cahn: (Default)
When D showed me this cartoon it totally made my day. I actually thought it was mildly humorous before reading the caption, possibly because of occasionally feeling like I take the position of benign neglect towards my own kid (well, I mean, not really, but sometimes I feel like that), but when I read the caption, bwhahahaha.

Physicists make terrible parents: it's okay to neglect little Billy. He's small.

Spoiling the punchline. )
cahn: (Default)
Okay. I think Busy Month is over, yay. Of course, now I have to go back and do all the things I was supposed to be doing last month and was putting off, which by this time has stacked up to be, well, a lot of stuff. So, yes, I probably owe you a call or email or comment.

But instead of my actually doing any of that, here, have some nattering about books!

Eleanor and Park (Rowell)
3+/5. This was good. This was very good, and accurate as to what it was like to be an adolescent in love. (It is not at all the book's fault that it's sort of painful for me to think about (my) adolescent relationships, which this book very much reminded me of — not that my adolescent relationships were anything like this one, but the feel is right.) I was so afraid, as the book went on, that it wouldn't stick the landing — but it totally did.

Digger (Vernon)
4/5. This was awesome. It took me a while to get into it. I was in Chapter 3 (which, given that there are a total of 12 chapters, is fairly far into it) before I got utterly hooked. But yeah. [personal profile] nolly made me read these after I said I liked Gunnerkrigg Court, and although there's something about Gunnerkrigg Court that pings my unconditional love button, I do think Digger is better written and more tightly plotted.

(By the way, D read this long before I did, and kept pestering me to read it, which he never does.)

One of the really neat things about it is how most of the main powerful-knowledgeable-plot-important characters are casually female, in the same way that most main characters are casually male. The main character is a (female) wombat who grumbles about engineering a lot. Can I tell you how many main-character female engineers I have ever read about? *thinks* Zero, maybe? And the warrior hyenas. I kept thinking they were male and having to check my assumptions at the door. Very well done.

Interestingly, E has already internalized this: she found the book and kept calling Digger "he." *rolls eyes* So… good thing we have Digger to counteract that. (For some reason she finds the opening pages absolutely hilarious. "It is a digger." "We will eat it." "Yes." "Yes." sends her into paroxysms of delight. It may just be because she can read all those words, and she's not used to Mommy's books having things in it that she can actually read. But I think for some reason she also thinks eating it is some sort of joke.)

Zelda (Milford)
3+/5. Really interesting biography of Zelda Fitzgerald and, of necessity, F. Scott as well. I was always aware that they were in kind of a co-dependent dysfunctional relationship, but this book made it really clear. Also, it was rather hilarious to find out exactly how much of their lives made it into Scott's books. I mean, I knew it already about Tender is the Night, but I didn't know how much… and I confess I laughed when I found out Zelda dated a handsome Ivy-League football star of whom Scott was tremendously jealous. (Hi Gatsby and Tom!)
cahn: (Default)
Whyyyyyy has no one told me about the webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court until now? (If you did, and I just didn't listen to you, I hereby abjectly apologize.) It is awesome, and I speak as someone who reads basically no webcomics whatsoever because I generally find them boring. GC has a fantastical boarding school that has more to it than meets the eye, laser robot cows ("just like real cows, only with lasers!"), tension between science and magic and humans and fantastical creatures, hilarious spaceship simulations of dooooom, superpowers that include the superpower of being boring -- the scope of invention is just marvelous. And all the characters are so cool. It has a friendship between two girls (well, actually, several of them, but the main relationship is the one I'm thinking of here) that is absolutely lovely. My favorite is the enigmatic Jones, who is matter-of-fact and unimpressed with everything.

A review of it I read talked about how GC had so many strong women characters, and it, curiously, surprised me, even though when I thought about it, it totally kicks butt in the strong-women category. The reason I had that moment of disorientation is that, I think, there are several ways of doing strong women characters. The first is when you take the main character and make her female and good at martial arts, and basically have her spend the whole book (or whatever media, but I'm used to this character in YA fic mostly) going "Look how awesome I am!" mostly to the guys in the vicinity, especially the Love Triangle guys (there's inevitably a love triangle in these kinds of books *cough*Hunger Games*cough*).

The second way to do strong women characters is to situate them in a men's world, to show them working within the system, to show them powerful in the ways they work with and/or subvert the system. The Good Wife and Veronica Mars are both quite excellent at this. I very much enjoy this way of doing things.

And the third is what Gunnerkrigg Court does: you make the women strong characters. You make them human. You make the men strong characters. You make them human. You make the POCs strong characters. You make them human. ...See where I'm going with this? You make the relationships between woman and woman moving and real and complicated (Antimony and Kat have about the most awesome friendship ever, but it still has its ups and downs, and at least one huge gaping issue between them that has not yet been addressed), and the relationships between man and man moving and real. (And you make the relationship between stuffed-animal-demon and girl, or girl and ghost, moving and real. I'm just saying. It's that kind of work.) And there's no difference between the men and women in terms of power or importance. The Headmaster is male; Jones (who may or may not be more powerful than the Headmaster) is female. The simulations teacher is male; the science teacher is female. So what? It just happens to have more female characters than male, and that's just the way it is.

([personal profile] sophia_gratia, if you have any disposition towards webcomics/graphic-novels, you need to go read this as payback for TGW :) I promise you it is no Code Name Verity, except in the loveliness of the friendship.)

For those of you who care, it IS a work in progress. I sort of wish a little that I hadn't stumbled on it until it was all the way done (there does seem to be an ending in sight, though that ending, at this rate, is going to be years away). But now is a good time to start, because a big plot arc has just come to conclusion, answering a bunch of extant questions (though, of course, asking new ones).

Let's see, warnings: it's funny and silly and hilarious at times, but it's also dark and getting darker. In terms of specific warnings, death and other darknesses are present in this world, on the level of, say, the third Harry Potter book (so far, and not really all that surprisingly, as I believe Antimony and Kat are in their third year). All of the romantic relationships are het (ETA: This is NOT TRUE, tithenai has graciously corrected me on this, although it may be that many or all of the queer romances are asexual), but most of the really interesting relationships are not romantic, and a whole bunch of interesting relationships feature at least one non-human character.

Mild spoilers: )

So read it! (I will say I was several chapters in before I really got hooked.) And then talk to me about it! :) And write me fic! :) (I am shocked at the dearth of fic for this thing. It seems like exactly the sort of multi-layered, tendrils-in-all-directions, intensely characterized fandom that would give rise to people wanting to write for it.)


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