Horizon, by Fran Wilde

Sep. 26th, 2017 07:03 am[personal profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)
Review copy provided by Tor Books. Also the author is a personal friend and all-around nifty person.

This is the culmination of the trilogy that started with Updraft. If you're the sort of person who needs to know that something has a definite-and-for-sure ending before you buy that thing: here you are, here is the ending, it is a really-truly ending that ends. (I really want to encourage people not to do that, because it's a good way to make sure people don't get to have their endings published--especially people like Fran who have given you nice volume endings in addition to the larger series ending. But I know that such people exist, so! Here is the information you were looking for: ending!)

I don't recommend starting with Horizon. This is clearly a culmination, and there are only two books before it to give you the plot and character arcs Fran is weaving together here; it's not like you have to read twelve bugcrushers to get to what she's doing here. Kirit and Nat and their friends and relations--and grudging allies, and adversaries--are back and struggling for survival--trying to figure out, from page one, what shape their survival can even take.

For that reason, it's hard to review Horizon in very concrete terms, because there's so much that it's doing that depends on the previous books. It's exciting from the first page, it's all engineering and all social and all heart, all at once. Fran's weaving threads and perspectives together in ways that she didn't in previous books--rather than resting on previous successes, she's doing this book in a new way, and it works. It's the way this book would have to work, but I love to see that in a first series, rather than copying the structure of a first book that's had as much success as Updraft has, I love to see an author following the story and doing what it needs even if the structure isn't the same. The previous volumes didn't pull punches, and neither does Horizon, but it does that in its own way.

The ending is satisfying without being overly tidy, without being one-size-fits-all for characters who have spent this whole trilogy coming in different sizes. And...I really appreciate the way people with common goals don't always trust each other, don't always like each other--and are sometimes very grumpy at the compromises they have to make with each other. The world is like that; the world of fiction too often finds it difficult to be both satisfying and realistic, but I think Horizon manages both. With lots of astonishing creatures and feats of derring-do in between.

Please consider using our link to buy Horizon from Amazon.

Gratitudes

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:26 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: glasses of pink wine (rose)
1. A friend gave me a bag of freshly-picked sungold cherry tomatoes today, and I have melted them into a simple tomato sauce with a sweet red pepper and some good olive oil and salt and pepper, which will dress my pasta tonight.

2. Also on the docket for dinner tonight is a salad of CSA arugula, mustard greens, and red Boston lettuce -- stunning fresh greens with some feta and a simple vinaigrette. This may be the last head of lettuce this season. Then again it may not, because unseasonable warmth, who knows. One way or another, om nom nom.

3. Kitten. Because kitten.

4. Glass of rosé, because boy howdy is it wine o'clock.

5. Power, and light, and modern conveniences of ordinary living -- with awareness that so many people are impacted by disaster right now and do not have these things at all.

How are y'all?

Remix revisited

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:38 pm[personal profile] el_staplador
el_staplador: Three-quarters crop of Victor from the opening credits sequence of Yuri!!! on Ice (victor)
A very nice surprise this morning: a remix of my La Forza dell'Amore in which Victor and Yuuri and Yurio actually go to see the opera in question:

A Gala Performance (They're Playing Our Song Remix) (1577 words) by Gramarye
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Yuri!!! on Ice (Anime)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Katsuki Yuuri & Victor Nikiforov & Yuri Plisetsky, Katsuki Yuuri/Victor Nikiforov
Characters: Katsuki Yuuri, Victor Nikiforov, Yuri Plisetsky
Additional Tags: Operas, Post-Canon, Invisible fandom, Remix Revival
Summary:

It's pure coincidence that the Mariinsky's current opera season happens to include Enrico Bruni's La Forza dell'Amore, with its well-known aria Stammi Vicino. It's anything but coincidence that Viktor Nikiforov has bought out an entire box for its opening night performance.

Remix Revival - Plus One

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:30 am[personal profile] gramarye1971
gramarye1971: Viktor Nikiforov from Yuri!!! on Ice, soaking in the onsen (YoI: Onsen Viktor)
With my creativity currently at an ebb, I hadn't intended to write anything for Remix Revival Madness, but a very, very last-minute fic idea jumped into my head during this past week and started doing the plot bunny equivalent of banging pots and pans together in an effort to make itself heard. So in a mad dash, I duly hammered out about 1500 words for it, and would like to have made it longer, but for now I think it'll do.

So to remix [profile] elstaplador's La Forza dell'Amore, an invisible fandom work about the opera that Yuri!!! on Ice's Stammi Vicino aria and duet might have come from, I wrote A Gala Performance (They're Playing Our Song Remix), in which Viktor Nikiforov buys out an entire Mariinsky Theatre box for a performance of La Forza dell'Amore and goes through an entire package of tissues almost by himself...except for the ones that Yuuri and Yuri end up using, that is.

(I have a longer story planned about the performance of Eugene Onegin briefly mentioned in the fic, but that's for another day.)

Remix Revival Reveals

Sep. 24th, 2017 03:47 pm[personal profile] gramarye1971
gramarye1971: white teacup of green tea with wooden chopsticks (Tea and Chopsticks)
For the [community profile] remixrevival exchange, I was matched with [archiveofourown.org profile] makiyakinabe, and ended up going a little outside of my comfort zone to remix an AU I've never tried to write before: a daemon (His Dark Materials) AU of the World War II espionage anime Joker Game. The original fic, tools of the trade, put an interesting spin on the concept, so I kept the basic plot structure and made some tweaks to reinterpret the concept for a non-Christian culture. The result came out as Tsukumogami (The Subtle Knife Remix), and though I had to rework the ending a few times before I was completely satisfied with it, I think this idea turned out well.

In turn, I very much enjoyed the remix written from my own story -- Turn the Page (Don't Fear the Ending) by the always-delightful [personal profile] edenfalling! Based on The Monster at the End of This Book, a missing-scene fic for Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, the remix does an excellent job of presenting one of the important implicit themes in the book, about the choices that people (and women in particular) make when they feel that they aren't in control of their own stories. I highly recommend both the original book and this fic!
kass: white cat; "kass" (Default)
(Okay, that is not actually our kitten's name, but I use it sometimes anyway, because.)

Today we had our third bath, and this time it went well!

The changes were Z's idea... )

I feel unreasonably proud of this. Kitten bathing: achievement unlocked!

Remix reveals

Sep. 24th, 2017 07:59 pm[personal profile] el_staplador
el_staplador: A dragon carved in stone (fantasy)
I wrote this -

Down the Garden Path (and what Alice found there) (4517 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 5/5
Fandom: Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
Additional Tags: Dreams and Nightmares, Dreams vs. Reality, Non-Linear Narrative, Board Games, Pastiche, Poetry, journeys, Nursery Rhymes, Werewolves
Summary:

Alice throws a six, and finds herself on the square of the hypotenuse. But she's been here before, and she'll be here again, and perhaps she's already here...



- which I feel is rather obviously mine, though not in a fandom I'd previously attempted.

(Why do I not have an Alice icon?)

Gratitudes

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:58 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: apples and honey (apples)
1. Although it is after the autumn equinox in my hemisphere, it is unseasonably warm right now, so I am grateful for air conditioning, even if I feel ridiculous using it on September 24!

2. Apple-picking with Mr. Kid today! This is one of our fall traditions and it is so sweet. The orchard is near our old house. Rows and rows of beautiful apple trees stretching toward fields and hills. And we got two bags of honeycrisps, my favorite apples of them all.

3. Related to the above, there is a granola-topped apple crisp cooling now on my counter. I'm also making a chicken curry in the slow cooker to eat all week, and I've cooked up some ground turkey and vegetables with soy and sesame and cilantro and will add rice noodles to them later for dinner tonight.

4. Dishwasher (now running) and washing machine (also now running.) The fact that we have these appliances; the fact that we have power with which to run them.

5. Watching Mr. Kid gleefully play with Mr. Kitten, who has a catnip mouse and is carrying it proudly around the room in his mouth. I can't tell whether the catnip is making the kitten goofier, or whether this is just his natural three-month-old goofitude, but either way, it's adorbs.

In case you were wondering...

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:16 pm[personal profile] kass
kass: white cat; "kass" (Default)
...the LEGO Ninjago movie is charming as hell. There's a delightfully meta frametale, plus Jackie Chan, plus bonus points for excellent use of a cat. I think I laughed as much as my kid did, and that's saying something. :-)
dichroic: (oar asterisk)

Last night, I met up with 5 other local knitters, took the MAX (lightrail) downtown, had dinner at Kenny & Zukes (so I got to have matzo ball soup for Roash Hashanah dinner, yay – and it was good, too) and then went over to Powell’s to hear Clara Parkes speak about her new book, A Stash of One’s Own (a collection of essays about the yarn stashes that every knitter tends to accumulate, revel in or guilt-trip over, pet now and then when no one is watching, and sometimes *gasp* cull).

It all felt like such a Portland thing to do 🙂 It might not have been the most traditional way to spend Erev Rosh Hashana, but I heard a speech by a rabbi the other day in which he talked about how we try to begin the year as we want it to go on – I could deal with a year full of friends, fun outings, knitting and yarn talk, and good food.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

el_staplador: Three-quarters crop of Victor from the opening credits sequence of Yuri!!! on Ice (victor)
The characters:

1. River Song (Doctor Who)
2. Eugénie Danglars (The Count of Monte Cristo)
3. Victor Nikiforov (Yuri!!! on Ice)
4. John Tracy (Thunderbirds)
5. Romeo (Romeo and Juliet)
6. Liz Shaw (Doctor Who)
7. Lady Penelope (Thunderbirds)
8. Petrova Fossil (Ballet Shoes)
9. Edmond Dantes|The Count of Monte Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo)
10. Dorothea Callum (Swallows and Amazons etc)
11. Madame C-|Lady B- (The Comfortable Courtesan)
12. Dickson McCunn (Huntingtower etc)
13. Miss Marple
14. Rudolf Rassendyll (The Prisoner of Zenda)
15. The Dowager Duchess of Denver (Lord Peter Wimsey)


The answers )
mount_oregano: and let me translate (translate)
Book coverAs you may know, for several years I’ve been translating the medieval Spanish novel of chivalry, Amadis of Gaul, as a blog. I finally finished that this spring.

The novel was written as four “books,” each one the size of a modern novel. I’ve since been working on collecting the translation into books to self-publish, and since the whole thing would run more than a thousand pages, I’m doing it book by book.

Book II of Amadis of Gaul is now available as a
paperback and Kindle ebook at Amazon.

It joins Book I, also available in
paperback and Kindle formats.

Books III and IV are coming soon.

The blog will remain up in case you want to read the book for free, which you’re very welcome to do.

Why would you want to read it? Because this novel is a masterpiece. It inspired a century of best-selling sequels in seven languages and changed the way we think about knights, chivalry, damsels in distress, and courtly life in castles. During the Renaissance, it even led to cosplay!

Most of all, this book drove Don Quixote mad. What will it do to you?

— Sue Burke

mrissa: (Default)

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Review copy provided by Haikasoru Books.

This is one of the weirdest books I’ve read in a long time. The Bamboo, the creatures in it, are described as vampires, but they’re really more grass monsters who eat human carrion. They’re described as scary, but I’m not particularly scared by them so much as baffled by their strange, secretive, hierarchical laws. (For me, this is a feature, not a bug.) And on basically every other page, I’m left saying, “What? What?” (Again, a feature, not a bug.)

There are three sections varying widely in time, with different protagonists. Even within the sections, the timeline swings wildly, spending pages on a conversation translated lovingly to attempt to show what level of formality the Japanese conversation used (oh, a losing battle) and then going over forty years in a single line. I would say that it’s full of plot twists, but that sounds very linear, very straightforward, as though things are following one upon another with logic–it is full of plot twists the way the dream you are trying to remember from two nights ago is full of plot twists. “And then you what? Why? Okay.”

And then the grass monster reached the end of their life and exploded into flowers. What? Okay. No, different section, they ate someone who they thought was abusing a prostitute. What? Okay. If that’s not okay with you, you should probably move along, because that’s what there is here, a whole lot of angst and monsters and randomness, and some of you are saying, gosh, no thanks, and some of you are saying, sign me on up.

Please consider using our link to buy A Small Charred Face from Amazon.

Books read, early September

Sep. 19th, 2017 06:45 pm[personal profile] mrissa
mrissa: (Default)

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Alex Alice, Castle in the Stars Book One: The Space Race of 1869. Discussed elsewhere.

Hassan Blasim, ed., Iraq+100 Discussed elsewhere.

Chaz Brenchley, Dust-Up at the Crater School Chapter 7. Kindle. Plotty, moving forward, full of dust storms and schoolgirl antics, as one would expect for this project.

Marie Brennan, Maps to Nowhere. Discussed elsewhere.

