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Black Panther [Feb. 19th, 2018|07:59 pm]
I haven't been getting out since early December, not for funses anyway-

(I did try to distract myself with The Last Jedi the day that they built the dog's bionic leg, but the fact that I was fretting like mad and had a death grip on my mobile phone ready to bolt from the cinema if the vet called meant that it was hard to enjoy. Nothing to do with the film, which I liked fine the first time, and more on my second viewing. I think it helped that I am not a Star Wars fan so much as I am a person who goes to see Star Wars movies.)

-so getting out for the pictures, a pint, and a bag of chips I was just happy to be out. It helped that Black Panther was totally delightful.

Hot TakesCollapse )

In conclusion: Black Panther is a feast for the eyes, the brain, and the loins, and you should watch it even if you are, like me, a sceptic of the wider MCU.

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January Books (dispatches from the blanket fort) [Feb. 3rd, 2018|01:34 pm]
Freya Update: the dog went in for her six-week post-op x-rays, and the upshot is that she's been upgraded from crate rest to something called room rest. Hurrah. In practice what this means is that I have relocated us to a larger and more comfy blanket fort.

As I spent the lion's share of January hanging out in the blanket fort of injured dogs I have read a fair few books:

The Radium Girls - Kate Moore
A Study in Scarlet Women - Sherry Thomas
A Conspiracy in Belgravia - Sherry Thomas
Dogs of War - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Her Body and Other Parties - Carmen Maria Machado
Fire and Fury: inside the Trump White House - Michael Wolff
Daughter of Mystery - Heather Rose Jones
The Mystic Marriage - Heather Rose Jones
Pirate Women: the princesses, prostitutes, and privateers who ruled the seven seas - Laura Sook Duncombe
The Witches of New York - Ami McKay
Women No. 17 - Edan Lepucki
Bluebird, Bluebird - Attica Locke
All Systems Red - Martha Wells
Now We Are Dead - Stuart MacBride

The Radium Girls is about women in the 1940s who were employed applying radium paint to watches and dials. The moral of it is twofold: 1) don't put radioactive paint in your mouth, seriously, don't, and 2) corporations are actual bastards who will hold you up in court for literal decades in the hope that you die a horrible death before they have to give you a penny.

It was amazing, and inspiring, and heartbreaking, and simmering with quiet, righteous anger. I read it weeping into my dog's fur. It was, ahem, explicit on the medical effects of having radioactive matter in your bones and teeth in ways that made it extremely difficult to read in places. But even so I can't recommend it enough. There's a right gut punch of an epilogue too, where after this happens in the 1940s and the companies are finally, finally forced to admit liability it all happens again in the 1970s, because see the above point about corporations being actual bastards.

Highly, highly recommended.

I can also wholeheartedly recommend Sherry Thomas' series about a female Sherlock Holmes. Just A Study in Scarlet Women and A Conspiracy in Belgravia thus far; I hope for more, I would read twelve of these.

Charlotte Holmes has to operate under the alias 'Sherlock' because the patriarchy, ugh. Charlotte is awesome - more Elementary!Sherlock than BBC!Sherlock, in that she is bad at being what society wants her to be but is not an actual sociopath, and being a woman Victorian society is pretty unforgiving of her failure to comply... hence, 'Sherlock'. Her partner in investigating is retired actress Mrs. Watson. The books are lovely, and charming, and quietly feminist, and I really liked them a lot.

In other news: I continue to be super predictable.

I can also, also recommend Dogs of War. Rex is a genetically engineered killing machine. He stands seven foot tall at the shoulder, can bite a man clean in two, and has a growl specifically designed to reduce the human bowel to liquid. Rex is also A Good Boy. All Rex wants is to be a Good Dog, but can he be a Good Dog if he has a Bad Master?

Feat. an artificial super intelligence that is basically bees, a bear in a lab coat, clones that aren't enjoying being used as cannon fodder thank you very much, humans being bastards, and one (1) Good Boy.

I think I want to climb inside Adrian Tchaikovsky's brain and just, like, bask in the gloriously weird cleverness.

