muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (Musketeers: Faded)
Given this morning's news, I think I'll keep the CBC off until at least Easter, possibly May Day. More time for reading?

The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
The content was very interesting, and Ms. Watt-Cloutier has led an inspiring life. I came in as a supporter, but learned a lot, particularly about the interactions between traditional knowledge and culture and policy. I was already familiar with a lot of the climate change issues, but they were well stated.

However, the writing is pretty workmanlike, and it was a rather dull read on the whole. I rarely got much spark or life from the book, when I know that Watt-Cloutier is a vibrant person. It was also a bit repetitive, and could have bumped a lot of lists of people to the end notes.

Well worth a read for such an interesting life, but didn't blow me away.

I picked up a couple of the DC-You (?) titles in trade, as they'd looked fun when they came out. Both were good choices. Though of course the first one is now cancelled. -sighs-

Black Canary Vol. 1: Kicking and Screaming by Brenden Fletcher, art by Annie Wu and Pia Guerra: I'm not that familiar with Canary, other than the basics, but this is a seriously fun comic. I loved all the band dynamics, and Annie Wu's art was phenomenal. Looking forward to the next trade.

DC Comics: Bombshells Vol. 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett, art by Marguerite Sauvage: Pretty fun, and great to see all those women working together. So far the book has mostly been setting up the universe, and there hasn't been much in the way of plot, but I'm enjoying it so far. Given the title, I was worried the art would be too cheesecake for me, but it's hit a nice balance so far.

We watched the Paul Cornell episode of Elementary (4x17), which I haven't been keeping up with, but really enjoyed this time. Of course Cornell would write an episode that poked fun at but did not mock the superhero comics community, and we got continuity and Joan being 100% stone-cold badass. I should catch up.

Got season two of Miss Fisher, which we're still enjoying. I'm normally not that into the will they/won't they het couple thing, but Phyne and Jack have great chemistry, so it's been fun. Also, fan dancing.

We watched Inside Llewyn Davis, which Nenya ruled as more coherent and less depressing than Showpiercer but felt there should have been a plot. I quite liked it both as a picture of the '60s folk scene and as a portrait of a man in mourning, who is unable to express his grief through his art, even though the art form seems entirely suited for it.
muccamukk: Close up of Rey wearing a beat up X-Wing pilot's helmet and looking up at the sky. (SW: Dream of Stars)
I've been looking for some awesome science stuff worthy of linking along side this one, but I give up. I'll just stick it in with the review post: Hakai Magazine: Caribbean Whales Have an Accent.

I heard this interview with Sue Klebold this morning, and thought it was very interesting. I've been looking for something that looks into the psychology of school shootings, but none of the books that I've seen so far look satisfactory. Open to recs.

Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett
(This is also from the overlooked novels by women of colour list that LitHub did. It's about a female black reporter in Jim Crow era South and Mid West.)

Extra star for lesbians, probably. I'm not sure what the point of this book was besides horrible things happened under Jim Crow, and blacks organised and worked very hard to put a stop to them. It was a book that I couldn't seem to get a hold on, one way or another. The characters were all vividly drawn, especially the main character's mother, and the prose itself was excellent, and it wasn't at all short on happenings, but it did seem quite short on plot.

It struck me as similar to The Book of Negroes in that it was a guided tour of a period of history, as told by a moderately bland heroine. Though at least this heroine was gay? I never really felt engaged with her, or worried about her though, as she was obviously going to be fine, and the writing seemed a little distanced from her.

Well researched and interesting, in any case.

We caught up on Agent Carter 2x05, which had spoilers )

We also watched the Sherlock Christmas special, which I liked parts of, but didn't much care for on the whole. One of the big problems for me, aside from all of the characters being massive dicks, was spoilers )
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: Milady with her chin on her hand, looking pensive. (Musketeers: Thinking)
In a new post, list ten fic that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” works, or even all the same pairing or fandom, just the fics that have touched you or that stuck with you somehow.

I picked this up from an excellent and thoughtful list by [personal profile] intrigueing, and when I first started to think about this, I joked in their comments, "I mentally tried to do this list and MORE OR LESS came up with a list that was wall to wall smarm and h/c tropes. I think we all already know that about me, so..."

But then I started thinking of the list I'd done off the top of my head, and how it was actually kind of an odd result.

They're all or almost all fic that I read when I was in college or in the period closely surrounding. They're almost all fic I read before I myself got serious at writing, or at least good at writing. Maybe it's because I started thinking of one of those stories and then that led to associations from the same period, but I tried to think of fic that I sort of had the same feelings about from more recent fandom years and more or less drew a blank. Which is weird, because it's not like I don't still love fic, but maybe leaving an impression needs someone more impressionable? It's possible I'm doing this wrong.

So the following is a list of ten fic that left an impression on me probably in terms of the way I think and feel about fic both in relation to canon and in relation to my own writing. They're stories that helped me sketch out the boundaries of what fic could do, or at least what I wanted it to do, and what I wanted to do.

The list is also almost entirely gen centring on male friendships. Largely because that's what I was reading at the time, though I was reading and writing m/m slash and some het as well, so idk. I think part of it is that my discussion of my tastes in explicit fic is a whole other post, and that post is not one I'm like to actually write. But I guess a lot of these also cut to interactions I like in a way that fic that make those interactions sexual do not. Or something?

