selenak: (BambergerReiter by Ningloreth)
[personal profile] selenak
Having now read three of the four books the first two seasons of The Last Kingdom are based on, I find my original suspicion that Bernard Cornwell novels benefit from adaptions into other media because these take you out of the main character's head justified, though not always quite in the way I assumed. Because the novels are narrated by an older Uthred looking back, his narrating self can sometimes point out things his younger self did not yet see or realise, for example, that he wronged his first wife Mildrith, or that he underestimated Alfred early on because a chronically sick non-warrior valueing learning and feeling guilty about sex could not possibly be a strong leader in his young eyes. Otoh, older, wiser Uthred narrating still doesn't change the fact most female characters come across as more dimensional and fleshed out in the tv adaption than they do in the novels (Brida and Mildrith in the first, Hild and Aelswith in the second season - Iseult, alas, is a cliché in both versions).

The tv show cut or compressed various characters and slimmed down events, and given that they do two books per season so far, that's not surprising. But even if they took a longer time, I think some of the changes and cuts were to the narrative's benefit. For example: Cornwell has to come up with some pretty convoluted circumstances and far-stretched plots to have a teenage Uthred who is still with the Danes secretly present when Prince (not yet King) Alfred confesses about his carnal lapses to Beocca. In the book, he needs to be because he's the narrator and neither Alfred nor Beocca would have told him about this. The tv show dispenses with said circumstances and just has the scene between Alfred and Beocca, without Uthred secretly listening in, because he doesn't need to be in order for the audience to get this information about the young Alfred.

Mind you, dispensing with the first two times Uthred meets Alfred and letting their first encounter not happen until after Ragnar the Elder's death creates one important difference between book and show relationship that's worth mentioning. Book Uthred lies to Alfred (and Beocca) these first two times and point blank spies on them for the Danes, so the later "why do you keep distrusting me?" indignation rings a little hollow in this regard. Show Uthred does no such thing, so Alfred is accordingly less justified in his lingering ambiguity.

Another cut that somewhat shifts perception: the first novel has Uthred participating in a few Danish raids led by Ragnar, including one on Aelswith's hometown (though she doesn't know he took part). Now, in the show we go from Uthred the child to adult Uthred directly and adult Uthred is solely seen at Ragnar's home, with the deaths of Ragnar & Co. impending, but given adult Uthred later is shown to be already a skilled fighter, it stands to reason he practiced these skills. But I suspect the show avoided showing Uthred fighting against Saxon civilians this early on deliberately. Both show and books have Uthred loving the Danes but staying with the Saxons post Ragnar's death because various circumstances (and then Alfred's machinations) make it impossible for him to do otherwise. Only the book, though, spells out that Uthred doesn't start to feel any kind of identification/emotional connection to the Saxons until he sees them winning a battle (until then, narrator Uthred says, he hadn't thought Danes could lose, which makes sense given that throughout Uthred's childhood and adolescence, they were winning), when before he regarded them as weak and didn't want to think of himself as belonging to them. Which makes sense given Uthred is raised in a warrior culture and is a young, arrogant adolescent at the time, but again, I suspect the tv version avoids spelling this out in order not to make him off putting early on when establishing the character.

Otoh, the scenes the tv show adds in the two seasons where Uthred isn't present all serve to flesh out the characters in question more and work to their benefit, whether it's Alfred, Hild, Aelswith or Beocca. The notable exception is Guthred in s2, whose additional scenes make him look worse, not better than the novel does. Possibly, too, because in the novel Guthred is described having an easy charm that makes Book!Uthred forgive him even the truly terrible thing Guthred does to Uthred, and the actor playing Guthred on the show doesn't have that at all, and instead comes across as nothing but fearful, easily influenced and weak. (And show!Uthred while coming to terms with him doesn't forgive him.) I have to say, lack of actorly charm aside, given that Guthred does something spoilery to Uthred ), I find the tv version more realistic.

