melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-04-28 08:28 pm
Entry tags:

FMK: The Snow Queen

So, it turns out The Snow Queen is not high fantasy and is a fairy tale AU. Oops.

About the only other things I knew going in was that I had really liked Vinge's Cat books (not actually books about cats, books about a dude named Cat, sorry), that she had at one point been married to Vernor Vinge, and that I was pretty sure that years ago I had heard a rumor that her husband was a total POS.

...turns out that I was unable to find anyone saying anything bad about Mr. Vinge, but her current husband is Mr. Banned-From-Wiscon himself, so apparently I have been thinking poorly of Mr. Vinge for years for no reason. Sorry, sir! See, this is why this stuff needs to be out in the open, not whispers.


Anyway, as for the book itself: it's well-written, I didn't hate any of the characters, the world-building and plot mostly hang together (at least until the very end, anyway), the concepts are interesting, there is no compelling reason I shouldn't have liked it, and yet I never quite managed to get into it. It isn't even that it's not my thing, because it *should* be my thing, and yet )

Anyway, short version: You could probably do a Snow Queen retelling that used the story in a way that worked for me (I should really get my hands on The Raven and the Reindeer) but this was not it; and I would totally read an entire novel about Ngenet and Jerusha (as long as Jerusha got to finally show a tiny bit of minimal competence which she never actually did in the book - a plot line about how she is unfairly treated as incompetent because she's a woman doesn't work if she never actually is competent); and I should have listened to my instincts and run when the summary on the back ended with "...the one man fated to love them both."

...interestingly I also read Makt Myrkranna today (having never read Dracula all the way through) which is also about a pretty, innocent young man who gets lured into the clutches of an ancient powerful beautiful cold devouring woman and her consort, and how his true love traveled across a continent to rescue him and save the world, but somehow I don't have any of the aforementioned complaints about it. A++ worldbuilding, dude does not let heterosexuality make his choices for him, lady makes reasonable choices based on the knowledge she has at the time and caring about him as a human being she is fond of who is in trouble.

I also read Pale Guardian, but I think that's actually the first Ashers book in which nobody ever has to rescue James, so it doesn't quite fit the set.

(eta: no, wait, Simon rescued him at least once in between Simon and Lydia repeatedly rescuing each other, nvm. On a motorbike.)

(I have been sick lying on the couch all day, which is why all the reading suddenly. Also I still have four more library books and two fmk waiting lalala.)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-04-25 07:07 pm
Entry tags:

FMK #9: Second Books

Note to self, things your circle is v. interested in: Library classification. Canadian art.

So, back on the wagon with FMK! I posted about Growing Up Weightless yesterday and I am very nearly done with Snow Queen. After that Electric Forest should be quick and then I will be caught up! Except the six library books! But we aren't talking about those!

Fewer of you than I thought voted that you change your poll answers after reading the comments! I am apparently in the more easily swayed group. :P


This week's theme is I Read the First One And It Was Good But For Years I Could Never Find The Next One But Then I Did So Here It Is Yay

(In a it's the first one I couldn't find instead of the next one, but close enough.)


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.

If you want to be extra-helpful, bear in mind that it may have been two decades since I read the first on, and note whether I need to re-read that one first.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Adams, Cherryh, Ellis, Gibson, Handeland, ab Hugh, Jones, Kotzwinkle, Lackey, Monette, Snyder, Watt-Evans, White  )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-04-24 06:30 pm

FMK: Growing Up Weightless

I went to the March for Science yesterday! It didn't have as many people as the Women's March but then what would? It still took a solid two hours to get everyone funnelled down Constitution Avenue.

Also if you are ever at the Capitol end of Constitution with a few minutes to kill, go look at The Spirit of Haida Gwaii outside the Canadian Embassy; it's in a nice quiet corner and I found more to see in that one sculpture than in the entire National Gallery sculpture garden.


...also if you are ever on the Mall and need wifi, find an idling coach bus to loiter near.

I brought Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford to read on the metro, and I don't have a huge amount to say because basically it was everything I wanted for a book about coming of age in the Moon colony )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-04-11 07:03 pm
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FMK #8: Short Books

Last week's winner was Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford. I had mixed opinions of his Star Trek novels that everyone loves, so we'll see how this one goes!

Loser was Rocket Ship Galileo which I kind of really want to read after the discussion in comments ;_; I seem to have accidentally planned an overseas hiking holiday in a couple months, so maybe I will save up the K books that I really want to at least read first to take there and leave behind.

You people voted in another MASSIVE TOME with The Snow Queen so it may be a bit of a delay. It's interesting so far!

In revenge (and to give me a bit of a chance to catch up and do my taxes and stuff) this week's theme is "Books under 200 pages", so there.


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: Anderson, Binder, Brunner, Clarke, del Rey, Key, Lee, Lindgren, Norton, Sleator, Turnbull, Van Vogt, Zelazny )


p.s. I am enjoying observing the latest 'harassers at SF cons' redux, but why has nobody filked "Banned from Wiscon" yet? It scans. You could be really scathing. And "Banned from Wiscon" seems to be that dude's official epithet at this point.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-04-04 05:44 pm
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FMK #7: The Moon and Mars

So, the clear K winner last week was Harry Harrison with Captive Universe and no discussion in comments. What do you people have against Harry Harrison other than him being a boring libertarian-ish white dude? It sounds cool! Generation ships in asteroids! Possibly a hispanic MC! (Possibly he totally fucks up the Mexica culture stuff?)

The F winner was The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge, also with no discussion. All I know going in is that I really like her Psion books, and I think The Snow Queen is probably fantasy but probably not a fairy tale AU? So that should be fun!


This week's theme is The Moon And Mars.

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: Bova, Bradbury, Carter, Danziger, Del Rey, Ford, Heinlein, Lem, Temple, Verne, Wells )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-03-31 02:24 pm
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FMK: The Female Man

The nearest pokestop I can access is approximately 1 hour's walk from my house. Fun facts! (But I did get my third 7-day streak in a row, yay me walking four miles in the rain.)

So, The Female Man by Joanna Russ. This is a book that has A Lot Of Things To Say so I am absolutely not going to even attempt to do that justice in this post, okay. tl,dr: I am going to keep it on the shelf, but I am going to keep it resentfully.

It is very much:
a) second-wave feminist, and
b) literary fiction, not genre fiction.

Read it if you want to read a frequently didactic and/or polemical text that exemplifies second-wave feminism but is relatively readable despite that. Or if you like the sort of literary fiction that is obsessed with its own genius and hits all the cliches from over-elaborate structure to self-insert MC who is a frustrated writer in NYC to the affair with a much younger woman who you are in a position of authority over but you couldn't help it, she came on to you and you were really sex-deprived, what were you supposed to do! Only with white feminists instead of boring white dudes. At least the sex scenes are reasonably well-done.

If you are interested in really cool post-capitalist post-industrialist utopian worldbuilding, read it but skip everything but the sections in Whileaway (and maybe the chapters at the end with Jael, but only if you are willing to wade through the neck-deep transphobia in those). It's pretty easy to tell which chapters are Whileaway and you won't be missing any important "plot" if you skip the rest, I promise; it barely exists and doesn't make a lot of sfnal sense when it does. (Or just read some Monique Wittig instead, 'Lesbian Peoples' is nothing but the second-wave feminist lesbian utopian worldbuilding.)

It's honestly really hard for me to separate my problems with it between the second-wave feminist part and the literary fiction part, because they basically both reduce down to the MC is a self-absorbed asshole with no real empathy in her POV.
spoilers below, as usual. also this book gets warnings for sexual assault, statutory rape, extreme violence, and virulent transphobia. most of which the author pov is okay with. )

The above makes it sound like I hated the book, and okay, I did hate the book a little. But for all of second-wave feminism's issues, it wasn't wrong about the things it did deign to pay attention to, and on the whole, neither is this book. And if there's anything last year in America taught us, it's that the job they were trying to do in the 60s and 70s and 80s still isn't nearly done. And for what it is - for a literary novel published in 1975 but tLHoD was published in 1969 that is too into its own cleverness to get out of its own way and frequently interrupts itself for long tirades of textbook second-wave feminism, it's pretty readable and makes important points, and Whileaway makes up for a lot.

But if an SF writer randomly put in a chapter in the middle of a book that was literally nothing but ranting about how mainstream critics failed to recognize the author's genius, they would be laughed out of fandom regardless of how justified they were.

I mean, even Ann Rice hasn't tried that yet.

There's a self-congratulatory bit at the end about how if a time ever comes where women read the book and don't resonate with it, that means its work is done. a) its work is not done, b) resonating with Joanna is not the way to finish it.

Also why the hell did she feel the need to keep translating the matronyms as ---son even after she learned they were matronyms not surnames, it's not like Evasdottir is an incomprehensible name to modern Earth people.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-03-28 03:15 pm
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FMK #6: Beloved Authors

So last week's FMK loser was Ben Bova's The Multiple Man, and tbh my only qualm with dumping that one is that I will no longer have a nice big pile of books with MEN in their title. Well, and also feeling a little bit bad for Jamie Madrox.

The winner was The Female Man by Joanna Russ! (The Bester was surprisingly close for awhile, probably because the Russ was getting a lot of M votes. Predictably.) I will be putting up a response for that one when I have finished reading it.

This week's theme is "Authors who have at least one series on my 'definitely keep' shelf but I am kind of afraid to branch out to their other stuff in case I don't like it". This should be a fun one!

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: Alexander, Anderson, Bujold, Hambly, Harrison, Leiber, McKillip, Piper, Pratchett, Rosenberg, Smith, Vinge, Wrightson, Yolen )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-03-21 03:57 pm
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FMK #5: MEN who are MEN

FMK #4's F winner was "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald, at a v. reasonable ~200 pages, and I will be reading it tonight.

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

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

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

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

Poll: Asimov, Avallone, Bester, Blish, Blum, Bova, Hale, Howard, Richards, Russ, Wells )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-03-20 08:25 pm
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FMK: Kushiel's Dart

So! Kushiel's Dart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ETA: Also, I am saddened and surprised there are so few Kushiel AUs on AO3 (not surprised that most of them are Sherlock, though.) And remain convinced that *someone* who wrote for Supernatural was a Kushiel fan because Castiel's origin story being "we can't name him Cassiel that would be too obvious" just kept getting more obvious as I went...
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-03-14 08:42 pm
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FMK #4: Pre-Golden-Age SF

Okay, so FMK is going to be Tuesdays now. :P I forgot that on normal Mondays, a little distraction is good, but on busy Mondays I basically don't have time to sit down at the computer from Saturday evening until Monday evening, and that doesn't work so well. (and today was a snow day so I spent it sewing, it was excellent.)

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

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

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

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

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Sunday Monday Tuesday.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll! Bennet, Bunyan, Burroughs, Eddison, Lindsay, MacDonald, Merritt, Nowlan, Polidori, Shelley, Smith, Swift, Tolkien, Walpole, Wells, Wilde, Wolf )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-01-20 04:35 pm

(no subject)

Now y'all have presented me with too many options and I can't decide what to do tomorrow. :P I guess I will keep thinking about it and see if anyone gets back to me.

Anyway, I hear it is More Joy Day, so I went and posted Rivers of Ankh-Morpork. (since we all know I will never get around to getting it beta-read.) Have some joy?

Rivers of Ankh-Morpork (6335 words) by melannen
Fandom: Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch, Discworld - Terry Pratchett
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Peter Grant, Angua von Uberwald, Samuel Vimes, Foul Ole Ron, Gaspode (Discworld), Sybil Ramkin, Thomas Nightingale
Additional Tags: Crossover, community policing, hydrological engineering, Ankh-Morpork City Watch
Summary:

The Faceless Man miscalculates, and Peter Grant falls into a river.

...well, more onto a river, really. He may have bounced.

melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2016-10-20 04:06 pm

(no subject)

1. \o/ I wrote 1700 words today after about a week of not much! On yuletide, even! Unfortunately not my assigned yuletide, but we try. Now, can I do that for all of November?

2. I am really excited for my actual assignment but I have a pile of background reading about a foot high to do as much of as I can first, and I keep adding to the pile. Raise your hand if you're surprised.

3. I.. may or may not actually get around to writing a letter...? YT writer, you're fine with what's in the assignment email and in the old letters, right? Nothing has changed I promise.

4. I am not doing super-well with, like, keeping up with life. But then this is the time of year when my body thinks I should be preparing to hibernate. And I think work is getting more back into a routine? Maybe? If they manage to fix the roof before it falls in?

5. I finished rewatch of S1 of Leverage! I forgot that my tragedy in that fandom is that all I actually want out of it is a long, meaty, hilarious pre-canon fic about Nate and Sophie chasing each other all over Europe. But I cannot write it because the bits of backstory are spread out over many, many canon episodes and I am not a person who can consume AV fandoms in a way that will let me collate all that. And all the current fandom gives me is The Best OT3 Ever, and don't get me wrong, I love them all and I love their canon OT3, but. The Golden Trio basically already have figured out who they are and have decided they like who they are and the only problem they need solved is finding other people who agree with them about liking who they are, and they've pretty much got that solved by halfway though S1, the rest is all details. Sophie, on the other hand. Sophie has layers. (I really really love the fact that the S1 ender that you expected to be all about Nate and his manpain ended up actually being about Sophie's issues and Sophie's past. Sooophie. Every time I tried to write OT3 it ended up being about Sophie and figuring out Sophie is HARD so I never finished anything.)

(now I remember, I stopped watching in the first place because Sophie left. At least now I know she definitely comes back after.)

Other things I would like that the fandom is not giving me: Sophie/Eliot. Maggie/Parker. Five-way found family telepathic soulbond (which is basically canon already, the way they use the earbuds thematically is SO GREAT, now I just need the post-canon fic where Nate and Sophie are off on a cruise somewhere and start hearing the other three on a job even though they don't have earbuds in.)

6. *cough* anyway

So [personal profile] jjhunter and I have been talking about Ancillary London (or maybe Rivers of the Radch?) You should come join us.

Also somebody needs to convince me I don't actually need to read The Science of Discworld in order to write Rivers of Ankh-Morpork. Even if Peter Grant probably has read it already.

I have the first comics trade but haven't read it yet because I have been reading Peter as looking vaguely like, oh, Rainbow Sun Franck c. SGA, and Thomas looking vaguely like Tim Gunn or sth, and at least judging by the cover, that is really not where the comic went with character designs, so I am scared.

7. Also I keep switching between Fivethirtyeight to obsess and Leverage to watch evil corrupt billionaires cry, which was a mistake, because now I want a story about the *other* Nate being the mastermind of a team of the world's greatest criminals. And they were a YT nom. And they could pull off a great caper plot, I am convinced. Whiz Kid Harry drinking his endless bottles of diet root beer that he somehow finds even in the middle of Antarctica. I just can't think of anything I want to see them steal.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2016-10-10 09:00 pm

(no subject)

hi yuletide writer! I did not expect assignments to go out That Fast.

I am at a convention and will probably not be able to get my letter up until Wednesday evening at the earliest.

This is the good thing about linking to a tag instead of a placeholder, right, you can keep coming to the tag and finding my increasingly desperate excuses for not having the letter done yet. It also means when you accidentally link the wrong tag in the sign-up you can just edit the tag instead of the sign-up.

Anyway for generalities you can scroll down the fandom:yuletide tag to previous years' letters, pretty much everything still applies. And feel free to just go by what's in the actual requests, as always, they were complete and accurate.

If you matched on Ashers or Paleontologists, there are requests in previous letters down-tag. If you matched on Saxons vs. Vikings (+ Emma is her own faction by herself), I am pretty sure you are [personal profile] monksandbones and were actually the first person ever to write for me in an exchange so you know what's up. (If you are somebody else and matched on that I LOVE YOU and don't worry I don't know much about the period so you can get away with anything.) If you matched on Imperial Radch or Rivers of London, check recent posts in the fandom:sf lit tag for my various ramblings on those at the time I read them. I don't think anybody offered Barnaby, but if you did, you know what you're doing, and if you didn't, it's not really an easy-access fandom alas, so don't worry about it.

I will still try for an actual letter once I'm home but this should hold you in the meantime.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2016-09-28 01:29 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I finished reading Rivers of London this morning! (Just the five novels, I'm saving the ancillary stories so there's something to look forward to.) My summary was fairly accurate! I'm amused that at the end of Foxglove Summer, even Peter was surprised vague spoilers )

I'm mostly surprised that... there wasn't too much that I missed? Okay, I missed most of the main plot in Foxglove Summer, but I think a lot of the fic I was reading pre-dated it, so I was expecting that. It also had probably the strongest plot of the set - the first four really didn't have plot as their strongest point. Which is not, I will note, necessarily a criticism - I like books that don't narrow-focus on plot, as long as the stuff they're doing in the meantime is fun, and it is - I so, so appreciate that Rivers of London has all of the really, really strong sense of place that is completely missing from, say, the Dresden Files. They feel like - like, they've got the voice and trappings of a police procedural, and the setting and characters of an urban fantasy, but the structure and mood of a cozy, and that was apparently what I needed.

And the criticism of police culture that was coming through strongly in the fic is there in canon; not as a central point, but Peter, while being 100% a copper, is never uncritical of what the police are doing. So I could read it without the sour taste in my mouth that pretty much all other police-focused fiction has been giving me lately. (Just Peter Grant and Sam Vimes are exempt, basically.)

(I dare somebody to write Rivers of Ankh-Morpork.)

Unfortunately all the fanfic-y feelings I got involve characters that very clearly have major canon revelations coming up, and I have been reminded by Check Please! how very, very bad I am at being invested that way in characters in an open canon, so probably I will not be writing anything.

(Well, maybe bits of Rivers of Ankh-Morpork.)


...anyway beyond that I've been deep in avoidance mode lately. I am watching the third season of the Great British Bake-Off because sometime you just need Sue Perkins making terrible puns in a tent, and started hopefully a full watch-through of Leverage in order because sometimes you just need to watch asshole billionaires being made to weep bitter tears, and nearly caught up on the Rex Factor podcast because there is nothing like learning about 10th century Scotsmen murdering each other to help one stop catastrophizing about modern politics (#RememberAed). Also found, and watched, "Under the Emerald Sea", a Nature special that aired when I was five that is the first TV show I ever remember bugging my parents to let me stay up late to watch.

So if anyone wants to talk to me about any of those I'm up for it.

Also I went to the beach on what I accurately predicted to be the last day of the year that sea-bathing would be doable, played some Pokemon Go (level 22! Still haven't found any good way to hatch eggs without using a data plan!), and started what is hopefully going to be a full reshelve and clear out of my books, because it was just becoming unsustainable. Step 1: all 1600+ nonfiction books in dewey decimal order. ish.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2016-09-14 06:49 pm
Entry tags:

Rivers of London

So in other news, I have been reading all of the Rivers of London fic lately. (I am somewhere between step five and step eight, given the vagaries of fandom.)

(It started with giving in and reading Wizardry by Consent because I am so there for any pairing that is "effectively immortal, super competent person who is starting to lose their footing in the world / middle-aged vanilla mortal with a rock-solid certainty of who they are but still ready for a little wonder in their life." Unfortunately this is not quite the dynamic in canon but I guess it was close enough. Also I have already read all the Three/Brig and Joe/Methos in the world so it wasn't like I could go elsewhere.

Also! A story about police that is fundamentally critical of policing-as-practiced and is all about community policing and oversight and restorative justice sort of stuff! I have been unable to read in most of the classic buddy-cop fandoms lately because of discomfort with narrative glorification of the system that doesn't address its glaring problems, but this story worked.)

But, anyway, I moved on from that one and am now busy reading all the rest of the fanfic, but I ran out of novel-length ones already so I just got the first volume of canon out from the library. Before I started reading it, I thought I would try to summarize what I have learned via osmosis. For science.

Possibly spoilers for all of Rivers of London? IDK I haven't read it. )

I think the part where Peter and Thomas get married and have apprentices of their own is fanon but honestly at this point I am not sure. Peter likes architecture and Harry Potter. Thomas likes rugby and botany. They love each other very much. That part is canon. The end, except that there is a new book coming out soon.

And now I get to find out how wrong that all was! \o/
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2016-07-28 12:34 pm

we're not cousins anymore

Speaking of Con.txt panels I am running, I am also running the Imperial Radch panel.

Current plan is to sing the song about the thousand eggs until someone in the audience volunteers to mod instead. (Alternatively, we just cast some omens and discuss whichever lines of the text Amaat wills.)

But now I am curious, what tune do you get the egg song stuck in your head to? I get stuck with "Make new friends, but keep the old", the old Brownie Girl Scout round:

Make new friends/ but keep the o-old
A thousand eggs/ all nice and wa-arm
One is silver/ and the other gold
Peep-peep peep peep a-/ nother chick is born.

It scans better with three peeps than four, and you have to sing nine-nine-nine eggs instead of nine-hundred-ninety-nine (etc.) but other than that it works pretty well. It's even a round so it would work really well for ancillary units and/or cars full of small children to sing ad infinitum!

("The Station Goes Around The Sun" is always Farmer in the Dell in my head, by the way, even though I know there are other tunes for it out there. The circle game would even work!)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2016-02-25 04:21 pm

Being a Participant

1. I keep scrolling through network and suddenly seeing a locked post on a journal I've been reading in network for awhile and being like huh? since when did they grant me access? And follow me apparently? I am not cool enough for them to follow me! So, here is your periodic reminder that if I suddenly add you back after ignoring you for ages, it's because I am bad at noticing stuff apparently, and also if you want me to add you, you should talk to me, because I am probably PRETTY SURE you are way too cool for me to be the first one to speak up.

2. Speaking of social incompetence, subset mine, anyone else going to con.txt this summer? Anyone else want someone to share a hotel room? It feels much less like I am a loser with no friends if I have a roommate. If splitting the cost is an problem, we can working something out, because as Jamie Kincaid said, I have income now. If you're thinking about going but not sure because you've never been, I promise to be your Native Guide and let you hang around with me if you feel alone.

(...I am bad at finding roommates.)

Also they have put out the call for panel suggestions already, as long as they are ones you want to mod, and for once... I got nothin'? I am still mostly in the same primary fandom as last time (?? how did that happen??) but it's not a huge fandom at this point, and after four con.txts I've done most of the ones I can do, so all that's left is stuff other people would have to mod (like HJOw TO REVISE THE THING).

Anyway if you've been to con.txt and can think of a panel you'd like to see me mod, feel free to suggest something, no guarantees... <_<

3. Hugos? Here is a list I have made, mostly by compiling all the stuff I had bookmarked on Pinboard, of fiction I would kind of like to read before nominating. I share it here just in case anyone cares, and also so I can find it later. I'll be adding star ratings as I read stuff and may be adding new stuff too. I will not be getting through all of it before the end of March.

Warnings: I don't endorse these, they're just things I've seen recs of. Also I don't promise they're in the right length category, I'm just going by what was on the recs.

Novel )


Novella )


Novelette )

Short Story )

Supplemental )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2015-10-28 05:10 pm

Yuletide letter

Do you ever sit down to just, like, look up a few old entries, and next thing you know it's three days later and you're in the middle of re-reading a four-year-old kinkmeme?

Yeah.

Anyway, the fandom:yuletide tag on this journal should now be up to date with all my old yuletide posts and all posts relevant to this year's requests! So if you came here from my YT request, you can backread in the tag and find stuff about what I like in yuletide. And I can link it more easily in my letter.

Oh yeah I should do a letter I guess shouldn't I. Although last year I didn't and that worked out wonderfully, I got an amazing story and two amazing treats, so if you'd rather not bother with the letter, yt writer, everything you actually needed was in the request, the rest of this is just to indulge my own desire to ramble about these fandoms, so you are welcome to ignore.

Here's my requests:

19th Century Paleontology RPF
Edward Drinker Cope
Othniel Charles Marsh

I would like Shenanigans, please. Cope/Marsh hatesex in the boneyards is fine. AU where they can summon the spirits of the creatures they have Named and make them fight duels for them is fine. Rap battles in the Academy of Sciences are fine. Sent back in time by steampunk contraption and forced to work together to survive the Jurassic is fine. The Feud gets out of control until they are two mad scientists battling to rule the world is fine. Basically if it's over-the-top and tropey and about Cope and Marsh's epic hatemance, it is fine. (You can also write something historically accurate and meticulously researched, I wouldn't turn it down.)

More about Cope/Marsh if you don't know the fandom )

More about my Cope/Marsh desires )

James Asher Vampire Series - Barbara Hambly
Any Character

If you write me James and Lydia and Simon, I really really need a story where James and Lydia finally have to acknowledge that James and Simon love each other just as much as Lydia and Simon do. If you don't want to write that, you can write me gen backstory for any of the three before they met, or gen or relationship fic about literally any other pair of characters in canon, I would love any of that too because all the characters in this series are so great and have such fascinating relationships with each other. I just can't take any more J/L/S where one leg of the triangle is missing, canon is hurting me on purpose, so if you write me any part of that 'ship please write me all of it.

More about Ashers if you don't know the fandom )

More about my Asher-related desires )

Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Any Character

I haven't read Ancillary Mercy as of writing this letter, but I will by reveals, so if you want to go with something from Mercy please do, I am sure I will love it, I just don't know how to prompt it yet. Other than that: I would love fic about Ships' relationships with their captains or crew from the POV of anyone (including OCs) but Breq; I would love Anaander Miaanaai backstory or POV of any kind whatsoever; I would love anything about the process of Radchaaization from one of the characters who is trying to navigate between Radchaai and the culture she was part of before the Radch came; I would also love anything else you write about any of the many characters who were nominated.

More about the Radchaai if you don't know the fandom )

More about my Imperial Radch desires )

Princeless
Adrienne Ashe
Raven Xingtao

I am reading this in trades so I'm behind, but mostly I really need Adrienne/Raven slash? So bad. Age them up a bit and have Adrienne suddenly realize that Raven SOO did not want to be sisters. And then adventures + kissing. Yes? Yes. If you don't feel the Adrienne/Raven I would also love anything at all about Adrienne's mother and/or brother, or about Raven off adventuring on her own.
More about Princeless if you don't know the fandom )

More about my Princeless desires )

Theophile Gautier's Cats RPF
Any Character

Hi this is your safety fandom, just find "My Private Menagerie" in Google Books and read the chapter about the cats and write me a thousand words about the Black Dynasty. (although animal harm warning, they do all die eventually, as they are cats who lived a century ago.) Mostly I would like anything at all from their POV. What did Enjolras actually do out on the streets all day? What did Gavroche's alley-cat friends think of him? What did Eponine think of her brothers, or of being left with only her new paramour, or being prevented from eating at the table like a person when there were guests over?

More about the Black Dynasty if you don't know the fandom )

More about my Famous Historical Cats desires )

Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage
Any Characters

Please write me something about Lovelace and/or Babbage and/or Brunel and/or anyone else from canon or anywhere else in canon period being ridiculously awesome and awesomely ridiculous, thank you. If you are stuck for ideas, pick a page at random from Babbage's memoirs, or something from the notes that didn't get expanded in canon, and work it into the comic's pocket universe.

More about Lovelace & Babbage if you don't know the fandom )

More about my Lovelace & Babbage desires )

Also: crossovers. )

...I feel like doing this for six requests takes far more than twice as long as doing it for three...but be proud of me, I only offered 1% of the fandoms this year.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2015-08-25 08:20 pm
Entry tags:

dead dogs

I missed the Hugo announcements because I spent all day floating around in [personal profile] lindentreeisle's mom's swimming pool, which was definitely a better life choice, let's face it.

I'm still catching up on liveblogs and stuff, but looking at the numbers that were released, something occurs to me: the puppies may not have been 100% wrong. Because if you look at the nominations numbers, it really does look like a small group of people (~70-100) are all nominating from the exact same relatively small group of works, all of which share the trait that they are very thoughtful about stuff like gender, sexuality, race, imperialism. Whereas when you looked at the other (non-puppy) works nominated, there are a lot more of them, but fewer of them hit that nominations threshhold, because the votes are spread among more works, so they are each less likely to get a nomination.

And the taste of that small group of people, while it isn't entirely different from the tastes of the wider fandom, isn't exactly convergent, either. Just look at some of the stuff that did get wins this year. And the effect is that it almost looks like slate nominations.

I mean, obviously it *isn't* : what it is, is that if you've come to the realization that fiction that isn't deeply thoughtful about stuff like gender, sexuality, race, and imperialism is not good fiction, and especially is not great SFF, because anything else is lazy goddamn worldbuilding, then you still have a WHOLE LOT FEWER stories to pick from. And so there's a lot less less spread in the noms.

And obviously the answer isn't to have a competing slate, because that's a solution to a different problem. The answer is for the Puppies and their friends to make sure there are SO MANY books published every year for the diversity-aware bloc to pick from that their nominations are as spread out as the straight-white-men's nominations.

Get on that, Puppies. Please.

(That might actually happen anyway, if all the people who bought first-time votes this year nominate next year, and nominate a lot of less-printsff-mainstream stuff. We'll see.)