gramarye1971: a lone figure in silhouette against a blaze of white light (Fire on the Mountain)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
I found a 40-question fic meme a while ago, and discovered that 40 questions is pretty daunting to try to complete all at once. So I'm breaking it up into chunks of 10 questions each.

Questions 1 through 10 under the cut. )

Answers to questions 11 through 20 by early next week, I hope!
naraht: (other-Deborah)
[personal profile] naraht
Picked this up in Oxfam, having seen the original French version recommended in language learning forums. (Someday...)

I hadn't heard of Marguerite Yourcenar before this, but she have been a sort of Belgian Mary Renault. Mid-century female writer, bisexual, spent most of her life living abroad with a female partner, wrote historical novels about gay men in the ancient world. (New Yorker article about her)

Her style (or the translation, which was done by her partner) is self-consciously literary in a way that makes Mary Renault look like the middlebrow hack writer that she was. (Kidding, except in the sense that I'm not.)

And although I'm not that far through the book, she seems to have had a rather more humane outlook than Renault. An interesting read.

(no subject)

Apr. 27th, 2017 08:52 am
nestra: (Default)
[personal profile] nestra
Everything Happens Twice
by Eve Robillard

That bird sitting dazed on the railing
has flown into your window before.

The dead-end street you’ve turned onto-
You did that just last month. The boss

calling you into his office
has nothing new to say.

There are only so many scripts.
Everything happens twice.

The friend who borrows your raincoat
will borrow your raincoat tomorrow. The parent

who never loved you enough
is doing it from the grave. You are writing

the very same poem
over & over again they are playing

that old, old song but it’s never
the very last dance. So smile at the guy

who drinks too much-
the one with forget-me-not eyes. Sleep

with the one who calls you
by another woman’s name.


"Everything Happens Twice" by Eve Robillard from Everything Happens Twice. © Fireweed Press, 2002.

(no subject)

Apr. 26th, 2017 11:13 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
I wish there was as much socially conscious amateur criticism of literary fiction as there is for SFF; I mean, with the way things go, probably a fair amount of it would be "depicting a bad thing is bad," and most of the rest wouldn't get much further with the things that I'm wrestling with than I have, but. I feel like I'm stuck, sometimes.

I'm deeply ambivalent about what kinds of moral responsibilities fiction writers have. (I'm pretty certain about my the kinds of responsibilities I feel wrt my own fiction writing but that's a different ball of wax). And at the same time, I don't think that the discomfort I feel about story X is a matter of technique. I don't want to be prudish, I don't want to say that some subjects are off limits.

But if you're asking your readers to follow you through some dark places, I think you've got to think about whether you're giving them enough light to get out again.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
[personal profile] sophia_sol
(Consisting of: Alanna: The First Adventure, In the Hand of the Goddess,
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, Lioness Rampant)

Hmmm not quite sure what to say about these books! It's been quite a while since I've reread them since this was never the Tamora Pierce series that I was most captivated by.

They're obviously her first books, and have a variety of flaws (some plot points/character choices that don't quite make sense, the well-meaning racism that's racism nonetheless, the uncomfortable dynamics in how some of Alanna's romantic relationships are portrayed, and so forth) but the books are nonetheless a charming quick read, if you can look past those factors.

Also its brand of feminism is...of its era (Alanna is Not Like Other Girls! And so forth.) but it's well-meaning and was hugely important for its time.

And I still have huge quantities of childhood nostalgia for these books. I care about these characters so much!

(no subject)

Apr. 26th, 2017 06:55 pm
nestra: (moon river)
[personal profile] nestra
On Turning 37
by Kareem Tayyar

Today you remind yourself that although Buddy Holly was 17
            When he first sang “Peggy Sue”,
And that Fitzgerald was 24 when he published This Side of Paradise,
And that Dylan was only 21 when he composed
            “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”
            In the studio while the other musicians shot pool and played cards,

Whitman was 37 when he wrote "Song of Myself",
Rousseau was 40 when he first picked up a paintbrush in his Paris apartment
            And began creating those indelible images of the African jungles
            That were largely responsible for the birth of Modem Art,
And even J.F.K,
            He of that perpetual youth and beauty that signaled a departure from
            The grandfather-politics of men like Eisenhower and Truman,
Was 43 when he took the oath of office for the Presidency.

In other words,
Go back to sleep, buddy.
There is still plenty of time to climb the mountain,
And there is no reason to think that your best days are already behind you.



"On Turning 37" by Kareem Tayyar from Magic Carpet Poems. © Tebot Bach Press, 2015.

Wednesday Reading Meme

Apr. 26th, 2017 03:39 pm
sineala: Detail of Harry Wilson Watrous, "Just a Couple of Girls" (reading)
[personal profile] sineala
What I Just Finished Reading

Arkady & Boris Strugatsky, Roadside Picnic (tr. Olena Bormashenko): The Strugatsky brothers have been on my to-read list for a long time, and this seems to be the only book of theirs in print in English; I think I would have preferred Monday Begins on Saturday. Anyway, if you want bleak Soviet SF about a world where the aliens came but didn't care about us and left their trash behind, I've got a book for you right here. It's about a group of "stalkers" who go into the Zone to pilfer said alien trash, an avocation which is occasionally deadly. And also, you know, what is intelligence, what is humanity, etc etc. And a lot of drinking. Really a lot of drinking. It was good, and the translation read very fluently, but I think maybe next time I'd like a book with more people and fewer faceless lonely murderous voids of existence.

What I'm Reading Now

Black Panther #13, Infamous Iron Man #7, Mighty Captain Marvel #4, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #18, Ultimates 2 #6, X-Men Blue #2, X-Men Gold #2 )

What I'm Reading Next

Dunno.

wednesday reads 'n things

Apr. 26th, 2017 12:45 pm
isis: winged Isis image (wings)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading: Er, I haven't actually finished anything recently. Which is a bit embarrassing because it's been two weeks since my last books post. But I've been reading fanfiction, including an original fic which I'm going to count as a book; and also, playing Ruzzle (a phone wordgame akin to Boggle) and Witcher 3 and watching some more Black Sails (four eps left in the last season), and I was on a vacation for four days mountain biking with my husband and another couple and didn't manage to read anything because we spent the evenings talking and drinking and playing bocce. /excuses

What I'm currently reading: Lots of things!

Grace of Kings by Ken Liu - my current audiobook, of which my opinion goes from two-star to four-star and back again pretty much every listening session. After my grumbling to [personal profile] ambyr that he just fridged another potentially excellent female character, the next bit I listened to...introduced a fabulous female character and gave her what looks like a starring role! After a really solid scene which sounded very much like an ending...I realized I was only 3/4 through the book.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - I am at the point where I'm sort of hatereading it just because it's there. All the characters are awful, which I realize is the point, but I don't care for books like that.

The Course of Honour by [archiveofourown.org profile] Avoliot - original m/m arranged marriage in SPAAAACE fic. The arranged marriage bit is kind of dubious to me (dynastic marriages require the capability of making offspring!) but the story is entertaining and reasonably well-written, with interesting world-building and a solid non-romance plot (which is what sold me on it). I am not a romance fan, but I love relationships as b-plot to adventure/action/mystery/thriller stuff. (I found this because people were discussing it in a Books thread on ffa, and it sounded interesting enough to suspend my no-WIP rule.)

What I'm reading next: More fanfiction. (I'm reading a Witcher WIP right now, another exception to my rule, not really anything I'd give an unqualified rec to, but it's time travel, which is my bulletproof trope. Also I have promised two people I'd beta-read their fic, and I should be getting those soon.) I should get back to my collected Hugo-nominated short stories (spoiler alert: I haven't really liked the ones I've read, which is more about me not liking pro short stories in general than about the quality of the stories). I also have Catherynne Valente's Deathless on my phone, courtesy of a recent Tor books monthly giveaway, and I've been wanting to read it after a friend recommended it on my review of The Bear and the Nightingale as another Russian-mythology-inspired work.

Speaking of fanfic, I have my NoFM assignment and am pleased, though I have too many general ideas right now and not enough specific ones. I've also started writing another Witcher fic about totally minor characters nobody will be interested in, and have been poking at an abandoned WIP in another fandom that I might try to resurrect. Nothing like an assignment with a due date to make me want to write other things...
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
I just learned that Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, passed away on Monday, at the age of 88.

I've thought for a while that I should tell you about one of the more valuable things I got from ZAMM, which I refer to now as Pirsig's Pejorative Just, and now it seems like a fitting tribute to share the relevant passage:
[...] the English faculty at Bozeman, informed of their squareness, presented him with a reasonable question: "Does this undefined 'quality' of yours exist in things we observe?" they asked. "Or is it subjective, existing only in the observer?" It was a simple, normal enough question, and there was no hurry for an answer.

Hah. There was no need for hurry. It was a finisher-offer, a knockdown question, a haymaker, a Saturday-night special – the kind you don't recover from.

Because if Quality exists in the object then you must explain just why scientific instruments are unable to detect it [...] On the other hand, if Quality is subjective, existing only in the observer, then this Quality that you make so much of is just a fancy name for whatever you like. [...] If he accepted the premise that Quality was objective, he was impaled on one horn of the dilemma. If he accepted the other premise that Quality was subjective, he was impaled on the other horn.

[... regarding the first horn, the objective premise] This horn was the mean one. [...line of proposed reasoning...] This answer, if valid, certainly smashed the first horn of the dilemma, and for a while that excited him greatly.

