"The Doors Into Otherwheres: Five Women Segnbora Didn’t Sleep With (And Three She Did)"
A multi-fandom femmeslash extravaganza
starring Segnbora of Diane Duane’s “The Door Into…” series
co-starring Kylara of Pern, Karen Kasumi of X/1999, and Storm of the X-Men
and featuring several mystery cameos

Fandoms: Diane Duane’s “Door” books, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern, The X-Men (Chris Claremont-era comicverse), and X/1999
Word Count: 6600
Rating: R
Warnings: Consensual sex including mild BDSM; adventure-style mild violence.
Synopsis: Segnbora travels to other universes via the worldgate doors, meeting women, saving lives, having adventures, and getting new perspectives on herself.

This story is for [personal profile] cmattg, who won it in the [profile] helphaiti auction.

If you haven’t read the Door books, Segnbora is a failed wizard who is canonically bisexual and polyamorous. The Fire or Flame is the magic she can’t access, though she does have other magical abilities. The story takes place during the first book, The Door Into Fire, when she and her friends are hanging out in the ruin with the doors into otherworlds.

It’s not significantly spoilery for anything in any canon. But if you want to know what was up with the dragons, you will have to read the second book, The Door Into Shadow.

This story contains several additional bonus surprise crossovers. The person who correctly identifies the highest number of them in comments can make an original or fic prompt request, and I will attempt to fill it.

The trailing ends of Storm’s hair fell across Segnbora’s shoulders, caressing them like a breath of wind. )
rachelmanija: (Xxxholic: Yuuko)
( Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:38 am)
A little while back, I sat [livejournal.com profile] coraa down and screened the first 14 episodes of X/1999. She now has a report up! Note: spoilers for those episodes; do not spoil her for later events.

Kamui returns to Tokyo, apparently to reclaim the destined Sword of Awesome but also with the very important goal of snubbing his childhood friends.
rachelmanija: (Default)
( Apr. 5th, 2005 08:42 am)
While returning from the clinic (back problem acting up), which was right at the base of Tokyo Tower, I saw a sign pointing to a train station and began following it rather than retracing my steps to the subway. I never did find the train station and had to take a different subway back, but I did walk smack into a beautiful temple which I'd never heard of-- Zojoji, I think-- which was having some kind of celebration. All the rows and rows of gray granite Jizo statues with their little red cloth bibs and hats had been given mutlicolored pinwheels, spinning in the chilly breeze. Even the statue of Kannon (the Merciful Goddess) had a pinwheel. The gray stone tombs, of Tokugawa-era people if I understood the Japanese-speaking guide correctly, had bunches of fresh flowers. Stands were set up with people selling bento boxes and takoyaki (octopus balls) and knickknacks, and tables for people to sit around and eat and look at the cherry trees, which were blooming like flurries of snow frozen in mid-air.

I have been doing an accidental tour of all the sites featured in X/1999-- Tokyo Tower, the Yamanote Line (the Palm of Buddha), the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, and my trip to Tokyo Big Site for the anime fair, via the entirely automated elevated train, passed under Rainbow Bridge. Also, while at a park I saw a gnarled old tree that looked exactly like the Sakurazukamori's deadly cherry tree, although I think it was actually another species. But lo, the cherries which bloomed around it were bright pink with their victims' blood! Or, you know, maybe just of the bright pink variety.

I have been browsing manga, which sometimes has English titles, subtitles, or blurbs. Thus I have been made aware of "Deadly Machine of Snipe," which is about a sniper, and "Jesus," which is about a bishonen assassin named Jesus. The back cover helpfully explains that although he is named Jesus, he is actually a deadly machine of snipe-- no, sorry, those are not actually the same books. He's just an ordinary deadly bishonen assassin who happens to be named Jesus.
I have successfully administered the first crack hit to [livejournal.com profile] sartorias in the form of X/1999. She has smart and insightful things to say about it, too. Check them out.

