My standards are broken

NSFW Oct. 16th, 2017 04:33 pm
petra: A blonde woman with both hands over her face (Britta - Twohanded facepalm)
[personal profile] petra
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Oct. 14th, 2017 02:40 pm
skygiants: Mosca Mye, from the cover of Fly Trap (the fly in the butter)
[personal profile] skygiants
I was resigned to waiting until October 17th for A Skinful of Shadows to come out in the US. However, [personal profile] izilen, horrified at both the long wait after the UK publication and the clear inferiority of the US cover, acquired a copy on my behalf and mailed it over the ocean -- after first warning me it was the darkest Frances Hardinge book yet.

Having now read it, I don't know that it's actually that much creepier than the first third of Cuckoo Song, or the bits of Lie Tree where Faith in her deepest self-loathing slithers snakelike through the island purposefully destroying everything she touches. It definitely has a higher body count -- a much higher body count -- but I mean it's a book about a.) ghosts and b.) the English Civil War so maybe that's to be expected ...?

Like many of Hardinge's books, it features:
- a ferocious underestimated girl struggling to hold onto a sense of self in a world that wishes her to have no such thing
- a recognition that the people you love and who believe that they love you will sometimes betray you, sometimes for reasons they believe are good and sometimes not
- a ruthless and terrible female antagonist whom the heroine cannot help but respect and admire
- a struggling journey up out of solitude towards a coalition built of necessity with the least likely individuals
- including an undead bear
- admittedly this is the first Hardinge book to include an undead bear
- it is also the first Hardinge book about literal ghosts, a lot of ghosts, a lot of very unpleasant and sinister ghosts but also some ghosts for whom I have a very deep affection, including the very bearlike bear.

I also have a great deal of affection for Makepeace - the illegitimate scion of a very old noble family that is quite confident it will be able to chew her up and spit her out, and finds itself repeatedly mistaken. I don't think I love her yet quite as much as Trista or Faith or Mosca, but that's what I said about Faith right after I read The Lie Tree, too, and LOOK AT ME NOW.

How old is Peter Grant?

Oct. 13th, 2017 10:40 pm
beatrice_otter: Finn holding a blue lightsaber (Finn)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter posting in [community profile] the_folly
We should be able to figure this out.  Or, at least, someone with more knowledge of British school systems and police should be able to figure this out.

Midnight Riot/Rivers of London was published in 2011.  Let's assume that what was happening in that book takes place in 2011.  (I don't think we have any evidence to the contrary?)

At that point, he has just completed his two years of being a probationary constable, which means he started in 2009.
Hendon training courses seem to last about a month, so still 2009.

British secondary education confuses me, so I'm not really sure what you would call what Peter did, but I'm assuming he finished at age 18 or so, and went straight from there to Hendon.  This would mean he would have been born in, what, 1991?

Can someone who knows more about British stuff than I do reassure me that I'm not missing something?

Oh, God, he's a baby!

ETA: According to the Word of God, Peter was 25 at the start of RoL.  Which would have him born in 1986, and then begs the questions what he was doing between Hendon at age 23 and being done with his schooling at age 18.  There's five years unaccounted for.  All told, it was probably something terribly boring--working some low-end job somewhere?

The thing about that, though, is that I wonder what it was.  He spends a lot of time empathizing with people and noting what various jobs are like and/or what their perspective is, and in all that time he's never indicated that HE used to do that job.  I mean, he might have joined his mum as a cleaner, but then all the times he evaluates a cleaning job with a professional eye surely he would remember it instead of his mum's job which he occasionally helped with as a child.  And it can't have been a paperwork job--beginning secretary, or something--because he would probably have mentioned it when he was dreading going into the CPU.

Peter's just so chatty, with so many digressions inside his head, I just can't imagine him coming across a job he used to do in the course of any of the stories and not mentioning "oh, hey, I know what that is like ..."

(no subject)

Oct. 9th, 2017 03:24 pm
skygiants: Jupiter from Jupiter Ascending, floating over the crowd in her space prom gown (space princess)
[personal profile] skygiants
GUESS WHAT it's another ... Jupiter Ascending fic chapter ....?

STILL UPDATING AT A RATE OF SLIGHTLY MORE THAN ONE CHAPTER A YEAR HECK YEAH.

