c&p from elsewhere because I am stuck stuck stuck on what I supposed to be doing; no links, just titles, in response to someone who already knew the Pigeon books and was looking for more books for three-year-olds:

Read more... )

*goes back to attacking stuckitude*
. . . because I couldn't stop grumping in my head about Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel. Fairly or unfairly, as you'll see.

(Comments disabled because I hate split conversations. No login needed over there!)
Attolia sings "Fight for It " to the tune of "Wait for It."
I need chaptered adventure books for SteelyKid (nearly 7) with female protagonists.

I'm not sure the technical name for the format she's up to--about 80-120 pages, slightly wider than a standard mass market paperback, an illustration every chapter or so. The series we're just finishing, Beast Quest, says 7-10 years on the back, as does the one before that, Underworlds (Tony Abbott).

Natural disasters, secondary-world fantasy, and portal fantasies are the last three sub-genres she's read, I think, and mystery is okay too. And the female characters have to be the protagonists, not the sidekicks, especially not the sidekicks who keep needing to get rescued.

She has a Franny K. Stein book from her teacher, so if she likes that there's more of those. Oh, and she liked the first Creepella Von Cacklefur book, so I'll get more of those.

Ideally the prose would also be non-awful, but I made it through the Underworlds series, so I can make it through some similar non-grammatical and clunky stuff to get her girl action heroes.

(Note age/format limits, please; i.e., don't recommend Tamora Pierce. And if you're going to say "she's the sidekick but she's cool," please don't.)

I have to start generating draft post link dumps as I post things to G+.

On movies:

You should be reading Wesley Morris, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his movie criticism, regardless of whether you want to see the movies he's writing about. Here he is about the truly appalling Ted 2:

For people of color, some aspect of friendship with white people involves an awareness that you could be dropped through a trapdoor of racism at any moment, by a slip of the tongue, or at a campus party, or in a legislative campaign. But it’s not always anticipated. You don’t expect the young white man who’s been seated alongside you in a house of worship to take your life because you’re black. Nor do you expect that a movie about an obscene teddy bear would invoke a sexual stereotype forced upon you the way Kunta Kinte was forced to become “Toby” [in Roots].

And as a palate cleanser, his review of Magic Mike XXL.

The AV Club's Random Roles series is almost always great. Here's Diana Riggs, who I've never even seen on screen and who I now want to be when I grow up.

I also love their Expert Witness series; here's a recent one on being a second-unit director on Hollywood blockbusters and one I somehow missed on from a camera operator on the Puppy Bowl.

On TV:

I don't watch Penny Dreadful but [livejournal.com profile] glvalentine's recaps of it are worthy of live-blogging on their own. The one about the most recent episode contains such gems as "Somehow opting not to just go full Gothic and have sex in front of the corpse" and "(He had so much trouble just facing his mother’s death that he made three more people. Then he had sex with at least one of them. The man is troubled.)"

I also don't watch Parks and Recreation (though I'm considering it), but I suspect fans of it would like this vid by [personal profile] such_heights.

On books:

This review of For Such a Time by Kate Breslin makes you wonder how on Earth anyone could possibly think that it was a good idea. (Content notes: Holocaust, dubcon.)

Palate cleanser: absolutely hilarious Imperial Radch AU by Rachel Swirsky.

Miscellany:

@AcademicsSay: The Story Behind a Social-Media Experiment, an interesting look at the growth of that Twitter account and what the academic behind it decided to do with the social capital it had.

Yakhchāls: "By 400 BCE, Persian engineers had mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert."

A Mostly Accurate Norse God Family Tree, in comic form, with research notes. A.K.A., "TIL that Odin's grandparent was a cow."

The Poet Laureate of Fan Fiction, an interview with someone whose work was appropriated by Supernatural fandom.

Did my boyfriend just get married? on AskMetaFilter; search the poster's username for updates.

What This Cruel War Was Over, the meaning of the Confederate flag in the plain words of those who bore it.

Lovely person, by all accounts; not a perfect writer, but a very good and important one; and, I can't tell if this is odd or not, but the thing I keep coming back to, and tearing up over, is that of all the fiction I've read, his is the one that gave me the most tools to deal with death and my lack of a belief in an afterlife.

“I know about Sending Home,” said Princess. “And I know the souls of dead linesmen stay on the Trunk.”

“Who told you that?” said Grandad.

Princess was bright enough to know that someone would get into trouble if she was too specific.