Her Body and Other Parties is a collection of short stories with a distinctly feminist, queer bent. I rarely read short story collections these days, in part because fandom fulfils most of my short fiction needs, and in part because I read a bad run of them; ones that were one half baked novella and enough short stories dusted off from god knows where to bring it up to publication length. So major points to Carmen Maria Machado for holding my attention throughout. In particular there were two stories that I really loved and think will stick with me for a long time: the first is the tale of the end of the world by pandemic told through a list of all the lovers a woman's had in her life; the second is told through rejigged Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode summaries to make a queer, magical realism ghost story version of the show.

Yes, okay, Fire and Fury was a page turner. But by the time I got to it all the salacious bits had already been in the papers for days and days. Plus, it was only really new information to people who don't already think the current occupants of the White House are a shower of eejits, and people who don't think they're a shower of eejits probably weren't the audience for this book anyway.

The basic take away is that these people are too stupid to collude on what toppings to put on a pizza never mind to steal an election with the aid of a foreign governments, while simultaneously being so stupid that it's perfectly conceivable that they might have stumbled into collusion.

For ages my not infrequent whining about about wanting a regency romance with a lesbian couple front and centre has been met with: Have you read Heather Rose Jones Alpennia series yet?

Well I have now. My ambivalence towards them is more about me than them, because they're not f/f regency romances, what they are are fantasy novels set in a vaguely regency inspired fictional European principality where all the romances (back-burnered and G rated though they are) are between women.

I read Daughter of Mystery, and because what I wanted was the romance I found it difficult to care about the court intrigue or vague catholicpunk magic system, and actually I found it pretty hard to care about the romance too as I didn't really warm to either of the leads. And, anyway, what kind of name is Barbara for a Baroness in pretend magic Austria? I plugged on with The Mystic Marriage because, like with all good romance series, the romance was going to between two of the more intriguing characters from the first book. And the romance in this one did work for me. I wanted to read all about a noblewoman from a disgraced family finding love with a vicomtesse and recovering rake (what's the feminine of rake, I wonder?) nearly twice her age. Unfortunately there was slightly less time time spent on their relationship that there was on characters smelting metal (alchemy is thing in this universe now).

So, sorry Alpennia. It's not you, it's me; although, seriously, that was way too many pages to spend on smelting. And I'm still waiting for somebody to write the f/f historical romance that I really want. DON'T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE AND WRITE IT MYSELF, SO HELP YOU.

I wanted to like Pirate Women I really did. It's about. pirate. women. for fuck's sake. The author admits up front that there are very few historical sources for female pirates, but instead of milking those sources that do exist for all that they're worth, or extrapolating wildly, or just straight up writing historical fiction, the author mixes stories that have historical evidence up willy nilly with those that are admitted fiction. I failed O-Grade history but even I know that's not. on. There are chapters about women who never set foot on a ship or a boat. There's an entire chapter recapping the plot of the movie Cutthroat Island. I mean...

The main impression left was one of an author who really, really wanted to write a book about female pirates, and wasn't going let a little thing like not having nearly enough sources get in the way.

The Witches of New York. Late 19th century New York. Ghosts. Female friendships. Background Lesbianism. My jam.

Women No. 17. Sad rich people. Terrible heterosexuals. Not my jam.

Bluebird, Bluebird is about a black Texas Ranger investigating a racially motivated murder in rural East Texas, and you know those books that just have such a fantastically strong sense of place... The mystery itself was pretty good, but it was the atmosphere, the fact that even reading it in dreich and dreary Scotland I could all but feel the oppressive heat, and oppressive racial politics of the small town setting that really made it.

Assuming you've been hearing as much about All Systems Red as I have you'll know it's a novella about a misanthropic cyborg, called Murderbot, who breaks it's programming and instead of going on a killing spree just wants to be left alone to watch all of the television. We can all relate, I'm sure. I really enjoyed this, maybe not so much as I would have if the internet hadn't talked it up quite so much. But then 'your novella was merely very, very good, rather than totally mind blowing as people on the internet had led me to expect' is probably quite a good problem for an author to have. And I shall certainly return for the first full length novel.

