This was supposed to be my More Joy Day post and then my Day After More Joy Day + Snowflake Day 13 post but then I had a fever and the [community profile] ante_up_losers draft deadline jumped around and also Life Is Hard, so I'm only getting to it now. Anyway, here are some of my Opinions about various media objects, some fresh, some stored up, mostly positive, sometimes with caveats and lots of parentheses.

Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey: Disappointingly linear, to my tastes, and pretty sappy. Slow first half but picks up toward the end. Dystopian Mexico-Texas liminal near-future with genetically modified queer boxers hits a lot of my narrative kinks, but it's inaccurately marketed as paranormal romance (doesn't meet genre criteria but that's the easy ticket to success these days).

Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis: Re-read before mailing to my brother for giftmess; haven't heard yet what he thinks of it but I hope it got there alright. Internet-age noir, this novel happened because veteran comic writer and blogger Ellis wrote the first 10k words to get his accidentally acquired literary agent off his back, so he says, and then had to pull an ending out of his arse because she sold it immediately. This actually explains a lot: the aggressively strong start with no clear destination, the squishy middle, and the fizzly deus ex machina conclusion all suggest that this was never meant to be an actual book; even the distinctively kicky prose (Ellis has a way with words, elegant if not always pretty) slips a bit in the second half. You can easily give up after the scene on the airplane to Vegas (earlier if you want to skip the coercive saline infusion scene though you'll also miss the profoundly disturbing yet kinda hilarious events in San Antonio) and you won't miss much except more shock-value set pieces, transphobia, and previously disinclined characters playing idiot ball. That said, I do kinda like Trix (of course I do) and Mike is not bad as damaged leading men go (protagonists usually bore me) and their relationship at the end of the book is a too-rare positive-ish representation for pervy sluts like me ("the godless sex infidels are my people", Ellis acknowledges) and that provides some balm for the instances of kink-shaming (though, most of those, Trix at least should have known better), and I would happily read more of their adventures together or Trix's alone or with other people.

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant: Read on strong recommendation from fellow retail monkeys at #OversizedBookstore; a delightfully quirky novel about neuroatypical Newfoundlander Audrey "Oddly" Flowers, called from Oregon back to St. John's by a family emergency, and Winnifred, the tortoise she inherited from her apartment's previous tenant, full of heart and wordplay and deliciously evocative sensing of place. Some readers might find the idiosyncratic punctuation (no question or quotation marks, sometimes hard to tell what is or isn't dialogue) more annoying than endearing, and I was a little frustrated that something that I cheerfully took for granted at the beginning of the book became its major ~twist~ instead, but overall a clever and very funny little book.

I'm with the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet edited by Mark Martin: Bought this for my mom for giftmess and decided to read it myself before mailing it on. It's much darker and more anthropocentric than I expected, but overall not bad. Hated the story about the zoo, holy emo privilege-denial batman, but quite admire some of the others (yay dystopia). Royalties from sale of book go to international environmental activist group

The City & The City by China Miéville: Dr. Miéville, owner of one of the sexiest brains and probably the sexiest arms in genre fiction today, has declared an ambition of writing a novel in every genre, although they always wind up shelved in spec fic because they're also what he calls "weird fiction". TC&TC is his detective fiction entry, set in an alternate present that includes two fictional Eastern European city-states, Besźel and Ul Qoma, occupying the same "grosstopic" space but held separate by the consensus of their respective citizens "unseeing" the city they're not in as they navigate crosshatched terrain and by the panoptic vigilence of a mysterious force known as Breach. It's also the story that, of the Miéville novels I've read so far (scary rich and crushingly grim Perdido Street Station and DELIGHTFUL YA adventure Un Lun Dun), most lets his undergrad anthropologist freak flag fly (or possibly ties with PSS' well-developed xenian cultures), both on a narrative surface level (although U.K. tradition, unlike American/Boasian four-fields anthropology, formally splits archaeology and social anthro off as discrete and unconnected disciplines, it's not always so clear in practice) and in exploring (a rather extreme example of) the ways people collaboratively construct our social environments in practice. Would be happier if it had passed the Bechdel test more definitively (there are named female characters with stuff to talk about besides men, they just don't do it much 'onscreen'), but overall a good read.

