Movie Review: Deep Blue Sea

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So, I do book reviews, I do game reviews. Why not movie reviews, yeah? Yeah. Why not. I like movies too! Let’s do one!

Deep Blue Sea (1999)

So I first saw this movie a few years ago and I fell.. desperately in love with it. It was well executed, I loved the characters, and I especially loved the ending. I can’t tell you the ending or the reason I loved it without spoiling the movie for you, unfortunately, because it’s so abnormal from other monster-survivals and shark-survival movies that it stands out so sharply. It’d ruin it for you, just a little. It’s good though! I promise!

I did recently rewatch it, of course. I had been hunting for it for a long while, and I caught it in the bargain bin at the local shopping center for less than five bucks. Absolute scandal. It’s worth so much more to me. I was lucky with the buy though, because I’ve never seen the cut scenes or director commentary, which is something I’ve come to enjoy in recent years.

Now, without spoiling the movie for those who haven’t seen it, I’d like to point out some of the things I can tell you that I did love about it. Wait, well, no, I have to spoil this: guys, it’s got sharks.

So the premise of the movie is that a scientist has found a way to use a chemical developed in a shark’s brain to potentially cure degenerative brain disease, but obviously, this is a shark attacks movie, so something goes wrong.

I don’t really know many of the actors, and I understand it was a casting of “one known actor” (re: Samuel L Jackson, whose commentary I got to listen to on the disk) and a remaining cast of primarily unknown actors. Which works great for me because I really don’t pay attention to actors themselves, I pay mind to the characters they portray. Nevertheless, the actors truly bring these characters to life… although that may have been because nearly everything you see in the movie, the director recreated in real life. I cannot tell you where reality ends and CGI begins. I can tell you I’ve watched it a dozen times and still cannot see the CGI. Everybody managed to find a way to neatly mesh fact and fiction, reality and fantasy, and this movie draws them together perfectly.

I understand the cast was very, very wet through the course of filming.

So, the characters were great and true to life, all of them rather well defined in my opinion. The science depicted in the show feels mostly sound, although I’ll have to do some research (for science, and books) on the merits of using shark hormones in the manner provided in the show. The environment feels very realistic, but that’s mostly because it is. Again, the director had great fun in making his actors feel the ocean and taste the salt.

Despite watching this several times, it’s not going to get old on me. It’s managed to keep me on the edge of my seat every time, despite knowing exactly what’s going to happen next. There’s a little bit of comedy in this, and some of the scenes that were cut, I wish they could have kept. Timing issues, though, pacing. I can take my knowledge of that away with me to writing.

More than that, watching this was an episode in learning, for me. I spent much of my most recent watch through asking myself, how would I reproduce that in literature? What words would I use?

I do have a favorite character though. I’ll admit this. Can you guess who it is? Carter Blake, the shark wrangler. I can empathize with most of the characters in this show, including the sharks (and how weird is that?) but the character I like the most is Carter. I don’t think I could be as brave as he or Russell were, in this show, but if I ever ended up in a situation like they do, I’d definitely want a Carter there to help pull me through it.

And since I’m sure this has not convinced anyone at all to go watch the movie, I’d like to remind people that there are A, sharks, and B, explosions.

..what do you mean, I didn’t mention the explosions? It’s a monster movie. There’s always explosions.

–Natasha

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Weekly Writing Prompt Response: 8/21-8-27 (2016)

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Things I will never manage to do: write this thing at a decent hour. Such is life.

Amanda posted this week’s prompt, which is properly amazing and struck me like a true brick this morning, when I was trying to figure out what to write about for it. And then of course I procrastinated and the day got away from me. Whoops. But here it is now! And it’s original work, too!

This is also cross-posted on my Ao3.


Mirror, Mirror

It took several long moments for Raven to inch back up to his locker, screwing up his courage to see what his brain thought he had, hoped he hadn’t.

But no. In the mirror hung on the back of the door, he found a woman’s face staring back at him instead of his own, vampire-red lips pulled into a smug self-satisfying smile. She looked happy– pleased as peaches to have startled him out of his own skin, he supposed. He hated her for it just a little. Maybe more than just a little– but that was ire, and it would pass. There were better things to focus on than his heart attack.