The push-pull relationship between Uthred and Alfred is there in both versions, but in the tv show, it comes across as more central. As my local library has it, I also read "Death of Kings", the novel in which, Alfred dies, not without manipulating Uthred one last time into doing what he wants him to do, and Uthred's thoughts on the man later, summing him up, are Cornwell's prose at its best:

I stood beside Alfred's coffin and thought how life slipped by, and how, for nearly all my life, Alfred had been there like a great landmark. I had not liked him. I had struggled against him, despised him and admired him. I hated his religion and its cold disapproving gaze, its malevolence that cloaked itself in pretended kindness, and its allegiance to a god who would drain the joy from the world by naming it sin, but Alfred's religion had made him a good man and a good king.
And Alfred's joyless soul had proved a rock against which the Danes had broken themselves. Time and again they had attacked, and time and again Alfred had out-thought them, and Wessex grew ever stronger and richer and all that was because of Alfred. We think of kings as privileged men who rule over us and have the freedom to make, break and flaunt the law, but Alfred was never above the law he loved to make. He saw his life as a duty to his god and to the people of Wessex and I have never seen a better king, and I doubt my sons, grandson and their children's children will ever see a better one. I never liked him, but I have never stopped admiring him. He was my king and all that I now have I owe to him. The food that I eat, the hall where I live and the swords of my men, all started with Alfred, who hated me at times, loved me at times, and was generous with me. He was a gold-giver.


Last Yuletide I added a Last Kingdom request at the last minute because I'd seen it had been nominated, and accordingly it was short, but this Yuletide I think I'll also offer, and will request in more detail and more characters. While the other historical tv shows I consumed during the last year were entertaining in various degrees, this was the only one which was also good.

FMK #18: Writers of Color

Jul. 25th, 2017 07:11 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Last week's F win was a tie between The Dragon and the George and Goblin Quest. I am waffling over which one to pick. Goblin Quest had discussion in the comments, but on the other hand, reading it would break my unbroken streak of not having read any of the many Hines novels I own.

K winner was the Callahan. I am going to keep Callahan's Crosstime Saloon but this may be the nudge I needed to just drop the rest.


Anyway, this week's FMK theme is SF by Anglophone Writers of Color. We will pretend the reason it was tough to get a set of ten together for this is that when I get one of these it doesn't linger as long on the to-read pile. (Actually, it was tougher than I expected because finding out race for a lot of SF writers - especially older and more obscure ones - is not simple. There does not seem to be an easily accessible and accurate masterlist of SF Writers of Color out there. And at some point, for some of then, I found myself thinking that if they aren't interested in making their ancestry part of their public bio, I need to not be looking this hard. I never did figure out if Philip Jose Farmer is actually in any way Hispanic.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Butler, Delany, Hamilton, Hurston, Martinez, Mosley, Reynolds, Takei, White, Wilson )

FMK: Discount Armageddon

Jul. 25th, 2017 07:25 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Poll post coming soon! But first, I have finished Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire!

It was fun! I enjoyed it! The characters were great! Much like the other McGuire I have read, I felt like the more I thought about it, the less there there was there! (I can't think of a single piece of internal evidence other than Verity's word that it took place in Manhattan instead of, like, Columbus, Ohio. The Price-vs.-Covenant thing really doesn't work with the logistics that are set up in the book. Verity's main character note is that ballroom dance is the most important thing to her, she tells us this at least every fifth page, and yet at no point does she ballroom dance, even as practice. Etc.)

And I did really like the variety of cryptids and the cryptid community, but the "cryptozoologist" thing still bothers me, in that a cryptozoologist is a very specific thing situated in a very specific time and culture - it is not something like "witch" that has enough meanings with enough history you can basically go with whatever - and I would really really love to read an urban fantasy about cryptozoologists - and Verity Price is really really not one. (I mean, you could make a cool backstory about how the Prices and allies adopted the terminology ironically in the 60s to further distinguish themselves from the Covenant - or that Sanderson got himself in WAY over his head with a Price girl at some point and came out very confused, which is a fanfic I would definitely read - but she does not seem to be doing that.)

But! It is a urban fantasy in which ALL OF THE SEX IS UNAMBIGUOUSLY AND EXPLICITLY CONSENSUAL, and I didn't even know that was a thing that existed, so I will forgive it A LOT for being that. (I would also enjoy the fanfic about how Price family sex education includes a unit about how part of their mission is to introduce the urban fantasy community to the idea of "affirmative consent" which it had previously lacked entirely.)

I have Down Among The Sticks and Bones on its way from the library, but I have learned it is NOT about the Skeleton Girl (with that title how is it not about the Skeleton Girl?) so I find I am not that excited about it coming.
musesfool: Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel (not alone in the dark)
[personal profile] musesfool
I cried my way through Gifted on Saturday, and I can only hope CEvans decides to do a sideline in loving dad roles going forward because it's a good look for him. Needed more Octavia Spencer, though.

