grey_bard: (Default)
([personal profile] grey_bard Jul. 25th, 2017 10:17 pm)
If you want to hang out and get ramen please comment here or email me, tell me who you are, and please DON'T pop up in Takarazuka stream and freak out my other friends. Thanks, whoever you are.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen Jul. 25th, 2017 07:11 pm)
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 )
Tags:
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen Jul. 25th, 2017 07:25 pm)
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.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
([personal profile] vass Jul. 25th, 2017 10:50 pm)
Books

Read Ann Leckie's Provenance (in ARC. It's coming out on the 26th of September.) Spider mech, spider mech, does whatever a spider mech does. (Disconcert people, mainly.) This is in the same universe as the Radch trilogy, but in a different region and with different characters, voice, and tone. I have some friends who couldn't get into Ancillary Justice, wanted to like it but found it too hard going, and I would be curious if this one worked better as an entry point for them.

Leckie's repeatedly cited Cherryh as an influence, and if you think of the universe the Ancillary books are set in as like Cherryh's Alliance/Union universe, a big canvas covering a lot of territory in time as well as space, then this book in relation to its universe is a bit like a railway junction. It opens some new routes, introduces some new important players, but the most important universe-scale historical events (as opposed to system-scale or planet-scale or individuals) are offstage.

To say more about voice and tone: the Radch books are in first person, and that person is Breq, who is... Breq. Over two thousand years old, and even if you consider the destruction of Justice of Toren as a kind of rebirth, by the point we meet her she's a hypercompetent badass who's been surviving on her own in her single body for nineteen years. Also she's not a human, so there's that.

Ingray isn't Breq. She's very much human (and has an entirely reasonable terror of AIs,) a lot younger (I don't think her exact age is stated, but early twenties would be my guess,) and infinitely less sure of herself. She's also spent her entire life to date having her head messed with by her shitty family. My first two impressions, right from the first three chapters of this book, were: one, you can really tell the author was spending a lot of time in airports when she wrote this; and two, Ingray has the sort of family life where the closer your geographic proximity to your relatives, the more difficulty you have with being a decent person. The rest of this book bore this out (I mean the family, although there were definitely more airport-equivalent scenes too.)

If you're one of the people who disliked Breq because she was "too perfect" (I disagree with you about her being perfect, but) you might find Ingray and her smaller scale problems (compared to entire empires and species) more relatable.

If the Radch trilogy is about personhood and the fight to be recognised as a person when you don't fit a society's definition of who counts as a person, then Provenance about growing into oneself not as a person (that was never in question for Ingray) but as an adult (a coming of age that, by contrast, Breq never had the luxury of needing.) And if the Radch trilogy is about resisting societal/systemic forces, Provenance is about resisting social, personal pressures (family and peers.)

Finished Aliette de Bodard's The House of Binding Thorns. And after this and Provenance I'd like a short break from books about difficult family situations, please! I liked this better than The House of Shattered Wings, but the tone was still bleaker than I usually go for. Characters I particularly liked: Madeleine, back from the previous book; Thuan the dragon prince, and Berith and Francoise the Fallen/human couple trying to manage outside the Houses. Grandmother Olympe, the elder of the community where Berith and Francoise live, was also pretty great. And I warmed more to Asmodeus than I did in the first book.

Unfortunately, I think I'm the wrong audience for this. The things The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns do well (decayed elegance, gothicism, Paris, fallen angels), they do really well, but they're not things I particularly love (I don't dislike them, they're just not my catnip.) So, like, I can't actually rave about these books, but I do want to wave them really hard at people who do love those things.

Comics

Some zines I ordered from Rooster Tails's Etsy store showed up, and he kind of threw in a bunch of queer fanart glossy note cards (maybe to make up for a delay, idk, I'm not complaining!) and they're so beautiful and I didn't know I needed a picture of Daria holding Jane's hand and saying "I hate you the least," or adorably cartoony Finn smooching Poe, or cartoony Gabrielle climbing Xena like a tree, but I definitely did need those things. Now I'm trying to decide whether to keep or send to people.

The zines are #my gender is..., three tiny A6 cardbound volumes made in response to answers people gave the author when he asked people to fill in the blank.

Mainlined 17776, which is web based multimedia rather than comics, but I'm putting it in this category because what everyone's comparing it to is Homestuck. It's about satellites watching football in an unimaginably future, but also post-scarcity/post-singularity anxiety and Millennialism (as in epochs, as well as as in snake people) and play as the ultimate point of human existance, and it's funny and elegiac and cool and reminds me of David Foster Wallace in some ways.

That said, it is worth talking about who's at the centre of this narrative. No, not robots. No, not humans. Americans. White, suburban, minivan-driving, 80s-and-90s-born Americans. So conflated with the essential nature of humanity that they don't even notice they're doing it. Even the probes are two American probes and one European (but not Russian) one. I mean, Mangalyan does exist, you know? And so does Chang'e 2 and Kirari. And Libertad I and Fajr and... I mean, not all of those are still in space, or left Earth's orbit, but they could. Not to mention that it's science fiction and at the present date JUICE is still in development, why not a future Ghanaian or Iranian satellite mission? Which is not even my point, my point is that the regressive fantasy that the humans fall back into when faced with the crushing boredom of their eternal lives is... the 1960s and 1970s but without the race riots or Stonewall or Watergate.

It's still a good story/multimedia work/thing, and I still enjoyed it. I just... that particular nostalgic fantasy makes me very tired sometimes. And no, not tired in a way that makes me want to give up on the weary work of human endeavour/struggle/progress to take refuge in looking back down at the things that are really important to us/humanity, i.e. a sport which people in my country don't play.

TV and Movies

Watched the first episode of Black Sails. Was unimpressed. I hear it gets better, though. Flint's fury at the stolen log page reminded me of this.

Music

Gave my sister the Hamilton soundtrack for Christmas last year or her birthday this year (I forget which -- my gift-giving punctuality standards are seriously slipping at the moment.) Success: she's hooked. Very hooked.

Games

Third week of [community profile] hexarchate_rpg. So far haven't panicked and run away yet (me, not my character) so that's good.

Still playing Binding of Isaac. In one especially good run, I met Isaac's mother for the first time, and defeated her! Which meant that, next time I got to that level, defeating her led to having to climb into her womb and fight more monsters there. Which... is definitely a narrative choice a person could make.

Started playing Hexcells, a puzzle game; not to be confused with Hexels, a different puzzle game. The latter is like 2048 but in three directions not two; the former is kind of like a griddler/nonogram, but in three directions and its own specific language of clues. Played all the way through Hexcells, then started Hexcells Plus. Got the Perfectionist achievement for the original Hexcells. Then Hexcells Plus. Then started Hexcells Infinite, and am at 90% of that.

The problem with me and Hexcells is not the logic. I'm not super great at the logic, but with time and effort and occasional appeals to online walkthroughs I can succeed (usually by speaking the chain of logic out loud over and over because I can't hold the branches in my head long enough otherwise.) The problem is that that one of the achievements is to do all the games with zero (or only one) mistakes, and the way my brain works (or the way my working memory doesn't work) it's very easy for me to make one stupid error too many and ruin an hour of work. Which is really frustrating and upsetting. At least Hexcells Infinite lets you save your progress. The first two games didn't, so if you need a break before finishing the level, you have to leave the app open.

Garden

The compost bin is full. That took about three months to fill a 220L bin. I had to look up what one does once the bin's full. Leave it to cure for a month or so while starting a new bin, apparently. Or alternatively, lift the bin off the compost (it doesn't have a bottom) and set it down next to the compost, shovel whatever still looks like vegetable peelings and cat litter back into the bin, and use whatever just looks like soil to grow things. (But not herbs and vegetables, because this is cat litter compost, so it's contaminated with toxoplasmosis. This compost can nourish pretty flowers and Native Plants To Encourage Local Species.)

Food

Baked scones. Also tried out a couple of recipes from my long backlog of bookmarked Recipes To Try Someday:

- Jack Monroe's Queen of Hearts jam tarts recipe. Not too bad given how seldom I make pastry. If you have fifty grams of butter and a scant cup of plain flour and some jam, this is an okay thing to do with those ingredients, but the scones were better.

- AoM Bratwurst Sandwich. This contains one thing I eat normally (mustard), one thing I've had decades ago but haven't cooked with (bratwurst), and two things I hadn't had before (sauerkraut, pumpernickel.) The bratwurst and mustard and sauerkraut were good. The pumpernickel... yeah, no, next time I make this I'll just use a dark rye.

I could have adapted to the flavour, but its lack of structural integrity meant that according to the Earl of Sandwich litmus test this is not even a sandwich. (i.e. "I pretend I am the original Earl of Sandwich. I have asked for non-bread foods to be brought to me inside bread, that I might more easily consume them one-handed while gambling. This does not enable my wretched regency habits. This is not what I asked for. I do not deign to grace it with the name of my house.")

This would fall apart in his hand, scattering boiled rye grains all over his elaborate necktie and playing cards.

Admittedly, the degree of difficulty was higher for me since I had to eat it one-handed while fending off a very interested black and white cat with the other hand.

Other

Broke my daily meditation streak at 219 days. Very pissed off about it, in a not zen at all way. The last time this happened it was at 149 days. Forming habits is hard for me. (This is not a request for reassurance or advice. Especially not advice.) Took four days off meditating out of pique.

Cats

Have been fighting a lot these last few days. At first I thought Beatrice was the main instigator, but last night while she was aggressively licking Dorian, I saw him nip her.

He hasn't learned to lift the toilet lid yet, but it's hard for me to remember to leave it down since my already established habit was to close the door but leave the lid up.
sineala: (Avengers: Not tonight)
([personal profile] sineala Jul. 24th, 2017 10:05 pm)
Don't mind me; I needed a place to put my Cap-IM Bingo fics. These have all been previously posted.

Card and story list under cut... )

Ta-da!
nic: (Leia)
([personal profile] nic Jul. 24th, 2017 03:28 pm)
I went to see "Valerian and the City of 1000 Planets". I wanted to love it. I tried to love it. After all, I loved "The 5th Element" and I love sci-fi and sure, I'd heard that the leads were wooden but I could forgive that for the spectacle, right?

It was an amazing, visual spectacle.

It was also an artefact of its time, where women are second to men and mostly irrelevant to the plot. Except for Laureline. (That's the woman.) I actually thought she was Valerian due to the marketing: the actress is the big name and her face stands out on the poster the most. In the film, she seemed the more interesting character.

But no. Valerian is the dude. Despite the original comic being titled "Valerian and Laureline". Despite them being co-leads with an equal amount of screentime.

It makes me so mad that the movie title is the MAN'S name when there are two leads.

Spoilers under the cut. )

I know that the comic it was adapted from was written in the 1960s/1970s. But surely a modern director should have had the sense to update the source material, just a little, to make sure it's not offensive?

Then again, how old is Luc Besson now? He seems to be stuck in the same mindset of 20 years ago when these things were overlooked. After all, everyone did them.


I did enjoy the movie. But the above things made me so mad. I could have loved it if it had just tried a little harder. A few small changes would have made a world of difference.


ETA: Good. I'm not the only one. I've been searching for this kind of article the last few days:
https://www.bustle.com/p/valerian-leaving-its-heroine-out-of-the-title-is-only-half-of-why-women-will-be-frustrated-with-the-film-70933
Illness memoirs, like child abuse memoirs, have a number of pitfalls. They’re about depressing topics and so are hard not to depress the reader, they’re often by people who don’t write professionally and so are not well-written, and as the subject is inherently self-focused, they can very easily come across as self-absorbed. Even if they manage to avoid those problems, many are valuable works of self-help, self-revelation, community-building, comfort, and calls to action… but are not interesting to someone who mostly wants to read a good book.

This one is a good book.

Julie Rehmeyer, a mathematician and science writer, chronicles how chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME) crept up on her until her entire life had vanished and she was frequently completely paralyzed. While she desperately tried to find a treatment, she instead encountered an array of quacks, snake oil salesmen, nice but useless therapists, nice but useless doctors, a patients’ community full of apparent crackpots, and medical literature claiming that it was a mental illness caused by, essentially, being lazy and whiny.

In desperation, Rehmeyer finally starts listening to some of the apparent crackpots… and when she applies her scientific training to their ideas, she finds that stripped of the bizarre terminology and excessive exclamation points, they sound surprisingly plausible. With her entire life at a dead end and nothing left to lose, she reluctantly decides to try a treatment which is both radical and distinctly woo-woo sounding.

And it works.

But unlike every other “How I cured/treated my illness by some weird method” memoir, the story doesn’t end there. Instead, she not only researches and theorizes about how and why it might have worked, she interviews scientists and doctors, and even arranges to do a double-blind experiment on herself to see if it’s a real cause of her symptoms or the placebo effect. I cannot applaud this too much. (I was unsurprised to find that every article I read on her book had a comment section claiming that her results were due to the placebo effect.)

Lots of people have suggested that I write about my own horrendous illness, crowd-sourced treatment, and jaw-dropping parade of asshole doctors who told me I was lying, a hypochondriac, or crazy. While you’re waiting… read this book instead. Though it’s not the same disease and she was treated WAY better by doctors, a lot of her experience with being beaten over the head with bad science and diagnoses based purely on sexism was very similar. As is much of her righteous rage. I am way more ragey and less accepting than she is. But still. It’s similar.

Overall, this is a well-written and honest memoir that shines a welcome light on a poorly-understood illness. Rehmeyer's perspective as a science writer provides for clarity, justifiable anger, and humor as she takes apart the morass of bad science, victim-blaming, and snake oil that surrounds chronic fatigue syndrome. It's informative without being dry, easy to read and hard to put down.

Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand
sineala: (Avengers: Welcome to NY)
([personal profile] sineala Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:59 pm)
In fandom-related news, in case you are not breathlessly following the various SDCC announcements, Marvel Comics finally announced the last of the post-Secret Empire comics... a Cap comic. A Cap comic by Waid & Samnee!

I think a lot of people who don't generally read comics are mostly just thrilled that Steve won't be Hydra and that Nick Spencer is off the book. And I think people who do generally read comics are thrilled because it's Waid and Samnee. They had what were apparently good Daredevil and Black Widow runs recently (I've never read them) and Waid is currently on Avengers (which is decent but not spectacular) and Champions (which is mediocre)... but everyone really likes his Cap.

I have never read Waid's actual Cap run -- although I guess I could, because it's shorter than I thought (v1 #444-454 and v3 #1-23) -- but I have read the Cap/IM '98 Annual (as have all 616 Steve/Tony fans), Sentinel of Liberty (a fun miniseries), Cap #600 (the story about Tony buying Steve's ID card), the Avengers x.1 mini recently (Kooky Quartet! so much fun!), and of course the Man Out of Time mini that obviously everyone loves and that I think we have all decided to rec to everyone as a great place to start reading Steve & Tony comics. So, I mean, he's got a good grasp on Steve's character (and especially, I think, on classic Steve), so I am... optimistic. (I know, I know, we were all optimistic about Bendis taking over IM and now Tony's dead and his characterization has gone in weird MCU directions, but... I am somehow more optimistic? They're BRINGING THE HEADWINGS BACK.)

In MCU news, I am mostly just thrilled that my fave JANET VAN DYNE is going to be in the universe (even if I am eh about the casting and still sad she'll never be a founding Avenger now) and also that the Captain Marvel movie will be Carol fighting Skrulls in the '90s. (I like how fandom is already taking bets as to who has secretly been a Skrull.) I thought MCU didn't have Skrull rights but maybe that's just the Super-Skrull. Maybe it'll be the Kree/Skrull War? I guess we'll find out.

Fannishly related to the above comics news, now that it's officially open I guess I should mention that [personal profile] kiyaar started a Discord chat server for 616 Steve/Tony, membership 18+ only. There are a lot of dick emoji. And a weekly book club -- we're kicking things off with Man Out of Time in honor of the Cap announcement. More information (and the server link) is available here.

I owe a bunch of people comment replies/emails (sorry!), but I should probably just say that if you liked the story I posted yesterday, Caz drew some art for it and it is BEAUTIFUL. EEEEEEE.

(Now I just have to finish my Anniversary Zine story ASAP. *deep breaths*)
wendelah1: (The End)
([personal profile] wendelah1 Jul. 23rd, 2017 12:56 pm)
We're leaving this afternoon for Fontana, no one's favorite vacation destination. Kyle's surgery is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. tomorrow and he has to be at the surgery center an hour ahead. Rather than getting up at the crack of dawn, we're spending the night at the Hilton Garden Inn Fontana. He should be released before noon so we'll be back home by afternoon.

There is absolutely nothing to do in Fontana. There is not a decent sit-down restaurant in the entire city. Their highly rated Mexican hole-in-the-wall doesn't hold a candle to the one in my neighborhood. There is a pool at the hotel. There's a movie theater right down the street so we might go see the latest Spiderman reboot. (Good grief. How many more times will they reboot that movie franchise?) Or maybe we should see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets instead. Basic cable is basic. I'll bring my computer but WiFi is spotty.


I didn't get a chance to finish, let alone post this before it turned into old news.

My husband just aspirated again. The hotel is cancelled. The surgery center doesn't open until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow so informing them will have to wait.

I see a trip to Urgent Care in the near future, as soon as I can talk him into it. He's really scared. This could be bad, like our last December vacation in Hawaii kind of bad. At least this time we're at home.
naraht: (Default)
([personal profile] naraht Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm)
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...
Tags:
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
([personal profile] vass Jul. 23rd, 2017 03:33 am)
He's being a terrible Dory again. (Sung to the tune of 'I'm telling a terrible story' from The Pirates of Penzance.) This time his evidence exculpatory is that I won't let him use the indoor swimming pool. (No, not the sink. And I don't have a bathtub.)

So he learned to turn the lever sort of door handles and also swing on them in such a way that he can open an outward opening door from the outside. I am pondering technological solutions. I hear there's a form of child lock that works on cats. Until then I'm leaving the lid down and putting a barrier in front of the door, but I expect that won't hold him for long.
Convention Exclusive (5545 words) by Sineala
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel (Comics), Marvel 616, Avengers (Comics)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Characters: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Artist Steve Rogers, Secret Identity, Conventions, Fluff, Avengers Vol. 3 (1998), Community: cap_ironman, Cap-Ironman Bingo
Summary: "I'm interested in commissioning a sketch," Iron Man said. He leaned forward, edging into Steve's personal space, splaying his gauntleted hands on the table. "I'd like you to draw me wearing only a tiny thong, with Captain America staring at my nearly-naked body in horror." (Or: Steve Rogers, former artist for the Captain America comics, is signing autographs at a comics convention when he meets his biggest fan. Not an AU.)

IT IS SUPER FLUFFY.

Yay! Last square ("occupational hazards") for a line in Cap-IM Bingo! Hooray! I can now write like the wind and try to finish my Steve/Tony Anniversary Zine story as fast as I can! (And then Cap-IM Big Bang and Magic's FTH story and my STH story, yes yes.)
rachelmanija: (It was a monkey!)
([personal profile] rachelmanija Jul. 20th, 2017 03:09 pm)


Curious Alex.





Erin, waiting for it.

wendelah1: Sally from Peanuts looking at a shelf of books (book geek)
([personal profile] wendelah1 Jul. 19th, 2017 01:44 pm)
Because of all of the kids' books and quickie romances I've been reading lately, I am nine books ahead on my Goodreads challenge. I'm going to have to up the ante by ten books, at least, to compensate.

What I've finished

All the President's Men (1974), Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. I began reading it because of (1.) this article in Newsweek: "The Eerie Similarities Between Alleged Trump Scandals and All The President's Men, and (2.) because we'd just watched the movie based on it. (Note that the Newsweek story was published back in March. Imagine if they'd written it this week.) The book is award-winning journalism but honestly, the movie makes for a better story. Go rent the movie. Download it. Whatever. (We checked it out of the library). You will not be sorry. The movie gets five stars. The book gets four stars. These reporters, their editors, and their publisher are all American heroes.

Beany and the Beckoning Road (1959), Lenore Mattingly Weber. Beany believes that she has lost boyfriend Norbett to another girl: Cynthia. She and Johnny plan to drive from Denver to California to return their nephew to his parents and advertise for passengers to share the travel expenses. What a surprise for Beany when she discovers that one of the passengers is Cynthia. What will happen to a mismatched set of passengers with very little money and a tomato plant in the back seat?

This was better than the previous book in the series. Beany flies off the handle one time too many for my taste but whatever. Three stars for retro-charm and that tomato plant. I haven't decided if I'm going to continue on with the Malone family, but this book was funny and engaging.

Girl in the Water (2016), Dana Marton. I took a chance and purchased (I know!) this book because of how much I liked Secret Soldier. The online reviews were enthusiastic, but I was not impressed. Marton tried to weave together three stories, and multiple points of view, and couldn't quite pull it off. spoilers ) I applaud her attempt to write something more ambitious than your run of the mill romance but this didn't work for me at all. I give it one star.

I returned Sugar and Other Stories (1987) by A.S. Byatt to the library after reading just one story. Actually, I didn't make it through the first story. I can't recall the title. It was about an unpleasant little girl, attending an atrocious boarding school, with nasty classmates and an appalling, sadistic headmistress, who I've decided in retrospect might be a stand-in for the writer. Byatt enjoys torturing her characters in much the same way that her headmistress character enjoyed torturing her students. Halfway through, I found I wasn't liking anything about this story. Enough was enough. I skimmed through the next two stories and they were more of the same. No, thank you.

What's next?

I borrowed another book in the time travel porn series from the LAPL. I think this one is called "The Slayer" but it has nothing to do with vampires.

I'm still rereading the series for my kidlit fic exchange, titles withheld.

I unearthed an old novel of Margaret Drabble's which I'd never read, The Peppered Moth.

I'm carrying around Mirror Dance from the Vorkosigan saga in my purse.

There's a stack of time travel novels from the library at my bedside.

Entering Space: Creating a Space-faring Civilization by Robert Zubrin is sitting around somewhere, too. I got it out of mothballs because there is a chapter on mining asteroids, which is relevant to my interests. Speaking of space-faring civilizations, season two of The Expanse arrived yesterday!

black kitty
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sineala: Detail of Harry Wilson Watrous, "Just a Couple of Girls" (reading)
([personal profile] sineala Jul. 19th, 2017 04:10 pm)
What I Just Finished Reading

Marko Kloos, Fields of Fire: Sometimes you just want some mil-SF where people shoot giant bug-eyed aliens with big guns. There was a chapter at the beginning devoted to the main character and his wife yelling at her parents who didn't believe in guns or the military that was really kind of lousy, but thankfully most of the book was then about shooting aliens with big guns.

Ben Aaronovitch, The Furthest Station: A novella in the Rivers of London series in which Peter et al. investigate ghost sightings on the London Underground. Like the rest of the series, it's a fun and engaging read. I have no memory of any of the supporting characters, which is probably not ideal, but this book is A+ worth it for Nightingale's comment to Peter about how it is now time for him to learn Greek.

Rick Beyer & Elizabeth Sayles, The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects, and Other Audacious Fakery: It seems like "inflatable tanks" are something no one would really have done, but apparently that was what the Ghost Army was for. This is an interesting read; it's not as wordy as I usually like my non-fiction to be, but it makes up for it with all the images. I hadn't realized that so many of the Ghost Army soldiers were actual artists, and apparently they just kept drawing the war as it happened, so there are a lot of really nice sketches.

What I'm Reading Now

Comics Wednesday!

Doctor Strange #23, Invincible Iron Man #9, Ms. Marvel #20, Secret Empire #6, Secret Empire Brave New World #4, US Avengers #8, Ultimates 2 #9, X-Men Gold #8 )

What I'm Reading Next

No idea.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen Jul. 19th, 2017 01:50 pm)
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.
sineala: (Avengers: Welcome to NY)
([personal profile] sineala Jul. 19th, 2017 03:04 am)
Icebreaker (5404 words) by Sineala
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel (Comics), Marvel Noir, Bullet Points (Comics)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Characters: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Canonical Character Death, Grief/Mourning, Hero Worship, Multiverse, Angst, Community: cap_ironman, Cap-Ironman Bingo
Summary: Months after Tony is murdered on a strange, starless world, a world almost no one remembers, Steve plummets from a drone plane into the cold waters of the North Atlantic. He's fully expecting not to survive -- but instead he wakes up on another new world, where he meets a very familiar stranger. And it turns out the two of them have a lot in common.

For Cap-IM Bingo; the square is "automat," which I would just like to say is very tricky to use if you're not writing Agent Carter fic.

Twelve days left to finish my last Bingo square! And then five more days to write my Steve/Tony anniversary zine story basically from scratch because I am lousy at doing things in advance.
sineala: (Avengers: Carol: In flight)
([personal profile] sineala Jul. 18th, 2017 07:22 pm)
I have been stalking them for a year and regretting not buying them when they had them, and in case you also care, the Warbird and Wasp shirts are back in stock at ThinkGeek. (They also still have a Squirrel Girl one but it's not available in all sizes. Also if I had to pick, I like Carol and Jan better.)

(I know, Carol is not an obscure fave, what with the upcoming movie, but Warbird is my favorite Carol and there is almost no Warbird merch. I have a 3.5" figure Lysimache got me -- technically Ms. Marvel but the outfit is the same -- and I have a messenger bag from WeLoveFine but that's it.)
starlady: (bibliophile)
([personal profile] starlady Jul. 18th, 2017 03:30 pm)
Years after everyone else, I have uploaded all of my vids to my YouTube channel. All of them, that is, except the remasters and the ones that have been copy-blocked globally. I will continue to do Vimeo under password uploads for all my vids so that people in Germany can watch them, and in case of further copyright jail shenanigans on future vids.



A number of people have asked me about this for the past few years, and with the way vidding is shifting, it seemed like the thing to do. To celebrate, I have embedded my most recent and most popular vids on this entry. 


It's mostly true that I make vids for myself, but I do enjoy other people enjoying them. Feel free to subscribe to the channel, and if you feel like watching or liking the vids on this new platform (or reblog on the old tumbleweed), that would not be unappreciated by me.

One final note: I will add YouTube links to the old vid posts as time and 2017 allow.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen Jul. 18th, 2017 05:51 pm)
Last week's winner was Enchantress From the Stars! Looking forward to it. From discussion in the comments, I think I attempted to write that story once when I was about twelve.

The loser on overall K votes was Pebble in the Sky, but I'm invoking the rule that says a K winner must also have a majority for K votes, which Pebble in the Sky didn't have, and giving it to the Stasheff instead.

(I also just noticed that I never announced a K for the LGBT-themed week. No book in that poll had a majority of K votes - or anything close to a majority, even - so I'm not calling a K. The overall most K votes was the David Gerrold book, but it had almost twice as many f/m votes as K, so I have added it to the F pile instead.)

Responses to Mélusine and Juniper Time coming later today, I promise.

This week, a friend assigned me Humorous SF, so here we go!

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. That will leave me only four books behind, whoo.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Brust, Dickson, Doctorow, Foster, Gardner, Hines, Jones, Laumer, Martinez, Moore J, Moore MJ, Pinkwater, Pratchett, Robinson, anthologies )
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