nineweaving: (Default)
[personal profile] nineweaving
Whish ... Whish ... it said up in the sky as the northern lights flickered and flared; they were the Snow Queen’s fireworks.

I am going to Finland, though not in the robber girl's mittens.  And what I carry to be read will not be written on a stockfish, though it all goes into the saucepan of story.   Whee!  "The Snow Queen" was always my favorite of Andersen's tales, with its puzzles of ice, and its intermezzo of flowers, and somehow later on the Finland woman morphed into Mally.  "The Little Mermaid"?  Huh!  Titus Andronicus with fish!

And let's not talk about "The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf."

I have a day's layover in Iceland on the way.  So cool.

The Worldcon 75 programme is enticing, with its blacksmith and its bears.  They've given me a very brief schedule, which leaves all the more time to look and listen.

Thursday, August 10

3:00 PM
Magical Libraries and Archives
Greer Gilman, Kathryn Sullivan, Lauren Schiller, Kat Takenaka

From Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural to Warehouse 13 through Librarians and Doctor Who - libraries and archives have hoards of amassed knowledge and magical items! How is this trope handled in audiovisual media and does the reality becoming more digital have an impact?

Friday, August 11

4:00 PM
Invented Languages

David J. Peterson, Anne Lyle, Greer Gilman, John Chu

Many fantasy worlds contain their own languages. Are they any good? Can the quality of a fantasy world be measured by its language?

Sunday, August 13

10:00 AM
Reading: Greer Gilman, William Ledbetter

I have no idea why I've been paired with a military SF guy—we will mightily puzzle each other's audiences.

Silly me—I didn't sign up for an autograph session, because there are never many people—sometimes none—and it's embarassing.  But once or twice at every con, someone thrusts a battered old Moonwise or an archival Faces of Fantasy at me (an old fan at Readercon this year brought six).  And I didn't think, hey, Finland is a whole new crowd of people.  Maybe I should ask to be squeezed in?

Things I've been told not to miss in Helsinki include the red squirrels on Suomenlinna, the Aeolian Sibelius monument, and Helene Schjerfbeck's paintings.  I look forward to cloudberries, mushrooms, and herring.

I can't believe I'm doing this.  I must be mad.

Nine



Orbit US turns 10

Jul. 27th, 2017 03:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll



Over the last decade, Orbit US, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, has quickly established itself as one of the premiere publishers of science fiction and fantasy, and a reliable source for everything from innovative works of science fiction to blockbuster epic fantasies. To celebrate the milestone, a selection of landmark Orbit titles is currently available on Nook for just $2.99 each, but we wanted to do more than point you toward some great titles, so we asked Orbit’s publisher, Tim Holman, to share a bit of history. Below his comments, you’ll find a timeline of key dates in Orbit’s history.

More here

Writing in my sleep

Jul. 27th, 2017 01:53 pm
nineweaving: (Default)
[personal profile] nineweaving
I dreamed that all the personal names in a mystery manuscript were wrong, and called my dream-editor with changes:  the middle-aged detective-figure and her brother the Duke were now Helen and Humphrey, and their eccentric brother, Lord Instead.

I wish my waking muse were that inventive.

Nine
larryhammer: Enceladus (the moon, not the mythological being), label: "Enceladus is sexy" (astronomy)
[personal profile] larryhammer
Three useful links:

The myth of force-quitting apps on iOS will save battery life. (via)

Subway-style maps of Roman roads of Britain (via) and
US rivers. (via)

A Chart of Cosmic Exploration. OMG WHERE WAS THIS A COUPLE MONTHS AGO WHEN I WAS TRYING TO MEMORIZE ALL THE ROBOTS WHO'VE EXPLORED OTHER PLANETS FOR US? WHY CAN'T I ORDER IT NOW NOW NOW?

---L.

Subject quote from "Harbor," Vienna Teng.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Doctor to Dragons - CoverI met G. Scott Huggins almost twenty years ago. We were both published in Writers of the Future XV, and we ended up in a writing group together for several years. He was one of the folks who helped me grow and improve as an author. I published one of his stories in Heroes in Training a while back.

In April of this year, his humorous fantasy novelette A Doctor to Dragons [Amazon | B&N] came out.

I love the premise and setup. Dr. James DeGrande is a veterinarian in a land that’s been taken over by a Dark Lord, and the whole thing is written with a kind of tongue-in-cheek humor. The book is made up of several distinct but related stories, showing the growth of James and his partnership with his assistant Harriet (a physically disabled almost-witch).

Here’s part of the publisher’s official description:

Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord covered the land in His Second Darkness.

As far as I can tell, it wasn’t that much better. Even then, everyone cheered the heroes who rode unicorns into combat against dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. Of course, that was when dragons were something to be killed. Today I have to save one. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because today I have to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client. I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old bag with the basilisk might show up.

The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t get each other killed first.

I appreciate writers who take traditional fantasy and flip things around to present a different perspective. Just as I enjoy clever protagonists, like James and Harriet. (And while this may come as a shock, I also like fantasy that tries to have fun.)

There’s one bit I need to talk about. About 80% of the way into the book, we meet Countess Elspeth Bathetique, an incredibly neglectful pet owner and generally unpleasant person, and we get this exchange:

“Dammit, my lady, you’re not even a vampire!”

“How… how dare you? I identify as a vampire, you filth! You cannot dream of the tragic destiny which is ours!”

“What? Suffering from vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, keeping out of the sun for no damn reason, and torturing your poor pet basilisk? If I dreamed of that, I’d seek clerical help!”

I don’t believe it was intentional, but seeing language generally used by transgender people played for laughs by a wannabe vampire threw me right out of the story. I emailed and chatted with Scott, who confirmed that wasn’t the intention. The Countess was meant to be a darker take on Terry Pratchett’s Doreen Winkings. But he said he understood how I or others might read it the way I did.

One of my favorite parts of these stories are the veterinary details. Huggins’ wife is a veterinarian, and there’s a sense of real truth to the protagonist’s frustration with neglectful pet owners and the various challenges of keeping all these magical animals healthy. It helps to ground the book and acts as a nice counter to the humor.

I couldn’t find an excerpt online, but there’s a promo video on YouTube.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Firstly, it takes very little discussion of regulations for my eyes to glaze over. Secondly, and far less constructively, if someone proposes a system that relies on genres like science fiction and fantasy being distinct rather than overlapping sets, I will start thinking about the worthy works that live in the overlap.

Passing the hat

Jul. 26th, 2017 02:01 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My vet has an interesting receptionist and so what I was told would be a sixty dollar trip for their shots is in fact a two hundred dollar trip. This is all part of the seemingly futile effort to find them new homes. If people could donate towards the trip, that would be great.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
How to Make a Clichéd High Fantasy Cover

I am reminded of the cover of a Joe Abercrombie novel where every time I took another look, I noticed yet another sword the character on the cover was carrying.
larryhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (seasons)
[personal profile] larryhammer
Reading Wednesday is nigh. In fact, it's here. And I done been readin'!

Finished:

I Shall Seal the Heavens. Finally. I have to say, this is epic: The author knows how to plot on an enormous scale, and how to build up the stakes in order to tear down everything you think you know is safe, before pulling back more of the curtain to show a wider stage. (The first timeskip is startling enough, and successive ones have stronger impacts until the climactic one that's as baffling as it is shocking.) There's a couple narrative patterns that get a little tiresome and in the final arc, the author resorts to using an unreliable POV, apparently to up the tension but the effect is to make some reveals feel like ass-pulls, but those are quibbles. I won't say that the treatment of women is unproblematic, but it's better than typical for Chinese popular lit and some female characters are given complete respect by the narration. I do recommend this to anyone in search of a timesink* and interested in current trends in Chinese fantasy.

An Interpretation of Friends Worship by N. Jean Toomer, a Friends General Conference chapbook found randomly on Project Gutenberg. I've no idea how much sense it make to anyone unfamiliar with Quaker practice, but I found it spoke to my condition, to use the Friendly phrase.

The complete flower fairies of Cicely Mary Barker. I've one book of hers and read at least one or two more over the years, but having them all together as on that official website is nice. Archive binge! This is a good example of a mixed-medium art form: each {poem + picture} is a unit -- they require each other, and are significantly weaker when separated. (The sentiments are not very Chinese, but the genre certainly is.)

In progress:

The Four Seasons ed. by J.D. McClatchy, another Everyman's Library pocket hardcover poetry anthology. Needless to say, I'm All Over this one. Lots of good stuff, too. Am halfway through Summer (following Western tradition, it starts with Spring).

In Good King Charles's Golden Days by Bernard Shaw, which is a quite Shavian if somewhat rambly imagining of a 1680 meeting between Isaac Newton, George Fox, and Charles Stuart, with interruptions by three royal mistresses. And others.


* At 1600+ chapters, it's freakin' HUGE. The translation is somewhat over 3 million words long, or roughly the size as all the Jordan-only volumes of The Wheel of Time.


---L.

Subject quote from a recent episode of Saga Thing.

Wooden O redux

Jul. 26th, 2017 12:35 am
nineweaving: (Default)
[personal profile] nineweaving
              Screen shot 2016-06-21 at 5.04.59 AM.pngScreen shot 2016-06-21 at 5.05.16 AM.png


Jamie Parker, who sat on the panel that chose Michelle Terry to lead Shakespeare's Globe, describes her as a "genuine collaborator, who at the same time won't sacrifice the courage of her artistic convictions. ... No one can possibly accuse Michelle of being a regressive traditionalist, or backwards-looking. Her work speaks for itself. That said, she is also in-tune with the building as a theatrical instrument and she has her own understanding of the imaginative contract between the actors and the audience. That is the bedrock of everything that happens on Bankside."

"Theatrical instrument" is well said. If you've been in the Globe, it resonates like a drum: its players speak high and clear, like pipe and tabor, sackbut and shawm. And hearing a play in the Wanamaker is like sitting inside a lute.

It's sad that that commentators keep apologizing, as if a love of Shakespeare were reactionary.

Michelle Terry says: "The work of Shakespeare is for me timeless, mythic, mysterious, vital, profoundly human and unapologetically theatrical. There are no other theatres more perfectly suited to house these plays than the pure and uniquely democratic spaces of The Globe and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. I am so proud and excited that I will be in the privileged position where I can offer artists the opportunity to come together to reclaim and rediscover not only Shakespeare, but the work of his contemporaries, alongside new work from our current writers. For us to then share those stories with an audience that demands an unparalleled honesty, clarity and bravery, is all a dream come true."

Amen.

Nine

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll



The Order of Truth's Aeon Priests have resurrected our May 2014 Numenera Bundle, featuring the tabletop science-fantasy roleplaying game Numenera from Monte Cook Games. A billion years in the future, explore the Ninth World to find leftover artifacts of nanotechnology, the datasphere, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange devices that defy understanding. The inspiration for the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment, Numenera is about discovering the wonders of eight previous worlds to improve the present and build a future.



Bundle the first and bundle the second
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

By now, I imagine most of my fellow geeks are aware that when Peter Capaldi leaves Doctor Who in the coming Christmas special, he’ll be replaced by Jodie Whittaker. Naturally, not everyone was happy about the next Doctor being…gasp…a woman.

As the conversation progressed, I started to see more people suggesting the backlash wasn’t a thing. All they were seeing was people complaining about the backlash, as opposed to anyone actually being unhappy about a woman playing the Doctor. The whole thing was people getting angry over nothing, and feeding on each other’s anger.

Now Steven Moffat himself has joined in to proclaim, “There has been so many press articles about a backlash among the Doctor Who fandom about casting a female Doctor. There has been no backlash at all. The story of the moment is that the notionally conservative Doctor Who fandom has utterly embraced that change completely.”

Oddly, most of the people I’ve seen saying the backlash is imaginary, made-up, and/or blown completely out of proportion, have been men. Perhaps — and I’m just guessing here — because it’s easier for men to overlook sexism? Misogyny doesn’t directly affect us, so we’re less likely to notice it?

It’s like white people denying racism, straight people denying the hatred and intolerance of homosexuality, and so on. Just because we don’t see it — perhaps because we choose not to look, or perhaps because we’ve never learned to look — doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

For all those who share Moffat’s confusion, here are just a few examples of the ignorant, sexist, hateful, and sometimes flat-out batshit responses to Whittaker taking over as the Doctor.

#

“The replacement of male with female is meant to erase femininity. In point of fact, and no matter what anyone thinks or wishes, readers and viewers have a different emotional relationship to female characters as male. This does not mean, obviously, that females cannot be protagonists or cannot be leaders. It means mothers cannot be fathers and queens cannot be kings.

“…I have been a fan of Dr Who since age seven, when Tom Baker was the Doctor. I have tolerated years of public service announcements in favor of sexual deviance that pepper the show. But this is too much to tolerate.

“The BBC has finally done what The Master, the Daleks and the Cybermen have failed to do. They killed off the Doctor.”

John C. Wright (you may remember him from his freak-out over Korra and Asami.)

#

Over on Twitter, @TechnicallyRon took comments from angry Doctor Who “fans” and turned them into title cards.

Lisa Crowther also screenshotted some comments from angry Daily Mail readers.

#

Twitter also has plenty of comments like this fellow’s woeful lament, “And again the PC brigade get their way. R.I.P Doctor Who” (Source)

#

Joe Scaramanga’s response to this sexist twit was a thing of beauty.

#

British tabloid and shit-filled dumpster fire The Sun responded to the announcement by publishing nude photos of Judie Whittaker.

#

Caitlynn Fairbarns has rounded up a ton of the negative comments and reactions.

#

But remember everyone, it’s not about sexism!

“It’s a woman. That’s it, Doctor Who is ruined. Like I said, I’m not sexist, I just don’t think it’s a good idea.” –Mark S.W.

#

Now, folks might argue that the majority of Doctor Who fans are excited about the Doctor being a woman. (Though there’s a very real and valid frustration that we’re on our fourteenth doctor and the character has still been exclusively white.) Others will say some of the negative comments are coming from trolls just looking to get a reaction, or that of course Daily Mail readers are being horrid about Whittaker’s casting.

You might be right. That doesn’t change the fact that the negativity exists. It’s not one or two isolated assholes. It’s a real and significant thing, and it’s closely tied to the kind of harassment and disdain and hatred and other forms of sexism women deal with every day. Sexism that men so often don’t see. Sexism we respond to by telling women they’re overreacting, or they’re just imagining things, or that if they’d just stop talking about it the problem would somehow magically go away.

I get it. You’re tired of hearing people complain about sexism. Gosh, can you imagine how tiring it must be when you’re constantly on the receiving end of that sexism. Constantly being told you shouldn’t be allowed to play the same kinds of roles. Constantly being told your only worth comes from your body. Constantly being told your inclusion is some kind of public service announcement. Constantly having your accomplishments belittled as “PC pandering.”

Look, I wish we didn’t have folks like Wright rolling around with his head up his ass every time his Straight White Manliness feels threatened by a cartoon or a TV show or whatever else he’s scared of this week, but we do. Pretending otherwise not only turns a blind eye to the pervasiveness of sexism and other forms of bigotry, it also means turning your back on those who are directly targeted by that intolerance every day.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

larryhammer: Enceladus (the moon, not the mythological being), label: "Enceladus is sexy" (astronomy)
[personal profile] larryhammer
When Girls Studied Planets and the Skies Had No Limits. (via)

Redefining the kilogram, using precise measurements of Planck's constant. Note that despite the article's focus on America's NIST measurement, two groups in other countries have made similarly accurate measurements.

Study shows that having more than one illustration per page-spread makes it harder for early readers to learn new words. Key jargon: Cognitive Load Theory. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from "Hope on Fire," Vienna Teng.

Profile

stdesjardins: (Default)
stdesjardins

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
234567 8
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 28th, 2017 02:54 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios