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No disappointment like discovering a new volume by an author you admire and then realising it's actually just a bizarre reorganisation of some of their previous work. I know why the publishers do this, but why on earth do libraries fall for it? I'm not even talking about publishing selections from an author's massive, hundreds of pages long corpus, which is perfectly logical, but making selections from two already quite short volumes, or even publishing something as selections from a single volume, which was already only about 200 pages long and has now been cut to the much more reasonable...150 pages. Don't the libraries have something better to spend their (as they keep reminding us) extremely limited budgets on, when they already own copies of every single word in this new volume, in formats that are no less convenient for even the average reader? Or at least hint in the description that it is, in fact, selections from this other book, so we don't waste your money ferrying the volume between libraries for me to find that out for myself.
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Absolutely loved Nicola Griffith's Hild. The beginning of a set of novels about the Abbess Hilda of Whitby, what we get here is Hild as a child who is supposed to be a seer, knows she is not, and nevertheless learns to give useful political advice to her uncle, one of many infighting kings in 7th century England. The politics are impressively drawn, as is the point of view, which remains firmly planted in space and time. Even when she's observing nature with pin-point accuracy and coming to conclusions that feel scientific, her frame of reference is still limited. She's not stupid, she never seems stupid, but she's working things out from first principles, it's not a surprise she only gets so far. Griffith is also very good at making sure that Hild isn't uniquely special in her ability to observe. She sees a little more than many because she has the time and inclination, but a large part of her skill is gathering information and putting it together: it's not that other people can't see, it's that they don't have the larger picture.

The thing I loved most was how much work we get to see everyone do. Women spin and weave constantly because it takes a long damn time to make anything. Hild is a seer and this means she has some different duties, but she also does all of the chores that women did in her period because royalty here still doesn't mean rich enough to do no work, it just means you don't have to do the very worst work. Designing your own weaving patterns is the fun part, and Hild knows that, even though she's also allowed to have moments when she's bored by textiles or doesn't feel like it right then. The other people around her are also allowed to have complicated feelings about work, while still knowing that work is important to keep everything from falling down! Gosh!

It's a fun read too, not just a Worthy Tome of historical accuracy about medieval work practice. Politics are going DOWN and because this is the 7th century, they're going down with some violence, and also some rapidly shifting allegiances. In some ways, I kept thinking that this is the kind of book GRRM thinks he's writing, with the complicated politics and the refusal to make a ballad out of the unpleasant task of cutting someone's throat, except that Hild doesn't just make the most unpleasant thing happen every single time there's a choice to be made, because people are assholes, but they aren't actually mustache-twirlingly evil. Also Hild knows she has no magical powers and is sighingly resigned to turning political philosophy into prophecy in a deeply endearing way. I'm looking forward to the next book tremendously.

I've also been enjoying the hell out of Allan Berubé's sadly small amount of historical writing (Coming Out Under Fire, which is USian queer people in WWII, and My Desire for History, which is collected essays) though he may have ruined me for more academic queer history. He has so many feelings! Which seems like a rude thing to say because his intellectual rigour is fantastic, and his research is thorough! But he's not trying to be the kind of formal writer who hides their perspective and it's really nice to hear about how much he cares about queer and labour history! It's not even that he talks a lot about his feelings on a personal level, but it's so obvious, even when he is writing about military policy, that he has an emotional attachment to the idea of queer communities, that it makes history written by people who are at pains to hide that attachment feel lacking.

I don't precisely mean to criticise people who are presumably attempting to get their work taken seriously by editors and academics who don't feel as I do, and it's not that they're being at all offensive, or that their rigour is substandard. These are not bad books. But Berubé did such a fantastic job of centering people in his analysis that it no longer seems adequate to begin with medicalised discussion of homophobia disassociated from even the people who propagated it. It just seems depressing to read now because I've had such a clear and well-presented example of how it could be done differently. Historians don't have to have affection for their subjects in all cases, but damnit, if we're going to get so many awkward biographers crushes on the deeply unappealing, then I want a whole team of Berubés with their affection and charm, and am terribly sad that he's dead and we will have no more of his incredibly compelling work.
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The trouble with things getting very busy in a tedious work and family medical issues way is that when you return, you have zero interesting things to say to fandom and posting continues to not happen. I was doing sort of well with trying not to forget DW/LJ beforehand! Bah.

I did get my hands on Pratchett's Raising Steam which...it's a Discworld novel. If you like those, you've probably already decided to read this one. If you haven't read any, don't start here, it's basically "I like trains and here are many characters I hope you're already attached to." I am, in fact, attached to many of them, so I won't deny that I enjoyed that bit, but otherwise, it's a little flat, though perhaps less so if you're already as devoted to trains as he clearly is.

However, let us discuss the strange things he's decided to do with gender lately. So Spoilers for both Raising Steam and I Shall Wear Midnight )
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I watched all the Brooklyn Nine-Nine that exists so far in about two days, so it's that kind of good. I am interested in the fact that it doesn't hit my giant embarrassment squick anything like as badly as it could have, despite being the story of a bunch of people who are very, very interested in embarrassing each other. This confuses me! Even Benton Fraser's refusal to be embarrassed by anything he did didn't always prevent me from cringing on his behalf! But everyone is so good at taking on the embarrassment, clearly hating it, and then moving the fuck on while actively demonstrating that there aren't consequences beyond people being a pain in the ass.

On a more general note, as everyone has already said, the show does a good job having a decently diverse bunch of cops who generally don't get to do horrifically illegal things on a whim. Being too cool for paperwork is an issue that fucks you over, even if paperwork is boring. You have to do just as many extremely boring cases as you do exciting ones, and it's all important work.

I could do with less Peralta, it's definitely not deconstructing the white cisdude=protagonist trope anything like as well as Community does, but at least there's a reasonable amount of screentime for all the other characters, who I mostly adore. I still think he wins just a smidge too often to get away with the shit he pulls, but at least he does get called out sometimes. Everyone else is pretty delightful (or if they're awful, usually the writers clearly agree), which does make up for it some.

I don't know if I could be fannish about it, but I could do with a regular 20mins of fluffy tv that generally doesn't make me angry.

Finished Dawn French's memoir, Dear Fatty*. Not a surprise that she's funny and charming and delightful, but I was particularly struck by her ability to tell funny stories about inexperienced sex had with entirely the wrong person in a way that was both humourous and not so caught up in making it funny that it sounds like she's never had mutually enjoyable sex in her life, which is an astonishingly rare skill in published autobiographical writing, for reasons I've never been able to fathom. Of course, there are also lots of fantastic showbiz stories and amusing family ones (and some sad family ones, told affectingly), and in general, recommended.

*Fatty=Jennifer Saunders, her comedy partner, and is an affectionate and consensual nickname. Not a book at all about weight issues, if that's a concern for you!
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I really wanted to make a nice rec post about Max Gladstone because I enjoyed his Three Parts Dead a lot, but I don't think Two Serpents Rise lives up to it. This isn't an anti-rec, but the first book was so good at building up this world of complicated magical/religious politics, magical essence as currency, corporate magic, gargoyles and social revolution (with multiple female protagonists to boot!) that it was a bit of a let down that the second book, set in a completely different city with different protagonists more or less felt the same as the other one, despite the first city being something more like fantasy!modern-Europe and this one being supposed to be fantasy!Aztec. There were some things that worked, like the local sports teams playing what were clear descendants of Aztec ball games, but the feel of the city suffered a lot in comparison to his first book because it was so similar so I'd seen it all done before. Sense of place isn't always the most important thing in a book, but it is a little bit important when it's a book about people running around trying to keep a city going, and when, for example, your cool magical gambling system seems to be used to play very typical European card games, you've missed a trick. There's a point to be made about colonialism if you're talking South American civilisation analogues, but I don't think he made it very clearly, and these were clearly flourishing Aztec-analogues who happened to have made European-analogue contact some time ago, not built off the current South American situation, so either colonialism didn't happen, or you actually have to explain why it turned out differently here. (It's secondary world fantasy, not an alternate universe, I should note, but nevertheless.)

Some of the issues, not Gladstone's fault. I assume he had nothing whatsoever to do with the pale guy on his book cover when he does describe the protagonist consistently as dark-skinned. On the other hand, I think it would have helped some if the fantasy!Aztec-ish protagonist wasn't called Caleb for no discernible reason, especially when it was something of a plot point that his father was a bit of a traditionalist. I mean, someone please correct me if this is in fact a false cognate, but I kept wondering why he had a Christian Biblical name.

Also, while I appreciate that the protagonist's best friend was a lesbian, probably you don't need to be quite so heavy-handed in how often she explicitly reminds him, especially when her girlfriend shows up a fair bit as a far more subtle hint, and especially when it turns out that we were being reminded eighteen thousand times so that in the end angry spoilers )

The first one I still like a lot, and I will probably read whatever he writes next, but it's a shame that this one wasn't quite as good when city politics over religion and the water supply with both considered equally important is so exactly my kind of thing. MORE URBAN PLANNING, LESS DADDY ISSUES, PLEASE.
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"One should not enlarge on one's animals - but I thought you might like to know what a charming pair [of cats] attend us."
-Sylvia Townsend Warner to William Maxwell

The life philosophy of the internet, is it not? Particularly when you know it comes at the end of a lengthy letter detailing her cats' charms: one of many in this small volume. I have been reading Warner and Maxwell's letters (the collection is The Element of Lavishness, edited by Michael Steinman) and they are most delightful. Literary - they began to correspond when he was editing her short stories in the New Yorker - but also a record of a warm and loving friendship. The writing is beautiful and they're funny and charming and just a joy to read. Much admiration to the editor because there must have been quantities of stuff cut out (they wrote constantly between 1938 and 1978 and yet the book is barely 350 pages, and no one could have achieved that degree of quality unceasingly, surely?) and it still feels like a smooth narrative without gaps. They talk about books and major political events of the period and family life, and it is all immensely enjoyable. Highly recommended.

And I wrote some fic:
Basic Lagomorph Persuasion (2892 words) by opusculasedfera
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Explicit
Relationships: Beau Bennett/Robert Bortuzzo
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Always a Different Sex, Crossdressing, Halloween
Summary: Robert's life is very difficult and this outfit doesn't even fucking fit. Because there wasn't nearly enough porn about their halloween costumes.
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I love pissy and inaccurate marginal annotations in library books. This one has angrily crossed out the "state" in "state school" to write "provincial", which is a sort of correct as the school in question is in Ontario, but the author is from the UK, is writing for a UK audience, and clearly means "government-run, i.e. not privately owned." GOOD JOB, ANNOTATOR.

Less inaccurate, but equally endearing are the people who correct typos in library books. It's just so entirely futile and certainly doesn't improve the look of the thing, and we never seem to be talking about misprints that entirely change the meaning of a sentence, but a 'the' transposed to 'teh' which, honestly, I am just as likely to miss entirely as the copyeditor did if you don't draw attention to it with your pen scribbles.

(Underlining and highlighting in public books on the other hand is a social evil, and I will have no truck with it.)
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I've been listening to more podcasts recently, and I like the idea of the You Are Not So Smart one, but also I want a rule (in life, not just in podcasts) that if you are studying something anti-social that people do, you have to study the effects. Not just the specific instant responses, but long term effects. Hopefully this would prevent people like David Buss from genuinely saying, in response to a question about warning signs of jealousy that people can look for, "well, if you're being abused, you're in more danger of being murdered by your partner." I do believe that he doesn't think doing terrible things out of jealousy is good, but it's kind of astonishing to me that he can study this and genuinely think being cut off from your social circles or "having your self-esteem lowered" are just warning signs for murder rather than actual abuse in their own right with massive consequences, and it skeeves me the fuck out about his research if he can do this much work on abuse and not know this. THIS IS WHY NO ONE LIKES EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGISTS, BRO.

I am, however, enjoying Amanda Downum's Necromancer Chronicles very much. A+ lots of queer relationships! Well integrated socially too: it's not just one queer couple and a lot of talking about how no one minds, there are lots of past and present queer couples, and people discuss operas featuring a variety of different relationships. And trans* characters! Also spoilers for very excellent trope )

Plus complicated politics and magic and people who actually feel like they have long histories, not just in their most deep and serious relationships, but equally in people they've known casually for ages, or unimportant shit they've done, and that kind of thing. Highly recommended.
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I was thinking about doing a New Year's meme, but none of the ones I've seen so far have appealed, so have my booklist for 2013 instead.

Books of 2013 )
Fewer than last year, which feels odd, though I suppose I also started doing a lot more fiction writing this year, which sort of makes up for it, or is at least interestingly different. Need to step up with the French though.

I almost didn't make [community profile] 50books_poc this year, but pulled it out in the end. Next year I'm aiming for not reading ALL THE SHORT STORIES in the final week of December, but at least my streak isn't broken! (Four years! I don't know if it's really doing anything, but better than not doing, I suppose. And I have read lots of lovely things.)
50 Books POC )

And I still can't believe that the Canes spoilers for last night's game, I guess ) In other hockey news of last night, I managed to have a conversation at the party with someone who thought Phil Kessel was a goalie, which is a good trick in Toronto, I think. Otoh, the party was graced by the host's giant Bruins flag decor, so Toronto: hockey diverse is perhaps the message. (He's from Ottawa, technically, which I don't think makes any more sense of it.) I still don't know how to talk hockey with non-fannish types, but the alcohol helps.
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This is Rosethorn's book, for those of you for whom such a thing would be a joy and a delight. It's also Evvy's book, and Briar obviously is in it and has POV bits, but it's the book where Rosethorn gets to have an arc.

Also the book where it is 100% on the page confirmed that she and Lark are both lovers and happily non-monogamous, which was obvious before, but is nice to have confirmed anyhow, especially in a YA book.

We also actually get some depth on what it means that some of the Emelan characters are religious dedicates and what that means to them personally rather than it simply being an alternative schooling system, which was nice! So Rosethorn gets that, and a little more family backstory and, basically, ROSETHORN. She's the best. I'm happy to have read her book.

Additional thoughts, plus spoilers )
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Go read all the Femslash Exchange 20013 fics! There are some super fabulous ones, and also SO MUCH FEMSLASH IN GENERAL. YAY. :D There are like a million fandoms represented, so I strongly encourage checking the whole list out.

In other AO3 news, apparently there's a 'fandoms' page that isn't the works one that lists all the extant character tags and all the associated pairings with each! Which is kind of handy, or at least fascinating to poke at! The hockey one is here, and they're all under ao3.org/fandoms/[fandom tag in question]. Organisation! \o/ Also, I think this could be useful in some way for some kind of rare ships or rare characters fest, but no definite plans yet.

Reading Ben MacIntyre's Double Cross sulkily, because I do want all of this information about WWII spies (there are recently declassified documents! It's very cool!), but I could do without the general impression that the author is secretly very upset that no one turned out to be James Bond. These people did massively impressive things! Stop complaining that they did them while being besotted with a small dog/being unimpressively drunk/giving everything bad pun codenames/talking like real people from the period, including slang that now sounds goofy and uncool! Sigh.
opusculasedfera: Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in copper and blue Oilers uniforms hug on the ice after a goal. (hockey)
I have been...failing to post. :P

Reading Candace Dorsey's Black Wine and Fuyumi Ono's Twelve Kingdoms books simultaneously turns out to be really unsettling. They're not quite the same, but somehow the similarities in lanaguage and superficial content (lost strangers who don't know the rules of the places they have ended up interacting with complicated political situations, plus shifting POV/narrative strands) have made them merge in my head. It makes the Ono somewhat more tense if I'm expecting all the completely terrible things that happen in the Dorsey to be just around the corner, for one. (Black Wine is excellent, for the record! But a lot of horrible things happen. Warnings for sexual assault and assorted violence.) Very odd. I always read a million things at once and this generally doesn't happen to me.

Writing is failing to happen, which is irritating. I had one wip that I was very excited about writing, but I'm on a break with the characters in it (the hazards of rpf /o\) and now I'm sulking at everything else. In that spirit, if people want to leave me prompts (more than a single word, you know my fandoms), I'd love to see if that kickstarts anything for me.
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No one should be surprised that Wodehouse's letters are very charming, though I am rather baffled by some of the editorial decisions. There's a lengthy preface explaining why the editor, who claims to have been a personal friend of the family, chose to group them by subject and recipient rather than chronologically, so that was all right, but I don't understand their selection of letters about his wife. In all the other sections of the book, there were letters describing amusing incidents that had happened to the two of them or things they had done together. In the section on Ethel, there were exclusively letters in which he complained about things she had done, and then one final soppy love letter written to her. Could the editor not see any of the other letters in which she featured heavily as being 'about' her? Were they actively attempting to create the impression that he disliked his wife (and then possibly pull this supposed rug out from under the reader with the reveal of the love letter)? Now, it's not as though he was complaining in ways that were completely baffling for some people who were married a good long time. His letters didn't make me feel awful about their relationship in the way that lots of published letters from men of that generation do. They just sometimes didn't agree and complained to their friends about it. But it makes me uncomfortable that some editor decided these were humourous as a lump, because men totes hate their wives, amirite? Leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It's a shame, because the rest of the collection is fine.

In totally different writing news, I am still amused that I can write porn fairly straightfacedly, but editing still makes me crack up. There's still just something about having to write people earnest notes about why you don't think they need to mention there that his cock is hard, they mentioned it above, that makes me giggle. (Not at your porn, I assure anyone who I'm betaing! Just as the contrast between the earnestness of my comments and the, well, porniness of the porn.)
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Elementary! I am very bad at watching it on time, but this season has done some lovely things with character beats! Less lovely things with ripped from the headlines plots, but Joan and Sherlock continue to delight.

I read Sarah McCarry's All Our Pretty Songs. It's very well-written, and managed to have a first-person teenage protagonist who did not make me instantly fail out, which is difficult. However, er...the ending (spoilers) )

Someone come argue with me about this because it was weird and made me cranky.

Something that does not make me cranky are Tripp Tracy being awkward about how he has so many feelings about EStaal because he watched him grow up, and he loves Brind'Amour, but it can never match his love for EStaal because he didn't get to watch him develop. Oh, Tripp. Never change.
opusculasedfera: Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in copper and blue Oilers uniforms hug on the ice after a goal. (hockey)
Seriously considering the possibility that Patrick Roy decided the best possible troll of the league would be being actually good at coaching. (Alternatively, we shall all sing the small sample size song together as one, but that's less amusing.)

Reading some collected letters of P.G. Wodehouse and I don't know why I'm surprised, but yet somehow I didn't actually expect him to sound like Bertie Wooster all the time. He signs off letters with things like "cheerio, old scream, toodle-pip!" It's wonderful.
opusculasedfera: Flower (Marc-Andre Fleury) outside in a Pens jersey and sunglasses with the Stanley Cup. (Flower)
I wrote more wingfic. I blame Aria for telling me that Nealer needed to deal with wings from all directions. Also for allowing me to title everything with puns. Love you!

Getting in a Flap (3960 words) by opusculasedfera
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Relationships: Evgeni Malkin/James Neal
Summary:"He's always like a bird," Duper says, flicking James in the head, "up here." James sulks.

Also I finally managed to finish Queen Victoria's Book of Spells, entirely because it needs to go back to the library tomorrow. I'm still grumpy about the amount of infodumping, but [personal profile] kyriacarlisle was right that at least the last story in the book wasn't unrelentingly bleak. I'm more or less okay with certain kinds of bleakness, like the story about the factory girl with phossy jaw where we all know she's never going to get cured, though that one could also have done with an editor to take a firm hand to entire pages of textbook prose about the Irish Potato Famine, but I just wanted to read about one damn relationship where people didn't love potion each other into friendship or marriage. These turned out to be few and far between. So, uh, warnings for assault, everybody!
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I just want to shake virtually all the authors who contributed to Queen Victoria's Book of Spells and point out that people were, occasionally, from time to time, happy in the 19th century, no, really. I'm only halfway through, but so far every single story has essentially been: "HERE IS MY ONE PIECE OF RESEARCH ABOUT THE PERIOD. Now, some sexual assault and/or child abuse, in that setting!"

You can't just start a story with "The governess occupied a liminal space in the household." That's the opening to an undergrad essay. Not that Victorian governesses were unaware that their position was odd and uncomfortable, but they certainly didn't talk about it like 21st century academics. I love research, but it doesn't all need to appear in the story. It's especially disappointing because some of these authors have written quite acceptable historical novels which didn't feel over-researched at all.

On the other side - no middle ground apparently allowed - there are people who have learned a single detail like cholera outbreaks being blamed on miasmas, and then written a story about vague impressions of the Victorians (big dresses! mistreating women! the poor had it badly off, but apparently not enough to actually talk about anything from their point of view!) to stick it in.

I'm all for writing steampunk/gaslamp fantasy that acknowledges the ways that the Victorians screwed over a lot of people, and a lot of people living in Britain at the time were not living the sparkly fancy lives of the heroines of society novels, but does it have to be this dismal?

Perhaps the second half of these stories will be better, but I am not hopeful so far.

Equally aggravating was Mike Brown's How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming where the science was so heavily doused in smugness that I felt firmly on the side of the scientists who had attempted to scoop his discovery of Kuiper Belt objects, and was entirely prepared to believe that they had tried to take him down because he was so pompous, rather than, as he put it, perhaps being terribly, terribly mistaken about how science works and what first really means. Just tell me about planets. I don't want to hear about how awesome it was to propose to your wife. That is a story for people who already care about her, which you did not manage to make me do, though I'm sure she's very nice.

I have been enjoying Ursula Vernon's Dragonbreath books, but I would like to find some actual adult reading that didn't make me want to tear my hair out, no matter how charming her tiny reptiles are, and how unreservedly I would recommend them to any small child of your acquaintance.
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Disappointed in Pratchett's Dodger. I feel like non-secondary world stuff is simply not his milieu. He seems to need the secondary world to keep him from going on and on about what research he's done. Leonard of Quirm is funny because he is clearly Leonardo da Vinci, only not. Joseph Bazalgette isn't funny because he's just Bazalgette, possibly with a slightly more humourous nose. There's no surprise of recognition, he's just a guy that existed. Even when it's not quite so on the nose as that, there are still only so many times one character can refer to "Karl, who I met once in Europe and who had such interesting ideas about the working class" before I want to beat everyone involved with the shovel of yes-I-HAVE-heard-of-Marx-thanks.

He appears to have forgotten that everyone finds his footnotes charming because they have jokes, not just because they say "yes, these things really did exist!!!!" We know that London, etc. did exist. We know that people were impoverished and smelly by modern standards. We know that women had a lot of social and legal problems. None of this is news. The book was basically Heyer-level farce plotting pasted over shouting about did you know that ladies and poor people had it difficult in past times and also people didn't bathe as much????? Only Heyer wrote lots of books about women having actual emotions, and this was manpain central.

I might have enjoyed it more if this was actually my first introduction to all of the history, but as it was, it was a disappointment.


In other news, writing my bigbang sort of proceeds. At the moment, it's mostly self-indulgence about people falling over, and making bad jokes while they make out. We'll see if this actually transforms itself into plot/something readable.
opusculasedfera: Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in copper and blue Oilers uniforms hug on the ice after a goal. (hockey)
I am the absolute worst at remembering to post when I have things to say, goddamn.

Belated shouting about Worlds: The infinite number of pictures of Taylor Hall making sure he's firmly between Matt Duchene and Jordan Eberle has reminded me that all excuses about Hallsy/Ebs not having sufficient conflict for fic pale under Hallsy's incredible jealousy. Actually, in general, there should be more Worlds fic, especially when people are complaining that the NHL schedule is too tightly regimented to allow for free plotting. I'm just saying.

My memory is terrible in other ways too, sadly. I need to set myself reminders that I actually really like Seanan McGuire's Toby Daye books. Every time I finish one, it takes me a million years to read the next one, and I have no idea why. I like them! Once I start reading them, I finish them incredibly fast. But it takes me a million years to arrange to get the next one out of the library, and then I leave it around the house for weeks before reading it, like it's a chore, rather than something I devour in minutes once given a chance. Also certain terrible people have made me want Toby/Luidaeg, which I didn't see before, but which is ALL OVER An Artificial Night, holy shit. (Yes, I just read it. Yes, I am very behind. See: topic of paragraph.)

This is not a very interesting post, but people should talk to me about these things if they want to anyway? I am mostly trying to get back in the rhythm of remembering how posting worked and actually writing down thoughts instead of vaguely intending to make posts. :/
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Honour Among Punks by Guy Davis and Gary Reed is a comic about an AU punk rock female Sherlock Holmes. It's pretty fun, and actually does some interesting things with the Sherlock archetype.

Firstly, it's very, very AU. Sherlock is Sharon Ford, Watson is Susan Prenderghast, a med student from the States, and it adds Sam, Sharon's girlfriend. They live in a world that seems to have gone straight from the Victorians to the punks without any of the intervening social movements, which is fine, for a comic that mostly wants to deal with the amusing contrast between punks and dudes in 3-piece suits and hats, and have occasional dirigibles.

There are some great things. I really enjoyed how Sharon is not an independent operative because due process and the rule of law are just too, too tedious for us smart people. She has reasonable criticisms about the police as they are (there's corruption, there's bias, there's a refusal to actually learn things about subcultures that might affect your deductions, etc.), and therefore works independently in order to attempt to fix these absences. But she doesn't think that vigilante justice is a great idea either, which is a refreshingly sensible attitude.

It's also fantastic in terms of pictures of people with lots of different kinds of bodies dressing however the fuck they want. The bodies under the punk gear feel real and solid, and it's pretty good at not judging them for how they look in the clothes, unless it's people who are explicitly uncomfortable in them.

It has some problems. cut for transfail and spoilers )

The first half is great though, and some of the stand-alone art in the collected volume is wonderfully striking.


Genevieve Valentine's Mechanique is about a post-apocalyptic travelling circus, and firmly in the tradition of "you know what would be great? If society came back." (Spoilers: it doesn't, not exactly, but, nevertheless, being able to hold people together to make things and create social groups is seen as a valuable skill.) It has massively, amazingly competent characters doing their best, and, while many of them have their own ends in mind, it doesn't presuppose that working together is for saps, and some of their ends are allowed to be unity and building and trying to fix shit.

It's a bit grim, in that way that apocalypses tend to be, but not unnecessarily grim, or grim for the fun of it.


Learning things about hockey has made being in Canada odd. It shows up in ways that I never noticed before. Like a random book on language politics suddenly being super excited that Sid does French interviews as well as English. (It was from 2005, so the author had not yet had his hopes dashed.) Or 25 foot tall Jonathan Toews in the Canadian Tire. This isn't meaningful, I've just been finding it startling because these things have happened several times in the last couple of days.


opusculasedfera: stack of books, with a mug of tea on top (Default)

September 2016



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