sholio: Text: "Age shall not weary her, nor custom stale her infinite squee" (Infinite Squee)
[personal profile] sholio
I was inviting people to ask me questions on Tumblr last night, and one of the things I ended up talking about is what makes me fall for things (books, movies, TV shows) in a fandom kind of way. I decided to post that here as well, because it took me a long time to figure it out but I did eventually figure it out, and I thought it was interesting. There are always a few outliers that don't quite fit this, or fit it in unusual ways, but for the most part, this is what makes the difference for me between something I merely like, and something I write fanfic for and can't stop talking about to anyone who'll hold still long enough.

Cut for those who aren't interested )

Yeah, I guess...

Jul. 26th, 2017 06:42 pm
dancing_serpent: (Avengers - Tony - hologram)
[personal profile] dancing_serpent
This year I watched GotG 2 in the cinema, and then went to visit [personal profile] blnchflr, and we watched Ant-Man, CA: The Winter Soldier and CA: Civil War. After that I needed to work through my feelings by reading MCU fanfic, pretty much exclusively, and tons of it. Yesterday I went to the cinema and watched Spider Man: Homecoming, and now I'm reading fanfic for that, too.

Yeah, I guess I'm really back in MCU fandom. I didn't expect that to happen, but I'm not unhappy about it. *g*
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Posted by Stubby the Rocket

Brandon Sanderson Cosmere film deal

Epic fantasy readers can now get a deep look at what Brandon Sanderson’s creative process was like before he became a published author!

Before fantasy author Brandon Sanderson debuted on book shelves with 2005’s Elantris, he wrote several novels. Some of them were practice; novels not meant to see the light of day. Some of them were rough drafts of the books that eventually became Elantris, Mistborn, and White Sand, and some of them are non-canonical tales that contain the seeds of what would eventually grow into Sanderson’s all-encompassing Cosmere.

Aether of Night is one of those early non-canonical novels, and it’s now available to read for free through Sanderson fan forum The 17th Shard.

All you have to do is sign up for an account on the forum and request a copy here:

Getting it will be simple. Simply head on over to the Aether of Night Manuscript Request topic, and post that you want it (for this, you will need to register a 17th Shard account, but that’s all you’ll need). Then, one of our staff members will PM you the document.

Sanderson fans may recognize elements in Aether of Night that eventually show up in Sanderson’s published works, and ponder over Cosmere-related elements that may or may not show up in future published works!

It’s also a great peek at how Sanderson’s styles of plotting and prose developed as he continued to work on launching the Cosmere. We can witness Sanderson’s growth as a writer going from Elantris to The Way of Kings to Oathbringer, for example, but this is a rare glimpse at a draft created before Sanderson became a published author, a developing state that many Sanderson readers find themselves within.

Happy reading!

davidgillon: Illo of Oracle in her manual chair in long white dress with short red hair and glasses (wheelchair)
[personal profile] davidgillon posting in [community profile] access_fandom


The Disabled People Destroy SF Kickstarter*, to produce a disability themed special issue of Uncanny magazine, is up and running here and well on its way to meeting the initial funding goal (about 80% funded with 29 days to go).

And the first of their personal essays on disability and SF is up here, a good piece on Mental Health/neurodiversity** getting in the way of growing up to be the SF protagonist you dreamed of, that the genre allows you to be, so sitting down and setting to work to change the genre to allow for protagonists with MH/neurodiversity. I'm so glad the first piece talks about MH/neurodiversity and invisible disability, as they're the most invisible/most often cured of SFnal disabilities.
 

* If you aren't familiar with the 'x' People Destroy series, it has already done POC Destroy SF and Queers Destroy SF to significant success. I was initially a little disconcerted it's swapped magazines for the disability issue, from Lightspeed to Uncanny, but the editors of Uncanny have a disabled child and they've assembled a solid team of disabled editors for the special issue, so my worries seem unfounded.

** The author talks about a bipolar diagnosis, but then settles on neurodiversity as their preferred community label. It's a view I have some sympathy with, though it can confuse people about non-MH related neurodiversity.

(There shouldn't be an SFSignal tag below, I was trying to tag SF/F, but it won't let me change it).
 

Unlimited

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:33 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“What distresses me is to see that human genius has limits and human stupidity none.”

—Alexandre Dumas, fils, quoted in The Great Universal Dictionary of the Nineteenth Century, 1865

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon


The Disabled People Destroy SF Kickstarter*, to produce a disability themed special issue of Uncanny magazine, is up and running here and well on its way to meeting the initial funding goal (about 80% funded with 29 days to go).

And the first of their personal essays on disability and SF is up here, a good piece on Mental Health/neurodiversity* getting in the way of growing up to be the SF protagonist you dreamed of, that the genre allows you to be, so sitting down and settng to work to change the genre to allow for protagonists with MH/neurodiversity. I'm so glad the first piece talks about MH/neurodiversity and invisible disability, as they're the most invisible/most often cured of SFnal disabilities.
 

* If you aren't familiar with the 'x' People Destroy series, it has already done POC Destroy SF and Queers Destroy SF to significant success. I was initially a little disconcerted it's swapped magazines for the disability issue, from Lightspeed to Uncanny, but the editors of Uncanny have a disabled child and they've assembled a solid team of disabled editors for the special issue, so my worries seem unfounded.

** The author talks about a bipolar diagnosis, but then settles on neurodiversity as their preferred community label. It's a view I have some sympathy with, though it can confuse people about non-MH related neurodiversity.
 

Petrarch and Laura

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:11 pm
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Posted by Jo Walton

I see I have become a legend, my life, my love,

And her life and death, a legend.

In time it will all be remembered

In time it will all be forgotten

And remembered again, the wrack and refuse

Of all I did and meant and cared for

From fragments painfully regained

That is the nature of legends

And time and life and love.

 

So imagine my embarrassment

That what is known of me, that all I am remembered for

Out of everything I was and did,

Is my worldly love for an earthly girl

Not the symbol of Heaven’s love,

Nor the breeze dancing over the battlemenrs

To shake the laurel leaves,

The golden hills rolling away

From the waters of Bablyon where I sat down,

But the breath that moved in her real breast

And her small, individual, irreproducible smile.

 

Cardiff, 25th July 2017

larryhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (seasons)
[personal profile] larryhammer
Reading Wednesday is nigh. In fact, it's here. And I done been readin'!

Finished:

I Shall Seal the Heavens. Finally. I have to say, this is epic: The author knows how to plot on an enormous scale, and how to build up the stakes in order to tear down everything you think you know is safe, before pulling back more of the curtain to show a wider stage. (The first timeskip is startling enough, and successive ones have stronger impacts until the climactic one that's as baffling as it is shocking.) There's a couple narrative patterns that get a little tiresome and in the final arc, the author resorts to using an unreliable POV, apparently to up the tension but the effect is to make some reveals feel like ass-pulls, but those are quibbles. I won't say that the treatment of women is unproblematic, but it's better than typical for Chinese popular lit and some female characters are given complete respect by the narration. I do recommend this to anyone in search of a timesink* and interested in current trends in Chinese fantasy.

An Interpretation of Friends Worship by N. Jean Toomer, a Friends General Conference chapbook found randomly on Project Gutenberg. I've no idea how much sense it make to anyone unfamiliar with Quaker practice, but I found it spoke to my condition, to use the Friendly phrase.

The complete flower fairies of Cicely Mary Barker. I've one book of hers and read at least one or two more over the years, but having them all together as on that official website is nice. Archive binge! This is a good example of a mixed-medium art form: each {poem + picture} is a unit -- they require each other, and are significantly weaker when separated. (The sentiments are not very Chinese, but the genre certainly is.)

In progress:

The Four Seasons ed. by J.D. McClatchy, another Everyman's Library pocket hardcover poetry anthology. Needless to say, I'm All Over this one. Lots of good stuff, too. Am halfway through Summer (following Western tradition, it starts with Spring).

In Good King Charles's Golden Days by Bernard Shaw, which is a quite Shavian if somewhat rambly imagining of a 1680 meeting between Isaac Newton, George Fox, and Charles Stuart, with interruptions by three royal mistresses. And others.


* At 1600+ chapters, it's freakin' HUGE. The translation is somewhat over 3 million words long, or roughly the size as all the Jordan-only volumes of The Wheel of Time.


---L.

Subject quote from a recent episode of Saga Thing.
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Posted by John Scalzi

Coke announced today that it’s rebranding Coke Zero to “Coke Zero Sugar”:

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is the new and improved Coke Zero. We’ve made the great taste of Coke Zero even better by optimizing the unique blend of flavors that gave Coke Zero its real Coca-Cola taste. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is our best-tasting zero-sugar Coca-Cola yet, and it will be available across America in August.

Basically, it’s the same new formula it’s been introducing in foreign markets as “Coke No Sugar” but Coke is keeping the “Zero” branding here because it’s been successful and they don’t want to confuse us poor Americans any more than we already are in these trying times. Or something.

As I noted previously (see the second link, there), I am perfectly fine with Coke attempting this revamp — by all reviews I’ve seen the “Zero Sugar” version tastes more like standard Coke than Coke Zero, and since “actually tasting like regular Coke” is why I drink Coke Zero in the first place (Diet Coke shares its flavor profile with the late, unlamented New Coke), I’ll willing to give this new version a shot. If it turns out I hate it, well. I guess then that August 2017 will be a fine time for me to drastically cut down my soda drinking. I suspect I’ll probably continue calling the new stuff “Coke Zero” rather than “Coke Zero Sugar,” because it’s two fewer syllables and I’m all about efficiency.

So in effect, I think that this is less like Coke Zero dying than it is Coke Zero regenerating, timelord-like, into its next iteration. And I suspect I will remain its constant companion.


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Posted by Leah Schnelbach

Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa

Yoko Ogawa has been gifting Japan with dark, obsessive fiction for over thirty years, but only some of her work in currently available in English. Ogawa’s debut The Breaking of the Butterfly won the 1988 1988 Kaien literary Prize, and since then she’s written a number of bestselling and award-winning novels and short stories, two of which were adapted into films. In 2006, she teamed up with a mathematician, Masahiko Fujiwara to write a non-fiction work about the beauty of numbers titled An Introduction to the World’s Most Elegant Mathematics. She won 2008’s Shirley Jackson Award for Best Collection for The Diving Pool.

Revenge, which came out in 1998 in Japan, was translated into English by Stephen Snyder in 2013. It’s what’s referred to as “a collection of linked short stories”—but here the links tend to be macabre hinges that hint at a darker and far more frightening world than what we see on the page.

There are many different ways to build worlds. Revenge does it through a series of nested short stories. As you read each story, a character or detail from each one will carry over into the next, linking the stories in surprising and unsettling ways. But this isn’t just a game of spot-the-reference or an Easter Egg hunt—often Ogawa dispenses with the connection in the first paragraph to move on to a deeper story.

In “Sewing for the Heart,” an expert bag-maker tries to make a purse to hold a woman’s heart, which sits on the outside of her chest. He decides on a sealskin pouch, and in measuring her heart, notices that her blood is “clear, not red, pumping through the fine veins and arteries and then disappearing into her body.” We’re shown the heart, but denied blood. That is, until halfway through the story, when the man’s hamster dies. Not knowing what to do he wanders the city, mourning his pet, and finally gives up and stops at a burger joint.

When I went to throw the trash, I slipped the hamster out of the pouch, on the tray next to my food, and slid him into the bin. I don’t think anyone noticed.

He must be covered in ketchup by now.

Instead of blood we get ketchup. The animal proves to be the connective tissue this time, as the next story, “Welcome to the Museum of Torture,” shows us a young woman spotting the hamster’s body in the trash as she runs errands. She comments on the hamster, then talks about a murder that occurred in her upstairs neighbor’s apartment, running over the details several times and imagining her upstairs neighbor slashing a man’s throat. Here we get the blood that was deferred in the previous story. After the woman’s boyfriend dumps her—seemingly for being unhealthily excited about the murder—she goes wandering just as the bag-maker did. Instead of a fast food restaurant, she finds the titular Museum of Torture. The curator takes her on a guided tour, and she happily imagines using the instruments on her now ex-boyfriend. Over only a few pages, Ogawa takes us from the sad, quiet death of a pet, through a violent murder, and into imaginings of torture, each scene punctuated with perfect details. Sometimes the connections are even more tenuous: in “Lab Coats,” one character simply knows a character who was stuck on the stalled train from the previous story, “The Little Dustman.” No other connection is needed—the same snowstorm that delayed a man traveling to his stepmother’s funeral may have saved another man’s marriage. The snow that caused so much pain a few pages ago now becomes an instrument of benevolent fate… or at least, it seems to, until, another two pages later, Ogawa reveals that it has also led to a murder.

