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You've stumbled onto the personal website of Case Duckworth, soon-to-be-household-name poet, bookmobile driver, computer enthusiast, casual cartoonist, and hobbyist cook living in Louisiana. I also read a lot, mostly to procrastinate at work; regardless, I write about that stuff too. The most recent things I read about included pedestrians, coastlines, and navigation.

most recent posts

Dinner

2019-04-25

There are three basic things to remember he said. You have to tie your shoes the right way. You have to brush your teeth every day. You always always have to tip your servers.

We went out and I saw his shoe laces untied. I said so and he turned bright red under his blond moustache. He bent to tie his shoes and a bird flew over his head. His teeth fell out on the pavement and chattered away.

At the restaurant he ordered soup. As he slurped I watched him and ate a steak. I chewed with my mouth open so he’d see what he was missing. He got up and left me to pay the bill.

On the way home I remembered I forgot to leave a tip. Dostoevsky would be proud I thought as I passed the gun in my hallway.

Ancillary Sword

2019-04-25

It’s been quite a while since I read Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie’s first novel in what turned out the be a trilogy. So I began Ancillary Sword with a little confusion. It starts off assuming the reader has a working knowledge of the world, as most sequels do, and I had read Justice so quickly that it took some prodding (and some reading of synopses) to remember how we had got to the beginning of Sword. Which is not at all to the book’s deficit, of course: in fact, it starts only a few hours after the previous ends, which I really enjoy in sequels.

However, after getting over the initial bumps of remembering, the story seemed to me to be more of a bridge between the first and third novels than as a story in its own right. There’s plenty of set up for multiple huge conflicts to play out in the next instalment, but the story in this novel seems pat by comparison.

Breq Mianaai is sent on a mission to the far-flung Athoek system, which grows most of the tea for the entire Radch. Once there, Breq finds a lot of injustice at the hands of those in power against the residents of the Undergarden, decks of the main Station that are in disrepair, as well as against the fieldworkers on the planet, and I appreciated Leckie’s treatment of the subject of justice after a colonization as both nuanced and unafraid. But Breq herself feels almost like a Mary Jane character in that she’s able to know every other character’s thoughts and feelings and is hardly ever wrong. The middle of the book was a little bit of a slog as she went downwellI really like this term in its colloquialness referring to the gravity well of a planet; it’s little things like this that really make a world real.

to look into a situation with the daughter of a local beourgeois while in mourning for the alien Presger translator (whose death went unavenged in this novel, which I can only assume means it’ll come to a head next novel) and got lost in local politics.

I think I understand what Leckie’s driving at here: all politics are important, and all politics are local, but I was really hoping for more of the large-scale intrigue that I remember from Ancillary Justice. This book was smaller in scope, which I was not prepared for. I’m hopeful for a lot of action and galaxy-spanning conflict for the third, however, and I think Leckie will deliver. She’s a strong writer with great ideas.

Noise

2019-04-24

Experience is information. Noise is signal. Sounds have meaning. Chris Richards

The air conditioner yawns awake and blesses us with its freshening. The truck outside trundles merrily by leaving a wake of air and dirt. The ambulance is somewhere surprisingly hard to find until it’s upon us. Within everything birds sing their songs to each other.

Space is a big room with everyone yelling in it. The Earth is a much smaller room but it’s still much bigger than each of us. Our bodies are rooms smaller still but they’re mostly quiet we think. And within everything the birds keep singing their incomprehensible songs.

They fight amongst themselves over whose song is prettiest. They sing louder and louder until nothing else can be heard. They don’t notice all of us covering our bleeding ears and wincing.

For our part we’re just hoping it’ll stop. We don’t know how long we can keep this up. Eventually the birds might sing themselves dead and we’ll have peace.