Savage Scavenge (MaryJanice Davidson in Charming the Snake) – Conclusion

This short stories reads more like the first draft of a very bad novel, in the middle of which MaryJanice Davidson got bored with it. Something I can completely understand. It’s predictable, makes huge logic leaps and doesn’t take time to explain things. [Why call mutants “mute” and not explain that they are mutants and not mute? If she’d have gone for “‘tants” I wouldn’t have been so confused, assuming that it was something else. Using a word, which already exists, and give it a new meaning is fine, but then you’ll have to tell us that it has a new meaning.]

Apparently, Davidson has already written another story set in this future, but that does not absolve her from giving us a setting or some kind of information on it. You can’t expect that all your readers will have read everything you ever wrote.

That’s like I tell you, “Oh, look, there’s MAX!” and you have no idea, who Max is. (Turns out, later, that Max is a character of one of my short stories and I just saw a guy, who looked like I pictured Max.) Not very satisfying, is it?

Open Questions:

Who the fuck is Jamie Day and why do we get to meet her in the beginning? And while we’re on that subject – who is Brennan?
Are there no STDs anymore in the future? [Just because the city water protects from pregnancy does not mean that there’s no HIV around anymore (or something else). And Gladys, as a doctor, should damn well know that. So, why jump into bed with some guy and not use a condom? Especially such a sleazebag like Jaz.]
The whole mutant/future-thing had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story – why go there?
What’s with Tim? [When a character gets introduced like that – “That’s Jody, Tim and the rest of the gang”, I expect that there will be something done with Tim. Like a conversation, a special insight, advancement of the plot,… anything!]
Who thinks red eyes are sexy?

Eternal Truths Learned:

A pregnancy will solve every problem you have – and it will immediatly change the sloppy, independent, probably commitment-phobic bachelor into a responsible father of the year.
Pregnancy is the only thing you need to worry about when having unprotected sex with random strangers.
Mutations will mainly manifest themselves in weird haircolours, but nobody will be worried about seeing somebody with such a haircolour anywhere, even though there’s a constant level of fear of mutants, because they’ll assume that it’s dyed.

As usual, you’re very welcome to add to this list in the comment section.


Savage Scavenge (MaryJanice Davidson in Charming the Snake) – Chapter Eleven

Gladys is at home and brushes her teeth, when she hears a noise in the living room. Being used to people crashing through her patio doors, she doesn’t freak, but just goes to look who it is. You’ve probably guessed it – yes, it’s Jaz and Jody. They are disoriented by the beaming.

Jody warns Gladys that Jaz will be throwing up shortly and disappears again. Gladys gets Jaz into the bathroom.

“So anyway… I thought… after I talked to Jody… don’t worry, she’s very… discreet…” All said between heaves. Gladys had never seen someone try to puke and have a conversation at the same time. [And for a good reason. Nobody should do that. That’s fucking bad.] It was grisly, yet fascinating. [wordless shudder] Like an audit. [I’ve never seen any audit, where someone threw up.] “Anyway, I thought… I thought we could… talk. About the…”

Gladys tells him to shut it, and I’ve never been so grateful for a fictional character stopping another fictional character from doing anything.

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Savage Scavenge (MaryJanice Davidson in Charming the Snake) – Chapter Ten

Back at home, Jaz discusses things with his friend Jody. Jody takes Gladys’ side

“Out of all the people she could have picked, she picked you.”
“I was just a convenient cock, a drippy dick, a –” [annoying and awful alliterarion]
“I get where you’re going with this,” Jody said dryly. “Look, Jaz, it’s not her fault she doesn’t get it. [Doesn’t get what? What being a mute’s like?] She can’t, okay? She’s not the one worried about the government or Brennan and his goons –”
“Brennan’s dead.” [If you were wondering, Brennan was mentioned once before, in the first chapter, but only insofar as Gladys thought about Jamie and Jamie used to steal for Brennan. Who he is? No idea.]

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Savage Scavenge (MaryJanice Davidson in Charming the Snake) – Chapter Nine

Gladys and Jaz are driving, Jaz apologising over and over again that he didn’t ask her to stay. Gladys tells him that she could have asked and didn’t and that he should stop worrying.

She would love to go again, now that he would be able to last a bit longer, would love to take him to bed on her warm flannel sheets for about the next six hours [ambitious much?], then make bread pudding for breakfast and watch one of her Wheel of Fortune discs. [What a life. What a sad, sad life.]
Clearly, not in the cards. It was almost a relief he’d turned out to be such a swine. [What is the swine part? That he didn’t ask her to stay over – while she jumped out of his bed and dressed herself in pretty a hurry? Or that his apartment is such a stinky mess – which she knew before she slept with him. Look, there are definitely guys, who are swines, but I don’t see so much of that in him.] It made tricking him so much easier.

*sigh* This is so going to be a weird “steal your sperm” thing.

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Savage Scavenge (MaryJanice Davidson in Charming the Snake) – Chapter Eight

Gladys is quickly getting dressed again, while Jaz apologises for the sex being so short.

“It was wonderful,” she was saying, and that was pretty nice of her. “I haven’t done it in years.” [Even more reason to try to come, don’t you think?]
“Never with a mute, either, I bet,” he said smugly, and stretched. He caught a whiff of the pillowcase and jerked his head back. Errgghh. Time to create a forcefield that does laundry. [Ew, ew, ew… Do you know how long it takes for pillowcases to stink? I never conducted a field study, but I bet it’s a long time. Gross.]

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Savage Scavenge (MaryJanice Davidson in Charming the Snake) – Chapter Seven

Chapter seven brings us sex. And yeah, if you missed the build-up to that scene, no I haven’t left anything out, it just wasn’t there.

I have to admit that this sex-scene is a lot better than the others I’ve read so far for this blog. Probably because it’s really short. But there’s always things to bitch about.

Anyway, let’s get going. No names are mentioned, but from the guy’s monologue, we can guess that it’s Jaz and Gladys. Continue reading

Savage Scavenge (MaryJanice Davidson in Charming the Snake) – Chapter Six

He burst into his apartment with the two bags and Dr. Loder. The place was full of people, but there were probably only a dozen or so inside… [Hell, I don’t think I even could fit a dozen people into my flat…] his apartment was ludicrously small. A typical bachelor pad… messy, tiny, smelly, and in desperate need of a woman’s touch. [*dies a little inside* I know men, who have more of a woman’s touch than me… A woman’s touch… What’s that supposed to mean anyway?]

Jaz, who apparantly is thinking that, wonders about himself – he never had a problem with his flat before. His friend Jody steps forward and asks him how he did:

“I won, babies! Check this: I got water wings, a quarter from 2005, a classified ad from someone who doesn’t want a picture, a can of vegetables starting with the letter C, a Crayola crayon in Burnt Umber, and…” He grabbed Gladys’s elbow and pulled her forward. “… Dr. Loder!”

Jody and another friend, Tim, are reasonably impressed that he got all those things in under two hours, when Gladys slowly catches on and asks to speak with Jaz outside [which is a great opportunity for Davidson to give us the old “Mr. *** is my father”-joke… Which probably was funny, about 100 years ago. But not necessarily]. She pulls him in the hallway and he makes some more bad jokes to cover up that he’s incredibly nervous all of a sudden, until she gets some sense out of him.

“I was an item on a scavenger hunt?” She sounded like she didn’t know whether to be mystified, amused, or pissed. “Me and — and water wings?”
(… turns to go …)
He leapt forward and caught her elbow again. “Wait, wait. Come on, don’t be mad. Okay, I was a jerk; I tricked you. But look at what high regard you’re held in — you were the last thing on the list, and you know they do those things in order of difficulty.”
“I was harder to get,” she said, totally emotionlessly, “than a crayon?” [I think that is the most direct approach of objectifying a woman in a romance story I have ever seen. EVER.]

Well, I guess, we can all imagine, how that one continues. Once a woman is an object, she doesn’t have a will of her own anymore.

Jaz invites her in for a beer, thinking “He didn’t want her to leave mad. Hell, he didn’t want her to leave at all.“, immediatly scolding himself for thinking that. Then he tells her that Jamie gave him Gladys’ adress.

To get her to accept his invitation, though, he has to first tell her, what his “power” is.

“I can make forcefields of any kind or shape or density. So I just sort of made a field around me and walked up the side of your building, and then I used another one to break your door. I figured if it was all dramatic and quick, you wouldn’t have time to argue.” [Wow… I’d like someone to explain me the physics of that…]

Anyway, this revelation still isn’t enough, so Jaz tries to get her with the old “you don’t want to seem like a dried-up spinster and ruin all our fun and your reputation” move.

“I don’t care what anybody thinks.” She folded her arms across her chest and looked, for a moment, as if she did care. A lot. [Of course, every girl cares about her reputation, it’s the way they are built.] “You tricked me, and you used me, and now you want me to have a drink?” [You bastard! But his red eyes make him sooo loveable…]
“Come on,” he coaxed. “I’ll owe you one.”
Suddenly, she smiled. “That’s right,” she said. “You will.”