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2017-06-20 11:03 pm
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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 )
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2017-06-13 06:29 pm
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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 )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-05-23 05:30 pm
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FMK #13: First Book in the Series

Last week's F winner was Juniper Time by Kate Wilhelm! Should be interesting; it's one where I have no idea why I own it or why I kept it. K was Alas, Babylon.

Since I will be away from my book collection for the next two weeks, there will be an FMK break; next poll should go up June 12. I will keep reading and possibly posting reactions, though - the plan is to take the K books that I really wanted to read first with me on the trip, and leave them there.

This week's poll: Books where I own only the first book in the series (and have read none of them.)

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: Banks, Barnes, Cherryh, Czerneda, Doyle & MacDonald, Eddings, Gardner, Hines, Lynn, McGuire, Niven, Scott & Barnett, Weber )
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2017-05-16 04:47 pm
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FMK #12: Our Oncoming Apocalypses

Well, happy birthday to me, I guess. I would tell y'all to try to figure out what I'm wishing on my birthday candles but you might and then it won't come true.

Last week's F winner - pulling past Coraline at the last minute - was C. J. Cherryh with Downbelow Station. The K leader was actually Starship Troopers, but for the first time ever, the K leader did not have a plurality of K votes; in fact it in was in the top five for F as well. So I'm invoking the hidden rule that the K winner must have a plurality of K votes and giving it to Hominids instead (I knew that was going to be a hard one for K, you don't get a hugo/nebula win if you're comprehensively terrible.)

I am still skating about a week behind on reading but I did finish Castle in the Air! It was good. Review upcoming. Captain Blood coming soon (hopefully tonight.)

For this week I think it's finally time to pull out Apocalypses and Post-Apocalypses. Whoo.

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)

Bear, Brackett, Frank, Goulart, Howard, Le Guin, Matheson, Scarborough, Shute, Wilhelm, Wyndham, Zelazny )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-05-09 04:55 pm
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FMK #11: Hugo and Nebula Winners

So it turns out my readership is not super-into random obscure sea stories! But there were enough votes that Captain Blood is the clear winner. Should be fun. There was a tie for K for the first time in awhile; I am picking Jack Absolute to K because apparently Mr. Bowditch is full of math so I shall be keeping that.

I still have not read Castle in the Air because there was a library book emergency where something I had checked out before I started FMK hit its renewal limit finally, so I had to read that instead. Hopefully this week you will get a combined response to both of them.

I figured it was time to do one where most of you probably had at least heard of them, so this week is Hugo and Nebula winners!

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, Brunner, Bujold, Chabon, Cherryh, Farmer, Gaiman, Haldeman, Heinlein, Le Guin, Miller, Pohl, Sawyer, Vinge, Willis )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-05-02 02:33 pm
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FMK #10: Age of Sail

Last week's winner was Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones which I really hope is good. K winner was Tales from Watership Down, which I may actually accidentally have two copies of, so that will help.

This is FMK #10! I kept it up for almost ten weeks! 115 out of 860 unread have already been FMK'd, whoo. In celebration, today we have a non-SF poll theme: Age of Sail.

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: Brackenridge, Carlisle, Elmms, Forester, Garrett, Hugo, Humphreys, Latham, Marryat, Sabatini, Swan )
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2017-05-01 09:05 am
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FMK: Electric Forest

Huh, today is blog against disablism day. WHAT A COINCIDENCE.

So, only read Electric Forest if you are the sort of person who actively seeks out stories about how people with disabilities are monstrous, hideous, hateful, dangerous, and literally "ab-human".

Also if you are that sort of person, why are you on DW?

I would have thrown the book at the wall much earlier except I had hopes it wouldn't be that bad )

In summary, NOPE. I think this is the first one in FMK to get recycle bin, not even donate.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-04-28 08:28 pm
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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
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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)
2017-03-17 04:57 pm
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(no subject)

I was prepping a laundry load of newly thrifted fabric and recently finished sewing projects, and decided to throw in my pincushion, as it was getting kind of grungy.

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

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

There were forty-five needles hidden in it.*

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


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

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

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

*I did not intend that as a metaphor for rape culture, and yet there it is.
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)
2017-03-07 10:24 pm
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FMK #3: I heard there was some real kinky stuff in these, y'all*

Okay! Now that I have gone through all the paperbacks and have a better idea of what I actually have, this should be a fun one. :D

Results from last week's FMK.

How FMK works: I am trying to clear out my unread books piles. 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. 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 and with prejudice. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I am going to start officially closing the poll and picking winners on Friday nights because I don't always have time on Sunday to read a whole novel. (although not actually closing it probably, people can still vote.)

Link to long version of explanation (on previous poll)

Poll! Auel, Carey, Constantine, Cross, Gabaldon, Hamilton, Lichtenberg, Morris, Norman, O'Donohoe, Ringo )

*I may have heard wrong
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-03-07 03:31 pm
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FMK #2 F U: Grimspace

Okay, a day late on this week. In my defense, I had a busy weekend and the book you all made me read was not the grippingest.

So: K was Asher's The Engineer Reconditioned with five K votes. The first speaking female character in it is not a prostitute, she's a top xenologist, but she's also a sexy catgirl. Guess which of those we learned about (in detail) first!

It turned out that most of the others with a high K to F ratio were already missing from the collection - I must have weeded at some point and not marked it in the catalog. But Anthony, Barnwell, Bass, Bishop, Brush, Buckner go back on the shelf. Or in the boxes under the bed, if you're feeling literal. (The fiction inventory is now actually done, except the "search for the ones you didn't find" part, so all polls from now on will only include books I know the exact location of.)

F was actually a tie, but the Aguirre voters were the only ones who spoke up in the comments, so Grimspace won the tiebreaker. I'm pretty sure, having read it, that I had kept it in the previous weed because a) it is by a lady, b) there is a lady on the cover who is c) wearing comfy clothes and not in a sexy pose and d) could even maybe be a WOC if you squint. Having a rule to keep all unread books that fit those requirements still does not add that much to the size of the pile, and it has served me well with comics.

Also it is about telepathically bonded pairs of hyperspace navigators, which between Bran/Tru, "The Game of Rat and Dragon", Pac Rim, and so on, ought to be my thing. Unfortunately it is not a... good book. )

Regardless, it joins the others on the K pile after its last hurrah. Ann Aguirre seems like a lovely person though and I hope she rocks on and never ever reads this review.

And that got really long, so poll in next entry. I might keep splitting these up, we'll see. instead, here is a picture of a cat in a hat:

a blind kitten being dashing and heroic in an aviator cap