“Amanda–” Oh, wow, his voice was not supposed to be that strained. He cast a furtive glance around the locker room, despite knowing it was empty. It was nearly midnight– if not already midnight– and the gym may have been open twenty-four hours, but no one except he ever used it this late. Sometimes he had to get out of his own head as well as out of the apartment. “I didn’t expect to see you.”

That smile twisted, a little cruel. Enjoying his discomfort. But there was sort of a wry fondness to it too that bit the edge off somewhat. “Did I startle you?” He gave her a flat stare, unimpressed. “Oh, come now, you have to admit it was a little funny. Did you trip over the bench?”

Oh, good. She hadn’t seen all of it, then. “I did not.”

“I think you did.”

He shrugged, deliberately casual. “Doesn’t change the facts. What are you doing in my here?”

“Taking out the garbage.” Neat, casual, like just sipping on a glass of wine. It made all the hair on the back of his neck stand up, worry thrumming through him like a cord of music. Instinct told him he didn’t want to ask, he didn’t want to know. Amanda Pope may have been his roommate, but she was new, and the two of them were a long way off from friends.

He saw her reach her hand up to somewhere above the mirror– the top of the locker door, he realized– and then his view swung a bit to the side of her.

The walls of the locker room were blue, pale, almost sky-bright. Raven had been working here long enough to happily say he’d helped pick out the color years ago.

The wall behind Amanda was awash with red, spray and streaks and splatters. Disbelief settled cold in his gut.

“Did you kill someone in my gym?” he hissed, low, voice barely much more than a breath. The idea made him feel light-headed, but he knew it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility, or even probability. This was Amanda he was talking to.

“Nonsense.” Amanda laughed a little, brought the mirror back to face her properly. “I let Roberto do it.”

“Who the hell– no. You know what. I don’t even want to know.” He paused, considering his next words. Because he didn’t want to know. Plausible deniability was a thing that was important to him, and she probably wouldn’t tell him even if he asked her. It wasn’t like they went around and spoke of one another to their business associates. “Why my gym?”

“Would you believe me if I said I hadn’t known it was yours?” It sounded like a genuine question, and Raven felt his heart squeeze in his chest. There was a sort of implicit, unspoken promise between them all, not to go near the places of work that they each considered their own. This was the first time he could guess that it had shifted, maybe; certainly it was the first time he’d seen either of them outside the apartment.

He wasn’t sure what it meant about what was happening to them, whatever it was that was happening to them. He couldn’t put his fingers on it, and trying to puzzle it out was an exercise in frustration that never resulted in anything but a headache.

Either he was going crazy, or he was some fragmented memory, or they were fragmented things, or reality was crumbling or something. It was easier and he slept better at night just to pretend they were roommates he rarely saw, let his mind glance over the holes in the reality that tried to trip him up.

He didn’t know how either of them coped with it at all, though.

“..yeah, unfortunately.”

Amanda’s smile twisted downwards, an apologetic frown meant for his eyes only. “I really didn’t. I’ll ensure that it’s cleaned up properly. It shouldn’t trouble you, and no one will find anything. Even still, you should probably take a few days off work this week.”

“Because not going to the crime scene is a thing innocent people with no knowledge of it always do, right?” He wondered if he turned around right now and looked, what the color of the wall would be. He couldn’t force himself to glance over his shoulder.

“Hm? No, not for this. Did you know it’s Nastalia’s birthday this week?”

He hadn’t. He wondered, fleetingly, what day it fell on, how Amanda had known and he hadn’t. He’d been with Nastalia a lot longer than Amanda had been with them. It felt like years now. How had she never mentioned it?

What day was it, for that matter?

“What are we doing for it?”

“Pizza,” Amanda ventured. “Same as every week. But I thought we could spend a few days together anyway.”

“Sure. I’ll let Chastity know I wont be available.”

Amanda’s smile turned sly and knowing, teasing. “I’d like to meet her sometime.”

“Absolutely not.” The idea gave him chills. Let Amanda around Chastity? Amanda was growing on him, a little at a time. But he wasn’t prepared to let his girlfriend become aware of his… psychosis, or whatever the hell this was. He wasn’t prepared to let anybody know about it, outside of the apartment.

“You should probably go on home now,” Amanda added, almost as an afterthought. “I need to finish up, so I’ll be in later. Nastalia’s likely asleep already.”

Before he could figure out a response, Amanda closed the locker. For a brief flicker, he thought he saw himself looking into his locker, and then he made the mistake of blinking and found he was looking back at himself.

He managed to keep himself from looking at the wall while he finished up and fled the gym, heading for the apartment and a plush bed. It would be blue tomorrow, he assured his brain and it assured back, and that was all that mattered.


And before I make off will my  ill-gotten gains (and by this I mean sleep, unless you’d like to drop something in the tip jar) let’s take a look at who else did this prompt, yeah?

Other Responses

Amanda’s | Kayla’s

–Natasha

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Game Review: Transistor

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Let’s review Transistor, a game based in the city of Cloudbank which is in.. uh.. you know, I’m not actually sure where Cloudbank is based. An alternate dimension? The inside of a computer? The inside of a computer in an alternate dimension?

I have no idea. I’m not sure Transistor does either. Although it’s frustrating that it’s never clarified, it’s a great writing concept, leaving players hungry for more. I think if Supergiant Games ever came up with a promise for explanations of all the loose ends they left, I might end up in a frenzy trying to soak it all in. Sometimes, giving all the details can sabotage a good thing.

But let’s talk about what details Supergiant Games does give us in Transistor:

In Transistor you play as Red, a young songstress who, on the day of her debut back into the world of music, is attacked by a group of people who proceed to steal her voice, lose a weapon of mass destruction, and kill her friend instead. Yeah, that happens. Someone didn’t plan their murder down to the nines: they were after her.

I wont go into a lot of details about the game. Some things, you have to do for yourself, alright? Alright. But I’ll talk about what I can, and the details I love the most.

Red is your protagonist, and her Mystery Friend ends up the voice of a newfound talking sword known as the Transistor. He’s not the only voice you hear throughout the game, but he makes up the biggest chunk of it, and he’s always talking to you. If you run through the game too fast you can miss a lot of the quips and charms he throws your way. Red, however, doesn’t speak at all except in one small section where she’s singing. Mostly she hums. If she wants to talk to someone, she types. (Tip: poke all the computer terminals you see. Pay attention to what she writes. You blink and you can miss it.)

The Transistor is a large weapon, and throughout the game Red wears only a ruined golden gown, Mystery Man’s jacket, and a.. you know, I know she’s wearing shoes, but I don’t remember what kind they are. I hope they’re flats; she does a lot of running in this game. She also drags the Transistor around, because again, this sword is a large thing. It’s almost as big as she is. Therefor, it’s a really nice touch for the game to show her dragging it beside her with both hands, the same way I’d probably do it if I had a weapon that likely weighed twice of me and had a body-mass that matched my tiny self. The Transistor is shown to react to force of will, and also levitate, but that’s besides the point. We’re going to toss that up to why she can hurl it in the air like it weighs a feather and leave it at that.

Moving on.

I really like that Red is the hero of this game, even though I would be truly interested to see how it could have played out if her Mystery Man had of changed places with her. I’m not too sure it actually would have changed that much. I also like the fact that the male main character spends the entire game effectively disembodied and talks to you through a weapon that seems to have limited perception and spatial awareness. They make a nice pair.

Supergiant Games gives us more than just Red and her friend, though. They give us a supporting cast you can use as your arsenal, they give us a time-out partition where you go take a break and listen to music, they give us Jammin’ Jans and the best seafood flatbread in Cloudbank. They give us an idealistic and somewhat unapologetic villain, hints at what I consider the first established homosexual relationship in video games (were there more games that make it so clear? I don’t know.) that, if it truly trips your trigger in a bad way, you’re free to ignore by simply not reading character biographies and looking that deep into it. They give us unrequited and requited love, a determined hero, and at least one woman who can murder you with her parasol.

