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.

Books:
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 :(

Podcasts:

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.

Anime:

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: Torchwood spoilers for various episode numbers: Jack dies (torchwood spoilers)
Attack the Block: very good scifi/thriller/comedy/horror/social commentary about a London street gang encountering an alien invasion. Just about at my limit of scariness though, I had to read a plot summary and stop every ten minutes or so to keep my anxiety under control enough to make it through. I still really enjoyed it, I was glued to the screen for much of it and while the scifi is minimal with cheap special effects it makes as much sense as it needs to. The characters are nuanced and engaging, and by the end of the film I had exactly the sort of cathartic happy/relieved feeling you want at the end of thriller/comedy/horror.

Fringe: I recently finished disk 4. I adore the main character, Olivia, she's the sort of emotionally restrained competent woobie cop main character who never gets to be female, and unlike Scully from Xfiles she's not constantly being proven wrong(*). The scifi is unselfconsciously ridiculous, and much of the show is cheesy, but I manage to suspend my disbelief. Not QUITE too scary for me, but not watched at night.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: Too much teen angst, not enough scifi, got bored and read a synopsis, didn't like the sound of it so didn't finish the movie. Other people like it so YMMV!

I went through a bunch of recs for Happy Same Sex Relationship Stories:

Wilby Wonderful: Slow, somewhat dour Canadian drama about a small island community. Some nice moments, and ends happily enough, but wasn't enough fun on the way to justify the journey.

Itty Bitty Titty Committee: I got a very little way into this before I was too irritated to continue. A conventionally attractive skinny young white girl sprays graffiti over a plastic surgery clinic and smugly frames the latina who works there as "backup", then she and her smug conventionally attractive skinny young white friends (Clits In Action, cis women plus one trans man, played by a cis woman) smugly opine about how they're fighting sexism by lecturing other women about how they're living their life wrong. HOORAY FOR QUEER CINEMA.

Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith: Did I review this already? Anyway, good, understated, slightly arty novel which loosely retells the myth of Iphis as a lesbian love story in Scotland, sort of. Intelligent and interesting and happy making, though don't expect a a Romance romance.

Thy Neighbour's Wife by Georgia Beers: Unobjectionable and incredibly dull lesbian romance novel. Flipped to the end, barely made it through the final chapter it was so dull.

(*)This isn't a criticism of Scully, I adore Scully. But watching what the show did to her was frustrating. The "scientists are wrong about everything" message got annoying too. In Fringe the scientists are right, they're just all mad scientists.
alias_sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Our internet went down so I just sat and typed, though I wrote the last little bit this morning and did some minor editing.

Title: News from the Sea
Summary: A short strange little fantasy storylet. Gen, G, no content notes. 1400 words.
News from the Sea )
alias_sqbr: "Creative genius" with an arrow pointing to a sketch of me (genius!)
Omg! Finally finished! Sure, he asked for a romance with a living city, and I gave a sort-of-romance-mostly-friendship with an AI, but CLOSE ENOUGH.

Title: The Heart of the City
Wordcount: 4800
Rating: G
Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Notes: For the [livejournal.com profile] the_s_guy's prompt: A being of unremarkable size for their species becomes romantically entangled with a living city. (I realise AIs aren't actually alive, but this is where my muse took me)

Summary: Maya never forgot that CC was a computer. But sometimes she forgot that ze wasn't a person.
Read more... )

Outland

Feb. 10th, 2012 11:50 am
alias_sqbr: Asterix-like magnifying glass over Perth, Western Australia (australia 2)
I just watched the pilot episode of Outland, the new Australian comedy show about a group of gay and lesbian science fiction fans, and it was great. Not perfect, but lots of fun. They even referenced Swancon! (It's set in Melbourne)

There is a moment when the black disabled lesbian character (I see what you did there show) turns up at the top of a flight of stairs without any explanation which was a bit jarring. But I'm willing to let it slide :)

Perople in Australia can see it on iView, the rest of you will have to be...creative. It's on Thursdays at 9:30 on ABC.
alias_sqbr: Torchwood spoilers for various episode numbers: Jack dies (torchwood spoilers)
I was discussing recent-ish tv shows that are worth watching with [personal profile] lilysea and said I'd try and think of some recs later when I was less sleepy. And then I thought I might as well make it a post, that way other people can suggest things/get suggestions.

