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Zovarue

Zeugma's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 1,031 posts (1,197 including aliases). 1 review. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 6 aliases.


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The Exchange

Ross Byers wrote:
Working on finishing Blue Mars. Also trying Mike Mignolia's Joe Golem stories.

Looked up Joe Golem on Goodreads.com. It looks fun! Surprised I'd never heard of it, given how popular Mignola is.

The Exchange

I finished Catherine Jinks' The Reformed Vampire Support Group. It was very funny, and quick-paced. The dust-jacked copy describes it as a mystery, but it is less of a mystery than a "caper" sort of novel. There were a few loose threads in the plot, but on the whole it was a quick, entertaining read with plenty of snarky dialogue and pop-culture vampire references. I plan to read her sequel, which is about werewolves, in between my other novels.

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The nature of commercial publishing has changed. Whereas before publishers wanted pulp novels to be short so that they could keep manufacturing costs down and at least hope to break even on an investment in a new title, now they want to maximize their risk up front on a planned series because they hope it will have a built-in market: if you buy the first one, you NEEEED to buy the second one or will never know how the story ends. It's like a home-grown book-of-the-month club.

In mystery publishing, they up front will ASK if you plan to have your detective be a series detective. They don't like stand-alone stories anymore. But that's for mass market. If you're aiming for the literary market, such as "An Instance of the Fingerpost" or "The Name of the Rose" (to use the mystery genre as an example) then they don't care if its planned as a series or not, because the higher price, smaller print run and likelihood of being reviewed in a major newspaper or magazine are more conducive to a return on investment.

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I really like the perspective in that last panel. But I wonder how Durkon is going to die...or die again... or whatever vampires do.

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I finally finished Wolf Hall! Yay me! I am not sure I am ready to tackle the next book in the series, though I probably should read it soonish, before I forget who most of the character are. I just finished the book and can't remember who Lord Lisle is already. I think he might be the one in Calais?

For in-between the Cromwell saga: I have Walter Mosley's A Red Death on hold at the library, and The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks. I'll read whichever one comes in first.

I also have some short sci-fi anthologies I've been skimming. Nothing spectacular has caught my eye yet, so I won't mention the current ones here. I will say I did enjoy Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others, which I finished reading awhile ago; "Tower of Babylon" from that collection reminds me a bit of Robert Silverberg's "Sailing to Byzantium" in its evocation of a mythic reality.There is also one about a bicycle I really liked, but I can't remember if it is in Chiang's anthology or another one I'm reading (I have 4 currently on my Jenga-book-pile).

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<sings>
Do you know the way to Pangolais?
I've been away so long, I may go wrong and lose my way.
Do you know the way to Pangolais?
I'm going back to lose my mind in Pangolais.
</sings>

The Exchange

Although I'm not the OP, I'll go ahead and say if you aren't a Pern fan, you really oughtn't to post in the "Dragon riders of Pern fans?" thread and hate on McCaffrey. I'm sure the OP would appreciate constructive opinions of the series, but "it would be better off if it didn't exist" isn't constructive.

The Exchange

sunbeam wrote:
Zeugma wrote:


On a lighter note: yes, I'd love to live in a culture that valued Anathem more than Twilight; where teen girls would write fanfic about quantum physics and not get sneered at for it. But we don't live in that culture.
Nobody lives in that culture.

I was being facetious. Hence the lighter note.

The Exchange

Caineach wrote:
Zeugma wrote:
Caineach wrote:
Wrote about Annie Bellet
If you read the linked article in the first post in the thread, she talks about why she declined her nomination. It was because she didn't want to be associated with the slate and have politics dragged into it, not because she was pressured. She explicitly states that she wasn't pressured. She felt the nomination was tainted.
And if you read her comments in various posts the weeks before she declined, you see her talking about the massive amount of hate mail she was receiving for being put on the Sad Puppies slate.

I haven't been following the controversy that long. Links?

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Caineach wrote:
Wrote about Annie Bellet

If you read the linked article in Wired magazine on the first page of the post in the thread, she talks about why she declined her nomination. It was because she didn't want to be associated with the slate and have politics dragged into it, not because she was pressured. She explicitly states that she wasn't pressured. She felt the nomination was tainted.

The Exchange

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I'd totally watch an Animal Planet channel "Puppy Wars" tv show, if it's anything like the "Puppy Bowl." I picture puppies scampering across a battlefield on the Western Front, or standing in front of a draped flag to rally the troops - we could call him General Pawtton!

