Replica

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:40 pm
yhlee: Shuos Jedao (Hellspin Fortress) (hxx Jedao 1x10^6)
[personal profile] yhlee
Jenna Black's Replica is a YA sf novel that I picked up from the library one-cent-a-book discard sale along with its sequel Resistance. I have just finished Replica and have not yet read Resistance, although I plan on getting to it soon. My verdict is that this is a good novel, but it could have been so much better.

I was attracted to Replica because clones and faux!amnesia are bulletproof narrative kinks for me. You have to work to foul those up for me. Here's the back cover copy:
Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake's marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in the Corporate States. She lives a life of privilege, even if she has to put up with paparazzi tracking her every move, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image--no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.

Nathaniel Hayes is the heir to the company that pioneered human replication: a technology that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Except he's more interested in sneaking around the seedy underbelly of the state formerly known as New York than he is in learning to run his future company or courting his bride-to-be. She's not exactly his type...not that he can tell anyone that.

But then Nate turns up dead, and Nadia was the last person to see him alive.

When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory backup, he doesn't know what--or rather, who--killed him.

Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.

What's good: there's a lot packed into the premise. Nadia is genteelly raised, but far from spineless, and easy to sympathize with. Nate is a closeted gay man in a social class of a future society that strongly discourages homosexuality, and one of his major motivations is to protect his lower-class lover. And Nadia and Nate's friendship with its ups and downs is believable.

Neutral: the Executive class of elites allows women to inherit, but there's a behavioral double standard as to what men and women can get away with, which is why Nadia has to watch her every move so she doesn't cause scandals while Nate can act out all he wants. The narrative states that this is some kind of throwback to the nineteenth century (Western, presumably?). There isn't much explanation given for how this developed, but I've seen sillier setups in sf so I was willing to go along with it.

What's less good, without going into spoilers: As far as I can tell, the entire named cast minus one character (Chloe, a friend of Nadia's) is white. There is lip-service paid to Chloe feeling like an outcast because she's black, and then Chloe is very rapidly shuffled off-stage and we never hear from her again.

That's not actually my biggest complaint about the novel. My biggest complaint about the novel is that it has a lot of tense action and still never manages to punch hard enough. And I don't mean this in the social justice sense of punching down or sideways or diagonally or whateverthehell. I mean this in terms of narrative impact on the reader.

I can't discuss further without spoiling the whole thing, and I am really frustrated by the fact that this fairly good novel could have taken my favorite tropes and done them even better, so let's have a spoiler cut: Read more... )
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
[personal profile] edenfalling
The project I'm supposed to be working on is being frustrating, so here is another tiny installment in Edmund and Ginny Go to Harfang. :)

Written 6/26/17, in response to the [community profile] genprompt_bingo square northern / southern lights. (300 words exactly)

---------------------------------------------
A Good Idea at the Time
---------------------------------------------

They clambered over the volcano's lip as the rubies' virtue faded and the heat and fumes of molten rock punched Edmund like a sword pommel in his gut, but he spared no thought to the narrowness of their escape. The ebbing wash of sunset on the western horizon revealed a new woe: to the north, a range of mountains greater than he had ever seen rose knife-sharp and impassible, flanks glittering with ice, while on all other sides their own, lesser peak fell rapidly into a frozen, windswept plain where no single sign of life broke the pristine fields of snow.

"Well, this is a pickle," Ginny said, dropping her end of their enchanted skiff onto the bare and smoking stone. "I could enchant the boat to levitate, but I can't make that permanent, or cast a propulsion charm at the same time, so we'd still be stuck without a way to catch the wind; I don't suppose you have any suggestions for fixing that?"

As Edmund looked around their barren and precarious perch, a curtain of violet, green, and gold shimmered across the darkening sky, like a banner curving in winds too high and rare for mortal lungs to breathe, and a streak of brilliant white shot through the heavens' heart like an arrow: southward and downward, aimed at Narnia like a sign.

"The world goes strange at the edges, where the Deep Magic yields to the Deeper Magic that surrounds and upholds all the worlds that ever were or will be," he said slowly. "Even in Narnia, at the Deep Magic's source, we know that stars are not lifeless fires, but people, who sometimes step outside their dance to touch the earth they traverse every night. What if one might carry us?"

"You're mad," Ginny said. "Let's try!"

---------------------------------------------

End of Ficlet

---------------------------------------------

Bets on whether this works out they way they intend? *innocent smile*

Also, I have now officially completed a bingo line for [community profile] genprompt_bingo! I should probably go make up a post for the community sometime this afternoon or evening.

*facepalm*

Jun. 26th, 2017 03:00 pm
yhlee: recreational (peaceful) tank (recreational tank)
[personal profile] yhlee
The moment where you see Microsoft Word's wordcount for the current story in progress saying "1701 Words" and think, Why is it 5:01 p.m.? I thought it was only 3 p.m.

Ballet Shoes

Jun. 26th, 2017 02:49 pm
sputnikhearts: girl walking in fog. from amelie maybe? (girl in fog)
[personal profile] sputnikhearts
Ballet shoes

Probably the biggest new happiness multiplier in recent memory: I (re)started taking ballet at local studio. Although I am a complete beginner, I grew up on a steady diet of ballet books at varying qualities. I don't remember when I first saw the photos but I remember being completely entranced by the unparalleled beauty of the form. Lessons were not possible, so I read books, which is always the next best thing. I read all the Noel Streatfeild books, random teen serials where no book is complete without someone bursting into tears mid-dress rehearsal, and of course I read Jill Krementz's "A Very Young Dancer" so many times that it's burned into my mind. I also read all kinds of books about technique, and pored over photographs of classical ballets. Thanks, well-stocked childhood library!

One of the really flattering things that a teacher said at my very first lesson was "I can't believe you've never taken ballet before." And no matter how failhard I am at every lesson, I definitely laid up that comment to live by whenever I feel discouraged (the adagios in center practice, they slay me). And I do fail pretty hard, even for a beginner. My hips are stiff, I can barely follow simple choreography, and my placement is a mess. But I flatter myself that I have been mentally dancing for a very long time. So even when my feet are not right, I do know exactly what I am supposed to have done, and that sometimes--somehow--just a bit--shines through the mess of bad posture and worse turnout.

The other thing I love about ballet is that ... I am a fairly competitive and perfectionist person in most areas of my life, but dancing shuts down that part of my brain. That makes it freeing and meditative--I suspect that ballet is to me as yoga is to a lot of people. If my steps are not perfect, that's just my version of it and it's as valid as anyone else's, and I am shockingly content with that.

Which is the complete opposite of how I feel about writing! I submit my stories for publication, and I love it when people read and hopefully enjoy my stories. Part of me feels that a story is not real until it is shared--that it's just a hallucination in my brain until someone else confirms that they heard those voices too.

In ballet, I do not feel that way. I am overjoyed just to be in the studio. I could do endless tendus alone save for the accompanying music on my phone. I feel absolutely no need to be on a stage.

I wonder if I would be a better writer, if I also felt that way about my writing?

Anyway, this was a rambling post. If you want to read a serious post about taking ballet as an adult, I wholeheartedly recommend the excellent essay "Swan, Late: The unexpected joys of adult beginner ballet."

Spoilers, sweetie

Jun. 26th, 2017 07:32 pm
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
[personal profile] nineveh_uk
Some recent media viewing

Versailles

It's absolute tosh, but it's fun tosh. There's a 10 minute section after each episode in which they tell you which bits are actually vaguely connected to reality, and which aren't. For someone with very little knowledge of the history of the period it manages to be quite educational. I certainly had no idea that in 1672 the Dutch Prime Minister was set upon by a mob in The Hague who not only killed, but possibly ate parts of him.

On another note, Wikipedia led me to this portrait of Louis XIV showing an early example of the contorted breasts and bum figure so beloved of bad film posters and novel covers.

My Cousin Rachel

Did Daphne de Maurier have an ill-advised affair with someone she met at a continental holiday resort? It would explain a lot. I enjoyed this very much, and finally found out the ending having somehow managed to avoid spoilers for about 20 years since I heard the first half as a radio play. I should like to read the book; the film maintained the ambiguity well, but I wonder how much the story relies for its depth on a certain interiority that is hard to maintain on film, but I can imagine being there in a novel.

Doctor Who

I've enjoyed this series very much in a low-key kind of way. I've really enjoyed Capaldi, and Peal Mackie is excellent as Bill. It's been nice to have a companion with no particular mystery or backstory to her, just someone going round the galaxy having adventures with the Doctor, and Mackie portrays a combination of cheerful friendliness and curiosity that works very well. Not to mention added fun from Michelle Gomez as the Master.

Read more... )
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
[personal profile] edenfalling
Since Vicky got into writing M/M ebook romances, she's occasionally prodded at me to maybe file off the serial numbers from some of my fics or write something new specifically for profit. And mostly I make vaguely noncommittal noises because I am bad at schedules and also romance, but. I think about it now and then, you know?

So last night I was making a list of things that might be workable as novellas or short-ish novels, and it occurred to me that over the years there has been a slow but distinct change in the types of relationships I'm most interested in writing.

cut for length, etc. )

Anyway, I should get back to working on actual fiction.

The Intolerable Clock

Jun. 26th, 2017 12:58 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
Because there is not enough roleplaying in my life, and it's been entirely too long since I GM'd (The Black Wall, Shazrad: City of Veils, The Hidden General, etc.), I am opening The Intolerable Clock ([community profile] hexarchate_rpg), a non-canon freeform multiverse hexarchate RPG.

The hexarchate is a star-spanning polity of monstrosities small and great, where consensus reality is enforced not just by a rigid police state but by the ritual torture of "heretics" on state holidays. Lately it is not just wracked by internal dissent but by the discovery of rifts in time and space through which people from other worlds appear.

You are one of a hardy group of people--whether from the hexarchate (or heptarchate) itself, a foreign state, or another world in the multiverse entirely--who have gathered with the explicit goal of destroying the hexarchate by going back in time and preventing its creation, or otherwise seeding its destruction.

The question is, can you succeed before the hexarchate's agents catch on and eliminate you?

Interested? See the write-up for the guidelines and the character application! Hope to see some of y'all.

[hxx] [story] Hunting Trip

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:00 am
yhlee: fox with nine tails with eyes (hxx emblem Shuos)
[personal profile] yhlee
For [personal profile] metaphormorphosis.
Prompt: hexarchate, "red pandas."

(NOTE: I promise this has a happy ending for the red panda.)

"Zoo?" High General Garit said. "Really, Jedao?"

Jedao, who was driving the car, glanced sideways to assess Garit's expression, even though the high general's tone of voice told him everything he needed to know. Garit had invited him along on this damned trip to a hunting preserve because Garit was desperate to bag a gray tiger, and alongside his record with firearms, Jedao had made the mistake of letting drop that he had grown up hunting. Jedao had tried to point out that going after pesky deer and jackalopes was not the same as gray tigers. Garit had merely clapped him on the back and told him not to be so modest. Modesty had nothing to do with it. On top of the stupid expense per round, the recoil on the ammo that Jedao was going to have to use was proportionate to something with its stopping power, and he wasn't looking forward to the ache in his shoulder.

"Just for an hour or two," Jedao said coaxingly. "My mom and my siblings wanted me to send home some vacation photos. And I promised my nieces that I would bring them back some souvenirs, and maybe the zoo's shop will have some mounted skeletons or the like."

"You spoil those kids rotten," Garit said with a snort.

"What are uncles for?" Jedao said. One of the great regrets of his life was that his job kept him away from his family for long periods of time. The girls grew so fast. "Besides, the folks down at the shop might have some tips for hunters."

Garit shook his head, amused. "You're transparent, but all right."

The zoo was not particularly busy. The two of them were off-duty, and the young woman who told them about the zoo regulations either didn't recognize them or didn't care, which Jedao found congenial. Jedao persuaded Garit to come into the zoo proper so Jedao could snap some photos.

Jedao fiddled with the manual exposure, trying to get the black panther to show up in its cave. The camera had been a gift from his brother, and was practically an antique. Jedao was not especially gifted at taking pictures that pleased his family ("These look like reconnaissance photos, who cares about all this kill zone stuff when you're snapping pics of an engagement party?" his sister had once complained) so he had resolved to do better.

"That's the oddest damned fox I've ever seen," Garit said, pointing.

Jedao gave up on the exposure and settled for a muddled silhouette in the shadows. "Beg pardon?" he asked.

They strolled closer to the enclosure Garit had indicated to have a look. A reddish, bushy-tailed creature was taking a nap in the branches of a tree. Bamboo shoots sprouted not far away. Some of them looked like they'd been gnawed on.

"That's not a fox," Jedao said, reading the enclosure's label. "Red panda. Apparently they eat bamboo. And sometimes birds and things."

"It's kind of cute," Garit said grudgingly. "Doesn't look like much of a challenge, though."

Jedao thought that coddled zoo creatures were generally unlikely to be much challenge, but he didn't say anything that would give Garit the idea of adding another kind of animal to his wishlist for this trip. "My nieces will like it," he said, and raised his camera.

"We should catch you one to take home to them," Garit said.

Jedao made a face. "Have you ever looked at the customs forms for importing wildlife? I'm pretty sure these critters don't exist on my homeworld."

"Well, I'll look into expediting it as a favor to you if you can help me with my tiger problem," Garit said.

"That's very kind of you," Jedao said, as diplomatically as he could, "but my nieces are notoriously good at killing goldfish. Let's just leave the red pandas alone and go hit up the shop so I can buy bat skeletons or fox-eared hats or something, and we can head to the hunting grounds."
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

10 Famous Book Hoarders

(I think we may contest the term 'hoarders' for people with lotsaboox, hmmmm?)

In most of those cases I think we do see a real love of books, though I'm not sure about Hearst and whether 'ostentation' was not on his mind rather than use?

In some cases those appear to be the personal libraries that have fetched up in public collections, and one wonders whether there was a certain amount of weeding and selection at the point of accession. (I'm not saying that Houdini or Arendt also had vast collections of pulp westerns or school stories or whatever, but I'm not ruling out that choices were made at some point.)

And indeed, while calling your private collection 'the Library of the History of Human Imagination' is indeed quite a long way along the pretentiousness scale, I look at that picture: 'It has three levels, a glass bridge, floating platforms' and feel a certain covetousness.

And even if it's ponceyness turned up to 11, it's not as cringe-making as this, which crossed my radar pretty much on the same day: Meet The App That Revolutionized Book Reading For 2 Million People

We sort through the approximately 2,200,000 books published worldwide to find the best nonfiction books out there. Then, our subject specialists, writers, and editors identify the key ideas from each of these hand-selected books and transform them into smart, useful summaries of insights we lovingly polish and refine until they are nothing but the absolute most essential elements of the writer’s main ideas. We do the filtering for you, then we share those ideas with you the way your dream-friend would.
Tonstant Weader called for a stiff drink.

*'Twenty-two acknowledged concubines, and a library of sixty-two thousand volumes, attested the variety of his [Gordian II's] inclinations; and from the productions which he left behind him, it appears that the former as well as the latter were designed for use rather than for ostentation.' Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol I.

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
[tumblr.com profile] sashayed: It’s Not That Bad to F— Up While Calling Your Senator About Something Important

To prove this point, she presents actual transcripts of messages she left on her senators' voicemail, with her reaction gifs.

Sample:

Hi, uh, Sen. [Name]. And staff. [Nervous laughter.] My name is [Rave Sashayed] and I’m a constituent from [place where I vote]. I just wanted to call to thank you for standing up against the AHCA in the Senate. I–it’s an incredibly cruel and stupid and – and vicious bill. You know? And I’m not, like – a person who used to call her Senators all the time! know? I’m, like, a normal person! [Nervous laughter] But this – it’s crazy to me that this bill could become legislation. It directly affects me, it directly affects the people I love. I mean, it kicks millions of people off of Medicare for a tax break for – I mean. You know this. You’re. Uh. A Senator. So. You’ve read the bill. Um.

I would like to remind people that I phoned my MP's office and actually stated (completely incorrectly and randomly) that I lived in a place which said MP does not represent, had this pointed out to me and had to correct myself. AND YET (like Sashayed) I LIVE.

Right now, it looks like the Senate is wavering. Republican Senators are saying they "just don't know" if they've got the votes to pass the AHCA.

If you can't do phoning, you can't do phoning (I am sometimes a person who can't do phoning). But if you can, now's the time. IT IS OKAY TO PHONE AND FUCK IT UP. As long as you can communicate that you are opposed to the AHCA, that's enough.

Also, have some MOTHERFUCKING ICONS (photos of the ADAPT protestors being arrested during their protest at Mitch McConnell's office).

Orphan Black 5.03

Jun. 26th, 2017 07:58 am
selenak: (Allison by Spankulert)
[personal profile] selenak
And my show love is back! Woo hoo! That was a fantastic episode.

Read more... )

fiber monday

Jun. 25th, 2017 09:08 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
The most recent office project (easy, very slow, for meetings in which I needn't speak) is finished. It's a narrow, single-skein shawl called See the Sea, and it's too small to stay on my damnable shoulders---not enough overlap, at 60" along the upper edge. Thus Sea is reassigned me --> Reason, and Dovana is reassigned Reason --> tiny relative when latter isn't tiny. *dusts hands* (What is this, though. I'm, like, the thinnest big-boned person of average height you'll (n)ever meet? Extra wool not only for cardigans but for shawls, pfui.) I don't block finished objects with pins, but because I can't wash this without Reason's notice, there won't be a photo till I've presented it, then taken it back for washing.

The prior office project is also finished now :P and won't look good till my hair is more heavily salted: undyed wool/alpaca grey-browns in a nifty gradient + chestnut with red tones = boring. *shrugs* The pattern is great, however: a shallow, asymmetrical shawl knitted in short diagonals. Unlike most of these yarn-club single-skein exercises, A+, would knit again.

My #SummerOfBasics idle daydream list, without buying yarn:
* Little Wave cardigan in progress
* ___Sand cardigan in progress (mine's not blue)
* Lena in "nutmeg"-colored yarn reclaimed from a failed shawl and/or Tegna in a lightweight green-grey
* Leigh in the repurposed purple wool/silk blend long allotted to it, though I see now that it'd be good only for chilly layering
...and then for next year, perhaps Summer in the "blue pine" Hempathy that never became something for Reason after her 3yo self snapped the yarn twice, and Noro Y839 skirt in yarn picked up when a shop closed a few years ago.

That said, I hope to finish the two cardigans and Reason's orange one, plus make my mother's gift by mid-fall. It'd be plenty.

Status: ___Sand's hem continues with pauses; now that those office projects have been polished off, the ghost shawl catches the pauses while my finger heals yet again. Here's ghost shawl in someone else's photo---blues are past, with the light/dark brown segment plus edging remaining. Baby hat is paused till my shoulder and wrist feel less aggrieved. Lately, joint woe tracks general inflammation evident in other ways, which still surprises me. I gather it's usual, generally.

a thought

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:41 pm
edenfalling: golden flaming chalice in a double circle (gold chalice)
[personal profile] edenfalling
Here is the passage from C. S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain that I found most striking and thought particularly apropos for today's world:

Perhaps my harping on the word "kindness" has already aroused a protest in some readers' minds. Are we not really an increasingly cruel age? Perhaps we are: but I think we have become so in the attempt to reduce all virtues to kindness. For Plato rightly taught that virtue is one. You cannot be kind unless you have all the other virtues.

If, being cowardly, conceited and slothful, you have never yet done a fellow creature great mischief, that is only because your neighbour's welfare has not yet happened to conflict with your safety, self-approval, or ease. Every vice leads to cruelty. Even a good emotion, pity, if not controlled by charity and justice, leads through anger to cruelty.

Most atrocities are stimulated by accounts of the enemy's atrocities; and pity for the oppressed classes, when separated from the moral law as a whole, leads by a very natural process to the unremitting brutalities of a reign of terror.


[Chapter 4, 'Human Wickedness,' paragraphing mine]

...

I suspect my exposure to Tumblr's vicious callout witch-hunting culture affected my response to this passage, though it is of course applicable to many other walks of life.

Fandom Giftbox

Jun. 26th, 2017 11:30 am
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
[personal profile] tielan
[community profile] fandomgiftbox is running again in July-August. It works a little like Fandom Stocking, but is in the middle of the year, instead of the end when all the Yuletide/Santa exchanges take place.

You post a comment with the lists of your requests for fandoms/characters/prompts, and the type of gifts you'd like to receive, and the mods post your lists in a separate post which is temporarily screened. People may then gift you fic and art based on what you've posted.

You don't have to gift other people - it's not an exchange. However, it's hoped you'll go looking for someone who has interests that match yours and give them a little something.

Sign Ups at [community profile] fandomgiftbox run until the 7th July.

fandom things

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:27 am
tielan: (AVG - maria)
[personal profile] tielan
With two assignments and a pinch hit to get done in the next week, none of which are even close to completed, along with both the Porn Battle community ([community profile] pbam) and the Fan Flashworks community ([community profile] fan_flashworks) running amnesty weeks, it may not have been the wisest time to subscribe to Netflix.

But I do have Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, Sense8, and a number of movies lined up for watching...

Signal Boosting: Drawesome

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:03 am
out_there: B-Day Present '05 (Default)
[personal profile] out_there

Drawesome on DW
[community profile] drawesome: A Drawing Community for Fan-Artists

Fic update/edit thingywhatsit

Jun. 25th, 2017 05:44 pm
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
[personal profile] edenfalling
FYI, I finally finished the edits to Second Chances, my Daredevil Secret Santa fic from last December, and updated the AO3 file. The story is now ~2,700 words longer, and hopefully everything flows better and the plot arc is less jumpy.

Six months late is better than never? *wry*
dhampyresa: (MY BIRTHDAY HAS SQUID)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
1. You are on the wrong continent to play Critical Role.

2. You are not caught up on Critical Role. They're not going to roll back the story 50 episodes or so just so you can join in.

3. You are not a character in Critical Role, either.

4. Critical Role does not take place in Fallen London.

5. You do not know how to make a lightsaber. No, not even if Percy helps.

6. You cannot break through two different layers of reality (from Fallen London to the world of Critical Role, and from there to the 'real world') so you can steal the DM's notes and METAGAME. No. Stop.


The way you actually knew it was a dream: getting wifi on your phone when, and I quote, "there's no wi-fi in the Neath". Really, self? REALLY? It's getting wi-fi in Fallen London that broke your suspension of disbelief? Really?

(Then I lucid-dreamed my way into stealing the DM's notes but woke up before the actual metagaming could happen.)

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issenllo: strawberry thief print from William Morris (Default)
issenllo

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