Recently finished shows I enjoyed: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (anime), Wandering Son (anime)

I am currently into: Parks and Recreation, Community, Castle, Doctor Who, Sherlock (sort of)

I couldn't really get into: Glee, Once upon a Time, Game of Thrones, Pushing Daisies, Weeds, Sanctuary, Sarah Jane Adventures, Merlin, Nikita, Suits, New Girl, Person of Interest, No Ordinary family, Breakout Kings, Skins, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Dexter, Grey's Anatomy, Eureka, The Good Wife, Mad Men, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, 30 Rock

Shows I was into then went off: Downton Abbey, Lost Girl, Warehouse 13, Supernatural, Covert Affairs, Legend of the Seeker, Burn Notice, Psych, Bones, Smallville, Chuck, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Leverage, Being Human (UK), Lie to Me, Torchwood

Other people's recs that I intend to check out: Pretty Little Liars, Fringe, Breaking Bad, Switched at Birth, Sons of Anarchy, Boardwalk Empire, various DC Superhero related cartoons, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, various Korean dramas if I can figure out how to watch them, Jellyfish Princess (anime), Gintama (anime which I just realised is streaming free on Crunchyroll, woo!)

Shows I have heard mixed reviews about and don't intend to watch: Alphas, Misfits, The Borgias, Revenge, Hawaii 5-0, Homeland, Make it or Break it, Necessary Roughness, The Defenders, Terra Nova, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, Gossip Girl, Rizzoli & Isles, Grimm, Being Human (US), The Hour, Camelot

A couple of older shows in there just because I encountered them late :) Also, a lot of the shows I went off didn't get particularly worse over time, it's just that the novelty value of the formula wore off for me.

So, what are you watching and enjoying right now? What really obvious shows that are currently popular with geeks have I forgotten? (I wrote this at 5am, so I'm sure there are some)

EDIT: Watched the first episode of Gintama, it is REALLY SILLY. Also JUST started Capital Scandal.
alias_sqbr: Darkwing Duck (dw!)
There was a post on tumblr about the names people chose for their Mabari in Dragon Age. I started thinking of the various names I chose for mine, and decided my favourite was Mr Snuggles, belonging to my f!Cousland, named after a character I liked as a kid, Dr Snuggles. (Second favourite: Deathfang)

I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered that Peter Ustinov did the voice and Douglas Adams wrote for it! Here's one of the episodes he wrote, I was awash in nostalgia during the credits but the episode itself, while entertaining and science fictiony in it's way, wasn't SUPER familiar. I remember owning a picture book of an episode which mum later described as The Most Boring Children's Book Ever (I apparently made her read it to me constantly :D), after investigation it turned out to be The Astounding Treacle Tree. FAR less coherent but SO MUCH NOSTALGIA. Most of the plot points I remember finding confusing turn out to simply not make any sense. But there's slightly more female presence, including a lady robot I remember thinking was super cool. (Plus: clouds! Rainbows! Spaceships! Talking animals! No wonder I loved it)

It's weird noticing how 70s it all is, that sort of style was still fairly current during my early childhood so didn't stand out to me at the time.

Douglas Adams also wrote my favourite childhood Doctor Who episode (in which Romana is very geeky and there are complicated time shenanigans). I'm half expecting him to have somehow written my favourite Astro Boy episode too (the one with the girl robot who can lie. I found her FASCINATING. Youtube is being unhelpful, alas)

Anyway, I hope you are having an enjoyable and possibly slightly less nerdy new year's eve/day :)
alias_sqbr: Torchwood spoilers for various episode numbers: Jack dies (torchwood spoilers)
Under the cut: various tv and books and stuff. Because apparently I am too sleepy and dizzy to surf the internet or play glitch, but am awake enough to type a post?
Read more... )
alias_sqbr: calvin and hobbes with a duplicator, Copyright violation: ho! ( not intended to encourage copyright violation) (yay copyright)
Kaleidoscope treats and works are now live. This was a really nice challenge to work in, the mods went to a lot of effort to make it fun and easy, with lots of encouragement and resources and a lovely sense of community. I ended up only doing treats, but I got a gift anyway, hooray!

Here's a list of all the works organised by fandom. Absolutely no points for guessing which ones are mine.

My favourite work so far is Heterosis, a very intelligent follow-on to and queering of the Xenogensis trilogy.
alias_sqbr: Rose and the doctor (dw?)
Overall I thought it was ok.

Some spoilers, nothing very specific )

Here's an official River Timeline I came across, I may try fitting it together with the timeline I created at the end of last season, though all the rewriting of history makes it tricky.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
I've been in a really fantastic mood recently, I feel really optimistic and comfortable in my skin. It is VERY STRANGE.

[personal profile] emma_in_dream came over with her kids today which was great, I was a bit too sleepy to be very good conversation but there was much discussion of My Little Pony and eating of cherries and it was very nice.

Yesterday I decided to take a break from "Twelve Kingdoms: Skies of Dawn". She's deconstructing typical fantasy heroine by having a couple of female characters who are convinced that they are oppressed special snowflakes who Deserve To Be Saved From All This and slowly learn responsibility and perspective. Their journey can be painful to watch, especially since Fuyumi Ono is sometimes heavy handed with both the oppression they experience and the "Stop feeling sorry for yourself" rhetoric.

Random internet clicking led me to Demon Princess. And it sounds very silly and way too porny for me, but...cross dressing lesbians! Morally ambiguous demon women who Learn to Care! Sacrifice for the greater good!

So to distract myself I read The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer, a lesbian retelling of Hades and Persephone that I'd heard was good.

...and in this Persephone really is an oppressed special snowflake who Deserves To Be Saved From All This. She's nice enough, but spends the middle portion of the book being incredibly passive and dull with absolutely no life goals beyond pining after Hades (she is slightly more interesting by the end) It's the sort of romance where everything revolves around the two main characters and their feelings for each other, (eg the mortals are oppressed, but they're stupid helpless ingrates who just show how nice Hades is for helping them anyway) that's not my sort of thing but it's ok for the genre. The deconstruction of mythology was ok and certainly fit what I know of Greek myth, you don't have to deconstruct very much for Zeus to be a bad guy. Be warned the story includes both rape and attempted incest.
alias_sqbr: (bookdragon)
Twelve Kingdoms: Shadow of the Moon by Fuyumi Ono: Roughly the same story as the first arc of the anime, but without the extra characters of her schoolmates and only follows Yoko's POV. Otherwise very similar in broad strokes, but definitely different in ways I can't quite put my finger on. Anyway, I really liked it. Yoko's growth from passively trying to get everyone to like her to gaining backbone and determination is very compelling.

The books are apparently hard to get ahold of. This is the only one in the WA library system (and will be returned soon :)), here's a fan translation of the rest, I don't know if there's better out there.

The Theif by Megan Whalen Turner: I forgot to mention before but I wrote a spoilery rant about this book over on [personal profile] sqbr. Anyway, it's a good light fantasy about a loveable rogue on a quest in a well designed world based loosely on Greece, I mostly enjoyed it but certain aspects annoyed me. People told me the sequel is better and they were right.

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner: This hit so many of my buttons, though I can't really say why without spoilers. There are crunchy complex webs of power and human relationships, focussing very much on two queens trying to balance the needs of their countries with ethics and more personal concerns. Imagine Avatar the Last Airbender from Sokka's point of view with Mai-as-Fire-Lady vs Katara and no Zuko or Aang (or bending. And set in Greece. ok this metaphor has some flaws) Still has an unfortunate tendency to warp the narrative in order to play games with the reader that I generally saw coming, I wish she'd just tell her story and be done with it.
alias_sqbr: (bookdragon)
Although the basic plot seems to be the same, it is moderately different from the anime. I've heard some of the choices the anime made criticised, the one that's even more obvious reading the book is the bizarre choice to keep the plot point that Yoko's appearance changes, but not actually change her appearance. Here she is with "dark red-brown hair" and here she is with vividly bright red hair and completely different features (if you can't see the pictures: she has the same face and dark-ish red hair in both :))

But this really is a clunky translation. I'll see if I can dig up some of the better fan translations for the other books since they're not in the library system regardless.
alias_sqbr: Me on a couch asleep with a cat sitting on my lap top, with the caption out of spoons error (spoons)
Best wishes for any of you in London or anywhere else affected by riots or other scariness at the moment :(

[personal profile] djkittycat came over yesterday, it was really fantastic to meet in person and we had a nice long chat. I have to get better at remembering that when I'm feeling excited about talking to someone I feel more energetic than I really am, and need to force myself to sit down. My legs are not happy with me today, indeed they are not. (A similar effect caused a lot of peaks and troughs of energy when I had jobs involving public speaking)

I made a post over at sqbr about the marketing involving the female Shepard character in Mass Effect 3.

There's a fest for non-English speaking Dreamwidth users in the works.

Here is a cool Stargate cake that I am too lazy to submit as a post to [tumblr.com profile] nerdycookies.

I've been discovering the joy of the right sort of anonymous fannish discussion, see for example this femslash one at girlgay. Speaking of which....

Lost Girl season 2 teaser trailer! Woo! (Nothing actually happens in it apart from Bo sitting in an atmospheric white room playing a large music box. I'm just excited about it existing at all :))
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
I just finished all ten disks of the anime, and I really liked it (Thanks to everyone who recced it, and to [livejournal.com profile] bunny_m for lending me it). Parts of it dragged and certain aspects of the storytelling bugged me, but overall it was a really good fantasy story, with an engaging plot, detailed worldbuilding and compelling characters with complex relationships and genuine character growth.

There's no romantic plots apart from two unrequited things that are done with early on, but the platonic relationships between people are strong enough that I didn't miss it (I love when platonic relationships involving women are taken seriously ^_^) Speaking of which, there's a LOT of female characters, the show isn't perfect on gender but they're definitely central and taken seriously.
No spoilers, just some more description )
alias_sqbr: Darkwing Duck (dw!)
Quite possibly the most boring superhero film I have ever seen. The film is basically some vaguely interesting setup, and then a whole bunch of Captain America blowing up sort-of-Nazis (and if you want to see a recent superhero film involving killing Nazis, watch Xmen: First Class)

After some discussion Cam and I decided that Wolverine, Xmen 3 and even Spiderman 3 were more interesting, they may have wasted their potential with some irritating choices, but at least they didn't run out of potential in the first 45 minutes.

Spoilers, though if you've seen the trailer you already know almost the entire plot )
alias_sqbr: Dagna from Dragon Age reaching for a book (dagna)
Non spoilery comments: I liked it, though I didn't LOVE it like some people. Still, definitely worth playing. I recommend Varric, Anders, and if you can swing it one of your siblings, though there's cute banter for everyone. There's a lot of stuff about magic and demons etc (yeah, I know, when isn't there), so a character who cares about that stuff adds extra depth. I used a Templar type who was rivalmancing Anders and it was pretty great. I think if I play it again I'll bring my blood mage for contrast :D

As far as I can tell playing from a save after the end of the game can mess things up, the dialogue certainly doesn't seem to take it into account.

Spoilers! )
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Saw Harry Potter today. I quite liked it, they managed to keep pretty much everything I liked about the book and cut out most of the bits I didn't. It still dragged a bit in places and didn't feel as epic as I would have liked, but I still got all excited and sniffled etc at the requisite moments.

I recently read the original book of "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" by Nagaru Tanigawa, and I found I liked it less than the anime adaptation. This confused me since I couldn't see any major differences apart from being more linear and dryly understated. Eventually I realised that while I'm happy enough with highschool anime I'm much less interested in what felt like(*) a Young Adult novel from the POV of a 15 year old boy. Especially since Kyon is such a passive skeeze, I liked him more when I could enjoy watching bad things happen to him without having to be in his head.

That said, once it got going and stopped focussing quite so much on which of his classmates Kyon thought was the hottest it was a fairly enjoyable light scifi/fantasy story. It stops at the same place as the first season of the anime but has less plot, since the anime added in lots of extra hijinks which I assume come from the later novels.

I also bought the first new album I've bought in ages, Florence and the Machine's "Lungs", aka "The soundtrack to femslash". I have only encountered songs from it in the context of vids and fanmixes about the relationships between women (plus as the ending song to Dragon Age 2, which has plenty of such relationships too), and there are five different songs I've seen used in notable ways, some multiple times. I can see why, *insert the sort of lyric and music analysis I suck at here* Girl with One Eye is so perfect for Vriska/Terezi it's a little uncanny (though I find myself wondering how actual one eyed girls feel about the song) Anyway, I liked it, even just as music with no pretty pictures or context to go with it :)

(*)I imagine that Japanese literary genres are different than ours.

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