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Telly; also, lesbians [Apr. 18th, 2016|07:34 pm]
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-God, I found the second season of Daredevil hard going. I don't know if it paled in comparison to its own first season, or just really paled in comparison to </i>Jessica Jones</i>, but actual costumed superhero Daredevil just didn't do it for me the way blind parkouring ninja Matt did.

I was really excited for Elektra, because I know my own mind and it is often preoccupied with hot women who could kill me, but man, if she and Matt weren't having boring feelings at each other, they were fighting boring ninjas, boringly. Their entire plot was incomprehensible, often too dark to see, and possibly kind of racist (...ninjas, really?) Plus, Elektra -- in S1 Daredevil really fell down on its female characters, and post Jessica Jones they seemed even more cardboard cutout; S2 raised the bar with Karen Page, but it needed more Claire Temple, and it really, really dropped the ball when it came to Elektra.

The best thing about this season was the Punisher. I would have watched an entire season of the trial of Frank Castle; ideally without any ninjas, and with an option on no Matt. I was kind of shipping Frank/Karen; I think it was the respectful way he called her 'ma'am'.

A ship that did nothing for me was Matt/Karen. Well, no, it worked for me as two people lying to each other and themselves about who they are, and I liked how quickly it fell apart because of that. I did not appreciate the hints of it coming back around or that there might be deeper feelings beyond 'I'm going to want this because this is what the person I'm pretending to be would want.'

Karen, honey, go for Foggy, who is a nice boy, or Frank, who is a raging lunatic but with whom at least you have chemistry, or, gee, Claire Temple, who could probably use a drink and a night on the town. Matt... eh, I don't really care; go to church, maybe.

idk, the first season of Daredevil and Jessica Jones were binge watch telly for me, I think I watched both in the space of a weekend. This time, I was getting to the end of an episode and going, 'well, thank god that's over.'

-I got fannish whiplash from The 100. When season three was starting my tumblr dash was talking non-stop about what a brilliant show it was, and how it was top-notch for femslash. So I ended up mainlining two and a half seasons in about a fortnight.

I think I'm a wee bit older than the intended audience for The 100. I spent most of the first season going 'will somebody please get these kids some adult supervision' and most of season two going 'not those adults, different adults, better adults.' But it's addictive; it's a show designed for binge watching. Everything happens at a bajillionty miles an hour, and the worldbuilding falls apart of you think about if for more than point three of a second; grounder culture developed in less than a century and the world was irradiated with a special sort of only when plot-relevant radiation, okay-doke, if you say so.

I mean it's dreck; but it's highly watchable dreck. And I was shipping Clarke/Lexa and Abby/Raven, and Octavia was tiny and furious, and what is Murphy's life, and I was having a good time. Then came the episode where Lexa died, and the fandom went into meltdown.

I have to admit, my reaction before I'd seen the episode was unsympathetic. I was surprised that people were surprised, because I thought Lexa's death had been telegraphed from, basically, space. Every scene she had in season three was either speculating about her death, or exposition about how her successor would be chosen. And then-- I was on the very periphery of the fandom, so I guess people felt like they were on a promise that Lexa wouldn't die, and from my outsider perspective it looked like overzealous spoiler protection met wishful thinking in the worst of ways; other people think it was more cynical, and that's fair, but in fandom as in real life, I like to assume incompetence before malice.

But then I actually saw the episode, and Lexa's death couldn't have been more the dead lesbian trope if it had tried. I'm at the right age that Tara from Buffy is my go-to example of bury your gays, and the most offensive thing about Lexa's death to me was its pointed similarity to something that first offended me twelve years ago.

And I was annoyed, because it was a bit on the nose, especially from a show that had been courting both viewing figures and headpats for having a girl/girl main couple, but it wasn't a dealbreaker. I liked Lexa, and have spent a good few weeks searching for Clarke/Lexa fixit fic that doesn't read like it was written by a tween, or give me second hand embarrassment and make me want to apologise to the Fear the Walking Dead fandom at large; why is a straight-up canon AU so hard to find? But I still wanted to watch the show.

Right now the thing I hate most about the AI plot is that I don't hate the AI plot. The chick who plays Raven is knocking it out of the park; it makes the factoid about the commander's spirit more than a dangling thread from that terrible killer gorilla episode; and it ties Jaha and the city of light into the main story, a sideplot I'd previously assumed was only still ongoing because Jaha's actor had incriminating photos of the network muckity-mucks and couldn't be fired.

It's still dreck, but highly watchable dreck.

-I feel like there should be word in German for when a lesbian gets suckered into watching a show because there will be lesbians in it, and I feel like it should be a synonym for that feeling when you know you're being played but can't stop yourself from walking right into it.

On that note, I watched this week's episode of Once Upon a Time.

I haven't watched OUaT regularly since season three, and the last episode I watched was the one where Ruby and Mulan met. I tuned in this week because it was being touted as the one where Ruby and Mulan would get together.

Obviously, I was surprised when Ruby and Mulan did not get together, Mulan wasn't in the episode for more than five minutes, and Ruby got a female love interest in the form of Dorothy (of the Wizard of Oz fame).

I mean, it's awesome that OUaT has finally made it explicit that same-sex couples get true love too, Ruby's actress really sold me on her feelings, and I loved that they really went for it with the kiss; tbh, I'd been half expecting true love's awkwardly protracted hug.

But mostly I'm just confused. The show's been getting pressure to include a same-sex couple since forever. For the sake of avoiding arguments let's stick a pin in Emma/Regina and agree that it was always going to be a background couple. Mulan/Aurora were set up perfectly to be that couple, but the show dropped the ball spectacularly badly and were left with the unfortunate implications of the only implied non-straight character on a show about true love being sent off to be forever single in the woods. So Mulan was brought back and introduced to Ruby, which tbh even then smacked of: what unattached tertiary female character can we throw at Mulan? Only for Mulan to barely be in the episode where Ruby gets her happy ending with another, even more random, female character.

I mean, maybe Mulan's going back to DunBroch to makeout with Merida, but somehow I highly doubt it. And if she's not I would love someone who was in the room at the time to talk us through the decision tree that led us to Ruby/Dorothy, mostly because I want to see if they could do it without hinting at studio interference or admitting racism.

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Books and My Excuses [Apr. 14th, 2016|11:49 am]

I know, it's tiresome when someone doesn't post for months and the first thing they say is, gee, I haven't posted in months, but.

I stopped doing the monthly books posts because I haven't been reading enough to justify them. I've been living in the doldrums somewhat, and haven't really been up for much more than reblogging things on tumblr and hitting the next episode button. Actually, there's probably a post in me about that time I binge watched two and half seasons of The 100 just in time for the fandom to crash and burn in the most spectacular fashion.

But in the meantime, books. This is basically everything I've read since New Year.

When We Were Animals - Joshua Gaylord
Aurora - Kim Stanley Robinson
The Library at Mount Char - Scott Hawkins
The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood
The Guest Room - Chris Bohjalian
Black Widow - Chris Brookmyre
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie - Jennifer Ashley
Black Dog - Caitlin Kittredge
A Slip of the Keyboard - Terry Pratchett

When We Were Animals is about a town where every fourth weekend the adults and children shut themselves up while the teenagers run naked in the streets like animals. I guess I wanted magical realism or actual werewolves, and instead I got some kind of purge-like extended metaphor about adolescence. Blah.

Aurora is a pretty traditional sf story about a generational spaceship sent out to colonise another planet. Except the central premise of this one is that there are only two types of planets out there, ones inhospitable to all life, and ones inhospitable to human life, and as the Earth is the only place in the universe where we could possibly survive we should probably stop fucking it up, a message of which I approve.

I was skeptical about The Library at Mount Char, the blurb said it was about a bunch of orphans being raised by a mysterious ~magical father figure, so far so by the numbers. But, no, it was actually brilliant. It was brutal. It was like, imagine you were the apprentice of an uncaring God, but never realised it. My favourite thing that I have read so far this year by far.

The Heart Goes Last has an interesting enough premise. There's a capitalist dystopia (the best of the dystopias), organ harvesting, mind wipes, and living sex dolls; it's absurd and disturbing and well done, and I couldn't really get into it because all of that was wrapped up in a book about mildy awful people and their mildly awful marriage, and I just don't care.

The Guest Room is set around a bachelor party where the strippers, who turn out not to be strippers but traffiked sex slaves kill their Russian handlers. It was much more nuanced and sympathetic than I was expecting based on the summary, and, actually, was really good.

Black Widow -- Brookmyre is a fav, and Paralabane used to be my favourite of his characters. But, really, I think it's time to retire him as a protagonist. I don't think Brookmyre has figured out how to write him in a post print journalism world, and saying that he's getting involved in all this crazy shit as a reaction against his life as a Buzzfeed style content generator just isn't working for me. It's lazy, and he's starting to suffer from author's-favourite syndrome.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie is a historical romance with a hero on the autistic spectrum, which from my totally not an expert, I cannot emphasise how little expertise I have perspective was very well researched and handled. Recommended.

