Tag Archives: #Bullying

Turner, Tej: The Janus Cycle (2015)

The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner
Cover art: Alison Buck

A common theme in all of these short stories seems to be bullying of one sort or another. Needing to dominate others is part of our human history. Countries bully other countries into subservience and oblivion. Two countries are well-known for their tendencies to bully militarily weaker countries while decrying other nations when these do the same. Tej Turner shows us the one-on-one form of bullying and the mob-on-one kind of bullying in his semi-short stories.

All of these short stories are more or less stand alone stories. They are all tied together by Frelia. Frelia has an interesting power that could cause her death if the ones who “rule” it find out about her having that power. But bullies have been part of Frelia’s past and she will not be forced into obedience just because some mysterious stranger tells her she has to. That decision is an essential one to the stories of Pikel, Kev, Tristan, Neal, Namda, Halan, Sam, Pag, Faye and Tilly. Frelia’s intervention changes lives, hopefully for the better.

Mobs with a charismatic leader are a frightening thing. Poor Tilly has the great misfortune of having one of those in her school and she has the kind of aura that many victims end up with. Sadly, this aura attracts predators like Jarvis and his gang.

Bullying (for whatever reason) drags your sense of self-worth down until it seems impossible to gain any of it back. The bullied person becomes so used to people being mean that trust is difficult to come by. At one point things became so desperate for her that Tilly was ready to kill herself. Being treated like a verbal and/or physical punching bag almost every day makes her need to be true to herself something I both admire and understand. Poor little Tilly. Tej Turner made me want to hug her.

“They carried on kicking her. In the face, the head, the stomach. They stamped on her legs, and one of them even spared a moment to spit at her. I desperately tried to intervene, but there were too many and I couldn’t reach them. They were killing her, but they carried on regardless. So long as the rest of them were doing it they seemed to feel it was okay, and none of them wanted to be the first to hesitate.”

In one way or another we all seem to become part of various kinds of mobs.

Definitely recommended.


The story behind the Janus Cycle


Janus Cycle available at Amazon US



I was given an ARC copy by the author

Aspergers and dating

Even as one of the opposite gender, I could recognize a lot of what was going on in this video.

Canavan, Trudi: The Magician’s Guild (Black Magician I) (2001)

Magician's Guild - 6 different covers
Various artists for the 6 different covers:
Les Petersen: bottom centre
Steve Stone: top centre
Matt Stawicki: top right

As far as I can tell, The Magician’s Guild has been published in 3 different English dialects and 15 other languages. That is impressive.

My son and I read the UK version of the The Magician’s Guild. As the reader I worked a bit harder with The Magician’s Guild than I have on my last few audio-jobs for my son. As the readee, my son seemed pleased with my job.

Sonea is somewhere around the age of 17 when we meet her. Her mom is dead and her dad has run off. Thankfully, she had her sister’s mother (Jonea) and Jonea’s husband who stepped in to take care of Sonea. They were part of the dwell society and at the point that Sonea’s mother died they lived in the slums. In the time since they managed to make their way into the Outer Circle of Imardin. There the three lived and worked out of a one room flat. Things were looking up for them. Then life did what life does and hit them in the face.

Before the threesome had moved behind the walls of the Outer City The city of Imardin - Trudi Canavan - Magician's GuildSonea was running with one of the gangs (Harrin’s gang) and had learned to pick pockets and steal. Several of the kids in Harrin’s gang are homeless kids who look upon the gang as their home. One of Sonea’s best friends, Cery, is such a kid. His father was killed by the Thieves for breaking trust with them.

Harrin, Cery and Sonea are one half of the equation of The Magician’s Guild. They bring in people to help them, but in essence the story is about them – and especially about Sonea.

The other half, of course, is about the Magician’s Guild. They have the food, the wealth, the king’s approval and magic. Like most privileged people the magicians are comfortable with status quo and reluctant to share their goods with “less worthy people”.

Compared with the rest of the world I am probably somewhere in the top 20% when it comes to privileges (in spite of being a woman). Being a woman lowers me somewhat but this is what I have going for me: I am of Norse blood living in Norway. I have a college degree and am married to a man who has a university degree. He is well-paid. I am not – due to health issues. We live in a country that assures that all of its citizens have free health-care, free education and are assisted if they should fall on hard times. Our home isn’t stylish or up-to-date but it is largish and warm during the winter. We always have plenty to eat. In other words, we have lucked out in the lottery of life.

