Today was the day after I had a major writing packet due for my Master’s program and like so many such days, I’m kind of coasting on my writing today – I’ve done a bit of minor revision work today but nothing really all that exciting. Mostly, today’s been a day to deal with the rest of my life – particularly roller derby, since I picked up a spare mouth guard and my Debu-Taunts t-shirt today, and started the process of shopping for a new pair of plates to replace the not-terrible-but-kind-of-mediocre nylon ones that tend to come with new beginner skates (it’s totally understandable).
I’m going to try very hard not to convert this blog into another place for me to blather about DERBYDERBYDERBYDERBYDERBY, but it strikes me that realistically speaking, roller derby is simply a good form of physical exercise for me. It’s a competitive sport (competition has always been something that motivates me) that rewards a wide variety of body types and is widely accepting of all women who want to come and try out.
On my day off, I read A Call to Duty, the first novel in the Manticore Ascendant series by Timothy Zahn, David Weber, and Thomas Pope. Set about 450 years before the mainline Honor Harrington series, the galaxy is a very different place. Manticore is a sleepy backwater with barely any industry at all, Haven is a thriving democracy 200 years away from its experiments in totalitarian rule, and nobody knows about the Manticore Wormhole Junction. It’s a much quicker read than the latest books in the mainline series, which have grown downright ponderous, and Zahn’s penchant for awful puns (T. U. Long, anyone?) shows through.
The story feels a lot fresher than the mainline Honor books, too – without six or seven storylines weaving in and out of the narrative, the main plot line is less crowded. Some of Weber’s idiosyncratic writing shows up as well. For a junior enlisted person, Travis Long is abnormally law-abiding and self-sacrificing, and he seems entirely more expert in not only his own systems but in cross-trained systems than he perhaps should. He’s also strangely well-connected: his half-brother is an influential member of the House of Lords, involved in (in a burst of typically Weberian ham-handed headscratchiness) the “Committee for Military Sanity,” a caucus in the Manticoran parliament that wants to downsize the Royal Manticoran Navy and transfer its assets to the Manticoran Patrol and Rescue Service (essentially the Manticoran Coast Guard), which just HAPPENS to be controlled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is the most senior member of the CMS. How this would not be seen as a blatant conflict of interest in any legislative body is beyond me, but Weber likes to make his points, and so the story goes.
Generally, though, it was a fun read.
The rest of this week I’m going to get back on writing and revision of various stories, reading the rest of Stone Mattress, and then getting going on Ancillary Sword, which I’ve been anticipating for some time!