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In Which Your Heroine is a Crotchety Old Fandom Lady [May. 13th, 2015|05:49 am]
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-Tumblr always makes me feel like an old fandom lady, never more so than when it took my dash about forty-eight hours to go from doing cartwheels about Agent Carter's renewal, to panicking about the change of setting for S2 and the possibility of Haley Atwell being the only returning cast member. I don't know-- well, nobody knows. It could be brilliant, if they're doing a time skip then we're into early fifties Hollywood which is pretty cool. It could well be that I was right the first time, in my failure to have much time for the MCU, and Agent Carter S1 was just a brief, glorious aberration. Either way, I don't have it in me to worry.

Plus, I came to Agent Carter via Merlin (which crashed and burned into a toxic mess of misogyny, bitterness, and resentment), Doctor Who (which at the very least teaches us not to fear change), and the endless, endless bloody sniping in ASOIAF/Game of that's your adaption choice? So I think I have earned my slightly condescending Oh, you sweet summer children moment.

-Speaking of Game of Thrones, my overwhelming reaction to S5 continues to be: I understand why you made these adaptation choices, I don't necessarily agree with you with you about all of them, and I think in a few cases your execution leaves a lot to be desired. But my ambivalence is mostly drowned out by my gratitude that you're moving the story along before I was forced to perform a one woman reenactment of the Get On With It! crowd scene from Holy Grail.

And from episode five we learned Kill The BoyCollapse )

- I have signed up for remix, and I think other people should too. There's no qualifying fandoms this year, which I like, because I always thought they skewed towards old, slashy fandoms and locked people into offering fandoms they were otherwise pretty much done with. But I'll be interested to see how matching shakes out, and if it actually changes what people are writing that much.

See, this is what happens when you grow old in fandom, you start noticing changes in fandom trends, which is a highly specific and difficult to explain hobby.

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Belated April Booklog + A Cautionary Tale [May. 7th, 2015|11:17 pm]
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Shadow Scale - Rachel Hartman
Fair Fight - Anna Freeman

Shadow Scale is the sequel to Seraphina, about a half dragon girl caught between a coming war between humans and dragons. I didn't like it quite so much as the first one; this is partly grading on a curve because I freakin' adored the first one, partly that the first half of the novel follows Seraphina as she travels around trying to find the other half dragons, and quest narratives do very little for me. I also wasn't thrilled about a wild love triangle appearing. I mean, I loved that Glisselda isn't straight (called it!) and that she and Kiggs went through with their marriage of political convenience. But I wasn't wild about Glisselda turning out to be in love with Seraphina, and if that kiss was meant to be an implication that Seraphina isn't straight herself and they're going to come to some sort of poly understanding it could have stood to be less... wishy washy. I still wonder if the decision to market the books as YA was made at a comparatively late stage, because the characters all seem to have been written as 3-5 years older than their stated ages; it would explain the pasted on love triangle, and vagueness of its conclusion too. I like that it is a duology (everything is a bloody trilogy these days) but I do wonder if it wouldn't have stood up better as one slightly longer volume.

Don't get me wrong, I did like them, and I do recommend them. I think Rachel Hartman did a bang up job with a premise that could very easily have veered into 'sparkling vampires' territory. I just liked the first one better.

Fair Fight is a historical novel set in Victorian England featuring three revolving POVs; Ruth, a boxer raised in a brothel, Charlotte an upperclass miss who is married beneath her station and forms an unlikely friendship with Ruth, and George a manipulative dandy who's involved in a long standing relationship with Charlotte's brother. You know how when you have a book with rotating POVs there's usually one where you go 'oh, not you again', but here I found all three characters compelling, and sympathetic, and repulsive in very different but equally fascinating ways.

I absolutely fell in love with this book, and I usually find boxing a bit... distasteful, but I absolutely loved it. It was a bit like The Crimson Petal and the White, a bit like Fingersmith, and a bit like Life Mask. Highly recommended.

Two thirds of the way through and I think I'll abandon The Secret History of the Pink Carnation. It's a play on the Scarlet Pimpernel and the first real dud of my stroll through historical romance; a bland plucky by the numbers heroine, and equally bland former rake with a heart of gold hero. And maybe it's because of the royal baby has been all over the news this week, but every time the heroine started talking about restoring the monarchy my grumpy inner republican (small r) reared her head.


I've got the election coverage on in the background. Hmm, if the exit polls are right Scotland should have taken independence when it was on the cards. I'm probably not going to stay up much longer, but before I go to bed have a story of the these people don't vote, do they? variety.

My sister is a doctor. An actual medical, dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor not a... doctor. She is a clever lady. She also wanted to vote Green today. I'd voted in the morning and texted her to say that there wasn't a Green standing where we live. We live in a Labour/SNP marginal, our Labour incumbent is a wanker and Dr. Sister hates the SNP. I assumed she'd hold her nose and vote Lib Dem, or spoil her ballot.

Instead - and again this woman is a doctor - she voted for an independent who she knew nothing about on the assumption that he was one of the harmless save-our-hills, save-our-hospital type independents. She went home and googled him; turns out he's a loon of the radical right, who got kicked out of UKIP for being too reactionary, and whose main platform is the reestablishment of the British Empire.

I've never been the brains of the family before; I don't like it.

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Had a Marvelous Birthday [May. 6th, 2015|11:13 pm]
-It was my birthday on Monday. I am now 32. I am very confused as to how this happened as I was 19, like, five minutes ago.

-I took myself off to see Age of Ultron, which was entertaining in the same way a fireworks display is entertaining, in that there were bright colours, loud noises, and explosions, and like a fireworks display, by the two hour mark I was starting to wonder what was happening back in the pub.

Bear in mind that I haven't read a comic book in my life, and there are huge swathes of the MCU I am still unfamiliar with, so maybe it made more sense to others.

A list of things I didn"t understand about Age of UltronCollapse )

On the plus side, my lack of familiarity with the wider universe meant that any continuity or characterisation snafus that may have irked other people sailed right over my head.

A list of things I liked about Age of UltronCollapse )

-Not unrelatedly, I very much enjoyed the recent Daredevil series, which I think benefited from notionally being in the MCU, but mostly being off in its own corner doing its own thing, so unlike Agents of SHIELD, and to lesser extent Agent Carter, it doesn't get tangled up in the continuity of the wider universe.

-Also, I am a great believer that a good cure for writer's block is to write something really ridiculous and self indulgent, so on that note here is an Agent Carter soulmate AU:

Because Girls Love Girls and Boys
Agent Carter; Peggy/Angie; 3233 words

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.)

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AO3 Meme [Apr. 19th, 2015|08:15 pm]
I enjoy both talking about my fic, and watching short columns of numbers doing things slowly, so of course I enjoy that meme where you list your top ten A03 fics and wonder about them.

Top Ten by Hits
1. The Care and Feeding of Tiny Humans (and slightly larger Time Lords) (14060 hits; Doctor Who; Eleven & tiny Amelia)
2. Here Be Dragons (13085 hits; Merlin/Temeraire fusion; Morgana & Aithusa)
3. Every Rose Has a Thorn (and even tame wolves bite) (9021 hits; ASOIAF; Sansa/Margaery)
4. Keep the Bouquets, Throw Away the Grooms (6898 hits; Game of Thrones; Sansa/Margaery, arranged marriage)
5. Living Arrangements (5983 hits; Agent Carter; Peggy/Angie)
6. The Women Kings (5947 hits; Game of Thrones; Sansa/Margaery)
7. Those Who Favour Fire (5766 hits; Game of Thrones; Sansa/Cersei, Sansa/Dany)
8. They Will Crown You, They Will Take Your Legs (5627 hits; Game of Thrones; Dany/Doreah)
9. War Is Easier Than Daughters (5215 hits; Game of Thrones; girl!Jon Snow)
10. Practice Makes Perfect (4579 hits; Game of Thrones; Sansa/Margaery, high school AU)

Top Ten by Kudos
1. Living Arrangements (1029 kudos; Agent Carter; Peggy/Angie)
2. The Care and Feeding of Tiny Humans (and slightly larger Time Lords) (767 kudos; Doctor Who; Eleven & wee Amelia)
3. Keep the Bouquets, Throw Away the Grooms (660 kudos; Game of Thrones; Sansa/Margaery, arranged marriage)
4. Practice Makes Perfect (411 kudos; Game of Thrones; Sansa/Margaery, high school AU)
5. Everything But the Kitchen Sink (409 kudos; Doctor Who; Eleven & dalek!Oswin)
6. Every Rose Has a Thorn (and even tame wolves bite) (399 kudos; ASOIAF; Sansa/Margaery)
7. The Women Kings (366 kudos; Game of Thrones; Sansa/Margaery)
8. The Game of Courtship (268 kudos; ASOIAF; Sansa/Margaery)
9. Those Who Favour Fire (262 kudos; Game of Thrones; Sansa/Cersei, Sansa/Dany)
10. The Sides and All the Corners (228 kudos; Once Upon a Time; Belle/Ruby)

-I never thought that anything, ever, would garner more kudos than The Care and Feeding of Tiny Humans, which is my fandom claim to fame, as it were.
-I suppose that's the difference between anything MCU adjacent and all other fandoms ever since the heyday of Harry Potter.
-Happily, I do think Living Arrangements is a bit good, and now I wish I'd bothered to come up with a better title for it.
-I assume there's some sort of bot thing going on with Here Be Dragons, because thirteen thousand hits for a gen fusion about the female villain and a one ep guest star, wtf?
-I am oddly gratified that inexplicable bot activity not withstanding, and despite my having written nearly twice as many Merlin fics as anything else, there is no Merlin on either of these lists, not even my M/A remixes. Hurrah!
-I find it interesting that my Game of Thrones fic - or fic written early enough in the life of the show that you could still use both tags in good conscience - seems to be more popular than my ASOIAF fic, even though I think my book fic is better, and I had always thought that the book fandom was bigger. Just louder maybe?
-Sansa/Margaery is still a very popular pairing even though they haven't interacted since mis-S3 and likely never will again. Gosh, I love fandom sometimes.

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Game of Thrones [Apr. 14th, 2015|12:01 am]
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I accidentally watched the four leaked episodes of Game of Thrones. I shall now proceed to wait for episode five like some kind of medieval peasant.

I know people were very nervous of some of the S5 spoilers, and S4 was, to be fair, shite, but I was pleasantly surprised by the first half of S5.

GoT 5x1-5x4Collapse )

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puppy + fic rec + fic = post [Apr. 4th, 2015|07:13 pm]
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- The latest victim my puppy's need to chew everything she can get her little jaws around is the muzzle purchased specifically to stop her from destroying shit. She is the bestest puppy in the world in all other ways; repeat slowly ten times and take a shot.

- I fell headfirst into an 80k Amazing Spider-Man fic where Gwen Stacey is Spider Man (it's Maggie Fitzgerald and the Saltwater Drip, and it's practically perfect in every way.) And now I wish that there was an AO3 tag for a secondary female character gets the main dude's abilities or arc, only not just with the names find and replaced, because I want to read all of them. Actually, the fic I want most of all is the one where Peggy Carter gets the super soldier serum, either as a take on Cap or the Winter Soldier, I could go either way.

- My fic for this round of got_exchange was a play on the fact that a key step on the road to the Iron Throne seems to be marrying Margaery Tyrell. It took me an embarrassingly long time to wrangle, especially considering that it's only really one scene. I don't know whether to put that, and my lack of excitement about either S5 or the Sansa teaser chapter, down to my weasel induced off feeling of the last wee while, or as a sign that I'm coming to the end of my fannishness about ASOIAF. Anyway...

The Proposition
Game of Thrones; Margaery Tyrell/Daenerys Targaryen; PG; 1884 words

And I'd be your queen?