And yesterday, I watched Orphan Black: Gag and Throttle
spoilers )

In SDCC news:

+ the Black Panther stuff all looks AMAZING
+ Thor: Ragnarok looks delightfully charming
+ Infinity War looks like a hot mess but features beardy Steve in a black stealth suit and Bucky with a new arm, so I'll get over Natasha's blonde hair, I guess. The ability of any movie to service so many characters, otoh...
+ Justice League looks like two separate movies being smooshed into one - I am into Wonder Woman and Aquaman, as well as Alfred and Jim Gordon, but skeptical of everything else. is this a spoiler? )
+ The Star Wars books in the lead up to The Last Jedi look like fun (CHEWIE AND THE PORGS! Legends of Luke Skywalker! A 16yo Princess Leia book! A Canterbury Tales-like anthology! With authors like Ken Liu and Elizabeth Wein and Saladin Ahmed in addition to Claudia Gray and Chuck Wendig!) I am excite!
+ I like that Captain Marvel is going to be set in the 90s - it explains why they cast someone so young as Carol, though I wonder if that means they'll recast for present-day Carol or what. And Nick Fury will be there! And maybe we could get a Peggy Carter cameo!

I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting atm, but work keeps interrupting. Sigh.

***

Eeep.

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:36 am
aj: (school)
[personal profile] aj
To-do list for this week. Only 3 didn't get finished last week!

1. Finish reading for this week.
2. Do reading for next week. 80%
3. Read articles for research paper.
4. Do annotated bibliography.
5. Start research paper.
6. Eat breakfast at home all week. three days.
7. Clean litter box five four times.
8. Vacuum living room and bed room.
9. Do laundry.
10. Pay rent.
11. Pay electric bill.
12. Get massage.
13. Go to gym once.
14. Push through terror over doing school work and actually do the school work.
15. Finish leftovers.

Ugh. School is grinding down. Last class and all my big work is due August 3. Luckily, I took 3 days off this week and next, so I'm going to buckle down and just WORK for five days. This last Saturday is the last day off I get until everything is turned in. I celebrated by sleeping for sixteen hours and returning cat brushes. \o/

Counter.

Orphan Black 5.07.

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:22 pm
selenak: (Rachel by Naginis)
[personal profile] selenak
In which there's pay off for severa storylines, hooray! And flashbacks.

Who are you? )
musesfool: Nick/Cassie, Push (ours is a forbidden love)
[personal profile] musesfool
For [personal profile] grammarwoman for the DVD commentary meme.

Driving with the brakes on
Push (2009); Nick/Cassie (Nick/OFC); adult; 13,650 words
Nick discovers a way to help Cassie see more clearly. It's a little sketchier than he's comfortable with.

I don't actually remember the genesis of this idea, but there's a post in my LJ that says, So I said to [personal profile] angelgazing, "Tell me not to write the story where orgasms make Cassie's visions clearer" and she said, "you should TOTALLY write that story" and two weeks and 13k words later, I wrote the story. Which is basically how these things go when [tumblr.com profile] angelgazing wants me to write a thing, especially if I already kind of want to write it anyway.

content notes: Cassie's 16; one reference to offscreen sexual assault of non-canon characters

All through the writing of this story, Cassie was 15. Cassie was 15 right up until I actually posted. Then I had a conversation with [personal profile] snacky and decided to make her 16 instead. I don't think it makes it better? But maybe some people are slightly less squicked? Idk.

But unless the moon falls tonight, unless continents collide, / Nothing's gonna make me break from her side )

~*~

I hope that provided some insight on what was a 13K word exercise in id-fic. *hands*

~*~

still not ginger

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:59 pm
saturnofthemoon: (TARDIS)
[personal profile] saturnofthemoon
I honestly did not "have a horse in this race," when it came to the new doctor. That's what happens when you stop watching a show you love for *checks imdb*....six years. Given the show's declining ratings, I didn't expect the BBC to take this kind of risk with Doctor Who. I've never been so happy to be wrong. Yay, it's a girl! Now I need to watch Doctor Who properly again, (in other words not just skipping to the episodes with River and Missy.) Ironically, I didn't quit the show because I hate Moff. I'm actually in the minority who prefers Moffat to RTD.

Now to see if Chibnell can pull it off as showrunner. A quick glance at IMDB tells me that he loves the Ponds, which is a plus, but none of his Doctor Who episodes have been particularly spectacular.

I hope that Bill comes back as the new doctor's companion. I'm worried thirteen will have to travel with a really annoying white guy, aka a repeat of Will and Helen on Sanctuary.

This is a spoiler for Star Trek: Discovery )

Given that binge watching is not one of my strengths, it might take awhile to get caught up on Doctor Who. Also not sure where to start.

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 2

Should I....

go all the way back to RTD and the ninth doctor
0 (0.0%)

start at the beginning of Moffat's era
0 (0.0%)

just go back to where I stopped, somewhere in season six
2 (100.0%)

Norður

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
It's that time in the summer when I start to dream about being somewhere far to the north, with a view of the sea. To be fair, I also dream about the north in the depths of winter. To be even fairer, the weather here has been cool and rainy, so maybe that's made me think about northern climes.

If I were for some reason forced to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a hotel, I would go to the Fogo Island Inn, off the northern coast of Newfoundland.

Or maybe a less ridiculously posh place with bonus icebergs, the Hotel Arctic in Ilulissat, Greenland.

I remind myself that I've already got a weekend booked in Iceland on my way home to the States in December. And I can sit and enjoy views of the cold sea from a lovely steaming hotpot at any number of municipal pools. And my room probably has a view of the harbor!

But that's a long ways off. I'm pondering whether to plan an August long weekend somewhere in the UK, and whether it would be worth the faff to travel somewhere more northerly, as opposed to just going to Brighton or something. I'm very fond of Scarborough. I also have this weird desire to see the Isle of Man after watching the national road race championships a few weeks ago.

Also worth pointing out that I'm going to Saint Petersburg at the end of August, and perhaps that counts as northerly if not quite with an unobstructed ocean view? I'm rather tempted by Kronstadt...

my love i am the speed of sound

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:42 pm
musesfool: Peggy Carter is gunning for you (your heart is a weapon)
[personal profile] musesfool
L and I made a spur of the moment decision to see Dunkirk last night - well, as spur-of-the-moment as you can with purchasing reserved seats ahead of time *snerk* - and I have mixed feelings about it. It is beautifully shot and I could watch Tom Hardy spoiler ) all day, but mostly I feel like it took an amazing real life story and didn't deliver on the emotional impact of it. spoilers )

I liked that it was nearly dialogue free (and I didn't mind that I couldn't understand half the dialogue that there was), but I felt that the structure was overly fiddly and unnecessary and it kept me from full immersion (um, pun not intended?) emotionally. Also the music was too loud and there was too much of it.

It also suffers a little from Band of Brothers syndrome in that I couldn't tell the two young dudes apart for most of the story. Once they're both wet so you can't tell which one has curly hair and which one has straight hair, I couldn't tell them apart, and I honestly didn't care that much about them beyond the generic - I mean, I didn't want any of those guys to die, and I felt there was nothing specific about those two to make me care more. spoilers ) (Otoh, casting Harry Styles - who was good, I thought - was a smart move, because I always recognized him, even half-drowned.)

Mark Rylance and Kenneth Branagh (and James D'Arcy!) were great, as was Tom Hardy. I mean, I would have watched a whole movie where Tom Hardy spoiler ) But overall, it's a B to B+ kind of movie for me. I wouldn't see it again.

If you do see it, I can say it was definitely worth seeing in 70mm, if you have that option. Otoh, if you have a fear of drowning, I don't recommend it for you.

Both L and I had similar mixed feelings. We discussed it on the walk to the bus stop, and my god, I have never sweated as much as I sweated yesterday - it was not a day for walking but I did a lot of it. I was so overheated that I never once felt cold in the movie theater despite being sleeveless, which has never ever happened to me before.

Before the movie we were going to meet at a Mexican place that looked good, but it was so jam packed with people, we ended up at the Cafe Tallulah, where the cheeseburger is fantastic, but again, on a day as hot as yesterday, wtf were the front windows all doing open, so you couldn't feel the air conditioning hardly at all? I never sweated so much in my life while doing nothing.

***

One more cat on the couch

Jul. 21st, 2017 05:23 pm
erinptah: (pyramid)
[personal profile] erinptah
This guy is safely back at the local shelter where he came from.

(Full details in locked posts -- if you didn't see them, and would like to be on a filter that includes stuff like cat drama, feel free to comment.)

The name on the shelter paperwork is Eli, so that's what I'm going to call him, not the name picked out by the roommate who brought him home and then wasn't around to take care of him.

Eli is super shy and super timid, but also totally mellow -- even when he was scared he never bit or scratched, just hid. In the three weeks he was at the flat, there was literally one time when he felt safe enough to approach a human on his own volition. Then he got spooked again, and there weren't enough days to re-reassure him before returning him to the professionals.

But I did get photos of him on the couch.



Petting for a sweet boy.



I hope he gets adopted by someone he can climb all over.

when the sun burst through the sky

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:05 am
musesfool: Stephanie Brown as Batgirl (can't hardly wait)
[personal profile] musesfool
I spent last night reading fic where Jason and Cass turn out to be biological siblings, not just adopted siblings, and squee!, that is one of my favorite Batfamily tropes. Plus, there was some awesome Jason-Cass-Steph bonding which I feel canon has repeatedly cheated me out of, even though they would get along like a house on fire (literally, probably, given Jason's involvement and enjoyment in blowing things up). Plus there is some hilarious snark at poor Tim's expense that made me laugh out loud repeatedly. Oh Tim. (There will be recs at the end of the month as usual, but here and here for those of you who are impatient and also not following my pinboard.)

Also, yesterday, my consolation birthday present arrived - a beautiful red patent leather Love Moschino tote bag (wow, there were three left in stock when I ordered mine and now there are none! I'm glad I got there in time!). During the whole epic search for a new bag, I coveted a red patent leather bag, but couldn't find one (or, rather, couldn't find one that was less than, like, $800 and while I'm profligate, I'm not that profligate), since I guess they aren't in style right now? Except it's red patent leather so I can't imagine how it could go out of style? But whatever. On a whim on Wednesday, I checked Zappo's to see if there were any available, and lo and behold, there it was. It's beautiful. It's big and kind of unwieldy (and unpleasantly sticky against the bare skin of my arm in the heat), but I don't care, because it's gorgeous.

Bosses 1 & 3 both admired it as I unpacked it from the box, and they were like, "Are you going to save it for special occasions?" and I said, "Hell no!" (note: I did not actually say "Hell no!" I just said, "no! I bought it so I could use it! Because it is beautiful!") And I recommend to all of you to use your beautiful and special things rather than waiting for some mythical special occasion to crop up, because frequently, you will be waiting forever and never get to enjoy the beautiful thing you bought for yourself. Using a special bag/wearing your beautiful new shoes/opening that expensive bottle of wine - they can all make a regular occasion special, and I recommend you do that rather than wait for some occasion arbitrarily deemed "special" enough to break out the fancy lipstick or whatever. Live your best life whenever you can, people!

***

Leverage fic recs?

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:58 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
[personal profile] kindkit
I've finished Leverage and now I need all the fics. Anybody got recs?

I'd prefer stories with a strong element of character exploration, although I will take mostly-plotty if it's a very good plot. I'd love character-focused stories for any of the main characters or the recurrings, and I would especially love stories about Sterling, because I adore Mark Sheppard. I'm not looking for PWPs, but ship fic is welcome for any of the following: Hardison/Eliot, Hardison/Parker/Eliot, Hardison/Parker, Nate/Eliot, Nate/Sterling (please!), Nate/Damien Moreau. I'm not especially fond of Nate/Sophie but if there's a really outstanding story, I'll read it.


I also had a question about the last series under the cut )
musesfool: wendy watson in a wetsuit with a gun (come at me bro)
[personal profile] musesfool
Dear co-workers:

* I cannot finish your urgent project in a timely fashion if you keep interrupting me to ask when your project is going to be finished! Please stop!

* We have already done Thing based on all your requirements (and with your approval!) last quarter. We can just update it instead of spending so much time trying to come up with a new way to do it (only to come up with basically the exact same Thing). There is no need to spend hours reinventing the wheel!

* You have to decide whether you need a meeting to happen ASAP or if you need everyone involved present, because it's July coming up on August, and half the people you need will be out on vacation at any given moment and I have no control of that.

* I don't want healthy snacks in the vending machine. If I am driven to getting food from it, it's generally because I want Frito Lay corn chips or terrible plasticky cheap chocolate, not some sort of chip made from beans or some kind of granola bar! WTF?

no love,

me

***

Anticipations.

