Work is full of enough bullshit drama that if I can get the same money and work anywhere else, I'll leave. One coworker is super annoying and I've gone to my supervisor about her (and making me resent someone enough to take action against them is not trivial) and the management have started doing things that are explicitly forbidden by union rules. I got another coworker hooked on Call the Midwife and she loves it and its sense of being hectically busy with meaningful work... but we both sighed longingly over the idea of a workplace where you get adequate support and training, and when you screw up you're treated with understanding and respect.
Now I faceplant and sleep for twelve hours.
Song: There Will Never Be Another Tonight
Artist: Bryan Adams
Fandom: Agent Carter Season 2 (footage from 2x01 and 2x02)
Summary: Make a little magic, raise some hell. They're back, and making trouble in LA!
Download: MP4 (110 Mb) | DIVX (88 Mb)
( Embed and lyrics under the cut )
Anyway, this makes me thrilled about the news he'll be in charge of the new ST tv series. Someone who actually loves Star Trek and wants to do Star Trek, not Star Wars, with working experience in the post TOS tv verse (i.e. not a "only Kirk/Spock/Bones were ever good about ST" fanboy): excellllllent. And of course, in the decades since, he's honed his quirky, morbid craft to an art.
Of course, I also thought "but aren't you supposed to run American Gods as well? But maybe the later will have more of a miniseries format? Anyway, he has to know whether he can do both.
As a friend says in her Goodreads review, adults can anticipate the ending more swiftly than the adolescents who're considered the primary audience; the book has won a Newbery Medal. It may reduce some of the primary effect of narrative revelations, but because the story is so well told, there are other effects for non-adolescent readers to consider which pack their own punches. Things I enjoyed especially: which character serves as the cavalry when the cavalry is called in; how Miranda's perspectives about her classmates change during the narrative, sometimes having nothing directly to do with the denouement but filling out the space she inhabits; that no one is particularly evil or particularly beyond reproach, yet everyone does or embodies at least one conventionally negative thing, casually, because it's how life is.
Republic of Tea's Caramel Apple is nice with a bit of honey and a splash of Lactaid. (What. We tend not to buy regular milk because I can't process it, and the dragon drinks chocolate milk by preference, which I avoid like the plague.)
I have an order from Penzey's Spices incoming because I needed to restock things to brew cockamamie chai. =) It's kind of frightening how quickly I burn through green cardamom pods when I put my mind to it. (I love green cardamom. Is there a green cardamom perfume anywhere? *wistful sigh*)
What have y'all been enjoying lately?
Download link for full-res version for printing and coloring!
( and behind the cut, Shuos Jedao coloring page )
By the way, if anyone actually does color any of these coloring pages, I'd be delighted to see scans/pics. =D
( watercolor dragon )
And I confide that I kept a straight face.
But after the seminar this evening, I found myself having a conversation about the history of the archaeological/anthropological interest in Phallic Objects.*
With some reference to Payne Knight's The Worship of Priapus and the early collectors who left their objects to the British Museum.
*I should perhaps add that the actual seminar consisted of 2 short papers on C20th subjects and had nothing at all about prehistoric objects that might, if you squint them in the right way, be phallic.
This month I’ve been running Read My Valentine: a reading challenge that focuses on romance novels for the duration of February. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the romance genre and, like any genre, there’s a lot of less than stellar material. If you’re a speculative fiction reader new to romance or looking to get started, it can be difficult to know where to begin. So here are a few speculative fiction stories that eased me into romance:
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey is an epic fantasy about a masochistic bisexual courtesan who finds herself uniquely positioned to save her country from treachery. It’s probably a little odd to include Kushiel’s Dart on this list because it isn’t really romance at all; it lacks romance tropes and is much more at home with other epic fantasies. However, it is very much a book about love. One of it’s most famous phrases is “Love as thou wilt”, which serves as the unofficial motto for Phaedre’s home country, Terre d’Ange. Sex, BDSM and polyamoury are all shown in a positive light. As far as I’m concerned, this alone makes it an excellent primer for the romance genre.
Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier is a historical retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I’m a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings, but it’s a bit problematic as a romance. Heart’s Blood reworks Stockholm Syndrome into a sweet romance by giving its Beauty more independence. Caitrin stays at the castle not because she’s coerced into it but because she is fleeing from her past. She can leave any time she wants to. Instead, she chooses to stay and get to know Lord Anluan of her own accord while attempting to unravel the mystery of the castle’s curse. It plays more to the tropes of romance than Kushiel’s Dart and is at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of explicit sex. However, what they have in common with each other and with the romance genre is their centring of relationships.
The Court of Lightning by Amy Rae Durreson is a fantasy m/m romance. For decades, the Court of Ice has been seeking to conquer the other courts. With the Court of Lightning defeated, the Court of Wind is one of the last remaining but they are under increasing threat. In order to survive, Master Artificer Arashan and paladin Tirellian must team up to venture into the ice-encased heart of the Court of Lightning. Deep within enemy territory, their old friendship thaws into something more.
Of the three books, this one is the most strongly embedded in the romance genre and follows the tropes most closely. However, Durreson was a fantasy writer before she switched to romance and the world-building in the story puts to shame many fantasy novels I’ve seen in print. The relationship between Arashan and Tirellian is deftly done and very sweet. If Kushiel’s Dart and Heart’s Blood are at opposite ends of a spectrum, this is what lies in the middle.
The Court of Lightning is available for free.
These were some of my gateways into romance. Next week, a few of my friends will be joining me to give their recommendations.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
I find myself in desperate need of:
- a Singed Playing Card
- a Buttered Chess Piece
- a Watchful Doll
for thematic reasons (my character is Jedao). I'm happy to reciprocally send stuff. Anyone? =D
Also generally open to reciprocal-gifting offers, including for Fate; I restarted a few months ago so this is a new character and doesn't have all the loot the old one did. :p
ETA: I'm good now! Thank you all. =D
I've read the following from that list, all of which I would recommend:
- The Truth About Owls by Amal El-Mohtar (published 2014)
- She Commands Me and I Obey by Ann Leckie (published 2014)
- How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps by A. Merc Rustad (published 2014)
- The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley (published 2015)
- By Degrees and Dilatory Time by S.L. Huang (published 2015)
- Wooden Feathers by Ursula Vernon (published 2015)
- Sarah Smith, Perdita Halley and Alexander von Reisden mysteries
Series of historical mysteries, set in the turn of the (twentieth) century in Boston and Paris, featuring a blind pianist and a scientist with a troubled past. Elegant prose, sophisticated characterization, and very good on the lingering effects of childhood trauma -- when I do read mysteries, I tend to read for character, prose, and mood more than puzzle, and these are no exception. The Vanished Child is about a man who bears a great resemblance to a child who vanished many years ago, and how and why he impersonates the lost child. The Knowledge of Water shifts location to Paris and involves a writer very clearly based on Colette, plus a plot to steal the Mona Lisa; A Citizen of the Country focuses on early attempts at film-making in France.
You might want to try these if you like Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January mysteries.
- Kristine Smith, Jani Killian series
Sf. As the series starts, Jani Killian has been on the run for over a decade. She was once considered one of humanity's brightest, a student at the alien idomeni institute in an attempt at alliance-building, which went drastically wrong in a clash between conservative and radical idomeni idealogues, for which Jani is partially blames. Smith's world-building is different from the generic default in interesting ways: neither her humanity nor her idomeni are unified fronts; Jani is from a Colony world whose antecedents seem to be Acadian and Hindu; one of the most important professions is "protocol officer," or paper-pusher, the authentication of information being one of the keys to interstellar commerce.
