Enhanced, by Carrie Jones

2017-10-19 08:14
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa
Review copy provided by Tor Books.

This is the sequel to last year's charming Flying. It's not a bad book, but it highlights the perils of sequels rather clearly. Flying has a clear emotional arc and core: Mana is figuring out what the heck is going on with aliens and enhanced humans and her place in the world, but her relationship with her mother and her friends is rock solid. In Enhanced, the central mystery is far smaller in scale. The basic facts of the world are known and we're down to figuring out the details. Mana's mother is out of commission, and her relationship with her friends is shaky for most of it.

Possibly worse, her combination of cheerleader and superpowered (enhanced, as in the title) individual really doesn't get a chance to shine for a full three-quarters of the book. Mana is scared, uncertain, and on the defensive--which is fine, but it's less fun to read about than Mana discovering, exploring, and kicking butt.

There are some new aliens, some new government agencies, some new developments in the world. But in general this feels like a little more of the same but less so. A de-escalation in some senses, a holding pattern. I still believe that Jones has somewhere to take Mana and her pals Seppie and Lyle, and this book is a fast read to get to the next step, but...we're not at the next step yet, and I don't really feel closer.

Please consider using our link to buy Enhanced from Amazon. Or Flying.

Books read, early October

2017-10-19 07:54
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa
Elizabeth Bear, The Stone in the Skull. Discussed elsewhere.

Sean B. Carroll, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. Evo devo is, generally speaking, bullshit, but Carroll is someone I heard at Nobel Conference, and he goes beyond Just So Stories; he is a good egg. And he talked in general in this volume, stuff that one could find anywhere and probably already knew if one had the slightest interest, but then also about insect wing patterns, and the insect wing pattern stuff was interesting, so basically: skim to get to the insect wings.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance. Kindle. I had had such smashing success with 19th century novels lately! (Oh my Middlemarch.) And this one is set in a Fourierist phalanx and I thought, brilliant, lovely, let's do that then, perhaps I love Hawthorne now too! Oh. Oh neighbors. No. No not so much. Poor Mr. Hawthorne. I read all the many many pages of Middlemarch, and North and South and Framley Parsonage and so on, and never once did I think, well, poor lamb, I suppose you can't help it, it's like being born before antibiotics. And yet with The Blithedale Romance I caught myself thinking that on nearly every page. Because it was the only way through, the other alternative was to shake him until his teeth rattled and send him to bed without supper, two punishments that would not occur to me without 19th century novelists, thank you my dear Louisa. So: he goes on at great length about how men have no tenderness really, and there is a bunch of maundering stuff about women's work and the purity of women and how bachelors have to obsess about whether the women around them have known marriage before (hint: nope, obsessing on this topic is completely optional), there is a Dreadful Secret, he abandons all interest in the Fourierist phalanx except as background noise...oh Hawthorne. Oh Hawthorne no.

Ursula K. LeGuin, Searoad. Reread. I first read this when I lived in Oregon. I keep learning things about characterization from it, how she creates a seaside town one person at a time, how the stories link and twine and inform each other. This time, thanks to a conversation I'm having with Marie Brennan, I thought about how differently it would read if the stories were in a different order, how a character is shown novelistically though the structure looks like short stories.

Carter Meland, Stories for a Lost Child. This is a literary science fiction novel in an Anishinaabe tradition; the way that Meland uses the rhythms and patterning of language are not at all the same as the way Gerald Vizenor does in Treaty Shirts, and having more than one is really nice, I want more, yay. Stories for a Lost Child goes forward and backward in time, contemporary teenagers trying to figure things out, a grandfather writing with stories previously barely dreamed of, a space program, past pure water, all sorts of elements that fold together.

Mary Szybist, Incarnadine. This is a poetry collection focused--not in a religious-inspirational way, in a literary way--on the Annunciation. The image, the idea of the Annunciation threads through these poems, beautifully. They are beautiful poems. I was beginning to worry that they were all going to be beautiful poems and none of them were going to be heart-touching for me--that I was going to nod along and say, yes, beautiful, well done, but never, oh, oh, would you look at THIS one--and then, and then there was Here There Are Blueberries, so: oh. Would you look at THIS one.

Carrie Vaughn, Bannerless. I had previously enjoyed some of Vaughn's short stories but not really been the target audience for the Kitty books, so I was really excited at what a complete departure this is. It's a police procedural of sorts, with flashbacks to the (sorta) cop's young adulthood. It's also a post-apocalyptic novel, with a catastrophe that has led people to seriously consider their resource usage. And it's also a relationship story that, because of flashback structure, allows the protagonist to grow past her teenage relationship, to change and be an adult. For a short novel, there's a lot going on, and it all fits together and wraps itself up by the end. Pleased.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
The water pipes in my apartment have abruptly started acting weird: very noisy and comes out sputtering. There seems to be air in the pipes. This started yesterday – first noticed when the toilet tank was refilling with cold water, checked the kitchen taps, and the cold water was doing it there, too. Then the hot water started doing that too, which has me more alarmed: that comes right out of my apartment's water heater tank, so there shouldn't be any opportunity for air to get in it, right?

I called the landlord yesterday, left a message about it. There's construction going on on the floor below me, but I asked one of the guys if they're working on the plumbing and he said no.

It's still doing it.

How worried should I be? What scenarios could be causing this?
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Last night, I bolted out of a dead sleep at a little after 11 because the landline was ringing. I run downstairs, but let it go to the answering machine, which is basically a reflex at this point. No message.

I then look at my phone, because grabbing that when I wake up in the middle of the night is absolutely a reflex (though the Pip sleeps much, much better these days!) . . . and it was me. The cell had someone dialed the landline. [*]

I post this story elsewhere, and literally seconds later, I get the punchline )

[*] On reflection, it wasn't that late, so I think I fell asleep with the phone still on in my hand and touched it enough to keep the screen awake, until eventually I randomly dialed home. I checked, I hadn't made any other outgoing calls, at least.
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Yorkshire)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
So, my friend made a game. It's a classic point and click adventure in the style of things like Monkey Island. You click on things, you talk to characters, you solve puzzles, you win the game. Except... I thought Monkey Island was dead boring. This is not dead boring. I've even played the tutorial through three times, just to see what the different answers do, because it's so laugh out loud funny.

