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Fic & Procrastination (a winning combination) [Oct. 11th, 2016|11:33 pm]
Wow, yuletide signups came and went quickly. I guess that answers my am I going to participate this year? question for me.

I haven't thrown my hat in the Yuletide ring for years. As in, the last time I did Game of Thrones was an eligible fandom. I got out of the habit when I worked retail and December was neatly divided into thirds of working, sleeping, and stress crying.

It's probably for the best I'm sitting it out, because I still haven't started my [dreamwidth.org profile] femslashex fic (jfc, self.)

See, I have this attention span thing where I can only work on one fic at a time and I already had a PoI fixit open on my desktop. It was probably going to be posted in chapters anyway, because there are a couple of big pov changes, so I thought if I posted the first chapter I could temporarily move on. So:

When I Argue I See Shapes (1/3, Person of Interest, Root/Shaw) which is really equal parts a canon divergent AU where Root succeeds in her no good, very bad plan to hand herself over to Samaritan, and a canon compliant fixit where everything is inception.

It sort of worked; of course now I have a dangling WIP.

Then I got tapped to write a last minute pitch-hit for got_exchange:

Everybody Says That You're So Fragile (ASOIAF; Lyanna, Elia, Ashara) which is half my effort to save as many of the Dead Ladies Club as possible, and half Lyanna Stark: masked vigilante.

And now I'm going to write my femslash fic.

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Things I Have Been Putting In My Eyeballs [Oct. 9th, 2016|11:49 pm]
-I had one day off this week, during which I fell into a Luke Cage shaped hole and emerged blinking into the light thirteen hours later. Nothing's been done, the house is a state, my ironing was done by means of hanging it in the bathroom while I showered, and I have no regrets. That was the good shit.

Incoherent Luke Cage RamblingsCollapse )

I think Luke Cage is my favourite Marvel show yet. Jessica Jones was brilliant, I though, but it cut a bit close to the bone for me to actually call watching it enjoyable. I only wish Iron Fist looked better, and less like it was sponsored by the Game of Thrones casting department's off day.

-I belatedly got around to watching Star Trek: Beyond which I hadn't seen right away because all the trailers made it look like a generic action flick in space. But, actually, for a film that destroyed the Enterprise before the thirty minute mark it felt like the first reboot film that had actually been made by people who like Star Trek.

It certainly felt more like Trek than Star Trek: Gap Year or Star Trek: Is This Casting Racist? It helped that the cast, Kirk, specifically, looked like actual grown ups in this one.

Beyond is definitely closer to Actually Good than merely Better Than Into Darkness, but I still hold to my views that Star Trek is better suited to the small screen.

-I tried to watch Batman v Superman last time I was laid up with period pain (Dawn of Justice, quite possible more fun than bleeding from your vagina), largely because the Wonder Woman trailer had looked really good and I wanted to see her bits. I didn't get to Wonder Woman; I'd lost the will to live by twenty minutes in and decided that lying on my bed in silence more fully experiencing my stomach cramps would be more fun. Has anyone done some sort of Diana supercut?

-I've been really enjoying Pitch, this is a bit surprising because I know nothing about baseball and if I'm going to keep watching I should learn something of the rules if only to quiet the voice in my head that keeps saying they're playing cricket wrong. Also baseball is a bit like rounders, right? And once in primary school I broke my teacher's nose playing rounders because my shocked and appalled reaction to actually hitting the ball that had been thrown at me was to hurl the bat backwards over my shoulder.

Tales of my sporting incompetence aside, I think Pitch has been excellent so far. I really like the mentor-student vibe they seem to be going for with Ginny and Mike, with Ginny being Mike's legacy. I'm not shipping them, but I can totally see why people would. If I squint I can see myself shipping Ginny and her agent, but mostly I love the friendships been Ginny and Mike, and Ginny and Blip, and after the last episode want Ginny and Tommy to be unlikely bros forever.

-I have just finished a rewatch of all seven seasons of The West Wing which I started on the night of the Brexit vote. In times of great hardship President Bartlet comes to me...

(Actually this entire post is brought to you by my pre-gaming with Jack Daniels and the Hamilton soundtrack for the second presidential debate.)

At the end of season seven I still feel like Vinick should have won the election, and Santos wasn't characterised enough beyond 'the democrat.' And I hate that Josh ended up chief of staff, I can't imagine that he'd be any good at it.

I really didn't like that they brought perennial nice guy Sam back; his character felt dated even when S7 aired and even more so now. Also, there was an awkward line of Sam's, about America being a nation of centrists and Santos being just the president they needed to bring people together which felt like it had escaped from and earlier draft of the script where Vinick won. And it wasn't even bringing back a character from the earlier seasons that bothered me, because the return of both Amy Garner and Ainsley Hayes to serve on the senior staff worked for me, and actually in light of that it bothered me even more that the final 'what's next?' scene was the president and three guys in identical suits.

Even so, I will defend the finale forever if only for the scene of Donna being shown into her fantabulous new office as First Lady's Chief of Staff.

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Books [Oct. 4th, 2016|10:57 pm]

Foxglove Summer - Ben Aaronovitch
In Harm's Way - Doug Stanton
Stone Mattress - Margaret Atwood
Labrador - Ben Fogle
Infomocracy - Malka Older

I'd given up on the Rivers of London series as not doing it for me, but I stumbled across Foxglove Summer in the library and picked it up. I ended up liking it far more than I was expecting to for a couple reasons 1) Nightingale was barely in it; sorry, but he bores the arse off me, and 2) it wasn't set in London; I am stubbornly, Scottishly cross about works of fiction in which London is singularly special; I have the actual news for that. So, to me, this was a lovely book in which a likeable city cop is sent out to the countryside to investigate a unicorn related supernatural mystery. Still, I'm not convinced I care enough about what's going on with Lesley to pick up the next book when surely the Nightingale and London aspects will be back in full force.

I read In Harm's Way, about the sinking of a US battleship in shark-infested waters in the closing days of WWII, and the communication SNAFUs that led to no-one going to look for survivors for nearly a week with a sense of horrified fascination.

I am a very hard sell when it comes to short stories, and that's true even when the stories in question are written by Margaret Atwood. There was one good story in Stone Mattress in which a retirement aged woman runs into the man who raped her in high school on an arctic cruise pushes him off the edge of a glacier, but the rest of the collection was meh at best; there was a linking mechanism so half-hearted that it was abandoned three stories in, and just... meh.

I like dogs, and I like reading about other people's dogs. Labrador was not a particularly brilliant example of the yay dogs! genre.

Do you want to read a novel about election malarky set in cyberpunk Asia? Let me rephrase that: do you want to read a novel about election malarky set in cyberpunk Asia, possibly after November when we can all exhale? Then Infomocracy is that novel. Highly, highly recommend.

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Fic 'n' Things [Sep. 22nd, 2016|09:46 pm]
-The obvious thing to do when I don't have any running water on account of a burst main is to drink beer instead, right?

I did have half a bottle of water in the fridge, but I put that in the dog's bowl. Not that she'll touch it; my dog would never drink out of anything so gauche as a water bowl, not when there are toilets and puddles to be drunk from instead.

-I mean, I could do some writing while I'm sitting here. In a fit of unrealistic optimism I have four word documents open. The first is my take on the Person of Interest fix-it, which is causing me problems because, pacing issues aside, I actually like the PoI finale and thought that it earned most of what it did, but for the purposes of this fic I have to change everything about it; the basic premise is that Root succeeded in her no good, very bad plan to hand herself over to Samaritan in QSO, and everything that happened to Shaw after that was a simulation, and eh. Fixits, I have realised, are easiest written from a position of utmost bitterness, which is why so many of mine are about Donna Noble or Morgana. The second is my Femslashex fic; I like the prompt, I've revisited the canon, I know what I'm going to write, and I've been staring at a blinking cursor for a week now. Like, come on, dude, hop to it. The last two wips are the treats I want to write for Femslashex, which I have forbidden myself from working on until I've written my assignment, so they're probably not happening, but I live in hope.

-a minor fall and a major lift (Sansa/Willas; ASOIAF; coffee shop AU)

My fic for the last round of got_exchange. A Sansa/Willas coffee shop AU is, ahem, a little outside my wheelhouse, but I ended up having a lot of fun writing it, not least because I got to include Lady being alive and Margaery sleeping her way through the eligible female characters.

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Books [Sep. 1st, 2016|08:37 pm]

Four Roads Cross - Max Gladstone
Listen to the Moon - Rose Lerner
The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley
Asking For It - Louise O'Neill
City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett

I would never have expected to be as crazy about a series about capitalist, legalease magic as I am about Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence. I'd thought the series took a bit of a dip with Last First Snow (maybe it will hold up better if I ever reread the series in chronological order, it might seem like less of a rehash of Two Serpents Rise) but it's back on form with Four Roads Cross; we're back in Alt Columb with the characters from the first book, and I think its the best one since that first book. Anyway, I love the whole series, and would recommend.

Listen to the Moon is, I think, my favourite historical romance in a long time. First of all the hero and the heroine are a valet and maid. And, look, I know there's a lot of easy chuckles to be had off puns on aristocratic titles, but a little variety is nice, is my point. Also they get married at, like, the one third mark, and I love romances between already married couples. Highly recommended.

The first time I tried to read Kameron Hurley I bounced hard off of God's War, and I was a bit surprised because I'd heard her described as a feminist SFF writer, so when in The Geek Feminist Revolution I read her describing her fiction as being a mix of grimdark and new weird I went oh that's why I don't care for her writing, it's at the intersection of two things that are Not My Bag of Chips. Which is actually interesting, because male authors are described by the types of books that they write, women authors are first and foremost women authors. I ended up rather liking this essay collection, Hurley's kinda brash style works a lot better for me in non-fiction. Admittedly, having decided that I didn't care for Hurley's fiction I never followed links to her blog so I hadn't already read the pieces that had been published online. You always feel a bit conned when you shell out these essay collections only to discover that you've already read two thirds of the contents. Anyway, I enjoyed it.

Asking For It is a YA novel and a bloody difficult read. It's about a gang rape and subsequent internet humiliation. Think the Steubenville case transplanted into suburban Ireland. Two things in particular elevate it; the protagonist/victim is awful, she's the girl everybody hated in high school, she has no sympathy for another rape victim, and she still doesn't deserve what was done to her; and the ambiguous ending, which, yeah, was a downer, but was also closer to reality most of the time than righteous vindication.

City of Stairs is the best start to a SFF trilogy I've read in oh ages. It's set in a Russian inspired fantasy city that was decimated when their Gods were killed in an revolt by the, ahem, godless nation they'd been subjugating. Dead Gods seem to be a lucky theme for me in books; it's the backstory to the Craft Sequence too. It features a badass middle aged woman general, a lady diplomat/spy, and her viking, basically, secretary. jsyk: the one non-straight character dies, I loved the rest of it so much that it wasn't a dealbreaker, but the more you know. I almost dived straight into City of Blades, but the second book of trilogies are sometimes... you know, the third one isn't out yet, and the library called to say they've got Foxglove Summer for me, so I guess I'm reading that next.

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Dear Femslashex Person [Aug. 31st, 2016|11:16 pm]
I have signed up for [community profile] femslashex, and so should you...

Dear Person,

Thanks in advance, and first of all if you already have an idea for one of these pairings you should ignore me and go with your gut, I'm sure I'll love it. I'm pretty easy to please. If you find it helpful to get a sense of your recipient's internet presence I'm here, on tumblr, and my AO3 bookmarks double as a recs list.

I like: what ifs, canon divergence AUs, bittersweet mixtures of fluff and angst. Trope wise I have a soft spot for soulmate mark AUs, and I will never say no to a good zombie apocalypse AU.

Dislikes: A/B/O, mundane AUs, pwps - feel free to include sex of whatever rating you're comfortable with, I'd just prefer not to receive only a sex scene.

Person of Interest
Shaw/the Machine

After season five I would love to see a fixit or canon divergence AU where Root either didn't die or somehow survived. I loved the way Root and Shaw's relationship seemed to be heading in the wake of her escape, with the volume on Shaw's feelings having been turned slightly up, and I would love to see that play out more.

I am fascinated by any and all takes on how much of Root is in the Machine now, and I'd love to see that explored, as well as the Machine's relationship to Shaw as her Primary Asset.

Game of Thrones

These two meeting was the surprise delight of the last season. I'd love to see them flirting their way across the high seas. Or something set after they've reached Westeros, with them both trying to rule as queens, or Yara as Dany's consort. If you can think of a way to get them married, go for it.

The Rook

The thing I loved about Stiletto was the way the enemies to friends arc was handled with Felicity and Odette. I loved their determination to save each other even before they were sure they liked one another. I would love to see a fic set after the events of the book tackle the friends to lovers part of the equation.


I would be fascinated by an AU where Maggie was the Mastermind of Team Leverage, or alternatively a member of Team Leverage. Or maybe something where Maggie and Sophie met during Sophie's grifting days.

Deep Space Nine

I imprinted on the episode Rejoined young. I would be interested an AU where Lenara stayed on DS9, how might their relationship have panned out on DS9.

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5 Things Make a Post [Aug. 20th, 2016|01:44 am]
-I can add [personal profile] dhampyresa to my list of fandom folk who are definitely not axe-murderers. I mean, you all seem very nice, but I make my not an axe-murderer determinations on a case by case basis. We got to spent a very cool evening hanging out and discussing Star Wars while I did my worst tour guide in Glasgow bit. And its becoming ever more clear that I really ought to be watching the Clone Wars series, if only for Ashoka related reasons.

-I have been watching the Olympics, and while some of it has been delightful - the women's rugby 7s genuinely enriched my life; it seemed like the entire early shift in my work had stayed up half the night to watch Andy Murray's tennis final, that workday was sponsored by Red Bull. But there's almost something old East German about the way "Team GB" is being covered here, it's like: look how many gold medals we have; do not peek behind the curtain.

-I have been trying to yank myself out of a bout of writers block by writing sequel ficlets. Presenting: more Sansa/Margaery arranged marriage and more Sameen Shaw and her indifferent daemon.

-While I was tooling around AO3 I noticed that my subscriber count has hit 300. Admittedly, I don't know if that's a lot or next to nothing, but I find it a pleasingly round number, and it delights me.

-I'd been planning to take my dog hiking on Skye over the weekend, but I'm thinking again, partly because it's pissing down, and partly because my dog has funny ideas about sheep; to wit, about chasing them (I blame her pesky spaniel grandparent) and I'm a bit worried that her reaction to first seeing seals might be hey, water sheep! to general disaster.

By the way, if you've never had to rescue a small, terrified labrador who has just realised that she's made a huge mistake from the middle of a dairy herd, then I'm hear to tell you dairy cows are fucking massive!

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femmeremix [Aug. 8th, 2016|02:10 pm]
[Tags|, , , ]

The [community profile] femmeremix author reveals were last night, hurrah, and the remix of my fic is:

Her Father's Daughter (Visited on the Son Remix) by [archiveofourown.org profile] originally

and it's awesome to me on three levels.

1. It's a remix of Abu el Banat, which is my Oberyn character study, and, I think, one of my best fics in asoiaf fandom. And you know how sometimes you get remixes that are perfectly lovely but it's a fandom you're no longer in, or of a fic you don't necessarily want to call attention to. So it was lovely that this was the fic my remixer chose.

