[syndicated profile] happyhealthylife_feed

Posted by Kathy

Holiday gift giving season is here. And while I have definitely toned down the number of presents I buy this time of year, I still love a good gift exchange among friends, workplace Secret Santa or family gift giving sesh. I thought it would be fun to see what the bloggers out there wanted to give (and get!) as a healthy + happy gift, so I rounded up their answers in this post - I hope you get a few new gift ideas from it, I know I sure did! I mean, I definitely need to research Air Fryers, NOAH vegan shoes and pottery by Jeanette Zeis. (And don't miss #42, it is my favorite on the list.)Read more »

This is a summary, images and full post available on HHL website!


Dec. 7th, 2016 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] maru_feed

Posted by mugumogu


Hey Hana,  are you ready?(Small ball)

はな:「きゃー! どこー!?」
Hana:[Wow! Where?]

Try again!


Maru saw it from the table.

Maru[She is too dull!]


[syndicated profile] neilgaiman_feed
posted by Neil Gaiman

A little over a year ago I released my rarest, earliest, and hardest to find work -- books and comics --  through Humble Bundle to fund charities that do good work.  People were all so generous and enthusiastic that the Bundle broke several records. More importantly the people who donated to get the Bundle made it possible for the CBLDF and for the charities supported by the Gaiman Foundation, including the CBLDF, to help make things better for people. 

People asked if the books and comics in the Humble Bundle would be put up for sale afterwards. I said no. They were part of the Humble Bundle, and it had happened and it was done.

The world is a more dangerous place than it was 14 months ago. Refugees need help and support. Freedom of speech is under threat.

I've brought back the original Humble Bundle of Gaiman extreme and collectible rarities, and I have added some brand new bits, including audio stories.  The Bundle supports the UN Refugee Agency, the CBLDF, and the Gaiman Foundation (which then, in its turn, supports other good causes). Get the books and stories and such for yourself if you missed out the first time. Give them as gifts to friends. It will make a difference.

And if you are wondering what is in the Humble Bundle, here is the original post:

The thing about having a writing career that spans more than thirty years is that that you write things – books, comics, all sorts of things – that for one reason or another become rare. They go out of print. Often because you are embarrassed by them, or do not want to see them in print. Or because circumstances are against you. Or because something was only ever published in a limited edition.

I have a basement library filled with mysterious copies of things. Some I only have one copy of. One book, the hardback of my Duran Duran biography, I paid $800 for, about eight years ago, astonished that anyone would ask that much, but aware that I'd only ever seen one other copy. (I saw another one for sale last week for over $4000.)

Many years ago, I sued a publisher for non-payment of royalties, registering copyright in his own name on things I'd written, and various other things. And, because it felt right, I decided that any money I made from the case would go to charity. Long after the case was won, when the finances were eventually settled, I found myself with a large chunk of money.  I didn't want to give it all to one charity, and instead formed the Gaiman Foundation which has, for several years, been using that money to Do Good Things. The Gaiman Foundation has funded the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's Education program, various Freedom of Speech initiatives, the Moth's High School program which teaches kids the power of telling their own stories, along with helping to fund good causes like the Lava Mae charity, which gives showers and cleaning facilities to the homeless around San Francisco.

Giving money away to good causes has been a fine thing to do, especially when the results were immediate and obvious.

The only downside is that the initial chunk of money from the lawsuit is almost used up. I've been putting money into it as well, but last year Holly Gaiman (who is not only my daughter and an ace hat maker, but is studying running non-profit organisations and has been invaluable on the professional side of things of the Foundation) pointed out to me that if the Gaiman Foundation was to continue, it would need me to put in a big chunk of money as an endowment. And I started thinking...

Some years ago I took part in one of the earliest book-based Humble Bundles, and was really impressed with how the Humble Bundle thing worked.  E-books (back then,  of out of print or unavailable work,) would be put up DRM free: some of them would be available to anyone who paid anything at all, some only for those who paid above the average, some available to anyone who paid more than a specific amount. Artists and writers got paid, and money also went to support good causes -- when you paid for your books, you could choose how much of the money going to charity went to which charity, how much goes to the creators, how much to Humble Bundle. 

Hmm. I had the beginning of an idea.

Charles Brownstein at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is always willing to listen to my strange ideas. He liked this one.

This was the idea:

I'd put into the Humble Bundle all the rare things we could find. 

Books that were long out of print, stories and such that collectors would pay hundreds of dollars for, obscure and uncollected comics and pamphlets and magazine articles. Even the things I am still vaguely embarrassed by (like the Duran Duran biography, a hardcover copy of which, as I said, can set you back thousands of dollars these days, if you can find one). 

Books which have been out of print for 30 years, like GHASTLY BEYOND BELIEF, a collection of quotations from the strangest SF and Fantasy books and movies that Kim Newman and I made when we were 23 and 24 respectively. Things that were absolutely private and never before sold, like LOVE FISHIE, a book of poems and letters from my daughter Maddy (aged 8) to me, and from me back to Maddy, that was made into a book (with help from my assistant the Fabulous Lorraine) as a gift for my 42nd birthday. 

Two long out-of-print books from Knockabout Comics: OUTRAGEOUS TALES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT and SEVEN DEADLY SINS, with stories written and or drawn by me, Alan Moore, Hunt Emerson, Dave Gibbons, Dave McKean and a host of others. 

Rare out-of-print comics stories by me and Bryan Talbot, by me and Mark Buckingham, even by me and Bryan Talbot and Mark Buckingham.

There would be small-press short story and suchlike collections like ANGELS AND VISITATIONS and the LITTLE GOLD BOOK OF GHASTLY STUFF containing stories that went on to win awards and be collected in the more big, official collections (Smoke and Mirrors, etc), and stories no-one has seen since, not to mention non-fiction articles, like the one about the effects of alcohol on a writer, or the one where I stayed out for 24 hours on the streets of Soho, that are now only whispered in rumours.

There would even be a short story of mine, “Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle”, published in 1985, that is so bad I've never let it be reprinted. Not even to give young writers hope that if I was that awful once, there is hope for all of them.

Charles from the CBLDF liked the idea.

It was a good thing Charles liked the idea. He had to do so much of the work, coordinating, finding, talking to people, getting contracts with artists and publishers and everyone signed, all that. Which he did, cheerfully and helpfully and uncomplainingly.

The Humble Bundle people liked the idea too.

Humble Bundle money is divided between the creators and the charities, with the person buying the Humble Bundle deciding how the percentage that goes to the charities is divided.

I'm giving my entire portion of Humble Bundle creator-money directly back to the Gaiman Foundation. (My agent Merrilee has donated her fee, too, so 100% of what comes in to me goes to the Foundation.)

There are, obviously, other authors and artists and publishers involved. Some have asked for their money to go to charities, and some are, perfectly sensibly, paying the rent and buying food with it.

(Originally, we'd hoped to split the charity money between the CBLDF and the Gaiman Foundation as well, but in the very last couple of days of putting things together we discovered that was impractical, so we made the other charity the Moth's Educational Program instead: it's the Moth storytelling in High Schools, it's done some really good things, and I'm proud to be helping it.)

Normally Humble Bundle likes to explain that you are paying what you like for perhaps $100 worth of games or books or comics. It's hard to price this stuff – buying Duran Duran and Ghastly Beyond Belief together could set you back thousands of dollars. Here, you'll get some ebooks if you pay what you like, more ebooks if you pay over the average, and some choice plums (like Duran Duran, and “Manuscript Found in a Milk Bottle”) if you pay over $15. 

There's a total of about 1,300 pages of DRM-free ebooks and comics, fiction and non fiction. There's even a Babylon 5 Script I wrote.

These books and comics and suchlike are going to be available during the two week on-sale life of the Humble Bundle. After that, they are going away again. This really is your chance to read them.

Click on the link: https://www.humblebundle.com/books. It will take you somewhere that will look a bit like this, where many pages of ebooks will be waiting for you:

And remember, it's pay what you want. (If you want to pay the thousands of dollars it would have cost you to buy all this stuff as collectibles, you can do that too. I'll be grateful, and so will the various charities, not to mention the artists, other writers and so on.)

Thank you to Charles Brownstein; to Mary Edgeberg, Holly Gaiman, Cat Mihos, and Christine DiCrocco, on my team; thank you to my agent Merrilee Heifetz; to everyone who drew or wrote or published or in other way gave us permission to put things up; to Mike Maher and the team at Scribe for mastering the eBooks;  and above all thank you to everyone at Humble Bundle for relentlessly doing good for wonderful causes.

I hope you enjoy all 1,289 rare and collectible pages. Even “Manuscript Found In a Milk Bottle”.

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Just One Thing! (7 December 2016)

Dec. 7th, 2016 10:51 am
syntaxofthings: Two white flowers against a blue sky. ([flower] Flower under blue sky)
[personal profile] syntaxofthings posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.


(no subject)

Dec. 7th, 2016 08:39 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
So I've been missing Dreamwidth/Livejournal lately, but also feeling a bit out of the habit of blogging--that is, I think, "What should I write? What's the use in writing? What would actually connect with the people I want to connect with?"

So, anyone with ideas: let me know?

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 39

What kind of stuff would you be interested in me writing about

View Answers

Narratives of how my life is going
34 (87.2%)

Personal introspection (psychology/trauma/spirituality)
36 (92.3%)

Meta about psychology and culture
36 (92.3%)

Squee and speculation on my current fandoms (Check Please, Yuri on Ice, etc)
23 (59.0%)

Fanfic and stories
22 (56.4%)


Feel free to elaborate in comments!

Several things make a post

Dec. 8th, 2016 12:21 am
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
[personal profile] vass
1. The Victorian Liberals are why we can't have nice things. Like our correct gender on official documentation. :(

2. Last night Beatrice was lolling on her side, and Dorian approached her and put his mouth up near the back of her head. I thought "aww, he's going to wash her ears like she washes his!" Then Dorian bit down on the scruff of Beatrice's neck and started humping her. They grow up so fast. :/ (Beatrice was not having any of it, and explained this with much volume, force, and velocity.) (The last time Beatrice lived for an extended period with another cat, it was [personal profile] nomnivore's cat Jerry, and he was so much more of a gentleman. I would ask Dorian who brought him up to behave like that, but this would reflect badly on a) me, and b) the Inquisitor.)

3. I am having difficulty with Twitter. Not just the constant stream of bad news, but also the constant stream of "you must inform yourself about [issue]" each one a different issue, each an urgent imperative that I read something if I care about other people/the planet/being a good person. I know I'm allowed to take a breath for my own mental health, to draw boundaries, but I find that hard to do without working myself into a state of callous uncaring, which obviously I don't want to do. The more vulnerable I'm feeling, the harder it is.

4. I made the very bad mistake of buying and downloading Civ III. Why? I don't know. It sounded like a good distraction? In the same way that heroin is a good analgesic? Tonight I had a communiqué from Montezuma, in which he politely (the game stipulated that his tone was polite, and indeed I do see worse on both Twitter and Tumblr all the time) told me "Xerxes, the Aztec Swordsmen thirst for your blood. Give us what we want or perish!" What he wanted was all the money in my treasury. I told him lol no, and he politely backed off again.

December Days 06 - Cluster F-Bomb

Dec. 6th, 2016 10:49 pm
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
[personal profile] silveradept
[It's December Days time. Topic suggestions still welcome, but this particular topic is brought on by necessity.]

Get met by the south end of a southward traveling spear.

Experience the unique phenomenon of being struck by lightning. But not so unique as to live through it.

Be caught in a sandstorm and drown as the particulates jam your lungs and prevent oxygen exchange.

Stab yourself in both eyes in a regrettable pitchfork accident.

Piss off the god of fortune and be cursed with bad luck forever.

Be volunteered to permanently substitute into Loki's place under the Midgard Serpent while suffering Prometheus's punishment.

Get stuck in a time loop consisting solely of the moment in which your flesh is stripped from your bones by a nuclear incident.

And then, after all of that, be exposed to the truth of the triumph of entropy. Watch the universe go out until you are the last being left and realize they're is no more time and your karma is still unclean and you must re-experience it all again until you can get it right the whole time instead of only up to a point.

And then, maybe then, you will decide not to smash my window and steal my tablet, whomever you were. Because you took what was not yours. Even though it was old and dying and needs a very specific charger to work. Even though it probably would have been replaced soon enough.

At least the universe waited six years or so between break-ins. Can we turn the encounter rate for that down to zero now?
[syndicated profile] robot_hugs_feed

Posted by Robot Hugs

New comic!

This comic was originally published on Everyday Feminism.

This was brutal to write because it kept fucking me up and making me sad. Anyways: intersectionality! One way to think of it is that it’s not (identityA)+(identityB), it’s (identityA) x (identityB).  The experience of being mentally ill and trans are not two separate experiences. Heck, the roots of intersectionality is illuminating the interactions of the experiences of Blackness and Woman, because those aren’t separate things.

Anyways, speaking of mental illness, I’m digging myself out of my own hole right now, but I hope to get back to my regular posting schedule soon enough.


Fic: The Library at Pemberley

Dec. 6th, 2016 10:39 pm
lizcommotion: A hand drawn spinning wheel covered in roses (spinning wheel briar rose)
[personal profile] lizcommotion
The Library at Pemberley (8369 words) by lizcommotion
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pride and Prejudice & Related Fandoms, Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (2005), Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Elizabeth Bennet/Female Fitzwilliam Darcy
Characters: Elizabeth Bennet, Kitty Bennet, Georgiana Darcy, Female Fitzwilliam Darcy
Additional Tags: Genderswap, Genderbending, Genderqueer, Femslash, Alternate Universe - Gender Changes, Light Bondage, Cunnilingus, Vaginal Fingering, Dildos, Regency, Enthusiastic Consent

"Elizabeth's heart stopped for a moment when Fitz said "rare folios," and she swore once they resolved this that she would explain to her wife, slowly, that she should have mentioned these folios when first she proposed."

Elizabeth and her wife Fitz Darcy return to Pemberley after their honeymoon. Her fear that the marriage to Fitz was a mistake seem to be confirmed when the two argue about sharing Pemberley's vast library. Will they be able to find a suitable compromise? A tender romance with a side of erotica.

[syndicated profile] neilgaiman_feed
posted by Neil Gaiman
I'm doing two events for NORSE MYTHOLOGY. I'll read from the book, be interviewed, take audience questions, sign a lot of books.

The first event to go on sale is at New York's Town Hall on February 9th. http://thetownhall.org/event/neilgaiman is the link. Tickets are not cheap, but each ticket price includes a copy of the book. It will be hosted, and I will be interviewed by, NPR's Ophira Eisenberg (whom I last met a few years ago on Ask Me Another on the radio, when she made me answer questions on and even sing Gilbert & Sullivan on the air).

(The photograph is of me and a tree by Beowulf Sheehan.)

The second is the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank on February 15th. It's going to be just as much fun. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.


(And at 2:30 that afternoon Chris Riddell will be doing an event in the same place. Come to both events! https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/119612-childrens-laureate-chris-riddell-friends-2017)


And while I've got you here, the BBC RADIO 4 adaptation of Stardust is wonderful! I've been listening to it over and over for the last couple of weeks, and smiling in delight at the performances and the clever way the adaption has been done. It will be broadcast in two parts, on the 17th and 18th of December. You can listen to it all over the world after that, for a month.  The episodes will go up here:


And a huge congratulations to the winners and runners up of the Stardust art competition: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1wFrP0b6KZh9CVnSG9BLTwg/stardust-drawing-competition-winners
You can see the whole gallery of delightful submissions at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04fqwzs/p04k98kc

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Dec. 6th, 2016 07:16 pm
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
[personal profile] ivy has very kindly acceded to my request and unlocked their post about Krav Maga and self-defense:

So, in short, if your self-defense level of desired investment is "I want to take a class once and then be done", go to a Rory Miller weekend seminar the next time he's in your area. If you are able-bodied and willing to go train regularly, consider Krav. If you are not able-bodied, talk to me about your body and your intentions -- I can recommend other things. If you are considering a firearm, talk to me/see previous post on that topic to figure out if that's going to match your lifestyle and threat model.


Your martial arts questions can go here, if you have them! There are many experienced martial artists reading, so you can get lots of perspectives, too, not just mine.

So if that's a direction your thoughts are currently trending in, for whatever reason -- go, ask. Trained martial artists are standing by to take your calls. *g*


Dec. 6th, 2016 06:27 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
If you've ever engaged in any form of non-internet activism, whether that's phoning a representative or going on a demonstration or volunteering for a political group or practicing civil disobedience or whatever, would you consider writing it up?

(Note: I'm purposely omitting internet activism, not because it doesn't have value but because it's something that we've got pretty much covered, and that's -- relatively -- a comfort zone for many of us. We are going to have to try to find ways to do more, to the limits of our various abilities.)

I was thinking about how hugely helpful it's been to many people just to have posts saying "I phoned my representative about this, and this is what it was like". A lot of us are thinking we need to learn how to find ways of being more activist even though it's challenging and scary for us.

And we also have a lot of people who have been or are involved in various ways, whether it's being part of ACT-UP actions or stuffing envelopes for a political party.

So -- please, share. If you've done something -- what did you do? how did you get into it? what happened? what was it like?

We need to share any skills and stories we have (and not just the stuff that sounds dramatic and cool and involves chaining yourself to things -- envelope-stuffing matters too).

Please comment with a link to anything you write, or post directly in the comments. Thanks!

Remembering the Fourteen

Dec. 6th, 2016 05:45 pm
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by brainwane

Today we remember:

  • Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
  • Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student
  • Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student
  • Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department
  • Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student
  • Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student
  • Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student
  • Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student
  • Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
  • Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student
  • Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

On December 6, 1989, at the École Polytechnique engineering school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, a man killed these women, targeting them because they were women and because they were engineers.

More remembrances:

Deb Chachra.

Shelley Page.

Previous posts on Geek Feminism.

[syndicated profile] happyhealthylife_feed

Posted by Kathy

This post is sponsored by Wild Blueberries of North America. Happy December! Wait, it is really December?? Crazy. This time of year things get pretty busy with travel and parties and gift shopping and family and friends and work and cookie baking and snow frolicking and holiday music dancing and more. Winter weather brings a chill in the air and a jam-packed to-do list leaves us with less time to take care of ourselves as usual. But no matter how busy you are, you should always find time for a wellness smoothie break!..Read more »

This is a summary, images and full post available on HHL website!
[syndicated profile] smbc_comics_feed

I'm kicking myself for not having Pumpkin Spice Atrocity.

New comic!
Today's News:

Wednesday Book Reviews!


The Victorian Internet (Standage)

A delightful quick history of the telegraph, which shows that much of the things we think are unique to the Internet were present about 150 years ago, including “online” communities, and predictions that connectivity would free information and bring about peace. Whoops!

Mind Children (Moravec)

I guess you’d categorize this as an early work (late 80s) in the modern futurology movement. The book is somewhat about the particular idea of creating superior robot descendants of humanity, but a more appropriate title would be something like “A brief history of computing up to 1988, followed by a bunch of stuff Hans Moravec thinks about.” On the whole, it’s pretty good! A lot of the speculations are obviously a bit out of date, and in some ways this is very interesting when we think about modern futurologists.

For example, Moravec thought that by the year 2000 we’d have a general purpose robot assistant. This wasn’t just a blind guess, either. He made estimates comparing neuronal and computer processing power, and thus guessed we’d have a robot assistant computer brain within 10 years of when the book was written. This not only hasn’t happened, but the closest thing we’ve got is the Roomba (or, perhaps the Baxter industrial bot). Makes you wonder about these people predicting full brain emulation by the 2030s or so.

Ethics in the Real World (Singer)

This is a collection of short essays by the great utilitarian philosopher, Peter Singer. I found it enjoyable and stimulating, but I find I am just not prepared to get onboard this form of hardcore utilitarianism, which says “Action X would increases total human happiness. Thus, not doing it is unethical.” Partially, this is because this sort of statement at least seems non-obvious to me. But, more importantly, I think it’s often hard to know the consequences of actions, especially in the longterm. I’m willing to buy the idea that a dollar I spend on cake would bring more pleasure if given to a starving poor person overseas. But, it’s not clear to me that this sort of thing is true in the big picture. For instance, if it’s true that buying Chinese consumer electronics will ultimately raise the Chinese living standard, is it unethical for me not to buy them?

Another for instance - is it obvious that $50,000 buying meals for poor people overseas is more ethical (in a consequentialist sense) than spending that money on a scholarship for someone who will improve renewable energy, thus benefiting everyone, including the hypothetical overseas poor? Now, in fairness, these are short essays meant for public consumption. Singer can’t address every possible objection, and for all I know he handles these sorts of complaints elsewhere. On the whole, a worthy read.

Humpty Dumpty in Oakland (Dick) I’m getting to where I can’t take any more Philip K Dick non-scifi works. They’re not bad, they’re just all the same. Narcissistic men and flighty women have difficulty getting along in a post-war consumerist society. It’s not bad, and the characters and scenes are good, but there’s just no core here. In fairness, most of these books weren’t released in Dick’s lifetime, so there wouldn’t have been a public to get tired of him repeating the same plot elements. But, as I try to read his entire corpous, it gets a bit tiresome.

Atomic Accidents (Mahaffey) This book. It’s a treasure, really. Sometimes, pop science books are written by people like me - interested non-experts who can turn a phrase. That’s fine, and I like those books. But, now and then you get a book where someone pours a lifetime of expertise and stories beteween the covers. That’s what Mahaffey has done. This book is mostly a sequence of discussions of exactly what happened at particular nuclear accidents (ranging from nuclear power to nuclear bombs). The depth of his research is sometimes staggering. He also has funny stories, and he provides insights into the psychology of disasters in general.

That said, it’s thick. It’s thick and although it CAN be consumed by people who aren’t well-versed in nuclear power, it’s gonna send you to wikipedia a lot. And, especially in the middle of explanations about nuclear plants, it can get really tough to follow. Here’s a sample sentence from page 344, which I wrote down to illustrate the point: “In the 177FA design, B&W had replaced the troublesome Crosby PORV with a Dresser 31533VX30.”

One gets the idea that there exists some nuclear engineer who reads “Crosby PORV” and bursts out laughing at the very idea of such a thing. Personally, I found I just had to accept that, as someone without a graduate degree in nuke stuff, there were parts that flew over my head. That said, Mahaffey is such a charming writer, so obviously in love with his subject, it can be enjoyable even when it’s hard to follow.

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Links are not unqualified endorsements, they are "I found this interesting, thought-provoking and/or worthwhile enough that I could not close the window before linking". In some cases, in the absence of titles I've used a line or something sufficient to remind me what they are.

snickfic: Why You Should Join Your Local Democrats

brendanmleonard: Just going to leave this here (Korematsu)

annleckie: You can still send letters

quantum-displacement: Anti-Trump Masterpost

Tweets from Jared Yates Sexton: When people start talking about Trump's "revolution", tell them he lost the popular vote

Tweets from Moshe Kasher: There's a fundamental misunderstanding of what these protests are about. No one believes they will effectively stop a Trump inauguration.

Tweets from Dan Olson: Here's the boring, pragmatic, bureaucratic nightmare instead

rockscanfly: The elections we refer to as Midterm Elections are held every four years, at the half-way point between presidential elections.

egregiousderp and others: To all of my friends out there and ESPECIALLY my trans friends, if you hadn’t done so now, PLEASE GET A PASSPORT.

Relevant link for the above: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/gender.html -- as long as you can get "a medical certification that indicates you are in the process of or have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition" (with NO REQUIREMENTS about what that treatment is or isn't, or any requirement to provide the details, just that it's "correct" for you), you can get a passport which then provides photo ID with your correct gender on it

Tweets from Tehlor Kay Mejia: It’s important to stay vigilant about the other transgressions going on with Trump, but examining this Hamilton thing isn’t frivolous.

leupagus: So you want to get #involved but are totally fuckin’ baffled: POLITICAL HOMEWORK FOR THE POLITICALLY DUMSQUIZZLED

Tweets from Elliott Lusztig: Hannah Arendt in her book The Origin of Totalitarianism provides a helpful guide for interpreting the language of fascists.

Just One Thing (6 December 2016)

Dec. 6th, 2016 01:22 pm
hollymath: drawing in black of owl wearing big red glasses.Words on its belly:"it's not about how you look, it's about how you see" (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.


Housekeeping PSA

Dec. 6th, 2016 06:07 am
lizcommotion: sign which says "Please do not feed the fears" (brain weasels (do not feed))
[personal profile] lizcommotion
So dreamwidth is important and good for my mental wellness, but my reading page had gotten to that point of "too overwhelming to actually check it regularly." I did a pretty brutal reading page purge, which I need at least for a bit until it's a more regular part of my routine again. No hard feelings intended, just, brains why are they the way they are I don't even know?

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

FWIW, I always figured Trump would win.

Unlike Michael Moore, I wasn't eccentric enough to say so. Everyone not under Trumpelstiltskin's trance thought he'd lose. At times even KellyAnne Conway talked like it. Hell, Trump himself completely thought he'd lose, and looked like he'd seen the seventh circle of hell as he sat with Obama shortly after winning, with a face on him that made me wince because he's never looked so afraid before (nor has he since).

I did drop a hint in one of my now-locked-up posts when I told folks they might want to start imagining a world in which Hillary loses, what that might look like, what they planned on doing about it. I wasn't kidding, though it turned my blood cold to write it. I was playing the "she wins" polling game like everyone else, but I knew something wasn't right, so I had to tell people, you know what? Start modelling this.

In your head.

It's not that I should've listened to my instincts, because honestly, I did. The problem was how much I didn't want to get shouted down by the fervent. I didn't want to appear stupid. I didn't want to appear wrong ("She's defying POLLING, for Christ's sake! Same old crap with this one, seriously, f*ck her"). So...I kept my mouth shut. And I don't regret it. There was something rather bright and cheerful about just hoping. Hoping.

Which brings us to why this post is here. This post is here. And color me a dreamer, but I think there's still hope. Come with me while I walk you through the hows and whys.

Thank whichever God you want or else our great, big universe for Jill Stein

I can't think of a more magnanimous move than losing a presidential election, then demanding recounts you know will help a person who hasn't already won, especially when you know that person isn't you. I didn't vote for her (rock-solid Clintonite, here) and while I don't wish I had, I admire what she's doing.

Hillary was in a weird position after the election - and still is now: the candidate who claimed the election was rigged, who caused her and many others to be so revolted at his refusal to accept the results unless he won, was right. The election was totally, totally rigged. But in his favor. Who knew he was telling the truth?

Jill Stein stepped in after Hillary couldn't, in good faith, go back on her word to accept whatever the election outcome was. But how could she guess what it would be? Had she known, would she have joined Trump in refusing to accept it? No one could say, "Oh, how dare you" to her without being labeled a hypocrite when she'd merely be following Trump's lead.

If you want to know what Jill Stein's done by demanding recounts and why they're so desperately needed, read the entirety - and I do mean every word - of The Palmer Report. He explains exactly how rigged the election now looks. Greg Palast offers another take. Was it the Russians? Dishonest officials? Ballot stuffers? Voter suppression? Does it matter? We don't have time to fix all that before the window closes on this, so let's recount what we can.

Jill Stein's paying for recounts in every state possible by collecting donations from you and I; I've donated and hope you will, too.

Legal fees are indeed rising - Wisconsin's tacked on an extra $3.1 million and Pennsylvania's fighting her tooth and nail to the tune of over $1 million. These are facts, so don't listen to sites - including some liberal ones - that claim she's up to no good by "revising" her donation page or "mysteriously" upping how much is needed. Of course she's revising and of course she's upping the amount; things keep changing for the worse.

She's not giving up - and that's all that matters. Get your shot of Adrenalin for the month and join the fight by donating to her.

Every penny she's unable to use on recounts she promises to donate to election reform in general, so I think we can trust her. I know I do.

And let's give a hand to Daniel Brezenoff and sign his petition for the Electoral College

Because it ain't over 'til it's over. Let's get the electors to vote their conscience. You know, they could vote the Easter Bunny in at this point and as long as it kept Trump out, I'd be like hell yeah, fucking A. Trump is a clear danger to the republic and the world, Mr. Loose Lips, Loose Twannonball, Loose Taiwan, Philippines and Rossia phone call himself. I don't hate him - but he sure does seem to hate some of us, and I don't want him running our country.

If you're into celebrities endorsing things you like to see get done, well then, Lady Gaga, Sia, and Laverne Cox have all thrown themselves behind this petition to help change the votes of the electors that you'll want to sign, share, and spread the word on as much as possible. One elector's already refused to vote for Trump; now we need to convince the rest.

Here's an entertaining video by the petition starter himself in which he explains why Trump gaining office is not a good idea, and what we and the electors can do about it. Here's an action page, as well. Again...time is running out.

Other Things We Can Do

Convince Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to hold an immediate 2016 recount. This needs just 50,000 signatures so let's do it. Florida got badly screwed. From The Palmer Report: Rigged election: Hillary Clinton’s early-voting lead in Florida was mathematically insurmountable. There are a plethora of posts on how Florida's being sued to force a recount. We want this recount. Please help the state I reside in get it.

Also, let's audit the bejesus out of All Things That Can Be Audited. When we're done, we can audit the audit, a la the FBI investigating its investigation. That was a fun post; at least I got one laugh in before the election actually killed me. That's right, I'm MM's ghost. A really weak one, at that.

And let's get our lone Democrat into the Senate: Last-ever end-of-month deadline: MIDNIGHT - We need to raise $100,000 to power our campaign through its last weeks. Don’t miss this opportunity to elect Foster Campbell for Louisiana -- pitch in now!

Have you contacted your elected officials today? Here's how.

Shit just got very, very real: Fight FADA. From the poster (and do read the entry; it's as bad as it sounds...some added emphasis here is my own):

In the name of "religious freedom" FADA will effectively render the Federal government toothless while empowering individuals at state, county, and city/town level to discriminate with impunity against LGBTQ people. Oh, and the same applies to straight folks who have premarital sex. It will also empower any medical facility to refuse treatment based on religious grounds.

Lastly, don't let's all get charged with terrorism for speaking our minds, an act currently protected by the First Amendment. That's right, we could now be thrown into jail on serious felony charges if a certain bill passes, so let's stop this in its tracks. URGENT: proposed law would charge protesters with terrorism. From the donation page:

The outrageous proposed bill would make any form of protest that causes an "economic disruption" a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. It wouldn't just apply to people who engage in illegal acts or vandalism, it could be used to prosecute any person or group who organizes a protest that authorities deem as "disruptive." Broadly interpreted, this law could apply to time honored traditions of nonviolent dissent like boycotts and civil disobedience.

It's a dark world out there, folks. Let's bring some hope into it however we can.

More donation-matching

Dec. 6th, 2016 08:45 am
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
For one week, the Center for Reproductive Rights has someone matching all donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000, specifically for their Roe Defense Fund:

Donate here.

(They're a 501(c)3 nonprofit, so foreign donations are fine.)
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
[personal profile] silveradept
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

[personal profile] bethany_lauren asked what I'd like to do but haven't been able to. I'll try to qualify that with a "yet", but the truth of the matter is that I may never actually be able to do it.

I'd like to engage in international travel. Some part of it is just getting out of the country and broadening perspective. And that needs more than the ability to take a day trip into the city closest to the border.

Another part of it is to experience new food, culture, and art, among other things. I'd like to go about doing it not looking and sounding like the horrible ignorant American. I don't think I'll be able to avoid it, but I'd like to cut down on it as much as possible. Which hopefully means being able to go with others, or to have a local friend at my destination points who can show me both the tourist destinations and the places the locals go.

In addition to seeing people and sights in Europe, where I would have more than a few circle connections to make, one of the places I've really wanted to go is Japan. There's more than a little technofetishism involved there, to want to see the lights and the sounds, but also to make a pilgrimage of sorts to various shrines and sacred spaces away from the metropolitan areas. There's a want to see the fashion and the cultural neighborhoods and people expressing themselves in dress that doesn't happen here outside of very specific environments and places. There's a thing, possibly, about being the strange rather than the expected. About getting so far outside of my own environment so that I can actually see it properly.

And there's a desire to indulge in some unfettered childhood by going to places like the Ghibli museum, to admire the work and the willingness to let the work be touched by everyone. Maybe to take a look inside libraries open to the public and see what's going on somewhere else.

They're all pretty shallow reasons to want to go somewhere else - mostly to gawk and stare and indulge a little bit in somewhere else, and then come back home. To observe something else at work as an outsider and to take in someone else's expression of self as entertainment or without fully appreciating them for themselves and all the work and significance that went into it. It's probably a good reason not to go anywhere, at least not until I can manage to not go somewhere as a tourist. I can be strange, a person a head taller than anyone else, but the idea would be not to stick out or be a bad guest.

There's also the money thing. Which would take a lot of savings, debt reduction, and otherwise good fortune to be able to have enough surplus to make the trip. That's not happening any time soon.

So, until then, I'll keep it as a small flame somewhere.

Small Yawps

Dec. 5th, 2016 08:13 pm
sonia: Quilted wall-hanging (Default)
[personal profile] sonia
You can post and email a letter to our Electoral College electors here: asktheelectors.org.

This is the letter I posted (also see below). Note that I had to send the email myself to the email addresses they provided. I went ahead and did that, and immediately got a few dispiriting auto-responder replies. But, I did something, put my small "yawp!" out into the universe for a result I desperately want.

Speaking of yawps, I also donated to this GoFundMe, recommended by a friend who knows the people involved, to help acupuncturists travel to Standing Rock to help out there. Send Us Back to Standing Rock. They are still planning to go back, despite the Army Corps of Engineers pausing the pipeline, since some people will still stay in camps, and it looks like the area still needs defending!

Dear Electors )


Dec. 5th, 2016 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] maru_feed

Posted by mugumogu


Hana:[Of course I can go out of the front.]



Maru:[Unfortunately this was expanded more.]
Hana:[You tell a lie.]

Just One Thing! (5 December 2016)

Dec. 5th, 2016 01:12 pm
syntaxofthings: Two white flowers against a blue sky. ([flower] Flower under blue sky)
[personal profile] syntaxofthings posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.


Culture Consumed Monday

Dec. 5th, 2016 09:41 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Past fortnight.


Reading Letters to Tiptree. Almost halfway through. I already have the Philips biograhy of her on my to do list. It's gonna suck, isn't it? I mean, not the biography itself, but my reactions while reading it. (Please don't tell me "so don't read it." I want to read it.) I could go into why, but I'd have to put it behind a cut with trigger warnings, and the trigger warnings alone would cover why it's gonna be tough reading for me when I get around to it (tw: suicide, spousal murder, ableism, eliminationism, dysphoria, mother issues.)

Les Mis: still not there! Needed to recharge my batteries. But there is still time for me to finish this book this year, and I believe in me.

TV and Movies

Watched Steven Universe episodes 19-32 over the course of two days. Overarching plot ramping up much more with Lapis Lazuli's appearance. Three more episodes til I meet Peridot. I have heard things, and am looking forward to her. I loved Sugilite. And I am starting to get more of a handle on just why the Gems are so manifestly terrible at parenting. I knew they were polymorphic rock aliens, but I hadn't realised to what extent their emotions do not work the same way as humans'. I love them.


Listened to Jay Z's Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, which [personal profile] norabombay gave me years and years ago. I liked the bouncing.


Status message from a Pixel Dungeon game: "You are charmed. You become furious." Is this what's called 'tsundere'? In other Pixel Dungeon news, killing three giant piranhas with a teleport wand was one of the most satisfying things I've ever done in this game.

In Pixel Dungeon if you're playing a Beserker, you "become furious" if your HP is low enough. This can happen from being too hungry: "You are starving. You become furious." They should make it "you are now hangry."

Had my best game of Pixel Dungeon ever, in which I got past the Dwarf King.

Bought a million billion games for USD$20 in the Good Bundle, which is Good in that it's a fundraiser for the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, not necessarily in that the games are good.

Played Your Gay Monster Family by [twitter.com profile] CuteBobs, a short interactive fiction game about a human woman, her lamia girlfriend, and their harpy daughter. I'm never completely easy with the IF tradition of second person narratives, and it's worst for me when (as in this game) your character is being an asshole and there are no good choices, and you are also being told how you feel/how to feel about what happens. No choices at all, actually: it's more the IF equivalent of a visual novel (not actually visual in that it's text-only. An interactive novel?) so I feel I'm being railroaded into being behaving badly and then facing the consequences.

The protagonist is not uniformly awful, but she is very depressed and self-hating, and that and the way she treats others and her viewpoint of herself feed into each other, and that's... well, I will put it this way: Depression Quest was also in this bundle, but I have played Depression Quest before and made the deliberate decision not to replay it, because I already know how depression feels like?

My other problem, apart from the railroading and the depression, has to do with some stuff about the way the characters and their relationships are described, which I found less than convincing for reasons I can't articulate well, but will sum up with the fact that you-the-narrator repeatedly refer to your-the-narrator's daughter as "your little darling", and I cannot buy that as someone's internal narrative. I'm sure there are people who do think that way, it's a big world, but it adds to the impression I keep getting that I am not playing a game/reading an interactive novel about a human/monster lesbian family, I am observing someone's fantasy of having a human/monster lesbian family. And (I can't point to where I am getting this, particularly since there is no explicit sex in this game at all) that the someone in question consumes a lot of porn.

I'm sad I don't like this game better, since it is a game about a trans protagonist written by a trans woman.

Played The Raccoon Who Lost Their Shape, by Fathom and Scuffy. A short visual novel with minimal interaction and branching. The raccoon protagonist is non-binary, as were all the other characters. The graphics were simple and old-school but effective. The story was surrealist and depressing, but it was a form of surrealism I enjoy, and I found the characterisation a lot more convincing than Your Gay Monster Family.


Finished a colouring sheet, am most of the way through another one. The first one was a paisley nightmare with a colour palette I shall name "garish". The second one is this intricate lacy floral thing, and the palette is just pale blue and white. Blue background and uncoloured flowery-lacy stuff. It's really effective, and also really fast to colour.


Parsley lives! I need to remember to fertilise everything, the rosemary and basil in particular are looking kinda pale. The warm weather is helping. I've been keeping up the watering, with the help of a new large watering can I bought. Kale still going strong.


The confluence of two circumstances -- the plumber's visit and how the toilet door has stopped latching properly unless I push it a bit harder than usual -- led to a new interest in the toilet for Beatrice and Dorian. I heard splashing, got up, and as I approached, both cats ran out of there and I found water on the seat. Clearly I will need to be more careful about closing the door.

That awkward feeling

Dec. 5th, 2016 08:01 pm
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
[personal profile] vass
When you shitpost on Tumblr about hating a particular song, and about an hour later you see that a friend's just posted a fic using lyrics from it, and you're like nooooo that wasn't directed at you! please don't be mad!

(no subject)

Dec. 4th, 2016 09:02 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Well, the past month has been grim but I'm somehow holding on to sanity. That's been my major focus. I've had more anxiety and depression symptoms, my sleep patterns are fucked, my job search has dropped off significantly, but I'm holding on with grim determination and kittens. And a well-timed visit from [personal profile] commodorified.

I joined my union's Social Committee last spring because I think my workplace needs more opportunities for people to talk and laugh and spill their woes in more than moments snatched from work. We finally got a lot of people out to an event this week, hosting a holiday party at a local cafe--more than half the shelter's employees came out. That was promising, as was a union meeting with a newer, more capable rep from the national union and some definite action items. For one, we're making official protests about scheduling mistakes, overwork, and lack of coverage.

However, the Executive Director who hates the union just happened to have a coffee date for three hours in the cafe where the Union party was being held. So she smiled brightly and waved to everyone who came in. The entire time. When we've made previous requests for management to stay away from Union functions.

Even if it wasn't meant to be a display of intimidation and contempt, it felt deeply childish of her.

In case I can't get out of the shelter soon enough (ie. yesterday) I've put in a request to stop working my current shift beginning the first week of January. Even if I can't get away from the shelter at large, I can get away from my scatterbrained evangelical co-worker.

Check Please! fandom continues delightful and rewarding for me on a personal level. I struggle immensely to write longfic, but I get good responses and engagement from the kinds of things I am capable of tossing off. Yuri on Ice, meanwhile, is that new kid who's really funny and intriguing but you don't know if they're actually worth spending that much time with--to wit, it might still be queerbaiting, and I haven't found much good fic.
silveradept: A head shot of a  librarian in a floral print shirt wearing goggles with text squiggles on them, holding a pencil. (Librarian Goggles)
[personal profile] silveradept
[It's December Days time! There's no overarching theme this year, so if you have ideas of things to write about, I'm more than happy to hear them.]

In case you were wondering, this is the life cycle of materials for many library systems. It doesn't quite have as much visual imagery as your nature documentary, but it is hopefully interesting.

Materials start with a purchase order or decision from the librarian in charge of the collection the materials will end up in. In larger libraries, these selection duties may be divided up among multiple librarians. In smaller libraries and in school libraries, selection is often the provenance of one person and their often-underfunded budget. The selector has to be pretty widely read on which materials their community would want to have in their library. The exponential growth of publishing, both online and in print, makes total knowledge a near impossibility, and the people that suffer the most are usually independent presses and publishers and authors, because their works do not always appear in the review publications used as a time-saver, and because those places are also not often in the databases of the large companies that help libraries do the work of buying and preparing their materials.

Each item that has been selected, once bought, will need to have an appropriate record created for it in the library's catalog. Original cataloging these days is mostly farmed out to companies like OCLC, and records (almost always in the MAchine Readable Cataloging format (MARC)) are purchased from them so that there can be mass importation of the new items into the catalog, once each item has the unique barcode attached. So, items bought from distributors, records bought from the same. Each item will need to be prepared with a spine label indicating the call number for the item, any additional information, like genre, attached to the spine, and then a barcode attached. This work is often done by hand, which can sometimes serve as a first quality check on the materials.

Once cataloged and prepared, items can be circulated, and are usually distributed first to fill requests made by users for the item when there was a record, but no items. After the initial flurry of requests, items eventually settle into the locations where they have been assigned, to be requested and sent around or checked it at their leisure. It's usually at this step - checking in for requests and the shelves - that I actually see materials in my branch. More often than not, new things go to a particular shelf or display to try and catch the eye of novelty-seekers for a quick checkout, or they join a thematic display to catch the eye of someone interested in a particular thing. After they've spent time as the new hotness, most material then settles down for the rest of its life in the proper place on the regular shelves, arranged on the order prescribed for its material type. Popular things get checked out repeatedly, sometimes not having a lot of time on the shelf before going out again, at least while they remain popular.

Some of our materials suffer wounds from usage, both intended and not, at this stage. Some things can be patched, other damage isn't enough to pull the object, and some of our materials remain popular enough that the sheer volume of usage ages and harms them. More than a few of the initial run of any given title suffer fatal damage, whether all at once or over time. Some of the genius involved in selection is knowing how much attrition there will be and allowing it to happen such that the amount of copies that are left after the wave is exactly the right amount that was desired for the long-term.

Those that are not sacrificed at the maw of the public in their desire are then subjected to the back side of the life cycle of the material - deaccession, or more informally, weeding. Every library has a limited space available for its materials. Only, perhaps, the Library of Congress would have sufficient space and mandate to house every work produced. To make room for the new things that will be coming, old things and unpopular things must make way. Not everything that is old or unpopular will be sent off - the "classics" are often spared such a fate, until a new edition with a different cover arrives as an attempt to be attractive to the current audience. Items with relevance and information that is unlikely to change may be kept on for years, even if they only go out on school assignment times. But the majority of things will eventually fade away from popularity, and will not turn out to be classic works, and ask they will effectually be caught in the weeding process and removed from the shelves. Depending on the policy and the material type, some things are recycled, others are sent onward to a Friends of the Library sale, and still others are sent to a surplus warehouse, where they are often resold on Amazon or other websites and eventually become part of someone else's collection until their eventual inability to be used any more.

Sometimes certain books get reordered for another to in a new copy, but for some books, that stint is the only time they will sit on a library shelf. The constant pressure of new materials always beckons and demands that only that which is either really good or really popular stay.


Dec. 4th, 2016 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] maru_feed

Posted by mugumogu


”袖まる”から出る時はどうするのですか? という質問をもらったのですが――
I got the question, “How does he go out of the sleeve?”.

Maru:[When I pushed out all my heads, it is difficult.]

Maru:[It is impossible that I go out of the front.]

Maru:[I go back hard.]

Maru:[So hard.]

Maru:[In this way, at last I can appear.]

Hana:[However, he will get into it again immediately.]

Aurora: Decima by Amanda Bridgeman

Dec. 5th, 2016 08:00 am
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

Aurora Decima, Amanda Bridgeman, science fiction, sci-fi, space opera, Earl Grey Editing, book review, books and tea, tea and books

Published: Self-published in November 2016
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Aurora #6
Genres: Science fiction, space opera, military sci-fi
Source: Author
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016
Available: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~  Kobo

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This review contains spoilers for previous books.

The tenth year war is coming . . .

Carrie Welles has survived more attacks than she can count, but each one has made her stronger. She refuses to be a victim anymore. While her nemesis, Sharley, continues to be a threat, she works with Harris and the Aurora team to protect the future, vowing to raise her children and fight as the soldier-mother she was destined to be.

Saul Harris has had visions of the Zeta ships hitting Earth years before they’re due, but has no proof to warn the UNF. Scraping together a small contingent of Alpha units, he prepares for the onslaught as best he can. He embraces his gift and ‘connection’ with Welles and they dig further into his ancestry, only to have more haunting truths come to light.

As the invasion approaches, the new Aurora team members must find their place in the crew, while old team members reunite. They must band together with the Originals and their fellow Space and Earth Duty troops if they are to defend Earth against this attack.

But is it too little too late? Have Harris and Carrie done enough to protect their future? As they fight for survival against the Zetas in a battle that stretches across the UNF Space Zone, they soon realise the price of their freedom might be higher than they were expecting to pay.

I read the first five books of the Aurora series in quick succession, so Aurora: Decima is the first book in the series I’ve had to wait for. Even though it has been a little over a year, the author managed to draw me back into the world without too much trouble. However, as the sixth book in the series, I wouldn’t recommend it for new readers–too much has happened by this point. Even as a returning reader, there were a few points at which I wished for a cast list.

Having said that, I rather enjoyed the dynamism of the cast and particularly enjoyed the addition of a few new characters. Carrie’s home, the Fortress, is run by an AI called Archie. There were a few moments when Archie displayed quite the sense of humour and its personality remains distinct throughout the book. New crew member Tikaani also displayed a sense of humour. However, while it was nice to see another woman on board the Aurora (and a Inuit woman to boot), she seemed mostly a place-filler and we never really got to know her beyond the superficial.

There was some nice development of existing characters. Carrie and Captain Harris have matured nicely, turning their arrogance into confidence. Lieutenant Gold also makes a return and plays a key role in the story.

The structure has improved on previous books. The beginning remains a little slow to get going. While the prologue recapped some useful information, the similarities in character motivation between the prologue and the first chapter gave a feeling of redundancy. There were also a few times in the early parts of the books where the story felt like it was treading water–particularly concerning the relationship between Carrie and McKinley, and between Captain Harris and his son. However, that quickly improved. Dividing the story into parts gave a smoother feeling to the time jumps (which were significant in places). Previous books in the series have had a bit of a drawn-out ending, which I was also pleased to see Decima avoided. The tension really ratchets up in the second half and I found the finale nicely paced.

While the structure was tighter, I found the prose still a bit clunky in places. The uses of the terms Alpha and Jumbo were a bit excessive, beating the reader over the head with the fact that most of the characters are no longer human rather than trusting the reader to keep in mind the differences between the humans and the super-soldiers.

The story continues to be very heteronormative (with one very minor exception) and gender binary. However, within that it does some interesting things with the themes of bodily autonomy and reproductive rights. I appreciated the way it gender-flipped one of the prominent themes of the series and began to examine it from a new angle. I very much hope to see more of this in the next book.

Overall, Aurora: Decima makes an excellent addition to the series and well worth the read.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

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