So yes, I'm slightly biased here because the game is made by someone I know, and is set in a fictionalised version of a town two train stops away, and my daughter voices one of the characters (look out for small child of indeterminate gender Little Bilge)... but this is the most fun I've had playing a game in ages. It doesn't try to screw you for more money, it doesn't make you do stupid repetitive daily tasks, it doesn't rely on ninja reaction times. It's happy to just make you laugh and warm your heart. In times like we are going through now, that's more valuable than diamonds.

Honestly, guys, you know I wouldn't bullshit you about anything involving money, I'm from Yorkshire.

Go buy Yorkshire Gubbins. You won't regret it.

reading wednesday

2017-10-19 02:19
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
[This is actually from last Wednesday but I'm just going to post it now anyway]
• What are you reading?

Notes from a Feminist Killjoy, by Erin Wunker. It's a bits-and-pieces book, but all the bits are in conversation with other writers, and with reality; even its bittyness recalls how Tillie Olsen would carry a sentence in her mind, polishing it in scraps of time between interruptions, through a day of women's work, a day of no peace, no privacy, no silence, no solitude.
When I started this book, I wanted to write something unimpeachable. Something so clear and objective, it could be a little dictionary or translation phrase book for how to speak a feminist language and live a feminist life. I wanted what many other writers -- the many-gendered mothers of my heart -- had already written. I wanted A Room of One's Own, Sister Outsider, Willful Subjects, Islands of Decolonial Love. I wanted Feminism is for Everybody and The Dream of a Common Language. I wanted No Language is Neutral.

I wanted books that had already been written by people whose experiences of moving through the world are different -- often radically so -- from mine.

*

I got stuck.
*
I read some more.
*
I remembered that I tell my students that reading and writing are attempts at joining conversations, making new ones, and, sometimes, shifting the direction of discourse.
*
I sat down at my typewriter again.


• What did you recently finish reading?

George & Lizzie, by Nancy Pearl.

Lizzie agreed. "I remember reading a novel in which one of the characters, a college professor, was writing a book on the influence of Emily Dickinson on Shakespeare and how his colleagues always misheard it and thought it was the other way around. I wish I could remember the title, because talking about it now makes me want to read it again. It's so interesting to think about. Do you think we read Shakespeare differently because of Dickinson's poems?"


I remember reading that too! It was by David Lodge, I think Changing Places? I read it about the same age Lizzie did. Not at the same time: I'm maybe ten years older than Lizzie. But, like Lizzie, I grew up in Michigan and went to UM and struggled with depression most of my life and, as a young woman, tried to claim my sexuality in ways that were bad for me and for the people I interacted with. Lizzie feels real to me, is what I'm saying, and I'm okay with the fact that the people around her are kind of one-note because the problem this book is about is: if you can't stop being sad about your shitty childhood even though your life is no longer shitty, if you can't stop punishing yourself for bad choices that you made long ago, if you can't stop trying to change something that happened long ago and wasn't in your control even then. . . then how do you stop?
[Lizzie says] "They're your thoughts, right? How can you not think them?"
Marla struggled to answer. "I don't know, but people do it. I think I let go of things, or at least try to. You have to, really, otherwise you're weighted down with all those cumulative bad memories. James and I used to talk about that baby missing from our lives, whether it was a boy or a girl, whether we could find out who adopted it, whether we'd ever forgive our parents, why we didn't just say 'Screw you' to them back then and get married after I got pregnant. I mean, you know, it was so present. It was always there in our lives. But if we kept that up there'd be no place for anything else. And now we just acknowledge all that awful stuff happened, that maybe we made the wrong decision, that we were just kids. We were just kids. You have to forgive yourself eventually, right?"

Lizzie's husband George got famous by explaining that, while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional, but his explanation doesn't work for Lizzie. George doesn't seem to understand that, for some people, that's liberating, but for others, it says that your suffering was your choice and therefore your fault. I'd offer Lizzie Season of Mists, because "you don't have to stay anywhere forever" worked for me, but how a story works depends as much on the reader as on the story.

Which is not to say that we shouldn't do our best to write good stories. This one has a stupid editing oversight that dumped me right out:
[Marla:]"I love you Lizzie, and always will. And I will always, always, keep your secrets. But this, what this means to you and George, is an important secret. It's not the equivalent of a little white lie. It'd be like me not telling James about the abortion."
[Lizzie:]"But James knew about the abortion, he was with you when you had it."
"Don't be deliberately naive, it doesn't become you. You know what I mean: some other James I was involved with."


What abortion, I wondered? Was there an abortion as well as a baby given up for adoption? When?

No, it must have been changed from an abortion to an adoption at some point. Which was a good change: it's believable that Marla would find it harder to move on with her life after carrying the baby for nine months, while knowing that there was a person out there that she felt responsible for but had no ability to protect. But leaving evidence of the change in the story made me notice how flat all the other characters are, how they are the way they are in order to serve Lizzie's story.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, by H.P. Lovecraft.

Reading Wednesday

2017-10-18 21:35
muccamukk: Jeff standing in the dark, face half shadowed. (B5: All Alone in the Night)
[personal profile] muccamukk
What I Just Finished Reading
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, narrated by Caroline Lee
Very enjoyable mystery/gothic history novel largely set in the 1920s. (I feel like Julien Fallows probably owes Morton money). I liked how the storylines intertwined and how each person's interest in the history changed how they saw it. The love triangle at the centre was probably the least interesting aspect, and I wish the story had had more focus on Grace, as the sections without her dragged a bit. Will read more by this author, in any case.

Bearista by Zoe Chant
Does what it says on the tin, though I could have used more coffeeshop UST, as those scenes were a highlight. However the main couple had great chemistry, and I liked how the heroine was strong, interesting and useful in a fight without being an action girl. Zoe is really good at heroines that feel real.
(I hope there's a sequel about Keegan and maybe a carpenter lady.)

A Long Day in Lychford (Lychford #3) by Paul Cornell
I really liked the emotion in this book, and how the characters were at odds for good reason. The feelings were very well conveyed, especially Lizzie's inability to connect with the other two. However, it felt a bit short to deal with all the themes it was trying to get in, and a lot of plot threads didn't feel resolved at all. Presumably they will be in the next one, but I wasn't left feeling like I'd read a whole story as I was with the first two. (Unless the fragmentation was itself a meta point.)

The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky
I mean, it's a book in which the main character (and most of the other characters) dies repeatedly and often horribly, but it's just really pretty okay! I don't know what to say past wow, shiny about the writing and the structure and the themes, and it's just really meaningful! I want to learn German so I can read it in German.

What I'm Reading Now
Audio: In the middle of a Station Eleven reread, as I've been thinking about it recently. Still really good!

Paper: Theoretically, Beren and Lúthien, practically, not much.

What I'm Reading Next
Library book, probably Black Apple as it's due next.

(no subject)

2017-10-18 19:40
skygiants: (wife of bath)
[personal profile] skygiants
I didn't deliberately read up on seventeenth-century English history history in preparation for A Skinful of Shadows; it was just a fortunate coincidence that I'd just finished Aphra Behn: A Secret Life right beforehand (thanks to [personal profile] saramily, who came into possession of the book and shoved it into my hands.)

The thing about the English Civil War and everything that surrounds it is that it's remarkably difficult to pick a team, from the modern perspective. On the one side, you've got Puritans and repressive morality and NO PLAYS OR GOOD TIMES FOR ANYONE, but also democracy and egalitarianism and a rejection of the divine right of kings and the aristocracy! On the other side, you've got GLORY IN THE DIVINELY ORDAINED KING AND THE PERFECTION OF THE ESTABLISHED SOCIAL ORDER, but also people can have a good time every once in a while and make sex jokes if they feel like it.

Anyway, one fact that seems pretty certain about Aphra Behn is that she grew up during the Interregnum and wrote during the Restoration, and was very much on Team Divine Kings Are Great. Would Puritans let a woman write saucy plays for the stage? NO SIRREE, NOT AT ALL, three cheers for the monarchy and the dissolute aristocracy!

There aren't all that many facts that are certain about Aphra Behn, especially her early years -- the first several chapters of this book involve a lot of posed hypotheticals about who she might have been, how she might have got her start, and who might have recruited her into the spying business. It does seem fairly certain she was a spy: code name Astrea, Agent 160. (Me, to [personal profile] aamcnamara, after seeing Or last month: "I don't know that I buy all that Agent 160 business, there's no way that was something they did in the 1660s!" I apologize for doubting you, Liz Duffy Adams.)

Admittedly she was the kind of spy who spent most of her spy mission stuck in a hotel in Antwerp writing irritated letters back to King Charles' intelligence bureaucracy, explaining that she would happily continue with her spying mission and do all the things they wished her to do if only they would send her enough money to PAY HER DANG HOTEL BILL. (They did not.)

Besides her unpaid expense reports, most of what is known about Aphra Behn comes from her context and her publications, and the things she wrote in them -- only some of which can absolutely definitively be traced to her at all; several of her short stories and novellas are disputed, including one of the ones I found most interesting, "Love-Letters Between A Nobleman And His Sister." This early three-volume novel is extremely thinly-veiled RPF about a wildly trashy historical trial involving King Charles' illegitimate son, his best friend, the best friend's wife, and the best friend's sister-in-law. All of these people then went on to be involved in a major rebellion, which the second and third volume of "Love-Letters" cheerfully fictionalizes basically as it was happening, in the real world.

One of the first English novels ever written by a woman [if it was indeed written by Aphra Behn], and arguably the first novel written EVER, and it's basically one of Chuck Tingle's political satires. This is kind of amazing to me.

OK, but back to things we think we're fairly sure we do know about Aphra Behn! She wrote a lot about herself talking, and about men judging her for how much she talked; she wrote a lot of things that were extremely homoerotic; she also wrote a lot about impotence; she was often short on money; she cheerfully stole other people's plots, then got mad when people accused her of stealing other people's plots; she rarely wrote anything that was traditionally romantic, and most of her work seems to have an extremely wicked bite to it. She did not read Latin, which did not stop her from contributing to volumes of translations of things from Latin. She was almost certainly not a member of the nobility, but she believed in divine right, and divine order, and divine King Charles, even though it seems likely from her writing that she did not believe personally in religion, or God, and the King probably never did pay her bills. An extremely interesting and contradictory person, living in an interesting and contradictory time.

And now I think I need to go find a good biography of Nell Gwyn - she's barely relevant to this biography (Aphra Behn dedicated a play to her, but there's no other information available about their relationship) and yet Janet Todd cannot resist throwing in a couple of her favorite historical Nell Gwyn one-liners and they're all SO GOOD.

Things

2017-10-18 19:31
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
It seems like it's been ages that I've posted anything substantial and non-FMK here (which I knew was a risk; I have enough social media XP (extroversion points) to keep up with approx. 1 DW post a week, that is well-established). So here is a 5 things to break the monotony:

1. Pokemon Go will not let me install the latest update (It gives an error message that says "we hates your phone, precious" [paraphrase] and then won't install.) So instead I have been playing Magikarp Jump, which the app store always tries to tell me pokego players will enjoy. So far:

This is my fish. There are many like it, but this one is mine. )


2. Also I finally won the last boss level in Alphabear, so until I got my fish game, I was totally at loose ends for mindless phone games, and started looking for ports of the ones I played as a kid. HOW IS AN ANDROID PORT OF GODDAMP CATERPILLAR 11 megabytes? I coded that from scratch on my TI83 when I was a kid! In, like, about 100 lines of code! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

(I also coded a text adventure with a gender-ambiguous protagonist on that calculator, actually...)


3. I finished cleaning my bathroom yesterday! It only took me about two weeks! It is so nice to go in there and have it be clean! clean ALL the things )


4. So last November I kind of went into power-save mode for awhile, quit using Habitica and also quit a bunch of the things I had been doing on a regular basis (tag wrangling, practicing piano, working on Spanish and Icelandic, writing on a regular basis, using Tumblr...) But my sister got me back onto using Habitica again, and now that all the cat-related tasks are gone (and I trimmed some other stuff) it's a much more reasonable list of dailies.

I had forgotten how very motivating it is to get to tick the thingy. Now I am debating whether to use my Orb of Rebirth and start over or not (And whether to try to get together an active party with more than just me and my sister and a bunch of inactive accounts.)

And I'm trying to get back to doing some of the other things I stopped, too. I gave Tag Wrangling an un-hiatus notice, so I'm committed to trying to be less fail at that, and I pulled out a piano book for the first time in months (I found a copy of the very first one I learned out of, The Joy Of First-Year Piano, to warm me back up) Og ég er að læra íslensku aftur. Þótt jurtabókin er erfitt. Það er of mikið um illt kaffi í bókinni. Y yo hablé español a una clienta hoy! Un poco español, pero un poco es más que nada.

The only thing I gave up that I haven't missed at all is Tumblr. *shrug emoji* (even that's not true, I have a secret backup tumblr to which are added a couple people who post mostly personal stuff and also a bunch of nature and solarpunk and library special collections photos, and no politics or fandom, and it's still fine.)

5. One of the things on my habitica dailies is to post an AO3 comment once a day. Another one is to do something with politics once a week. I got my wires crossed in there somewhere and realized that if I don't feel up to actually engaging with politics I can just send one of my (excellent) congresspeople an email that literally just says, "Hi staffer who reads these, you are fighting the good fight, keep holding the line, thank you", just like when I want to leave an AO3 comment but don't know what to say, and it STILL COUNTS.

Also, people are trying to get public outcry going toward Congress passing the nonpartisan bill Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) which would make it so the US President could not launch a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war. TBH I can't think of ANY reason why that should ever have been possible, but ESPECIALLY now. So write your congresspeople or spread the word to #PULL THE FOOTBALL

/me crosses off "do politics" for this week

GODDAMMIT.

2017-10-18 15:24
kore: (Default)
[personal profile] kore
It's been coming for a long while now, but....still. Damn.



Marvel Is Marvel exchange

2017-10-19 09:04
tielan: (AVG - maria)
[personal profile] tielan

banner by broadbeam


The idea here is to organize a gift exchange designed for Marvel and its many branched runs, authors, related and unrelated fandoms. The idea is to include the X-Men side and the Avengers side and every other side that non-Marvel fans don't realize is Marvel. The idea is to include any timeline you want, any world you want, any character you want, so long as it's Marvel.

NOW OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS

Dreamwidth Community | LiveJournal Feed | 2017 AO3 Collection | 2017 Tagset
  • Nominations: Sunday, September 24 - Saturday, October 14
  • Sign Ups: Tuesday, October 17 - Sunday, October 29
  • Assignments Out: Monday, November 6
  • Works Due: Saturday, December 9
  • Works Revealed: Sunday, December 17
  • Authors Revealed: Sunday, December 24

re:

2017-10-18 17:30
watersword: A empty box with the words "but I, alas, do not know how to see sheep through the walls of boxes" from Le petit prince (Writing: sheep through the walls of boxe)
[personal profile] watersword
this excellent post from [personal profile] rosefox's [syndicated profile] story_hospital_feed — does anyone have thoughts on what warmup exercises for writers might look like? I've encountered the concept, but not at length.

mid-week check-in

2017-10-18 15:59
yukonsally: (Default)
[personal profile] yukonsally posting in [community profile] unclutter
Ahhh.. parenting... the fine art of sneaking old coloring books and the random piece of paper with markers on it to the recycling without the children noticing...

I've nearly finished recharging the rechargeable batteries, snuck out a handful of papers and a coloring book to the recycling, and sent 3 birthday cards that have been lingering on my desk for the last week. At least sending the cards makes me feel like I'm decluttering.

How are your efforts going?
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Ingested two David Wishart Corvinus mysteries, Trade Secrets (2016) and Foreign Bodies (2016) - Severn House having finally decided, it seems, to come down at some point to a price for their ebooks that is more or less comparable with mass market paperbacks rather than hardcover. These were pretty much the mixture as usual - combination of what seems to me pretty solid knowledge of what Rome and its Empire was like at the period, with upper-crust Roman sleuth cracking wise and somewhat anachronistic as the bodies pile up. There is probably a rule with extended series like this that if you haven't given up somewhere along the line, you will as a matter of habit pick up succeeding episodes as they come along.

Tremontaine Series 3, Episode 1. Interested to see where this is going to go.

Discovered by entire chance that there is an ebook of short stories about Rosemary Edghill's Bast, Failure of Moonlight: The Collected Bast Shorter Works (2012), which I had not known about and gulped down. This led me to a binge re-read of the 3 Bast mysteries - set in the world of contemporary Wicca/Paganism of the 1990s - :Speak Daggers to Her (1995), Book of Moons (1995) and The Bowl of Night (1996). I thought these held up pretty well, though possibly more for their evocation of a particular time, place and subculture, and Bast's own moral ambivalence, than for the mystery plots. In an essay appended to the shorter works she wonders if these will be what she is remembered for, eventually: she's written quite a lot in various genres under various names. I see that when I reread the space-opera trilogy Butterfly and Hellflower, written as eluki bes shahar, I felt it had rather lost its shiny. There were also, I think, some rather generic fantasy works and collaborations with Mercedes Lackey which have pretty much faded from memory, and I'm not sure I ever read any of her romances.

On the go

Only Sexual Forensics which got a bit back-burnered lately.

Up Next

The next episode of Tremontaine Season 3. Maybe Ruthanne Emrys, Winter Tide, which I have heard good things about, and is at present very briefly a giveaway from Tor. Also, have received some more v srs books from An Academic Publisher for reviewing a proposal (when offered this, I specifically look for books which are hideously expensive destined for university library editions that I would not buy for myself).

why always so blue?

2017-10-18 11:33
musesfool: text icon: O swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon (swear not by the moon)
[personal profile] musesfool
There was a most adorable pug in a bag on the subway this morning. It reminded me of Gizmo from Gremlins. It looked a little skeptical about the whole bag situation but was really well-behaved. And so cute!

Work continues to be ridiculously busy because in addition to my own job, they keep adding things to my to do list from jobs that aren't currently filled, so I'm doing three people's jobs. It's bullshit, and I would rant but I'm not locking the post so. Whatever. I don't get paid nearly enough for this.

Yesterday, I got an email from the realtor, who'd gotten an email from the management agent who was like, "There's no estimated monthly mortgage payment in this loan commitment letter" and I said to myself, says I, "I wondered about the exact same thing!" So the loan officer forwarded the loan estimate letter that I'd gotten back in September with the estimated monthly payment. They also wanted proof of my "bonus" since it wasn't listed in my salary verification letter so I had to send them the pay stub and the letter explaining it as a "one time extra wage payment" since that is what they call it in order to not have to tax it like a bonus, but it was a deposit that shows up on my bank statement and then in my taxable income and therefore needs an explanation. Luckily, after all that was forwarded, the agent said she was sending the application to the board for their review, so hopefully I get called for an interview soon.

In other news, I got a clean bill of health from the dentist, so I'm free from that for another six months. Of course, I totally ruined the minty fresh feel of my mouth by having cheesy garlic bread for dinner, but eh, sometimes a woman needs cheesy garlic bread, bad breath be damned.

