alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (I like pi!)
A space opera novel I wanted to like more than I did. In terms of basics it was good, I breezed through it quickly and was engaged the whole way through. But I am left feeling a bit meh now I'm done.

The things people recommended it to me for: diversity, space opera, robots, and maths.
My tl;dr thoughts on which are, respectively: good, ok, ok, and meh )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Webcomics:

O Human Star: SO GREAT. A cantankerous robotics researcher wakes up in a new robot body 16 years after his death. Robots, queerness and the nature of self :D Compassionate and sweet and funny :D :D Still ongoing D: (currently mid sad flashback, but it's about the main character's death which is hardly a cliffhanger)

Games:

Read Only Memories: 80s scifi styled point and click adventure game about artificial intelligence. Only just started but so far it's charming and fun.

To the Moon: Found out the ending was very Sick Wife, removed from my to-play list.

Books and anime )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
From [tumblr.com profile] capillata. This has been sitting in my tabs so long I forgot it was even there. BUT I GOT TO IT EVENTUALLY.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
A nice well behaved middle class 11 year old girl in 1920s England wakes up Wrong. Something's off about her memories. She's always hungry. Her sister keeps screaming that she's fake. Her parents start to wonder what's happened to their Nice Little Girl...

I normally don't like kid's books but I LOVED this with a FIERCE PASSION. I think all nice little 11 year old girls start to feel like there is Something Wrong With Them and Soon Everyone Will Know but this takes that experience and dials it up to a thousand and it was all very satisfying. The delightfully awful little sister is great too.

Note that this is children's horror, I found the awful things that happen cathartic but they can be quite awful.

Spoilers about what's going on and how it broadly plays out. I wanted to know, and am glad I knew in advance, but ymmv. I also mention the one thing I didn't like, which some people may find very upsetting.
Spoilers )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Which is to say, I was VERY WOOZY for some of these.

Games (mostly from the currently ongoing steam sale):

Scribblenauts Unlimited (windows only): Solve people's problems by creating/editing objects. Fun, but you play as a guy saving his sister, and everytime you finish a level you gain another sibling as a possible avatar and ALL FORTY OF THEM are male. I checked! WHY NOT MAKE HALF OF THEM GIRLS. OR EVEN ONE OF THEM. They're not even compulsory so dude players wouldn't have to play as a girl, but girl players could! This annoys me so much I have stopped playing. IT'S SO UNNECCESARILY SEXIST. (Non binary/ungendered characters would also be good but if they can't manage girls)

Grim Legends: the Forsaken Bride: a Hidden object game from Artifex Mundi, only just started. Graphics are a bit uncanny valley but it's a nicely immersive Olde Worlde village setting. So far you're a woman rescuing your sister.

Higurashi When They Cry: Stalled on this completely. It's not bad, I just find it hard to keep up momentum with kinetic novels (like a visual novel but with no real choices)

Message Quest: a puzzle game about a lazy messenger in a fantasy world trying to avoid doing his quest. Has occasional simple turn based combat and I got stuck on a battle, but was enjoying it until then and will use a walkthrough to get past it at some point. Has some things that made me :/ about gender but is ultimately good hearted. It's a bit weird having to poke a lazy character who "just wants to sleep" when you have cfs, but he really is just lazy.

Audiosurf 2: Crashed on both windows and Mac :/
Books, manga, anime )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Books/comics:

Wheel of the Infinite by Martha Wells: Fantasy about a middle aged priestess who's fallen significantly from grace facing Supernatural Shenanigans with wry resignation. Reminds me a lot of Paladin of Souls, except set in a tropical country (loosely based on...a mixture of Tibet and North Africa maybe??) A little underwritten but otherwise really good. The 30 something pale skinned foreign swordsman who would be the hero in most books is just the love interest, and happy to let the heroine take the lead :D (He's on the cover of some versions of the book anyway because BLAH PUBLISHING INDUSTRY) Normally "friends with benefits" relationships don't work for me but they have a really nice friendship, plus makeouts. And the worldbuilding is interesting and feels real. A lot of it was very predictable if you've read the right kinds of fantasy, and all the twists were heavily telegraphed, but it all made sense and came to a fairly satisfying conclusion.

Color and Light by James Gurney: A non fiction book on painting by the guy who made Dinotopia. I am reading it VERY SLOWLY but it's been interesting and I've definitely learned some stuff I will use for my art.

From the Humble LGBT Book Bundle, which is ongoing for the next few days:

Wuvable Oaf: A big hairy gay man with a sweet nature looks for love. Cute for what it is, but too indie-comic-weird for my tastes, I didn't feel connected to the characters and found the art style and occasional grossness off putting.

Kevin Keller: Welcome to Riverdale. First gay Archie character! It’s otherwise a typical Archie comic eg kinda bland, and I got bored and stopped.
games and music )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Books:

The Raven and the Reindeer by T Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon: this is a very cute Gerta/Little Robber Girl retelling of The Snow Queen. It's in a light, fairytale style but has a bit more modern fantasy novel to it than the original 19th century children's short story. There also a bit more gore than I remember, of just the sort I like but other people may not. I haven't read the original in years so can't say how much is changed in general, but was attached to the Kay/Gerta friendship which is much more unhealthy here, I think it works really well as a new story but was still slightly sad to lose the old one. Also there's that undertone of slightly smug tweeness that tends to underlie all of Ursula Vernon's work, and it took me a while to get into it for some reason. Still, lots of well drawn, endearing, mostly female characters, and a cute fantasy story that hasn't lost the fairytale atmosphere, bittersweet bite and sense of place of the original.

(putting above the cut because "f/f fairytale" is relevant to a lot of my readers' interests :))

Aso, while I'm here: Steam is having a sale on anime themed games and I at least didn't get an email about some stuff on my wishlist which is discounted. So, check your wishlist!
More books and some tv )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Things I was recced:

The Swancon community is apparently 37% male, 50% female and 13% non binary. The registration table this year offered neat little pronoun stickers to put at the bottom of your badge and there were unisex toilets.

Stirfire Studios ran a demonstration of a game they're writing for the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset/controller, I was one of a long line of people who got to play it for a few minutes. It was SUPER FUN, very immersive. They got me to stay in my wheelchair to see how well that could work, the answer being "not very well" (I couldn't reach anything high up) but that was fine just for playing around. Also I was longer at the front than the system expected so I banged my footplate into a wall before the "stop walking!" warning grid came on. I've had a few interesting conversations with them about accessibility, am curious to see where that goes.

I only stayed for the very beginning of the masquerade and had no costume but everyone else looked great.

I did a clay animal making activity in the family room which was HEAPS of fun, I was a sought after artisan of little eyes since the children had trouble making them neatly.

Non Violent Video Games
So You Want To Make A Video Game

Various Jane Espenson notes, Science Doesn't Work That Way, Trailer Park, Queer characters: Tokenism, realism and support )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
So that was fun! And I am predictably tired, it has taken a few days of napping and playing Stardew Valley before I felt up to poking at the notes I took. I managed to achieve all my goals: my panels went well, talked to friends, met new people, attended other people's fun panels, saw some cool costumes, spoke to some of the guests.

The notes all blur together, so I'm going to start from the beginning and see what structure emerges.

Speak for 3 minutes about local fannish events, Authors Like Lois McMaster Bujold )
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
As always, bear in mind that my standard go way down when I'm sick.

Books:

Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon (On sale right now!) This is basically a cheesy, tropey 90s-esque eurofantasy romance... with lesbians! AND I LOVED IT. Stoic, protective, crossdressing butch bodyguard and feisty, headstrong princess yesss. Many of the tropes are questionable-if-iddy (eg there's a bunch of dub con kisses that "don't count") to outright unfortunate ("swarthy barbarians", really?) and it is SUPER earnest but the ratio of cheese I enjoyed to cheese I didn't worked for me. nb the cover art whitewashes the bodyguard, who has a dark olive complexion which is a bit exoticised.

Apparently the sequel is about the buxom lesbian chambermaid, SOUNDS GOOD.
Books! Games! Movies, even! )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Including a bunch of very cheap games still on sale on Steam, unless the sale is done.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (up and down)
This pile of links got so big I got intimidated and just... forgot about it. So it goes back a while. There was a broken link to a post that seemed to be about "missing e" (what we used to fix tumblr before xkit). And then I decided half of them weren't worth keeping, or belonged elsewhere, so in the end it's not even that big!

Given What You Now Know, What Would You Have Done Differently With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)?

Colloquial catchy statements encoding serious mathematics

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code

Self-help for Anxiety Management I used this a few times, it didn't do a lot to help but might work for someone else.

What Sanguinity Likes (and dislikes) About Mathematics

Visualizing Algorithms

​A Beginner's Guide To All Things Dragon Age

Hapax and Heyer, Austen and Irony, or, What I should have said The differences between Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen

PAX Australia And The Strange Catharsis Of Video Game Violence
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Just finished this and it was a great end to the series. Same flaws as the others, especially the tendency to heavy handed anvils about Privilege, but still overall really great, thoughtful, thrilling space opera with lots of delicious non human intelligences and questions about ethics and The Nature Of The Self.

Pretty much everything I have to say is covered by this spoilery post and the comments to it, I had even been thinking of how to best capslock summarise the exact section she capslock summarises, teehee.

Two extra, VERY SPOILERY thoughts:
spoilers )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Graphic Novels:

The Wicked and the Divine: there's a queer comic book club this Sunday discussing volume 1, and since I've been meaning to read it anyway I bought the digital version. It was, as others have said, an interesting premise with middling execution, but it does have a lot of lgbt characters and an ethnically diverse cast. Basically: a group of young people have become/realised they are the incarnations of various gods. This means being immortal, having powers like fire, and the ability to "sing" in incomprehensible tongues that cause listeners to be inspired/overcome. So they act exactly like rock stars, with popular cheery goddesses, literally underground gothic death gods etc. The main character is a teenage god fangirl who gets caught up in a mystery around the gods when she befriends "Luci" (Lucifer), basically rule 63 Sandman Lucifer. The plot is moderately interesting though I've been massively spoiled for some major twists by tumblr. The characters are...ok. The dialogue is nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is and mistakes sexual references and clunky one liners for wit. The art is good asides from the bland expressions, like it's traced from 3D models. I'm in that annoying in between place where I'd like to see what happens next but don't like it enough to spend any more money or effort on it. I think I'll wait until it's done then see if I can be bothered.

Miss Marvel (vols 1,2 and 3): this is the other diverse comic the teenagers on tumblr keep posting gifs of and I liked it a lot more, though it's less my kind of thing. A lower middle class muslim teenage superhero fangirl gains super powers, and decides to defend Jersey from evil. It's a pretty straightfoward "optimistic teen gains superpowers" story, but charmingly done, with likable characters, light humour, thrilling fights etc. There's some heavy handed Young Adult Fiction elements, like Consent Is Important, Teenagers Have Value But So Do Parents etc, as well as some plain silly aspects, it felt very aimed at young people. But I still quite enjoyed it as someone who was once a teen fangirl and still gets a kick out of imagining befriending Wolverine (this scene was so cute). Also there's a little Agents of Shield crossover at the end of Vol 3 with Simmons (and Coulson) which I enjoyed.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Games:
Borderlands: Fun, cool first person shooter set in a post apocalyptic/wild west-ish planet. I've played like half an hour but it was fun and I wasn't totally bad at it! You choose one of four pre-generated characters: a white woman, a black dude, and two white dudes.

Remnants of Isolation: A cute rpg by someone I know, about people escaping a prison for magic users. Again, haven't played for long but it was cute and interesting with a diverse cast.

And for both I need to find out if you can grind to make the game arbitrarily easy, cos then I'll be safe from getting stuck and not seeing the end. Once I know that I'll feel more motivated to trek all the way to the windows machine to play them :)

Manga:
Genshiken (first two omnibuses): A slice of life comedy about a university club of anime/manga nerds who are all into porny doujinshi. Starts off very male dominated, ends up with more and more female yaoi fans. Fairly funny and charming and not as skeezy as it sounds, reminds me of both unisfa and fanfic fandom. Can be a bit...well, the author obviously respects his female characters, but it's written by, for, and about moderately conventional Japanese male nerds, talking a lot about sex. Also one of the characters cosplays as Hitler in a character title image WHY WHAT.

Anime:
Snow White of the Red Hair (first 4 episodes): well made, fluffy, fairytale-ish wish fulfillment about a Miyazaki-esque feisty, hard working, sweet natured girl with unique red hair who overcomes adversity to strike her own path. Adversity seems to often take the form of dudes who are struck by her beauty but don't respect her agency, and she's usually rescued by her male friend who is clearly secretly in love with her but not saying anything because he respects her desire for freedom. In the first two episodes there's threats of being forced to be a concubine, but it's free of explicit sexualised violence or creepiness.

Books:

A Season for Scandal by Theresa Romain: This is an arranged marriage regency romance which was mostly quite enjoyable but occasionally so annoying I had to give up. Spoilers for why below the cut:spoilers for A Season for Scandal )

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