“Oh, I just heard it,” she said airily. “Somewhere.”

“Someone was trying to scare you,” said Grandad, looking at Roger’s reddening ears.

It hadn’t sounded scary to Princess. If you had to be dead, it seemed a lot better to spend your time flying between the towers than lying underground. But she was bright enough, too, to know when to drop a subject.

It was Grandad who spoke next, after a long pause broken only by the squeaking of the new shutter bars. When he did speak, it was as if something was on his mind.

“We keep that name moving in the Overhead,” he said, and it seemed to Princess that the wind in the shutter arrays above her blew more forlornly, and the everlasting clicking of the shutters grew more urgent. “He’d never have wanted to go home. He was a real linesman. His name is in the code, in the wind, in the rigging, and the shutters. Haven’t you ever heard the saying ‘Man’s not dead while his name is still spoken’?”

Going Postal

GNU Terry Pratchett.

(Also, this is petty, but my anal-retentive self has been twitching all day seeing people quote variants of that. To be fair, “A man is not dead while his name is still spoken.” is in the quasi-table-of-contents for that chapter, but damn it, I have searched the ebook and “Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?” is not in Going Postal.)

With spoilers for Broken Homes.

spoilers )
Reviews and links over at Sindbad Sci-Fi. This expires at 11:59 p.m. today but I'm not clear on time zones. Change the links to .com or .ca as appropriate.
So the conference I did the Mary Sue talk at a couple years ago has sent out another call for papers for May 1-2, 2015. It's at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, and it will be partnered with ITHACON40, a comic book convention. You can see the full CFP over at Google Drive, which includes some suggestions, but the topic is Women & Gender in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Children’s Literature and Comics. Abstracts are due January 15, 2015.

I'll be halfway through Vol. III of JS&MN by then, I wonder if that's something I could get a topic out of or if my shallow historical knowledge would make it dangerous. There's always the Bujold rant, but I'm not sure if there's any interesting generalizations or insights out of it. Discworld's too big a topic, and I'm not sure if anything there speaks to me more than anything else. Hmmm . . . *wanders off, contemplating procrastination opportunities*
1. Con or Bust is currently auctioning a signed maunscript of Mary Robinette Kowal's forthcoming (April 2015) conclusion to the Glamourist Histories series, along with signed hardcovers of all the books in the series, thanks to the author & the Ada Initiative (which I have just about trained myself out of writing as ADA, because Americans with Disabilities Act).

2. This Friday, the first substantive post in my reread of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell goes up at Tor.com (covering chapters 1-4 and clocking in at a hefty 4500 words); here's the series index for bookmarking.

Should one or both of these be relevant to your interests, I hope you will take a look or spread the word!
This was the panel immediately before the prior one and it was lovely, which is why I saved it for last.

Description:

Who is the narrator? Where and when is the story being told? These are just a few questions a reader may ask at the start of a new story. For many years, third-person has been genre's preferred narrative form, but lately it seems first-person narratives are having a resurgence. How do writers choose their viewpoint, and how does it affect the sorts of stories they can tell? Why is YA so often told in first-person, and epic fantasy generally (but not always!) third? To add another layer of complexity, the present tense also seems to be increasing in popularity -- Lauren Beukes' Zoo City and Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus are just two notable examples. How does the use of present tense change a reader's experience?

Kate Nepveu, Robin Hobb, Patrick Rothfuss, Edward Cox, Maureen Kincaid Speller (m)

(I don't know how the order of names is generated on the program list.)

I think the con generally is having a lot of trouble with its available spaces, because this was in one of the smaller rooms and there were likely as many people waiting in line outside hoping to get in as where outside.

I was a little nervous about being on this panel, because look at those other names! But everyone was generous toward other panelists conversationally and it really was a conversation, it was so much fun. (You all know I could talk about point of view and narrators basically forever.)

Maureen had us introduce ourselves in our preferred POV. IIRC, Ed tried third and found it surprisingly difficult; Robin and Pat both used first; and I (who had the advantage of going last) started in first and then switched to third, and ended with "she may or may not be fascinated by unreliability in narration."

We talked about a million things. The limitations of first-person, and how they'd got around it by the frame story in the Kvothe books or the found documents in the first Assassin's trilogy. I talked about floating first and concrete first, where it's never explained how the words get on the page or where a specific mechanism is mentioned. Pat said that floating first will always get the author asked how the words are getting on the page, that someone will care; toward the end, we had a talk about the history of POV in novels that I can't reconstruct now, but that I think came down to the origin of first-person in face-to-face storytelling, was carried through in the frame story idea that was once obligatory and since has been dropped (I met a mysterious stranger who told me this story, I found this manuscript), and it's been recent enough that the obligatory frame story was dropped that people aren't quite accepting of "the words just get on the page somehow, darn it" as the price of admission to that work.

There was the obligatory shout-out to Peter S. Beagle's The Innkeeper's Song, which is multiple-first and brilliant; Pat said it was currently out of print but "I'm going to fix that."

We talked about multiple viewpoints; Pat blamed the sudden explosion of really-multiple-third on A Song of Ice and Fire, but Martin has been honing his craft for decades, new writers are allowed a maximum of three. Also, people try to go right to the action by shifting POVs but that can actually remove suspense. Robin choose POV for the best-situated character and then stayed pretty tight with them, but also employed an omniscient sometimes to show competing understandings of situations and so forth. I mentioned an unpublished friend who generally constructs their multiple-POV book on the theory of "who in this scene knows least," because that allows for dramatic irony and the reader making connections and so forth, and how I'd suggested that maybe at plot or action-heavy moments might be a time to step back from that principle. (But I don't know how they solved it yet because the W is still IP.)

(In terms of cutting to the action, I mentioned _Ancillary Justice_, of course (booklog discussion of POV.))

Uh, what else? We talked about omni with a present narrator and how fun that can be: Catherynne M. Valente's _Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland . . . _; _Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell_; Lemony Snicket. We talked briefly about sex: I observed that romance is generally in third, while "chick lit" is in first, and while I don't know about professionally-published erotica, I don't see a lot of first-person fanfic. I sort of thought this might be because for people who read with themselves in the place of the first-person narrator, there would be too much of a disjoint if a scene was very physical or physically-based emotional, but that was just a theory--which can't account for "chick lit." (Pat had previously said that he made a distinction between character-based stories and plot-based stories, and that the former got first-person and the latter got third, but that he's working on two things now that are in third and follow female characters from his trilogy, and he thought possibly that he instinctively went to third was because they were female.)

Someone in the audience asked about really rare POVs like second-person or future tense; no-one seemed particularly enthused by them, but as writing exercises to stretch your craft, sure.

There was a lot more, but I'm stumped now, and for some reason it's a million degrees where I'm writing this and I desperately need to hydrate before my next panel. If you were there, chime in, and if not, feel free to comment! (Seriously, could talk about this forever.)
Last detailed notes for today! . . . getting really, really tired, especially since I had Opinions about this panel.

Description:

Fantasy world-building sometimes comes under fire for its pedantic attention to detail at the expense of pacing or prose style. Do descriptive passages clog up the narrative needlessly, when reader imagination should be filling in the gaps? Where does that leave the landscapes and cultures that are less well represented in the Western genre: can world-building be a tool in subverting reader expectations that would otherwise default to pseudo-medieval Euro-esque? If fantasy is about defamiliarising the familiar, how important is material culture - buildings, furnishings, tools, the organisation of social and commercial space - in creating a fantasy world?

Mary Anne Mohanraj (m), Tobias Buckell, Kate Elliott, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Victoria Donnelly, Ellen Kushner

notes; some uncomfortable bits about race )
Panel two of three that weren't mine today! I appear to be losing focus fast, so I apologize if my proofreading is inadequate; feel free to ask.

Description:

Sofia Samatar recently suggested [*] that SF genre writers and readers have "a tendency to focus on content rather than form", even or especially when engaging with marginalised perspectives. Does our genre inevitably tend towards the form and structure of western, English-language stories, regardless of what cultural tradition(s) are reflected in the content? How can a non-western or non-Anglophone writer engage with science fiction and fantasy while also operating outside of the conventions of western-style storytelling? Is it possible for western writers to engage with non-western traditions in an authentic way and produce a story that a wider audience will recognize as science fiction or fantasy? What are some of the different forms offered by non-western cultures that need to be told?

Amal El-Mohtar, Aliette de Bodard, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, JY Yang, Nick Wood

[*] source

notes )

[*] Here's the whiteboard rec list for the African SF panel at Nine Worlds; thanks, [twitter.com profile] shaded_sun!
After way more gnashing of teeth than necessary, honestly, I've moved the booklog onto WordPress for better anti-spam tools and, I hope, greater ease in actually posting. Up tonight is a post on Max Gladstone's second novel, Two Serpents Rise, and I have more scheduled for the following days.

