kore: (Jane Eyre - Jane writing)
([personal profile] kore May. 23rd, 2017 09:00 pm)
I still can't really think (bleah left ear hurts, may have to suck it up and go BACK to clinic) (that's always fun. "These antibiotics don't work, I need more") so, a meme:

Cite the final line of five of your fics – your favorites, or the most recent ones.

I'm doing most recent too but skipping one because it's a WiP. Let's see (I know already this is probably going to be THE LOST LAND OF FOREVER RUN-ON SENTENCES) (also doing last lines, not just one):

1. Rey gripped Poe's arm tighter. "It's been a long time," she said. Maybe too long. "But we'll find him, Poe. I know we will. We'll find him." And then we'll bring him home.
No Man is an Island (the Drowned World remix), Star Wars, Poe and Rey

2. Jarvis rolled over too, shifting closer, and rested his forehead against Howard's back, one hand on Howard's shoulder. Howard lay motionless, waiting to make sure Jarvis was really asleep, before he reached out and up to shut off the lamp. Jarvis's left hand slipped from his shoulder to Howard's waist, and Howard reached up with his right hand to hold it in the dark.
Indelibility of Allegiance, Agent Carter, Jarvis and Howard

3. And underneath Marina's words, like a divine descant, there was another voice rising up, somehow in harmony with or resonating with itself, the voice you'd always known and could never have really forgotten, the first voice you ever knew, telling you the best and oldest lie of all: Enough. Enough, you have suffered enough. You deserve peace. My daughter, you are safe now, it is over. You are home.
I'll Never Tear You Apart, The Magicians (TV), Marina and Julia

4. He didn't try to defend himself; whatever she could give him, help or its opposite, he was willing to take, and he knew she'd also been just where he was now, helpless, dependent. He didn't mind losing; not this time. He closed his eyes and waited for her to bring him back, however she could.
I Remember Standing By The Wall (The Pax Natasha Remix), MCU, BuckyNat

5. "Okay, come on, Captain Rogers is about to crash and burn. You can call Talia and yell at her about invading your privacy in the morning. No, leave it, Steve, the memory of our sainted mothers will forgive us if we leave crumbs on the table one fucking night. Come on, Mishka. Let's go to bed."
the hurts of human life, MCU, Stucky


I dunno, besides OMG, GIRL, STOP HOGGING ALL THE COMMAS, themes....people relaxing? People going to sleep? Weariness? Excessive wordiness? "Put on a suit, go down to the bank, fill out an application, get a loan, and buy a full stop"? *hands* ...also, three juggernaut pairings, and the only graphic sex is the TINY pairing in the small fandom.
ladyofleithian: (Default)
([personal profile] ladyofleithian May. 23rd, 2017 07:32 pm)
Title: Mother Wound

Summary: In which Kylo runs into an unpleasant reality.

Prompt: Exploit

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Fic under cut.  )
Tags:
What with it being (#)Mermay, I keep thinking "maybe I'll post a standalone chunk of my mermaid (currently-)fic under lock" and then feeling anxious about it. These days I'm so tangled up about writing and the lack thereof that I'm not even sure where, exactly, the anxiety is rooted. Maybe in the fact that it'd mean actually opening a writing file for the first time (;_;) in a few months?

Or maybe I feel uneasy because the story is in such a weird place: it's an AU WIP that's so AU that I've basically decided that I'm going to take the serial numbers off and let it breathe as its own thing...except that'll mean rewriting absolutely everything I've already gotten down. So "sharing a chunk" would mean "sharing words that I already expect will never see the light of day even as part of a complete draft". (But I love those words.) (But it's a weird thing to post.) (But I've already shared swaths of it with [dreamwidth.org profile] ushobwri on workshop days, if not for quite a while, so what's the big deal, self?)

Community promotions! [dreamwidth.org profile] china_shop just created [dreamwidth.org profile] nanodownunder, which will run in June and offer daily check-in posts. I've signed up in another attempt at getting an external kick in the pants; I haven't made it anywhere near as far as trying to figure out what I might attempt to work on.

Anyway, [dreamwidth.org profile] china_shop is lovely, and it sounds fun. Do come join!

Also, prompt claims are now open at [dreamwidth.org profile] smallfandomfest! (Complete spreadsheet of prompts here.) The prompt list accrues new prompts with each round, rather than discarding the list of unfilled prompts and starting over, which means it's fairly long. ^_^ And there's a new Newsflesh prompt. Made by someone I don't know. (My fandom is small enough that wholly unfamiliar names literally always startle me for a second.)

And it's a smutty prompt for my ship, so clearly I should try to write something for it, because a) how often does that happen? and b) it's a prompt that meshes perfectly with my headcanon.

Tomorrow we're signing some Very Grown Up (and uninteresting, alas) money-related paperwork, which always feels intimidating. One nice thing is that our lawyer friend (formerly of Casual Job, who passed the bar just last year) is doing the necessary lawyerly things; if we must spend money on getting paperwork extensively handled, I'm glad (some of) it's going to a friend.

I'm waiting on such dull things, guys. For one, an email notifying me that my ancient email account that I never use but don't want to let go of has been renewed for another year (it's with the local freenet, and they require you to say "please renew my account for another year" annually, which is kind of annoying, and I did it a bit late. And I really wish the damn "okay, that's done!" reply would turn up so I can forget about it for another year.

For another, when I was out erranding with my mom last Thursday, we stopped by a library branch I don't usually go to, and since she was going in and I otherwise didn't need to, she dropped a book of mine that was due that day into the returns bin. Great! Except my online account still thinks it's checked out (and thus overdue). I've been logging in once or twice a day to see if it's been checked in, and tonight (after business hours) I finally tweeted to the library system's account to ask "um, when should I start worrying?"

These are small, boring things, and since I'm not wired to put stuff like that out of my mind, I can't stop thinking about them. >.< I've hit the point of actively resenting the amount of mental real estate they're taking up between them.
Please help me, I am forever so behind on these, & what I do not record I will forget forever.


Time of Eve, anime, 2010
This has an ideal runtime and microformat. The individual vignettes aren't particularly in-depth exploration of speculative concepts/worldbuilding/the laws of robotics; they're equally fueled by pathos and the human condition, so the short episode length gives room to develop those things without allowing them to grow maudlin—a good emotional balance. The effect is cumulative—not especially cleverly so, it's pretty straightforward "interwoven ensemble with overarching character growth," but it's satisfying. I wish this pushed its speculative/robotics elements further, but, frankly, I'm satisfied with the whole thing, it's engaging and evocative and sweet and I sure do like androids.

A Series of Unfortunate Events, season 1, 2017
I'm surprised to find I enjoyed this more than the book series—and I didn't love the books, but didn't expect them to improve upon adaptation. The weakness of the books is how much depends on the meta-narrative and how little of that there actually is; rewriting it with a better idea of what that narrative will be, and with more outside PoVs, makes it more substantial and creates a better overarching flow. The humor is great, the set design is great, it feels faithful without merely reiterating, a condensed "best of" the atmosphere and themes; a sincere and pleasant surprise. I'm only sad that the second season isn't out yet, because the Quagmire Triplets were always my favorites.

The Great British Bake Off, series 6, 2015
They finally got rid of the awful, belabored pause before weekly reveals! That was the only thing I ever hated about this series, and I'm glad to see it go. This is a weird season: weekly performances are irregular and inconsistent and vaguely underwhelming; the finale is superb. It makes me feel validated in my doubts re: whether the challenges and judging metrics actually reflect the contestants's skills, but whatever: it has solid payoff and this is as charming and pure as ever. What a delightful show.

Arrival, film, 2016, dir. Denis Villeneuve
50% "gosh, the alien/language concept design is good"; 50% "I really just want to read the short story" (so I immediately put the collection on hold). Short fiction adapts so well to film length that it makes me wonder why we insist on adapting novels: the pacing is just right, the speculative and plot elements are just deep enough to thoroughly explore, there's no feeling of being rushed or abridged or shallow. What makes this worthwhile as a film is some of the imagery, alien design (the language really is fantastic), and viewer preconceptions re: flashbacks as narrative device; it's awfully white and straight and boring as a romance, though—underwhelming characters with no particular chemistry, although I like Amy Adams's pale restraint. If I sound critical, I'm not; I thought this was a satisfying as a 2-hour experience.

Interstellar, film, 2014, dir. Christopher Nolan
I have a lot of feelings, and most of them are terror: wormholes! black holes! water planet! time as a dimension! space, just as a thing in general!—I find all this terrifying, in a fascinated by authentically panicky way. The imagery and plot does a solid job of making these concepts comprehensible and still vast (save perhaps for the fourth+ dimension—the imagery there almost works, but it's so emotionally-laden and interpersonal as to, ironically, make it feel localized, small). But Blight-as-worldbuilding is shallow, and a lot of the human element is oppressive and obvious, which deadens things; I wish more of it were on the scale of Dr. Brand's love or the effects of relativity: private motivations for the characters, sincere and intense but with limited effect on the setting or plot. But as a speculative narrative, one within the realm of the plausible but intentionally alien, distant, and awe-inspiring, this is effectively the space version of the disaster porn in a disaster flick—space porn, is that a thing? It's captivating in a nightmareish way, which, I suppose, is exactly what I wanted.

Legend, complete series, 1995
One of Devon's childhood shows, which he got as a birthday present, so we watched it together. It's honestly not as awful as I expected. The frontier setting is less idealized or racist than it could be, but still has a great atmosphere; the character dynamics are hammy but sincerely endearing; the mystery plots are episodic but decently written. Not a new favorite, shows its age, and the mix of tone and science fantasy Western makes it understandably niche, but it exceeded expectations.
umadoshi: (Newsflesh - First Lady (kasmir))
([personal profile] umadoshi May. 23rd, 2017 11:05 pm)
"How Pink Heels Became Harper Watters' Signature". [Dance Magazine] "When Houston Ballet demi-soloist Harper Watters first posted a short video of himself in bubblegum pink heels, he went to sleep with 4,000 Instagram followers. He awoke to more than double that, and 500-plus comments. Now at nearly 65,000 followers, Watters knows he (and his partner in crime, fellow Houston Ballet dancer Rhys Kosakowski) struck a fun chord with a new audience."

"Drag Queen Story Hour Puts the Rainbow in Reading".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] deifire, "George A. Romero Is Planning a NASCAR Zombie Movie".

"If You're Under 16, You Won't Believe What The Internet Used To Be Like". [Buzzfeed, in case the title didn't give it away]

"'A Kingdom On Wheels': The Hidden World That Made The Circus Happen".

"Nevertheless, He Persisted: Tales of Masculine Perseverance". [McSweeney's]

"13 Real AF Situations Every Anxious Person Has Experienced". [Buzzfeed]

"The need for urgent collective action to keep people safe online: Lessons from last week’s cyberattack".

"Exclusive: Could the legend come true? Tower of London raven allowed to fly free".

"On the radar: receipts". [OxfordWords Blog] "How and when did ‘receipts’ come to mean ‘proof’?"

"Surreal Pencil Drawings Look Like How Repressing Your Emotions Feels". (Really neat; also frequently disturbing.)

"Exploring Yugoslavia’s Mysterious Abandoned Brutalist Monuments: Serbian photographer Jovana Mladenovic photographs forgotten post-World War II sculptures".

"Dear Media: Please Stop Simply Saying the Rape Charges Against Julian Assange Were “Dropped”". [The Mary Sue]

"Why you should never ever feed bread to a duck".

"Coming Up Aces: What does asexual mean?" [Queership]

At Baking Bites: "A Visit to The Museum of Ice Cream, Los Angeles".

"Presenting…The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide!" [Matt Wallace]

"A Brief History of 'Squee': The word has its fans". [Merriam-Webster]

"The Hot New Millennial Housing Trend Is a Repeat of the Middle Ages: Communal living is hardly a departure from tradition—it's a return to how humans have been making their homes for thousands of years".
boxofdelights: (Default)
([personal profile] boxofdelights May. 23rd, 2017 06:46 pm)
aaaaaaaaaaaa two sleeps till Wiscon aaaaaaaaaa!

garden pictures )
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oursin: Sign saying 'Hedgehog Xing' and drawing of hedgehog (Hedgehog crossing)
([personal profile] oursin May. 23rd, 2017 06:30 pm)

But after a reasonably uneventful transatlantic journey, and O'Hare being no more irksome than before, and indeed, the passport kiosks do speed things up though there is still queuing once you've done so -

It's really, really annoying to find that the wifi in the hotel is on the fritz (actually, there was also something Not Right with Heathrow Terminal 3 wifi this morning, but at least I still had mobile data activated on my phone without the prospect of ruinous charges) which is apparently a wider system problem.

I am therefore posting from the one terminal in the lobby that is a) connected to the internet and b) actually works - I had to remove myself temporarily when a young person wanted to 'very quickly' print something out, which turned out not to be quick at all, tell me again about the digital native generation.

Yes, in the general scheme of things, a minor inconvenience. But after a day of taxis and airports and planes, annoying.

But, anyway, here I am.

yhlee: wax seal (Default)
([personal profile] yhlee May. 23rd, 2017 05:51 pm)
I first heard of Everyday Life in Joseon-Era Korea: Economy and Society, ed. Michael D. Shin, from a post by [personal profile] thistleingrey. What's sad about this book is not that it's poorly written or conceived, but that it's priced so damn high; the lowest price I'm seeing on Amazon is over $100 (!). This is a translation of a collection of essays by Korean historians about Joseon-era Korea, particularly emphasizing the viewpoint of the common people rather than the yangban (nobles) and royalty. As such, the topics are ones that, as [personal profile] thistleingrey notes, are rarely discussed about this period in English. I found the introductory essay by Michael D. Shin particularly valuable, as it discusses Korean historiography and how it has been affected by, e.g., the Japanese occupation and Korean nationalism; it was really great to have it put the rest of the book in context.

I found this interesting as additional background and research reading for my current novel WIP, DRAGON PEARL, although I am not choosing to base my space opera setting very closely on historical Korea, let alone Joseon. For example, Joseon Korea tended to become more patriarchal as time went on due to the influence of Neo-Confucianism, and I wanted to depict a society more egalitarian in its attitudes toward gender. Earlier periods of Korea were kinder to women, but not only is there less material on earlier periods to begin with, it is damn near impossible to find such material in English, and unfortunately I am not fluent in either Korean or Classical Chinese.

Also, I was fascinated by Seo Tae-Won's "The Military Life," which mostly amazes me in that I'm not sure how the Joseon military system was even able to function! For example, many commoner households owed military service to the government, but they were not paid or equipped or given uniforms, which was hard on their families, especially if they were needed at home for the farming...yikes.

Meanwhile, the most entertaining of the essays (if you want to judge them that way) are Jung Jin Young's "Did Fake Genealogies Exist?", which drily notes that it can't be possible that EVERY SINGLE KOREAN comes from a yangban lineage, and discusses some more complicating factors in Korean family lines, and the very last one, "The Outhouses of the Royal Palaces" by Hong Soon Min.

Here is the table of contents for the curious:

Part One: Economy
1. Farming in the Joseon Period
2. A Typical Day and Year in the Life of the Peasantry
3. The Tax Burden of the Peasantry
4. Currency and the Value of Money
5. The Merchants of Seoul
6. The Joys and Sorrows of the Itinerant Merchants
7. Foreign Trade and Interpreter Officials
8. Salt: White Gold
9. Seeking Work at Mines
10. When Did Joseon's Population Reach Ten Million?

Part Two: Society
11. Rural Society and Zhu Xi's Community Compact
12. Why Did Peasants Create the Dure?
13. Did Fake Genealogies Exist?
14. The Baekjeong Class
15. The Rebellion of Im Ggeokjeong
16. Did People Divorce in the Joseon Period?
17. The Educational System
18. Military Life
19. The Penal System
20. Eating Culture
21. Liquor and Taverns
22. Tea and Tobacco
23. The Outhouses of the Royal Palaces

Thank you to the generous benefactor who donated this book.
ceitfianna: (breaking each other)
([personal profile] ceitfianna May. 23rd, 2017 06:31 pm)
Today started out hopeful, I turned in a cover letter and the new job continues to be great and oddly good for my inspiration. I started a Cassian fic that the Hamilton soundtrack made me go oh, so many amazing lyrics. As I was driving home listening to Hamilton, suddenly I was over the curb with two flat tires. Someone was looking out for me as there was an auto place on the corner, I was on a side street behind the Watertown mall and I was fixed and going in about half an hour.

Now I’m home and realizing that I have bruises but feeling lucky. Also I have a lot of long periods during my current sub job and access to a computer. Please send prompts as the Star Wars’ release day is Thursday and I’d love to post some fic then. Rogue One is the fandom I’m writing for the most with a focus on Cassian and Jyn but I know Clone Wars, OT and some of the books so try me and keep my mind busy.
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
([personal profile] calissa May. 24th, 2017 08:00 am)

20170522_112146 no chip

It’s no secret that I’m fond of reading speculative erotica. So, I was delighted when Twisted Moon Magazine launched their first issue. With the second issue due out on Friday (in time for the New Moon, natch), I’ve invited the editors to share a little about their publication.

Why erotic speculative poetry?

What made us, the founders and editors of Twisted Moon Magazine, decide that the world of online poetry needed an even more niche publication?

We would be lying if we said it wasn’t partly because we all really like reading sexy poetry. We do. It’s pretty great. And aside from wanting a reason for people to send us their naughty writing, we came to the consensus that there wasn’t really anything out there which published the sort of work we were interested in reading. We imagine this is the way a lot of literary publications come about — the editors want to read a particular sort of thing, and being unable to find it in sufficient quantity or quality, they create a space for others to contribute and help expand the genre in question.

It’s probably worth taking a moment to discuss the idea of ‘speculative’ as a genre.

A quick glance at Wikipedia shows that speculative poetry/fiction has been defined by Suzette Haden Elgin as being “about a reality that is in some way different from the existing reality.” Fantasy and science fiction often overlap with the speculative genre for this reason, but neither fantasy/sci-fi nor Elgin’s definition are exhaustive. Strange Horizons commented in an article that what makes poetry speculative is a feeling and/or set of references. It’s an ‘I know it when I see it’ category, and while vague for the purposes of crafting some kind of formal definition, it’s not really necessary to have such a definition in order to get a feel for the speculative genre.

Speculative works are often relegated to their own publications because they can’t quite seem to find a home in more mainstream ‘literary’ magazines — not for lack of quality, but because they often have an element of the fantastical, whimsical, or uncanny that feels out of place next to works of stark realism or literary fiction. It’s these elements that make the speculative genre appealing to people wanting to tell stories which are either themselves outside of the mainstream, or which look at the world from outside the mainstream perspective. There is a great wealth of literary fiction that speaks to the human experience, and some of it is truly outstanding, but oftentimes the experiences on which such works focus are limited, and so are the ways in which those experiences can be described or conveyed.

The speculative genre encompasses elements of fantasy and science fiction, as mentioned before, but also elements of myth, horror, magic realism, fairy tales, and the supernatural. Many of the themes common in these elements are also common in Own Voices stories, which — for those who haven’t come across the term — are stories about diverse characters written by authors from that same diverse group. We want to be clear: we’re not saying that diverse stories and experiences are a form of fantasy, or that they cannot be told through literary fiction. We’re saying that the tropes common to speculative works — themes of transformation, otherness, identity, a quest for justice, the transient vs the permanent — are also often found in stories told from non-mainstream perspectives.

Those who don’t see themselves or their experiences reflected in conventional narratives are often drawn to unconventional narratives, such as those found in speculative fiction and poetry. The motifs and metaphors available in the genre are unique, and sometimes, they make it easier to speak plainly about the often undervalued stories of individual communities.

What, then, does eroticism have to do with it?

For one thing, diverse narratives are even more marginalised when it comes to talking about sex. Narratives created by outsiders about marginalised groups are often exploitative – predominantly created by people outside of the group being portrayed, and are rarely representative of the experiences of the people within that community. This is visible in mainstream long-fingernailed lesbian porn, or trans sex workers having to label themselves with slurs to find an audience, and many other areas besides. More accurate and representative narratives often don’t get the distribution or recognition they deserve, and the lack of accurate and diverse representation can cement marginalised groups as outsiders.

But the reality is that people have sex. All kinds of people and all kinds of sex, and once you move away from the restrictive spaces these people are talking about, we’re sharing and celebrating these forms of eroticism. The Western world has more or less gotten to a place where the social consciousness is aware that sexuality is a spectrum and there are more than three sexual positions, but the paradigm still needs to be to shifted away from ‘normative’ and ‘nonnormative’ sex, towards the understanding that all forms of sex are kind of weird and entirely worth writing about.

Poetry, and in particular speculative poetry, can create a space for this – a way to explore sexuality through new and different lenses, to celebrate the weird and find novel, interesting ways of expressing desire in all its forms. As queer women, Twisted Moon Magazine’s editors are very aware of how important it is to have diverse and accurate representations of queer sexuality. This is also applicable to other groups – people of colour and trans people (women especially) are often depicted by outsider groups as fetishised or hypersexual, while disabled people are often depicted as nonsexual. As far as we can, we hope to give folk the autonomy to depict their experiences and desires, and add to the range of Own Voices work out there.

Is it really necessary for such stories to be told through erotic speculative poetry? Can they be told equally as well through plain old erotica and romance genre fiction, or some other way?

Of course they can. We’re not trying to say that the incredibly niche genre that Twisted Moon Magazine has chosen to publish is the only way in which diverse stories can be told, nor that the only stories which can be told in that genre are diverse ones. We want so badly for there to be more literary fiction, and historical fiction, and non-fiction that dives beyond mainstream experiences. We’re also really into works that tell familiar stories in new and clever ways. There are so many, many ways to tell stories, and honestly, erotic speculative poetry is a pretty specific way.

But it’s a way we’re keen to explore and expand. We received more submissions when we opened than we expected to, and some of them blew us away. We all had ideas of the kind of stuff we wanted to read, and it’s been delightful to have those ideas expanded. It’s also worth noting that we had multiple authors telling us they were submitting poems they’d had since before Twisted Moon Magazine was started, which they’d never found a home for. We can’t claim to be a home for everyone – we know we’re exploring a very niche market – but we do at least try to be a warm, inviting bed.

We think it’s important to emphasise our interest in Own Voices work and diverse stories because it’s vitally important to boost the voices and experiences of people with non-mainstream lives and experiences.

We have been very encouraged by the response – a number of the poems we receive have included notes explaining that their poem is, for example, an exploration of gender, or of a poet’s experience of eroticism as an asexual person, or a response to recent politics. We are thrilled that poets feel able to use Twisted Moon Magazine as an avenue to explore these connections and get their work out into the world.

That said, there’s no strict requirement for what the poetry we publish has to be, other than erotic and speculative. We have guidelines on our website, which we very, very much appreciate people reading and sticking to (especially the one about removing your name from the document!) but a speculative poem doesn’t have to retell a deeply personal experience, and it doesn’t require allegory or veiled meaning. Sometimes a masturbating mermaid is just a masturbating mermaid. (Note: we are into that.)

The point is that the genre allows for fun, sexy fantasy for its own sake, as well as for diverse and/or marginalised stories to be told in a way that is distinct from many other literary genres.

Really, we just hope Twisted Moon Magazine can enrich the reader by showcasing poetry from all over the world, by people from all manner of backgrounds – or at least gift them some beautiful words about fae orgies, robot eroticism, and centaur sex.

 

 


 

Twisted Moon Magazine is an Australian-based online magazine of speculative, erotic poetry. The editors are Hester J. Rook, Liz Duck-Chong, P. Edda, and Selene Maris. We all decided there wasn’t enough sexy speculative poetry in the world and we launched Twisted Moon to help remedy that problem. We publish tales of naked witches dancing by moonlight, the smell of your ghost lover’s skin, the whispered memories of dying stars as they yearn across galaxies. The poems you read to your lover over the phone just to hear their breath catch.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

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melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen May. 23rd, 2017 05:30 pm)
Last week's F winner was Juniper Time by Kate Wilhelm! Should be interesting; it's one where I have no idea why I own it or why I kept it. K was Alas, Babylon.

Since I will be away from my book collection for the next two weeks, there will be an FMK break; next poll should go up June 12. I will keep reading and possibly posting reactions, though - the plan is to take the K books that I really wanted to read first with me on the trip, and leave them there.

This week's poll: Books where I own only the first book in the series (and have read none of them.)

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

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

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Banks, Barnes, Cherryh, Czerneda, Doyle & MacDonald, Eddings, Gardner, Hines, Lynn, McGuire, Niven, Scott & Barnett, Weber )
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
([personal profile] schneefink May. 23rd, 2017 10:26 pm)
One thing that annoys me about ebooks is that there is no cover blurb. If I don't remember what the book is about from when I got it, I'm going in blind (apart from unreliable cover illustrations.) I just got dozens of new books from this Nebula author showcase Humble Bundle and I have no idea where to even start. So I read more fic instead, also good. (Most) Fics have tags, which is helpful.

This btw also answered a question I'd started to ask myself, about how books are expensive and this month for example I'm already way past what I would have set myself as a reasonable book budget if I had such a thing. I used to illegally download books sometimes (I felt very guilty about it but I was too greedy), but I don't anymore now that I have actual income. I really should set a monthly book budget for myself. I know I'll have enough to read, it's just a matter of withstanding temptation when people rec stuff.

I'm currently trying to reduce my open browser tabs. Including this one I currently have 84 open - which is less than the 97 I had yesterday, so progress. My laptop is a bit slow sometimes and occasionally the browser crashes but overall it's still going really well, despite being 8 years old and me not looking after it well. *pets laptop*
Edit: 76 now. Small steps.
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If you’re like me, the phrase “Orpheus myth in space” gets your immediate attention. Here’s Jessica Reisman to tell us about the spark that brought Substrate Phantoms to life!

*

cover to SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS by Jessica ReismanSubstrate Phantoms had a long road to publication, so I’ve had to cast my mind back to remember the original writing and when the fire seemed to catch. I already had my far future science fiction universe, the Aggregate, in which I’ve had several stories and my first novel (so long ago now that Substrate gets to be a new debut), and had been playing around with the idea of the Orpheus myth in space, a kind of ‘don’t look back’ when a character is fleeing a space station, trying to save a loved one.

That was all very well, but things weren’t really taking any compelling shape. It was with the haunting of the space station that the first sign of heat flared up. A kind of film reel unfurled in my mind, of powerful images and feelings having to do with the intersection of technology and futurity with superstition and our need for the kind of possibility inherent in the more inward, arcane, and irrational side of our natures. Where these elements—often set in opposition—cross is a deep vein of story for me.

It was a pretty potent unfurling of image and feeling, that film reel. It had what felt like the whole story—and more—within it. My writing process is what we sometimes call “organic.” The initial phase of image, feeling, and story arc is like a seed for me, a tiny, dense ball of potential in which the story exists. To maul the metaphor, note-making, research, background work, and world building are all preparing the ground, planting, and fertilizing; the actual searching march of words onto page is when the growth begins and the story stretches toward its shape.

So there was the spark of the haunted space station—a usefully compelling elevator pitch, but what now? I think it leapt into full conflagration when I found the opening of the first chapter:

Revelation deck rested currently in station shadow, spangled in reflections off the solar collectors. Long glimmers cut through the high dim space in a slow dance. Revelation deck was a big space with open gridwork, gridwork being the bones of station superstructure hidden on other decks. Tall viewports and a lack of adult traffic made it a favorite haunt of station kids, four of whom sat clustered under a twenty-foot span of the grid arch. Likely there was someplace they were supposed to be, and strict regulations said they shouldn’t be there, but it was a regulation never enforced.

Jhinsei, two-thirds of the way through sitting a shift at the automated shuttle monitors, liked the murmur of voices. He had been such a kid himself, not too many years past, listening to tales on Revelation; besides, they lessened the loneliness of the cavernous deck.

Revelation deck, far future space station, kids telling stories, future and past: it makes friction for me and, voila, sparks!

*

From the cover copy:

The space station Termagenti—hub of commerce, culture, and civilization—may be haunted. Dangerous power surges, inexplicable energy manifestations, and strange accidents plague the station. Even after generations of exploring deep space, humanity has yet to encounter another race, and yet, some believe that what is troubling the station may be an alien life form.

Jhinsei and his operations team crawl throughout the station, one of many close-knit working groups that keep Termagenti operational. After an unexplained and deadly mishap takes his team from him, Jhinsei finds himself—for lack of a better word—haunted by his dead teammates. In fact, they may not be alone in taking up residence in his brain. He may have picked up a ghost—an alien intelligence that is using him to flee its dying ship. As Jhinsei struggles to understand what is happening to his sanity, inquisitive and dangerous members of the station’s managing oligarchy begin to take an increasingly focused interest in him.

Haunted by his past and the increasing urgent presence of another within his mind, Jhinsei flees the station for the nearby planet Ash, where he undertakes an exploration that will redefine friend, foe, self, and other. With Substrate Phantoms, Jessica Reisman offers an evocative and thought-provoking story of first contact, where who we are is questioned as much as who they might be.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | Publisher

*

Jessica Reisman’s stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. A three-time Michener Fellow, she has been writing her own brand of literary science fiction and fantasy for many years. Jessica has lived in Philadelphia, parts of Florida, California, and Maine, and been employed as a house painter, blueberry raker, art house film projectionist, glass artist’s assistant, English tutor, teaching assistant, and editor, among other things. She dropped out of high school and now has a master’s degree. She makes her home in Austin, Texas, where well-groomed cats, family, and good friends grace her life with their company. Find out more at her site.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
([personal profile] davidgillon May. 23rd, 2017 07:38 pm)
There's been a constant whirr of powertools from my neighbour over the past few days. I was talking to him yesterday and he's taking the 'opportunity' of being made redundant to refurbish the porch on his house - our houses are the two halves of a semi but his is a larger three bed and has a porch where my two bed doesn't. And while the houses are brick, the porch is wooden.  Apparently he'd already used £100 worth of sanding discs stripping down the wood prior to re-treating it (and I must say he's done a lovely job of it).

When he started up again today I decided I might as well be out there as suffering the noise in the house or back garden and headed out to do something about my front garden. My back garden is big by modern British standards, but my front garden is a bit of a postage stamp, and noticeably sloped. There is, in theory, a hedge at the front, with planting behind,  and then about a yard of grass before you get to the path to the front door. I've deliberately set things up not to need a great deal of management, but I might have overdone the not managing it.

I'd intended to strip back the hedge where it fronts onto the road, there's about a foot of growth at ankle height overlapping onto the footpath, but then I took a close look at the planting. Holly is not exactly a shy and retiring plant, nor is a rhododendron, nor christmas rose, yet they'd all been swallowed up by overspill growth from the hedge - apparently it's reaction to me cutting off all the branches on the streetside last summer was to make a determined effort to swamp the planting area. So I spent the afternoon snipping off branch after branch of hedging. You can at least find the holly now, you can't find the christmas rose because I trimmed back the flowering heads (see 'christmas') and the rhododendron was always tall enough to be seen, you can just see rather more of it than you could before. And I'd completely forgotten about the irises.

I think I'm about two thirds done. There's still stuff to come out, but I can at least get in to work now. The only problem is I've completely filled the garden recycling wheelie-bin, and that's not picked up until Thursday morning, so progress is at a temporary halt, Which is probably just as well. I had planned to work from the chair, I trimmed the hedge that way last year, but the slope meant that wouldn't work for the planting - I kept slipping out of the seat! So work consisted of spurts of standing and trimming, followed by sitting on the chair on the path while I recovered. And the periods of standing were getting shorter, and the periods sitting recovering getting longer and longer. When it got to the point I was doing two snips and having to go sit down again that seemed like a good sign I should stop. I think it was a mix of disability related fatigue, plus the temperature, I slurped back almost a litre of pineapple juice while I was recovering - it was a relief when it clouded over and a slight breeze kicked in.

