Cadence: Of Lizards and Hounds


Tell us what you thought about the March 2010 issue.

stu

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Post March 19, 2010, 07:09:58 AM

Cadence: Of Lizards and Hounds

I read this one first because I was interested in seeing just how different someone else would make the 'lizard obsessed person stumbles on dragons' story. It's certainly good, a nice coming of age story. Possibly the start tries a little too hard with the descriptive language, so that it doesn't quite capture the feel of the character as well as the rest of it, but I like it more generally.
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Post March 23, 2010, 11:27:04 AM

Ms. Lasher has an interesting style. Her word choice, at times, seems to stray from the conventional. For example:
[T]his hound had inherited the best attributes of both and enveloped them in a hauntingly beautiful and terrifying frame.

Not a bad sentence, but it seems different somehow, as though a writer wouldn't normally use "envelope" in this manner. I believe that ties into the criticism Stu had about the descriptive language being forced, as though a thesaurus was referenced too often.

Another oddity of Ms. Lasher's style is the preponderance of semicolons; I've never seen a writer utilize so many :wink: . Seriously though, this another item that style Nazis focus on (along with adverbs and passive sentences). I'd like to note that I didn't find any misuse of them grammatically, so it's more a style preference.

I did have some issues with the plot. The hounds seemed a bit misplaced. I didn't understand how they-- or Aaron or Former, for that matter-- fit into the big picture. I believe there was an overarching theme that tied everything together. My instincts tell me that Aaron and the hounds acted as a guardian for the eggs. The weird obsidian mirror that acted as an extradimensional storage device hinted at grander things. However, the theme isn't alluded to enough, forcing me to fill in too many gaps. I found the storyline as a result to be disjointed.

I did like the mentioning of St. George the Dragon Slayer (yay for foreshadowing!) that set the idea into the reader's mind early in the story. This powerful and subtle technique is often overlooked by new writers.

Overall, I thought the story okay. Most of my criticisms are of refinement. To me, the writer's fundamentals are solid.
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Post March 23, 2010, 01:23:23 PM

The hounds

Jaimie wrote:...I did have some issues with the plot. The hounds seemed a bit misplaced. I didn't understand how they-- or Aaron or Former, for that matter-- fit into the big picture. I believe there was an overarching theme that tied everything together. My instincts tell me that Aaron and the hounds acted as a guardian for the eggs. The weird obsidian mirror that acted as an extradimensional storage device hinted at grander things. However, the theme isn't alluded to enough, forcing me to fill in too many gaps. I found the storyline as a result to be disjointed...


Having read Evangeline Walton's novels based on the Welsh Mabinogion a long time ago, I recognized Aaron's surname as being from Welsh mythology. In fact, it turns out that his FIRST name is also appropriate:


http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Annwn

"Annwn or Annwfn (Middle Welsh Annwvn, sometimes inaccurately written Annwyn, Annwyfn or Annwfyn) was the Otherworld in Welsh mythology. Ruled by Arawn, or much later by Gwyn ap Nudd, it was essentially a world of delights and eternal youth where disease is absent and food is ever-abundant. It later became Christianised and identified with the land of souls that had departed this world."

"In the First Branch of the Mabinogi, entitled Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed, the eponymous prince offends Arawn, ruler of Annwn, by baiting his hunting hounds on a stag that Arawn's dogs had brought down. In recompense he exchanges places with Arawn for a year and defeats Arawn's enemy Hafgan. Meanwhile, Arawn rules Dyfed. During this year, Pwyll does not sleep with Arawn's wife, earning himself gratitude from Arawn. On his return, Pwyll becomes known by the title Penn Annwn, "Head (or Ruler) of Annwn."

So if Aaron Annwn is the ruler of a paradise or otherworld (and the rules in his back yard sure don't seem like the ones we're used to in ours), then it is only natural that he has a pack of hunting hounds.
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Post March 23, 2010, 05:39:36 PM

Re: The hounds

Robert_Moriyama wrote:So if Aaron Annwn is the ruler of a paradise or otherworld (and the rules in his back yard sure don't seem like the ones we're used to in ours), then it is only natural that he has a pack of hunting hounds.


Well, yeah, if you *knew* a lot about Welsh mythology... :lol:

You can't expect the average reader to know the symbolism, so you need to give them a bit more. Unless you're inserting something obtuse ala an Easter Egg: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg_%28media%29. I wouldn't think you'd want to do that with a critical part of your theme.
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Post March 26, 2010, 10:53:47 AM

Lent

Jaimie wrote:You can't expect the average reader to know the symbolism, so you need to give them a bit more. Unless you're inserting something obtuse ala an Easter Egg:

Different people might read the same story differently, depending on thier individual background. Knowledge is a part of that. The same person might read a story differently...

The story I have read moves slowly, with magic quietly seeping in by and by. In the beginning, when the boy meets a peculiar old man whith a special breed of dogs and a seemingly overly complicated way of building and mending fences that is quite consistent with mundane reality. Later, at latest with the introduction of the magical mirror that reality has been transcended.

I do believe that that part of the story would not have profited in any way had I known about the meaning of Annwn at that time.

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