wednesday reads 'n things

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:34 pm
isis: (head)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading:

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live by Sacha Lamb, a short story with a lot of trans and/or gay characters and a demon (who turns out to be actually pretty nice). I enjoyed it all right but it didn't really make much impression on me. The worldbuilding's rather vague and there's not much in the way of plot, but I expect it resonates more with trans people. It's been nominated for [community profile] yuletide and is free online at http://thebooksmugglers.com/2017/08/avi-cantor-six-months-live-sacha-lamb.html

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (abandoned). I like the idea of presenting the story as excerpts of conversation, magazine articles, books, and so on. But it didn't work in the ebook format with minimal formatting, and also, it just didn't work for me in the more conversational sections because I felt as though I never got to know any of the characters enough to care about them. Though I appreciated the cleverness of the idea that the spirits of the dead are unaware that they are dead, glossing over the strangenesses in their new selves and referring to tombs as "sick-homes" and coffins as "sick-boxes", the general absurdity just didn't appeal to me and I found the slow pace boring.

What I'm reading now:

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan, the second book in the Trials of Apollo series, because after I realized I could either wait forever for the ebook, or pick up a physical copy from the library RIGHT NOW, I opted for the latter. I am still loving this series so much, especially since one of my favorite characters from another series, who showed up at the end of the first book, is a major character in this one. (skip) Leo Valdez! ♥ And Calypso! With whom Apollo has a history, so it's hilarious. Also, I'm impressed with how Riordan manages to have gay and bisexual characters in a way appropriate for middle grade, too.

I'm not listening to Airborn since I've been sick, and audiobooks are for exercise, but hope to get back to it soon now that my lungs are coughing out the last of the phlegm.

What I'm reading next:

While I was at the library I also picked up Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which has been recommended to me by a number of people. Also the second volume of Saga.

Other than that, still playing Dragon Age: Origins (in Orzammar now). Mostly I'm writing fanfiction :-)
monanotlisa: (ignoranus)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Also off my trusty friendslist, here is a dossier on white supremacy in the US -- from a source on the inside who infiltrated key organizations for years.

White Supremacy background and history, plus of course present danger: The International Alternative Right


monanotlisa: Lucca Quinn, centered, looking thoughtful (lucca - the good fight)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
C/p'd from [personal profile] giandujakiss:

The GOP broke off bipartisan talks with Dems to shore up ACA's insurance markets, and now they're trying - again - to unilaterally repeal ACA and take with it a huge chunk of Medicaid (which will, of course, completely destabilize our entire healthcare system, but that's where we are).

You can find more information by googling Graham-Cassidy, but here's one link [on this new attempt to dismantle the ACA].

Apparently, Lindsey Graham - one of the bill's sponsors - got on Breitbart radio (yes, now we're integrating Breitbart into GOP mainstream, fun times ahead) to urge listeners to call in support of the new bill, so it's VERY IMPORTANT that the Senate be flooded with opposition calls.

Here is one script and information resource.

L'shanah tovah!

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:01 am
monanotlisa: (apples how you like dem)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
A little early, but I won't be around later, so: a happy start of the High Holy Days to you, if you celebrate!

My secular Jewish household will mostly eat apples and sweet honey when it comes to action. But both my wife and I will think of the Jewish community, in our different ways as an American Jew and a German Gentile.

20 Black Sails icons for monthlyinspo

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:28 pm
tinny: Pretty, young, polite, gentlemanly, clean-shaven navy officer James McGraw (blacksails_young james)
[personal profile] tinny
Well, mostly Black Sails. One Jane Eyre snuck in, as well as one Gintama. But the rest are Black Sails. ;)

The inspiration post at [livejournal.com profile] monthlyinspo is here: "Back To School".

bsails304_13_28 bsails103_26.14_02b bsails208_45_25

20+4 icons )

I love concrit and comments!

For a list of makers whose textures, stock images, or brushes I use, please see my resource post.

Rats and Books

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:21 pm
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
We've been hearing noises in the wall between our house and the garage for a while, and got confirmation today that it was rats. Apparently they chewed their way in through a hole at the end of a rain gutter and got in the garage attic, then got in and have been hanging out under the bathtub. So, not fun. But someone at the university recommended a wildlife removal company that specializes in rodents, and I think that's exactly what we need. (We're also infested with geckos, but that's actually a good thing.) Anyway, it's going to be expensive, but not nearly as bad as I thought.

***

Fireside Fiction has set up an ebook Hurricane Relief Bookstore. 100% of the profits go to hurricane relief funds in Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean. My book Wheel of the Infinite is available there, with lots of other cool SF/F novels, magazines, and anthologies:

http://www.hurricanebookstore.com/

remix and other festathons

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:30 pm
isis: Write what you're told! (micah wright)
[personal profile] isis
Hopefully if you're planning on signing up for [community profile] trickortreatex you've already done so, as sign-ups close in under 3 hours. (Of course, you can always write treats!) I've been diddling with my offers but I think I'm set. Ordinarily I think of it as warm-up for [community profile] yuletide, but considering that I've been doing a lot of exchanges recently (maybe too many) it's not exactly that for me this year!

Speaking of exchanges-in-progress, I've got the next two weeks to finish my [community profile] femslashex fic - I finally got a good grip on what I want to write and it's going like gangbusters now - and to incorporate beta changes into my [community profile] crossovering fic. Then it will be time to write whatever I get assigned for [community profile] trickortreatex, and to sign up for [community profile] yuletide. Whew!

But one exchange is done and dusted, and that is [community profile] remixrevival! There are two remixes of my work, one in the main exchange and one in madness, both in Raven Cycle fandom, and I have no idea if they are by different people, though each was done with a different approach. And even though this isn't a gift exchange, I'm delighted by both of them and happily ticked the "link to this related work" button, because they're both great, and I enjoyed reading them even though I'm not really in the fandom any more.

But to return, and view the cheerful skies (1727 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Raven Cycle - Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Ronan Lynch/Adam Parrish
Characters: Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, Long-Distance Relationship, Murder Squash Song, Remix
Summary: Come visit, Adam didn’t say, because at some point before he even met Ronan, he had set himself this idiotic challenge: he would do everything he could to prove to himself that he could make it alone.

This is a sequel to a ficlet I wrote for [personal profile] jain a few years ago for [community profile] fandom_stocking, but it also stands alone as an exploration of the same basic idea (so therefore it's a legit remix), and the author very subtly brought it into compliance with the last book in the series, which hadn't been published at the time I wrote the original. Stylistically it's fabulous (and exactly the style I love to read), the details are delightful, and the ending made me grin a little and tear up a little and I'm not even in the fandom any more.

Disappearing Act (the Smarter than I Look remix) (950 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Raven Cycle - Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Noah Czerny/Joseph Kavinsky
Characters: Noah Czerny, Joseph Kavinsky, Ronan Lynch, Richard Gansey III
Additional Tags: Non-Consensual Oral Sex, Ghost Sex, Supernatural Elements
Summary:

Kavinsky's still around, which means he's still dangerous. There are ways to change that. But they're not fun.

This is a remix of a nasty little noncon story I originally wrote as a kinkmeme fill, but what's brilliant about it is that the author used a POV shift to completely change the meaning of the original story, revealing the original POV as an unreliable narrator. This is one of my favorite devices in fiction - it's a feature of the brilliant Iain Pears book An Instance of the Fingerpost, and I've used it in remixes before - and it shows that Noah has agency, rather than being the victim.

While I'm talking remixes, have a few recs:

Underworld (the Etruscan pottery remix) (5 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Etruscan Mythology
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Female Character
Characters: Original Female Character(s), Vanth (Etruscan Mythology), Karun (Etruscan Mythology), Tuchulcha (Etruscan Mythology)
Additional Tags: Digital Art, Fanart, Etruscan mythology - Freeform, Red-figure vase painting, Underworld
Summary: "I could not leave you here alone," Thana said./Velia folded her hands over Thana's. "I wanted you to live, my love."/"I know," Thana said. "But I could not leave you here."

This is beautiful fanart, which makes a bit more sense after you've read the (linked) original story, which is a sort of f/f Orpheus story, also very good and makes sense even if you're not familiar with Etruscan mythology.

Down the Garden Path (and what Alice found there) (4517 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 5/5
Fandom: Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
Additional Tags: Dreams and Nightmares, Dreams vs. Reality, Non-Linear Narrative, Board Games, Pastiche, Poetry, journeys, Nursery Rhymes, Werewolves
Summary: Alice throws a six, and finds herself on the square of the hypotenuse. But she's been here before, and she'll be here again, and perhaps she's already here...

This amazing expansion of the original ficlet is fantastic, in both literal and figurative senses. The early bits are perfect pastiche of Carroll's nonsense, and then the later chapters are really quite transcendental, bringing sense to the nonsense and gathering all the elements together in a lovely way.

Of course I wrote something for the exchange as well, though it's unlikely that you'll stumble over it unless you know the fandom. I'll post about it when works are revealed next week.

marthawells: (Atlantis)
[personal profile] marthawells



Now that the cover (by Jaime Jones) has been revealed, more preorder links are available. (I really, really appreciate preorders, wherever you shop, not just the links here.)


Note: Artificial Condition is a novella, around 160 pages. It's a direct sequel to All Systems Red and begins not long after that novella ends.


Description: It has a dark past -- one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself "Murderbot." But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don't want to know what the "A" stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks...

Available at:
Barnes & Noble, Amazon US and all other Amazons, Mysterious Galaxy, BooksaMillion, Book Depository, and from a local independent bookseller through Indiebound.

ebook (DRM-free): Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada, Kindle France, Kindle Germany, Kindle Spain, and all other Kindle retailers.




Excerpt:


SECUNITS DON'T CARE ABOUT the news. Even after I hacked my governor module and got access to the feeds, I never paid much attention to it. Partly because downloading the entertainment media was less likely to trigger any alarms that might be set up on satellite and station networks; political and economic news was carried on different levels, closer to the protected data exchanges. But mostly because the news was boring and I didn't care what humans were doing to each other as long as I didn't have to a) stop it or b) clean up after it.

more )

OTW Chat

Sep. 17th, 2017 03:59 pm
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
Here's the transcript for the Organization for Transformative Works 10th Anniversary chat: https://www.transformativeworks.org/transcript-for-otw-10th-anniversary-chat-with-seanan-mcguire-martha-wells/

Surfacing, the real-life edition

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:29 am
monanotlisa: Lincoln Lee against a red jagged background, captioned "mind is a razorblade" (Lincoln Lee - Fringe)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Let's start with five good things about my life right now:

1. Ask, and ye shall receive. Under pressure at work to put together a presentation in October, I texted one of my non-profit co-founders on a whim, not expecting her to have time or interest in co-chairing a webinar. But she immediately said yes; we're having a planning session tonight. Now I'm both relieved and a little bit excited about the subject of much procrastination.

2. Our wedding celebration preparation is almost done. WHICH IS GOOD, BECAUSE IT IS NEXT WEEKEND. Can't claim I was the driving force here; my wife was much better. But still, I too knocked several preparation points off our list. There's a price to pay if neither you nor your life partner are Planners or Organizers, but we had the privilege to pay in hard coin (i.e. having vendors do more for us) rather than familial currency (i.e. putting it on a date fitting for her auntie, who would have loved to go full Weddingpalooza).

3. The cats are very affectionate these days. Still semi-feral, of course, and not into being petted :( or even touched, although Poppet tolerates it from my wife. But they are social with us, head-butting and nose-sniffing and watching us Do Important Human Things In The Kitchen through the glass without feigning the usual disinterest...okay, fine, sometimes they feign disinterest; they're cats. :)

4. If one door closes, a window opens. (It's small, but it's a window.) I was devastated when the only dedicated gluten-free sweet pastry shop in San Francisco with actually good baked goods (glutless) closed, but they have just re-opened as a delivery-only service for Fridays and weekends. Weekends aren't excellent for someone living in the East Bay, but Fridays, Fridays I shall feast on cake! Except this upcoming one, given no. 2.

5. No periods forevermore, and everything works. Once the non-surgery issues were resolved, for the most part, life without a uterus has been excellent...except on the one day of my cycle when everything is terrible and the world is dull and gray, of course. But even that pleases me conceptually, because that plus the other two signs of an upcoming period mean my left (heh) ovary has taken over the full hormone production, and I don't have to consider HRT.

Unfortunately, like humans are wont to, I make bad decisions in the spur of the moment, so right now I am struggling with an old-new issue. Oral surgery talk, pretty gruesome, so please mind the cut-tag )
marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells



* Excerpt: http://www.marthawells.com/murderbot2.htm


* Interview on The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/16/16315474/science-fiction-author-martha-wells-murderbot-robots-interview


* And we're coming up on the time for the OTW Chat: Today 9/17 noon to 2 EST, me and Seanan Mcguire will do a guest chat for the Organization For Transformative Works 10th Anniversary https://www.transformativeworks.org/today-is-the-otws-10th-anniversary/

Black Sails Discussion 2x06 - 2x10

Sep. 17th, 2017 02:17 pm
tinny: Pretty, young, polite, gentlemanly, clean-shaven navy officer James McGraw (blacksails_young james)
[personal profile] tinny
I'm putting together here all my comments I have left in several private discussions, mostly with [livejournal.com profile] machinistm and [livejournal.com profile] neery, so all of you can join in, too, if you like.

spoilery for 2x06 - 2x10 - and pretty emotional )

Then, determined not to start season 3 before I was emotionally capable of it, I watched some Toby Stephens stuff:

* Jane Eyre - BBC adaptation from 2006 - not bad, although I struggled with the contrast of him haughtily ordering her around and the deep, deep love he's supposedly feeling. It's already pretty bad in the book, but the book is longer and stretches it out better, and overall did a better job convincing me. That said, the adaptation is pretty good, and Toby is great in it. Definitely something to rewatch for rainy days.

* Private Lives - Gilgud theatre play from 2014 - Toby has season 1 hair and plays across his wife - the picture quality is mediocre, and the acting is very camp. It's a conscious decision on Toby's part, because the character is described as flippant and distant, but I was still bothered by the overacting. Buy it here for 5 Pounds.

* Vexed - BBC crime comedy/drama from 2010 - Again with the overacting. :/ Toby's character is a misogynist asshole. The humor isn't bad, though. I kinda liked it despite myself. It's on Netflix.

Dear Trick-or-Treater!

Sep. 16th, 2017 03:59 pm
isis: (harry punkin)
[personal profile] isis
I like: historical (if appropriate) and worldbuildy detail, scenery porn, what-if AUs, original characters, time travel, bodyswap, ghost/afterlife stories, mythological and supernatural elements, and magical realism. I like gen, het, slash, and femslash. In general I'm not a fan of AU that completely changes the setting, but if you have a brilliant idea, go for it; I would prefer "interesting" to "mundane" AUs, e.g., in SPAAAACE yes, coffeeshop no. (Coffeeshop in SPAAAACE, okay!).

In fic: I prefer past tense to present tense, though don't feel constrained by this preference if your story really wants to be in present tense. I don't really care for second-person narration, but again, feel free to slip this preference if you have a fantastic idea. I'm happy with epistolary fic. I like lots of dialogue. If you want to create IF, go for it!

In art: I like both serious portraits and funny little cartoons. I have a soft spot for art in which one character is doing something typical-but-alarming, and the other is rolling his or her eyes, or reacting with horror, or getting ready to douse them with a bucket of water, or whatever. Stylistically, I love interesting and experimental compositions, unusual perspectives, emphasis on textures such as hair and clothing, and scenery porn (Mountains! Trees! Cliffs with water crashing on them! Brooding ruins of an ancient castle!) and I like line drawings as well as full color.

Tricks I would like: ghost stories (either scary or sweet), supernatural elements, afterlife stories, relationships between living characters and ghosts/spirits/supernatural entities, meddling deities, magical objects that do surprising things. I don't care for explicit horror, but I like mildly spooky things. In general I prefer happy endings, but see individual fandoms.

Treats I would like: romance, friendship, wacky hijinks, first kisses, first times (of anything), comedy of errors, matchmaking. Please don't add in any unrequested background non-canonical relationship. Explicit sex okay, non-explicit sex is okay, no sex is okay, but any sex should be in believable language for that era or fandom. UST, gen, whatever. It's all good. I certainly like explicit sex in fic, but I prefer more focus on the emotions than the physical mechanics, and my preferences are fairly vanilla: mouths, hands, genitals, toys, all are fine, but I'm not into BSDM or bloodplay or watersports or anything that might get a special tag.

I would prefer not to receive explicit horror (fic or art), any kink you'd specifically tag, or artwork that depicts explicit sex (NSFW R-rated is fine, NC17 showing genitals is not). I do not want any fic focusing on pregnancy, children, or with the A/B/O trope.

And now onto the specific fandoms. Please note that prompts may be spoilery. Also, I tend to go rather light on prompts, because if I had particular ideas, I'd write them myself! If none of my vague ideas appeal to you, I assure you that as long as you incorporate things I have said I like, and avoid things I have listed as dislikes, I will be happy with whatever you choose to create.

17776: What Football Will Look Like in the Future - Jon Bois (Juice, Nine, Ten) )

The Mark of the Horse Lord - Rosemary Sutcliff (Conory, Murna, Midir, Phaedrus) )

Old Kingdom - Garth Nix (Original Clayr, Lirael, Nicholas, Sameth) )

The Shining Company - Rosemary Sutcliff (Prosper, Faelinn) )

Wiedźmin | The Witcher (videogame) (Cirilla, Cerys, Sylvia Anna | Syanna) )
marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells
The cover reveal for The Murderbot Diaries: Artificial Condition, plus an interview with me, is on The Verge:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/16/16315474/science-fiction-author-martha-wells-murderbot-robots-interview

Couple of Things

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:00 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
* On Sunday, September 17, Seanan McGuire and I will be doing a guest chat for the Organization for Transformative Works 10th Anniversary. The topic is "fandom and fantasy."

https://www.transformativeworks.org/today-is-the-otws-10th-anniversary/


* I have a story out in a new anthology: Mech: Age of Steel Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

My story is "Birthright" and it's set in the Three Worlds, about the crew of the wind-ship Escarpment.


Yuletide noms!

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:24 pm
astolat: lady of shalott weaving in black and white (Default)
[personal profile] astolat
They close tomorrow so hurry and get your nominations in!

Mine are:

Witcher: Geralt, Emhyr, Ciri, Dandelion (duh)

Dragonriders of Pern: Menolly, Robinton (I totally want Menolly/Robinton NOT SORRY)

Dune (the book): Paul, Jessica, Stilgar, Feyd -- I don't know exactly what I want here, I think I want some outsider POV on Paul maybe?

My runners-up were:

Rome: Pullo, Vorenus, maybe Octavian -- man, I would love a story that undid what the show did to Octavian in S2 so much

Gladiator: Maximus, Commodus

Brimstone: Ezekiel, The Devil

Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon: Eric, Hank, Sheila, Venger

Battle of the Planets: Mark, Jason

and my perennial hope-springs-eternal Dracula: the Series: Lucard (hope doesn't really spring very far lol)

I am totally not mentioning these here in hopes that someone has a spare nom they wouldn't mind using on one of these. ;)

wednesday reads 'n things

Sep. 13th, 2017 03:25 pm
isis: winged Isis image (wings)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading:

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol. Short graphic novel that is a bit darker than I had expected. Well done and a quick, entertaining read.

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan, which is book 1 in the Trials of Apollo series. I didn't even know about this series until someone mentioned it in relation to the Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase books! I love how these book series interweave. Riordan's genius is in humor that is both silly and poignant, with heartfelt sentiment at its core. The god Apollo may be a total jerk, but as a human teen he is forced to confront his egoism and poor choices of the past, and maybe he'll come out of it a better, er, god. (Also, I am so pleased by the setup for the next book, and am anxiously awaiting my library hold to come through!)

What I'm reading now:

I'm still sort of poking at Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, but if it doesn't grab me soon I'm ditching it.

I'm also somewhere in the middle (I have no idea how far in I am, really, because my waterproof mp3 player has no display) of Airborn by Matt Cruse, which is reminding me more of Steampunk Tom Sawyer than anything else. I'm enjoying it, though some of the events (the volcano that happens to start erupting as they go by!) make me roll my eyes.

What I'm reading next:

I have a couple of things people have mentioned nominating for Yuletide on my phone to check out. Also, I may give in and read the last of the existing Expanse books. (But then there won't be any more! Not for a while!)

What I just finished watching:

Finally saw Ex Machina, which I mostly liked but really, I wanted more scenery porn. Apparently it was filmed in Norway. Beautiful! Oh, yeah, AI robot plot and mad scientist type, whatever.

We are thinking of starting Westworld, speaking of AI robots.

What I'm playing now:

Still Dragon Age: Origins, which continues to be excellent entertainment. I have a golem companion now, who is a hilariously sarcastic pigeon-hating pile of rocks that is good at bashing enemies. Also I can't manage to make my character be anything other than basically lawful good. I am terrible at choosing objectively awful responses to things, even when they look like they might have interesting results!

What I'm playing next:

I bought the second Witcher game for $3 from a Humble Bundle promotion, so I will give that a try next.

Murderbot Update

Sep. 13th, 2017 11:24 am
marthawells: (Default)
[personal profile] marthawells
I've finally finished a final draft of the fourth Murderbot Diaries novella. It's due on Friday, and for a while there I didn't think I was going to make it. All Systems Red was written pretty quickly, in about a month, including a few days I had to take off because I had a back injury and fell in the bathtub. Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol were both difficult and each took about two months, including many false starts and complete plot-ectomies, but with this one I probably wrote more than 60,000 words to finally come up with the final 35,000.

Part of the reason it took so long was stress from that monstrous thing inhabiting the White House and everything he's brought with him, part of it was just wanting to get the story right.

I've seen the covers for Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol and they're gorgeous. And I've heard the narrator for the audiobooks, and I'm pretty excited about who they picked. I can't say anything more about all that yet, but hopefully there can be official announcements soon.

In other news, we got a new dishwasher because the plastic parts rotted out of the old one, and we think squirrels have somehow tunneled into one of the walls of the house. So, nothing particularly unusual there.

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