Okay. A Scottish Noir novel written in the style of Winnie the Pooh seemed like a bit of an odd duck. And it is, because Now We Are Dead gives you chapter titles like In Which We Find Out What Happens When You Microwave a Small Yorkshire Terrier, and Tufty Has a Bath. Like, talk about a clash between tone and content. It also contains my new favourite fictional detective, DS Roberta Steel, a butch lesbian busted down two ranks for fitting up a rapist (and boy does that decision come back to bite her on the bum), who is pervy and irreverent, but also happily married and cares so much, and who occasionally addresses her sidekick as a DC of Very Little Brain. I was delighted to discovered that this is a series of 10 (yay), then bummed to find out that DS Steel is only a supporting character in the rest (boo).

I really got a kick of it, but all the trigger warnings because they really do microwave a small dog.

(January graphic novels:

Wonder Woman: The Lies
Wonder Woman: Year One
Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 1
Jessica Jones: Alias Vol. 2

I was told Rucka gave good Wonder Woman, and everyone was right. I loved Diana's origin story in Year One, more than the present day reality is broken story in The Lies, which I feel like is tied into some bigger DC reboot about which I care not a jot, so even though I thoroughly enjoyed reading these I'm not sure I'll pick up the next trade.

Also, wow, Steve Trevor takes his shirt off A LOT.

I'm not sure Jessica Jones: Alias has aged well. I didn't love either the story or the darker art style. The highlights for me were the bits where I could go: Hey! I recognise that panel from the show.

I guess when it comes to comics assume I am a small child who loves simple storytelling and bright colours.)

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The Six Million Dollar Dog* [Jan. 8th, 2018|11:41 pm]
*title courtesy of the fact that the dog has a bionic leg now, and also as an only slightly hyperbolic estimate of how much all this is going to cost me.

Freya has managed to break her leg in the most awkward, ass-backward way possible. This is not really a surprise as she is an awkward, ass-backward dog. The day that I went to look at her litter there were three puppies left; two of them were sitting innocently in their basket looking like they would be no trouble to anyone... and then there was Freya. Over the course of half an hour she had to be rescued from behind the sofa and then the freezer, removed from an extension cord she was trying to chew through, and escaped out the front door to take herself off on an adventure. In my soppier moments I think that the escape attempt was her way of going: This is my human. Come along, human. Take me home. The rest of the time I think that there is a family in Dundee with a perfectly well behaved, boring dog that should rightfully be mine.

And because it was such an awkward break they've had to fuse her ankle joint with pins and a metal plate. Apparently if you have to have one of your dog's joints frozen into immobility this is the best one, but, still, I wouldn't recommend doing it for kicks.

The surgery itself was awful. They had to take bone from her shoulder to put into her ankle, and they had to shave so much of her for IVs and bloods and things that she came out looking like a plucked, drunk chicken.

The two weeks after the surgery were worse. If she wasn't pulling her stitches out (resulting in me having to wrestle her into a bright orange t-shirt that identified her as the assistant manager of an Apple Store), she was knocking her water bowl over and soaking her compression bandage (in desperation I tried to lash a water bottle to the outside of her crate like she was a hamster), or she was puking for twelve straight hours (resulting in us spending Christmas Day morning in the emergency vet hospital, the dog getting her kidneys flushed, and me paying a four hundred pound stupidity tax on not reading the instructions on her anti-inflammatory properly).

We are now halfway through six weeks of strict crate rest (of a three year old gundog who had been used to three+ hours of exercise a day, which is exactly as much fun as it sounds; dry January is a non-starter this year, obviously.) Technically, it'll be eight weeks rest because it was two weeks after her accident till they could do her surgery because, and I quote: Wow, I have never seen a break like that.

But hopefully we're past the one step forward, two steps back bit, and onto the long slow slog where I have to not relent and let her out of her crate however much those big, sad eyes are getting to me...

A brief summary of where we are now,

Dog: recovering nicely, spoiled rotten.

Me: urge to neck the dog's Tramadol falling, falling...

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Year in Books [Jan. 1st, 2018|02:59 pm]
all the books I read last year organised by how many stars I gave them on goodreadsCollapse )

How many books read?

Sixty-eight if I don't count the graphic novels, eighty-nine if I do. For the sake of simplicity I won't be counting them for the rest of these questions.


Fifty-six fiction to twelve non-fiction. That seems... skewed.

Books by men/women?

