Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blaggard’s Moon 2: Good Points

George Bryan Polivka’s Blaggard’s Moon has several good points:

Literacy. Find what's wrong with this sentence: "He was stopped by Lye Mogene's fist, which struck him squarely in the mouth." (p. 292) If you're properly educated, there's nothing at all wrong. If you've been perverted by writing gurus, you will probably consider it possessed by the passive voice and try to exorcise the demon by rewriting it as active ("Lye Mogene's fist stopped him, striking him squarely in the mouth."). Polivka's sentence is better, however, because it uses one of the several legitimate functions of the passive: delaying the logical subject. This is stronger than the active sentence and more elegant. Whether Polivka realizes that instinctively (i.e., he's a natural) or by analysis (i.e., he's smarter than 99% of the people in a critique group), he knows how to get the job done.

Structure. As I mentioned yesterday, Polivka has four concurrent stories in the book. It takes a lot of skill to weave that many strands without annoying the reader. As a writer, of course I knew what he was doing, but it still didn't bother me.

Realism where it's needed. One of the reasons I avoid pirate stories is that they tend to romanticize pirates. Not here. Just when you're warming up to a pirate character, he'll commit some atrocity and remind you that pirates are evil.

Geek factor. I always prefer a story I can learn from. Blaggard's Moon is educational without any major info dumps, and Damrick Fellows is more a thinker than a fighter. I have characters very like him.

Sneaky theology. As I read, I found myself wondering whether there was a Christian element. There is. But it doesn't really assert itself until you're well into the story, and even then it isn't that obtrusive. The stated theology is good, on the whole.

Are there negatives? Of course. Do they offset the positives? Tune in tomorrow and see. In the meantime, check out the rest of the CSFF blog tour:

Brandon Barr
Jennifer Bogart
Keanan Brand
Melissa Carswell
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Alex Field
Marcus Goodyear
Todd Michael Greene
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespack
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Jill Williamson

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