selenak: (rootbeer)
[personal profile] selenak
In short, hm. Could go either way.

Spoilers wonder when internal communication systems are going to be used )

Growing Things

Sep. 25th, 2017 02:09 pm
semyaza: (Green mushrooms)
[personal profile] semyaza
From Monty Don, The Ivington Diaries

Read more... )

Could You Win an OTW Trivia Contest?

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:57 am
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Claudia' written beneath the OTW Logo (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
OTW 10th anniversary history

Would you like to find some OTW trivia? If so, we've got prizes for you! How many questions can you answer? https://goo.gl/A8bPvD
selenak: (Pumuckl)
[personal profile] selenak
You may or may not be aware we had elections in Germany yesterday. The results weren't very surprising (if you've been following news and polls), but nonetheless shocking, because Nazis in German parliament for the first time in over 70 years should be. (Let me qualify the technicalities: of course we had original flavour Nazis in the very first post war parliament, it being 1949. We even had a rather prominent one, the original commentator of the Nuremberg "race laws", in Adenauer's cabinet. And there were right wing extremist parties since then who didn't pretend very hard to be anything else. But none of them reached 13%, which the right wing extremists du jour, the AFD, just did.) In practical terms: this means 80-something MPs drilled in verbal abuse and little else entering parliament as of next year. At least they won't be the official opposition, since the SPD, which had its historic worst result in the entire post war history with 20 something %, ended the governing Big Coalition last night. (This is actually a good thing and was direly necessary to save the party, imo. It governed in coalition with Merkel's conservatives for two out of three terms Angela Merkel has been chancellor, and while this wasn't the only reason for its steady loss of votes, it was a big one.) How the "Jamaica" coalition (so called because of the colors associated with the parties in question - black for the CDU/CSU, the conversative union, yellow for the FDP, the business-oriented liberal party, which will return to parliament after having been voted out four years ago, and green for the Greens, obviously) will work out is anyone's guess, but it's the best of currently available alternatives. And since the AFD does have a lot of inner fighting between its heads going on and hasn't yet managed to actually do something constructive in any of the provincial parliaments they were already in, they might destroy themselves over the next four years, as the 80s flavor of right wing extremists did (they were called Republicans, I kid you not). None of that changes me feeling thoroughly disgusted this morning at 13% of our electorate, and angry with a lot of other people as well.

Here are two articles from two of our leading papers translated into English which analyze the election and its results:

Tears won't change a thing (from the Süddeutsche, in which Heribert Prantl says that we're the recovering alcoholic of nations, which is why it's differently serious when part of our electorate falls off the wagon to get drunk on demagogery, racism and authoritarianism again)

The Panic Orchestra, which also analyses the role the media played (because just as with Trump, the bloody AFD seemed to be on tv all the time)

On the bright(er) side of things, there were spontanous anti AFD marches on the street in Berlin and Cologne last night, and they were soundly defeated as also rans in Munich. (Which is a relief on a personal level, since I live there, and also because of history.)

Speaking of Munich, to conclude on a distracting and cheerier note, the Süddeutsche also hosts an US journalist who last week penned this column:

11 things Americans get wrong about the Oktoberfest
fairestcat: naked woman reading. vintage (Reading)
[personal profile] fairestcat
I've been doing less book bingeing and more reading of fic over the last month, which is probably, ultimately a happy balance for me.

Liberty and Other Stories (Prosperity, #2-4, 6) - Alexis Hall - ★ ★ ★ ★

A diverse series of stories expanding on the Prosperity universe, both before and after the events of Prosperity. read more )

The New Born Year - Kris Ripper ★ ★

I love this series, and I really liked getting to know Ally better, but I found this a difficult and unpleasant read. read more )

Full of Briars (October Daye, #9.3) - Seanan McGuire ★ ★ ★

I'm several books behind in this series, and figured this was a good way to dip back in. Because Quentin. Who is awesome. read more )

Gun To My Head - Dira Lewis ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reread. First read April 5, 2017. Second read April 6, 2017. Third read now, by which you might infer that I really fucking love this book. read more )

The Mystic Marriage (Alpennia, #2) - Heather Rose Jones ★ ★ ★ ★

I continue to adore this series. This second installment continues to follow Barbara and Margerit's lives, while expanding the focus to two characters who played a supporting role in the first book. read more )

The Element of Fire (Ile-Rien, #1) - Martha Wells ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reread. I think I first read this sometime in 2010.

This is a secondary-world fantasy set in the approximate equivalent of 17th Century France only with both sorcery and Fae creatures.read more )

Point of Dreams (Astreiant, #2) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett ★ ★ ★ ★

In some ways the murders are the least interesting part of this book. They matter, and they drive the plot, but it's the thematic stuff going on around and in cause of the murders that I found most interesting.

This is a book about relationships, and the ways they are seen and controlled by society and societal pressures. read more )

Seven Summer Nights - Harper Fox ★ ★ ★ ★

This was not the book I expected it to be, but I quite enjoyed the book it turned out to be.

This is, as the cover copy stated, a just-post-WWII historical romance between an archaeologist and a vicar, both of whom came back from the war changed. It's about two men trying to fit back into roles and ways of life they no longer fit. read more )

Bound to Be a Groom (Regency Reimagined, #1) - Megan Mulry

DNF.

It's queer, kinky, poly, historical erotica. I'm pretty much THE target audience for this book. And I gave up at 13% read. read more )

Death by Silver (Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey, #1) - Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold ★ ★ ★ ★

This was a rougher read than I expected from the ad copy. Good, but at times decidedly difficult.

This is a queer, steampunk murder mystery, but that's not really what it's about.

What it actually is is a book about institutionally-sanctioned bullying and abuse and the different ways in which adult survivors of childhood trauma cope with their past. read more )

This week in writing, 9/24

Sep. 24th, 2017 03:02 pm
dira: Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Default)
[personal profile] dira
…Next week will probably be better? I moved a week ago today, and came down with a cold a few days after that, so this has not been a week conducive to doing… much of anything. (Except playing Stardew Valley. So much Stardew Valley.) But I am alive! And I did write more than zero words this week! And I am trying to get back into familiar routines, so here we are.

WIPs currently active: 6

Words written this week: 817

WIPs that got no words this week: 3 - broken dick epic, ace!Bitty longfic, Jack/Bitty kidfic

WIPs that did get words this week:

Born in the Blood: 223, and I have nearly! made! an important! transition! almost! maybe!

Slavefic #6: 203, and Threetoo! is thinking! some thoughts! about! something! I think I remember what I figured out about this literally a month ago! probably!

Kinktober fic for Day 1 (Bucky/Steve): 391, and I have remembered that the key to writing genuinely short PWP for me is “start with both characters in bed and at least one of them naked” so good job me. 

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[personal profile] aly_ram_98 posting in [community profile] findthatbook
Im looking for a book that has a bunch of short stories. I sadly only remember one short story in it. It was a supernatural type of short story book. I read it in the YA section about 6 years ago. The short story I remember I believe was one of the first stories in it. I don't remember much, but i remember for sure that it was about a vampire who owned an old movie theater. He would microwave his blood in the office and he would walk around the theater. I believe there was a girl in the theater who wirked there, and I'm pretty sure there was some romance in it as well. I can't remember that much about it, but I know the movie theater thing was for sure, which I hope narrows it down since there's not many like that. It was a short story that was one of the first stories in the book. I hope I can find it. :)
selenak: (Schreiben by Poisoninjest)
[personal profile] selenak
Back when I marathon-read Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, I saw he's also authored a lot of novels for children, and had a new one coming out this month, a standalone called Frederick the Great Detective, which, however, mysteriously seems to be available in German before it is in English. (Mysterious because Kerr's Scottish and writes in English, and the novel, which got released today, is indeed translated from the English original, I checked the imprint.) Anyway, the novel has a very similar premise to a movie I saw at last year's Munich Film Festival, Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday - the review I wrote about the film is here: boy falls in love with Emil and the Detectives, befriends its author, Erich Kästner, in the twilight of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich ensues, boy tries to maintain ideals of novel versus increasingly awful reality. Having read the novel now, I can add a further parallel: both Friedrich in Frederick the Great Detective and Hans in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday have an older sibling who is enthusastically joining the Nazi cause. My original suspicion as to why Kerr picked a fictional main character instead of Hans, who actually existed and did befriend Erich Kästner, was because Hans' fate was sealed by history, and that Kerr wanted a better fate for his young hero. Spoilers ensue. )However, by that point, I had already guessed various other reasons why Kerr chose a fictional over a fictionalized "real" main character, and the differences to Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday are instructive here.

For starters, there's the difference in focus: Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday is, as far as Hans is concerned, a coming of age story - he goes from child to teenager and young man in the course of the story - and has Erich Kästner as the other lead, whose perspective through the movie is even the slightly favored one. Frederick the Great Detective, by contrast, has Kästner only as a supporting character, aside from a prologue and an epilogue ends in late 1933/early 1934, and is above all a homage to Kästner's novel in structure, focusing on Friedrich and his same-age friends, who play detectives until it gets lethally dangerous. (The adults, whether benevolent or malignant or in between, are seen from the outside, the point of view is Friedrich's throughout.) For, befitting the author of the Gunther mysteries, there are actually cases to solve. (Though as opposed to Bernie, young Friedrich - who wants to become a detective through much of the novel - gets the point that you can't be a detective in a system where the criminals have taken over when Kästner desperately tells him just this.)

Indeed, while reading I wondered whether the basic idea for the novel might not have been a wish to write a sequel to Emil which tackles how Emil & Co. would act when the Third Reich starts, because Friedrich's gang with its twins has some similarities. Then again, Friedrich has a distinctly different background to Emil (or Hans Löhr) - no working class single parent mother, instead, middle class parents with his father a journalist and friend of Kästner's, which is the original connection, which allows Kerr to depict the way the press lost its freedom within a year. It also allows Kerr to let Friedrich and his parents vacation on Rügen where Friedrich meets Christopher Isherwood and Isherwood's boyfriend Heinz on the beach. (Leading to a charming scene where Friedrich manages to solve his very first case by finding Isherwood's lost watch.) Kerr provides quite a lot of real life characters making cameos throughout the novel - Billy Wilder (during the premiere of the "Emil and the Detectives" movie version which he scripted), Max Liebermann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Walter Trier etc. - but the Isherwood cameo was for me the most vivid of these. (And I'm not surprised, having come across an interview where Kerr says bascially Berlin for him as a reader, before he got there, was invented by two British writers, Christopher Isherwood and John Le Carré.)

Kästner himself lis of course the real life character with the most page time, but he feels more like a generic version of Kästner's author persona than an actual attempt at depiction of the man. (As opposed to the Kästner in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday.) Meaning: he's a benevolent adult the way, say, Justus the Teacher in "Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer" is, with no hint of any inner conflicts, and Kerr slims down the biographical and authorial data about him to "wrote Emil and the Detective, also works as a journalist"; in this book, there are no mentions of either Kästner's other books for children or his adult novel, Fabian (the one who got burned by the Nazis at the 1933 book burning), nor of his sharp political poetry (which in Germany he was and is almost as well known for as for his prose). (Hence ahistorically Emil ends up as the burned book, when in rl Emil and the Detectives was so popular that it got published, as the only one of Kästner's works, within Germany until 1936. Then it was for the axe as well.) The one biographical background fact about Kästner mentioned in conversation by Friedrich's father is in fact a wrong one, or rather, a wrong assumption, that Kästner's mother, like Emil's, raised her son alone. In rl, not only was Kästner's father around and in contact with his son, but he outlived Kästner's mother. There is, however, a reason why I didn't mind this particular wrong statement, which is: Kästner kept his father and his relationship with him very low key as long as his mother was still alive, while his relationship with his mother was intense and very public, so a colleague from work like Friedrich's father could be forgiven for assuming the guy was either dead or had left the family. ( If you've read Kästner's autobiographical writings, one of the most memorable childhood scenes which makes you cringe in sympathy is his parents' christmas competition about him, when his father, a craftsman, proudly presented presents he made with his own hand while his mother spent all her money on presents, and both parents would regard whichever present their son showed any favour to as proof whom he loved more or a rejection respectively. And thus it went on for as long as Kästner's mother lived.)

What the novel does really well, though, is presenting a group of children responding to their world changing radically, and Friedrich as a likeable child hero who ends up rejecting the demagogery, scapegoating and promise of glory that lures his older brother in because he sees how both people he knows and strangers are abused in its name. Again, in an homage to Kästner's novel which has a memorable dream sequence, Friedrich's ongoing crisis of conscience and wonder how to avoid becoming a Nazi himself climaxes in a surreal dream where the various things he has experienced come together. The lesson he draws from this is simple and profound at the same time, very Kästnerian and indeed great advice in current day circumstances as well, to the question as ow to act: Be kind. Being kind and you can't become what you fear and hate. Be kind.

Mind you, the 1945 prologue and epilogue does spoilery things ) But all in all, Frederick the Great Detective is still a very readable children's novel set in a dark time which also manages to pay homage to a classic while being its own thing.

Oh, Sam!

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:08 pm
semyaza: (Samwise the Brave)
[personal profile] semyaza
This is the 80th anniversary of The Hobbit!

Elsewhere on my feed:

Britain's Head Gardeners.

OTW Guest Post: Henry Jenkins

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:06 am
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Claudia' written beneath the OTW Logo (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Banner by caitie of an OTW-themed guest access lanyard



“News of the OTW bubbled up from many directions at once, most likely through my associations with Escapade, but also through an academic colleague whose partner at the time was involved. I was so excited to hear about the emergence of this fan advocacy network which brought together fannish lawyers willing to help protect our fair use rights as fans; fan scholars publishing their work through a peer-reviewed journal; fan programmers using their skills in support of the community; and of course, an archive where fans controlled what happened to their own works without the interference of web 2.0 interests.

Each of these things is important on its own terms, but taken together, this organization has been a transformative force, in all senses of the words, for fans and their rights to participate.”

For our anniversary Henry Jenkins talks fan studies, students, fandom changes over the years & why it's worth fighting for: http://goo.gl/fm19m5

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I got nuthin'

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:53 am
semyaza: (Demon)
[personal profile] semyaza
This goes way beyond a Lol of the Day. This is a Lol of the Month.

Read more... )

Vagueness seeps...

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
semyaza: (Default)
[personal profile] semyaza
I have to give the HuffPo points for this. Drat.

What Should Have Happened in Hillary Clinton's Useless Book.

I must add his blog to my feed.

Two tech questions

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:44 am
china_shop: Raja from Aladdin saying "What?" (Whut? Raja)
[personal profile] china_shop
1. Has anyone found an easy alternative to Gchat's Available/Busy/Inactive/Offline indicators? Those were my lifeline, and not having them is making me saaaaad.


2. Recently my Dreamwidth pages have stopped defaulting to https, which means sometimes I get a log-in screen instead of the post, and if I get the post, I'm not logged in. I have HTTPS Everywhere for FireFox, and the Dreamwidth HTTPS beta option turned on. What is happening?

It may have started when FireFox updated last, or it might be part of my general computer woes, idk.

Media update

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:36 am
china_shop: Neal, Peter and Elizabeth smiling (Default)
[personal profile] china_shop
Reading
Over the weekend I read Sarah Gailey's novella River of Teeth, an alt-US-history Western with hippos, which I've seen mentioned around the place. It spent a lot of time on character introductions, and the ending felt rather TBC, and I'm not sure I'll read the next one. I think I would have preferred a stand-alone novel to what felt like the first instalment in a longer story, or perhaps I'm just not in the mood for Americana (though it reminded me enough of Richard Brautigan's The Hawkline Monster that I dug that out and may read it sometime soon).

In the meantime, I've started Moon Over Soho, the second Rivers of London book. I read the first some years ago (when I bought my Kindle and went back to occasionally consuming things other than fanfic) and found it too gruesome for my fluffy-fanfic-reading palette, but I've been encouraged to persevere. Not gripped yet, but it's early days.

Kdramas
I just finished Another Oh Hae Young, like, in the last half hour.

Huh. It started promisingly. I liked the convoluted set-up and was intrigued to see how they were going to get Do Kyung out of the enormous hole he'd dug himself into, but in the end... they didn't really bother. Rambling. Spoilers. ) Also, overall, this might be the drama I've watched with the highest alcohol consumption and the worst communication (and that's really saying something, on both counts!). Not one I'll be rewatching or would particularly recommend.

I haven't planned what I'll solo-watch next, but I think it'll be something very different.

Pru and I finished Moonlight Drawn by Clouds yesterday, and next week we're starting Mystery Queen, a Sherlock Holmes AU where Sherlock is a housewife.

J and I have one more week (three episodes) of Goblin to go, and then I suspect it's a Hong sisters drama, either My Girl (which I haven't seen) or Master's Sun (which I have).

My teacher and I are still in the middle of Chief Kim.

Other TV
Parks & Recreation season 5.

Films
We watched Rogue One over the weekend. I think I enjoyed it more this time, having read some fanfic.

Writing
Not a word.

Computer
*weeps*

Politics
Election this weekend. My sister and I nearly went and advance voted yesterday lunchtime, but during the trudge up Featherston St to the polling place, I talked myself out of it on the grounds that if I vote on Saturday, if the outcome initially seems close or unfavourable, I can tell myself they haven't counted my vote yet and it will make all the difference. /dork

Also, I was supposed to go sign-waving this morning (and got up early specially), but the other person cancelled and then the forecasted rain arrived, so I finished Another Oh Hae Young instead.

I am trying SO HARD not to get unhealthily invested in the election outcome; I can't afford to get sick over this. *crosses all my fingers and toes, while still trying to maintain emotional detachment, ha*

Adaptions and remixes

Sep. 20th, 2017 12:07 pm
selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
[personal profile] selenak
Two filmed novels in, the tv version of JKR's written-as-Robert-Galbraith mystery novels called Strike comes across as very enjoyable. Holiday Grainger is a delight as Robin, Tom Burke still isn't how I imagined Cormoran Strike, but he's entertaining to watch, and they have good chemistry. Inevitably, characters and subplots were for the axe in both Cuckoo's Call and The Silkworm, but so far they've kept the important emotional beats. In the case of The Silkworm, I'm especially glad my favourite sentence of the entire novel gets to be used in dialogue, though a different character gets to say it on tv: Writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want life-long friendship and selfless camraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels."

Of the guest stars, the actresses playing Leonora and Orlando were especially good. I do notice that some of the sharpness of the novels is lost when it comes to politics. I mean, The Silkworm, the novel, has passages like this: : Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, was announcing plans to slash 350 million pounds from the legal aid budget. Strike watched through his haze of tiredness as the florid, paunchy man told Parliament that he wished to 'discourage people from restoring to lawyers whenever they face a problem, and instead encourage them to consider more suitable methods of dispute resolution.' He meant, of course, that poor people ought to relinquish the services of the law. Nothing like it on tv. But the result still doesn't feel as awfully castrated as the tv version of The Casual Vacancy, which lost all the bite and anger and ruined what might not have been a masterpiece but was a novel with genuine points to raise by turning it into inoffensive blandness, more angry reviews here, possibly because such asides aren't the main issue in the Galbraith novels.

In other news, [community profile] missy_fest has been revealing one Missy story per day-ish. This was the smallest ficathon I ever participated in, but a delight to write and read, and as soon as it's de-anonymized, I'm going to link and talk about the story I wrote. Meanwhile, check out the one I received, which was The Master's Faithful Companion (Forever or Just A Day Remix), which remixed my story Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Food glorious food

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:12 pm
semyaza: (Green mushrooms)
[personal profile] semyaza
I'm roasting cherry tomatoes in Greek olive oil and they smell so gooooooood.

I'm intersectional

Sep. 19th, 2017 05:46 pm
semyaza: (Green mushrooms)
[personal profile] semyaza
My lol of the day. It makes a change from Hitler's medical problems which interest no one but me. I might have done this before, or something like it, during the Racefail frenzy on LJ. I won't tell you my score but my result is:

"You're not privileged at all. You grew up with an intersectional, complicated identity, and life never let you forget it. You've had your fair share of struggles, and you've worked hard to overcome them. We do not live in an ideal world and you had to learn that the hard way. It is not your responsibility to educate those with more advantages than you, but if you decide you want to, go ahead and send them this quiz. Hopefully it will help."

The link is here.

I feel a vast relief about not having to educate anyone.

Orinoco Flow

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:18 pm
semyaza: (Demon)
[personal profile] semyaza
I'm not sure that I want to hear about Hitler's stool samples while I'm eating supper. I don't know what the background music is but thankfully it's not Enya.

ETA: This is a terrible documentary. I'm done.

25 Things to Know About the OTW

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:06 am
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Claudia' written beneath the OTW Logo (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
OTW 10th anniversary history


We've been around a while now, so as part of celebrating our 10th anniversary here are 25 things to know about the OTW! https://goo.gl/FuuMWS

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