Over the course of the book, Ogawa introduces us to hairdressers, hospital administrators, schoolchildren, writers, editors, and bakers. She takes us through ever strata of society, and in and out of spaces personal and private, each time with delicate control and intimate familiarity. She has an extraordinary ear for dialogue, particularly for the sorts of dropped bombs that show you what you need to know. And maybe best of all, she knows how to turn a story. In the collection’s opening, we’re introduced to an idyllic town on a lovely day:

It was a beautiful Sunday. The sky was a cloudless dome of sunlight. Out on the square, leaves fluttered in a gentle breeze along the pavement. Everything seemed to glimmer with a faint luminescence: the roof of the ice-cream stand, the faucet on the drinking fountain, the eyes of a stray cat, even the base of the clock tower covered with pigeon droppings.

The day is so perfect, even bird shit is made magical. A woman waits in a sunny bakery to buy a pair of strawberry shortcakes—one for herself and one for her son. Another woman, the proprietor of a spice shop, tells her all about the quality of the bakery’s goods, taking special care to commend the baker for using her own shop’s spices:

“I can guarantee they’re good. The best thing in the shop. The base is made with our special vanilla.”

“I’m buying them for my son. Today is his birthday.”

“Really? Well, I hope it’s a happy one. How old is he?”

“Six. He’ll always be six. He’s dead.”

In one four-line paragraph Ogawa turns the story from a celebration into a nightmare. The warmth of the day, the scent of pastries and fruit, the homely image of a mother buying cakes for her son—all of them are peeled back to show a grieving woman who commemorates her child’s life through a heartbreaking birthday ritual, and thinks nothing of casually laying her pain out for a stranger to see. From this moment on you know you’re in a far darker world than the one you first saw.

Some stories edge into supernatural horror: a gardener harvests a crop of hand-shaped carrots, and the mystery is only kind of solved when a body turns up, also in the garden, missing its hands; the aforementioned heart beats perfectly, exposed to open air; the woman who’s lost her son receives a call from an alternate universe where the boy had a chance to grow up. But most of the stories stick to pure modern Gothic: jealous lovers murder each other; doomed children suffocate in refrigerators; pet tigers prowl immaculate gardens. The whole book adds up to a tone more than anything else—the feeling that you’ve wandered into a garden in time to hear a terrifying story, only to discover that you can’t find your way out.

The first book I read for this column was Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus. One of my favorite aspects of that book was the way Carter hopped in and out of different characters points of view. She destroyed the idea of a “main character” because she treated everyone like they were the main character of their own story. Ogawa does a similar thing through these linked short stories. By taking us around this unnamed town, and spinning us off into the lives of passersby, neighbors, pets, coworkers—Ogawa creates a living, thriving city full of people with their own histories and narrative arcs. As in life, there are no side characters. Each new character brings with them an entire history of desires and fears, and each story contains an entire world of hope and horror.

Leah Schnelbach knows that as soon as this TBR Stack is defeated, another will rise in its place. Come give her reading suggestions on Twitter!

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Posted by Tor.com

We’re excited to share the cover for Brooke Bolander’s The Only Harmless Great Thing, a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted.

Find out more about the book, and check out the full cover—designed by Will Staehle—below!

The Only Harmless Great Thing will be available January 2018 from Tor.com Publishing. From the catalog copy:

In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island.

These are the facts.

Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice.

Cover design by Will Staehle

Bolander remarks upon a thunderous emergence to this new book; a story that had to be told, that couldn’t be put off once it was realized:

“It is, above all else, a story about forgotten fury, an alternate history where rage from different quarters is allowed to combine and how the resulting chain reaction changes the world. I am thrilled to absolute atoms to finally be working with Tor.com and Marco Palmieri on this little bookling, and I cannot wait for readers to get a peek into what our own combined elements are capable of.”

Pre-order The Only Harmless Great Thing at the links below, or from your preferred retailer.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

a nightmare this morning

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:08 am
ritaxis: (Default)
[personal profile] ritaxis
It starts with me watching a bit of a Trump speech or presser on a tv in a public space. It's unsettling but it's also foreshadowing. I go home--in this case it's an urban apartment, half below street level, in a brick building. It has big windows, and I can see into it before I go in. Ted's got a large group of people over to play a role playing game on a big table made of a sheet of masonite placed on trestles. This doesn't make me happy because we hadn't discussed it and I feel the need to decompress with him, to talk to him and listen to him.

When I go down into the apartment the kitchen is largely gutted. The line of cabinets is there, but empty, with doors and drawers gone, and the countertop is gone too. It's weird, because we hadn't discussed this either and I'm hungry and can't do anything about it and I can't talk to him because all these people I don't know are here. I go outside and the same thing is happening to the neighborhood--pieces of it are being gutted without any announcement. The place next door has had a bunch of valuable Precolombian artwork placed around the floor and on the sidewalk, which gives an inkling of what's going to happen there. A woman in overalls and a hardhagt is working and she hints that she doesn't know much about all this deconstruction but what she knows she can't tell me. Also, when I tell her about what's happening in my house she's really embarrassed, as she seems to have witnessed the work and to have some knowledge about that I should have but she doesn't feel she can tell me about that either.

The people in my house never seem to go home and I can't see any way to proceed so I just hang around getting more and more upset. Finally the game is over and some of them have left and I'm desperate and also I've been listening to him talk--or not talk-- and there's something about it that seems deeply wrong. So I just up and ask him what's going on with the kitchen. He doesn't say anything: he just looks embarrassed. I tell him it's just so weird that he didn't tell me anything about it, never mind asking me, he didn't even tell me, no warning. He says something but it's inadequate, it's not even the beginnings of an explanation or defense, and I see his eyes are so vague and kind of stupid and it hits me that he's not normal and he won't be getting normal again, that he's got dementia (like his grandmother) and life will never be the same. I'm off worrying about this and I say the word Alzheimer's to one of his guests and she's embarrassed  but what's much worse is when I wake up and realize that no, he doesn't have Alzheimer's, he's dead, he's gone, there's no Ted left to worry about at all.
selenak: (BambergerReiter by Ningloreth)
[personal profile] selenak
Having now read three of the four books the first two seasons of The Last Kingdom are based on, I find my original suspicion that Bernard Cornwell novels benefit from adaptions into other media because these take you out of the main character's head justified, though not always quite in the way I assumed. Because the novels are narrated by an older Uthred looking back, his narrating self can sometimes point out things his younger self did not yet see or realise, for example, that he wronged his first wife Mildrith, or that he underestimated Alfred early on because a chronically sick non-warrior valueing learning and feeling guilty about sex could not possibly be a strong leader in his young eyes. Otoh, older, wiser Uthred narrating still doesn't change the fact most female characters come across as more dimensional and fleshed out in the tv adaption than they do in the novels (Brida and Mildrith in the first, Hild and Aelswith in the second season - Iseult, alas, is a cliché in both versions).

The tv show cut or compressed various characters and slimmed down events, and given that they do two books per season so far, that's not surprising. But even if they took a longer time, I think some of the changes and cuts were to the narrative's benefit. For example: Cornwell has to come up with some pretty convoluted circumstances and far-stretched plots to have a teenage Uthred who is still with the Danes secretly present when Prince (not yet King) Alfred confesses about his carnal lapses to Beocca. In the book, he needs to be because he's the narrator and neither Alfred nor Beocca would have told him about this. The tv show dispenses with said circumstances and just has the scene between Alfred and Beocca, without Uthred secretly listening in, because he doesn't need to be in order for the audience to get this information about the young Alfred.

Mind you, dispensing with the first two times Uthred meets Alfred and letting their first encounter not happen until after Ragnar the Elder's death creates one important difference between book and show relationship that's worth mentioning. Book Uthred lies to Alfred (and Beocca) these first two times and point blank spies on them for the Danes, so the later "why do you keep distrusting me?" indignation rings a little hollow in this regard. Show Uthred does no such thing, so Alfred is accordingly less justified in his lingering ambiguity.

Another cut that somewhat shifts perception: the first novel has Uthred participating in a few Danish raids led by Ragnar, including one on Aelswith's hometown (though she doesn't know he took part). Now, in the show we go from Uthred the child to adult Uthred directly and adult Uthred is solely seen at Ragnar's home, with the deaths of Ragnar & Co. impending, but given adult Uthred later is shown to be already a skilled fighter, it stands to reason he practiced these skills. But I suspect the show avoided showing Uthred fighting against Saxon civilians this early on deliberately. Both show and books have Uthred loving the Danes but staying with the Saxons post Ragnar's death because various circumstances (and then Alfred's machinations) make it impossible for him to do otherwise. Only the book, though, spells out that Uthred doesn't start to feel any kind of identification/emotional connection to the Saxons until he sees them winning a battle (until then, narrator Uthred says, he hadn't thought Danes could lose, which makes sense given that throughout Uthred's childhood and adolescence, they were winning), when before he regarded them as weak and didn't want to think of himself as belonging to them. Which makes sense given Uthred is raised in a warrior culture and is a young, arrogant adolescent at the time, but again, I suspect the tv version avoids spelling this out in order not to make him off putting early on when establishing the character.

Otoh, the scenes the tv show adds in the two seasons where Uthred isn't present all serve to flesh out the characters in question more and work to their benefit, whether it's Alfred, Hild, Aelswith or Beocca. The notable exception is Guthred in s2, whose additional scenes make him look worse, not better than the novel does. Possibly, too, because in the novel Guthred is described having an easy charm that makes Book!Uthred forgive him even the truly terrible thing Guthred does to Uthred, and the actor playing Guthred on the show doesn't have that at all, and instead comes across as nothing but fearful, easily influenced and weak. (And show!Uthred while coming to terms with him doesn't forgive him.) I have to say, lack of actorly charm aside, given that Guthred does something spoilery to Uthred ), I find the tv version more realistic.

The push-pull relationship between Uthred and Alfred is there in both versions, but in the tv show, it comes across as more central. As my local library has it, I also read "Death of Kings", the novel in which, Alfred dies, not without manipulating Uthred one last time into doing what he wants him to do, and Uthred's thoughts on the man later, summing him up, are Cornwell's prose at its best:

I stood beside Alfred's coffin and thought how life slipped by, and how, for nearly all my life, Alfred had been there like a great landmark. I had not liked him. I had struggled against him, despised him and admired him. I hated his religion and its cold disapproving gaze, its malevolence that cloaked itself in pretended kindness, and its allegiance to a god who would drain the joy from the world by naming it sin, but Alfred's religion had made him a good man and a good king.
And Alfred's joyless soul had proved a rock against which the Danes had broken themselves. Time and again they had attacked, and time and again Alfred had out-thought them, and Wessex grew ever stronger and richer and all that was because of Alfred. We think of kings as privileged men who rule over us and have the freedom to make, break and flaunt the law, but Alfred was never above the law he loved to make. He saw his life as a duty to his god and to the people of Wessex and I have never seen a better king, and I doubt my sons, grandson and their children's children will ever see a better one. I never liked him, but I have never stopped admiring him. He was my king and all that I now have I owe to him. The food that I eat, the hall where I live and the swords of my men, all started with Alfred, who hated me at times, loved me at times, and was generous with me. He was a gold-giver.


Last Yuletide I added a Last Kingdom request at the last minute because I'd seen it had been nominated, and accordingly it was short, but this Yuletide I think I'll also offer, and will request in more detail and more characters. While the other historical tv shows I consumed during the last year were entertaining in various degrees, this was the only one which was also good.
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[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
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What I'm Reading Wednesday

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:42 pm
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[personal profile] angrboda
It's been ages since I've done this. Again.

Still slowly but surely making my way through The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. I've taken to listening while ironing instead of watching Netflix, so I can get a chapter or two in that way. About 75% of the way through now.

Also still reading The Scarab Path, but I'm quite close to the end. After that, this series will no longer be re-read, because this is as far as I ever got. I do remember the stuff that's going on in the book right now, but I'm quite pleased to not being able to remember what the big mystery was or even if an answer was given yet. I've got a suspicion, but on the other hand rather doubt it can be that simple. Also, more than ever I want to firmly whack a specific character over the head with a shovel. I remember growing to disliking that character over the course of this book the first time around, and it has happened all over again. Very much hope they will get over it. Soon. Soon would be good.

Finally, I've found myself suddenly picking up the first book of the Belgariad series by David Eddings and proceeding to chew through three more and half of a fourth. So actually nearly finished with the series. Again x many. Intend to power straight through the Mallorean series as well afterwards. Familarity = good de-stressor.

