[personal profile] rosefox
The other night I dreamed I wrote a book and forgot entirely that I had done so. Blocked it out of my head. So when [livejournal.com profile] mrissa said "I read an ARC of your book and it's pretty good" I was utterly confused. And then she said "But there were some problems with the way you portrayed the Middle Eastern market" and I was even more confused. I felt bad that I had committed racefail and I couldn't really fix it because I didn't remember writing it.

Then there was a lengthy dream scene about rolling up RPG characters. The DM wanted us all to have 200 [something] but the base character I picked from the book only had 60 [something] so we agreed that on any day when I was in a bad mood I'd get an extra hit die because I hit harder when I'm grumpy.

We started playing the game, and I guess we were LARPing because I started doing a folk dance with five of the other players. We danced in pairs and I mostly remembered the steps from my country dance days but it was hard to keep track of the steps and play my character at the same time. My dance partner was much better at it than I was and kept gently reminding me not to keep my legs so straight because this was a different era than the one I was used to dancing in.

In character I was snooty with racist undertones to the other characters who were dancing and as myself I felt bad about it. "Feel bad about racism but have plausible deniability" was apparently the dream theme. Ew. >.<

The dream ended with a giant Jewish holiday dinner with lots of friends and friends of friends. [livejournal.com profile] rose_lemberg and [livejournal.com profile] prezzey called to tell us all that they were getting married, except their child actually made the call because he wanted to and they thought it would be fun to let him. It was very sweet. And the more observant Jews at the table taught me some interesting things about holidays and fine points of observance and schisms and so on.

And then I woke up, wondering how I managed to write an entire book and forget.

Admiral

Sep. 29th, 2016 09:56 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
I picked up Sean Danker's Admiral out of a mistaken belief that it had an amnesiac protagonist. Wait, no, don't run away! I like amnesiac protagonists. But it turns out that I had misapprehended the jacket copy. In all fairness, the jacket copy doesn't eliminate the possibility that the protagonist is amnesiac, but that is not, in fact, what's going on.

Admiral opens with our nameless protagonist waking up unexpectedly on a starship with three recently-graduated trainees from Evagard, which has recently won a war with the Commonwealth. That's the good news. The bad news? The ship appears to be completely marooned. Neither our protagonist nor the trainees has any idea how they ended up where they are. And then things start to go wrong.

This turned out to be quite a page-turner, as the "honorary admiral" uses all his skills of persuasion and improvisation to chivvy the trainees along as they careen from one near-disaster to the next using the resources available--and the stakes just get higher and higher. If you enjoy space adventure with banter and tense action, definitely give this a look. I wish there had been more about the world, but it would have slowed down the action. Instead, Danker adroitly feeds us tantalizing details bit by bit. It's very well done. It also leaves me hungry either for more in this setting or for a next book that is heavier on the worldbuilding.

The author bio says that Danker served in the Air Force. I'm not surprised. This book abounds in attention to what I can only call mechanical detail--the awareness that a starship is going to be made of parts, which might break, or can be repurposed, or can be damaged, or have to be routed around. I'm always aware that whenever I write about starshippy things, everyone can tell that I don't have a damn clue. (I still haven't figured out what you call the "walls" on a boat. I also keep mixing up port and starboard, although I guess that stands to reason since I also mix up left and right. My husband's parents, who own a sailboat, find me very entertaining.) Now, I can't tell whether the details make sense, but Danker writes with such conviction that I believe him--and to be honest, I tend to suspect that he thought everything out. Someone with a more mechanical/engineering background is going to have to be the judge of that, though. I majored in math so I wouldn't have to deal with physical things. :p

Refreshingly, although there are castes and genetic engineering, there's a sense of compassion in the protagonist's understanding of humanity. Unlike the trainees, he expects that people from the Commonwealth are just people like anyone else, not monsters. There's also a great comic scene where everyone is speculating on what the Empress of Evagard looks like and whether she has a harem and is it men or women or both.

In any case, some of my random library picks end up getting returned unfinished. This was a delightful surprise. I enjoyed it a lot, and I'll be looking forward to more from Danker in the future!

[cross-post: Patreon]
[personal profile] sovay
And today, massive insomnia and being woken rather jarringly by the property manager knocking on the door to ask if now was a good time for her to fix the fan in the bathroom (it was not). My brain has felt like a cloudy chalkboard ever since. I really hope this fifth-century electrum stater from Kyzikos does portray Odysseus sacrificing a ram as part of the ritual of drawing up the dead in Book 11 of the Odyssey. I will never be able to own it, but its existence in the world will delight me.

Stater
[personal profile] lannamichaels


So, remember how I've been putting a spare key in my camisole, taped to my prosthetic? Remember how that was doing GREAT THINGS for me being worried about losing my key?

GUESS WHO, YESTERDAY, THREW A CAMI IN THE WASH WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT? Surprise, I did not need to wash that one. And it also had my boobs in it. Last night, I noticed there was tape on the blanket that came out of the dryer and was like "huh, I wonder what I put in there that had tape that I forgot to remove". This morning, I realize that I had washed the cami with the boobs. Which explained they it had seemed a little damp-ish and thicker than normal last night when I put it in the drawer...

I checked inside. The emergency card was still there and intact (packing tape lamination ftw!) although not attached, and the key was nowhere to be seen.

When I got home today, I searched for the key. (Yes, I left myself a calendar reminder to do this.) It was, naturally, in the last place I looked.

POLL FOR YOU. WHERE DID I FIND THE KEY?

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 10


Where did I find the key?

View Answers

In the camisole
0 (0.0%)

In the washer
0 (0.0%)

In the dryer
2 (20.0%)

In the underwear drawer
0 (0.0%)

In the laundry bag, where I was 100% sure I would have noticed it yesterday...
8 (80.0%)

[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

ca 1880s. Group of five unidentified men with glasses of beer and a keg. Possibly brewery employees. Image Citation: Waterloo Public Library, C-5-19


Fewer drunks, more money
[personal profile] musesfool
Dear yuletide writer:

First of all, I want to say a big thank you for agreeing to write a story for me. I love all the fandoms I've chosen, so I will be happy with a story for any request. If you've already got a story in mind, then go for it! These are all just possible jumping off points if, like me, you like having prompts as a starting point.

Since it's entirely possible we don't know each other, I figured I'd give you some basics about me and some tips on the kinds of things I like/dislike in stories.

Where to find me: I am [personal profile] musesfool on DW/LJ, victoria_p/[archiveofourown.org profile] musesfool on AO3, and [tumblr.com profile] cacchieressa on tumblr, plus I have a recs journal at [personal profile] unfitforsociety.

Likes )

Dislikes )

To sum up, mostly what I want is for the characters to have fun hanging out with each other, because I love hanging out with them. If it can be described by the phrase "hijinks ensue," you're probably nailing it.

In all cases, if you have an idea that uses all the characters I've requested, that's awesome, but if you don't/can't, that's okay, too. Certainly my suggestions include ideas that may not use all the requested characters, so don't feel like you need to shoehorn someone in if it doesn't work with what you're writing.

