melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-10-18 07:31 pm

Things

It seems like it's been ages that I've posted anything substantial and non-FMK here (which I knew was a risk; I have enough social media XP (extroversion points) to keep up with approx. 1 DW post a week, that is well-established). So here is a 5 things to break the monotony:

1. Pokemon Go will not let me install the latest update (It gives an error message that says "we hates your phone, precious" [paraphrase] and then won't install.) So instead I have been playing Magikarp Jump, which the app store always tries to tell me pokego players will enjoy. So far:

This is my fish. There are many like it, but this one is mine. )


2. Also I finally won the last boss level in Alphabear, so until I got my fish game, I was totally at loose ends for mindless phone games, and started looking for ports of the ones I played as a kid. HOW IS AN ANDROID PORT OF GODDAMP CATERPILLAR 11 megabytes? I coded that from scratch on my TI83 when I was a kid! In, like, about 100 lines of code! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

(I also coded a text adventure with a gender-ambiguous protagonist on that calculator, actually...)


3. I finished cleaning my bathroom yesterday! It only took me about two weeks! It is so nice to go in there and have it be clean! clean ALL the things )


4. So last November I kind of went into power-save mode for awhile, quit using Habitica and also quit a bunch of the things I had been doing on a regular basis (tag wrangling, practicing piano, working on Spanish and Icelandic, writing on a regular basis, using Tumblr...) But my sister got me back onto using Habitica again, and now that all the cat-related tasks are gone (and I trimmed some other stuff) it's a much more reasonable list of dailies.

I had forgotten how very motivating it is to get to tick the thingy. Now I am debating whether to use my Orb of Rebirth and start over or not (And whether to try to get together an active party with more than just me and my sister and a bunch of inactive accounts.)

And I'm trying to get back to doing some of the other things I stopped, too. I gave Tag Wrangling an un-hiatus notice, so I'm committed to trying to be less fail at that, and I pulled out a piano book for the first time in months (I found a copy of the very first one I learned out of, The Joy Of First-Year Piano, to warm me back up) Og ég er að læra íslensku aftur. Þótt jurtabókin er erfitt. Það er of mikið um illt kaffi í bókinni. Y yo hablé español a una clienta hoy! Un poco español, pero un poco es más que nada.

The only thing I gave up that I haven't missed at all is Tumblr. *shrug emoji* (even that's not true, I have a secret backup tumblr to which are added a couple people who post mostly personal stuff and also a bunch of nature and solarpunk and library special collections photos, and no politics or fandom, and it's still fine.)

5. One of the things on my habitica dailies is to post an AO3 comment once a day. Another one is to do something with politics once a week. I got my wires crossed in there somewhere and realized that if I don't feel up to actually engaging with politics I can just send one of my (excellent) congresspeople an email that literally just says, "Hi staffer who reads these, you are fighting the good fight, keep holding the line, thank you", just like when I want to leave an AO3 comment but don't know what to say, and it STILL COUNTS.

Also, people are trying to get public outcry going toward Congress passing the nonpartisan bill Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) which would make it so the US President could not launch a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war. TBH I can't think of ANY reason why that should ever have been possible, but ESPECIALLY now. So write your congresspeople or spread the word to #PULL THE FOOTBALL

/me crosses off "do politics" for this week
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-10-17 07:40 pm
Entry tags:

FMK #27: Judge A Book By Its Title

Last week's winners were not what I expected! But F goes to The Red Tent and K goes to The Magicians (which is WAY more hated than I had realized! For good reason apparently.)

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)

This week's theme: I have no idea what this book is about, I'm pretty sure I only have it for the title.

Poll: Bail, Capote, Carey, Collins, Connors, Corliss, Ericson, Galloway, Gould, Morse, Shann, Shreve, Townsend, Wodehouse )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-10-12 12:29 pm
Entry tags:

FMK: Asterix, Truckers, Locke Lamora, stats

Asterix le Gaulois/Asterix the Gaul by Goscinny and Uderzo )

Truckers by Terry Pratchett )

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch )


So halfway in, here are our stats:

Read more... )

Okay, enough of that, now onto the yuletide letter polishing.... My yuletide match this year did not require any extra canon review? WHAT AM I GOING TO READ FOR THE NEXT MONTH? Oh right, those 7 fmk up there.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-10-10 05:31 pm
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FMK #26: This Is Flat-Out Fanfic

#26! The projected halfway point of a year's worth of reading the backlog! And in fact I went in over the last couple weeks and sorted all of the remaining into piles, so I didn't end up stuck with just a bunch of boring mismatched ones toward the end, and it looks like it might actually come out to exactly 52 weeks without me having to try too hard?

It looks like there will be more non-spec-fic weeks coming up, though, I ended up with 8 more weeks worth of that. I know fewer of you get excited about those but that's what I have on my shelves. There's also four more anthology weeks.

This week's anthologies also did not garner a huge number of votes. I will reiterate you don't have to know anything about the books to vote! A lot of these I bought just 'cause I liked the title so you do not have to feel bad if you vote that way. I suspect last week's voting was on that basis, given that it was a dead heat between Carmen Miranda's ghost is haunting space station three and Brave New Girls: Girls and Gadgets. Brave New Girls won F in the end! Cats In Space won K. Surely... surely ya'll don't have something about Cats in Space? I read all the Catfantastics back in the day; I will have to at least check that one to see how much overlap there is.

I finally finished Locke Lamora, so I have three reviews to get through; IDK if I'll do that first, or a proper yuletide letter...

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)

For the midway point, we have a very special theme this week: PEOPLE GETTING PAID PRO RATES FOR FANFIC! Hoorah!

Poll: Anderson, de Camp, Diamant, Fraser, Grossman, Lewis, Maguire, Maney, McCullough, Murphy, Niven, Scalzi, Stevenson, anthologies )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-10-06 04:29 pm

Yuletide letter!

Hi yuletide writer! This will be pretty useless to you so far because it's just a repost of my signup but I wanted it here for reference. Hopefully it will turn into a proper letter before you see it, but if not, have no fear. I am super easy to please as long as you write in one of these fandoms! And I believe wholeheartedly in ODAO and Yuletide Is Meant To Be Fun. Also feel free to scroll down this tag for previous years' letters, most of which still apply, and other thoughts of mine on these fandoms.

The Girl with the Silver Eyes - Willo Davis Roberts
Okay so: WHAT DID THEY DECIDE? AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THEY DECIDED? I feel like staying home would be the wiser choice, but going would be the better story. And there are so many directions it could go, once they go. Also, it's canon that there are other superpowered kids with all different kinds of superpowers there, so there is a lot of scope for crossovers there... I'd also love more about the lives and personalities of the other three silver-eyed kids - how similar are they to Katie? How different? How do they get along when it's not a crisis situation? I'm also really interested in all the grown-ups from the books! Also I headcanon that Ms. K also has some kind of secret psi powers. And ship her with Mr. C. And/or Monica.

The Murderbot Diaries - Martha Wells
I cannot get enough of Murderbot? So mostly I would just like More Of. Here are some ideas: Something set in the Preservation Aux camp (any POV) before canon started when all was calm, or Murderbot dealing with one of its previous more-soap-opera-y past assignments (either before or just after it hacked itself), or something from one of the surveys on the planet before everything went terrible - how different are they from each other personality-wise? How do they work together on group assignments?, or there's just a bare possibility that one or more of the other secbots survived - what did they do? maybe they got left behind for dead and learned how to hack themselves and became hobby archeologists; or everyone on the station gossiping about what Murderbot has done this time. I also really loved the glimpses we got of what life is like in the Preservation Alliance, so anything building on what the Survey crew do after Murderbot leaves would be fun!

DNW: Anything where Murderbot just needs to Learn To Make Friends And Talk About Its Feelings or equivalent. Let Murderbot continue to be someone who is happiest sitting in a corner with its shows! That is OK! Also: no Murderbot falling in love with anyone. Other Secbots making other choices is fine though.


James Asher Vampire Series - Barbara Hambly
I OT3 this hard! I just keep waiting for the point where James finally realizes he and Simon are in love with each other too and it's a triangle not a V, and it keeps not happening for me in canon. I really want a story set after Pale Guardian where James slowly comes to the realization that Ysidro has transferred his promise to watch Lydia into a promise to watch over James. I would also love any backstory for any of the three of them, though! I am also getting increasingly intrigued by Grippen and his relationship with James and or/Ysidro. I'd also enjoy anything about the ancient vampires Ysidro remembers from his youth. Also: would be okay with just a series of attempts by Ysidro to convince a cat to be his friend.

I am also okay with crossing over Ysidro into a far-future SF fandom, those are always cool and I'd love to see how Hambly's vampires work in that kind of world (Also see my Benjamin January request.)


Benjamin January Mysteries - Barbara Hambly
I love everything in this fandom? I would be super into anything about Hannibal's relationship(s) with Rose and Benjamin - OT3 if you want, but also just anything about their dynamic. Similar with the Dominique/Henri/Chloe. I would also be SUPER into solo backstory for any of the nominated characters. And of course the Meyerlings are always great. Also: Rose and/or Chloe doing SCIENCE!! (or science) and/or interacting* with any of the Great Men Of Science of the time. *where interaction could = explosion. And anything else in this fandom, really, honestly. Also, if you also know the Ashers books, I would love some of those vampires showing up in January's world - either via Hyacinthe, who almost certainly learned her piano from January, or just stumbling over them in their travels.

Mr. Trash Wheel (Anthropomorfic)
THE TRASH WHEELS ARE SOO GREAT
Stories you could tell about the trash wheels: what things have they found in their rivers? Say, maybe, a ring that shows fiery letters only after it has gotten warm on Mr. Trash Wheel's power supply. Or a magic sword? A cursed pirate coin? A mysterious message in a bottle? A space drive from a damaged UFO that's all ready to be installed? An unidentified body and a murder mystery to solve? A suitcase full of printed-out fanfic from the 1990s? Perhaps the spirits of Baltimore's waters need to appoint champions to fight a great threat! Maybe they get a visit from their future selves and kin who are the centerpieces of a Baltimorean solarpunk utopia! So many possibilities.

Fandom: Brennu-Njáls saga | Njal's Saga
So, I am not, like, a great scholar of the sagas, I just read this once and listened to the SagaThing podcasts on it, so you do not need to be a great scholar of the sagas either, but it is so full of things I would like fanfic of. I really enjoy headcanoning Njal as a trans man, so if you would like to do that, either in canon or in a different-setting AU, that would be awesome (He has powers! He could go to Mr. Cooper's school!) Also, I totally ship Njal and Gunnar and hateship their wives, so anything along those lines would be fun, or really anything exploring wtf was up with those four's relationships in any form. Other things I would love to see include: more CSI:Bergthorshvoll along the line of the famous cheese mold, Njal lawyering like a mofo, Things We Are No Longer Allowed To Do At The Allthing, Icelanders in Space, etc.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-10-03 05:30 pm
Entry tags:

FMK #25: Anthologies ... in SPAAACE

Last week's F winner was The Jungle Book! I am looking forward to it, even though I will probably have "The Bare Necessities" stuck in my head the whole time. Also, it is short! (Or at least my copy is. If it turns out to be abridged I'm just going to go with it anyway.

The K winner was Shardik. It's been a bad month for Richard Adams here in FMK land. Good month for freeing up space, though!

I'm still slowly working on Locke Lamora. I did start to get pretty invested during Part Two, and then... the fridging happened. UGH.

Between that and Hans of Iceland I have enough long books on my plate right now, and also I kind of don't want to live on this planet right now, so for number 25: Space Anthologies! (There will probably be more anthology weeks coming, because I've been trying to avoid mixing them with novels, but I have a LOT of anthologies. I think in the last cull I preferentially saved them with the idea that if I just wanted to get a taste of a genre or an author's work, and anthology made more sense than Book #4 of a series.)

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: Editors including Ackerman, Asimov, Dozois, Drake, Fan, Fawcett, Greenberg, Hartwell, Sakers, Scithers )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-09-27 11:17 am
Entry tags:

FMK #24: Talking Animals

So I am back from the trip! I did not post FMK yesterday because instead I hid in my room and re-read "All Systems Red," because sometimes after spending a week in very close company with your nearest and dearest (and in hundred-degree temperatures) you need to just hide in your room for a night and re-read "All Systems Red". Perhaps I will post more about the trip later (spoilers: I got to touch Chicago's Stadtkrone! SUCH a good place for an epic magical battle to happen omg. Especially with Trump Tower glowing evilly green next door, and the Tribune Building right past that.)

I didn't finish The Lies of Locke Lamora, which was the LONG BOOK F winner. I got about 1/3 of the way in. So far it's not gripping me, but I've found this year that the long tomes usually don't until I'm over halfway, even if I end up liking them a lot, so I guess we'll see. So far I'm mainly sticking with it so that I can continue imagining a pre-Angelic Visitation Moist von Lipwig coming to Camorr and effortlessly robbing them blind. (He's probably less technically skilled as a grifter than they are, but he's way, way better at actually doing it as a job.)

K was a tie between Quicksilver and Maia, also the two longest on the list! and the thought of never having to read EITHER of them just felt like a massive relief, so I think they will both go. Plus it's like a 3x bonus on freed-up shelf space for each one!

I did read Truckers right before I left, which it turned out I had read before, just twenty-five years ago. So review of that coming up.

Also, the book-on-cd that Mom and I agreed on to listen to while driving was The Tale of Castle Cottage, which was the last of a series of cozy/historical mysteries about TOTALLY NOT RPF FIC OR A FANTASY NOVEL Beatrix Potter and a bunch of helpful woodland creatures. It was okay, and certainly fine to doze off to in the car. But then Beatrix kept having to pause the detecting so that she could go draw yet more bunny illustrations for her editor, and I realized that in the general outline of their lives, she and Ursula Vernon had a lot in common (started in self/small press publishing, got a contract for endless illustrated kids' books about small animals, had a romantic disappointment in their 20s that they subordinated into hardcore gardening, followed by a ridic happy marriage w/ no kids in her 30s, investing all the book money in land conservation.)

So then I started imagining a hundred years from now when some nice lady authoress writes a series of cozy novels about Ursula solving gentle mysteries with the help of friendly woodland creatures (all named Bob, obviously), using KUEC as her main biographical source, the first one to be titled The Tale of Dogskull Patch. And then I felt good about the future for once. :P

So on that note, this week's theme is TALKING ANIMALS!

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, Bach, Brooks, Burgess, Burroughs, Cahill, Clarkson, Coville, Dickson, Gurney, Holm & Hamel, Kipling, Wolf )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-09-12 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.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-09-12 01:51 pm
Entry tags:

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 )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-09-09 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.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-09-06 08:01 pm
Entry tags:

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.)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-09-06 05:32 pm
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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 )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-08-29 08:37 pm
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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 )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-08-25 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.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-08-15 10:46 pm

(no subject)

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?
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-08-08 06:31 pm
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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 )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-08-01 05:41 pm
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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 )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-07-25 07:25 pm
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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.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-07-25 07:11 pm
Entry tags:

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 )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
2017-07-19 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.