(no subject)

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:52 pm
bjornwilde: (Danny Rand)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
In other news, I've convinced myself that I shouldn't play Danny Rand. While deconstructing the White Savior and Mighty Whitey tropes might be fun for me, it likely wouldn't be entertaining, and there's every chance I would do it right anyway.

I think I might just play him in sandboxes, with Lewis Tan as his face instead of Finn Jones.

(no subject)

Mar. 24th, 2017 10:18 am
bjornwilde: (Default)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
 For some reason, this morning I am listing to breakup albums. I am not sad, I am not involved with a breakup, there is no hint of a breakup in my life, and I am not feeling nostalgic for a past relationship. I just seem to be enjoying the music. Go figure.

I also was struck by feels or nostalgia for Val von Doom. Weird.

FMK: The Princess and the Goblin

Mar. 23rd, 2017 12:14 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Princess Irene is definitely D'Angeline, isn't she. Which of the angels is her Great-Grandmama?

...Anyway, somehow I was expecting this to be about a princess and a goblin, not a princess and a peasant boy and a WHOLE BUNCH of goblins, none of whom she really interacts with. I think somehow I had got the impression that Curdie was a goblin who helped her out.

That's really the core of my response to this book. As I was reading it (and I'm very glad I did) I was seeing all the ways in which this is really an important foundation block in the later fantasy I've read, missing pieces that I haven't found in extensive folklore reading but still turn up every now and then in post-Victorian stuff, even such little things as the physical descriptions of the goblins. (Such as having a jack-o-lantern face, when folklore pumpkinheads are usually very distinct from folklore goblins.)

And then there's the very strong, and very Victorian, thread in this book of beautiful = good and ugly = bad. Not to say that post-Victorian kidlit has totally solved that one, but still, there's enough pushback against it in newer kids' fantasy (and in folklore) that my response to the lady who is beautiful beyond imagining (*especially* if she admits she's wearing a glamour) is BEWARE, and you should probably go find an ugly crone to talk to instead. Also I can't think of a single reason why the goblins aren't in the right here, given the way they are being dehumanized and their lands are being steadily stolen and then destroyed. They even try for a diplomatic solution first!

Of course, the fairy-story books I was imprinting on instead when I was the age for this were The Ordinary Princess (all about how Ordinary doesn't have to be Beautiful to be Good) and Goblins in the Castle (where Our Hero realizes halfway through that the displaced goblins are in the right and he's been on the wrong side all along). Both of those books are almost certainly arguing with MacDonald and his peers, whether consciously on the part of the writers or not, but I got their side of the argument first and it's a much better side. :P

I was also interested in how young Irene was. There's a standard in kidlit publishing (or at least there was, awhile back) that your protagonist should always be at least a couple of years older than the reading level you're writing for, presumably as an aspirational thing, and also so kids who read a lot can feel smug about reading books for older kids and kids who are a little slower don't have to be talked down to.

But I'm wondering if it's also because adult authors tend to write their protagonists acting a few years younger than kids of that age feel like they are in their heads. Irene certainly feels younger than eight to me, for a lot of the book: at eight I could tell you who my cousins-once-removed were and how they were different from my second-cousins, and I can't imagine many second graders I know being confused by the concept of a great-grandma, or in general have Irene's maturity level. And when I was a kid, reading books about kids a few years older than me, the protagonists didn't usually feel like they were that much older than me. Maybe by telling grownups to write eleven-year-olds for eight-year-olds, you end up with characters who feel like eight-year-olds to eight-year-olds.

I did really like the strong message in this book that adults need to believe what kids say to them, and that if the adults don't, that's on the adults, not the kids. And if the kids let themselves be half-convinced the adults are right and the kids are imagining or exaggerating, it's also the adults' fault, and not the kids failing, and not just "part of growing up." And that the mysterious secret stranger actually tells the protagonist to tell all her grown-ups everything, not to keep it secret, because adults who tell you to keep your relationship a secret are probably not the adults you should rely on. That's something that is REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT to teach a lot of kids (although probably more important to teach grownups), and I think the way MacDonald did it was a lot more emotionally real and with a lot more conviction than a lot of other people, especially modern kids' fantasy, where the parents not believing or not being told is either taken for granted or treated as harmless.

Also wow, you really couldn't get away with handing a character a LITERAL PLOT THREAD in a modern book...

Dear Self

Mar. 23rd, 2017 08:43 am
bjornwilde: (Danny Rand)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
OK, I get that you've loved the Iron Fist mythos since reading Ed Brubaker's Immortal Iron Fist...Is it really 10 years ago now? You also were a kid during the twilight of the martial arts craze and the Marvel Netflix universe is pretty awesome, but you have to seriously ask yourself if attempting to play Danny is a good thing. Yes, you have some ideas on things which seem better than the show. Yes, playing a flawed hero and not flinching away from the entitled white hero with all of it's problems is likely a better way to handle leaving Danny as white, but is this really a good idea?

Before doing anything, invoke the Craig Ferguson litmus test:
1 - Does this need to be said/done
2 - Does this need to be said/done now
3 - Does this need to be said/done by me

Now, get to work so that you can tag the pups you already have.

(Spoilers for Iron Fist in the comments. Also, letting go of the idea of Vlad Taltos as a pup. Too much canon (15 books with a goal of 17) and I'd need to play two pups as he can't be played without his familiar.)

(no subject)

Mar. 22nd, 2017 08:16 am
bjornwilde: (Default)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
 Well, I'm feeling a little less guilty about liking Iron Fist, though it is a mess. Here's a good review of the series over at The Mary Sue. Thar be spoilers so watch out.

FMK #5: MEN who are MEN

Mar. 21st, 2017 03:57 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
FMK #4's F winner was "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald, at a v. reasonable ~200 pages, and I will be reading it tonight.

K was "The Pilgrim's Progress". I wanted to be good, I really did, but I opened it up just to see what it was like, and, like, two paragraphs in I realize this is the book that taught the world that Heaven is full of pretty girls in white dresses with golden harps, and also notice that some previous owner has hand-annotated my copy, and, look, I can't. But I did move it from the fiction shelf to the Penguin Classics shelf where it can keep company with its boring and elderly brethren, does that count?

I am realizing that the nature of the votes here is that we are going to disproportionately vote out timeless classics that people have Opinions on while all the ones that are just Bad and Boring stick around forever. Feel free to vote K just because you know nothing about it and don't know why anyone would own it!

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)

Anyway, enough with courtesans and princesses and all that girly stuff. Today we are going to vote on MEN who are MEN.

Poll: Asimov, Avallone, Bester, Blish, Blum, Bova, Hale, Howard, Richards, Russ, Wells )

FMK: Kushiel's Dart

Mar. 20th, 2017 08:25 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
So! Kushiel's Dart.

That was not a one-night-stand book. That was, at best, a "mad weekend at a cabin in the mountains" book. By which I mean, it was long. I read fiction pretty fast, and it took me about nine hours of reading time to get through that. Probably I am spoiled by my reading speed, because most books I can get through in one sitting. Not Kushiel. Not unless I wanted to pull an all-nighter, and I'm too old for that now. Did I mention it is long? It's the longest book I have read since I started tracking reading on Goodreads. It is the fourth longest novel I own (and two of the three longer ones are Outlander.) It is tied for longest novel I have ever read (with Cryptonomicon. And Cryptonomicon I did read in one night of passion, but I was almost fifteen years younger and even then it didn't go real well for me.) (okay, Les Mis is technically longer, but Les Mis is also technically five books.) Kushiel's Dart is kind of long, even for an epic fantasy, is what I'm saying here. I don't think even the best courtesan in the Night Court can sustain a night of passion for nine hours.

I've been mentioning how long it is to people in RL all week, so I thought I'd mention it here just in case somebody missed that part. ^_^

It is also, however, a book I found compulsively readable, in a way not many books are these days. For people not familiar, it's an epic fantasy set in an alternate Late Medieval Europe where the Roman Empire happened differently: Britain is still Celtic, the North is still tribal, and France is [still] ruled by the descendants of Christ and the Magdalen. The main character is Ph├Ędre, who was born into a House of courtesans, and was purchased as a child by a nobleman to be trained as a courtesan and spy.
spoilers under cuts from here on )

Anyway, I really actively enjoyed the second half of the book, A++ would read another 900 pages of that, although tbh probably not the 1500 pages that is the next two volumes, at least not right away. But if the whole book was like the last half, or if the first half was about 350 pages shorter it would probably be getting a definite place on my "permanent favorites" shelf but tbh if I ever re-read I would probably start the re-read after the doomy thing happened.

But, of course, as everyone who has heard of this book knows, nobody cares about that because it is also an EROTIC fantasy full of KINKY PORN.

....except it really, really isn't.

Like, there are some sex scenes in it? Two or three of them rise to the level of mildly explicit rather than softcore or fade-to-black. And a few of them involve some fairly hardcore BDSM stuff, by mundane standards. But in terms of kinky-sex-per-page ratio, you're better off reading, like, Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser or something. They usually manage at least a couple kinky sex scenes per hundred-page novella, usually involving at least rat-girls or the Goddess of Pain in person, or something.

I wanted to say "Maybe if I'd read this book back when it first came out, before I knew about fanfic, I would have thought it was the most risque thing ever" except I realized it was copyright 2001, and I'm pretty sure I was already reading Harry Potter smut by the time it was out in paperback, so it still would've been too late. And by AO3 standards I doubt I would even give it the E for explicit for the sex scenes. In the second half of the book, I don't think there are *any* sex scenes that aren't fade to black. (It would get the major character death warning, the noncon warning, the extreme violence warning, and a provisional underage warning, though.)
Read more... )

Anyway, it gets a solid four stars for "If you like this sort of thing, it is the sort of thing you will like," and I like this sort of thing enough that it would be going on my keep shelf, except that instead the whole trilogy is being loaned on my recommendation to my friend with the hair who actively seeks out 900-page-per-volume fantasy series, and I will temporarily (?) get that foot of shelf space back \o/

ETA: Also, I am saddened and surprised there are so few Kushiel AUs on AO3 (not surprised that most of them are Sherlock, though.) And remain convinced that *someone* who wrote for Supernatural was a Kushiel fan because Castiel's origin story being "we can't name him Cassiel that would be too obvious" just kept getting more obvious as I went...

(no subject)

Mar. 20th, 2017 10:54 am
bjornwilde: (Default)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
I love a cover of a song, but not all covers are a like. You can have a good cover, say Siouxsie and the Banshees cover of Craftwork's "Hall of Mirrors" or the Damned's cover of Love's "Alone again or". You can have brilliant covers, like Johnny Cash's and Cheryl Crow's cover of NIN's "Hurt". And then there are the gems that make the song their own, like The Muppets cover of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

Making a TV series or movie out of a book or comic is much like this. I'm up to episode 05 of Iron Fist and while I am enjoying it, it's like a good cover. They've reproduced the existing material, maybe switched a detail here and there, but it isn't that different from the comic. I enjoy it, but it is not as brilliant as "Luke Cage", "Jessica Jones", or the first season of "Daredevil". (I'm still deciding about season 02. Matt and Electra didn't do as much for me as Karen and Frank.)

But damned if my impulsive ID brain isn't trying to convince me that Danny would be an interesting pup.

(no subject)

Mar. 17th, 2017 10:45 pm
bjornwilde: (Default)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
Started watching Iton Fist and it isn't horrible. Only two episodes in and yes it is the weakest of the Defensers, but it has something. Yes, I do feel like it would've been better to have an Asian actor play Danny. Whitie is doing okay but they are leaning on too many tropes to make this work well. We'll see how things progress. So far not impressed with the bad guys.

I also have a kernel of a story idea that germinating. I have no idea where it's going but I know where it came from. Basically some book I read recently had the protagonists pay a sable boy or tavern boy a large sum of money to disappear, not just from the tar emperor but from the city and not come back. I immediately started wondering what the boy would do next and there's the kernel. Needs more brain storming.

(no subject)

Mar. 17th, 2017 04:57 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I was prepping a laundry load of newly thrifted fabric and recently finished sewing projects, and decided to throw in my pincushion, as it was getting kind of grungy.

This pincushion is the one I made as my first project in 6th grade Home Ec, by sewing together two small squares of cloth and then stuffing them. I've been using it for twenty years.

After pulling all the pins out, and then all the visible needles, and then squeezing it for awhile to get all the hidden needles, I threw my hands up, took out the stuffing, and went through it that way.

There were forty-five needles hidden in it.*

...has anyone yet invented a pincushion that doesn't eat needles?


Anyway, I am still working on Kushiel. This week's FMK poll is still neck-and-neck, so your vote could turn it! You have until I get back from the St. Pat's dinner in an hour or two. I took the first three weeks' K books to the thrift store today (where I bought the fabric that is being washed. And two more books shhh) so I can't chicken out, augh. I am now finding myself wanting to buy books just because they will fill out a good set for an FMK poll. No, melannen! Bad! Bad!

In preparation for writing my thoughts on Kushiel, here is a poll for you about evolving terminology in reviews:

What does the word 'rapey' mean to you? )

*I did not intend that as a metaphor for rape culture, and yet there it is.

Mother duck + 13(!) ducklings

Mar. 16th, 2017 03:25 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Mother duck said quack quack quack quack
[Click to embiggen.]

I popped outside for a quick canalside walk after lunch and had to go pelting back to the house to get my camera. Because DUCKLINGS!

(no subject)

Mar. 15th, 2017 02:56 pm
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
[personal profile] tree_and_leaf
I have bought a breadmaker! (One of Lakeland's, for those interested).

I wonder if any of you have recipes you'd recommend, or useful do's and don't's? And are any of the ready made mixes any use?

FMK #4: Pre-Golden-Age SF

Mar. 14th, 2017 08:42 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Okay, so FMK is going to be Tuesdays now. :P I forgot that on normal Mondays, a little distraction is good, but on busy Mondays I basically don't have time to sit down at the computer from Saturday evening until Monday evening, and that doesn't work so well. (and today was a snow day so I spent it sewing, it was excellent.)

Anyway, FMK #3 K winner was Tarnsman of Gor and the F winner was Kushiel's Dart. I, uh, haven't finished Kushiel's Dart. I'm 500 pages in! If it was a reasonably-sized novel, that would be done twice over! Anyway short version: I am enjoying it a lot although not ravishingly in love, have already recommended it to a friend who actively enjoys brick-sized books full of court intrigue, and keep getting Cassiel the Angel of Bromance mixed up with SPN's Castiel the Angel of... *ahem* "Bromance". I will post a fuller response either later this week or when I am finished, depending on which comes first.

I also started reading Tarnsman of Gor I know! I am breaking my own rules already! But I want to be able to make fun of it fairly, okay? And it's like, 20% the length of Kushiel. I did put the other two Gor books I inexplicably owned on the dump-unread pile, though?

This week's FMK theme: English-language SF written before 1930! here is where we find out who is voting entirely based on gendered author names

How FMK works: 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 Sunday Monday Tuesday.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll! Bennet, Bunyan, Burroughs, Eddison, Lindsay, MacDonald, Merritt, Nowlan, Polidori, Shelley, Smith, Swift, Tolkien, Walpole, Wells, Wilde, Wolf )

Clearing some dust

Mar. 13th, 2017 09:15 am
bjornwilde: (Default)
[personal profile] bjornwilde
Entering into week three of being sick and I am so ready to be over it. I did go into an Accute Care clinic on Friday but the doctor said it seems like I am mostly over it and there really wasn't much to be done but treat the symptoms.

Somehow this is also making my wanting to thread or do creative things practically nonexistent. Like I remember what fun it is and all, but I am disconnected from it. Blah.

Tried reading Tanith Lee's Faces Underwater but gave up after 4 chapters. I can't complain about the writing, which was good, I just didn't have any connection to the main character and I couldn't see a plot happening. I felt more connected with the city in the book than anything else, and I just don't read fast enough to bother.

I am most of the way through Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, which is so much better. This has got to be the best portrayal of middle schoolers I've read in some time. They read as honest and true peeps rather than half remembered personas of middle schoolers.

I finished Four Roads Cross this weekend and I really cannot wait until the next Craft Sequence book. I may have made an account for Elayne Kevarian (*cough* [personal profile] carpe_deos  *cough*). Someday I will have to tag someone in a sandbox when I'm feeling up to threading.

I also continue to work my way through the Vlad Taltos series and am up to book 08 of the series. Still very tempted by a Vlad voice, but a journal name hasn't yet occurred to me and I would need two slots open to play him since I can't see him being anywhere without Loiosh, his smart ass, telepathic mini-wyvern type familiar. I think I've given up on the idea of finding an Eastern European actor with a handlebar mustache to use as a PB and will just use this fabulous fan art...assuming I ever get to play him.

ETA: I am about half-way convinced the writers of The Magicians have no idea what they are doing this season. I feel like each episode is only loosely connected to the previous and is wandering lost, with no idea where it is going.

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