkness Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a 3-star review. That is a reasonable estimate of my experience with this book.

The conceit of the book is that God and angels exist. The Bible is presented as being a not-quite accurate portrayal of their history. Eve is a successful young woman who is in lust with Cain; The Cain - the brother killing guy that now is unable to die.

Eve is given the "Mark of Cain" by his brother, Abel. Nope....he isn't dead. He is a part of a sort of celestial bail bond organization that collects and kills demons and other evil creatures who have tried God's patience a bit too much.

This book is about Eve's transition from ordinary mortal to being a "Mark" working for the same bail bond organization. The general world-building was good, but not great. The characters were reasonably engaging. However, there were a few features that undermined the general narrative.

- The "Marks" are supposed to be sinners that are working off their sin so they can get into heaven. There isn't any explanation as to why individuals are selected to become Marks. One Mark is indicated to be a past member of a yakuza in Japan; so a gang banger of some sort. But there isn't any indication of what made Eve a uniquely suitable subject to be "recruited". We have no real definition of her sins that brought her to the attention of the divine.

- The attraction between Cain and Eve has no basis beyond "just because". The same is true for Abel's attraction to Eve. The entire basis for relationships in the story appears to be nothing more than overactive hormones. It is pointed out that Cain had been married before, but Eve is referred to as his "first love". The author is just pushing people together and expecting the reader to ignore the paper-thin justification for these relationships.

- Sex. Lots of steamy and explicit sex. While that seems to be a feature in a segment of the urban fantasy genre, it doesn't do much to advance the narrative of this story.

- Speaking of which, the first act of sex is when Abel rapes Eve. In later chapters of the book, she remains attracted to him despite resisting his advances.

I will probably add a couple more things on my blog as there are cultural issues that don't really belong in a formal review of a book.

If you want a light read that is heavy on the erotica and light on the plot, this is a good book for you.

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And here are the "couple more things".  Mostly this has to do with politics and culture with respect to some aspects of SF/F fandom.

This book leans heavily on the "female gaze".  The "male gaze" is a reference to when male characters notice the physical attributes....primarily breasts and posteriors...of female characters.  This book leans heavily on the reverse of that phenomenon.  The male characters are heavily objectified.

And I'm largely OK with that.

The problem is that if this were a male author engaged in writing a story that leans heavily on male characters objectifying female characters, then that author would be savaged as being a misogynist hack.  Much worse invective would be headed his way.

This book was published by Tor.  They appear to be currently engaged in correcting the disparity in diversity within SF/F works.  I note that they heavily promote female authors.  At least, that is what shows up in my email box and in various social media experiences.

And I'm largely OK with that as well.

Again, the problem is that I can't imagine Tor publishing a male author's story that heavily trafficked in the proverbial male gaze.  Nor can I imagine Tor publishing a male author's story that features a prominent and obvious rape that not only had zero consequences for the rapist but had his victim still expressing some form of attraction to her rapist.

This is sort of sloppy storytelling is not what I would expect from one of the "big five" publishers.  I think that this situation exists because of a desire to correct...in this case, one might say over-correct...for past issues with diversity, or lack thereof.

Our culture made moderate a bit in the next decade.  The pendulum may swing back towards the middle.  Common sense might come back in vogue.  I might read this book with different eyes while living in that future culture.  In our current culture, it is difficult to ignore these issues relative to this book.

A Quilt For Jude

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Posted on : 2/25/2020 08:22:00 AM | By : Dann | In : ,

A couple of good friends had a baby a couple years back.  And I made a quilt....surprise!

In this case, I had a bunch of fabrics in my stash that were good for a baby quilt.  But I didn't have enough of each one to go with my usual log cabin approach.

So what's a quilter to do?  Improvise!



In this case, I coupled wide strips of white with narrow strips of various other materials.  Once those were stitched together, I cut them at the same width as the narrow strips.

I then used wide strips of colored material with narrow strips of white.  Those got cut to the width of the colored material.

Then you match a narrow strip with a wide strip to make a square.  Lay out the squares in a pleasing manner and voila...a quilt is born.

I used a minky fabric for the backing.  That worked out a bunch better than some of my other quilts.  I always have a problem with the cotton backing wrinkling if I don't work hard to get all the loose fabric out of it.

As a bonus, I was able to incorporate some material from his older brother's quilt in his quilt.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  And Jude is pretty cool, too.

Jude - his own self

A Quilt For Everet

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Posted on : 2/23/2020 07:01:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

So a long time ago, I made a quilt.  And I took one photograph.  I did not record the recipient.

And thus began a 4-year quest to figure out who the heck got that quilt!  Most embarrassing for me.

His dad cleared up the mystery and now I can add it to my record. 


A Quilt For Emery

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Posted on : 2/23/2020 06:47:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

I'm working at getting my quilt entries caught up.  This beauty was for our grandniece, Emery.  She's a few years older now and cute as a button.


For The Record

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Posted on : 2/23/2020 01:47:00 PM | By : Dann | In : , ,

I care a whole lot more about what is going on between a political candidate's ears than the pigmentation, configuration, and application of their genitalia.

The same goes for pretty much everyone else.

A Quilt for Lincoln

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Posted on : 2/23/2020 01:24:00 PM | By : Dann | In : ,

My most recent finish.  This is my second quilt for 2020 and my first baby quilt of the year.

The design was inspired in part by the recent Initial K finish posted over at Reddit.  The Initial K pattern is Vaquero.

I did my own thing with the arrows...details below.  The blocks use the technique developed by Joe Cunningham for his Rock The Block - Album Style quilt.  His lesson actually includes (3) different quilting techniques; including Rock The Block.  I've been wanting to try a full-blown Rock The Block quilt, but haven't really had the chance.  This quilt was my first opportunity to test out the technique.

I learned a few things.  One piece of advice for Rock The Block, don't use too many narrow strips.  And really don't use narrow strips that are adjacent to one another.  Another piece of advice is to plan on making many more blocks than you will need to finish the quilt.  There are many opportunities when you are trying to make a specific cut that ends up right next to a seam.  You need to have some flexibility in executing Joe's technique.

The first photo is from when I was getting the sandwich done.  I'm not really happy with how the quilting process wound up.  I learned a couple more things about that.

Click to embiggen

The second photo is the finished quilt.

Click to embiggen

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Ok...so the arrows.  From what I saw, the Initial K pattern uses blocks to create the arrows.  My intent was to be able to sew in continuous strips of the gradient material.  To do that, I had to get the pieces in the arrow strips cut just right to match.  There was a fair amount of trial and error, but this ended up working.

Step one was to fold the 2 1/2" wide gradient strip perfectly (or nearly so) in half.  Then I cut a section that is 4 3/8" from the fold.  I found that cutting that section as just slightly less than 4 3/8" worked a little better.  Hold onto the ends and leave them together.

Step two was to cut the color strips.  They were 12 1/2" long.

Step three was to cut the 30° angles at the end of the strips.  The angles were cut to the points.  Leave the gradient strip folded in half.  And make sure you get the angles in the right direction!

Step four was to sew the arrows onto the centerpieces from the gradient material.

Step five was to remove 1 7/8" from the middle portion of the remainder of the gradient strip.

You should be left with an arrow strip that is roughly the same length as an uncut gradient strip.