The list is posted in the order that I thought of them. The links go to AO3 where I can find them, rather than to where I originally read them. I have not reread the stories in order to make this list because I wanted to catch how I felt about them then, without my current PoV complicating my feelings.

It's also not entirely a positive list. All of the stories on it are well written, but a couple of them crystallised for me what I did not want, or stayed with me because they really bothered me. This is probably not a done thing, but eh. It's all old news by now. It's not a rec list, in any case, as much as a reflection on fic.

There will be discussion of depression and sexual violence. I'm going to cut the longer posts for those just want to see the titles.

1. Phoenix Burning by Yahtzee (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy/Angel)Read more... )

2. Outside these Walls by Jael Lyn (The Sentinel, Jim & Blair)Read more... )

3. Lovely by Martha (The Sentinel/Stargate: SG-1/Cthulhu Mythos - Lovecraft, Jim & Blair, Jack & Daniel)Read more... )

4. Home is Where the Heart is by Kimberley Rector and Martha Wilson (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Hercules & Iolaus)Read more... )

5. The World at Large by Cherry Ice (Stargate: Atlantis, Aiden Ford, background McKay/Sheppard)Read more... )

6. Monsters by March Hare (Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle/Cthulhu Mythos - Lovecraft, Holmes & Watson)Read more... )

7. The Captain and the King (AO3) by plasticChevy (The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R Tolkein, Boromir & Aragorn)Read more... )

8. Invasion by Astolat (Aubrey-Maturin Series - Patrick O'Brian, Jack/Stephen)Read more... )

9. Postscript by Rebelcat (Starsky & Hutch, Starsky & Hutch, Starsky/OFC, Hutch/OFC)Read more... )

10. Written by the Victors by Speranza (Stargate: Atlantis, McKay/Sheppard)Read more... )
muccamukk: Iron Man catches a falling Captain America (Marvel: Catch You)
I was just talking on fail meme about the trade Marvel put out that they actually called Iron Man/Captain America, and went and tracked down my review of it from back in the day. Very fond, still. Also, [community profile] cap_ironman apparently has new mods. The fourth set, if I'm counting correctly. I hope they do well.

Speaking of dubious comics from the '80s, I just realised that DC FINALLY put out a Showcase Presents the Len Wein run of Blue Beetle. They actually put it out last year, but I hadn't checked until I thought of it again this week. I'm never quite sure if I should rec that run or not. On one hand, it's a good intro to Ted and his backstory, on the other, Ted's more jerkish tendencies are well on display, IMPERIALISM! (sorry, Dan, but we all know it's true), and Wein is oddly obsessed with Ted's costume being finger-print activated, and will repeat that it is about twice an issue. It does highlight Ted as a decent inventor, a terrible boss and business owner, and a not great friend. To be honest, I've mostly pulled that run for backstory and side characters, and tend to use JLI for characterisation (not that Ted is much less of a jerk there, but he's more my kind of jerk). I still bought it though, obviously, along with (to make shipping) a boardbook called A Is for Activist for me nephew.

I also just listened to the Bert Coules radio adaptation of "The Final Problem," which remains excellent. Probably my favourite take on it, tbh. Ditto his "The Empty House," which I'll probably get to tomorrow.

I spent a good part of yesterday reading on the beach, damming a small stream, and swimming in the surf at a favourite childhood hangout, watching a pair or kids playing in the same ways my brother and I once did. Have a funny sun tan from only putting block over my surgery scars. Oops.
muccamukk: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson walking arm in arm. Text: "We strolled about together." (SH: Strolling)
Listened to "Sisters of the Flame"/"Vengence of Morbius" by Nicholas Briggs, which is the series two finale. I always like the first two series of the EDAs because they're mostly episodic, and play to Doctor Who's strengths, which are humour, mystery and a little bit of scary, in an easily consumable format. Nothing in these series takes itself all that seriously, and that's nothing but a good thing. The finale is a little bit darker, but also has Lucie teaming up with a giant space centipede played by Alexander Siddig, and together fighting crime, so, you know. It also has a bunch of tie ins to a Four storyline I haven't seen, but mostly focused on how close Lucie and the Doctor have gotten, and how they'll move heaven and earth to find each other if separated, which was pretty well done. Also blah, blah universe ending, Time Lord Interference Blah. Drama. Et cetera.

Anyway, then I listened to "Orbis" by Alan Barnes and Nicholas Briggs, the start of the third series, when the arc plots are back and the episodes are twice as long, and um... I always forget how much I dislike this episode. On the face of it, it's a good premise: the Doctor and Lucie have been separated for some time and are reunited with unexpected emotional difficulties, the Doctor meanwhile has spent considerable time living with with sentient jellyfish and generally being domestic sans TARDIS, danger occurs, and suddenly they all have to work together and repair their bonds. Also it has the Headhunter, who I generally adore. But then you hit the horrific ending, with some really graphic chaos, and the Doctor fucks up on an unspeakable level (Also the Sisters of the Eternal Flame, but they don't seem to get flack), and it's all kind of sordid and ugly. Plus the other species of the day, the evil space crustaceans, are one of Big Finish's few gender variant aliens, and they're seen as gross and horrible. It all left a bad taste in my mouth, and reminded me that I'd never been especially fond of series three, so I'm avoiding listening to it.

I did listen to a couple of good EscapePods/PodCastles: "To the Knife-Cold Stars" by A. Merc Rustad, about memory and survival when you've lost everything, and "Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy" by Saladin Ahmed about the bits of Spencer's Fairy Queen that fell through the cracks.

I also caught the Companion Chronicles with Three and the Brig called "Old Soldiers" which was pretty standard stuff, but it was very nice to hear that voice again, and the Bert Coules Sherlock Holmes fic "The Madness of Colonel Warburton," which had Watson being angsty and Holmes vaguely trying to sympathise but mostly getting distracted by drugs and solving crime, and was generally excellent.
muccamukk: Marcus looking unimpressed. Text: "do tell" (Elementary: Do Tell)
Managed not to see any movies while in town, surprising no one. Which means that I have to wait for the dvd on Cap 2. Oh well.

Did manage to keep up with Elementary. I'm kind of resigned to this season being about Mycroft with a side order of Sherlock's feelings about Mycroft, and not much Joan, so given that the last two episodes were fine. I guess. Next season better be more about Joan.

I am VERY CONCERNED about recent developments in Welcome to Night Vale. Spoilers for Company Picnic ahead: Read more... ) I really hope this plot resolves soon, though I'm kind of thinking it might not until the second anniversary episode. Haven't had a chance to listen to "The Debate" yet. I see there're live shows in Canada in the summer, but not when I can get to them, which is too bad.

My wedding survival fandom was Cabin Pressure, of which I'd previously caught the odd episode, but never listened through nor dipped into the fandom. I think this is going to be one of my burn through all the stories and then move on fandoms. I really love the canon; I'll always really love the canon, and maybe I'll revisit the fandom after the finale, but those of you who know me know I'm not BC's biggest fan. The canon's great, for the most part, possibly because one doesn't have to look at him, but well, I think that 1/6th of the fic being crossovers with Sherlock is a bit telling of the fandom's interests? Which do not happen to be my own. So there's that, and that's too bad, but so it goes

Went to actual live theatre, as produced by professionals, even (it's always a bit of a shock to see actual production design and costumes after spending so much time at Uno Fest and Fringe). The play in question was Equivocation by Bill Cain and went straight to meta and never left. The production was on a stripped down stage made to look like a modern backstage (steel girders and a curtain arch), with several chairs and a movable table, a cloak and a crown as the only props. Actors did get costumes in early Stuart period (though fewer codpieces than one might expect), and since six actors were playing ten characters as well as most of them acting as actors in various parts in bits of plays within the play, most everything was leaning pretty hard on characterisation and acting. This of course was deliberate as it was about Shakespeare, or rather about what history, politics, plays, playwrights and family mean in relationship to the truth. There was a character called Judith Shakespeare, she hated the theatre and thus broke the forth wall (and was the only one to get soliloquies). There was a lot of commentary on Shakespeare's plays themselves, that didn't shoot them down but didn't hold them up as the greatest thing in the world, either (I loved the actors' reaction to the first run through the Heath scene in Lear). The play did a good James I, which I always appreciate, and though Robert Cecil was oddly Italian (ish?), I thought he was well done. Overall: a few too many daddy issues, and Bob Frazer didn't convince me as Shakespeare, but it was thought full, funny and committed, so I'd see it if it hits your town.

Only read two books, both short:
Voltaire's Calligrapher by Pablo De Santis (translated by Lisa Carter)
I loved the setting, the style and the plot. The whole thing is just so wacky and committed to its detachment from reality that it comes off a something along the lines of Le Pacte Des Loups (to pick another story set in France in that period). The whimsical magic elements probably could have told me the author was South American on its own, without reading the author bio. At times, the Márquez-style magical realism in 18th-century France got a bit twee, but mostly it worked, and the over all atmosphere floated between horror, fantasy and a fever dream.

The book was also quite funny, which I appreciate, and those Voltaire himself was more of a cameo than a major character, he seemed well done.

I'd give this book four or five stars were it not for the women. There are four major named women. All of them are sexual objects, one's an actual sexbot, two drive men literally mad with lust, two are murdered, none get to make their own choices. The best thing that can be said about the female characters in that they're not in the story very much.

Broken (Extrahumans #1) by Susan J. Bigelow
Wow, this was a wild ride. I got it after reading the author blog about trans rights (no trans characters in this book, but I believe there is in the second one). It's small press, very small press, and could have used another go around with copy editing (several little formatting errors and typos, and the paragraph indentation was sporadic), but it's also inexpensive and drm free, so it balances out.

I read a lot of comics, so I loved the future with aliens and government-controlled superhero setting. Earth has slid into a dystopia (wherein New York is a ruin and Australia rules everything!), and extrahumans with powers to heal, fly, see the future etc are all either dead or working for the rising dictatorship.

Except the ones that aren't. This was not your average small band of superheroes take on the evil empires story, and I won't say more than that because spoilers. I liked how the book managed having a point of view character (a fourteen-year-old boy with run lola run style glimpses of people) who could see the future while still having a plot with twists. The other point of view characters were an alcoholic ex-hero who'd escaped the extrahuman union, the head of said union, and a few incidentals. It all wove together neatly, and one ends up liking most of them.

I'm definitely checking out the rest of the series.
muccamukk: Athos looking up with an ironic half smile. (Musketeers: Wry Look)
My Internet is currently both intermittent and selective. Gmail, hotmail and Facebook aren't working at all. Other sites are working slowly.

Rather liked yesterday's Elementary. I had not glommed onto the Returning Guest Character as strongly as some of fandom had, but I thought that Sherlock's plot was well handled, and Joan got to do lots of stuff. The scene with the plates was the best. Last week was good too. Joan! She got an episode about her! The mystery plot wasn't remarkable, but I really liked her backstory bits.

Still behind of SHIELD. Can I watch the new episode without Cap 2 spoilers? I won't see it until I'm out in May.

Watched a couple more episodes of Vera, so I think I've seen all of the first two series, though not in order. Am seriously very into that show.

I've been watching the new Nikita which I got a season of on DVD, but am only just getting to now. I was a pretty casual watcher of Le Femme Nikita, and found the movie very French, it's there's not as much loyalty as there might be. As of six or seven episodes in: I really like Maggie Q as Nikita. She's deeply excellent and can carry off the mix of utterly badass and deeply compassionate that she needs. I love Alex. I love their interaction. I'm starting to warm to Percy. Jaden's okay, or would be if she got to do anything. The plot is great. Everything else: They changed it and I don't like it! Shane West just isn't Roy Dupuis. I have to admit that the hair is an improvement, but otherwise he's a poor man's Jeremy Renner, and I don't much care about actual Jeremy Renner. Amanda and Birkhoff... aren't. Thom is really boring.

I miss The Musketeers. Also, Sinbad.

Listened to The Scaryfiers "The Horror of Loch Ness" which was the first episode with Harry Crow (David Warner) as Dunnings' regular partner. I still miss Lionheart (Nick Courtney) A LOT, but Crow's pretty good, and the episode itself was so much fun that it carried the cast change. Could have used a few less sexual harassment jokes, but there were monsters, references to earlier episodes, and pleasing quotes from a popular 1980s SF film that I wouldn't dream of spoiling.

Also listened to Doctor Who "Spare Parts" with Five and Nyssa. I don't actually care about the Cybermen, like at all, but this was excellent. Five and Nyssa have such a great relationship, and the guest starts were 50% women, and all interesting people in their own right. The plot was horrifying and tragic, and kind of amazing. It's certainly an episode that I'd come back to.

Four book reviews (including one that I read a while ago and forgot to post here):

The Sultan's Eyes by Kelly Gardiner
Deeply excellent book with a few flaws towards the end. I really liked this take on what happens after the Girl's Own Adventure story of the first of the series. The structure is not, in itself, that different. We still have our polygot young printer sailing to exciting new places, getting total and immediate access to all the most interesting people therein, and having all kinds of adventures. The tone, however, shifted to something a little more sombre.

Our Heroine has managed, over the course of the previous book, to piss off roughly half of Europe, and had implicated her friends along with her. They're not riding in exploration or rescue this time, but again forced to flee. She meets old friends and new and has to figure out how to negotiate her flaws (hot temper, inability to say anything other than exactly what she's thinking, and difficult in both figuring out what she's feeling and discussing it, interestingly, often male flaws), before they do actual damage to people she cares about. There's a lot of growing up in this book, and it was well done. Our Heroine feels like a real teenage girl in an extraordinary situation, and her foibles and hang ups grow very naturally out of her backstory.

Setting the book in Constantinople in 1648 was a lot of fun. I know very little about Ottoman history, but would love to learn more. The book has an extensive afterword with sources and suggested reading. I love the printing and science porn as well. The secondary characters, by nature of point of view, weren't as clearly drawn as Our Heroine, but they're a memorable bunch, and the author does a good job of letting them stand as individuals with their own agendas. And of course, I will always root for the gay couple!

The book ended very abruptly, and the rocks fall everyone runs style of conclusion felt a little more like the author wanted to wrap things up and get on with it then a conclusion that had built naturally. All the events had been set up, so it wasn't that improbable, but it still felt really fast. I also wasn't convinced by either of the romances between the younger characters. I appreciated the dodging of a love triangle, but I didn't seen enough of anyone's feelings to have a good idea of why they were doing all this. Though I guess they're all teenagers, so that may come with the territory. I feel that Our Heroine's realisation of love might have been better saved for the next book.

I do hope the author writes the next book, as I will happily read it.

Return to Night by Mary Renault
Read this for a discussion group, and had a lot more fun discussing it than I did actually reading it, I'm afraid.

Woe. I did not like this book. I feel bad, but I found the central relationship too dysfunctional for it to work for me as an actual romance novel, and too bogged down in author-imposed misogyny to be a subversion of a romance novel. So we're left with this kind of meandering exploration of a doomed relationship that's characterisation relies on demon mothers and random cave/womb metaphors.

All of the technically lovely writing and odd bits of insightful social satire in the world can't make that work for me.

Oh, and the e-book version is missing several large sections, and innumerable lines that are in the English first edition. Which made for fun bookclub reading.

The Bourbons: The History of a Dynasty by J.H. Shennan
Interesting and comprehensive, with a logical structure, and logical unifying themes. The book tended to focus more on style of kingship and how that effected the polity, but since personality etc plays into that, there were a lot of personal details. I would say the book could have benefited with more interested personal accounts, but it did have a lot of quotes form original sources, which is always nice.

It's two main detractions are that the style of writing was a bit dense and tended towards untranslated French and Latin, which got a bit pretentious, and again the lack of personal details. We get a strong impression of how France worked as a nations, but not as much as many of the Bourbons as people. It also throw a lot of names and dates around, so I was glad that I went into it knowing who everyone was.

God's Mountain by Erri De Luca (translated by Michael Moore)
Semi autobiographical and a very fast read. I enjoyed this book immensely. The language (in translation) is gorgeous, and it was just such a lovely bit of magical realism. I'm definitely going to look for more from this author.
muccamukk: Text: Geishas were female Korean military leaders with lots of power. (Politics: Bad history! Bad!)
I feel like I watched a movie at some point, but I can't remember it so it obviously wasn't an earth-shatter...

Oh right, got The Silver-lining Playbook from the library. It was good. I appreciated the depiction of how much fucking work having a mental illness is, and Jennifer Lawrence was lovely. So would recommend and possibly watch again at some point.

Listened to The Scaryfiers "The Magic Circle" (which has a stargate on the cover, but no stargates in the story, unfortunately), which is the first episode made after Nick Courtney passed away, and OMG! It's so sad. You know they're going to have to write Lionheart out, because you can't recast a man with a voice like Courtney's, so I was expecting it, but SO SAD. Half the episode is the usually running about and shinanigans, and the other half is about how Dunning can't function without Lionheart, and how much he misses, and there's this scene where he's reading a fictionalised version of their adventures to an audience, and he says "Lionheart" instead of the made up name, then kind of breaks down, and it's just SO SAD. There's a reason I've been putting off listening to this one, and this is it. I like Harry Crow though, and will continue to listen to the show.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey continues lovely. I'm not learning a lot (though I didn't know that fish had better eyesight than us), but it's sort of just forty five minutes of rolling around in chocolate science sauce with some extra science on top. I want us to send a robot to Titan. I forgot how that used to be goal of mine. I am reminded. And it's continuing the perfect level of Segan quotes and nostalgia while still doing its own thing. I guess any question of FOX controlling the output was deep-sixed by Tyson going straight for evolution in episode two.

Castle, which I usually watch but don't usually comment on, was a sea of Oriantalism and outright racism, which was mildly lampshaded, but not to any level to excuse whatever the fuck that was. Excuse to use my bad history icon?

Elementary was again fine, though was it just me or did everyone feel kind of wooden this week? Like they were all on drugs. I literally cannot remember the A Plot, but I enjoyed the plot with Bell and the teacher. Though I'm still not really over making Bell's disability a plotline, then just handwaving it apparently forever. The last scene was really nice, in any case. Character growth on all sides. I've just remembered the A Plot, but it still wasn't that interesting.

Haven't caught up on SHIELD. I hear it was sexist? IDK. I like Sif.

The Musketeers! I have kind of mixed feelings about "A Rebellious Women" because the writing wasn't very good (people kept monologuing!) and the history was even worse (Middle-class arranged marriages! Witch trials considered antiquated in 1630!), and I'm pretty sure serious damage was done to an actual historical character. However, I liked the Athos plot and the non-romance worked for me. Aramis got some nice non-hitting-on-people bits, and some not as nice patronising feminism bits (seriously, there should be some kind of test men have to take before they get to write about feminism). Porthos got to do nothing, but Constance and d'Artagnan were adorable and Capaldi got to chew scenery. So overall I'm vaguely in favour of it? It's really hard for me to dislike this show, even on weaker episodes.

Then this week, with "The Challenge" we got a boring A-plot (with Vinnie Jones!), but lots of fun background stuff. Which I actually want to talk about enough cut for spoilers )

Anyway, MUSKETEERS! Vaguely thinking about a Harry Potter fusion has led me to break my book diet and grab a couple library books on the period, one of which was decent, the other... not so much. I also finished a lecture series on that period of English history, and am loading up on In Our Times that might be relevant.

Bourbon and Stuart: Kings and Kingship in France and England in the Seventeenth Century by John Leslie Miller.
It's probably good that I had a pretty clear idea of the major players going in. My library copy had marginalia in pencil as to relatives, which I didn't need, but could see how one would. That said, it's a solid overview of the strengths and weaknesses of both monarchies and how they played out over the seventeenth-century. The jacket indicates that it's full of stories and anecdotes, which it is not, for the most part, other than the author's often biting assessment's of the personalities of kings and their ministers and mistresses. Those in themselves don't always line up with my other reading on the period, but were interesting.

I'd suggest this book as an alternative look at the period for someone who'd already familiar with it.

Quarrel with the King: The Story of an English Family on the High Road to Civil War by Adam Nicolson: Did not finish. My interest in the period sadly does not exceed the author's overwrought prose and scattered approach. Back to the library it goes!

Unrelated to Musketeers, though certainly relevant to adventure and daring do I also read Emilie and the Sky World (Emilie #2) by Martha Wells, which I enjoyed just as much, if not more, than the first one. It's a wonderfully fun Jules Verne-esque adventure story, with lots of ghost pirates, air ships, daring do and talking plants. Which, really what more could you want in a YA adventure novel?