I'm going to see if Sempai can burn her copies of my Fullmetal Alchemist CDs for her next hit.
No real spoilers, but this probably won't make much sense unless you know who the characters are.

I am beginning to experience the frustration felt by so many others before me: I love this series, but it's apparently been abandoned, and I can't find any publication schedule for the English editions of the rest of the series. The last one I have is number fourteen, but the series goes to... what... nineteen or twenty? Waaah! I want to read the rest!

I don't really have that much to say about its qualities, as opposed to the plot, that I haven't said before: the art is incredibly beautiful, the character designs are easy on the eyes and easily distinguishable from each other (an important quality in a story with such a huge cast) and the characters are also well-drawn in the metaphoric sense. The artists are exceptionally good at creating moments of visual tenderness between characters: a touch of hands, a meeting of shy glances, an over-eager set of the shoulders when that special person walks into the room.

Especially between Kamui and Subaru. Subaru has a much bigger role in the manga than in the anime, and now I see why people like him so much. (Poor guy.) And I love the scene between Sorata and Arashi in volume 14 where he touches a lock of her hair. Awwww....

The manga is, of course, more detailed than the anime, but I have to say that the anime generally did an excellent job of integrating the short back stories that appear at the end of each volume, focusing on individual characters, into the series. In the anime, I especially liked how they included Seiichiro Aoki and Daisuke Saiki's; in the manga, Yuto Kigai's romance with the fountain is lovely. I have no idea why the anime did not put in that Kusanagi's power is that he can hear the voices of plants and animals. It would have taken them thirty seconds to establish, and it makes all sorts of things about his role and character make sense.

On the down side, the manga is a bit repetitive, and the whole CLAMP school plot seems unnecessary and self-indulgent. There's cross-over characters who I don't care about because you obviously have to have read aomething else to know who they are, and I generally want to see less of them and the goofy blonde schoolboy who's in love with Kamui, and more of the Dragons.

The manga is more violent, which in this case is not an advantage. For instance, in the anime a character is crucified and then stabbed in the heart. In the anime, she's crucified, stabbed in the heart, then dismembered and decapitated. Apart from the death-by-giving-birth-to-shinken scenes, which have to be gruesome, I don't think this is necessary and leads to a problem. If you're going to kill a character and then have someone pick them up to mourn over them, it's better if their body is more-or-less intact. Visual image of person holding dead body of the one they love: moving. Visual image of person holding the decapitated head of the one they love: faintly ludicrous.

So at approximately what point does the manga leave off? Have any of the main characters died yet? Does Subaru face off with Seishiro? Does Sorata get a chance to save Arashi? Does that really cool scene of the final showdown between Karen Kasumi, Seiichiro Aoki, Yuto Kigai, Satsuki, and the Beast happen, or was that made up for the anime? (If it was, hats off to the anime scripters.) And is it ever revealed who Kamui's father is, or is that not important?

I assume the wonderful scene between Fuma and Yuzuriha must happen in volume fifteen, as I was expecting it in fourteen.
In a total coincidence, I picked up David Lodge's novel THERAPY the other day and started reading it. I'd enjoyed one of his others, either SMALL WORLD or CHANGING PLACES-- the one about academics at each other's throats in which one of the characters wears a single black silk glove to create an air of mystery. His books are comedies, more or less, but with melancholic underpinnings.

THERAPY is about an English sitcom writer who's having an existential midlife crisis. He's almost bald and nicknamed Tubby for good reason, but that's not why. He's rich, successful, has successful adult children, and a great sex life with his wife of thirty years. But he's miserable. He has a pain in his knee which is clearly psychosomatic and suffers from depression and insomnia, and a crisis looms on the sitcom front.