The Big Move Project Begins

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:45 am
redsixwing: Magikarp used Splash! meme with gold and orange 'karp and Great Wave off Kanagawa (splash)
[personal profile] redsixwing posting in [community profile] unclutter
So, I may have signed myself up to review every item in the house.

We're preparing for a major move and significantly smaller living space, so in a way, Everything Must Go, and in a way, we'll want to take very specific items along. I'm using my favorite Thing A Day method - if I can do one thing a day, no matter how small, I'll get an awful lot done!

My deadline isn't until next spring, and it's not set in stone yet, so right now I'm getting my checklists in order and my expectations set. It helps that my spouse, Star, has been wanting to get some stuff out of the house anyway. We decided just to go whole hog - anything that seems like it ought to go, goes, and we don't have to wait for the deadline to get things out of the house.

Monday, we sat down and figured out where several large items ought to go. (Family members and friends, mostly. And if they don't want them, to donation.)

Yesterday, I listed several collectors' items for price checks and got a nibble from an interested buyer.

Today, I need to get photos and get a sales thread up. I'll be adding to it as I go - I tend to be a thing collector, so I have a lot of things to get rid of.

Icon stickers

Jul. 26th, 2017 10:38 am
par_avion: collage of intl air mail stickers (Default)
[personal profile] par_avion posting in [community profile] vividcon
Wow, it's almost August!

This is your yearly Icon sticker request page. Make those requests! What are you feeling fannish about this year? What is your visual fan identity?

Please post here if possible. Anyone who only uses twitter can @ me there.
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

What do you do if your significant other thinks that you will go no where with your dream?

My boyfriend is a well known, local photographer. He does mainly fashion photo-shoots and is honestly, very talented at what he does.

I’m newly, discovering modeling. I had tried it before when I was younger; but, it didn’t workout since I had acne. I didn’t get my face cleared until I was almost 30 (ancient in modeling years). But I enjoy my hobby. I have discovered this new passion of mine. Walking on the runway feels great and I get a lot of compliments on my walk! People want to book me for shows, work with me in photos and I even try their new designs! Its very exciting.

I even came up with a concept for a photo-shoot. I made a head-piece, found a makeup artist, made sure to communicate how I want the lighting and am going to see my idea come into fruition. I would have never believed, I could bring that many people together to make an image. But, I can!

It all sounds great… but, my boyfriend doesn’t believe I’ll go anywhere. He’s made so many comments about the photos we’ve done together. He’s literally told me, “You’re not Naomi Campbell,” and he’s even tried to hide a photo-shoot he was doing with a couple of models from California… saying, “You would only be jealous of their careers.” And then invited me to hold the lights.

I have no idea what to do. I told him, I’m not jealous of anyone, but the fact that he got nervous about telling me was odd. I honestly, thought it was because he was going to flirt with them; not because “You’ll be jealous of their careers.”

I’m not sure where he would get a comment like that in the first place? And I’m tired of him trying to put me down with his harsh criticism. He told me, he would say things like that, because he works in a an industry where its normal for people to say those things… However, he’s had a TON of other photo-shoots and has never told anyone else these things? I guess, I don’t understand.

I know, he doesn’t believe I will walk in New York Fashion Week. He’s reminded me that I’m 5’7″, on a daily basis, saying he’s just giving me a “Realistic perspective.” But I never asked him. I also, didn’t even have that as a goal… I just, honestly like what I’m doing. Its inspired me to create things, to try new adventures and meet new people.

My heart is kind of broken because he’s the one person, I thought, would believe in me. Or at least, be proud of me…. instead, all I get is “You’re not Naomi Campbell.”

I told him he could no longer take my photos. We can no longer work together. And I have no time to doubt myself. I work a full-time day job. I have shows booked until November and I want to plan more things! There should be no time wasted on being self-conscious.

We have talked about this issue a lot over the last few days and we worked out some resolutions we are both happy with; along with boundaries of not working together anymore…

But there is still this pain, knowing that he doesn’t believe I can do this. I tell myself, I never needed anyone before, why would I still want his approval?

What should I do?

Half of me, thinks that we can still be together despite this. Because I am quite old, it’s too late to walk the New York runways. I wouldn’t even qualify for them at my height. He has a point…

But there is that other part of me, that still wants to continue. That never wants to place a ceiling on my passion… And that part, is extremely hurt, the love of my life wants to give me a “reality check.”

Thanks in Advance,

The Independent Model

Dear Independent Model,

If you want to talk “reality checks” I checked with Reality and it said “Hey, you’re already a model!”

You’re already a model. You are creating photo shoots. You are walking runways. You are being booked for work. You are already doing it. You have a gorgeous attitude about the work and the adventure of meeting new people and making beautiful images. You have me kind of dying to see your photos because you sound so positive and cool and I want to see the face of the person who makes me feel this excited reading about her work! Just from your letter I can tell that you are stunning and striking and that people want to be around you.

Your boyfriend is right about what people sometimes say about and to models in the fashion industry. In a student film I made long ago there is a scene where two women pick apart the appearance of a third (the scene starts around 5:40). The actresses who play the stylists both worked as models a lot and their dialogue was improvised 100% out of things people have said to them in real life. They were expected to stand there and not react because “professionalism.” It’s shitty and hurtful and objectifying, and just because it happens in real life doesn’t mean you have to internalize and live it like it’s the truest thing about you. And it doesn’t mean that your boyfriend has to contribute to it, to participate in it. Is this how he talks to all the models he knows? Or does he save it all for you, the woman he supposedly loves? Either way, misogyny and cruelty are not a good look, dude.

It’s okay to not collaborate with your romantic parter even if you are in the same field. It’s actually smart to put boundaries around that sometimes. I need my husband and I to to love each other even if we never make another movie or write another word, or even if we make stuff that’s terrible. If the relationship only goes well when the work goes well, then there’s a fear that if the work goes badly it will make the relationship go badly. So, it’s okay to decide not to cross the streams of work and also smart for you to seek out other photographers. That’s not even the problem here.

