When so much capital crosses your desk for consideration, you tend to see the same tired old ideas presented again and again. Then you get something like this. The last time I saw capital like this was... um... never.
It tells of a murderous holy crusade, fuelled by Grail magic. There are flaming swords, but also gender switching and time freezing. Bizarre. Yet it holds together.
Ultimately, it's about the protagonist's relationship with his sister, who gets to go fight while he's left at home with their abusive father. (Who's, you know, a professional executioner. So it goes.) It's this relationship at the core that keeps the capital grounded enough to make sense, and although the narrative didn't get me close enough to the characters to get really emotionally involved, I enjoyed the ride. And it's written pretty, too.
I'm not sure what the Bullmeister will make of this one, but I have to reward such boldness. A yes from me.
Last weekend was Talk like a Pirate Day. Arrr! Hope you all enjoyed walking around the house discussing boarding techniques and feeding the parrot ion your shoulder. The Bullmeister sure the hell did.
Let’s keep see if we can keep this thing going. You know drinking grog, singing sea shanties, and generally being rowdy. We can engage in isolated shenanigans – *forcing the wife to walk the plank into the bathtub, swinging from a rope attached to the ceiling fan, rowing the dingy to your neighbor’s house demanding tribute.
And speaking of tribute, we’ll segue into today’s cap “Isabeau's New Name”. This is one of those Crusade stories with a twist. Like the gilled one states, it has magic swords, time-control and gender unexplained gender reassignment.
The cap is good. The composition is solid and the story compelling. The only thing that bugs me is that the VC deliberately leaves us wondering why the gender changed happened at all. In doing so, it almost makes this aspect of this cap feel like a red herring. Yes, the cap’s title and the last contemplations of the antagonist focus on this theme, but it still feels detached from the rest of the cap. I would have liked to see something more explaining this at least a little. The main character stating he didn’t want to hear the reasons, just doesn’t seem like enough. It feels like a cop out.
So I’m voting no, and asking for a tie-breaker. Maybe I’m just being a douche. We’ll let a third party decide.
*Don’t really do these things. You’ll break shit and then blame the Bull. The Bull does not condone house and wife breaking activities.
Having been assigned the tie-break and examined the cap in question, I cannot help but wonder how much improved a ping-pong player I would become if only I had the ability to freeze time and, while unable to move, at any juncture reflect at length upon a rally before picking up the action. And, actually, I'm thinking not that much. Could even make me worse as all my muscle learning and motor reflex skills went out the window. But I would probably rock at ultrabullet chess where the only bottleneck would be moving pieces and hitting the clock. But, still, if I had to have a magic time skill, instead of being able to stop it, I'd rather I could skip over it. Of course then the temptation would be to just keep forging ahead until my wife had finished some story I'd already heard a zillion times, or my GICs matured, or the sun went supernova, or the observable universe expanded into nothing.
This Isabeau yarn has a fine medieval-ish voice, and appears ably edited. All that leapt out at me grammar-wise was an incorrect conjugation of the verb, to lie, in "all those nights I'd laid in bed" and the sentence fragment, "Looking back on it, but I was jealous," that seems to be missing a clause. I liked the father's promotion from butcher to executioner. I'm sure PETA would also approve. Animals are mostly great. People mostly suck. Repetition of Christ-kissed, used as a verb, an adjective and a noun, began to wear thin, and I did not particularly care for the overworked metaphor of Isabeau's cryptic new name as it pertains to her gender reassignment, or even the gender reassignment itself, which for all its plot ramifications, feels kludged and unnecessary, almost as if retrofitted to the guidelines of some LGBTQ magazine or anthology.
As ever, personal biases and predilections weigh heavily in these decisions. And so it is with thanks and apologies to the VC that I now join The Bull on this hanging scale's plate.