Twenty-three men, thirty-four women.

Most books by a single author?

Two apiece by Becky Chambers and Sylvain Neuvel, with everyone else I was one and done.


Children of Time (Team Spider!), The Wolf Road (if The Road had both girls and apostrophes), American War and New York 2140 (two very different takes on the environmental apocalypse), and What Happened (ouch).

Least favourite?

After loving her crime novels, I was really bummed out by Ausma Zehanat Khan’s fantasy The Bloodprint. I mean, If you’re going to have an order of magical women called The Oralists and not one of them is a lesbian then I seriously question your life choices.

I was also super disappointed in Everything Leads To You and Of Fire and Stars. Why do most lesbian romances suck so hard?


I was the last person in the world to get to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.


I think I bought What Happened the day it came out.

Longest title?

We Go Around In The Night And Are Consumed By Fire.

And because the title tells you nothing, it's about mobbed up lesbians.

Shortest title?


What if our pets had opposable thumbs, self-awareness, and murderous intent?

How many re-reads?


Any in translation?

Off the top of my head Six Four was translated from Japanese, and The Nuns is Sant'Ambrogio from German.

Where did they come from?

About fifty-fifty the library and amazon.

Favorite new author you discovered this year?

I only read one apiece, but it's fair to say that I'd be eager to read anything else written by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Omar El Akkad, or Beth Lewis.

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Year in Fanworks [Dec. 27th, 2017|04:31 pm]
List of Fics

They Want To Make Me Their Queen (The 100, Clarke/Lexa, 8k)
The Werewolves of Liechtenstein (The Checquy Files, Myfanwy/Shantay, 3k)
How to Ruin Your Life and Disappoint Your Loved Ones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Lyanna Stark, 5k)
Modern Magic Formula (Legend of the Seeker, Cara/Dahlia, 2k)
Brother, It's Cold Outside (A Song of Ice and Fire, the Baratheon brothers, 2k)
The Princesses in the Tower (A Song of Ice and Fire, Elia & Arianne, 1k)
Truth, Justice, and a Really Good Dental Plan ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine, ensemble, 2k)
The Morning After the War Before (Person of Interest, Root/Shaw, 1k)
For the Best (My Church Offers No Absolutes Remix) (A Song of Ice and Fire, Margaery Tyrell, 3k)
Schrodinger's Simulation (Person of Interest, Root/Shaw, 3k)
The Tortured Academic Wine Tasting and Cunnilingus Society ( Mindhunter, Debbie/Wendy, 2k)
The Driftwood Queens (Game of Thrones, Yara/Ellaria, 2k)

Total Word Count For The Year: 36,505. Huh. Felt like less.

Kudos: 1258

Overall Thoughts: Exchanges are not a good way to force myself to write when I'm just not feeling it; also, I suck at gaming sign ups.

Personal best/favourite: Schrodinger's Simulation. Mostly because Root and Shaw working the numbers, with help from Lionel and Bear, is where I wish the show had left off.

Most underappreciated (imo): This was not a banner year for me, so though it was pretty low feedback wise, I feel like that was deserved.

Most popular: How to Ruin Your Life and Disappoint Your Loved Ones. My feminist tinted ASOIAF fic always does comparatively well, and as this was written for fandomtrumpshate it was for a good cause too.

Story with the sexiest moment: The Tortured Academic Wine Tasting and Cunnilingus Society. Mostly for the title.

Story that shifted my own perceptions of a character: Brother, It's Cold Outside. It didn't so much change my perceptions as, due to a match up snafu, I was forced to pretend I had any opinions at all about the Baratheon brothers.

Most fun story to write: The Werewolves of Lichtenstein. The Checquy Files being the tiny, hilarious fandom of my heart.

Hardest: Truth, Justice, and a Really Good Dental Plan. I thought a Brooklyn Nine-Nine superhero AU would come easy, instead it was like pulling teeth, and the result is the very definition of telling instead of showing. Seriously, Holt does a PowerPoint presentation about everybody's superpowers.

Biggest surprise/s: How hard I found writing this year.

Biggest disappointment: The Morning After the War Before. It's 1500 words of Root stream of consciousness written long after I should have dropped out of that exchange and the result is Not Good.