What this means for me, is that I have to make some kind of effort to keep the other 80% in mind. Then I have to make even more of an effort to try to be of constructive assistance. It would be much more comfortable to pretend that the other 80% did not exist and that I had no responsiblity for the lives of other people on this planet of ours. But I know life is all about luck, nothing more. So I don’t have a choice.

The Magicians are at the point where they are going to be made aware of the dwells as something more than cockroaches to be stepped on once a  year during the Purge. Sonea is the tool to make it so. Discovering that there is one among the dwells whose powers are so strong that these powers have manifested all by themselves is going to change the opinion of some of the Magicians, frighten others and cement the prejudices of the rest.

Good luck, Sonea! You are going to need both it and loads of hard work to even begin to make an imprint in the sceptical attitudes of most of the magicians of the Guild.


Reviews:



Phantastik Award

Winner: Gilde der schwarzen Magier 1: Die Rebellin
Bester internationaler Roman 2007

Hovering on the Fringe

This was me growing up. Finally, someone put it all into words. What a relief.

Musings of an Aspie

My apartment building is testing the alarm system so I’m at the park today, sitting at a picnic table, writing. It’s a beautiful day and the park had been deserted until a few moments ago when a group of kids on a field trip showed up to eat lunch at the picnic tables and play on the nearby playground.

Watching them find seats and settle down to lunch reminds me of how much I dreaded field trips as a kid. The unfamiliarity of the setting. Having to find someone to sit with on the bus. Worrying that I would end up without anyone to hang out with during the inevitable free time we were given as a reward for enduring the educational portion of the outing.

As the kids are finishing up their lunch and breaking into little groups to play football or soccer, I hear a crash. Two boys…

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Asking the Hard Question: A Story About Me, Jeffrey Tambor, and Being the One Who Asks Something Uncomfortable

Dylan asks an excellent question, one I feel certain many of us have asked.

Hunter, S.A.: Scary Mary (2007)

Scary Mary
Cover design by S.A. Hunter

For once I feel as though a novella has been reviewed by its target audience. Scary Mary is intended for a YA readership and most of the links below reflect that. I am definitely nowhere near that age but still enjoyed the tale of young Mary.

Bullying sucks in a major way. There is something about the year after year grinding down of one’s self-image that makes life more challenging than it ought to be for a child/teen-ager. Sure, most children and young adults (well, even adults) experience bullying from time to time, but many years? Being different makes it easy to become a target. Having a disturbing ability would make it even simpler for people to leech on to you.

Including this element in Hunter’s novella about Mary was a plus for me. I also liked that Mary was wounded but not broken by the years of ostracism.

I see that Scary Mary is supposed to be a horror novel. Horror seems a strong word. Mystery with a ghost element seems like a better description. The ghost was mean but didn’t quite tilt over the horror wall. There is the history of the house. That is kind of horrorish.

My favorite part of Scary Mary was the dog. A wonderful twist. Absolutely adorable and an idea for people who struggle with allergies.

Anyways, I had fun reading Scary Mary.



Carlon, Lee: The Godslayers’ Legacy (The Bastard Cadre II) (2013)

Cover design by Lee Carlon

First of all I want to say thank you to Lee Carlon for sending me a reviewer’s copy of The Godslayers’ Legacy.

I liked book no. 1 of the series: A God-Blasted Land and had hopes for the rest of the series. I wonder what it must be like to be an author writing a series/serial??? I imagine the pressure you put on yourself to perform well the second time around must add to the stress whenever you feel lost in your own work. The excellent writer is like any excellent performer out there. We as a public aren’t supposed to guess how much work goes into their art. They get the tears. We get the pleasure.

Lee Carlon is turning out to be such a writer. To me he writes in minor key and plays those black tangents on his keyboard like an expert.

When Avril Ethanson decided he would fight Lord Obdurin’s bond, he did not know it would be so difficult. His reins are not as tight as those of the other cadres living up on Frake’s Peak, but they are nevertheless reins. Ronara enjoys being able to live there but she does not have to fight the bond that Lord Obdurin has tied between himself and Avril.

Not only Ronara and Obdurin add to Avril’s conflicted feelings. He is first sworn of his cadre and feels the need to seek out his other cadre members. For some reason Lord Obdurin wanted a semi-independent cadre to play his games with, and Avril’s is it.

We get to meet four of the other cadre members in this novel. Telling all of their names would only be a spoiler, but one of them is safe to share. Dune d’Turintar is on a mission to kill Lord Obdurin. Doing so is bound to bring her within reach of Avril.

Newterra is a bleak place. The world has been left in ruins by the Gods and the Gods pretty much rule the world. Who and what the gods are will probably be revealed later on, but I’m guessing Gods aren’t it.