muccamukk: Close up of Rey wearing a beat up X-Wing pilot's helmet and looking up at the sky. (SW: Dream of Stars)
[community profile] theforceawakensbigbang, for those in Star Wars fandom, though it seems to only cover the new movie, and not many people have signed up yet, but hopefully the mod will start advertising soon.

However, it only has a 15k min, and the rules look very sensible.

There seems to be one on tumblr wherein the mod plans to prescreen all fic for problematic material, which seems to include ships they don't like. Oh, tumblr.

(For the record, I have run bangs where the mod retained the right to remove fic that wandered into George Washington's Happy Cake-making Slaves territory, which we never actually had to invoke. If I were running one now... I probably wouldn't keep that? It was in response to J2 Haiti wank, and seemed sensible at the time, but as I get older, I get less and less interested in policing people's fandom experience. However, I'm still not entirely against having a mechanism in place to deal with people who are being clueless asshats.)

The whole Star Wars ship war thing is already super tiresome. I guess it's baby's first mega fandom in a lot of cases, but I'm here for the adorable OT3 fanart, and not so much for judging people for shipping whatever the fuck speaks to their id. Do what you want, tag it, and I'll use xkit like God intended. Stop posting troll fic and running elaborate false flag operations on "enemy" ships. Use your energy for something more productive.

Though it's not like there haven't been bitter shipwars since the dawn of fandom, by which I mean Ancient Greece, so the chances of this changing aren't super high.
muccamukk: Thor standing in Asgard throne room, hammer raised in triumph. Text: Art Crawl! (Thor: Art Crawl!)
Day 13

In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you did not create.

Some icons, two fic and two pictures )
muccamukk: Rommie wearing a party hat and holding a noise maker. Text: "Warship" (Andromeda: War/Party)
I got some really lovely things. Lots of greetings and pictures and stuff, especially of lighthouses (so many lighthouses!), which was really great. Fandom is the best. Also, icons of naked ladies, lighthouses, a lighthouses, more lighthouses, even MORE lighthouses, and Misty Knight, a sweet Jess/Luke drawing, adorable Jess/Trish fic, adorable Brig&Liz&Three fic, a Sinbad/Gunnar drabble, a podfic of my Quantum Leap fic, and an Emma/Shalimar wallpaper.

I also wrote some things:

Title: Zen and the Art of Hair Maintenance (stocking link)
Fandom: Babylon 5 (Susan Ivanova & Delenn)
Rating/contents: G
Word Count: 275
Summary: Missing Scene from 2x07 "Soul Mates."

Title: Caught by the Light (stocking link)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien (Gimli/Legolas, Glóin)
Rating/contents: G
Word Count: 555
Summary: A lot of unexpected things happened at the Council of Elrond, but not even the Wise could have predicted this. (Soulmate AU)

Title: The Winter Soldier, in the Kitchen, with the Cybernetic Arm (stocking link)
Fandom: Highlander/Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Duncan MacLeod, Bucky Barnes)
Rating/contents: Teen (canon-typical violence)
Word Count: 795
Summary: Or, Five Times the Winter Soldier Killed Duncan MacLeod, and One Time Duncan Almost Killed him Back.

Title: Passing Fancies (stocking link)
Fandom: Doctor Who (River Song/Eighth Doctor)
Rating/contents: G
Word Count: 300
Summary: Snippet of River and Eight crossing timelines.

Title: Eight Notes from the End Times (stocking link)
Fandom: Jessica Jones (Jessica/Trish, Jessica/Luke, Malcolm)
Rating/contents: Teen (apocafic)
Word Count: 880
Summary: Jessica never expected to hear from Luke again, so it pretty well figured that this was what it took.

Title: Old Stars, Burning Bright (stocking link)
Fandom: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Original Character, Leia, Poe)
Rating/contents: G
Word Count: 810
Summary: The Resistance's newest pilot meets an old hand.

Title: Courting Gifts (stocking link)
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien (Arwen/Éowyn, Arwen/Aragorn)
Rating/contents: G
Word Count: 1,025
Summary: Historically, the path to true love between Human and Elf never did run smooth.
muccamukk: Sinbad looks up with an innocent and concerned expression (Sinbad: Puppy Eyes)
OT and TFA in a multi-fandom post by [ profile] xafirah
TFA form the Japanese Trailer by [ profile] taras_song
TFA in a multi-fandom post by [personal profile] akamine_chan
And more TFA by [personal profile] chatona

Fandom Snowflake Day 6
In your own space, create your own challenge. What’s something you want to see more people doing in fandom? Is there something you’ve tried that you think other people would enjoy if they gave it a go? Dare your friends to try it out, and have fun with it.

I'm going to do a time-limited one, and an open ended one.
DEADLINE: Put something in [community profile] fandom_stocking before it opens tonight. A kind word, an icon, a drabble. Try a stranger's stocking! Poke through the tag list or the spreadsheet. ETA: Deadline extended to Friday Night Newfoundland time

No deadline (but YT just happened, and f_s is opening soon): Comment on exchange works that aren't for you, and aren't by people you know. Hell, comment on exchange gifts for exchanges you aren't even in. Sort the exchange by least comments, and find fic/art/graphics that no one's looked at. Publicly bookmark things. Make a rec list.
muccamukk: Poe standing on the ladder to his X-Wing, hand on his hip. (SW: Dashing Pilot)
Mix of OT and TFA by [ profile] a_gal_icons
TFA in a multi-fandom post by [ profile] a_gal_icons
TFA in a multi-fandom post by [ profile] fassy

I'm skipping Day Five of the snowflake thing until I have time to make things. It's all [community profile] fandom_stocking all the time right now.