2. It's a really good remix, with a lot of reflections and refractions of my fic, which were delightful to me as the original author.

3. It's also a brilliant stand alone fic. Instead of Oberyn, the focus is on Sarella Sand, and if you don't think you need a character study about a woman crossdressing to become a philosopher priest in your life then I just don't know what to say to you.

Basically, it's awesome and you should all read it.

I was assigned [archiveofourown.org profile] pendrecarc to remix, and this was very exciting to me because they are the author of Code Indigo which is one of my very favourite Person of Interest fics ever, an AU where it was Shaw who Finch met first, and I wasted ages failing to remix that. It took me an embarrassingly long time to realise that the reason I wasn't getting anywhere was that I love that fic so much that I didn't want to change anything about it. So I changed tack and remixed Electric, a circa S2 character study about Root's childhood and the origins of the taser as her weapon of choice.

Like, I don't know how other people approach a remix, but my approach is to try and work out what I think the fic is about at its most basic level and then try to figure out how I would write a fic from those basic building blocks. This, by the way, was why I couldn't remix Code Indigo because if I was going to write an AU where Finch had met Shaw first I would have tried to write Code Indigo. To me, I though that at it's most basic level Electric was a fic about Root's relationship with the physical world, and post season 5 the most bittersweet thing about that is that Root no longer has a relationship to the physical world. There was a careful what you wish for thing that appealed to me.

What I ended up writing was a four things fic that spanned Root's childhood to the end of the show, and because I took the female character remix thing a bit literally I tried to hit all the important female relationships in Root's life (Hanna, her mom, Shaw, the Machine.)

Sing The Body (Electric Remix) (Person of Interest)
"What the hell kind of leet speak name is Root?"

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Books [Aug. 6th, 2016|12:07 am]

The Language of Secrets - Ausma Zehanat Khan
Angelmaker - Nick Harkaway
Birthdays for the Dead - Stuart MacBride
The Witches: Salem, 1692 - Stacy Schiff
Stiletto - Daniel O'Malley

The Language of Secrets is the second book in a series about two Canadian detectives who investigate 'minority crimes.' The first book, The Unquiet Dead, was brilliant; it was about a Bosnian war criminal, and the author is apparently an international lawyer whose area of expertise is the atrocities of the Bosnian war, and that knowledge, that care shone through. This one was about Islamic extremism and felt much more by-the-numbers and cardboard. It was still a perfectly serviceable crime novel, but.

Oh, Angelmaker was this close to being something that I'd adore. It's got that off-beat magical realism thing that I just eat up. And one of the protagonists, Edie Bannister, is my new favourite character. The narrative skips between WWII when she's a bisexual, cross-dressing, snarky, steampunk spy, and the modern day where she's a spry little old lay spy with a stinky blind pug she carries around in her handbag. She's awesome. But then she dies one hundred pages from the end and the narrative is taken over by the other main character, Joe Spork, an everyman who saves the day by embracing the legacy of his gentleman gangster father.... yawn. I think the bait-and-switch would have annoyed me less if the first, like, five hundred pages hadn't catered to my id so perfectly, only to finish up catering to, er, someone else's id.

Stuart MacBride was recced to me on the grounds that I like Chris Brookmyre, but I think it was maybe just that they're both Scottish crime guys rather than them actually having all that much in common. To be fair I prefer Bookmyre's more satirical books, but even in his more straight crime novels Brookmyre has a lightness of touch and humour that Birthdays for the Dead lacks. I feel like there should be some sort of rule in crime thrillers that if your detective has two daughters and the first daughter has been murdered by a serial killer before the novel begins, then the third act should not be the younger daughter being killed by a copycat. That's not trope subversion, that's just grim for grim's sake.

