Monday, March 27, 2017

Catskinner's Book: Chapters 13-16

Two Federal Agents, Tom White and Cobb Rosswin, confront James and Catskinner. Godiva is spitting mad, literally, and her distraction allows Catskinner to disarm the G-men. As James and Godiva and Tom and Cobb heatedly question each other, it becomes increasingly uncertain which agency the G-men belong to. When James mentions Alice, Tom drops under his patrol car and grabs a hidden shotgun. Fortunately, a quick call to Alice defuses the situation, just in time for a truck to run everyone down...

Catskinner rips the driver out of the truck, only for James to crash it. Immediately, a swarm of minraudim, heated metal centipedes, pour out of truck. Gunfire from the agents thins the swarm out, but the humans are forced to run. As they flee in the agents' car, James runs out of energy. To restore him, Godiva feeds him sugar from inside her like a momma bird her young. After escaping the minraudim, they four of them meet Alice at a bowling alley. Once again, the question turns to how to draw Morgan out for Catskinner to kill him.

The group is interrupted by the arrival of a arrival of a group of otherworldly hot women. Godiva recognizes them as fellow ambimorphs. A bald man follow the Macrobe-human hybrids, demanding that Godiva and James leave the alley with hum. When Catskinner says no, the blue metal man attacks. Heavier than normal, his heavy metal imbued body is a match for Catskinner until James tricks the metal man into punching an electrical panel. During the respite, they discover that Tom is critically injured. As Godiva evacs Tom, the metal man returns. Catskinner immobilizes him just long enough for Cobb to shoot out his eyes.

While trying to find the hospital that Godiva took Tom to, Cobb takes James into a government trailer. As Cobb negotiates to take new wheels and weapons from the storehouse, James pretends to be an agent from Tuscon and Catskinner discovers the joy of knives. Afterwards, they wait for Morgan to make the next step.
Allyl isothiocyanate, besides being spit from angry ambimorphs, is mustard oil, found in mustard, horseradish, and wasabi. It makes for a passable insecticide, and, as Godiva shows, it can serve as a substitute for pepper spray if needed. Does Godiva make compounds like this and her sugar meal on demand? I also fear what will happen if she learns to make more complex chemistry, such as the complex toxins manufactured by some plants and fungi.

Catskinner's continuing humanization is both endearing, and in the case of the knives, somewhat frightening as well. Since meeting Godiva and Alice, the circle of people the alien Macrobe will protect has certainly widened. As this humanization coincides with James's socialization, one has to wonder if James's years of self-imposed isolation only prolonged Catskinner's lack of adaptation to human society. I can't blame James, however, as the traumas experienced by Adam Chase are certainly enough to drive a man into a strange form of hermitage.

Tom and Cobb are a subversion of the Men in Black, the famed suppressors of alien evidence. They certainly don't exude the air of unflappable professionalism and menace that the urban legends have. At this point, they instead resemble grifters. However, we shall soon see that their introduction to the paranormal that rivals any experienced by members of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International.

Mineral men, plant women, beings of air, water, earth, and fire - while Misha Burnett has been upfront with attributing his ideas to various science fiction writers, it would not surprise me if there was some formal esotericism in those roots.

Next time: "the Great misunderstanding of Our time is the iDea that we are alone In the uniVerse and we Are not!"


  1. I love this. You've picked up on all of the elements that I was trying to suggest, particularly how James and Catskinner feed off each other's paranoia. And the bit about the ambimorph's ability to synthesize organic compounds turns up in Gingerbread Wolves.

    And, yeah, I have a background in gnostic and esoteric religion that I drew upon in making my mythology.

  2. Yeah, that's the kind of connection that keeps me coming back for more. Never noticed the earth, wind, and fire bit.

  3. "As above below," The Book of Thoth... Yeah, it's all over the place.

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