alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
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Cam is on a work trip so I have been on a so far largely unsuccessful quest for light fluffy romance to distract myself. This has taken me to some odd places.

TV:

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (US version on Netflix): I was all set to HATE an American Dirk Gently but I loved it. It's not based directly on the books at all, but has it's own weird, clever, darkly funny charm. It's one of those canons where the start is a seemingly unending series of seemingly unrelated scenes and the rest is all those threads coming together in a satisfying way. I enjoyed this aspect but Cam had to be persuaded to keep going past episode one. Does have some rather unfortunate treatment of disability, which didn't bother me too much but I can see why other people hated it. I made a photoset on tumblr about my OTP with some more squee.

Games:

Loop: a gentle puzzle game where you swap hexagonal tiles to form complete loops of colour. There was a bit of a lack of variety as I neared the end of the 100 puzzles but I enjoyed it and still play the autogenerated ones every now and then.

Shizuen I/O: Do you wish programming puzzle games had more dicking about with parts lists and worrying about space restrictions/electricity usage etc? Then you may enjoy this game more than I did. If trying to remember whether it's the MC4000, the DX300 or the 100P-14 that has data storage doesn't sound like your idea of fun then play SpaceChem or Human Resource Machine, where everything is nicely abstracted.

Webcomics:

Killing Stalking: A Korean webcomic about a serial killer keeping his stalker captive, with a moderate amount of m/m subtext. I kept seeing people talking about this but it did not sound like my sort of thing at all. But then I was very bored so I read some and SURPRISE I didn't like it. It's just really boring and bleak? Not shippy enough to be fun, not disturbing enough to be horrific, not psychologically interesting enough to be a thriller. The serial killer has a really hollow Sadistic Serial Killer Personality and his victims aren't interesting enough for the reader to feel much when they die. But "hollow serial killer murders hollow victims, protagonist struggles to survive" is a popular genre even if I find it unappealing. (Also: you're supposed to read it on a pay site but I didn't realise until I'd read enough on a pirate site to know I didn't like it, oops)

Books (in order of reading since that is it's own narrative):

That Potent Alchemy by Tess Bowery: A sort-of-regency erotica about a black non binary actor and a black special effects guy. I tend to avoid erotica but I could only resist the non binary protagonist for so long. And it's not bad but I ran out of steam after the first sex scene because there isn't enough romance to keep me hooked. Also the author was trying for cute banter but it just felt like her telling him to go away and him ignoring her boundaries. While I like both characters I don't really ship them or care that much about the plot, and tend to find sex scenes I don't feel shippy about squicky, so now that they've had sex and the UST is resolved I'm just meh. Still, it was nice reading a non binary protagonist. Author is obviously TRYING VERY HARD about diversity but I can live with that, even if I find "like the past but noone's bigoted" a boring setting (self hatred about sexuality is what makes regency fun!)

Once Upon A Marchess by Courtney Milan: Regency romance about a woman and the ex-fiance who made her family poor when he revealed her father's criminality. So annoying I was driven to try Killing Stalking, which I found less hollow and more shippy. Noone feels like a real person, just a collection of tropes saying Deep and/or Witty One Liners as they lurch from tired plot point to plot point. She's usually a really reliable author for me, even when I've not been grabbed by particular characters or relationships they didn't feel empty. I just tried reading it again and decided writing this post would be more fun, ugh.

Exog by Peale McDaniel: So this is basically tentacle catboy alien slashporn. Not my usual genre but I REALLY WANTED TO READ A ROMANCE and the rec was right there on my reading list. And it was actually ok! Very short for the price, and annoyingly sex=gender in it's worldbuilding but that seems to be a consistent blind spot for authors of queer sf. The author put more effort into worldbuilding than I expected (and not just into the sexual stuff haha). Resolved it's Lovers Torn Apart By Social Expectation conflict with a pretty sudden and half assed happy ending but was still, overall, one of the better fluffy interspecies romances I've read.
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