Transistor doesn’t have much in the way of difficulty modes. Why? Because they let you build your own difficulty setting, with limiters that you can pick up as you level up. You can use all of them, or none of them, or mix and match. In the same way, you have to mix and match your skills, because you don’t always have enough slots to install and triple-run Cull(), for example.

The game has a lot of repeat-ability, too. Every run-through gets you another set of skills, and you don’t have to worry about losing your character level. The game lets you build up to 100% difficulty, although installing all your limiters at once on an early run through will likely be enough to make you cry. On the other hand: installing all your limiters on an early run through nets you the most experience points, so it’s up to you. Just remember you can take them off and put them on again as it pleases you.

A lot of the game’s story is attention-to-detail. Not like, the overarching story; they spell that one out for you. But little things. Like, people vote on the color of the sky. People vote for new bridges or new roads. There are ghost stories about Things in Highrise. At one point I passed what I suspect to be a hot tub that claimed the average number of occupants was 2.5. A trellis claimed how many marriage proposals happened under it’s arch. A stairway to a specific building told you exactly how many steps it had.

Transistor is a very detail-rich game, and it’s incredibly fun to play. I fully recommend everyone try it at least once. If you don’t like it, you can put it down and never pick it up again, no harm, no foul.

No fowl, either. Cluckers are evil.

–Natasha

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Weekly Writing Prompt: 8/14-8/20 (2016)

Is it still the 20th? Yes? Great! I wrote a thing.

Amanda posted this week’s prompt on Sunday, and I had so many ideas, too many ideas. But you know, I’ve only missed one week since I started doing this, and I wasn’t going to let this one elude me. I wasn’t, I tell you!

So, in honor of my own tenacity, let’s have the answer to the prompt: I told you that I was no good for you.

It’s an Exalted prompt, for the tabletop game. You all get to meet my namesake, the first long-term character I made and never put down.


No Good Choice

He had told them. He had warned them. When Mars had crafted his Exaltation, she had taken from the world a great battle, one of the greatest, as she had done for each of those who bore her grace. Maybe it had happened, or was happening, or was yet to happen, but it was a great battle, and now it no longer existed in Creation.

It existed in him.

An Exaltation burned through blood and bone, erasing impurities. That was true for every Exaltation, even Sidereals. But Sidereals were born woven into Fate, and people looked for them intensely, so to not miss their birth. They were squirreled away, lost children of three-day mothers, and raised safe in Yu Shan. It was destiny.

He hadn’t had that.

Before the war with the Primordials, the Five Maidens had looked into the loom and saw the path of the world. As the Unconquered Sun and Luna, they had been given three hundred. And they had used for that terrible war only a third of their allotment.

Save a secret among themselves, for what were secrets among sisters?

They took five, and they sat them outside of Loom, beyond Fate, beyond Destiny. They were crafted but not put into the cycle, daggers in the dark and hidden paths, quiet pleasures and secrets upon secrets, endings to come in time. A complete Circle. A hidden circle.

That was him. The battle Mars had plucked from Creation without anyone else’s knowledge, without anyone else noticing but her and her sisters, the same way they shared secrets among themselves and told no others, even the rest of the Incarnae. He didn’t think they had known of the existence of them at all, until one of their own had stumbled upon him.

He’d been born in the final years of the First Age, before the Usurpation. His parents had been Lunars, two bright moons, the eyes of Luna. Both warriors in their own right, accomplished, dangerous. They had named him true, despite no knowledge of the future, or of dangers yet to come, and they had raised him, for his Exaltation was a secret not to be tracked, and so no one had come to spirit him away.

He Who Stalks Like Thunder and Strikes Like Lightning.

But now he was old, and accomplished, and the name was ever more true as the years of experience drug on. He was the Maiden’s blade in Creation, one of the most deployed. He was friend and companion to the Little Sister. He was lethal, dangerous, a wandering soldier, and he’d warned them to try to save their lives before they’d ever drawn their blades:

Turn away and forget you saw me. I am no good for you.


Whee! There it is. Very nice. Let’s take a quick look at who else did the prompt before I floof off to bed, yeah?

Other Responses
Kayla’s | Amanda’s | WriterNotWriter’s

There it is. That’s it for the week, methinks. And now, I’m off to saw logs.

–Natasha

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

 I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Amanda over on her blog, for which I am super grateful. I know I don’t get a lot of traffic, but it’s nice to know someone’s out there thinking of me.

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

Well, it is of course an award for bloggers from other bloggers. It is a beautiful way to share all the amazing things other bloggers do and write about. To recognize their efforts in inspiring others to do what they love.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers and add their links.
  4. Notify the bloggers you included.
  5. Keep the rules in your post.

 

Now, onto the eleven questions asked of me!

Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A: The easier question is probably what didn’t I want to be when I was small. The smaller I was, the more I wanted to be; nothing ever quite really fit. The thing that did stick was I wanted to be a mom. I knew that from the earliest I can remember. One of my other longest-running things was to be a doctor. I haven’t mastered either of those yet.

I was always creating stories, according to my mother. But I didn’t know doing that for a living, writing for a living, was even an option until I was nearly grown. I suppose that doesn’t count.

Q: If you could spend a day in any novel, what would it be?

A: Oh boy. That’s a tick, isn’t it? There are a lot of novel worlds I’d love to see with my own eyes, but unfortunately due to my reading list, lots of people die in those worlds. Any of the young adult series’ by Rick Riordan would be a good place to go, except lots of people die because most of those books revolve around war and epic quests, both of which.. people die often in. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is also a good realm to invest, except, again: War. Anything by James Rollins is great and I’d love to die into it.. but.. well. There’s significantly less war, but still a lot of death and mayhem. I wouldn’t last long.

..is ‘none’ an option I can pick?

Q: If you were forced to listen to one song for the rest of your life, which song would you choose?

A: Do you realize you just kind of swing in asking the absolute hardest questions? Is this deliberate?

..if I had to pick just one.. I think I’d have to pick Wipe Out by the Ventures. You can say it’s old, and okay, yeah, it is. But it’s also a classic, and there is nothing in the world more energizing and uplifting to me than this song. The drums and general tempo of this song keep your heart pumping and you motivated to move too, and the best part is that this song is literally written to be repeated forever.

My mom used to date a rockin’ drummer who could pull this thing off quite a while, and she could virtually outlast him during dancing. Certainly she could outlast everybody else.

Q: If you could choose any of the novels that you’ve written/any story you’ve written/anything you have plotted to be your debut published piece, what would it be?

A: It’s already plotted. Unfortunately I wont tell you about it, because the manuscript isn’t done and if I get to talking about the story I will literally spill you ten hours of information including all the spoilers, but suffice to say I’m in the lull before the storm. I gotta slough through this unfortunate sticky spot I’m in, but it wont be long now.

Q: What are you afraid of?

A: Falling, flying, dying, drowning, drowning in salt water, being afraid, failure, lack of money…

Q: Who do you look up to in your life?

A: My mother, a handful of miscellaneous people I know in real life who heavily inspire me, dozens of artists and athletes, soldiers of all walks of life and cultures.. lots and lots of dead people from history.

A lot of people inspire me, and you don’t have to have been a good person, or be a good person, to inspire someone. You can be a truly wretched human being and still inspire people. What an individual chooses to do with the inspiration you have birthed in them is just as important than what you did with the inspiration you yourself were handed, but the inspiration is less important than the actions it inspires.

Q: Why did you first come onto wordpress? What inspired you to start doing this whole blogging thing?

A: Okay so. I joined NaNoWriMo years ago, and I eventually joined the group on Facebook too, and at some point there was a blogger who posted ritually. Unfortunately I don’t know where her blog is or who she was, though I might have a link on ol’ Tortor that I’ll have to hunt down for Blue.

Now, this author who by chance happened to be a blogger posted ritually. Every day. She wrote her work and then she blogged, too. And she posted resources, she posted how she crafted characters, timelines, how she broke things down. How she figured out her maps, why she did maps, her research. It was amazing. It had the added bonus of having one place where she could find all her resources when she needed them, all the information she had teased the world with.

I wanted that for myself, mostly. Being somewhat more social happened… after the fact. I didn’t use the blog for a long time after I made it, though, but I did start teaching myself eventually that I needed to come on here and write. It helps. It’s productive to get things off my chest and onto paper, it’s productive to know there are people out there sympathetic to my plight as a writer, as a reader, as a human being.