The problem is that I think his comments about you being jealous of other people’s careers are him projecting all over the place. He’s jealous of other photographers and their careers. He’s jealous of you, for launching into the space he thought was his alone, the space where he has authority and gets to pretend he’s a gatekeeper of some sort, the space where he thought his giant lens gave him power to decide what’s beautiful enough. He’s jealous of you for blowing the doors off the illusion that he’s some sort of tastemaker. He’s jealous of you for not accepting what he thought were the rules of your industry. He’s jealous of you because you’ve already surpassed his expectations and he can tell that you are about to surpass him. He’s jealous of you because you’re not jealous when he works with other models, and it would be cool if that made you sort of jealous, because it would make him feel powerful. He’s jealous of you for being braver than he is, and instead of sitting with that discomfort and deciding, whoa, my girlfriend is AWESOME, he’s chosen the path of “Well, don’t get your hopes up, babe.

Go ahead and get your hopes up, lovely Letter Writer. Get your hopes up about creating new work and expressing yourself and enjoying what you do for as long as you want to do it. And get your hopes all the way up about finding a partner who will celebrate you and believe in you. Your boyfriend is not that guy. He is a small man with a limited vision and a smaller heart. You, on the other hand, are a g.d. Valkyrie. It’s never going to work, I’m sorry. You’ll never be able to make yourself small enough to fit into the box he thinks is marked “girlfriend.” You’ve already outgrown it, and him.

Break up. Be sad for a while. Keep going with your dream. The world holds all the “reality checks” and rejection and doubt and failure any of us will ever need. We don’t actually need any of that from people who say they love us.

 


Food! Glorious Food!

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:21 am
lsanderson: (Default)
[personal profile] lsanderson
Traces of Controversial Herbicide Are Found in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
By STEPHANIE STROM
The ice cream brand joins the list of food companies that are grappling with trace amounts of glyphosate in their products.

The Hot New Thing in Guatemala, Land of Coffee? It’s Coffee
By ELISABETH MALKIN
Guatemalan coffee is revered at cafes around the world. Now it is gaining a devoted following not far from the farms where it is grown.

CITY KITCHEN
Miso duck is good in any season, but especially as the star element in a main course salad, perfect for summer.
An Instant Way to Bolster Flavor


Miso imbues everything it touches with a sweet, salty, nutty complexity.
By DAVID TANIS
Recipe: Grilled Duck Breast With Miso, Ginger and Orange

A GOOD APPETITE
The base for a good nondairy ice cream relies on alternative milks, like those from hemp, coconut and cashew.
Vegan Ice Cream Enters a Golden Age

With a huge variety of plant-based milks now available on the market, nondairy ice creams are getting better than ever.
By MELISSA CLARK
Recipes: Nondairy Ice Cream Base

Hot Enough for You? Try Eating Something Even Hotter


On summer scorchers, Korean tradition calls for a boiling bowl of chicken, rice and ginseng that’s believed to work better than anything cold.
By DAVE KIM
Recipe: Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup)

For the Chile Aficionado, a Good Book


By FLORENCE FABRICANT
The chef Maricel E. Presilla’s new book, “Peppers of the Americas,” is an encyclopedia of facts and recipes.

THE POUR
The Delicious World of Bruno, Chief of Police

Martin Walker shares the wines and food of the Périgord region, which inspired the fictional world of Bruno Courrèges, his small-town French police chief.
By ERIC ASIMOV

Bo Pilgrim, Founder of Pilgrim’s Pride Poultry Products, Dies at 89
By ROBERT D. HERSHEY Jr.
Mr. Pilgrim joined a brother in taking over a Texas feed store owned by their father and transformed it into a company with 35,000 employees and operations in 17 states and Mexico.
[syndicated profile] tordotcom_feed

Posted by Fran Wilde

As I gleefully watched my Bone Universe come to life through Tommy Arnold’s stunning art over the past three years, I’ve noticed both small details and bigger themes—from wing architecture to landscape to color choices.

With the series’ conclusion this fall (September 26th—and, hey! you can preorder your copy of Horizon now!), one of the things I wanted most to do was to talk with Tommy and Tor’s Creative Director, Irene Gallo, about their processes and how they went about making this series resonate visually.

Luckily, they were happy to oblige.

Tommy, your work for the Bone Universe series—from Updraft and Cloudbound through Horizon—is so distinctive and evocative. When you started the project, what initially caught your eye?

Tommy Arnold: What starts any good project is an email from Irene. Working with her is always a blast and as you’ll see from many of my answers, her hand in the work in unmistakable and hugely influential to how the images turn out. She gives me a set of parameters and says “go,” and after than my work begins. From there we bounce things back and forth until everyone is happy. Here, initially, she really wanted a different take on the world: something more organic and alive, something that moved.

So Irene, when you started the project what was it about Tommy’s work that drew your imagination?

Irene Gallo: First of all, he’s great with figure work and that’s so important for many of our jobs, this one included. We knew we wanted to focus on the central character. After that, his use of light and lost edges gives an ethereal look to his pieces (when he wants it to) and that seemed appropriate for a series set largely in the sky.

Following up on that a little. Irene, what kind of instructions do you normally give a Tor artist? How did this work with Updraft, Cloudbound, and Horizon?

IG: It really depends on both the project and the artist in question. Sometimes we are really specific about a scene, other times we give a brief synopsis and a few settings. In this case we had a pretty clear idea what we wanted for each book. But Tommy is a big reader,* as well. So he read the books to give himself a more nuanced understanding of the project.

(*Not all artists are, and to be honest, it’s not their job to be… But it certainly helps when they read the books. Of course, we don’t always have the manuscripts when we are starting the cover process.)

Updraft cover art by Tommy Arnold.

Tommy, who are your influences in general? For the series?

TA: I’m pretty stingy about the art I really like but a few artists who’ve changed my work with their own would include Brian Stelfreeze (my first real mentor and the man who laid the foundation for the house that my art rests on today), Sam Weber, Benjamin Bjorklund, Greg Manchess, Robert Heindel, John Singer Sargent (of course), Richard Anderson, and David Downton.

Perhaps my greatest influence generally and for this series, however, is David Grove, an illustrator who got his start in the ’60s and did incredible work in gouache lift and acrylic. His best compositions contain both the gravity of stillness and the beauty of subtle motions. His body of work is a well of inspiration I return to again and again.

Thinking about colors—each cover has its own distinct palette, how did both of you choose?

TA: For this series I wanted to convey a real sense of sweeping beauty throughout the covers, so I opened up the ranges of colors that I would normally use. Full color ranges tend to carry the beauty of harmonious color palettes while staying dynamic.

That said, individual groupings of color carry specific connotations, so I couldn’t just splash color around willy-nilly. The first cover is the full allowable gamut of colors complementing the sky blue that relates to the original hardback cover color; though I went a touch lighter with the blue to describe the hopefulness that always accompanies beginnings. Darker blues tend to feel more mysterious to me.

The cover for Book 2 is a more unsettling color palette of greens and yellows that would convey the tension of the scene and thereby, the story. The palette is punctuated by a bright red that drives home the idea of conflict. I used some neutral greys to imitate cool blues in the scene, to continue the use of more open color ranges. Despite the tension, there is still a hint of beauty to be found. Normally I might have left out one of these 4 color families, but not here.

Book 3 was a struggle; I remember emailing you to get an idea specifically of the tone the cover should carry. You mentioned hope, specifically, which was great because it helped relate back around to Book 1 where some subtle purples had crept into the clouds. The fuller purples and yellows of Book 3 sound triumph and and the dawning of new hope after conflict. I remember also submitting a very different light red color comp for this as well, which conveyed hopefulness by keeping the red quite light in certain places, but still alluded more strongly to conflict than to hope. Both you and Irene favored hopefulness for this cover, which seems right.

I should mention, for each of these covers multiple sketches are submitted. That means I have to find a couple ways to say what I mean with color. I try to orbit similar ideas with slight variation in each sketch and let Irene’s judgment do the rest. When I’m really not sure, I’ll do some that are sort of opposite colors and, again, leave it in Irene’s hands.

IG: I’ll be honest, that is largely a marketing issue. Not which color a book is, but when you are working on a series, people like to be able to quickly identify each installment. Having an overall color scheme per book is one way to aid that. It works editorially as well. The first volume is set highest up, so of course the blue sky and white clouds made the most sense. And then progressing through sunset colors, descending into ground colors.

The figures featured in the series are dynamic and posed in ways that lead into the story This is a two-part question…First, how did you select which figures in which scenes to use for each cover?

TA: This is another one where all the credit goes to Irene and the team at Tor. Before I get the brief, the scene (more or less) and who will be in it is already decided. They do a pretty good job it seems :) After that my job is to make it look as cool as possible within the constraints I’ve been given.

IG: Updraft’s editor, Miriam Weinberg, helped us a lot by picking really good scenes. It made this job relatively easy and let us get right to the work of making it look good. I think the structure of the books creates a natural order to the whole set, but she did a great job of choosing dynamic scenes and a range of chapters to engage readers with.

Cloudbound cover art by Tommy Arnold.

Second, Kirit’s pose in the Updraft cover (right wing extended), is mimicked by her pose in the Horizon cover (right arm extended)—it’s a subtle thing, but one that really drives home the unity of the series, as well as Kirit’s missing wings. How did you come up with that?

IG: Tommy is a really smart illustrator. Many people can render well, but bringing a voice to the work, and making nuanced editorial notes like that, are the reasons an Art Director loves working with a particular illustrator.

TA: As with the colors, the needs of the brief brought home some happy accidents like this one that, you’re right, really did bring the trilogy together. On the last cover I submitted two sketches: one where Kirit was crouched on a rock in front of a red sunrise, and one where she was striding down a hill in front of a more uplifting yellow/purple sunrise. Irene basically said: “Do the crouching pose, but in the yellow one,” and as I adjusted the pose the compositional needs of the piece necessitated that arm placement to be used again. I’d love to say it was more intelligent than that but as an artist I generally use my gut and let the images tell me where they need to go, instead of trying to get too smart.

 

Irene, since Tommy’s cited your influence and guidance as a major factor in his work with the series—what’s it like working on a project like this with an artist like Tommy?

IG: It’s been a blast watching Tommy’s career explode over the past few years. It wasn’t that long ago that I first met him. He was clearly serious about building a career, but his portfolio, while technically good, lacked a unique voice. Next I saw him at the Illustration Master Class and he came in with a sketch that was clearly the basis of what his voice was going to be. It was really exciting to see the beginnings of him branching off from technical ability to artistic expression. Then all he needed to do was harness that expression and be able to do it consistently on cue. It really didn’t take long for him to get there. I’ve been working with him ever since.

Perspective is a major element in each composition, and across the trio—in Updraft, the view is above Kirit, looking down; we’re looking dead on at Nat and Kirit in Cloudbound; in Horizon, we’re just a little below ground level, looking up at Kirit and Ciel. Can both of you talk a bit about the choices made?

TA: Irene told me from the start that over the course of the three covers, the characters would visually descend the towers, until they were at the bottom. Because I got the briefs for Book 1 and Book 2 at the same time, it was easier to plot things out for the trilogy as a whole, rather than dealing with each cover on a case-by-case basis as I’m forced to do with most series. Once Irene went with the downshot sketch for Book 1, the idea just sort of presented itself as obvious and something really cool that would give more and more power to the characters, even as they descended. I was trained by a comic book artist (Brian Stelfreeze), so I jump at little chances for enhanced storytelling, even in a collection of single images.

IG: That again came from the settings of the books. The trilogy seemed tailor-made to create that kind of continuum—high point of view, middle point of view, low point of view.

I will say, though, that it’s another testament to Tommy’s abilities that he looks for various angles in all his pieces. Too many artists default to an eye level point of view for all their work. It can get dull, fast.

What was it like to draw the towers?

TA: Difficult! Finding the right mixture of organic and structural elements was a matter of research and practice. On the first cover I repainted the towers a couple of times, each time refining and trying to remember what worked and what didn’t. After that I sort of had a formula I could lean on but still…

To be honest I’m never sure how much I succeed or fail in these sorts of things. If I had to do it again there’s things I’d change, but I’m sure I’d also ruin some of the good things about them—that just seems to be how it goes.

Horizon cover art by Tommy Arnold

Tommy, how did you work with the text to get the wing design so amazing?

TA: I think you have some of the chicken scratch sketches we used to lay out the design…and I guess I can’t stop you from including them here if you so choose…

The wings were tricky primarily because what looks good and what matches the text were, in this case, not totally the same, so we had to find a design that could work visually and still be semi-authentic to the wings in the story. I was really glad we were able to be in touch about it. I’ll happily go off-book with details if it suits my needs or the needs of the brief, but I do feel a bit guilty about it sometimes.

Again, as with the towers, reference was key. I looked at how different sorts of modern and historical gliders worked, as well as animal wings (bats especially), and tried to synthesize those references with your own descriptions to find something pleasing. And when I talk about design I almost always mean visual design—as a cover artist my main concern has to be how it looks. I won’t sacrifice cool for functional.

The background of each piece is as filled with detail and—dare I say it—plot Easter eggs, as the foreground. How did you come up with such a rich layering technique?

TA: A little luck and a lot of practice. One of my mentors, Greg Manchess, is a master of depth and he was always pushing me to go deeper and deeper with my paintings. Typically these days I prefer arrangements that hint at depth but are visually sort of flat and put together so as to almost be graphic, but in this case depth was called for by the needs of the briefs. Multiple characters in complex settings just demands a lot of depth, and it also happened to be a perfect fit for this world!

Can we talk about how well Tommy’s work invokes wind? I don’t really have a question here, I just want to say it breathes, it gusts, it whooshes. It’s amazing how he does that (in The Jewel & Her Lapidary, too)…

IG: He’s great at paying attention to edges. We share some favorite artists so I feel confident in saying that he’s spent a lot of time thinking about edges. He knows when to carefully define an item and when to lose the edges and let items blend into each other. It gives elements (including people) a great sense of movement and life.

TA: In my answer about influences I mentioned David Grove. Many of the painters of his day put down gesso on their boards (and their paint as well) in vertical motions, so that everything had a sort of vertical striping. Dave tried out putting the gesso base down side-to-side instead, and found that he really liked it. What I think worked so well about it was that it evoked a left-to-right sense of motion that so fit with the subtle movement in his pieces. Ever since seeing his work, I’ll sometimes emulate this technique digitally to get that same feeling of motion. It was perfect for these covers; so really you have Dave to thank!

Tommy, what are you working on now?

TA: Most of my work right now is covers and I’m doing a fair bit of work on Magic: The Gathering, as well. Covers are so much fun because their needs typically best fit the sort of art I want to be making anyways.

Thanks to everyone for participating in this conversation!


Tommy Arnold is an award-winning illustrator of science fiction and fantasy, working for clients such as Tor Books, Orbit Books, Subterranean Press, and Wizards of the Coast. His work has been featured on the cover of ImagineFX magazine and in the pages of illustration annuals Illustrators, American Illustration, Communication Arts, and Spectrum.

Irene Gallo is the Associate Publisher of Tor.com and Creative Director for Tor Books.

Fran Wilde is the author of the Bone Universe series. Her novels and short stories have been nominated for two Nebula awards and a Hugo, and include her Andre Norton-winning debut novel, Updraft (Tor 2015), its sequels, Cloudbound (2016) and Horizon (2017), and the novelette “The Jewel and Her Lapidary” (Tor.com Publishing 2016). Her short stories appear in Asimov’s, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Shimmer, Nature, and the 2017 Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. She writes for publications including The Washington Post, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, iO9.com, and GeekMom.com. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at franwilde.net.

new Bujold podcast interview

Jul. 26th, 2017 10:02 am
filkferengi: filk fandom--all our life's a circle (Default)
[personal profile] filkferengi posting in [community profile] vorkosigan
http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/15467364-new-bujold-podcast-interview

...is here:

http://www.podcasts.com/live-from-the...

The interview starts at about 1 minute in, and runs about 30 minutes.

This was recorded on Day 4 of ConVergence, earlier this month. (Which seems longer ago than that, already.)

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on July, 24

Wednesday Reading Meme

Jul. 26th, 2017 10:11 am
osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

I finished The Railway Children! [personal profile] asakiyume had acquired a copy of the most recent movie for us to watch, which gave me extra impetus, but it was a real pleasure to read so I probably would have galloped through it anyway. Highly recommended if you like early twentieth-century children’s books.

Also highly recommended: the 2000 film version of The Railway Children, which is quite faithful to the book - it cuts a couple of scenes (and one of the cut scenes is the one tragically sexist scene in the book, which is otherwise so good about letting the girls be just as heroic as their brother) but doesn’t add much, which IMO is generally where adaptations go wrong, adding in scenes that don’t suit at all. The biggest addition, I think, is that the film draws out some of the stuff about class relations which is latent in the book - but it doesn’t become overbearing or anything; it’s still quite secondary to the fun adventures.

Also Jerry, by Jean Webster - who is most famous for writing Daddy-Long-Legs - and this is definitely a case where I can see why that’s the book she’s remembered for, although Jerry is not without charms. A young American man - and, as a side note, his name is Jerymn, which I have never seen before and would be inclined to take as a misspelling of Jermyn except Webster spells it that way every single time. Has anyone else run across this name? How do you pronounce it?

Anyway, Jerry - to give him his easily pronounceable nickname - Jerry is vacationing in a dull Italian country town when he meets a beautiful American girl. To get closer to her (and enliven his dull days), he masquerades as an Italian tour guide. She sees through him at once, but doesn’t let on, and the rest of the book consists of the two of them gleefully upping the ante of the masquerade.

What I’m Reading Now

I’m almost done with Jane Langton’s The Astonishing Stereoscope, which sadly I think is not nearly as good as either The Fragile Flag or The Fledgling, although also not nearly as bad as The Time Bike. A good middling Langton! And I will continue to search for The Swing in the Summerhouse, which is about, I think, a magical swing, which I think is just perfect and delightful and I hope the book lives up to it.

There are also a couple of post-Time Bike books in this series, but I am a little leery about reading them. Still, if I do run across them…

What I Plan to Read Next

My next reading challenge is coming up! It is “a book published before you were born,” and the only challenging part of this will be fixing on just one. The library has kindly purchased Kate Seredy’s The Chestry Oak for me (this is the first time I have made a purchase request at a library! I feel so powerful!), so perhaps that; but there is also the possibility of reading more Nesbit...

Wednesday Reading

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:27 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I did a fair amount of reading over the weekend, and early this week.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott was too nerve-wracking and painful for me to read right now; I finished it, but the sequels will definitely have to wait. The race and class issues were very well-depicted, I thought, and the suspense was excellent. I am just too stressed about the world to handle this sort of thing in fiction right now.

The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch was, alas, much shorter than I had hoped. Abigail was so great! I want all the Abigail stories!!!

I was happily surprised that Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb, 43rd in the series, was much better than several of the previous volumes. There were a lot of twists and barriers to solving the mystery, capturing the perpetrators, and bringing them to justice, and remarkably little checking in with the huge recurring cast, which can become tedious. I read this partly because mysteries are comforting (justice wins!) and partly for purposes of analysis. I need to write down notes on its structure and character types and things like that.

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