But it turned out to be false. [...]

He turned his attention to the other horn of the dilemma, which showed more promise of refutation. He thought, So Quality is whatever you like? It angered him. The great artists of history – Raphael, Beethoven, Michelangelo – they were all just putting out what people liked. They had no goal other than to titillate the senses in a big way. Was that it? It was angering, and what was most angering about it was that he couldn't see any immediate way to cut it up logically. So he studied the statement carefully, in the same reflective way he always studied things before attacking them.

Then he saw it. He brought out the knife and excised the one word that created the entire angering effect of that sentence. The word was "just." Why should Quality be just what you like? Why should "what you like" be "just"? What did "just" mean in this case? When separated out like this for independent examination it became apparent that "just" in this case didn't mean a damn thing. It was a purely pejorative term, whose logical contribution to the sentence was nil. Now, with that word removed, the sentence became "Quality is what you like," and its meaning was entirely changed. It had become an innocuous truism.
Now, when I point to a "just" – or an "only", or a "mere", or a "simply", or "but" – and say, "That's a Pirsig's Pejorative Just", you'll know what I mean.

And, if this is the first time you've seen this, maybe now you'll be better prepared to notice them slinking by, in the wild, yourself.

ETA: I wrote a longish comment below, further discussing ZAMM and my criticisms of it, which may be of interest to my readers.

Meme

Apr. 25th, 2017 10:07 pm
likeadeuce: i would like to say i'm riza at work, but I'm more like Roy. 'plotting extracurriculars! cookies for breakfast!' (mustang work day)
[personal profile] likeadeuce
I probably never answered the last meme i posted but here's a meme!

Name one of my fandoms and I'll answer some questions!

1. the character I least understand
2. interactions I enjoyed the most
3. the character who scares me the most
4. the character who is mostly like me
5. hottest looks character
6. one thing I dislike about my fave character
7. one thing I like about my hated character
8. a quote or scene that haunts me
9. a character I wish died but didn’t
10. my ship that never sailed

FMK #9: Second Books

Apr. 25th, 2017 07:07 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Note to self, things your circle is v. interested in: Library classification. Canadian art.

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Adams, Cherryh, Ellis, Gibson, Handeland, ab Hugh, Jones, Kotzwinkle, Lackey, Monette, Snyder, Watt-Evans, White  )

(no subject)

Apr. 25th, 2017 10:42 am
nestra: (Default)
[personal profile] nestra
Why There Are No More Miracles
by Hal Sirowitz

God would perform miracles in the old days,
Father said, but nowadays if he set a bush
on fire, like he did for Moses, the fire department
would rush to put it out. The newspapers
would send our photographers. There’d be
an investigation. A reward would be given
to help find the arsonist. Some innocent person
would get blamed. God has enough people
believing in him. Why does He need
all that commotion for the sake of a few more?


"Why There Are No More Miracles" by Hal Sirowitz from Father Said. © Soft Skull Press, 2004.
gramarye1971: Mikoto Misaka from To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (Railgun: Biri-biri)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
Reblog if it's okay for your followers to leave you a comment telling you what the one thing is they remember you for as a writer. Is it a scene or a detail or a specific line? Is it something like style or characterization? Is it that one weird kink they never thought they’d be into, but oh my god wow self-discovery time?

I mean, unless my particular history obsessions also turn your crank, I doubt the last one applies, but who am I to kink-shame? *doubles down on the hot steamy neofunctionalist European Union fanfiction action for the people in the back*

(Anon comments are fine, if you don't want to fly your kink flag so publicly. ^_^)

Fandom Snowflake Day 11

Apr. 24th, 2017 09:16 pm
wendelah1: Fox Mulder reading (reading is fundamental)
[personal profile] wendelah1
In most of the fandoms where I've actively participated, my interests are a bit...off center. For example, I don't ship pairings except in rare cases. I don't very often enjoy reading or looking at explicit material but I'm not exactly a gen person. This means I have to look a little harder to find fanworks I enjoy (or create them myself...). But every now and again, I find creators who are my perfect match. It's almost as though they are seeing the world through my eyes: they view the characters just the way I do, their head canons are my head canons. I still remember vividly the excitement I felt the first time that it happened. It was magical.

Day 11
In your own space, talk about a creator. Show us why you think they are amazing. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


I love many fanfic writers but upon careful refection, I don't see how I can choose anyone but Kel. Read more... )

Happy reading.
umadoshi: (kittens - Jinksy - looking up)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Tomorrow I head to the office and I'm already behind on emails and comment replies. o_o At least I got a decent chunk of work done today, and spent the latter half of the evening curled up with The Obelisk Gate and Jinksy.

In lieu of a real post, linkspam.

Fannish/Geeky Things

I've yet to read or see any of The Expanse, but for those who have, [dreamwidth.org profile] kayim just launched [dreamwidth.org profile] rocinante.