2016
This year, I consciously chose to have a theme of con artists, grifters, and thieves in my requests, so if you are up for writing heist fic, I sure hope we get matched! If that is not in your wheelhouse (certainly, writing it is not in mine, though I love reading it), I've provided a bunch of other options, so I hope you find something here that sparks for you.

Specifics
In terms of specifics, I tried to expand a little in this letter about what I like about the source (actual request details are in italics, addenda in plain text). I hope you find it helpful.

Note: these are in alpha order by fandom; I really do want all of them, so don't worry about which one you match on - I will be happy with any of them!

The Middleman: The Middleman; Wendy Watson; Noser
details )

Ocean's (Movies): Danny Ocean; Rusty Ryan
details )

Six of Crows Series - Leigh Bardugo: Inej Ghafa; Kaz Brekker
details; contains spoilers for Crooked Kingdom )

A Year and A Day in Old Theradane - Scott Lynch: Amarelle Parathis; Brandwin Miris; Sophara Miris; Shraplin Self–Made
details )

Thanks again, dear writer! I hope you have a great [community profile] yuletide!

***

135!

Sep. 29th, 2016 09:28 am
[personal profile] oracne
I was really tired and sore Tuesday night on my way home from choir, partly from Monday's workout, partly from standing up singing for a couple hours, and partly just, I think, the weather. So Tuesday I skipped squats and cardio, and did only barbell rows and bench press. I got my bench press up to 135, 5 sets of 5, which matches my previous high point before the broken elbow.

Go me. I finished the first set and couldn't stop smiling. I had to really work at the last rep for the last couple of sets, which shows I am at the right weight for now, I think. Only fifteen more pounds to goal.

Also last night, I lugged a couple loads of laundry to the laundromat and got those done, then went home and read comics, feeling very righteous. My sheets and blanket can wait for the weekend, when, dare I say it? I might actually start that story for an October 15th deadline.

I am loving the cooler weather, but I seem to ache in various, shifting places whether I work out or not, my fingers being the most bothersome. But it's not so much that it overcomes OTC anti-inflammatories.

What's this on the radar?

Sep. 29th, 2016 04:33 am
[personal profile] sovay
My husband just sent me a beautiful thing: the restored recording of the world's first computer-generated music. Unsurprisingly, Alan Turing was involved. Starting in 1948, he used the tones generated by the Manchester Mark I and later Mark II to keep track of the computer's internal processes—"one note for 'job finished', others for 'digits overflowing in memory', 'error when transferring data from the magnetic drum', and so on"—meaning you can probably blame him in some distant ancestral sense for the Quacks, Sosumis, and Wild Eeps of the classic Apple Macintosh and that synthesized major chord I believe most of them still make when they boot up. In 1951, Christopher Strachey programmed the Mark II to play "God Save the King." The BBC recorded it and two other short musical programs later that year. From the severe frequency shifts of that recording, Jack Copeland and Jason Long calculated the correct speed at which the acetate disc needed to be played in order to reproduce the pitches actually generated by the Mark II, then digitally cleaned up some of the noise and stuck the whole two-minute recording online. It sounds a bit like a seasick cello. If you have perfect or even decent relative pitch, you will wince. The Mark II had a terrible ear. All three recorded melodies will sound—accurately—more or less out of tune to a human who can carry one with or without a bucket. I don't care. It makes me happy. I will buy a copy of the publication which contains Copeland and Long's full article when it's out. In the meantime, I have played a piercingly flat (and sometimes sharp) version of "God Save the King," "Baa Baa Black Sheep," and "In the Mood" five times in a row. Science is such a wonderful thing.

horse, wheel, extrapolation

Sep. 28th, 2016 08:31 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
David W. Anthony, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How bronze-age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world (2007): one possible two-cent summation is that Anthony builds upon the work of Mallory, Mair, and others to write an unusually lucid yet thick textbook on Proto-Indo-European archaeological antecedents. Notably, few scholars in relevant/adjacent fields seem to dislike this book. Though coming at what's usually a linguistic question from an archaeological perspective, in terms of the artifacts for which we can stitch together cognate terms (with or without semantic slippage), Anthony seems to have been unusually careful to ground his speculations. I can't really tell---my grasp of the book's fields veers off at the undergrad-overview level.

I've read it so slowly, in two formats (print, paywalled web, print again) across nearly thirty-six months, that I don't have many notes. I do recall finding ch. 6's exploration compelling, re: what may constitute a frontier, which kinds of border have tended to last despite continued commerce and interbreeding, and some causes and effects of mass migration beyond the usual topics. And: "We are reasonably certain that horses were bitted [the metal thing that can affect a horse's teeth] and ridden in northern Kazakhstan beginning about 3700–3500 BCE" (p. 220), yet Anthony suggests on the next page that that folk (Botai-Tersek) were mounted foragers and probably gained "the idea of domesticated animal management from their western neighbors," who had done it for a thousand years already.

Aside from its contribution to PIE-related investigation and informed speculation, Anthony's 550-page monograph is a good example of what can result from letting a scholar work hard at the pace the scholar sets, not assessments and deans and T/P portfolios. At the time of publication, Anthony taught at a small college that didn't require its professoriat to make book-sized publications; he did it because he wanted to and had the skills and support. That matters.

Reading Wednesday

Sep. 28th, 2016 08:27 pm
[personal profile] chomiji

Got very little serious reading done this week Because Reasons (sad RL event).

I read the openings to This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared, which I mentioned last week, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (which I had forgotten that I'd bought a couple of weeks ago to support our local bookstore after killing some time there between appointments). More power of concentration will be needed to continue with either.

I read volumes 2 and 3 of the manga A Silent Voice, and now I am on the horns of a dilemma. The mangaka has ticked me off in a couple of ways, and even though I love the idea of the story and have become very fond of Shoko's tough, neglected tomboy little sister, I may decide to abandon the series, which rarely happens with me.

First, ex-bully Shoya is trying to arrange for more friends for his former victim, Shoko. The first girl he digs up is at Shoko's request, a girl who was kind to Shoko when they were all in middle school and who ended up getting bullied herself. That works out well enough that Shoya sometimes feels a bit of a third wheel around them. So when he encounters another former middle school classmate about whom he has no definite negative memories, he assumes that she's another potential friend. Actually, she is a manipulative little schemer in a very stereotypically Mean Schoolgirl way, and I cringe away from the book whenever she's on the page. (Can you tell that I was bullied in middle school for befriending a girl who was in Special Education?)

Then, the author introduces a Profound Misunderstanding between Sho and Sho, just so things will become even sadder. It takes a really good author to do this without pissing me off. Yoshitoki Ōima is simply not on that level. See, the two of them are starting to understand each other pretty well in sign language ... so instead, Shoko suddenly decides that she has to start trying to speak aloud! And won't go back to Sign even when it's clear that Shoya does not understand the Startling Confession she has just made!

I swear, I was grinding my teeth when that happened.

Does anyone know if things improve in this series?

On an even more frivolous note, I also started reading fanfiction for Stand Still, Stay Silent.

[personal profile] sovay
Autolycus purrs on my lap as I type, compactly curled into a black fur croissant. Hestia has claimed the basket chair for her own, partly snuggled under the green weighted blanket that usually lies on the bed. It has been not quite raining since this afternoon when I walked out to City Hall and the post office in Union Square, returning by way of Hub Comics. I made baked beans with hamburger for dinner and read some more Alistair MacLean at the kitchen table. Otherwise I have mostly been working and it is not very interesting. I hope to watch a movie tonight.

I was just sent an appeal from Kirk Douglas, who hopes to celebrate his hundredth birthday in December while still being proud to be an American. That is a lot of history to live through, and I don't think alarmist to remember.

On the importance of names, the acknowledgement of humanity in the individual as well as the incomprehensively collective, and the burial of the dead as more than symbols: Maaze Mengiste, "The Act of Naming."

I am tired and the most fun I've had today involved walking up and down hills in incipient rain, but I don't feel awful. We have ordered our Rosh Hashanah challah from Mamaleh's.

er, um

Sep. 28th, 2016 06:27 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
I completed the rough draft of Ninefox in January 2012. I have a somewhat older Scrivener file of it; unfortunately, I can no longer prove anything with the very original hardcopy deadtree rough draft written out in longhand because it was destroyed in the flood.

Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice (which is a super book, and I love the trilogy!) came out in October 2013. I didn't make my first attempt to read the book until February 2014, and didn't finish the book until later that year.

...I think people are vastly confused about just how fast (a) I write and (b) revise a book then (c) take to get it to (d) an agent and then (e) get it accepted by a publisher (Solaris made an offer after something like twenty rejections elsewhere) who then (f) has to go through the whole process of...look, what I'm saying is that this is not a fast process. :p

Again, I love the Imperial Radch books, but maybe consider that gloves, robots, music, and other random setting elements are not unique? There are probably a lot of random sf/f settings floating around in which gloves are Culturally Significant!

(Also I suspect Breq & friends would eat Jedao for breakfast, ahahahaha. XD)

On the other hand, it is absolutely true (and I have previously stated) that hexarchate worldbuilding owes a lot to Planescape (AD&D campaign setting), Legend of the Five Rings (Kel = evil Lion, Shuos = evil Scorpion, Andan = evil Crane), Battletech/Mechwarrior, and Warhammer 40,000. Although, God knows, it's not like the concept of having factions...is unique in human history/narrative?

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Sep. 28th, 2016 07:01 pm
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.

=

Signal-boosting much appreciated!

(no subject)

Sep. 28th, 2016 02:21 pm
[personal profile] telophase
You might need to watch this young kiwi bouncing around on a wildlife cam.

Apparently his name is Rawiri.

Bookpost: Third lemon trouble saga

Sep. 28th, 2016 11:11 am
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice

Kelly Link - Get in Trouble (short stories)

Sep. 24

There's some excellent stuff in here, but after chewing for a bit, I think I have to say this isn't Link's best collection. (That's still Magic for Beginners.)

But I DO still highly recommend it. For one thing, it's got possibly her best story so far, "Valley of the Girls." (I'm serious, this story is mandatory.) For another, even Link's weaker stories are good.

It's also her most unified collection, in a way that's hard to pinpoint. Something about a commitment to characters always making the wrong decision. A persistent turn towards... not evil, but badness. Heroes you feel driven to root against.

Anyway, I'll re-read most of these on some rainy day. Probably starting with The Demon Lover as Halloween gets closer.

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - Saga vol. 1 (comics)

Sep 13

Yeah, okay!! This is about as good as everyone says it is. I kind of find myself holding it at arms-length a bit; something about it encourages a bit of emotional distance, signals you to not let the characters get too close. But it's a heck of a ride, it spends twenty-dollar ideas where anyone else would spend a fiver, and the art is really honest-to-god first rate.

Aimee Bender - The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Sep 26

This was great.

I'd forgotten Aimee Bender completely, and then remembered her suddenly when I was trying to figure out what to say about Uptalk. So I checked in at the library, and she'd put out another story collection and this novel while I hadn't been looking.

It's been almost exactly ten years since I read An Invisible Sign of My Own (I found a brief comment in my journal about it: November '06, which was before I started keeping this book log!) and I can only remember so much of it, but the impression I'm digging up is of an intriguing but wildly off-center novel that threatened to fly apart off its axis at any moment. This is more controlled and much improved, but it retains that sweet intensity of dissatisfaction and magic and discomfort and yearning. I'm glad I remembered Aimee Bender.

Carla Speed McNeil — Finder: Third World (comics)

February? January? I forgot to write this down b/c I was at my parents' house or something.

This went some really strange places, and I don't have anything useful to say about it now. Finder's great, you should read Finder!

Bonus level: Severed

Aug 2

This was on sale for its recent iOS release, and I loved Drinkbox's last game (Guacamelee), so I went for it.

The narrative is extremely spare; so spare that I'm kind of reconsidering putting it in the didread list (which I usually only do for story-focused games). But I still find myself thinking about it from time to time, so.

As for gameplay: Housemate saw me playing it for a few minutes and said "So... it's Wizardry meets Fruit Ninja?" Not wrong! It starts really simply, and in the first area I found myself wondering if there was actually a game here. But once the difficulty ramps up and you have to juggle three or four aggressive enemy timers at once, it's kind of a blast.

Not a lot of replay value, but a solid experience the first time through.

Kate Wilhelm - Storyteller

July 24

An occasionally interesting memoir of running the Clarion writers' workshop. I needed an undemanding nonfiction read, and this fit the bill.

There're some fragments of useful stuff in here about the practice of writing and workshopping fiction, but most of the focus is on anecdotes and institutional history.

Dear Yuletide Writer

Sep. 28th, 2016 08:25 pm
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Dear Yuletide writer,

Thank you for writing for me! I am very non-fussy about Yuletide and love the fandoms I requested, so please don't stress too much about making me happy. Write me something in a fandom I love, and I will be happy. If you click on my Yuletide tag you will find past letters with lots of detail on what I like in general.

Two little FYIs: I started writing my letter at home, then left before I could finish it. I am currently away from home and can't write as much, so less tl;dr isn't indication of which I want most, just due to circumstances. The other is for any friends who might be trawling this letter for treat prompts. I still love anything I requested for any Yuletide in history, so if you don't know any of these fandoms, feel free to pick up anything from past letters that's in the Yuletide tag set.

Read more... )

Nicked from File770:

Sep. 28th, 2016 11:43 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
New Game: create a better table of contents for the stated theme than editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch did.

My attempt at a TOC:

Read more... )
[personal profile] musesfool
Brooklyn Nine Nine: Coral Palms Part 2
spoilers )

What I'm reading Wednesday:
What I've just finished
Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, books 2 and 3 of her Grisha trilogy. I enjoyed each one a little more than the previous one, but that is mostly due to the introduction of the best character in those books, i.e., Nikolai. spoilers )

I don't know what the actual fandom is like, but the glimpse I had of it on Goodreads made me rapidly back away. I mean, people can ship what they like, I don't really care (I mean, I'll judge, but silently) but there was no way canon was going to go there (even if I was side-eying it for how it woobiefied the Darkling) and yet the outrage that it didn't was potent. smh.

And then I spent yesterday reading Crooked Kingdom, set in the same world but a sequel to Six of Crows. I loved these two books pretty much unreservedly - they might be my favorite thing I've read all year - because they are heist books, a genre I dearly love, so the scope is slightly smaller (though there is still a touch of saving the world, but only as an afterthought, and only because it might impact their revenue stream) and also because Kaz and Inej's relationship hits SO MANY of my buttons.

spoilers )

I mean, I enjoyed the plot a lot, too - it had a lot of moving pieces but I never felt like anything happened that I couldn't have figured out spoiler ) and also, spoiler )

You still have to sort of handwave the age thing - I just think of them as in their 20s instead of teens - but I enjoyed them tremendously. Crooked Kingdom does spoil the Grisha trilogy a little, spoiler ) but I don't think it matters a great deal.

And now I can finish the next draft of my yuletide letter. *g*

I also read the new(ish? it came out a year ago) middle grade novelization of Star Wars: A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken, which is nice mostly because it gives you a lot more Leia, from her POV even (though it uses the phrase "flipping a table" in her narration, and though I can easily imagine Leia wanting to flip a table and actually flipping a table, I can't quite get to the point of believing she'd use the phrase itself *hands*). I read it because I couldn't figure out when she became a senator, and it's not really clear even in the book, but the stuff in Just a Little Bit of History Repeating about the Emperor congratulating her on her pretty face (and her being a sensation on the holonet) comes from here.

And on the bus this morning, I read Star Wars #23, which I enjoyed, though I wish they'd clear up whether Mon Mothma knows who Luke and Leia's parents are, because of anyone still kicking around who isn't Artoo, she would have enough info to guess! spoiler )

(I mean, I still have to wonder what her reaction was when Leia was debriefed after the battle of Yavin and was like, "Luke Skywalker, the crazy pilot who destroyed the Death Star, brought Obi-Wan Kenobi to rescue me" - I mean, sure, the Empire can erase as much official history as it wants to, but it can't wipe out people's memories and Mothma was there. I mean, I'll accept that nobody ever questioned anything about Artoo and Threepio's ownership, as obviously Bail was good friends with Padme and there at her death, but come on! It's like, if someone said to you, "Eisenhower and this kid named McArthur showed up to rescue me," wouldn't you be like, "...!!!"?)

And huh, was there no new Darth Vader comic in September? Was that supposed to happen? Comics, your ways remain a mystery to me.

What I'm reading now
I'm rereading Crooked Kingdom right now, since I just finished it last night.

What I'm reading next
Ah! I don't know what I'll read in between, but the second Magnus Chase book comes out next Tuesday, so that's definitely next.

***

Wednesday Reading

Sep. 28th, 2016 09:02 am
[personal profile] oracne
This week, I read Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Warren Ellis, and Matteo Buffagni. As you might imagine, I bought it for Deconnick. The storyline reminded me a little bit of some issues of Ms. Marvel in that it featured a teenaged hero (Spider-Girl, Anya Corazon) being mentored by older, more established heroes as she pursues a mystery of her own. Her mystery involves Toxic Doxie (that name! agh!) as a pretty decent villain.

The Company You Keep by orbingarrow and tatemshope is one of the ubiquitous "Bucky Recovery" stories, only this one mostly features Bucky interacting with Bruce Banner and Clint Barton, which was a nice change.

Finally, instead of re-reading the Rivers of London series for a discussion as I was supposed to be doing, I ended up reading a couple of long fanfictional AUs of the series, both by Sixthlight. Changes of Perspective explores the changed continuity if magic was general knowledge, Peter Grant had become an architect instead of a policeman, and Thomas Nightingale was on the outs with the Folly. <a href="http://archiveofourown.org/works/7864153</a> Wizardry by Consent</a> also has Peter taking a different career path, this one within the police; he doesn't meet Nightingale until about fifteen years after the book series starts, when he is Nightingale's senior officer. Some of the cases in the books went quite differently because Nightingale had no backup. I have another book for anonymous review, and I'm finishing up <I>Ninefox Gambit</I>, but I'm spending a lot of time at the moment on Bach, since I have to be really solid on four cantatas for October.

And painted by the Bosphorus in blue

Sep. 28th, 2016 03:33 am
[personal profile] sovay
1. I took my mother to Mamaleh's this afternoon. I had wanted to ever since it was such a hit last week with my father (and me: their Reuben is competitive with the Deluxe Town Diner, my previous local benchmark. Maybe with a slight edge. Their corned beef is amazing even before they pile Russian dressing and cole slaw—I prefer it to sauerkraut—on it. All their deli meats are in-house). She loved it. We ordered sable, a fish she had not had since she visited relatives or her godmother in New York City; unless I'd encountered it under a different name as sushi, I'd never had it. She was very encouraging that I should. It came smoked, delicately edged with what looked like paprika, with a ringed arrangement of cucumber and tomato slices, red onion, capers, and cream cheese. It was expensive, the same price as the smoked sturgeon. It was worth it. A rich, silky, melting fish, exactly as good as my mother had remembered for decades. I ate a cold tongue sandwich—I really like this thing where I can now get tongue on marble rye at Mamaleh's and in corn tortillas at La Victoria in Arlington—and still saved the last bite of sable for the end of the meal. My mother loved her 50/50, which was approximately the size of a city bus. She drank some of my chocolate egg cream and then ordered one of her own. (Is a pretzel rod in an egg cream a regional thing? I have never encountered it before, either in Boston or New York. Do I just order my egg creams in the wrong boroughs for it? Philadelphia?) Then we found out that their bagels are good. Like, insanely, four-in-the-morning-in-Manhattan good. We took home a dozen. I spent the rest of the evening in Lexington, helping clean the house in preparation for incoming relatives with an hour off for a stunned nap, from which I woke up starving and ate a bagel covered with whitefish salad. The block of halva we also took home did not survive the night. I am so happy about this restaurant. I'd been hoping about it since the owners were interviewed in the Globe in the spring, but first it wasn't open and then it wasn't open for dinner. Given its name, I am especially glad that it serves food that makes my mother happy. She wants to order the chicken livers next time; she thinks I may have eaten them as a small child in Portland, when my grandmother would have made them. I'm up for it.

2. The stove in the new apartment isn't dead, but it's mostly dead: two burners on a good day and no oven period. The property manager came to look at it early this afternoon while I was at my PT appointment, before [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel left for work. She suggested we try lighting the other burners by hand to see if we could burn off some of the rust and crud and if that didn't work, she'd bring the appliance guy to check it out. She must have rethought her position, because later in the afternoon she called me back to say that she had brought the appliance guy and he had all but taken his hat off while somewhere a stove-sized bugle played taps. So next week we're getting a new stove. I know not to feel jubilant until it's actually installed and isn't an electric range or anything else godforsaken, but this is already such a change from the landlord with whom we had the five-month fight just to acknowledge that the oven was defunct and the broiler had had small animals living inside it, I'm quite impressed.

3. I like having the two versions for comparison, but I really love the first, which is the more faithful: Angela Leighton translates Leonardo Sciascia's "Hic et Nunc."

Tomorrow I need to mail a whole bunch of bills, make several phone calls, and work an inordinate amount of catch-up for all the hours I missed yesterday and today. I feel very cautious about being in a good mood given this last year's baseline of violent self-damaging depression into which I am sure I will crash back at any minute, but the change is really nice.

fiber tuesday

Sep. 27th, 2016 05:40 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* Now we have 1.5 temporarily thumbless mittens as well as .8 of the yoke (shoulder + upper sleeve) of Reason's next cardigan, which we'll call cornflower because "cornflower blue" is on the yarn label, though the yarn's hue is lighter. I've sewn her third nightgown together, too, after (re)reading some tutorials, including this chatty how-to and a businesslike one. The remnant I picked up for the nightgown's replacement bodice is a thin cotton knit and kind of needed to be used at double thickness---I cut two back pieces the same size, etc.---so I wanted all of the random tips about machine-sewing with a plain, old-fashioned zigzag stitch and standard single needle. Worth the research: the thin knit has stretched quite a bit. Thus I've attached sleeves unaided for the first time---nightgown #1 has a slight flare at the shoulder and #2 is truly sleeveless, but #3 has little cap sleeves + armscye. Sewing is a means to an end, not a hobby; it may as well be an effective means.

The update above sounds nice, but basically I made a cute most-of-a-shirt with flat-felled seams and then nearly sewed the skirt part to it backwards, and anyway, the upper remnant and skirt yardage don't match in color or manner (bodice has deliberate paint splotches, skirt is striped). Make mistakes and try stuff while Reason doesn't care much, or rather, while she wants a nightgown more than she wants the colors to match. She cares a lot about color/effect for outdoor daily wear.

* I've also mended Reason's jersey-knit trousers where she'd shredded one knee, both its and hers. Read more... )

Leonard, I'm ready to be heartbroken

Sep. 27th, 2016 06:11 pm
[personal profile] lannamichaels


I got this in an e-mail about Rosh Hashana music. I'm not sure I agree, but IT'S AMAZING. Leonard Cohen's new song: You Want It Darker.




("hineini" means "here I am")

why do I not have a leonard cohen icon WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME

Recs?

Sep. 27th, 2016 05:47 pm
[personal profile] lannamichaels


Problem: I am anxious/nervous about driving places for the first time/where it's not marked well/when it's poor visibility

Solution: prep with google street view, and then use gps while driving

Problem: my gps seems to be trying to get me killed, and so is adding to the problem

Solution: use google maps on phone as gps

Problem: have to take eyes off road to look at phone

Anyone have recommended (or anti-recommended) car-mounts for a cell phone? If it makes a difference, my current phone is a samsung galaxy relay.

(no subject)

Sep. 27th, 2016 04:12 pm
[personal profile] telophase
GQ did a photo shoot with rock climbers climbing in expensive designer clothing.

Outdoor Research offered a different take on it.

CapClave 2016 schedule

Sep. 27th, 2016 09:03 am
[personal profile] oracne
I think my CapClave 2016 schedule is pretty well set.

The Portal Story
Martin Berman-Gorvine [moderator], Elektra Hammond, Victoria Janssen, Sarah Pinsker
Saturday 11:00 am, Frederick
The portal story, where the protagonist travels to another place, world, or universe, has a long history and is a mainstay in genre literature. Panelists will discuss the best and the worst tales, as well as portal stories that defy the trope yet still stays true to the sub-genre.

World Creation and Maintenance
Ann Chatham, Sarah Beth Durst, Victoria Janssen [moderator], Lawrence M. Schoen
Saturday 3:00 pm, Salon A
Authors are gods when it comes to world creation. The panelists will discuss not only how they create a world, but also how it can grow, especially if the story is part of a series.

i don't care if i never get back

Sep. 27th, 2016 10:14 am
[personal profile] musesfool
They say there's no crying in baseball, but I cried through the tribute to Jose Fernandez (even the Mets TV broadcast team cried) - that was the most mournful version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" I've ever heard - and again when Dee Gordon hit that home run. I feel like they could have called the game for the Marlins then and I'd have been all right with it. I don't know how those guys managed to play nine innings. Otoh, I totally understand the need to have something to do instead of just dwelling on what you've lost, so I guess that's how they did it. I'd like the Mets to not lose the next couple to the Marlins, but I also can't really feel the same intensity about it as I would against another team at this point. I thought this was a lovely take on the situation.

In better news, I have Crooked Kingdom in my hot little hands, and now I am desperate to read it so I can finish writing my yuletide letter. *snerk* I guess there'll be more on that tomorrow in the Wednesday book post.

***
[personal profile] sovay
I spent most of my day out of the house on a dentist's appointment and surrounding errands, but I managed to purchase a dish drain and a heavy-duty extension cord so that I can now dry dishes without wasting paper towels or worrying about cat prints and actually use the indefatigable toaster oven of Leonard Street. Both of these factors significantly improve my relationship with the new kitchen. [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel inaugurated the toaster oven by making grilled cheese with English muffins and ham. I'm thinking it is nearly corn pudding time again.

The mail brought three bills and my contributor's copy of Not One of Us #56. I am very pleased that my poem "Ghost Ships of the Middlesex Canal" appears almost as a postscript to Mat Joiner's canal-haunting "The Drowned Carnival," alongside ghostly, bloody, mythic and futuristic work by Tim L. Williams, Jennifer Crow, Erik Amundsen, Beth Cato, David Ebenbach, Alexandra Seidel, and Patricia Russo, among others. It's the thirtieth anniversary issue. The back cover features a memorial portrait of Sheeba, the editor's beloved black-and-white cat whom I was lucky enough to meet in 2004, and the opening Reisepass ends with an appeal acutely relevant in this political season: Resist othering.

Speaking of: some of the new neighbors watch Donald Trump on TV. This was before the debate started. Rob took his laptop into the kitchen so as not to hear it through the windows (which the neighbors leave open while blasting the volume; I can't identify any of the shows they follow, but they are so shouty that I don't want to watch any of them). I hope they're doing it for purposes of disapproval. The idea of any real equivalency between him and Hillary Clinton would be funny in literature, is frightening in real life. Reading the media expectations for tonight's debate was an illustration in two different kinds of grading on a curve. Clinton had to present a coherent intellectual and political argument while presenting within a narrow definition of sympathetic femininity, simultaneously consistent and complete. Trump had to refrain from obvious racist slurs and not pick his nose on camera. (And even if he did that, I am sure he has supporters who would praise his alpha-male disregard for the prissy restraints of so-called civility, like not shooting people who disagree with you.) My mother does report that she thought Clinton did well. My father wanted her to be more ferocious with Trump. I need to change my voter registration this week, having moved within Somerville since the last time I sent in my form. I have no idea if my vote will make a difference, but this is not a year to sit the election out.
[personal profile] lannamichaels


Title: She'll Never Be A Story I Make Up (You Were The One I Didn't Know Where To Stop). (On Archive Of Our Own)
Author: [personal profile] lannamichaels
Fandom: Les Miserables
Pairing: Cosette Fauchelevent/Eponine Thenardier
Rating: PG
A/N: Yet another from the "I looked at it four years later and realized it was basically done" files. This was started, eons ago, for an exchange recip who wanted Eponine/Cosette and also Caps and Pens, but this fic diverged enough from their prompts that I wrote them something else instead. This fic owes a debt to the many excellent fics in Hockey RPF from which I stole the idea of the NFL having women playing in it. The title is from Nearly a Valediction by Marilyn Hacker, which is the best.

Summary: Cosette gets drafted in the first round to the Washington Capitals. Eponine gets drafted in the fourth to the Pittsburgh Penguins and she can do this, she can totally do this.


I was happened to like an abandoned building by a bulldozer. )

I am so perceptive

Sep. 26th, 2016 07:23 pm
[personal profile] lannamichaels


I had a dream a couple nights ago that I've been thinking over since it happened, which I think might have been triggered from a combination of intending to re-read Horse And His Boy (which I finally reread on the return flight) and my BIL practicing for r"h shacharis, but I've been thinking about Yosef a lot...

...and it only just occured to me that the thing that sparked me thinking about Yosef was a dream.

This is just to say, sometimes it takes me a while. :P

[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The plumes are estimated to rise about 125 miles (200 kilometers) before, presumably, raining material back down onto Europa's surface. Europa has a huge global ocean containing twice as much water as Earth’s oceans, but it is protected by a layer of extremely cold and hard ice of unknown thickness. The plumes provide a tantalizing opportunity to gather samples originating from under the surface without having to land or drill through the ice.

Art I did for Fandom Giftbox

Sep. 26th, 2016 11:26 am
[personal profile] telophase
Here's the art I did for Fandom Giftbox...

Lacernella Rubra
Little Red Riding Hood
Read more... )

Maker's Breath, not again
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Cullen/F!Lavellan
Mildly NSFW for implications
Read more... )

let's get together and feel all right

Sep. 26th, 2016 10:40 am
[personal profile] musesfool
Personally, I will not be watching the debate tonight. I don't need to feel any more anxious and nauseated about this election than I already do. I'll watch the Mets and feel uncomfortable about not wanting them to lose despite feeling like the Marlins should win after Jose Fernandez's tragic death. I just can't get over how young he was, and how much he'd already been through, and how much of his life was still ahead of him. I mean, Arnold Palmer was 87! At a certain point, it's sad, but you're like, he lived a great life, it's time to go.

also, L. has her first chemo treatment today, and I feel so helpless. *hands*

2016 can go suck an egg.

*

Star Wars Rebels
spoilers )

Speaking of Star Wars, I posted a story yesterday:

Just a Little Bit of History Repeating (@ AO3)
Star Wars; Darth Vader & Princess Leia; AU; g; 3,735 words
"I'm in charge of security, Your Highness," Vader said, haughty and automatic, and had to shove away a sudden onslaught of memories. It was this building, he thought, and the presence of a small brunette senator with a smart mouth. That was all.

As I said in the note when I posted, there's a ton of these Luke & Vader get stranded and have to work together and bond etc. stories, and I love them, but I'm always like, but what about Leia??? And the truth is, you can't really have that kind of story within the OT timeline with Leia, because torture and Alderaan etc. So I set this before that, when she's still new in the Senate, and giving Vader a strong sense of deja vu all over again.

As the author *snerk* I can say that it was indeed the Emperor pulling the strings behind the scenes, for his own amusement, and in order to poke Vader in his sore spots and see what would happen; he didn't know about Leia's parentage, but he did pick up on the resemblance to Padme. What he didn't see was how he just orchestrated his own destruction, several years ahead of schedule.

(I guess this is where I confess that my super secret shameful Star Wars...secret is wanting some super dirty bad and wrong time travel Anakin/Leia that I will never ever write [because logistics of time travel make my head hurt] where they don't know! Anakin's like, she's cute and feisty and he figures he needs some experience before he meets Padme again! And Leia's like, I have no time for boys but he's cute and I'm never going to see him again [in my head he comes forward in time and Leia's at some kind of retreat for up-and-coming legislators? and they're both about 16, and they don't even use their real names! it's all very green worldy] so why not get it out of the way? But you as the reader are completely horrified at every turn! *facepalm*

Gosh, I can't believe I'm not deleting this, but eh, maybe I have finally given up on shame. Let the shunning begin.)


ANYWAY. I had this idea on Saturday and dinked around with writing it, but then I couldn't sleep so I was up early on Sunday morning and 3000 words later, there was a story. Originally they were going to be somewhere else, but I thought, no, it has to be Tatooine, for symmetry, but also because out in the Jundland Wastes, Obi-Wan is waking up in a cold sweat and has no idea why. If I do write a sequel, it will probably start with that. *snerk*

Speaking of whom, I have this other wip and Obi-Wan, who was previously Sir Not Appearing in This Story, has suddenly shown up and I'm like, 1. you are not supposed to be here and 2. I still have no real grasp on how to write you! at least it's not in his POV. I was going to delete and retrench, but then banter started happening and I am powerless to resist. Sigh. I guess we'll see if he sticks around.

Writing is hard!

*

How did I do?

Sep. 26th, 2016 09:15 am
[personal profile] oracne
Weekend To Do List:
1. Do laundry. Always and forever. I did one load, and it turned out the machine in the basement is not, in fact, fixed. Luckily, it was all lightweight clothes I could wring out after Spin!Fail. They're currently hung on racks to dry. The wet clothes were really heavy to carry upstairs. I also changed my bedclothes, so I still have two loads to go, and both will need to go to the Laundromat.

2. Pick up hemmed jeans and mended shirt, if they are in fact done; the lady said it might be Tuesday, since everybody gets things altered in the fall. Done! But the shirt wasn't ready yet, so I will have to pick that up later.

3. Write book review. I've already finished the book. Done! Next up, read review book that's due the end of October.

4. Start writing story for October 15th deadline. !!! I say it here so I will at least sit down in front of the computer and start typing. I did not do this, sigh.

5. Start packing for CapClave. I didn't manage this, either, but I have a little time yet.
[personal profile] rosefox
I wrote this last year, on October 2:

All the fans and air conditioners and open windows that noisily let us survive the summer are quiet now. The dryer and dishwasher have finished their tasks and fallen silent. The laundry is folded and stowed. The people and cats are asleep, except for me. There is such contentment in this moment of stillness.

My brain promises me that if I do enough, and if I do it well enough, I will reach a moment of the house being perfect, at which point I can finally relax. My own work on coming to terms with my brain has helped me to expand my definition of perfection. There are little untidinesses around me, to be sure, and I'll tidy a few of them before bed; but those untidinesses also make a house a home. I don't want to live in a museum exhibit. I want to live in a place where the stray bits of cat fur and scratched-up furniture remind me of our adorable cats, and J's shirt draped over a chair and X's water bottle abandoned on the corner of the table remind me of my marvelous spouses. Soon there will be toys underfoot, and parts of bottles scattered over the kitchen counter, and tiny mismatched socks in inexplicable places, to remind me of my beloved child. And I will sit in this battered but extremely comfortable chair, and put my mug down on the fluff-attracting but gorgeously vibrant red tablecloth, in my beautiful lived-in home, and it will be perfect.


Tonight I turned off the ceiling vent fan for what is probably the last time this year, and such a beautiful hush fell. I tidied just enough to make the morning easier for J and X, and did a load of laundry mostly out of habit. Now all the machines are silent, and I'm sitting at the table in the comfy broken-in chair, and there are candles casting shimmery golden light on the red tablecloth, and everyone is asleep. There was even a tiny unmatched sock in tonight's laundry.

I was right: it's perfect.
[personal profile] sovay
In keeping with the recent theme of ancient Near Eastern civilizations, Orientalism, and Jewish representation, this afternoon I saw Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956) for the first time in my life. The Somerville was screening a 35 mm IB Technicolor print, so I figured it was now or never.

At the intermission I staggered out and said to [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel, "I feel like I've been clubbed with a Sunday-school primer."

After it was over, my mother (who had not come with me) asked what I thought and I said, "Well, I don't think it's going to change how I lead next year's Seder."

I am not sorry to have seen the movie. It's full of great actors, it's gorgeously filmed, it's a cultural touchstone and a truly monumental spectacle and I got to see it larger than life, which I think is the only way to treat DeMille's pyramids and Heston's beard. Everything about Yul Brynner's Rameses is terrific, from the amounts of clothing he is not wearing (but a lot of jewelry in which he looks very good) to the fact that he is actually giving a performance as well as pageantry: a beautiful, commanding man wasting his energies on envy and insecurity and cruelty he doesn't need to resort to; he breaks himself on the God of Moses as surely as Pentheus on Dionysos' smile. The matte-painted parting of the Red Sea stands up to its reputation, but I was really impressed by the simple practical effect of the commandments writing themselves in fire on the red granite of Sinai, sparking and roaring like a cutting torch of Paleo-Hebrew.1 A lot of the smaller theatrical touches worked very well for me: the recognition token of the white-and-black-striped red Levite cloth that serves first as Moses' tell-tale swaddling, then as the ironic livery of his exile, and finally as the fulfilled reclamation of his heritage; the game of hounds and jackals between Cedric Hardwicke's Pharaoh Sethi and Anne Baxter's "throne princess" (because apparently you can't get away with depicting dynastic incest even in a movie with as impressive a third-act orgy as the Golden Calf) Nefretiri that ends when the ebony head of one of Sethi's jackals snaps off and skitters across the floor to be picked up by Rameses as he enters, unconsciously providing the final word in a discussion of birthright and inheritance; a scale balanced with silver weights and mud bricks with which Rameses maliciously underscores his charges of treachery against his cousin and Moses defends himself to his Pharaoh. When the Nile turns to blood, Rameses defiantly pours out water in a blessing upon it and the clear stream thickens and reddens mid-flow. DeMille's staging of the Exodus includes Moses' adoptive mother binding her fate to her son's and the mummy of Joseph borne on a palm-decorated bier, going home to be buried in long-lost Canaan. A lot of the bigger theatrical gestures did not work for me, especially once Heston shifts into really declamatory mode. The luminous green mist fissuring the sky and pouring in a smoke of pestilence through the streets, ankle-high, grave-deep, is a terrifying interpretation of the tenth plague, but I could not take seriously the passage of the Angel of Death over the house of Aaron and Miriam once it turned on the spot into the first Seder, complete with youngest child piping up innocently, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" Hearing a crowd of extras repeatedly shout "The Lord is our God! The Lord is one!" in English is really disorienting if you have ever said the Sh'ma on a regular basis. I appreciated the rabbi credited up front as one of the film's consultants along with archaeologists and scholars from the Oriental Institute and the Egyptian Department of Antiquities, but the overall effect of the movie is still a Jewish story being told for a Christian audience, through a Christian lens. To be fair to DeMille, I didn't go in expecting anything else. It was nearly four hours long and brilliantly colored and very loud. Edward G. Robinson looked like he was having a lot of fun. Any more intellectual analysis is going to have to wait until I feel less like a very intricately painted obelisk fell on me.

The Somerville was also screening Ben-Hur (1959) as the second half of what David the projectionist called the Charlton Heston Jewish Film Festival, but especially after seeing Spartacus (1960) last night,2 I was pretty much epic'd out. I sort of reeled home and fed the cats and wrote a job application, which was exhausting. I don't know if I would feel differently toward The Ten Commandments if I had grown up on it as an Easter tradition, the same way we always watched A Claymation Christmas Celebration (1987) and the Alastair Sim Scrooge/A Christmas Carol (1951) for Christmas and Lights (1984) for Hanukkah; I never had a default version of the Exodus story other than the one my family told every year, which changed a little every year. I didn't even see The Prince of Egypt (1998) until well into college. At the moment I can't imagine how The Ten Commandments would even work on a small screen, when I think much of the effect it had on me was the cast-of-thousands enormity of the production and the friezelike, painterly compositions, as if the whole thing were a moving progression by Alma-Tadema or some other pre-Raphaelite artist specializing in the ancient world.3 I was delighted to come home and discover Arnold Friberg's concept art and costume design for the film, which look, and I mean this in the best possible way, as though they should be decorating the walls of a library à la John Singer Sargent. And now I kind of want to read something with Jewish characters written by actual Jews, which shouldn't be at all hard to find. Who knew that eating at Mamaleh's yesterday would suddenly feel like a cultural victory? This awareness brought to you by my epic backers at Patreon.



1. The only T-shirt I own with Paleo-Hebrew on it is the one [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen sent me from the Archaeological Seminars Institute in Israel. I wore it for the occasion.

2. I still think Kirk Douglas would have knocked it out of the park as Judah Ben-Hur. So did he—being turned down for the part by either William Wyler or MGM seems to have been one of his major impetus for making Spartacus. I can't say that was a bad idea, especially considering what Spartacus did for Dalton Trumbo and the breaking of the blacklist, but Douglas would have brought the requisite intensity to the role, plus he was fit as hell and actually Jewish. It would have been fun.

3. I can't imagine how long it must run with commercial breaks, either. My reaction to the latter parts of the film was rather like a road trip version of "Dayenu": all right, the Lord has hurled horse and rider into the sea, are we done yet? All right, Moses has brought down the laws from Sinai, are we done yet? All right, Moses has destroyed the Golden Calf and divided the faithful from the idolators, are we done yet? All right, the people have wandered in the wilderness for forty years, are we done yet? All right, Moses is on Mount Nebo, are we done yet? Cecil B. DeMille, it would have been enough!

Grunt

Sep. 25th, 2016 08:46 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
I've read and enjoyed Mary Roach's nonfiction in the past; the one I definitely remember reading is Stiff, which looks into the world of cadavers. The latest book of hers I've read is Grunt, which is about the military. Roach's particular approach to her subjects is what endears her most to me. She is frequently funny, self-deprecating, and able to see the ridiculous side of subjects that we don't necessarily automatically see as funny or ridiculous. At the same time, she has a sense of humanity and compassion. When reading Grunt, I was frequently reminded of a book I read and enjoyed in high school, Wayne Biddle's A Field Guide to Germs. Biddle managed the trick of discussing an abecedary of diseases with both wit and kindness toward the human sufferers.

As Roach says in her introduction to Grunt,
"People think of military science as strategy and weapons--fighting, bombing, advancing. All that I leave to the memoir writers and historians. I'm interested in the parts that no one makes movies about--not the killing but the keeping alive. Even if what people are being kept alive for is fighting and taking other lives. Let's not let that get in the way. This book is a salute to the scientists and the surgeons, running along in the wake of combat, lab coats flapping. Building safer tanks, waging war on filth flies. Understanding turkey vultures."

I'm someone who tends to get hypnotized by the tactics/strategy/logistics/great commanders perspective on military history, so books like this are a useful and necessary corrective. And my dad spent some time as a US Army surgeon, and I'm interested in histories of medicine in general, so that got my attention as well.

This book is not for the faint of heart. Some chapters have medical grue; if you're a sensitive reader, you may want to proceed with caution. I grew up with full-color photos of open heart surgery lying casually on the living room table and thought that was normal for much of my childhood, so I am hard to squick with either pictures or verbal descriptions. (It also helps that I can't visualize jack.) In person would be a different story, largely because I've never desensitized my sense of smell.

Table of Contents: Read more... )

All in all, this is--I hesitate to use the word "fun" given the subject matter, but Grunt is engaging written, the chapters flow interestingly into each other, and Roach brings up a number of topics that I wouldn't have necessarily thought to research otherwise. Recommended.

Thank you to the generous person who donated this book!

The Thief read-along and discussion

Sep. 25th, 2016 06:58 pm
[personal profile] pendrecarc

Dropping in to say Sounis, the Queen’s Thief livejournal community, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Thief’s publication. This month, members of the community have led a read-along and discussion. I just posted the fourth and final installment yesterday. Come and join in the discussion! No LJ account needed--anon commenting should be turned on.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2016 07:24 pm
[personal profile] skygiants
More from Sequel Season: The Poisoned Blade is book two of Kate Elliott's Court of Fives, the first book of which has been described by the author as Little Women meets American Ninja Warrior, set in a fantasy society that borrows heavily from Hellenistic Egypt.

In the first book, the mixed-race family of Our Heroine Jes is torn completely apart by a political opportunist who wants her star general father married to his niece, and her inconvenient mother and sisters dead.

On the bright side, all this turmoil ends up giving Jes the opportunity to follow her dream and compete full-time in Hellenistic Egyptian American Ninja Warrior!

Book two features more Hellenistic Egyptian American Ninja Warrior, more sibling issues, and MUCH more complex political conspiracies. (Plus, alas to me, more love triangle.) The plot continues to be rollicking and the political conspiracies are genuinely interesting. Once again, the first half of the book took me a little while to get into before the much more action-packed second half, mostly because of the repeated instances of:

JES: I'm gonna do a thing.
INTELLIGENT ADULT: Here is a concise, reasonable explanation as to why doing the thing will blow up in your face in a way that is actively harmful to you and your family, and therefore you are forbidden to do the thing.
JES: whatever, I am totally smart and clever enough to pull off doing the thing.
JES: ...WHOOPS I DID THE THING AND IT BLEW UP IN MY FACE IN A WAY THAT WAS ACTIVELY HARMFUL TO ME AND MY FAMILY
INTELLIGENT ADULT: well who could ever have predicted that >:|

This is a very consistent character trait for Jes, but it is also maybe a reason why Jes herself is probably my least favorite of her siblings. (Admittedly, the competition for favorite is between 'the sensible history nerd who wants to be an archivist' and 'the gossipy, socially brilliant secret lesbian.' Sorry, Jes, you never stood a chance.) Also, if Jes had enough sense not to do things that are obviously bad ideas, much of the plot would not occur, and I do like the plot! But I still wish that YA did not insist so very much on first person present tense; I think this is a story that could really benefit from the option to have multiple POVs.

Gratitudes

Sep. 25th, 2016 05:22 pm
[personal profile] kass
1. I am making this chicken makhani recipe for dinner and the kitchen is fragrant. (Also, I am totally sold on this slow cooker thing omg. Best tag sale purchase ever.)

2. I'm also making these spiced greens (kale, in my case) -- though I didn't have peas or dried coconut on hand, but the spice profile sounded good, and sounded like it would go well with the aforementioned.

3. Beautiful sunny day. I got to spend a little bit of time outdoors this afternoon.

4. Honeycrisp apples.

5. It looks like I might get to see my parents at Rosh Hashanah. I was not expecting this, and it is happy news indeed.

How are y'all?
[personal profile] musesfool
Just a Little Bit of History Repeating
Star Wars; Darth Vader & Princess Leia; AU; g; 3,735 words
"I'm in charge of security, Your Highness," Vader said, haughty and automatic, and had to shove away a sudden onslaught of memories. It was this building, he thought, and the presence of a small brunette senator with a smart mouth. That was all.

Title & cut text from the Propellerheads. You know all those stories where Luke and Vader get stranded and have to work together and family revelations happen? This is like that except with Leia.

Or read it at AO3.

They say the next big thing is here, / That the revolution's near, / But to me it seems quite clear / That's it's all just a little bit of history repeating. )

~*~

Feedback is adored.

~*~

Dear Yuletide Writer

Sep. 24th, 2016 08:10 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hello, and thank you for writing for me!

General likes: I have pretty broad reading tastes, but some things I enjoy include angst, schmoop, fics that stick close to canon, fics that go a long way from canon, odd AUs (everything from coffeeshop to high school to IN SPAAAAAACE), power dynamics (especially in smut if one is inclined to write such a thing), witty dialogue, comedy, darkfic, amnesia, dubcon/noncon, military tactics/strategy/logistics, plotty fic...

DNWs: Animal harm and issuefic. [1] I have also listed a couple DNWs specific to fandoms where warranted. If you're not sure about something you want to include, feel free to query via the mods.

[1] I've read some brilliant issuefic, so it's not that I'm against the category, but this year I am inclined toward iddier reading.

If you are feeling experimental--IFs, second person, odd narrative structure, etc.--I encourage you to go all-out. I like that sort of thing! But at the same time, please do not feel obliged. I like not-second person (etc.) fics, too. :D

Optional note: I am open to both AUs (as you have figured out) and crossovers. In particular, a Captive Prince/L5R crossover could be amazing if someone wanted to try it. I assume Laurent is a Doji duelist and Damen is a Hida bushi...or what about Vorkosigan/L5R? Just imagine!

I've talked a little about what I like about each requested fandom, and listed possible prompts in case you find that sort of thing inspiring. If you come up with an even better idea, however, go for it! It is important to me that you have fun writing what you write. :D

If you are hard-up on time and need an emergency fandom, I would recommend Captive Prince. It's a trilogy, BUT you could read just the first book (titled, helpfully enough, The Captive Prince) and use that for a basis for a missing scene or an AU. Alternately, you could go with Vorkosigan Saga (although the whole thing is ungodly long), just read the first omnibus (Cordelia's Honor), and base a fic off what you find there, going AU as necessary. I don't mind AUs in general and will not hold it against you! As much as I love L5R, it has a ridiculous amount of backstory scattered in five zillion places. I completely disrecommend L5R as an emergency fandom.

I love all three fandoms equally so have simply put them in alphabetical order. I'd be thrilled by fic for any of them.

Captive Prince (Damen, Laurent), Legend of the Five Rings (Hida Kisada), Vorkosigan Saga (Aral Vorkosigan) )

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