Here’s what Tor.com says about “The Ugly Woman of Castello Di Putti,” which is live on the site today. (The lovely cover illustration is by Richard Anderson)
Returning to the world of Stormwrack where she set the Tor.com story “Among the Silvering Herd,” A.M. Dellamonica offers a new story that takes us deeper into this fascinating world, the setting of her new fantasy novel Child of a Hidden Sea.
The Fleet, integral to the governing of a world that is mostly water sprinkled with a number of islands, must deal with a unique form of magic, inscription, which is so subtle that its effects can sometimes only be known in retrospect. When a ship of the Fleet visits an island where scripping is common, the crew members of the sailing vessel Nightjar are at a disadvantage when faced with local matters of which they know little. Strangers on the shore, indeed, they may enjoy the local customs… but also may attract unwanted attention that could cost them more than embarrassment or money.
The Castello di Putti has a suggestive sound to it, but don’t be deceived. This is a story of civil strife, of culture shock, and ultimately of the risks and rewards of naval duty. Filled with Dellamonica’s fresh, inventive worldbuilding and the joie de vivre of a society in flux, it shows a side of Stormwrack very different from that presented in the previous tale.
Here’s the opening paragraph:
They had barely come ashore before the riot started.
Sindria, capital of Erinth, was a city of black marble and volcanic glass, a dark architectural foundation layered in color and light. Carved urns and stone window boxes built into the structures all burst with bougainvillea and daisies. Fruit trees nodded along the avenues, laden with oranges, lemons, and sun-burnished golden plums.
As they strode up from the landing, they passed a young couple, a fine-featured woman and handsome man, decked out in vivid fabrics, leaning on each other and sharing the support of a sturdy hardwood walker.
I am up to “Lies my Parents Told Me,” this week on Buffy. This leaves me with three S7 episodes left. It has been a lot of fun, but I’ll be glad to change gears a little, and write about some other things for awhile. Perhaps even books! Or other shows. I have been enjoying Black Sails very much, for example. Toby Stephens! Pirates! Adventure on the high seas!
This week’s rewatch covers “Storyteller,” which is the season seven Buffy episode where Andrew attempts to impose his own narrative on the killing of Jonathan Levinson, and Buffy eventually makes him cry. As he so richly deserves. Here’s my essay.
A number of the folks who comment on these columns directly (on the Tor.com site, I mean) have expressed the opinion that Andrew’s redemption arc would have made more sense and been more satisfying if it had been Jonathan’s–if he was the one who committed murder, and had to make up for it. I’m pretty much with them on this; I think Danny Strong is wonderful, and find Tom Lenk’s Andrew really hard to take.
That said, it’s a funny script in a season notable for its lack of jolly, and sometimes you just gotta take what you can get. Enjoy!
The latest Buffy Rewatch is up at Tor.com – it covers “Conversations with Dead People,” which I suspect you’ll all agree is one of the better S7 episodes.
I am at home cooking and working on the next Buffy essay (I’m on “Potential”) and I have my Schmaltz playlist on. The dictionary definition of schmaltzy is “excessively sentimental,” and I don’t know if all of my choices qualify, but I will admit, publicly, that Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You” is on it. Essentially they’re songs that make me feel sentimental.
So, I’m puttering around chopping veggies and the Eagles come on, with “New Kid in Town,” a song that’s been making me emo since the Seventies. And it occurred to me, in a distant way, that the lion’s share of my listening brain takes the one lyric: “Great expectations/everybody’s watching you,” literally. It’s as if in mid-song the narrator breaks off to personally address a Masterpiece Theater version of Great Expectations, to say “Hey, there. We’re tuning in. All of us. Just FYI.”
Yeah, so that happened.
Another thing that’s happened, as some of you may have heard, was that we got some freezing rain in Toronto. Here’s a picture:
This week’s rewatch is up to “Him,” the S7 episode where a magic coat makes an allegedly unremarkable young man graceful, attractive, and an all ’round tasty morsel.
Here in Toronto, we got a dumping of the white stuff: nineteen centimeters of snow, or so somebody told me. Kelly and I promptly went out and got proper boots. This should be, I think, the last of the official moving expenses. The boots are waterproof and toasty and pretty clompy, and I’ve done my usual stomping about in them for the past couple of days with satisfactory results. I’ve been taking pictures, and they’ll end up here as I continue to sift through them.