BOOK & BLOG
August 18, 2008
Book of the Week: EMISSARIES FROM THE DEAD by Adam Troy Castro
In the interests of full disclosure, Adam Troy Castro and I have the same agent. But I haven’t read each of my agent’s other clients, and only meeting and liking Adam Troy Castro induced me to buy EMISSARIES FROM THE DEAD. I’m so glad I did, and I’m also sorry it’s been sitting on my TBR bookcase for so long. Castro’s world building is absolutely first rate, and his characters are fascinating.
Andrea Cort is an investigator for the Diplomatic Corps, and she has a horrific past. It’s a tough life when your former misdeeds are known to everyone you meet, and most of the people who meet Andrea loathe her. So the investigator is a tough bird, though she has many fears she has to combat. One of these fears is heights. The world she’s sent to, One One One, has been created by AIsource, a sort of conglomerate of artificial intelligences. The humans who life on One One One must hang suspended in large hammocks to avoid long falls to certain death, and their sole occupation is to observe the brachiators who inhabit the planet. The brachiators are like giant sloths, incredibly slow-moving and incredibly stubborn, and they refuse to regard their human visitors as alive. Andrea arrives on the planet to investigate the deaths of two young women, and it’s obvious from her first day on One One One that she has a determined enemy there.
EFTD is a great read. Andrea is a difficult character, but a sympathetic one. Though some of her past travails aren’t spelled out, it’s obvious she’s survived great suffering and mistreatment. Though she often hates herself, she’s so resilient the reader can’t help but wish her success and a more pleasant life. It’s almost impossible to imagine Andrea happy, but content would be good.
I truly admire the way this book is written. EMISSARIES FROM THE DEAD should be required reading for the aspiring science fiction writer.
Texas has a wonderful event called Tax-Free Weekend right before the start of school each year. You can buy anything a school kid might need (clothes, makeup, shoes, jewelry, plus actual school supplies) without paying tax on it. Of course, you don’t have to be enrolled in school to reap the benefits of this program. This past weekend, I went shopping in Dallas to get clothes for our daughter for school, and (more importantly) clothes for the red carpet event for “True Blood,” which will be on Sept. 4, three days before the show is on HBO.
I really don’t care for shopping, especially shopping for a particular event under some pressure . . . well, quite a lot of pressure. Due to various considerations, we left our shopping a bit late, so we were pretty much in a “do or die” situation. When you consider that often clothes need alterations, shoes have to selected, jewelry has to be picked out . . . well, we had to have our outfits.
Let me tell in one word what saved our bacon: Nordstrom’s. My daughter had the right idea; she flung herself on the mercy of two wonderful young women in the junior department, and she said, “I have a special event. Make me beautiful.” And by golly, they did. Furthermore, they went down to the jewelry department and found jewelry to go with the outfit, and they escorted her down to the shoe department to pick out the correct shoes.
After several false starts at other stores (don’t retailers realize there are big women who want nice clothes and can pay for them?) I returned to Nordstrom’s and adopted my daughter’s policy of begging. And it worked. A wonderful lady in Nordstrom’s plus-size department, Teresa, was the most helpful person on the planet at least as far as I’m concerned.
Nordstrom’s did the alterations within an hour so we were able to leave with the clothes (though I understand that’s not the normal schedule), and though I am considerably poorer, I am one happy shopper. So now I have an outfit to wear, and I got the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time.
I don’t think I’ve ever extolled a business before, and I’m certain a lot of people are put off by Nordstrom’s prices, but gosh, what a relief to get service of that level just when I needed it most.
We concluded our shopping in a more downscale way, with a trip to Old Navy for school jeans; also successful. We got to eat out with Oldest Son, who lives in Fort Worth, and to see a writer friend, Daniel Hale, who lives in Dallas, so our trip, though nerve-wracking, was successful from both a shopping and social point of view. BFF Paula and her daughter had good luck, too, so we returned home with the shopping equivalent of a deer strapped to the front of our vehicle plenty of shopping bags in the rear.
I wish all my expeditions ended that happily. For someone who hates to shop, this weekend I actually (almost) didn’t mind it.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris