netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I had a big, long post about the election planned, except it basically boiled down to: well, that was weird. Good weird, I think. I'm not sure.

I'm glad I got to keep my SNP MP, because she has been A Good Egg. But it turns out that my newfound evangelism for Scottish independence was soft, and based on the presumption of a permanent tory majority in Westminster, because as the night wore on I realised that I honestly wouldn't have cared if the SNP had lost all their seats, so long as they had all broken for labour or the lib dems.

Thirteen tory MPs in Scotland. There goes a perfectly good panda joke. I mean, fuck's sake, hating tories was the one thing we were good at up here. I blame it entirely on Ruth Davidson and her un-tory like ability to act like a real, actual human being. On the other hand the constituencies that went conservative were old school tory seats, so maybe things aren't weird, maybe this is the closest to normal we've been in years?

In conclusion, I have no conclusion... Let's talk about books.

City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennet
The Power - Naomi Alderman
Peggy & Me - Miranda Hart
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud - Elizabeth Greenwood


City of Miracles is the final book in the Divine Cities trilogy, which has been brilliant, is about the aftermath of people killing the gods, and which is not shy of killing off characters that you would have thought had plot armour. This is a satisfying conclusion to the series, in which divine offspring make their appearance; it's maybe the weakest of the three, but that's largely because the first two set such a high bar, which it ju-st fails to clear. But if you've been waiting to read them until the series was concluded then don't walk, run. Highly recommended

The Power just won the Bailey's prize, so if you believe the Bailey's panel, maybe read it, if you believe me, probably don't. In it women develop a vestigial organ that allows them to conduct electricity, and suddenly we're the dominant sex. The thing that never worked for me is... like, while I believe that given a sudden biological advantage women might well be shit to men, what I couldn't buy was that they were immediately shit to men in the style of 1970s misogynists. As straight sci-fi I don't buy it and think it lacks imagination, and as metaphor I think it's too on the nose. The one thing I thought it did really well was of all the rotating povs only one was a dude, a Nigerian journalist, and his incremental fear and realisation that his bodily autonomy wasn't necessarily inviolable was extremely well done.

Memoirs about people's lives with their dogs are one of my guilty pleasures, and Peggy & Me has the benefit of being genuinely hilarious.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay has been sitting in a pile of unread books for, oh, years, and I had a hankering for a physical book after a run of ebooks. I assume I'm pretty much the last person in the world to get to this; it's about the golden age of comic books, but it's also about the second world war, and being gay in the 1930s, and families both biological and of choice. I loved it. It's nearly seven hundred pages long, meanders all over the place, and is essentially a boy book about boys, and still I loved it. So there you go.

Playing Dead is about people who've faked their own deaths. Except it's not about that, it's about the author whinging about her boring life, and student loans, and the google 'how do you fake your own death' rabbit hole that she went done. The problems with this book are numerous: 1) the writing is rubbish, 2) it's not a book, it's an eminently skippable internet article, 3) about a fifth of it is about people who believe Michael Jackson is still alive, which appears to have only been included to inflate it to the minimum wordcount for publication, 4) the author's personality really came through in the writing, this was not a good thing.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
I very rarely go to the cinema; it's so expensive, telly is so good these days, and there's so much of it. I think the last thing I went to was Ghostbusters, and I'll probably go again for Atomic Blonde. I feel like as I spend a not inconsiderable amount of time bitching about the lack of female led properties I should throw some coinage at those which come my way.

Which brings us to, ta da, Wonder Woman.

I was dismayed to look at the rota, and see that I don't have a proper day off until late next week. A week and a bit before I could see Wonder Woman. Anything might happen. All the cinemas in Scotland might lose their copies of the film. The internet might decide that it was shit and preemptively ruin it for me. The fandom might come and go without me.

Yes, I could have gone after work, but I've read too many articles about how long it's okay to leave a dog on it's own before you're being unkind. For what it's worth, I don't hold with the view that you shouldn't have a dog unless you're home all day; capitalism is a thing, and I'd guess that there are more dogs needing good homes than there are pensioners, stay at home parents, and people who work from home put together. Still, I think seeing a three hour film after being at work all day anyway is a bit much to ask of the dog. Plus, Freya has some Springer Spaniel in her heritage, and if not sufficiently entertained is wont to, ahem, entertain herself.

Anyway, while sulkily poking at cinema listings I noticed that my local, crappy, suburban cinema was doing midnight screenings last night, and for half the price of waiting and going to the big cinema in town next week. It hasn't cost me a fiver to go to the cinema since I was buying under-12s tickets. And it turned out that the crappy suburban cinema has gone upmarket since I was being taken to see All Dogs Go To Heaven twenty odd years ago - who woulda thunk it? - at least far enough upmarket that they sell wine now. The screens are still pretty basic, but it was actually a relief to just go to a 2D screening without having to scan fruitlessly through 3D listings and ones where, idk, your chair gives you a massage during the film.

I might have slightly scared the boy at the concession stand where I was buying half a bottle of wine and an obscenely large bag of M&M laced popcorn; I'd already come out by myself at midnight on a wednesday, might as well go the whole hog, you know?

"Are you looking forward to Wonder Woman?" he asked.

"ONLY SINCE I WAS THREE," I bellowed, in case the M&Ms, wine, and solitary middle of the night presence weren't clues enough.

Anyway, onto the film:

Wonder Woman )
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
In life it is important to always read any and all signs posted. For example, there is a sign in one of the parks that the dog and I occasionally frequent saying that all dogs must be kept on their leads around the pond; this is for the eminently sensible reason of stopping dogs from picking fights they can't possibly win with parentally enraged swans. I did not heed this sign, and guess what the dog did?

Yup. Charged barking at a swan with two cygnets. The worst of all possible swans to antagonise. The swan reared up to what, I swear to god, seemed like twelve feet tall with a wingspan that would have put those eagles in The Lord of the Rings to shame. The dog quickly realised that she'd made a huge mistake and bolted behind my legs, shaking and whining to be protected. The swan charged, and I did what anyone would have done if called upon to defend woman's best friend from a vengeful proto-dinosaur; I abandoned the dog and dived sideways through a hedge.

The dog was located twenty minutes later mooching around the ice cream van, presumably shopping for braver owners. There have been no sightings of the swan.

You know, if it wasn't for Freya I might give this whole 'outdoors' thing up as a bad lot.

The annual telly renewals/cancellations hoopla happened, and I was bummed to see Pitch and Sweet/Vicious go, both because I was really enjoying them, and because it felt like part of some sort of one step forward, two steps back, anti-representation backlash. But maybe I'm just projecting like whoa? Pitch is the one that really irks, because I read an interview with the showrunner where he said that the show only ended on that cliffhanger because they were that sure of their renewal prospects. And I can't help thinking that if they'd ended it with Ginny pitching a perfect game it would have worked perfectly as a self-contained mini-series.

I was super relieved that Brooklyn Nine-Nine got renewed, because, boy, would that have been a sucky note to end on; also, it's awesome. And I saw that Elementary was renewed, but only for a half-season, which I'm guessing means it'll be the show's farewell outing (I watched Person of Interest, I've been here before.) If so, I'm actually less bummed by this than I would have expected. The Shinwell arc never really worked for me, the Kitty reunion fell flat, and the last couple of episodes with Sherlock hallucinating his dead mum seemed symptomatic of a show fatally short of ideas.

The only thing I'm really excited for in the new glut of shows is Star Trek: Discovery. My new litmus test for stuff I really should check out is: are sexist eejits screaming about it on the internet? If so, hard yes.

I stopped watching Supergirl at the S2 hiatus, because my tumblr experience was naught but relentlessly negative on it. But after the finale I caught up with the back half of the season over a couple of days, and, unpopular opinion: I don't see any real difference in quality between seasons one and two.

It probably helps me that I don't miss Cat Grant. What can I say, corporate feminism does nothing for me. But by the same token, I can't get in to Kara/Lena either; I get stuck somewhere between 'what accent is Katie McGrath actually trying to do?' and 'I'm sure there's good fic for this pairing somewhere, but I can't find it for the dreck.'

I don't know, the pacing was borked, with too many competing storylines (Cadmus, Daxam, did we ever do anything with the fact that the president's an alien? or that Jeremiah's still alive?) The Kara/Mon-El romance couldn't have been any more generic without actually being a Nicholas Sparks novel. Actually, I've decided the perfect role for Mon-El in S2 would have been as Winn's love interest; that way Winn could still have been having quite a lot of sex with someone who doesn't understand Earth ways, and Mon-El could have had mentor-student shenanigans with Kara when the plot called for it. The show obviously doesn't have the foggiest what to do with James Olsen now that he's not the designated love interest in a way that's borderline offensive. And while I frickin' adored Alex's coming out and the slow burn of Alex and Maggie getting together, I was less sold on them as a couple; they were by turns too twee (the prom episode) and dysfunctional (Maggie's secrecy and Alex's total lack of boundaries) but I can't tell if the show was doing that on purpose or not. I would actually be open to Alex having a different love interest in S3 having learned that spontaneous proposals of marriage to people you haven't actually been with all that long are not the way to go.

S2 had it's problems, and it was definitely a soft reboot from S1, so that probably sucked for people who loved the first season more than I did. But, surprise surprise, tumblr was being hysterical when people were screaming about it having turned into some sort of misogynistic hellscape.

I liked it; I thought it was, by and large, fun and cute.

Books

May. 14th, 2017 04:49 pm
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
A Closed and Common Orbit - Becky Chambers
A View From the Cheap Seats - Neil Gaiman
Of Fire and Stars - Audrey Coulthurst
Within the Sanctuary of Wings - Marie Brennan
Want You Gone - Christopher Brookmyre


A Closed and Common Orbit is the second instalment in Becky Chambers Wayfarers series, and it took me a wee bit longer to get into than the first, only because I was that wistful that we weren't rejoining the crew from that book. Although it picks up with a couple of minor characters from the first book this one could be read as a standalone (although you really ought to read Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, because it's lovely). It's about found families, and sentient AIs, and transcending sucky circumstances. Cosy sci-fi that doesn't skip on the worldbuilding - I have my fingers and toes crossed for more in this world.

It's not a secret that Neil Gaiman's fiction does little for me (it always reads as oddly flat) but I do like his brain; I've loved the things he's written about the importance of libraries, and of creating things. So I picked up A View From the Cheap Seats, a collection of his non-fiction. And, yeah, about 15-20% was that, but the rest of it was reprints of intros he'd written to other people's books, and that can seem kind of circle-jerky at the best of times, but at least when the author is talking about things you've read you can agree or not with them, or where your tastes overlap you might discover new things to check out. But Gaiman's tastes are a bit too... 'boy nerd' to be helpful to me. So this was largely a collection of intros to books and comics I haven't read, and have no desire to read, as such... meh.

Of Fire and Stars is a YA fantasy where a princess travels to a new kingdom to meet the prince she's been betrothed too since infancy, only to find herself falling in love with his sister. And the f/f romance was lovely, it was a slow burn hate-at-first-sight to love that was, alas, trapped inside a painfully generic YA fantasy. If you were to write a YA novel using a write-by-numbers kit this is the book you'd write. The characterisation of the central pairing was thin (one is nice, the other is feisty) while the characterisation of the secondary characters was non-existent. Even the prince, upon discovering his fiancee in bed with his sister, manages to react with a little less feeling than a dead dodo. The worldbuilding lurches between the non-existent and nonsensical, even by the standards of YA fantasies.

My thing with this book was, like, imagine someone had written the book of your dreams, but it was shite.

Within the Sanctuary of Wings is the final instalment of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series, the outrageously delightful adventures of a pseudo-Victorian lady naturalist who specialises in dragons.

(I say final instalment because I read somewhere that Marie Brennan is working on a book set in the same world but a couple of generations down the line, which I am leery of because I am wary of diminishing returns, I mean look what happened when the Parasol Protectorate time skipped like that. But the Lady Trent series is complete, and, as mentioned, de-fucking-lightful.)

There is twist in this final instalment, that I don't want to give away, but in the hands of a different writer could have come across as straining suspension of disbelief but in Marie Brennan's made me look back on the previous four novels and go ooh, that's clever. I give the entire series a solid A.

While I'm on the topic of series that know, or don't, when to end: Christopher Brookmyre is one of my favourite writers, and Jack Parlabane my favourite of his creations. But this eighth instalment in the Parlabane series is an inadvertent argument that Jack should have been put out to pasture with, probably, Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks. Although, Black Widow was a good take on a reporter of legally dubious methods in a post Leveson world, but showing Jack back on the top of his game in Want You Gone kind of undercuts the value of that outing.

Also, Brookmyre has generally done a good job of moving Parlabane with the times, and as middle aged Scottish blokes go, he's pretty progressive, so the scene where the middle-aged Jack sleeps with twenty-five year old bisexual with an undercut kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

Basically, authors, know when to let your self-inserts go.
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
A joke I was told yesterday by a small boy:

Small Boy: I want Avengers potatoes for my lunch.
Me: I'm sorry, honey, there's no such thing.
Small Boy: Yes, there is. There's Hulk's Mash.

He's not quite four, so the set-up was much more drawn out and painful, but still... drumroll, please.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to do anything, partly because since last year my two best friends have adopted the aforementioned small boy. But when I mentioned to his mum that I didn't really have any plans she invited me to come round and spend some time with the wee guy until he went to nursery, and then we could have lunch. This invitation was issued was a tinge of desperation, and appeared to be code for: please come round and tag in for a couple of hours, if only to give him someone else to ricochet off, and then you can drink a glass of wine while I stare at you wistfully. A good time was had by all. Especially by me, as I spent much of the morning playing dead having been 'shielded' to death by a tiny child carrying a plastic Captain America shield (you have to lie very still and quiet until he comes back and cuddles you to make you not be dead anymore.)

I meandered back into town to the big bookshop. I was planning to buy myself City of Miracles as I've been looking forward to it all year and it was coming out on my birthday, but it's come out as one of those wonky oversized paperbacks that costs fifteen quid and fucks up whatever shelving system you're trying to work. Instead I got the final Lady Trent book, which I didn't even know was out yet, so that was just as good. Plus, the father of Small Boy, has been the one on the receiving end of most of my rants about Trump and the US election, so he got me Elizabeth Warren's book and wrote 'better luck next time!' inside the cover.

I retired to a pub beer garden for a couple of (3) pints and a little bit of the good Senator. I closed out the day by taking myself off to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I hadn't actually been that fussed about seeing Guardians; the film I really wanted to see was Wonder Woman, but they'd thoughtlessly failed to bring it out in time for my birthday. But ultimately I'm glad it worked out this way; I nearly pissed myself laughing, and I have all these Gamora and Nebula feelings that I know not what to do with.

Then I woke up this morning to discover that the local elections had given me the belated birthday present of a UKIP wipeout (good riddance to bad rubbish) although little else positive can be taken from them. Oh, I am so not looking forward to the general next month.

Ficcity Fic

May. 3rd, 2017 01:10 am
netgirl_y2k: (power is power)
I ended up writing three fics for the Fandom Trumps Hate auction. This is the last one, and I'd barred myself for doing any exchanges or taking any prompts until it was done, so I can sign up for stuff again (woot! woot!)

The prompt was for a fic where Lyanna became the heir to Winterfell when one of her brothers ran off with Rhaegar, and I tried and tried (there were drafts where I tried it with each of the three Stark boys; the one with Ned was especially hilarious, but not in a good way) but I couldn't quite make it work. So ultimately I killed all the dudes off ('cept for wee Benjen, who still gets to go to the Wall) and wrote a Lyanna lives AU where she gets to be the Stark in Winterfell; Elia lives too, because Elia should always live.

The person I wrote it for seemed to like it, and it's all for a good cause anyway.

How to Ruin Your Life and Disappoint Your Loved Ones (ASOIAF, Lyanna Stark, 5k)

Domeric had once told her that men called her the young wolf. Lyanna had heard herself called the soiled wolf, and other less kind things besides

or,

Lyanna's Rebellion.
netgirl_y2k: (power is power)
I am someone who's a total politics junkie. I watch BBC Parliament, and not just when I'm too delusional with fever to remember how to change the channel; I follow the elections of countries I don't live in; I vote in every election in which I am eligible with a song in my heart, because isn't democracy great!

And even I greeted the announcement that there's to be a snap general election with an "...oh, for fucks's sake", shortly followed by a grumpy, Scottish "so it's not the time for indyref2, is it? I see what you did there, May."

I think the reason I was okay, although not thrilled, about the prospect of a second independence referendum was that at least there I could see the possibility of an outcome I wanted: Sottish independence. What's the best possible outcome of this new election? A slightly smaller than expected Tory landslide?

I was pleased to see people calling bullshit on May's stated reason for calling the election. The opposition are threatening to derail the brexit process? Except Labour last opposed anything about eighteen months ago, and have voted through all of your brexit legislation with nary a whimper. The Lib Dems are threatening "to grind the government to a halt". Really, are they? All eight of them? Gosh, that's impressive. And I see we're back to the tactic of using Nicola Sturgeon as some sort of tartan menace with which to frighten English voters. De-fucking-lightful.

And who to vote for? On the one hand, I couldn't agree more that Labour is fucked until they figure out how to win seats in Scotland again, on the other hand I don't want to do anything that makes them think I endorse Corbyn's continued leadership. You know, I was fucking delighted when Corbyn won the party leadership the first time, but it hasn't worked; the horse is dead, stop whipping it. I wasn't wild about Owen Smith either (oh, Angela Eagle, we hardly knew ye) but at least he wasn't Corbyn.

I kind of understand the thinking of the Corbyn wing of the party, that the message is more important than the messanger. But not when the messenger is Jeremy Corbyn. He's one of those politicians where I agree with absolutely everything he says, right up until he says it. Look at that thing where he sat on the floor of that train; even if you're not in favour of renationalising the railways, the people receptive to the argument that the trains are overcrowded, overpriced, and badly run should be you, me, and everyone who's been on a peak time train since 1994. But his stunt was so poorly stage managed that it almost made you want to side with Virgin Trains.

Maybe a sufficiently bad drubbing will finally convince Corbyn to give up the ghost, but the questions then become, 1) will there be any public services left to defend come 2022, and 2) who would replace him? Especially now that we seem to have decided that anyone who voted for the Iraq War (who are 95% of those qualified), regardless of their current position on it, is a non-starter. But if we've taken nothing else from the US elections, surely we should take the lesson that there's little point being progressive if you can't get elected and actually make progress; your moral purity might keep you warm at night, but it does fuck all for anyone else.

I used to like the Lib-Dems. And, honestly, I thought they got unfairly pilloried for the coalition with Tories. A wee bit of pillorying was certainly called for, but wiping them out and returning the Tories with a majority seemed like cutting off your nose to spite your face; and everything the Tories have done in that last two years kind of lends credence to the Lib Dem story that they were hanging on to the good side of history with their fingertips. I do like that they are an unapologetically pro EU party, but I am iffy on Farron and his prevaricating on issues like abortion and gay rights. I think to vote for them I'd have to be willing to put brexit above all else, and I'm not there.

There's also the fact that I'm apparently a Scottish Nationalist now. I wasn't always. Even during the last referendum my attitude was one of, eh, I'll be fine if it happens, but either way is cool. It wasn't even brexit that made me a full on convert to the cause of independence, although that was the start of it. It was a few weeks ago during all that posturing in the direction of Spain over Gibraltar, when I finally went: I can't take any more of this government by Daily Mail, it's embarrassing, I just want to go.

The SNP have kind of a tough hand to play because they did so well in 2015 that they could win, and handily, but if they fall short of running the table it'll be seen as a loss and a reason that Scotland should just put up and shut up. So, toddle off and vote I shall.

Oh, well, I'll take cold comfort from the hope that the bottom has fallen out of the UKIP vote; most of its base having returned to their natural home in the cold, unfeeling arms of Theresa May's Tories.

Also, um, I have some new people here (also, old people from LJ!) Hi, hello! Here is more about my political leanings than you probably ever wanted to know.
netgirl_y2k: (kahlan white dress)
The Wolf Road - Beth Lewis
Only Ever Yours - Louise O'Neill
His Bloody Project - Graeme Macrae Burnet
A House Without Windows - Nadia Hashimi
The Mandibles - Lionel Shriver


You know that bit when you were reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road and you thought, you know, I would be enjoying this book a lot more if it featured women and apostrophes?

Um, that may just have been me...

Anyway, The Wolf Road is really good. It's set post-apocalypse (the cold war turned hot) in which a young woman discovers the mysterious man who raised her is a serial killer, and goes on the run pursued by her past, a frontier lawman (law-woman?), and a semi-tame wolf. Along the way she rescues another young woman from dystopian sex-traffickers and discovers the meaning of friendship. So, yeah, this book is pretty much catered exactly for my id, and I really loved it a lot. Also, it's properly punctuated, so that's good too.

I got only Ever Yours as a job lot with Asking For It, like, a year ago, and then didn't read it because Asking For It fucked me up so much. While that one was a contemporary YA about the aftermath of a gang rape, this one was a dystopia where women (called Eves) are designed from scratch and raised to be either wives or concubines. It's like the world's most horrifying boarding school story. And as a straight dystopia it doesn't quite work, there are too many holes in it; the idea that female infanticide would reach such levels that women would simply stop conceiving female children is not how biology works, especially not over the course of a generation or three. But as a parable about how society treats teenage girls, and encourages them to treat themselves, it really does work.

So, yeah, whatever it loses for ill-thought out worldbuilding, it more than makes up in will-fuck-you-up-ness.

His Bloody Project is about a murder in a 19th century Highland crofting community, and if you like faux discovered historical documents and unreliable narrators this might just be for you.

A House Without Windows is set in Afghanistan, about a woman accused of the murder of her husband and the Afghan-American lawyer fighting to free her. And that plot was fine, but much more compelling to me were the scenes set inside the women's prison, where more than half the women were locked up for 'morality' crimes, and some of them had been turned in by their own families to keep them safe from so called honour killings. I really must find a book about that to read.

I read The Mandibles and holy mixed feelings, Batman! The first three quarters of it I really liked; it was set in 2029 and all about the catastrophic implosion of the US economy. Economic dystopias are fast becoming my favourites; I think because the best ones speak to what we're afraid of, and while I'm not afraid of nuclear winter, I am afraid of having to work till I'm almost ninety caring for people only a little older than myself.

But then the last hundred pages skipped another ten years into the future after there had been a partial recovery, and holy mackerel, did I change my tune. The problems I had with it were threefold:

-Firstly, I think it's safe to say that Lionel Shriver disagree on basically everything to do with taxation and redistribution of wealth. The part I found most objectionable was the idea that caring for the elderly and vulnerable is only worthwhile if it's on an individual charitable basis, and society wide safety nets are what's going to doom us all. Oh, fuck off.

-Secondly, Shriver's obvious self-insert character, who had been fun up to that point, saved the day and lived to one hundred and three. Ugh.

-And thirdly, in the flash forward people have to have a chip implanted under their skin to use like a credit card; and there's a really gross and overwrought comparison between that procedure and sexual assault. And, like, that's one of my hard no's in fiction. You know what's like being raped? Being raped, and literally nothing else. I'm not saying that other experiences can't be as bad or even worse, I'm just saying that those experiences should find their own word.

So, yeah, Lionel Shriver? Start and stop at We Need to Talk About Kevin.

As for what I'm going to read next... my TBR is looking a little listless. Anyone read any good books lately?

telly

Apr. 8th, 2017 10:31 pm
netgirl_y2k: (bo & Kenzi huh)
It was the first really lovely day of the year where I've been off, so I decided to take the dog and go properly hiking for the first time since last autumn. And, eesh, I'm wrecked. That diet of sad cakes and scotch I've been on since early November (...for some reason) has not been good for me. At least I'm not alone; the dog is pooped too, and probably one opposable thumb away from calling the RSPCA to report me for cruelty to excessively lazy dogs.

Anyway, now that I've proved my point that I do sometimes go outside and get some fresh air, honest, lets talk about telly.

Doctor Who starts next Saturday and, eh. I've mostly enjoyed Capaldi's run, and I really liked Twelve and Clara together, but I kind of wish I'd properly bowed out when Clara got to run off in a TARDIS of her own. I was unimpressed with the last couple of specials, even by the standards of Christmas specials. Also those seasons where the current Doctor has a run of episodes with his successor's companion, so that we're not replacing two beloved characters at once, are rarely among the show's best work. Exhibit A: Eleven and Clara, which accomplished little more than making me hate Eleven, and giving Clara a lot of work to do to redeem herself as a character. But I do wish, for when they start talking about the show's ratings, because they always do, that there was a wee form letter that you could send to the BBC:

Dear BBC, I have stopped watching your Saturday evening show, Doctor Who, this is not because you have included a lesbian companion, which I think is awesome, but almost entirely because you have included Matt Lucas as a backdoor companion, which I think is cheating and shite.

Oh, well. Speaking of time travel shows: Legends of Tomorrow finished its second season this week, and I am genuinely shocked by how delightful I've been finding it. It's my favourite show of 2017, easy. If you're like me and you noped out of the pilot because of how silly it was and how seriously it seemed to take itself, I recommend checking back in with season two; it's gotten sillier, and better yet, it knows it. I recommend the episode with the confederate zombies, or the one where the team travels back to an anachronistic Camelot seemingly solely so that the show can make a Lancelot pun out of the fact that their bisexual female protagonist's name is Sara Lance.

I am such a hypocrite about Sara, because I like that she's bisexual, and I love that the show calls her bisexual. But, really, all I want from her is her fuckboy adventures through time kissing historical ladies and single-handedly causing the witch trials by fucking all the girls in Salem. It's part of the reason I'm glad that Captain Cold's not on the team any more, because I thought maybe they were going to do that thing with bi female characters where she can kiss ladies, sure, but only ever have meaningful relationships with dudes; the other reason is that something about Wentworth Miller's delivery as Leonard Snart grated on me for some reason, and it's not that he was chewing the scenery; everyone is, and it's brilliant.

I actually really liked the cast shakeup in S2, and that Rip wasn't in a lot of it; there was something about the casting of Arthur Darvill and the costuming with the long brown coat that was a bit how close to Doctor Who can we go before we're edging onto copyright infringement? Plus, Captain Hunter's enforcement of minimum standards of competency was kind of ruining all the fun. The Legends are at their best when they're both the cause of and the solution to all of time's fuck ups.

I have lots of oh captain, my captain feelings about Sara, and lots of feelings in general about Mick; but mostly I just love everyone in this bar.

I am quite a few episodes behind with Supergirl, and will probably wait till the end of the season to catch up, if I do. Part of the reason I'm thinking of noping out of the show is that I read that they want to make season three even more easily crossed over with the rest of the Arrowverse, and I don't watch Arrow or the The Flash, I don't want to watch them, and I kind of resent the feeling that she showrunners are trying to foist all of them onto me as a job lot. The other reason is, yes, there have been things I've liked about season two...

Alex's coming out story, and everything about her relationship with Maggie, has been perfect; I really appreciated that they did a coming out story with a (relatively, I suppose) older character, when they could quite easily have said that Alex was always gay and it just wasn't mentioned n S1. Winn, also, is delightful.

But the pacing has been iffy to say the least; and I'm, er, not sold on the Kara/Mon-El romance. It's irksome because Mon-El is a perfectly charming tertiary character, and whenever he's not being written as a love interest he's funny and lovely, and if their relationship had been written with that humour and lightness of touch I would have been fine with it. But their romance is stilted and awkward and written with a weirdly heavy hand. I don't know if they're going for some sort of star crossed Romeo and Juliet thing, but what's coming across is the network is making us do this; it doesn't help that Chris Wood is one of the most CW looking actors I have ever seen; it's the jaw line.

And while I'm not enjoying the relationship, I'm also not enjoying the fandom hate of it. There's been a lot of trying to match their scenes up against those 'how to know if you're in an abusive relationship' checklists thing that people do. And sometimes those people are making valid points, and a lot of the time it's like they're trying to score points in some never ending fandom slugfest that no one's ever going to win.

It's my least favourite part of tumblr fandom; you can't just not like a show, ship, or character; you have to armchair psychiatrist why no one else should like it either.

On a happier note, I am watching Grace & Frankie, and wish to know why no one told me how delightful it is? I am going to ration the third season because I'm hoping it will see me through until Brooklyn Nine-Nine comes back from the war. Does anyone know when that's going to be?

Books

Mar. 29th, 2017 12:53 pm
netgirl_y2k: (brand new day)
I know it's been yonks since my last reading post, but in my defence The Wall of Storms is, like, nine hundred pages long.

The Rogue Not Taken - Sarah MacLean
The Wall of Storms - Ken Liu
We Go Around in the Night and Are Consumed by Fire - Jules Grant
The Secret History of the Mongol Queens - Jack Weatherford
Certain Dark Things - Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Sarah MacLean's historical romances are hit and miss for me, and The Rogue Not Taken was definitely a miss. The first time I read that her new series was going to be a sort of Kardashians Regency AU (the heroines are all scandalous sisters whose first initial is S) I went '...eh, I'm not sure that's going to work', and at least in this one, it didn't. It features one of those irksome couples who insist on not communicating for two hundred pages, because if they actually talked to each other the book would only be twelve pages long. The heroine is upset about being rich and titled, and just wants to run a small bookshop in the Cumbrian countryside, which I think is meant to be relatable but was just insufferable. The Hero is named King (King, for God's sake) you have to have a certain sort of charm and gravitas to pull off a name like King, and this dude did not have it in spades. Give it a pass, I'd say.

The Wall of Storms is the follow up to The Way of Kings which I'd read when it first came out and had only been 'eh' on. I'd really loved the prose and silkpunk worldbuilding, but I'd had pretty big issues with its handling of female characters, which had been, um, tokenistic. I feel like whatever criticism of The Way of Kings' female characters there was, Liu really took it to heart, because The Wall of Stoms is orders of magnitude better on that front. There is a running subplot about the emperor trying to arrange the pieces on the board to enable him to name his daughter his heir; one of the pov characters is a young female scholar and it shows the institutional hurdles she faces even though the emperor has said, 'sure, women can sit the palace examinations.' Plus, a little more than half the way through vikings attack on vegetarian dragons, so that's cool. I mean, it's long and pretty dense, but I'd rate it as one of the better epic fantasies on the go at the moment.

We Go Around in the Night and Are Consumed by Fire is about lesbian gangsters in Manchester, and is a hell of a fun read, about friendship and revenge and being irresistible to most of the women in the north of England. Okay, there are some stylistic choices that I didn't necessarily grok; it's a very tight first person, and why do you hate speech marks so much, Jules Grant? But it's about lesbian gangsters, so I'm willing to overlook that stuff.

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens is my favourite sort of history; the secret history of women. It's about the female descendants of Genghis Kahn, at least the ones who survived being excised from the historical record. I particularly enjoyed reading about Queen Manduhai, who took her boy husband to war in a box, and despite this ignominious beginning they seemed to have a long and happy marriage. More broadly, it was another illustration of the journey of women through history being one of one step forward, half a dozen steps back.

I finished Certain Dark Things last night after staying up past my bedtime because I was enjoying it that much. It's the first vampire book I've read in forever where my reaction wasn't 'ugh, bored.' I think maybe the only genre harder to make feel fresh is zombies? It's set in an AU version of Mexico City in a world where various species of vampires were discovered by humanity in the late sixties. A seventeen year old trash picker falls in with an Aztec vampire on the run (the native species of Mexican vampires trace their lineage back to the Aztecs, but they're being pushed out by an invasive species of European vampires.) The friendship, turned romance is actually very sweet. It helps that the boy is the human and the girl the vampire rather than the usual other way round, and that the age difference is seventeen to twenty-three, which, yeah, is significant, but it's not seventeen to three hundred. Also, there's a genetically engineered doberman, and it's just really good. Highly recommended.
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
I was seven episodes into Iron Fist before io9 published their helpful summary of what happens in case you were only watching for Defenders related reasons, and in the self-defeating spirit of 'I've started so I'll finish' I carried on to the bitter end.

I mean, I like bad telly. I loved Lost Girl, I like Wynonna Earp, and I even liked the couple of episodes of syfy's girl Van Helsing that I saw. But I feel like those are shows that know they're bad telly, they lean in to the fact that they're bad telly. Iron Fist is bad telly that labours under the misapprehension that it's good telly.

You are the worst Iron Fist ever )
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
Scotland was having a pretty decent Six Nations and we got all excited for the England fixture, which then... happened.

At half time my dog slid off the couch and puked her dinner all over the carpet; and, like, aw, pal, I know exactly how you feel. You know a game's going badly when you go: yup, I'm going to go clean up this dog vomit, because that sounds like more fun than continuing to subject myself to this match.

(The dog's fine, by the way. I just need to get her a slow feeder so she stops bolting her food. Not least because that's twice now I've had to sit up with her all night in case her dicky tummy turned out to be bloat and both she and my wallet had to be rushed to the vet hospital.)

Scotland's last match is against Italy in Edinburgh, and Italy's been having a shocker of a tournament so I feel a bit bad that the only way to salvage a bit of national sporting pride is to kick them when they're already down. On the other hand, I've already paid for my ticket, so get kicking, lads!

Also:

It looks like we're having a second independence referendum, about which I have, er, mixed feelings.

I was pro-independence last time, but in a sort of half-hearted, either result will be fine with me, type way. I was much more invested in, and upset by, the general election, Brexit, and Trump. I'm much more pro-independence now, admittedly not in a happy, optimistic way so much as my thinking is: Christ, let's just go already.

And that's the root of my ambivalence, because I don't think a second independence referendum can be won right now. I don't think Sturgeon wanted to call one, really. I think she wanted May to give her a teeny, tiny concession so that she could depart the field and call it a draw, but she backed herself into a corner, and so.

Don't get me wrong, I think the nationalists have a compelling narrative this time: Hard Brexit - Tories as far as the eye can see - The Maybot isn't likely to be handing out further devolved powers.

But I think the oil prices will always scupper them, because the counter-narrative 'Aye, and with what money?' seems pretty much unassailable.

One of my old school lefty mates, his stated reason for voting to remain in the UK last time was that with the loss of Not-England as a defining part of our national identity, Scottish politics would probably lurch to the right. And I think there's something in that; I've long suspected that the real reason UKIP never got a toehold north of the border wasn't so much the racism and xenophobia, alas, but that English nationalism doesn't play well up here.

On the other hand, freed of Corbyn drag and with the SNP no longer able to distract from their failings by going: ...but, England, Scottish Labour might wake up.

God, I don't know. But at least our own home grown brouhaha will distract me from what ever the fuck is going on across the Pond; there's only so much about Nixon a girl can read.
netgirl_y2k: (panic)
1. You know how I was talking about my best friends going through the adoption process, well, their wee boy (my atheist godson!) came home at the start of February and I got to meet him this week, hurrah!

Honestly, I haven't had that much fun since I was three; none of my grown-up friends want to stage elaborate fake swordfights with me using stuffed dinosaurs as weapons. Plus, I was reminded of all sorts of important things that you forget when you're a grown-up, such as when out and about it is important to keep one's eyes peeled for dragons and gruffalos.

I'd got his dad a Deadpool graphic novel for his Christmas, and the wee man had found it and become completely enamoured with it. Luckily, he's only three so can't really read yet, and there was nothing too inappropriate in the panels. Still, the kid was asking and asking for the story to be read to him. And my friend, in a remarkable display of procrastination, had said 'Your Auntie Gillian will read it to you when she comes to visit,' and hadn't told me about it until I'm having this Deadpool book shoved into my hand to a chorus of 'Read it! Read it! Read it!' So there I was trying to make up a story that sort of fit with the pictures but was suitable for little ears. And that's how I spent my afternoon making up fanfiction on the fly about Deadpool and Abraham Lincoln rescuing a bunch of chimpanzees from a hungry dinosaur, in space.

He's a cracker, this kid. I'm going to pick up some slightly more kid friendly comics for him. Miles Morales was my first thought, but his approach to life is currently very smashy, so maybe She-Hulk, too. I'm getting the indoctrination started young.

I'm taking him for a day this weekend, too. A little bit to help out my friends who are understandably shellshocked, sudden acquisition of a three year old and all, but mostly because I just found out that if you are in charge of a small human you're allowed in the fun bits of soft play areas.

2. I've been staying with my dad this week, because my mum's away and she'd asked me to stay in the house to look after the dogs. I think it'll explain a lot about my parents marriage if I tell you that my dad pretends to not to like the dogs and ignores them when my mum's around, and yet I kept walking into rooms to find him feeding them pork crackling. So me and my dog packed up and returned to the nest for a week.

Mum's dogs are beautifully trained, and Freya is... not. To be fair, she sits, and shakes paws, and comes when called, and all that jazz; I just have slightly different (read: no) standards when it comes to things like her being allowed on the furniture, sleeping on the bed, and begging for food. My mum is totally appalled that I let the dog sleep on my bed, she says it's not hygienic, to which I have that Eddie Izzard response (I'm an adult now; it's my toaster...)

Unfortunately rather than rising to the standards of mum's dogs, Freya dragged Errol and Flynn down to hers (yes, my mother really did name her dogs Errol and Flynn; yes, on purpose.) So by Wednesday night I was sleeping in a single bed with no fewer than three dogs. I think at least some of you will agree that my getting up for work on Thursday was an act of heroism.

But, god, there's some sort of when-the-cat's-away thing that happens when I stay with dad without mum; we've been living off pizza and beer all week, it's like being on vacation in the world weirdest fraternity.

3. I lost the use of one of my arms for a couple of days this week, too. So, that was fun. I face planted on a sheet of black ice and landed really awkwardly on one shoulder. And that would have been fine, except all three of the dogs ran over to investigate. And Freya, in an uncharacteristic attempt to defend my honour, decided the other two dogs were too close to me and went bananas.

So there I am, sitting on a sheet of ice, a small labrador staging some sort of 300 level siege warfare from my lap, raising the arm I can still lift to wave at passersby. "Hi! Everything's fine!"

4. I have been writing fics - slowly, sometimes with one hand - and I ended up writing two fics for the person that 'won' me in the fandomtrumpshate auction.

They Want To Make Me Their Queen (The 100, Clarke/Lexa, 9k, Role Reversal AU)

Clarke smoothed the fall of the long coat over Lexa's shoulders and straightened her collar.

"Leksa kom Skaikru," she said with a soft, almost fond smile.

Or,

The one where all the Grounders are Sky People, and all the Sky People are Grounders.


I ended up feeling a little weird about this, because I don't watch the show anymore, and ship Clarke/Lexa so little that I had to rewrite huge chunks of this because I got to the bit where they were supposed to kiss, couldn't make it work, and realised I'd accidentally been writing it as a Lexa/Anya fic, so I had go back and be sure to add bits where Lexa actually noticed Clarke. Oops.

The Werewolves of Liechtenstein (The Checquy Files, Myfanwy/Shantay, 3k)

"Is this or is this not a seduction?"

"Not a good one."

"Are you kidding? I got to punch Thatcher's ghost in the face."


This one I loved writing, and I think it shows. It was a great excuse to reread The Rook. It reminded me that one of the things I find most charming about those books, and the reason they get past my no-urban-fantasies-set-in-London filter, is that they read like they were written by the sort of person who back in the day never got their Harry Potter fic britpicked.

I mean, it's adorable, but with the best will in the world there's no such place as downtown Stoke-on-Trent.

Books

Jan. 29th, 2017 11:12 pm
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
Tempting though it's been to spend the last few weeks opening 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale at random pages and going: Oh, God, I have done a wee bit of other (mostly escapist) reading.

The Regional Office is Under Attack! - Manuel Gonzales
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky Chambers
Invasive - Chuck Wendig
Mort(e) - Robert Repino
The Nuns of Sant'Ambrogio: the true story of a convent in scandal - Hubert Wolf


At first glance The Regional Office is Under Attack! should have been so very much in my wheelehouse. There's a top secret agency of super-powered women saving us all from the forces of darkness! There's a splinter group of super-powered women! One of the main women has a metal arm! It's basically Die Hard with super-powered ladies! There's an exclamation mark in the title!

But, alas. It does that annoying thing where it pretends to be about women, but all the female characters are motivated/manipulated by a dude. The characterisations are thin, and I mean thin even by the standards of a Die Hard pastiche. The writing is, in places, just... not very good. I mean, the Regional Office itself seemed really cool, and there was an afterthought of a subplot where a character got taken over by her metal arm, and - it was like this book chose to tell the least interesting of all possible stories in the world it had created.

Luckily The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was much better. Okay, there wasn't much of a plot to speak of, it's basically a found family/group of misfits in space, but I didn't care because it was one of those books where I would have been more than happy to read about these characters doing not very much and bouncing off each other forever. There are great characters, fun worldbuilding, interesting aliens, and a lesbian romance featuring a human and a lizard alien; it was basically Jenny and Vastra IN SPACE. I can't overemphasise how much fun this was.

Invasive is about weaponised ants, because however bad things seem right now at least the ants aren't attacking. It's really fast-paced and fun, but maybe don't read it if you're afraid of insects, because I'm not at all and some of the bits about the sensation of insects crawling on your skin made even me squirm.

Mort(e) is also about an ant attack. In this the Ant Queen has been plotting war against humanity for thousands of years, and as part of her plan she gives housepets sentience in the hope that they'll rise up and kill their human masters. It's worth noting that while reading this I actually turned to my dog and earnestly said: "I love you very, very much, please don't kill me in the event of the insect uprising. Also, please remember that I gave you this rich tea biscuit even though you're not meant to have person food."

Also, in addition to sentience, the animals also get to be bipedal with opposable thumbs, and understand the use of semiautomatic weapons. I mean, it's mad as fuck, but it does that thing that some truly ridiculous books can, where they overshoot their silliness and come out the other side at really quite good, actually.

Sometimes I can be heard to complain about how hard it can be to talk to people on Tumblr, and it is, but one evening I managed to get involved a conversation that went from whether or not or I should write a La Maupin AU, to my own lapsed Catholicism, to Celtic FC, to people sending me recs for books about nuns, which was how The Nuns of Sant'Ambrogio came to my attention.

It's non-fiction about a nineteenth century Roman convent, featuring the attempted murder of a German princess by a nun, several other murders, lesbian initiation rites, and the ensuing cover up by the Catholic church. It was certainly a book where I had to readjust my expectations partway into the book, because I went into it expecting, I guess, 19th century nuns gone wild, and what I got was much dryer and sadder. I mean, it's interesting, especially if you have even a passing interest in religious history, but it's not salacious in the way the summary makes it sound.

Although, because the more things change the more they stay the same, I really enjoyed this quote from around the time of the First Vatican Council and the Dogma of Papal Infallibility: "Stupidity and fanaticism join hands and dance the tarantella, making such a caterwaul that one cannot bear to look or listen." Because, yeah.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
So, they inaugurated Trump. And, like, because my brain has spent two and half months doing the Signal Not Found thing at the very notion of President Donald Trump I didn't realise how much denial I'd been in. That on some level I'd been assuming that it wouldn't actually happen, that something so catastrophically damaging that he'd be forced to stand down would come to light, or that he'd be caught on camera taking off his person suit like in that episode of The Simpsons (what, they were right about the presidency.)

It turns out that blind refusal to accept reality doesn't work, who knew.

Speaking of abject refusal of objective fact, I wonder how long it'll take to discover what the Trump people were trying to distract from by screaming about the inauguration numbers. I suspect that the next four years are going to be a good time to bury the lede; even today in the UK the headline was PATHOLOGICAL LIAR LIES, and way, way down in second place was THAT TIME WE NEARLY NUKED FLORIDA AND FORGOT TO TELL ANYONE, LOL.

Speaking of our vainglorious leaders, Theresa May seems to have decided to drive us all off the Brexit cliff edge, apparently emboldened by the way Donald Trump decidedly didn't promise Michael Gove a trade deal. I can almost enjoy the irony that the selfsame people who were screaming British sovereignty! at the top of their lungs are now so eager to hurry us into our inevitable future as Airstrip One, then I remember that this is really happening.

And Nicola Sturgeon, despite her almost heroic efforts to avoid saying the words: 'second independence referendum' out loud or in the vicinity of any recording devices, has backed herself into a corner where she either has to call a second referendum that she probably can't win or be seen as totally ineffective when it comes to dealing with the Tories over Brexit.

I voted for independence last time, and maybe I'm just that much more cynical now, but I feel like the choice right now would be between being Cold Greece inside the EU or a wholly owned subsidiary of Little England and by extension the Trump Corporation outside it. I mean, I know what I'd chose, but still.

In conclusion, Dear Talisker distillery, take all my money, send scotch.
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I mildly suspect that in its original form this meme was about baby names...

1) What would/did you name your first [dog]?

Cyril. After which I was banned from naming the family pets.

2) What do you think makes a good name for a [dog]?

Human names that have fallen into disuse. This is why I have had dogs called Cyril, Eustace, and Vera, and why I seriously considered calling Freya Brunhilda (Hilda for short).

3) What do you think makes a bad name for a [dog]?

Anything you'd be too embarrassed to scream at the top of your lungs as a dog disappears into the middle distance.

4) What's a name that you love, but would never give a [dog]? Why?

Patrick. As in: Pat-the-Dog. I'll show myself out.

5) Did you do a good job naming your [dog]?

I failed with my out of fashion human names for dogs with Freya, as it turns out that there actually are a lot of little girls called Freya running around Scotland. On the other hand I did get the world's cutest three year old toddling up to ask what the doggy's name was, and when I told her the doggy was called Freya, her eyes went as wide as golf balls as she went: ...that's my name.

fyi

Jan. 13th, 2017 09:23 pm
netgirl_y2k: (Default)
I'm offering fic for the [tumblr.com profile] fandomtrumpshate auction (get fanworks; help fight He Who Must Not Be Named.)

Officially I'm offering fic of up to 10k in Person of Interest, ASOIAF/GoT, Supergirl, and The Rook fandoms, but if you're interested in something else I've written before or you know that I know, I'm flexible. (My AO3 page for reference.)

You can bid on me here.

And browse other people's offers here. I've already put a bid in on one of my favourite authors, and quite liked being able to combine doing a good thing with 'here is how much I appreciate you and your writing in stark numerical terms.'

Holidays

Jan. 10th, 2017 07:53 pm
netgirl_y2k: (gwen beer)
So, I think because we had such a blow out in Galway last Hogmanay, and because 2016 had been largely, well, on fire, I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself to have an awesome time visiting my sister over New Year, and, well, um...

Things didn't get off to the greatest of starts even before I left. The guy who had offered to look after my dog (asked to look after her, really, as he's trying to convince his partner to get a puppy and wanted to show her what it'd be like with two dogs in the house) turned around and said: "By the way, we've got a cat. That won't be a problem, will it?" And, I dunno, man, are you very attached to your cat? My dog charges the telly when there are cats on-screen. So, I had a couple of fretful days looking at ferry charges and trying to work out if my breakdown cover would apply in Ireland (my car is made of rust and runs on happy thoughts) before the dog walker who takes Freya for me when I'm on double shifts said she'd be happy to take her for the week.

I hadn't seen my sister in nearly a year, and when we're getting along there's no-one I like better in the whole wide world, so I was really looking forward to spending a week with her. Unfortunately when we're not getting along the experience is akin to sticking your head in a bucket of wet cement, and I arrived to find her in a wet cement mood. She said she was loaded with the cold, and just off having to work over Christmas, and her plan for the upcoming week involved taking a bunch of sleeping tablets while I watched Netflix very quietly in another room.

So I spent the first night and a bit of my holidays huddled under my coat because it was too cold to sleep, alternating between watching Stranger Things (I liked it fine, but feel like I might have enjoyed it just as much if not more in my own house where there's central heating and a dog) and trying desperately to find an early flight home (for three hundred euros I could have flown from Dublin to Glasgow via Brussels and Heathrow over the course of nine and a bit hours; at one point I had my credit card in hand). The best thing that can be said about the beginning of the holiday is that my sister's flatmates were in Brazil. Because they're Brazilian, not because there's something about my sister that makes you want to flee for Latin America, although. Meaning I could at least sleep on the couch; if we'd had to share her box-room like usual I think there would have been a murder done; that or I would have a lovely souvenir from Brussels airport.

As siblings are wont to, my sister and I made up the next morning, and she confessed that part of her terrible mood upon my arrival had been that she'd taken a fistful of drugs the day before and had still been coming down.

(Sidebar: I don't have a problem with drugs. I don't partake, largely because I like my mood altering substances Scotch flavoured. But if you can keep it recreational and you're staying away from the stuff that will kill you, then you do you. The exceptions to this rule are if you are my baby sister, or if your system of measurement is by the fucking fist.)

So that was another argument; I feel like my pro-sobriety pitch might have carried more weight if I hadn't been holding a pint of Guinness while I was making it.

So I spent the first half of the holiday drinking alone and wandering around Galway. There's something particularly disheartening about going to the Atlantic Aquarium of Ireland by oneself (mostly cod; some eels.)

Eventually my sister and I did properly make up with the aid of a lot of Guinness, me trying to sound less judge-y about the drugs, her letting me turn the space heater on at night, and all the episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Her favourite character is Captain Holt, mine is Jake; this tells you everything you need to know about our relationship.

Speaking of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the moment of sisterly bonding I'd been looking for came courtesy of the most recent episode with us both going: What? What?? What?!?

I had thought the first thing I'd want to do in Ireland was see Rogue One, but the night before I left Carrie Fisher died, and that kind of took the wind out of my Star Wars sails. We did see it eventually, and I liked it, although spoilers )

What else? Um, Guinness still terribly more-ish and inexplicably nicer in Ireland than it is in Scotland. Beer wise, I also enjoyed Galway Hooker, more for the name than the taste.

OH! The night before I left I got spontaneously chatted up (in a not-gay nightclub, to boot!) by a hot nerd who looked a bit like Jennifer Lawrence who thought I had pretty hair and we got talking about shipping Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. The bad news: fucking Ireland; the good news: when she said I had pretty hair I managed to bite my tongue before I said I just hadn't washed it - my flirting game has improved flibberty-gibbet percent.

So I was just starting to enjoy myself when I had to come home. Like, yeah, two thirds of the holiday were pretty shit, on the other hand, I'm apparently cute in Ireland. I picked my dog up, and she's been staging a sulk that would make a three year old proud. I worried she'd picked up a bit of kennel cough, but no, the little bugger was just growling at me. She's a wee madam.

I downloaded the second season of Humans to start watching on the journey back. I'm really enjoying it so far; lots of Niska, little of Colin Morgan's stupid face.
netgirl_y2k: (panic)
I'm at naught for naught so far in 2017 (I meant to read a lot on my holidays, but everywhere had wifi, and also I was pretty drunk a lot of the time) so lets talk more about last year's books.

How many books read in 2016?

Fifty-five.

Heh, I remember when I used to hit the high seventies and shooting for a hundred books in a year didn't seem unreasonable. Stupid having to work for a living. I have now decided to aim for circa fifty-two; they're not going to revoke my bookworm card for 'only' managing to read a book a week.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?

