Friday, April 18, 2014

Pixie Noir

In the late 1970s, an animated movie named Wizards came out. I don't remember anything about the movie except a scene toward the end where one wizard confronts another wizard. And you might expect a big fight with magic being thrown back and forth. Instead, one wizard pulls out a revolver and puts daylight through his opponent. Gunplay in a magical fantasy story was a brand new thing and it had shock value. The scene was as surprising as later when Indiana Jones aborts a sword fight with a big scimitar wielding dude using his sidearm.

In the decades that have followed, this sort of blending of firearms and magic has become a little more common. Larry Correia does a great job of describing with loving detail the firearms used to dispatch evil in his Monster Hunter stories.

In Larry Correia's world you might not take down a werewolf with a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, but you'll slow him down enough to drop a desk on him. And Larry Correia doubled-down with his magical private eye in his Warbound stories wherein John Moses Browning supplies the firearms.

The mix of fantasy and noir goes well together and Cedar Sanderson adds a twist in her mystical bounty hunter, Lom. Whereas Larry Correia builds his stories around big dudes--a towering "combat accountant" and a magical "heavy"--Lom is a pixie.

As in shorter of stature and slight of build.

When I say a story is about a bounty hunter, one doesn't immediately think of a pixie. Which is cool.

But all the other things you would expect of a noir protagonist are present. He's got a past. He's been betrayed by those close to him and thus he doesn't trust anyone.

That includes the dame in trouble with great gams. He meets Bella in the opening scene of Pixie Noir. Like a good noir story, the dame is more than a pretty face and smoking hot body.

Trouble takes the form of various magical monsters who want her dead. Lom's inner demons and his unhappy past add to his internal conflict. They run a gauntlet of evil monsters as Lom tries to deliver Bella to his client. Along the way they use guns, lots of guns.

Lom and Bella undergo some changes on their road trip and the nature of the relationship becomes more complicated as well.

It's a fun read and I recommend it heartily. Five stars.

BUT FIRST a word from our Grammar Nazi. (What good noir story doesn't have Nazis?)

English Grammar does not use grammatical cases as much as other languages. When I learned English grammar in school, I cheated. My mom spoke grammatically correct sentences, and thus I never learned English Grammar, I just gave the answer that "sounded good." There were exceptions. Nobody says "whom" any more, so any usage with "whom" did not sound right. Thus it was only in the last few years that I learned that "who" is used in a subjective case, and "whom" is used in an objective case.

Moreover collections of names and pronouns like "Joe and I went to breakfast" combine names and pronouns with the case of the pronoun depending upon the usage of the collection. If the collection is used in a subjective way, you say "Joe and I" and if it is an objective use, you say, "Joe and me."

Thus we say, "Joe and I went to breakfast. The waitress brought toast to Joe and me." It is a common mistake to use the subjective pronoun in a collection when one ought to use the objective pronoun. Objects of a prepositional phrase are invariably subjective case. Ms. Sanderson needs to hire an editor to catch these things in her final draft.

For this reason, the Grammar Nazi insists that I deduct a half-star from Pixie Noir: four point five stars.

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