George Eliot, Middlemarch. Kindle. And this is what happened to my early September. Middlemarch is surprising; it is delightful. It is one of the longest classics of English literature, and it is a joy to read. I kept thinking that I would want to leaven it with bits of something else, go off and take a break and read something in the middle of it. I didn’t. (I mean, I always have a book of short pieces going. But other than that.) While I was reading Middlemarch, I kept wanting to read Middlemarch, and when I was done reading it I wanted more of it. The only thing of its size that’s at all comparable in my attachment to it is John Sayles’s A Moment in the Sun, and that does not have the passionate following Middlemarch has–wherever I mentioned it I found that friends and strangers were ready to share my delight in this wandering intense chatty behemoth of a book. I’m discussing it with a friend who’s reading it with me. I’m not sure I have a lot to add for the general audience except to say, it’s funny, it’s intense, it’s gigantic emotionally as well as literally, it makes me want to read more George Eliot, it makes me want to read its giant self all over again. It is in some ways exactly what you would expect and in other ways nothing like what you’d expect. It is thoroughly itself. And oh, I love her, I love George Eliot so very much. I’m glad I read such a quotable thing when I was past the age of needing to strip-mine books for epigraphs. I can do that later. I’m glad I could just relax in and read this first time.

Masha Gessen, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. I enjoyed another of Gessen’s books and picked this up because the library had it, more or less on a whim. And it gave me a perspective on modern Russia that nothing else has, particularly on its criminal justice system. What the prison system is doing there, what trials are like, what sorts of things are prioritized, what and who counts, what and who does not. Enraging, illuminating. There are some things Gessen just takes for granted you will know about feminist art theory and punk, but I think it may still be interesting if you don’t? but even better if you do. Also, if you have a very strong high culture/low culture divide, read this book and have that nonsense knocked out of you. Not that I have an opinion about that.

Ben Hatke, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King. Discussed elsewhere.

Steve Inskeep, Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab. This is very much in the popular history category: short chapters, many things explained on a fairly straightforward level. Not a lot of delving deep into the obscure corners. However, Inskeep does a fairly good job of switching back and forth between the lens of the European settlers turned recent Americans and the lens of the cultures of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, and especially Cherokee people in the region he was discussing. One of the things that this particularly underscored for me is how quickly the European/American settlers viewed the land as traditionally theirs in that part of the south: the beginning of the Cherokee Trail of Tears was twenty-three years before the US Civil War. Even the earliest of the resettlements was only thirty years before. So in some parts of the Deep South, there were indeed plantations that had been going for generations–but in large, large swaths of it, the land they were fighting so hard for was land they had just taken from its previous owners basically five minutes ago. References to traditional way of life in that context are basically like talking about GameBoys and other hand-held gaming devices as our traditional way of life: they are bullshit. I think the way we are taught this period of history in American schooling encourages us not to think of that. I will want to read much deeper works on Andrew Jackson’s presidency. In this case I will say: Inskeep is not trying to paint him as a great guy or not a racist…and I still think he ends up going too easy on him. But it’s a good starter work for this period, I think.

Ursula K. LeGuin, The Language of the Night. Reread. The last time I read this was before I was keeping a book log, which means also before I was selling short stories regularly. I was a lot less prone to argue with assertions about fantasy not needing to compromise then. (Oh nonsense, of course it does.) But one of the things that makes Ursula LeGuin a great writer is that she argues with her past self, too. She evolves. She evolves in the course of this collection. And I think she’d be far happier with people thinking and arguing than uncritically absorbing anyway.

Rebecca Mead, My Life in Middlemarch. So…I didn’t mean to go straight from Middlemarch to a book about it, but the other thing I had from the library, I bounced off, and…I wasn’t ready to be done. This is Mead’s memoir entangled with a bit of biography of Eliot. There are places where Mead is bafflingly obtuse (some areas of gender politics and the writing of sexuality, notably, but also the difference between a character who is fully human and a character who is generally sympathetic), but in general it is short and rattles along satisfyingly and tells me things I want to know about George Eliot without telling me too many things I actively didn’t want to know about Rebecca Mead.

A. Merc Rustad, So You Want to Be a Robot. This is a solid and heart-wrenching collection. It’s impossible to pick one true favorite because there are so many good choices. Definitely highly recommended, Merc hits it out of the park here. And they’re just getting started.

