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Netgirl

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Fic What I Have Written Lately [Jun. 30th, 2018|12:06 am]
Netgirl
I have been trying to be more selective in signing up for exchanges this year, only signing up for the ones I'm genuinely excited to do and where I have potentially good matches, rather than just doing them for the sake of doing them. And I was dead keen on doing both the Person of Interest exchange and Fandom5k, but they were both due on the same day. Yikes.

Because Fandom5k has a five thousand word minimum - and more and more my fics are creeping up to being around about that length, but having to write that many words is a different matter - I kept pushing writing my POI exchange fic back and back in favour of the longer fic.

And my POI exchange recipient had a bunch of different requests, none of which were for Root/Shaw - one of my gimme, could write them with my eyes closed pairings - which in retrospect I was grateful for because it made me actually consider their other requests: one of which was for a fic about female!Harold Finch.

I was so sure I could write a genderswapped Finch fic in about two days. Spoiler: I couldn't. The problem was that, although I love always-a-girl fics, I don't often write them because I don't actually think that deeply about the dudes in my canons. Harold is fine; he's there and he's necessary for the premise of the show to work, but I've never actually cared about him, and it's all the same to me whether he's a force ghost at the end of the finale or off to live happily ever after in Italy with Grace,

My fic was a mess come the deadline. I usually don't like that week after the deadline but before reveals - if I have written a thing I want people to scritch me behind the ears and tell me what a clever little fic writer I am right away - but, boy, was I grateful for it this time as I entirely rewrote my fic while doing some frantic rewatching and trying to come up with a unified theory of Harold Finch; trying to figure out the ways that Harriet Finch would be different and yet the same as Harold.

In the end the story I wrote could easily have been titled Harold Finch and the Unexamined Male Privilege. I did not title it that, instead I titled it:

Birds of the Eastern Seaboard (Person of Interest; female!Harold Finch; 1.4k)
Harriet Finch is an extremely private woman.

While I was procrastinating on that fic, I was plugging away (read: putting off and panicking) at my Fandom5k fic. See, my request had been for a GoT Modern AU, possibly including Sansa/Margaery or Dany/Yara; which was both entirely in my wheelhouse and paralysis inducingly vague. And because none of my recipient's more specific prompts spoke to me - if I've learned nothing else from this exchange it's that you can write one thousand and one words of something you're not feeling, but for upwards of five thousand you have to be into it - I started revisiting modern AUs that I'd started and abandoned for whatever reason.

And ages ago I'd started writing an all-female GoT West Wing!fusion, mostly because I wanted to use the title The Crackpots and These Women, and I could never make it work, mostly because there's only so far you can believably age characters up and those characters old enough to realistically slot into the world of the West Wing aren't ones I'm interested in writing about (*cough*Stannis*cough*).

But I dug it out and went: wait, what if instead of being president Dany's a mayor, and what if instead of being a straight up West Wing fusion, it's a weird AU smush up of Game of Thrones, The West Wing, Veep, and The Thick of It? And voila:

The Crackpots and These Women (Game of Thrones; Sansa/Margaery, background Dany/Yara; 8k)
"You're in charge of press relations," Yara told Margaery, gesturing to Sansa. "Relate."

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May Booklog; or, well, that was disappointing [May. 29th, 2018|12:32 pm]
Netgirl
[Tags|]

The Queens of Innis Lear - Tessa Gratton
Down Girl: the logic of misogyny - Kate Manne
Only Human - Sylvain Neuvel
The Covert Captain - Jeannelle M. Ferreira


The Queens of Innis Lear is a female focused fantasy retelling of King Lear. Sounds right up my alley, right? Except whatever seed of promise it has quickly gets buried in tediously overwritten prose and at least three hundred unnecessary pages. Needed a good hack-and-slash editing.

Okay, reading Down Girl was my own fault. I'd seen something about the book somewhere and come away with the impression that it was for general audiences. It is not. And when I realised that instead of putting it down and seeking out something more my speed I ploughed on through hundreds of pages of moral philosophy. I don't disagree with anything Manne says about misogyny as the law enforcement arm of the patriarchy, but I also understand a lot better why Chidi Anagonye ended up in the Bad Place.

