I am in a re-reading place.

About once every year or two years, there are certain books/series/authors I have to re-read. I tend to enjoy most books that have a lot to work with and even better, ones that stand up to multiple readings. Even more importantly--and therefore rarer--ones that benefit from re-reading; things in early books seen again come together in new ways, and I like to see all the pieces that I didn't realize were important come together and how they started or bits I missed earlier

The length of time between really depends on the combination of mood + length; Goblin Emperor, for example, is a fast read, so every nine months roughly; Masters of Rome series by Colleen McCullough is every eighteen months to two years; Temeraire series by Naomi Novak is nine months to eighteen months in general. Which is where I am now, somewhat ahead of schedule, but in my defense, it was just kind of there on my kindle and I always get like this when recently exposed to Regency Romance.

Currently just got through the first three again and anticipating my next favorite, the Tswana. Having said that....


Ooh, this is exciting; I can ask for recs again!

Anyone have recs for Temeraire fic? I read some of it years ago when I first finished the series but Temeraire benefits hugely from re-reading for missed detail and connections and I am so in the mood.
I reviewed the first three books of the series The Others, which was Anne Bishop's third series, unconnected to the id-tascular beauty of the Black Jewels which if you haven't read, I don't know what to say, it's insane with canonical cock-rings used to control and torture men OR they wear because it honors their queen.

This has nothing to do with that series, but I take every opportunity to try and get more people to read Black Jewels (did I mention some of the main characters are named Lucivar, Daemon, Saetan, and Surreal? And leather pants for men to show off their goods are canonical? CANONICAL LEATHER PANTS).

Okay fine, getting back: The Others series is her third series and Lake Silence is a one-off in this world. I liked the series--though with so many wtfs, but I also like that, too--but this is one of those times if you're not feeling 'read a five book series first' then go to wikipedia because this is really fun.

Lake Silence has everything I liked about the series and all the stuff that got on my nerves isn't in here. Specifically, it minimizes Bishop's weird and inexplicable desire to make the reader believe superpowered terra indigene (earth natives who were created before humans and who take many forms like werewolves, elementals, and vampires) who own all the land and water and feed on humanity and mass kill them not infrequently are super, super oppressed by the bad humans because they...get made fun of and sometimes, humans fight back?

It's more complicated than that except everything I just said is also true. In other words, you have to be willing to go with it, and it's worth it, but you do at times stop and want to explain to the terra indigene what 'learned helplessness' is and also, where they learned it because it wasn't from humans. Because yeah, the humans do shitty things to the terra indigene but so do the terra indigene and also eat humans add to that do mass extinction events on human groups so really? Like, in book it makes sense for short periods of time and then you just stop and go "...oh come on."

Lake Silence does not make an effort to convince us of the non-existent institutional oppression of the terra indigene (they..are the institution for fuck's sake), but instead scales this back to one area and group and plots within plots and crime and so much fun stuff with what should have been the point: the coolness of shapeshifters and humans and human-adjacent living in towns, running businesses with names based on puns, and solving murders, wheee.

lake silence )
Very barely as spoiler.

The Cattery! I have not been so delighted with anything in my entire life.
This is just quick thoughts:

(Note: If you see Hindi characters jump out, not my fault. I somehow made a hotkey--somewhere--that flips my keyboard to Hindi. I can't do it on purpose at Duolingo to save my life, but by God, when writing, I am suddenly in a different language. It's--weird. And I can't find the goddamn hotkey.)

huh )
Tuesday, December 11th, 2018 01:01 am

(no subject)

Clouds of Witness - very mild spoiler below.

spoiler, really )

Startling Unnatural Death tomorrow and checking my budget for books for the month because I am charmed.
That subject line is now the title of my future biography. I was moved, inspired, alerted, delighted, baffled, maybe communized a little, idk.

I'm just saying I'm free now. Free. The superstitions of syntax hold no sway over me.

* Clouds of Witness, Dorothy Sayers
So it's only been recommended to me for like ten years, so this is a little early to get on that, but...

If I were to leap into the Sayers back catalog, where should I start? In order or is one of the other books better for a good landing?

(Yes I am literally doing this because Gaudy Night has only been mentioned like a million times and I am so curious.)
Because I just realized starting tomorrow the next week is going to be hellish for work and pre-Christmas shopping, I need to abruptly relax.

So. Book rec.

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

this book was not entirely what I expected: spoilers )
Every time I read Georgette Heyer, I get hit all over again by the fact she's actually really good at the Regency format in the generic sense, so good I don't really feel like it's generic no matter how paint by numbers it would be in any other author's hands. She just gets it right, and I know better--I do--but every time, I start sliding her into the Austen mode and then re-read something like Black Sheep and screech to a halt when the plot meticulously and properly goes from 'Regency standard but adorable shenanigans' to 'what the fuck just happened?'

It shouldn't happen anymore, and yet.

the black sheep and other shenanigans )

Georgette Heyer's works, ladies and gentlemen: sometimes, I think she basically chose a career of trolling the Regency genre just to see if anyone noticed.
My review of Written in Red, which was the first book of the series. The second, Murder of Crows, I read last year but I don't think ever reviewed. Mostly to this day--and especially after Vision in Silver, I'm ambivalent, though not Mercedes Lackey hostile.

The review of Written in Red had a short character and country directory if you need a refresher.

This may not be organized well, but I have feelings.

vision in silver, book three of the others )
Because going to FFA is freaking dangerous.

Smart Bitches Trashy Books: Review of The Billionaire Dinosaur Forced Me Gay by Hunter Fox - much like the reviewer, I too can't help but wonder about dinosaurs running the global economy.

...I kind of want to read it now. For the economics.
It's that time again--that would be time for more books. And I found my author to hit their works like the fist of a very literature-deprived god.

...but she has like a lot of books (two delicious series, even), so okay.

N.K. Jemisin - is The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms author-entry level or should I start with the other one first to get a better feel for her? It got amazing reviews (and is a trilogy), but I'm worried about another Neil Gaiman American Gods where I only found out after reading it that I should have started with Anansi Boys first to get a better feel of his style (as I loved Anansi Boys like beyond words).

So yes, no, maybe, do it alphabetically?
Okay, so:

Closer to Home: Book One of Herald Spy by Mercedes Lackey.

Before I say this, I want to review the following: I have with only moderate irony liked these books. They were cracky and I took a very weird pleasure in reading them and reviewing them. I mean, keep that as the baseline here.

I finished the last in roughly four hours, and this is not only not fun, it's embarrassing, uncomfortable, and shitty in all ways and seriously, I don't believe Mercedes Lackey wrote this. At all.

Over one third of the book is a fucking earnest honest to God rewrite of Romeo and Juliet, complete with the fucking shitty Nurse, and I don't mean in the remix/deconstruction/parody level or even someone who understand what stories are or how words work. This is a rewrite in which a fourteen year old girl, Violetta (Juliet) is slut shamed for daydreaming and called a female dog bitch by her dad and Brand (Romeo) magically teh last few pages becomes a psychopath who tries to kill a miniature dog.

I want to repeat this--Brand, who until this point was kind of a careless Romeo-esque--tried to kill a tiny dog because he's actually evil and was actually plotting all this time to marry Violetta and kill all of both their families. Because reasons.

This is horrible, earnest, honest to god This Is How It Should Have Happened Let This Teach You a Lesson About Being Romantic and Violetta--fourteen, people, she acts like a little girl who likes to read romantic poetry--is fucked over and lectured by everyone, but that's okay because Amily is going to empower her or something and teach her fighting skills.

This is a bad, bad, terribly written book period, with a bad, bad, bad plotline and I don't know what I read but I hate it. There is nothing--and I do mean nothing--that makes this worth reading and I wish I hadn't; this is actually causing me issues with Valdemar and I unironically love all things Valdemar. That was uncomfortable as shit just to read, and thinking about it is gross. Whoever ghostwrote this should never be allowed near a keyboard ever.

Dude, even Todd McCaffrey's butchering of Pern didn't bother me this much. Shitty horrific sure, but it didn't cause active nausea.

I don't think I've loathed a book like this before quite so much. I feel betrayed. The person who wrote about Kerowyn and Talia and Tarma and even the later icky Elspeth is not the person who wrote this.

I need a drink. I actually want to see if I can forget this one.

Anyone who read The Godfather - the most enduring, healthy, and happy relationship in the entire goddamn book is between Lucy, the girl who made Sonny's Cock an actual supporting character (and for whom I spent serious time learning about pelvic floors to explain this particular plot point) and Jules, the former surgeon turned Las Vegas abortion doctor.

very minor digression on Dr. Jules )

Here's why this book remains one of my favorites and a maybe every three year full re-read; in a novel about gangsters, murder, the evils of the heroin trade, the bizarre and invisible double standards that they couldn't even acknowledge ruled everyone's lives, the ups and downs of the olive oil monopoly, all deathly serious and honestly not a little unsettling--we get Lucy, who any other sane writer would have left periphery at best but Mario Puzzo, whatever, that shit is for amateurs; gangsters, murder, heroin, corrupt cops, American values versus Old World values, big shit, and of equal weight...Lucy and her sex life aka Sonny's Cock.

No other writer on earth could just throw an entire subplot like that into the mix and make it work so effortlessly it's not until long after you read it that you realize, a little surprised: wait, what?

And you go check and realize, yeah, it went from pasta murder to Lucy dreaming of dead Sonny's cock, again, and your investment in Michael's goddamn broken-ass nose is like nothing compared to desperately hoping Lucy finds a Sonny Cock Mark II that makes her happy. Michael, get the fucking surgery and go to Italy and screw sheep or whatever, that's gross, now tell me more about Lucy's life and that hotass doctor in Las Vegas.

Okay, maybe this is just me, fine.

Mario has literally no ability to be sentimental (blank prose murders almost an afterthought, spare lines describing spousal abuse and torture, and most clinical pedophilic off-screen rape I've ever read with nothing, not one thing, that wasn't horrifying), and while I never got the impression he disapproved of a single thing they did (seriously, no; the horsehead thing was about as close to glee as Mario ever got, just on the basis of how many words he spent in description), sometimes there was almost a documentary feel to it, like a naturalist describing his world as he understands it, not as he wishes it (or wishes it not) to be.

Romance is a word without meaning, I'm pretty sure humor is something he heard about once at a party that he never did quite understand, and his sex scenes have all the sizzle of a medical journal article on the mechanics of coitus in the human heterosexual pairbond and that includes surprisingly graphic cameos of Sonny's Cock at Work and Play. I don't deny this, and I get why people say he's not a great writer, and I almost get why some people think he's not a good one, but if you accept what he's doing as a very, very specific and very deliberate style, one that works for you or never will, he really does know exactly what he's doing with every word on the page.

And then he blindsided me like whoa; Lucy and Jules's first time.

Stop me if you don't want to be spoiled, but seriously, it's worth reading; if you've made it that far into the novel, you've either acclimatized by sheer blunt force or fell right into his style from the first page, and what you will read next will be Puzzo writing a romantic comedy and holy goddamn shit, someone told him what it meant to have a sense of humor and for a few pages, he knew what to do with it.

Lucy--who has yet to inform Jules of her somewhat non-standard vagina (as she has no idea what the hell is going on down there but Sonny's Cock was fucking amazing in mitigating it)--freaks out when Jules first achieves penetration at which time the issue is difficult to hide, and we are maybe two steps from screaming trauma and thinking Jules would look fantastic in his component parts because fuck you, Lucy need some goddamn love (and sex) and you have your doubts about Jules (and Jules Cock) being up to the task.

Foolish reader: never doubt the man who can calmly compare cancer to melons and give you a visual to haunt your nightmares in twenty words or less.

Jules jumps--shifts? Maybe retrenches would be the most accurate description--to Orgasm Plan B without missing a beat, and not only orgasms for everyone (you will feel so happy for Lucy, you have no idea; I almost cried), but epic cuddling even A/B/O knotting can only dream of achieving. Romantic (I had no fucking clue Puzzo could spell it), sexy (Puzzo style sexy; who knew that was even possible?), funny (it's like for a moment, he achieved humor enlightenment and someone showed him something by Disney) and sentimental full-contact post-coital cuddling without anyone experiencing a traumatic locked bathroom screaming session.

Sexist? Yes: this is goddamn Mario Puzzo writing about the mafia; magic in a JK Rowling book about Harry Potter would be less expected. But. Jules. I'm gonna have to admit; any guy who while having sex with me discovered my Terrible Secret Sex Deformity, switches mid-stroke and gets me off, then indulges in massive cuddling while gigglingly telling me about my totally normal medical condition that is so so totally normal not even a thing before round two and hunts me down a surgeon while telling me he wants to marry me and also kind of finds the entire thing hilarious--the rest of it I could resist, maybe, but the last part, I can't.

(Post-Coital Cuddling Includes Medical Explanation-I finally got a very clear explanation of Lucy's Problem in five paragraphs that took Encyclopedia Brittanica several articles to get.)

Someone who can laugh at himself as easily and unselfconsciously and sincerely at the same time as he's laughing at me, because he gets the best and funniest jokes are always the ones that are shared; I couldn't say no to that, unicorns are too goddamn rare.

The Godfather; Totally Serious Fucking Mafia Shit. And also, The Totally Fascinating Adventures of an Italian girl With a Terrible Sex Secret who finds epic love with an abortion doctor in goddamn Vegas and lives happily (and post-surgically orgasmically) ever after.

I've read Romance novels less romantic than this.

...I'd actually offer up one third of my liver free and clear to see Mario Puzzo take on the Regency, just to read how he'd describe an evening of hijinks at Almack's. On a guess, it would not be entirely unlike an alien writing a report to his superiors about humanity's odd fascination with a being known as 'Sheldon' on a bizarre human entertainment known as a 'television show' that despite its title has nothing whatsoever to do with the big bang but has an unsettling focus on graphic t-shirts and things called 'superheroes' and it's still debatable whether or not they're supposed to be real, as the 'characters' don't seem to know either.

Tell me I'm wrong. Go ahead, just try.
Phantom by Susan Kay - I've been putting off buying the ebook for reasons and finally did it by dint of indulging impulse buying (thanks, Amazon) and stared at it on my kindle for a while.

To say Phantom was a formative part of my psyche is to understate the case; this is the stretch of the sky and the earth and all the feelings, some of which I made up for the occasion. The musical Phantom of the Opera came out around the same time, I got the CD as a gift, and I hit puberty; it was the perfect fucking storm. I don't just read it uncritically--I want to destroy worlds in his name and I just found out, in case anyone is curious, three of my kinks at least were born in like, the first one hundred pages.

There is nothing not epic and tragic and wonderful, operatic with a full orchestra, a troupe of ballet dancers, and possibly a brass section made entirely of depressed trumpets about Erik in this book, which when your start value is a extremely deformed guy with a questionable hold on sanity and a voice his own mother felt deeply uncomfortable listening to--I mean, settling down to anything less than a Greek tragedy is pretty much beneath you. Your narrators are the goddamn chorus.

it can't be a mystery why this is like idfic plus ponies plus magic )

I need more people to have read this to mull the wonder that, for Erik, life might have literally been a stage.
Stolen from [personal profile] dine here:

Jim Hines takes on the manly, extremely manly, did I mention manly? task of calling out the Fake Writer Girls! by name, so as we can all immediately identify them and their girl-cootie books. I'd like to thank the commenters for exhaustively listing all the Fake Girl Writers. Y'know, for disapproving of them purposes. So much disapproval. Hopefully the comprehensive list someone is diligently making will be up soon for ease of disapproval purposes.


This is because I have googled and googled forever and cannot seem to get my keywords to find this book, so trying here.

I'm looking for a fantasy book about a kingdom (monarch of some kind ruled land?) that is the target of a conqueror and the army is made up of father and daughter pairs; the father is called the Prime (or the best pair father is called the Prime) and the daughter is called something that starts with an S and is not Satchie, Sachie, Sechie, Setchie, but it's like that. They wore headbands to symbolize their warrior bond, and this was one of the best books I ever read, but as this was before Kindle, it was a paperback lost to the wilds of moving. The religion is goddess-based and the main character marries into the royal family due to her being part of the father and daughter army's lead pair and her mother in law tries to poison the peppers and oil the girl received from her grandmother.

Finally, Octopus Crawling on Land Aka All of the Nightmares - somehow, this combines the chest-seizing horror of a snake's slither with what the despairing screams of billions would look like if they had corporeal form.


The book is The Sword and the Lion, by Roberta Cray, aka Ru Emerson. Thank you, [personal profile] kyriacarlisle!!
Bastion: Book Five of the Collegium Chronicles by Mercedes Lackey appeared on my Kindle Tuesday morning, to my unutterable delight in all things that are Mags and his deeply uncomfortable relationship with his Companion Dallen.

Earlier Collegium reviews
Foundation: Book One of the Collegium Chronicles
Redoubt: Book Four of the Collegium Chronicles

Maybe covering some stuff below. There is like, eighty percent less action and while the crack is high, the variety for our delectation is not.

spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers )
In response to the years of drought and lack of rain, it seems the weather, while willing to die on that no-rain hill, is compromising with what could be called a central Texas shaped steam bath. We get clouds, grey and foreboding, and humidity just short of the level required to drown in air, and some decorative sprinkles, just enough to tease, and that's it.


Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead by Robert Brockway

So my youngest sister is a Conspiracy Theorist, Untyped (read: BELIEVES ALL OF THEM EVEN THE ONES THAT DON'T EXIST YET) and has a surprising interest in biography and history with an emphasis on human lives ending in tragedy (it's--complicated) as well as the complete works of Stephen King and the Dexter novels. Which is how I ended up inadvertently reading Factory Girl and what might or might not have been a treatise on aliens and Mayans, I really don't remember, because okay: books. Are meant to be read. If I see one in the wild, especially if I definitely have something I should be doing, nothing on earth can stop me from picking it up to read it no matter the subject matter.

Given this, and the fact that if she leaves one of her many, many, Jesus many terrifying books somewhere, I will read it, I ended up thinking reading about every possible way we could die by everything is an awesome idea and why not. It's not like Cracked doesn't already do it for me in numbered lists for free just in case I get complacent; no, I had to buy a book from one of the fuckers and get this shit in depth. Which is why after reading through Current Threats and Natural Disasters, I ended up certain I'd die of space lasers during a megatsumnai caused by a supervolcano while, like a Jurassic park dinosaur based on frog DNA, I'd suddenly switch biological sex as sentient crossbred sterile plants formed an army to march on humanity for crimes against nature.

Yeah, I need like, deprogramming, I think.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - this is a book I read in my teens and want to read again straight through but haven't quite nerved myself for it yet, since the entire thing was hilarious and sad and I'm still not sure what about it hit me quite like that, and while teenage hormones no longer influence my interpretation, I remember being vaguely unhappy after reading it.

An Episode of Sparrows - another from my early teens. This is set in London in the fifties (I think?) and growing up rural, it actually freaked me out that a major plot point of the story was the girl couldn't get dirt to plant flowers except by abducting it from a public garden. Also, her mother abandoned her, but that's standard plotline; I spent the entire story terrified she'd get caught before she could get her goddamn garden going. For those who read by mood; this one has a satisfaction quotient of Awesome, so recommended for that.

So Nanotech Threats will be the next way I will be killed. That sections sounds super exciting. I may not survive this.
Just to say, I totally called it: Bastion: Book Five of the Collegium Chronicles. Mark your calendar: October 1, 2013. Preorder! I did.

My review of Redoubt: Book Four of the Collegium Chronicles - I won't rehash the majesty of the deeply uncomfortable chemistry between a boy and his Companion that makes Lavan and his goddamn lifebonded Companion Kaliera seem almost chaste, which is hard since there's at least one point in that particular novel where Lavan thinks quite literally how he'd totally be the proverbial pacing daddy-to-be when Kaliera gave birth to her abomination against the Havens sprog, yes, that was in that goddamn novel, but still.

Mags and Dallen are like when you are trapped in a windowseat at a loud party where you went to get away from it all and two unattractively drunk people start having awkward and unsanitary sex in front of the door and the window is shatterproof glass so not like you can gratefully jump to your death, but okay, wait. Wait. Eventually--when you realize sanity is for wimps and people who won't have nightmares about this for the rest of their lives--it becomes the best thing ever. It's not even voyeurism at that point; that implies what you feel isn't the diametric opposite of pleasure and is more on the order of popping a very stubborn pimple or maybe fixing a dislocated shoulder--the pain is there, but you're crazy--I mentioned that, right?--so whatever, bring on the zoophilic bondage mind-control, it's like Christmas if you never heard of it before and got the concept from a DIY manual on How to Make a Holiday More Sadistic (No Safe Word Required!) For Dummies.

To prepare myself, I went back to review my Lackey novels, and this is random, but for years, I've wondered what this mean:

The White Gryphon, when Shalaman (who hunts lions, God, why do we not have a book about Shalaman?) proposes completely unexpectedly to Silver Veil:

She did not feign surprise, nor did she affect a coy shyness. She was too complex for the former and too honest for the latter. But her eyes lit up with a joy that told him everything he needed to know [...] Her joy was doubled by the fact that she never truly expected to have that heart's desire fulfilled.

The definition of surprise--and I've only been speaking and reading and writing English my entire life here, so correct me if I'm wrong--involves something unexpected happening to you. How the hell is anyone too complex for surprise? What does that even mean? Is that like an emotional level-up? Level 56 Human Emotions, you now possess the emotion known as Complex, which ups your Surprise to Level 45 when confronted with the unexpected and you no longer actually feel it?

I have no idea why this haunts me, but years, years wondering how to achieve Complex. Dude, I'd love that. "Dude, you heard about Seperis getting Complex? Evolution in action! No longer feels surprise and kills demons with one blow of her Disdain." That's a terrible example, but it's 10:33 and I burned through the entire Gryphon trilogy in like, a day.

Note: By the Sword is, weirdly enough, still the one Lackey novel I love without even a pretense of irony, because it's a goddamn awesome novel. I honestly think that it's her best. I love Kerowyn, and I still go back to it whenever I want to read about an awesome, not faultless heroine who grows up and legitimately changes due to maturity and hindsight who has no abusive rapey childhood, random-ass bouts of torture, who can balance duty and responsibility and carve a happy life out of it.

It's been that kind of a week.
To make flights shorter or waiting at the airport fly by:

Georgiana Darcy's Diary, Pemberley to Waterloo: Georgiana Darcy's Diary, Volume 2, and Kitty Bennet's Diary by Anne Elliot

These are ultra-short, ultra-fast, ultra-light reads. If you like P&P fanfic, these are the published version and currently the first book is free! I will admit, the strength of these is in the Kitty Bennet; I can count on one hand the number of times there's a honestly sympathetic Kitty story, and two that were about her, one of which was a very short story in a P&P anthology.

Through a Glass Darkly, Now Face to Face, and Dark Angel by Kathleen Koen - here's the weird part; this is a freakishly depressing series, with the last book being the only book you don't feel a growing sense of ennui and despair with the world and human relationships, and only because its a prequel and you already know when you read it that it's the only one doesn't go tragically from various suicides and duels. Which means I think Koen depressed herself with the first two books.

The first and second I read in my teens, and I loved them for their tragedy and reading them as an adult added in the much more depressing mundane tragedies of life and living. They're very rich, sweeping epics, the first two covering the life of Barbra Alderly, the daughter of a Jacobite viscount and granddaughter of a war hero turned duke, and the third that of her grandmother. However, the first two are not, in any sense of the word, something you invest time in unless you're willing to go through a lot of both tragedy and grinding--and I do mean grinding--misery. I still can't read them in a sitting due to emotional exhaustion. The third is lighter on that--which considering the plotline is saying something--but it also has the advantage of the author being restricted on her own established later canon and can only do so much to her characters. She does try, though
Thanks to work things this weekend, no Star Trek for me, which I am not sobbing hysterically over but as we have delayed double deployment at the end of hte month, it's more exhaustion than anything that's keeping me from doing so.


FF_A thread on the Star Trek Prime Directive reminded me of my favorite almost-great-but-not-quite Star Trek novel, Star Trek: Prime Directive by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens (NOTHING LIKE THE TNG MOVIE EVEN LIKE A LITTLE). It has the distinction of being a very SJW take on the Prime Directive before SJW as concept or acronym was a thing on the internet (Social Justice Warrior) and takes great, great care to hit you over the head like a lot on why the Prime Directive is Awesome Like a Lot Seriously Why Don't You Get This Let Me Tell You Again, Really, but luckily, there's a lot of plot, so you can pretty easily skip the lecture portion of the show (it could be a 101 course, not kidding), and it does, in all fairness, make a vague half-hearted attempt at why the PM is bad using idealistic college students and single mother activists. Yeah.

Okay, leaving that off, it brings up two very interesting things that I'm pretty sure canon never bothered to throw out and turned out useful and obvious. One is a cultural scale model for pre-warp cultures, which assumed a crystal-growing type of development curve--all culture develop like this in this order, more or less, with the curve adjusted for population lifespan and I think worked differently on humanoid/non-humanoid/sentient slime-like species/incorporeal-who-the-hell-knows populations (keeping in mind Diane Duane to this day is the only one that had a sentient ensign rock and meetings involving Debians and non-humanoids, so detail is sketchy). It also emphasized, unfortunately, the powerful level of paternalism involved, which on one hand it is, no like--WE MUST PROTECT THOSE LESS ADVANCED--without leavening it with the much less skeevy Unintended Consequences model, which the story actually does for itself on reading, so maybe it's better that wasn't part of the lecture.

Reading for story, however, not lecture, you do get a very vivid and very precise explanation of what could happen if you're not truly hand to God--literally speaking--God and know where each single sparrow is and when it's falling. The use of the culture model that decides when a civilization is truly ready for pre-warp is shown as badly flawed but the best they have to work with, hence the requirement for warp technology. Humanity is still arrogant--and by humanity, read "all lifeforms in existence, probably mostly sentient but who the hell knows"--but the first rule to abide is Thou Shall Not Assume You Know Shit About Anything, Dumbass, even though you really think you do, and pretend at all times that you're likely going to be wrong until proven beyond all reasonable doubt otherwise and then take it to committee if possible because you gotta be sure. Which is, in a lot of ways, the basis of the prime directive; the mistakes you make when a civilization is at stake, not just their development, but their actual literal existence (see: nuclear winter, genocide) aren't the kind you can fix and even if you could, will they still be themselves after in their uniqueness, and what would you be saving, so to speak, if you destroyed all they were beforehand?

(Interesting point in the story is based on that; the Prime Directive uses the cultural model to bolster it's pre-warp-no theory, even though the cultural model is flawed because of the Prime Directive, because chicken, see egg. They know the model is flawed and because of that the Prime Directive is very much a best-guess at the safest possible save point--warp technology--because the model itself has to use that as the standard as well. It could be safe to establish relations earlier--it's likely, actually!--but they don't know because the cultural modeling is only perfectly accurate after they get to contact the culture. It's not a live model, it's observational up until that point. This could be fixed very probably if the Federation was willing to just give up a few pre-warp civilizations for cultural experimental purposes and try this at earlier and earlier points and learn from their failures (civilization one: contacted at pre-industrial era: blows self up: Fail! civilization two: contacted at medievalish era: thinks we're gods, genocide, ten people left on planet; REALLY FAIL! civilization three: not yet into the bronze thing, maybe we should....: BEARS ALERT RAPTORS RUN FUBAR BEARS FAIL BEARS LIONs BEARS!). They're not willing to risk that, however, any earlier than the first safe point, so you see how this is just academic hell.)

In the book itself, because it was Captain Kirk I was totally fine with the ending, but I would also argue that it was luck that it turned out well, and not just luck, but really one-time only cannot replicate this particular cultural development (story backs this up; this was very unique to this culture and what was happening to it) luckyity luck-luck by ten. I'd also argue that this is far less an exercise in anti-colonialism--though it is--and even less a bootstrap modeling of culture--though yeah, there is some of that--but a pretty sophisticated understanding of risk, when the risk is how on earth can anyone say no when you're the one carrying a nuke to a rock fight--you can't lose, there's just no way, the fact you brought it at all is the deciding factor, not that you wouldn't use it, so don't come at all.

...yes, I am re-reading everything Star Trek related so the sobbing doesn't go into effect. I hate work right now like you have no idea.

Note: I like the Bears alert model. The Raptors and Lions and Bears alert model however, is my variation, as raptors and lions are by nature funny and will also eat you in non-stuffed-animal form.)
In case you're curious, my earlier re-reads of the Anne books are here.

The Blythes Are Quoted by L.M. Montgomery - Kindle version

One of the nice things about the Anne of Green Gables series is that it grew up with me, especially the later books after Anne's marriage--and I would give a lot for more authors to cover the married lives of their heroines. My favorite by far is Anne of Ingleside this week (my favorite changes by the hour) because while first time true falling in love is great, keeping in love and living lives of adventure (no matter the scope of the adventure) is what I love most. Negotiations with in-laws--hilarious!--mischevious kids--awesome!--life lived like a novel where the romance may go but it comes back because you want it to is what I want to read about.

more or less rambling )

The stories are in general a lot of fun and tackle some themes she hasn't before, not head-on anyway:

Some Fools and a Saint - a mystery that is, while you kind of guess where it's going, still satisfies very much in the how it was done.

Penelope Struts Her Theories - an old maid who writes papers about childcare is faced with an actual child. Make that two. It has to be admitted, she did not get a great specimen of a kid to work with here.

A Commonplace Woman - not happy, but an interesting departure in the indifferent family, the utter dick of a doctor (who is totally not getting Gilbert Blythe's patients, the dick), and the dying woman upstairs with an entire life no one knew about. It's not happy, but it's satisfactory in a way I didn't expect when I started it.

An Afternoon with Mr. Jenkins - not entirely happy or sad, but thoughtful in the sacrifices parents will make for their children.

I liked most the glimpses into Ingleside, of Susan and Anne and Gilbert, and hell yes Anne and Gilbert are still in love (thank you LM) and reading between the lines, Anne's recovery from the death of Walter in her poetry and the brief conversations.

Also read:

The Blue Castle - I love Valancy second only to Anne. When she found her gumption, she really found it.

Magic for Marigold - I would have loved this as a young teenager much more. I liked it, but eh. I liked it much more before Old Grandmother died. She was awesome.

Anne of Green Gables, et al - I went through the entire series out of order, and cried yet again for Dog Monday--goddamn that dog's awesome--and Rilla bringing up Jims, and liked Rilla much, much more now than I did as a teenager. I always love Anne, because Anne is awesome. And I love Miss Cornelia so much I want one to move next door to me and bring me gossip every day.

Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea - I still love these like a lot. I have a soft spot for bizarre courtships--Ludovic Speed killed me dead, because okay, I know people like this, who literally require something along the lines of a concussion to jump their track, and Old Man Shaw's Girl that broke my heart and put it all together again, and The Quarantine at Alexander Abraham's that never stopped being hilarious, and The Miracle at Carmody which love surpasses all things, even the most powerful thing of all, your own mind.

I continue to skip Tannis of the Flats, which I still hate like burning, but a lot of it now is that I don't know how to read it or what I'm reading or even what I'm looking for.

i still hate this story, racism, classism, wtf )

Current and Upcoming

Jane of Lantern Hill - I'm at the part where she goes to her father!

Emily of New Moon, Emily's Climb, and Emily's Quest - I say this with love; I have to be in the right mood for Emily. Emily's classism and snobbery popping out drives me nuts, and while I get that is a thing that people do and everything, those are my default do-not-wants, but luckily, I can usually read around them. And I love Teddy and watching them all grow up.


For quick reference for anyone who wants them for download. Some may not be out of copyright in your country/principality/political dominion, legalcakes:

Anne of Green Gables - all formats
Anne of Avonlea - all formats
Anne of the Island - all formats
Anne of Windy Poplars - HTML
Anne's House of Dreams - all formats
Anne of Ingleside - HTML
Rainbow Valley - all formats
Rilla of Ingleside - all formats
Chronicles of Avonlea - all formats
Further Chronicles of Avonlea - all formats
The Story Girl - all formats
The Golden Road - all formats
Emily of New Moon - HTML
Emily Climbs - HTML
Emily's Quest - HTML
The Blue Castle - HTML
Jane of Lantern Hill - HTML
Magic for Marigold - HTML
Sunday, April 21st, 2013 04:43 pm

(no subject)

So for two weeks I've been on twelve hour days and Saturdays for the build that they decided on Friday will be delayed until June. On one hand, I love my work and I love my Duckling and I love all the other ducklings and I love seeing their progress. On another--two weeks averaging around sixty-five hours each week, and I'm tired. On the third--assuming I had tentacles--the new testers are amazing and I don't regret that they came to me for help and I was able to give it to them and get to know them, so I'd have done it even if I'd known there was a delay.

Why Animation Has Betrayed Me

The Story of Simon Petrikov by mydeathstartsnow, Adventure Time - see, I watched this show casually and without commitment of any kind--honestly, I didn't even realize I watched it enough to be affected--and yet. Fuck Adventure Time. I knew it watching it was pretty much the equivalent of living in someone's brain during a particularly surreal four-hit acid trip, but dude, I Remember You was not fair.

This is still, not live action, and at least three quarters fanart, which probably is what makes it amazing, since as a rule I don't like still vids, and yet--the multiple styles and types work as well as action does, switching between scenes and emotions the way live action simply can't, not usually, and goddamn heartbreaking. I'm pretty sure the storyline is pretty clear even without a lot of knowledge of the show, but mostly, I love the use of fanart in this one. I've seen it done before, but using it not only to carry a storyline, but switching stye and type from chibi to manga to convey the emotion like this is not usually this powerfully done.

Though I am perfectly willing to be proved wrong if anyone has recs of it. For me, I need a gateway vid to get into any particular style, and this one seems to have done it.

Also, fuck Adventure Time. I was fine with feeling like I was having acid flashbacks from certain points in my college career at random. Now this. Goddamnit.

Other News

Currently re-reading the complete Anne of Green Gables, including The Blythes are Quoted - Montgomery's last works before her death, and I'll say honestly, some of them are among her best. I was afraid something would spoil the Blythes for me--HAPPY ENDING OKAY--but no, never, and the new short stories were interesting and among her most polished work.
Written in Red: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop. Okay, I'm reconciled to waiting for more in the Black Jewels series, because while the worldbuilding in that one is basically my favorite ever, this is probably Bishop's best work to date.


1.) If you don't like her style at all, you won't like this. But you may want to sample it, just to check.

If you do, she's leveled up in smoothing out a lot of her more annoying tics, and her structuring is better. It's also cleaner prose, and she's a lot, lot, lot better at giving the basics of her world early enough that you don't spend the first seventy pages in a fugue state of wtf. The story starts with a short but very informative history, which I'll get to next, and her baseline universe is both completely understandable and almost laughably simplified once you start reading.

2.) If you don't like her general characterization quirks at all, you won't like this.

If you do, her initial cast is slightly smaller and in the general types she likes, but with some newer additions. If you thought there was any chance there wasn't a major set of power dynamics play going on, dude, come on, this is Bishop. There are internal, external, world level, social level, and various pack level at varying degrees of detail. And she also does something new I'll get to in a minute.

3.) Anne Bishop is the closest thing to a fangirl writing fanfic for her own imagination out there. There are no cock rings. But eventually, there may be knotting. God, I'll honestly be surprised if there isn't.


I thought about how to do this, because she's switched to Alternate History/Alternate Universe/Urban Fantasy with a vengeance, so what can be less personal in pure fantasy might hit differently in something not unlike reality. A lot of the stuff in Black Jewels I honestly would not have liked if it had been anywhere near real world conditions, and also, if the Blood hadn't obviously been the equivalent of alien. So below.

trigger warnings, warnings, etc )


Right. Now review. This is going to be spoilery as hell, so there's your warning. And it's long, because I'm in that kind of mood. And I'm pretty sure there is no logical structure, because well, that would be like, work. I'll probably add some things and do some revision, but really, probably not going to be any more coherent than it is now.

worldbuilding: terra indigene )

worldbuilding: geography, short and confusing )

character list )

review: written in red: a novel of the others by anne bishop )
Anansi Boys was fantastic. I'm pondering an immediate re-read just on the strength of the awesome that is Charlie.
I finished American Gods Wednesday night in a single long rush because I indeed got much more interested.

more here )

So how is everyone else's weekend going? Read anything good?
Finally, finally reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It's been on my reading list for years, but I'm running into the same problem I did when I finally read Good Omens.

because this is me )
Also, forgot to put this in last entry:

Richard III found under parking lot.

I'll be completely honest; I had tears in my eyes reading that he's been found. Richard III is my number one historical crush, with Caesar and Elizabeth I taking second and third (I have like, forty of these, but they're mostly unnumbered, but these three are the loves of my life, okay?).

For all your woobie Richard III professional novel needs:
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman - this is one of my buy-in-all-formats books. I have bought it twice in paperback and once in ebook for my Kindle. This is the epic story of Richard III, who is the bestest brother, husband, and father ever, and everyone who hates him is just like, stupid, okay? Stupid.

I have many varied feelings on Richard. All of them are about how everyone else sucks.

Dear Henry Tudor (and Stanley, you fucker),

Suck it.

Thanks to ff_a, I have been--I have no idea what this is.

Check out the cover for Flowers in the Attic

The book that launched a million incest kinks and probably contributed heavily to fandom's having a genre for it. With a cover out of a wholesome YA romance. They--at least look alike? Truth in advertising in the purely visual spectrum? My childhood has been de-sullied. Goddammit.
Have finished Redoubt, the fourth book in the Foundation series and huh.

1.) Foundation
2.) Intrigues
3.) Changes
4.) Redoubt

I'm covering major plot points below, cutting.

spoilers, spoilers, spoilers, spoilers )
Banned Books Week: Banned Books That Shaped America which lists off some banned books and where and sometimes why they were banned. I'd like to thank Texas for the following, because God knows, this makes us seem sane:

Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851

In a real head-scratcher of a case, a Texas school district banned the book from its Advanced English class lists because it “conflicted with their community values” in 1996. Community values are frequently cited in discussions over challenged books by those who wish to censor them.

...yeah, I got nothing.

(Note: If by community values they meant "our community does not value this level of epic boredom at this length", okay, maybe I can see it. I have a feeling that is not the case.)

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961

The book was actually retained after a 2003 challenge in Mercedes, TX to the book’s adult themes. However, parents were subsequently given more control over what their child was assigned to read in class, a common school board response to a challenge.

I'm trying here, so hard. I'm failing. I--what?

Not Texas (I hope, please), but huh?

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, 1963

Sendak’s work is beloved by children in the generations since its publication and has captured the collective imagination. Many parents and librarians, however, did much hand-wringing over the dark and disturbing nature of the story. They also wrung their hands over the baby’s penis drawn in In the Night Kitchen.

...I have never seen this penis. Jesus, I need to find that book and where's waldo this like, soon.

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850

According to many critics, Hawthorne should have been less friendly toward his main character, Hester Prynne (in fairness, so should have minister Arthur Dimmesdale). One isn’t surprised by the moralist outrage the book caused in 1852. But when, one hundred and forty years later, the book is still being banned because it is sinful and conflicts with community values, you have to raise your eyebrows. Parents in one school district called the book “pornographic and obscene” in 1977. Clearly this was before the days of the World Wide Web.

...where the hell is the porn in here? Did I miss this chapter? What porn?

(Note: Again, boring, and also, the Adultery Baby is freaky like hell; that kid alone might justify banning just to have less hideously precocious babies wandering around. Then again, that was the most interesting part of the book, even if it was born of fear.)

The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez, 2002

The works of Chavez were among the many books banned in the dissolution of the Mexican-American Studies Program in Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson Unified School District disbanded the program so as to accord with a piece of legislation which outlawed Ethnic Studies classes in the state. To read more about this egregious case of censorship, click here.

More details on that here. I mean, it kind of mocks itself just reading the justification, to be honest.

For more adventures in limiting the vastness of the human experience as expressed in literature due to reasons, Banned Books Week website and ALA's Banned Books section.
Work hates me. I'd actually go into detail on this, but the detail is boring. However, I can detail that the build after the one I'm currently testing I was (ridiculously) worried that all five of my assignments seemed smaller than I'd been given recently and my lead had taken teh two biggest. Please shut up; I know what you're thinking. Anyway, I worried I hadn't done a good job with the last huge build etc adn faith had been tested in my work, because when I'm not overworked this is the shit I think up, and then realized one of them was testing the Oracle update.

I have never, I think, actually talked about the last Oracle update. I wasn't directly responsible for planning the testing, as I wasn't in this section of testing. I also possibly blocked it out in horror. People talk of it in whispers. Loud ones.

I can't tell if this is proof that there is faith in my work or a hope I'll finally snap.

also, people ask me things )

also, work is moving us )

I'm hoping to get Monday off for reasons and this week so far is not shaping up to go well at all. Also, I'm reading during breaks the most horrible Pride and Prejudice spin-off series I have ever had the misfortune to see, and yet I keep going. I can't explain it except okay, one scene: a Transylvanian princess and a Japanese samauri whose boyfriend committed seppaku with her husband's help during her and her husband's run from her murderous father and end up in Japan after fleeing through St. Petersburg and spending time with a famous Jewish philosopher in possibly Siberia have a swordfight in the middle of the road in Derbyshire on a theoretical point of honor. Also, the husband's brother is married to Caroline Bingley and they sekritly adopt the illegitimate son of the Regent (her husband's boss) and a dying prostitute. And a Scotsman swung from the ceiling of Pemberley in a kilt to rescue Darcy from the Scotsman's murderous younger brother and later ended up marrying Georgiana. I cannot make this up. And this is like, not even the least believable.

Honest to God, these are not well written (at all, even by accident) and kind of hideously anachronistic in various ways, but I read this just to wonder what is going to happen next.
It's been a week in which I have determinedly re-read my Chase romance novels, as in general I love her heroines for being really awesome. However, she also has one of my favorite type of characters, which Georgette Heyer also used, and very few people get right, which is the not-all-that-bright-but-weirdly-almost-preternaturally-competent-in-their-field-of-choice character. Heyer did it with Freddie in Cotillion; for Chase, it is Bertie Trent in two of her novels and one of her short stories, and Rupert Carsington in Mr. Impossible.

there is just something about them )

Books Mentioned

Cotillion by Georgette Heyer - Amazon, $2.99

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase - Amazon - $7.99

The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase - Amazon - $6.99

Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase - Amazon - $3.99

Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase - Amazon - $7.99


My sister is in an Illuminati fever which admittedly is both hilarious and frightening. If anyone has any recs--I can't believe I'm writing that--I'd love some to give her. She spent an unsettling amount of time on youtube recently charting the influence of the Illuminati in music videos and consumer products, and while yes, I know this could end with me having a relative as an actual conspiracy theorist, I don't see this as necessarily a disadvantage. The conversations, at least, are fascinating.
Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance by Julianne Donaldson - imagine, if you will, Jane Austen if she couldn't write, had very little taste, no sense of Regency propriety, a heroine that did nothing but blush and look embarrassed, and a hero who was just a dick. Not an evil dick, but a petty, irritating, 'teasing' dick and the wordplay, if you even can call it that, is simplistic, mind-numbing, and almost painfully like watching paint dry, except in that case, you get the benefit of a painted something, but in this case, not so much.

It was that bad. The only reason I am even mentioning it is that it has unsettlingly high reviews and I know enough people on my flist like Austen to sometimes feel a little nostalgic desire for the genre. This is not it. Also, I'm grumpy, because I read the sample and feel tricked, because the heroine upon meeting the hero immediately becomes even more epically boring than I thought possible.

I had no idea what a sense of relief I'd get from reviewing something on amazon. That was very emotionally cathartic.
Between downloading insane amounts of music, I'm also buying insane numbers of books. Most recently:

The Secret Wife of Louis XIV: Françoise d'Aubigné, Madame de Maintenon by Veronica Buckley, a biography of Françoise d'Aubigné. The main reason I bought this was because I read a novel about her years ago, and it was one of those where I was absolutely sure that seriously, artistic license was taken like whoa. Because let's face it, when you're born to the lowest French gentry in prison (speculatively) because your father is vaguely parricidal and psychotic, you spend a childhood shuffling between continents and begging in the streets, in general, that doesn't end with you marrying Louis XIV of France because he fell in love with your mind and starting a school for underprivileged girls (in between randomly raising other people's children, including his by your friend before you were his mistress).

And yet. These things happen.

my thoughts, sort of, if you're considering buying this )
This is one of the reasons that Kindles' are dangerous; I'm finally getting around to reading all those books that I always meant to but forget about. Now I can do it instantly when I remember!

While still reading:

I'm actually much more freaked out by the unproven retaliatory murders committed after the Manson Family's arrest. Which is partially because I didn't realize that was happening, but the list of people who died and had a connection with Manson is goddamn chilling.

