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: 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: Hannelore: Worry hat! Bravery plus 10, charisma plus 5 (worry hat)
Written to distract myself from the fact Cam will be leaving for a work trip in a couple of hours.

Movies:

Inside Out: Pixar cgi odd couple roadtrip movie about anthropomorphised emotions inside an 11 year old girl's brain. I really liked it! The overall theme is growing up and accepting change and negative emotions and I thought this was done pretty well, even if it was about sane, relatively well adjusted people and I had bittersweet memories of my own much less cheery childhood. The psychology felt plausible and was apparently pretty good, I can see children (mentally ill or otherwise) finding it a useful way to conceptualise things. It wasn't THE BEST movie ever but it was funny and cathartic and had WAY more female characters than pretty much any other Pixar film: the three main characters are the girl Riley and the two female coded emotions Joy and Sadness, and the secondary characters are Riley's parents and the other three emotions who are two guys (Fear and Anger) and a woman (Disgust). I now ship Joy/Sadness which was unexpected. Not especially subversive, or diverse asides from gender but...it's Pixar :/

TV:

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: All caught up! Season 3 ends in a pretty satisfying place, even if it dragged a little in parts. They even briefly remembered she has a dead sister! EDIT: Have been reminded that it was actually kind of cheesy and odd, even if I enjoyed it anyway.

Utena: Am slowly rewatching this every now and then at TV night, it's interesting now I (vaguely) know how everything fits together, and I'm enjoying it. The remastered animation is surprisingly crisp. I am also enjoying watching my unspoiled friend react to everything :D

Games:

Love Chronicles: The Sword and the Rose: replayed the first Hidden Object game from Big Fish I encountered, it was actually pretty fun, the shallow plot suited my need to just click a bunch of puzzles mindlessly, the art is mostly very pretty and I really like the "building wacky devices" puzzles.

Fairway: Finished it! Played it through again! Definitely worth $5 if you like solitaire with variations and increasing difficulty.

Hmmmmmmm I know there were more but I have blanked entirely.

Forever

May. 12th, 2015 11:42 pm
alias_sqbr: Torchwood spoilers for various episode numbers: Jack dies (torchwood spoilers)
Just finished the one and only season of this police procedural about an immortal medical examiner and I quite liked it! It's like a B-grade cross between Bones and Highlander.
No spoilers )
alias_sqbr: Darkwing Duck (dw!)
All caught up with what they have on Hulu and feeling a bit bereft, but looking forward to watching S/Season 3 week by week.

Overall I quite enjoyed R. Slightly less filler! More time travel! Less emphasis on all the girls swooning over boys, more on Usagi/Mamoru in particular. Once again I'd have enjoyed the romance more if it was written better, but it worked ok asides from Usagi's bizarre and disturbing jealousy of a six year old girl(*). On the plus side Mamoru himself finds the idea bizarre too and is just being a nice older brother/paternal figure but I could still have done without it. Also there was more incest subtext than I was expecting, which was a mixture of amusingly odd and disturbing.

The world building and plots continue to frequently be ridiculous.

But the main focus is friendship, responsibility, and love (not just romantic love! But more often romantic than not) Usagi has matured into a more sensible and less short sightedly selfish person, but her path to heroism is still pretty rocky and that makes the finales where she gives her all and triumphs all the more satisfying.

I've seen three episodes of S and am liking it so far. I've met the f/f couple Michuru and Haruka and adore them, especially the androgynous Haruka, she's a hot breath of fresh air in an otherwise incredibly heteronormative series. Apparently she's generally read as genderfluid in the manga but a butch woman in the anime, I can see both readings so far.

(*)Ok I don't know how old she is exactly, but definitely young primary school age.

More TV!

Mar. 19th, 2015 09:02 pm
alias_sqbr: Darkwing Duck (dw!)
Fresh Off The Boat: "Man gives voiceover of his childhood" sitcom about a Taiwanese-American boy growing up in the 90s. I watched the 4-5 episodes I could get to on Hulu and enjoyed it well enough but I'm not really into such a typical boy-growing-up narrative. The woman playing the mother is cute though >.>

Sailor Moon (original anime): Very dated and slow but enjoyable as 90% fluffy repetitive magical girl action/drama/comedy, 10% ongoing narrative. MUCH SLOWER than Crystal but overall much better. Even the 90s art style has grown on me, I like how cuddly and expressive it is. I could do without the ALL GIRLS LOVE ROMANCE AND WEDDINGS etc but I like how explicitly pro-girl it is, even if the definition of girl is old fashioned. I also love that Usagi is a female reluctant hero-because-of-fate-not-competence who freaks out and ignores her duties and falls for every pretty face, but is ultimately a good and heroic person. It's cool to find myself falling for all these characters I've been seeing fanart etc of for so long. I'm currently up to episode 39, apparently there's like 60 episodes to go until the canon f/f I was hoping to see before Swancon /o\

Yurikuma Arashi: Continues to be the Weird Lesbian Bear show. The worldbuilding is completely ridiculous and the fanservice gratuitous but I like the characters and find the plot and relationships compelling. Also there's SO MUCH FEMSLASH. This is the kind of show where you constantly feel like you're just about to understand everything, so I put off watching until there was a bunch built up and I needed to distract myself from some pain. It did a very good job of distracting me but now I want more! And the plot does seem to fit together pretty well in a bizarre sort of way. Note that there is a LOT of off screen sexualised violence, and lots of on screen...violentised sexiness.
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
A bunch of entertaining if implausible things. They all have female main characters but ended up being about dudes a lot of the time.

There Will Be Phlogiston by Alexis Hall: (which is free right now!) a short, unabashedly silly but goodhearted steampunk m/m/f romance. Had basically no plot, it was just a lot of the central dude going "So I really like you and you are obviously miserable let's have amazing sex and be happy" and both other LIs going "But you are common and I just CAN'T" and him sighing manfully before they realise the error of their ways and everyone lives happily ever after. Felt very fanfic-ish, I found myself thinking of it as teen!Viviene/Iron Bull/Dorian minus all the kink and political complexity (and with everyone white and human). Various conflicts etc are glossed over in favour of like 2 chapters at the end of pure cuddles and sex and found family fluff. The characters were slightly different from romance novel norms, the woman was genuinely kind of a jerk in a way only men usually get to be, and while the central dude was Super Manly And Large of the "even men want him" variety he was SUCH A SWEETIE deep down, his main flaw was feeling more like wish fulfilment for readers identifying with the two more prickly LIs than a real character in his own right. Note: the gay male LI experiences some pretty intense internal and external homophobia. Also, this is the 5th in a series, the world building could be confusing but I was happy just to let it wash over me, all you really need to know is that the central guy made his money as some kind of miner and the other two are upper class. I'm pondering reading some of the others but apparently they have phonetically spelled dialect and look a bit twee.

Trade Me by Courtney Milan: Poor, bitter Chinese American woman finds herself swapping lives with charming billionaire fellow college student. I liked this as a drama about two 20 somethings figuring out themselves and their families (the complicated relationship between the main character and her activist immigrant mother was REALLY well drawn) which explored class and stuff, but it didn't entirely click for me as a romance, I'm not sure why. Still it's been cool watching Courtney Milan push the boundaries of inclusiveness in romance novels more and more, the next book in this series is about the main character of "Trade Me"s trans woman best friend which sounds great.

Hatoful Boyfriend: finally finished this, I read a Lets Play a few years ago so knew the ending was intense and was kind of putting it off. Overall a great game for what it is: an increasingly cracky, bizarre, but surprisingly heartfelt parody of dating sims where all the love interests are birds. ALLLL about the dudes in the end but I mind less when it's pigeons. Has a lot more death and darkness and Weirdness About Illness than you might expect from the genre!

Agent Carter: The season finished in a pretty satisfying way. Not perfect (POC men largely exist to say one line then have something awful happen to them), but a fun 40s spy thriller/drama with some nice continuity within the larger MCU. I was happily surprised that they didn't go anywhere really awful with the canonically disabled character! They overdid people saying "you know Peggy will never date a cripple" but mostly he got to just be a flawed but mostly decent and competent guy whose disability was not his only defining feature. Would have been nice to cast an actual disabled person but I'm pretty happy with "neither evil nor faking".
alias_sqbr: Nepeta from Homestuck looking grumpy in front of the f/f parts of her shipping wall (grumpy)
Some more stuff I have watched and read recently! Links for those where you may want to see if they're as odd as they sound.

A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner: a sweet regency romance where the female lead is an ex sex worker! Also the secondary romance is m/m!! Longer review at my tumblr.

If you're judging me for that rec you should probably stop reading now.
finch girlfriends, bear girlfriends, magical boys, other )
alias_sqbr: (bookdragon)
Cam has been away for the last week and a bit which has meant I needed LOTS OF DISTRACTION. (And he is still away, so I shall distract myself by writing this post)
Books, tv, movies, games )

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