Black Dog is about a girl hellhound, maybe I wanted more of a girl werewolf thing (it turns out that hellhounds and werewolves are very separate things where the id is concerned...) or maybe urban fantasy continues to not be in my wheelhouse. But, meh.

A Slip of the Keyboard is a collection of Terry Pratchett's nonfiction writing. And, like, I adore Pratchett's fiction, but I'm not sure he was prolific enough a nonfiction writer to justify this collection. It was, um, repetitive. I must confess though, that I teared up at him railing against the Alzheimer's and the continued illegality of assisted dying in the UK. Still, I feel like pretty much everything Pratchett had to say, he said best in Discworld.

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Agent Carter [Jan. 22nd, 2016|01:11 pm]

Agent Carter returned for its second season the other night.

Weirdly, given how much I'd loved the first season I wasn't too excited by the prospect of a second. I think it was that the show was stuck in will-they-won't-they renewal limbo for ages, and then when the second season was announced a lot of things that came out about it seemed to come from the mouths of people who hadn't been expecting to have to come up with a second season, and were panicking.

I wasn't too impressed by the change in location to LA. And while I wasn't particularly bothered by the absence of Angie (I did ship Peggy/Angie, but it was more jumping on board an active and cheerful femslash ship than actually feeling it in my bones, you know?), but it resulted in a lot of negativity among people I was following that left a bad taste in my mouth. And then the dreaded words - love triangle - were uttered.

So, it was with more antipathy than excitement that I watched the first two episodes of the season, which ultimately I liked much more than I had expected too.

Agent Carter 2x1 - 2x2Collapse )

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2015 Fic [Jan. 14th, 2016|08:09 pm]
So the upshot of my having been on a drinking holiday, and then recovering from my drinking holiday is that you get all my end of year memes well into January.

Living Arrangements (Agent Carter, Peggy/Angie, 3k, friends to lovers)
Angie almost says, 'I think Peggy and me are basically married, and I don't think she's noticed', just to see the look on Jarvis's face.

Live Next Door and Visit Now and Then (Game of Thrones, Sansa/Margaery, 2k, arranged marriage)
"And this is Margaery Tyrell--" Sansa reached back for Margaery’s hand; Margaery squeezed her fingers, which gave her the courage to finish "--my lady wife."

The Proposition (Game of Thrones, Dany/Margaery, 2k, marriage of convenience)
"And I'd be your queen?"

"Queen consort, I'd thought. The title's negotiable."

Because Girls Love Girls and Boys (Agent Carter, Peggy/Angie, 3k, soulmate mark AU)
Howard Stark and his bloody inventions.

(In which Peggy Carter has excellent teeth, the name Steven G. Rogers written on her skin, and Angie Martinelli.)

Young Hearts (the dangerous book for girls remix) (Merlin, Elena/Mithian, 13k, Hogwarts AU)
"This," grumbled Mithian as she clamped her hand over Vivian's mouth to forestall a ballad about Arthur's majestic conk, "is why I don't fancy anybody.

Elena caught her eye and grinned.

Nice Day for the End of the World (Person of Interest, Root/Shaw, 3k, zombie apocalypse)
"I'm checking you for zombie bites, Root, this isn't a striptease.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Game of Thrones, Sansa/Dany, 3k, soulmate mark AU)
Margaery Tyrell licked her thumb and rubbed at the lion on her breast, which smudged and faded in a way that Sansa's dragon never would.

The Do-Right (Agent Carter, Peggy/Angie, 5k, role reversal AU)
Angie's Ma really did think that her problem was that she just hadn't met the right guy yet.

Angie had been close with Captain America himself; she'd been friends with Bucky Barnes, and the rest of the Howling Commandos; there was Jarvis, and even Howard on his better days.

A lack of first-rate male specimens wasn't Angie's problem. Girls like Peggy Carter were her problem.

presque vu (Person of Interest, Root/Shaw, 3k, amnesia)
Erasing Asset Short Term Memory...

Meme questionsCollapse )

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Big Post Of Books [Jan. 11th, 2016|08:55 pm]

I went away without posting my final booklog of 2015, so.

