Friday, April 05, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 5: The Letter E

Joaquin Elster
The Feud We Keep With Space
Space Corps Book 4
The Second Coming
Space Corps Book 6

Elster is unquestionably one of my favorite minor characters in the entire Space Corps saga.  In fact, he's one of the featured returning characters who appear in the continuity-hopping Book 6, The Second Coming.  His initial appearances in Book 4, The Feud We Keep With Space, are mostly connected with Kela Bogh (featured recently on B Day), and are key in expanding that particular character's significance beyond strictly NYPD activities, but what truly distinguishes Elster is that his entire species exists out of regular time, not so much like the Prophets in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but literally as individuals for whom the normal temporal flow doesn't exist.  It may suffice to say that they exist in 4D, or as a people are similar to the comic book characters the Linear Men.  Anyway, Elster doesn't exploit this ability so much as use it to give Bogh some perspective.  In fact, while most of the characters in Feud are about gaining sobering perspective, it's Bogh who's the best conduit of this and it's Elster who's her best conduit.  His first appearance remains one of my favorite moments in the entire saga, and that alone would have given Elster claim to E Day.

Yoshimi and the Spider's Web
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 3

One of the key elements of warrior orphan Yoshimi's adventures is a whirlwind tour of the world, mostly encompassing the second volume, Yoshimi and the Assassins Guild, but her journey begins in America in the first volume and concludes in England in the final one, where she finally confronts the murderer of her parents.  I'm a very amateur historian, and one of the things that fascinates me is the relationship between America and England.  In fact, Seven Thunders is modeled after the War of 1812, one of the less-emphasized episodes between our two countries.  While we've been pretty good friends since WWII, there remains an alien kind of fascination for Americans to British culture, like we've never really gotten over the fact that we pretty definitively split off from the motherland more than two hundred years ago.  We love the accents, of course.  As Niles says on The Nanny, the British can say anything and Americans hear it as Shakespeare.  Concluding Yoshimi's quest in England, then, is symbolic.  No one thinks of the British as particularly adept at the martial arts, and so that's another juxtaposition inherent in the climax.  Very often we kind of take for granted that fictional characters break all the rules, or exist to inspire more than reflect the readers who thrill to their exploits.  I approached Yoshimi herself as if she were a real person (because that's how I approach all my lead characters, deeply immersing myself in their psychology, a sort of method writing if you will), but I had to make it clear that hers was also an elevated reality.  So that's how we reach England.

I will remind visitors that on Fridays during this month, several of my ebooks will be free, including Yoshimi and the Shadow Clan.

Roger Ebert

We lost one of our greatest cultural assets yesterday.  Roger Ebert, still best known for his partnership with the late Gene Siskel, made his name as a movie critic, but he was a keen observer first and foremost, who rose above the standards of his day and set new ones that his colleagues are still struggling to meet.  His recent medical struggles have been well-documented, but I kept believing or perhaps simply hoping that Ebert would still be around for years to come.  It was pretty selfish.  I know he kept a strong image, but I can't know what Ebert's life was actually like the last few years.  He's more than earned his retirement to the great balcony in the sky.

Comic books fans also lost a giant yesterday.  Carmine Infantino, best known for his decades shaping the legacy of The Flash, passed away.  If more casual fans know him at all, it's in the lasting influence that extended all the way to Tom Wilkinson's Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins, named after Infantino.

Both will be greatly missed.


The Red Sox lost the third game against the Yankees.  But two out of three ain't so bad!

The Angels lost to the Reds and former Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo.  Today Josh Hamilton will be playing against his former team the Rangers for the first time.  Mike Trout is currently 4 and 15, dragging his batting average to .267 for the young season.  Albert Pujols, who had a rough season last year staying healthy, is apparently playing injured already this season.  He was previously famous for playing through a pretty rough body, and still managed to be one of the best in the game.  That may be catching up to him now.  Please don't tell me we've got another Ken Griffey, Jr. on our hands...

The A's won, putting their season even at 2-2.  The Cardinals had the day off yesterday, which is just as well, given the marathon on Wednesday.


Rounding out today's fairly long A-to-Z entry, I'd just like to hopefully point out to some of my readers three of the more entertaining blogs I've been reading during the challenge.  The first is Haley's Comic, featuring endearingly crude illustrations and comic/tragic adventures each day.  The second is Haley's cohort MOV over at Mothers of Brothers, who has a similarly hilarious perspective on life.  I've been bugging her for months concerning what exactly MOV stands for.  But she started it.  The funny thing is that I started following her thanks to last year's Challenge, but didn't figure out how brilliant she was until recently.  Finally there's Al Diaz and his dragons at Father Dragon Writes.  Al writes all his posts as a story, exploring his world of dragons.  It's been fascinating.


Maurice Mitchell said...

Go Red Sox! Ebert's passing has saddened me deeply, but I'm checking out Haley's comic.

Michael Abayomi said...

I'm still kinda trying to digest the news about Robert Ebert's passing. His reviews were something I always loved reading, even for those movies I had absolutely no intention of seeing. He has definitely left an impact on the industry, and a legacy for those of us who read and write about movies.

Tony Laplume said...

Maurice, you will be amused. She does it every time.

Michael, I'm trying to digest it, too. I knew I was going to write about it today, but I ended up doing a piece over at my neglected Examiner account as well, to get a little more of my perspective out there.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a really unique and interesting character. I want to know more about him.

As for Roger Ebert, it's a loss that anyone who loves movies will struggle with. For me, there was Roger Ebert's reviews and everyone else. He was the yardstick by which all movie reviews will be judged. Only Gene Siskel could match him.

Spacerguy said...

RIP Roger Ebert. He never stopped doing what he loved reviewing movies.

The Armchair Squid said...

I'm seeing a lot of nice Ebert remembrances on E Day. Without a doubt, a cultural icon of our era.

Tony Laplume said...

Nigel, I feel bad about Siskel, because I really didn't get to know him the way I did Ebert. Makes rediscovering him as interesting a prospect as exploring the legacy of Ebert.

Spacerguy, and that's what made him so special. he clearly never lost his love of movies. For too many critics, they seem to hate movies, and just write about them because it's a job and they want to appear clever.

Squid, I was pleased to see that as well!


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