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Liesmith, chapter 16.

Alis’s Note
… aa-aa-and part three surprise genre change!


The night started out awesome: ice cream, video games, nail polish, and Em. A real girls’ night in, doing girly things, to make up for all the time Em had been spending recently with that guy she’d met online. LambChop, or whatever his real name was.

It was just at the pinkest part of dusk, and Wayne was in the kitchen, fetching food while Em lounged around on the couch, newly painted toenails up in a foam thingie. They were a good hour into their main activity for the night, replaying Remnant World 2: Red August without saving (or dying) in order to unlock the final costume. It was about three hours of gameplay, if they took the short route (which they would). Em was working through the “normal day” intro scenes, up until the opening of the August Room, after which she would hand the controller over to Wayne and spend most of the rest of the evening hiding behind a pillow.

It was that sort of game.

Wayne was adding choc chips to their ice cream when she heard, “Wayne! Cutscene!”

She hurried back into the lounge room with the bowls, just in time to watch Carol rip the red tape off the August Room door. Wayne had played RW2 at least five times already, and the scene was still creepy as hell. Watching Carol walk into the featureless corridor, Wayne silently chanting Go back go back Carol go back as the latter vanished farther and farther into the blackness, knowing what she’d find on the other side, the room full of—

The lights flickered.

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2020-09-07T10:03:21+10:007th September, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|

Liesmith, chapter 15.

Alis’s Note
True story, the original version of this chapter was one of the original scenes I wrote for this story, way way waaaaaaay back in circa 2003-ish; I even have extremely old, terrible art of Lain for it in some sketchbook somewhere. That version of the story was originally set in Redmond (LB, Inc. was basically Microsoft, rather than the more Apple-esque company it’d eventually morph into) which is why there’s a handgun here. Because I wanted Lain to keep the gun (it’s a plot element Later™), I had to handwave a bit on why David would actually have one, seeing as casual handgun ownership in Victoria is kinda… not really a thing.


Sigmund spends most of the afternoon asleep in my office, his dreams dark and restless.

He wakes up a little after five, tousled and confused, and blinks at his surroundings for a few moments before his brain catches up to where he is. Stuttering and apologetic, he’s more interesting than emails and spreadsheets, and so I join him on the couch, pressing him back against the leather and devouring his awkwardness with all the want of a nerd at Comic-Con.

Much better than spreadsheets, particularly when my hands slip underneath Sigmund’s too-worn, once-black T-shirt, caressing soft, dark skin. Despite the pounding of his blood he feels cool beneath my hands and mouth. Mortals always do.

Outside, the city Bleeds.

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2020-08-23T19:31:00+10:0023rd August, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|

Liesmith, chapter 14.

Alis’s Note
Did I mention yet that the main inspiration for the structure of this story was Audition? Because yeah it was…


The con call is long and difficult and not at all like the feel of Sigmund’s lips or the taste of his self-conscious lust, meaning that my mind’s not so much on the work as it is on him. On the coarse feel of his hair and sharp scent of his soap, on the softness of his flesh and the hesitance of his embrace.

He’s not a great kisser. Unpracticed. But that can be fixed, with time, and I’d be lying if I said the thought of plucking open his awkward virginity wasn’t something I was looking forward to, the very best kind of déjà vu.

By modern standards, Sigyn had been young when we’d married. Young and mortal, caught in the firestorm of the most capricious of the gods. But she’d devoured the apple and taken to her place in Ásgarðr with a ferocity unmatched across the heavens, and the whole Nine Realms had been the rubes and patsies for our mayhem.

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2020-07-30T18:25:30+10:0030th July, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|

Liesmith, chapter 13.

Alis’s Note
So yeah I totally meant to move this to a weekly posting schedule and then totally didn’t because… I have no excuse. What even is time anymore?


By Tuesday morning, Sigmund still hadn’t figured out what to tell Em. Mostly because if he was being honest, he’d been too busy daydreaming about Lain.

They hadn’t seen each other again that Monday. Lain sent an apologetic text around lunchtime mentioning he’d been waylaid by VPs wanting to discuss advertising campaigns for the next major PyreOS release. So Sigmund had played video games on the Inferno in Travis’s office for a while, until guilt had started to gnaw and he’d dragged himself back downstairs to do work.

It hadn’t been easy, and Sigmund was gaining a newfound appreciation for the Basement’s nickname when compared to the light and vistas of the CEO’s suite. He’d picked at the job queues, but it’d seemed so petty all of a sudden. Who the hell cared about a few lost emails when the gods themselves were sharpening knives and heading for war?

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2020-07-20T10:13:12+10:0020th July, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|

Liesmith, chapter 12.

Alis’s Note
… let’s speed this up a bit.


The world still hadn’t ended by Monday, which Sigmund decided to take as a good sign, even if it did mean that he had to get up for work. Sunday had been uneventful, minus a bit of ribbing from Em and Wayne about his date and the fact that their progression raid kept wiping on the last boss. But that was all regular, Really Real World stuff. No gods, no monsters—well, the ones on the computer, but pixels didn’t count—and, most important, no apocalypse. Sigmund had considered messaging Lain on Sunday evening, but had decided against it, and Lain, for his part, seemed to be respecting Sigmund’s tacit suggestion to leave him alone for the weekend. He did that a lot, Sigmund realized. Respected boundaries, at least when Sigmund set them. It was nice.

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2020-07-06T12:40:06+10:006th July, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|


What if books aren’t actually that special, and the reason we treat them as some kind of sacred object is actually a hundred-plus year-old marketing gimmick?

My one of these is I went through a phase as a kid where I used to very heavily write in and dog-ear paperbacks. When I tell people this they tend to be horrified, until I explain that, to me, it was a sign of how much I loved the interior text. I was also a big believer in (pencilled) marginalia in library books, because I loved finding other peoples’ pencilled marginalia in library books. It was like GoodReads before GoodReads!1

  1. Librarians don’t @ me. []
2020-03-17T08:58:53+11:004th July, 2020|Tags: books|

Liesmith, chapter 11.

Alis’s Note
… aaaand we start on Part Two (Baldr)! True story: the Völuspá excerpts were originally supposed to be from the original texts, but the publisher at the time made me translate them into English because Old Norse would “confuse” people. Publishing is great!

 [A]xe-age, sword-age,
shields cloven,
wind-age, wolf-age,
ere the world falls;
no man will
spare another.
—“Völuspá,” stanza 45


Considering Sigmund spent the night sleeping in a bathtub, Saturday morning wasn’t as horrible as it could have been.

Someone had brought him blankets.

Blankets and pillows, in fact. They looked stripped straight off the bed outside and were cocooned around him. It was comfortable, despite the porcelain beneath, and Sigmund didn’t want to get up.

He had a killer headache.

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2020-06-29T09:41:18+10:0029th June, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|

Police force.

The [Officer Down Memorial Page] estimates that 275 police officers have been shot to death by civilians from 2015 to the present. Over that same period, as noted above, police gunfire has killed 5,408 civilians, at least 352 of whom were unarmed. This means, for every four cops killed by gunfire over the past five years, police shot more than five unarmed civilians to death. Overall, for every officer downed by a perpetrator in the line of duty, cops shot down roughly twenty civilians. In 2015, for every instance an officer was assaulted by a civilian, cops carried out nineteen assaults against members of the public.

Musa al-Gharbi on excessive force.

Relatedly, the publisher is currently offering free ebook copies of The End of Policing and Policing the Planet for those interested in a further reading list.

Also, for the record, there are counter-arguments to some of the claims made by police abolitionists that I think are not… completely worth discounting.1 On the other hand, the current system is so fucked-up it’s hard to imagine almost anything could be worse, so…

  1. Although that article is also littered with some really obviously shit-tier takes, too… []
2020-06-19T08:08:19+10:0019th June, 2020|Tags: books, politics|

Liesmith, chapter 10.

Alis’s Note
The end of Part One, also known as  “who’s ready to get hit with the massive oncoming genre shift train?”


You have to understand that, up until about two seconds ago, I’d been having a really fantastic night.

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2020-06-14T10:39:14+10:0014th June, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|

Liesmith, chapter 9.

Alis’s Note
… we got there in the end!



Sigmund’s dad answered the door, which was about the worst possible way to start the evening. Sigmund could hear murmured introductions as he pulled on his shoes and hopped down the stairs half-in, half-out of his jacket, but by the time he reached the door he was pretty sure words like boyfriend and date hadn’t been uttered and—thank gods—Lain wasn’t carrying flowers or something equally humiliating.

(does that mean this isn’t a date?)

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2020-05-31T11:03:24+10:0031st May, 2020|Tags: books, LIESMITH, wyrdverse|
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