One of the things I like about the book is the author's skeptical but growing understanding of the hold Manson had on his followers. Even cult theories don't encompass what he was doing, and the author being the prosecutor and interviewing the different members of the Family, his impressions of them, both defense and prosecution witnesses, showing his uneasiness with them without being self-conscious about the fact he's narrating things in a way that sound crazypants neo-mysticism is refreshing. And he knows that's how some of it sounds. There's a really strong impression that he also wants to add If you had been here, you'd get what I'm saying.

Being sentient, I still find it bewildering (it could never happen to me!) and extremely unsettling (remember ages sixteen through twenty-one?) and oddly frustrating, the same way I feel about Jonestown and the millennium group suicides for the coming of aliens and Scientology. I know it's slippery slope--very few people dream of the day they will be drinking down poison in South America after killing a Congressman or embracing a movement based on the secret meaning of Beatles lyrics and committing mass murder--but there's slippery slope and then there's the chasm between the moment you aren't a murderer for a truly bizarre reason and the moment you are (assuming you are neither a sociopath nor a psychopath nor a variety of clinical sadistic narcissist).

Slippery slope is often more about giving away more than you thought you were--aka personal freedoms or rights--and realizing suddenly the dangers. In general, murder is an action taken where realization is kind of hard to miss when you're holding the weapon and there's a body in front of you: I don't get that. Even suicide--which is understandable to me, considering--kind of throws me, but part of that is I have clinical depression, and suicidal thoughts are weirdly enough my sharp inner line that is literally the one thing that forces me into some kind of frantic activity, even stupid activity, until my baseline misery isn't on that level; if something that can hold me hostage for two years in a morass of utter self-inflicted misery cannot make me do it, a person telling me to would probably make me laugh hysterically.

It does feel like something that you have to be there to understand, very literally.

This is interesting reading; I'm glad I saw the article on Manson's parole hearing tomorrow and remembered to go grab it.
I put this one off since I've been in a Gellis and Heyer mood for a while and there's no use switching in genre between styles because you just end up confused. Also, Gellis' A Woman's Estate just put me in a bad mood.

However, Loretta continues to be awesome. For context on why I love this author, earlier review here.

Silk Is For Seduction

silk is for seduction )

Again, not her strongest book by any means, but a fun, fast read.

Kindle sales on books by Loretta Chase:

Isabella - $2.99 - the prequel to the Carsington novels, this being the Earl of Harcourt himself and his courtship of Isabella, they who spawned several novels about their sons. This is one of her earliest books and it shows big time, but it's not terrible, one, and if you are a completionist and were curious about the entire backstory of the Carsington men, it's a good read. And it's stuffed with Surprise Revelations! a anti-hero (Loretta just loves to make sure her villains could be redeemable in a future sequel) and to be fair, it's not her weakest work.

The English Witch - $2.99 - this is her weakest work. See what I said above about the redeemable villain? Yeah, this is his story. It's weak, and it drags occasionally, but it also is, I think, her first attempt to play with imperfect, rather unethical heroes and heroines that aren't evil, just, you know, unethical and manipulative but still good people. But I do not deny that this one I got through only because of what she was trying to do here and nails in her later books and I was curious to find out where it started. It could be considered the genre spiritual predecessor to Silk Is For Seduction, Last Night's Scandal, Captives of the Night, and the rather inexplicable Your Scandalous Ways. (For the record, in Regency trope, Last Night's Scandal is the best of them; Captives of the Night is, again, not Regency at all; I'm honestly not sure what the hell it is, which is why I love it beyond reason.)

Lord of Scoundrels - $3.99 - this is an update that apparently was supposed to fix typos. I didn't notice typos before, but this update did not help, but if you can stand a few times early on that paragraphs repeat--and near the end, a page repeats--this is one of my favorite books. It's probably the closest Chase comes to a classic regency in so far as boy marries girl and lifts her into wealth and ease. How they go about it is about as non-classic as you can get, up to and including; pornographic watches, Russian icons, blackmail, extortion, ruining reputations, bloodsucking lawyers for Greater Justice, a shooting, a psychosomatic injury, and possibly the first time I've seen any novelist tackle, with sympathy, a parent's desertion (I would almost recommend it just for that bit; I've never seen any Regency romance both subtextually and textually address sympathetically the motivations that might surround a mother who leaves her child; hell, half the damn plotline is built on it).

Coming in June: Scandal Wear Satin which I am going to say is either going to be about Clara and her newly discovered fashion sense and backbone, or Marcelline's sister Sophie the scandal-rag spin artist. It's a toss-up.
Currently watching iconic Darcy Swims! scene from Pride and Prejudice. There is still nothing funnier than imagining the period of time between bravely running away in his wet breeches and running after her in an excess of really fast dignity. Mostly it was probably his manservant desperately trying to make sure he wore clothes that matched and didn't sprint down with his pants undone.

The more I watch, the more convinced I am that had Lydia not intervened with her--adventures, Elizabeth would not have made it out of Derbyshire unengaged, possibly not even unmarried.

This entire review is brought about by Linda Berdoll's novels, which are fanfic of this version of Pride and Prejudice in so many ways. So. Many. Ways.

When I recommended them before, I hadnt' finished re-reading and forgot that the books, though uniformly of the light hearted melodramatic variety (that I love), there are some parts that are not that at all.

Warning for triggering content below: specifically, the death of a child and sexual assault. If you have these particular ones and plan to read the books, please consider the below, as the rest of the books are far lighter and more humorous, so it might come as a shock.

spoilers for all three Berdoll novels )

Right, after finishing all three, more generally.

three novels of intrigue! )

Also, these are a romp. A rompy-romp.
Mr Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll is up for Kindle at $1.99.

I did a review of the books here to give you an idea of what--you'll be getting. But now I can safely state that what this book and its sequels are that I did not have quite the right vocabulary for in 2006.

This is Pride and Prejudice erotic(ish) id-fic, by ten. This is the id-vortex itself of Pride and Prejudice spin-offs. This is also the definitive proof of the awesome of fanfic; I would not have liked this as a regency romance about random people, but Darcy and Elizabeth rock it like whoa. So I honestly get a kick out of reading something that literally could have been posted online and in fangirl context, would have probably hit the entirety of fandom like a tsunami. It's fanfic I am very, very happy to pay for.

It's pretty unapologetic about what it's doing. I mean, there is great literature and there is good literature both pro and fen and there is candy and then there is this, which is like, IDK, a eight course dinner for the id, with candy. You can't read this as a purist; if you go in like that, you will hate it. But if you read it like a fangirl id-ing it up, it'll work like you would not believe.

My grammar and sentence construction concerns continue; you will, I promise, get used to the style and it will be invisible within about fifty pages, but it is an acquired taste to want to because what the id wants, the id wants. And it's worth it. And at 1.99, I figure this is a good time to test it.

There are two sequels, Darcy and Elizabeth (AKA Darcy and Elizabeth: Days and Nights at Pemberley) and The Ruling Passion (AKA The Darcys: The Ruling Passion) and they're about as id-rompy as the first. And I will say without apology they are fun reading. Jane Austen would not have written this, no, but I think she would have laughed herself sick and enjoyed reading where this author went with her work.

I do like this a lot more than most Austen sequels--if not all of them with a few specific exceptions--because no one is Austen; her voice and her vision were extremely unique and only look easy to replicate until you read people trying and you realize how razor-sharp not only her prose is, but the mind that created this that understood that making fun of something doesn't mean not loving it, and she understood how to draw sympathetic characters and villains with a complexity and skill that the more I re-read her books, the more I'm surprised how deftly she practiced her craft. And how freaking subtle her sarcasm is.

Linda doesn't try to write Austen's style, which I mean, no, her natural style is not, um, even close. So instead, she does it in her own, and then hits the gas like she's forgotten the meaning of brakes and that shit works.

I haven't read The Ruling Passion before, so let's say I'm excited.

Currently finishing Mr Darcy's Secret by Jane Odiwe, which so far I'm enjoying a lot, though they pretty much broadcast the entire plotline and resolution fairly fast; however, how they'll get there makes me curious, and it's a very fun, light-hearted read.

My squee is very id-dy.

ETA: Id and Id-Vortex references, Slash shock, shamelessness, and a rec. by [personal profile] ellen_fremedon. Remember when you used to find meta on every online streetcorner and everyone hyperexamining their writing and reading and arguing genre until it was All Bellybutton Lint, All the Time and you're like, no more? Yeah. I revise my stance and encourage everyone to examine their meaningful writing thoughts right now, even if they are talking about your feelings for the use of 'and' and the second person pov as narrator stand in. I miss it. Like, after reading this, a lot.
Reading Roberta Gellis' A Woman's Estate, book five in the Heiress series, set during Napolean Mark I.

Okay, overall the series is uneven and not nearly as fantastic and fun as her medieval, but that fifth book is just--and I say this as a Romance novel reader--there is some terrible pre-feminism in here. I don't object at all to anachronistic feminism and anti-racism. Even when it's done awkwardly or badly, I give points for good intentions or making a decent effort because even handled badly, they're trying desperately to handle it in a genre that is not really easy to pull it off in and most people don't even try to integrate it at all, much less make a sincere but awkward effort at it.

IDEK what was going on with this one, but it was really hideously awkward attempts at pre-feminism backed against invisible-to-the-author misogyny that's not used deliberately. Gellis had an earlier book where in her notes, she made reference to blaming women for the fall of women's rights in medieval europe, so haven't read that one again, but her Roselynde books are so strong in women's lives and etc that I can just ignore that one. It was weird and the few good points (noting law that made a woman stop existing when she married; that was genuinely unsettling to read, even though I was aware of it, detailing it out like that was very well done) but then it's offset with the story's supporting the idea that her wanting to not marry again or wanting freedom or etc was all about lacking trust in her husband and a mania, which fuck no.

There was a lot of mixed messaging here, is what I'm saying, and I can't give points for what she did do because the entire thing was based on HEROINE DOES NOT TRUST MEN AND WHY. And later, how she acknowledges her own foolishness, because hello, her goddamn points were valid even in--especially in--a happy marriage. I mean, that's what made it work. EVEN IF YOUR HUSBAND WAS LOVING AND RESPECTFUL, HE COULD AND DID DO THIS SHIT IN THE SPIRIT OF LOVE AND RESPECT AND THAT SHIT WAS STILL WRONG.

(Though it did have a genuinely touching, subtle moment with the hero questioning his mother and her responses were wonderfully drawn of a woman who had a perfectly happy marriage but also the small embarrassments/discomforts of the fact that as a married woman, she was owned by her husband and could own nothing herself; all belonged to her husband on his sufferance.)

I can't figure out why she bothered with the proto-feminism at all when the text itself was arguing against it or fighting it so hard. I think she made a stab at racism, but I won't swear to it because that was just weird and awkward and uncomfortable in a bad way. Your text should not argue for the purpose of proving that feminism is awesome, but with a good husband, not so much necessary.

Stick with the Roselynde series or the Royal Dynasty series, is what I'm saying.
Anne McCaffrey has died. The first woman to win the Hugo and the Nebula, and her Dragonriders books, her Lessa and Brekke and Menolly, her Rowan and The Ship that Sang, Crystal Singer and the breadth of her works between I owe a debt of gratitude for that I'll carry until the day I die.

I honestly had no idea how much this would hurt, one of the women whose work built the foundation of my love of sci-fi and fantasy, dragons and starships, but mostly, the people she created in the worlds she built who embodied all the potential of what we could become.
Much, much recommended:

The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer - I love her work in general, but this one is fantastic. Hugo may be my favorite hero since Freddy in Cotillion, being sensible, practical, brilliant, and with an impossible sense of humor. And in a lovely turn of events, the heroine is just as sensible, extremely smart, and adorable.

Also, there are smugglers. And shootings. I am all about smugglers and shootings.
If anyone is curious, my reading is in direct proportion to internet access at work; they put in a nanny block, but that's not, I think, the problem, since I can get through just fine some days. It's annoying. But boy has it done wonders for my not-fanfic literacy. I'm currently running at an average one book a day since Julyish, though to be fair many of them are short and some I read in my teens and rediscovering.

For the record:

"Oh, well, it may be a superstition or it may not, doctor, dear. All that I know is, it has happened. My sister's husband's nephew's wife's cat sucked their baby's breath, and the poor innocent was all but gone when they found it. And superstition or not, if I find that yellow beast lurkin gnear our baby I will whack him with a poker, Mrs. Doctor, dear." -- Susan Baker to Anne and Gilbert Blythe, Anne's House of Dreams by LM Montgomery

...where did that cat breath thing come from?

Anne of Green Gables and sequels

Like Great Maria by Cecilia Holland--though no two books could ever be so different--I love the Anne series for the complete submersion in the lives of women, their work and daily routines, their relationships and their families, but above all about them. Anne as student, teacher, wife, mother, and friend doesn't live her life through any man or in relation to any man, but has an internal and external social life wholly her own and independent of her husband's work and life with her. It's also an extremely feminist book not necessarily in the attitudes but in the focus on not just the lives of women, but their ambitions, their friendships, their personal joys and tragedies.

anne of green gables, continued )

Specific Spoilers for Anne's House of Dreams, Leslie Moore:

Read more... )

The exception to the eight book series and children below. Ouch.

Specific Spoilers for Rainbow Valley, the Meredith children:

rainbow valley )

I wish the movies had been more faithful; I still get cold horrors just knowing the fourth movie exists, and the third one was not exactly, what's the word, "faithful". OTOH, the first three had Megan Follows and she's so Anne to me I can't get over it. I'd love to see a new interpretation of the books--this time a faithful one, dear God, or even a passing acquaintance with someone who, say, read them--but I'm not sure I can ever see anyone but Megan as Anne.
Still favorites. I always liked them for combining both the most romantic and best parts of nineteeth/early twentieth century small towns and communities with realistic assessments of what they were like; loving something without glazing it in impossible idealism. It always makes me more than a little amused when people talk about the nuclear family and it's singularity and above-all-ness; I can't imagine it working at any point in history when community was so necessary to survival, much less social interaction.

It also reminds me it's a fairly modern luxury to be able to socialize only with people you like; I'm not entirely sure, when reading, whether it's altogether a good thing. Being able to restrict your social interactions that much, and quickly eliminate on the basis of not quite simpatico instead of required social interaction means never really developing both the ability to get along with people and also miss the opportunity to know people who make take time and effort and skill to deal with, and I'm pretty sure it's worth the effort.

It was also a hell of a lot harder to end a friendship when you are pretty much going to see them forever until you die at every social event; that's pretty good motivation to get over yourself and move on and fix what you can--which surprisingly isn't as hard as it sounds. I like happy endings, though.

Anne of Windy Poplars is both my least and most favorite depending on mood; I'm not a huge fan of epistolary writing at the best of times, and I always manage to forget that it's the eternal exception to the rules. Her letters to Gilbert are always hilarious, and I always faintly wish there'd been a volume of his to her; he always struck me as one to have just as many odd adventures and fall into as many odd scrapes.

Currently at Anne's House of Dreams. I skipped about a bit to get to my favorite bits, and Miss Cornelia is not be missed.
I resent this. It teased yesterday for twentyish minutes and got everything briefly damp, then nothing. This is not a drought. This is like, IDK, the terrain of Venus. I do not even say our temperatures aren't comparable; have you been outside? Yeah.

In other news, amazon continues to please.

Great Maria by Cecilia Holland, $3.43, Kindle

Isabella by Loretta Chase, $0.99, Kindle, prequelesque to Mr. Impossible, Ms Wonderful, Mr. Perfect et al stories.

You know, at one time, I thought how ridiculously large the memory is on a Kindle. While I am not even close to hitting even a quarter, I have a very uncomfortable feeling that if amazon keeps having random sales on books, I am going to test the memory capacity. And adding fanfic by the dozens and dozens probably isn't helping, no.
During my increasingly driven episodes of life not work, I've been re-reading The Masters of Rome series, aka Gaius Marius right through seconds before Octavius becomes Augustus. And I continue to marvel about Gaius Julius Mary Sue Caesar and how very much I don't care because he is just that damn awesome.

ETA: In my defense, this kinda got away from me with the lists. Just for the record.

republican rome invented the mary sue )

final book, irritated still )

Okay, it may not seem like it, but I do recommend Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series. Each book is very long, and it has a massive cast, and people call each other cocksuckers in Latin in the middle of senatorial debates, which makes it sound very classy and awesome. And lots of random bouts of mass murder. Which makes you seriously wonder how anyone survived to the seventh book.
Via [personal profile] fyrdrakken in a comment, Georgette Heyer Kindle books are on sale (I mean, a lot of them) for 1.99.

The Talisman Ring -I'm linking directly because two different prices are showing up in search--this one is the 1.99.

Link to Georgette Heyer's Page

Bath Tangle
Black Moth
Black Sheep
Beauvallet (set after Simon the Coldheart)
Charity Girl
Convenient Marriage
The Corinthian
Cousin Kate
The Devil's Cub (Alastair Chronicles 2)
False Colours
Faro's Daughter
Friday's Child
The Grand Sophy
Infamous Army (Alastair Chronicles 3)
Lady of Quality
Lord John
The Nonesuch
The Quiet Gentleman
Powder and Patch
Regency Buck
The Reluctant Widow
Royal Escape
Simon the Coldheart ($1.79)
Spanish Bride: A Novel of Love and War
Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle
These Old Shades (Alastair Chronicles 1)

...and all her contemporary mysteries that I skimmed through. Looks liki The Toll Gate is not on sale, and The Unknown Ajax and A Civil Contract are not yet available. Or Sprig Muslin.

Y'know, in case your Heyer collection needs updating or anything. I am not looking at my receipts right now, for the record.


[personal profile] dine also notes they are available for Nook at Barnes and Noble and ePub at OmniLit.

ETA 2:
[ profile] bendtothesun in comments linked to Smart Bitches, Trashy Novels that has a really amazing directory to the Heyer sale in all available formats here. Thank you!
So I forgot the reason I am always vaguely uncomfortable with Wuthering Heights; I always imagine I really don't like Heathcliff, and that's a lie. Heathcliff is the goddamn gothic Count of Monte Cristo and hey, I approve of revenge. I appprove of epic revenge. I also approve of enjoying it, but Heathcliff did not get that part right so oh well.

I really can't be fair about this one because the thing is, it's like, IDK, the perfect heist. Complicated, strategically planned long-term revenge wielded with exquisite timing for a perfect trap shutting slowly, painfully, inevitably over the victims as they watch in horror is hot.

Heathcliff's biggest advantage as he is, in all actuality, a goddamn woobie--and I do not use that term lightly, or ever. His life sucks. Everyone who should care about him? Sucks. He gets flogged and hurt and loses his bff soulmate and God knows what he had to do in those three years of his disappearance. His second biggest advantage as a character is that unless he was murdering puppies (I do not put this past him, or drowning kittens), everyone else is so unsympathetic that you don't actually care if they didn't really didn't quite earn Heathcliff's hatred. Because again, they suck.

(Except Hareton, who is awesome, and Young Catherine, eventually, when she stops being shouty.)

spoilers for hardy adaptation )
This was--and still is, actually--one of my favorite books, but it's also one of the ones that irritate me weirdly, and a lot of this is because the author was very, very historically accurate on both events and attitudes of the time period of King John, and very, very good at drawing sympathetic characters and personal relationships.

This basically was the reason for me, the base conflict of Joanna's life made no sense, at least in how I view it, and I'm not altogether convinced at the time it was all that problematic (God I hate using that word for this); I suspect it later became A Huge Goddamn deal due to John's conflict with the Church and the invasion of Louis into England where people needed excuses to go to what they saw was the winning side.

Here Be Dragons is a novelization of the life of Joanna, daughter of King John and wife of Llewelyn the Great of Wales, along with a well-drawn tapestry of various other figures.

my issues with medieval backpedaling, let me show you )

I was having a moment there. I still love the book, but knowing so much more about the time period now, it just irritates me how she got so much right and exact but smoothed over the difference between what was preached and what was practiced.

Thoughts? I need to pull my nonfiction and bios from storage and start looking for kindle versions; the paperbacks are tattered and possibly moldy, but I'm pretty sure some of them are in the public domain if I can track down the titles. *sighs*
Kindle E-Books From .99

And books!

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase - 99 cents

Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase - $2.99

Okay, for context on this, these are part of a loose shared Regency universe.

1.) The Lion's Daughter
2.) Lord of Scoundrels
3.) Captives of the Night
4.) The Mad Earl's Bride (short story in Three Weddings and a Kiss, totally worth buying the book just for it
5.) The Last Hellion

The The Lion's Daughter is not even in print anymore and that makes me want to cry because the bad guy from that one is fated to be completed in Captives of the Night with him being atoney and heroic and I kid you not, solving mysteries for repentance and er, the hero who falls in love with an artist. Angsty, tragic backstory, sketchy background, overthrows pashas in his spare time, kidnapping....but now he works for teh British government and it's kind of hilarious.

I love all these books (except the first one, dammit, not having read it), but Captives is by tone and subject matter and character and plot completely different from most of Loretta's work and if you read Scoundrels and Captives back to back, it will be a hard 180. It's extremely complex both emotionally and plotwise and don't get me wrong, it's romantic as hell, but it's not Romance really; what it is about is two very scarred people who worked very hard to make themselves decent lives in horrific circumstances; Loretta's heroines are always fairly independent, but Leila is my favorite for how hard she worked to create herself and make the best of her life despite a ruined childhood and a hideous marriage to a monster before his death made everything fall apart; Ismal's a hero who literally was a monster once upon a time and then decided to change. Neither of them need saving in any practical way; what they want is to be free.

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

And okay, my squee of the day...

Siren Song, Winter Song, Fire Song, and The Silver Mirror all by Roberta Gellis, all on Kindle, 1.49 each.

Also available is the entire Roselynde series, but it's not on sale yet and I'm still squeeing over these.

Okay, to explain; all of these are set during Henry III, and especially the second could be said to be, borrowing from [ profile] hradzka with artistic license, it's woman inheriting keeps and organizing the shit out of them from the ground up. All three are very much focused on women being extremely competent, self-sufficient, and possessing a staggering number of skills in a time where in the lower nobility and knights your home is literally a castle also had to be the equivalent of an isolated town that had to provide pretty much everything you needed or you did without

One of my favorite things about Roberta's medieval books is how much time she spends showing women working; all her noble medieval heroines run one to several large castles, sit in justice, do budgeting and accounting, see to their textiles and sewing, riding out to visit serfs, oversee meals, food storage, are decent physicians, and basically outline (not all at once obviously) the daily life of a woman of the middle and lower noble classes where you had servants and serfs but not on the level of great wealth, vassals, and less direct responsibility for the household and more time to sit around reading poetry and being boring. Without really hard anachronistic behavior, she has some of the most interesting and hardworking women I've ever read who were raised and trained very thoroughly to be self-sufficient so as to get along fine while the men go off to war for years.

Honestly, these I'd recommend just for how well Roberta describes medieval women's lives and duties, especially when the story sets them in contrast with the lives of women in the upper nobility and royalty.

Not on sale, but also recommended is Great Maria by Cecilia Holland, which covers Maria's life from being the only daughter of a Norman knight in Italy who makes a living robbing people who are on pilgrimage to right before she and her husband's coronation. Also pretty much entirely a world of women with a fantastic view of Maria both running a variety of households as they slowly conqueror a large amount of Italy.

For me, I read them at a time I was very young and most of the books that focused on women also made them warriors or sorcerers or working against traditional gender roles as I saw them, or they were royalty/higher nobility; it was very cool to also have women who weren't secretly trained to be expert swordsmen or sent off to be mages or chosen to save a kingdom or being bartered in marriage in tight political situations on the cusp of battle being focused on and their work just as highly valued in the story and their roles to be shown as necessary. Not to mention realizing how much they actually did to assure everyone ate regularly, had decent clothes, were paid properly, oversee disputes, and have fascinating, full, interesting lives even if they didn't ride to war. Female competence in any role is awesome.


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  • If you don't send me feedback, I will sob uncontrollably for hours on end, until finally, in a fit of depression, I slash my wrists and bleed out on the bathroom floor. My death will be on your heads. Murderers
    . -- Unknown, BTS List
  • That's why he goes bad, you know -- all the good people hit him on the head or try to shoot him and constantly mistrust him, while there's this vast cohort of minions saying,
    We wouldn't hurt you, Lex, and we'll give you power and greatness and oh so much sex...
    Wow. That was scary. Lex is like Jesus in the desert.
    -- pricklyelf on why Lex goes bad, LJ
  • Obi-Wan has a sort of desperate, pathetic patience in this movie. You can just see it in his eyes: "My padawan is a psychopath, and no one will believe me;
    I'm barely keeping him under control and expect to wake up any night now to find him standing over my bed with a knife!"
    -- Teague reviewing "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones", LJ
  • Beth: god, why do i have so many beads?

    Jenn: Because you are an addict.

    Jenn: There are twelve step programs for this.

    Beth: i dunno they'd work, might have to go straight for the electroshock.

    Jenn: I'm not sure that helps with bead addiction.

    Beth: i was thinking more to demagnitize my credit card.
    -- hwmitzy and seperis, 12/24/2003, AIM
  • I could rape a goat and it will DIE PRETTIER than they write.
    -- anonymous, 2/17/2004, AIM
  • In medical billing there is a diagnosis code for someone who commits suicide by sea anenemoe.
    -- silverkyst, 3/25/2004, AIM
  • Anonymous: sorry. i just wanted to tell you how much i liked you. i'd like to take this to a higher level if you're willing

    Eleveninches: By higher level I hope you mean email.
    -- eleveninches and anonymous, 4/2/2004, LJ
  • silverkyst: I need to not be taking molecular genetics.

    silverkyst: though, as a sidenote, I did learn how to eviscerate a fruit fly larvae by pulling it's mouth out by it's mouthparts today.

    silverkyst: I'm just nowhere near competent in the subject material to be taking it.

    Jenn: I'd like to thank you for that image.
    -- silverkyst and seperis, 1/25/2005, AIM
  • You know, if obi-wan had just disciplined the boy *properly* we wouldn't be having these problems. Can't you just see yoda? "Take him in hand, you must. The true Force, you must show him."
    -- Issaro, on spanking Anakin in his formative years, 3/15/2005, LJ
  • Aside from the fact that one person should never go near another with a penis, a bottle of body wash, and a hopeful expression...
    -- Summerfling, on shower sex, 7/22/2005, LJ
  • It's weird, after you get used to the affection you get from a rabbit, it's like any other BDSM relationship. Only without the sex and hot chicks in leather corsets wielding floggers. You'll grow to like it.
    -- revelininsanity, on my relationship with my rabbit, 2/7/2006, LJ
  • Smudged upon the near horizon, lapine shadows in the mist. Like a doomsday vision from Watership Down, the bunny intervention approaches.
    -- cpt_untouchable, on my addition of The Fourth Bunny, 4/13/2006, LJ
  • Rule 3. Chemistry is kind of like bondage. Some people like it, some people like reading about or watching other people doing it, and a large number of people's reaction to actually doing the serious stuff is to recoil in horror.
    -- deadlychameleon, on class, 9/1/2007, LJ
  • If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Fan Fiction is John Cusack standing outside your house with a boombox.
    -- JRDSkinner, Twitter

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