He's tried everything to deal with his mysterious pains: psychotherapy, surgery, aromatherapy, acupuncture, a new car, a "platonic mistress"-- but nothing helps, though reading Kirkegaard becomes an obsession. There's a big surprise at the one third mark, after which we get other people's points of view. Then another surprise, this one quite clever, at the two-thirds mark when it returns to Tubby's.

The first third is a funny and sharply observed portrait of a decent, intelligent man trying to understand how his life fell apart. The second third is still funny, but the characters become caricatures and the humor switches to satirical jabs at people with lifestyles the author disapproves of. The third third pushed all my buttons in exactly the wrong way. Tubby meets a horrible, shallow Hollywood bitch who takes Prozac as part of her pill-popping lifestyle. In desperation, he asks his therapist if he should try it. Here's what she says:

"'These new SRI (sic) drugs change people's personalities. They act on the mind like plastic surgery acts on the body. Prozac may give you back your self-esteem, but it won't be the same self.'"

Nothing in the book contradicts this view, and the depiction of the Prozac-popper confirms it, so I take this as the view of the author. It's exactly that sort of statement, which several well-meaning people told me in person and which I read in books and articles as well, which made me consider suicide as a better alternative to taking medication. I don't think it gives away too much to say that the solution to Tubby's physical and emotional pain is a spiritual, even religious one, and one attained without resorting to those nasty mind-altering drugs.

The message, as I see it, is that talk therapy is useless and drugs are morally and spiritually wrong. Depression is not a physical illness but an existential state, and one which can only be lifted by hard work, intellectual rigor, spiritual grace, and the love of a good woman.

I can see why Lodge didn't want Tubby to be able to resolve his problems via medicine and why he thought it would seem odd if he never tried, but I wish he could have had Tubby try an SSRI and not be able to stand the side effects or not have it seem to work, get discouraged, and give up. That would have been in character and not sent a message that, in my opinion, is factually incorrect and potentially dangerous.

There was an interesting bit in the first part where Tubby looks up the word angst.

"1. An acute but unspecific sense of anxiety or remorse. 2. (In Existentialist philosophy) the dread caused by man's awareness that his future is not determined, but must be freely chosen."

So angst does not mean "suffering with a known cause, like a past tragedy," and we've all been using it wrong. By definition 1 none of the characters in X have angst. But definition 2 is possible. Or not.

X: DVDs 3 and 4.

The Dragons of Heaven want to preserve Earth in all its horrors and glories. The Dragons of Earth, those terrifying idealists, want to raze it and start anew.

Can anyone defy destiny? Is everything that doesn't have to do with a choice of Kamui's pre-ordained? And how will Kamui ever be able to bear to wield his spirit sword now that he's seen (ick) where they come from?

The Dragons of Heaven have assembled: a schoolgirl with a magic sword and the weight of the world heavy on her shoulders, a young monk with an eye for sensual pleasures and absolutely terrific attitude about his foretold doom, a bouncy girl with a lonely past and her inseparable companion, the spirit dog Inuki, a red-headed fire-throwing hooker (or hostess, or something that requires her to dress in a corset), a sad-eyed young man with a tragic past and a white coat, and a punctilious editor and family man.

The Dragons of Earth only have four members. They're lagging.

This is the half-way mark. Much of the past two volumes has been concerned with telling somewhat self-contained stories of the pasts of some of the characters on both sides. They have all been good and usually touching stories which work on their own and also illuminate the characters in the present. Kamui's episode actually made me kind of like him. (A miracle!)

The pace has been more meditative than at the start, but by the end of the last episode on disc 4 all hell broke loose. Everyone's assembled; let the apocalypse begin.

I cannot rave enough about the look of this show. It's exquisite. The episode focusing on a silent man in a white coat as he battles illusions in empty, rainy Kamakura is simply one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen in animation. The character designs are unique and attractive. (I can't believe how many gorgeous men--all different types of gorgeous men, and each one well-characterized-- can fit into one show.)

I like the plot, but I love the characters-- so noble, so likable, so doomed.
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