We did Chapter Nine of Daughter of Hounds yesterday. It was rougher going than the preceding chapters, as it's the chapter I was halfway through when all the Bullet Girl foolishness began, distracting me from the novel for the better part of two months (September—October). It'll need a bit more polishing. But it's also, I think, one of the most powerful chapters in the novel, especially the second half. The second half holds the second climax and sends the reader spiraling towards the final climax and denouement, such as the denouement will be. To be the novel I promised Merrilee would have a "happy ending," and to have earlier judged that it does in fact have an ending which is much less grim that of Low Red Moon or Murder of Angels, there's an awful lot of sorrow here at the end of it. I wouldn't have it another way. Another way would be untrue. Today we'll finish the read-through. Tomorrow or Monday I'll begin on the revisions. I may go so far as to add a couple of brief scenes. Also, I have to admit that Katee Sackhoff has become Soldier in my mind's eye, and I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Not much else to yesterday. Well, a little. I exchanged e-mail with Vince as he finished up the very wonderful illustration he's done for "Untitled 17," which will appear in Sirenia Digest #3. We got four new subscribers yesterday, which is very drad, indeed, and I thank you one and all. This means I only need 76 additional subscribers to meet my goal. The offer of a free copy of Silk to new subscribers will remain for at least the next couple of days. Just click here to find out everything you need to know to subscribe. And remember, new subscriptions will begin with Issue No. 3, which should go out on February 14th. I also did another short entry to the Amazon Connect plog.
Before the Olympics began, Spooky and I spent some time studying Liz and Colin Murray's Ogham system. And I may make a Wicca post later today. Or I may not. Or I may, but block comments. I really don't want this to become something that forms the focus for arguments here. Or even vigorous discussions. And I also am not looking to offend anyone, but my opinions so often do just exactly that. It's my superpower.
Yesterday, in the comments to yesterday's entry (on LJ, for you Blogger folks), someone broached the subject of the applicability of human morality to Narcissa Snow, and i made reference to the afterword I wrote for the subpress edition of Low Red Moon, where I briefly discussed this very problem. Of course, not everyone has the subpress hardback, only a few do, so only a few have read what I wrote there on this problem. So I'm quoting from it below (behind the cut):
Can something that's not quite human be fairly accused of murder, if it's only killed human beings?
Is it a cannibal, if it eats what it kills?
I wrote Narcissa as something more terrible than a human murderer of humans, serial or otherwise. Not a mindless force of Nature, and not something entirely alien, but a creature for whom the rights and wrongs of humanity — indeed, the fact of humanity itself — was never precisely relevant. To my mind, this removes Low Red Moon from the realm of the serial-killer novel, yet also keeps it clear of tales of rampaging animals (Peter Benchley's Jaws and King's Cujo are classic examples of that genre). It's not that Narcissa is free of morality. She's not. But the codes that govern her actions must exist somewhere beyond the edges of our knowledge and experience. She's a being apart from the eloquent primacy of Blake's tyger, in her exile from the "forests of the night," but something far more problematic than a Jeffrey Dahmer or Fincher's John Doe.
Is she Evil, or only the careless consequence of Evil?
The unforgiven sins of the fathers, or a domino perpetuation of man's fall from an imagined, ancient grace?
Like Lovecraft's amphibious inhabitants of Innsmouth, or Pasiphaë's labyrinth-bound Minotaur, she follows from the perversion of an Order, and exists as something shameful (at least to the keepers of the Order in question). But, even as she defies and defiles, she's chosen a side and struggles, in her madwoman's way, towards reunion. Towards a reconciliation with Order. Towards a transcendence of her monstrosity.
And therein lies the problem.
But the question I kept asking myself, as Narcissa raced the moon, was: What have the damned to lose, in seeking their salvation?
And therein lies another problem altogether.