Gerald Vizenor, Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles. This is when Vizenor was just getting started, and gosh I’m glad I didn’t get started with his early work, because…why, oh why, did so many men of the seventies–particularly men who wanted to claim they were ecologically minded without doing much about it–pick the same direction for their demonstrations of their own sexual daring? Well, Vizenor grew out of it. But it’s a one of those. The person who wrote the afterword was sure that objections to it would be because people thought Indians couldn’t be like that! and no, it’s that it’s trite, it’s exactly the kind of trite sexual objectification of women–especially Indian women–that you’d expect from “seventies dude trying to be sexually shocking.” He got better. I’m glad.

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 11:23 pm[personal profile] gramarye1971
gramarye1971: Fakir looking up from a library book (Princess Tutu: Fakir)
Still around and reading, just a bit quiet. Finishing my Remix Revival fic tapped out quite a bit of my creativity. And I keep starting and deleting entire screeds about the current state of North Korean politics and nuclear brinksmanship because I am a rank amateur when compared with the good folks in the disarmament business who can look at a missile for five seconds and say things like ah, yes, that's a second-generation Iranian-produced Scud-D model, only painted black and with extra fins added to it for no good reason that we can determine. I hate feeling only half-informed, if that.

At this point I am crossing off days until my folks swing down from the Frigid North to visit in mid-October, and to my planned Japan trip in mid-November. If anything else creative or similarly productive gets done during the interim, I'm not sure whether it'll be in spite of or because of my own efforts.

But still around and reading, as mentioned.

Fifteen Characters Meme

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:14 pm[personal profile] el_staplador
el_staplador: Can-can dancer; caption 'Oppan can can style' (can can style)
Nicked from [personal profile] lost_spook:

1) Make a list of fifteen characters first, and keep it to yourself for the moment.

2) Ask your f-list to post questions in the comments. For example: "One, nine, and fifteen are chosen by a prophecy to save the world from four. Do they succeed?", "Under what circumstances might five and fourteen fall in love?", "Which character on the list would you most want on your side in a zombie invasion?"

3) After your f-list has stopped asking questions, round them up and answer them using the fifteen characters you selected beforehand, then post them.
el_staplador: TARDIS (tardis)
Someone created Vastra and Jenny's wedding photo, remixing my My Beloved Snake, and Said Unto Me. It is absolutely delightful: period-typical in the best way!

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Flint-Vastra (The Carte de visite remix) (0 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jenny Flint/Madame Vastra
Characters: Jenny Flint, Madame Vastra (Doctor Who)
Additional Tags: Fanart
Summary:

The wedding photo of the widow Vastra and her young new husband.



I have been watching Kids on the Slope on [personal profile] moetushie's recommendation, and am enjoying it very much thus far. I am a sucker for seaside + nostalgia + music. I have also been watching Izetta: the Last Witch, which ought to be right up my street (Ruritania + loyalty TO THE DEATH + femslashiness) but which for some reason isn't grabbing me in quite the same way.

On the subject of anime, I went to see the Anime Architecture: backgrounds of Japan exhibition (now finished, sorry) at the House of Illustration, and was mostly impressed the sheer detail of the artwork. I hadn't realised how small the backgrounds were in real life; they really repaid standing six inches away and marvelling.

Yum.

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:48 am[personal profile] kass
kass: apples and honey (apples)
It's one of my favorite flavors of the year, and it's one I only taste at this season: coffee-infused honeycake batter, licked off of the scraping spoon after I put the pans in the oven.

Gratitudes

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:52 am[personal profile] kass
kass: a latte in a teacup with a heart shape drawn in the foam (latte)
1. Tasty leftovers for lunch: baked rice (lemon, cinnamon, curry leaves), topped with spicy kale (ginger, soy, and a hot red pepper from the CSA) with a dollop of chicken schmaltz just to make the whole thing richer and more flavorful.

2. Rereading the introduction to The Bitch is Back this morning and being both comforted and inspired by the existence of many smart, thoughtful, passionate women determined to wrest the most out of midlife.

3. The fact that my son, who is going on eight, still wanted nail polish this weekend and still watches Shimmer & Shine.

4. Beautiful warm late-summer day, which means I'm still wearing sleeveless shirts and sandals, both of which make me happy.

5. I'm going to give myself a pedicure this afternoon. \o/!

How are y'all?

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