Q: What is your favorite book (or, if you don’t read, television series) and why?

A: Amazonia by James Rollins.

I wont lie, every letter of James Rollins’ books are a work of art, and I love them all to death. But Amazonia is my favorite in part because it’s the first ‘adult’ book I read. It doesn’t gloss over danger, it doesn’t gloss over human interaction or instinct, it makes the characters real and three dimensional while still permitting an element of fantasy backed by theoretical science. I like fantasy books, I like scifi books; Amazonia was the first one to mesh the two neatly in a ‘current world’ setting, keeping me engaged and hanging on for the next portion.

There are certain elements of horror to it, of wonder and thrill, and there’s always that nook of danger. Half the people introduced die within their first twenty-four hours of the book. Some of the people you think will die, don’t. Some of the people you hold out desperate hope wont die, do.

And the villains get their just deserts.

Q: What are the most important qualities to you in friendship?

A: I can talk to you about anything. I can trust you with anything. You keep my words in confidence, or to a select few people if you need advice on how to help me. If I ever need help or an emotionally stabling influence, I can call you.

I’m always going to worry I’m not a good friend. I’m always going to worry I bother you, that I need you too much, that you don’t like me or that I’m clinging. That’s always going to happen, and no one will convince me otherwise.

But if you stick with me, I will love you forever.

Q: Do you drink coffee or tea?

A: Yes! Both, at varying degrees for varying reasons. Granted I drink coffee because it’s good for me, but..

Q: If you could change any event throughout history, what would it be? A: The burning of the Library of Alexandria. That was an absolute tragedy for the world and written history collectively, and human beings as a whole should be ashamed collectively for it’s destruction and that nowhere else in the world has any homages to it have sprung up to do the same thing. The closest things we have are seed vaults and pigment galleries, but nowhere is there a library that collects books and translates them into every known language, one place in the world that everyone knows if they go there, they can have in their fingers anything. Everything.

I mean, honestly. For some reason textbooks that are a hundred years old get burnt instead of preserved, when having hundred year old textbooks lets us look into the minds and cultures of people a hundred years ago. What is wrong with us?


I don’t know how to nominate eleven people. I’m not sure I know eleven people. But I know I have at least eleven blogs following my own, so any of you out there that want to give it a whirl, come and give it a whirl. The dark side has cookies!

Let me know if you do though, so I can come read your wonderful answers and also put you in this nomination section.


1: What inspires you to do what you do? A person, a place, a thing?

2: What one place in the world do you want to go, and why?

3: Favorite color? And they all count.

4: What’s something you absolutely love to see in things you read/watch/listen?

5: Last year, did you think you’d be where you are today?

6: Did/do you play games? If so, what’s your favorite?

7: How much wood could a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

8: Quick, word association! What comes to mind when I say campfire?

9: There are trillions on trillions of stars in the sky; have you ever made a wish on one?

10: Who’s your favorite superhero/superherione?

11: Where is Carmen Sandiego?


Have fun! See you on the flip side!

–Natasha

Twitter | Tumblr | NaNo Page | Ao3 | Buy Me a Coffee

Weekly Writing Prompt Response: 8/7-8/15 (2016)

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Amanda‘s prompt this week is a song of perfection. It’s soft, and haunting, with a story all on it’s own. We’re not gonna talk about my affection for the song, or the singer, or the people playing the music, and we’re definitely not gonna talk about why my own prompt lists have died since I started using Amanda’s. Shhh.

But I do definitely love this song. I’ve a fear though; this is the second music-based prompt Amanda’s thrown out, and if this is gonna become a thing, I really do need to start paying more attention to the music I listen to!

I think the first time I ever heard this song, I was actually watching a Dead Space music video. For those of you lucky enough not to know what Dead Space is, it’s an alien zombie horror game, and you should probably not touch it. Save yourself.

That said, this is not a filled prompt for Dead Space. This is for my ever-present and ever-growing addiction, Fallout. You’re welcome. Cross-posted on my Ao3.