The Exchange

I'm all for Anathem being more culturally present, but phrasing it like that makes it seem that Twilight or The Hunger Games ought to be less culturally present. That troubles me because those books have gotten tween/teen girls to read who might not otherwise. I'd rather see a girl pick up Twilight than be part of the non-reading statistic. 20% of Americans don't read a single book in a year! Are these books great literature? No. But most of what people read isn't. Do you know how many Robert Ludlum books my library has, and "oh no, we can't discard those because they circulate!" but our last copy of The Pickwick Papers? "Go ahead and toss it, because no one reads the classics!"

Truthfully, they don't. They just don't.

Pern was discounted too, back in the day. There were whole "you've got fantasy in my sci-fi" arguments about it. The kid who read Pern books at my high school got beat on for it (probably also a matter of sexism, since he was a guy and there was a girl on the cover, and "oh look, that guy over there is reading a book. This calls for a beat-down" mentality).

On a lighter note: yes, I'd love to live in a culture that valued Anathem more than Twilight; where teen girls would write fanfic about quantum physics and not get sneered at for it. But we don't live in that culture.

The Exchange

Hitdice wrote:
I was just glad to see someone aside from myself mention Dhalgren. :)

Hi Hitdice! I haven't read Dhalgren yet, actually. I've stuck to Delaney's shorter fiction. He's a hard guy to pigeonhole. There's a lot of intersectionality going on in his work. He reminds me at times of Kurt Vonnegut, and at other times he seems like the love-child of Philip K. Dick and William Faulkner.

The Exchange

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MMCJawa wrote:

I thought this was a good write up of the current state of affairs from Wired

Who Won Science Fiction's Hugos, and why it matters.

I don't think this article was that well written. Mostly a matter of tone. Calling sci-fi "one of literature's crummier neighborhoods"? It mischaracterizes what sci-fi has historically been about by describing it as just "lazers and aliens" and also denigrates the fans, unless I'm misled in thinking the term "trufan" is pejorative. And it treats the awards as if there's some dividing line between "Sci-fi then" and "Sci-fi now." You'd think a Wired culture journalist would be more nuanced and knowledgable about the history of the genre. Even the so-called Golden Age she describes and that the sad puppies have nostalgia for (the one era of sci-fi that due to pulp presses was more about "lazers and aliens" than any other) wasn't just "Forbidden Planet" with its troglodytic, 1950s Hollywood misogyny.

Mischaracterizing what sci-fi is and has been historically buys in to that: "yes, it was all about space vixens and manly white-man's lazers, all about escapist middle-class and blue-collar fun and any serious ideas weren't read or appreciated." Have I read some of the "Planet Stories"? Yes. Are they fun? Yes. Are they more deserving of awards because of how they were written and their populist appeal than "Dhalgren" or "The Left Hand of Darkness"? No. Not more deserving. Just different. Can't we have both "big idea" sci-fi and "populist" sci-fi without someone saying "no, now you've ruined it"? And the idea that today's version of Delaney or Le Guinn is a threat to today's version of H. Rider Haggard is ridiculous. That seems to me to be what the puppies are arguing. This makes me very disappointed in Wired. It makes me very disappointed in the fandom.

I guess I'm fan-ranting.

The Exchange

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golem101 wrote:
Jester David wrote:
9000 years with no art or music under the rule the theocratic rule of a sadist god's clergy...

Graphic descriptions of nastiness.

** spoiler omitted **

It's not YOUR art, but kuthonites like it. Sometimes a bit too much.
And they had close to ten thousand years to develop it, refine it, create styles and trends.

Stay away, or you may become art.

Just had this thought: some of Kafka's work would fit right in in Nidal: "A Hunger Artist," "In the Penal Colony." Heck, a Kuthonite could have written "In the Penal Colony"!

Spoiler:
Knowing something about Kafka's background and predilections, he'd probably be writing Nidal fanfic if he were around today.

The Exchange

sunbeam wrote:
Zeugma wrote:
Wrote about awards vs. sales

Yeah, but looking at the historic vote numbers, if I had gone to the expense of publishing a vanity book, for a little bit more I could have had my vanity project be nominated for and actually win the Hugo.

I think your Newberry award mention is interesting. I've seen all kinds of kids reading those books over the years, some for school, and a lot for fun. And the genders are more or less equal is my impression.

So why don't they grow up into readers of SF? A lot of the Newberry winners could have been considered SF, though the usually youthful protagonists aren't that common in the genre.