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:56 pm
hannah: (Laundry jam - fooish_icons)
[personal profile] hannah
Just about packed for the con tomorrow; what's not yet set aside is recorded on a checklist and waiting to be collected. The MP3 player gets loaded up last.

Today at work I learned all over again just how different I am from my coworkers: they never looked inside some of the filing cabinets in the office when they got there. They've been working there much longer than I have, and today was the first day those cabinets got a proper investigation and a full cleaning. They were stuffed with all sorts of office detritus: loose envelopes with office letterhead, computer cables, takeout leftovers like salt packets and napkins, delivery menus, pens, block of staples, post-it notes, lost clothes, medical records that can't yet be thrown out because of federal regulations, shower gel, candy, perfume samples, rubber bands, paper clips...stuff, mostly. Lots of stuff. That I would've cleaned out in days of arrival if I'd been able to, because I would've gone looking to see what's around and figured out what to do with it all. Like, for example, throwing away old delivery menus.

I recognize a fair amount of inertia behind a closed cabinet door in an office where things are always busy. I also wonder why they never raided those cabinets for pens, when pens are a valuable commodity in basically any office environment.

Next week, I'm taking the clothes back with me, washing them, and then dropping them off at an appropriate fabric recycling program. I figure it's the best option available.

fic (time lords not having sex)

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:09 am
nostalgia: (twissy touchy)
[personal profile] nostalgia
Twelve/Missy fic in which they try not to get jiggy with it.

It's almost entirely about sex. Twelve is frustrated, Bill is clever, Missy is an appalling person who keeps getting cockblocked.

FMK: Mélusine and Juniper Time

Jul. 19th, 2017 01:50 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Mélusine by Sarah Monette is a very long, very good, very fucked-up H/C darkfic in a canon I don't know.

That's not necessarily a criticism, by the way, it's enough my id that I have spent many a delightful lost weekend voluntarily reading exactly that sort of thing.

Read more... )

Anyway, I enjoyed it enough that it is getting kept (after all, some day I might not be able to find fanfic like this on the internet anymore) but I don't think I care enough about the non-id parts to go looking up the canon. (If I did I would probably just end up really liking Shannon, anyway, and like I said it's really obvious there is like 0 fic about him.)

And still very annoyed that it had exactly nothing to do with Mélusine; if someone tried to name a fantasy novel Cinderella and then not have anything to do with Cinderella except, like, the ruling family having a shoe in their heraldry and also there was a fairy godmother as a minor character in one chapter, nobody would let you get away with that.

Also, it got me re-reading a bunch of old Doctor/Master fic just in time for me to be mildly optimistic about the show again, so there's that.


Juniper Time by Kate Wilhelm was not a bad book, and I'm glad I read it, but I also don't think I need to keep it, and I didn't particularly like it. It gets the "if you like this sort of thing, this is probably the sort of thing you will like" rating, with a caveat for me being unsure about its portrayal of First Nations people. The first thing that struck me is that it didn't feel like a SF novel, or even a genre novel at all really. I spent a lot of time thinking about why. It's a story about the building of an international space station and first contact with aliens set amid the collapse of Western capitalist civilization, so it ought to be an SF novel. It's definitely at least partly just the writing style. But I think it's mostly a question of what the book thinks is important, fr. ex: not the space station or the aliens or even particularly the collapse of civilization except as they affect the two main characters' many personal issues, which are the only thing the narrative actually seems to think we might be interested in. Whic isn't to say I don't like a character-focused SF novel, but an SF novel where one of the main characters is an astronomer who spends half his time in space, a) I would expect it to spend more than five pages actually in space, and b) I would expect him to not spend all of those five pages thinking about nothing but his marital issues. Also, you know, I 100% don't care about the dude's personal issues and am only mildly interested in hers.

Read more... )

I am glad I have read this but am pretty sure I will never desire to read it again, so K pile it is. And it inspired me to finish Always Coming Home, so it was definitely worth it.

Never knew no good from bad

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:55 am
musesfool: bodhi rook (honor the heart of faith)
[personal profile] musesfool
I went to bed early last night and I slept like a rock. I should not still be sleepy! Arrgh!

Wednesday reading meme:

What I've just finished
Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey, which I enjoyed a lot, mainly because Avasarala is the best and also Bobbie! ♥ Holden still needs a lot of punching though. Ugh. Why is this guy the main character? Not only is he a dead bore, he's a ridiculously common dead bore!

