Mark Reads ‘Deep Secret’: Chapter 10

In the tenth chapter of Deep Secret, I didn’t know I needed this in my life, but there it is, and I NEEDED IT. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deep Secret.

Chapter Ten

Just in case, there are some discussions of consent at cons below, so heads up!

  • I love this. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
  • I love that Jones chooses to show us a convention specifically through the eyes of someone who is a reader, who is imaginative, and yet, has never been to a convention or even knew of them herself. It’s brilliant, and the observations Maree gives us are both poignant and hilarious. They’re also necessary, especially in the case of Case and Tansy. (Oh fuck, now there’s a Dutch joke in my goddamn review. I DIDN’T PLAN THAT.)
  • Oh my god, where do I start? I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY.
  • Jones perfectly captures and conveys the mixture of chaos, excitement, strangeness, loneliness, and camaraderie that is a convention. I’ve had severe mix-ups while trying to check into my room. I’ve had the head of the con committee help me out tremendously. I’ve felt like I didn’t belong, and had that slowly turn into the realization that I was precisely where I should be.
  • There are no coincidences, remember? So having Maree talk Mervin’s room? THAT HAS TO BE A WAY THAT THE UNIVERSE IS DISQUALIFYING MERVIN AS A MAGID CANDIDATE. I feel the same way about Tansy, though Rick doesn’t fall into this category. He’s wonderful!
  • I was also ready to talk about how I felt very strange about Diana Wynne Jones talking in great detail about the size of the people at this convention until I realized that this was her way of having Maree SEE PEOPLE WHO WERE LARGE IN A SOCIAL SETTING. Oh my god, it really is a strangely liberating feeling to finally be amongst people who are not thin? I really don’t talk about this much for personal reasons, but when that line came about later on (during the Opening Ceremonies), it brought me back to the first time I felt the same thing.
  • CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE HOTEL. Is it the child of the the maze in Labyrinth, the Overlook Hotel, and the home in House of Leaves? BECAUSE WHAT THE FUCK. I picked up on the preponderance of mirrors fairly early on, but once Case guided them down the impossibly angled corridors I knew that this could not be a coincidence. There’s no way that a hotel set on this powerful of a node is built like an Escher painting for no reason at all.
  • PhantasmaCon’s programming is organized into PARALLEL UNIVERSE REFERENCES. And one of them is called “Mallory World.” WHICH IS THIS WORLD. So what do the other universe names represent?
  • Seriously, is this convention occurring simultaneously in other universes??? I could not tell whether or not Nick and Maree walked in on normal con programming or programming in another universe. LIKE THE LESSON ON WRITING SYMBOLS THAT MADE MAREE FEEL WRONG. WHAT WAS THAT???
  • hahahahah WHO ELSE HAS MET A MERVIN THURLESS AT A CONVENTION? Oh god, I wish I could talk shit without repercussions because I know at least three people who are perfect stand-ins for him. Not only that, but there are unfortunately people who possess far too much entitlement for one human body because they think that being on a panel or attending a con means they deserve everything in the entire world.
  • “My first thought was that the police would be in trouble here, if there had been a crime and they needed descriptions of the man on the scene. About nine-tenths of the men had beards and wore glasses.” No, go ahead, DWJ, take it a step further: All those men were white too, weren’t they? WHOMP IT’S TRUE, YOU KNOW IT.
  • Oh my god, I didn’t really know that other people would see someone and think, “I want to be good friends with that person.” I DO THAT ALL THE TIME.
  • Okay, so who is the MOST FABULOUS MAN? Is he part of this mystery? Or is this DWJ just talking about how sometimes, the hottest person in the universe is at a con?
  • Hey, guess who is the worst? Case. It’s unfortunate, but there are men at conventions who feel entitled to women like Case does here. Notice how he never asks if Maree wants to do anything with him. He just demands it, hoping that his kind tone will mask the fact that he’s a fucking creep. And you know he’s doing it on purpose; this is not unintentional behavior. He knows that he can accompany a woman back to her hotel room and essentially bully her into consenting, which doesn’t count as consent in my book.
  • Fuck him.
  • “But I could see that in ordinary life Rick Corrie would arrange to be called away by beepers too. He was one of those people who find it hard to talk to anyone for very long. I think a lot of the people here may be like that.” Well, this passage is just so brutal and sad and true. I’m glad that Maree is so kind to Rick.
  • The same cannot be said of Tansy-Ann, who TOUCHES MAREE REPEATEDLY WITHOUT ASKING HER. Y’all, some people do not like to be touched. I am one of those people, and almost universally so, I despise it when someone I don’t know touches me. Ask. ASK FOR HUGS, ASK TO TOUCH, ASK TO MASSAGE SOMEONE’S BACK BECAUSE WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TANSY??????
  • I’m actually really happy that DWJ put these scenes into the book and definitively portrays them as negative experiences. That’s what they are!
  • Oh god, without getting specific, I will say that I interacted with a person at an event in a place where I was (LOL SO VAGUE) who did the exact same thing Tansy did here: talk about graphic sex to me without any sort of introduction and without any sort of consideration for the fact that I had never met her. Even worse, the entire thing was about gay sex and her supposed extensive knowledge of it as a straight woman who wrote a lot of slash, and I WAS STUCK. I LITERALLY COULD NOT LEAVE. IT WAS SO AWFUL.
  • Oh my god, Zinka. THAT’S HER. WTF.
  • Does that mean that other Magids are watching her???
  • RUPERT DID NOT HAVE MULTIPLE REFLECTIONS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DID IN THE MIRRORS. Okay, OKAY. So, clearly, Magids can be identified by using more than one mirror, but does that imply that for other people, there are multiple versions of themselves in other worlds???

Please note that the original text contains use of the word “mad.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Mark Links Stuff

– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.
– I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting numerous events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in 2014. Please check my Tour Dates/Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
– Inspired by last year’s impromptu park event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all the currently-planned dates and pitch your own city here.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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