Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Never Ceese 4: Superheroes of the Roundtable Discussion

Uncle: The cast members of The League of Superheroes have been called in to discuss Sue Dent's Never Ceese. For the record, though it doesn't matter currently, this is set during Genie At Large, the follow-up to LoS.
Rod/Titan: These discussions always are. It's amazing how many books we can read in about a week.
Genie: While I could have read it easily in a few minutes even without much time compression, there was no need: since Steve has read it, we effectively have done so as well. Likewise, we can have an infinite number of discussions like this because we are operating outside of our own timeline.
Rod/Titan: Too metaphysical for me.
Genie: Nonsense. The concept is similar to some thought experiments in quantum physics, such as those involving parallel universes.
Rod/Titan: They aren't the same thing.
Genie: I never said they were. "Similar" and "identical" are only similar, not identical.
Uncle: Returning to Never Ceese, I found the story engaging, but I can't vouch for its religious content.
Rod/Titan: I thought it was okay, but there was some weird stuff, like the ending, where SPOILER CENSORED.
Hey! No fair censoring that!
Uncle: We're trying to avoid spoilers.
Rod/Titan: Well, if you're going to censor me anyway, why should I bother?
Allen/Tachyon: Wow! If Rod shuts up, the rest of us get twice as many lines! It's almost like being in a state of grace!
Clarice/Goodcheer: I'll tell Mom you said that.
Allen/Tachyon: She'd agree. But she'd also yell at me. Anyway, the tall, silent type has a point: for me the ending was the weakest part. The story builds okay, and it really shifts into high gear when Ceese and Richard come to America, but the ending bugged me.
Uncle: Why? I admit a little disquiet there, but I'm trying to leave this to you.
Allen/Tachyon: And I'll leave it to Tom. He's the one with the lit major dad.
Tom/Darklight: I think Dad only let me read this as a prelude to a theological discussion. He does that.
Rod/Titan: And we get caught in the fallout too.
Allen/Tachyon: I thought you were shutting up.
Rod/Titan: And I thought you were just a hallucination of mine, so we're both disappointed.
Tom/Darklight: Anyway, for me the problem was that the epilog is out of sequence: it includes at least one scene that should have come a chapter or two earlier. Then there's the point Rod tried to mention, the one where two people who shouldn't even be around have a discussion, but I'm not going to get bleeped by going further.
Uncle: What about you, Micromegas?
Charlie/Micromegas: I thought it was sad. We do tend to take the long way around, and they could've solved their problems far more easily just by taking them to God. He's stronger than any curse. But it was realistic that they blew off the easy way.
Uncle: Goodcheer?
Clarice/Goodcheer: Mom and Dad said it was a bit old for me, so I didn't read it. But Genie did.
Genie: I have no known parents, and Uncle didn't forbid me to read it. On the other hand, fantasy is not my preferred genre. I like things that are self-consistent.
Tom/Darklight: You like the Chronicles of Narnia.
Genie: That's different. They're beautiful.
Charlie/Micromegas: It's because of Aslan, Genie. You can meet the One he's based on, you know, and he is even better than the Lion.
Genie: It is my nature to believe only in verifiable data. Perhaps that's my curse.
Charlie/Micromegas: It's a common curse to claim. I just hope you don't take the long way around like Ceese and Richard.
Uncle: The matter of the curse is important, and it leads me to an observation: there is something missing in Never Ceese, but none of you mentioned it. So tomorrow we shall call in some experts from outside our series and see what they think.

Other participating blogs:
The Christian Fiction Review Blog
A Frank Review
Susan Kirkland
Melissa Meeks @ Bibliophile's Retreat
Geralyn Beauchamp @ The Time Mistress
Cathi Hassan @ Cathi's Chatter
Caprice Hokstad @ Queen of Convolution


Caprice Hokstad said...

I pass my crown to Steve this month. How's it feel to be King of Convolution?

Sue Dent said...

Ceese: What do you make of this, Richard.

Richard shrugging: There having a little discussion.

Ceese: Some of them haven't even read the book and say so.

Richard: They're just characters, Ceese. They're opinions of Mr. Rice the owner of this blog.

Ceese with a surprised look: Did he read the book?

Richard: Now Ceese, everyone's entitled to their opinion. I'm sure Mr. Rice will have more lovely things to say about our fanatastic and well-written story later.

Ceese shaking her head: How can you be so optimistic? He doesn't even seem to like the parts of the story that so many have raved about. I thought a book tour was supposed to be more positive.

