alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)

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: Torchwood spoilers for various episode numbers: Jack dies (torchwood spoilers)
I am too sore to draw or concentrate right now, so have some reviews and stuff.

Finally got around to reserving some of my backog of recs through the new library, and then perused the shelves while my chair recharged.

Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang: was enjoying this noir-ish urban fantasy about a hard bitten young woman well enough then SOMETHING BAD HAPPENED TO A LITTLE GIRL and I stopped. May try and find out if the little girl ends up ok, since it was otherwise ok.

The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees: Oh godddddd this was bad. I mean, maybe it'd be fun if you thought Twelfth Night needed more Feste but less jokes and didn't like ANY OF THE ACTUAL MAIN CHARACTERS. But personally I am not in the market for a joyless darkier and edgier sequel about Viola's daughter where all the characters I like screw things up and die tragically or screw things up and become moustache twirling villains and Feste becomes a perfect angel of insightful genius and NOONE EVER TELLS ANY JOKES. She even managed to take the fun out of crossdressing and lesbians :( (People need to stop doing that) Gave up 1/5 of the way in.

Knave's Wager by Loretta Chase: fluffy old school regency romance about a rake falling for an uptight widow. Exactly what it says on the tin, but fun for what it was. No egregious racism and surprisingly sympathetic to the scheming courtesan the hero is working against (much more morally complex than The Fool's Girl, that's for sure, and without all the self important pretension)

Manhatten Dreaming by Anita Heiss: Just started this. Chic lit with an aboriginal heroine. So far ok but I'm not really a fan of the genre, so we'll see how I do.

Fire Logic by Laurie J Marks: Fantasy novel set in a pseudo-medieval world with Avatar The Last Airbender-esque elemental magics. Ok so far, I can't remember what in the recs I read made me decide to read it (WOC main-ish character?), but sadly there does not seem to be any mathematical logic involved :(


The Thrilling Adventure Hour: The over the top retro radio serial everyone keeps going on about. Have listened to the first few episodes and it is pretty fun.

Chinese History Podcast: Accessible but idk...gave me a weird uncomfortable feeling. Not sure I'll stick with it. I did learn some things about the first Chinese emperor.


Fresh Pretty Cure: FINALLY got around to trying this out. It is exactly as promised, a competent and endearing magical girl show with femslashy female friendships and no creepy fanservice. There's also the hints of some delicious ho-yay :D

(And woo, while writing this the heater kicked in and I am ever so slightly less sore. Also the cat is happy)
alias_sqbr: (bookdragon)
Was linked Silly Novels by Lady Novelists by George Elliot and was put very much in the mind of snarkily amusing but overgeneralising (EDIT: and problematic) posts about Mary Sues and the portrayal of women off metafandom. Probably got her lots of narky comments letters, too :)

Lots of dodgy gender and class issues (she is such a grammar snob. Sadly we cannot see what I get the impression was some amusing satirical typesetting) but she puts in some digs against sexism and classism too. She even take a dig at American vegetarians. I looked it up and at that point she was not only not out as a woman, but hadn't actually published anything yet, which puts her choice to rant about women writers in a different context.

Having read a bunch of modern romances set in the 18th/19th century it's always interesting to read snark about romances from those eras written by a contemporary (see also "Northanger Abbey").
alias_sqbr: Asterix-like magnifying glass over Perth, Western Australia (australia 2)
1) Our web server is going down for a week to protest the $^%&$& internet filter omg. This is more Cam's protest than mine but I'm in favour of it and I thought anyone who might encounter the website should realise it's down on purpose.

2)I just finished Disk 1 of The First Australians. It's a sobering antidote to the view of history and colonialism in stuff like regency romances and Avatar. It's a bit slow, but the choice to tell the stories of individuals, as much as possible in their own words or from the POV of their descendents, and let the facts of history come up naturally when relevant rather than dryly telling the "overall" narrative from on high makes it very compelling. It's often very sad of course: so many leaders as brave and determined as any Braveheart whose works are thoughtlessly destroyed by the settlers and government. But they also make a point of telling the stories of the modern descendants who have overcome the odds to preserve and celebrate their culture (including Aboriginal Tasmanians, despite "common knowledge" being that they all died out) . I've been watching it in bits over a month or so while I sew.

I know this sort of thing normally goes on my dw but it's so specifically Australian I deiced it should go on the journal with more of an Australian readership.
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
Researching for Wedding is Desiny I came across Letters to a Young Lady on a Variety of Useful and Interesting Subjects which basically consists entirely of book recommendations. Since both of my characters read a fair bit, and I start each chapter with a quote, this is a useful resource and I went through and wrote them all down and then added links where (a) I could find something and (b) could be bothered (ie not for the bible). I skipped the Biography, Art, and guides to other countries sections because I just don't care.

Yes, making lists is like a sickness with me.
Cut because I'm sure noone but me will find this remotely interesting )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
Seeing as I know very little of history, let alone gay history, I've been doing a fair bit of research for my story.

All the histories of lesbianism I could find basically said "First there was Sappho, then we don't know very much, then there was the late 19th century, etc". Via [ profile] nico_wolfwood however I came across Anne Lister and from there absolutely adorable story of The Ladies of Llangollen.

A pair of pretty young anglo-irish heiresses they fell in love in their teens, ran away together to Wales, and stayed in a big rambling strange old house until they died in their 80s. They became famous for their life-choice and lots of people came to meet them, after they died their house stayed a local attraction. In this 1840s book there's lots of quotes from various contemporaries about how they're odd but charming. They do tend to be a bit condescending, but personally I'd rather have people think I was cute than chase after me with pitchforks.

Also I've been listening to the History of Information podcast, about how the american postal service was originally meant as a way of cheaply delivering newspapers (and thus keeping the scattered population informed) Actual letters were just seen as a way of subsidising this, and thus were charged at a days wage per page. So people sent newspapers with coded messages encoded in them, by doodling "random" images or poking teeny holes in the letters etc, until the government gave in and made everything cost the same to post :)
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
I keep meaning to do this when I'm not in the middle of any, but I always am. So, since people often express surprise when I mention it, here is an as-now list of all the podcasts from Berkley I've been listening to in the order I listened to them.
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
Having finished my Phd and had some time for my brain to bounce back, I've been filling my brain with lots of different things, including history. The thing is, I find most history books to be either too dry and technical for my not-so-arty brain, or very conventional and uninteresting: all about the lives of kings and other rich white men, and tending to uncritically regurgitate the traditional and nostalgic ideas people already have with just a few glosses of extra facts. I think the desire to try to fit morally grey people like bushrangers and colonists into neat little good guy/bad guy boxes is one of the reasons I find my own country's history so unbearably dull.

One solution to this is to seek out histories which are explicitly from a more non-conventional viewpoint. Tony Robinson is about the only tv historian I can think of who does this, mainly with the lower classes, ie with his Worst jobs in history.

Beneath the cut: a synopsis of what I've found so far, including "The Homosexual History of Australia", "Damned Whores and Gods Police: the history of women in australia" and "Understanding Deaf Culture".
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
The Green Book: BBC content guidelines from the 50s

All impersonations need the permission of the people being impersonated and producers must reassure themselves that this has been given before allowing any to be broadcast.

As this Independent article says, some of this stuff would get decried as "political correctness gone mad" by a lot of people today. And some of it is just amusing :)

*has rant about how political correctness is just the modern form of politeness I will not go into here*
alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
Something I've seen a few people imply about the Stolen Generation, and something I used to believe myself, was that while regrettable it was just the result of an unfortunate combination of children taken into care being badly cared for in the past, and non-specified racism making government agents more likely to assume indigenous parents were incompetent.

While both of these factors come into it, afaict it went well beyond that (anyone who knows more about this is VERY welcome to pipe up)
EDIT: and they did! You're probably better off just reading the comments than my badly expressed blargle.

Most of this I got from Wikipedia and then this article.
In which I rant )

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