And there is another thing. The Twilight books probably outsold all the Hugo winners in any given year ten times over.

I really think the genre itself just isn't that interesting to most people. But the Newberry books typically do well so...

Newbery is spelled with only 1 R. The voting structure is also very different since you need to be a member of ALA, and in the ALSC section, and then network/politic enough to become a committee member for the award. But even Newbery has its detractors; as a reference librarian there is a gulf between recommending a Newbery winner because you know it won't stink/be objectionable and recommending something you know the kid will ACTUALLY read that would never in a million years win an award (e.g. Spongebob Squarepants comic books).

Why don't kids who read SFF grow up into adult readers of SFF? I think there are lots of reasons for this, starting with social pressure as a teenager to not read "juvenile" SFF. The big exceptions of recent years (e.g. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games) are exceptional in part because they did go mainstream with the difficult-to-reach tweens/teens.

Also, the themes of Juvenile/YA SFF hew more closely to the "bildungsroman" and story structures that are also found in non-SFF for that age group (e.g. The Princess Diaries protagonist also learns secrets about the society around her and has to make a life-changing choice and decide what she'll sacrifice for family, just like Katniss does in Hunger Games).

For some kids, being assigned Gathering Blue or The Giver in school and asked to parse out its symbolism (very difficult, abstract and symbolic thinking) doesn't translate into a love for a genre that asks its readers to do that as part of their leisure time.

Sad puppies has a point about the simpler enjoyment of more escapist SFF like Star Wars... but why read a Star Wars novel when you can watch the movies/TV shows/play the videogames instead? Less thinking is involved. So what the sad puppies slate mourns - the loss of nominations for more escapist SFF - is not something that, IMO, can be reversed: the people who want Star Wars already get Star Wars, and it doesn't come between the covers of a book.

No shade to Star Wars novels fans! I'm just saying that the majority of pre-teens who love SW won't read the books or the "harder" Military SF. (Harder in the sense of "I need to read a book" not the "It's like Stephen Hawking 'hard' SF").

The Exchange

As much as publishers like to put "award winner" on their covers, AFIK the only place where it leads to noticeably higher volume of book sales is for the Newbery Award. Sci-fi is such a niche market starting out that I don't think anyone in the early days would do anything more than some light lobbying in the fanzines and trades (by early days I mean 1970s). $20k in 1970 dollars seems way too much to spend for something that won't boost sales - at most, you'd recoup your costs and hope it gets reissued in backlist/book-of-the-month club sales.

If you're in publishing to make money, you're in the wrong business (if your name isn't Rupert Murdoch).

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Looks like even the WSJ has an article. Listen to Vox and Scalzi go at it! Youch! btw, I <3 the headline.

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P-Funk

"Improve your interplanetary funkmanship!"

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We've just weeded a bunch of Pern books from my library's collection. No one checks them out anymore. Changing dynamics in the community + low circulation of sci-fi anyway. I'd LOVE to see higher figures for classic/older sci-fi, but only the current bestsellers circulate, or titles that get assigned in a classroom. Surprisingly, Heinlein's Have Spacesuit, Will Travel was on our local school's summer reading list. Very few kids chose to check it out compared to the better-known & more recent titles. I was quite happy when a patron came in yesterday and checked out Scalzi's Lock In.

With all the emphasis on STEM in America, you'd think sci-fi would be doing better, but it seems like only fantasy holds much mainstream appeal (e.g. Game of Thrones), and even that is more among the cultural elite, not the working-class people I see at my library who want books about how to pass the trades exams, beginning children's books, and DVDs.

The Exchange

Nice to see that "Rat Queens" got some votes in the graphic novel category! :-)

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All book-talk is accepted here, Treppa!

I'm still reading "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel. It's taking me a super-long time because of her writing style and the fact that people have first names that are indistinguishable (e.g. Thomas), family names, and exchangeable titles (e.g. master secretary). But I'm in the last section now, so I feel I'm getting a better grip on things.

The Exchange

I'm wondering if Paizo will abandon the Modules line and leave it up to 3PPs to fill in this "middle length adventure" niche in the gaming market, or if they will just direct everyone to the shorter Pathfinder Society adventures, which aren't really my first choice.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:

Started Jim Butcher's Storm Front. I've never read any of his stuff, and I knew the Dresden ones were real popular, so I figured I'd give it a go. By the second page, I thought, "Wow, this is like a Laurel K Hamilton ripoff..."

So I looked it up, and found this:

Wikipedia wrote:
In 1996 he enrolled in a writing class where he was encouraged to write a novel similar to the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, rather than the more traditional high fantasy that had been his focus in the past, as Butcher had previously stated that he enjoyed the Anita Blake series. Despite initial resistance, he wrote the first book that semester, closely following the instructions of his teacher, author Deborah Chester.
Jim Burcher wrote:
When I finally got tired of arguing with her and decided to write a novel as if I was some kind of formulaic, genre writing drone, just to prove to her how awful it would be, I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.

Thanks for this anecdote, Kirth. I love it when authors expose their process/confess: "Yes, I expected it to be s*&#ty."

The Exchange

Marco Massoudi wrote:

The old modules were much better and on time too. I would seriously consider a return to the smaller format maybe with the inclusion of a poster or a battle map product that supports the adventure.

...

I think it takes too much time for someone new to the industry to finish 64 pages.

I agree. Even an experienced writer, as Mr. Logue is, seems to be having trouble with this format (though I have no evidence that the problem with the module is at all on his end... it could be an editing problem or art troubles or something else entirely).

Were editors pulled from the modules line to work on other projects?

The Exchange

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Grond wrote:


Hobgoblins: I want to see an AP dealing with them. They are, imo, the most interesting of goblinoids and their ability to fight coherently and as a militaristic society lends itself quite easily to an AP. Have the big bad be a hobgoblin king emerge and unite their clans against the nations in Golarion where they are most easily found: Isger, Andoran, heck Molthune would be great because their constant hiring of hobgoblin clans could lead to this by having one hobgoblin king decide to take over the nation.

Apparently the hobgoblin city of Hongol in Tian Xia will be in the "Distant Shores" book.

Marco Massoudi wrote:


The hobgoblin capital of Hongol in Tian Xia has been confirmed.

Distant Shores discussion link

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I'm wondering what the delay is on this title. I know Paizo doesn't have to share with us what the holdup is, but it would be nice to know at least what area of the publication is causing the delay.

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1. Amiri
2. Sajan
3. Red Mantis assassin

Runner up: Damiel

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Nervosa's "Masked Betrayer"

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1 person marked this as a favorite.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:


(Amuses self by imagining Hester and Tess teaming up to wreak revenge upon Arthur and Angel and other dickish men.)

That should totally be a Kate Beaton comic!

The Exchange

Limeylongears wrote:

I have been ordered to read '50 Shades of Grey'

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to charity.

What, you mean you need to read it for work? My condolences. A friend of mine who has been into the BD community hates that book SO MUCH.

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Set wrote:
Zeugma wrote:
Catfolk are too independent to form a centralized government. I can't see them running a whole city.

If Elves can have a city, and Gnomes can even manage a village, then I'm sure Catfolk can pull it together as well.

Set, I'm surprised to hear you speaking well of catfolk, given your own heritage!

The Exchange

Quinn. We could investigate so many things together!

He has that whole Scarlet Pimpernel/Sherlock Holmes vibe...like a Garundi Leslie Howard...<Le sigh>

The Exchange

Dragon78 wrote:
Yeah I would like see Holomog. Also I am not sure if there are cities of Catfolk or just villages.

Catfolk are too independent to form a centralized government. I can't see them running a whole city.

The Exchange

Dragon78 wrote:

I am hoping the southern Garund city will be a Catfolk city or the place were those woman warriors came from.

I hope the Iblydos city is something strait out of Greek myth.

Holomog is the country where the women warriors who invaded Geb come from. It was briefly ruled by the Pirate Queen Mastrien Slash. Link: http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Holomog

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I hope the Southern Garund city is either a city in
a) Nurvatchta, because I <3 spiders!
or b) Holomog, because it already has some nice history attached to it with Durvin Gest, Mastrien Slash, and the Field of Maidens as potential plot points/quests.
Droon is cool, but dinosaur-riding lizards sounds kinda "been there, done that." Even if it is Droon (I hope not) I know Crystal will make it seem cool, or at least interesting.

The Exchange

This book isn't listed as a hardcover, and I don't know if the price of $22.99 is a placeholder. Does anyone know how many pages the gazetteer is expected to be?

Also: will the release of "Distant Shores" go along with the 2016 Adventure Path - will it feature some of the places in this gazeteer? I know that the 2016 AP is supposed to be C'thulhu themed, but that sounds more like "Distant Worlds" than "Distant Shores."

I am interested in seeing what Crystal does with Southern Garund... there are so many choices to pick for a city!

The Exchange

Oops, sorry Otherwhere. Just realize the Reseda person was you. <awkward>

The Exchange

I don't know if you are still looking for a group, but there was a poster in Reseda also looking, if you are near there in the SFV. I'm in West LA myself, but have postponed my RPG participation due to a job move.

The Exchange

Judy Bauer wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Have you read the Wolf Hall series by Hilary Mantel? The plot synopsis you linked sounds . . . relevant, I guess is the best way to describe it.
I had not—hold now placed!

I am reading Wolf Hall right now! The second book is Bring Up the Bodies I think, though that just may be its American title. I am enjoying Cromwell's point of view, but sometimes Mantel's writing makes me confused as to who is speaking, and sometimes when Cromwell speaks it is paraphrased so I am not sure if he is talking or just thinking. But otherwise it is excellent!

The Exchange

Thoughts: This looks really cool. I haven't seen a lot of products featuring Qadira so far. Also fun to see what Mr. Logue gets up to.

Questions: Is the Preorder still August? And when can we expect to see the final cover art on the website?

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Thank you, I will pass the word along, Lord Dice.

He complained that Butler was the only black female sci-fi/fantasy author he could find at the Nashua Barnes and Noble and that Kindred was the only book they had by her. I then cuffed him for thinking that he could find a wide variety of books at the Barnes and Noble.

The comrades might also like Butler's short story collection, Bloodchild and Other Stories. Butler didn't write much short fiction, but what she has written is excellent! "Bloodchild" gets the most press and awards, but I personally like "The Evening and the Morning and the Night" the best out of the collection (or maybe I have "Bloodchild" anemia). "Speech Sounds" is also great, especially since Butler and I are both from SoCal and I know some of the places she describes in the story; I can't drive by the Music Center without thinking of that story.

The Exchange

I finished The Grace of Kings. It had epic battles and wily opponents in a "silkpunk" pseudo-Asian setting. I liked it, even though there is some speechifying by major characters and lots of shifts in point of view to keep track of. My favorite characters, it turns out, were the gods of the setting. Their meddling in mortal affairs, and the ways their plans go awry, were entertaining and unexpected. I'm not sure I'm going to read the sequel, though. The end of the war seemed to draw things _mostly_ to a close.

Not sure what novel I'm reading next. My book-Jenga pile is as high as ever, but I've been skimming the Year's Best SF 18 anthology I got at the library. Favorite short story so far: "Bricks, Sticks, Straw" by Gwyneth Jones. I'd love to see it turned into a CGI short feature.

The Exchange

Sad to say I'm still reading The Grace of Kings. I ought to be done by now, but I am actually a bit bogged down by all the shifts in Point of View. It is still entertaining, so I don't mind taking my time.

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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:

"Daughter of Fu Manchu" by Sax Rohmer.

It's the first story of his I've ever read, and after a chapter it seems pulpy and silly enough to be amusing.

If you are less into pulp...My sister got me the original Judge Dee translations by Robert van Gulik. The Chinese mystery stories tend to have more supernatural elements in them, but no more far fetched than some of the early Western detective fiction (e.g. Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue.")

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I like that the grootslang responded to Dahren's unspoken question, and then ate him anyway. :-)

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2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sad Wings of Destiny

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The Thread Necromancer wrote:
This is not helpful. :(

Pssh. We already knew that marketing was a ghetto! And the Los Angeles Times had the nerve to interview the actresses in the latest Avengers movie as if it had some sort of feminist message to impart. Total BS. Sure, it's nice to interview movie actresses, but lets not pretend the movie is about something it is just not about. A 50% increase in actresses to 2 isn't progress, and it sure ain't the point of the franchise. LA Times had the nerve to laud this and cite it as a reason more women saw the latest Avengers film. More women? Our audience share in the US increased from 40% to 41%. Whoop. Dee. Doo.

[goes back to re-reading Rat Queens]

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I'm reading The Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan. It's the third book in the series. So far it has been a fun read, full of nautical adventure, and I like Tod Lockwood's illustrations, but I don't like the blue ink the publisher chose to use. I think it's supposed to make it look "old-timey" but it just makes it harder for me to read and does Lockwood's illustrations a disservice IMO.

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I picked up issue 10 during Free Comic Book Day today. I was planning on waiting for the collected volume but my will power is weak.

I liked how the issue and the plot arc resolved. Especially because

Spoiler:
Dee, my favorite character, was the absolute most bad@ss, bravest character ever! When she put that mask on, it was amazing!

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