I have a request in for [syndicated profile] outsidedog_feed to be updated (oops, I just realized I didn't post "moving now!" notices to my old rss feeds, I wonder if I can do that now . . . oh wait, I can just redirect them, nevermind), and I'm also posting updates to Twitter: [twitter.com profile] knepveu_booklog.

Feedback on the site welcome, but please bring comments on the books over there, so conversation isn't split.
Because it wouldn't be accurate, I don't want to talk about sex, I want to talk about reading sexy things.

Anonymous poll behind the cut.

four questions, including the obligatory Ticky? )

Here's why I was wondering: )
Strange Horizons' 2013 SF Count, which calculates the gender and racial distribution of books reviewed and reviewers; they've linked in the comments to the raw data, so you can also double-check their work (the article specifically says corrections are welcome).

The next Vlad Taltos book, Hawk, is up for pre-order on Amazon, with an October 2014 release date; the blurb makes me very hopeful.

A lot of you have opinions about the ranking of Heyer books!

As of five minutes ago, Cotillion was the runaway favorite, with 45/64 votes putting it in the top tier.

Next were: Frederica (34), The Grand Sophy (27), Venetia (26), and The Unknown Ajax (25).

Bonus mention to The Talisman Ring (20), which has a fervent faction in comments making the pitch for its underratedness.

And because I promised [personal profile] metaphortunate, a follow-up question: Read more... )

Because [personal profile] skygiants asked, and because I don't mind using search & replace to generate DW poll code off of Wikipedia's novel list (hence the years, because it would take too long to edit them out): a poll about Heyer's Regency romance novels, what your personal top-tier are and, bonus question, what (if any) one you suspect is probably underrated generally.

Because there are a lot of books and the first question involves ticky boxes, it's behind the cut.

Read more... )

Tonight, SteelyKid asked whether boys could give birth (well, she said, "born a baby," because that's a hard verb formulation), and thanks to the picture book What Makes a Baby—and especially its Reader's Guide—I felt reasonably comfortable answering her question in an age-appropriate, non-cis-normative way. So, I highly recommend it (passing it on; someone here originally recommended it to me).

Emphatically not recommended, by the way, is the book which prompted this discussion, Tikki Tikki Tembo (Wikipedia). I told her at the beginning that we were going to say it took place somewhere made up (she came up with "Treeland") because it said untrue and mean things about China, which is a real place with real people. And I'm going to recommend that the school take it out of its 1,000 book reading program.

(Hi! The winter and chronic sleep deprivation has made me feel sort of . . . muted, like someone had pressed a button on a remote, when it came to writing here, which then turned into a self-perpetuating cycle. But there was actual sun and mildness today, and this seemed like a topic for you all, and I will try to be more present because I miss you all. Also: Captain America 2 this weekend, and I expect to be blurting out FEELINGS all over DW. (NO SPOILERS. NONE.))

Icon in honor of the Gorey covers of Sarah Caudwell's books, the first two of which I spotted on my shelves while changing clothes. They were only on my shelves because they used not to be available electronically, which has changed now, so hey, check them out—they're awesome.

[Selena] likes, I know, to pretend that Julia is a normal, grown-up woman, who can safely be sent round the corner to buy a loaf of bread; but, of course, it is quite absurd. Poor Julia’s inability to understand what is happening, or why, in the world about her, her incompetence to learn even the simplest of the practical skills required for survival—these must have made it evident, even in childhood, that she would never be able to cope unaided with the full responsibilities of adult life. She must have been, no doubt, a docile, good-natured child, with a certain facility for Latin verbs and intelligence tests—but what use is that to anyone? Seeking some suitable refuge, where her inadequacies would pass unnoticed, her relatives, very sensibly, sent her to Lincoln’s Inn. She is now a member of the small set of Revenue Chambers in 63 New Square. There she sits all day, advising quite happily on the construction of the Finance Acts, and doing no harm to anyone. But to let her go to Venice—I imagined her, wandering alone through those devious alleyways, looking—as, indeed, she does at the best of times—like one of the more dishevelled heroines of Greek tragedy; and I could not forbear to chide.

Familiar characters, something good on every page, plots I only partly remember, and just fun. There, reader's block conquered.

Thank you for all your suggestions—I'd forgotten that I need to put Hild on my list of homework. (I tried the sample online, but it was a lot of names and words for my current mood.)

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9 101112131415
161718192021 22
23242526272829
30      

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom