rachelmanija: (Default)
( Sep. 8th, 2013 11:52 am)
'Tis the time to start contemplating your Yuletide randoms! See schedule at the bottom of the post.

I'm not sure how many nominations we'll get, as some of the rules still seem in flux. But here's what I'm preliminarily thinking of. Click on author's names to see my posts on the originals.

Top Chef Masters. Invent a fun challenge or do a reunion or set the whole thing on Pern or Perelandra; I would just like to read luscious descriptions of food plus amusing interaction featuring one or more of my favorite chefs. If I can nominate four, I'd nominate Susan Feniger, Anita Lo, Susur Lee, and Sang Yoon. (I now am desperate to go to Sang Yoon's Lukshon; has anyone been to it?)

The Rifter, by Ginn Hale. God only knows if anyone doing Yuletide would have actually read this, but I would enjoy a story featuring John, Kyle, Rousma, and/or Pesha. If you don't remember the latter, she was the teenage lesbian teleporter. I liked her and would have enjoyed an entire book about her teleporting around and awkwardly flirting with girls.

Flight of the Heron, by D. K. Broster. I really liked Keith and Ewen and would like to see them interacting more, with angst and hurt-comfort. And possibly swordfighting. Obviously, the structure of the book would make this challenging. (They are fated to meet exactly five times, and we see all five meetings.) I think it would have to either be a post-novel AU (like, Ewen hauls Keith on to the boat, and there is angst and hurt-comfort. And possibly swordfighting) or, as cyphomandra suggested, a space AU. ;)

Pern. There can never be enough Mirrim-and-Menolly fic.

What are you all contemplating?

Nominations: September 16th to September 23rd
Cleanup and Public Eligibility Review: September 23rd to October 7th
Signups: October 7th to October 14th
Assignments: around October 21st
Assignments Due: December 22nd
Collection Opens: December 25th
Author Reveals: January 1st
I got a teeny bit of time off before finals week, so naturally I thought the most relaxing possible thing to do would be to settle down with a completely random book found on the library free giveaway shelf.

I really do find that relaxing; there is something exciting about dipping into a complete unknown. You might find a gem! Or something awesomely bad. Or just something really bizarre.

This was a gem. A slashy gem.

Published in 1929, it’s a delicious melodrama about an English soldier, Keith Windham, and a Highlander, Ewen Cameron of Ardroy, who become best friends or possibly more despite being on opposite sides of the Jacobite rebellion. And when I say “or more,” what I mean is that the only way this novel could have had more gay subtext would have been if it had… actually, I don’t think more subtext was possible. It would have had to go straight (as it were) to gay text.

It was strange, it was alarming, to feel, as by this time he did, how strongly their intimacy had progressed in two months of absence and, on his side, of deliberate abstention from communication – like the roots of two trees growing secretly towards each other in darkness.

“Love across battle lines” is one of my very favorite tropes, and this squeezes every bit of angsty juice out of it. To give more of a taste of how this goes, I’ll summarize the first fifth or so.

Ewen Cameron is admiring his beloved loch when he sees his loyal but not too bright foster-brother Lachlan trying to kill a heron. Ewen stops him, and Lachlan reveals that his father, who has second sight, has predicted that a heron will bring about a meeting between Ewen and a man. They will meet five times, and it will end in grief.

Then Bonnie Prince Charlie arrives, and the war soon begins. Keith Windham, a lonely woobie English soldier whose father is dead, whose mother didn’t love him, and whose girlfriend cheated on him, gets caught in an ambush. His cowardly new recruits flee, and a heron startles his horse. He’s thrown, and gets a concussion and a sprained ankle.

Ewen finds him and attempts to take him prisoner. From Keith’s POV, Ewen is a magnificent specimen of young manhood, as the soldier could not help admitting. Also, Splendidly built as this young Highlander was….

Keith refuses to surrender, and they have a swordfight. Ewen defeats him and, weakened by his wounds and exhaustion, Keith passes out. He wakes up cradled in Ewen’s arms. And so begins a friendship, or possibly “friendship,” which becomes the most important thing in Keith’s life and second only in Ewen’s life to his beloved Scotland.

I won’t spoil the rest, but there is lots of fleeing across the moors, fighting, capture, misunderstandings, “my love or my loyalty” conflicts, admiring each other's bodies and courage, and being cradled in each other’s arms. So, you know, if you like that sort of thing…

The novel is a bit prolix, even for 1929, and contains a lot of annoying, borderline incomprehensible dialect. Broster uses “pe” instead of “be” for rustic Scottish characters, resulting in more than one sentence in which some earthy fellow says, “I peed…”

But the scenes between Keith and Ewen are great, and make up the majority of the book. (Thankfully, neither of them speak in phonetic dialect.) This would be a good Yuletide fandom if anyone could figure out where to wedge in extra scenes, given the premise that the men only meet five times. Maybe it could go AU.

Cheap used copies here: Flight of the Heron.


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