[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: (brand new day)
As a part of the homework I get from my counsellor-therapist type person, I'm sitting here making a list of my finer qualities. So far I have that I'm funny, reasonably well-read, and kind to children, the elderly, and people who work in service jobs. I mean, I'm kind to other people too, but outside of those groups it's on more of a case by case basis.

Anyway, I'm bored of that now, and there's a meme going around.

Give me a character and I will tell you...

* How I feel about this character
* All the people I ship romantically with this character
* My non-romantic OTP for this character
* My unpopular opinion about this character
* One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon.
* Something about them I consider true, even though it's only my head canon/fanon

Fic Recs

Apr. 10th, 2014 01:12 am
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
I always seem to do well out of [livejournal.com profile] got_exchange and this last round was no exception.

Between the dragon and her wrath by [personal profile] lareinenoire (Rhaella Targaryen, 7700 words)

This was my gift and made me do something undignified, and best described as flappy hands of incoherent glee. It's an AU where Rhaella Targaryen (best known as the unfortunate wife of the Mad King, and the woman who died giving birth to Dany) survives her daughter's birth, and seeks a safe place for her children, and maybe someday revenge.

It contains all the things I like: queens, giving a depth and a character to women who were little more than a name and a footnote in canon, female friendships, fascinating family dynamics, and queens. Yes, I know I said queens twice there; I just really like queens, is all.

If you also like any of these things then I can't recommend it highly enough.

I also recommend:

Rumour Has It by [archiveofourown.org profile] mautadite (Sansa/Margaery; 7600 words)

This a Game of Thrones Hogwarts AU, with femslash! If you don't want to read it after that then I don't know what to say to you, except this: Sam finally gets to be a wizard!

Of Women Flower Of All by [archiveofourown.org profile] rachel2205 (Sansa/Margaery; 3700 words)

This is a historical AU that seamlessly transplants the characters and politics of Westeros into the 15th century. I love it when smart people fandom.

Those of you who are not GoT/ASOIAF people probably stopped reading me long ago might enjoy this fucking amazing Discworld fic where Vetinari is a woman, and also rises to power with the aid of Sybil Ramkin.

Ladies Who Organise by [archiveofourown.org profile] reckonedrightly (female!Havelock Vetinari; 6600 words)

Two Swords

Apr. 7th, 2014 07:44 pm
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
I have been bad at posting of late, fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) the new series of Game of Thrones just started, and I can always talk about that.

I was of mixed feelings before the first episode. On the one hand, I really like the show (sometimes I think I prefer it to the books, but that's at least a little bit because I want to know how the story ends, and I honestly think the show is the only reason we're going to get there in anything like a timely fashion) and the trailers were getting me really excited. On the other hand, the part of fandom I hang out in is mostly book-fans and there's a lot of negativity towards the show - of the HBO ruined everything variety. And I know I'm in a minority here, but while I have been annoyed by some of the changes the show has made, I genuinely think most of them are in the service of trimming the fat and making the narrative more streamlined and watchable. For instance, if Asha Yara was to go straight to the north and we were to skip the kingsmoot and never see a Greyjoy nuncle, I would never complain about the show ever again. That's a lie, but I still think that it would be the right way to go.

Of course, some of the changes are in the service of more boobs, and that's annoying for a different reason.

My other unpopular opinion is that I don't think the show is any worse at female characters, misogyny, or sexual violence than the books.The show is more exploitative, and in desperate need of some naked dudes to even things up (I vote for Oberyn Martell), but thus far I haven't felt that the show has fetishised sexual violence in the same way the books sometimes tilted at (Lollys Stokeworth and her fifty rapists). Dany was raped by Khal Drogo in the books, if not on her wedding night then definitely afterwards, and I had no problem with the show making that explicit.

Eek, that's quite a lot of words before I've even started talking about the new episode, so Two Swords )
netgirl_y2k: (sansa wolf girl)
Hild - Nicola Griffith
When Will There Be Good News? - Kate Atkinson
Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson
The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch
Adaptation - Malinda Lo

I thought that Hild was totally fucking brilliant. It's a fictionalised account of the early life of St Hilda of Whitby, and it's wonderfully immersive, it's like sinking into a warm bath, except instead of water you've just slid into seventh century Britain. The amount of research that must have gone into it boggles the mind. There are lots of Old English words and spellings, but not in a way that's jarring, but in a way that fits, like reading Tolkien for the first time, you know? I've read complaints that Hild's bisexuality was too modern and broke the spell, which I didn't find at all, I thought Hild's sexuality fit seamlessly in with the world and character that Griffith's had created - and taking dubious sexual advantage of a woman you're keeping as your slave isn't exactly the mark of a modern relationship - also, what, you don't think there was anybody who wasn't straight in early history? The complaint I did think had legs was that the book did end a bit abruptly, but I think that's because I didn't realise that it was book one of two, I'm really looking forward to the sequel. Highly, highly recommended.

I've been enjoying Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie mysteries, but having read a bunch of them in quick succession I've noticed a repeated theme, where a damaged young person ends up in the care of an equally damaged yet well meaning guardian figure through, er, unofficial means. Which is fine and all, it's just one of those things that makes you wonder what it is that keeps bringing the writer back to that particular story. Both of the Jackson Brodie's I read this month were good, but I think I preferred When Will There Be Good News?, I thought the mystery was better, and that Kate Atkinson's authorial tics were less apparent to me. Also, in Started Early, Took My Dog one of the rotating cast of POV characters was a woman in her seventies in the early stages of dementia, which I found really difficult and upsetting to read.

The Lies of Locke Lamora has been on my to-read list for some time, and when I got my [livejournal.com profile] rarewomen assignment I wasn't really feeling the request for the fandom I'd been matched, and one of the other requests was for Gentlemen Bastards fic, so I thought I'd check out the first book. Um, yeah, probably not. There were lots of things I liked about it, I thought the world building was astonishingly good, I especially liked the bit about the bondsmages. I loved the idea of an exclusive guild of wizards who would go all scorched Earth on anyone who opposed them, and I think that the endless narratives that try to frame magicians (mutants, telepaths, etc) as the oppressed underclass could stand to take notes. It took a long time for the main plot, with the Grey King, to kick into gear but once it did it moved along at a fair clip. I thought it could have done with a few more female characters, but the head of the secret police being an eccentric old lady who stabs people with knitting needles was pretty awesome. Locke himself is likeable enough but -- neither the Magnificent Bastard or Smarter Than You And Knows It are character types that do anything for me. And I was put off right at the beginning by Locke's con-artist shenanigans, especially as his victims were also quite likeable. I'll probably read more in the series but I'm in no rush, you know? Then again, given that this series seems to being published at about the same rate as ASOIAF maybe that's no bad thing.

Adaptation. Oh. Oh dear. So, this starts off quite promisingly with massive inexplicable bird strikes bringing down planes all over North America. I have a phobia of birds, so the idea that they may someday turn on us is genuinely scary to me. To this the book adds a government conspiracy, mysteriously developing superpowers, Area 51, and a bisexual love triangle (which manages to make it only slightly less hackneyed than every other love triangle in YA these days). Oh, and then the protagonist's female love interest turns out to be an alien... because aliens have been secretly living among us since Roswell. It manages to be both ludicrously overloaded and utterly bland. Very much not recommended.

I am currently jumping between The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and the first of Jo Walton's Tir Tanagiri trilogy, both of which are proving to be quite slow burners. I'm loving the 13th century bits of The Doomsday Book, again, totally immersive in the best way, but its near future Oxford sections are letting it down. I think maybe it's just the book showing its age; I'm supposed to believe that in the future they have time machines but not mobile phones, really!? The King's Peace, an Arthurian legends AU with gender equality and a female knight as the protagonist, all the things I usually like, is proving a bit of let down. I think because Jo Walton's earlier books can't stand up to the expectations of her I have after reading Tooth & Claw and the Small Change trilogy. Also, lady knights are my catnip, and I read a lot of books featuring them, to the point where they have become something of cliche to me, and it's like this book is lampshading the cliche (look, a female knight!) and then not doing anything interesting with it.
netgirl_y2k: (panic)
I had almost decided to sit out the returning remix until I noticed that they've revamped the qualifying fandoms meaning that I could sign up with just Game of Thrones, and I wouldn't have to offer either Doctor Who (Moffat Issues, bleh) or Merlin (where there's an extremely high risk of an untenable match; both on my end, and for the poor bugger who might be assigned to remix me with the not unreasonable, and yet still false, assumption that among my 50+ Merlin fics there might be one that's actually about Merlin and Arthur).

I am a bit miffed that Once Upon a Time didn't even merit being put to the vote. Although, I would have had to write more to qualify; perhaps it would have been motivation to finally get to those Aurora/Mulan or Emma/Regina fics I've been wanting to write. On the other hand, there's a lot of Belle/Rumpelstiltskin in OUaT fandom, and Belle/Rumple is a bit like Arthur/Merlin for me, in that no one who likes the pairing really needs to hear my opinions on it. For the curious, my opinion on Belle/Rumple is neatly summed up thusly.

Game of Thrones has that much going for it, there are dude characters that I couldn't care less about - Hi, Stannis Baratheon! Your narrative is a constant revelation to me, but only because I keep forgetting that you haven't died yet - but there are very few that I absolutely couldn't write. And I'm not sure there are many people who exclusively write, like, the Greyjoy uncles anyway.

Anyway, I'm still musing over whether to sign up, or to hang on and do the female character remix ([community profile] femmeremix) in early May. In the old days of the remix I was quite often assigned to remix people who mainly wrote slash, and they were often awesome writers, one or two of them I'm still friendly with now. But I would be lying if I said that it wouldn't be nice to know in advance that there'd be some female character centric fic for me to remix, and also that someone wasn't opening my AO3 page and going: Aw, no, not her, or at least, not for that reason.

Of course, it's entirely possible that I'll lose all self control and do both.

But I'm putting the cart before the horse, because I still haven't written my [livejournal.com profile] rarewomen fic. My assignment is perfectly doable, although it isn't exactly singing to me. I feel like I'm repeating myself a bit when it comes to fic with the women of ASOIAF: something something patriarchy... mild feminist propaganda... background lesbianism... here, have this crown, try to do better than the dudes... repeat until you've run through all the women in the 'verse... eh. Still, hopefully the start of S4 will prove inspiring in some way.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
Okay, so this was written for the Game of Thrones exchange and is largely a character study of Dany and her painfully awkward political marriage of convenience to Jon and Aegon.

Now I love Dany, even though I think she's not a queen, she's a conqueror with an conscience, which is way more interesting to me. I like Jon fine, though I'm largely blah on him as a romantic interest. And if Aegon isn't an impostor then I will eat my hat; seriously, it's one of my very few deal breakers with the series. So, there's that.

Kiss The Boys And Make Them Cry
A Song of Ice and Fire; PG-13; 4,300 words; Dany/Jon, Dany/Aegon, Aegon/Arianne

Dany is not convinced that Jon is Rhaegar's son, and she does not believe that Aegon isn't an impostor, but she marries them both to keep the peace.

Fic Post

Mar. 8th, 2014 02:56 am
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
Okay, so this is partly a protracted thought experiment about how the Night's Watch might function if it was an all-female pseudo-mediaeval military outfit. Blame this graphic.

Partly it's a lovely AU about Arya getting to grow up to be a shieldmaiden, and make some friends her own age who don't leave her and aren't hardened murderers.

Twelve thousand words, very little plot, no sex, and no male characters. No excuses and no regrets.

The Sisters Black
A Song of Ice and Fire; PG-13; 12,165 words; Arya Stark, Lyanna Stark, Wylla Manderly, Lyanna Mormont, Maege Mormont, Brienne of Tarth, Sarella Sand, Mya Stone, Kyra, Pia

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no husband and bear no children. I shall wear no gowns and no jewels. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life's blood to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

-The Sisterhood of the Night's Watch
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
London Falling - Paul Cornell
Life After Life - Kate Atkinson
Dangerous Women - George R.R Martin & Gardner Dozois
Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
Wildthorn - Jane Eagland
The Shattering - Karen Healey
Enduring Love - Ian McEwan

I think I mentioned that I'd started London Falling in December last year, and had been dipping in and out of it without ever really being gripped. Well-- it ended better than it started, but that's really the only good thing I can say about it. I mean, I'm not sure which was published first, but it felt like everything London Falling was trying to do was done better in the much more readable Rivers of London. Also, London Falling was the straw that broke the camel's back when it came to London centric urban fantasies. I officially no longer give a fuck about how super special and magical London is, if I want to read about the amazingness of London then I have my choice of news outlets for that; I read this stuff to escape from the real world, tell me about secret supernatural underworlds beneath Cambridge, or Newcastle, or Edinburgh, you know.

It wasn't just that, though, the characters all felt so utterly flat and same-y (except for Quill, who read like a refugee from a sub-par episode of Life on Mars) that it was hard to tell whose headspace you were in at any given moment, and the POVs ricocheted around so quickly that some of it I found genuinely hard to parse. There were awkward tonal shifts between "there's a wicked witch who kills any footballer who scores a hat-trick against West Ham" and "Oh, by the way, she does this by boiling children alive." Very much not recommended.

Lesson: No matter how much a book has been talked up, if you're not enjoying it, stop.

Life After Life, on the other hand, I really did like. It's about a woman born in the earlier half of the twentieth century who gets to live her life over and over again, giving us multiple perspectives on that time without ever having to change the pov character, which was quite clever, I thought. I most enjoyed the multiple takes on WWII, and thought the section where she was living in Berlin at the end of the war was especially affecting. Spoilers ) Recommended.

But, yeah, it was definitely more historical fiction than historical fantasy. Which actually got me thinking-- don't get me wrong, I still think London Falling was a genuinely poor book, but also that I am probably burnt out reading the SF/F genre almost exclusively, and I really ought to try and read more of other kinds of books, just to break things up sometimes.

Dangerous Women I talked about a bit when I read it, collected short stories notionally, at least, on the theme of dangerous women (Diana Gabaldon boy did you miss the point with your elaborate tale of faux Scottish manpain) leading up to the new historical A Song of Ice and Fire novella The Princess and the Queen which was-- fine. And if GRRM is going to be writing things that are not the next book I would far rather this than the likes of The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister. But, still.

Unpopular opinion in ASOIAF fandom: I want the show to overtake the books in term of plot. There's a point where you just want to know how it all ends, you know?

Case Histories I read partly because I'd so liked Life After Life, and partly as part of my effort to read more widely. It's about a private investigator, Jackson Brodie, investigating three decades old crimes that actually come together surprisingly well by the end of the book. I liked it, I will probably read more in the series, but like a lot of the time when I read crime and mystery, I don't have an awful lot to say about it. Although, wait, I do have one minor thing to say, at the end of the book Jackson surprisingly inherits millions of pounds from a little old cat lady he's reluctantly befriended, and let me tell you as someone who's spent the better part of ten years working with elderly people in various ways, that has never happened, to anyone, not once. I mean, I read books about dragons, so I'm not sure why that minor plot point tripping up my suspension of disbelief so badly, but seriously, nope.

Wildthorn is about a young Victorian woman who wants to train as a doctor, and her family shuts her up in an asylum for her trouble. It's full of cliches and is kind of overwrought, but it also has female characters following their dreams against the odds, lesbians, and a happy ending, and as such it struck my id right on the head; I liked it a lot.

The Shattering I read because people had recommended Guardian of the Dead to me, but The Shattering was what they had the day I went to the library, so. And it was-- fine, it was about three teens investigating a series of suicides-cum-murders, and it took a peculiar turn towards magical realism about halfway through. The one thing that did stop me being resoundingly meh on it was the New Zealand setting, which was about as far way from London as you can get. I shall definitely try to get a hold of Guardian of the Dead at some point.

Ian McEwan is an excellent (Atonement) and overrated (everything else, also kind of Atonement) writer. The basic premise of Enduring Love is that two strangers meet at the scene of a freak accident and one of them becomes obsessed with the other. It was all very well written, but what did bug me about it was this-- as far as I know, stalking and stalkers turning violent is something that happens most often to women, so the hook of this novel seemed to be what if this terrible thing, that overwhelmingly affects women, happened to a middle aged straight man, wouldn't that be awful? Bah!

I am not sure what I'm going to read next, I have heard good things about Hild.
netgirl_y2k: (cersei fuck)
I have been in a sulk all week because of a really shit job interview I had on Monday. Of course I was asked about the fact that I've been out of work for a few years now, which is a fair enough question, and gives me the chance to go into my "As you know, Bob..." answer about being a carer, and how it was unplanned, but ultimately improving and character building, and the many things I learned doing it that could be applied to paid employment. All fine and dandy, until the interviewer asked if there was anyone they could call to verify that I really had been a carer...

It wasn't even that they asked, not really, it was they way they asked, the assumption that of course you were a liar until proven otherwise. I mean, I have my flaws, and I am not above the odd white lie - but I would not make up a loved one suffering from dementia to cover up the fact that I killed a man in Reno just to watch him die.

Anyway, I didn't get the job. Which is rather a relief. At the risk of sounding like someone David Cameron would like to see shot on the village green, I didn't really want it, I just wanted the interview practice. I would prefer not to work in a call centre again unless I'm really up against it. Plus, I've worked places where the management have that distrustful us-against-them attitude towards the staff and the atmosphere is invariably toxic and awful.

The other thing I have been doing this week is reading my way through the Dangerous Women anthology, which like a lot of people I was mainly reading for the new ASOIAF novella in it. I could have just skipped the rest of the book and read The Princess and the Queen, but it was the very last story in the book, and that would have felt, in some obscure and difficult to articulate way, like cheating.

My absolute least favourite story in the anthology was Diana Gabaldon's contribution, which was an overlong story about Jaime Fraser's manpain, and did nothing but reassure me that never reading the Outlander series has been a good life choice. It left me annoyed not only with Diana Gabaldon, but with the editors for not insisting that a tacked-on afterthought of a subplot about a woman thief didn't really count, and they would keep her in mind if they were ever putting together an anthology called faux-Scottish manpain. Indeed, a few of the contributors seemed to have missed the point (or, at least, what I wanted to be the point) writing stories about dude protagonists being led astray by femme fatals. Joe R. Lansdale and Lawrence Block (whose contribution was a protracted snuff-scene, eww) were particularly guilty of this.

But that's the nature of anthologies, isn't it, that you'll like some stories better than others. I unsurprisingly enjoyed the Brandon Sanderson one, and I really liked that Jim Butcher's contribution was a Dresden Files story from Molly's point of view. I still read and enjoy the Dresden Files, but one of my biggest nitpicks with it is that Butcher creates all these powerful female characters then seems to go to some pains to show how they are all less powerful than Harry, so it was refreshing to see Molly in her element and from her own pov. The Lev Grossman story was another example of how I like Lev Grossman's writing, but that he has never written a single character that I didn't think could be improved by the application of a partially defrosted haddock to the face. The Joe Abercrombie and Robin Hobb (dottie old women getting a new lease of life in an AU dystopia, squee!) contributions made me want to give both authors another shot.

I ended up really enjoying the historical fiction stories about female Russian fighter pilots during WWII, Constance of Sicily, and Nora, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine (not in the same story, obviously). I think that part of the reason I've been having so much trouble getting into what I've been reading recently, is that I've been reading SF/F almost exclusively and I really should read more historical fiction, or literary, or crime fiction, just to break things up a bit. On this note, if anyone has any recs for fiction about interesting women of history (real or not) I'd love to hear them.

The Princess and the Queen --

Okay, obviously anyone suggesting that we should chain GRRM to a keyboard and only feed him if he meets a minimum daily wordcount is being an arse and should kindly shut up. But. But, if he's writing anyway, and he's writing in the ASOIAF universe anyway, and he's got the show coming up behind him (I know S4 is only covering the latter part of ASoS, but the trailers have reminded me how little the plot actually advances over the course of AFfC and ADwD) then I really think he ought to be spending that time writing The Winds of Winter.

But if he was going to write a historical novella I would much rather have had this than another Dunk and Egg instalment or heaven forfend, The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion bloody Lannister. Because I was interested in The Dance of the Dragons, and fascinating Targaryen women are one of my niche interests in this universe. Maybe Aegon isn't a fake? Maybe he really is a Targaryen dude? Maybe that's why he's so utterly, utterly uninteresting to me?

But mainly two things:

1) Writing it as an historical account written by a maester years later was an interesting exercise in structure, but also made it seem like any halfway decent fanfiction writer could have tackled this, and seriously, George, Winds of Winter?

2) The dragon-riders, and the way the dragons were used in battle was a bit Temeraire-like, Temeraire-lite? And I had always liked the idea that the dragons had died out over a century or so as magic left the world and they became increasingly difficult to hatch. So the reveal that despite being nigh on un-killable, they were, to the last dragon, killed off in this super convenient Targaryen civil war felt a bit... contrived.

So, yes, it was good from a completionist point of view, but mainly... Winds of Winter?
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
I have spent the weekend watching all the episodes of Reign thus far, for reasons that are yet to become apparent to me. Reign is a mad show, it is like someone was watching HBO while eating some exciting cheese and thought, you know what would be cool, if someone were to re-imagine Game of Thrones as a teen soap opera. It's notionally set during Mary, Queen of Scots' time at French court, but frankly it could be set at Winterfell or Camelot for all the difference it would make. It's cheesy as hell, but ridiculously pretty and epic looking, like nobody told it that it was a show about Mary, Queen of Scots' boy drama. I'm finding it charming and somewhat addictive. It has some really good lady friendships between Mary and her ladies-in-waiting, and Megan Follows doing a delightful turn as the evil queen with layers, Catherine de Medici (oh, that's why I'm watching it, yes). I'm less interested in the love triangle than the show wants me to be, mostly because due to his inability to grow a proper beard I can't take Francis seriously as a love interest, and Bash is just sort of there. Anyway, in my head it's a fantasy show about Mary and Catherine and what it means to be a queen.

And speaking of Game of Thrones... I know we weren't, but go with the link anyway. I've been watching the trailers and behind the scenes stuff for season four, and getting quite excited. But I did notice that this year Dany's plot seems to be her ADwD stuff; the fuck-up foreign queen with the feral dragons, and I think that's a good choice, to be honest, because she was set up as this white saviour trope at the end of S3, and I'm hoping that they're going for a deconstruction of that straight away, rather than another season of Dany traipsing round Slaver's Bay "liberating" cities, which is what I was expecting.

I've actually always liked, or more accurately, I want to like Dany as a queen in the East. I like that she's having to learn to be a ruler the hard way (another reason why if Aegon isn't a fake I will eat my own hair), I like that she's turned this noble idea, that as a queen she must protect people, into this massive messiah complex, and even more I like how very much it doesn't work. It's in theory an interesting storyline, but blimey did it make for painful reading, not to mention making fandom kind of a minefield for a while if you liked Dany at all. Anyway, I'm sort of hoping the whole thing will work better on screen than it did on the page, the trailer looked promising and if nothing else it will have Emilia Clarke's face in it.

But I was thinking - what with The Winds of Winter still nowhere in sight - they're getting to the end of the existing canon for Dany. Sansa too, because I heard that the moon door scene was shot for S4. But it's mainly Dany, if it were most other characters I would expect the show just to just back-burner their plot, but especially when it comes to advertising HBO seems to be pushing Dany, along with Jon and Tyrion as the three big draws, so.

I'm not actually averse to the show overtaking the books in terms of plot; I would like to know how this story ends before old age comes for us all...
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
Elantris - Brandon Sanderson
The Rapture of the Nerds - Cory Doctorow & Charles Stross
Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie

I've been slow to get off the mark with reading things this year, nothing was really catching my interest. Usually, I really love my kindle, but when you're having trouble deciding what to read there's something singularly uninspiring about a big long list of titles, especially when you can't remember what half of them are or why you wanted to read them in the first place.

Sometimes you just want to judge a book by its cover, you know? To that end I've been reading the paperbacks I got for Christmas.

I liked Elantris well enough, but it was Brandon Sanderson's first published book, and you know how you sometimes go back to read an early book by someone whose later work you enjoy, and the rough edges seem really obvious? It had a lot of reoccurring narrative tics that I'd encountered in Sanderson's later stuff - like a romance between an ordinary person and someone with nigh on godlike powers. I always like Sanderson's worldbuilding and magical systems, which I find endearingly coherent, even if here I find them... slighter than I did in Mistborn or Warbreaker.

The one thing that did annoy me in Elantris was the female protagonist, Sarene, or rather the trope she inhabits where she's convinced she is irredeemably unattractive because she's, um... tall and a bit strident, and that she's doomed to be alone forever, all the while the male hero and the male antagonist and probably some others too are falling hopelessly in love with her. It's just -- I'm not against having unattractive women in media, indeed I think it's actually pretty important that we do, just let them be genuinely unattractive, and stop pretending that unattractive and endearingly clumsy are even in the vicinity of being the same thing.

In conclusion, if you want to start reading Brandon Sanderson might I be so bold as to suggest starting with Warbreaker, which was by far the best of the two stand-alones I have read.

My sister got me The Rapture of the Nerds, and I really ought to have given her my too-buy list to work from, or at the very least taken it back and swapped it for something else. I would have done, too, except that I'd already used the receipt to return the Tom Holt book she gave me. I think she went into Waterstones and got book recommendations from someone who likes SF/F like me, but is much more into, um, boy-books I guess I'd call them, than I am.

Anyway, The Rapture of the Nerds, christ on a cupcake this was awful. You know how people will sometimes recommend Good Omens on the grounds that it gets you the best of Pratchett and the best of Gaiman, and that's actually true, I put my indifference to it entirely down to the fact that I don't care for Gaiman. The Rapture of the Nerds is the worst of Stross and Doctorow, and is little more than self-indulgent, meandering, incoherent claptrap. Very much not recommended.

Ancillary Justice was the first book of the year that I've really liked and found super interesting. The main character was once a spaceship, and also simultaneously thousands of bodies slaved to the ships AI, and after she, spaceship her (see, already it's interesting; and I am in awe of the author for being able to keep this up for however many hundred pages) is destroyed she's left with one human body. The other really interesting thing is that the dominant human culture in the book has no concept of gender, there are men and women, of course, but it defaults to female pronouns - she and her - for everyone. And what I found really fascinating about this was, right, I got that Breq is biologically female, and that Seviarden and the Lord of the Radch were biologically male, but I hadn't a clue as to whether the rest of the characters were men or women -- and it mattered not a whit, and didn't affect the plot in any way. I frickin' loved that. Highly recommended.

I've also been dipping in and out of Paul Cornell's London Falling (tbh, I've been dipping in and out of it since mid-December). I don't know why it hasn't been grabbing me, it's a perfectly good book (and if you're into diversity in urban fantasy you should probably read it) but I keep putting it down to read other things and feeling no pressing need to pick it back up. Maybe I'm just not in the mood for urban fantasy, or Rivers of London fulfils any need I have for "characters use traditional police methods to investigate the supernatural". Btw, if anyone knows of any UK set urban fantasies that don't take place in Bloody London they should tell me about them; if I want to read about the special-specialness of the Greater London area I'd pick up a newspaper.

Anyway, I'm like three quarters of the way through it so perhaps I'll try to push through it before I start something new; which will be Life after Life, The Doomsday Book or The Lies of Locke Lamora if anyone particularly recs or anti-recs any of them.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I have belatedly seen The Desolation of Smaug, and I lost the will to live round about the same time as I lost all the feeling in my bum, which is to say about an hour and a half before the film actually ended.

My main complaint about the The Hobbit movies, beyond the particular meandering pointlessness of Desolation of Smaug remains this: It's like the films Peter Jackson really wanted to be making were a trilogy of the Lord of the Rings films, only he found himself tragically hamstrung by the fact that he had already done so, and overcompensated by bloating the Hobbit beyond all reason.

Also, this morning I woke up with the random impulse to make a trifle, so this afternoon I made a giant trifle, and I am now scoffing trifle. I love it when life shakes out like that.

Also also, ever since I first saw this graphic I've been a mite obsessed with the idea of the Night's Watch as a sisterhood, and I've started writing a fic about Arya taking the black, which is really just an excuse for a protracted thought experiment about how an all female Night's Watch might have come into being, and might function.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
Of my recent life choices, the one I feel best about is choosing to watch The Bletchley Circle. I know, I know, watching a TV show shouldn't count as a good life choice, but my other notable life choice this week involved flaming sambucas. So. You know. My standards are low.

Anyway, The Bletchley Circle. I don't know why I didn't watch the first series when it was on last year because ITV could basically have subtitled it The Bletchley Circle: Watch This, Gillian, It's Relevant To Your Interests.

If you haven't watched the first series you should, it's only three episodes long, and it's bloody brilliant. It's about four women who were codebreakers at Bletchley Park during WWII, and afterwards are having problems readjusting to the restrictions put on women's lives in the 1950s. And they end up chasing a serial killer using their super-powers of maths and female friendship.

It's also got lines like: all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing, or good women.


women kill too, you know.

not like this, only men do this.

And if you have watched it, you should absolutely talk to me about it. For instance, I can't be the only one who thinks that Millie isn't entirely straight, right? And that she was at least a little in love with Susan during the war? I'm glad it's not explicit canon, because it would be a bit the tragic queer trope, but I'd like to think that it was intentional subtext.

Spoilers for the first two episodes of series 2 )

Fanwork recs (in case my pitch is working)


Turn to Stone by [livejournal.com profile] barkley

Gorgeous vid of friendship and frustrated potential.


Throw Roses In The Rain by [archiveofourown.org profile] inlovewithnight (Millie/Lucy; post S1)

The fic that converted me to this pairing. I do think that Millie was in love with Susan at Bletchley, but I like that's she's basically moved on, and this is the fic that convinced me she could move on with Lucy.

Follow Your Arrow by [archiveofourown.org profile] marginalia

A wonderful study of Millie and adventure.
netgirl_y2k: (nina she wolf)
Firstly, there is no reason for any human person to drink sambuca. Ever.

Secondly, bloody ouch.

Thirdly, I hope this marriage my best friend is undertaking sticks; partly because I think his future wife is terrific and I wish only for their happiness, but mostly because another stag do might be the end of me.

I have always had mostly straight boys as friends -- partly because a lot of my mates are holdovers from our student days, and at uni I sneered at the idea of the gay society and seeking out friends just because we shared a sexuality (I was an arse back then), and partly because having spent the latter part of my twenties as a full time carer, I ended up mostly socialising with straight couples because the people I knew with very young children were the only ones who were keeping the same sort of hours as me and didn't mind that I was gently rattling with stress and always looked like I'd recently been crying, because that's how they felt too.

And anyway, they're all individually great chaps, but I usually hang out with them in ones and twos, or with their partners. I'd forgotten how much being the only woman in a crowd of straight guys can feel like hard work, even if you're being treated like one of the boys, especially if you're being treated like one of the boys. There were a couple of guys there that I didn't really know, too, cousins of the groom, and a bit more, ahem, laddish than I would usually spend time with, so that made it a bit harder to relax, because I couldn't shake the feeling that I was about to do a midnight set at Chuckles, you know?

I mean, the stag do was fun. Amsterdam was lovely, I'd like to go back someday and see it properly when I'm not trapped in a vortex of "banter" and flaming sambucas. Fun was definitely had, but I do feel like I need a weekend away to recover from my weekend away.
netgirl_y2k: (annie strong)
Well, that was staggeringly unhelpful )

And on that cheery note, I fully intent to spend the rest of the day watching the first series of The Bletchley Circle, because I caught the first episode of the second series the other night and thought that it was wonderful despite not knowing what's going on or who anybody is.


netgirl_y2k: (Default)

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