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[sticky post] Sticky post: Introduction and Fic Index

starlit TARDIS
Welcome to my humble corner of the internet!   Here there be geeking out about Doctor Who, Sherlock, biology, books, and whatever else has caught my eye at the moment.

If you're here looking for fannish things (fic, recs, meta, general squee or ranting, etc.), those are mostly posted publicly.  Posts about my personal life are pretty much always friendslocked.  You can feel free to add me or unfriend at will.  A comment introducing yourself would be a nice gesture, but don't feel obligated if you're shy.  I may or may not add you back depending on how I'm feeling that day on the social vs. crotchety scale and whether we have interests in common.  It's not a personal judgement.

I am also on Tumblr.

Occasionally, I write fanfic. You can check out my author pages on AO3 or A Teaspoon and an Open Mind (for Doctor Who fic).  Here's the complete list, organized by fandom, then series, then chronologically (oldest to most recent).

Fic IndexCollapse )

Shipping Songs

falling slowly
Meme time!  This one is swiped from the_redjayat the moment, what songs remind you of your OTPs? Since usually one of the first signs that I'm going to intensely ship a couple is that I start mentally compiling a playlist, I couldn't resist this meme.  I'm forcing myself to stick to one song per ship.  Links go to some way to listen to the song, either on YouTube or a website with streaming player.  For each, I'm including some lyrics that exemplify why I think this song suits this ship.

Doctor Who

Doctor/Rose/Jack-"Forces of the Unseen," Cloud Cult.  (This song is begging for a "Parting of the Ways"-centric fanvid.)
It's not impossible, you'll see.
You've never been inside my head:
Ten billion burning suns and belief in a strength that can raise the dead.
It's the warmth when you're next to me.
It's the bright white light of a fevered dream.
It's the storm in your eyes.
It's in the roots of the tree:
The underestimated power of the forces of the unseen.

Doctor/Rose- "Run," Snow Patrol (This was so hard to choose!  I have approximately a zillon songs that make me think of Doctor/Rose, some specific to Nine or Ten or TenToo, some associated with particular fics.  "Run" is perhaps my favorite for their relationship as a whole.)
Louder, louder
And we'll run for our lives
I can hardly speak I understand
Why you can't raise your voice to say...

Doctor/Jack- "The Mercy of the Fallen," Dar Williams (Yeah, I wrote a Doctor/Jack fic that shares this song's title.)

There's the weak and the strong
And the many stars that guide us
We have some of them inside us

Sherlock/John/Mary- "Little Talks," Of Monsters and Men (This song even mentions an empty house.)

'Cause though the truth may vary
This ship will carry
our bodies safe to shore

Sherlock/John- "Save Me," Aimee Mann
But can you save me?
Come on and save me...
If you could save me,
From the ranks of the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone.
Marvel Cinematic Universe

Steve/Bucky- "Feel Again," OneRepublic
I'm feeling better ever since you know me
I was a lonely soul but that's the old me
It's been a long time coming since I've seen your face
I've been everywhere and back trying to replace
Everything that I broke 'til my feet went numb
Praying like a fool just shot the gun
So kiss me now
This whiskey on my breath
Feel the lives that I have taken
What little soul that I have left.
And oh, my god
I'll take you to the grave
The only love I've ever known
The only soul I've ever saved.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy/Spike- "Ghost," Indigo Girls
And I guess that's how you started
Like a pinprick to my heart
But at this point you rush right through me
And I start to drown
And there's not enough room
In this world for my pain
Signals cross and love gets lost
And time passed makes it plain
Of all my demon spirits
I need you the most

Willow/Tara- "Blood and Fire," Indigo Girls (This is a S6 Willow/Tara song.  Also, it's amusing that the peaks of my obsessions with BtVS and the Indigo Girls happened at the same period of high school and early college, so that I have a lot of Indigo Girls songs mentally associated with various characters and plotlines of this show.)
You have spent nights, thinking of me
Missing my arms, but you needed to leave.
Leaving the cuts, leaving my burns,
Hoping I'd learn.
Blood and Fire
Are too much for these restless arms to hold.
And my nights of desire are calling me,
Back to your fold.
Mulder/Scully -
"Head Over Feet," Alanis Morissette (Ah, my first OTP!  Back in high school I made an actual casette mixed tape to express my feelings about their UST and ultimate true love.  This is one of the songs that was on there.)
You're the best listener that I've ever met
You're my best friend
Best friend with benefits
What took me so long?

pirate's life for me
I was in a coffee shop downtown trying to get some writing done as the vendors started setting up for the big weekly farmers market on the street outside.  In honor of Halloween some downtown businesses, including the coffee shop I was writing in, were giving out candy to trick-or-treating children on farmers market night, so once that started there was a steady stream of small children in costume. After watching for a while I started to get curious about exactly how prevalent princess costumes were among the girls, so I started writing down the costumes for all the girls who came in for maybe an hour and a half.

