April 24th, 2019
jolantru: (piss off)
posted by [personal profile] jolantru at 01:32pm on 24/04/2019 under , ,
Cannot look for support/empathy/sympathy online anymore. Gonna just scream in my head until I go mad. Basically I have zero trust in people whose sole intention seems to invalidate my feelings by downplaying them or outright gaslighting, so much so I feel like I am a fucking loon instead.

Mate, I don't trust internet friends anymore.
Mood:: 'annoyed' annoyed
April 22nd, 2019
owlmoose: (lady business - kj)

Tales from the TBR

The book: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

The summary:

In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer.

The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life.

How I found it: I don't remember the exact circumstances leading to the purchase of this specific copy last year, but I've been aware of the book since it came out in 2012. From the mid-90s through the early 2000s, Rachel Hartman wrote a minicomic, set in Goredd some years earlier, called Amy Unbounded, which was a delightful coming-of-age story about a young girl having adventures and learning her place in the world. (Sadly, the series is out of print, but it's worth tracking them down if you're interested, especially if there's a young girl in your life who needs an introduction to the world of comics.) So Seraphina went on my mental TBR, but I'm sure you all know how that can go.

What inspired me to read it now: Hartman's latest book, Tess of the Road, is a finalist for the Lodestar (the Not-a-Hugo Award for Best YA Book), and although I gather that it's not a direct sequel, I still wanted to read the Seraphina duology first.

The verdict: I have no idea why I waited so long to read this book, because it's a delight, although I could wish that the main character had read the situation and not waited quite so long to have some key honest conversations. (I find this trope particularly irritating, which is why I rounded my Goodreads rating down to four stars instead of up to five.) I fell in love with Seraphina as a narrator immediately, and I also adored Princess Glisselda and her best friend Millie. And also the prickly scholar Orma and the dashing and dogged Prince Lucian Kiggs. I could sit here and name favorites all day -- this world is full of fascinating characters, almost all of whom are easy to like (or dislike, in the case of many of the antagonists). Hartman's worldbuilding is both deep and intriguing, especially in the cases where she only drops hints -- draconic society, Goreddi religion (especially the heretic St. Yirtrudis -- I'm dying to learn more about her), the details of Goredd's relationship with its other neighbors. I also like her take on dragons: they are humanized and alien at the same time, just as any sentient species living among us would be. There are dozens of stories left to tell in this universe, and I will read every single one of them.

More thoughts, with spoilers. )

The primary goal of this Tales from the TBR series is to encourage me to read books that I already own. Although successful in this case, I have to call it a mixed success, because as soon as I finish this, I'm buying the sequel, because I have to know what happens next. Worth it, I'd say.
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
When I feel like "why in the world am I trying to put on an arts festival" I need to reread this piece.
alias_sqbr: an airship ladder in the disabled parking (up)
posted by [personal profile] alias_sqbr at 09:29pm on 22/04/2019 under , , , , , , ,
I did make it in the end, but only for the Saturday. Which was lots of fun and SO MUCH LESS EXHAUSTING than going for the whole con, so I think I'll make it my default from now on.

There's no panel notes or anything, just me rambling about my day.
Read more... )
April 21st, 2019
glass_icarus: (red cliff: zhuge/sun quan)
Palace/court life in NiF is one of the things I find endlessly fascinating about it. I continue to want More Ladies and More Jingyan at basically all times, but on this rewatch I also found myself getting stuck on Prince Ji, who is pretty intriguing in his own right! spoilers &/or spoilery )
alias_sqbr: Teddy bear with purple details with a love heat. From Nameless: the one thing you must recall (nameless)
Masterlist of links

Jaeheeeeee <3 <3

This kept being VERY shippy then no-homo-ing me, which was unpleasantly jarring, but other than that was incredibly sweet, it was so great helping Jaehee find happiness. And there's definitely space to headcanon them getting together after canon, even if Jaehee may need to get over her mental blocks a little.

Content note: brief mentions/portayals of suicide, cancer, unspecified mental illness

Read more... )
April 20th, 2019
nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
posted by [personal profile] nou at 11:37am on 20/04/2019 under

As discussed last month, I’m redirecting the energy I previously used for providing content warnings into writing a little bit about what I thought about the books.

(This isn’t why this post is late. There was minor Medical Drama involving unexpectedly low iron levels and some rather unpleasant tests to try to find out why — short version is my internal organs are fine, we still don’t know where all my iron went, but iron tablets are magic, and that’s good enough for me.)

Definitely recommend

Swordheart, T Kingfisher. I somehow wasn't expecting this to be a romance. But it is! As well as fantasy. I’d read it again.

The True Queen, Zen Cho. I loved the first book in this series (The Sorcerer to the Crown) and I love this one even more. Dragons! Powerful older women! Wit and banter that are actually funny! And other reasons to love it that would be SPOILERS.

The Martian, Andy Weir (re-read). I keep confusing [personal profile] bob by referring to this as “the potato book”, but honestly the POTATOES are the thing I love about it. There’s at least one potato reference that made me laugh out loud simply because of its precision and dryness (which may or may not have been intended by the author). Some of the book is a bit clumsy (the stereotypical German, the insistence that humanity never leaves anyone behind when it’s set in the near-future with no indication that the problems of poverty, famine, institutional racism, etc have been fixed) but overall I like it and may well read it again.

Maybe recommend

The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie (re-read). Hercule Poirot mystery with an unreliable narrator. I'd read this before many years ago so knew the twist, but enjoyed trying to figure out where the gaps in the story were and how it was all managed. The thing with Agatha Christie is that you can be reading along quite smoothly and then suddenly there's half a sentence of casual and entirely unnecessary racism, anti-semitism, ablism, etc, and then it goes back to being an interesting detective story. (Some of her books are worse than this, with the racism or rape-apologism embedded in the plot — I will never read Nemesis again.)

Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine, T Kingfisher (re-read). I decided to read these again after enjoying Swordheart, as they’re all set in the same universe and although I didn’t enjoy these two all that much the first time round, many other people seem to have loved them so I thought I’d give them another go. Still not my favourite: too much sexual longing, plot very slow. There are individual lines that are hilarious, though.

The King Must Die, Mary Renault (re-read). I read this when I was a kid and was absolutely astonished by it. It's still very readable, but although I'm aware of how pioneering it was in terms of retelling the Greek classics, I much prefer the more recent and less male-oriented works like Circe.

Wouldn’t recommend

The Valley At The Centre Of The World, Mallachy Tallack (DNF). This was just kind of boring. Also, there were too many short, choppy sentences that kept pushing me out of the story. I tried to work out if there was some pattern to these, some reason for them, but either there wasn't or it was too subtle for me. I got 27% of the way through and kept finding myself wishing I was reading something else, so I stopped.

The Invisible Library, Genevieve Cogman (DNF). This was kind of the opposite of The Valley in that it's all action and very little scenery. I again got fed up of it around the 27% mark and stopped reading.

Hot Money, Dick Francis (DNF). Not enough horses, too many unpleasant rich people. I stopped reading at the point where one of the main characters stated that a disabled person would have been better off dead.

Infomocracy, Malka Older (DNF). It's the future! Everyone has Wikipedia installed on their Google Glasses, police push their way through crowds by poking people with plastic triangles, and global elections are conducted with wards of exactly 100,000 people each. I decided not to buy this after reading the Kindle sample, so I don't know if the author ever explains what happens when someone dies or reaches voting age.

City Of Lies, Sam Hawke (DNF). I tried really hard to finish this! I should have liked it! It describes food and plants and technology, and has disabled protagonists! But I found it very boring and a little sanctimonious, and I kept forgetting which of the two POV protagonists was the current one, since aside from their disabilities and jobs they were fairly indistinguishable.

The Shipping News, Annie Proulx (re-read) (DNF). I read this years ago and remember liking it, so I thought I'd give it a re-read, but unfortunately I've also seen the film so was unable to get Kevin Spacey out of my head.

Flying Finish, Dick Francis. I appreciate that he included reproductive justice activists, but also hormonal contraception doesn't work like that. I liked all the detail about how you transport horses by air. But generally this isn't great. Too much about the perils of communism.

A Is For Alibi, Sue Grafton. This book is really weird about people's bodies, especially fat bodies. Aside from that, it's a fairly generic detective story with added tedious heterosexualling.

April 19th, 2019
flamebyrd: (bored)
posted by [personal profile] flamebyrd at 04:43pm on 19/04/2019 under ,
Or, how my new hobby became watching other people play video games.

Let me begin by saying that this post is neither an endorsement or a recommendation for spending any amount of time on Twitch, although it hasn't been a negative experience for me.

It all started back in February. I listen to the podcast Wonderful, which is Griffin and Rachel McElroy talking about things they enjoy, and in one episode Griffin talked about a Sonic the Hedgehog 1 speedrun from the recent Awesome Games Done Quick charity marathon.

I'd never watched a speedrun before, but I do have a strong nostalgic streak for Sonic. I never had a gaming console growing up, but in the year my family lived in the UK (1993) a lot of my neighbours had Sega MegaDrives (as they were called), and I got very into Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 there. So I watched the speedrun video and had a great time! And then YouTube decided I wanted to see more GDQ content. So I watched some other Sonic runs, including this Sonic Mania race (Sonic Mania being a 2017 game and thus not being a game I've ever played, but which feels very familiar due to its own relentless nostalgia for classic Sonic games). A race! What a great idea! And from that I ended up checking out races for games I'd never heard of, which led me to a Celeste race from SGDQ2018*, which had the actual developers of the game providing commentary and an interview at the end. It was really fascinating and made me want to see more of that particular game.

It's all downhill from here... )
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Sidetracks (sidetracks)
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag. For more links and commentary you can follow us on Twitter, Tumblr. You can also support us on Patreon.

Read more... )
lizbee: (Star Trek: Kat's insignia)
posted by [personal profile] lizbee at 08:10am on 19/04/2019 under
Talking about Discovery, I've had it in the back of my mind to point out -- okay, complain -- that as much as I like Rebecca Romijn as Number One, she's significantly younger than Majel Barrett when she played the role.

Only ... I just checked. Barrett was 32 when "The Cage" was filmed. Romijn was 44/45 when season 2 of Disco filmed. (She's now 46.)

Likewise, I did complain about Mia Kirshner being too young to play Amanda, and in her early 40s, she is much too young to play the mother of Michael (29-30) and Spock (late 20s). But she is also just 13 years younger than Jane Wyatt was when "Journey to Babel" filmed, which isn't far off the "ten years before TOS" timeline.

(I figured they cast Amanda on the youthful side because her first appearance was in a flashback to Michael at about 22, and it's easier and cheaper to age a younger actor up than an older actor down. But Kirshner also looks a lot like Wyatt -- moreso than Winona Ryder, in my opinion -- and I kind of like that they aren't bothering to age her up or down. We mostly see her through her children's perspective, and to them, she's constant.)

Anyone who has watched Classic Doctor Who knows that -- for various reasons of lifestyle, experience, diet and access to skincare products -- people seemed to age faster in the sixties. And that's without getting into the relatively subtle plastic surgery options available now. But ALSO I am really, really bad at estimating people's ages, in any era.

(I've also realised it doesn't do to get too caught up in linking actor and character ages with Disco. Saru is about Michael's age; Doug Jones is in his late fifties. Tilly cannot be more than 23 at the absolute most; Mary Wiseman is in her thirties. Michelle Yeoh is two years older than Jason Isaacs, but Georgiou was at the Academy with Pike, and Anson Mount is ten years Yeoh's junior -- and it's easier to assume Yeoh is younger than Mount is older.)

(All this is only a problem if, say, you had headcanonned a timeline for who was at the Academy when, how they overlapped and how that impacted their relationships, and you're still coming to terms with having to throw it all away and start over.)

Meanwhile, separately, casting for the Picard series is still coming out, and people are going, "Oh my God, the majority of the cast are in their thirties, this is going to be a teen drama!" Turns out some fans really did think it was going to be TNG 2.0. 
Mood:: 'amused' amused
April 17th, 2019
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
posted by [personal profile] brainwane at 12:41pm on 17/04/2019 under
Several years ago I got to visit my sister in Lusaka, Zambia.

I saw how it can work when utility companies work on a prepayment basis (as in, you have to top up your account before usage, much as you would top up a pay-as-you-go mobile phone plan). I found out about how one frequently irons one's clothes, or has them ironed, after washing, not just for aesthetic reasons, but to kill parasites. I learned that Zambia has a four-corners water border with three other countries. And I learned that the indigenous name for Victoria Falls is Mosi-oa-Tunya or Mosi-O-Tunya, which translates as "the smoke that thunders", inspiring the name of a beer. (If you visit during the bit of the dry season when the waterfall roars less impressively, enterprising locals will happily photograph you in front of the green-painted wall they've set up, digitally place your smiling family in front of a suitably watery background, and charge you for prints. They also have props available in case you want to, say, wear a headdress, hold a carved stick, etc., in the photo, and I feel mixed about this, as you might imagine.) I meant to write up more of what I observed (I tweeted about a concert I attended but that's about it), then didn't get around to it, sadly.

At the time, India was my default comparator; I noticed how bits of things -- the climate, the physical infrastructure, the history museum, intangibles -- were like, or not like, things I'd experienced in India. I hope someday I get to visit more, different places in Africa so I can get a better understanding of it as its own context.

Just now I reread an old Daniel Davies post about Zambia (he was born there; I think his father did some kind of job there for a while), which he wrote in 2008 but which -- as I see the toll extractive capitalism is taking on my industry and my country -- strikes close to home.

...relevant to natural resource curse. What the continent of Africa is full of, is chancers and get-rich-quick merchants. The natural resources industry is of course famous for such characters, and the trait that they share with vulture financiers is that they vastly prefer to substitute risk tolerance, sharp elbows and an eye for the main chance for graft and creativity. People like this are useful and even necessary in small doses, but (as any history of your favourite frontier and colonisation narrative will tell you), in large numbers they're pestilential; a walking, talking infestation of the same kind of behaviour that's the staple of the resource curse literature.

There's a post forthcoming ... on psychological obstacles to development but I think this is the big one; not the lack of a work ethic, but the perversion of the work ethic in a large proportion of the domestic and expatriate business class, who think that success isn't something you build; it's something you find...
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Masterlist of links


I'm enjoying it so far, even if she's a little shippier with Zen than I like.

Read more... )
April 16th, 2019
brainwane: My smiling face, in front of a wall and a brown poster. (smiling)
posted by [personal profile] brainwane at 09:59am on 16/04/2019
May is my big conference month this year. cut for one photo + length )

.... I need to order business card refills.

(Edited a few hours later to add: crossposted to Cogito, Ergo Sumana.)
jolantru: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jolantru at 12:44pm on 16/04/2019 under
First thing:

Dragon Physician ends tomorrow (Wednesday 17th). I really feel for this little YA fantasy of mine, because it's a heart book (just like so many of my books). I really want to see it published (as a real book) and am gratified by the reception I have received on Radish. Thank you, all you 13 subscribers.

Here's the link: https://radish.app.link/2nOrEb3DaV

Second thing:

There are so many awful things happening (Notre Dame, passing of sff greats etc). All I wish for people is to be less shitty to people who are hurt. Nobody benefits from playing "I hurt more than you" games. Please be kind and empathetic to people's needs!

Third thing:

Mid-Autumn Mice art are on sale! If you love my Mice and would like to see them on tote bags, cushion covers and greeting cards: https://www.redbubble.com/people/jolantru?asc=u
April 15th, 2019
spindizzy: Alice waving her arms with a love heart over her head. (Yay!)
Cover of Any Old Diamonds

Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes is the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar, with a bitter grudge against his wealthy father. The Duke intends to give his Duchess a priceless diamond parure on their wedding anniversary—so Alec hires a pair of jewel thieves to steal it.

The Duke's remote castle is a difficult target, and Alec needs a way to get the thieves in. Soldier-turned-criminal Jerry Crozier has the answer: he'll pose as a Society gentleman and become Alec's new best friend.

But Jerry is a dangerous man: controlling, remote, and devastating. He effortlessly teases out the lonely young nobleman’s most secret desires, and soon he’s got Alec in his bed—and the palm of his hand.

Or maybe not. Because as the plot thickens, betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light. Now the jewel thief and the aristocrat must keep up the pretence, find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what's between them...all without getting caught.

Alec Pyne is the cast-off son of a duke, who hires a pair of jewel thieves to rob his father in revenge. Cue constant threats of betrayal, unexpected feelings, and HEISTS. Oh, and as you may have noticed when I squeaked about this before, I really liked it. It has possibly knocked Spectred Isle off its spot as my favourite KJ Charles book, which em>seriously takes some doing.

Read more... )
April 14th, 2019
glass_icarus: (bibliophile)
posted by [personal profile] glass_icarus at 05:35pm on 14/04/2019 under
A poetry month post at last! I haven't read much poetry in recent years, but this one feels very apropos to me right now.

The Journey, by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
alias_sqbr: exploding train (train)
Masterlist of links

Bugger this for a lark.

I did manage one bad end, the generic one you get if you screw up the very first scene. And then I got several days into doing Yoosung's bad ends before deciding I had better things to do. Like the fun parts of the game. Or watching paint dry.

Content Note: ambiguous Bad Things happen offscreen.

Read more... )
April 13th, 2019
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
posted by [personal profile] brainwane at 01:31am on 13/04/2019
For many years, my go-to "is there big news I want to/need to know about?" source has been BBC News's front page. It has more of a UK and worldwide focus than most US sites, and that helps me both be a bit less provincial and see less "the latest outrage from the federal government" coverage.

On mobile in particular, one just gets a short headline plus a graphic for each story. I have this little habit of reading each one and mentally responding re: whether this is good or bad news. So my brain is going, e.g.,:

"Good? .... Bad .... Bad? .... Good .... Depressingly bad .... Soccer, no response .... Bad ..... Good? ....."

I am probably a user persona of some kind, in case you work on CMSes for news.
April 12th, 2019
alias_sqbr: Teddy bear with purple details with a love heat. From Nameless: the one thing you must recall (nameless)
Masterlist of links

And now I am done!

That was fun? Mostly? Having to worry about everything in realtime really undercut my enjoyment of the story. But the story itself was fine.

Content Note: discussion of a pre-canon suicide, iffy treatment of mental illness, implied eye injury
Read more... )
April 11th, 2019
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Fanwork Recs (fanwork recs)
Fanwork is awesome and sharing fanwork is even more awesome. Join us as we keymash and squee over our favorite fanwork, from fic (both written and podfic) to art to vids and meta and back again.

If you find something you love, we encourage you to comment/favorite and let the creator know you enjoyed their work. :D o/

Recommendations included:
  • Digimon — art (1)

  • Dragon Age — fic (1)

  • MCU — cosplay (1)

  • Pokémon — art (1)

Read more... )

What fanwork have you loved recently?


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