I really like Emilie as a protagonist. She's mostly practical, with the odd really bad idea that makes sense for a teenager, and never makes her look as though she's holding the idiot ball for the sake of plot. I like how she looks at people and tries to figure out their motivations and relationships. It feels natural, but also helped expand the world drawn in such close third person.

Her little brother made a nice addition to the cast this time around, giving her someone her age to interact with, rather than the female mentor figures, which are great, but now she got to take the lead a little more. I've always loved Wells' language barrier stories, so the adventures with the non-talking plant person were great.

I initially expected the Professor to be Emilie's mentor's ex girlfriend, and was disappointed when she was not. However, her father got an ex boyfriend, so that was nice I guess. Always good to see a PoC-default culture in a fantasy novel.
muccamukk: Sinbad looks up with an innocent and concerned expression (Sinbad: Puppy Eyes)
Big Finish, who do Doctor Who and other radio plays, have a survey out. If you fill it in, you can win a £250 gift certificate. They were asking what shows people might like as radio plays. One of the choices was Sinbad. Unfortunately there wasn't a comment box where I could offer them my first born, so I just checked "Extremely interested." ETA: Have now e-mailed them to re-enforce that view, well mostly to comment on other things, but I sure did mention Sinbad. /ETA

Just filled out a survey with my union that got points for including an "other" gender box and lost points for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered." It's good that they're trying? They did not, however, have a Sinbad question, which is certainly a failure on their part.

Elementary: More Lestrade, about whom I do not care. Though I do like Sean Pertwee, so not a total loss. I'm still here for Joan though. Dear show: More Joan Please.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: So... that was a thing that happened? This show's getting pretty intense. I'm interested in where they're going with this.

The Musketeers last week was deeply excellent. I'm enjoying how they're bringing in all sorts of historical ladies that Dumas did not include. I'm also enjoying them laying off on killing female guest stars. It's been nice. Hopefully they don't use their gained credit to off Constance, who is amazing and I love forever. Also, just the general running about and humour has been very enjoyable.

Cosmos made me cry. I just... the original series meant a lot to me, and now it's back, and I LOVES IT! Hoping the later episodes get more technical though. BUT I LOVES IT!

I feel like Welcome to Night Vale is gearing up for something major, and I'm not sure if I want that or not. I like it as a biweekly oddity, but a more prominent arc might not be a bad thing either? It depends on how it's handled, I guess. "Condos" was my favourite thing ever though, seriously. Cecil's voice is so much more animated in the live show.

As predicted, The Orenda by Joseph Boyden won Canada Reads (that's right, my country has a book club). I'm down to 140 on 40 copies on the hold list, so I look forward to getting it in the next couple of months. I see that, since it won, there's over six hundred holds.

[personal profile] marthawells has a new book out, Emilie and the Sky World. I very much enjoyed the first book in that series, so ordered this one post haste. Looking forward to reading it.

Read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, an entertaining high-tech mystery-adventure story. The book was very humorous, and I enjoyed all the adventures and technical innovations, the mesh of old technology and new. It was a fun ride, all in all.

I will say that it was a very male-centric view of the tech world, with only one woman of import who was also a love interest, and rather too much made of a character with a breast obsession. Which I suppose reflects sections of the tech world, but felt very Default Dude and unwelcoming to me.

So, yeah.

Mar. 2nd, 2014 05:21 pm
muccamukk: Porthos laughing victoriously. (Musketeers: I Win!)

Musketeers have kind of swallowed my fandom life? And it's great. It's the first time in ages that I've been looking forward to writing time instead of making myself do it. However, other things like say the talking meme, and the writing workshop and that big bang I'm supposed to be doing? Haven't been happening as much. Or, you know, at all.

Instead I've been over at [personal profile] bbcmusketeerskink writing tropey id porn and enjoying every minute of it. They seem to have a good mod over there, for those shy of kink memes.

I don't want to fulfil commitments. I just want to hang out on the kink meme and write ABO and Amnesia fic. I actually do feel bad about this. Just not bad enough to stop. I'm considering whether I should un anon and crosspost to AO3 or not. Eh.

Media reviews:
Recently watched the Ralph Fiennes film of Coriolanus, the one that's an action movie less about 50% of the play? AND I LOVED IT! It's absolutely brutal and intense, but very effecting, and I just love watching Fiennes chew scenery in his usual oddly-understated way. Also Vannessa Redgrave is some kind of goddess. Gerard Butler mostly sulked. The vaguely post-apocalyptic Italian (as filmed in Croatia, I think) setting worked very well as a stand in for Early-Republican Rome. Mostly <3 <3 <3

I think I missed an episode of Elementary, but saw this week's. Which was... fine? I guess I'm not rocking this season as much. I feel like Joan's really underused. I know it's not ever going to the the Joan Watson Show, but it seems like they keep dropping her emotional threads in favour of More Sherlock Holmes.

Haven't seen today's Musketeers yet, but liked last week's a fair bit. I'm always down for woobie (and shirtless!) Porthos. Speaking of underused, aside from adorable flirting with Constance (which can continue forever!), d'Artagnan hasn't been doing much more then play Exposition Buddy since about episode two, and Milady's not been in the last few episodes at all!

Finally finished Consider the Fork: How Technology Transforms the Way We Cook and Eat by Bee Wilson so it can go back to the library. I more or less enjoyed it. It's full of very interesting and entertaining facts, put together in a fluffy, pop history kind of way. I can't say that I learned any particular systemic information, but it was a fun read.
muccamukk: Jason Mamoa playing the guitar. (SGA: Guitar)
Listened to U.N.I.T. radio play "Snake Head" which was pretty good. I liked the plot for the most part, but the character dynamic with everyone thinking Chaudhry and Dalton were dating was a bit trying. I also feel like they could have spent a bit more time on Dalton getting used to UNIT then they did. Anyway, a perfectly fine filler episode.

Also heard "The Army of Death" with Eight and Mary, which I liked quite a lot. The main plot was very much a thing that would only happen on Doctor Who, so that was fun. Though I don't think spoilers ) I hope this isn't the last Mary Shelly story. Also enjoyed Paul McGann, who clearly ran out of things to say about the character about ten years ago, saying he'd rather be Shellian, because he's tired of being called Byronic, especially in that he thinks Byron was a git.

This for you, from Paul McGann and me. At the start of each segment of the Doctor Who play "Scherzo," Paul reads a few minutes of this creepy little fairytale. Which I have crudely pasted together for your enjoyment. The Creepy Fairytale from "Scherzo." Enjoy. Probably don't listen to it late at night if you're by yourself.

Okay, I KNOW I said I wasn't watching Sherlock again, and I probably should have stuck to that, but then someone said that the second episode was basically a rainbow and sunshine OT3 puppy pile, and since rainbow and sunshine OT3 puppy pile is my genre of choice I watched the second one. Which, I might add, I enjoyed immensely. I should have stopped there. I'm not even sure why I didn't like it. A lot of the character beats were great, and it really should have been the kind of h/c that's my bread and butter, but I just... didn't. Some thoughts about why. Spoilers for 3x03 His Last Vow )

Enjoying all the Holmes/Bell on Elementary lately, and the various drama and revelations on Agents of SHIELD. Brooklyn Nine-Nine had puppies last week, and we got to meet Terry Crew's wife this week. Still hoping for the Captain's husband. It'll happen. Behind on Sleepy Hollow and Welcome to Night Vale. Never did start watching Almost Human.

Have posted all the readings for the writing workshop, though they kind of need context, so enjoy or not? I really like how many women were in the mix, especially with the further reading lists.

Tried to read Cold Steel (Spiritwalker #3) by Kate Elliott, but then I remembered that I don't like many of the characters, and actively dislike the romance. It's been long enough since I've read this series that my desire to find out what happens and enjoy the fantastic worldbuilding does not outweigh my annoyance at the rest of it.

Did read Silver Lies (Silver Rush #1) by Ann Parker, a good solid historical mystery novel. I really enjoyed the protagonist, hard-bitten saloon-owner Inez, and her supporting cast. The period detail was great, and the author has clearly lived in her research, but the characters really made the book shine. They have a knack of not getting along and running cross purposes without too many of them actually being horrible people. It's just very different people not rubbing along well in a claustrophobic setting, which felt very real.

It did seem at times that Parker missed a few emotional beats, or at least didn't hit them right, especially regarding various romance subplots. However, the mystery had me turning pages so fast that I'm willing to overlook that. Will read the rest of the series at some point, for sure.
muccamukk: Spiral staircase decending multiple levels inside a tower.. (SH: Man of Letters)
A Victorian gentleman apparently more willing to give female characters agency than not one but two 21-century tv shows.

File: Things That Are Not a Good Sign.
muccamukk: Martha looking exasperated. Text: "sigh". (DW: -sighs-)
Which I watched because I will watch any and every version of "The Empty House" ever made.

Came away feeling like the creators of the show actively hate their own fans. Still want to punch Cucumberface. Have no idea what John gets out of that relationship. He should marry Mary and run like hell.

This will be my last interaction with this version, I think.
muccamukk: Captain Gregson standing in front of a police car, looking serious. (Elementary: Captain Gregson)
Spoilers )
muccamukk: Holmes examines a Santa hat. (SH: Christmas Hat)
So I'm watching The Mentalist, which is part of my quest to mainline fluffy tv shows with pretty leads when I'm stuck in town (I watched three seasons of White Collar last time). It occurs to me that TM is rely pretty heavily on us feeling bad for the main character because he's sad about his dead wife and daughter. Other than being pretty and outwardly charming, that's about all he's got going for him at the moment, given that he's such a massive jerk.

It reminded me of that movie Last Night where Sandra Oh and Don McKellar accidentally end up spending the end of the world together, and they're trying to get to know each other so that this will somehow be meaningful (she meant to spend it with her husband, but was unable to do so).
Sandra: Tell me something to make me love you.
[They talk about how his wife was the only person he ever loved, and then she died. "She died, and then they said the world would end."]
Sandra: Tell me more. I want to love you. It won't be hard.
Don: That's about it. That's my big story. It usually does the trick.

Nenya said that knowing that someone could love is a very sympathetic trait. If they could love that much, than they probably aren't a monster. Which I get, but it still seems kind of lazy. If you want use to like you, show some good characteristics. Be less of a jerk!

I like how Jane is well-groomed most of the time, which is something that most Holmes adaptations don't do.
muccamukk: Han Solo, Leia Organa, C-3PO, Chewbacca watch from the bushes. (SW: We're Watching You!)
Which TV shows did you start watching in 2012?
Currently running shows: Continuum, White Collar, Arrow, Copper, Downton Abbey, Elementary
Old shows on rewatch: Highlander (still/again/forever), seaQuest: DSV, Mutant X, Quantum Leap, The Professionals, Starsky & Hutch
Episode Specific Binges on: Cleopatra 2525, due South, Rizzoli & Isles, Stargate: SG-1

Which TV shows did you let go of in 2012?
White Collar, Hawaii 5-0, Arrow, Copper, Downton Abbey

Which TV shows did you mean to get into but didn't in 2012? Why?
I had vague stirrings that I might watch Teen Wolf, but I don't really like werewolves or teenagers. I want to watch Nikita, but the DVDs are expensive. Was going to watch Rizzoli & Isles but made Nenya watch it instead.

Which TV shows do you intend on checking out in 2013?
I... honestly have no idea what's coming out in 2013. I might look into that SHIELD show, which has Ming Na in it?

Which TV show impressed you least in 2012?
Toss up between Copper and Arrow, everything else didn't change, I just got bored with it. Probably Copper, actually, which had the potential to be everything I want in a show and kind of pissed it away into many things I intensely dislike in a show.

Which TV show did you enjoy the most in 2012?
Continuum, hands down. That's just such a fantastic show. Though I am really enjoying Elementary now.
muccamukk: Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson walking arm in arm. Text: "We strolled about together." (SH: Strolling)
make hot chocolate and read through the Alternate Universe - Dragons tag on AO3.

And to watch Elementary with your family, because small spoiler for 1.10 ) It was a good episode. Also my dad now has a major crush on Lucy Liu. Well so do I, so fair enough.

I finished Vol 9 of Fullmetal Alchemist and now minorly ship Riza/Winry. I may be doing this fandom wrong. Have ordered the next three from the library though. Someday, I shall finish this series.

Finally got Martha Wells' last Raksura book, The Siren Depths, which was every inch as fantastic as the rest of the series has been. I finished it in a day. I love the characters, the cultures, the way the cultures clash, all the emotional interplay (seriously, all of my emotional h/c needs in one convenient place), the pov, the humour, the gender dynamics. Basically everything about that series. First book in the series is Cloud Roads, I highly recommend it, and the series only gets better form there.

Oh. I have a goodreads account. Does anyone want to be my goodreads friend? Erm... I read a lot of romance novels. Also books about queer people, YA fantasy, and a deeply random selection of non-fiction.

Now, to make hot chocolate.
muccamukk: Sam Beckett with no shirt. Text: "Quantum Leap: I watch it for the writing" (QL: No shirt!)
[community profile] fandom_stocking: Where you write that fic you wanted to write anyway/clear out your WIP folder, but now it's gift fic. I may be missing the point? But hey, I can't help it if people ask for exactly what I'm writing anyway.

Also, any excuse to rewatch The A-Team film. I have strong feelings about Liam Neeson, in my pants.

I have got my folks hooked on Elementary; that was unsurprisingly easy. I'm actually starting to feel vaguely fannish about it, which usually looks like thinking about crossovers. Joan Watson is the new companion on Doctor Who for example. Or Joan Watson in the attack on NYC in The Avengers.

I'm horrifically behind reading [ profile] avengersfest fic. I need to catch up and make rec lists for great justice. Only three days of posting left there, and I want to read everything before reveals.

Otherwise, all my fanish feelings have been pointed at Quantum Leap. I want all the fic were Al and Donna are BFF.

Except I re-read The Pulse, and I now want to write about Luke Cage some more.

Am making Dad read Saucer Country which he likes well enough to follow in floppy, instead of trade waiting.
muccamukk: An eye painted purple and green. Text: Hulk. (Avengers: Lady Hulk)
[ profile] avengersfest: Done, beta read, fixed and submitted (then they extended the deadline because of the storm on the east coast) (Then my prompt showed up on the pinch hit list, but someone claimed it \o/)
[ profile] boostlethon: Research done, plot thought of, writing... not started. I've taken the precautionary step of signing up for [ profile] wrisomifu this year.

[ profile] wrisomifu sign ups are open. From their comm info: Write Something, You Miserable Fuck is a writing group for underachievers who enjoy the company of same. To join, all you need to do is commit to writing (original fic, fanfic, to do lists, your thesis, your memoirs - anything!) for at least ten minutes each day for the entire month of November. And you are permitted - encouraged even! - to complain bitterly about every single word.

Reading Quantum Leap fic and feeling nostalgic. Man that's a depressing fandom though. The levels of UST and angst remind me of Harry/Bob from the Dresden Files tv show.

Speaking of Harry Dresden, I'm not sure I'm enjoying Arrow enough to keep at it. I like a lot of the characters, and superheroes on tv are fun, but there's a few things (mainly the plots and the stupid fucking voice overs from Captain Obvious) that are pushing me away. I'm going to give it a couple more episodes because the next few have different writers.

I AM really liking Elementary. In the grand style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the mystery plots are exceedingly silly, but I'm really liking the interactions between Holmes and Watson, Watson and Gregson and Holmes and Gregson. Bell hasn't gotten a lot to do so far, but what I've seen I've liked.

ETA: SPOILERS for the most recent Elementary in the comments


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

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