Content note: Sex discussion follows
Shar is painting the coffeehouse!
Sketching a mural in charcoal on the blank wall makes her orgasm. Meanwhile, Daisy is planning a website, t-shirts, et cetera, and Abby’s wondering if she can reverse-engineer the tonic to keep their powers going forever.
Daisy confuses me:
[Shar says] “We’re messing with forces we don’t understand and–”
“And there’s a line from every bad horror movie ever made,” Daisy said. “What’s to understand?”
If that’s a line from a HORROR movie, shouldn’t you be more concerned? I mean, I know I personally don’t want my life to resemble a horror film. Especially since the one disregarding the fact that they don’t understand the forces they’re dealing with is usually, gee, let me think, the big bad?
“Shar Summer, you’ve got some springs inside that are wound way too tight,” Daisy said. “When they pop, you’re gonna take somebody’s eye out.”
I’m pretty sure she just popped five minutes ago. The whole shuddering and leaning against the wall thing? Or did nobody fucking notice that?
Apparently the world was created by three goddesses:
Just kidding. This is actually more traditional: one captured glimmers of light and caught them, one spun them into the heat of the day, and the last took the light and shattered it into stars. Kind of like the norns I suppose?
Daisy mentions to Sam that Shar’s having issues with his promiscuity.
“I think you sleep with too many women.” […]
“How can there be too many?” Sam said.
“And that confirms my manwhore diagnosis.”
Shar handles it pretty well, though, focusing on the change in cultural norms that Sam might not have picked up on:
“Men who constantly sleep with many different women for short periods of time are not attractive. They are immature and callous and incapable of establishing human bonds, and while they often feel that they are in some way superior by doing this, they are in fact compensating from a deep inferiority or a lack of basic human decency. […] Four thousand years ago as a god, you were probably perfectly in sync with prevailing values.”
They decide to name the coffee shop Dogs and Goddesses. Okay whatever. Shar decides to trust in the three of them and Sam.
Meanwhile, Abby is heading to find Christopher.
She walked past Bun and Gen sunbathing on the green, dressed in matching bikinis, and for the first time, Abby had no doubts at all that she was looking at the incarnations of fertility and pregnancy, cheerful and fecund.
…Are they pregnant? Did I miss something? Flash back to their introduction in chapter two:
Daisy […] turned to see a smiling teenage girl offering her a stick of gum[…] Daisy leaned forward to see another teenage girl with a round face smooching at her fat, ancient poodle
…they’re TEENAGERS. Teen pregnancy is one of Kammani’s values? I suppose “round face” is a euphamism for “fat”, and “fat” looks like “pregnant” if you’re unobservant? Or maybe Abby just normally thinks about teenagers in terms of the fertility of their uterii? And how can you tell if someone is fertile by looking at them? What, they just—
Oh. This is a boob thing isn’t it. They have big boobs.
Ick. I need to wash.
So! We get to hear more of Abby’s conversation with the teenage girls that she only met a few days ago and certainly has no business prying into their private lives, instead of the probably more interesting conversation between Bowser and Baby where he inquires about her health due to the fact that she’s his elder and he’s concerned about her joints. Nope, we get to hear judgemental humans being judgemental and jumping to conclusions!
Bun rolled her eyes and giggled. “Professor Mackenzie is scary as shit, and he’s wrong. You and I are just alike and I suck at math.”
At least Gen has a kind word to say about Christopher, who turns out to be her cousin:
“[Christopher] loves math,” Gen said. “I mean, he really loves math, and he loves it when other people get it.”
Meanwhile Abby, who is more concerned with people’s mystical mojo than their personalities, realizes that he’s one descended from the first families that founded the town, just like Bun and Gen and probably all of the named characters in the book that aren’t time-displaced. Apparently the town was founded two generations ago, since Sharrat (Shar’s grandmother) was displaced from the middle east. But there’s a university. Sure. Go with it.
Professor Mackenzie’s house was straight out of a Gothic nightmare. It looked about a hundred years old, with leaded windows, dark shingles, a slate roof missing several pieces, and wildly overgrown landscaping. It looked about as welcoming as a funeral home.
My apartment is infested with hornets, the plumbing is broken, and the water is slimy and smells of sulpher and my water filter broke. I’d take a run-down house I can fix myself over a nice-looking apartment with a landlord who refuses to fix problems until someone gets injured any day. The roof is probably a problem, and I hear they get expensive to fix, but old doesn’t necessarily mean bad, and who cares about the lawn really? It’s not preventing you from leaving your house all weekend long for fear of being stung.
Chris answers the door in a surly fashion, but invites her in. He confesses to liking dogs, but never had one, because his foster parents were allergic.
(I wonder why he wasn’t adopted? Or maybe the author doesn’t know the difference between foster care and adoption? I’ve seen that mistake made a bunch)
Apparently Christopher is… well….
“I worked full-time too.”
“Child labor?” she said, disbelievingly.
“Child prodigy,” he replied. “We had government grants, research. I spent my childhood in a laboratory.”
“What about school?” she asked, appalled.
“I didn’t need conventional schooling. My foster mother took care of the basics. By the time I got my second P.H.D, it really didn’t matter.”
“And how old were you at that point?” […]
“I was seventeen.”
I have no words.
Okay, I have a few words: send that boy into space so he can fight aliens because DAYUM.
How fast can you complete a PHD if you rush through it and magically get great results your first time through? His brain wouldn’t be developed enough to properly conceptualize advanced mathematics until, eh, 10 or 12? (Apparently you can’t learn abstract concepts until 9-12, and even then your attention span is 30-45 minutes), so… no, that sounds way too fast.
Abby, meanwhile, continues to judge other people by her stereotypical standards:
No dog, no school, no real family. It was little wonder that he seemed like an antisocial pain in the ass, when in truth he was nothing more than a sad little boy
Not everyone wants or likes dogs. People who never had dogs growing up turn out just fine, they’re not crucial to human development.
Not everyone does well in traditional schooling. Some people who are homeschooled turn out just fine, though there is potential for abuse.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s awful to judge someone’s family by the shape it takes. It’s not like she knows him well enough to judge his relationship with his family members. Once she finds out that he refuses to think of his foster parents as parents, and that he lived with them from age four to twenty-four, that’s more of a reason to suspect his family life was subpar at best.
“My mother died young, and my father wasn’t equipped to raise a child with my … talents. He put me in the care of people who could properly train me.”
….Is he a warlock or something?
The only furniture in his house is in the bedroom, where there’s a couple chairs and a bed as well as piles of books and papers. He always eats out and only drinks coffee. The stereotypes just… burn.
Abby has a moment to think about how to handle the discussion they want to have delicately before she barges ahead at full steam, quizzing him about hearing voices and insisting that all seven of them are hearing dogs talk and sprouting magical powers. Needless to say, he thinks she’s suffering from more delusions than he is, but when she confesses that the cookies made her desire him, they immediately end up in bed.
Because. That makes sense.
This book makes sense. It’s a paragon of sense-making.
The typical deflowering of the virgin:
She was expecting pain, blood, but there was nothing but a sharp twinge. She couldn’t keep back the small cry of pain as he pushed deep inside her, but then it was suddenly wonderful, and for the first time in her life she felt complete.
Because all women need penises inside them to feel complete.
When he realizes she was a virgin, Christopher tries to abort the sex act early, but Abby won’t let him. Which is uncomfortably rapey for my taste.
After the sex he tells her “This is all wrong” and asks her to stay put, but she flees instead, in tears.
Can the book be almost over now? Blah.