I had really liked Stacy Schiff's book about Cleopatra, so I was surprised that I found The Witches such hard going. If I had a criticism of the Cleopatra book (which was, at least, an excellent read) it was that Schiff was writing about this really sympathetic version of the Egyptian Queen and then couldn't really reconcile her version with Cleopatra's eventual downfall. The Witches really could have used some of that instinct for extrapolation, as it was it just read like a fairly dry recitation of famously scant sources. Plus there's a cast of, like, five hundred puritans who have about three family names between them.

Stiletto is the first book in ages that's made me do that running in circles, flappy hands of incoherent glee thing. It arrived unexpectedly on my kindle (I'd loved The Rook years ago and had pre-ordered the sequel, but the publication date got pushed back and back; also, I don't think you have to have read The Rook to enjoy this.) Basically it's about a corporate merger between the secret supernatural department of the British government, who are all products of a posho magical boarding school, and a centuries old order of Eurotrash mad scientists. It's hilarious and awesome and femslashy as fuck; if there was one thing, one thing, that I could have changed I would have taken the relationship between Felicity and Odette all the way through enemies to reluctant allies to friends to actually becoming lovers, but that's what yuletide is for. A++, highly recommended.

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fic I might write, but let's be real, probably won't [Jul. 27th, 2016|11:31 pm]
I got my [community profile] femmeremix in on time, which was remarkable because writing it was like pulling teeth (the hardest fics to remix are ones that you love; I was trying to be too big for my britches, and had to change tack really late on.) And now I've got my [profile] got_exchange to write, which also looks to be like pulling teeth; that exchange is one where you have to e-mail the mod to drop out rather than just hitting a button on AO3, so social anxiety will compel me to at least try.

And maybe when stuck in an overlap between want to write and can't write wasn't the best time to request a [community profile] trope_bingo card, especially as I don't have any form at all for actually writing for bingo cards, but, hey, there's a first time for everything, right?

Read more...Collapse )

-I actually started writing a Clarke/Lexa role reversal fic during my brief fling with The 100, but every time I see anything about that fandom now it seems to reaffirm my decision to back away slowly while avoiding eye-contact, so maybe that's best left forever abandoned.

I was going to make all the grounders skypeople and vice versa. Clarke was going to be the flamekeeper and skyperson!Lexa would still be a nightblood; Octavia was going to have been turned into a reaper and grounder!Bellamy would be keeping her locked up because he couldn't bear to hurt her. But given how bonkers The 100's worldbuilding is, maybe it works better as a thought experiment rather than an actual fic?

-The presumed dead dead square should obviously be a fic about Root, right? And just because none of the 5x10 compliant fics where Root isn't dead have worked for me (I really, really can't see her faking her death, especially knowing what Shaw has been through) doesn't mean it can't be done well. Or, ooh, a fic where an unrecognisably scarred Margaery Tyrell somehow survives the explosion at the Great Sept and makes her way north to Sansa at Winterfell.

It's nice up here on denial mountain.

-As for the rare pairs square, Dany/Yara counts as a rare pair, right? Lots of people are into it, but there's hardly any fic. I just wish I had a more specific plot bunny for them than Dany and Yara flirt their way across the high seas.

-Fork in the road is my favourite type of AU. I could do one where Root succeeds in her terrible, no good, very bad plan to hand herself over to Samaritan in the hope of finding Shaw. Or I could get back to my long abandoned AU where both Lyanna and Elia survive Robert's Rebellion and are awkwardly, and yet less awkwardly than you'd expect, raising their children together.

-I am slightly bummed I didn't hold back my PoI daemon AU for the fusion square; maybe I could do a continuation of that where Root's daemon is now the Machine's daemon (the Machine has Root's soul, that's basically where I am with that.) Or I feel like there's a pretty fun Person of Interest characters in a Leverage AU in me somewhere.

-I have a free square for which I can write whatever tropey fic I want, and I have never particularly wanted to write a coffee shop AU, but then I saw someone request a Sansa/Asha coffee shop AU in an exchange and I sat up and went ooh.

Any ideas, guys?

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