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    Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
    Don't flirt your fuzzy tail at me, you're still a fucking rat
    I have been keeping sacks of birdseed out on the clubhouse lobby, in the open air, convenient for access but sheltered from any occasional rain.

    Until some sharp-toothed sharp-brained creature that I take to have been a squirrel chewed through the plastic of the sack and chowed down on more than its fair share of seed.

    Since then I've been keeping the seed in a heavy plastic lidded bin. That'll show ya, squirrel, thought I.

    Until today, when I find the determined little sod has gnawed a hole all through the bloody plastic.

    So now I'm keeping it in the clubhouse, under lock and key. And cursing the sodding squirrel every time I have to fiddle with keys, from now to the indeterminate future.
    if you gotta play at garden parties i wish you a lotta luck.

    I bring you publications and stuff!

    THE BOOK OF SILVERBERG! Edited by Gardner Dozois and William Schaffer. Out next week. and full of stories and essays inspired by the work of Robert Silverberg. Including one by me!

    Table of Contents

    Greg Bear—A Tribute
    Barry Malzberg—An Appreciation
    Kage Baker—In Old Pidruid
    Kristine Kathryn Rusch—Voyeuristic Tendencies
    Mike Resnick—Bad News from the Vatican
    Caitlin R.Kiernan—The Jetsam of Disremembered Mechanics
    Connie Willis—Silverberg, Satan, and Me…
    Elizabeth Bear—The Hand is Quicker
    Nancy Kress—Eaters
    James Patrick Kelly—The Chimp of the Popes
    Tobias S. Buckell—Ambassador to the Dinosaurs

    Publishers Weekly liked it a lot, and gave it a review which included the following: "Standouts include Mike Resnick’s “Bad News from the Vatican,” which follows up on the idea of a robot pope, and Elizabeth Bear’s “The Hand Is Quicker” which explores the nature of addiction and perception in a society obsessed with virtual reality." 

    Lois Tilton at Locus reviewed it positively and says of my story, "...cynical move worthy of the master at his most depressing." (I have just been compared to Robert Silverberg and not found wanting. This is a career highlight.)

    And Library Journal says, “Standouts include Connie Willis’s adorably weird ‘Silverberg, Satan, and Me or Where I Got the Idea for My Silverberg Story for this Anthology’ and Elizabeth Bear’s bleak future of false facades ‘The Hand is Quicker.’ …These stories will resonate most with readers familiar with Silverberg’s work, often being playful riffs on his famous stories or novels, but the tales can be enjoyed on their own merits as well.” [full review not available online]

    Well done us, I'd say. It's available April 30th.

    Also out soon--May 13th!--is DEAD MAN'S HAND, an anthology of Weird West tales edited by John Joseph Adams.

    Table of Contents:

    Introduction—John Joseph Adams
    The Red-Headed Dead—Joe R. Lansdale
    The Old Slow Man and His Gold Gun From Space—Ben H. Winters
    Hellfire on the High Frontier—David Farland
    The Hell-Bound Stagecoach—Mike Resnick
    Stingers and Strangers—Seanan McGuire
    Bookkeeper, Narrator, Gunslinger—Charles Yu
    Holy Jingle—Alan Dean Foster
    The Man With No Heart—Beth Revis
    Wrecking Party—Alastair Reynolds
    Hell from the East—Hugh Howey
    Second Hand—Rajan Khanna
    Alvin and the Apple Tree—Orson Scott Card
    Madam Damnable’s Sewing Circle—Elizabeth Bear
    Strong Medicine—Tad Williams
    Red Dreams—Jonathan Maberry
    Bamboozled—Kelley Armstrong
    Sundown—Tobias S. Buckell
    La Madre Del Oro—Jeffrey Ford
    What I Assume You Shall Assume—Ken Liu
    The Devil’s Jack—Laura Anne Gilman
    The Golden Age—Walter Jon Williams
    Neversleeps—Fred Van Lente
    Dead Man’s Hand—Christie Yant

    This includes my story "Madame Damnable's Sewing Circle," the seed that eventually grew into Karen Memory (out from Tor next year). So if you'd like a little foretaste of that--and tastes of the Weird West from all these other wonderful writers--here's a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

    Publishers' Weekly is equally complimentary of this one, and calls my contribution "impeccably crafted." They've also got me gagging to read the Lansdale, Liu, and Williams contributions.