Fox is bringing us another round of The X-Files (ten episodes this time). I... I don't think I can do this again. I'll keep an ear out and see what those who do watch it think, and I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised, but after how appallingly awful last year's new eps. were, I doubt I'll be touching this without some strong recommendations.

From that link, I skimmed through "Fall TV pilots 2017: The full list". Let's see. I assume I'll give Inhumans a try (barring Iron Fist levels of nearly everyone recoiling in horror as soon as the advance reviews/reactions started); S.W.A.T. doesn't sound like my thing, but FYI for Criminal Minds fans, Shemar Moore's headlining it (and EW staff writer, your blurb is literally two sentences. How did no one notice that the first sentence begins with "Inspired by the film of the same name" and the second sentence, in its entirety, reads "Inspired by the film of the same name"?); Alan Cumming being the lead in Instinct could be enough to tempt me into giving that a shot, although it likewise doesn't really sound up my alley; Untitled Marvel Action-Adventure Series stars Amy Acker, so that's a no-brainer for me; and Reverie has Sarah Shahi and sounds potentially interesting (Sendhil Ramamurthy is in the cast too, if that's of interest).

"Mike Colter Describes Jessica Jones Season Two As “Dark And Heavy”".

Via the link above, "Kevin Feige Doesn’t Know If The MCU Will Get A Phase 4".


Photography

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] sovay, a website of photos of naked actors (mostly British) posing with fish. Here is Gillian Anderson wearing an eel.

"PHOTOS: Your Pics of California’s ‘Super Bloom’".

"Colourised Pics Of Russia’s Female Snipers Who Terrorised Nazis, Including “Lady Death” With 309 Kills".


Miscellaneous

"The Snarling Girl: Notes on—and against—ambition". [Elisa Albert on Hazlitt] Wow, I really liked this.

"EFF Releases Spying on Students Ed Tech Report: EFF Survey Reveals Gaps in Protecting the Privacy of K-12 Students Using School-Issued Devices and Cloud Apps". [Electronic Frontier Foundation] (Note: I haven't read the actual report, just the overview here.)

"Trans Singer Records Duet With Himself Pre And Post Transition".

"Londoners’ delight as world’s first crow café comes to capital".

"I ATE THREE EGGS EVERY SINGLE MORNING FOR A WEEK - HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] cofax7, "31 Vintage Posters That Demand You Pick Up a Book". [LitHub]

"How to Become a Deadly Misandrist Fairy Vampire" [Autostraddle]

"A dad took his 2-year-old's most memorable words and illustrated them beautifully".

FMK: Growing Up Weightless

Apr. 24th, 2017 06:30 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I went to the March for Science yesterday! It didn't have as many people as the Women's March but then what would? It still took a solid two hours to get everyone funnelled down Constitution Avenue.

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


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

I brought Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford to read on the metro, and I don't have a huge amount to say because basically it was everything I wanted for a book about coming of age in the Moon colony )

(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2017 04:50 pm
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
I've been thinking, as I wrote in my last D&D post, about how to do the more natural settings in my new campaign in a way that both explores the economic questions and maintains the sense of whimsy and adventure you want in a fantasy adventure and it struck me that the obvious approach is to use Fey. The very nature of Fey adventures is tied up in questions of contracts and obligations, it's inherently economic in nature. Players want to exploit a mine, but in order to gain access they need to make deals with the local fey, whose goals may be orthogonal to predictable economic aims, but whose practices are definitely economic in nature.

This creates a really interesting potential scenario: Beneficial contracts that players make with fey accrue immediate guild merits (XP) toward levelling, but if a deal with a fey is ever breached, players lose those guild merits and potentially can de-level. I really like this effect, it makes breaking fey contracts have real, meaningful teeth to the players on a metaphysical level.

Larger contracts between Auction Houses and fey kingdoms are also a wonderful source of adventure hooks, as such deals no doubt require periodic acts of maintenance. I'm imagining a scenario like where the Deal is that in order to ensure safe passage across a river in fey territory, all the Carter's Guild needs to present the local fey lord with a small, somewhat obscure but not valuable gem every year- the kind of payment where the players might wonder what the hell the faeries want with it. The players try to cross the river and the fey lord, wearing an outfit beautifully adorned with hundreds of identical gems showing that this Deal has been in force for centuries and revealing the intricate way that this ageless lord executes plans over long time scales, denies them passage until they present him this year's gem. And he doesn't deny them passage by force, but with a simple but immensely powerful teleport spell. Any time they try to cross the river, they end up back where they started. I can do so much with this kind of story element.


So I'm going to need to think up the details of the organization, such as it is, of the fey in the Mannheim Vale. I definitely want multiple kingdoms/courts of fey, but I probably also want individual loner fey creatures.

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