The law of diminishing returns is strong with The Themis Files. The first book in the series was outstanding, the second was fair-to-middling. By the time we get to Only Human... Oh, dear. The ending is unsatisfying, and the author has gotten locked into the format (which worked so well in book one!) of presenting everything in the form of interviews. Except by book three they're not interviews. They're just two characters who know each other well talking. Seriously, that's not an interview. It's a conversation. Stop it.

The Covert Captain is SO BAD, YOU GUYS. It's about a woman who's been disguised as a man in the army for years and when she returns to England she falls for her commanding officer's sister. And I am 100% the audience for a book with that plot, and if it were any good at all I would surely be reccing it to high heaven, but alas it is SO, SO BAD. It is bad on a technical word handling, sentence structure level. It is bad on a characterisation level; can we see how the fiancée got from freaking out that her intended is a woman to being totally cool with it? Does the character who spent 10+ years disguised as her dead brother have any thoughts about gender or identity? No, okay then. It is bad on a plot level; never mind dealing with the gender reveal because now here's a long lost brother! Never mind that! Now they've all got scarlet fever!

*insert obligatory whine about how shite f/f romances are here*

This entry was originally posted at https://netgirl-y2k.dreamwidth.org/189208.html with comment count unavailable comments. Please comment wherever you prefer.
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Things to do on the occasion of your 35th birthday [May. 5th, 2018|10:39 pm]
Netgirl
-spend the morning drinking tea in your jim-jams while binge watching Horrible Histories on netflix

-fib outrageously about having left town for the bank holiday when work calls to try and get you to work on a weekend that you booked off last may

-tell your friend's small son that you are thirty-five, and yes, he can give you the birthday bumps

-ow

-consider making your friend see Rampage; see *Infinity War instead

-drink whiskey

-drink more whiskey

-that's too much whiskey

-ow, redux

*Infinity WarCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://netgirl-y2k.dreamwidth.org/189180.html with comment count unavailable comments. Please comment wherever you prefer.
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April Books [Apr. 29th, 2018|08:50 pm]
Netgirl
[Tags|]

Strange Weather - Joe Hill
A Princess in Theory - Alyssa Cole
The Woman Who Fooled The World: Belle Gibson's Cancer Con, and the Darkness at the Heart of the Wellness Industry - Beau Donelly
The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating - Anthony Warner
You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump - Alec Baldwin


Strange Weather is a series of short novels, because Joe Hill is allergic to the word novella, I guess. The title is a bit of a misnomer because except for the last one none of the novellas really feature weather as more than background noise, but despite my disappointment not to be reading four stories about the environmental apocalypse I really fucking loved them. Snapshot is about a polaroid camera that steals people's memories and really feels like an old school Stephen King story, which I suppose makes sense with Joe Hill being King's son. Loaded is a musing on gun violence in the US; I can't tell if it's the weakest story in the collection or just the most out of place, it certainly had the weakest ending. In Aloft a guy has a skydiving accident and lands on a cloud/UFO, and there's a whole extended metaphor about unrequited love/the "friendzone" that I really dug. My favourite was Rain where rain starts falling as metal shards; I loved it both because Hill was making fun of his own tendency to write long, rambling fantasy novels (although I would have merrily read six hundred pages about a grieving butch lesbian and her cat loving MMA fighting sidekick in the world of killer rain; it actually made me want to pick up The Fireman, which I think was the one Hill was sending up in this.) I also really appreciated the post-script where Hill said he'd been writing the story during the 2016 election, and in the original draft the president had been a harried and overwhelmed, but basically competent woman, and the story had had a much happier ending.

When I delve into the romance genre I usually go for historicals (what can I say, I enjoy a good duke pun) but I branched out into contemporaries with A Princess in Theory. The setup is a lot of fun: you know those Nigerian spam emails, what if you were getting inundated with those claiming you were the lost betrothed of an African prince, and what if they were legit?

And it was a lot of fun, but it was also two books; the first was about a harried STEM student finding love in New York, and the second was a fairy tale about the heroine discovering she really was the lost princess of not!Wakanda. And both books were good, it was just that the join was pretty obvious. Also, the hero lied about his identity for a huge chunk of the story, if that's the sort of thing that bothers you, although the heroine remains mad at him about it for a satisfyingly long time.

The hero also had a dapper lesbian sidekick, whose story I will get in a side novella if at all, but that's a known bug in my relationship with a lot of romance series.

