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Things and Stuff [Feb. 1st, 2019|08:05 pm]
-Well, I just kind of disappeared for the whole month of January there, didn't I. Er, Happy New Year! This is not my usual end of the month books post, because I haven't read anything this January. I read 89 books in 2018, and so far in 2019 I'm 0 for 12. Jeepers, this feels wrong.

So, instead here is a list of the 10 best books I read last year:

The Radium Girls - Kate Moore
Dogs of War - Adrian Tchaikovsky
Grey Sister & Red Sister - Mark Lawrence
Tell it to The Bees - Fiona Shaw
White Houses - Amy Bloom
The Feather Thief - Kirk Wallace Johnson
Gnomon - Nick Harkaway
The Silence of the Girls - Pat Barker
A Study in Scarlet Woman - Sherry Thomas

-Despite it only being February I'm pretty sure I've already seen my two favourite movies of the year; in fact I think I saw them on New Year's Day when my hangover and I took ourselves off to see a double feature of Into the Spider-Verse and The Favourite. Much like how Lego Batman was the best Batman movie I'm pretty sure Into the Spider-Verse is the best Spider-Man movie, and made me want to read all the Spider-Gwen comics. Actually, comics trades might be a good way to get me over the loop of 'haven't read a book in a while, must read a book, any book, too many books' that I've gotten myself stuck in of late.

I'm not sure that being sad that Queen Anne and Lady Sarah couldn't work it out was the right way to watch The Favourite, but insert shrug emoji here. I watched it with my sister and round about the point where I was saying that I thought the final scene was meant to indicate that Anne knows Abigail's feelings for her are as much of a fiction as her efforts to replace her children with the rabbits she looked at me and went: 'Shut up, you giant lesbian nerd.' Ah, siblings.

-I haven't been watching much telly, but I had mixed feelings about this last third season of The Good Place. Jeremy Bearimy was possibly the best episode the show has ever done, but so much of it (the soul squad; they're alive again, now they're not) seemed to be running in circles. And I feel like the finale would have landed more with me if I cared more about Eleanor/Chidi. Like, they're fine, but the show has been dragging them out for so long that at this stage they either need to let them be together or do something new and different. And I'm not saying that the new and different thing has to be Eleanor/Tahani, but. I am glad that Janet/Jason finally came around again as they are the het pairing I really care about on this show.

-Relatedly the best Eleanor/Tahani fic I have ever read is: the pleasure principle by [archiveofourown.org profile] yasaman

-The reason I haven't been watching much, or reading anything, and have become only passingly familiar with the, you know, outside are these pesky video game things. I finally finished Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, or as I have taken to calling it the Xena: Warrior Princess cum Wonder Woman simulator of my heart. It took me one hundred and forty six hours. Is that a long time? I've lost perspective.

It's funny, because even though I hadn't bought it and as such never have to play it, I found myself really bummed out by the baby plot in the dlc. My mate who got me into gaming pre-ordered Fallout 76, the hundred quid special edition with the complementary shopping bag, so I learned the never pre-order anything until you know what it is lesson by proxy. Maybe I had just been lulled into a false sense of security an/or entitlement by the game seeming to pander so much to me. And, obviously, the line you won't have to role play any romances you're not comfortable with turning out to mean you won't have to play gay if you don't want to is bad. But the thing that was really brain and immersion breaking for me, was the idea of Kassandra being pregnant. Like, does she take a year off from her cult hunting to be pregnant? Does she hand the newborn off to its dad and get straight back to base jumping off mountains? And given that I've spent the game base jumping off mountains, isn't it churlish of me to be miffed at the game for its unrealistic take on the effects of pregnancy and childbirth on the female body? I mean, I never have to play that dlc, but I know about it, and I can't unknow it, and it...niggles at me.

-I'm trying to do this thing in 2019 called mindful drinking. The idea of which, at least the way I'm doing it, is that if I want a drink, if I'll really enjoy it and appreciate it, then I'll have one. But if I'm only having one because everyone else is, or to finish the bottle, or because I always a have a beer when the football's on, and I know in my heart of hearts that I'll be just as happy with a coffee or a coke or being able to drive home then I do that instead.

This is working out pretty well so far. Because I really do enjoy a cold pint or a nice dram of whisky, what I don't appreciate so much, or often really notice I'm having, are all those second, third, and fourth drinks, that add up over time, and so far have not been missed.

-I was thinking that the thing I'm most proud of myself for last year was that I made a friend. I am quite awkward - I'll pause here for you to be shocked - and have always had trouble making friends both online and off. The bloke next door, who I have been on nodding terms with for ten years, turns out to not only be a giant nerd but working for the police he works similar sorts of antisocial shifts to me and quite often we have overlapping chunks of useless time in the middle of the day. And we got to talking a bit, because his family got a puppy and I will overcome all kinds of shyness to meet a puppy.

Anyway, one day he goes: 'There's this webcomic, it's a bit indecent, but...'
And I go: 'OGLAF.'

And now we're buddies. That's how you make a friend, right? Or it's not how you make friends and is why I've always had trouble making friends? Anyway, I have this friend now, and weeks when we're both on backshift we hang out and binge watch Deep Space Nine, we've just finished season two, and it's nice; not midseason two of Deep Space Nine, which was not the show's nadir, but having a friend.

-British politics still an omnishambles that only gets worse every time May comes out with a new plan that turns out to be the old plan in a wig and dark glasses. And, like, I feel trapped between wanting to be informed and engaged, and not being able to bear to watch.

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December Posting Meme - My Continued Misadventures in Gaming [Dec. 29th, 2018|11:55 am]
My sister has a term - rogue gifter - which applies to an acquaintance you didn't think you were present giving friends with who unexpectedly turns up with a present for you.

I got a wee bit of warning when my neighbour, who had popped round for a cup of tea and a spot of Star Trek, looked at my my little stack of video games and went, oh so nonchalantly: 'So, you don't have The Witcher III? Just checking.' Luckily in the same conversation where he had expressed disbelief that I hadn't played The Witcher III I had expressed disbelief that he hadn't read Good Omens, so a quick trip to Waterstones later and I had a present for him.

Wait. We spend hours hanging out talking geek and recommending things to each other. We're watching Deep Space Nine from the beginning. We are proper friends. I made a new friend this year! At the grand old age of thirty-five. That's cool.

So on Christmas morning it turned out that he'd gotten me a boxset of The Witcher III and Dark Souls III. I am going to die so many times playing Dark Souls. So. Many. Times. I also, from Santa, got Horizon Zero Dawn and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Thank you, Santa. I have installed not a single one of these frankly excellent looking games because in early December I bought myself Assassain's Creed: Odyssey as an early Christmas present.

I put down Rise of the Tomb Raider, a game about which I have nothing much to say, except, please God fire whoever was responsible for the home made snuff films that pass for the Lara dies cut scenes, and possibly send someone round to his house to check that he hasn't got a woman chained up under the stairs, and picked up Odyssey.

I am playing as Kassandra. 'Because the voice acting is better?' asked my straight dude gamer friend. 'Er. Ye-es. Because the voice acting is better. No other reasons. At all.' I don't know that I'm much of judge of voice acting yet. Spider-Man and The Last of Us both seemed film quality, and I don't know if it's actually bad in Rise of the Tomb Raider so much as that sort of plummy silver spoon English accent gets right up my nose.

I still can't hit the side of a barn with an arrow, which is fine because I have put all of my skill points into advanced stabbing and picked out a nice axe taller that I am. Which seems to be working out well.

I was going to write this up last week, but I wanted to wait till I'd made a bit more progress in the story. And, er, that hasn't happened. I have been playing for forty hours and I am sort of vaguely aware that there is a story happening way, way over there. The game won't even give me a percentage completion stat on the grounds that I might find it disheartening. But I have totally bought into the role playing aspect, and am just travelling round the map doing mercenary things - like killing most of the people I meet and stealing everything that isn't nailed down. 'Why do these bounty hunters keep hounding me?' I cry. 'Oh, yeah. It's all the murder and theft.' I keep getting notifications to go and collect a reward for offing someone that I wasn't going to be asked to kill till later in the game but I'd just axed in the course of my island wide killing spree.

The other reason it's taking so long is that I'm going most places on foot because I feel so guilty about my weirdly indestructible horse Phobos, who I have ridden off any number of cliffs, into the sea, gotten set on fire, and eaten by bears. And yet keeps coming back. I feel like the horse is in an abusive relationship with Kassandra and needs to be cut loose for his own good.

Because I am doing so much of the side stuff - which mostly involves doing quests for the same three npcs who always seem to get wherever I'm going before me, and yet never seem to remember me from the last seventeen times they employed me - I've mostly been a couple of levels above where I needed to be for where I was on the map. 'Be stealthy' the game's voiceover tries to remind me, as Kassandra kicks down the front gates screaming and axing anyone within reach. The voiceover sighs audibly. I am sure this gameplay approach is fine and will in no way come back to bite me on the bum later in the game.

The other thing I'm doing, because clearly I am not advancing in the story, is romancing the female npcs, which is an neat gimmick, and honestly the only reason I even knew this game was a thing because it was all over my tumblr dash when it first came out.That is one thing I will miss about tumblr, immediately knowing anytime any two fictional women in any media from any country touch lips. I am hit and miss at this part. I tried to seduce Odessa by suggestion she and Kassandra could read together to the reaction of one of the best video game eye-rolls ever animated. I mean, even buff video game me is bad at this. Plus, I kinda wish there was more of a through line to the romance, because it is a neat gimmick, but it does feel very gimmick-y.

Anyway, that's what I've been spending a frightening amount of time on, and I apologise to the, like, 80% of you to whom this post meant nothing.

This entry was originally posted at https://netgirl-y2k.dreamwidth.org/194754.html with comment count unavailable comments. Please comment wherever you prefer.
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Year in Fic Meme [Dec. 17th, 2018|11:20 pm]
incl. one (1) existential crisis; do not mix with alcohol or a broken heart (Legends of Tomorrow, Sara/Ava)
We Should Kiss Like Real People Do (Legends of Tomorrow, Sara/Ava)
Birds of the Eastern Seaboard (Person of Interest, female!Harold Finch)
The Crackpots and These Women (Game of Thrones, Sansa/Margaery)
Better Not Wake The Baby (The Handmaid's Tale, June/Serena)
The Casterly Rock Job (Game of Thrones, Dany/Yara)
And I Fall (Call of the Wild Remix) (A Song of Ice and Fire, Sansa)
Who'll Play Me In The Movie Of Our Lives (Ocean's 8, Amita/Daphne)
Stuck in the Middle (of the Time Stream) With You (Legends of Tomorrow, Sara/Ava)

My Favourite Story This Year?

We Should Kiss Like Real People Do got jossed as soon as S4 started, but I still really like the idea of a relationship between time travellers where five years have passed for one of them while, like, three days have passed for the other. Plus, my summary for this fic was: "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." which tells you nothing, but still makes me chuckle.

My Best Story This Year?

The Crackpots and These Women

Okay, I spent a worrying amount of time this year writing a femslash-y Game of Thrones/West Wing/Veep fusion, but at least it was quite a good weird femslash-y Game of Thrones/West Wing/Veep fusion.

Most Surprising Story?

I am a creature of habit, me. So my biggest surprise was that I wrote in not one but three new fandoms this year. Legends of Tomorrow, The Handmaid's Tale, and Ocean's 8.

Most Disappointing Story?

I experienced many, many feelings about Sara/Ava in the first part of the year, and I'd wrote a couple of fics about them comparatively easily. I'd even gone so far as to try and game femslashex sign ups so as to write about them again. So I was bummed when having achieved that I drew a complete blank, panicked, and wrote the fic-by-the-numbers Stuck in the Middle (of the Time Stream) With You at the very last minute.

Favourite First Line?

Serena Joy fucking Waterford.

Favourite Last Line?

"Yes," Harriet had said, with the tight grimace she usually reserved for men who told her to smile, "people often are."

Story Most Unappreciated By The Universe?

Look, I knew the audience for a Dany/Yara criminals AU was going to be, er, a bit limited. Plus, my Dany centric fic always gets a slightly weird reaction because people really hate Dany and feel like they need to tell me this.

Quick tip: if you find yourself starting a comment with I usually hate thing because of many reasons, but write out your comment, and then delete everything up to and including but before hitting post.

But I had so much fun writing The Casterly Rock Job and I wish more people had had fun reading it.

Most Fun Story?

Either The Crackpots and These Women or The Casterly Rock Job.

My new niche is highly specific Game of Thrones modern AUs featuring only female characters with no boys allowed.

Story With The Single Sexiest Moment?

I still don't write explicit sex - not so much out of prudishness as profound indifference - so none of them.

Story With The Single Sweetest Moment?

The sweet, awkward, nonsexual, 'if I don't take my shoes off while we snuggle then we're definitely still broken up' bedsharing in incl. one (1) existential crisis; do not mix with alcohol or a broken heart kind of gets to me.

Hardest Story to Write?

I was especially vexed by The Casterly Rock Job because it was a femslash-y GoT modern AU featuring Dany/Yara that I was a writing for the same person I'd written The Crackpots and These Women a femslash-y GoT modern AU featuring Dany/Yara about a fortnight previously.

One of those exchange matchup SNAFUs, I guess.

Easiest Story to Write?

I rarely write post-ep fics; I'm not often inspired, and even when I am I'm not a quick enough writer. But I, Ava left me with a lot of emotions about Ava, and her feelings, and her feelings about being a clone, and so incl. one (1) existential crisis; do not mix with alcohol or a broken heart happened.

Story I Haven't Written, But Intend To?

I have a half written Arianne/Tyene La Maupin AU that's a lot about my own feelings about my lapsed Catholicism and a half written original piece about lycathropy as metaphor for the menopause and also being Scottish.

They've been on the docket since fandomtrumpshate in, jeepers, January. And because they're for two people I really like (hey, guys) every time I poked at them I went 'nope, not good enough' and got myself stuck in a vicious procrastination cycle.

So, in the new year, I will remember that perfect is the enemy of both good and done, and get them finished up and posted.

Most Unintentionally Telling Story?

None, but then I wrote mostly for exchanges this year - so there was less of my id in stuff.

Story That Shifted My Own Perceptions of the Characters?

Birds of the Eastern Seaboard

I had never really thought about Harold Finch. He was there, and he was necessary for the show to work, and he was fine, but I had no particular opinions on him either way. But when I sat down to figure out how to write him as Harriet Finch I felt like I gained whole new insight into him. There was a reason why its working title was 'Harold Finch and the Unexamined Male Privilege.'

Most "Holy Crap, That's Wrong Even For You" Story?

Serena Joy Waterford is a war criminal, Gilead is the wish she made on an evil monkey's paw, she's a rapist, she's June's rapist. So Better Not Wake The Baby where June and Serena escape to Canada together with their daughter is...iffy, morally speaking. Except June and Serena have this fascinating push pull where they can't ever seem to get out of each other's orbits, where June can't help believing that there's a thimble's worth of decency in Serena, and where she is always, always disappointed. Except, except. Serena let June and the baby go.

This Year's Theme And The Story That Demonstrates It Most?

This years theme is 'meh' and is best demonstrated by everything I wrote.

To be fair, I don't think I wrote anything actively bad this year, but also nothing that topped fair-to-middling.

Looking Back, Did You Write More Fic Than You Thought You Would This Year, Less, or About What You'd Predicted?

Less. I had a big empty stretch at the start of the year when I was either looking after the dog or working all the overtime in the world to pay off her vet's bills. I had another big empty chunk at the end of the year after I'd taken up gaming as a hobby. There was a bit in the middle where I was writing, but even then I was finding it really difficult, and I wasn't happy with anything I wrote.

What Pairing/Genre/Fandom Did You Write That You Would Never Have Predicted in January 2018?

Well, Ocean's 8 wasn't out in January, but even after I saw I might have guessed that I'd write Debbie/Lou, or Debbie/Tammy, or gosh Rose/Daphne, but not Daphne/Amita. The vagaries of exchange matches strike again.

Did You Take Any Writing Risks This Year?

I guess my shiny new remix approach of: Well, there's nothing in the original fic that says this character is not a werewolf, as demonstrated in And I Fall (Call of the Wild Remix), was a bit out there.

Do You Have Any fanfic Goals For The New Year?

I want to enjoy writing again!

This entry was originally posted at https://netgirl-y2k.dreamwidth.org/194321.html with comment count unavailable comments. Please comment wherever you prefer.
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December Posting Meme - Legends of Tomorrow [Dec. 14th, 2018|06:45 pm]
Ah, Legends of Tomorrow, the little show that could.

I don't watch any of the other shows set in the same universe. I've never seen a single episode of Arrow or The Flash, I watched the first two seasons of Supergirl before drifting away, and I didn't even know that Constantine had had a show before he fetched up on Legends. My point is that you don't have to have watched any of the other shows to follow Legends of Tomorrow. You barely have to watch Legends of Tomorrow to follow Legends of Tomorrow. It's bananapants. It's delightful. Just go with it.

The first season is...not good. I watched it all in a single chunk overnight during -- it was either the brexit referendum or the US presidential, flicking back to the BBC between episodes in the hope that the world had righted itself. Alas. Now, I'm not saying that the first season is without bright spots; the 1958 episodes are a bit okay, and possibly worth circling back to, but I wouldn't start with any of it.

I don't know what happened behind the scenes between seasons, but I feel like there was a meeting where one exec says to another: I worry that we've made a bad show, my guy.
Should we do something about it, then? says the other chap.
Yes, says the first bloke, we're going to steer hard into the skid.

Season two starts with the Legends fighting laser wielding time pirates in broad daylight in the fifteenth century while Sara seduces the queen of France the day she's supposed to conceive the sun king. It set the new tone, and set it hard

All the the things I'd liked least about the first season - the hawk people, Arthur Darvill's Tenth Doctor cosplay, Snart - were pretty much written out. The hawk people were never spoken of again. Snart stayed dead. In retrospect I wonder if my antipathy towards Leonard was that they seemed to be teasing Snart/Sara, because I liked gay alternate universe Leo fine. What can I say, I am lesbian of simple wants who enjoys watching Sara Lance macking on ladies. The show belated realised that Sara should have been the lead all along and promoted her to captain. Actually one of the other things I was less than keen on in S1 was Sara's angsty, I am death backstory, and I have never felt moved to go back and watch her episodes of Arrow for more details. She was an assassin for a while. She was dead for another while. And now she is dashing Captain Sara Lance, bad babysitter turned team mom who is only incrementally more mature than the ducklings she has been left in charge of, but is trying her best.

The plots are like someone is using tv tropes as a checklist, but in, like, a knowing, self-aware way.

Here I shall include a brief list of taster episodes:

Abominations - The Legends fight confederate zombies
Camelot/3000 - The Legends go to Camelot; Guinevere rules, Sara is Lancelot, and Merlin is a girl
Helen Hunt - The Legends meet Helen of Troy, also Wonder Woman exists in this universe
Here I Go Again - Time loop!
Wet Hot American Bummer - De-aging, and an awesome meta bit where the show contrives to have a character read aloud one of their terrible season one reviews. Even they know they were a bit shit back then.

But if you only want to watch two episodes make them Beebo the God of War and The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly. There is nothing I could say that could possibly do them justice.

The other thing I really like is the ever rotating cast and how the show makes me okay with it - I didn't love Nate or Zari when they first joined the crew of the Waverider but now they're my faves. Along with, it must be said, literally everyone else. The phrase 'I love everyone in this bar' was basically designed for this show. I was severely miffed when Constantine and his Newcastle-by-way-of-Wales accent joined the crew, because he so very much not a character type I appreciate, but right around the time he finished pouring out his romantic woes to cat!Zari by going 'you're so soft' I decided I was all in for him. And although I started the season rooting for him and Gary (everyone deserves love, no matter how silly) I hope he manages to save Des. And, actually, now that I'm thinking about it, between John/Desmond and Sara/Ava the show has done a same-sex true love's kiss breaks the spell twice in the space of five episodes.

Speaking of Sara/Ava I was iffy about giving Sara a serious love interest because I'd loved her as a sort of time travelling fuckboy with a girl in every century. But I thought they did the transition from antagonists to lovers to basically time wives really well. Although I did like that they ended S3 on a sort of ambiguous note for them, feeling that they'd learned a lesson from Supergirl on not going all in on a ship before checking they can get the actor back.

So that's Legends of Tomorrow. A bit like Lost Girl with its tropes and gayness, only better. A bit like Doctor Who, with its time travel and silliness, only with episodes produced on a more regular schedule. A show that more people should watch, and then come and talk to me about.

This entry was originally posted at https://netgirl-y2k.dreamwidth.org/194167.html with comment count unavailable comments. Please comment wherever you prefer.
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Doctor Who Season 11 [Dec. 10th, 2018|08:31 pm]
I started to write up a post about this last series of Doctor Who, but found that I was mostly repeating comments I'd been making hither and yon for the last couple of weeks. Instead I am going to make a list of all the series eleven episodes, from least to most favourite. Because this is what that series has been to me, a series of favourites; the Doctor is a woman, Jodie Whittaker is awesome, and nothing hurts.

Okay, so starting from the least best:

Arachnids in the UK

I really appreciated that Chibnall decided not to include any two parters in this series, because, lets be honest, hardly any of them are any good at all. But Arachnids in the UK commits many of the same sins as the likes of The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People, to use a particularly meh two-parter as an example, in that it feels both too long and too short at the same time. Not much seems to happen, but the plot is still mostly unresolved. There are still all those spiders running around Sheffield, and the Doctor's moral red line where it's unacceptable to shoot the giant spider but okay to let it suffocate under its own weight crumbles under the slightest scrutiny.

The best bits: A+ use of Mr. Big, Yaz's mum.

Re: the makeup of team TARDIS, I'm torn. On the one hand, Doctor & lone companion TARDIS's run the risk of becoming claustrophobic and alienating if it's not a relationship that works for you, and after a decade plus of Doctors who seem to like one (1) human and barely tolerate the rest of us it's refreshing to have a Doctor who fell to Earth and adopted the first four humans they met. On the other hand, I agree with everyone who said that introducing three new companions on top of a new Doctor and kind of a new show structure was Too Much and didn't necessarily give any of them the chance to shine.

If I had my druthers I would have kept the series run at thirteen episodes, introduced Yaz first, established Thirteen within a more traditional companion relationship, and brought in Graham and Ryan at, like, episode three.


A perfectly serviceable episode ruined by a confused balls up of an ending. The thinly veiled Amazon analogue is the baddie! Wait, the guy protesting the thinly veiled Amazon analogue is the real baddie! The thinly veiled Amazon analogue killed people though! I'm confused! We're all confused!

There was a really ugly implication that dead customers are a tragedy, whereas dead employees are the cost of doing business. I wasn't wild about the bit where shooting for fifty percent humans employed doing repetitive and robotic tasks as opposed to ten percent was considered a happy ending, it felt really conservative and ill-fitted to Doctor Who.

Also, the Doctor not destroying or at least fundamentally changing Kerblam didn't sit right with me - when the Thirteen had to sit and let injustice pass in Rosa it felt poignant, in Kerblam! it made her feel at best ineffective or at worst indifferent.

Wow, I liked this episode even less than I thought. The only reason this doesn't rate dead last is that I have strong feelings about this, while Arachnids in the UK just kind of happened.

The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos

There's nothing wrong with this episode, it's a perfectly adequate finale. I mean, it couldn't be worse than The Last of the Time Lords, could it? But Tim Shaw isn't exactly the villain of the century, and while for most of the season I've been surprisingly charmed by Graham and managed to forget the fact that Grace was basically fridged, Graham's subplot about wanting revenge made that very hard to continue to ignore.

I really liked the bit where the Doctor told Ryan that she'd had to lay down the rules because he was new but the rules were subject to change, I thought it was a good summary of the way this whole series had been set up to be more welcoming to new viewers. And, for what it's worth, I've found the more straightforward plots a feature rather than a bug. It's been good both for reasons of my own enjoyment, and, to be honest, comprehension, and for pitching the show to my mates who might be geeky types but aren't regular viewers; you should check out this week's episode of Doctor Who, it's about Rosa Parks, or set during the partition of India is a much easier pitch than trying to explain the saga of River Song or Lady Me.

That said, I do hope they bring a bit (a bit!) of the lore back next series. It's been lovely to have a Doctor who can introduce themselves to people without having to read through a CV ('I'm a Time Lord, I'm from the planet Gallifrey, I'm bajillionty years old...') but I really, really want to hear Jodi Whittaker call herself a Time Lord.

The Tsuranga Conundrum

Pro: Adorable monster

Pro: Graham and Ryan helping a dude deliver his baby.

You know, I was really miffed when I first heard about Bradley Walsh's casting; partly because I mostly knew him as that gurning quiz show host, and partly because I thought the show was throwing a bone to a vocal and unpleasant segment of the fanbase by going 'here's a middle aged white bloke for you to care about.' But Graham has been so lovely; it's not just the super relatable taking a cheese and pickle sandwich on TARDIS adventures, it's that this is a guy who married late in life when Ryan must have been, like, sixteen, and still threw himself wholeheartedly into being Ryan's granddad. Their relationship was a highlight of the season for me. But also, it's a relationship arc that I feel like we've seen play out and I would be okay with them not being companions next series.

Cons: There are no cons. I loved this episode, I just like everything higher on this list more.

The Woman Who Fell To Earth

The Doctor is a woman! The Doctor is a woman! I can't hear anything this episode tried to do over how happy I am that the Doctor is a woman!

Like, that the Doctor's gender shouldn't matter is a valid argument, but I would like to present this counter argument: it does matter to a lot of people, not least to all those little girls crying in YouTube videos.

I feel like this was a solid intro episode; it didn't have a dinosaur like Twelve, but it also didn't leave a nasty taste in the mouth like Ten deposing Harriet Jones. A solid B+

Also, Thirteen's outfit, which I had been supremely unimpressed with in stills, turned out to be so much better in motion, and I love how little regard the wardrobe department has for the male gaze.


This season might have had the best historical episodes of any nu who series. And the diversity of the writer's room is showing in the best of ways.

Also, Graham trolling the racist by going HAVE YOU MET MY GRANDSON, RYAN? I LOVE HIM cemented my love for him.

The Ghost Monument

What a gorgeous episode, the exteriors at least. The inside of the TARDIS is really, really badly lit, and hard to see. I wonder if the reason we didn't get many scenes in the console room this series is that it's hard to film in, and I wouldn't be surprised if it gets tweaked for next series.

But the Doctor and TARDIS reunion scene might just be one of my favourite Nu Who scenes of all time. I just wish the interior had been well enough lit that I'd been able to see the TARDIS giving her Doctor a custard cream rather than reading about it in reviews.

It Takes You Away

This one had two things that I absolutely loved

1) When Yaz suggests reversing the polarity.

I really feel like in any other series Yaz would be the main companion. I mean, part of that is that the Graham & Ryan relationship is so central to the set up that the Doctor and Yaz are often together just by default, but mostly it makes me curious about the version of the show where Yaz is the sole or at least main companion. I mean, I'm into the 'very flat team structure', but I feel like I would be into Thirteen & Yaz (or, ahem, Thirteen/Yaz) too.

2)The frog.

Look, the show got me there. It got me wondering which old companion the show might have got back to portray the Solitract, something that would have caused no end of fandom infighting, whoever it was. Instead it was a frog, and it was the best of all possible worlds. Plus, the Doctor immediately befriending a sentient universe who had nearly destroyed our universe out of loneliness was the most doctor-y thing Thirteen could have possibly done.

Demons of the Punjab

Shameful admission: I learned more about the partition of India from one episode of Doctor Who than I did from twenty odd years of formal education. That diverse cast and writers room is paying off again.

The idea of aliens who watch over people who would otherwise die alone is oddly lovely, and the episode was just as beautiful as The Ghost Monument. I wonder if there was a budget increase this year, or if the reduced episode run just frees up more money to spend per episode.

The Witchfinders

Look, it's not like I want the Doctor to talk about being a woman ad nauseam (that's what I'm for), but I want it brought up, and The Witchfinders struck the perfect balance. Add in a classic Doctor Who story and the A+ use of Alan Cumming and just *kisses fingertips*

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December Posting Meme - Five Awesome Fics You Should All Read And Why [Dec. 8th, 2018|04:43 pm]
Reports May Have Been Exaggerated by [archiveofourown.org profile] Fayhe (Spy; Susan Cooper/Rick Ford, Susan Cooper/Rayna Boyanov; Teen; 7K)

Okay, so I didn't see the movie Spy when it first came out because I was operating under the misapprehension that I was not the sort of person who enjoyed Melissa McCarthy movies. It turns out that not only do I enjoy those movies very much, but I have quite the crush on Melissa McCarthy. There is probably some sort of lesson to be gleaned here. Anyway. Spy is a brilliant movie, hilarious and delightful, and this fic is like the pure distilled version of everything about the movie that made me so happy when I first watched it.

Plus, the writing is sharp as a tack, for example:

Rayna darted a look at Susan, sideways, like a fish feinting at food. Her mouth was doing that thing it did when the natural human instinct to smile came up against years of boarding school trauma, Eastern European stoicism and Oxfordian repression, as well as Rayna's own special brand of reptilian disdain for other human beings.

heaven is where you build it (hell isn't that bothered) by [archiveofourown.org profile] thesmokinggnu (Person of Interest; Root/Shaw;Teen; 6k)

This a fusion with Good Omens, but honestly I don't think you have to have read that or seen PoI to find this fic about a grouchy angel and a perky demon flirting across the centuries delightful.

The dialogue crackles, it's the sort of thing that might have been described as banter back before lads ruined that word for the rest of us:

“Right. So Robespierre and Lafayette are ours. Who’ve you got?”

“Desmoulins and Antoinette.”

“What about Louis?”

“Autocrat ruling by divine mandate? Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

“Despotic tyrant starving his own people?” Sameen retorted, “I don’t know, Root, you tell me.”

Ladies Who Organise by [archiveofourown.org profile] reckonedrightly (Discworld; Vetinari; Teen; 6k)

Even if you don't usually go for genderswaps I still think there's a lot to love in this tale of Haveline Vetinari and her rise to become the more or less benevolent dictator of Ankh-Morpork - road trips, background femslash, small ugly dogs named Vlad.

The writing is sharp and funny without trying to replicate Pratchett bear for beat:

“I’ve often noted that dogs have a natural affinity for me,” Haveline remarked, scritching the dog behind the ears.

“Have you,” said Sybil, slowly and carefully, watching the dog tremble and then wag its tail like a man pleading for his life. “Yes. I can certainly see why you might think that.”

Haveline’s fingers had found a little silver disc on the dog’s collar, which nestled in its sparse and grimy fur. “My name is Vlad. If you find me,” she read, “please return me to Zer Castle, Bonk, Ubervald.”

& a past life in the trunk by [a03.org profile] notbecauseofvictories (Daredevil; Karen Page, slight Karen/Claire; Teen; 7k)

*recced in memory of the Marvel Netflix shows; farewell you overlong, underlit bastards, I shall miss you.

More than straight up genderswaps I love fics where the secondary female character gets to do the (almost always much cooler job) of the main dude; think Leia's the one who trains as a Jedi, or Peggy Carter is the one to get the super soldier serum. I call the Backwards in High Heels fics.

In this Matt dies pretty early after becoming the Devil of Hell's Kitchen and Karen picks up the mantle, and it just works:

Karen is selfish and hard to kill. She wonders sometimes if Matt would have approved, if he would have wanted her to be someone better than this, to wear the mask and not deserve the ‘Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’ title. To not have Wesley in her dreams, smiling and smiling, then opening his mouth and swallowing the city whole. To tell Claire to run. To understand Foggy’s anger.

But Karen is selfish and hard to kill and she wonders if Matt would have been as effective.

Maggie Fitzgerald and the Saltwater Drip by [archiveofourown.org profile] antistar_e (The Amazing Spider-Man; Gwen Stacy; Teen; 79k)

Speaking of Backwards in High Heels fics, this is THE CLASSIC of the subgenre; Spider-Gwen before there was such a thing as Spider-Gwen.

Totally. Brilliant.

Google politely tells her there are no poisonous spiders in Manhattan. Judging by her symptoms -- fever, superstrength, newfound desire to shove herself into small dark spaces, and sudden reputation as a masked vigilante -- Gwen would beg to differ.

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December Posting Meme - Freya [Dec. 5th, 2018|12:02 am]
A bunch of you asked me to talk about my dog, as was quite proper and correct.

This is Freya, and also a visual illustration as to why it took me forty-five minutes to change the sheets tonight:

And this is Freya's wee face, which will show why she gets away with such carry on:

Freya's favourite tv show is the Netflix show Dogs, mostly because by the end of every episode I've come over all soppy about how brilliant dogs are and then remember that there's a dog right there that I can make a fuss over.

Freya's favourite food is food, and her least favourite is things that aren't food.

Freya got herself accidentally shut in the cupboard under the stairs for an hour and a half, and didn't cry, bark, scratch or rip into the open bag of dog food. Just sat there like I guess I live in this cupboard now, seems legit.

Freya rides in the car sat up in the passenger seat looking out the window like lady muck.

Freya may not be the best dog in the world, but she is the softest to the touch. I cannot over-emphasise how lovely she is to pet.

Freya got turned down by pets as therapy because she's too friendly

Freya has a vendetta against spaniels. All of them. I think they owe her money.

Even though Freya's broken leg is all healed up whenever anyone is petting her she will lift the leg up pathetically in a shameless play for sympathy/extra pets.

Freya will never get bored or fed up of being petted. You just have to eventually stop. She will cry. Be strong.

Freya once stole a packet of monster munch from a baby in a buggy.

Freya loves children; they taste of jam.

Freya's current nemesis is the inflatable santa the people across the way have put up in their garden.

Freya thinks that those stone lions that some people put in their driveways are real cats, and that she could take them in a fight.

Freya thinks she is a guard dog and will defend me with her life against people trying to deliver Chinese food I have ordered, weird noises the boiler makes, and that other dog that lives in the mirror. She doesn't like the look of that other dog.

Freya does have an advent calendar, there's carob in it; she also has a bottle of dog beer to have on christmas day, it's chicken flavour, and it is of vital importance that this be kept far, far away from the person beer.

Freya is the best dog in the world, actually.

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Low-Key December Posting Meme [Dec. 1st, 2018|11:37 pm]
I'm not going to do the full one post for every day in December thing; partly because words have not been my friends this year, but mostly because I didn't even realise it was December until my mum brought round an advent calendar for the dog this morning. Really. Seriously.

But. I would like to get into back the habit of posting. So if anyone wants to ask me a question or leave me a topic to pontificate on at some point during the month, I'd love that.

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Gamey Gamey Game [Nov. 25th, 2018|03:53 pm]
The downstairs of my house is semi-open plan, with the living room on one side, the kitchen on the other, and the stairs in the middle. This means you can, if you're so inclined, run around the staircase like a mad thing in your socks while getting the dog to chase you.

You shouldn't, because what will eventually happen is that you will slip, faceplant onto a coffee table, and knock one of your front teeth loose.

The tooth eventually settled down into the gum, but at a slightly wonky angle, and I've been saving up to get it fixed ever since. I eventually got referred to the dental hospital where they said that, yes, absolutely they could fix my tooth, but first I'd need to have six hours of dental surgery on my apparently terrible gums. Anyway, somewhere between when they told me how much fixing the tooth would actually cost and hour three of my six hour dental surgery I rather went off the idea of medically unnecessary dental work and instead bought myself a Playstation 4.

That's right, I have a goofy as fuck grin and a Playstation. I'm a fucking catch.

At this stage it's important to understand that the last video game I played was The Lion King game on the Sega Megadrive in nineteen ninety-four; and I got stuck at the wildebeest bit and never went back.

Things sure have changed, eh?

The console came with the new Spider-Man game. Which I freaking loved, and thought was very forgiving of a newbie. It did take me a long time to actually play through the story because I was mostly swinging around New York going wheeeeee! Which was most of what I wanted from this experience.

And then following an esoteric process that I call What Games Have I Heard Of That They've Got For Cheap In This Second Hand Shop? I got </i>The Last of Us</i> and Rise of the Tomb Raider. Following on from Spider-Man the graphics and gameplay in The Last of Us initially felt pretty dated and janky, but I got super invested in the story and stopped noticing. I cried twice and screamed out loud once.

Rise of the Tomb Raider I'm enjoying when it's letting me play a Tomb Raider game. I enjoy solving the puzzles and scrambling madly around an environment that falls apart as soon as I touch it, but I'm not mad about the shooty-shooty stuff that's bolted on top.

I have discovered that I suck so hard at shooting games. Unless there's an auto-aim I can't hit the side of a barn door. And I don't think it's a matter of practice; I think it's a hand eye thing, I can't catch in real life either. Luckily I don't have whatever weird brain thing makes some people twitchy about playing on easy. It says a lot about the story in The Last of Us how much I loved that game despite all the shooting.

My one (1) friend who plays games has been letting me have a go on his x-box to try and work out what sort of games I might like before I buy more, because holy guacamole, batman, this could get expensive!

So far I have had a go at Red Dead Redemption 2: I crashed his horse into a tree and immediately died, and like, it looks gorgeous but I think the shooting mechanics would drive me up the wall; Shadow of Mordor: I killed a bunch of orcs, and we're definitely moving in the right direction; Witcher III: so all I did was ride a horse for a bit and get killed by two giant insect monsters, but still I liked the feel of it and think we're moving in the right direction; Destiny: nope, too shooty, too frantic, plus I don't want to play multi-players. I want to sit in my front room, playing on easy, and feeling like a badass with no one telling me otherwise.

So anyway, things I hate: shooting.

Things I like: narrative, map traversal, melee combat (which always seems to look effortlessly artful even when all I'm doing is mashing buttons.)

Anyone who plays these things got any suggestions?

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October Books [Oct. 30th, 2018|11:49 pm]

Transcription - Kate Atkinson
The Wych Elm - Tana French
Cross Her Heart - Sarah Pinborough
Catwoman: Soulstealer - Sarah J. Maas
Record of Spaceborn Few - Becky Chambers
The Hollow of Fear - Sherry Thomas

Transcription is a historical novel that jumps around between WWII, the 50s, and the 80s. The bulk of the action is set in WWII where a young woman is drafted to transcribe bugged meetings between fascist sympathisers for MI5, it then picks up in the 50s and 80s where her wartime actions come back to haunt her. The WWII sections are really good; atmospheric, well drawn, and compelling. The parts set in the 50s are harder going, and contained more information about the internal politics of the BBC children's service of that era than I really cared to know. Recommended for fans of WWII novels and unreliable female narrators.

The Wych Elm is the first Tana French novel not set in her Dublin Murder Squad series, and doesn't have any of the nods to magical realism that I have such mixed feelings on in those books (I thought it worked in Broken Harbour, was a bit on the nose in The Secret Place, and that The Likeness was stupid.) In it our protagonist is Toby, the handsome, upper middle class poster boy for unthinking privilege. His privilege is put on spectacular display early in the novel where he confidently assumes he got his job as a green as grass graduate over a woman with decades of experience because he was the better person for the job, or when he runs off a guy who was hanging around his girlfriend's job and pestering her without even trying to understand why she was so frightened. All the same, he's not a bad guy, he's just...he's that guy. After Toby interrupts burglars at his flat and survives a terrible beating he goes to his Uncle Hugo's house to recover (because Toby is also the guy who has an Uncle Hugo), where a body is discovered in the garden. From there it becomes both a really engaging mystery (it edged close to having one too many twists for me, and I still can't decide if it pulled it back in time) and a study of the way Toby's privilege both no longer helps him (of course the police suspect the twitchy, nervous guy with the holes in his memory and the weird face) and still does (he's still a white guy with well off parents.) Highly recommended.

I remembered really enjoying Sarah Pinborough's Dog-Faced Gods trilogy years ago, so to say I was disappointed in Cross Her Heart would be something of an understatement. This thriller had too many stupid, ridiculous, suspension of disbelief shattering 'twists' to recap. But the one I found most egregious was the idea that a forty year old could convincingly pass herself off as eighteen to other teenagers for months on end. I mean, come on.

I returned to DC's YA series with Catwoman: Soulstealer after not reading the Batman instalment for the same reason I plan on skipping the Superman one, which is, you know, very much not caring. I actually, and much to my surprise, liked the Catwoman book a lot more than I enjoyed the Wonder Woman one. Maybe it was that I care for Sarah J Maas's writing more than I care for Leigh Bardugo's, or maybe it was just that the Selina, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn team up, and the idea that Harley's relationship with the Joker is toxic and she should be with Ivy instead played up to exactly what I like in my DC.

After frickin' loving the first book in Becky Chambers Wayfarers trilogy and being only so so on the second I am pleased to report that Record of a Spaceborn Few is a return to form. In this one we visit the Exodan Fleet, a human society based around the generational ships they first left Earth on. Like the rest of the series it's told using revolving povs and is rather light on plot, but the povs are endearing, and it's a really interesting study of an insular society and the people who choose to leave, choose to stay, and choose to move in. The whole series is really worth a shot, and you'll know almost instantly if the style isn't going to work for you.

All year I have had nothing but good things to say about Sherry Thomas' Lady Sherlock series; alas, I felt like The Hollow of Fear went off the rails somewhat. A little bit it of my discontent was the overly convoluted plot and the reliance on information the reader couldn't possibly have, but mostly it was that by now Charlotte Holmes is pretending to be the bedridden genius Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock's sister (who is somehow not Charlotte Holmes), and while wearing a false beard and fake paunch Sherlock's brother Sherrinford Holmes. I'm sorry, Sherry Thomas, but this is where I get off.

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