May 23rd, 2010


Black Blade Blues, by J. A. Pitts

Review copy provided by Tor.

One of the things I like about seeing more of a mythology I'm fond of is when an author does not feel the need to have every single story and every single figure in the entire mythology make cameos. Part of creativity is knowing what to leave out. Black Blade Blues does this admirably with Norse myth: the sword Gram yes, Niddhogg yes, Freyja no, Hel no. (Hel no! Sorry. Had to.)

It's the story of a modern-day blacksmith, Sarah Beauhall, and her girlfriend's family, an SCA fighting group with some secrets around the edges. There's a movie set and a couple of Jotuns named Ernie and Bert and various other things. And the action scenes are well worth the price of admission. The characterization gets a little heavy on telling-plus-showing sometimes, but I kind of think that's a first novel hitch that will ease out as Pitts gets more comfortable in this series--it's a series, right? I expect it's a series. There's an ending to this story, certainly, but there's room for it to be a series. Anyway, the dialog is more comfortable on the SCA/Valkyrie end of the story than on the modern end (contractions: they are our friends), but the forging and the fighting balance that out for sure.
good mris pic

The triumph of the Night Watch.

Gradually, so gradually, we make it less likely that visitors to the house will be killed and eaten, or at least less likely that they will be killed and eaten accidentally. Today my dad was a Hero of the Revolution and blunted his chainsaw in the service of same: the bushes that have been trying to devour guests since we moved in are gone, gone, gone. We're not sure what will go in their place, phlox or lilacs or a combination or something else completely. But markgritter is currently bundling the corpses of the bushes so that our yard waste removal will take them away tomorrow, and the peasants rejoiced.

(Also there will be less need for me to stamp my feet on the front step in the spring to convince ducks not to nest in our front bushes. I wouldn't mind except that the dog minds immensely and makes sure the rest of us know it, and also if you have ducks nesting in your front bushes, the raccoons who eat the duck eggs don't take them far enough away to do so, and then you have a nasty mess to clean up.)

And my mom continued with her Hero of the Revolution status by wrapping up the current portion of the Beige Eradication Project: before she went out to help Dad and markgritter with yard stuff, she put the last coat of paint on the front door. It had bubbled before, so she had to peel the paint off and start again. Metal doors: I don't recommend them. It looks gorgeous now. I am so pleased. Those of you who are keen on knowing exact paint colors, it's Behr's Night Watch. (timprov held up our copy of the Terry Pratchett novel of that title when we were trying to decide. That wasn't the only reason we picked it. But.) Very dark blue. Very lovely. I have to train my brain that that color does not mean that the door is open into night, but that is not the least bit of a problem.

Much of what's left for house project stuff is less all-consuming, or at least less conversation-consuming, so I should be able to get the house ready for our Memorial weekend visitors and should be able to talk about something else. So I suspect that should be a relief for those around me. Unless the something else is the very end of the Carter Hall draft, in which case possibly not such a relief.