    Current Mood: excited
    Not a new grammar whiz
    Start/finish this clip from a magazine article any way you wish:

    "designed for the people professors at MIT"
    lioness currently undergoing minor repairs
    My neck has gotten worse again to the point that they couldn't actually work directly on the problem today, but sent me home after massage and some taping. (It makes me feel rather as if my head is taped on.) I'm in pain to the point of being really spacey; I almost walked -- no, I did walk in front of a car a little earlier today, and thank you, driver, for having good reflexes and I'm sorry for making you need to use them. Made it home eventually, triumphing over delays but using most of the day, and waiting for the buses in the cold rain.

    Today was therefore not a Big Mailing Day, but I do have hopes for tomorrow and/or Friday. Also there needs to be workbench, because there are excellent beads. But for right now there is going to be lying down, and possibly ice cream, and definitely some comics.
    Bringing you the best of Gothic New England since. . .
    Sometimes the real world outdoes anything the Gothic Imagination could, um, imagine:
    The latest promotion seeking donations to build a columbarium (such a gentle image--a dovecot, the last you'll ever need). Directly quoted:

    “Yes, you can come home” for those academy graduates and their spouses who choose to be inurned on the grounds of the Coast Guard Academy.

    I didn't even know "inurned" was a word.
    I learn how to speak a forgotten language
    (In which I draw too many conclusions from etymology.)

    Is the world of Ancillary Justice our far future? When people in this setting say human, do they mean Homo sapiens? It only occurred to me to wonder last night after I realized that Radch is cognate with Raj and Reich; before that I would cheerfully have assumed the story was taking place anywhere with comparably hominid sexual dimorphism, in the same way that secondary-world fantasies never worry about parallel evolution. I'm still not sure it's relevant. Nice way of embedding echoes, though.
    One week later.
    I find myself sort of halfway in the mood to make an entry. Besides, I have photographs. Spring is slowly, slowly rearing its head here in Providence, and yesterday we went out searching for it. The weather wasn't as warm as we'd been promised, because clouds began moving in, and there was a breeze. The slightest breeze is ice here. We visited bookshops at Wayland Square, had breakfast at the Classic Cafe on Westminster, and ended up at Swan Point Cemetery, where we did, in fact, see a flock of swans in the choppy waters of the dirty Seekonk River. The temperature was probably somewhere in the mid sixties for most of the day. It was warmer the day before, but I was working. Still, all in all, yesterday was a decent day.

    The "day off" came after several days of tedious work compiling the raw manuscript for Beneath An Oil-Dark Sea: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume Two). I'm calling it Boads, for short. It probably would not be possible for me to exaggerate the tedium. But now I have a ms. to work with, 216,556 words long, 718 pages. At some point, I actually have to print this beast.

    Here's something you need, The Teeth of Sea and Beasts - The Poetry of Brown Bird.

    Here are the photographs, behind the cut.

    22 August 2014Collapse )

    Until the Next Time, Infrequently,
    Aunt Beast

    Current Mood: glum
    Clackety clack
    Images of typewriters -- ancient black pillared ones, newer ones, Olivetti portables, Selectrics -- now stand as symbols or signs for writers, writing, the writing life. It used to be pens -- quill pens, glass pens, steel pens, then fountain pens of varying splendor. That was when typewriters could only symbolize journalism or screenwriting, up-to-date and not evocative.
    Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
    good things
    1. Slept much better than I have lately after discussing self-soothing strategies and taking a bath (for which I cleverly rigged lighting so I could read Year of the Griffin in the tub despite my terrible bathroom configuration).

    2. I do not understand how this happened, but this happened:

    [image of a huge mechanical crane with its front wheels entirely off the ground]

    3. Rainbowgrads is updating their constitution. I am so happy that my little organization is still holding together and doing things!

    4. Cracked myself up with my own reaction to these vaginal fingering techniques when I got to "Cervix Clock" -- I made a terrible face, squirmed, thought "ewww noooo", and actually crossed my legs. (This undermines all my grand pronouncements about having a reaction-filter pretty thoroughly, doesn't it?) Some of the others were just like "who came up with THAT?" and the cumulative effect of the whole strangely creative and specific page had me crying with suppressed laughter (because of course I was reading this at work).

    5. More crying at work, courtesy of Greg Rucka. "I am the father of a daughter, and she is my light, and she shines, and I want for her every-fucking-thing she desires, and I want those things for her earned, not given; I want for her the reward of effort. I want for her inclusion. I want for her validation. I want for her a world that recognizes her worth as a human being." YES. That fiercest love. (Emphasis mine.)

    This entry was originally posted at Respond wherever you like.
    But I haven't had breakfast or a cup of coffee
    Fifty years ago today, the 1964 World's Fair opened in Flushing Meadows. Both of my parents remember going, separately—my mother was eighteen, my father twelve. My grandmother had put aside half dollars until she had enough to pay the admission fees for her three children and give them each ten dollars to spend. My mother vividly remembers eating Belgian waffles for the first time. (My father had texted me with news of the anniversary earlier today: the waffle part, specifically.) In honor of the Brussels waffles of 1964, derspatchel and I tried to go out for Belgian waffles tonight, but all of the usual suspects—SoundBites, the Toast—were closed. We ended up at iYo, where Rob skilfully negotiated the DIY waffles (hey, with mention of the World's Fair) and I put a bunch of strawberries on green apple frozen yogurt (it worked for me). I am baffled by the apparent citywide assumption that no one wants waffles after nine at night. It's like bagels at four in the morning. Doesn't everybody?

    Earlier in the day I was at Porter Square Books, where two very nice things occurred.

    First, I discovered—and pounced upon, and purchased before it could vanish—the first anthology of modernist poetry I've seen whose biographical notes openly discuss H.D. as polyamorous and bisexual. Her relationship with Frances Gregg is given equal weight with her relationship with Ezra Pound: "another young poet . . . similarly intense and romantic." Mention is made of the brief period in 1910 when both women were involved with him. Bryher in 1918 is introduced as "a young novelist" rather than the more usual and dismissive "heiress"; her relationship with H.D. is unambiguously "lifelong." The table of contents is missing her own poetry, sadly, but it does include one of Gregg's poems to H.D.—I hadn't even known that existed. I wish the afterword had not persisted in referring to H.D. by her given last name rather than her chosen initials, but at least it doesn't make the same mistake with Bryher. There's more to be acknowledged and celebrated there, but it's a better start than Norman Holmes Pearson. And I am sure this is not the most intersectional collection of poems that could have been chosen out of the Modernist movement, but there are queer women in it, women of color, disabled women, women with differing degrees of education and profession, women who had children and didn't, women who died young and didn't, Jewish women, Dadaist women, women I'd never heard of; there are sixteen of them selected for this book and all of them wrote. I'm looking forward to spending more time with them.

    Second, I picked up a copy of Ellen Datlow's Lovecraft's Monsters. I hadn't seen the table of contents before. (It's a very tempting one. I need a better book income.) It reprints a poem I published. That has never happened to me before and I am curiously cheerful about it.

    I need to write a pastiche of Dorothy Parker. I want to conclude with the following true fact:

    "And I just got spam from Romania."
    All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray
    Which is strange enough for the end of April. Green points on the lilac bush, brown catkins falling from oh I assume they're maples; but the sky and wind is still November.

    We're in the middle of a low-grade ongoing crisis at work, which means all hands to the pump, so I stop thinking of me as someone with leisure time and start thinking of me as a body that works and sleeps. This makes the world look very different. (What makes the world really different is not thinking about the stuff I usually think about, like work as it usually is, or what shall I read next, or can I afford the calories in this cookie.) Half of me longs for the fleshpots of Infinite Time, unsatisfactory though they are; the other half is intrigued by this malleable reality where all I qua I can do is arrange to get enough sleep every night, and live minute by minute the rest of the time. Add to this a personal low-grade crisis of my own, which is a Schroedinger's Crisis: can't tell if it exists or not unless I ask someone, which is the action that will precipitate it into existence if it has the potential to be so and is not totally in my head. (I realize this is obscure. Schroedinger's Crises generally are, by definition.) That too sucks up a lot of the stuff I usually think about.

