Gentleman Jole and the SPOILER Queen

I know it's been a few days since it was requested, but here's a SPOILER thread for Bujold's latest installment in the Vorkosigan series.

It's not been a great winter for taking in new things for me, so I confess that I haven't read it yet. As a result, my image of the book at the moment is a conversation between two characters from elsewhere in literature...

Desire waited in the carriage. Again. The thing with Norton had been a setback, but this one should be easier. Royalty, taken as a whole, was pretty venal. That's how they got to be—and stayed—royalty. And Pain was a good salesman. He'd even sold himself his own nostrums. Still, it was frustrating. He talked so quietly that only one side of the conversation was audible.

"You call that an offer? I've seen offers in comparison with which that would be a confiscation! Besides, queens never make bargains."
(Cajoling from Pain)
"When I want a thing, that means that I lack it. But to lack a thing is not to have it. And if I see something, it's mine, and what I cannot see, I cannot miss."
(Slightly confused response from Pain)

Pain returned to the carriage, carrying his head in his hands. The gore from his neck stained his shirt a deeper red. "That didn't go very well."

(I know I've mapped Gentleman Jole to an extremely unlikely character.)

The Good Documentation

It knows its systems and its systems know it.

I've spent the last two days in all-day work meetings, for Reasons. And although it's not my main thing any more, I got rather emphatic—more than once—about the need for good documentation. It became kind of a Thing. It may haunt me in the future.

And then I come home to this in my Twitter feed:

Really, what's a pastiche-monger to do?


1The DOCUMENTATION is my guide; I shall not wonder.
2It maketh me to understand the necessary concepts;
It leadeth me through the installation process.
3It reassureth me;
It leadeth me on the happy path for my desired objectives.
4Yea, though I work through the advanced configuration menus,
I will fear no failures, for thou art with me
Thy FAQ and thy troubleshooting they comfort me.
5Thou providest examples to me in the context of mine use cases.
Thou explainest my expected outcomes.
My results are perfect.
6Surely good performance and stability will persist throughout the system life
And it will run within the parameters of the DOCUMENTATION forever.

On sale today: Charlie Jane Anders' debut science fiction and fantasy novel, All the Birds in the Sk

all the birds.jpg On sale today in hardcover and e-book. Excerpt here. Author website here. Public launch event (tonight!) here. Author tour info here.

My flap copy:

From an early age, Patricia Delfine and Lawrence Armstead had different--and sometimes opposite--ways of seeing the world. Patricia could talk to animals and even turn herself into a bird, while Lawrence built a supercomputer and a time machine (that only went forward two seconds). As they navigated the never-ending nightmare that is junior high school, they become wary allies, until an enigmatic guidance counselor with a hidden agenda intervened.

They didn't expect to see each other again. And yet ten years later, they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the secret academy for the magically gifted, and Laurence is an engineering genius who's trying to save the world. As Laurence and Patricia reconnect, they find themselves drawn into the opposite sides of a war between science and magic. And the fate of the world depends on them both. Probably.

Some notice:

"What a magnificent novel--a glorious synthesis of magic and technology, joy and sorrow, romance and wisdom. Unmissable."
--Lev Grossman

"In All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders darts and soars, with dazzling aplomb, among the hypotheticals of science fiction, the counterfactuals of fantasy, and the bittersweet mundanities of contemporary American life, throwing lightning bolts of literary style that shimmer with enchantment or electrons. She tackles profound, complicated questions, vast and insignificant as the fate of the planet, tiny and crucial as the vagaries of friendship, rocketing the reader through a pocket-sized epic of identity whose sharply-drawn protagonists come to feel like the reader's best friends. The very short list of novels that dare to traffic as freely in the uncanny and wondrous as in big ideas, and to create an entire, consistent, myth-ridden alternate world that is still unmistakably our own, all while breaking the reader's heart into the bargain--I think of masterpieces like The Lathe of Heaven; Cloud Atlas; Little, Big--has just been extended by one."
--Michael Chabon

"Charlie Jane Anders' brilliant, cross-genre novel All the Birds in the Sky has the hallmarks of an instant classic. It's a beautifully written, funny, tremendously moving tale that explodes the boundaries between science fiction and fantasy, YA and 'mainstream' fiction."
--Elizabeth Hand, Los Angeles Times

"Charlie Jane Anders has entwined strands of science and fantasy, both as genres and as ways of experiencing life, into a luminous novel that reveals the exhilarating necessity of each."
--John Hodgman

"Two crazy kids, one gifted in science, the other in magic, meet as children, part and meet again over many years. Will they find love? Will they save the world? Or will they destroy it and everyone in it? Read Anders lively, wacky, sexy, scary, weird and wonderful book to find the answers."
--Karen Joy Fowler

"The book is full of quirkiness and playful detail--it's not hard to imagine Wes Anderson adapting it, if he ever turned toward science fiction--but there's an overwhelming depth and poignancy to its virtuoso ending, which tugs all of its rich cultural symbolism into a heart-wrenching whole."