Xalapa!

Oct. 20th, 2017 08:31 pm
al_zorra: (Default)
[personal profile] al_zorra
      . . . . I've finally gotten it straight, probably because we are on the ground here We are in the state of Veracruz, in its capital, Xalapa.  This is not the port city of Veracruz, which is on the Gulf Coast, about an hour and a half away by car.  Xalapa also functions as kind of the equivalent of the Xalapa county seat: the muncipality government, which isn't the same as 'municiple'.




It is also the university town -- 20,000 students enrolled in Veracruz.  So government and students are its chief economy (and agriculture!) -- very like Austin, TX.  It also has three connected lakes, that to unknowing eyes appear to be a river, as does Austin.


But this is very Spanish, as the non-indigenous settlement began in 1519 with the arrival of Hernán Cortés, most definitely not Tex-Mex.  The city twists and winds, goes up, and goes down along steep grades.  Only the most dedicated here bicycle.


We came from Mexico City yesterday, via the Ardos bus line's Platinum (Platino) bus service.  The steps up to the coach, like the coach floor itself, is of polished wood.  There is enormous leg room.  The seats are double or single. The seats recline.  The footrests are adjustable from high to low.  The wifi is free, if one signs in with fb, linked in or twitter.  The movies, etc. are also free, and one does not need to sign in with anything.  One can charge all ones devices right there as well.  A lunch is provided.  The coach was filled up, but it felt otherwise, there is so much room.  Excellent, since the trip was 4 1/2 hours, of which most of it felt as though attempt to escape Mexico City.


I read Diana Gabaldon's Voyager, but mostly looked out the window.  The state of Veracruz is endlessly varied: volcanic mountains rising abruptly from the plains and valleys, forests, farming of all kinds from corn (lots of corn) to produce and fruit.  Lots of horses, cattle and even sheep.  The mountains are very high. It was like flying, one's ears were constantly stopping up and unplugging.

We were met at the station by Patriciá (how she pronounces it), a student who first studied architecture, graduated and started law school, and now is in the arts.  She decided she wanted art, not law, not architecture.  She's smart and nice, and our faciliator.


We're staying in the lovely and well-located Clara Luna Hotel, which has been refurbished and renovated to hark back to its heyday -- Mexico, the Caribbean's and South American's heyday, the 1930's and 1940's.  This was the musicians' hotel back then, so there is a lot of that sort of memorabilia but its integrated into the decor and furnishings, not something to look at.  Out room is huge and the bed is very comfortable.  This is good as we need to sleep a lot because we are still quite high above sea level, and our sea level systems are not used to this, particularly with all the going long stretches down steep grades and up steep grades.


The food is as wonderful as expected.

 

Luis Mario Moncada

And, now the most important thing.  We have been to a rehearsal of The American Slave Coast with the director, Luis Mario Moncada, who is Mexico's most respected adapter of English into Spanish language productions, as well as her most famous director.  His theater group is the oldest in modern Mexico, founded back in the 19th century.  He's on the faculty here, and the theater group's home is here, when not on tour.

 

Part of this morning's university's route to the rehearsal.

It is wonderful what they have done with Slave Coast.  We couldn't be more pleased and TASC couldn't be better served.  The actress who reads the letter from enslaved Virginia Boyd to the slave trader who is sending her and her pregnancy to Texas to be sold does it (in Spanish) with grace, pathos and just tears the heart out of one's body.

 

 

Everyone is so nice to us!  It's embarrassing as we're aware at all times of how intensely mean, nasty and contemptuously the USA is treating Mexico and Mexicans.  Paul Krugman gave a lecture in Mexico City the night we arrived (that was only Wednesday, two days ago!), which, hugely attended, got written up in all the media.  The gist, that all the newspapers (real newspapers and books are everywhere visible in Mexico!) stressed, of what Krugman said was -- very roughly translated:


The system of the US was designed by men who assumed that it would only be in the charge of sane men.  If someone was elected who turned out to be mad or a criminal, he would be impeached.  Thus the system would survive.  However, the system cannot survive a madman when all the powers of wealth and politics are being served by the madman.


After the rehearsal, and then lunch (4:30 PM, was lunch) Ned and I went back to what is one of the main shopping districts.  He bought and Italian suit for less than $300 in US money.  This morning we got the news a check is waiting for us back in the US, the last installment of our share of the profit for investing in the items from Morocco that DH brought back last year.  So a suit, that is altered in the shop for trouser length, etc. for less than $300 -- and gorgeous – El V looks so good in it! -- seems about right.   


El V would never have gotten it though, if I wasn't with him.  He picked out trousers first, that I thought were not of the quality he should be getting.  The young sales person was terrific, he kept bringing jackets.  I’d say the jacket, though very nice, its fabric didn’t harmonize with the fabric of the pants.  In the end we got a suit!  About damned time!


I'm skipping the music tonight.  Lunch was so late, I doubt I'll be hungry for dinner, which comes after the music, which will be around 10 PM, but maybe I'll join them.  This is all so Spanish -- and  different from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the DR, or the French Caribbean or even New Mexico.  But it isn't Spanish either, not quite -- it's Mexican, and one can see and feel it, though the differences are subtle and I haven't been here long enough to understand in any kind of detail.


I'm fortunate and privileged to have this experience, even as difficult as the last few days of getting ready and traveling have been.  For people with our infirmities mixed into the TSA regs and the airlines' determination to make it as ugly for the average person as possible, and then the wreckage of urban sprawl and traffic to get to and out of the airports, it is increasingly difficult but we're always treated so well when we arrive, and we learn and experience so much.


I'm still running at least 24 hours behind, in attempting to process and remember everything since arriving in Mexico.  It's a lot -- for one thing, it just suffered a terrible earthquake, and I don't forget that.  Here in Xalapa, they had weeks and weeks of rain and flooding -- then a hurricane.


This end of summer has been awful for so many.  Hopefully things finally may settle some for a while -- at least weather-wise . . . .

copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
So, it used to be that we hadn’t upgraded to Windows 10 because our IT department hadn’t cleared it as “secure” enough (it’s not that it wasn’t secure, it just hadn’t gone through the security affirmation process). Now apparently it is, since they upgraded me to 10. I’ve never really had 10; I decided not to upgrade my personal laptop, though for a while the laptop I used for travel had it. 

I know this is just me getting older, but I am weirdly suspicious not of Windows 10 as a system but of the Windows 10 aesthetic. Everything is too smooth and square. Things that should be rounded are pointy and things that should be pointy are rounded. Everything is well-animated and in soothing pastel greys. 

I come from an era where computers weren’t even MEANT to be soothing, where it was just accepted that they would challenge you visually as well as implicitly. And I’m not saying we should go back to a Windows 3.0 aesthetic or anything, I don’t want computers to be difficult, I’m just saying. It’s…

It’s quiet. Too quiet. 

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happy music

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:32 pm
yhlee: Texas bluebonnet (text: same). (TX bluebonnet (photo: snc2006 on sxc.hu))
[personal profile] yhlee
Because today has been a Day for uninteresting reasons, I present to you a song that makes me happy: Anne Murray's "I Just Fall in Love Again" [Youtube].

(I'm Texan. I grew up on country, okay? ^_^)

Feel free to link to Youtube versions of songs that make you happy! I expect yours are less mushy than mine. ^_^

Plugin Problems

Oct. 19th, 2017 07:06 pm
jimhines: (Shego - Facepalm)
[personal profile] jimhines
My Journalpress plugin is no longer posting things to Dreamwidth. I've seen reports that this is due to a change Dreamwidth made in their site security or configuration, but I'm not sure.

I'll be looking for solutions, but in the meantime, you can always find everything on the website at http://www.jimchines.com/blog/
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
So, I think someone high up in management at my institution got hacked last year or something, since in the past year we have developed some serious paranoia regarding data security. Not to say that data security isn’t important or that I dislike the changes, I think they are for the most part sensible, but we went from like, zero to Steranko-System-in-Leverage in the course of a month or two. 

The latest development is a mysterious edict that we all have to leave our computers at work but logged out tonight so that they can “encrypt” our computers somehow – I assume it’s some kind of software they’re going to install, but there’s been a dearth of information over what exactly this Encryption Of Computers entails. Furthermore, I was told that my computer is incompatible with encryption (loose lips sink ships, laptop!) so it will have to be wiped completely and upgraded. Which I’m fine with, all my work is on a network drive anyway and I just had to remember to move a few files. 

But my laptop apparently heard them and knows it’s being wiped. Yesterday the flash stopped working and today my Outlook has decided to neither send nor receive any email. Additionally, a retail clothing website just broke Firefox so hard it no longer allows me to log into anything. 

What I’m saying is that this laptop is going down swinging, and I kind of admire its fighting spirit, but goddamn, could it not have waited until the end of the workday so I wouldn’t have to use Microsoft Webmail to do the last two hours of business today. 

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My long-delayed trip

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:12 am
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Two years ago, I meant to go to Japan in November. And then I had the most horrible two years of my entire life, and the trip was shelved.

I'm going to Japan in November! I'll be there for two weeks, divided between Tokyo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka. The last is a city further south than I've been before, with some very pretty day trips.

I'm going to use AirBnb, which I also haven't used before, but it looks pretty great. I have two lovely apartments all to myself for cheaper than a hotel room would be, and one room in a house with a lady who cooks breakfast, has a friendly toy poodle named Piccolo, and says understatedly, "I am a former hotelier who worked in the five star hotel. I think I can assist you well during your stay."

Any of you done anything fun in Japan?

Enhanced, by Carrie Jones

Oct. 19th, 2017 08:14 am
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa
Review copy provided by Tor Books.

This is the sequel to last year's charming Flying. It's not a bad book, but it highlights the perils of sequels rather clearly. Flying has a clear emotional arc and core: Mana is figuring out what the heck is going on with aliens and enhanced humans and her place in the world, but her relationship with her mother and her friends is rock solid. In Enhanced, the central mystery is far smaller in scale. The basic facts of the world are known and we're down to figuring out the details. Mana's mother is out of commission, and her relationship with her friends is shaky for most of it.

Possibly worse, her combination of cheerleader and superpowered (enhanced, as in the title) individual really doesn't get a chance to shine for a full three-quarters of the book. Mana is scared, uncertain, and on the defensive--which is fine, but it's less fun to read about than Mana discovering, exploring, and kicking butt.

There are some new aliens, some new government agencies, some new developments in the world. But in general this feels like a little more of the same but less so. A de-escalation in some senses, a holding pattern. I still believe that Jones has somewhere to take Mana and her pals Seppie and Lyle, and this book is a fast read to get to the next step, but...we're not at the next step yet, and I don't really feel closer.

Please consider using our link to buy Enhanced from Amazon. Or Flying.

Books read, early October

Oct. 19th, 2017 07:54 am
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa
Elizabeth Bear, The Stone in the Skull. Discussed elsewhere.

Sean B. Carroll, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. Evo devo is, generally speaking, bullshit, but Carroll is someone I heard at Nobel Conference, and he goes beyond Just So Stories; he is a good egg. And he talked in general in this volume, stuff that one could find anywhere and probably already knew if one had the slightest interest, but then also about insect wing patterns, and the insect wing pattern stuff was interesting, so basically: skim to get to the insect wings.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance. Kindle. I had had such smashing success with 19th century novels lately! (Oh my Middlemarch.) And this one is set in a Fourierist phalanx and I thought, brilliant, lovely, let's do that then, perhaps I love Hawthorne now too! Oh. Oh neighbors. No. No not so much. Poor Mr. Hawthorne. I read all the many many pages of Middlemarch, and North and South and Framley Parsonage and so on, and never once did I think, well, poor lamb, I suppose you can't help it, it's like being born before antibiotics. And yet with The Blithedale Romance I caught myself thinking that on nearly every page. Because it was the only way through, the other alternative was to shake him until his teeth rattled and send him to bed without supper, two punishments that would not occur to me without 19th century novelists, thank you my dear Louisa. So: he goes on at great length about how men have no tenderness really, and there is a bunch of maundering stuff about women's work and the purity of women and how bachelors have to obsess about whether the women around them have known marriage before (hint: nope, obsessing on this topic is completely optional), there is a Dreadful Secret, he abandons all interest in the Fourierist phalanx except as background noise...oh Hawthorne. Oh Hawthorne no.

Ursula K. LeGuin, Searoad. Reread. I first read this when I lived in Oregon. I keep learning things about characterization from it, how she creates a seaside town one person at a time, how the stories link and twine and inform each other. This time, thanks to a conversation I'm having with Marie Brennan, I thought about how differently it would read if the stories were in a different order, how a character is shown novelistically though the structure looks like short stories.

Carter Meland, Stories for a Lost Child. This is a literary science fiction novel in an Anishinaabe tradition; the way that Meland uses the rhythms and patterning of language are not at all the same as the way Gerald Vizenor does in Treaty Shirts, and having more than one is really nice, I want more, yay. Stories for a Lost Child goes forward and backward in time, contemporary teenagers trying to figure things out, a grandfather writing with stories previously barely dreamed of, a space program, past pure water, all sorts of elements that fold together.

Mary Szybist, Incarnadine. This is a poetry collection focused--not in a religious-inspirational way, in a literary way--on the Annunciation. The image, the idea of the Annunciation threads through these poems, beautifully. They are beautiful poems. I was beginning to worry that they were all going to be beautiful poems and none of them were going to be heart-touching for me--that I was going to nod along and say, yes, beautiful, well done, but never, oh, oh, would you look at THIS one--and then, and then there was Here There Are Blueberries, so: oh. Would you look at THIS one.

Carrie Vaughn, Bannerless. I had previously enjoyed some of Vaughn's short stories but not really been the target audience for the Kitty books, so I was really excited at what a complete departure this is. It's a police procedural of sorts, with flashbacks to the (sorta) cop's young adulthood. It's also a post-apocalyptic novel, with a catastrophe that has led people to seriously consider their resource usage. And it's also a relationship story that, because of flashback structure, allows the protagonist to grow past her teenage relationship, to change and be an adult. For a short novel, there's a lot going on, and it all fits together and wraps itself up by the end. Pleased.

Reading Wednesday

Oct. 18th, 2017 09:35 pm
muccamukk: Jeff standing in the dark, face half shadowed. (B5: All Alone in the Night)
[personal profile] muccamukk
What I Just Finished Reading
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, narrated by Caroline Lee
Very enjoyable mystery/gothic history novel largely set in the 1920s. (I feel like Julien Fallows probably owes Morton money). I liked how the storylines intertwined and how each person's interest in the history changed how they saw it. The love triangle at the centre was probably the least interesting aspect, and I wish the story had had more focus on Grace, as the sections without her dragged a bit. Will read more by this author, in any case.

Bearista by Zoe Chant
Does what it says on the tin, though I could have used more coffeeshop UST, as those scenes were a highlight. However the main couple had great chemistry, and I liked how the heroine was strong, interesting and useful in a fight without being an action girl. Zoe is really good at heroines that feel real.
(I hope there's a sequel about Keegan and maybe a carpenter lady.)

A Long Day in Lychford (Lychford #3) by Paul Cornell
I really liked the emotion in this book, and how the characters were at odds for good reason. The feelings were very well conveyed, especially Lizzie's inability to connect with the other two. However, it felt a bit short to deal with all the themes it was trying to get in, and a lot of plot threads didn't feel resolved at all. Presumably they will be in the next one, but I wasn't left feeling like I'd read a whole story as I was with the first two. (Unless the fragmentation was itself a meta point.)

The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky
I mean, it's a book in which the main character (and most of the other characters) dies repeatedly and often horribly, but it's just really pretty okay! I don't know what to say past wow, shiny about the writing and the structure and the themes, and it's just really meaningful! I want to learn German so I can read it in German.

What I'm Reading Now
Audio: In the middle of a Station Eleven reread, as I've been thinking about it recently. Still really good!

Paper: Theoretically, Beren and Lúthien, practically, not much.

What I'm Reading Next
Library book, probably Black Apple as it's due next.
momijizukamori: (tits against the rte)
[personal profile] momijizukamori
As mentioned previously, code for the Slack-Python edition of Random Word Hell. I already have requests to add more trigger syntax, and I want to integrate data serialization of some variety (probably Pickle) so that data is preserved even if you have to restart it.

Also got a good chunk of basic DW API stuff written over the weekend but bluh bluh testing, etc.

Your confusion confuses me

Oct. 18th, 2017 10:11 pm
lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
[personal profile] lizvogel
Similar to something I posted about previously, but it's a concept worth revisiting. Yeah, I don't get how writers could get their characters mixed up, either. I mean, I'm not likely to mistake Kerr Avon for Jack O'Neill, now am I? And I know a great deal more about my own characters.

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 06:30 pm
fadeaccompli: (risky)
[personal profile] fadeaccompli
The last time I posted here, it was about heading back to Minneapolis.

You may gather from the long silence that the semester has been damn near crushing with the workload. I'm tired all the time, and stressed quite a lot. Greek is very hard, Latin is challenging but mostly just a lot to do, the comp lit class has difficult reading (which is at least in English), and teaching Latin...

...well, I actually love teaching Latin. But needing to be chipper and focused and performing in front of the class at 8am five days a week, then grading and handling emails each of those five days as well, plus meetings with my supervisor and so forth, does rather add to the workload.

I'm not getting nearly as much writing done as I'd like. By a long shot.

Very tired.

In other news... Um. I dunno. I read various good books, mostly in snippets every morning on the bus (woo, ebooks on phone): The Stone in the Skull, Provenance, The Nightmare Stacks, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, Ruin of Angels, probably a few others I've been forgetting. Continuing to enjoy Squirrel Girl. Really got into The Good Place. Went to a great picnic at Hidden Falls Park. (The falls were indeed hidden, but not well enough to keep me away.) Got to see Rob again for a week. Walked the dog many times. Bought some new (used) shoes. Learned to gel my hair in place against the difficulties of bike-riding, speaking of which, started using the bikeshare program here. Stocked a shelf at the office with pudding cups and apples and trail mix for all the nights I've been staying until 7 to get things done. Had a lot of fun conversations about grocery stores and high school graduation rituals and dogs with my Norwegian law school flatmate.

Very tired.

Gosh, I'm so very tired.

I should stop typing this and stagger home to eat something slow-cooked, and walk the dog, and then translate Latin until it's time for sleep.

re:

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:30 pm
watersword: A empty box with the words "but I, alas, do not know how to see sheep through the walls of boxes" from Le petit prince (Writing: sheep through the walls of boxe)
[personal profile] watersword
this excellent post from [personal profile] rosefox's [syndicated profile] story_hospital_feed — does anyone have thoughts on what warmup exercises for writers might look like? I've encountered the concept, but not at length.

Queryitis Relapse!

Oct. 17th, 2017 09:56 pm
lizvogel: What is this work of which you speak? (Cat on briefcase.) (Work)
[personal profile] lizvogel
I sent two queries today!

ETA: Make that three! Three queries!

*PRIMAL SCREAM*

Oct. 17th, 2017 05:50 pm
yhlee: red and black tentacle heart pendant (tentacle heart)
[personal profile] yhlee
So Joe was at D.C. as a LIGO Livingston representative for the press conference on neutron stars gravity waves blah blah and just came home but that's not the part that's making me scream.

He stayed at a hotel four blocks from the White House, which is also not the part that's making me scream.

No: his hotel was ONE BLOCK away from a fountain pen store (Fahrney's) AND HE DIDN'T BUY ME ANYTHING AND BRING IT HOME AS A YOON-OFFERING.

I wasn't expecting him to buy me a fountain pen! (Among other things, Joe has not the faintest clue about fountain pens, let alone what I like.) But he could have bought me a bottle of ink! They would have had ink. And ink is relatively affordable.

*weeps*

Next time he goes to D.C. I'M COMING WITH.

I have informed him that my favorite colors are red and blue. I mean, I like a lot of colors, but this is Joe. He is confused by stationery supplies, so I want to keep it simple for him. He's only an astrophysics Ph.D, not expected to understand things like ink colors. ;)

I MAY BE BITTER.

(He read this over my shoulder then laughed at me. *shakes tiny fist* CURSE YOU, MY BELOVED JOE. CURSE YOU VERY MUCH. Imagine this said in the tone of Batman in the LEGO Batman Movie when he says, "I...hate you.")

In the meantime, I backed the Marigold Tarot (hat tip to [personal profile] pengwern) so I shouldn't complain. :p

Just About Gone

Oct. 17th, 2017 02:18 pm
al_zorra: (Default)
[personal profile] al_zorra
      . . . . I am all packed for tomorrow's flight and two weeks in Mexico, except for the jewelry choices and the make-up, which go into my carry-on / purse anyway.  I think I'm packed, anyway.  El V won't be able to do his until after dinner, after teaching his seminar all afternoon.




The inviters booked us into a boutique hotel in an excellent part of Mexico City (DF. Federal District, as it is now called in Mexico).  But by the time we arrive probably all we'll be able to do is eat and go to bed.  We leave the next day for Xalapa (Veracruz), where we are checked into what looks to be yet another very nice hotel
.

This is a new adventure -- so unlike Cuba -- wifi everywhere, They Tell Us.  But poor El V is exhausted.  Two flight to and from Cuba in less than two weeks, coming back and teaching immediately, not to mention all the other things he does! Now, Mexico a week after getting back the second time. I am going to do my best to get him to relax and sleep the first few days. He needs it. 

At least, for once, there isn't the anxiety to meet a short deadline as there always has been for years. We overnight in Mexico City. If the bus (which evidently is very nice -- nothing like a Greyhound) is slow or whatever to Veracruz, it doesn't matter. 

But this trip he isn't wrangling! He's not having to solve problems! He doesn't have to take care of anyone! We will be staying in one hotel room most of the time! I'll be with him so he won't be fretting about me! There won't be other people around all the time! We'll have Just Us time -- it feels like forever since that happened on a trip away -- we are always chasing one deadline for a gig after another, always on, always meeting people. 

In other words, this is really different from doing book tour trips
.

Mostly Links

Oct. 17th, 2017 08:44 am
muccamukk: Laura and Jubilee sitting together on a tree branch. Text: Sittin' in a tree. (Marvel: Sittin' in a Tree)
[personal profile] muccamukk
Bidding is open over at [community profile] fandomlovespuertorico.

[community profile] cap_ironman is accepting prompts for its holiday exchange community prompt pool. Read more here.

"Native-Land.ca: Our home on native land". Searchable map of North America's First Nations territories and pre-colonial histories. "There are over 630 different First Nations in Canada (and many more in the USA) and I am not sure of the right process to map territories, languages, and treaties respectfully - and I'm not even sure if it is possible to do respectfully. I am not at all sure about the right way to go about this project, so I would very much appreciate your input." (From [personal profile] umadoshi)

Death of a Modern Wolf by J.B. MacKinnon for Hakai Magazine
Once feared, vilified, and exterminated, the wolves of Vancouver Island face an entirely different threat: our fascination, our presence, and our selfies.

This wolf essay is really worth a read. I've worked with similar problems here (and know many of the people interviewed for the article), and it really frustrating and sad. Fortunately, our local animal has so far come to a happier ending.

(On a related note, I'll post the quiz answers this afternoon.)

gratitudes

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:02 am
watersword: Karen Gillan as Amelia Pond in season 5 of Doctor Who (Doctor Who: Amelia Pond)
[personal profile] watersword
1. I went to my mentor's memorial and it was awful in basically every way possible, but I showed up and that is important.
2. I got to see my sister and my best friend.
3. Cat-petting!
4. Asian pears at the CSA.
5. Tea.

Vallista, by Steven Brust

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:05 am
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa
Review copy provided by Tor Books. Additionally, the author has shown by his behavior that despite what I've said in previous review disclaimers about his books, he is absolutely no friend of mine.

However, quite often people who have made me sad, angry, and/or disgusted with their behavior write books that are too dreadfully written to bother to read, and this is not the case with Vallista. This is another entry in the Vlad Taltos series, and like the others it is not doing exactly the same things as its predecessors. It is expanding the universe of the series, it is messing with everything that has gone before and recasting it. It is definitely not an episodic "like this one, but more of it" entry in its series, and the trap-building nature of the vallista comes satisfyingly into play.

What was less satisfying for me this time around, and this may well come into reviewing the author rather than the book as I am trying not to do: everyone has tolerance limits on the First Person Asshole voice. It's no surprise that a substantial portion of a Vlad Taltos novel is written in First Person Asshole. Some people's tolerance is about a page and a half, some infinite; mine is, at this point fifteen books into the series, fraying. (I would also like it a lot if someone would write a study of how FPA voice shifts in a long series so that it always feels contemporary and therefore includes very mild contemporary phrasing that's almost but not quite invisible and ends up being the prose tic version of a long mystery series looking like it only spans two years and yet starting with the protagonist using pay phones and ending in them using smart phones. Someone who is not me should do that using several authors as reference. Thanks.) But Vallista also has, for very good plot-related spoilerific reasons, forays into other prose voices than that, which made it a lot easier to read just when some of the "look at me I'm clever" bits of narrative voice were not feeling quite as clever as hoped and had repeated the not-clever multiple times just to make sure you had a chance to not-laugh at it again. I liked...hard to describe for spoiler reasons...pieces of other prose voice, and the reasons why they were there.

There is quite a lot of Devera in this book. If you're here for serious forward momentum on ongoing plot arc and for Devera: here you go, this is the one you're looking for. Relationships among other characters in the series, a great deal less so, but there's a great deal of "can't have everything" going around in the world, inevitable that some of it would end up here.

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