One of my dear local friends just published a novel called The March North. I haven't read the published version yet but I read the rough draft (and the draft of the book that comes after it) and feel I can safely say that it is an excellent story.
front cover of The March North

Author's description reads "Egalitarian heroic fantasy. Presumptive female agency, battle-sheep, and bad, bad odds." If that's not enough to pique your interest, I will expand: The March North and the Commonweal series it launches take epic fantasy tropes, set them on fire, and juggle them, all while walking on a tightrope slung between whimsy and a solidly material and pragmatic sort of realism, and whistling. This first book in particular is designed as a trap to lure fans of more traditional military SFF into caring about the characters and the world, but those aspects (character- and world-building) are present and engaging enough that readers who don't care much for or about military anything have just as much to latch onto (the second book will have even more of this, plus experiments in magical pedagogy).

Rather than your too-typical medieval Europe-but-with-dragons high fantasy setting, the Commonweal series posits the emergence of a radically egalitarian society in a world where powerful sorcerers have been fighting and screwing around with their environments for hundreds of thousands of years, destroying and enslaving and weaponizing and reshaping landscapes and lifeforms with all the creativity you'd expect from millenia of batshit/lonely/paranoid wizards; a culture that values consent and agency above all else and has discovered that magic worked cooperatively is stronger than the sum of its parts, and needs every tool at its disposal to scratch out a habitable territory between all the "weeds" (weaponized organisms) and expansionist totalitarian regimes and nameless horrors from beyond your worst nightmare. The March North chronicles the efforts of a regional battalion of the Line (the Commonweal's version of an army) to deal with one such threat, and the beginnings of what happens after.

IMHO the series has all the makings of an excellent Yuletide fandom. The writing is memorable, witty, and detail-rich, and the cast of characters is exceptionally diverse, with folks of vastly different histories, gender expressions, ages, species, sexualities, and magical aptitudes all treated with fondness and respect (my favourite character is obviously Halt--the extremely powerful and incredibly ancient sorcerer who has reigned as dark lord over a substantial territory for a thousand years at least once and who gives demons the justified heebiejeebies, but who looks to most eyes like somebody's sweet little grandmother, riding around on the back of a giant sheep named Eustace with knitting bag and tea service perpetually at the ready--but pretty much everybody with a name is delightful). It's a bit like Welcome to Night Vale, actually, insofar as it is concerned with a diverse community working together to survive a weird and horrific milieu that from their perspective is entirely normal. The librarians are less likely to slaughter you.

Plus the e-book is staggeringly cheap so, y'know. The odds of you regretting buying it are slimmer than those for the success of the West Wetcreek Wapentake.
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.

Books )

Documentary )

Feature Films A: Five Excellent Canadian Films That Not Enough People Talk About, Especially in C6D Fandom )

. . . 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.
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (bad decision dinosaur)
( Jan. 10th, 2012 11:05 pm)
Ugh, last week. Don't even ask. (Seriously, don't.)

* Snowflake challenge, Days 3-10 )

* Stolen from [personal profile] commodorified, because fun.
Pick up the nearest book to you.
Turn to page 45.
The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.

I am not unusually surrounded by bookpiles so grabbed either the topmost or the most protuberant of the three closest, which were:
Come, Thou Tortoise by Jennifer Grant: "Here is something to do if you are unslept and have a ponytail: Bring that ponytail around under your nose like a moustache."
Pretty in Punk: 25 Punk, Rock, and Goth Knitting Patterns by Alyce Benevides and Jaqueline Milles with photos by Rob Benevides: [full-page photograph of a young white woman with downcast eyes crouching gargoyle-fashion on what appears to be a rooftop in front of a background of industrial twilight (low sun, orange sky, tattered clouds, and shabby buildings) wearing a black leather aviator's cap with goggles, silver eye makeup, spiked collar with ring, black fabric bat wings, layered fishnets and ripped pantyhose, bikerish boots, and the featured knitting pattern, a "cobweb-inspired" "loose-knit tight-fit holey jumper" called "Goth Girl", over a black tank top]
The Slave by Laura Antoniou: "'Now,' he said, when she returned, 'you're in serious trouble.'"

* More Joy Day is coming up on Thursday. I have some ideas about what I'm going to do.

* Handmade meme people (you remember who you are?) who have not already PMed me with your addresses, please do so soon. I have or shortly will have stuff to mail you.
Title: I'll Follow You into the Dark
Fandom: Blood Ties
Characters: Vicki Nelson (Vicki/Coreen, Vicki/Henry, Vicki/Mike, Vicki/Henry/Mike)
Kink: sensory deprivation (wildcard)
Summary: Rambly meta speculating on how Vicki's retinitis might affect her play relationships with three of the most significant others in her life (might edit later for improved coherency)
Content notes: No standard warnings apply. Spoilers for the series generally and the pilot specifically.
Rating/wordcount: G/2000ish

cutcutcutcutcutcutcutcut )
Today is the birthday of Miss Amanda Fucking Palmer, who has requested that people who love her mark the occasion by sharing this love (and her music) with someone who has not yet discovered her utter fabulosity. I know many of you are already on the AFP trolley (e.g. [ profile] liketheroad, [ profile] northbard, [ profile] tormenta, [ profile] curgoth and [ profile] mycrazyhair, because we were all at her show at the Mod Club five months ago), but for those who are not: Amanda Palmer emerged from the forehead of the goddess Durga fully-formed, of terrible countenance, armed with sword and noose, clad in a tiger's skin and a garland of skulls, filling the sky with her roars, falling upon impetuously and slaughtering the asuras of the army of Raktabija and killing this great demon and enemy of the devas by sucking the blood from his body. Pleased with her victory, she then danced upon the field of battle. Wait, that's Kali, isn't it? Easy to get them mixed up, some days.

Amanda Palmer is one half (with Brian Viglione) of The Dresden Dolls, co-discoverer (with Jason Webley) of Evelyn Evelyn, and has also recently released a solo album (the affiliated book, featuring many pictures of dead!Amanda by many photographers plus stories by Neil Gaiman, is now available for pre-order). She is a talented song writer, a phenomenal live performer, and a very weird person whom I would snog without hesitation. You should all definitely check out her work. To help you with that, I have embedded some informative videos&stuff (see her website and youtube channel for LOTS more) starting with the new and SO FANTASTIC video for "What's the Use of Wond'rin'?":

more awesome right this way )

Not related to Amanda Palmer: I handed in a draft of my thesis proposal. It's too long and I forgot to include some stuff and overall I kinda hate it, so I'm glad it's just a draft. Now I need to finish reading Tom Boellstorff's The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia, which is luckily a very good book so far, so I can co-facilitate discussion on it on Monday. And write the rest of my conference paper for next Friday, and the one the week after that. And possibly get a haircut or pick up some dye (I'm feeling scruffy).
theleaveswant: text "make something beautiful" on battered cardboard sign in red, black, and white (Default)
( Jan. 7th, 2007 03:29 pm)
Since I likely won't have much time for pleasure-reading in the next few months, it seems a good time to catch up on comments re: the things I've finished in the quasi-recent past (since July, basically):
House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski: yeah, it's brilliant but it's aggravating and I still hate Johnny Truant.
Shockwave Rider, John Brunner: Disappointing! Not nearly as good as the other books of his I've read. Maybe partly just the time difference, that his concept of computers really didn't survive well and makes no sense in the contexts in which I encounter them, but also I think the narrative is just too linear. The Sheep Look Up and especially Stand on Zanzibar, his other "Innis mode" novels, totally expanded my understanding of how stories can be told and how language can be used . . . sets the bar pretty high, I suppose.
The King in Yellow, Robert Chambers: Interesting . . . collection of very loosely connected short stories that run the genre gamut. Many involve lost/forbidden loves and supernatural elements. Interesting look at the arts community in Paris at the end of the 19th century, from someone who was actually there to see it.
The Amazing Dr. Darwin, Charles Sheffield: Overblown, hilarious pulp. The last story is especially agonizing to those acquainted with either physical or cultural anthropology.
The Petty Details of So-and-So's Life, Camilla Gibb: Really fascinating (some unpleasantly familiar) threads, but don't all tie together into a cohesive whole . . . but then I guess it is about the details, and they do sometimes contradict. Emma's experiences in the U of T archaeology department (Dr. Savage's ostrich = win) may especially interest some readers.
Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman: I don't think the Bangsian subplot with Maude Livingstone really added that much, and (like American Gods) it dragged on too far beyond the natural conclusion, but otherwise a thoroughly delightful story. I adore the Caribbean granny coven.
Murther and Walking Spirits, Robertson Davies: Not what I expected it when I picked it up, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but the only ends it ties up are the ones that were never loose, if that makes any sense. Fifth Business was better.


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


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