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will Die edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki !: Part of a fascinating project (creative movement?) all growing out of this Dinosaur Comic, the first anthology of stories based on the premise of a machine that takes a blood sample and tells you how you will die (available from the website as a free .pdf). Fun premise interestingly explored--every story brings something different to the table. A few stories I loved (stand-out favourite being Jeffrey C. Wells' "Torn Apart and Devoured by Lions"), a few I wanted to tear out and burn (mostly for egregious cultural appropriation or obnoxious manpain), a lot that were neat but mostly forgettable. Second anthology will be released sometime this year. The editors are also pro-transformative works, if you want to make your own MoD art.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson: Catching up on the classics. Good world-building, interesting semiotics but problematic literalism (an idea is LIKE a virus. LIKE.), some fun action scenes and interesting characters (and RAT THINGS, omg awesome). Rather abrupt ending.

8th Fire, a four-part series about the history and contemporary lived experiences of Aboriginal people in Canada, hosted by Wab Kinew, is recommended viewing for anyone living in or writing about Canada or interested in indigenous rights and social justice generally. It feels a little cliché-rich and 101 to me, and some parts smell either fluffy or exploitive (did all the people tracked in the stock footage--look, free-range First Nations people really do roam the streets!--consent to being filmed for this purpose?), but I live in an insulating bubble of people who are more than averagely aware of social justice issues and situations (and, I admit, sometimes more than helpfully smug about this). Probably there are millions of people even in the intended audience (White middle-class Canadians who watch the CBC) for whom this is all shocking new information, and some of the segments are pretty solid (plus Kinew's a very charismatic host; check out the Soap Box segment he did on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight [the "your boyfriend" thing is a Strombo trademark], previously shared by [personal profile] trouble, for a taste.)

I understand that C6D started as "Six Degrees of due South" and investigating the careers of particular actors, but once you start including other people and framing your fandom as an 'appreciation' of an entire nation (and that's a tricky proposition if you give a crap about cultural appropriation and identity fetishism), you might as well keep expanding your horizons or at least take the six-degree rule literally. I don't want to sound like a scold and obviously you're all free to make your own media consumption choices, but these five films deserve a lot more attention.

Dance Me Outside (1994) actually does contain Hugh Dillon, in his first film appearance, but as it's a minor role as a racist murderer and I can see how that might not tempt those who prefer him sympathetic. The first Bruce McDonald film that I remember seeing, I actually prefer this one to Hard Core Logo, for all that it's definitely an amateur production in a lot of ways, partly for dealing with a wider range of Issues than the difficulties of being a(n ex-)rock star (and living with mental illness and addiction and so on, but Dance Me Outside also tackles race and gender in a respectably nuanced way), and partly just for being a really good movie full of memorable characters (I love Sadie, and Frank Fencepost, and Little Margaret, and Silas, and Mad Etta, and). If anyone knows where I can watch The Rez (1996-98 tv series that brought back most of the same cast as the same or different characters), I'd be deeply grateful--I don't think it was ever released on DVD?

New Waterford Girl (1999) is one of my favourite movies ever ever ever. Fantastic female friendships, family relationships, evocation of setting (1970s Cape Breton), music, characters, writing, and cast including Liane Balaban, Tara Spencer-Nairn (Karen on Corner Gas), Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci's Inquest/Da Vinci's City Hall & spin-off TV movie with Hugh Dillon, appearances on due South and Flashpoint), Mary Walsh (Marg Delahunty and other characters, This Hour Has 22 Minutes), Mark McKinney, and Andrew McCarthy (Pretty in Pink). 15-year-old Mooney Pottie (Balaban) is an odd duck in New Waterford, the kind of small town that people just don't leave (except for jaunts to Antigonish to ditch illegitimate babies); with the help of her new best friend Lou (Spencer-Nairn) from New York, daughter of a famous boxer who works her ability to knock down a guilty man with one punch for fun and profit, and the outsider teacher who's unprofessionally fond of her (McCarthy), she concocts a plan to get out into the world . . . It's hard to sum up, but it is basically just delightful.

Nurse.Fighter.Boy (2008) is a beautiful indie film, understated and deeply moving, somewhat like Dirty Pretty Things in exploring a side of a city (Toronto rather than London) rarely seen in mainstream media (a side not all about White dudes), though with less organ trafficking. Dedicated to writer/director Charles Officer's sister and her battle with sickle cell anemia and filmed in just a few weeks with a handheld camera in East End Toronto, the film stars Karen LeBlanc (ReGenesis, Defying Gravity, Shattered) as Jude, a nurse and single mother, Daniyah Ysrayl (credited as Daniel Gordon) as Ciel, her musically and magically inclined adolescent son, and the multitalented Clark Johnson (Defendor, The Wire, Homicide: Life on the Streets, etc.) as Silence, a past-prime boxer getting by fighting illegally. Take Sad Movie precautions before watching.

Small Town Murder Songs (2010) is a tense, compact little crime drama set in a small mostly Mennonite community in Ontario, beautifully shot, starring Peter Stormare, Jill Hennessey (Law & Order, Crossing Jordan), Martha Plimpton, and Ari Cohen (Flashpoint, The L Word), with most of the soundtrack provided by the astounding Bruce Peninsula.

Young People Fucking (2007) has become one of my standby trashy pick-me-up movies. It takes a simple, gimmicky premise (one Tuesday night, five unrelated sexual encounters, signposted six-act story structure) and executes it well, with a wide emotional range and some really funny dialogue. It's got flaws (heteronormative, nearly all-White cast for no narrative reason, a scene of bad pegging etiquette/dubious consent treated as a joke Abby starts before Andrew is ready and brushes off his complaint that "when a girl says stop, you stop" by pointing out that he must have enjoyed it because he came, etc.) but it's pretty sex- and kink-positive, overall, and the cast (including co-writer Aaron Abrams [Slings and Arrows, Flashpoint], Kristin Booth [ReGenesis, Flashpoint], and Callum Blue [Dead Like Me, The Tudors, Smallville]) all have moments of adorability. Plus I think it has great fandom fodder potential--Further Adventures Of these eleven characters, sure, I'd read that, but even more than that I want YPF AUs casting other characters we know and love as The Friends, The Couple, The Exes, The First Date, and The Roommates (and I'll probably write at least one myself, sooner or later).

. . . and I'm actually gonna break it there for now (and probably never finish it, knowing me), because this entry is once again much too long, and I have to let it go and move on to Day 14 (ask for help): I need a beta or team thereof! Most urgently for a fic for the Losers exchange that does live on Friday (augh how did this get so long it was supposed to be simple porn and also the ending feels really awkward), and also for some other projects (mostly [community profile] kink_bingo fic and vids at various stages of completion).

At least I'm feeling pretty good about my C6DVD exchange project.
thingswithwings: dear teevee: I want to crawl inside you (a dude crawls inside a tv) (Default)

From: [personal profile] thingswithwings

yay for Canfilm recs! I feel just the way you feel about New Waterford Girl, and haven't watched it in ages . . . may have to rectify that! And there are some there I haven't seen, so that's awesome.

I have Dance Me Outside and The Rez on dvd, so you can definitely get The Rez - I think I just ordered it from Amazon one day when I was contemplating vidding it. I will try to rip and upload the show for you sometime! Though I can't make any promises atm, given my current schedule. Anyway, love the series! I think I love it even more than the movie, honestly.
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)

From: [personal profile] staranise

I offered New Waterford Girl this year but I don't think anyone requested it. I was sad not to get it.

From: (Anonymous)

I still say that the genre The City & The City really belongs in is magical realism.


theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
roses, bruises, 'bout your shoulders

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