    So I sometimes wonder what this November April would look like if I were myself- would I be moved to write? to study Chinese?- but mostly I accept the views it gives me in passing. Which, however fragmentary and contextless, are at least different.
    Will's Eve
    Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to-morrow.

    What have been your most vivid experiences,
    hearing, seeing, reading Shakespeare?

    Among so many others, I remember an idyllic Edwardian Love's Labours Lost, on a lawn by the river Cam, under the willows (there were strawberries and cream in the interval); that black-and-white galliard at the close of Twelfth Night; that Macbeth in the mud in an abandoned church, for the witches in unsaintly niches and all the candles of Tenebrae.  And I remember reading straight through the Penguin Shakespeare, one cold wet Christmas in Wales, with interludes for stone circles.

    Aiko needs two Rimadyl a day for the rest of his life. He weighs 72 pounds. I can fill the prescription at the vet's office for $2 per pill. Twice a day. For the rest of his life.

    I can get a three-month supply from an online vet store for $250, only $1.40 per pill. Or substitute a generic for <$1 per pill. I did that once. Then my vet decided to stop sending prescriptions to online vet stores, because they don't know where those people source their pills.

    Fortunately, the town I live in has a vet supply store, whose prices are comparable to the online vet store. Unfortunately, the bottle they sold me today is close to its expiration date. They gave me a discount and explained that Pfizer is trying to force out the generics by refusing to let a store carry Rimadyl if it also carries generic carprofen.

    The online vet store still has both, so I can get a paper prescription from my vet and fax it to the online store. If I believe that my vet was blowing smoke about the safety of buying vet meds online.

    Guys, patents are intended to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. Not in perpetuity. Not unless you can track down the originators of everything you used without inventing it, and reward their heirs in proportion to the usefulness of their discoveries.

    Between Steerswomen and wizards, I pick Steerswomen.

    This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
    Writing Update w/ News

    As many of you know, the Spiritwalker Trilogy is complete, together with two coda stories: The Secret Journal of Beatrice Hassi Barahal (with the most awesome illustrations by Hugo-nominated artist Julie Dillon) and The Courtship (told from the point of view of Andevai). I have a few more Spiritwalker short stories in progress, including one that involves . . . babies (for those of you that like that kind of thing). Again, thanks to all of you who have so enthusiastically read Cat’s story (and to those who read it and were more lukewarm; honestly, I appreciate people reading my books however it goes.)

    For my two latest projects I have been working on a YA fantasy (which will be published as a YA and not in the adult sff field) and a new epic fantasy (first of a series).


    COURT OF FIVES is now the more official title of the YA fantasy formerly known as MASK (not yet fully confirmed but I think this is going to be it). It is fully revised and in production for a Summer 2015 publication date (the wheels of production grind slowly in YA publishing; they like lots of lead time to promote their titles).

    This is the “Little Women meet the Count of Monte Cristo in a fantasy world loosely inspired by Greco-Roman Egypt” story that I’ve mentioned before. I wanted to write an epic fantasy that centered around girls, and telling it through the story of four sisters struck me as absolutely the way to go. In my dry, laconic way I am TOTALLY EXCITED about this book. It is definitely the fastest paced and most streamlined thing I have ever written, without losing the details and (I hope) complexity that I love.

    (A younger) Hideo Muraoka would be pretty close to my head canon for the love interest:



    Meanwhile, I have turned in a draft of THE BLACK WOLVES to Orbit Books. This is the first volume of an epic fantasy series and, again, I wanted to center a story around women (3 of the 5 point of view characters are women and their points of view get about 75% of the page time in this volume). Having said that, I should note that I believe all the characters are great and (I hope) varied.

    Here is the current description:

    He lost his honor long ago.
    Captain Kellas was lauded as the king’s most faithful servant until the day he failed in his duty. Dismissed from service, his elite regiment disbanded, he left the royal palace and took up another life.
    Now a battle brews within the palace that threatens to reveal deadly secrets and spill over into open war. The king needs a loyal soldier to protect him.
    Can a disgraced man ever be trusted?

    I know, I know, it seems like it’s all about a dude, but trust me on this. Not that I have anything against dudes! I am sure that 50% of the characters in this book are men and I love each and every one of them. Especially Captain Kellas.

    THE BLACK WOLVES is also currently scheduled for 2015.


    Finally, I have a forthcoming collection of short fiction (and four essays) coming out with Tachyon Publications, to be titled THE VERY BEST OF KATE ELLIOTT. (Truth in advertising: it is actually “all the short fiction Kate Elliott has written in her career so far except for a couple of Spiritwalker-related stories and with the addition of two new novelettes to sweeten the deal”).

    Much more on that later.

    Mirrored from I Make Up Worlds.

    between the cracks and hollows, the earth is good
    Busy busy busy busy busy.

    redbird's weekend visit was lovely, in a low energy sort of way with much Scrabble and quiet companionship and also wandering around the Botanical Gardens yesterday, despite my back acting up some. This week's plans include the third season of Slings and Arrows and general pausing for breath, as it looks like the kitchen-fixing person will be here the following week. (Starting at 0700 each day. I sigh dramatically.) Train ticket for NY purchased. Planning mail to Uncle J sent. (My brother fomorian was involved in the 1000th anniversary Battle of Clontarf re-enactment/celebration on Friday and it would appear such of my family as were there had a great time.)
    The soldier
    In the Times there is an article about Emma Edmonds, who fought for two years as a soldier in the Civil War, dressed as a man.

    As it happens, today is also the launch of P.G. Nagle's A Call to Arms, a novel based on Emma's experiences. I started reading it, and found myself seriously sucked in. Nagle not only nails the period, she convincingly evokes the sensibility of a woman of that time, but one who has chosen to step outside certain of society's supposedly iron rules while being faithful to others.
    "It would not be logical"
    Recently I read yet another book where the character I most identify with ended up sad and alone after the death of her beloved partner. Reader, I am fucking done with these books. DONE. Done done done.

    If you nodded along to Ferrett's post about how the "logic" underpinning all-white and all-male award nomination lists is suspect, then nod along to this. Every time a lesbian dies, every time a wife is widowed, every time a mother grieves the death of her child, every time rape is used to define a woman's character, it serves the story that the author wanted to tell--the story the author chose to tell. And I am no longer content with "it makes sense in the context of the story" as an explanation or an excuse. That "logic" is just as suspect.


    Tell stories where it doesn't make sense for her husband or wife to die. Tell stories where her child dying is unfathomable. Tell stories where women live happy fulfilling lives. Tell stories where women find love and don't lose it again. Tell stories where women and their bodies aren't treated like objects.

    Tell stories where women are happy, where a woman's happiness makes sense in the context of the story, where a woman's happiness serves the story, where a woman's happiness is integral to the plot. Tell stories where women's hearts and minds and bodies and families and vocations are healthy, and treated with respect by other people.

    Tell stories where women are happy.

    This should not be such an outrageous suggestion. But take a look at recent SF/F, at the books that get awards, at the books that get talked about, and it is entirely and utterly radical.

    Tell stories where women are happy. I dare you. And I'm begging you, please. I can't handle any more unhappy women. I can't. It's why I read romance more than SF/F these days. I don't identify as a woman anymore, but that doesn't stop me from identifying with women, and they are all so sad and I can't do it. Stop showing me how tough and realistic your grimdark is by making the women as miserable as the men. Stop showing me how exciting and dangerous your space adventure is by putting the women through as many trials as the men. I believe you, okay? It's tough and realistic, it's exciting and dangerous, I believe you, you can stop now.

    It will be hard the first few times, because it's so alien, this notion of women's happiness. But you'll get used to it, once you can adjust your ideas of what's "logical".

    Tell stories where women are happy. Go on. Give it a try.

    You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.

    Current Mood: sad
    Short Story and Crops
    Baen tells me that the Kothifir short story will be posted on the Baen website May 15.

    I'm still struggling to get traction on the next novel, despite some 30,000 words of notes.
    Rght now, I'm wondering what damage if any a late spring hail storm might do to crops and/or planting.  Any ideas?
    Various things from Minicon weekend

    First, I am pleased to say that my essay, “The Apple and the Castle,” will be appearing as one of the supplemental materials in the book, The Reader: The War for the Oaks. Get yours through the Kickstarter if you’re interested in gorgeous photos or me talking about what makes for a lasting fantasy classic, especially in the handling of setting.

    Other good stuff happened besides me selling an essay. I was on a map panel that went pretty well, I thought, despite everyone on the panel being pro-map. (Panels often have a little extra frisson if the panelists disagree a bit more.) I want to particularly point out that while three of us writer panelists were traditionally published at one length or another, the two who were self-published-only were models of how self-published authors should conduct themselves on convention panels. They confined their remarks about their own books to the relevant and interesting, and they talked about other people’s work in on-topic ways, just as a good panelist ought. Later in the convention I encountered both of them, and one didn’t try to sell his book to me at all, while the other did–at a launch party I attended of my own free will, knowing that it was a launch party. Going to a launch party expecting someone not to be trying to talk up their book would just be dumb; that’s what they’re for. So as a result, I came away from it with warm positive feelings about both self-published authors, while I have no idea about the contents of their books, and I’m going to link them both here: Ozgur Sahin and Blake Hausladen. Well done, guys; that’s how to do it right. If this is what the rise of the self-published author brings programming at future cons, it’s going to be awesome. (I expect that this is not actually the case and self-published authors are as much a mixed bag as traditionally published authors. Ah well; at least I had a good panel.)

    The middle-grade panel was less focused than the map panel, but several good names got discussed–Mer, everybody likes you–and our surprise last panelist got through her first panel ever without too much difficulty. (She was 14. First panels ever are hard.)

    Alec’s and my reading went beautifully–not a huge crowd, but not a tiny one either, especially given that it was scheduled over the dinner hour. Timprov was a hero of the revolution in bringing us hot soup so that we were fortified before the reading.

    A question came up in conversation at the book launch party, and I wanted to address it here, and that was: why don’t I post reviews of the books I get sent for review but do not finish? The dual entity known as James S. A. Corey was on Twitter just yesterday saying, “Writers: if people are bashing your work online, rejoice. It means someone has noticed it exists,” and I think that was the basic premise of the writer asking why I don’t post negative reviews: that negative press is still better for the smaller writer than no press. This is probably true. An individual post saying, “I stopped reading this on page one due to clunky prose,” or, “Rape scene chapter one, quit reading,” would still bring at least some attention to the book, and not everybody has the same taste in prose or the same distaste for chapter one rape scenes that I do.

    However. I do not get paid for my reviews. My time is valuable, and my time is my own. Any time that I spend on writing reviews is my choice, and I don’t choose to spend that on books that didn’t hold my attention to the end. I am not long on time and energy. I would rather spend that time on my own writing, or on reading something else, or on staring at the birch tree outside my office window and willing the leaves on it to bud out, or on making my godson brownies, or…yeah. Things. “How long could it take?” Oh trust me. I bounce off a lot of books. It could take quite some time. Adding in discussion with people in the comments section, especially if those people want to try to talk me into reading a little further? It could really take quite some time.

    Reviewers are good for writers, but reviewers do not exist to be good for writers. Reviewers are good for readers, but reviewers do not even exist to be good for readers. It is awfully nice that people send me free books to review. I am grateful. But what they are buying with the free book is the chance at my attention, and if they can’t hold my attention, they don’t get my time in the form of my reading or in the form of my review. Even if it would be useful to someone else.

    Laura's Wolf is a werewolf romance novel written by a friend, so I am not a hundred percent objective in this review; on the other hand I am generally a super hard sell on werewolf romance tropes (alphas! obligatory pack dominance dynamics! UGH WHY) so perhaps this balances out my partiality?

    Anyway: I enjoyed it a lot! Excellent airplane read, except for the part when we hit turbulence and I could not stop myself from thinking, "well, if this plane crashes and I am found with a Kindle frozen to a werewolf sex scene clutched in my cold dead hands, I suppose that will be some kind of karmic justice for my life as I have chosen to lead it."

    Laura's Wolf, first in the series WEREWOLF MARINES (does what it says on the tin!) is about a werewolf veteran named Roy with PTSD and an ex-con-artist named Laura with different PTSD. When Laura meets Roy, he is on the run from a shady government agency, has been homeless for a few months, and is living in her dad's garage cabin.

    LAURA: So ... you're a werewolf. Any ... irresistible compulsions to bay at the moon or go savage young ladies in the woods at night ....?
    ROY: Actually, the biggest problem right now is that I don't seem to be able to tolerate bright lights and loud noises and light-up screens anymore, which makes me SUPER UNEMPLOYABLE. :(

    I loved this! I love that the werewolf stuff is as much about disability and access concerns as it is about magic werewolf superpowers, and is really well tied into Roy's PTSD and the fact that reintegrating into civilian life was always going to be hard anyway, werewolf stuff or not. (There are definitely some magic werewolf superpowers involved too, of course.)

    In general I enjoy the majority of the werewolf mythology stuff in the novel, which is clearly chosen to emphasize TEAMS and FRIENDSHIP and AVOID SKETCHY GENDER STUFF LIKE THE PLAGUE. I feel like it's been so long since I've read a werewolf story that didn't instantly put my hackles up! And I like the relationship, which as it builds becomes very much about mutual liking and respect and earned trust.

    In fact I only have two real quibbles. The first is just generally a frequent romance novel quibble of mine, which is the thing with INSTANT SUPER MEGA ATTRACTION BETWEEN TWO HOT PEOPLE. (Laura is plus-sized and therefore less conventionally hot to outside eyes perhaps -- which is a fact I appreciate, by the way! -- but the first time Roy sees her he is still like "OH WOW WHAT A HOTTIE I WISH WE COULD MAKE OUT RIGHT AWAY," so the point still stands.) But this is such a requirement of the genre that I can't really complain about it, even though my personal preference is ALWAYS for romance where the participants first look at their Designated Love Interest and are like "...uh, they're OK, I guess?"

    The only other thing is that -- with apologies to the author -- I just cannot believe that any human being naturally smells like lemon meringue pie.

    This entry is cross-posted at Livejournal from Please feel free to comment here or there! There are currently comment count unavailable comments on Dreamwidth.
    "So Eden sank to grief, / So dawn goes down to day. / Nothing gold can stay."
    I sometimes think I fail at projecting a sufficiently arty personality, or at least sufficiently artsy.

    Some anamorphic art installations. (via)

    Smoking genderbent animated-character fanarts -- I think I like Howl & Sophie best, but Ariel also comes off pretty well. Compare also these Disney princesses drawn a la Alphonse Mucha. (via & via)

    Drone-shot aerial footage of New York. Not a timelapse but in some ways just as good. (via)

    I sometimes also wonder, Sufficient for what?


    Subject quote from "Nothing Gold Can Stay," Robert Frost.
    "Dona nobis pacem"
    Today was a lot better than yesterday. X fought off gluten-poisoning to meet me after work and brave the perfumed chaos of BB&B, and we got curtains and curtain rods and various other useful things. We took a cab over to the new apartment and installed curtains and were happy.

    I got some hooks that hang off of cabinet doors (super useful!) and while I was figuring out which doors to put them on, I realized that I hadn't yet had a chance to ask X the all-important question of "which drawer do you assume the silverware is in?".

    R: Hey, I have a question for you that I asked Josh already.
    X: Yes, I will marry you.
    R: *stammers and blushes and grins like a fool for several minutes*

    We held each other in our new kitchen and it felt like home, our home, our family home.

    And then I asked about the silverware drawer and we both felt (as J had) that it should be one of the middle ones because towels go nearest the sink and cooking utensils go nearest the stove. We all tend to be very in tune around things like that. It makes things so lovely and easy.

    Later on, as we were walking back to the old place from the subway:

    X: Huh, there was something I was going to ask you...
    R: Yes, I will marry you.
    X: Well, FINALLY. I've been waiting for ages!

    And there you have the difference between the two of us. :) But it's just a different kind of in tune, really. Sappiness and silliness, melody and harmony.

    Just five more days.

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    Current Mood: loved
    "Fezzik, you did something right."
    Fun things, Apr 17: idea, that was a million years ago
    Apr 18: went by the new place after therping and immediately felt less stressed
    Apr 19: packing party! and then dinner with J, and another trip to the new place, and watching The Princess Bride with X
    Apr 20: another nice dinner out with J, and companionable packing with X
    Apr 21: X and I got curtains and other things at BB&B and installed them (except the shower curtain rings, which are too big for the grommets on our shower curtain)

    Yes, all the joy in my life right now comes from packing and interior decorating. This will be true for another few weeks at least.

    Media log:

    33) The Princess Bride. (Movie.) Rewatch, of course. It remains brilliant, but I kept thinking "This scene is better in the book!" and now I want to reread the book. Cary Elwes is so young. I continue to ship Humperdink/Rugen like whoa.

    I mean, what is there to say about it, really? We've all seen it a billion times. It's one of the wittiest and most quotable scripts ever written, Wesley castigating Buttercup for marrying someone else after she thought he was dead is kind of tiresome (especially given all his later assertions about true love--if it's Meant to Be and all that, why did he ever doubt her?) but over quickly, the acting is phenomenal even if Mandy Patinkin's broad Spanish accent is cringeworthy these days, and I will always love the fencing scene to tiny little itty bitty pieces. I appreciate Andre the Giant more than ever--his Fezzik is such a wonderful portrayal of a man who's not nearly as short on brains as everyone else thinks he is, and is more bighearted and noble than anyone else imagines, a perfect paladin minus the armor--and Wallace Shawn is incomparable. Carol Kane and Billy Crystal are so splendid that you barely stop to wonder how a couple of Brooklyn Jews ended up working miracles and eating MLTs in Florin. They're all marvelous.

    Except, oddly, Robin Wright, who is wooden and one-note throughout. But she's given far less to work with than anyone else in the film; Buttercup really is the dolt that Fezzik is supposed to be, with no redeeming qualities except for her perfect breasts. Note that literally none of the famous quotable lines are hers. She's the straight man for Wesley's wisecracks, and then she sets him up to die away from her because she can't bear him dying in front of her. Inigo immediately knows that the cry of ultimate suffering is Wesley's; Buttercup is baffled by it. Her one shining moment is "You never sent those ships", and that realization is so completely belated that all I could do was roll my eyes. I'm surprised Fezzik remembered to steal a horse for her, given that she's more of a quest object than a person.

    Oh well. All the men and Carol Kane are great, anyway.

    One intriguing side effect of spending so much time doing literary criticism is that I was totally fascinated by the grandson arguing with the book whenever it diverged from his culturally mediated expectations of a fairy tale. "You got that wrong, grandpa!" He hates "kissing books" but he knows enough about romance conventions to know that Wesley has to get the girl and Humperdink has to die (and he's so mad when his grandfather tells him that Humperdink lives--that's not how it's done!). It's a fascinating little study on how quickly and thoroughly children absorb the tropes we feed them, and it helps to make up for the movie being more of a fawning homage to cliché than a sneaky send-up.

    Verdict: The book is better. (Not least because it is much more of a sneaky send-up, including the greatly superior ending.) But the movie is still great.

    For FutureKid: share, tolerate, discourage? I expect we'll wear out the DVD. I plan to read them the book, too. Including the descriptions of the boring parts.

    34) My Real Children by Jo Walton. (Book.) NOTE: The following contains spoilers, and also a major spoiler for the Small Change books (Farthing/Ha'Penny/Half a Crown). If you don't want those, stop reading now.

    Spoilers ahoyCollapse )

    Verdict: Annoying verging on upsetting.

    For FutureKid: share, tolerate, discourage? Tolerate. It's not inherently offensive or objectionable. It's just not in any way my thing.

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    Current Mood: stressed
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