umadoshi: (nonfictional feeling (oraclegreen))
[personal profile] umadoshi
(I tried to make this post more cohesive than it is. I really did! Pretend it worked?)

At last, I know what a childhood of X-Men reading prepared me for: coping with the severe cognitive dissonance when different components of/perspectives on a fictional world are staggeringly different from each other in tone.

Except that, where X-Men (and similar) comics have passed through countless creative teams over several decades (and are a big enough thing to have all kinds of quirky sideline projects), in this case, said staggeringly-different aspects are written by the same person.

I'm now mostly caught up on K.B. Spangler's work in the A Girl and Her Fed (AGAHF) universe, which consists of the ongoing A Girl and Her Fed webcomic and five novels (so far), one of which is Not Like The Others. Oh, and the first of a planned series of novellas cheerfully (and accurately) codenamed "Joshsmut".

I came at this world...out of order, I guess, in that I started with the novels. I'd heard of the AGAHF comic and had been meaning to read it, but I do better with novels...and I didn't really realize how intertwined the projects are. Here's an io9 review of Digital Divide, the first Rachel Peng novel. (Four of the five novels currently available focus on Rachel.)

(Note: I'd heard of A Girl and Her Fed off and on for at least a few years, and had it on my to-read list before I mentally connected it to the Rachel books, but I never really looked into what it is...even though I always tripped, and still trip, over the title because I always parse it wrong. My instinct is still to read the "fed" as a conjugation of "feed", not as "federal agent", which makes no sense at all. How am I STILL DOING THAT?)

So Rachel was my gateway. Rachel as we meet her is a smart, driven, ex-military federal employee who's working as the liaison between the D.C. police force and her own federal agency, OACET, which is made up entirely of a large group of cyborgs. More specifically, a large group of cyborgs created in a catastrophically flawed project that took some of the best and brightest young civil servants from across the federal government, put chips in their heads, and left them collectively traumatized and disturbingly overpowered.

Emphasis on the "collectively". The (functionally nonexistent) "So You're A Cyborg" manual didn't have a chapter for "Welcome to Your New Hivemind! (Please stop screaming! Everyone can hear you!)"

Rachel's books start several years after all that, and several months after she's joined the above-mentioned police force, for the express purpose of helping to ease the public into the idea that Cyborgs Are People Too!, and super-useful to boot! And guys, I love Rachel dearly, so she was a great gateway for me. I kept going with her books until I discovered that the sole (so far) Hope Blackwell novel is set before Rachel's fourth book, so I opted to both read that book and finally backtrack to read AGAHF...

And it turns out that my X-Men experience is only barely up to this whole experience. cut for length; there's about as much text under here as there is above )

Two things of note:

1) Spangler is in the process of redrawing the first chunk of AGAHF. I don't know when she started doing that, or how quickly it's progressing, but the result is that the first 90-100 strips or so have been redrawn (each one linking to its original version) and have had some dialogue tightened and some plot holes smoothed out, but then you run out of redrawn art and get dropped into the original art style for a while, and it's...well, it's pretty jarring. (Here is the current/redrawn first comic; here is the original version. So you see.)

2) I'm not great at picking up things that call for content notes/warnings, unless they're pretty obvious. But one thing that bothered me, and recurred often enough that I feel like I ought to mention it, is the frequent use of "psychopath" (plus some instances of "sociopath") as a descriptor. briefly expanding on that; not very spoilery )

MAPS TO NOWHERE is now available for pre-order!

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 09:44 am
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

So a while back I looked at my short stories and realized, huh — they kind of fall into these nice little groupings. Not enough in any one grouping to fill a whole print collection, but very nicely sized to make a set of tidy little ebooks.

The first of those is now available for pre-order! The title is Maps to Nowhere, in homage to Diana Wynne Jones’ novel Fire and Hemlock and the “NOWHERE” vases that are a recurring motif in it. (The same novel that inspired me to become a writer, and in a roundabout fashion sparked another story of mine.) It contains ten short stories, all set in secondary worlds. To whet your appetite, here’s the table of contents:

Maps to Nowhere

Maps to Nowhere will be out on September 5th!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

(no subject)

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 05:37 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] negothick and [personal profile] quiara!

And down they come

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 11:34 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
In Baltimore, four Confederate statues were taken down at night and without prior notice, by order of the mayor. The City Council had called for their removal, also.

In Durham, NC, the night after Charlottesville, citizens tore down a Confederate statue. Police are investigating. Three of the crowd are turning themselves in. And, in a genuine I-Am-Spartacus! move, others are joining them.

Why quiet liberal Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, became ground zero.

A positive and creative reaction to Nazis marching through your town -- don't just donate to anti-Nazi groups, but get out there and cheer them on as helping anti-Nazi groups. Confuses the hell out of them.

Why Robert Mueller is looking at Trump SoHo. Not about Confederates, but about working to throw a fascist out of the White House. And another piece of the Trump/Russia puzzle. Yes, it's probably slashy but I'm not interested to know the details.

And because of Charlottesville, Trump's two business councils dissolved themselves -- walked away. He, of course, took credit for disbanding them, but it was another lie.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are moving to formally censure Trump over his response to Charlottesville that indicated he was on the side of the Nazis and white supremacists.

***

In China, Facebook tests a stealth app. And how stealthy will it be if the NY Times is writing about it? Do they think they have no readers in China?

TED: How your brain decides what is beautiful. And let's end ageism. And the fascinating reason children write letters backward.

"Virtue signaling" isn't the problem. Not believing each other is. I'd add, not trusting each other.

Why some famous singers are ruining their voices. And yes, there are people whose voices I hear and it makes my own throat hurt.

Libraries are the real punk rock.

100 law professors have written to Trump to tell him there is no question that the Dream Act is Constitutional.
monanotlisa: Frowny-faced little Blue!verse Lincoln, Amber version, blue background! (lincoln blue - fringe)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
So I'm an Amazon Prime member and have been for years; partially it's my physical limitation of carrying heavy things (crates of veggie juice, three-packs of old-fashioned apple cider vinegar in glasses), partially it's my working hours -- even worse now -- and partially, let's be real, it's my innate laziness. I understand I am contributing to the death of live, human retail, which is why I buy all light things I can carry locally with extreme prejudice.

Amazon Prime comes with perks. They're not great perks, but show me a company that doesn't profit from supposed swag, and I'll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn. The one I use most often is Amazon Prime Music. Is the selection dubious? Sure. But it's "free".

This morning when picking "Happy Indie Pop" I saw this:



Whut?

Planning for the future.

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 11:35 am
hannah: (Pruning shears - fooish_icons)
[personal profile] hannah
I've now purchased a new computer! It'll be here in two weeks or so. While there's nothing wrong with my current one, it's starting to get up there in computer years, and it's about time it retired and took up topiary as a hobby. Or the computer equivalent.

The last time I got a new computer was just about seven and a half years ago. Then, it was because there were genuine hardware difficulties - something had gone wrong with the interface and if I used the mouse, the keyboard went unresponsive for a few minutes, and even the trackpad wasn't working propery. I got used to a lot of keyboard shortcuts before I went in for the one I've got now. Which is still working fine, if slowly, and I don't want to disrupt the balance of anything right now. So, buying one before there's any pressing need.

Also, thank goodness my building has a doorman to sign for the package.

I figure that when the new one comes, and I have everything set up and working and reasonably sorted out, I can take all my stuff off this one and have it as a standby backup. Just put it in the closet with its peripherals unless circumstances arise it's needed.

The part I'm most dreading about all this is having to remember my passwords to everything. Maybe it's time I started writing them down.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
First -- you need to know that the March for Racial Justice has been scheduled for Yom Kippur, excluding anyone Jewish who might want to participate, and the organizers refuse to reschedule: behind cut for length )

ETA: They changed the date.

Second, a Quaker response to Charlottesville from Baltimore Yearly Meeting Quoting: behind cut for length )

Third, the experience of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville. Behind cut for length, but please, please read it. )

Fourth, a philosophical principle coined in 1945 could be a key US defense against white supremacists. It's the Paradox of Tolerance:

1. A tolerant society should be tolerant by default,
2. With one exception: it should not tolerate intolerance itself.

Hard reading -- Roxane Gay: HUNGER

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 09:08 am
jesse_the_k: mirror reflection of 1/3 of my head, creating a central third eye, a heart shaped face, and a super-pucker mouth (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
I started reading this via audio, narrated by the author. Technically excellent; both writing and reading. The subject matter, however, has given me thrashing screaming nightmares.

Contains: shame, sexual violence, shame, internalized misogyny, eating disorder, shame.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to finish it.

40 Days of Anime: Day 3

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 09:09 am
jennaria: Woman with mask, as drawn by Brian Froud (Default)
[personal profile] jennaria
03 - which anime made you laugh the hardest?

I don't watch much 'comedy' as a genre - not even outside of anime. Way too much either hits my embarrassment squick, or else the cast are assholes. Or both! (See also: OSOMATSU-SAN and EXCEL SAGA, both of which I saw recommendations for as OMG FUNNIEST THING EVER, and no. I managed all of one episode each, and then noped out hard.) I'm more likely to laugh at manga.

But after rummaging through my past catalog, I found a couple OVAs that did make me laugh! DRAGON-HALF (heroine is half-dragon! unfortunately, her love is a dragon hunter! whoops, nothing for it but to enter an enormous tournament for reasons that I don't remember and may not have been explained), and SHINESMAN (loving parody of super-sentai e.g. Power Rangers - I've only seen the dubbed version, which is glorious).

Worldcon Recs

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 02:28 pm
juliet: (waveform tree)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.

Here is a list of the recs I picked up from various panels I attended at Worldcon. (These are likely not complete, but they’re the ones that I wrote down.)


In Defense of the Unlikeable Heroine:


  • We Who Are About To – Joanna Russ


Non-Binary Representation In Fiction:


  • Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction – ed K M Szpara (anthology)

  • The Black Tides of Heaven / The Red Threads of Fortune – JY Yang (forthcoming in Sept)

  • Provenance – Ann Leckie (forthcoming, but read some on her website)

  • Jacob’s Ladder – Elizabeth Bear

  • River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey

  • Pantomime – Laura Lam

  • Killing Gravity – Corey J White

  • Interactive fiction Craft phone games (Choice of Deathless/City’s Thirst) – Max Gladstone (you can play an nb character)

  • “Masculinity is an Anxiety Disorder” (essay) – David J Schwartz

  • Rose Lemberg

  • Foz Meadows

  • A Merc Rustad


Beyond the Dystopia


(This one should be complete as I moderated the panel and made a point of writing them down to tweet afterwards.)


  • Two Faces of Tomorrow – James P Hogan

  • Culture series – Iain M Banks

  • Dragonlance

  • Too Like the Lightning and Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer

  • The Postman – David Brin

  • A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed And Common Orbit – Becky Chambers

  • Hospital Station – James White

  • Malhutan Chronicles – Tom D Wright (panelist)

  • Orbital Cloud – Taiyo Fuji (panelist)

  • The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison


Older Women in Genre Fiction:


  • All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye – Christopher Brookmyre

  • Blood Songs series – Anthony Ryan

  • Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon

  • Barbara Hambly


Also, Catherine Lundoff keeps a bibliography of books with older women protagonists.


Colonialism and the Space Opera:


  • Praxis – John Williams


Moving Beyond Orientalism in SFF:


  • Black Wolves – Kate Elliot

  • Vixen and The Waves – Hoa Pham

  • Isabelle Yap

  • Ken Liu

  • Stephanie Lai

  • Zen Cho


(Plus one from Nine Worlds in which the MC has Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline – Mishell Baker)

kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
Includes current politics + mental illness, HURRAH.

Read more... )

OKAY THAT WILL DO FOR NOW.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 09:57 am
rydra_wong: Doonesbury: Mark announcing into a microphone, "That's guilty! Guilty, guilty, guilty!!" (during the Watergate scandal) (guilty)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
I just woke up to find that somehow Steve Bannon accidentally(?) gave an interview to a left-wing political magazine and I can't cope with these things before multiple cups of coffee.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/17/steve-bannon-calls-far-right-losers-trump-warns-china-trade-war-american-prospect
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/us/politics/bannon-alt-right-trump-north-korea.html

I honestly have no clue if that's accidentally or "accidentally", and maybe he's trying to separate himself from the Charlottesville marchers by dismissing them as "losers" and posioning himself as more rational/reasonable than Trump on North Korea before he gets fired, or what the actual fuck. Especially given that he was reportedly delighted and "proud" about Trump's press conference statements.

seriously wtf

I've had Lucy Wan floating in my head for a while.

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 12:21 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
It's not my favorite ballad - if I wanted to sing The Murdered Brother I would and often do. Floaters are a thing, sure, but I still think it's cheating to basically steal 90% of the verses from one song and tack on a different framing story.