And when I'm done there's still the hedge proper to do, and then the back garden....

It could have been worse, I could have been my neighbour, who'd reached the peaked roof of his porch, and discovered the corners were completely rotten due to sloppy workmanship. So he's spent the day replacing that, including sourcing material and cutting new bits to shape. From what he's said his simple couple of days retouching the porch is now headed toward £500 and at least a fortnight of effort.


melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen May. 23rd, 2017 02:57 pm)
I finished knitting my first sweater! It's a lopapeysa (= sweater knitted out of loosely-spun unplied Icelandic wool, usually knitted bottom-up in the round with a circular yoke and patterned stranded colorwork.)

Here are pictures of my beautiful models!

a very grumpy cat wearing a beautiful wool cat sweater

a different cat in the same beautiful cat sweater flopped over with her legs straight out like she is petrified

(Sorry about the photo quality, I promised them they would only ever have to wear it long enough for one good picture each and then my camera's phone app kept freezing and I felt guilty.)
naye: gif of creepy road in the dark (twin peaks)
([personal profile] naye May. 23rd, 2017 07:37 pm)
I am still reeling from the four new episodes of Twin Peaks last night, and have spent the day immersing myself in reactions and reviews and just glorying in the feeling of being here, now, to see it all happen as I didn't the first time around. (Look, I was 10. Twin Peaks scared the living daylights out of me at 16 - I don't even want to know what it would have done to me younger than that!)

It's been great fun to see how everyone else is similarly having their mind blown and turning to the internet to ask the question what the fuck did I just watch? Some people don't like this experience, of course, but I've picked out some of my very favorite reviews. Mostly because I'm still to a-flail and agog to write anything this nice and coherent myself!

Under the cut for those who want to know nothing about The Return, but I promise none of the review excerpts will have spoilers! The reviews themselves have plenty, though, so click through at your own risk.

This is Peaks TV )

Also! If you're curious about Twin Peaks: The Return but haven't watched Fire Walk With Me? Do. There's a lot of stuff going on that makes (relatively) more sense if you know what happens in that movie. (I don't think the Missing Pieces/extended cut is necessary, though I haven't seen that one myself.) If you want more details just ask me I am literally struggling to think/talk about anything but Twin Peaks at the moment!
calliopes_pen: (54 IJ Edith candles corridors)
([personal profile] calliopes_pen May. 23rd, 2017 12:29 pm)
Because I think we all need some mindless stuff at the moment, have a meme that I took from [personal profile] musesfool.

Cite the final line of five of your fics – your favorites, or the most recent ones.

1. There was still happiness yet to come...for both the living, as well as for the undead. Wrap The Cloak Of Night Around His Shoulders. Dracula (1968), following the wedding between Seward and Mina.

2. With this bittersweet chapter concluded, they would see to the rest of their lives. Let The Shadows Become Your Shroud. Crimson Peak (2015). That’s basically Alan and Edith limping off to see to their wounds, mourn Thomas, and just live, in the aftermath of a massive exorcism of a ghost from reality itself.

3. There was solace in the shadows, for both young and old vampires alike. Give Your Soul To The Night. Fright Night (1985). Jerry is revelling in winning as quietly as he can, while settling down for a nap, surrounded by turned teenagers, in his coffin in the basement.

4. Only the dead remained. Blood Begets A Curse Anew. Legend (1985). It probably is as grim as it sounds, as Darkness basically teleported a changed Lili (help me; I keep writing Lucy) out of the dining hall, after teleporting the goblins away to somewhere presumably unpleasant. Oh, and should anyone be curious about this story, do beware of a bit of animal sacrifice at the beginning, and references to torture in the middle.

5. And we gladly feast on those that would subdue us. Because We’re Addamses. Wednesday Addams is thinking, and thereby reiterating a statement made in the first Addams Family film.
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mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
([personal profile] mme_hardy May. 23rd, 2017 10:05 am)
 My thirty-years-agone Spanish fluency has returned to my lips well enough to talk to the Spanish-only-speaking gardener.  And I don't mean point and grunt, I mean "Could you dig this up?" and "They told me it would die", as well as understanding the gardener's questions about what to do, and remembering past tense and conditional.

This makes me ridiculously happy.  I'm sure my accent is still terrible, but at least I can converse on basic subjects.
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