- Cherry Wilder, The Rulers of Hylor series
Unusually fine fantasy trilogy (published as YA in hardcover and adult in paperback) from the mid-eighties; makes a lot of standard fantasy tropes seem fresh by the excellence of the prose and the maturity of the characterization. Each book focuses on one of a group of first cousins, the children of three beautiful sisters called the "Swans of Lien," and the dynastic struggles in the continent of Hylor. Nicely variable in style as well: book one is third-person limited past, book two is first-person limited retrospective past, book three is omniscient present tense (slipping into past). Each book can be read independently of the others, although they work better together. There is an overall arc (regarding the sorceror who manipulates the lives of all three cousins) that only becomes clear in Book Three; earlier than that, you get the benefit of the varied points of views, in which a mysterious and ominous figure in one book is a dearly beloved friend in another, or a brilliant military victory becomes a tragic defeat.
Wilder died some time ago; the books are being published by the Frenkel Literary Agency, so ... there's that. :(
And one new one for lagniappe:
Letters to Tiptree (ed. Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce) is a collection of letters by contemporary sf writers to James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), plus excerpts of Tiptree's correspondence with Ursula K. Le Guin and Joanna Russ; it's on sale for $.99/£.99 pretty much everywhere, including the publishers direct. I'm partway through, absorbed, interested, argumentative, and inclined to put it on my Hugo nomination ballot for Best Related Work.
( Holmes and con games )
John G. Sprankling, Property Law Simulations: What it says on the tin—short explanations of various bits of property law, plus problems to work through, usually in the context of a negotiation. Interesting scenarios!
Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Advice about how to run a successful business from a venture capitalist. Kind of interesting just to get his worldview, which includes a fair amount of advice about transitioning from small to big, and occasionally about firing the people who worked well for a smaller firm and not so well for a bigger firm. He’s a big proponent of committing to a strategy, even if it means a complete reorientation and getting rid of people who did a lot for the old version of the firm.
( Rabin's assassination, Montgomery bus boycott, history of Rome )
1. Snow! As I have effectively no control over the weather, I feel free to take great joy in the snowstorms yesterday and Friday that have transformed Boston into a winter wonderland. The wet snow and great gusts of wind have been hard on the trees, but the overall accumulation hasn't been so bad, and it's been strikingly beautiful.
2. My poem Various Kinds of Wolves was published in Apex last month.
3. I made a variant on leek and potato soup yesterday that I'm very pleased with - in lieu of leeks, I caramelized extra onion, doubled the quantity of roasted garlic, added a tray of oven-roasted chopped carrots and turnip, and, after pureeing the lot, threw in a bunch of spinach at the end. Oh! and instead of adding milk or light cream, I added a lump of CSA sour cream at the end. It turned out very nicely.
"If you have not received your Hugo PIN, please email hugopin (at) http://midamericon2.org to check membership & email address details."
So I did, for me and Tony, and our PINs were returned remarkably quickly. We had supporting memberships in 2015 and have attending membership to 2017, either of which would have entitled us to make nominations.
I encourage anyone else in a similar position to make sure you get your PIN, just like I encourage everyone to nominate stuff they have really enjoyed from last year, whether you think you have "read widely" or not, whether you can fill every slot or not: if you loved it, nominate it.
I have a placeholder post which I'm still working on; for other recommendations you can try:
(for short fiction)
Clarkesworld short fiction, sorted into Hugo categories
Uncanny Magazine short fiction, sorted into Hugo categories
Strange Horizons reader poll for 2015
Nicholas Whyte's many reviews of Hugo-eligible media
Ladybusiness recommendations spreadsheet
New Civil War trailer: so I was hoping that movie would resolve my Bucky problem, to whit, that I'm indifferent to the character beyond a mild "gosh, what an awful brainwashed life", and indeed I'm starting to have Bucky feelings, but unfortunately, they're all negative ones. I'm completely invested in the wrong sidekick in this movie, because when I watched the trailer and ( spoilers ensued )
(It helps that I do think superheroes should be accountable to someone who aren't other superheroes. Not insane military generals, obviously, but definitely some institution.)
Black Sails not having much of a fandom on lj or dw, I'm driven to check out
( which I shall do in a spoilery fashion )
Lastly, trying to find good Clone Wars inspired stories reminds me how many badly spelled and/or badly written fanfiction is out there. Good lord. Thankfully, there are a few bright lights.