It really is fun, especially for a very large novel. I finished it months ago, so in reading parts of it I have embarked on a voyage of discovery. I kinda forgot exactly what was in the thing.
Here's a little snippet from chapter twelve.
"We're after snowcones," Nineteen said. This time Wan shoved him for interrupting Tensile.
"What's a snowcone?" The skinny one asked.
[[You started this, you explain,]] Tensile 'phoned Nineteen.
"Literally?" Nineteen replied. "It's a sweet winter treat, a food. But I was using it as a metaphor for the - "
"What kinda treat?" the big one asked. "You got any?"
"Ah, no," Lesech said. The big one did eat a lot, the contents of two food packets so far. "It's - "
"Is it something from Urbesh?"
"Who knows?" Nineteen said. "I'll tell you what it is if you shut your mouth for a second."
"What's a 'metaphor'?" the skinny one asked.
[[-=sigh=-]] Nineteen 'phoned the pictogram for exasperation to the rest of the Hana present. "First things first. A snowcone is literally a treat made from snow, which is formed into a ball and sprinkled with sugar or flavored syrup."
Tensile was sick of it. "It's a type of frozen water that falls from the sky in cold weather. You don't have it around here. And snowcones aren't usually made from snow, but shaved ice."
"What's 'ice'?" the tall one asked.
The skinny one turned around to look at his buddy. "You know ice, from before. Frozen water. Didn't you ever have iced drinks when you were a kid?"
The tall one shook his head. "I was too young when I was taken. I can't remember it."
The skinny leader smiled at his friend. "It's not important." He turned around to look at Nineteen. "What's a 'metaphor'?"
"It's where you imply one thing by using another word for it. I was referring to preserved corpses. We have briefing reports on this planet from people who were here long ago. The best stuff's always lying around those frozen corpses. Also, medlabs on developed worlds will pay for ancient corpses, especially the ones in those clear capsules."
"Don't let the Urbeshi catch you with any, you'll go to their prison. They forbid the trade in corpses."
"Yeah, we know that. We figured guys with a severed head on their APC wouldn't be as particular."
The scavengers all laughed. The one further back in the shadow of the ancient overpass heard the laughter. "What's so funny?" He shouted at them. "What'd I miss?"
R. P. Bird: Professional writer since 1989. Author of the IN THE REALM OF THE GODS
series and the SUZIE crime novels. Crazy, but highly reliable. Can fix