Erm, anyone have prompts for short fic gen about Han, Luke and/or Leia, or comics Luke Cage, or Lucie Miller, or Peggy Carter; or short ship fic for Jessica/Trish, Jessica/Luke or Legolas/Gimli?
muccamukk: Rey and BB-8 walking over a dune. (SW: Desert Walker)
So I said I'd write up more feelings about The Force Awakens after I'd seen it again, and Nenya and I managed a week ago. I'm still in favour of it, incidentally, and probably not anything revolutionary in terms of opinions, but, Spoilers )

We also saw Carol, which we loved. It was just really fucking nice to see a lesbian romance that wasn't inherently tragic. Yes, there was awful homophobia, and it wasn't an unadulterated happy ending, but it was about two women falling in love despite everything being stacked against them. I have heard a couple people say that that they found Carol a little too closed, but I loved her and how she'd built so many walls around herself that you only got glimpses of what she was thinking. Blanchett was phenomenal. I liked Mara as well (I'm not sure I've seen her in anything else), and liked how Therese was herself a bit of an oddball and was more of the classic odd one out nerdy girl. I also liked that here were other queer characters, and that they both had friends and lives outside of the romance. Plus the cinematography, music and costumes were gorgeous. I'd still like more tropetastic fun gay romances like D.E.B.S. and But I'm a Cheerleader,but arty period romances are good too.

The Chimes by Charles Dickens, narrated by Richard Armitage
In that I'm unfond of Dickens on the whole, I ended up liking this a lot more than I expected to. It was heavy-handed and didactic, sure, and the baddies were bad, and the goodies were pure and innocent, and the women were suffering angels, which, Dickens. But the (heavy-handed) social commentary seemed to be driven by enough genuine rage that it carried me past more than it usually would, and the characters were sympathetic and had at least one hidden gem. Plus it was surprisingly femslashy at one point.

Mostly though the writing itself was gorgeous. Just words. Pretty. The whole opening section is basically like eating chocolate, and the narrator certainly didn't hurt in that regard either.

Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka
Bit of a mixed bag. The story about Finn felt badly disconnected from what we saw on screen, to the point where I wonder if Rucka was given anything by the briefest summary of his character. It was a perfectly fine story, it just didn't seem to fit with the character we met. At all.

The Rey story was better, and nicely handled not giving away her Very Secret Backstory while still giving her an adventure and a more detailed looked at her life before the movie.

Poe's story was probably my favourite, giving him lots of backstory (he wanted to be a pilot like his war hero mother!), and showing why he joined the Resistance, and explaining what the Resistance actually is, and having great scenes with him and General Leia. Plus he got an adventure on top of all of that.

I hadn't actually read Rucka's prose before, though of course I'm familiar with his comics, but I liked his action scenes especially, and he had nice character insights.

Of Noble Family (Glamourist Histories #5) by Mary Robinette Kowal
Excellent close to the series. The marriage between Jane and Vincent is front and centre again, and I love how much they've grown over the past five books. The development of their relationship is my favourite part of the series, and we a see a level of trust here that wouldn't have been possible even before the last novel.

The main plot part was more to MRK's strengths as well, with slow developments of relationships but not a good deal of complexity or twists. Mostly it's a set situation that the heroes figure out, and that works. Though this is the second novel that Vincent's father and Jane's pregnancies have caused drama, which feels a smidgen repetitive.

I liked the setting in Antigua, and appreciated that MKR hired a translator for the dialect portions. Though the endings of some of those characters seemed a little too pat. However, in that it's a conclusion to the series, I can live with happy endings all around.

Looking forward to the new series.

Deceptions (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice Special Edition #1) by Jude Watson
It was interesting to see Anakin and Obi-Wan interact after 13 books with Qui-Gon, and the overall plot was decent, but man it really felt like Qui-Gon had regressed on his mentoring skills. He kept sort of going, "I know Obi-Wan will work this out on his own," and ditching him at crucial moments. You're supposed to be supportive. Step up, dude.
muccamukk: Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3PO, Chewbacca watch from the bushes. (SW: We're Watching You!)
I dug these up for someone else, but if anyone here was looking for some, here's what a DW content seach has turned up, all from the trailers.

BB8+Rey by [community profile] proverbially
BB8+Poe by [personal profile] shadowblinder
Various OT and TFA in a mixed set by [community profile] scarecrowboat
Various TFA by [community profile] merriestchase
Various TFA by [personal profile] meganbmoore


Dec. 9th, 2015 01:12 pm
muccamukk: Steve laughing into his hand. (Avengers: Amused Steve)
Having Netflix and being a bear of very little brain, I have watched the following:
White House Down, with Jamie Foxx as Obama and Channing Tatum as himself. It was about as silly as you'd expect, and definietly had a good time blowing up every room you recognise, and it was nice that the bad guys weren't Scary Foreigners. Plus Maggie Gyllenhaal is really hot.
Cinderella, with Lily James and Cate Blanchett. It was really, really boring and I lasted twenty minutes, spending most of the time wishing I was watching Ever After instead.
Enchanted with Patrick Dempsey and Amy Adams. It was certainly better than Cinderella. Mostly pretty cute, and it was nice to see the princess fighting the dragon, though I don't think it was saying as many things about female power as I wanted it to be.
Home with Jim Parsons and Rihanna. Cute, though the LOLcat alien speak started to get to me pretty early in, and I was annoyed that the aliens all benefited from being more human, but the humans didn't learn anything besides tech from the alien cultures. Nice to see humanity represented by a nerdy girl from Barbados though, and the cat was great.