Obviously these data are not representative of the country or even my little city, just the location I happened to be.  I counted only children, not older teens or adults (those who looked under 13 or so), who were presenting as female (not including children in hoods and masks or other costumes that made gender impossible to guess).  I didn't ask the kids or parents what they were supposed to be, so there was a certain amount of guesswork in figuring out what to call the costumes.  Here are some figures from the results.

Total girls: 92
Princesses (both identifiable Disney princess characters and fancy princess-style dresses): 38 (41.3% of total).
Most popular costume: Elsa from Frozen by a mile, 14 girls (15.2% of all the girls)
Superheroines: 10 (10.8%).  Includes four each of Wonder Woman and Supergirl, one Batgirl, and one Captain America in a tutu.
Animals: 5
Specific characters other than princesses and superheros: 4
Cultural/Historical: 8
Offensive cultural appropriation (a subcategory of cultural/historical): 2 white girls dressed as Native Americans (note that the parents are the ones who should know better here).  The only Day of the Dead facepainting I saw was on people who appeared to be Latina.
Mythical/Supernatural: 12
Occupations: 5  (2 pirates, one each of astronaut, boxer, and police officer)
Objects: 5
Quirky dress/Unidentifiable: 5
My personal favorite costumes: Wednesday Addams (on a wee toddler), an Astronaut, the TARDIS, the aforementioned Captain America in a tutu.

There is nothing wrong with liking princesses.  However, I do think there is a problem in the messages our culture is sending little girls when over 41% of them are being dressed as or choosing to be princesses, far more than any other category of costumes.  There are so many other things to want to be beyond the princess attributes of beautiful and kinda spunky, yet that is overwhelmingly the narrative pushed on little girls.  

I do find it interesting and perhaps encouraging that the overwhelmingly most popular princess right now, Elsa, has no romance plotline.  She may wear beautiful dresses and live in a castle, but it occurs to me that her story is almost more like a superhero story than the stories of many of the other Disney girls.  Elsa's story is about feeling different and isolated, trying to hide a true identity behind a public persona, finding one's power, screwing up monumentally with that power, and finally taking responsibility and finding acceptance as the unique, powerful person she is.  In contrast, her sister Anna, who is made out to be the audience POV character most of the movie and has romantic plotlines in addition to her sisterly love plotline, is much less popular.  I saw four girls as Anna, but they were all in the company of an Elsa.  Either only girls with a sister (or perhaps certain close friends) identify as Anna, or nobody wants to be Anna and they only get persuaded to be her as part of a set after losing the argument about who can be Elsa.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, except that I hope that in 2018 a massive surge of Captain Marvels makes Princess Sparklefists the princess of choice. Little girls deserve to fly.
captain marvel
Huge news, y'all!  Marvel just released news about titles for a bunch of their upcoming films.  There is one that I'm not pleased about, but several more that fill me SO MUCH JOY.

Let's start with the amazing news.  First the one I'm damn excited about, then the one I'm so far beyond excited about that I squeed so loudly I scared the cat.

  • November 2017:  Black Panther!!!  So awesome that we're getting a black MCU superhero!!  They even announced casting for this one.  It's going to be Chadwick Boseman, who I have somehow managed not to see in anything, but he's got a good resume and people seem pleased.  I don't actually know much about the character of Black Panther/T'Challa but I'm very much looking forwad to finding out.

  • July 2018: CAPTAIN MARVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do the dance of joy!!!

I literally started shaking with excitement when I saw the news.  (I use literally to mean literally, not just as an intensifier.) A Captain Marvel movie is all I have wanted from Marvel Studios, and really Hollywood as a whole, ever since I started reading her comics.  It's not just that we're getting a female Marvel superhero heading her own film, although that is a HUGE part of it.  Carol Danvers in particular is amazing, and a great choice for the MCU's first female-led film.  She is an aspirational character, someone that little girls can and should want to grow up to be.  Much as I wholeheartedly adore Natasha Romanoff and wish we were also getting a Black Widow movie, you don't really want to tell your eight year-old to emulate her life.  (Unless your eight year-old is already deeply damaged, in which case Natasha's story might be what she needs.)  And yes, if anyone was wondering, they confirmed that this will be about Carol, not Mar-Vell or any of the other people who have used that name.

I hope that the movie preserves the things I love about Kelly Sue Deconnick's Captain Marvel comics:  frequent Bechdel Test passes with lots of interesting female side characters (especially the theme of role models), Carol looking good without being even a tiny bit objectified, space, cats (Flerkens!), beautiful writing (like Helen's "the Lord put us here to punch holes in the sky" letter), a sense of joy as well as duty, etc.

Here's the full lineup that Marvel announced (via The Mary Sue):

  • Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016.

  • Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016

  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - May 5, 2017

  • Thor: Ragnarok – July 28, 2017

  • Black Panther – November 3, 2017

  • Captain Marvel – July 6, 2018

  • Inhumans – November 2, 2018

  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018

  • Avengers: Infinity War Part 2- May 3, 2019

The one I'm not so happy about is that Captain America 3 is going to be Captain America: Civil War.  I haven't actually read anything of the Civl War comics, but many comics fans whose opinions I trust hate this storyline.  Also, my personal preference is for Cap 3 to focus heavily on Bucky, and that would seem harder to do if they're doing Civil War.  But I guess Captain America:  Steve and Bucky Cuddle A Lot While Sam and Natasha Kick Bad Guys' Butts was never realistically going to be made.

About the rest of it (some of this is stuff we knew before, but I'm sharing my thoughts now):  I like Thor's franchise and the first GotG movie, so those are both things to look forward to. I have no opinion about Doctor Strange, other than that if it would get Black Panther or Captain Marvel pushed a few months closer I'd be perfectly happy if they tabled it.  I only know that character from fanfic, so I really have no hopes/opinions beyond hoping it doesn't suck.  And also hoping they cast Pedro Pascal, because he deserves to be in more things with a higher survival rate than Game of Thrones, but that's looking pretty unlikely.

I haven't read the Inhumans title, but Kamala Khan is classified as an Inhuman, so the possibility that we might get our magnificent fangirl Ms. Marvel onscreen has me very intrigued by this.  Avengers 3 will actually be two parts?  Did we know this already?  More Avengers is certainly good by me, although whether this works will depend on the script.

Anyway!  I am not yet done giddily squeeing about Captain Marvel.  Behold, many gifs of celebration and feelings!  Please feel free to add your own in the comments.

Many gifs of squee under cut to save your bandwidthCollapse )
sleepy hollow ichabbie baseball
Sleepy Hollow, I love you so very much, but we need to talk.

I will happily suspend my disbelief about the fact that Ichabod seems to have known every single Founding Father and been involved in about 90% of the significant events of the Revolutionary War prior to his big sleep.  I don't usually mind the often overly convenient sources of exposition.  I love your ridiculous plot elements like Franklinstein's Monster.  (And thank you SO MUCH for actually making that pun.)  The workings of the Sleepy Hollow justice system don't seem to bear much resemblance to what happens in the real world, but few tv shows with cops do.  I see zero need to make an issue of it here.

But you have got to draw the line somewhere.  And that somewhere is biogeography.

The thing is, I wouldn't mind so much if we hadn't already had this talk once.  In the very first episode, you had an appearance by a Harris's Hawk, a species native to the southwestern US and Latin America, never anywhere near New York state.  At least that bird had the excuse of being a mystical omen.  This week in "Go Where I Send Thee" you had no such excuse.

spoilers for Sleepy Hollow 2x04, "Go Where I Send Thee"Collapse )

Animal linkdump!

I <3 Science
Hi friends!  Would your day be improved by some animal-related links?  Of course!  Luckily, I am here to help.

-First, were you aware that there was a prehistoric reptile that was able to glide with membranes not on its forelimbs like a normal flying/gliding creature but its REAR LEGS?  It's called Sharovipteryx.  You really should click on the link to see the artist's rendition, because it is ridiculous.  This species isn't newly discovered, but through a catastrophic failure of our educational and news systems, I was somehow not made aware of its existence until last night.  It lived in the Triassic period.  Screw cloning dinosaurs, I want flocks of these.

-Second, here are two kangaroos having a brawl in a suburban street:

I would have gone with a more epic soundtrack for the video, but this is still so very cool to watch.  Look at how they stand on their tails to deliver double-footed kicks!

-Third, some sad and strange news.  A woman walking her dog in New York's Central Park discovered the corpse of a black bear cub.  Nobody knows how it got there.  My reaction to this is approximately two parts "oh no! poor little bear!!!!"  and one part "how? why? this is a fascinating mystery." I suspect that some asshole chose to dispose of their ill-advised pet, because there is an awful lot of city that the bear would have had to walk through unseen in order to get their on its own, not to mention the fact that Manhattan is an island.  However, the part of my brain that refuses to admit to the rules of the real world suspects that this tragic and weirdly out of place bear may be due to magic and/or shapeshifters.  Possibly a moment was involved that went like this:

you made a bear undo it

RIP, little lost bear.

-On the subject of living animals, meet Garfi, a cat with a face that makes Grumpy Cat look positively perky.  See him furiously sitting in a box!  Look at him angrily sticking his tongue out!  This is great.

-Finally, this isn't an animal link, but there are still plenty of mystery lyrics over at my lyrics guessing meme, including at least one well-known retro pop song I suspect somebody out there can figure out.


Lyrics guessing meme

the sound of torchwood
I was digging throught the archives of my LJ looking for something else when I came across a lyrics guessing meme I did a few years ago that I thought might be fun to resurrect.  Here's how it works:

1. Open up your music player. Hit shuffle.
2. Record the first few lines of the first 25 songs that come up. Skip instrumentals, but don't skip the embarrassing ones.
3. Make hapless LJ/DW denizens guess the song names and artists. Google is cheating. For musical songs, the name of the musical is acceptable in place of the artist.
4. Cross out the songs that have been guessed.
5. Pass it along.

A couple of these should be pretty easy.  Some should be challenging but guessable for people who share some tastes in common with me, while several I am pretty sure won't be guessed.  For one very well known song I have redacted a line that contains the title to keep at least a bit of challenge.  There are other less universally-known lyrics that contain their song's title that I've left as is.  Also, in addition to the instrumentals I skipped one song with lyrics in Gaelic.  You're welcome.

Okay, let's play!

Lyrics under the cutCollapse )


Gif meme

Hi, folks!  I'm not dead.  In addition to my continued existence, I got tagged for the gif meme by sunshine304.

Rule 1: Always post the rules.
Rule 2: Answer the questions the person who tagged you asked with gifs, and write 11 new ones or don’t, whatever~
Rule 3: Tag 11 people and link them to the post.
Rule 4: Actually tell them you tagged them.


1) The way you feel right now.
Gifs cut for your convenienceCollapse )


Star Trek: Three Episodes and a Lizard

redshirt Star Trek TOS
Here's the latest installment of my Star Trek original series watch-through.  The fight choreography on this show is proving to be an endless source of hilarity to me.  I mean, look at this:


Kirk attempts to use himself as a human bowling ball!  The guys he's fighting catch him, because...?  Notice also the guy who has his hand all over Kirk's butt and crotch.  Wowza.

Now, on to my episode reactions.  Spoilers, if you care about spoilers for a show that's been out for close to 50 years.
1x18, "Arena"Collapse )

1x19, "Tomorrow is Yesterday"Collapse )

1x20, "Court Martial"Collapse )

This was really hard to decide

relevant to my interests
There's a meme that's been going around (I picked it up from isiscaughey, but I know I've seen it elsewhere) where the idea is that you post 10 fanfics that have stayed with you for whatever reason. I thought that sounded like a fun excuse to link y'all to some fics I love, so here goes.

For ease of your reading I'm linking to AO3 when possible (even if the story was originally posted elsewhere), but some of my favorite older Doctor Who stories have never been posted there, so those links are to Teaspoon.  Interestingly, it seems that many of the fics that stick with me the most are either emotionally rough reads (dark or bittersweet or just full of intense feelings) or super lightweight fluff that sticks with me because it's comfort reading I keep going back to.  Stories are arranged by fandom (Doctor Who, Sherlock, Marvel Cinematic Universe), but otherwise there is no implied ranking within this list.

-Do I Twist, Do I Fold by rosa_acicularis.  (Doctor Who.  Ten, Rose, The Master)  This story is so good and so intensely unsettling.  Just thinking about it gives me the shivers.  The prose is vivid.  Rose is such a BAMF even in a terrible situation.  Warnings for disturbing content, sexualized violence, and possibly ruining pineapple pizza forever, but worth the reading if that's something you can cope with.  I could honestly fill much of this meme with rosa_acicularis's stories (Days and Hours, But Broken Lights, and The Anatomist spring to mind).

-Coming Around by honorh.  (Doctor Who, Nine/Rose)  I am a little bit obsessed with what Nine was like pre-"Rose" and what happens to Rose after "Doomsday."  This one-shot connects those two in a bit of timey-wimey bittersweet brilliance.  Really lovely.  I read this very soon after I joined this fandom and it has lingered with me.

-Tales from the Findersverse by dameruth.  (Doctor Who, Ten/Rose/Jack)  This is one of the first fic series (yeah, I'm cheating a bit by having a series rather than just one fic) that convinced me that I shipped Doctor/Rose/Jack, not just Doctor/Rose, and for that it will always have a special place in my heart.  The Finders-verse series is comfort reading post-Doomsday fixit.  There's a bit of hurt/comfort and lots of fluffy romance.   Dameruth has great dialog and grasp of the characters. I don't even know if this is my overall favorite of her several OT3 'verses, let alone the many other great fics for this ship, but I think it's the one I found first so it always makes me go "awwww" when I think of it.

-Ulysses by Rheanna.  (Doctor Who. Martha Jones, John Smith, Joan Redfern)  This is a haunting "what if" story about what it might have looked like years down the line if John Smith hadn't been the one to find the courage to open the fob watch in "The Family of Blood."  It's about stories and choices and the nature of humans and Time Lords, and if you watch Doctor Who you should really read it.

-The Paradox series by wordstrings.  (Sherlock, Sherlock/John) This is one of the most-recced fanworks in Sherlock fandom for very good reason.  It's intense, immersive, gorgeous, difficult, creative, and moving.  This is the story of two very, VERY broken people who find they fit together better than either of them dared to hope, even if that doesn't make everything better always.

-The Shape I Found You In/Lay Me Down by irisbleufic and moony (Sherlock, Sherlock/John)  There are so many things I love here:  epistolary fic!  Humor!  Case solving!  Men who rarely talk about things finally talking about it!  Character parallels with well-written OCs!  Travel!  Longing and the sexy fulfilment of all that longing!  All of it is really beautifully written (irisbleufic is a published poet, and it shows) with impeccable characterizations.

-The Watches 'verse by bendingsignpost.  (Sherlock, Sherlock/John)  The creativity and planning that went into the two stories in this series is just amazing.  I have a huge place in my heart for Sherlock stories where John is even more extraordinary than Sherlock in a very different way, and this story about John with his consciousness jumping between alternate realities every time he goes to sleep certainly fills that craving.  Bendingsignpost is another one of those writers who has written lots of fics I could just rave about for ages.

-Bring Biscuits by wiggleofjudas (Sherlock, Sherlock/John/Mary)  This fic is like a blanketfort of OT3 happiness.  It's exceptionally sily and loving text fic with Sherlock, John, Mary, and a baby, and re-reading it (or its sequel) is the antidote to all bad feelings caused by accidentally encountering anti-Mary tirades.  Also, at one point Sherlock and John fall into a big display of sex toys and Lestrade takes pictures.

-We Were Emergencies by gyzym.  (Avengers, Natasha/Clint)  This is the gorgeous, emotionally-charged, insightful story of two damaged assassins in love.  It's about recovery from mind control (and recovery in general), subtle and intense at the same time.  I came out of The Avengers craving a story like this, and to find one that filled that craving so brilliantly was marvelous.

-Reconstruction Site by EmilianaDarling.  (Avengers/Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve/Bucky).  This fic perfectly fits my headcanon for Bucky after the events of the movie, and does so with graceful writing and SO MANY FEELS. 

Robot of Sherwood

sorta fairytale 9/rose
I haven't enjoyed an episode of Doctor Who this much in a long while.

This was not exactly a super deep or plot-important episode, but I thought it was a thoroughly fun romp with some good character moments.  I continue to really enjoy Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, and Clara feels more like a person this series than last series.  Here is my disorganized bullet-point list of thoughts about "Robot of Sherwood":

[Spoilers of Sherwood: click to read]-The Doctor and Robin Hood spent most of the episode bickering, including while handcuffed together.  Am I the only one who came out of this episode shipping Twelve/Robin Hood?  Because that is classic Belligerent Sexual Tension behavior IMHO.  (Warning:  link goes to TV tropes.)

-The Doctor flat out admits that he uses getting captured as a strategy.  No one is surprised.  This series, Clara is proving talented at using this strategy to extract information.  I also love how pleased she was about admitting that she lied to the Sheriff.

-The plot for this episode was silly bordering on nonsensical, but that really wasn't the point.  Fire a golden arrow at the spaceship to make sure it gets to orbit and doesn't explode too low?  Sure, why not.  I'll take this sort of consciously goofy thing any day over a story that tries to be driven by an intricate plot but is actually full of holes to anyone who bothers to think about it for more than 30 seconds.  (**coughmoffatcough**)

-Twelve was so certain that Robin Hood wasn't a real person, and yet managed to land exactly where Robin was at a key moment in his personal timeline.  Sexy must have really wanted to make her hubby eat his words.

-Apparently Robin's minstrel was played by Mark Gatiss's husband Ian Hallard.  (Also, I enjoyed the Monty Python references with that character.)

-The Doctor fenced against Robin Hood with a spoon.  This is so very typical of the man whose primary technical gadget is a screwdriver.

-I very much enjoyed the swashbuckling nature of the fights and action.  Robin stuck a dagger into a tapestry and slid down.  He and the Sheriff rode ropes up to fight on a beam above the vat of liquid gold, because why the hell not.  Then Robin copied the Doctor's moves from earlier to send the Sheriff off the beam into the gold, which was a nice touch.  It's all gloriously over the top.

-LOLing forever at the Doctor using trick arrows to cheat at the archery competition and being so proud of the fact that he'll be the last to starve to death in their cell.  The Doctor's competitive streak seems to be strong in this incarnation.

-I liked the points made in's review of this episode that Twelve's loud disbelief in the reality of Robin Hood is a pointed departure from Eleven, who was often framed as a fairytale (both by Moffat and in the Doctor's own self-conception.)  Eleven did not always do right by his loved ones despite or sometimes because of his heroic posturing. Twelve has consciously distanced himself from being a fairytale or even a hero.  And yet he discusses with Robin (and sadly I can't remember which one of them said what off the top of my head) that sometimes the legend of a hero can be good for people, even if the person behind the legend is not so pure and perfect and doesn't even think of himself as a hero.  Story has been one of the recurring themes in Moffat-era DW (it's one of the few aspects I do like about this era), and I think it's been a long while since we've had an episode handle it as well as this one.

-I hope next year's Gallifrey One is full of lots of cosplay of medieval Clara, Robin Hood, and spoon-wielding Twelve.

-So far I have been liking series 8 decently well.  It's less awfully manic, Peter Capaldi's take on the Doctor is a breath of fresh air, and Clara has grown more of a personality.  I am highly dubious about the "promised land" arc, but it's too early to really judge that.

-I should probably acquire a Twelve icon.

New friends and current reading

captain marvel
If you're looking to add some more active LJ fandom folk to your friends list, there's a lively friending meme going on over at the_redjay's journal.

{ visit my post } { visit the thread }

Go forth and meet people!  (And welcome, new people I've just met.  Glad to have you.)

Now, it's time for What I'm Reading Wednesday! It's the pre-DragonCon edition.

What are you currently reading?

I'm rereading Captain Marvel Vol. 1:  In Pursuit of Flight, which I've brought with me to Atlanta because I want to get it signed by Kelly Sue Deconnick at DragonCon.  I AM SO EXCITED TO MEET KELLY SUE!  I adore Captain Marvel.  Most of that is due to Kelly Sue's writing.  Before I picked up this volume the first time a little over a year ago, I knew pretty much nothing about Carol Danvers aside from the fact that tumblr approved of her and she had a practical costume.  By the end of the six issues collected in this trade, I  felt like I knew her.  More than that, I was ready to kneel at Carol's feet to offer my fealty and sidekick services, except that I knew that Carol would prefer I stand.  (Half a step behind her, because she's ridiculously competitive like that, but standing all the same.) In Kelly Sue DeConnick's hands, Carol manages to be both an impressively inspirational hero and a rounded human character with flaws and quirks.

I am also a grand total of two paragraphs into The Neon Court by Kate Griffin.  I very much enjoyed the previous two books in this urban fantasy series, so I'm looking forward to the rest of this one.  They are wonderfully weird.

What have you recently finished reading?

I just finished The Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire, the most recent of the October Daye novels.  This one was another strong entry into a series I love.  One thing I think Seanan does well is to put the characters in ridiculous situations, have the characters be perfectly aware of how absurd everything is, and still keep the stakes high and the emotions strong.  For example (keeping it a bit vague to avoid major spoilers), while reading The Chimes at Midnight, I got kind of choked up when a character got a pie to the face and the consequences were REALLY UPSETTING.  That tension between the silly (pie to the face!) and the deadly serious is tough to pull off convincingly.  (I should also note that I was reading this book on the plane, and at one point the flight attendant asked me about beverages when I was utterly absorbed in the plot. I jumped and flailed visibly at the sudden intrusion of the real world.  It's that sort of exciting book.)

I am saddened to come to the end of currently available novels in this series.  Luckily, Seanan is a crazy-fast writer, so hopefully there will be more before too long.  How does she manage to produce regular new books in several series and have them all be so damn good?  They're not long books, but they don't have a trace of the sloppiness you often see in writers with this sort of annual wordcount.  I suspect Seanan has a portrait in the attic that experiences chronic writer's block and unproductive days on her behalf.

Also, my theory from the last book about Toby's squire Quentin was totally vindicated.  I feel like I should get a sticker or something.

What do you think you'll read next?

I'll be reading the rest of The Neon Court, for starters.  I love Kate Griffin's version of a magic-infused London.  The magic feels integrated with the contemporary urban setting in a way that not a lot of urban fantasies truly manage.  After that, Saga vol. 3 is on my agenda. (Saga! ♥ ♥ ♥)

I never escape DragonCon without buying books, so we'll see what surprises lie in store.

(Did I mention that DragonCon is about to start?  HUZZAH!)

Doctor Who, "Deep Breath"

oncoming storm nine
We have a new Doctor!  A new start!  Alas, it seems like my disconnect from recent Doctor Who was due to showrunner more than actor playing the Doctor, and that hasn't changed.  Still, this was an okay episode with some things I very much enjoyed in this episode in addition to the things that I disliked.

The Good

-Peter Capaldi as the Doctor.  He is every bit as good as I'd hoped. [The rest of the list of good things is spoilery]One thing I'm especially excited about is that he can bring the Oncoming Storm with all the ferocity and gravitas that aspect of the Doctor demands.  Matt Smith brought a lot of wonderful things to his portrayal of the Doctor, but I never really found his Oncoming Storm to be convincing.  When he shouted, he sounded more petulant than frightening.  (Eleven could be very scary, but he was scariest in cold and quiet ways, like outright lying to his companions, or when seemingly jolly and triumphant, like transforming every human who watched the moon landing into a killer.)  Eyebrows and insults to humans are both things I'm glad to have from the Doctor.  I will be interested to see him when he's not still rattled by regeneration, because scaring random tramps for no good reason may be taking things a little too far.

-Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax automatically double the awesome of any episode they are in.  I was especially excited when they mentioned the Paternoster Irregulars being out on the case.  We didn't see these irregulars, but I'm going to go ahead and assume it's a gang of street urchins.  IT WOULD BE SO NATURAL TO GIVE VASTRA AND JENNY A SPINOFF AIMED AT KIDS.  I also love that when appropriate they actually call the police to help them deal with stuff.

-The pacing of the episode was much less irritatingly manic than a lot of the recent era of Doctor Who.  It felt like an appropriate amount of story for the time allotted, not trying to cram in an incredibly convoluted plot (not to mention every possible cheap joke) into too small a time.  That was such a relief!

-The moment in the restaurant when they realize that the other diners are all automatons was intensely creepy and cool.

-While it was clearly one of those things that Moffat wrote because he thought it would be neat rather than because it made sense, I did rather like the dinosaur appearing in Victorian London and then spitting out the TARDIS.

-Scottish Doctor gets to complain about things and naturally gravitates towards Glasgow.

[The Bad]The Bad

-Why the hell is Clara, supposedly the one companion who has known the Doctor in EVERY SINGLE ONE of his lives, so thrown by his regeneration?  My impression was that she remembered at least aspects of that whole saving the Doctor across many lives thing.  Her panic makes no sense.  Like, I can understand being deeply sad that the Doctor she knows from her real, original life is gone, but this degree of doubt and fear is super inconsistent with her character.  If Moffat felt the need for an audience surrogate to express viewers' distress and confusion at the Doctor's change, well, we never saw Vastra and Jenny interact with any Doctor besides Eleven, so they haven't personally experienced a regeneration.  Let Jenny be the one who's doubtful and upset on behalf of the audience!  Or just trust that your audience is aware of how this regeneration thing works.

-On the subject of inconsistent and weird Clara characterization, the Doctor basically called her an egomaniac childish game-player, and other than maaaaaybe being childish I can't really see how that describes her.  Maybe because the episodes with Modern Clara focused so much on her Impossible Girl status that they never really bothered to develop all that much of a personality for her beyond Generic Plucky Companion.  Or possibly the fault is with me for missing the signs that she's an egomaniac childish game-player because lately I've been so meh about current Doctor Who that I don't think I've watched any of Clara's episodes more than once.  With no disrespect to Jenna Coleman (who does a pretty good job with what she's given), I honestly don't care about Clara.  And that's a very bad thing for the show when it can't make me give a rat's ass one way or the other about the companion.

-Vastra and Jenny are married, but we still only watch them lock lips for a contrived sharing oxygen moment?  Moffat, if you are trying to do better about representation, it isn't working.

-Moffat sure loves recycling his ideas, doesn't he?  Here we have the need to refrain from a basic biological function so monsters can't get you (previously blinking, now breathing) and the clockwork droids from The Girl in the Fireplace.  I was seriously dubious about the whole "hold your breath and the robots think you're one of them!" thing, when the people were showing so many other signs of not being robots.   It doesn't make a lick of logical sense, but it does make a sort of nightmare-sense, so I'm not too annoyed at that.  However, I wasn't a fan of the clockwork droids being reused in this way.  They were great the first time, but I thought they made less sense in this context.  Like, there are all sorts of materials they could have used in Victorian London that would have been a hell of a lot easier than setting up a fake restaurant to trap humans.  (Context in which reusing the clockwork droids could have been cool:  start off on a fully-functioning 51st-century spaceship with all the humans aboard very proud of their new clockwork-biological-digital hybrid technology.  The Doctor shows up informs them that this technology is a terrible idea, but nobody listens until sure enough something goes wrong and the droids start picking off the crew one by one in some creepy space-horror.)

-"You can't see me, can you?  You look at me and you can't see me.  Do you have any idea what that's like?" Hey Doctor, remember all that time you looked at Clara and saw her Dalek and Victorian doppelgangers, seeing the mystery but not really her, Clara Oswald the real 21st-century woman?  I think she knows very well what that's like, you ass.

-They killed the dinosaur.  :(  :(  :(

[Things About Which I Have Conflicting or Undecided Feelings]Things About Which I Have Conflicting or Undecided Feelings

-The phone call from Eleven.  I didn't know that was coming, and even as someone who was happy to see him regenerate it still hit in the feels.  However, I also think it was unnecessary emotional manipulation.

-The mystery woman who appeared with the revived droid captain at the end.  I didn't catch it from the show, but apparently she's called Missy.  Missy could be short for Mistress, which could mean that she's the newest regeneration of the Master.  While I would kinda prefer to leave the Master character alone for a while longer, I could potentially get behind the Master as Evil Mary Poppins (especially if they make it clear that the Master always thought of the Doctor in a boyfriend way, even before regenerating female).  If she turns out to be a regeneration of River Song I will throw things.  Mostly I think I'd be glad if she's a new character.

-At the very end, the Doctor suggests that he and Clara go out for chips or coffee.  She tells him that he's buying, but he claims that he doesn't have any money.  This is a very clear callback to Nine and Rose's conversation in "The End of the World,"  a moment I absolutely loved.  I can't decide how I feel about it being used here.  It hits me in the feels, and is a nice reminder that some things about the Doctor stay constant even across many regenerations.  On the other hand, part of me wants Moffat to keep his grubby typing fingers off of the era when I consistently loved Doctor Who, to build his own characters and not just manipulate the audience's heartstrings with what came before.  Mostly, it makes me want to rewatch Nine and Rose.

In conclusion, RIP dinosaur.
redshirt Star Trek TOS
While I wait for the new episode of Doctor Who to be legally available in my area, I'm going to talk about a different decades-old institution of SF television:  Star Trek.  I've been continuing my Star Trek TOS watch through, but I've been seriously negligent about posting episode reactions like I said I would.  So here is a post about LOTS of episodes of Star Trek.  (Where LOTS = twelve.)  Mostly I'm just going to say a few sentences about each, though a few are longer if I have a lot to say or happened to make notes immediately after watching.  I should note that I do a fair amount of pointing out plot holes and gentle mocking, but I'm enjoying this viewing of the show quite a bit.  Spoilers abound, should you care about being spoiled for something almost 50 years old.

1x06, "Mudd's Women"Collapse )

1x07, "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"

(I actually wrote up most of an entry immediately after watching this one, so this ep gets more detail than others.)
1x07, "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"Collapse )

1x08, "Miri"Collapse )

1x09, "Dagger of the Mind"Collapse )

1x10, "The Corbomite Maneuver"Collapse )

1x11 and 1x12, "The Menagerie pts. I & II"Collapse )

1x13, "The Conscience of the King"Collapse )

1x14 "The Balance of Terror"Collapse )

1x15, "Shore Leave"Collapse )

1x17, "The Galileo Seven"Collapse )

1x18, "The Squire of Gothos"Collapse )

By the way, if you care at all about any incarnation of Star Trek, I highly recomment the fanvid Long Live by cosmic_llin.  It's an amazing feels-inducing tribute to all the crews, to legacy, to the sense of exploration, to found family...just go watch.  Potential spoilers for all possible Star Trek.

What I'm Reading Wednesday

book + billie
What are you currently reading?
I just yesterday finished The Silvered by Tanya Huff and haven't yet picked up a new book, so I'll talk about that book for this question.  I enjoyed The Silvered.  It's a high fantasy with werewolves, mages, and a bit of steampunk flavor.  Unlike many werewolf stories, these werewolves are not only open about their existence, but in some parts of the world they are the political leaders and core of high society.  (It's the sort of place where upwardly-mobile mothers try to get their daughters and sons to marry a member of the Pack.) There's some intriguing worldbuilding, and the book's unputdownability factor is high.  I often found myself taking time away from the internet and real world obligations because the only thing I wanted to do was find out what happened next.  I like that in the midst of a major war between the main protagonists' home kingdom of Aydori and an expanding empire led by a mad emperor, the book insists on the humanity of the individual Imperial soldiers.  I am kinda sick of evil empires with hordes of unquestioning minions.  Also, I found myself wondering early on whether there were any queer werewolves in this society, and later in the book we got a queer werewolf as a supporting character!  Yay representation!  I thought the characterization of the leads was not quite as strong as in some of Huff's other books, but overall I liked this novel a lot.

What have you recently finished reading?

Prior to The Silvered I read Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire, sixth of the October Daye novels.  If you're a fan of urban fantasy, I highly recommend these books.  October "Toby" Daye and her various friends, associates, frenemies, etc. are all fascinating and well-drawn characters, and at this point I'm deeply invested in their well-being.  Too bad that Seanan is very willing to kill off fairly major characters.  The books in this series are quick reads, but they don't feel like trifles.  The worldbuilding for the Fae community is great, with enough quirk to suit the San Francisco setting.  Although I've enjoyed every book in this series, I thought Ashes of Honor was the strongest since An Artificial Night, making it one of my favorite.  Spoiler (going behind a cut, but just in case that cut doesn't work here's a warning outside it): [Spoiler (click to open)]I was really happy that Toby and Tybalt finally admitted their feelings and got together.  I've been shipping them since book 1, so finally having them get together was very satisfying.  While I adore UST, it was starting to get to the point where I was questioning Toby's intelligence for not noticing that Tybalt was obviously head-over-heels for her in his prickly king of cats way.
Also, I have a theory about Toby's squire Quentin and the unknown identity of his parents. I think I'm not quite ready to type it out, but I feel like there have been enough circumstantial hints in the text that I feel pretty good about my theory.  Time will tell, I suppose.

What do you think you'll read next?

Probably I'll next read either Vol. 2 of Saga (I never posted about it here, but I adored the first volume so much that I made both of my parents read it, and they bought me the next two volumes for my birthday last weekend) or The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell (sequel to London Falling).


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December 2014



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