I like TV!Prax better than book!Prax, I think, but I also think the show compresses the timeline in a way that means I don't get bored with a character having repetitive beats, the way I can, and do in this case, in a book.

What I'm reading now
Still, I picked up Abaddon's Gate and started it this morning, so I'm still entertained enough to continue.

What I'm reading next
The next book in this series, probably. I don't even know what the name of it is. *looks it up* Ah, Cibola Burn.

I also read two really long stories that both turned out to be in progress, which I probably should have noticed but didn't. I mean, when I see a thing is 175K words long, I figure it's done. I mean, who has that much to say in one story? But no. Sigh.

In my recent fanfic readings, I learned that I will nope out of a story if you kill off Wedge Antilles. Which was a surprise to me - how strongly my kneejerk NOPE was - but there you go. Do not want! (I mean, I don't care for any character death in my fic, and generally not in canon either! but I get that some AU premises require it. But like Bartleby the scrivener, I would prefer not to.)

I also learned that I don't really ship Bodhi with anyone but if I did it would have to be Jyn and Cassian. Gotta keep the Star Wars OT3 pattern going, I guess. I just don't find Jyn and Cassian all that compelling. *hands* I'd much rather read about Baze and Chirrut being the most married. (I think Rebels is the only place that doesn't have an OT3, but I am okay with that. I'm already bracing for Kanan and Hera to get an undeserved tragic ending.)

I also realized that in addition to believing that Luke Skywalker is asexual, I believe Anakin is demisexual, and both Leia and Padme are bisexual. Ahsoka is mostly into women except that I also ship her with Anakin (and Rex, a little), so there are exceptions? And Obi-Wan is pansexual and flirting his way across the galaxy at any given moment.

Which is probably more than anyone cared to know about my Star Wars head canons. *snerk*

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[personal profile] selenak
For once, I manage to write my book reviews on a Wednesday.

Sam Bourne: To Kill the President

It was to be expected: the first Donald Trump era thriller (that I've read). Which takes full advantage of the fact that when previously any critic worth their salt would have complained about the one dimensional characterisation of the villains and the lack of realism in the US voting someone like that into power and then the Republican Party falling in line, followed by no checks and balances from any institution after even the Supreme Court caves due to the stolen seat being filled by the new President's choice, now all this looks like, well, realism.

Spoilers from an age where reality beggars caricature )


Philip Kerr: March Violets.

This is the first novel of a mystery series which I heard/read about via The New Yorker. The article in question was enthusiastic enought to overcome my instinctive squick at the premise, to wit: hard-boiled/noir detective novel set in the Third Reich. Basically, what if Philip Marlowe was German? Wandering those mean streets as a cynic with an ethical core takes a whole new meaning if the authories aren't just corrupt but a dictatorship preparing for war and genocide. Our hero is Bernie Gunther, former policeman who quit the force in 1933 for the obvious reason given that the novel positions he has ethics, and became a private investigator instead. Kerr serves up all the usual hard boiled/ noir tropes - untrustworthy millionaire clients, corrupt cops, shady dames -, complete with Chandleresque language, and he did his research - the novel's setting is Berlin in 1936, around the Olympic Games, and in addition to the well drawn Berlin geography, there are some great nods to Fritz Lang's movie M via some of the supporting cast, gangsters (given that Bernie Gunther originally gets hired to recover some diamonds, though of course it turns out it's far more complicated and what everyone is after is something else altogether. The brief appearances by historic figures (Göring and Heydrich, to be precise) are drawn credibly, which is to say their vileness comes across without Kerr employing sledge-hammery moustache twirling; in fact, he uses Göring's bonhommie manners to make him chilling.

As opposed to To Kill a President, this actually is a good novel. But. I still struggle somewhat with the basic premise. This is the first novel of what according ot the New Yorker article I'd read are twelve so far, and already I'm having to suspend disbelief about Bernie's continued survival. There's no reason why Heydrich at the end of this first novel shouldn't have gotten him killed, for example. And since we're in 1936, Bernie would still have the possibility to leave the country, and given what happens to him in this novel, it's hard to wonder why he doesn't, given he has no dependants who'd suffer for it. Yes, the decision to emigrate wasn't as easy as hindsight would have it if you weren't rich and didn't have friends abroad, but again, some truly harrowing things happen to Bernie in this novel which would serve as an incentive to get the hell out of Germany if ever there was one beyond the general situation of the country.

With this caveat, I'll keep reading.

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