Thursday, May 9, 2013

Having a Drink with Roen

Today Wesley Chu, author of the hugely entertaining Lives of Tao, is here.

Action, aliens, a secret war, did I mention aliens and action? Basic gist: Tao is an alien that has been on earth for millions of years. He and his other Quaslings live within hosts. From dinosaurs to early mammals, primates and finally humans, the Quaslings have secretly guided some of the most influential figures in history. Then through a series of events, Tao finds himself in the body of Tao - a man more suited to being a drone in Office Space than a James Bond operative.

I had a lot of fun reading this.

I also enjoyed reading this next bit on Roen's liquor education. Thanks, Wesley!

A drink says a lot about a person. Are you a martini drinker, or do you prefer white wine? Perhaps you’re old school and order lowballs. Maybe you’re a Pabst drinking hipster. Maybe you’re one of those that Ice House for the higher alcohol content. Nothing wrong with that, assuming you’re still in college. If not, maybe we should talk.

Roen pre-Tao was definitely a vodka drinker; a well vodka drinker to be precise. Now, when I say well, I don’t mean it as a type or brand of vodka, I mean it’s the tray that bartenders have quick access to when they pour drinks. In first person shooter terms, it’s their 1-5 keys. It’s also usually the lousiest cheap alcohol in the joint. It’s the spirits they’d be too embarrassed to put on top of the shelves and the stuff they use to mix with cranberry juice, tonic, or with Red Bull.

In other words, Roen pre-Tao drank swill because it was cheap, got him drunk, and the fruity juice or fizz masked the taste of the piss alcohol. And that’s how he liked it. Now, being beaten down and rebuilt from the ground up by a hot secret agent chick and an ancient all-wise alien will change a man. Well, that and being constantly hunted by an equally ancient ruthless enemy. One could say that after being shot at, a guy might have a little more appreciation for his tolerance level of swill drinking. Also, it’s safe to assume that an alien like Tao who had once inhabited the likes of Genghis Khan, Lafayette, and the first Ming Emperor of China would definitely not put up with his host drinking Red Bull and vodka.

It took Roen a while to switch over to what Tao considered an appropriate drink for a host of Tao’s stature. Let’s face it, for a gaseous floating blob, Tao has a very high opinion of himself. But Tao’s an old dog when it comes to breaking in new hosts. Knowing Roen’s preference to binge drink fruity hard liquor, he started Roen on scotch with training wheels…ie he made Roen drink Johnny Walker Black with diet coke mixed in a glass with a crap ton of ice. The ice to cut the taste, and diet coke because Roen’s overweight lard ass that is on a diet. Oh, and Black because drinking Red turns Roen insane, and usually is followed up by a massive headache the next morning.

After Roen acclimated to loving scotch (who doesn’t?) to the point he only drank it neat or at most with a touch of water, Tao moved him on to an easy entry level drink: The Balvenie. By the way folks, the “The” is very important with this scotch.

Then, Tao finally took the training wheel off and let Roen experiment and choose what worked with his palette. These days, Tao is the proud Quasing of a host who has discovered that there is no such thing as too much peat. His favorite drink is Lagavulin, with its punch-you-in-the-nose initial hit and lovely oily dirt smoke texture. It’s like a mouth full of fresh dirt, and it’s awesome. Or as the great Scottish actor Brian Cox says of Lagavulin, his favorite drink, “Pow! Like a depth charge.”

Damn straight, good sir. Damn straight.

Wesley Chu

Angry Robot:

Lives of Tao Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Powell's
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1 comment:

  1. Adding several must-sample imbibements to my list, thanks to this.