Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Spells of Blood and Kin"

Claire Humphrey's short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, Crossed Genres, Fantasy Magazine, and Podcastle. Her short story "Bleaker Collegiate Presents an All-Female Production of Waiting for Godot" appeared in the Lambda Award-nominated collection Beyond Binary, and her short story "The Witch Of Tarup" was published in the critically acclaimed anthology Long Hidden.

Humphrey applied the Page 69 Test to Spells of Blood and Kin, her first novel, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“I don’t feel like sitting still,” Nick said, pacing. He felt like running another 10k and then jerking off again, but a walk sounded okay too, if it was followed by about ten drinks. He jittered back and forth by the door until Jonathan had located his wallet and keys.

“Bye, Hannah,” Nick said, waving his fingers.

“Bring him back in one piece,” Hannah said.

She was muttering something to herself as she got up and stuck her head in the refrigerator, but Nick didn’t want to hear it.

Jonathan had to stop and kiss her, though, and then he kissed her again.

“Bye, Hannah.” Nick pulled Jonathan away by his shirt collar.

“Bye,” Jonathan said softly. “Hang out here as long as you want. I won’t be late.”

“Yes, he will,” Nick called, already dragging Jonathan down the hall.
As you can see, Nick is kind of a jealous friend: he wants Jonathan all to himself. Also, Nick maybe has a drinking problem, and if he does, he doesn’t want to be the only one.

This scene is all about Nick. Nick is the kind of guy who likes having scenes be all about him. You might find him funny for a while, but eventually you’d realize he’s kind of a selfish jerk (and “jerk” is probably not the word you’d use, if you were writing on your own blog rather than guest-blogging!) Hopefully, you’d start to wonder whether Nick was always like this, or whether something sinister was acting on him, making him more of a jerk than he was before. You might start thinking about how the flaws in a person’s nature can be magnified by power.

Or, you might just find Nick to be an annoying character, and never make it to page 70.

This wouldn’t entirely surprise me. Nick really is a jerk. You might feel like you have too many jerks in your real life to be interested in a fictional one. But this isn’t Nick’s story, even though he thinks it is. It’s the story of Maksim, the man who wrecked Nick’s life, and it’s the story of Lissa, the young woman who inherited Maksim and his problems when her grandmother died. Nick, as it happens, is just one of Maksim’s problems.
Visit Claire Humphrey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue