[FFML] [R1/2] Hearts of Ice, 26/26

Joseph Palmer jpalmer at josephpalmer.com
Wed Jun 3 11:38:50 PDT 2009


Krista Fisk wrote:
> Well, here's hoping this part doesn't suffer from the weird formatting 
> the last part suffered from. C&C is welcome and appreciated.

I have quite a but to say, but first 

SPOILER ALERT!  -- Do not read this until you have read Hearts of Ice #26

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I was in too much of a hurry to read 25, and then 26,
to go back and re-read from the beginning, but I fully 
plan to do just that. I'll might have more comments
then. ^_^;

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I've always been impressed by your storytelling, I've
read a ton of commercially published fiction, and your
writing and plotting is right up there among my favorite
authors.

Hearts of Ice is among the best and most successful
transplants of the Ranma cast into the very non-Nerima
medium of the prose novel. The style and storytelling 
voice was consistent beginning to end, and I'm frankly
impressed by your ability to make your stage direction
(moving the characters around) and speaker differentiation
the ('she said' 'he exclaimed' stuff) transparent to
the experience of reading the story. It's something I
struggle with horribly, and you just make it look easy.

I find myself frustrated, and jealous of the Manga format,
where it just works to have Kuno appear in a frame without
explaining how or why, do something stupid (That is, in
character), and exit the next frame on a trajectory towards
Okinawa. That sort of thing just doesn't work in prose.
It breaks the flow and it's like explaining the joke in the
middle of telling it.

And don't get me started on Anime, where a spooky atmosphere
can be invoked with some scene shading and background music,
and the emotions of the characters are as much in how they
say things as what it is they say. (I've seen Ranma, beginning
to end, in Raw Japanese two or three times now. I don't
understand but 10% of the words, but after seeing the subtitles
I was getting 100% of the emotions.

HoI found a way to bring the Ranma cast to life, through the
soda straw* of - one - word - at - a - time, and place them
in places and I now feel that I've visited.
(Including Hell. Thanks loads, Krista! ^_^)
 
   [ * Just try reading a Ranma Manga through a soda  ]
   [   straw sometime. One word, one face, one        ]
   [   mountain, one ta-ta at a time.                 ]
   [   It's not the same.                             ]

My only criticism might be that chapter 26 felt rushed, but
that might have been just me wanting more. That's not always
a bad thing - I have better memories of a great meal if I
leave the table not feeling like I could never eat again.

As an aside, there were dozens of episodes of Star Trek
Next Generation where I would look at the clock (Pre-Tivo)
and notice that they were in deep, deep, tribble doo-doo
with 6 minutes left in the time slot. (Not even counting
the credits and end of episode adverts!) They still
cleaned things up and had time for a nice spot of Earl
Grey, hot.
And what is up with that anyway? Did they loose the concept
of preferences in the 23 century? Couldn't the captain
just click the check box for "Hot"?  And don't get me
started on DS9 - Don't you people have paint stores anymore?
A little 'desert sage' would have really brightened up the
place and you wouldn't have felt so angsty all the time. Jeez. 

Anyway...

As for this chapter...
I'm very pleased that you re-animated Ranma, I'm not sure
if I could have taken it if you'd have sent him off to
his ancestors.

Over the years I've been pretty outspoken about [Dark]
elements in the Ranma universe. There were some brilliantly
written [Dark] stories over the years, but I cannot bring
myself to re-read them. I suspect the wounds they left were
part of what banished me from Nerima for so long.

There are plenty of violent acts in HoI, and it doesn't
get much worse than literally sending Ranma to Hell, 
but there remained within the characters something of
Takahashi's Nerima for me to hold onto.
It's a journey I will take again, even though I may
not be the same at the end.


In conclusion...

Thank you for a great story, well told, and
Thank you for inspiring me to again seek out my inner Nerima.

I look forward to the afterword, and to sitting down for
a nice read, beginning to end. Maybe I'll even print it 
and stick it on the shelf with Lord of the Rings, Harry
Potter, and The Foundation Trilogy  - all comfort stories
that I re-read from time to time.

Joseph Palmer

P.S. I was right about Harry and Ginny!















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