Years ago I was the worst employee ever in a shop that sold a lot of these supplements and detox teas, and I came up with Gillian's hierarchy of wellness bullshit:

-Someone who tells you that you should quite smoking, ease up on the drink, and try to get more green veggies and oily fish in your diet knows their stuff; listen to them, or don't, you being a grownup who knows your own mind.
-It was a cold and you were getting better anyway, but the placebo effect is a real thing, and echinacea isn't going to hurt you - fill your boots.
-Anyone who uses the word detox or cleanse thinks you're a mug and wants your money.
-Anyone claiming they can cure your cancer with anything other than conventional medicine should go to Hell via prison.

And I have a lasting fondness for reading debunkings of these bullshit merchants. The Woman Who Fooled the World is about an Australian woman who lied about curing the terminal brain cancer that she didn't have with diet to the tune of an Apple endorsement and a book deal. It was a story I already knew, told in a not particularly compelling or well written way. It was worth reading though for the chapter on the real Belle Gibson, a single mother who actually does have terminal brain cancer and how her life looks nothing like the airbrushed, instagram ready image Gibson used to bilk the desperate and gullible out of christ knows how much money.

I usually enjoy Anthony Warner's profanity laden takedowns of various fad diets, but if that sounds like something you might enjoy too, I recommend his Angry Chef blog so much more than the accompanying book.

You Can't Spell America Without Me. Um. Look, I like Alec Baldwin's Trump impression on SNL too, but why anyone thought it was worth stretching out into a book I do not know. And the joke about Ivanka sneakily feeding her dad anti-psychotics disguised as vitamins has not aged well.

(April Graphic Novel:

Bombshells, vol. 3: Uprising

I loved the previous Bombshells trades for both the aesthetic and All The Superheroines, but volume three was the first one where I really felt like the plot had worked for me, too. Plus there was a lot of canon Harley/Ivy which might have gone some way to earning its spot in my affections.)

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A Productive Week [Apr. 28th, 2018|02:46 pm]
Netgirl
-I accidentally went and got myself a second job, and it is my dream job of person who hangs out with puppies. Okay, it's not so much a job as the people whose new puppy I've been helping out with want to pay me actual money to help out on a longer term basis, previously I'd been paid in all the puppy kisses my heart could take. And while I don't think there are enough people who'd want to hire the owner of the worst dog in the world as a puppy consultant to scale up in any meaningful way, I still think this is pretty cool.

-I took my many surplus Legends of Tomorrow feelings and wrote a new fic. There's nothing quite like a new fandom for getting over writer's block, is there?

We Should Kiss Like Real People Do (LoT, Sara/Ava, 3k)

"Ava, I swear to God that if you're about to tell me that you're Jax's baby momma I'm going to have to take my hand out of your pants."

or,

Sara and Ava are out of sync, literally.


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The End of the Fandom Meme, Aren't We All Relieved [Apr. 19th, 2018|11:39 pm]
Netgirl
List and link to 5 fanfics you are currently reading

I don't really read fics long enough to require tea breaks, but here are some I have read and enjoyed recently, according to my A03 bookmarks:

shut up, kiss me, hold me tight (Legends of Tomorrow; Sara/Ava)

and miles to go (Legends of Tomorrow; Sara/Ava)

stay here wasting my time (Legends of Tomorrow; Zari/Helen of Troy)

As you can see I have been on something of a Legends of Tomorrow kick, and because there are disappointingly few LoT fics that do it for me (oh, migratory femslash fandom, I'm glad you're having fun and all, I just wish you cared more about things like canon or characterisation, or that I cared about them less) I also enjoyed this Hawkguy fic:

A Good Dog's Guide to Brooklyn (fraction!Hawkeye; Lucky AKA Pizza Dog)

Is fraction!Hawkeye what people thought they were getting in Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye? because otherwise I don't get it.

Actually, though, there is a longer fic I've been dipping in and out of:

Forgotten Adventures in a Disenchanted Land (Once Upon a Time; Mulan/Aurora)

It has been many years and many fandoms and I am still bitter about the way the Mulan and Aurora stuff panned out, and this fic should be everything I want, except it's only posted on Fucking Tumblr, and I find writing an epic length fic and only posting it on Fucking Tumblr baffling in the extreme.

List and link to 5 fanfiction authors who are amazing

Names pulled at random from my A03 subscriptions, k.

[archiveofourown.org profile] dollsome
[archiveofourown.org profile] lareinenoire
[archiveofourown.org profile] mautadite
[archiveofourown.org profile] fahye
[archiveofourown.org profile] paperclipbitch

Is there anyone in your fandom who really inspires you?

...no?

But I suspect I might be chronically uninspireable.

What ship do you feel needs more attention?

ALL OF THE ONES THAT I LIKE.

What is your all-time favorite fanfic?

So...top 5?

heaven is where you build it (hell isn't that bothered) (Person of Interest; Root/Shaw)

THE MOTHERFORKING GOOD OMENS AU

Reports May Have Been Exaggerated (Spy; Susan/Rick & Susan/Rayna)

OMG. OMG. OMG. I'S FIC FOR MY HANGOVER MOVIE. IT'S HANGOVER FIC.

& a past life in the trunk (Daredevil; Karen is Daredevil AU)

I love these sorts of AUs. I call them Backwards in High Heels AUs.

Ladies Who Organise (Discworld; genderswapped Vetinari)

I also love a good genderswap. And this is a GOOD genderswap.

Pair Dadeni (Merlin; Morgana/Vivian)

BE STILL MY ID.

If someone was to read one of your fanfics, which fic would you recommend to them and why?

Like, I ended up not being a fan of the Eleventy era, and this fic was Quite Popular while I was busy not being a fan, so I got a bit sick of it for a while, but if I have contributed to any sort of net increase in people's happiness in fandom I suspect it was by writing The Care and Feeding of Tiny Humans (and slightly larger Time Lords).

Archive Of Our Own, Dreamwidth, LiveJournal, Fanfiction.net or Tumblr - where do you prefer to post and why?

Say what you like about browsing AO3, and I can say quite a bit, but uploading fic to it is a dream.

I used to backup to DW, but don't anymore, which will bite me in the bum if AO3 ever goes away.

ff.net - I still have flashbacks to trying to format scene breaks in a way that ff.net couldn't balls up.

LJ - why?

tumblr - WHY???

Do you leave reviews when you read fanfiction? Why/Why not?

I do, and then I get out of the habit, and then I feel guilty and start commenting again.

We are currently in a commenting upswing.

Do you care if people comment/reblog your writing? Why/why not?

Of course I care, but like, I also have no time for those people who compose tumblr screeds about how authors are owed comments, or how kudos are taking away from comments.

FYI, there never was a golden age of fandom where it rained comments, and kudos are a grand invention.

How did you get into reading and/or writing fanfiction?

Logically, I know there was a time in my life when I didn't know about fic and fandom, but mildly terrifyingly I couldn't tell you when that was.

Rant or Gush about one thing you love or hate in the world of fanfiction! Go!

KUDOS ARE GREAT.

NOBODY OWES YOU A COMMENT.

ARE YOU COMMENTING ON OTHER PEOPLE'S FIC? ARE YOU? THEN SHUT UP.

This entry was originally posted at https://netgirl-y2k.dreamwidth.org/188199.html with comment count unavailable comments. Please comment wherever you prefer.
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Doggos [Apr. 10th, 2018|11:10 pm]
Netgirl
I have been loaded with the cold all weekend, and that made me remember a cool thing about my dog, which is that she can tell the difference between being my properly sick and having a hangover. When I am actually sick she will do her business uncomplaining in the garden and then curl up on the couch with me to watch old episodes of Criminal Minds; when I'm hungover she will lick my eyeballs until I get up and put my trainers on.

Speaking of sick people telly, do Sky really believe that there are all that many people who want to watch incomprehensibly edited episodes of Criminal Minds at eleven am on a weekday? Is part of their business model based on catering to people with moderately high fevers who can't find the remote control?

Sorry, I am still full of cold medicine.

Anyway, when I was last talking about the dog, she'd just had her surgery to have her adamantium leg fitted and was in pretty poor form. Sixteen weeks later and she has one wonky leg, a limp that gets noticeably worse if anyone is eating cheese on toast in her vicinity, and an undiminished urge to lunge wildly at the local fauna (squirrels, cats, foxes, a field of dairy cows, a paternally enraged pair of swans, that police horse that one time.)

Every day she is more and more like her old self, and every day I remember that her old self was a total pest. I had not missed the ten pm squeaky toy chorus every day, and I had forgotten all about her habit of licking my pillows while I'm out so that I go to lie down and go 'ew, why is it all wet!?' I think she can smell my shampoo. At least, I hope that's what it is.

On the plus side, now I get to call her Hopalong Freya and sometimes she turns left without meaning to like a shopping trolley with one wonky wheel, so that's pretty funny.

Really, she has been a brave little toaster all the way through this, and has seemed pretty happy ever since the injunction on her being allowed up on the furniture was lifted - she is a pup of simple wants. It's understandable, really, as she's not the one who's going to have to pay the vet bill, which I have still not gotten. It goes to the insurance people first, and then the remainder comes to me. Fear not, I have smelling salts and a fainting couch at the ready.

I've still got my dog, though, so I suppose I can't really complain. Although, I will.

The other cool thing going on right now is that I have a standing playdate with a puppy. The people next door got their first ever dog, a little border collie pup who is as cute as ten thousand buttons, and already smarter than all of us. I fell for that one too; my first dog back when I knew nothing about dogs was a collie, and though I loved the bones of that dog, for ten years she ran absolute rings around all of us, and now the first thing on my doggy must have list is that it definitely has to be dumber than I am. So after years of being on nodding/sorry, am I in your parking space? terms with the neighbours they went, I guess in a fit of panic when the puppy was eating their brickwork, I think the girl next door might know something about dogs.

The upshot being that I now have half an hour carved out of every day for puppy cuddles and fetch - I have tried to interest Freya in playing fetch, but alas she isn't interested in chasing anything that isn't going to struggle if caught - and it is doing all kinds of good things for my mood.

I had forgotten how non self-conscious puppies make me, too. For instance I have started running with him, and normally I would be too embarrassed to run where I live, because 'fat lady tries to run' is a mortifying internet video waiting to happen, but 'unfit lady and puppy who is 80% legs try to run and BOTH fail' is a whole different thing and is hilarious.

This whole thing has also cured me of the desire to get a second dog. For a while there I'd found myself thinking 'maybe Freya would like a friend?' Well, if I have learned nothing else from introducing her to the puppy it's that she's ridiculously possessive of HER human and would very much NOT like a friend. Also, the thought of a four figure vet bill x2 was pretty sobering, too. And other people's puppies are like other people's children: they're great fun, but when you get bored playing with them you can just leave them in a crate with a bowl of water.

This entry was originally posted at https://netgirl-y2k.dreamwidth.org/188019.html with comment count unavailable comments. Please comment wherever you prefer.
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Fandom Meme, The Fic Questions [Apr. 3rd, 2018|12:12 am]
Netgirl
I hadn't written any fic in, like, six months, because I was either nursing a sick dog back to health (by the way, I think that in another life I would have made a very good vet nurse) or more recently picking up every spare shift going because there's no such thing as an NHS for dogs.

But I have far too many Legends of Tomorrow feelings which resulted in incl. one (1) existential crisis; do not mix with alcohol or a broken heart (Sara/Ava; not dealing with the clone thing.)

Now that I am back properly I can crack on with my fandomtrumpshate fics (Hi, gentlemen. Thank you for your patience :) And I am giving very serious consideration to doing fandom5k.

What was the first fanfic you ever wrote?

It would have been a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic.

I don't want to talk about it.

Is there anything you regret writing?

All of it and at the same time none of it. I contain multitudes.

Name a fic you’ve written that you’re especially fond of & explain why you like it.

Well, today I like How to Ruin Your Life and Disappoint Your Loved Ones, because it goes: what if instead of dying pre-series to make sad dudes do things Lyanna raised up an army and changed the entire course of westerosi history.

What fic do you desperately need to rewrite or edit?

All of them. I mean, I'm not going to. But all of them.

What’s your most popular fanfic?

Living Arrangements

How to write a popular fic, by netgirl_y2k

1. write one of the first fics in the pairing
2. get a bunch of kudos so that it always comes top when people sort by kudos
3. accidentally predict the series finale
4. get a bunch more kudos, creating an ever reinforcing infinity loop of kudos
5. never manage to do it again

How do you come up with your fanfic titles?

Look, my most recent fic has a semi-colon in the middle of the title, and I don't think it's even correctly used.

What do you hate more: Coming up with titles or writing summaries?

I have a foolproof method for coming up with summaries:

[Totally out of context excerpt from the fic,

or,

pithy description of what it's actually about.]

Titles, on the other hand, are tricky beggars.

If someone were to draw a piece of fanart for your story, which story would it be and what would the picture be of?

ANYTHING.

Do you have a beta reader? Why/Why not?

The thing you have to understand is that I have reached the same point in my fandom career as I have in my actual career, and that point is: Fuck It, Close Enough.

What inspires you to write?

Fandom not catering to my whims. A general sense of DON'T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE AND WRITE THIS MYSELF, SO HELP YOU. LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO

What’s the nicest thing someone has ever said about your writing?

People have said remarkably kind things about my characterisation, my prose, how I've made them laugh. A couple of people said that they'd picked up The Checquy Files books because they saw I'd written for them.

But my favourite of late has been the person who said this: On a minor note, awesome job on having no grammatical errors! Because no one had ever said that to me before, admittedly with good reason.

Do you listen to music when you write or does music inspire you? If so, which band or genre of music does it for you?

Most recently I wrote while listening to a playlist of Seth Meyers' a closer look videos on youtube.

Do you write oneshots, multi-chapter fics or huuuuuge epics?

Oneshots. Sometimes I wish I could write longfic because it seems like Proper Writing, then I remember that there are three, maaaybe, 50k+ fics that I've liked, and literally hundreds of sub 10k ones that I've thought were brilliant.

What’s the word count on your longest fic?

20k, but that one was an outlier and should not have been counted. I am happiest in the 3-5k range.

Do you write drabbles? If so, what do you normally write them about?

No, but I am prepared to die on the hill of A DRABBLE IS ONE HUNDRED WORDS EXACTLY. FIGHT ME.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

Feminist propaganda, feat. background or indeed foreground lesbianism.

First person or third person - what do you write in and why?

Tight third person, because I have internalised that it is the Done Thing in fic. I would like to use omnipotent third sometimes, though, because more than once I have gotten stuck because I was in the wrong person's head.

Do you use established canon characters or do you create OCs?

I mean...the Dead Ladies Club all kicked the bucket pre-canon, so basically all interpretations of them are equally valid, but I use canon names.

What is you greatest strength as a writer?

...Pithiness?

What do you struggle the most with in your writing?

Plot.

Sex scenes.

The thing where you sit down and make words.

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March Books [Mar. 31st, 2018|07:50 pm]
Netgirl
Gnomon - Nick Harkaway
Places in the Darkness - Chris Brookmyre
Dark Matter - Blake Crouch
H is for Hawk - Helen Macdonald
The Dry - Jane Harper
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right - Jane Mayer
The Furthest Station - Ben Aaronovitch
White Houses - Amy Bloom


Gnomon is so. fucking. weird. It's Nick Harkaway channelling China Mieville to write The Raw Shark Texts by way of Cryptonomicon. It's a near future dystopia where Britain is a surveillance state monitored by an all-seeing AI known as the Witness, where an inspector of the Witness is investigating the death of a suspect in custody. Except it's also about this greek banker being haunted by a ghost shark that lives in the stock market and eats corporations. Except maybe it's also about a greek alchemist from six thousand years before that who's trying to use magic to bring her son back from the dead and talks like an East End landlady. Except also it's about about an Ethiopian painter who escaped certain death as a political prisoner by walking through walls. Except, except it's about a mad God called Gnomon from the end of time, or it's about a poor, mad woman who's had her brain carved up to protect the Witness.

It was a seven hundred page doorstop of a library hardback where I not infrequently had to move my finger along the page as I read as though to force the words into my brain, and yet I couldn't stop reading because I had to know what the fuck was happening. I still don't know what the fuck was happening.

And I sincerely and entirely hope some of you read it. If only so you can explain it to me.

Christopher Brookmyre is my favourite author of what the book reviewing youth will insist on calling tartan noir, and although he's edged towards writing sff before Places in the Darkness is his first out and out sci-fi novel. It's a technopunk mystery set on a space station, where the god-cop-turned-corrupt detective (think Lionel Fusco, only hot, a woman, and bisexual) is forced into a redemption arc when she has to team up with her new, goody-two-shoes, stick up her bum, maybe because she's just a stickler for the rules or maybe she's secretly an android boss. They have a really neat enemies-to-friends-to-wait, were they flirting in that last scene? arc that plays out as they're forced to work together to, in the first instance, solve a brutal murder, and in the second instance, deal with the the fact that even in space corporations are bastards and not to be trusted.

It's a solid, good sci-fi novel. It's a solid, good buddy cop mystery. I liked it a lot. I have but one complaint, and it's that no one in it was Scottish. If Brookmyre was ever going to write a book set in space then I wanted it to be more Scottish. I'm talking the entire populations of Glasgow, Paisley, and Dundee just on the moon, and it's never explained; I'm not saying that humanity's future in space would be glorious or long-lived, but God would it be fun while it lasted.

Holy sentence fragments, Batman! was most of my reaction to Dark Matter a story about a man lost in the multiverse trying to get back to his wife and son. The alternate universe hook has been handled in more creative and interesting ways in pretty much every sci-fi show ever, yet the characters were drawn too thinly to make it a compelling character or family drama. It was, idk, baby's first science fiction by way of James Patterson's prose?

Its saving grace was that it was a super quick read that I never felt tempted to DNF because almost as soon as I started it I was nearly finished, possibly because of all the sentence fragments. Holy cow!

H is for Hawk is a memoir in which Macdonald, an experienced falconer, processes her father's death by purchasing and training a goshawk she names Mabel. And when she's talking about her life, her grief, her relationship to Mabel the book is really good, really compelling. But for reasons I still don't understand she intercuts this with a mini biography of the life of TH White and a recap of White's book The Goshawk and every time the book steered back to that I went …but why? and put it down for the rest of the day.

I judge crime novels by three metrics: 1. Do I like the detective? 2. Did the setting work for me (bonus points for not being London)? 3. Did I guess whodunnit?

And so to The Dry. 1. I liked but didn't love Aaron Faulk; as a rule I prefer female leads. 2. It was set in rural Australia, not somewhere I'd ever seen a mystery set before, so bonus bonus points. 3. Nope, hurrah.

I also judge crime novels on whether they have gratuitous sexual violence, and generally don't finish those that do. I DNF a lot of crime novels that way. Anyway, The Dry merely nodded in that direction, and was generally very good.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is set in London in the 1880s, and features a Japanese watchmaker who can remember the future, a dispirited civil servant, and a rare female oxbridge graduate. It reminded me of Sorcerer to the Crown because of the time and place; it reminded me of Angelmaker because of the clockwork; it reminded me of Witches of New York because of the magical realism; it reminded me of The Night Circus because of the writing, and it wasn't nearly as good as any of them.

It was very much a damp squib.

Dark Money traces the origins of kochtopus in US politics and how citizens united gave it a shot of steroids. A straightforward and compulsively readable account of something that must have originally taken an army of forensic accountants to uncover. Stops before the 2016 election, so you can only imagine how much worse it got. Generally excellent if you are at all interested in this kind of thing

My thing with the Rivers of London series is that in small doses I really love Peter's first person narration, and in larger doses all the proselytising about London gets to me, so as a novella The Furthest Station was just right!

I don't know if there's much I can say about White Houses. I feel like you're either the sort of person who wants to read published Eleanor Roosevelt/Lorena Hickok RPF or you're not, and you already know where you fall on that. For what it's worth I'm on the yes, please side of the divide. I will also say that the writing was stunning.

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Jessica Jones and the Law of Diminishing Returns [Mar. 24th, 2018|10:57 pm]
Netgirl
But first, a totally subjective and non-scientific ranking of all the Marvel Netflix series to date:

1. Jessica Jones, Season 1
2. Luke Cage, Season 1
3. The Punisher, Season 1
4. Daredevil, Season 1
5. The Defenders
6. Jessica Jones, Season 2
7. Daredevil, Season 2
8. Iron Fist, Season 1

We'll see when the second season of Luke Cage comes out in the summer, but so far only some egregious miscasting on the part of Iron Fist is saving the sophomore outings from being dead last, and I say this as someone who I think liked Jessica Jones S2 more than a lot of people did.

Jessica Jones S2Collapse )

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