Career of Evil is the latest and, I think, best installment in JK Rowling's Cormoran Strike series. It starts with Strike and Robin being sent a severed leg, and ends on the cusp of Robin's wedding to her bag o' dicks fiancé. I am slightly nervous that Rowling is teasing a romantic relationship between Robin and Strike; I do want Robin to leave Matthew, but because he's a bag of dicks, and because working with Strike is the life Robin wants, not for Strike himself. Plus, I just really like their Batman & Robin style friendship.

I finished Anne Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy, and I join the chorus of people singing its praises. Also, I think authors of other SFF series should take note both of how quickly all the installments were published, and how the series wasn't dragged out ad naseum. I thought Ancillary Mercy was a brilliant example of how to resolve galactic scale plots on a much more intimate scale without leaving the reader feeling like they've been conned out of the plot resolution. I very much look forward to reading whatever comes out of Ms. Leckie's brain next.

After how much I'd loved The Brothers Sinister, I was so disappointed by the first installment of Courtney Milan's new series. I know Once Upon a Marquess is the first in what's to be quite a substantial series, and there was quite a lot of groundwork being laid, but honestly, the humour was forced and unfunny, the sex fell flat, the hero and heroine were barely caricatures, and the supporting characters were even more paper thin. For a book that was basically all setup for the rest of the series, there was nothing about it that made me want to read the rest of the the Worth Saga. A big, big let down.

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare was a bit more like it on the historical romance front.

For a change of pace, Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis is about a a bet between Hermes and Apollo that results in them giving fifteen dogs human like consciousness and seeing what happens. It sounds like it's going to be completely bonkers, but instead it's gorgeous, and utterly, utterly heartbreaking as all the dogs live out their lives burdened by consciousness.

All my 2015 booksCollapse )

-Fifty-one books this year. Last year I was at seventy; in the years before that I'd been pushing three figures. I think fiftyish is a good number to aim to hold at. I think it's a sign both of having a good balance between reading and other hobbies, and having a less scary-awful commute. Maybe I'll shoot for fifty-two so I'm averaging a book a week.

-29 female authors to 13 male. I feel pretty good about this ratio. My most read authors of the year were Tana French and Tessa Dare.

-It's funny I think of myself as being a primarily SFF reader, but even taking the broadest possible definition of SFF, only eleven of my fifty-one reads were in the genre, about even with non-fiction, historical romance, crime, and general fiction, there's even a volume of poetry in there somewhere.

-In 2015 I got much better at abandoning books that weren't doing it for me, so there was nothing I really hated but forced myself to plow on with. It was a year of mostly fair to middling reads, with few standouts, but no book-meet-wall incidents.

-In 2016 I would like to give graphic novels a crack. I did read the first chunk of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl before I wrapped it to give it to my sister as a x-mas gift, so that might be the place to start when enough time has passed that I can gracefully ask to borrow it back.

-My five best reads of the year were:
Carol by Patricia Highsmith
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
The Water Knife by Paulo Bacigalupi
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho
Zeroes by Chuck Wendig

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Guinness is good for you [Jan. 10th, 2016|02:06 pm]
I have returned from my New Year's holiday to visit my sister in Galway. Well, actually, I got back the better part of a week ago, and immediately fell over with some kind of mutant virus thing. Not entirely unsurprising as unless there was a vitamin hiding at the bottom of a pint of Guinness I don't think I saw one the entire time I was there.

We drank a lot. I'm Scottish. I'm Glaswegian, no less. I can drink. People in Galway drink like they don't want to live. I drank a lot of Guinness; I'm generally not the greatest lover of Guinness, I'll have a pint occasionally, usually when I want to to drink slowly as I'll nurse a pint for hours. I guess it doesn't travel well or something, because in Ireland I was necking it like it was going out of fashion. I was also drinking something called Galway Hooker, which I was told was named after a type of fishing boat, but I think was named after the inevitable pun about having had a rough night on the Hookers. Also whiskey... we'll circle back around to the whiskey.

I saw Star Wars. Twice. My sister had made me promise that I'd wait and see The Force Awakens with her when I came to visit. I didn't think twice before making that promise because that was before the film had come out when I assumed it was going to be universally panned and The Phantom Menace come again, so whatever. But then everyone said it was brilliant, and people kept trying to tell me things about it, and I don't have x-kit or any of those tumblr doodads installed so I had a spoiler avoidance strategy that involved scrolling really fast. The result of this was that I dragged my sister into the first cinema we came across in Dublin.