What a Wonderful World

There were bodies everywhere. Artem picked his way through the battlefield, thankful for the cool bite of fall turning to winter, the slow-growing snow. He had been in the field long enough to know the stench of the dead and dying, long enough to know how much difference the temperature made for the senses and for life. Heat would make bodies fester and rot all the quicker, while cold slowed decay and thereby desiccation.

Heat also made people die faster. But the cold… Artem had hope, vague as it was. He checked each body he came across, registering his versus theirs. Many of the casualties were his own.

He wasn’t sure how he had been left behind. It didn’t matter. His people would come back for him when they figured out he was missing. Or they wouldn’t. He would worry about that later.

American, American, American, Russian. They had been good; two to one, at least. His company was robust enough the few that they had lost would not matter much. Someone would come back to take names for families back home. Artem would join them when they did.

It wasn’t the first time he had been in a battlefield, but it was the first time it had been so quiet, so still.

He checked bodies. No breath, no rise and fall of the chest. Blood turned to ice on uniforms. He didn’t know any of them; he hadn’t been with this unit long. Snow crunched beneath his boots. Snow fell quicker, temperature dropping like a stone–

Someone moved. Artem felt his attention snap to them, moving forward to check.

He was handsome, in a way; dark hair and pale skin, made paler in the snow and uniform. His eyes were as blue as the sky, gaze distant Still breathing, though shallow; a bullet tore clean through him. Asian, though in American garb. He searched for a rank and found it missing, likely torn off and dropped to the ground in the confusion, deliberate. But he was alive.

Artem looked up, hunting for his own people. The snow was coming down heavy now, filling in his own tracks from moments ago in heartbeats.

Snowblind. A blizzard.

Artem scowled. Russian winter had come already, too soon and inopportune. But he knew where there was a good place to hunker down and wait it out. He had grown up in these woods, and he knew them very well. He would keep himself and the American alive until his people came back for him, and when they did, he would have information for them. Or a prisoner, either one.


That’s it for this week’s prompt, methinks. Lets see who else did it, yeah? If you do the prompt, let me know! I’ll link you here!

Responses:
Kayla’s | Amanda’s

-Natasha

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Book Review: Open Season by C.J. Box

Reviews1

Open Season by C.J. Box
Finished Reading: 7/31/16
Review Date: 7/31/16
Format: Paperback, Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition, May 2002

I forget when I started this book. The beginning of the month, maybe? And I have to admit, I didn’t have a lot of hope for it. Mystery books are hard for me to get into, especially the ones with the slow build-up and thousands of little details, little plot lines. I have trouble picking out the important details, sometimes, and the ones that need to be discarded. I get easily frustrated.

Add into the fact that I don’t know much about Game Wardens, and I had even less hope following along.

I suppose I shouldn’t have worried.

Open Season does start out a bit slow, setting up the groundwork for the book and introducing you to the character, making you care for him and his family, his job. Joe Pickett’s a nice guy, trying to do the right thing by his family and the occupation that he loves. That makes you able to relate to him. At every turn you stop and ask yourself, what would you have done different? Would you have felt different at all?

See, here’s the thing. There’s a conspiracy in Saddlestring, where Joe Pickett makes his home. It’s woven it’s web all around him, and he figures out it’s there, a little at a time. You get to put it together with him. There are no extra details for the reader that Pickett doesn’t get first, but if you squint and soak in those details first, maybe you can figure out the riddle before he does. Like the synopsis says: it’s a race to unravel the mystery that threatens the life of his family. Turns out, conspiracies like this don’t stop at collateral damage.

I have to hand it to Box; everyone in this book is well-rounded, nicely fleshed out, and very real. The characterization is great, and I feel like the research is going to be spot-on if I ever go and poke at it myself. (I’m thinking about it. There’s nothing I like more than the little details.) The mystery is very organic as well, springing from realistic motivations  and human nature at it’s finest.

It’s more than nice to see the fine drawing line that makes humans different from animals, and how far people are willing to cross that line, and why. I’ll definitely be reading more novels by this author, and hopefully I can get my hands on the rest of the Joe Pickett series as well.

–Natasha

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