Wants, needs, the universe is too big

NSFW Oct. 7th, 2017 11:30 am
petra: Barbara Gordon smiling knowingly (Default)
[personal profile] petra
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Oct. 5th, 2017 11:39 pm
skygiants: Bunny-suit Kenji from 20th Century Boys saying 'this is the defender of justice who's gonna save the world from danger' (love and peace are on hold)
[personal profile] skygiants
Dear Yuletide author,

Thank you so much for signing up to write a gift for me! I have been doing Yuletide for some large number of years now and I have been delighted with my gifts for every single one; if you write something that makes you happy, I guarantee I will be delighted with it also.

I am always interested in women interacting with each other, ensemble stories, sibling dynamics, and the kind of romance where two flawed and peculiar people figure out how their flaws and peculiarities fit together. I am pretty much always down for crossovers and I'm potentially intrigued by canon-divergence AUs, but the kind of AU that transplants characters wholesale into a completely different story tends to be more hit-or-miss for me; the settings and specific circumstances are a lot of what interests me about these canons.

I don't mind canon-consistent dark themes if it makes sense for the story, but I tend not to be into graphic and gratuitous violence. I'm cool with sexual content, but I'd rather that wasn't the whole point of the fic.

Requests: 20th Century Boys, Crossroads series, Friends at the Table, Dragon of the Lost Sea series )

(no subject)

Oct. 5th, 2017 06:13 pm
skygiants: Kozue from Revolutionary Girl Utena, in black rose gear, holding her sword (salute)
[personal profile] skygiants
For the past approximately 15 years, I've been attempting to write a novel about Sir Kay, the Orkney knights, and weird Arthurian family dynamics. It's one of those things that I pick up about my extent draft of approximately every five years, think "huh! maybe with some extensive revision," get halfway through the extensive revision, realize I still haven't figured out how to do it, and put it down again. Maybe someday! With extensive revision!

Anyway it was probably about five years ago that I realized that someone had already written this book, sort of, and since then I've been hunting in bookstores for used copies of Phyllis Ann Karr's Idylls of the Queen, which I have now finally acquired and read.

This was a weird reading experience in the way that it always is when reading a book that's almost the book you would have written. About half the things that she's doing are very specific things that I am also really interested in, and it's deeply mysterious to me I arrived at them completely independently when she was already there three years before I was born. And then there are things that I never in a million years would have done, like making Sir Kay desperately in hopeless love with Queen Guinevere. What? I mean, OK, sure, but I wouldn't have ever gotten there. There must be a word for this, that weird feeling of almost-mine-but-not-quite.

Anyway, the thing that Karr does that I think is most interesting -- that I would like to do and probably will never do half so well -- is the way that she looks very closely at Arthurian stories from Malory and various lays and legends and hews very much to the letter of What Happens In Them, while also sort of shaking them inside out and looking at how that might have looked to the various different humans involved (often, especially, the women). It's really clever and a lot of fun, while also being about as disturbing as anything that takes much of Malory and various other early Arthuriana literally would have to be.

The actual plot of the book involves Queen Guinevere being accused of murder, and Sir Kay and Mordred going on a DETECTIVE SPREE ends up getting tangled up not just in Guinevere's alleged crime, but also all the weird backstory Orkney blood feud stuff of who murdered whom in revenge against whom. Eventually there's a Locked Room Denouement in full Poirot style, but first there is the TWO MOST ANNOYING KNIGHTS IN THE WORLD on a ROAD TRIP, hanging out with various Arthurian side characters like Nimue and Morgan and Sir Pelleas and Sir Ironsides and irritating the heck out of all of them, and it is honestly amazing.

KAY: I'm traveling with Mordred because he's the worst, and because he's definitely a suspect for the murder.
SOME RANDOM NORMAL ROUND TABLE PERSON: Sir Kay, why are you traveling with Mordred? He's the worst! Aren't you worried that his bad reputation will rub off on you?
KAY: Um, excuse me? I was given to understand that I was the rudest and most annoying knight of the Round Table? I'm pretty sure you should be worried that my bad reputation is going to rub off on this poor, innocent child, so why don't you lay off??

[later]

Mordred: I am totally ready to be murdered by ANYONE, probably YOU, probably TONIGHT. Here I am, LANGUISHING IN MY BEDROOM, WEAPONLESS -
KAY: CHILD! why are you such a DRAMA LLAMA

[later]

MORDRED: Now, hypothetically considering the possibility that maybe Guinevere did want to murder someone -
KAY: I'll fight anyone who accuses the queen! I'll fight you anytime, anywhere! How very dare you imply that it's even REMOTELY POSSIBLE that the Queen might have been in ANY WAY responsible for -
MORDRED: lololol look who is the drama llama! PS are you ready to murder me yet?
KAY: CHILD!!!!!

(To be clear, Mordred is like in his thirties in this book.)

[KAY AND MORDRED ARE ARGUING AGAIN]
KAY: Suddenly, I feel like shit! Why is this!
NIMUE: That's because I cast a spell of magical depression on you to get you to briefly -- oh, so blissfully briefly -- stop talking.
KAY: Mordred is the one who was ruder, why didn't you cast it on him?
NIMUE: You're the one who told me that Mordred was very emotionally fragile and I should be careful of his tender ego!
KAY: ...ugh, so I did. Ugh, and I meant it. Fine.

Basically what I'm saying is that it's still remotely possible that someday I will get my version into shape for other human eyes to see, but despite the strangeness of the experience, I'm not mad that Karr did it first.

Dear yuletide author:

Oct. 5th, 2017 10:01 pm
raven: (misc - cherry)
[personal profile] raven
Dear Yuletide author,

Hi! I'm [archiveofourown.org profile] singlecrow on the AO3. Thank you for writing for me. First up, please feel free to ignore everything in this letter if you'd rather. I want you to have a good time writing the story you want to write, and if you have that already in mind I'm excited to read it. If it helps you, though, here are some things about what I like:

Generally, I like: loving friendships, snappy dialogue, people being competent at what they do.

Generally I don't like PWPs (which isn't to say I don't like sex in stories! I do, a lot, but with other things) and I don't like men in positions of power over women, particularly in a sexual context but generally.

I don't have any triggers or squicks. If you want to write a story with loads of sex in it or no sex at all in it, I like both of those. Also, I hesitate to say this, but: some people do feel obliged, given the festive element, to write a cheerful and happy Yuletide story. I like those! I like them a lot. But this is me saying: if the story of your heart is bleak and despairing, I'm here for it. I want to hear it.

Here are my fandoms, with a bit more about each:

The Good Place )

Star Trek Discovery )

Murderbot Diaries - Martha Wells )

(One last thing - please feel free to assume I'm all caught up with Disco and the Good Place by Christmas.)

Thank you again, friend! To reiterate: write what you want, and don't mind me.

Dear Yuletide Writer

Oct. 4th, 2017 05:55 pm
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)
[personal profile] philomytha
My Yuletide letter, a mix of new and repeat requests. As you see, I went for The Nancy in the end :-).

fandoms are Happy Valley, The Laundry Files - Charles Stross, The Nancy (Stan Rogers) )

(no subject)

Oct. 3rd, 2017 09:45 pm
skygiants: Clopin from Notre-Dame de Paris; text 'sans misere, sans frontiere' (comment faire un monde)
[personal profile] skygiants
I've been cleaning up transcripts for Civil War-related interviews at work recently, which reminded me I never wrote up Alyssa Cole's An Extraordinary Union.

The heroine of An Extraordinary Union, Elle Burns, is very loosely based on Mary Bowser, a historical Civil War spy with an eidetic memory who worked undercover as a slave in Jefferson Davis' Confederate White House. Unsurprisingly, all the bits that feature Elle undercover and interacting with the other slaves in the household are really excellent, I would happily read twelve different iterations on Vaguely Fictionalized Mary Bowser.

The love interest ... is fine? I honestly don't remember much about him. He's Scottish with a tragic backstory, he is also a spy, he's smitten with Elle at first sight, and as a result I spent a lot of time in the first half of the book being kind of annoyed at him because I hit that thing where I'm like 'the stakes are too high for you to be making a pass here, knock it out! go back to spying!' I prefer my romantic espionage to come with a slightly higher dose of stressed-out mistrust and refusing to act on any feelings whatsoever because The Cause Comes First, and that goes double or triple when the stakes are so very much higher for one partner than the other. Anyway, once the romance is established (and I got over my irritation with the hero for attempting to pursue a romance at all under the circumstances) the Romantic Spyjinks were also very good and the heroic self-sacrifice level rose accordingly. The second book in the series is supposed to be coming out sometime in the next few months, I think, and I will be looking out for it.
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