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Fandom Housekeeping [May. 27th, 2016|12:42 am]

I have signed up for [community profile] femmeremix and think you should too.

As I was trying to figure out which fandoms I qualified in I realised that I have written a bunch of fic over the past few months that I never linked to here, so.

Turn Around Three Times Before Dying (Person of Interest, Root/Shaw)
Failure to bond with your daemon was one of the major diagnostic criteria for an Axis-II personality disorder.

I had been toying with writing a PoI daemon AU for a while, and couldn't quite make it work until I hit upon: Sameen Shaw has a daemon, and is really fucking pissed off about it.

(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To (Game of Thrones, Margaery/Brienne)
Arianne’s pansexual quasi-incestuous drama had always managed to put whatever lesbian drama Margaery was dealing with into perspective.

The unasked for modern AU where Margaery is the heiress to a political dynasty, and while getting over her breakup from the deeply closeted Sansa Stark, she develops a crush on her painfully shy new bodyguard.

Gotten Used To Coffee Sweats (Jessica Jones, Jessica/Trish)
Trish woke to discover that when Jessica had encountered a warm body in her unconscious attempts to construct a blanket fort she had simply folded Trish into its construction.

The one where Jess and Trish are exes, because of course they fucking are; also there's bed sharing.

Supergirl vs. the Bullies (Supergirl)
“I just mean that I was bullied when I was Carter’s age–”
“You shock me, Keira,” said Ms Grant, plumbing depths of sarcasm with which Kara was only passingly familiar.

Probably my only foray into Supergirl fic; I adore the show, it's like candy-floss for the eyeballs, but I don't feel particularly fannish about it.

Twenty-Eight Days Earlier (Person of Interest)
Shaw found Root’s lack of squeamishness when it came to looting corpses refreshing.

A continuation of my PoI zombie AU.

the wanting comes in waves (A Song of Ice and Fire, Arianne/Tyene)
You cannot poison a predator with her own venom, sweet cousin.

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Things I have been putting in my eyeballs [May. 23rd, 2016|01:27 am]
[Tags|, , , , ]

-Agent Carter has been officially cancelled. And, well, season two was ten episodes of television that I... watched. There were good things about it; the Peggy and Dottie team up was excellent, and Whitney Frost was a good villain. But mostly it was hamstrung by a change of setting that never quite came off, and bogged down in unnecessary love triangles.

I don't know, maybe a lot of viewers main interest in Peggy always was 'who will Mr Agent Carter be?' and not 'so how did the founding of SHIELD go down?' or 'I would like to see Director Carter in action, please.' I liked Daniel fine as Peggy endgame love interest, and had since mid season one, but Peggy's love life was never what I was interested in.

It's a pity, I suppose, given how crazy I was about the first season, that my reaction to the cancellation wasn't 'it's a shame we won't be getting a season three' but instead 'I'm not sure we should ever have gotten a season two.'

At least, between this and being so very underwhelmed by Civil War I am now free of whatever tenuous interest I had in the non-Netflix MCU. My interest in the Netflix shows is being upheld by the prospect of Luke Cage and a second series of Jessica Jones; and maybe The Defenders, depending on how annoyed I am by Matt by then.

-Speaking of things I am probably free of, I kept up with The 100 until the S3 finale and I think I'm done now. The 100 3x16Collapse )

Anyway, the back half of the season was pretty incoherent even from a show not noted for its narrative coherence. So, yeah, that was a weird, whiplash-y fandom fling.

-I was a wee bit nervous for the sixth season of Game of Thrones, as the show was finally going to overtake the books, but I've really enjoyed the first half of the season; I will forgive a lot for a bit of narrative momentum.

GoT 6x01-6x04Collapse )

-The final season of Person of Interest is finally airing, although I don't understand the schedule. First a hiatus that lasts forever and a day, and then burning through the episodes in some sort of incoherent, impossible to keep up with way. I have mixed feelings about the new canon; on the one hand, yay, new episodes; on the other, I am so not ready for this show to be over, and I kind of wish I was getting more time to process the new episodes. Particularly the Shaw episode, which blew. my. fucking. mind.

PoI 5X04Collapse )

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Books [May. 19th, 2016|02:04 pm]

We had a brief heatwave here last week and I discovered that my dog likes licking sunscreen off my skin; other things she likes the taste of are: perfume, hand lotion, antiseptic cream, soap, and shower gel. An oft heard refrain in out house is: "Stop licking me, I've just got out of the shower!"

It also meant that I got quite a bit of reading done in various gardens (mine; assorted beer).

The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard
Armada - Ernest Cline
The Redbreast - Jo Nesbo
Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner
Day Four - Sarah Lotz
In the Labyrinth of the Drakes - Marie Brennan

The House of Shattered Wings is set in Paris after a magical WWI equivalent; the broken cityscape is controlled by fallen angels who are both powerful rulers and, basically, currency because their body parts are the source of magic. The worldbuilding is fascinating, the writing is gorgeous, and there are a lot of background same-sex relationships, and I just... could not get into it.

I think it was a combination of revolving POVs and not immediately sympathetic or likeable characters. I never warmed to Philippe the way I did to Selene and Madeline, and every time the narration switched back to him I would stall out. Filed under: things I wanted to like more I did.

Speaking of things I expected to like more than I ultimately did, having eaten Ready Player One up with a spoon I was disappointed in Ernest Cline's next offering. Armada is about a video game where the player fights off an alien invasion, and being a hotshot at the game comes in handy when oddly similar aliens come knocking at earth's door.

The good: it was a quick, fun read, and like Ready Player One there was a lot of geeky joy to be found in 'I understood that reference' moments.

The bad: it was lazy. Literally everything about this book was lazy. The protogonist's father really had faked his own death to become a highly classified war hero. There was a manic pixie geek girl who our hero picked up in five minutes flat using his word perfect knowledge of Aliens quotes. Being a hotshot pilot in a videogame automatically translated to being a hotshot pilot in the real world. The alien invasion plot was painfully lazy, and I kept waiting for a twist that never came.

It was like someone was trying to smoosh Ender's Game and Galaxy Quest together, and if you think those sound like two tonally inconsistent things then you'd be right.

I turned to a nordic thriller from the library for a change of pace. The Redbreast was, er, fine, if a little slow; it was six-hundred pages long and nobody died until page two-hundred. Well, it flashed back to the eastern front during WWII, so obviously lots of people died, but it was page two-hundred before anyone we cared about died. And 'he had multiple personality disorder all along...' I don't think has ever been a satisfying conclusion to anything, and makes the book feel more dated than it probably is.

Sweet Disorder is a regency romance with a plus-sized heroine, and the hero is saved from being yet another wounded soldier with a heart of gold by his hitherto undiscovered submission kink. The historical romance genre continues to provide me with more hits than misses.

Day Four is a horror set on a budget cruise liner, which in addition to the inherent horror of being on a budget cruise (A+ use of setting) has a murder, ghosts, an outbreak of noro, and being adrift at sea. I... wasn't sure about the ending. Not that I'm necessarily against the surprise alternate universes, I just thought it could have used more groundwork. But I understand that this is kind of a duology with The Three, so maybe it'll work better for me once I've read that one.

I continue to adore Marie Brennan's chronicles of a pseudo-victorian lady dragon naturalist, but as much as I'm enjoying them I was quite pleased to discover that The Labyrinth of the Drakes is book four of five, because I feel like the series is coming to its natural conclusion (Isabella finally became Lady Trent in this one); plus I'm just grateful when fantasy writers know when to call it a day.

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Revenge of the Fifth [May. 5th, 2016|11:18 pm]
It was my birthday yesterday. Thirty-three. And I think this was the year I really grew as a person, but my main evidence for this is that when I was picking new Converse for my present I elected for jade green ones in a block colour rather than the Harley Quinn ones, so maybe not.

I took myself off into town for five buck steak, an indeterminate number of beers, and Civil War. Let's just say that I'm glad I factored in some day drinking before going to the cinema.

Captain America: Civil WarCollapse )

But the upshot of seeing a terrible film for your birthday is that you get to spend several hours in the pub afterwards explaining to your mates why they are wrong, and they have to both listen and pay for your drinks because it is your birthday.

I was home fairly early, because I'm in my thirties, it was a Wednesday, and these aren't the last days of the Roman Empire. I made a giant mug of tea, wrapped myself up in a duvet, and watched the new episode of Person of Interest.

I'd had this vague idea that I was going to wait until this final series was finished so I could binge watch, but let's be real, that was never going to happen, and if the next twelve episodes are as intense as that one I might actually explode trying to watch them all over a weekend.

My favourite bit was Root's line about having fallen in love. I was going, wait does she mean Shaw or the Machine? Both, both is good.

Less pleasingly, the day after my birthday I had to take my car to the garage. I'd been giving my mum a lift somewhere, and she got in the car and went, 'Why is the radio so loud?' and then, later, 'What's that noise?' And well the answer to that was twofold; that noise was a) the shrieking sound of distressed metal, and b) the reason that the radio was up so loud.

The terrifying sound of tearing metal turned out to be the result of a hole in the underside of the car, so it's good that they fixed that. While it was in they called to say that my brake pads and discs needed replaced, but they said it in the how-are-you-alive tone of people who well knew that I was one emergency stop away from being the cause of a twelve car pile up.

So it cost more than I would have liked to get it back on the road, but I figure that not dying in a huge ball of fire was a pretty good birthday present to myself.

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Telly; also, lesbians [Apr. 18th, 2016|07:34 pm]
[Tags|, , , ]

-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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