The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty #1) by Ken Liu
I got half way through this and then gave up. I liked some of what it was doing, but because it was mostly a straight up retelling of Chinese histocal mythology, the characters didn't feel like they had much depth to me, and I wasn't invested in them or their fates (which I already know, because I've read Chinese history!)

I think what finished me off though was how stereotypical and poorly written the women were. This is not a book that should have come out in 2015, and I have better things to do with my time.

The Shattered Peace (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #10) by Jude Watson
In that I'm in this series almost entirely for the h/c, this one wasn't so hot. There wasn't a lot going on here, and tbh the plot was a little bland. I did like the continuing efforts of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to communicate like functional people though! Long may it last.

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, narrated by Julia Whelan and Jesse Bernstein
One of those books you just can't put down. I absolutely fell into it.

I loved the narrative voices and how different the siblings felt, but how they clearly came from the same influences and mirrored each other. The time skipping was very effective, with each half of the story leaning into and building up the other. I've rarely seen it so well done.

Mostly though I loved that it was a story about family and forgiveness, and how real everyone was drawn. I liked that the actions that caused the book's driving angst and regret were both terrible things to have done, and understandable things to have done. I liked that everyone could be both awful and sympathetic.

It is the kind of book that makes your heart glow.

Audio production was very well acted, though unfortunately Jesse Bernstein still can't do an English accent.

The Deadly Hunter (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #11) by Jude Watson
Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon solve crime! Actually they mostly try to solve crime and get their asses handed to them along the way. This was good for h/c, even if the secondary characters were a bit repetitive. Excellent cliffhanger.

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII by Chester Nez, with Judith Schiess Avila, narrated by David Colacci
The co-author did a wonderful job of capturing Nez's voice. It felt like sitting and listening to someone tell stories, but with footnotes for context.

I loved the Navajo cultural aspects, what Nez's life was like growing up, the ceremonies he went to, how he took that with him to war. Indeed, I would have liked more on that, and less war, but appreciated the details we got. It was also pretty political, outlining the wrongs done to the Navajo in a matter of fact way.

The Pacific Theatre took up the bulk of the book, which was fair as that's what most people are here for, and the author did a good job of setting up context for what was going on. It worked to follow the story, but was from the PoV of a marine at the time. Which makes me interested in reading more about it from a broader perspective. The battles and military life were very well written though, and gave a strong impression of what it was like to life through that.

I probably would have liked a bit more of the code, though the author gave a good explanation of how it worked. I'm not sure how good at Navajo the audiobook reader was, but it was really cool to hear in any case.

Fascinating read all around.


Nov. 29th, 2015 10:50 pm
muccamukk: A soft-focus close up of Peggy, who is wearing bright red lipstick. (AC: Lips)
Saw Suffragette a bit ago and it was... fine. I liked the acting a lot, and I liked that it was about working-class women and why the vote mattered to them. It was generally well done all around, but I expect movies about suffrage to give me A LOT of feelings. I cry watching the Lady Gaga suffrage mash up. This one didn't really have any moments where I was really emotionally engaged. Probably worth a watch if you're either interested in the history, or don't know anything about the history, but eh.

Just got back from Mockingjay: Part II, which I also liked fine, and also didn't blow me away. Lawrence was amazing expected, and I really like the relationships and the music and screening, but meh, again. Didn't blow me away, and I generally like this series. I enjoyed it more than I did the book, in any case.

I've fallen instead into Netflix and am about a series and a half into The Almighty Johnsons which I should have way more problems with than I actually do on grounds of misogyny, and everyone being kind of horrible people, but it's got the girl for Whale Rider and brothers and feelings, and I'm pretty well addicted. Unfortunately for the fandom, the most jerkish brother is played by one of the cute dwarves from The Hobbit so that means almost all the fic is about him being a poor woobie, and the oldest brother is much more my flavour of manpain. Oh well.

The Captive Temple (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #7) by Jude Watson
So did anyone care about the Mystery Plot, cause I sure did not. Mostly I was just invested in Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan working things out while they were both being giant dorks. Points to both for a small amount of self-actualization. No points for a total failure at implementation. At least they are trying? They have both agreed that they should not listen to Yoda, anyway.

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson
I liked a lot about this story, not the least the amalgamated SF-F setting and world building, which was really fantastically put together. The voices of the characters were well done, and the writing itself was gorgeous.

I am, however, 100% over tragic gays, especially when they have tragic rapey backstories, so there is that. Also, too many entrails.

Persians by Aeschylus, translated by C. John Herington and Janet Lembke
I think people are terrified of letting this play just stand on its own, and have consequently introduced and end-noted the poor thing half to death, which is interesting for extra context, but it really does stand very well on its own. This is a very fine translation, and really gets across the drama and pathos of the story, and is powerfully told, though of course it's not a light touch with the moral of the story. I'll have to read this again without checking out footnotes and such.

The Day of Reckoning (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #8) by Jude Watson
I liked this one! Qui-Gon got his act together and apologised for being a dick over the last three books! They worked as a team with Obi-Wan snarking all the way! Evil mining companies were distroying the environment, and had to be stopped! More like this would be great.

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson by Lyndsay Faye, narrated by Simon Vance
I swore I'd never read another Ripper book, but everyone told me this one was great, and I'm a sucker for Sherlock Holmes pastiche, so gave it a go. Mostly it had everything I want from Holmes story, with lots of h/c moments, good deducting, a strong feel of London, and some great OCs. I was well please.

Until the ending. I was perfectly happy with the solution to the mystery. And the action climax as great, and I liked all the character beats, but... Faye did that thing again.

She has this habit of addressing issues by including characters to express the points of view that the main characters leave out, and giving them lots to do, and then totally undercutting them for drama! Or in this case, for no decipherable reason. Which made me annoyed enough to like this book a lot less than I otherwise would.

Spoiler )

The Fight for Truth (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #9) by Jude Watson
Obi-Wan is made to go to school, and Qui-Gon has a temper tantrum and overthrows the government. It's pretty great. Though the tone was brought down by the reminder that all of these characters will soon be miserable and/or die. The Empire sucks.
muccamukk: Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3PO, Chewbacca watch from the bushes. (SW: We're Watching You!)
Title: Forty Leagues and Two
Author: [personal profile] muccamukk
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Rating/contents: Teen
Word Count: 330
Notes: written for [ profile] bold_seer for [community profile] trickortreatex.
Summary: Between Pelargir and Minas Tirith, Aragorn waits.

The Hidden Past (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #3) by Jude Watson
So this is the one where Obi-Wan almost gets his memory erased and Qui-Gon has an amazing amount of feelings about that. Also, it's Obi-Wan's birthday and Qui-Gon gives him a rock! Also, there's like a revolution and stuff, but that's not really what we're here for.

The Mark of the Crown (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #4) by Jude Watson
Nice picture of Qui-Gon on the cover. Not much H/C in this one, but they did do a passable attempt at having a plot with court politics, so points there. Plus Qui-Gon leaves a thirteen-year-old in charge of an entire planet's electoral process, which was hilarious.

The Defenders of the Dead (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #5) by Jude Watson
In which Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan get in a terrible life choices war which climaxes in betrayal, abandonment and a cliff hanger. Plus everyone on that planet is totally wacko, and there are a lot of feelings.

Behind the Scenes (Daylight Falls #1) by Dahlia Adler
Not really my cuppa. I'm mostly reading this because there are supposed to be lesbians in the sequel, but on it's own it didn't do much for me. It wasn't the writing which was good, and the characters and their emotions were believable, but I didn't really buy into the scenario. The Hollywood stuff all felt pretty fake, and I'm not really down with anything where the female character spends the last act being berated about how she done him wrong.
muccamukk: Misty running hard. Text: Got to Go (Marvel: Got to Go)
Again, I'm Muccamukk over at NaNoWriMo, if anyone wants to be buddies. I'm making the rest of this fast so I can get to my word count.

[community profile] fandomgrowthexchange is looking for pinch hitters. That's 2k due by Friday, for those who haven't run into them before. I'm already working on one, but there's some good ones not claimed.

Here are some short shortfic recs from Trick or Treat exchange, by fandom:

The Queen of All the Living - Chronicles of Narnia, Susan Pevensie, G
At age sixteen, Susan Pevensie starts a girl gang.

A Beginning - The Lord of the Rings, Éomer/Lothíriel Éowyn & Lothíriel, G
Lothíriel surprises Éomer in the middle of the night before he leaves to go back to Rohan.

Off Color - The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Illya Kuryakin/Napoleon Solo, Teen
Illya and Napoleon go undercover in a drag bar. Illya...tries to cope.

Just Us Three - The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Illya Kuryakin/Napoleon Solo/Gaby Teller, Gen
Napoleon, Illya and Gabby find some time to celebrate together. (Illustration/art)

Taking Care of You - Marvel Cinematic Universe, Steve Rogers/Sam Wilson, Explicit
Fanart: NSFW (also involves bondage and pain play)

and then, and then - Pacific Rim, Mako Mori, G
It’s at the Shatterdome, they say, and so she goes.

Hallowe'en in the Delta Quadrant - Star Trek: Voyager, Tom Paris & Naomi Wildman, G
Tom volunteers to take Naomi Wildman trick or treating.
muccamukk: Uhura, in her Mirror Universe uniform, brandishes a knife while leaning suggestively against Mirror!Sulu's shoulder. (ST: Mirror Mirror)
We saw The Last Witch Hunter last night, which was pretty fun. If you want to watch Vin Diesel be a giant teddy bear on a D&D campaign, then this is your film. If you're in it for like logic and plot and shit, never mind. The effects were good though, and I liked Chloe as the helper witch. Michael Caine and Elijah Wood were under used, but oh well.

I'm a bit touchy about movies about Evil Witches, in that well, history. But this one managed, for the most part, a balance of magic is neutral and magic users aren't evil, but magic users shouldn't use magic to hurt people. Though the council of witches that dealt with internal infractions didn't get as much play as it might have, but at least the male religious order that was meant to represent the human side of the treaty was also a fuckup factory. So the theme was, Everyone's a fuck up, and Vin Diesel is just trying to keep people safe in the middle of physical and moral chaos. Not super nuanced, but satisfying. Also, I have a soft spot for lonely immortals and their elderly human friends.

There doesn't appear to be any fic, which is too bad, as Vin Diesel/Michael Caine smut should exist.

Oh, I'm kindasorta doing NaNo this year? I'm hoping to make word count, but I'm using it to finish a bunch of WIPs and shit. So it'd be 50k over four or so projects (which is not what NaNo is FOR what whatever). I'm Muccamukk over there, if you want to be buddies.
muccamukk: Supergirl determinedly flying forward. Text: "Here we go again!" (DC: Here We Go Again)
The Last Witch Hunter trailer.
Nenya: A) when is it in theatres? and B) so this is the one where Vin Diesel got to do his live action D&D campaign?
Me: A) Now, B) yes.

We saw Supergirl when it leaked and both really liked it. Mean to rewatch now that's it's officially out though. It was silly but had a good heart and a good cast, so I'm there.

Speaking of silly, a bunch of nonnies over at FFA are doing a reread of those middle-grade Star Wars prequel books, the ones about Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan back in the day. If that's the kind of thing you're interested in, copies have been made available. Here's the thread for book two, which is as far as they've gotten.

The Rising Force (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #1) by Dave Wolverton
I'm not even going to rate these. Are they literature? Not exactly. Are they extremely satisfying h/c-laden idtastic comfort reads? You bet! I've read this book three times in the last ten years, and it never gets old.

This is the one where Qui-Gon won't take Obi-Wan as his apprentice and they're both sad about that, and have many feelings. Then there's pirates and dragons. And they can feel each other via the Force! But they still can't work together! Because feelings!

The Dark Rival (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice #2) by Jude Watson
Still not rating these.

This one dragged a bit, but it was the one where we get the tragic backstory of Qui-Gon's tragically broken tragic heart, so it was pretty satisfying on that level. Plus Obi-Wan was kidnapped and had to escape from slavery. And the title character was hilariously evil.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
I kept meaning to give Jemisin another go (having disliked 100,000 Kingdoms), possibly from the library, but then I saw the map she posted on her blog, the fantasy map with the tectonic plates, and that bumped the book up from "Maybe someday," to "Buy it when it comes out!"

I'm so glad I did. This whole book is absolutely breathtaking. There's so much going on here, but it never seems busy or over run with plot, and though almost every chapter gives the reader another chunk of information, and often another game changer, the plot and pacing flow incredibly naturally. I think it is at heart an incredibly character driven story, even though it's actually about the end of the world.

It's also pretty dark. The main characters spend most of their lives as slaves; there is child abuse (emotional and physical on page, sexual off page), body modification, coerced sex and rape, eugenics and genocide. For all that, I wouldn't call it a pessimistic book. It reminded me a lot of early Octavia Butler in how it looked unflinchingly at the awful moral choices faced by slaves, but still didn't write off the human race as irredeemable.

It's also about science! I love science! I was cackling with glee at this science.

I also really liked the book's approach to diversity. There are many different ethnic groups, and there are inter-racial tensions and imperial connotations, but they don't map neatly on to those of our Earth today. There are also a couple of key bisezual characters and a transwoman, which is always nice to see.

Unfortunately, the book ends on something of cliffhanger, and the next book does not have a publication date. Argh!

(Seriously, someone give this book a Hugo.)


Oct. 19th, 2015 11:19 pm
muccamukk: Text: Love > Anger, Hope > Fear, Optimism > Despair. (Politics: Canadian Politics)
I would give five stars to Justin Trudeau's acceptance speech. His government, well, we'll see. I'm still a little stunned by how poorly the NDP did, but happy about other changes, like the big one.

I couldn't stand sitting around watching the vote come in, so we went to see Freeheld, which was a pretty straight forward, We Didn't Have Political Rights But We Courageously Fought For Them And Now We Do tearjerker, but it did what it said on the tin. The casting was excellent, and I enjoyed the adorable lesbians and more adorable gay activist. I liked that it was a combination of pressures and influences that led to the local government changing its decision. The part that finally got me was the splash screen at the end talking about the SCOTUS decision this year. I may not have a flying car, but we sure are living in the future.

Also liked the new Star Wars trailer. Though, honestly, they play that theme music over a dog food commercial, and I'd be happy, so I'm... probably the target audience for once.

The Feminine Future: Early Science Fiction by Women Writers, edited by Mike Ashley
I've been reading this is dribs and drabs for a couple months now. It's an interesting collection, perhaps more as a historical artefact than for the stories themselves, though if you're super into late-Victorian through WWII pulps, it might be more your thing. There were a couple stories that I loved, a few that I liked pretty well, and one that I couldn't finish, which isn't bad for any SF collection, but the bulk I wasn't too hot on. I felt like the stories with female protagonists were more interesting.

The Complete Poems of Sappho, translated by Willis Barnstone
Very interesting to read this back to back with the Carson translation. There were things I liked better about this version (of course it has one of the new poems in it), and things I felt Carson added to more. Really, it's well worth reading both of them.

I found that Carson's translations were a little more poetic, but Barnstone often had clearer meaning, and sometimes the plainer language felt truer to me. I really liked how Carson included the original Greek to show what we were extrapolating from, and had all the brackets and ellipses in the English translation, because it was very educational, but it also, for me distracted a bit from the poetry, whereas Barnstone stripping most of that made Sappho more approachable.

This edition has a nice introduction about how Sappho has been interpreted through history, with lots of quotes and examples, and in edition to the usual ancient quotes includes some 20th-century poetry about her as well.

I wasn't sure why Barnstone chose to organise the poems by theme rather than fragment number, though it mostly worked. However, the notes at the back were still by fragment number, which meant a lot of flipping back and forth trying to find things. Carson's notes were generally better anyway.

If you had to read only one translation, I would be hard pressed to decide which of the two, but might come slightly in favour of Carson.

(I then tracked down the two fragments found recently, which was cool. Hopefully they keep finding them!)

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Fast read and very enjoyable. The plot is completely engaging, and though it wasn't exactly unpredictable, it certainly kept me glued to the screen.

The world building was great (though I understand that the Brazilian cultural details weren't what they might have been) with the low-high tech city of matriarchs, the accepted bi-poly, and the complicated social and political life. I've never read anything quite like it. As with much of my favourite Post-Apoca YA, I liked that it wasn't a completely broken world, but rather one that needed changes and amendments, not to be completely torn down and rebuilt. Legislative Reform!

I also really liked June, and how I spent half the book going, "Oh, honey, don't," but I could still absolutely see where she was coming from and how she ended up making so many terrible life choices (and so many good ones). It did feel a little that her art got dropped in the last act, which was too bad, as I love the art as protest thing the first part of the book was working with. The pacing also felt a tad wonky in places, but mostly it clipped along nicely.

Fantastic read, will check out other things by this author.

Three Recs

Oct. 8th, 2015 10:08 am
muccamukk: Edwin leaning back to look at Peggy, who is turning towards him. (AC: Companionship)
Title: The Right Partner
Author: [ profile] owlmoose
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe (mostly Agent Carter)
Characters: Steve/Peggy, Angie/Peggy, Howard, Edwin
Words: 18,500
Rating: Explicit
Summary: Steve Rogers went down with the Valkyrie and was lost forever-- until Howard Stark found him and brought him home. The year is 1948, and Steve is back, awake in a New York only a little different than the one he remembers: the war is over, the world is recovering, and the SSR is in the process of becoming SHIELD, with Peggy Carter at the helm. Together again, Steve and Peggy rekindle their romance, but there's also a complication: Angie Martinelli, Peggy's roommate, lover, and dearest friend.
Notes: Really sweet ploy fic.

Title: Alight
Author: [ profile] false_alexis
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe (mostly Cap2)
Characters: Sam/Steve (sorta Sam/Riley, Steve/Bucky)
Words: 29,800
Rating: Teen
Summary: Sam’s words, the mark that informs him of his soulmatch, are embarrassingly public, and since Riley’s gone it’s only a painful reminder of what he’s lost. When he meets Steve they're both distracted, and there's no chance to understand what is happening between them. Sam deals by not dealing, turning his life upside down every few years, and spending far too much time on the phone. However, when you can't run any more, you're forced to face what your priorities really are...
Notes: I found this on my e-reader with little idea of how it got there, other than I usually like this author a lot. Really sweet story of Sam coping with all the ups and downs and loses in his life, with a bit of romance on the side. Nice take on soulbonding, too.

Title: Reunion
Author: [ profile] Thorinsmut
Fandom: The Martian
Characters: Mark/Rick
Words: 2,000
Rating: Explicit
Summary: Mark was soaping for a second time – well past regulation length for a shower, but he figured he had some shower time built up – when he felt the air motion and heard the squeak of the shower door open. He smiled as another body joined his, squished together in the little shower cubicle. "Jesus, Watney..." Rick murmured, fingertips skating across Mark's protruding ribs.
Notes: So I'm amused by the great NASA space orgy theory (though has anyone yet admitted to being in the LEO Club?), but this is the ONLY Mark/Rick story, and it's quite sweet. Chris being played by You Know Who is getting most of the fic action rn, and I'm still waiting for the post trauma h/c story of my heart.

I'm also looking for Cartinelli recs, and Peggy&Edwin bromance recs, if anyone has them, long fic preferred, but otherwise whatever floats your boat.
muccamukk: Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3PO, Chewbacca watch from the bushes. (SW: We're Watching You!)
I realised that I haven't done anything in this line for a bit, so here goes...

[personal profile] rohan_lady and I saw Sancho - An Act of Remembrance by and staring Paterson Joseph in Oxford, where I believe it was premiering. A quick google seems to have it running in various places in the US for the rest of the fall, so I'm not reviewing theatre entirely into the void. Anyway, we both really enjoyed it. The plot drifted slightly to message heavy, but for the most part it it was absolutely engaging. It managed to do what a lot of biopics to not: fit a life into a story, and one told in the subjects own words, without feeling as though it were compressing or bending for time, while still having an emotional arc. I think that's mostly down to Joseph's acting, which was dynamic, and man solo shows are a lot of work. Anyway, you should check it out if it's in your city.

On the plane, Nenya and I watched Mad Max: Fury Road, which we liked a lot. I'm of course as in love with Furiosa as the rest, and loved that Max mostly got to side kick and function as a helper person, but the conclusion was a bit disappointing. I guess the action climax didn't hold together that well for me.

I also watched the new Pixar movie Inside Out, which was amazing and adorable and very sweet. I'm very pleased that they finally managed to make a movie with three female leads, and none of them was a princess, and that it was about the value of feelings and how difficult and isolating a move is, and actually stared Amy Poeler as JOY, so that was a thing. Would watch again.

And (it was a long plane ride!) I watched Furious 7, which was about what you'd expect it to be. I love all of those characters, I don't really care about the car chases. I wish there could be a franchise with all the hugging and large, muscle-bound men talking about honour and family that wasn't about car chases. Like, I really like the emotional content of the telenovela series thing, but the action movie part bores me. Anyway.

Then since we got back we managed to hit opening nights of The Intern and The Martian, both of which we liked.

The Intern was pretty iddy for me. I'm more or less completely invested in calming father figures telling ambitious young women that they're awesome and that they can do it, whatever it is. It's a whole movie of almost entirely that, with humorous shenanigans thrown in. I'm reasonably sure that the big business dicesion was not pertaining to how small businesses actually work, but whatever, handwaves. Basically, it was long on you-go-girl style feminism and Robert DeNiro being paternal and calming; so if you like, go watch; if you're not interested in those things, never mind.

You will remember that I didn't really care for the book version of The Martian (complaining about it here, here and here), but was looking forward to the movie because I felt like Hollywood saming would lean on the bits I liked (SPACE IS PRETTY! Actors being woobie and/or charming) and ignore the annoying bits (Mark being a jerk, sexism). It did. I was happy. They still got a lot of the NASA culture stuff that was wrong in the book wrong, though mostly nit-picky stuff, and they had less of Mark being a Rebel Outsider. I mean, it's a pretty straightforward survival story, and there isn't a hell of a lot of emotional depth (though there is quite a bit more than in the book), but we lose the terrible prose, and get Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover and Sean Bean, so yay!

I watched it twice. Would watch again. Would rec 3D for the Mars vista bits.

Nenya is ridiculously excited about the Back to the Future marathon movie thing. I'm mostly wondering why, if it's 21 October 2015, I do not yet have a flying car.
muccamukk: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson walking arm in arm. Text: "We strolled about together." (SH: Strolling)
Still in Canada, but since in town we have seen:

Mr Holmes with Sir Ian, Laura Linney and Roger Allam (who's in everything these days). Stunning acting of course, and really grabbed watching someone age and not terribly gracefully. The central relationship with the housekeeper and her son was very sweet. I was less sure of the Japanese interlude, though the images of occupied Japan in 1947 were very striking. It is not a movie for die-hard H/W shippers, or at least not for ones of the Watson's Second Wife Was a Lie, and They All Lived Happily Ever After with Their Bees school of shipping. spoilers ) Would watch again, in any case, though it probably doesn't need the big screen.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with various pretty people with whom I'm not familiar. Ditto the original canon. I went in with pretty low expectations, along the lines of "There will probably be pleasing explosions and maybe some banter" and came out completely delighted. It was light on explosions, though there were a lot of chases, and heavy on banter, and also excellent for those inclined to OT3. Very silly movie, but one that catered to my tastes almost exactly. For example, there's a big lead up to a long action scene near the climax, which is then shown in a brief and snappy montage, allowing us to move onto an extremely silly car case. All three characters are rescued at least once, and all have fantastic chemistry. Also the better end of '60s fashion is on show.

Mars Evacuees (Mars Evacuees #1) by Sophia McDougall
It's actually Middle-grade, but I only have a YA tag, so.

HIGHLY entertaining read. I spent most of the book making my wife read funny bits which giggling incessantly. I cannot believe this is by the same author as Romanitas, though I suppose it has some of the same clear-eyed view of characterization. It's just so funny and fun and fast-moving.

I loved all of our main characters, and how filled out they were. They were something of a classic YA team, with the smart one, the daring one, and the leader, but their interactions never felt stale, and I loved reading about them trying to negotiate the world. I also really liked their ambivalent relationships with the war effort, especially Alice's relationship with her war hero mother (who was great).

It managed to be a book about twelve year olds that let the kids save the day without making the adults useless and stupid, which I appreciate. Also, aliens that are alien, and MARS!

Can't wait for the next one.
muccamukk: Bodie sneaking into a house, gun in hand; Doyle leans against the wall behind him, unconcerned. Text: Team Work (Pros: Team Work)
Did you know that you can download an audiobook J.R.R. Tolkein's The Silmarillion legally and for free? And that it is read by Martin Shaw (Ray Doyle from The Professionals), who does a very good job with all the silly Elvish and the thees and thous? Well you can. This is good, because I've been avoiding rereading for about fifteen years, even though I vaguely feel I should, but now I have a plotbunny that requires more Silm knowledge than I've managed to hang onto. Win/Win all around.

Listened to The Companion Chronicles 7.09 "The Scorchies" by James Goss. Which was an evil episode of the Muppets, complete with silly songs, staring Jo and Three. I now have "We Killed Him Dead" as an earworm; thank you, Big Finish. Completely hilarious. Katy Manning does quite a good Three voice, though her Brig could use work. Jo Grant is rapidly becoming one of my favourite companions.

Watched Quantum Leap "Maybe Baby" which has always been a favourite of mine because it's just so gosh darn cute. Lots of shirtless Sam holding a baby, and the heroine of the episode is shown to be a compulsive liar, promiscuous, and a bit flighty, but still 100% a hero and good person.

Also watched a bunch of Firefly because I was in a mood, and hadn't seen it in a while, ended up binging through "Safe," "Ariel," "Objects in Space," Serenity, and bits of "War Stories." I'm far less amused by the stupid fake Chinese than I was when I first watched it, and of the Confederate mythology, and, well, it's pretty hard to look at Adam Baldwin these days. However, I still love River and Simon and the absolute unbreakable tie there, and Zoe and Wash, and Kaylee, and the wisecracking and jokes. I am very fond of much of that story.

Watched the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee version of Sense and Sensibility which does a rather remarkable job of adapting the book. I think better than any of the P&P adaptations I've seen. I'm always very interested in how adaptations change things and slim them down for the movies. This one stripped out about half of the background characters (Lady Middleton, her kids, Miss Steele, almost everyone who lived around Barton Cottage) and also dumped the scenes in the middle with Edward visiting, and the duplicated ball in the London section. It also pretty well took out the parody of Gothic stories, by ditching the would-be non-deathbed non-confession and making Brandon's backstory less hilariously over the top. Mr. Palmer and Mrs. Dashwood (the mom) were both more sympathetic and reasonable. I did not recognise Imelda Staunton.

They tried to push the romances forward by having Alan Rickman pretend he could smile (no go), and frontloading the film with Edward's scenes (somewhat more effective). I think Edward/Elinor worked better for me than in the book in that they actually got screen time together, but Brandon/Marianne still did absolutely nothing for me, even though they seemed to make Marianne twenty or so, and put Elinor in her thirties. Shipped Elinor/Brandon slightly less than in the book, mostly because they cut a bunch of the scenes where they hung out post being ditched by their love interests. For all that, the relationship between the sisters is still the core of the story.


Jul. 30th, 2015 08:57 am
muccamukk: Luke with his arms folded. Text: A Free Man of Convictions (Marvel: Man of Convictions)
Tansy Rayner Roberts: Jessica Jones is My Hero.
Yes. This. These are all of my feelings about Jessica and Luke and Civil War.

Now if only TRR would release Musketeer Space as an ebook. I don't do serials.

Watched Selma last night, which was excellent. I really love logistics, so a whole movie that was people talking about logistics was pretty great. And well acted, etc. Nenya to the screen during the scene where Gov. Wallace is talking about history: "Fifty years from now, you're going to be represented by an actor who knows he's playing the bad guy." Though it's depressing how hard everyone worked, and how little ground seems to have been gained sometimes.

It was interesting to see the note about Viola Liuzzo at the end, as Octavia Butler had mentioned her story as an inspiration for Parable of the Talents.

The New Fire Guide to Confronting Appropriation
More of each of these stories if you listen to the episode. This was a particularly good half hour. (Though, seriously, just listen to the whole show. It's so fun.)

CTV: Dramatic humpback whale rescue caught on camera.
Paul Cottrell has the best job. He was out our way last week, untangling a baby humpback, though I didn't get to help this time.
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (QL: I lift my eyes to thee)
Trying to listen to The Martian by Andy Weir, because I find people building things with science incredibly calming, which is working out. Mostly, however, I'm struck by how Mark would never, ever have passed the NASA psych evaluations that are required for a long-term mission. No one would put up with him. I think it says a lot about the author that he doesn't seem to realise that at all. I don't think he knows that his protagonist is an immature jerk who would never make it in space, because Wier's likely projecting himself and his peers into the story, and doesn't realise that that 's not what the rest of the world is like (and hasn't read Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth). It's of very little surprise that he mostly reads other straight white male authors like himself. Nenya (unusually uncharitably for her, but provoked by me): "Maybe they're the only ones who cater to his id."

I think the movie will be an improvement.

Book: You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes by Chris Hadfield
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I know that pictures from space are an old hat by now, but this is a fantastic selection, and beautifully framed. Hadfield mostly likes dry places I think, so there's A LOT of Australia, and not very many islands in the Oceania section, but that's a quibble. I got this from the library, but will probably buy it once the price comes down.

Radio play: Dark Eyes 3 by Matt Fitton
Wow. That was disappointing. They tried to do everything that worked so well in the first two and totally fubbed it. The storytelling that was non-linear for most of the characters but followed a throughline for something else (in this case the Human-Eminence War) didn't keep me guessing as to what was happening and how it would turn out, it just made me not care. It was confusing, and since they kept resetting the timeline, there were basically no stakes and no reason to get invested in any particular characters. No matter what they did, it'd all get undone by the next story. Plus there was some really heavy-handed and gross Colonialism Is Bad, But the Colonised Are Dumb message in one episode, which.... It's not like the English shouldn't ever engage with their Imperial Past, but I've basically never seen Big Finish do it well, and maybe they should stop trying. Anyway, all that wasn't my biggest complaint.

In Dark Eyes one, the companion was basically also the McGuffen, the mystery of her origins drove the story, BUT they also let her have her own motivations, personality and let her influence events. The same was true of the second one. This time, Molly spent almost the entire episode either brainwashed, drugged or both, while the Master basically mined her body for its power. It was every bit as awful as it sounds. It also made it really hard to enjoy the Master's scenes. He's usually over the top awful, and that's fine, but this was just so personal and gross that it really undercut him. I just wanted him to die, not keep the Doctor on his back foot until the end when the Doctor finally won. Liv was also more or less a pawn the whole series, and Sally absolutely was. And so the fight went on between four or five dudes in power, who all used and fought over women. It was just terrible.

There are better Big Finish titles, and you can enter to win some by completing a survey here.

Movie: The Grandmaster directed by Wong Kar Wai, staring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi
Very, very thing on plot, not much in the way of memorable dialogue (though maybe it did better in Chinese), but very, very pretty. This is a movie that aside from enjoying highly stylised kung fu fights, wanted to look at the actors' faces a lot, and also show rain and flowers and period hats. Mostly though it wanted us to look at Leung and Zhang, and I have NO problem with that. Totally fine by me. I appreciated that it spent almost as much time on Gong Er's story as it did on Ip Man's, even if the plot was all silliness.

Novella: Water to Wine (A METAtropolis Story) by Mary Robinette Kowal, narrated by Kate Mulgrew
You probably don't need to have heard any of the other stories in the shared universe to follow this one, as the woldbuilding is pretty standard, and the story mostly deals with local concerns.

It's about the youngest daughter of a vintner, her father, her sisters, and the challenges they have to deal with twenty minutes into the future. The story is pretty straightforward, and mostly focuses on the relationships between the sisters and their attitudes toward the vineyard. It worked really well for me. I appreciated that one of the sisters was queer, and that her wife was a major character as well. And, you know, read by Captain Janeway, so can't go wrong there.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, narrated by the author
Short, passionate and to the point. Again, I'm not the target audience, but I think it's the clearest explanation and exploration of race relations in America that I've read. As with his first book, it didn't have much to do with women, though they're mentioned as peers more here, but he seems less to be ignoring them then intentionally not wanting to presume to speak for them, which I can respect. Toni Morrison called this, "Required reading," and I can see why, but I can't think of much else to say.

I didn't put this in my posted review, but listening to this book had an odd side effect. I don't want to read any more about race politics in America. Not because I think this book is definitive and I'm done learning, though it is very good. And not because I don't think they're unimportant. But I kept feeling this urge to turn back to my own country. I felt the same reading about the women's movement in The Secret History of Wonder Woman, that I know more about America than I do about where I actually live.

It's so easy to get sucked into American media, and I don't think it's wrong to do so. A lot of the pop culture I enjoy comes from there, so I think it's reasonable to read up on the background for it, especially when it comes to histories of violence and oppression. Plus, US stuff is so much easier to find, especially in audio versions, whereas Canada, which has a population smaller than quite a few states, is a little more catch as catch can. However, I am going to try read more of my own history for a bit, especially First Nations stuff. -picks up a book about Nazi Germany-. Or not.


muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (Default)

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