[sticky entry] Sticky: Fic Masterlist

Jan. 21st, 2011 01:58 pm
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
Blanket permission: Please feel free to remix, podfic, or really do anything you like with anything I've written. I'd love it if you'd drop me a link when you're done, though.

Whoniverse )

Merlin )

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire )

Misc. fandoms: Legend of the Seeker, Discworld, Being Human, The West Wing, Warehouse 13, The Queen's Thief, Once Upon a Time )

Crossovers & Fusions )
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I got a lot of mileage out of this meme last year, and in case you'd like me to talk about something other than my new puppy, or possibly to talk more about my new puppy...

Pick a date below and give me a topic, and I'll ramble on. I'm good at talking. It can be anything from fandom-related (specific characters, actors, storylines, episodes, etc.) to life-related to pizza preferences to whatever you want.

They will probably be brief, or not, depending on the subject. Also, I reserve the right to decline prompts that I don't feel equipped to meet.

This is the stuff I blethered on about last year.

Dates )


Nov. 14th, 2014 10:44 pm
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I'm so glad I'm not doing Yuletide, or NaNo, or really any commitment to writing much of anything in November. I am currently doing 90% of my computer time my tablet as my laptop is one of the objects in my running battle of wills with the puppy over what is and what is not a chew toy.

I keep having to remind myself that it's not her fault she's got no manners; she's brand new, I have to teach her manners. But until she learns the best thing to do is probably to keep anything valuable that she might feel moved to destroy out of the way.

Luckily I finished my [livejournal.com profile] got_exchange fic before lady chews-a-lot arrived in the household.

It's basically a character study of Oberyn Martell as a father, a brother, and a son. What? Sometimes I write fic about dudes.

Abu el Banat
ASOIAF; Oberyn, Elia, Doran, Ellaria, the Sand Snakes; PG; 3,700 words
Oberyn Martell, father of daughters.
netgirl_y2k: (doctordonna)
Puppy Freya has had her first vaccination and I am supposed to start taking her out into the world and introducing her to things so that she is not nervous later on in life. I find this especially fun as it took cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmaceutical intervention to convince me that the world is not a scary, awful place and best avoided.

The way I explain my anxiety brain weasels to my friends who don't really get it is that prehistoric humans had a setting in their brains for oh fuck, bears, and that although there is no evidence of there being bears in Glasgow in 2014, my brain has become stuck on this redundant setting, and would like me to be prepared for the possibility of bears at all times, even, like, in the bath.

If I had any artistic skills at all we could be a cartoon, The Adventures of Anxiety Puppy and Bear Dystopia Girl.

Anyway, although Freya is allowed out of the house now (and thank god, playing football with the puppy was in danger of taking on a sinister meaning) she hasn't had her second vaccination and so can't get down on the ground. I have a little rucksack that I carry her around in. Neither Freya nor myself find this especially dignified.

Puppy spam! )


Nov. 6th, 2014 10:35 pm
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
I was really missing having a dog. And when a woman I know from dog walking sent me a picture of a litter of puppies in a basket in front of an aga and offered me first refusal, I went, yes, I'll take all of them, and the aga!

Luckily, I then calmed down and took one puppy. A brown labrador (mostly) bitch who I have named Freya (this is why I was not allowed to name the family pets as a child.) She's nine weeks old and currently at that stage where she's either dead to the world or bouncing around at ninety miles an hour ricocheting off the furniture.

I last had a puppy when I was a kid (I've always been a fan of the rescue dog) and I'd forgotten how much work they are. So, if I'm around less than usual it's because I'm dividing my time between getting up three times in the night to get her house trained and being used as a human chew toy.

If we don't speak again I have probably been licked to death by puppy; know that it's how I would have wanted to go.

Have a picture, and that's a mug next to her for size comparison, that's how tiny she is.

A wee tiny puppy )
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
I was on holiday at the turn of last month, so this might be quite a long list, fortunately as I read a few of them in early September I can't really remember what I wanted to say about them.

Bad Feminist - Roxane Gay
The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living - Nick Offerman
Ask the Passengers - A.S. King
Astray - Emma Donogue
Full Fathom Five - Max Gladstone
Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer
Ascension - Jacqueline Koyanagi
The Duchess War - Cortney Milan
The Heiress Effect - Courtney Milan
The Countess Conspiracy - Courtney Milan
The Suffragette Scandal - Courtney Milan
The Governess Affair - Courtney Milan
A Kiss for Midwinter - Courtney Milan
Talk Sweetly to Me - Courtney Milan
The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher - Hilary Mantel
Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie

Bad Feminist is a collection of essays about feminism, and pop culture, and guilty pleasures. Clever stuff. I mean, I read and enjoy the likes of Caitlin Moran, but it's good to read anything about feminism that isn't quite so straight, white, and middle-class, you know?

Sarah Waters is one of my very favourite authors and The Paying Guests is my favourite of hers since Fingermsith. It's a bit of a return to form, I thought; I tell myself that I have other reasons for disliking The Little Stranger than the absence of lesbianism, but fair or not, queer women throughout history are why I read Sarah Waters. Anyway, this is about an upper-class mother and daughter in the interwar years who have to take in lodgers to make ends meet. It's half historical lesbian romance, half courtroom drama, and I really liked it a lot.

The Nick Offerman autobiography I read all in one night as I was fending off a panic attack. I don't actually watch Parks & Rec, but I'd seen enough gifsets of him on tumblr to think: this is a man who should have a manifesto, I would like to read that manifesto. The best bits were where he was talking about his marriage. My new romantic aspiration is to marry someone who talks about me the way Nick Offerman talks about Megan Mullally.

Ask the Passangers is YA novel about a teenaged girl's coming out, with a dash of magical realism thrown in. I think it suffered from my unfairly comparing it to The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which I'd read a few months ago and is similar on the surface, and they aren't remotely in the same league.

Astray is a collection of short stories about people moving to or around the US and Canada. What really struck me about it was that there wasn't a single story that I didn't like or was underwhelmed by; that never happens with short story collections. I continue to be knocked out by Emma Donogue's writing is what I'm saying.

Full Fathom Five... I just can't say enough good things about Max Gladstone's Craft sequence. Brilliantly wrought, diverse fantasy about gods and magic and all those stuck in between. This is a don't walk, run type of recommendation.

I had heard so many good things about the Southern Reach Trilogy, and I think maybe outside factors played a part. Because I was chugging through Annihilation cheerfully enough; then when I was about two thirds of the way though my dog died, and I lost interest in reading for a while. And when I finally picked the book up I found the last third really hard going and bleh, and have pretty much no interest in picking up the next two books in the series. So, yeah, sorry, book, it's not you, it's me.

Ascension had so many good things in it. Spaceships! A werewolf in space! Important sibling relationships! The protagonist is a non-white lesbian with a chronic illness! With all that it was kind of a shame that the plot never really came together for me, and by the time it turns out that half the ship's crew is in a poly relationship it had the feeling of some kind of bingo card being checked off. Not that you couldn't do something awesome with a poly spaceship crew, just that this book didn't do it. File under: books I wish I liked more than I did.

Historical Romance is not a genre I read much, or at all. But I heard Courtney Milan's name bandied about in connection with the [tumblr.com profile] ask-a-man tumblr, and I read the entire Brothers Sinister series, including the novellas, within about a fortnight. I couldn't get my grubby little hands on them quickly enough. I completely loved them, the heroines, beta male heroes, background queer relationships, inter-racial romances, lady scientists, feminist notes, and so so much fun. So, yeah, I'm taking this as a lesson on the benefits of reading outside my usual genres.

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher is the very definition of a book I bought because of the title. The title story is magnificent, the others slightly more hit and miss. There were a couple I didn't actually understand, but, hey, Hilary Mantel is smarter than I am, news at eleven.

Ancillary Sword I actually liked more than Ancillary Justice, and I fucking loved Ancillary Justice. I loved that the sequel is a little more tight focus on a small group of characters, but that still has the fascinating world-building and smart as heck gender and identity stuff.

I'm having a bit of a book slump at the moment, because all I really want to read is Ancillary Mercy, which, alas, will not be released for a year or more. So if you've read any good books recently, you should totally tell me about them.
netgirl_y2k: (sansa wolf girl)
[community profile] femslashex went live the other day, hurrah!

My contribution was 9k of bittersweet Sansa/Margaery, which, not to sound immodest, I'm really rather proud of.

The Game of Courtship (ASOIAF, Sansa/Margaery)
I loved a maid as red as autumn, with sunset in her hair

I hit the jackpot as far as gift fics are concerned. I got two (count 'em!) and they are both completely brilliant.

I Knew You Were Trouble (When You Walked In) by [archiveofourown.org profile] silly_cleo (DS9, Jadzia/Lenara)
Deep Space Nine Alternate Universe positing the question - what if Lenara Khan had stayed? (Canon Divergent AU post-Rejoined.)

This is the fix-it I've wanted ever since I, oh, first saw Rejoined, and finally!

When Warp Is Fire And Weft Is Ice by [archiveofourown.org profile] afterandalasia (ASOIAF, Sansa/Daenerys)
People tell many stories about them, the Mother of Dragons and the Queen in the North.
Some of them even have a grain of truth in them.

Completely gorgeous future-fic for a pairing I really wish got more play in fandom (the queens of ice and fire!)

And not written for me, but I can't say enough good things about this queer revisionist fix-it of Sansa and Shae's storyline.

take my love, take it down by [archiveofourown.org profile] lastwingedthing (GoT, Sansa/Shae)
In the chaos after King Joffrey's wedding Sansa and Shae find each other, and their freedom.


Oct. 11th, 2014 10:53 pm
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
My lovely, restorative trip to Munich went terribly well. Especially considering that it was a spur of the moment trip resulting from me having a pretty crappy few weeks and being drunk in charge of a credit card.

Well, it's perhaps a bit much to call it restorative as I got back a week ago and immediately keeled over for, like, three days. I think it's partly because a direct flight from Munich to Glasgow takes not quite an hour and a half, and on the day that I came home it took me in excess of twelve hours. There's also the fact that the entire time I was there I subsisted wholly on beer, bread, and red meat; I think I fell into some sort of vitamin deficiency induced coma.

But I did the whole Oktoberfest thing, which was awesome. Packed tents, beer in massive steins, meat being roasted on spits, drinking songs; at one point I was one drink away from building a longship and invading the low countries. I hung out with a French family (I think I speak French; French people disagree) a Scottish stag party who had misplaced their stag somewhere in Bavaria, and a couple of boys from Catalonia who were very keen to tell me that Scotland had voted wrong in the referendum.

So I did that for two days, at which point my entire system went into open rebellion. I mean, I'm from Scotland, a nation of people who like a drink and would deep fry a cat if we could get one to stay still long enough, so when I start thinking "hey, maybe this isn't good for me", well, it's time to leave.

Also, I didn't want to travel all the way to another country just to get drunk in a tent for five days. Not that I wouldn't have enjoyed that, but I could have erected a pup tent in my back garden, got in a case of Becks, and saved myself the price of the plane tickets. I was there during what I was assured was unseasonably pleasant weather, so I spent hours wandering the city. I love doing that in new cities. Munich is beautiful. Of course, one of the few upshots of being from Glasgow is that when you go almost anywhere else your reaction is: well, this is nice.

Um, what else? I got lost in the Englischer Garten for most of an afternoon. I'd read that it was bigger that Central Park, but as I've never been to New York that really wasn't much of a frame of reference. I walked in, got turned around, and couldn't find the exit. I spent several hours following people who looked like they might be leaving like I was a particularly benign stalker.

I kept accidentally ordering apple strudel. My previous trips to Germany have been to Berlin, which is full of idiots who've fetched up knowing no German; Munich, not so much. I kept being handed menus I couldn't read and didn't know how to say I didn't want, and I recognised the word apfelstrudel. But as I like strudel, and as it was the closest I got to a vitamin all week, it was probably for the best.

Then [personal profile] fallingtowers very kindly took me out for a lovely evening of Thai food and talking about, among other things, fandom and those kids who're on our lawn. I have great luck meeting people from fandom; seriously, if one of you doesn't turn out to be an axe-murderer soon then I'm going to think that it was just my elders trying to scare me. One of the reasons I love meeting fandom people is that none of my friends are really geeky types, at least not in the fandom sense, and I get an illicit little thrill from saying words like fanfiction out loud.

Anyway, I'm calling the trip a success.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I do have a couple of different posts to make about my tremendous holiday in Munich, and about the books I've been reading (highlight: currently loving Courtney Milan's Brothers Sinister series), but first I have a small favour to ask.

I have accidentally written 9k of Sansa/Margaery fic. I think it is quite good; it is a pairing I have many feelings about. And I would like another pair of eyes to look it over, at least to catch any missing or transposed words and my egregious misuse of the semi-colon. I'd need it back in, jeepers, a week. Any takers?

Your reward would be my lasting gratitude and this mostly imaginary cake.
netgirl_y2k: (sansa wolf girl)
After chopping and changing almost hourly for the last fortnight I made up my mind in the voting booth. My head said vote No; you've made your point, and they're offering Devo Max, which is what you would have voted for had it been on the ballot. My heart said what the hell; fortune favours the bold.

So Yes it was.

Then again, in the last general election I voted for the Lib Dems, so I've got form for voting for people who talk the good talk then turn out to be lying liars who lie.

Not unlike Jon Snow, I know nothing.

Although I'm not sure I should really be allowed a vote. Last night I drank two huge bottles of 7% Belgian beer on an empty stomach and strong antibiotics, and accidentally bought three hundred quid's worth of non-refundable flights to Munich.

This was because my beloved dog Eustace was put down yesterday because of a brain tumour. Eustance was -- I want to say he was a good dog, but he really wasn't. I've had dogs all my life and Eustace was genuinely the worst dog I have ever owned. I'd rescued him, and he was a menace from the day I brought him home and he tried to eat next door's prize winning pomeranian to last week when he decided he'd like to live in the car. Despite this, or maybe because of it (I was the only one who loved him, so I had to love him all the harder) this has really, properly devastated me in a way that no other pet I've lost has.

I know it's boring looking at pictures of other people's dead pets, so I'll put it under the cut, but it's a cute picture of him and there's a mug on his head, so...

Read more... )

So I'm off to try to cheer myself up in Munich. Whether I want to or not, really. Did I mention these tickets are non-refundable? Anyone know the city? Things I should see/do/drink?
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
it's that meme where you post 10 fics that have stuck in your brain for whatever reason. So without further ado...

- Love Like a Djelibeybian by [archiveofourown.org profile] gehayi (Discworld; Ptraci/ofc)

Perfect Pratchett-y tone, delightful use of footnotes, and the best thing to come from Pyramids which is far from my favourite Discworld novel.

- Ladies Who Organise by [archiveofourown.org profile] reckonedrightly (Discworld; female!Vetinari)

Genderswap is hit and miss for me. I only like it when it swaps male characters to female (otherwise what's the point?), generally don't care for it when it's one of the juggernaut slash pairings, and am fussy as heck about what characters are swapped. But female!Vetinari's rise to power with the reluctant yet hyper competent aid of Sybil Ramkin. SIGN ME UP.

- Footsteps In The Sand by [archiveofourown.org profile] entanglednow (Doctor Who; Donna Noble, Dalek Caan)

I spent an entire summer comfort reading every variation of "Donna gets her memories back" I could find. And this one, where Donna gets her memories, the Doctor's knowledge, a sort of a TARDIS, and a companion of her own in the form of a demented Dalek, was like nothing else going.

- Before the Morning Watch: One Vision and Five Futures by [archiveofourown.org profile] deastar (Merlin; Morgana/various)

Basically, five different but brilliantly drawn AUs (I love the five things format) containing some of of my biggest squicks, including pregnancy, childbirth, kidfic, and sexual violence; but so well done that despite all these things I still think it's one of the best things I've ever read.

- Pair Dadeni by [archiveofourown.org profile] afterandalasia (Merlin; Morgana/Vivian)

You know that fic that you have in your head? Your perfect fic? Well, somebody wrote mine, and this is it. Two parts Morgana character study/redemption, to one part Morgana lifting the love spell from Vivian, something I'd been longing for for literally years. The fic of my heart.

- all we have of wings by [archiveofourown.org profile] honey_wheeler (A Song of Ice and Fire; Sansa Stark)

Probably the only wing!fic in anywhere in fandom that's ever worked for me. Possibly because there's so many bird metaphors in Sansa's story, or possibly because the idea of Sansa Stark growing wings and just flying away is so appealing.

- Crossing the River by [archiveofourown.org profile] smirnoffmule (A Song of Ice and Fire; Catelyn Stark/Walder Frey)

A fic I almost didn't read because the pairing is just a world of no. But it's not really about that, it's a brilliant Cat fic and a study in what you can do with a well worked canon divergence AU; in this case, what if Walder Frey asked a different price for letting the Starks cross the river.

- Wicked Blood by [archiveofourown.org profile] xylodemon (A Song of Ice and Fire; Rickon Stark)

150 years post canon a Stark tells a story of the villain Rickon Bloodhands. Stories within stories, man, I eat those up with a spoon. Heroes inadvertently becoming villains can so easily veer into character bashing, but when they're done right, I love 'em too.

- Sixteen by [archiveofourown.org profile] quigonejinn (Temeraire; oc)

There's a throwaway line in one of the books, about how the first longwing was harnessed by one of Elizabeth I's handmaidens, and I thought, somebody should write a fic about that, and behold, someone did!

- Second Son by [archiveofourown.org profile] jmtorres (Vorkosigan Saga; Kareen Vorbarra)

This answered a plot hole I hadn't even noticed when I was reading the books; to whit, if all first sons on Barrayar are named after their father's father, why is Gregor called Gregor and not Ezar? I love Kareen here; I love stories about the powerless taking power in whatever small ways they can.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
1. Sky News have autotuned the Scottish referendum. Professional journalism at its finest, folks!

2. I continue to really enjoy this series of Doctor Who, without having much to say about it beyond that I'm enjoying it again, and that's good.

Wait, I do have one thing to talk about, About Missy's identity )

3. I got my [community profile] femslashex assignment, and it's pretty fucking awesome, and I'm excited to get started on it. While sign-ups were going on I was playing a prompt game on tumblr, so I've ended up writing a bunch of little femslash ficlets

About As Helpful As You Can Be (without being any help at all) (Merlin; Gwen/Morgana)
Freedom and Safety in Madness (Merlin; Morgana/Freya)
Home To A Place You Have Never Been (GoT; Sansa & Shae, Starks)
Teenage Kicks (GoT; Sansa/Margaery, modern AU)
Gymnophoria (ASOIAF; Sansa/Margaery)
Snakes in the Grass (ASOIAF; Arianne/Tyene, Sand Snakes)
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost (some are taking an extended walking holiday) (Discworld; Susan/Angua)
Taste Your Words (Kushiel's Legacy; Phedre/Ysandre)
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett (reread)
Parasite - Mira Grant
The Brides of Rollrock Island - Margo Lanagan
Fever - Megan Abbott
Two Serpents Rise - Max Gladstone

Kind of a slow month, book wise, partly because of one or two books that I found kind of hard going, but also because I did something a bit silly. I'd been hanging onto my old Kindle Keyboard in the hope that it might loop past obsolete to really quite retro and neat; but I saw a good deal on a refurbished Kindle Fire and got one of those instead. It is nice to have a wee tablet; but it's slightly too big, slightly too heavy, slightly too breakable feeling, and slightly too "hey, tumblr's right there; who's for a quick game of Angry Birds" to use as a dedicated e-reader.

Feet of Clay is, interesting enough, the first book I've reread this year. I used to reread books a lot, and now I hardly ever do. Partly it's because I feel my age, and realise that there are more interesting books in the world than I could possibly read even if I did nothing else. But it's also, and more honestly, because I used to have no money, live in a rubbish public library system, and own twelve books that I just reread on a loop. But it's always a good time for Discworld and the City Watch.

I think this is the point where I accept that, although she butters many parsnips, Mira Grant's fiction does nothing for me. Parasite is set in a near future where people are implanted with their own personal intestinal parasites which regulate their health, and it was just a roll call of meh for me. For one thing, although it was meant to be 2027, apart from the intestinal worm thing, it's indistinguishable from 2014. For another, the "plot twist" is so obvious and telegraphed from so early on that it barely qualifies for the name. The body horror angle that should be there in a story about personalised body-controlling tapeworms was so tepid as to be nonexistent. Oh! And Our Protagonist suffers from memory loss; she is either an adult woman with amnesia, or an entirely new person who is six years old; there's an entire subplot about whether her parents should have guardianship of her or not, and it keeps coming up that she's still relearning the English language, and yet no one questions her being a sexual relationship!? Bah!

I had read Tender Morsels last year and been utterly traumatised by the contents; two in the morning, ugly crying traumatised. But at the same time I'd thought that Margo Lanagan's writing was completely gorgeous. The Brides of Rollrock Island is about selkies, and is quietly, completely, desperately heartbreaking; but very lovely. I'd definitely recommend reading this one first.

Fever was one of those books that was so very Not For Me, that it's hard to tell if it's objectively any good. That's one of the things I don't like about the Kindle Fire: it's a bugger to sideload, and impossible to organise once you've got things on there; so unless something's absolutely awful I'll probably just plug on to the end. It's about a small town where teenage girls start coming down with a mysterious illness; and is it mass hysteria, is there foul play afoot, is it the polluted lake at the centre of town, or the HPV vaccine the girls have recently had..? Who knows, and by the end of the book, I really didn't care very much.

If I haven't already made a ringing endorsement of Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence books, then you should consider this a ringing endorsement of the Craft Sequence books. They're set in a fantasy, some sort of magic-punk, world where people have used magic to overthrow their gods, and are trying to figure out what happens next. They remind me in a way of China Mieville's Bas-Lag trilogy , although these are a little easier on the brain.

Two Serpents Rise is set in the same world as Three Parts Dead, but in a different city with a completely new set of characters, which I love. I have recently discovered that I have very strong feelings that books in a series should have a self contained story. I am particularly biased against series that are just one long story split into parts. I mean, Lord of the Rings has been hugely influential on the fantasy genre and on me as wee thing, but it turns out that, damn, I hate a lot of its tropes.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
Well, that was the first Doctor Who episode I have really enjoyed in, gosh, simply ages.

Deep Breath )

Book Meme

Aug. 12th, 2014 11:56 pm
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
I've seen this meme as a pick a letter and I'll answer whack-a-doodle, but I am contrary and like talking about books, so I'm going to answer them all.

books a go-go )


Aug. 8th, 2014 11:10 pm
netgirl_y2k: (power is power)
1. [community profile] femslashex is running again! Hurrah! Especially as I have been feeling a little blech on the fandom front recently, but nothing can get me excited and engaged again like femslash.

You want to hear something alarming yet awesome? The femslash exchange started in 2004 (like, three sets of mods ago) and I have done it every year since that first one. My fandoms, the embarrassment factor of my writing, and my level of engagement in fandom have all varied, but I always make time for this one exchange; it's like my Yuletide. And I think that's... sad brilliant!

I must give some thought to which pairings I want to nominate; at least, on some level beyond listing all the named female characters on Vikings that I could possibly ship Lagertha with. I have a weird craving for Lagertha/Princess Kwenthrith after finishing S2 the other night.

2. Speaking of awesome fannish things: I know there are a thousand and one different versions of The Rains of Castamere, and this one guy wrote and recorded a bunch of additional verses (link goes to youtube).

3. Relatedly (if only because the guy in that link is Scottish) we're coming up fast on the date for the Scottish independence referendum, and I still have no idea how I'm going to vote. It's a toss up between girding my loins and voting Yes, or holding my nose and voting No; which is exactly where I was six months ago.

To be fair, both the Yes and No campaigns have been shit. Better Together have totally neglected to mention anything about why we may, indeed, be "better together", in favour of going: you're too wee, and frightened, and poor, and you won't cope. Which has been lovely, and not at all patronising. Whereas Yes Scotland have been playing the Mindless Optimism card so heavily that one could almost believe that they don't actually have another card.

Seriously, chaps, I'm here to be convinced. Convince me.

4. I got an anon ask on tumblr a few days ago asking me to talk a little about my hatred for the character of Merlin. It was interesting because, 1) I get anon asks now, apparently, and 2) I didn't think I'd made my distaste for Merlin obvious over there; I try to be good about using my tumblr for the things I love, and scrolling by those I... don't.

Anyway, because in my head the platonic ideal is that tumblr is for pictures and here is for words (although, like all platonic ideals, that fell apart pretty quickly) I'm going to repost what I replied there. It's not particularly long or insightful, because... tumblr. All the same--

Merlin— it’s mostly a lizard brain thing. I find Merlin (mostly in the latter series; if he hadn’t been endearing in S1 I wouldn’t have started watching the show) viscerally creepy and unpleasant, in a totally illogical and nonsensical way.

It’s also that as the protagonist with the lion’s share of the screentime Merlin got the worst of the belt from the show’s structural problems. So a lot of my hatred for the character is reflected hatred for the showrunners.

Anyway, under the cut, and in no particular order, a list of things that bother me about Merlin (the character, and by extension the show)

Read more... )
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
Day 5. Something for a minor fandom/pairing/character

This is tricky because I haven't done Yuletide for years, and I am very rarely in small fandoms. I'm in fandoms that feel small to me, because I'm only interested in a small corner of them. For instance, Merlin is one of the biggest fandoms of recent years, but it seems tiny to me because I can dismiss 90% of its fanworks out of hand as stuff I'm just not interested in. In ASOIAF too; I read more widely there, but I also do a hell of a lot of scrolling. It was in ASOIAF that I learned the virtue of finding a few authors whose stuff works for you, and then stalking the hell out of their AO3 works and bookmarks.

I think Legend of the Seeker (oh, you beautiful tropical fish of a show) is as small as I get.

Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Legend of the Seeker, Cara/Kahlan, Richard/Kahlan)

This was another one for the pick a pairing, pick a trope meme. I used to write a lot of tropey fic; less so these days, my ASOIAF stuff tends towards future fic or canon divergence AUs, with strong overtones of 'the women are the strong ones.' Although, one of these days I am going to write my Sansa Stark: reluctant werewolf fic.

The trope was that one where people have the names of their, ahem, soulmate written on their wrists. Which is one of those tropes (not unlike A/B/O) which came to prominence when I wasn't paying attention. It's also (once again, not unlike A/B/O) a trope that does extremely little for me. Soulmates, destiny, and obsessive love all being huge turn-offs of mine; there's an OK Cupid profile for you!

The fic's only twelve hundred words, but it's kind of a deconstruction of this trope, and why it doesn't work for me. To whit, what if your soulmate is a terrible person? What if they live on the other side of the planet kingdom and you never meet them? What if you've fallen in love with somebody else before you meet them? What if somebody is your soulmate, but you're not theirs? What if the general consensus is that magic tattoos are no basis to run a society on, and the whole thing is regarded as more of a guideline, or a suggestion?

I think someone with more interest in the trope than me, and with a longer attention span, could do fascinating long fic in this vein.

Also, my thing with Legend of the Seeker, and why I never got into it as much as I wanted to, is that Cara/Kahlan is an awesome femslash pairing, but that Richard is what would happen if a golden retriever puppy got turned into a real boy, and he should never be sad.

Of course, my headcanon for them is that Richard and Cara both love Kahlan, but that they have the best kind of sibling dynamic and will always try to avoid treading on each other's feelings. Kahlan loves them both, and after a fair bit of awkwardness (Richard) eye-rolling (Cara) and adorable smiling (Kahlan, but also Richard and Cara) they could Work Something Out.
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The Republic of Thieves - Scott Lynch
God's War - Kameron Hurley
The Miseducation of Cameron Post - Emily M Danforth
An Untamed State - Roxane Gay
The Queen of the Tearling - Erica Johansen
The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
We Were Liars - E Lockheart

I was so so on the first Gentlemen Bastards book, freaking adored the second, but perhaps I was just blinded by the lady pirates, because The Republic of Thieves met with a resounding "meh" from me.

On the plus side, we finally get to meet the oft spoken of Sabetha, and there are some neat feminist bits on Sabetha's feelings about being the only girl Gentleman Bastard, and always being in Locke's shadow; there were lots of funny, charming, witty sections; say what you like about Scott Lynch, but the man can turn a phrase. On the minus, neither the current plot (Locke and Jean competing with Sabetha to rig an election) or the flashback section (the young Gentlemen Bastards stage a play; ostensibly to teach them to grift and work as a team, but really they just put on a play, and not a very good one, at that) ever really get going, and the pacing felt clunky as hell.

The city-destroying bondsmagi, which I'd though were fascinating when viewed from afar in The Lies of Locke Lamora, turned out to be much less interesting up close; where they seem to mostly bicker internally and interfere in local politics. Then there was the end, which took a sudden, awkward turn from shenanigans to grimdark, and a reveal about Locke's "mysterious origins". And my feeling on protagonists with "mysterious origins" can be summed up thusly: please keep them to yourself.

I wanted to like God's War more than I did. It's set in a matriarchal society because all the men automatically get drafted into a holy war that's been fought for so long that it's origins have basically been forgotten; there's a delightfully bizarre insect based magic/technology system. But. But, it's low on description, so it's hard to envisage the world, and what should be pretty significant world-building points, like the fact that there are shape-shifters, only merit a throwaway mention. The plot was occasionally hard to follow; it's fast paced and exciting, but often in a sort of: wait, wait, what happened? who are they? what's going on? type way. Then there were the characters; now I don't think that characters always have to be nice, but all the characters here were so viscerally unpleasant that I couldn't imagine willingly spending any more time with them.

I'm intermittently annoyed that everything seems to be a series these days, even sometimes things that would be better off as stand-alones; but that's the Gentlemen Bastards and Bel Dame Apocrypha that I don't feel like I have to keep up with.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is about a girl coming out in Montana in the early-mid 90s, and I couldn't put it down for two days. You know when a book just speaks to you--? Not the parts about making out with cowgirls, or being shipped away to pray away the gay camp parts, obviously.

My experiences ran more along the lines of being felt up in the sixth form art room, and coming out to my parents to such a thunderous lack of reaction that to this day I'm honestly not sure they actually heard me.

But about how things were in the days in before the internet (there's a great quote that's been floating around tumblr about how if you think the internet is making us lonelier then you were never lonely before 1995) and how desperate you can be to see yourself reflected somewhere. Cameron endlessly rewinds that one scene from Personal Best; at least I had Xena when I was doing my own teenaged coming out a few years later. Representation matters, etc. But at least kids coming out now have youtube and netflix and tumblr gifsets, and thank goodness they do.

An Untamed State was another one that I couldn't put down. It's about a Haitian American woman who's kidnapped for ransom while visiting her family in Haiti. Everything horrible that you worry might happen to a woman kidnapped by a group of men happens, but it's exactly as horrible as it needs to be, and not at all titillating. (This is my residual GoT S4 feelings speaking; I now consider a rape scene not being sexualised to be a selling point.) It's awful, and harrowing, and compelling, and recovery isn't easy or neat, but it's possible. If you think the sexual violence wouldn't upset you too much, then I highly recommend it.

First things first about The Queen of the Tearling, when I rule the world all books that are the first in a trilogy will be forced to declare so, on the first page, in bold print. It's about a queen who was raised in exile, and comes into her throne to undo some of the mistakes of her mother's rule. She has a circle of loyal guards, and the antagonist is an evil queen sorcerous type.

So far so much typical fantasy fare with a kind of Arthurian twist. But the thing that makes it a bit different is that apparently this is a post apocalyptic world, "post-crossing" they say in the book. So I think the answers to the questions posed by that (why does the post apocalyptic world look like feudal Eurpoe? Where did the magic come from? How did the people get here; the book says they sailed but that must have been metaphorical sailing, right?) will either lift it above the mediocre or make it crash and burn. Yeah, not bad, but too "first book-y" to really say much about it.

The Goblin Emperor is about the despised half-goblin son of the emperor of the Elflands who unexpectedly comes into the throne when his father and older brothers are killed. I'd sort of been side-eying this because... elves, golblins, boy characters. But it was brilliant, completely and totally brilliant! Totally immersive world-building, and sucked me into elven court intrigue, to the point where I finished it and came out blinking into the light, going, where will I find another book that good?

We Were Liars was not that book. There's a huge (over-rated, to my mind) twist at the end, so I won't say much about it. The experience of reading it reminded me most of Lev Grossman's The Magicians, not because the plots are at all alike, no, but because they were both books that came highly recommended and that I read going I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR WANKY PRETENTIOUS RICH KID PROBLEMS, FUCK'S SAKE.

Okay, it's possible I have some, ahem, class-related issues.

Anyway, now I'm dipping in and out of the Discworld, because I couldn't find a good follow-on to The Goblin Emperor, and I panicked.
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In exchange for teaching her to drive, I have negotiated occasional use of my sister's bicycle.

The bad news is that I have completely shredded the muscles in my thighs. The good news is that totally unbeknownst to me, I apparently have muscles in my thighs.

Day 5. Something for a major fandom/pairing/character

This is Tomorrow (the getaway driver remix) (Doctor Who; Donna Noble, Christina de Souza)

Doctor Who is doubtless the biggest fandom I've ever been in, but it's also one that I've drifted away from in recent years. From my perspective the biggest difference between RTD Who and Moffat Who is that RTD Who appealed to me on a fannish level, while Moffat's stuff doesn't, at all.

Which isn't to say that one's objectively better than the other. They've been re-running some of series two and three recently, and some of those episodes had fallen right out of my head, and with good reason (the treatment of Martha, and the clique of Ten and Rose were both worse than I remembered.) That said I do think the last christmas special was a stinker, and a sign that Moffat is reaching the end of his imagination as showrunner; Capaldi's arrival may well give him a shot in the arm, but some new blood behind the scenes is probably called for.

I think the main difference is that when Moffat Who does something to annoy me, I just go "meh" and wander off; when RTD Who did something to annoy me I wrote thousands upon thousands of words of fic fixing it. Also, pretty much all of my qualms about the Tennant era got drowned out by series four, which even though it only was one series still defines Doctor Who to me. Ten and Donna and their bickering BFFs in space dynamic hit sweet spots I didn't know I had.

So even though Donna's fate was horrible I approached it with a sort of "la la la, let me fix that for you" attitude. Because there's no way Donna's never going to remember, not even a little, not even subconsciously, there's no way.

So, yeah. This is the one where bits of Time Lord knowledge are leaking in around the edges of Donna's mind and she ends up running off with Christina de Souza in a flying bus. I must say that I didn't come up with that combination of characters, that was from the fic I remixed. I'd actually read and loved the original fic when it was first posted, and gone, damn, I wish I'd thought of that.

There are two kinds of really interesting fics to remix, I think. The first is something that you would never write--

Not something that you dislike or just aren't interested in; one of the reasons I'm so bummed that the mooted female character remix never got off the ground, because a lot of the time I'm plain not interested in stories about dudes.

--something that it would never occur to you to write, where you have to tweak your brain 180 degrees to the right to come up with an angle that's you. The second sort is a fic that you read and wish you'd written, and now you get to! This was definitely the second type; it's the most fun I've ever had writing a remix. My entire Donna Noble phase was hugely enjoyable, actually.
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Meme was interrupted by the unusually clement weather, and the suspension of all activity that was not sitting in the sunshine, drinking variously flavoured ciders, and reading. Apricot cider is awesome; berry cider tastes like alcoholic ribena, and not in the good way. The Goblin Emperor was excellent; The Republic of Thieves less so.

I have not been keeping up with the news coming out of comic-con, because tumblr is the best source for it, and there's only so much infinite scroll that my ageing laptop can cope with. On the plus side, this is a marvellous mechanism for preventing tumblr from becoming too much of a time-suck. But I did see the casting news for S5 of Game of Thrones. Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell is awesome, and a thousand fancasts come to life. I am bummed, but somehow not surprised, that we don't seem to be getting an Arianne. On the one hand, I like Arianne, and I think that she's important to the narrative, but I know there are people who think Victarion Greyjoy is an interesting and narratively important character, and I think those people are wrong. But it feels churlish to bitch just because it's a character I happen to like that's being omitted this time. On the other hand, I suspect that with Arianne we'll also lose any hint that things are different for women in Dorne, and that actually disappoints me more.

Day 4. Something you made just for yourself

Here Be Dragons (Merlin/Temeraire; Morgana, Aithusa)

This is quite possibly the most self-indulgent thing I have ever written, with an intended audience of... well, me. And on that level, at least, it works.

Temeraire, I love the set-up and the world-building; I could live without the slightly forced world travel, and from book to book the plots do very little for me... but that's more than made up for by: holy cow, regency dragons! Merlin, the world building would have had to work a bit harder to be considered half-arsed, and I could have cheerfully lived without Merlin himself; but for lizard brain reasons I adored Morgana. And I was fascinated by Aithusa -- I mean, this wee baby dragon that was supposed to be a good omen for Merlin and Arthur saved Morgana's life, and became the only thing in the world that Morgana openly cared for. On a Doylist level I get that it was because the showrunners didn't know what to do with Aithusa after introducing it, and the CGI cost more than they'd thought; but on a Watsonian level-- it was fascinating.

One of the things that I wished got more time in the Temeraire novels is that there are certain dragons that will only accept female companions, and I made use of that in order to write a scene where Merlin tries to harness Aithusa, and she's just clinging to Morgana's leg going not enough nope in the world, which I justified by saying, well, that's more or less what happened in canon. Merlin's not a bad guy in this fic (although he and Morgana take against each other at once) and he ends up as Kilgaarah's captain; because there's a difference between I don't like this character and don't want to waste words on him, or even I have issues with this character that I would like to see explored more in fic, and character bashing. On the rare occasions I write Merlin I go out of my way to be fair to him, because christ on a cracker I hate that guy!

Aside from dragons, my other favourite thing are lesbians. So, yeah, Morgana is gay here. Partly because I don't think that she was straight in canon. And partly because as incoherent as Morgana's characterisation was a lot of the time, one of the defining things about her is that she has a secret, and she's afraid of the consequences should it come out. And in a world without magic - lesbianism, then.

Morgana develops a crush on Elena. Usually when I want Morgana to have a female love interest I use Vivian (there's too much baggage with Gwen, and I have rarely wanted to reach through my television and fix something so much as I did the end of Sweet Dreams.) Nothing happens between them. When I was writing this I was on a kick of wanting stories about gay characters who don't end up in relationships. Not the tragic queer cliche, no. But sometimes you're gay, and it's an important part of your identity, and you notice women's attractiveness; but you've also recently been conscripted into the dragon arm of the regency era armed forces (or, y'know, whatever...) and priorities.

Anyway, writing shamless self-indulgent id-fic is good for the soul, I think.


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