***

Wednesday reading meme:

What I've just finished
The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #3) by Rick Riordan, which I enjoyed a lot, especially the spoilers )

What I'm reading now
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, the Practical Magic prequel focusing on the aunts. I love the aunts! I love seeing them as young women! I love everything to do with them and their relationship with their aunt who fills the role for them that they do for Sally and Gillian in PM.

I do not love their super special most handsomest and most powerfulest baby brother who spoilers )

What I'm reading next
Too many books to pick one out of the pack just yet!

***

A couple of tumblr posts

2017-10-18 09:29
marthawells: (Default)
[personal profile] marthawells
* My publisher made Murderbot tattoos and sent them to me: https://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/166534388472/i-have-murderbot-tattoos-and-arcs-of-the


* Another quote from The Murderbot Diaries: Artifcial Condition for Book Quote Wednesday on Twitter: https://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/166536276597/for-book-quote-wednesday-on-twitter-the-murderbot
just_ann_now: (Reading: Books and Tea)
[personal profile] just_ann_now
Suddenly, it's fall! Nice long evenings for reading.

What I Just Finished Reading

The Language of Thorns, a short-story collection by Leigh Bardugo. I wasn't really feeling the love for this until I got to the last two stories: a disquieting re-imagining of The Nutcracker (inspired, says the author, by The Velveteen Rabbit!) and a retelling of The Little Mermaid as an unexpected origin story. Those two alone were worth it! Really wondrous illustrations, too.

The Genius Plague, by David Walton, a techno-thriller with an interesting less-techno twist. I pretty much raced through this (and found the resolution a bit of a let-down.) It was an engaging read, but I doubt iif I'll read the inevitable sequels.

What I Am Currently Reading

Still working my way through The Book of Swords, but to be honest, Ellen Kushner and Richard St Vier were the high points of that book for me.

Akata Witch, by
Nnedi Okorafor, whose Binti books I have loved to pieces. (Oh, and are you excited about Black Panther? Here's a great article from the Washington Post about Afrofuturism, to help you get ready!

What I Am Reading Next

Five of my library holds came in on Friday! So sitting in the stack are Territory, by Emma Bull, and Nod, by Adrian Barnes. Today's episode of Tremontaine just showed up on my desktop, and, and, the new Philip Pullman book is coming out tomorrow! I'm doing another Readathon session at Curious Iguana on Saturday, and so will pick it up to read then.

Question of the Day: What books are you looking forward to right now?

Wrinkle in Time

2017-10-18 13:34
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
OK, so I actually read "Wrinkle in Time" (and book #2 but not any more). I think I'd had the impression that I'd read it at some point and forgotten, but now I think I never read it at all, it's really really different to anything I remember reading.

It's very good at what it does.

It's very shivery when they realise how far the horrible grey mist on the universe has spread.

It sets up a very convincing backdrop of angels and other beings fighting against badness with human help, in ways where this is how the universe works, and what people stumble upon is the same stuff that scientists like the childrens' parents are just starting to discover.

The characters of the children (well, mostly Meg and precious Charles Wallace at this point) are very good.

I stumbled on the narrative convention of mentor figures swooping in and saying "hey children, only you can do this, you need to go through this set of trials, when this happens, do this, you don't need to know about X, good luck". Like, that's a common narrative convention that works very well: you just don't question too hard the mentor figures have some special insight into how quests turn out. It's especially useful in childrens books because you can explain what needs to happen directly to the main character and reader. (Think of all the stories of stumbling onto the first person you meet in a secondary world who says, you need to do X, Y and Z.) But eventually you read too many books where it doesn't work like that that you start to question. Even if you don't ask if they might be lying, you wonder, could they really not spare twenty minutes to summarise the biggest risks and how to avoid them? How do they know what's going to happen? If this is all preordained, they why are they providing even this much help, and if not, and the fate of the world hangs on it, can they really not provide any more help?

This is partly me having been spoiled for some simple narrative conventions by being exposed to too many variants, and possibly (?) me not understanding theology well enough (I'm not sure how much this is something that is supposed to actually happen for real, and how mcuh it's just a book thing?) It doesn't always fail me, this is basically how Gandalf acts all the way through LOTR "OK, now we're going to do this because, um, fate" and I'm happy to accept it all at face value, even when other people quibble, but in some books it bothers me.

Yuletide and bears

2017-10-18 08:05
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
SteelyKid made teddy-bear-pipe-cleaner swaps [*] for her Girl Scouts bridging ceremony last night, which she was justly proud of because she'd figured out a better way to make them that didn't involve cutting up the pipe cleaners, and she distributed them by running up to people, sticking out her full hands, and saying, "Bears!"

Which made me laugh every time, thinking of friends writing Yuletide.

Anyway, her swaps were a big hit, and if you need a Yuletide beta and you think I might know your fandom, hit me up even if it's not on the spreadsheet. Comments are screened.

[*] Any kind of little craft on a safety pin that you can trade.

(no subject)

2017-10-18 08:02
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Today is going to be kind of stressful. I have to meet Cordelia at school when the school day ends because the choir fundraiser stuff is coming in. I didn't see any way for her to be able to carry it home on the bus, so the best option seems to be me going there and then us getting a cab back.

Some of her teachers have requested Kleenex donations, so I can take those at the same time.

Cordelia has an appointment at 5:45, so we won't have time to waste on the way home. I wish the bus website was actually reliable about the bus that goes between Skyline and downtown. There are two or three different route variants (I've seen the A and C. I'm assuming there must be a B).

We'll get home from the appointment just in time to have friends over at 7:00.

I need to figure out a way to get myself to bed earlier in the evening. Scott and Cordelia really, really want me to watch TV with them which pushes getting ready for bed to 9:00 at which point, Cordelia generally wants to shower. I think that what I need to do is to get a second tube of toothpaste and to keep that and my toothbrush and bite splint in the kitchen so that I don't have to wait for her to get to done to be able to deal with that bit of my routine.

I still have the problem that 8:00 or 9:00 is the point when my writing brain suddenly turns itself on with great enthusiasm. Given that I can't get my body to nap, I have a choice between sleep and writing that's pretty frustrating.
sparrowsion: (mini-sparrow)
[personal profile] sparrowsion
Compare and contrast:
  1. Captains Gabriel Lorca and Matthew Gideon: "obstinate, difficult, independent, not prone to following orders from home, not politically astute...but he'll get the job done" (quote via Wikipedia).
  2. Michael Burnham and John Matheson: not trusted by all of their crewmates.
  3. "Discovery" and "Excalibur": experimental ships running on a blend of technologies.
  4. The tension between conflict and exploration: the intended rôles for the ships and how we see them, and the series in question considered against its progenitor.
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

(no subject)

2017-10-18 15:08
tielan: (24 - Renee2)
[personal profile] tielan
Curious question: do they teach 'show don't tell' anymore?

I seem to be reading a disproportionate number of stories lately where I've been told everything that's going on, using a character's headspace and thoughts, rather than being shown it in a character's interaction with other people and the universe around her. And it kind of makes me want to rewrite the story to be better...

--

I have eaten an awful lot in the last week, thanks to Sydney's Night Noodle Markets, which is full of amazing Asian-esque food.

Granted, I went with a couple of friends on Monday, and am going again with a couple more friends on Thursday, and I went and bought some last night (taking it home in a takeaway container)

a list of foods )

I went for a walk, but the wind proved problematic for my skirts, so I ended up taking the elevator to the floor six below the one I work on (also owned by the client) and walking up. It was a good walk; I must do that more often...for the seven days that I have left working here.

[hist] Oh, hey

2017-10-17 23:57
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
It was just brought to my attention that per the date traditionally held to be the one on which Luther nailed the 95 Theses to a church door, this Hallowe'en is the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.

(no subject)

2017-10-18 00:19
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
I finished An Unsuitable Heir, which is the last of a trilogy by KJ Charles. m/m, historic romance, also murder mystery with a missing heir. I liked it a lot.

spoilers for An Unsuitable Heir )

*

Tuesday: I managed to get out to the post office and send out three things.
A small pen-knife a friend found in her pocket before a flight, which I took and promised to mail to her.
A bread-maker baking tin, which I ordered and sent onwards, as the people selling it were not shipping to Israel. My parents' bread-maker that they bought in Israel but somehow getting a replacement part for it to Israel was impossible.
A drawing of a bunny I made as part of Inktober. A friend saw it on twitter and asked if I was selling prints. I said I could do a deal on the original. By which I meant: I have too low energy to organise a print. So I have sent that out.

*

On Saturday I went with the beloved and with Derek to an evening of comedy and song : Midnight Apothecary Goes Down the Shaft hosted by Tricity Vogue on ukulele (with guest, Matthew Floyd Jones, at the grand piano). It was at the Brunel Museum.
It was described very glamorous on the website: - so much so , it was almost intimidating - but as it was, only the beloved and Derek were even wearing waistcoats. (🎵I was all dressed in black , we were all dressed up in black.🎵)

There was tasty food- greek-style wraps with beef or with feta. There were many and various cocktails, and even a couple of mocktails, (and also glasses and water freely available to drink, which I like)

At a roof-top garden there was a bonfire and pointy sticks and a steady supply of marshmallows to roast, And lit torches all around. I was glad it was a clear night and not raining. At one point someone came up and asked for a light for a cigarette, then used a torch to light it.

There were bars providing drinks both at the rooftop garden, and at the bottom of the shaft, where the performance was, (the stage and the grand piano and the speakers and the projector, which was useful for lyrics for the singalong.

Tricity Vogue was charming and funny and full of innuendo, I enjoyed it very much.
I like this photo because the silhouette on the wall matches levels of double-entendre that were bandied about.

Also I got to be introduced and say hello, because Derek knows Ms. Vogue. Then I got shy and ran away.

Memo to self: the Brunel Museum is quite easy to get to. (Jubilee line to Canada Water, Overground to Rotherhite)

*

When the beloved and I got home, Shadow, next-door's cat, was waiting on our doormat. We opened the door and he came in for a visit. He's a beautiful cat, but mostly he's inquisitive and friendly and charming and he climbed on me and tried to get up my nose, and he climbed on the beloved, and he was so affectionate and we have fallen in love with this cat.

At one point he fell asleep snuggled on the sofa between me and the beloved, and I tried to get a photo of it, but between us both wearing black and Shadow being a black cat, the charm of the moment did not come through.

When the next-door neighbours came home from their night out, Shadow ran to the door, and I let him out and knocked on their door, and he went back home.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Last week's winners were not what I expected! But F goes to The Red Tent and K goes to The Magicians (which is WAY more hated than I had realized! For good reason apparently.)

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)

This week's theme: I have no idea what this book is about, I'm pretty sure I only have it for the title.

Poll: Bail, Capote, Carey, Collins, Connors, Corliss, Ericson, Galloway, Gould, Morse, Shann, Shreve, Townsend, Wodehouse )
tielan: (AVG - agents)
[personal profile] tielan
Dear author,

I'm presently trying to decide whether not being able to pick the same fandom multiple times with different groups of characters is a dealbreaker.

Welcome to my Dear Author letter for [community profile] marvelismarvel, wherein I try to give you a snapshot of the kind of stuff I like, and which you are welcome to take as gospel (although I don’t recommend it), consider as guidelines (rather than rules), or simply read as an exercise in curiosity (entirely acceptable).

Do Not Wants:
  • non-con, dubcon
  • fridged women
  • in sex: wet, messy, dirty, bodily fluids, guro
  • pairings I haven’t asked for (even in the background)
  • men dominating the narrative
  • unhappy/depressing endings


Likes:
  • female-driven narratives
  • non stereotypically-feminine female characters
  • action, dialogue, conversation, crisis/conflict, resolution
  • show, don’t tell
  • friendships/romances that are respectful of difference


letter in progress )

All these ideas are, ultimately, optional. If they speak to you, then well and good. If they don’t speak to you, then go with the fandom, character, and relationships that we matched on, and it’ll be fine!

Thanks.
[archiveofourown.org profile] tielan

*PRIMAL SCREAM*

2017-10-17 17:50
yhlee: red and black tentacle heart pendant (tentacle heart)
[personal profile] yhlee
So Joe was at D.C. as a LIGO Livingston representative for the press conference on neutron stars gravity waves blah blah and just came home but that's not the part that's making me scream.

He stayed at a hotel four blocks from the White House, which is also not the part that's making me scream.

No: his hotel was ONE BLOCK away from a fountain pen store (Fahrney's) AND HE DIDN'T BUY ME ANYTHING AND BRING IT HOME AS A YOON-OFFERING.

I wasn't expecting him to buy me a fountain pen! (Among other things, Joe has not the faintest clue about fountain pens, let alone what I like.) But he could have bought me a bottle of ink! They would have had ink. And ink is relatively affordable.

*weeps*

Next time he goes to D.C. I'M COMING WITH.

I have informed him that my favorite colors are red and blue. I mean, I like a lot of colors, but this is Joe. He is confused by stationery supplies, so I want to keep it simple for him. He's only an astrophysics Ph.D, not expected to understand things like ink colors. ;)

I MAY BE BITTER.

(He read this over my shoulder then laughed at me. *shakes tiny fist* CURSE YOU, MY BELOVED JOE. CURSE YOU VERY MUCH. Imagine this said in the tone of Batman in the LEGO Batman Movie when he says, "I...hate you.")

In the meantime, I backed the Marigold Tarot (hat tip to [personal profile] pengwern) so I shouldn't complain. :p

Done

2017-10-17 23:27
ceb: (Default)
[personal profile] ceb posting in [community profile] qec
* washing
* visited I&J&J&A & A&N
* necklace info from A
* made a necklace
* book cataloguing
* designed test box lid and base
* printed test box lid and base
* ordered drugs
* picked up drugs
* bits of tidying
* ocado order
* film fest faff
* started canon review
* started fic plan
* boxed up present for I

Worldcon stuff
* talked to E
* div mtg
* talked to T
* talked to V
peaceful_sands: butterfly (Default)
[personal profile] peaceful_sands posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Little by little we get over the hurdle, past the obstacle and little by little we make a difference. We may not have the time, the energy, the power or the ability to tackle the whole, but if we examine things carefully we can find the bit that we can do, the progress that we can make - the steps that begin the journey.

In the middle of the week, we have our anti-procrastination day. It's a great opportunity to look carefully at the things we've been avoiding starting and thinking about why we aren't getting anywhere with them. There are any number of reasons and it really doesn't matter what they are, they were good reasons before, but now is our chance to reevaluate and to begin to look for a way past them. Remember - this comm is not about having to manage to complete the whole of a task in one go, it's about finding first the way to start and then the way to continue it until we can overcome it. Tasks don't have to be daunting and beyond us, because all we're looking for at any time is the next step.

Can you think of something that you'd like to begin? Something that bit by bit you could overcome? What's today's part of that task going to be (or tomorrow's if today's is the planning stage)?
oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin

Last week I had the pneumococcal vaccine, courtesy of what is still, mostly, a beneficient National Health Service.

Unlike the flu shot, it is a one-off and should, as they say, See Me Out.

However, while I tend not to have any repercussions from the flu shot, this one gave me a sore arm, like, really sore for 2-3 days and still quite tender after that, as well a day or two feeling Vaguely Crap, that well-known unspecific medical condition.

Thought this was All Over, but this morning, discovered I had a Sore Armpit. Don't know whether this is a final repercussion, a muscle I pulled and didn't realise, or, since partner had something yesterday that might have been a virus and involved various aches and pains, whether it is that, though on the whole I would say I feel a good deal less Vaguely Crap than a few days ago.

A general condition of Slob-Out was declared and has not yet quite terminated.

musesfool: text icon that says "go away you are tormenting my soul" (cheer up emo kid)
[personal profile] musesfool
Yesterday, I checked to make sure my application package had been delivered and FedEx said there was a delivery exception!!! the business was closed!!! and I was like, "!!!" but luckily it was reattempted and delivered by noon instead of 10:30 am. Still, though. Can nothing just go smoothly?

In other news, I just wrote and deleted a writing rant, but suffice it to say, "start as close to the end as possible" remains one of the best and most useful bits of writing advice I ever heard.

***

(no subject)

2017-10-17 12:18
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I must have done something yesterday, but I can't for the life of me remember anything. Somehow, time is getting away from me.

I posted a story for [community profile] weissvsaiyuki today. I still have four WIP that I would love to complete for the challenge, but I don't know if I'll manage any of them.

Title: One More Folded Sunset
Fandom: Weiss Kreuz
Rating: T
Pairing: Crawford/Schuldig, background Crawford/Manx
Tags: Implied/referenced rape/non-con, Implied/referenced torture, Alternate universe - canon divergence, Alternate universe - dark, Ambiguous/open ending, Amnesia

//Brad, where the fuck are we?// Once he was sure he had a connection to Brad’s mind, he opened his eyes. He felt safer that way.

//Schuldig? I wasn’t— No. That’s not true.// Brad sounded uncertain, fragmented even, in a way that scared Schuldig even more than the odd landscape and his inability to stop walking. //The hill doesn’t look that big, but it will probably take you another half an hour to get here. Things… stretch. Sort of. You’re being watched. She can’t hear when we talk like this, but she’s watching, and she’ll hear if you speak out loud. I’d come to meet you, but… I can’t. I’ll explain when you get here.//

Schuldig knew Brad well enough to know when he was lying. You’re not going to explain anything. Well, we’ve been there before. I’ll get it one way or another. He rubbed his face with one hand. Why don’t I remember anything to explain this?

The story at AO3.

Mostly Links

2017-10-17 08:44
muccamukk: Laura and Jubilee sitting together on a tree branch. Text: Sittin' in a tree. (Marvel: Sittin' in a Tree)
[personal profile] muccamukk
Bidding is open over at [community profile] fandomlovespuertorico.

[community profile] cap_ironman is accepting prompts for its holiday exchange community prompt pool. Read more here.

"Native-Land.ca: Our home on native land". Searchable map of North America's First Nations territories and pre-colonial histories. "There are over 630 different First Nations in Canada (and many more in the USA) and I am not sure of the right process to map territories, languages, and treaties respectfully - and I'm not even sure if it is possible to do respectfully. I am not at all sure about the right way to go about this project, so I would very much appreciate your input." (From [personal profile] umadoshi)

Death of a Modern Wolf by J.B. MacKinnon for Hakai Magazine
Once feared, vilified, and exterminated, the wolves of Vancouver Island face an entirely different threat: our fascination, our presence, and our selfies.

This wolf essay is really worth a read. I've worked with similar problems here (and know many of the people interviewed for the article), and it really frustrating and sad. Fortunately, our local animal has so far come to a happier ending.

(On a related note, I'll post the quiz answers this afternoon.)

Kindle Update Update

2017-10-17 16:11
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I totally can see the light when it's turned to "off", i.e. when the light meter is set to 0, but only really notice it a lot at night. You guys who claim you can't see it are either lying, or my eyes are freakish. Frankly, I think it's probably the latter, given how often one of my boys complains they can't see the dogs when we are walking them after dark and I can see them perfectly fine.

Happily, Andrew's explanation of how the light works was spot on, and it doesn't bother me like a glowy phone or computer or TV screen. To give you some idea of how Lorca-ish my eyes are, though, I have it set to 2 when I'm in bed, and 5 in daylight. It goes up to about 30, by the looks of it (haven't actually counted).

I'm really REALLY happy with the cover I got for it, which is incredibly thin and light, but still feels sturdy. It also has the autowake function, which is handy. I would genuinely rec it to anyone who has a papperwit of the requisite size (that's pretty much all of them less than 5 years old).

I think I am also going to quickly get used to having Goodreads integration, which my old Kindle was too ancient to support.

All in all, I think I made the right decision. Thanks to those of you who helped by voting and commenting and things.

gratitudes

2017-10-17 10:02
watersword: Karen Gillan as Amelia Pond in season 5 of Doctor Who (Doctor Who: Amelia Pond)
[personal profile] watersword
1. I went to my mentor's memorial and it was awful in basically every way possible, but I showed up and that is important.
2. I got to see my sister and my best friend.
3. Cat-petting!
4. Asian pears at the CSA.
5. Tea.

adds up!

2017-10-17 08:29
yukonsally: (Default)
[personal profile] yukonsally posting in [community profile] unclutter
My current decluttering project is charging all the dead rechargable batteries.

Little bits add up!

What tiny projects can you do to help the process?
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... it's because the boundary commission have released their finalised report into the boundary review, and hardly anybody is happy about it. The vast majority of politicians, you see, wanted the boundary review to advantage their party and shaft their rivals. The boundary commission, meanwhile, have been scrupulously fair, and tried quite hard to advantage nobody and shaft nobody.

Now, there is a school of thought that this doesn't matter a jot because it'll never get past parliament, requiring as it does far too many turkeys to vote for Christmas. I, for one, think that would be a shame, if only for my little home patch.

The proposals for Calderdale are basically what I would have done, were I the boundary commission. A lot of my fellow Calderdale politicians will doubtless be pissing and moaning about various bits1, although having read the report, the Tories will probably be the least annoyed of us. Here are the things I am pleased about:
  1. The two constituencies make geographical sense, for the first time in my lifetime.

  2. The town I live in can no longer be almost completely ignored by three of the five active political parties in the area.

  3. We have not created a complete dead zone for the Lib Dems in the constituency I live in, which is what would have happened had the commission accepted the Lib Dem proposals2.

  4. The constituency names, while not the ones I suggested, follow the same logic3
All in all, I'm quite happy. So here's hoping the turkeys do, for once, vote for Christmas.



1I know a bunch of my fellow Lib Dems are annoyed we haven't got a winnable seat out of it, by putting all the wards with Lib Dem councillors into the same constituency. To which I would say: did you see our vote share at the last general election? And also combining wards where we have councillors is not the only way to get a winnable seat. Look at the demographics...
2Calderdale Lib Dem membership is divided pretty much half and half, which it would not have been under the proposals the party submitted. While it will annoy EVERYBODY who wanted to be in the mythical winnable seat, gives us two live constituencies to fight for, instead of one with pretty much every Calderdale activist except my household in it.
3I wanted Calderdale East and Calderdale West and they've gone for Upper Calder and Lower Calder. I can live with that. It's miles better than their initial suggestion of calling my seat Halifax, when it only had half of Halifax and two towns that are not Halifax in.

Vallista, by Steven Brust

2017-10-17 07:05
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa
Review copy provided by Tor Books. Additionally, the author has shown by his behavior that despite what I've said in previous review disclaimers about his books, he is absolutely no friend of mine.

However, quite often people who have made me sad, angry, and/or disgusted with their behavior write books that are too dreadfully written to bother to read, and this is not the case with Vallista. This is another entry in the Vlad Taltos series, and like the others it is not doing exactly the same things as its predecessors. It is expanding the universe of the series, it is messing with everything that has gone before and recasting it. It is definitely not an episodic "like this one, but more of it" entry in its series, and the trap-building nature of the vallista comes satisfyingly into play.

What was less satisfying for me this time around, and this may well come into reviewing the author rather than the book as I am trying not to do: everyone has tolerance limits on the First Person Asshole voice. It's no surprise that a substantial portion of a Vlad Taltos novel is written in First Person Asshole. Some people's tolerance is about a page and a half, some infinite; mine is, at this point fifteen books into the series, fraying. (I would also like it a lot if someone would write a study of how FPA voice shifts in a long series so that it always feels contemporary and therefore includes very mild contemporary phrasing that's almost but not quite invisible and ends up being the prose tic version of a long mystery series looking like it only spans two years and yet starting with the protagonist using pay phones and ending in them using smart phones. Someone who is not me should do that using several authors as reference. Thanks.) But Vallista also has, for very good plot-related spoilerific reasons, forays into other prose voices than that, which made it a lot easier to read just when some of the "look at me I'm clever" bits of narrative voice were not feeling quite as clever as hoped and had repeated the not-clever multiple times just to make sure you had a chance to not-laugh at it again. I liked...hard to describe for spoiler reasons...pieces of other prose voice, and the reasons why they were there.

There is quite a lot of Devera in this book. If you're here for serious forward momentum on ongoing plot arc and for Devera: here you go, this is the one you're looking for. Relationships among other characters in the series, a great deal less so, but there's a great deal of "can't have everything" going around in the world, inevitable that some of it would end up here.
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

News! Thesis! Job!

2017-10-17 09:36
[syndicated profile] simonwaldman_feed

Posted by simon

Hello world. I have two bits of news.

A stack of paper, about 2cm high

And that’s double-sided!

The first one is that a couple of weeks ago I sent a complete draft of my thesis to my supervisors. This isn’t the end of anything as there’s still plenty of work to do, both before and after they get back to me, before it’s ready to be submitted for examination; but it’s a milestone. I’d never printed the whole thing in one go before, and I was surprised by its bulk…

The second piece of news is that I have a new job! I’ve been lucky enough to win a NERC “innovation placement”, which will allow me to spend a year working with the Oceanography team at Marine Scotland Science. From next month I’ll be doing the same type of modelling that I’ve done for most of the last four years, but instead of using it for energy I’ll be working on applications in aquaculture.

This doesn’t mean that I’m leaving energy behind, at least for now – apart from anything else, if time permits there’s at least one more energy-related paper waiting to be written. But it will be valuable for me to diversify my skills and experience in a different area for a year.

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