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

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Rather Pathetic March Booklog + a plea [Apr. 1st, 2015|12:43 am]

Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear

Only one book finished this month, and it was one I started in February. Karen Memory should have been the stuff of my id; the central romance was f/f, the central relationships were all among women, a group of mutually supportive sex workers, no less. But, I don't know, the pacing was a little borked, I thought, there never seemed to be a sense of narrative urgency and the various subplots never really came together. There was also the fact that it was steampunk; now, it's not that I don't like steampunk, it's just that I haven't read a whole lot of it. I remember reading a great thing a while ago that in any genres or sub-genres there are the introductory texts (usually some of the first ones written, or those that play the genre straight), then the intermediary texts (those that build on what's come before, and start to play with the established tropes of the genre), etc. And because I haven't read much steampunk I think I've missed a step or twelve between 'what if technology was developed along steam rather than electric lines..?' and 'and then our heroine attacked a nineteenth century submarine with an ambulatory sewing machine.' It was less the book, and more my not being the right kind of genre-savvy. I do think the pacing was dodgy, though.

I dipped in and out of few different Discworld books in memory of Terry Pratchett, but I couldn't settle to read anything straight through.

Actually, I've been feeling a bit twitchy and off all month. Revenge of the Brain Weasels, I guess, which is annoying, because I have been so much better for so long now. Still, I am so much better at managing my anxiety than I used to be - for one thing, anthropomorphising it as playful weasels nibbling at loose wires inside my head has been hugely helpful.

So because it only ever takes me one really good read to yank me out of a book slump, I ask: read any good books lately? Any genres at all, fiction or non-fiction (actually non-fiction might be quite good for my attention span currently), but really anything at all that you've enjoyed or found attention grabbing?

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Women Scorned [Mar. 21st, 2015|08:20 pm]
I was playing an askbox game over on tumblr, about female characters screwed over by their narratives and how I would have fixed it. And as this is a subject I can talk about at, ahem, some length I thought I'd repost my answers here.

Morgana (Merlin)Collapse )

Gwen (Merlin)Collapse )

Shae (GoT)Collapse )

Ros (GoT)Collapse )

Sansa Stark (GoT)Collapse )

Donna Noble (Doctor Who)Collapse )

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You Have Betrayed My Tiny Trust [Mar. 17th, 2015|11:17 pm]
-"I really think having the dog is doing me the world of good, I've got bags more energy," I said, while playing keepie-uppie with a squeaky tennis ball by myself in the living room, and immediately before indulging in a ridiculous fantasy about me and the closing moments of a Champions League final that saw me hoofing the ball across the room and into the television.

I can't even blame the dog for this one, as I'd sent her to the vet to be neutered, and at the time she was lying in her crate, wearing a cone of shame, and staring at me with a look of abject betrayal and resentment.

-Speaking of betrayals of fledgling trust, I was a wee bit dismayed that the series finale of Call the Midwife was taken straight out of the Big Book of Tragic Lesbian Cliches (especially after Last Tango in Halifax; that's two otherwise stellar BBC shows that have pulled this same nonsense in however many months. Do they have a quota to meet?)

After Delia rode off on Patsy's bicycle I didn't even manage to get out the full sentence, "I bet she's about to be hit by a car", before she was hit by a car.

I go to my Mum and Dad's on Sundays for tea, too, and then spend the evening watching telly with them, so I found myself trying to explain the sad lesbian cliche to two people who mentally find and replace the word lesbian with the word goldfish in all conversation.

-Because I don't really go to the pictures anymore, and because I've been such a naysayer on the superhero genre, I'm only now really catching up on the MCU, horrifically out of order, and just as and when they happen to cross my path. I didn't think there would be a wrong way to watch comic book movies, but I think I've found it.

One of the reasons that even the big bombshell moment of Agents of SHIELD S1 did nothing for me was that I didn't know what Hydra was or why being part of it was bad. So I watched The Winter Soldier, and that explained that (although I now retroactively resent AoS for squandering the destruction of SHIELD plot) but I was going, "Hang on, the chap in all the eye makeup asks a good question: who the hell is Bucky?" So just last week I watched the first Captain America movie, but I think I missed the boat, because I'd already seen all of Agent Carter and I was mostly just confused as to why there wasn't more Peggy in Peggy Carter's origin story.

-I have thankfully aged out of strange men coming up to me on the bus and asking what I'm reading. I used to put them off by telling them, in great detail; nobody likes an evangelist. But I looked up from my much thumbed Guards! Guards! paperback at the weekend and found a lad grinning at me over a battered copy of Hogfather.