Most unintentionally telling story: The Driftwood Queens. It's possible some of my mixed feelings about the last season of Game of Thrones came through there.

Favourite lines/scenes: So, Schrodinger's simulation, it's simple: if Root lives, this is real; if she dies, it isn't.

I like playing with Shaw's fucked up relationship with reality.

Lines/scenes you'd change: I would rework literally all of Truth, Justice, and a Really Good Dental Plan to actually be a fic about the Nine-Nine having superpowers.

Top five scenes you wish would be illustrated:
-Yara lounging on the Iron Throne in The Driftwood Queens
-Rosa producing endless kittens from her leather jacket in Truth, Justice, and a Really Good Dental Plan
-Shantay punching Thatcher's ghost in The Werewolves of Liechtenstein
-Shaw sitting by Root's hospital bed in Schrodinger's Simulation
-Lyanna bending the knee to Elia in How to Ruin Your Life and Disappoint Your Loved Ones

2018 writing ambitions: Have fun writing again. Only do exchanges when I'm wholeheartedly excited about participating. If there's only one thing in an exchange I'm excited to write then never mind the exchange, write it as a treat.

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Year in Fandom [Dec. 26th, 2017|11:13 am]
Your main fandom of the year?

I have been sort of fannishly homeless this year. A bit of A Song of Ice and Fire but there's still no new book in sight, and it was a short season of the show which wasn't, er, fannishly inspiring; a bit of Person of Interest, but that's just me and three other people at this point; I dipped in and out of a few other things as I watched new shows or as exchanges required, but I'm still a bit adrift.

Your favorite film watched this year?

Wonder Woman.

Hands down, Wonder Woman. Way not to let the side down, Patty Jenkins.

Your favorite book read this year?

Children of Time (Team Spider!), The Wolf Road (if The Road had both girls and apostrophes), American War and New York 2140 (two very different takes on the environmental apocalypse), and What Happened (ouch).

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?

I'm not a big music person. I did watch the SNL welcome to hell video a whole bunch of times.

Your favorite TV show of the year?

While I did not enjoy watching Gypsy, it was such a car crash that I very much enjoyed telling people about the experience of having watched Gypsy.

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

This was the year I started reading comic books. There have been some swings-and-misses, but my favourites have been the Jane Foster Mighty Thor, Bombshells, and AKA Hellcat.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

I ended up really enjoying Star Trek: Discovery, but I'm still bummed that we didn't get the show that was teased in the pilot, with Georgiou as captain, Burnham as first officer, and more traditionally trekkie adventures.

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?

Jake Peralta continues to be a Good Boy.

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?

Rosa Diaz, who actually, canonically has a girlfriend now. How awesome was that!

Your biggest squee moment of the year?

The midseason finale of Legends of Tomorrow. Vikings! Bebo! The strong possibility that Sara and Agent Sharpe are going to imminently bang things out!

The most missed of your old fandoms?

Person of Interest :(

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?

I'm hoping that Alias Grace will tide me over until season two of The Handmaid's Tale.

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?

For the longest time I thought that the talk of an all female Ocean's film was a particularly involved tumblr joke. Then the trailer dropped. Ocean's Eight, get into my eyeballs!

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Books [Dec. 19th, 2017|02:35 pm]

Dog Update: Freya is on such strong painkillers that she thinks she's fine, meanwhile I'm trying to keep a hyperactive three year old gun dog confined to a single room of my house while dealing with all sorts of pet insurance villainy (per condition limits, exclusions, percentage payments). And this is for a non life threatening injury to my dog; I'm beginning to understand why Americans are so tetchy all the time.

She's going in for surgery tomorrow and they're talking about fusing her ankle joint, and then we're onto weeks and weeks of crate rest. Oh boy.

In the meantime I have had this post half written since last week, so lets talk about books, I think I'll find that soothing:

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls - Various
The Bloodprint - Ausma Zehanat Khan
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin
The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare
Lies We Tell Ourselves - Robin Talley

Okay, the first mistake was mine. I saw the title of The Secret Loves of Geek Girls and thought this was going to be an anthology of nerdy women talking about the nerdy things that they geek out over. It was not that. Instead self-identified "geeky" women wrote or drew stories about their romantic lives in various stripes of meh. Look, an anthology where a bunch of women loosely connect by whatever nebulous whatsit talked about their loves lives was never going to do much for me. Judging by my baffled scroll through its glowing goodreads reviews it seems like if this book spoke to you then it really fucking spoke to you. It did not speak to me.

I have really enjoyed Ausma Zehanat Khan's crime novels, so when I heard she was writing a middle east inspired feminist fantasy novel I was super excited to read it. Unfortunately The Bloodprint was... not good. First mistake, if you have a magical group of women called The Oralists and not one of them is a lesbian then I seriously question your life choices. I mean, seriously, the Oralists. The second mistake was the the worldbuilding felt thin. Like, super thin. There was a Wall and a Citadel and an Ashfall Court, but they all felt like they'd been plucked at random out of the Big Bag of Fantasy Cliches and never came together into any sort of cohesive or convincing world. The one sort of, kind of interesting aspect of it, that the bad guys were loosely based on the Taliban (or not so loosely based, given that they're called the Talisman) could have been good villains in the hands of someone who wasn't writing Baby's First Fantasy Novel, but here, nah.

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry is about a widowed bookseller who rediscovers meaning in his life when he adopts the baby girl who was abandoned in his bookstore. If you love books about books, have a high tolerance for twee, and can overlook the fact that that's not how adoption works then the first three quarters of the book are actually lovely. A bit like The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and what I'd wanted The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend to be earlier this year. Then in the last quarter it changed from a sweet and uplifting love story about second chances to the story of the protagonists death from a rare form of brain and his grieving wife and daughter. Like, holy change of tone, Batman!

The Duchess deal is the first regency romance that I've read this year that I've really properly enjoyed. In it a battle scarred duke and a disgraced vicar's daughter agree to a marriage of convenience, and, of course, ultimately fall in love. It was hot, and fun, and was just what the doctor ordered.

I have bounced pretty hard off Robin Talley's books in the past, but I really loved Lies We Tell Ourselves, a super well-researched novel set in a Virginia high school during desegregation. And far be it from me to want less lesbians, but the relationship between two teenage girls, one white one black, didn't quite hit the mark for me. I couldn't see what the black the girl, Sarah, saw in her love interest, other than the fact that she was maybe not quite so blatantly racist as everyone else at the school.

(This year I've been dipping in and out of various comics trying to work out what I like, and it turns out what I like is Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! I read the first two trades, Hooked on a Feline and Don't Stop Me-Ow and I just want to swim around in how perfect for me they were. More like that, please! I also read two trades of the oft recommended Matt Fraction Hawkeye, My Life as a Weapon and Little Hits. And is this why people like MCU Clint, because they think he's this guy? Obviously I can't be impartial about these because of how Clint takes in Pizza Dog after he gets hit by a car, but I'm pretty sure I would have liked them regardless.)

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A Good and Important Pup [Dec. 10th, 2017|12:42 pm]
This post is brought to you from a blanket fort on my living room floor, which is where I'm going to be spending the foreseeable future...

Saturday lunchtime saw me basically throwing a credit card at a vet and going FIX THIS DOG.

She'd chased a deer out of the woods and onto the main road; the deer made it the dog didn't. I found out later that she'd been hit by a van, the driver of which had promptly fucked off. You know what, I hope my dog fucked up your van when she was bouncing off it, arsehole. At the time all I heard was the crunch and then her screaming (dogs, as it transpires, can scream) and I was sure she was dead. I honestly don't think I'll ever know how she managed to drag herself through a quarter mile of thick undergrowth, over and under fallen trees, to get back to me.

I have a renewed respect for the kindness of strangers. A woman who'd seen the accident pulled over and and trekked down into the woods to look for me so I knew what had happened. A guy I only know by his dog's name carried her up to the nearest access road for me. A woman whose only connection to me is that her dog plays with mine drove us to the veterinary hospital and held my hand while they did an ultrasound on her to see if she'd ruptured anything internally.

God, I was in bits. I don't have a well paying job. I don't have a partner or children. I don't have any particular talents. I do have This Dog.

Somehow she managed to avoid any internal injuries (thank you, God, I really will go to Christmas Mass this year, honest) and although she has a broken leg that's probably going to require another credit card's worth of orthopedic surgery I don't even care because she's going to be okay.

Freya is being a brave little toaster and is dealing with this whole chain of events better than me. When they brought her up from the surgical floor to show me that she was, you know, alive she was trying to chase the cats being brought into reception in pet carriers, and, like, STOP CHASING CATS. YOU HAVE A BROKEN LEG. STOP CHASING ANYTHING. THIS IS HOW THIS HAPPENED.

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Books [Nov. 27th, 2017|02:38 pm]

Final Girls - Riley Sager
The Last Place You Look - Kristen Lepionka
The Prey of Gods - Nicky Drayden
Wolf by Wolf - Ryan Graudin
Artemis - Andy Weir
Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

I already had Final Girls - a fairly generic thriller in which three 'final girls', the only survivors of previous massacres, find themselves the target of a new killer - out from the library when I read the thing about how Riley Sager is the pen name of a dude named Todd who was trying to cash in on the fact that female penned thrillers in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train seem to make real money. And while lots of authors write under more than one name, and it shouldn't necessarily be a big deal, something about this one left a bad taste in my mouth. I don't know if I would have liked it more had I read it without knowing about the author, but as it was a lot of the handling of the female characters made me think, yeah, this was written by a dude named Todd.

Luckily, I liked The Last Place You Look a whole lot more; plus I'm almost entirely sure Kristen Lepionka really is a woman. It's about a hard drinking bisexual private investigator called Roxane Weary. I really love it when these noir-ish sorts of of books are about women, and this was a good one. Apparently it's the first in a series, and I will certainly be back for more.

Prey of Gods is one of those books that's super hard to explain, so I'm going to talk about by means of a pro - con list.

Pros: the AI uprising, South African demigods, one protagonist is a super violent demigoddess nail technician, another is a transwoman, two more a teenaged gay couple, it is really fucking good.

Cons: phonetically spelled South African accents.

So, you know, you can make up your own mind.

The nazis won alternate histories are a dime a dozen, and while I've enjoyed some of them (The Small Change Trilogy comes to mind) Wolf by Wolf was not one of those. It's about a girl who is experimented on in a concentration camp and ends up with face changing powers. And first of all, the idea of someone getting superpowers from eugenics experiments was, I thought, in very poor taste. And then, of course, the assassination of Hitler is down to this teenaged girl, all the while she's caught between two boys, and oh god...

In the end, the tastelessness bothered me more than the generic YA-ness of it all, but both were offputting.

Artemis is a heist set on the moon. In the end, it's not quite as cool as that premise makes it sound. The nerdy, engineering details are a bit pasted on in places, and it doesn't quite have the same charm as The Martian. But it's still a heist set on the moon, and as such is very, very cool. I also feel like I want to give points to Andy Weir for making his new protagonist a woman of Saudi Arabian extraction, because I feel like it would have been easy for him to write white guy sci-fi forever.

I had really liked Celeste Ng's first novel, but Little Fires Everywhere, set in the US suburbs in the 90s and featuring class differences and cross racial adoptions, did very little for me. Maybe if I were more of literary fiction person...

(Graphic Novels of late have been: The Mighty Thor: Lords of Midgard, The Mighty Thor: The Asgard/Shi'ar War, Bombshells: Allies, Mockingbird: I Can Explain.

Jane Foster!Thor continues to be my favourite, and of the comics I've tried so far the one where the art style works best for me.

Bombshells with it's ladies kissing and no super dudes allowed clubhouse is so very much in my wheelhouse that I don't even care that the plot lurches around a tiny bit incoherently.

I'm not surprised Mockingbird was not long for this world, it was cute and funny and all, but it leaned too hard on the puzzlebox aspect which was not nearly as clever as it seemed to think it was.)

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Things I Have Been Putting In My Eyeballs [Nov. 23rd, 2017|11:45 pm]
There are things to like about suburban living (having a garden, and a medium to large-ish dog to dig up said garden) and things to hate about it (all the commuting, being at the mercy of public transport) but the pro-column got a boost recently when they did up the local cinema with reclining seats and a bar but the tickets stayed well cheaper than they are in the big cinema in town.

As a result I've seen more films in a two week period than I usually do all year.

I liked Thor: Sinclair ZX 84 Ragnarok a lot. Valkyrie was my favourite, to the surprise of no one. Loki worked for me as the annoying younger sibling, in a way that he never did as fandom's favourite woobie or a world threatening villain. I love Sif, so I was sad she wasn't in it, although maybe not if she was just going to be dispatched immediately like the Warriors Three. Anyway, I've decided that she was off on some mission to one of the other realms and she's fine. And because I'm currently plugging my way through The Mighty Thor comics I have decided to pretend that there was an additional post-credits scene of a miraculously non-destroyed Milonjir, and a manicured female hand reaching down to pick it up.

I love me a good Agatha Christie, and Murder on the Orient Express is one of my favourite books, but alas I did not love the movie. Too many characters, plus too much stunt casting. I was watching it going: there's Judi Dench and Olivia Coleman! I've no idea who they're playing, or what they're doing here, but, yep, there they are! And Kenneth Branagh didn't work at all for me as Poirot, all I could think was: why is this obvious Englishman putting on a Belgian accent?

Basically, I think Murder on the Orient Express needs to be a mini-series, and that Poirot needs to be David Suchet. Nothing compares to the ITV show I used to watch when I bunked off school, is my point.

Justice League was a film that I... saw. It was nice to finally like this version of Superman, and the Flash was totally adorable. Wonder Woman was there, and that was good.. But they should have done Aquaman before the team up, because Barry and Victor's origin stories and abilities were easy enough to pick up on the fly, but I have yet to find anyone who can explain Arthur's powers or origins to me without referring to the comics.

There were some really neat moments/shots (Diana perched on the statue of justice was awesome!) but mostly it was Joss Whedon nonsense (endless quipping/the Flash falling on Wonder Woman's boobs) mixed up with Zack Snyder nonsense (CGI fucking everything/the Wonder Woman upskirt shots).

Look, I don't know which one of you boys was responsible for the camera position fixed on Gal Gadot's ass, but stop it at once.

Justice League is not a bad movie. It's no Batman vs. Superman; it's basically coherent and not allergic to likeable characters, but I was never going to love it for the same reason I'm never going to be more than passingly interested in The Avengers: there are too many dicks on the dancefloor. Bring on Wonder Woman 2 I say!

My sister gave me her Netflix password so that I could keep up with Star Trek: Discovery, and I liked the first run of episodes, if with reservations. I have gotten over my bitterness at the loss of Captain Georgiou, although on some level I do wish that we'd gotten that show. I feel like the show where Burnham was Georgiou's first officer would have been more, you know, trekkie in a lot of ways. Jason Isaacs is great, and Lorca is fascinating but I'm discombobulated by finding a starfleet captain sketchy, and even more so by a Star Trek show that wants me to find its captain sketchy; and I say this as someone who's all time favourite Trek episode is In the Pale Moonlight.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Discovery's best episode, the time loop one, obviously, was also the one that felt the most like traditional Star Trek.

My new favourite minor character is Admiral Cornwall (...which may be part of my ...the fuck, Lorca? problem) and I really liked the wee detail that one of the most badass admirals in starfleet history was a counselor, even if TNG didn't always know what to do with Troi.

One of the least helpful things about Netflix's binge watching model is the false sense of accomplishment it gives you. Like, you'll have a day off, some one will ask you what you did with it, and totally refuse to be impressed when you say you watched nine hours of seventies King George from Hamilton interviewing serial killers.

Mindhunter was a bit good, though. There are reasons to watch it other than the fact that Anna Torv plays a foxy lesbian professor; of course I did immediately write a fic shipping her with the only other female character with whom she shared one scene:

The Tortured Academic Wine Tasting and Cunnilingus Society (Mindhunter; Debbie/Wendy)

I think I'm getting better at this titling thing, don't you?

And because I've been writing this post for three days, and because I don't really fancy opening another tab, I'm going to throw the fic I wrote for got_exchange in here too. The one where Yara and Ellaria get to opt out of the zombie apocalypse by virtue of being prisoners, but ultimately come out on top:

The Driftwood Queens (Game of Thrones; Yara/Ellaria)

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