But it does have one advantage over The Murdered Brother, and that's that the framing story makes sense. I can see how you might chop your sister up after you've knocked her up. I mean, I wouldn't do it, but I wouldn't do half the things people do in ballads. If I had no moral compass, though, then I might well look at murder as the solution to everyday social problems like an inconvenient pregnancy. Even in a ballad, though, killing your brother because he cut down a withy wand that might've been a tree is just strange.

(And their mother doesn't give a damn, it seems, no matter who killed whom and why. There's some seriously messed up family dynamics here. Sometimes you really have to wonder about the people who wrote these things.)

************


Silver Composition in Coins Confirms the Story of the Rise of Rome

How Edmond Halley Kicked Off the Golden Age of Eclipse Mapping

Probiotic Bacteria Could Protect Newborns From Deadly Infection

Nobody Knows What Lies Beneath New York City

Pretty sure I've seen this exact premise in, like, a thousand Harry Potter fics. Because how else are you gonna get Draco and Hermione to hook up?

Female Inmates In Federal Prisons Will Now Have More Access To Tampons & Pads

The next time somebody tells me that they or anybody else can't be a bigot because they have one $GROUP friend, I'm going to point them to this article about Eduard Bloch, who was personally exempted from anti-Semitic persecution by... Adolf Hitler. Yes, really. Yes, my jaw dropped too.

Solving a Murder Mystery With Ancestry Websites

Justice Department at odds with DEA on marijuana research, MS-13

Severe Housing Needs May Return to Foreclosure-Crisis Levels

This Is Why Taking Fish Medicine Is Truly a Bad Idea (This may be a sign that things in this country are really, really bad.)

They Got Hurt At Work — Then They Got Deported

White nationalists are flocking to genetic ancestry tests — but many don't like their results

Steve Bannon once said Breitbart was the platform for the alt-right. Its current editors disagree. Is the incendiary media company at the nerve center of Donald Trump’s America simply provocative — or dangerous?

Psychologists surveyed hundreds of alt-right supporters. The results are unsettling.

Trump Knows Exactly What He’s Doing

In Ukraine, a Malware Expert Who Could Blow the Whistle on Russian Hacking

Philippine police kill 32 in bloodiest night of Duterte’s war on drugs

Traveling: Passages

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 09:18 am

Shouldn't I be panicking about now?

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 11:21 pm
kshandra: The Burning Man effigy, lit in blue neon, arms by his sides; an orange half-moon is visible over his shoulder. (BurningMan)
[personal profile] kshandra
Had the lovely realization yesterday that, if someone were to call us and say "you need to pack up and bug out NOW," we could do it. There are a few more things left to pick up that will make things better, but we could absolutely get by on what's ready now.

I'm probably going to be waiting for the other shoe to drop until we're finally on Gate Road.

Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist...

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017 10:04 pm
rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Full letter with prompts to come ASAP. The letter below is incomplete.

Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist,

Thank you so much for writing for me! This is my first time doing FemslashEx, so I'm really excited.

(I only requested art for one fandom; however, if anyone is moved to do an art treat for me in any of them, I would absolutely love that.)

Loves, DNWs, and notes/prompts for my fandoms (Aliens, Carrie, Original Work, Star Trek: Classic Timeline, and X/1999 below cut). Read more... )

(no subject)

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 12:48 am
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
hi does someone want to explain why in #dreamwidth
(12:42:01 AM) AlexSeanchai left the room (quit: K-Lined).
because if I did something wrong someone needs to fucking inform me, and if something else is wrong (I notice rodgort got the same treatment one second sooner) then let me flag it up for y'all who #dreamwidth IRC

ETA: I'm back in

101 Update

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 12:07 am
zhelana: (hockey - joy)
[personal profile] zhelana
Progress This week:

Prepare and teach a class on Judaism in period - I'm reading a book on the Khazars although this is not the class I planned. This may wind up being a second class and I'll still do the one I planned though.

Post 100 situations prompts to AO3 - Well I had some difficulty figuring out how to do it on AO3 so I'm putting it on ff.net.

30 entries to monthly diary day - yep posted this month.

30 new kiva loans - did that on the 15th, I made a loan to Zamiyya Natalia for education expenses in the Dominican Republic.

Read 3 books on the Kyivan Rus - there may not be 3 English language books on the Kyivan Rus. I'm searching. Though I'm currently reading a book on the Khazars which mentions them, and I'm counting.

Listen to 90 podcasts - I listened to one about whether we've historically had a right to privacy in this country. Spoiler alert: that's a no.

Read the entire bible - I've started 1 Kings

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