Richard: Ceese. Sue and Steve are friends--

Ceese: With friends like that--

Richard: Ceese!

Ceese: I'm just saying. This is Sue's first book and it's done amazing things. Grand reviews are still coming in.

Richard losing some of his optimisim: I know. It does seem a bit heavy-handed what with all the accolades but let's give him a chance shall we.

Ceese crossing arms: Fine! But only because you say we should.

Ceese, a moment later: Do you suppose Mrs. Rowling went through this? You know, before she really took off.

Richard smiling: Oh, I'm sure of it. Not to worry. Everything will be fine. Nothing can undo a good story.

Steve said...

I'll admit to some puzzlement. I'm not convoluting anything; I'm attempting to rationalize something already convoluted. There's a difference.

“What’s happening? I feel so confused...”
“True Light did not confuse you, Ted; it unconfused you—and that is what confused you.”
The Changelings

Steve said...

Puzzlement, Part II:
From the logical definition of "some" (= one or more), "some" of the League, namely Clarice, didn't read it. The rest did read it, and I certainly did so. I also mentioned many of these points in Shoutmail exchanges with Sue Dent several months ago.

As to positives and negatives, I do both. I've consistently mentioned that the writing is good and the story works well in terms of craft. As to negatives, it's reasonable to let prospective readers know what they're in for.

It's my personal curse to always ask why and how: I can't turn off my brain and use the Force.

One problem in writing this is that the major questions I encountered occur late in the story, so it's difficult to discuss them without resorting to spoilers, which I try to avoid.

Sue Dent said...

Oh, my! Richard and Ceese have done gone and got Steve puzzled! I shall have to go and speak with them. Oh, wait. Here they are now.

Ceese looking to Richard: But I thought it was okay to share opinions when others were doing it.

Richard: Not necessarily. It's not quite as simple as that sometimes. Besides, I told you Mr. Rice and Sue were friends.

Ceese shaking head: Well, Sue is way more tolerant than I am. I just remember what Mother always told us and Father too. If you can't say something nice--

Richard: --Ceese! This is an open discussion where Mr. Rice is explaining to those who visit his blog his opinons on something he read and I think you should just accept that and move along.

Ceese grumbling: You know I'm not very good at that.

Richard: Nevertheless.

Ceese: Oh, all right.

Frank Creed said...

Calamity Kid: Well, what do you make of this exchange?
e-girl: You're asking my opinion? That's a novel experience; the great CK usually foists his opinion on—
CK: Yeah, yeah yeah. So, whadda ya think? Were they too tough on Ms Dent?
e-girl: You mean amongst all the bickering? These guys are as bad as we are.
CK: I do not bicker.
e-girl: Whatever, CK.
CK: Listen, you're a teenager, and likely can't follow—
Mavis: Listen, you two twerps. Put a lid on it.
CK and e-girl: Yes, ma'am.
Mavis: Mr. Rice is speaking through his characters. He is providing a literary and theological analysis. It is wise to pay close attention to him. You might learn something, although in CK's case, I wonder if that is possible.
e-girl: See, CK? Told you.
Mavis: And besides, he makes Mom giggle and laugh.
CK: Like that's a stretch.
e-girl: I'm telling.
CK: Oooh, I'm—
Mavis: Knock it off. Have either of you two read the book?
e-girl: I did, I did. It was fun.
CK: That's cuz you're a teenager and—
e-girl: —and precisely who Ms Dent wrote the book for, you self-important git.
Mavis: That's just the point. Different readers will take away differing messages and depending on their experiences, will find points, in any book, that may confound them. An author must be able to discuss these points.
CK: Like Creed did with David Brollier?
e-girl: . . . and with Mr. Rice?
Mavis: Precisely. Now that we have that established, do you want to know what Mom's favourite part of the exchange was?
CK and e-girl: No.
Mavis: Tough. Inquiring minds do want to know and without commentary from the peanut gallery. Don't make me slip into my Bat-Bébé . . . argghh, yack, yack . . . sorry, hair. . . ball . . .yack . . . alert . . .
Cyn: Bébé? Bébé? Are you okay? Ewww, Bébé that's nasty; yuck—

TWCP Authors said...

For the inquiring minds:

Allen/Tachyon: I thought you were shutting up.

Rod/Titan: And I thought you were just a hallucination of mine, so we're both disappointed.

My favourite lines.

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