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September 12th, 2017 07:05 pm - Not-exactly-fmk: Gor and Yuletide
So in FMK reading adventures, I finally finished the first Gor book, that was voted K early on but I decided I wanted to read before dumping just so I could say I had.

I should have trusted y'all: it was mostly just incredibly pointlessly bland, occasionally rising to actively annoying. It wasn't even really bad enough to be interestingly bad. There was a lot more flying around on giant soulbonded warbirds than I expected, tbh (somehow I had though that Tarnsman meant "man of the mountain lake country" but I think that was giving him too much credit for having a vocabulary,) but the warbirds are so badly wordbuilt and lacking in individual personality and the flying scenes so lacking in joy that the only time I actually cared about them was when the abused half-starved ones were about to eat the MC and I roused enough to cheer them on. The plot is built on bad characterization and improbable coincidences; the language aspires to basic competence; you can very easy disassemble it into its component stereotypes; and all sense-of-wonder or hints that the MC is not a sociopath are missing. Also amused that the author refuses to comment on whether it's John Carter of Mars fanfic (it's really badly done John Carter of Mars fanfic, omg.) I understand the series gets far more batshit later, but I don't think I need to read far enough to find out.

Also, thank you all for your help with picking a yuletide nomination! I shall be ignoring the clear preference of the poll, and nominating Mr. Trash Wheel RPF. He didn't win, but he did win the vote of everybody I know who has taken a selfie with him, and their votes count 10x, sorry.

(this is Mr. Trash Wheel: )

I will also be nominating Professor Trash Wheel and a five foot long West African Ball Python as characters, of course. I am stuck on who should be my fourth nom, though. A modular robotic eel that hunts for water pollution? Lynyrd Skymmer? Some other celebrity of the waters that I don't yet know about?


Clearly there's a market for Always Coming Home, though. Someone else should nominate it. (If I requested it, it'd just be as "tell me a story of the Valley", so I don't care about characters.)


Meanwhile, I re-read The Girl With The Silver Eyes to prepare to nominate. That one does hold up very well! Things I had forgotten about this book: the muumuu wearing old fat lady who lives alone with her cats and her books and gives no fucks and is #rolemodel. The fact that Katie can TALK TO CATS. The constant references to other YA fantasy/sf novels by the same imprint that she is reading. How much this book distrusts all adult men. How much this book also distrusts all non-readers. How yes they have psi powers and are super-smart, but they're also explicitly non-neurotypical in a way that read a lot more Autism Spectrum than any of the books about supposedly autistic kids that I was reading at the time, and that's more of an issue for them than the psi powers.

The book really needs an active fandom if only so we can have epic fanwars about whether they spoilers )

Anyway I am stuck for character noms there too, because I want all the kid characters but I also want Mr. C, Mrs. M, Miss K and Jackson Jones.

(29 comments | Reply)


September 12th, 2017 01:51 pm - FMK #23: Long Book Is Long
Last week's F winner, after a very close race, was a tie between Beguilement and Daughter of Witches! I picked Beguilement because I know I'm keeping the rest of Lyra regardless, so Beguilement is more likely to lead to me dumping several books at once. K winner was The Death of Sleep, so goodbye Lunzie!

The comics bonus round winner was Asterix le Galois. Of course the bonus round I threw in because "comics are fast and easy!" gets won by one where I'm going to have to review a whole other language first... There was no K majority for the comics round, although I'm curious about the fact that Maison Ikkoku nearly got it, because I had not idea there was active dislike for Maison Ikkoku out there.

I am going to spend two days of next week trapped in a car with a couple of cats and almost no luggage space, so it's time to finally roll out the LONG BOOKS ARE LONG poll. That way I can only pack one and be reading it all week. :P

I don't know if I'll have internet next Tuesday but likely not (we are helping sister move) so there may be another break in fmk next week.

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Adams, Asaro, Clarke, Coville, Delany, Hobb, Hunt, Jemisin, Lynch, Melville, Michalson, Pynchon, Stephenson, Williams, Williamson )

(48 comments | Reply)


September 9th, 2017 01:48 pm - yuletide etc.
So, Yuletide noms are open!

I am definitely nominating:

The Saga of Burnt Njal (with characters from Njal's generation - all the existing fics are post-canon about Kari)
The Girl With The Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts (because we all had a discussion on one of [personal profile] rachelmanija's FMK posts about how we all wanted MORE after we read that.)

I can't decide on number three, and I'm pretty sure the other stuff I definitely want to request will have other noms. So:

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 22


My third yuletide nomination should be:

View Answers

Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin
15 (68.2%)

The Hidden Almanac (the podcast)
6 (27.3%)

King's Blood (Steve Jackson games)
1 (4.5%)

Mr. Trash Wheel RPF
4 (18.2%)




I am also trying to at least finish the first chapter of the Discworld Sedoretu fic before I let myself read any of the fics that are now revealed in the fest, but I have not yet. :/

Instead, have some reviews of the CDs I bought for $.10 each this morning:

Delmarva Groove Kings
Genre: Is "Groove" a genre?
Local kitsch factor: Well, "Delmarva" is in the title, but they appear to actually be from Clinton, which isn't really Delmarva? Also we're pretty sure the bridge on the cover is the Golden Gate, not the Chesapeake. 2/5
Cover art: Oil painting of a viking ship sailing past a decaying suspension bridge against a red sky. -1 point for not being the right bridge and for not having any cover credits so I can't track down the original. 4/5
Song titles: Titles include "Northeast Corridor Blues", "Evil", and "Dueling Hillbillies on the Mother Ship". 4/5
Music: Ehh? Some of the songs appear to be just screaming over boring electric guitar chords, but some of the more bluesy ones are pretty okay. 3/5
Comment: This was originally a benefit to pay for someone's cancer treatment. Why do I still live in a county where people think it's ok that you have to sell benefit CDs to pay for someone's cancer treatment.

Celtic Fury - O'Malley's March
Genre: Basic American Celtic
Local Kitsch Factor: Yep, it's O'Malley as in Governor Martin O'Malley! This was his band's first CD, that they put out while he was still just on the city council. 5/5
Cover Art: Black-and-white photo of the band. TERRIFYINgLY BAD PHOTOS. Two of them look like they are planning to lure you into a white van, one of them looks like he is wearing a human mask and hasn't quite learned how to make it smile yet, and one of them looks like they stuck a dead person's head on a mannequin. O'Malley hardly looks sinister at all in comparison, which may be a first. 1/5
Song Titles: Mostly your basic sort of Celtic standards, but there is one called "Mickey Chewing Gum" and one called "Streets of Baltimore". 3/5
Music: Would hire them to play on one of the outdoor stages at a street fair. Competent. The lead singer sounds weirdly insincere about everything he sings, but maybe that's just because I know it's O'Malley. 3/5
Comment: It's autographed by the whole band! I wonder if I could sell the Governor's autograph for more than I paid for the CD. ...Actually I probably know some people who would pay me at least twice that just to burn it while cackling.

(1 comment | Reply)


September 6th, 2017 08:01 pm - FMK: Enchantress from the Stars and Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe
Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl is, above all, a good book. And I don't mean in the sense of well-written or I liked it (although those are also true) but good the way a good person is good. Good like a video of a puppy rescuing a kitten. Goodness baked into it all the way through. It was exactly the sort of book I needed to read these last couple weeks.

When I started I honestly wasn't expecting to call it good in any of those senses. The main character, Elana, is just. Super-annoying in all of the best YA ways. The book starts with Elana, who we are told is a disciplined trainee with lifelong dedication to the most elite, dangerous, and important of careers, stowing away on her dad's dangerous and vital mission because she was bored.

Then we start getting right into love triangle territory.

But. Somehow, it all works. )

Anyway, I liked it, it reminded me that sometimes there are good things that are just good when I needed that, I'm glad I read it and it's definitely a keeper.


I also read Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe by Robert Asprin and George Takei. Imagine if someone had gone to George Takei in the 70s and said "if you could publish any book, what would it be about?" and he said "Japanese-American fencing ninja vs. corpocratic killer robots in space."

If your reaction was "yes, good, do that" you would probably find this book at least mildly entertaining.


I'm also trying to read Han of Iceland by Victor Hugo but, folks, it's... not good. Also I added it to the poll on the basis of I've had an ecopy on my phone for several years waiting to be read, and also it was short so it couldn't be too painful, but the OCR on all the online versions was terrible so I got a library copy, but then it became apparent that all of the online versions must just be Part 1 of 2 despite not being marked that way, because in fact it is not short. I dunno if I can do this.

My mom saw the library copy lying out and since she's also been reading books about Iceland she picked it up and said "the very first line of the introduction is about how terrible this book is, why are you reading it?" (I told her my internet friends dared me to. She has learned to just accept answers like that.)

(5 comments | Reply)


September 6th, 2017 05:32 pm - FMK #22: Yuletide Fandoms
...Let's just pretend today is Tuesday, okay?

Last week's poll was very close until the last minute, but Omnitopia Dawn edged into first for F at the last minute, just beating out The Android's Dream. The most K votes was Down And out In The Magic Kingdom, which I honestly did not expect! However it did not have a majority of K votes. The only one with a majority of K votes was Radio Freefall.

Reviews post for the ones I've read lately DEFINITELY coming later today, yes def.

This week's theme: Yuletide fandoms! (As measured by number of fics on AO3, because that was easier than trying to figure out what had actually had noms.)

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Asaro, Bujold, Feist, L'Engle, Lackey, Le Guin, Levine, Martinez, McCaffrey, McKillip, McKinley, Moorcock, Norton, Scalzi, Shepherd, Wellman, Wilson, Wrede, Zelazny )

Bonus Round: Comics )

Tags:

(53 comments | Reply)


August 29th, 2017 08:37 pm - FMK #21: Cyberpunk
FMK is back! Yay! Review of Enchantress From the Stars coming shortly. (Also I continue to read City Watch books to write Sedoretu AU fic, and can I just say, it's really hard to write Vimes/Vetinari AU fic because rewriting the first couple books as if it's their courtship changes NOTHING in their scenes together. Like: "I wonder if there's canon on whether you can see the Patrician's Palace from Sybil's house so I don't have to check the maps," and then "Of course there is, here's the scene where VIMES STARES WISTFULLY ACROSS THE CITY AT THE LONELY LIGHT IN VETINARI'S BEDROOM WINDOW.")

Anyway! Last time's winner was The Beekeeper's Apprentice. This is the first occasion where you have voted me into finally reading a canon that I have already written fanfic about. :P Who knows, maybe this will inspire me to actually finish the next part of the story with Mary Russell in it. Loser was The Ghosts of Bly, so off it goes.

Also I have finally made up my mind that I will be reading The Dragon and the George out of the tie from a couple weeks back, because I had a dream that crossed it over with Heimskringla (which I also have not read yet, but apparently Earl Hákon got his brain transferred into a falcon as part of a palace plot, and then ended up being taken to a wizard who was all "I do dimensional portals, not political intrigue, go away!")

This week's theme: Cyberpunk! Because I kept whittling it down by using the books in other sets so I figured time to do it while I still had enough left. (Themes are going to get harder and harder as we approach the halfway point of my unreads.)

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Devenport, Doctorow, Duane, Foster, Jarpe, McKillip, Moran, Scalzi, Stephenson, Swanwick, anthology )

Tags:

(30 comments | Reply)


August 25th, 2017 06:12 pm - eclipse
So, as is probably apparent, no FMK this week either. I made it back from eclipse-hunting only to discover that the internet had been out since Friday due to a storm. (Also, as usual, I didn't get nearly as much reading done over the trip as I thought I would.)

I'm glad I went, though! We ended up watching the eclipse from a ranger station in Sumter National Forest, which was exactly what I'd been hoping for as a watching spot, and didn't really expect to find. Wilderness-y but with air conditioned bathrooms, trees for shade but plenty of open space, no overdone "eclipse event" stuff but a hudred or so other enthusiastic people who had also wandered there from 11 different states with no advance planning. And we didn't hit any bad traffic until the way out.

The eclipse was really cool! No pictures - you will find plenty more better ones online anyway. I did sketches, but while they are great for capturing my memories, they aren't good enough to need to share. (If you are interested though here is a really cool online exhibit about how to paint the sun from a time before cameras.) The corona wasn't at all what I was expected, though, and I kinda thought maybe looking at it through my scratched-up glasses had ruined it, but actually looking at my quick sketch it's pretty close to what NASA's fancy cameras saw.

The things that really stuck with me weren't visual, though - tbh we are all pretty spoiled for the visuals, aren't we? SO MANY PHOTOS. But the cicadas suddenly revving up, and the weird feel of the light, and the crescent shadows. And the fact that it was 2:30 in the afternoon in August in South Carolina and I'd been standing in the sunlight for half an hour and didn't feel like I was burning up under the daystar - that was cool. We need to built some kind of giant orbital solar collectors that keep all of the US south of the Mason Dixon line at at least 70% eclipse all day all summer.

Here are some lessons for next time, though:

1. Next time you drive 500 miles to see a thing, schedule the eye doctor and new glasses appointment *before* the trip, not after.
2. Also, plan the 'relaxing couple days' bonus vacation' after the eclipse, not before. Having to immediately drive 500 miles *back* (and having companions who want to get moving) really spoils the afterglow.
3. If you make a fancy camera set up just to film the eclipse, test its reaction to sitting in the hot sun for an hour in advance.
4. Do plan the extra couple days' vacation, though. Makes the eclipse itself a lot lower-stakes to know you didn't drive 500 miles *just* for that.
5. You do not need to bring 8 books just in case.

(1 comment | Reply)


August 15th, 2017 10:46 pm
No FMK this week, because I am way behind on reading, and also because I am going eclipse-hunting over the weekend! I will be bringing eclipse-related books on that trip. And thinking about this xkcd strip which was the main thing that got me into the new year, anyway.

Probably it will rain all day, but at least I can say I tried.

So instead of books, since I will be doing a lot of driving in the middle of nowhere, my question this week is: What songs are on your eclipse playlist? "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "The Sun Is A Miasma of Incandescent Plasma", obviously. But what else?

I have been working on the book collection, though! I went through and re-did my to-read lists, of which there are three: one on the library website, which has 300 books on it, of books the library has; the Goodreads one, which includes only books my library doesn't have and has about 250; and ~2500 owned-but-unread, so that's totally doable at my current rate as long as I never add any more to any of the three lists.

(Anybody want to be goodreads friends, by the way? if we aren't already, drop me a line. my gr is connected to my rl so I don't link it here but I will def. add people.)

Me and Mom also cleaned out the cookbooks over the weekend, which was fun! We both agreed on keeping the ones that had some kind of sentimental value to the family, of course. food, cooking, and diet as expressed in a collection of second-half-of-twentieth-century cookbooks. )

We got rid of about fifty cookery books. There's only about 200 left. That't TOTALLY reasonable for a family of two that cooks an actual meal at most twice a week, and usually from recipes we know by heart, right?

(17 comments | Reply)


August 8th, 2017 06:31 pm - FMK #20: Holmesiana
Last week's K winner was Hounded. I guess I do not get to read it and find out if the second-most-popular male UF lead gets sexually assaulted as often as Harry Dresden does. ;_;

The F winner was Truckers, which is good, since I went from thinking about urban fantasy tropes to reading old Marcone/Dresden fic to reading all the Vimes/Vetinari(/Sybil) fic to reading all the Watch books to working on that prompt about the First Sedoretu of Ankh-Morpork.

(Finally reading Snuff was what convinced that that okay, Vimes could manage to be married to Margolotta, they have many things in common and also he can see in the dark now and she and Sybil as pen pals is canon, so.)

...which also explains why I still don't have any more reviews for you, oops.

But! We have made it to FMK #20! Which means another non-SF option! This week: Holmesiania.

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Chabon, Douglas, Estleman, Gardner, Gilbert, Hall, King, Kurland, LeBlanc, Meyer, Peacock, Smith, Springer, Stout, Thomas, anthologies )

(14 comments | Reply)


August 1st, 2017 05:41 pm - FMK #19: Urban Fantasy
Last week's F winner was Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe! I am pretty excited, gotta say. Hopefully it will be both amazing and terrible. None of them were anywhere near a plurality of K, so we get another week with no K. How sad.

I have not finished reading any fmk books since last time, but I HAVE finally finished reshelving all my nonfiction books by dewey number! \o/ (Okay, there were about 90 left after I'd pulled everything in the catalog - I think they are about half ones that I just couldn't find on the first pass, a quarter ones that are in the catalog wrong, and a quarter ones that never made it into the catalog. But that's only about 5%, so not bad. Dealing with them is tonight's job.)

Next step: actually weed the nonfiction now that I know what I have. <_< Also, move things from the 900s to where they actually belong (the 900s are tied with the 300s for my hate, I think.)

Since I was thinking about urban fantasy tropes in my last review post and also moved on to re-reading old DF slash, this week is Urban Fantasy!

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Caine, Harris, Hawke, Hearne, Klause, Lisle, Martinez, McGuire, Pratchett, Simmons, anthologies )

Tags:

(26 comments | Reply)


July 25th, 2017 07:25 pm - FMK: Discount Armageddon
Poll post coming soon! But first, I have finished Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire!

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

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

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

I have Down Among The Sticks and Bones on its way from the library, but I have learned it is NOT about the Skeleton Girl (with that title how is it not about the Skeleton Girl?) so I find I am not that excited about it coming.

(14 comments | Reply)


July 25th, 2017 07:11 pm - FMK #18: Writers of Color
Last week's F win was a tie between The Dragon and the George and Goblin Quest. I am waffling over which one to pick. Goblin Quest had discussion in the comments, but on the other hand, reading it would break my unbroken streak of not having read any of the many Hines novels I own.

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


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

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

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

Tags:

(16 comments | Reply)


July 19th, 2017 01:50 pm - FMK: Mélusine and Juniper Time
Mélusine by Sarah Monette is a very long, very good, very fucked-up H/C darkfic in a canon I don't know.

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

Read more... )

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

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

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


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

Read more... )

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

(47 comments | Reply)


July 18th, 2017 05:51 pm - FMK #17: Humorous SF
Last week's winner was Enchantress From the Stars! Looking forward to it. From discussion in the comments, I think I attempted to write that story once when I was about twelve.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

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

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July 11th, 2017 10:45 pm - FMK #16: Psi-fi
Sorry for dropping off the face of the internet - life has been coming at me pretty hard the last couple of weeks, and part of that is having to find entirely different scraps of time to use for writing internet posts.

Anyway, I have read Juniper Time and am mostly through writing a review of it, so that should go up soon. I also read Always Coming Home because it was becoming increasingly clear that in order to talk about the sort of stories I want to, I needed to have read it. I'm not sure what I think of it as a novel, but as worldbuilding it is amazing and still haunting me (also I now want to go "forget sedoretu AU just give me Kesh AUs of everything", of course.) I have also made progress on reading both Melusine (not sure if I actually like it, but finding it compulsively readable, also not nearly enough snake-women so far) and Discount Armageddon (like it okay, but not finding it compulsively readable, a++ on snake-woman though.)

I also saw Spider-Man and have to say I enjoyed it more than most of the other recent Marvel movies I've watched (partly, I think, because the stakes were lower and it could just be fun.) I am mostly in it for Karen, to probably nobody's shock, although I am way too invested in Michelle because she is basically 100% me in high school (I'm white, and we weren't a well-funded magnet school so we didn't go to the academic quiz championship because the advisor got arrested for dealing crack halfway through the year and the paperwork got screwed up. But other than that, spot on. So I am terrified they will ruin her for me of course. Also I mostly just want the YW crossover where Michelle and Murph and Vision team up to help Karen with her Ordeal.)

This week's theme is Psi-Fi, for no particular reason except that it's getting harder to patch together themes from what's left. :P

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Asimov, Cherryh, Dickson, Engdahl, Goldin, Lightman, Norton, Robinson, Smith, Stasheff, Zelazny )

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June 20th, 2017 11:03 pm - FMK #15: LGBT& Content
Last week's F winner was Journey to the Center of the Earth! K was Malevil, which means another giant tome I no longer have to shelve, yay.

I am still behind on reviewing stuff because I had Six Wakes and All Systems Red and A Close and Common Orbit all in at the library, plus All The Sedoretu, and sometimes you just have to priortize?

But in honor of the Tiptree anthology I picked up for the sedoretu story in it (and Pride), this week's theme is LGBT& content! (Most of these are Tiptree or Gaylactic Spectrum finalists, in fact.)
How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll! Bear, Chabon, Doran, Gerrold, Lackey, Monette, Orlando & Rebelka, Scott, St. Clair )

Tags:

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June 20th, 2017 07:02 pm - more sedoretu
So instead of an FMK review this week you get more talking about sedoretu (not the moiety post yet, that's coming. Probably.)

The opinions on the poll about bookmarking were interestingly split - pretty consistently 2-1 in favor of bookmarking, but the anti-bookmarking people seem to feel more strongly about it. I guess the only solution is for more people to start adding stuff to that collection so mine don't stand out as much!

I also finally read Another Story, or, a Fisherman of the Inland Sea, which is the first and longest of Le Guin's O stories. Or possibly I had already read it and then blocked it out. I am... not sure how I feel about it? It is definitely the most SF-based of them, with quantum physics and interplanetary travel and so on (and probably the most useful for people who want to think about sedoretu in the context of a much larger and more cosmopolitan society than we see in either "Mountain Ways" or "Unchosen Love".)

blehhhhh )

Anyway, I still really really like the worldbuilding!

I have managed to narrow it down to ten prompts in the Sedoretu fest that I probably *could* write. (As opposed to the ones I most want to see written, which includes many that I am definitely not the person to write.) They all have pros and cons, which I shall now ramble about here:

Discworld, HP, Sagas, O, LM, Nimona, SW:TFA, Barrayar )

...this is weirdly stressful compared to a prompt meme community where I can just blather on in comments without committing to anything until somebody else either writes the thing or I know exactly what I am doing

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June 16th, 2017 02:12 pm
You can still add prompts to the Sedoretu fic fest! Well, I can't, because I might have hit the prompting limit already, but you can!

If you're new here and have never heard of Sedoretu, it's a concept from stories by Ursula le Guin set on the planet O. Marriages there are four people: two men and two women; with four sexual relationships: two m/f, one m/m, and one f/f; and two non-sexual ships, the other m/f pairs. (There is more to it than that in canon, but that's what makes it really fun to play with as a fandom poly AU concept.)

There are currently 132 prompts in 75 fandoms for the fest, plus several for "any fandom"/"original work", so there is probably at least something you know, and if not you should add it. (Or 137 fandoms if you count all of the Old Norse sagas as their own fandoms, and can I say that I feel like the fact that Old Norse Sagas are the now third most popular fandom in the fest is a dagger aimed directly at me? It's not my fault that Njal's Saga is basically set on O already! I was only trying to taunt the mod a little bit!)

(In other news, we watched the documentary Hvellir last night, about people trying to stop dams on the Laxá,and it is very good, and quotes Njal's Saga, and also only in Iceland would a bunch of protesters trying to destroy a dam just go grab the dynamite that the dam developers had left in small unattended caches all over the protesters' land. And not consider this a particularly noteworthy part of the story.)

So I keep wanting to kudos prompts and accidentally almost claiming them, argh, I wish there was a way to feedback prompts without having to go on and write the darn things. :/ Unfortunately, writing any of the many ones I really want to read would require a ton of canon review that I don't want to commit to. (Although, tbf, anything other than "one of my recent fmk reads" would require a ton of canon review at this point...) Let's face it I will probably just end up writing for Gisli's Saga since at least it's relatively short (and also basically set on O already, fair.)

(I feel like there is probably a reason Le Guin decided to set her stories about four-person marriages and complicated kin relationships among sheep farmers and fishermen in decentralized farmsteads on marginal land.)

(although I want to make the post about the real life basis of moiety a separate post.)

So instead of reviewing canon I have just been reading all the sedoretu stories in fandoms I am at least somewhat interested in. And I have been rec-bookmarking a lot of them to the sedoretu collection linked to the fest. But I am running up against the fact that some of them... are not the quality that I would normally put my rec-heart on, even by my relatively lax standards. So here is a poll for the room: if somebody is going through and bookmarking all of the stories on ::theme:: to a collection,

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27


Is it better (by whatever definition of 'better') to:

View Answers

Bookmark the less-good ones to the collection but as Not A Rec
18 (66.7%)

Don't bookmark them at all
9 (33.3%)


(26 comments | Reply)


June 13th, 2017 06:29 pm - FMK #14: SF in Translation
Hi all! I am back. I did not get my birthday candle wish of having a different president when I got back to the USA, but at least Theresa May is in deep hot water now, so I guess you all did what you could.

The FMK #13 winner is Discount Armageddon, pulling ahead at the last minute in a very close race! The loser was Pawn of Prophecy, in a not-very-close race, although Man-Kzin Wars put up a good fight.

I brought Rocket Ship Galileo and Tarnsman of Gor with me on the trip as two K winners that I couldn't bear dumping without Having Read. I... am about 30% through Tarnsman of Gor; so far it is not bad enough to make me hate-read it or throw it at the wall, but also not particularly compelling a read. I still want to Have Read it though, I think.

Rocket Ship Galileo is going to be K for Keep, I am afraid. I tried! But Jews vs. Moon Nazis! )

Anyway, in honor of my international travel, today's theme is SF In Translation.

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Allende, Chang, Chessex, Enjoe, Gakov, Hugo, Lem, Merle, Nomura, Ogawa, Strugatsky, Verne )

(25 comments | Reply)


May 30th, 2017 11:52 pm
I am in Sauðárkrókur in Ísland! I made it! Iceland piblic transit is. SO nice compared to American. Public wifi on all the buses! I spun so many middle-of-nowhere pokestops from the bus yesterday. Also I fooled a local into thinking I knew icelandic by pronouncing the word "Kleinur" correctly in a bakeshop.

Tomorrow we are going to go camp at Ásbyrgi and I will be off internet for awhile so don't destroy anything importent while I am away, ok, world?

Also and more importantly! [personal profile] ellen_fremedon has started a sedoretu fic fest which you should all join!
See here: http://ellen-fremedon.dreamwidth.org/917549.html

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