Tag Archives: poker

Neogenesis – Chapter 20 part VII

In which there is some excitement at dinner.

I notice that when Val Con and Miri are rendering Korval’s judgement, the placement of the quotation marks indicates that they are speaking alternate sentences, but there’s a lack of dialogue tags indicating who is speaking which sentence. In a way, of course, that’s only appropriate because it doesn’t matter — either way, it’s Delm Korval speaking — but I’d be interested to know whether the judgement itself is spoken by the half of the delm whose idea it was or the half who had to be convinced that it would work.
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Dragon in Exile – Chapter 40

Sherman’s Shootout
Expert Round

In which the people make their feelings known.

Nelirikk has a new surname: nor’Phelium. I wonder whose idea that was, and what it signifies. I tried to see what could be gleaned from seeing who else has had a surname with the nor’ prefix, but there hasn’t been anyone – which might be significant in itself.

I like the bit about Nelirikk feeling under-equipped with only four handguns, six knives, explosives, arm-chains, and zhang-wire. (We’ve seen zhang-wire before, only romanised slightly differently: “jang-wire” was the name of the weapon Sed Ric the pirate carried for self-defence in Scout’s Progress.)

I was surprised to see Yulie. Makes sense a man with his shooting ability might want to come along to an event like this – but this is Yulie, who doesn’t do well with strangers and has been actively avoiding the city for as long as we’ve known him and longer. That he’s in the city now, having trusted somebody else to watch his farm and his cats (a Scout, he says, perhaps Tan Ort?) says a lot about how much he’s benefited from the changes on Surebleak.

For the final chapter of the book, we return to the main theme. Pat Rin’s making a deliberate point by standing unarmed in the middle of the argument: he could have shot quite a few people if he’d wanted to, but he wants people to understand that his leadership isn’t just about who can shoot who the fastest.

I may have got a bit sniffly at the bit about the people opening the road that they own.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 24


In which there are meetings and partings.

I’m still inclined to the idea that Tolly is the specialist Jeeves is sending with Tocohl. Conversely, this implies that Jeeves is the colleague who encouraged Tolly to settle on Surebleak, which raises the interesting question of what enterprise they might have been colleagues in.

I haven’t the faintest idea what High Judge Falish Meron (whose name is given here for the first time) might want with Val Con. Based on past performance, this probably means I haven’t been paying attention and it will be obvious as soon as it’s said.

Smealy’s meeting with Miri is sure to go badly for somebody, but I’m not confident in guessing who. Miri might send him out with his tail between his legs, the way Val Con did, but he’ll be more inclined to fight back this time, because he needs a success to show his colleagues. He might be tempted to do something foolish because Miri is small and female, in which case he’d be making a mistake in underestimating Miri – not just because she’s ex-merc and Korval, but because she grew up on Surebleak, and was pretty tough already before she was either of those other things. I suspect the Syndicate Bosses are similarly underestimating Surebleak’s population in thinking the campaign of examples will make them roll over.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 16

Surebleak Port

In which Quin has breakfast, and Miri is given something to chew on.

Tef Lej pen’Erit shows courage in approaching Quin for help. To some extent, it’s driven by necessity; as he says, Quin is literally the only person he knows here. But the circumstances of their previous meeting weren’t exactly friendly, so he couldn’t be sure of the reception he’d get.

It’s not clear exactly what’s going on between Villy and Quin. Partly it’s because Villy is like that with everybody, at least to some extent, but I also suspect the authors are being deliberately difficult. There’s no way, for instance, that the earlier conversation about their “date” wasn’t the result of the authors deliberately shaping the words to be misleading. But, of course, just because nothing of that sort was going on that time, doesn’t mean that nothing of the sort is going on at all.

A few weeks have passed during the interludes, so apparently that meeting I was worried about happened without incident. See? I’m terrible at predicting how a Liaden novel is going to go.

If the Citizens’ Heavy Loads Committee is serious about not liking being fined if they’re caught with a load over the limit, they’re really not going to be happy about a regular system of tolls based on load weight.

The Rifle’s First Wife

In which Diglon Rifle does what he may to help a teammate.

Poker was one of the first new things Diglon was taught after he came under the dragon’s wing, and he showed an immediate aptitude for it, so it’s good to see he’s continuing to develop it. In general, it’s pleasing to see that Diglon is thriving in his new environment – and a bit worrying that Hazenthull apparently isn’t, even now.

I say “even now” because the internal evidence suggests that it’s been over a year since the two of them came to stand with Korval: baby Lizzie, who was not yet born then, has progressed to standing up under her own power.

Lizzie’s development also means that although it’s early spring – “winter having been gone some weeks now” – it’s the spring after the one in which Lizzie was born, and so doesn’t tell us anything useful about that contested spring I’ve been worried about lately.

(It also means that I’ve scheduled this story too early, which is an acknowledged hazard of scheduling a story without reading it first. The actual position would be some time after Dragon Ship – and possibly one or two more novels as well, but since I haven’t read those yet either I’m not going to attempt a definite pronouncement.)

It’s nice that Alara has found a chance to make an alliance with somebody whose company she enjoys and who she has an attraction to, but I do wonder how she’s planning to explain her choice to her delm. It’s all very well saying that Diglon isn’t an Yxtrang any more, but is she going to be able to get away with not mentioning that he was? The delm did specify a “long lineage” as one of the criteria to look for, which means he’s going to want to know about Diglon’s antecedents.

One thing that might help is that, Clan Silari having made the decision to leave Liad, Alara and her clan are themselves, in a sense, no longer what they were either.

Incidentally, I notice that Diam, one of the two people who entertained Diglon on his evening off, is another of those for whom the authors have chosen not to constrain the reader’s imagination by specifying pronouns.

Next: Dragon Ship

I Dare – Chapter 34

Erob’s Clanhouse

In which the woes of Yxtrang have nothing to do with those who serve as soldiers in Jela’s line.

I like that Diglon Rifle does the best at poker, on a table that includes two Explorers and a Scout: it’s a reminder that just because he’s used to doing what he’s told doesn’t mean he can’t think for himself.

There’s a nice point of view play in this scene: we get a Nelirikk’s-eye view of the terrifying Clutch Turtle, and only later is it mentioned that it’s Sheather, whom Val Con so recently described with some accuracy as “one step from timid”. (Mind you, even though it is timid Sheather, I fully believe that in a situation where his friends were actually threatened by Yxtrang he’d be capable of everything Nelirikk fears of him.)

And now Nelirikk and the new recruits are going to be, I expect, the first Yxtrang ever to set foot on Liad – except of course that the whole point of this chapter is that they’re not Yxtrang.

I Dare – Chapter 31

Day 51
Standard Year 1393

Erob’s Clanhouse

In which the Ring passes.

That makes two people in a short space of time who have spoken to Val Con of Korval’s responsibilities under the Contract, which is a subject that doesn’t often come up in conversation outside of Korval. It might be that, as close allies, they know something most don’t, but I think it’s less that the Contract is some kind of secret as that most people who don’t know Korval well don’t take the idea seriously. (And at that, I’m not entirely sure Emrith Tiazan wasn’t being sarcastic. We might infer that she believes in Korval’s belief in the Contract but doesn’t entirely believe in the Contract herself.)

The exchange when Korval-pernard’i removes the ring from her finger and Delm Korval places the ring on his own finger reminds me of something that I didn’t remark on when it happened: Pat Rin put the false ring the Department gave him on the second finger of his left hand, Korval-in-Trust’s finger, not the third finger, the delm’s finger. The Department was expecting that Pat Rin would happily be delm if there were nobody left to tell him he couldn’t, but what they weren’t considering is that as long as Pat Rin lives, there will always be one person of Korval judging his suitability: Pat Rin himself. Even in the eventuality that he must take up the delm’s ring because there is nobody else left, Pat Rin doesn’t count himself worthy to take up the delm’s melant’i with it, only to hold the ring in trust until Korval is able to produce someone qualified to be delm.

We also get, speaking of that incident, a detailed description of the true ring and thus the signs by which Pat Rin knew the false ring to be false. I wonder what it says about the Department that they didn’t know about the signs of wear. It might just be that they couldn’t find any way of examining the ring closely without arousing suspicion. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if it never even occurred to them to look; they might have assumed that a wealthy Liaden family would always get any damage quickly repaired.

Balance of Trade – Chapter 30

Day 158
Standard Year 1118


In which the twins enquire into the sustenance of Jethri’s kin group.

This is a useful trick for an SF writer to know: when a character compares her culture’s customs to those of another culture unfamiliar to her, both cultures are illuminated for the reader.

What’s also illuminated for the reader in this case is some of the lingering questions regarding Jethri’s cousins, like why some of them don’t seem to be attached to any particular parent. (For that matter, it answers the same question regarding the twins.)

If I’m getting this right, Jethri’s two siblings are both children of his mother, but neither of them are children of his father; he’s the only Gobelyn who is Arin’s son. (Which, apart from anything else, answers another lingering question I had, regarding Seeli and Grig.)

The game of piket is interesting. I’m pretty sure it was first mentioned (in publication order) in one of the two prequels that are most often compared to Regency romances, and the name is reminscent of the game piquet which is often played in your actual Regency romance. (It can’t be precisely the same game, though, if all three of them propose to play at once; piquet is set up for only two players at a time.)

And then we get the tale about using Old Tech to remain youthful, which apart from the purpose it serves in this chapter is another instance of the trick of slipping an idea into the reader’s head a while before it becomes important.