I like Star Wars. I first saw the remastered version in the cinema when I was quite a wee thing. I paid real actual money to watch all three of the prequels. My birthday is on May the Fourth, so I quite often mark it with a few beers and a rewatch of the original trilogy. I like Star Wars, but I don't love it. I love Star Trek; it was Star Trek that defined my geeky childhood.

I read somewhere that JJ Abrams was never a fan of Star Trek, but was a fan of Star Wars, and I can believe it. His recent ST films are Trek as done by someone who once watched half an episode of the original series while doing the washing up; The Force Awakens was Star Wars by someone who loves Star Wars.

(As a aside, one of the trailers was for the new Star Trek film; it looked like fun, it looked like Star Trek: the Fast and the Furious. The other trailer was for the new X-Men movie, which I might have to see just for Sophie Turner as young Jean Grey; one of my points of contention with the X-Men universe is that I really like Jean Grey, and I feel like canon is punishing me for this.)

Like, I don't know how well it held up if you were a hardcore fan, or if you were new to the universe, but it delivered what I wanted in spades: nostalgia and lightsabers.

The Force AwakensCollapse )

We went to see it again on my last night, because I had a stupid early flight and was driving home from the airport, and we were trying to think of things to do that weren't drinking, or sitting in a pub watching other people drink. There really isn't a lot else to do in Galway.

I was there for Hogmanay which we celebrated by getting the DJ to play I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), and getting a wee whiskey for the bells. Things started to go wrong when I got into a debate with this Irish lad about whether Scotch is better than Irish Whiskey (answer: it is), and we tested this by means of increasingly well-aged and top-shelf Jamesons -- that we probably weren't appreciating knocking it back like tequila slammers as we were.

Apparently towards the end of the evening I was demanding to go home. People thought I meant my sister's flat, but actually I meant Scotland, because no-one ever gets fucked-up on whiskey and bounces their head off a midden in Scotland. No siree. I just wanted to be put in a kayak and given a little shove; ignoring the fact that I was on the wrong side of Ireland and would've hit America before I hit Scotland.

Oh, my god. The flat my sister's staying in -- she's got these two flatmates, who both had guests over New Year, so there were six people in the flat. I was there a week and I didn't see any of them. She might have had flatmates, ghosts, really polite burglars, there's just no way to know. It's a cool flat in an awesome location, but the atmosphere is slightly less warm and welcoming than the hostel from Hostel.

New Year's Day was spent lounging around my sister's mates flat, drinking tea and watching Netflix. I was assured that there wasn't the same implied obligation in Galway that there is back home, when you've stayed at someone's flat because you're drunk and incapable, that you fuck off before anyone else has woken up, never see those people again, move away and make new friends. We watched the first four episodes of How to Get Away With Murder, after which my sister and I mistakenly believed that a walk along the seafront would do our hangovers some good. After which we went home, made more tea, and my sister immediately signed up for Netflix so that we could continue watching How to Get Away With Murder.

I don't think I can say anything about HTGAWM that hasn't been said before - it is as mad as a box of frogs, but somehow works because of Viola Davis' awesomeness, and after we're done giving her all of the awards we should invent new awards and give those to her too. I love Connor and Oliver, and want nothing bad to happen to them ever; Famke Janssen, swoon; and I can't decide if Asher is my favourite because of his weirdly sad douche face, his feels for Bonnie, or just because he's played by Matt McGorry, who is an A+ dude in a way that transcends even Asher's doucheness.

Um. We went to a thing called a silent disco where they don't pump any music through the speakers, but instead give everyone a pair of headphones with a bunch of different channels so that you can pick what sort of music you want to dance to, or perhaps even better, turn the headphones off entirely and watch a room full of uncoordinated, intoxicated eejits jump around in silence to wildly conflicting beats that only they can hear.

There was a day when we were given a bunch of free food. The landlord of the pub where we were watching rugby bought everyone a free pizza; I'm guessing it was some kind of promotion, but still, that's never happened at home. And then later we were in a posh chippie (they let you sit down and gave you your food on actual crockery in anticipation of getting it back unsmashed) and they forgot to put cheese on my sister's burger, and gave us a plate of calamari and deep fried courgette flowers to make up for it. That might happen at home, but only if someone had a job lot of just about to turn calamari.

With the aim of doing something that didn't involve alcohol we went to the Atlantic Aquarium, which was full of fish that I am much more accustomed to seeing on a fish shop menu, but was an excellent place to stroll off a hangover out of the rain.

And that's what I did on my holidays...

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Holiday Plans [Dec. 15th, 2015|12:28 am]
The holiday shifts for work were sorted out relatively painlessly. Last year was a total performance, with the managers' favourites getting their pick of days off, and everyone else having to work around them. This led to lots of ill-feeling and sulking well into February. This year the system is that anyone with young children got first refusal at having Christmas off, and anyone who works Christmas gets first refusal at having New Year off.

This works out for me because if I hadn't been scheduled to work Christmas Day anyway I probably would have asked to be. My family is out of the country, and my exciting festive plans involved buying Freya a doggie mince pie, trying earnestly not to mix it up with the human mince pies, and watching a box-set* of something while drinking coffee liqueur out of a mug. And I'm absolutely still going to do that, but...

The way it's shaken out I can pocket the holiday pay from Christmas, then take the week around New Year and go visit my sister in Galway. I haven't been yet; Little Sister says that it is where ambition goes to die, and that there's not much to do but drink, so it sounds pretty much my speed.

I plan to thoroughly investigate whether Guinness is indeed good for you.

Because there will be no-one here to look after her Freya is going into kennels for the first time, so we'll see how that goes. I went away for a week in the summer and left her with my mum; she ate a bar of soap in protest and spent three days puking up bubbles.

*psst. Anyone got any suggestions for good shows to binge watch? I'd meant to save Jessica Jones for Christmas, but I tripped and watched thirteen episodes of it in a day and a half.

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Things I have put in front of my eyeballs recently [Dec. 7th, 2015|07:27 pm]
-I went to see Carol on the day that it opened here, and I feel like I now I have a pretty accurate impression of the number of lesbians in Glasgow who don't work Friday afternoons (that, by the way, is a joke that did not translate at all to my straight friends.)

That aside, it's absolutely gorgeous and will manage to convince you that Cate Blanchett touching Rooney Mara's shoulder is one of the most erotic things you have ever seen in you life.

-I also saw Spectre, which I mostly resented for not being Skyfall. The Daniel Craig era has kind of hung, for me, on the relationship between Bond and Judi Dench's M, and without that what I was left with was slightly better than average Boxing Day, eating turkey sandwiches fare.

-I belatedly saw Ant-Man. Four for the casting department, because Paul Rudd drips likability, and that's kind of what saves this. That and the fact that they didn't try to go too high-stakes -- it's a heist movie.

That said, the fact that the narrative acknowledges that there's no reason for some random dude rather than Hope to be Ant-Man, doesn't mean that it's not sexist that Hope is sidelined for some random dude.

-I meant to save Jessica Jones for over Christmas, then I meant to watch the first episode and save the rest for the holidays; thirteen hours later...

I really liked that, after Matt parkouring all over the place in Daredevil, and Black Widow's waif-fu in the movies, there is absolutely no grace or technique in Jessica's fighting style; she fights like the strongest kid on the playground, because that's basically what she is.

I'd really liked Daredevil earlier this year, but I had felt that its female characters fell a bit flat (obligatory why couldn't Vanessa be Kingpin? complaint), and as much as I love Agent Carter it does suffer from a Peggy-and-her-men problem, one that only seems to be getting worse going into season two. And I really liked how important the relationships between the female characters were here; how even though Luke Cage is a brilliant love interest, Jessica's love of Trish is the more narratively important; how Jessica pins her hopes of redemption on saving Hope; there's even that antagonistic older mentor vibe between Jess and Hogarth.

-I have been meh on this season of Doctor Who; I haven't disliked it, it's just been like it's slipped out of my brain while I've actually been sitting watching it. But I am willing to forgive any and all misgivings because I bloody adored that ending.

All right, if there was any companion who deserved to have her weird death, but not actually a death because people will write in, not-death parlayed into a TARDIS of her own and one of the Stark girls off Game of Thrones as a companion then it was Donna Noble, but, yeah, Clara, sure.

I do feel like they've written themselves into a corner where sooner or later they're actually going to have to kill one. I suppose they could just write the next Doctor - Companion relationship as not so co-dependent and all-consuming, but something something modern television sensibilities...

-I dropped Once Upon a Time at the end of season three. Partly because I was annoyed at the blatant attempt to cash in on Frozen; partly because despite never having shipped Emma/Regina I was meh to quite cross at the designated het ships of Regina/Robin and Emma/Hook; and partly because I was supremely hacked off at the way the Mulan/Aurora relationship had been not-handled. I jumped back in for the fifth season episode The Bear King because I'd heard they were bringing Mulan back and giving her a lady love.

The good things, 1) this episode contained pretty much no regular cast members or ongoing plot threads, making it suited for stand alone viewing, 2) it was basically Mulan, Merida, and Ruby on a sidequest, which, by the way, is a show that I would watch, 3) Merida is cute as fuck, 4) Ruby left Storybrooke on account of the oppressive heteronormativity.

The bad things, 1) they are still playing the pronoun game with who Mulan meant to declare her love to; which is fine, I mean, it's not like you guys are having to do this storyline again because you fucked it up with your ambiguity first time, 2) Mulan has apparently been sulking in the woods ever since her aborted declaration of love two and a bit seasons ago; A+ messaging there guys, 3) there is no chemistry between Jaime Chung and Megan Ory, making it look like the showrunner's just cast about wildly for a tertiary female character that they hadn't already paired off to chuck at Mulan to make that segment of the fanbase stop bitching already!

-I had a surprise hangover on Sunday, one of those ones that seems totally disproportionate to what you actually drank. So as I was going to be in bed all day anyway, I watched the final half-season of </i>Lost Girl</i>. Too hungover to move, by the way, is the best way to watch Lost Girl. It's is a show I've been watching since it began, despite the fact that it is, by any objective standards, awful. At its best it was so bad it's good, and at it's worst it's bowel shrivelingly awful. I'm going to miss it.

I was glad that Bo and Lauren were endgame; I had grown to find their on again off again romance tedious, but I remember Lauren being introduced in the first season as a also-ran to the designated het ship of Bo/Dyson, and I love that a girl-boy-girl love triangle ended with the two girls together and the boy cool with being their friend. I'm glad that Mark and Vex got together, but Bo's been graphically banging 9/10s of the female cast of the show for five seasons, and all the two guys get is to hold hands -- lame. What happened to Tamsin was stupid, and on any other show would have got my blood boiling, but bitching about the stupidity of Lost Girl is a bit like complaining that water is wet, so whatever.

Farewell, you stupid stupid show.

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October & November Booklog [Dec. 1st, 2015|07:58 pm]

Star Trek: Destiny - David Mack
I Can't Think Straight - Shamim Sarif
If You Could Be Mine - Sara Farizan
Girl Waits With Gun - Amy Stewart
The Bad Dog's Diary - Martin Howard
The Lost Duke of Wyndham - Julia Quinn
The Tiger - John Vaillant
Escape From Baghdad! - Saad Hossain
The Grace of Kings - Ken Liu

I have been dipping in and out of the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy, about a war between the Federation and the Borg, for ages now. There were some really cool things about it: it's about a war between the Federation and the Borg, for chrissake! Riker and Troi Ezri Dax has become a ship captain! The format allows for a more diverse cast than TV, both in the sense of more diverse humans, and having really alien aliens. Some less cool things: needed more Borg, and more Seven of Nine, because surely Seven and Picard should have been the protagonists of a trilogy about a war between the Federation and the Borg. And some totally uncool things: Janeway had been killed off in an earlier book, and Paris and Torres been broken up; dick moves, guys. I liked it, 90s Trek was my first fandom and I have a lasting fondness for those shows, but I'm not going to count the post series books as canonical - which is fine, because I don't count the JJ Abrams movies as canonical.

I'm not sure if I Can't Think Straight, about a Jordanian woman falling in love with a British Indian woman on the run up to her wedding, was novelisation of the movie, or if the movie was based on the book, but, eh, just watch the movie because the book is... amateurish.

If You Could Be Mine is a YA novel set in Iran, where although homosexuality is illegal, sex change operations are totally legal. Something I didn't know, which is kind of cool and interesting, and kind of terrifyingly open to abuse. It's really well written, and if you're looking for a diverse f/f novel this is about ten thousand times better than I Can't Think Straight.

Girl Waits With Gun is the fictionalised account of one of the first female deputy sheriffs in the US. I think this suffered slightly from my thinking it was going to be about Constance's adventures as a deputy; instead it was about her dealing with her family being terrorised by a gangster, and her being deputized happens on the very last page. Still, it was really good, and I really do recommend it.

The Bad Dog's Diary -- Er, sometimes I read cute books about dogs, and I feel guiltier about this than I do about the Star Trek tie-ins I read.

I have been hearing Julia Quinn's name ever since I first got into historical romances, but I'm not sure The Lost Duke of Wyndham was the best place to start. It was cute and the romance was sweet, but I kind of got hung up on the plot. The lost heir to a dukedom turns up; he doesn't want to be the duke, he'd be bad at it; the guy who's the current duke is much more likable, doesn't want to give it up, plus he's good at it. So why not just...not? I know, you're not meant to overthink these things.

The Tiger is about the hunt for a man-eating tiger, whether tigers have the capacity for revenge, and life in the Russian tagia, and it's easily the best non-fiction I've read this year.

Escape From Baghdad! is a black comedy set in the aftermath of the Iraq war. Imagine a middle eastern Catch-22 with a bit of magical realism thrown in - it's that cool.

I had pretty much decided not to bother with The Grace of Kings, but then I happened to listen to Ken Liu being interviewed on a podcast and he sounded like a cool guy, so I renewed my library loan, and gave it shot, and I was glad I did. First of all, silkpunk is a really cool world, and the idea of writing an epic fantasy using China, rather than medieval Europe, as your cultural backdrop is really cool, and it's done really well. One of the reasons I was going to skip this one was I'd heard that it was pretty bad on the female character front, and, well, it's not egregiously bad, but it's also not great... There's a cross-dressing girl general, which is pretty much my entire wheelhouse, yes, but there's also a bit where one of the male protagonists stops two armies throwing misogynistic insults at each other by giving a stirring speech about the bravery of the kingdom's wives and mothers which reduces everyone to tears. It all kind of screamed: feminist dude trying. All the same, I enjoyed it, and look forward to the next book in The Dandelion Dynasty.

Right now, I am ripping through Career of Evil, which as far as I can tell is JK Rowling takes on violent misogyny.

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Things I have been putting in my eyeballs [Oct. 9th, 2015|12:10 am]
-It's been a long time since I stayed up till four am reading fic (before I had a day job; at least, before I had a day job I gave a rat's ass about.) How Badly Did You Have To Break Her? is the Person of Interest fic that I thought no one was going to write because it would have to be epic and complicated, and would surely be jossed whenever S5 airs. It's H/C about Shaw's torture at the hands of Samaritan, her eventual rescue, and her relationship with Root. It's 45k and made me feel ALL THE FEELINGS.

-I continue to mostly be watching the rugby. I am deriving a certain amount of schadenfreude from England crashing out of their own world cup. I can't help it, I was raised in the fine Scottish tradition of supporting whoever England are playing in any sporting encounter. Actually, the biggest problem with the English rugby team, not unlike the English football team, is that they're so easy to hate. They have a terrible habit of mistaking arrogance for actual skill. Weirdly, this only seems to apply to the men's teams, because I had no problem lending my full throated support to the England women in the football world cup over the summer.

Back to the rugby. I suspect Scotland will advance to the quarter finals before crashing out in spectacular style. Although, if by some miracle of mathematics Japan were to advance ahead of us I couldn't even bring myself to begrudge them, they have been the highlight of the tournament.

-In trying to clear some space on the DVR I got around to watching Humans, which I had recorded when it was on but hadn't watched due to my Merlin induced hatred of Colin Morgan's face; he may well be a perfectly nice young man, and it's not his fault that I hate his face, but.

I ended up quite liking it. Androids indistinguishable from humans, and robots with feelings are both tropes that appeal to me. I'm not sure how into the idea of a second series I am, as it also seemed like the sort of set up that could be very easily be run into the ground. But I did enjoy it, and maybe now I can watch series two of The Fall which I also recorded and never watched for the same reason.

The other reason I never watched S2 of The Fall was that S1 ended with serial killer!Christian Grey moving to Scotland presumably to continue killing thirty-something brunettes. I was lying in bed after the finale going: can't sleep. the guy from the fall will get me.

-Only two years after the rest of the world I've started watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I almost never watch these half hour comedies; them and the audition stages of talent shows are two things that are almost guaranteed to set off my embarrassment squick.

There are moments when I have to mute the telly and look away - Oh, Santiago, no - but mostly I'm finding it a really pleasant, lovely watch. I'm at the end of the first season and I especially enjoyed how the show seemed to realise that the running gag about Boyle chasing Rosa was creepy, and that the two characters actually worked really well as bros; that they made Jake and Amy, which could have easily been the bland Designated Het Ship, really easy to root for; and that Amy, Rosa, and Gina are all friends.

But mostly my Brooklyn Nine-Nine feelings are: Jake Peralta, what a good boy. I can't remember the last thing I watched where the white dude lead was my favourite, but seriously, Jake Peralta, what a good boy.

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