Mark Reads ‘Deep Secret’: Chapter 12

In the twelfth chapter of Deep Secret, Maree and Rupert share a rare bonding over their dislike for Ted Mallory, and Rupert’s job gets a whole lot more complicated. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deep Secret.

Chapter Twelve

Sweet mother of god, there’s just SO MUCH HERE. I love how meta this is, and I love how much subtext and depth there is to the story. LET’S DO THIS.

  • “Ops is supposed to deal with crises.” Reductive, I know, but oh my god, it fits so well. It really does! My heart goes out to all Ops members at all cons everywhere, as I have glimpsed behind the curtain at many a con, and it is not an easy job by any means.
  • This book is making me excited for Worldcon this year, since it’s in London, and I imagine that there will be way more people from mainland Europe at the con than from the United States and IS IT GOING TO BE JUST LIKE THIS??? I IMAGINE SO
  • I just… I’ve never read a book about a convention, obviously. It’s not exactly a common setting for any novel, let alone a science fiction one. And it’s just fucking me up how completely Jones is able to capture this universe, its idiosyncrasies, its charm, its problems, and the unique experience it offers. The lobby description itself is too much to deal with. IT’S REAL.
  • I’m also going to maintain that using con scheduling to get out of unwanted social situations is still brilliant, and while there’s lots in this book to love, I’ll love Diana Wynne Jones for that alone.
  • You know, I’d just assumed that Ted had put the message about Maree’s heartbreak in the day’s news sheet, but once Maree reasoned that it seemed more like Janine, I had to agree with her. And I just felt so bad for Maree because it was clear that even if someone had intended the best when they had that put in the news sheet, it still hurt her. It hurt her to be defined by that heartbreak to a bunch of strangers! It hurt her to know that for the rest of the day (and possibly the rest of the con), people would be nice to her out of pity, not because of any other reason. Also, “orphaned-looking lady”??? REALLY?
  • Oh my god, Ted’s panel. I’ll get to Rupert’s opinion on it later, but I must say that like Maree, I was horrified by what Ted and Mervin said. Initially, that wasn’t the case! I always liked George R.R. Martin’s comments in GeeksOn about the dichotomy between architects and gardeners when it comes to planning/executing novels. I am absolutely an architect, though I started off as a gardener. However, without a master plan, all the novels I attempted to write prior to the one I’m working on now fell apart by the halfway point. It was so disappointing that I never finished them. Now that I’ve planned everything, the writing comes a lot easier to me. So on the surface, I didn’t disagree with what Ted said regarding how he worked out the humor in his books. And look, I even have to think about my writing for this site as a job sometimes, so there’s no harm in that.
  • The harm comes in the essentialist and all-encompassing language that these two jerks use. No laughing at your own jokes. No inspiration. No dangerous books because they might not sell. The miracle ingredient? MONEY.
  • boring
  • BORING
  • SO BORING
  • There’s nothing I like about that, and I’m someone who has to survive on the writing he does! This is all I’ve got, and I still don’t think you shouldn’t get carried away or turn away from difficult things. BAH. NO, THANKS.
  • I love that it’s over this that Rupert and Maree suddenly bond!!! Rupert’s views on the issue are fascinating, too, since he essentially argues that Ted and Mervin’s egos prevent them from being honest about their craft. They have to make up all this bullshit about master planning so that they don’t seem “soft.” Ultimately, I don’t buy it myself, and I love that Maree points out that THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD AT DESCRIBING THINGS AS WRITERS. So yeah, I’m on Maree’s side.
  • Oh my god, Maree is all of us when we get excited about introducing people to NEW BOOKS.
  • Also, it’s not Richard Matheson or Philip K. Dick. Asimov wrote I, Robot!
  • ZINKA FEARON PAINTED HER SEXUAL EXPERIENCES WITH CREATURES FROM OTHER DIMENSIONS. OH MY GOD. I CAN’T. THIS IS THE FUNNIEST THING IN THE WORLD. I CAN’T.
  • I love that the dual narrative is split in this chapter, and that as Maree’s story ends, Rupert picks up from when she ran away from him.
  • This is important not just because we get confirmation of how much Maree is growing on him, but now we definitively know that all the other Magid candidates are awful. Punt is… oh god. He’s relentlessly irritating, isn’t it? I don’t really like him, and I love terrible puns more than most things. Him goading on the Americans about gossip… no thanks.
  • Actually, can we talk about Ted’s plagiarism? When he’s discussing stealing Mervin’s jokes, he says, “Books are public property – and he’d no business to be so damn rude!” Okay, Ted, I don’t like Mervin either. I really don’t. But you’re fucking wrong. They’re not public property at all???? And look, legal implications aside, this is just bad taste. No! DON’T DO THIS.
  • So, Punt is no good. Mervin Thurless might be working with EVIL MAGIC WIZARDS OR SOMETHING. Those cloaked figures are not okay. Tansy-Ann could never, ever keep something like being a Magid a secret because she has to make everything about herself. Gabrilosevic is a disaster, since he pretty much implies that he’s going to murder Rupert and Zinka for being WITCHES. Oh my god. Fisk is awful, too, and Maree is CLEARLY THE BEST EVER.
  • I now think that Rupert is right to suspect that this isn’t just a normal mission for him. How could Them Up There get potential Magids so wrong? What sort of game are they playing with him???
  • Even more confusing is the fact that things seem to be working out perfectly with Dakros. Right when Rupert is discussing this all with Stan, Dakros calls to inform them that THEY FOUND KNARROS.
  • So here’s what I want to know: How can it be Intended that the Empire fall to pieces while it’s also Intended that Rupert have the worst possible collection of candidates in Magid history? They have to be connected, right?
  • I DON’T GET IT. But centaurs, y’all. CENTAURS ARE GONNA BE IN THIS BOOK.

The original text contains the use of the words “mad,” “deranged,” and “crazy.”

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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