46 fiction.
9 non-fiction.

Male/Female authors?

34 female.
21 male.

Most books read by one author this year?

Rose Lerner and Tessa Dare (reading through their historical romance series'), Margaret Atwood (why can't I just accept that Atwood's writing does nothing for me?), Ben Aaronovitch (decided I do like the Rivers of London series after all), and Robert Jackson Bennett (WHEN does City of Miracles come out?)

Any in translation?

Nordic crime The Redbreast and Filipino crime novel Smaller and Smaller Circles.

Will try to do better next year.

Favorite?

Top five?

The Library at Mount Char - Scott Hawkins
Stiletto - Daniel O'Malley
Infomocracy - Malka Older
City of Stairs & City of Blades - Robert Jackson Bennett

Least Favorite?

I read a fair few mediocre books, but having adored Ready Player One a few years ago, the thirteen year old boy's wish fulfilment fantasy that is Ernest Cline's Armada was disappointing indeed.

Black Dog by Caitlin Kittredge managed to make girl hellhounds boring to me. And Emily Skrutskie's The Abyss Surrounds Us tragically managed to be not very good despite having both lesbians and sea monsters

Oldest?

Not sure.

Newest?

I think I got Tana French's The Trespasser basically as soon as it came out, and I don't regret this.

Longest Title?

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, one of the better historical romances I read this year, with a hero on the autistic spectrum.

Shortest Title?

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Book that most changed my perspective:

Nothing really.

Next year I must try to be less preaching-to-the-choir in my non-fiction reading choices.

Favorite character:

Edie Bannister from Angelmaker, a badass octogenarian lesbian spy, whose secret weapon is the elderly pug she keeps in her handbag. The choice to kill her off at the three quarters mark to focus on the everyman character called, I kid you not, Joe Spork, is the source of grudge against Nick Harkaway that I intend to take to my grave.

Favorite scene:

Any one of the many times Odette and Felicity saved each others lives in Rook. Best enemies to friends to lovers arc ever

Favorite Quote:

Probably the opening paragraph of Rook.

To Felicity Jane Clements, Pawn of the Checquy Group and Ward of HM Government,

You are herewith called forth by the authority of the Lord and Lady, in accordance with your obligations and your oaths, to give service, in secret, for the protection and security of the Monarch, the People, and the soil of the British Isles.

On this day, you are to proceed with all haste into the London borough of Northam, to the location commanded. There, you will bend the abilities instilled within you to the task ordered.

To ensure that you remain unknown and that none will remark upon your presence, you will be given clothing to blend in among the populace.

To discourage civilians from approaching you, you will be sprayed with urine.

Bring milk and chocolate biscuits.


What do you want to read in 2017?

Good books, at least fifty-two of them.
netgirl_y2k: (fire cannot kill a dragon)
I have to go to bed in a minute so that I can get up for my silly-o'clock flight to Dublin, so this year's rating system might have gone a bit weird.

1. When We Were Animals - Joshua Gaylord (extended metaphor; meh)
2. Aurora - Kim Stanley Robinson (humans are doomed; good)
3. The Library at Mount Char - Scott Hawkins (contemporary fantasy; YAY)
4. The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood (spec-fic; meh-to-good)
5. The Guest Room - Chris Bohjalian (thriller; good)
6. Black Widow - Chris Brookmyre (scottish crime; good)
7. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie - Jennifer Ashley (historical romance; very good)
8. Black Dog - Caitlin Kittredge (girl hellhouds; the lower end of meh)
9. A Slip of the Keyboard - Terry Pratchett (I miss you, pterry; good)
10. The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard (historical fantasy; probably actually good, but meh)
11. Armada - Ernest Cline (13 yr old boy wish fufillment; very meh)
12. The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo (nordic crime; does what it says on the tin)
13. Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner (historical romance; good)
14. Day Four - Sarah Lotz (horror; fine)
15. In the Labyrinth of the Drakes - Marie Brennan (lady dragon scientist; YAY)
16. Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye (serial killer Jane Eyre; YAY)
17. The Three - Sarah Lotz (horror; eh, fine)
18. True Pretenses - Rose Lerner (historical romance; points deducted for Tories)
19. Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel - Sara Farizan (teenage lesbians; made me happy in my heart)
20. The Just City - Jo Walton (thought experiment fantasy; fine-to-good)
21. Waiting for Doggo - Mark Mills (dogs; why did I read this, again?)
22. League of Dragons - Naomi Novik (dragons, lower-case-yay)
23. Forty Signs of Rain - Kim Stanley Robinson (humans are doomed, points deducted for pervy protagonist)
24. The Language of Secrets - Ausma Zehanat Khan (canadian crime; fine-to-good)
25. Angelmaker - Nick Harkaway (contemporary fantasy; loses ALL THE POINTS for killing off the lesbian octogenarian spy; bad book, no biscuit)
26. Birthdays for the Dead - Stuart MacBride (scottish crime; ew)
27. The Witches: Salem, 1692 - Stacy Schiff (non-fiction; some witches, mostly footnotes)
28. Stiletto - Daniel O'Malley (YAY, YAY!!!; three exclamation marks, surely the sign of a deranged mind)
29. Four Roads Cross - Max Gladstone (dead gods and magic lawyers; yay)
30. Listen to the Moon - Rose Lerner (downstairs-downstairs historical romance; very refreshing)
31. The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley (essays; preaching to the converted, so eh)
32. Asking For It - Louise O'Neill (feminist YA; OH GOD WHY WOULD YOU LET ME READ THIS?; but good)
33. City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett (fantasy; YAY)
34. Foxglove Summer - Ben Aaronovitch (they folly has an away day in the countryside; good)
35. In Harm's Way - Doug Stanton (non-fiction; fine)
36. Stone Mattress - Margaret Atwood (short stories; why can't I just like Atwood as much as other people do?)
37. Labrador - Ben Fogle (dogs;...dogs?)
38. Infomocracy - Malka Older (election related spec-fic; ARGGHHH; but very good)
39. Do You Want to Start a Sandal - Tessa Dare (historical romance; does what it says on the tin)
40. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu - Joshua Hammer (non-fiction; title better than the book)
41. Think of England - KJ Charles (m/m historical romance; lovely)
42. The Abyss Surrounds Us - Emily Skrutskie (teenaged lesbians and sea monsters; not nearly as good as it sounds)
43. The Girl Before - Rena Olsen (feminist fiction; unreliable narrator; good)
44. City of Blades - Robert Jackson Bennett (fantasy; BUT WHEN IS THE THIRD ONE COMING OUT?)
45. The Trespasser - Tana French (irish crime; very good)
46. Smaller and Smaller Circles - FH Batacan (filipino crime; meh)
47. The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch (urban fantasy; ...what happened in this one again?)
48. A Week to be Wicked - Tessa Dare (historical romance; best in its series)
49. A Lady by Midnight - Tessa Dare (historical romance; ...how is the same author who wrote a week to be wicked?)
50. The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead (spec-fic; very good)
51. Beneath the Surface - John Hargrove (non-fiction; so Seaworld is like a cult, huh)
52. Notorious RBG: the life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik (non-fiction; I hope RBG is taking her vitamins)
53. The Wonder - Emma Donoghue (historical fiction; good)
54. Any Duchess Will Do - Tessa Dare (historical romance; fine-to-meh)
55. Weapons of Math Destruction - Cathy O'Neil (non-fiction; fine)

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