So we spent a nice commute talking about Pratchett's death, and Pratchett's Death, and our favourite Discworld books, and when I said, "I have to go, this is my stop," it was because it actually was my stop, and not because I was planning to get off and wait for the next bus.

So Terry Pratchett died, and that's terribly sad, but two strangers passed a pleasant half hour of human connection over their shared love of his work, which is not bad.

-The annual Scotland - England Calcutta Cup match was played this weekend gone. During the pre-match coverage the music the BBC chose to play over clips of previous clashes between the sides was The Rains of Castamere.

Fitting really; not just for the Calcutta Cup, but for Scotland's performance this entire Six Nations. Not so much The Lannisters Send Their Regards, as All Of Europe Sends Its Regards, Again.

-Because I am exactly the sort of weirdo that is fascinated by AO3 statistics, and likes to watch columns of numbers slowly climb upwards, I was sort of interesting to see that the Peggy/Angie fic I wrote a month ago is now my most kudosed fic, eclipsing The Care and Feeding of Tiny Humans which has been my most popular story (by several orders of magnitude) since I first joined the A03.

From this I am taking the following: 1) the MCU, even the femslash-y spin-off bit, is a freakish outlier in terms of kudos, 2) correctly predicting a series endgame will buy you a certain amount of attention due to sheer novelty value.

Also, I would not do well in a m/m juggernaut because I don't think I could cope with that amount of people looking at me (another reason, of course, is that I think people can tell when you are writing for kudos and not for joy).

-Speaking of writing for joy, I have become weirdly fascinated with the soulmate mark trope recently. Like, if I were going to write another Peggy/Angie fic right now it would be a soulmate AU (of the I'm your soulmate, and you're not mine, but if you can get over that I'd like to try and make this work variety). Or there's the Sansa/Margaery one where it's not your soulmate's name or first words that appear on your skin, but their house sigil, and both Sansa and Margaery have a lot of brothers.

I am a ridiculous person, I know.

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Who Says Only Cats Can Be Assholes [Mar. 4th, 2015|11:28 am]
Puppy, free to a good home
Puppy, free to a home
Puppy, free

I jest. But, man, my dog is growing up to be an asshole dog.

She has ridden in the car since she was tiny with no problems. This weekend she very quietly and industriously managed to chew her way through two seatbelts, pull the plastic moulding off from over the lights, and chew through the wires - shorting out my rear lights and giving herself an electric shock.

You would think this would have discouraged her from chewing. It did not. Sometimes of an evening, if I'm reading or watching telly, the puppy will lie sleeping under the side table. Except it turns out that she hasn't been sleeping. What she has been doing is very sneakily gnawing her way right through one of the table legs. Which I discovered one night when I'd put the dog in her crate and gone to bed myself, and was woken by a humungous crash which was the table giving out under the weight and crashing to the ground.

That was the closest she came to being given away since she was tiny and she bit right through my earlobe. That's something that they don't tell you about puppies - that you will spend your first few weeks with this adorable little ball of fuzz that you have acquired with the express intention of loving to bits, you will spend those first few weeks being eaten by inches and looking worriedly sideways at your new best friend going, this animal is evil, and clearly harbors ill-will towards me.

I have been and purchased her a tiny muzzle for car rides. It's ridiculous - I have this tiny, waggy tailed puppy with a muzzle and a metal chain lead (after she chewed straight through three fabric ones), the sort you would expect to see on, like, vicious guard dogs.

We were out for a walk the other week, and we met someone with a tiny little spaniel puppy. Tiny little thing it was, all wide eyed and frightened on its first day out - and Freya sat on it. Just plonked herself right down on top of it, wagged her tail, and looked up as if to say, only pay attention to me.

Proper little asshole she is. Ah, well, she's off to be fixed next week - it's that time; I think I've met every boy dog in a six mile radius - so she'll have a richly deserved cone of shame.

It's worth mentioning that, by and large, Freya is growing into a cracking little dog. Affectionate and (mostly) obedient and playful, and all that jazz. And sometimes asshole pets are the best pets, because you think that no one will ever love them and all their asshole ways the way you will.

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