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Short Story #7 – The Black Hole in Auntie Sutra’s Handbag by Samantha Henderson
And though I was introduced to this little gem via Science Fiction Story of the Day, it’s very, very light on the science.

The characterizations are lovely.  Made me want to pour a glass of mint tea and sit out on the sun porch.  The combination of Southern charm and fairy charms is a pleasant mix.   The story was a bit predictable, but so nicely done that I didn’t mind it.  It’s like chocolate cake.  Just because you know what it’s going to taste like, doesn’t mean you don’t want to have another slice.

*** *** *** *** ***

Hmm.  Can you tell I’m hungry?

Eric wasn’t home for lunch and I need him to read how I’ve rounded out part of scene 27 before I feel comfortable moving on.  Been reading all day instead.

No disc makes me sad…

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Book #11 – Psycho by Robert Bloch

This is a rewrite that didn’t disappoint me.  When I first read it, probably in high school, maybe in college, I was too in love with the movie.  The differences between the book and the movie were too great for me to enjoy the book then.  Still, I saw that it was good.  It was the first of Robert Bloch’s book that I’d read.  I bought all the rest on the strength of this book.  It might be his absolute best.

It has all the things I like about Bloch’s style.  The writing is tight.  There’s less description in this book.  He uses it only when he needs it, never when we’re in the internal world of Norman Bates.  The word usage is again very charged, manipulative.  Psycho avoids the things that annoys me about Bloch’s plots.  The novel’s contemporary setting allows for the spunky, strong female characters that Bloch likes.  The gimmick is actually very simple and avoids too much of the twisting some of Bloch’s later novels have.  The only thing I *really* disliked was the second to last “explanation” chapter.  It’s long, it’s boring.  It’s fairly inaccurate in light of modern psychology, though not as bad as other more recent novels.  The movie does this scene better in it’s very concise manner.

Lesson #6

All the previous lessons are reinforced.  Also, the way metaphors are carried though.  I often give up on them after the initial statement.  One more line of followthrough makes it more effective.   Also, Block uses changes in the mood of the characters to highlight the tension.  For example: Chapter 15 when Lila is going through the Bates house.  She starts angry at the men.  That dissolves into bravado and curiosity.  And then we hit fear.  It would have been easy (and crappy) to write that scene only with fear and maybe a smattering of curiosity.  Masterful.  The other thing that I noticed (and I’m seeing this in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Night Blooming as well) is that the time and character transitions that I sweat over are handled as non-issues.  They’re there and not confusing.

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Wow, not feeling good.  Woke up, early with a headache.  Felt better after a cup of coffee.  Then I went out for a run.  Not even a particular ambitious  run.  And came back all crampy.  After another cup of coffee, lunch, and a nap, I just don’t feel well.  It’s way too bright in here, and my head is all fuzzy.

Jeeze, three days and I’m not done with this scene.  Not stuck.  Lazy.