The production value is great - I was able to enjoy the costumes and set designs and authentic food, although eventually it became weird how the characters were constantly eating or cooking. The problem with this show is that it is REALLY BAD fanfic. Jerry Boute is made a major character, and from episode 1 it's obvious that Moira Walley-Beckett is trying to set him up as a romantic interest, for absolutely no fathomable reason. Maybe she wants to emphasise the French presence in Canada by foregrounding one of the only French-Canadian characters in the book??
I might easily be able to forgive a change like that, but it proved to be a foreboding of how Beckett approaches canon: imagine her just gleefully tearing up the original books and tossing them across the room. Again, if she changed things with some sense of respect for the originals, in an endeavour to make the stories more suitable for television, that would not automatically be a problem. But Beckett seems to inexplicably think that L.M. Montgomery's original novels were boring and devoid of plot, so she freely invents conflicts and challenges that never would have belonged in quiet Avonlea. This short first season (first? I hope last and only!) contains: a dramatic horse racing scene, a cliff-hanger, a pedo!threat, a housefire, the death of a major side-character, the attempted suicide (WTAF I could scream!) of a major character... and these are just the ones I can mention without really spoiling the plot. So. Many. Unnecessary. Changes!
The actors are very good, not least Amybeth McNulty who plays Anne with an impressive amount of talent - she's the perfect fit - and she does an admirable job of acting out Anne's verbosity, mood-swings, and many many honest-to-god anxiety attacks and flashbacks because this is a "psychologically realistic" production, apparently. But the actors can't save the atrociously melodramatic plot, or the fact that this has very, very little to do with Anne of Green Gables. I hate it! Don't bother with it!
(This review by Sarah Larson is good and only a bit more spoilery than mine.)
Except some of it doesn't seem to be, o hai, I am now making an effort, it is more that various academic things (seminars, conferences, etc) that I had flagged up in my diary ages ago finally came up and were all within the space of a few weeks, I don't know, it's the 'like buses' phenomenon. And some of them I did do some social interaction at and others I just slipped in and out, more or less.
Have booked up, what I was havering about, the annual conference in one of my spheres of interest that I was usually wont to go to but have missed the (I think) last two because I was not inspired by the overall theme that year. And it's not so much that I'm not inspired by this year's theme, it's more 'didn't they do something very similar a few years ago and I did a paper then, and don't really have anything new to say on the subject', so I didn't do that, but I think that it would be a useful one to go to to try and get me back into the groove for that thing that the editor at esteemed academic press was suggesting I might write and talk to people (if I can remember how to do that thing) and hear what's going on, and so on.
Also had a get-together with former line manager, which between the two of us and our commitments involves a lot of forward planning, but it was very nice to do it.
Have also done some (long) and (a bit less) outstanding life admin stuff, which I both feel pleased about and also as if I haven't actually done anything, which is weird.
Did I mention, getting revised article off last week, just before deadline? and then got out of office email from the editor saying away until end of month. WHUT. The peeves were in uproar.
And generally, I am still working out what I do with the day when it does not begin with posting an episode of Clorinda's memoirs and go on with compiling the next one. Okay, there are still snippets to come, but they come slowly.
What I've recently finished reading
Rob Rogers: Devil's Cape
I very much enjoyed this novel - it's well-written, the setting of Devil's Cape, with its pirate past and supervillain and mobster present, is nice, and the main villains were well done, even if evil carneval freaks are perhaps too far on the wrong side of the cliché.
On the other hand, it really annoys me that this novel is basically just an origin story for three superheroes - Doctor Camelot, a legacy hero with an Iron Man-like suit and a cause to avenge the death of her father and his team, Argonaut, with mystical powers of the flight and strength and nearly invulnerable set and a twin brother with the same powers and a supervillain mindset, and Bedlam, the psyciatrist with a past as a teenage gangbanger and a curse that turns him into a devil-like creature. I mean, they are perfectly fine heroes - though the novel's attempt at making at least two of them "dark and mysterious" kinda falls flat - it's not particularly tied to the dark side of town to have been a spectacularly stupid teenage who has since reformed, or to be related to mobsters on your Uncle's side.
Also, since it is an origin story, I found them defeating the supervillain group that were twice as big as them, which had years of experience ahead of them and which had succeeded in killing an experenced superhero team - I found that it violated my suspension of disbelief. Especially since it was the new superhero team's first outing and they'd just managed to nearly have their asses kicked by a single minor supervillain.
Of course, the most annoying thing is that the story is so very clearly an origin story for the new superhero team, and look, the main supervillain is being shady in the shadows, and there's not even a hint anywhere of a sequel. I mean, there seems to be a few short stories around, but a novel? Nope.
Lidenskab og lysår
There was quite a few good stories in this anthology, but my favourites? Hmmm. A. Silvestri's I fædrelandets tjeneste is a creepy bit of Earth/alien diplomacy, Helle Perrier's DreamChild is an equally creepy tale of pregnancy in the future, and then there's Bjarke Schjødt Larsen's Den danske kulturskat, a story about a Denmark where everybody has to be "cultured" or face the consequences. I can't quite figure out if it's a right wing wet dream (since it is reads like it might be all about Danish culture) or a right wing nightmare (since clearly only a left wing government would be that intrusive and evil as to take away normal people's kids if they fail at having given them enough culture).
What I'm reading now
M.D. Lachlan's Lord of Slaughter, which is vikings and werewolves in Constantinople (well, I'm sure the werewolves will happen at some point), and Francesca Coppa's The Fanfiction Reader, which I'm wondering if lysanatt has opinions about?
What I'm reading next
Hmmm. Maybe I'll tell you next week
Total number of books and comics read this year: 123
I had no idea who Ed Sheeran was or why there was this giant kerfluffle over him being in Game of Thrones. Now I know who he is and what he looks like and y'know? Those are some adorably round cheeks and cute red hair. He can be eye-candy in Game of Thrones all season long. (No spoilers please, I actually haven't seen season seven yet, I'm just catching up on season six.)
Wow it's been since 29 May when I saw the nutria crossing the road that I last posted. I guess I did dream about posting about KWHSS! I SAW tatterpixie there!!!!! IT WAS AWESOME AND SHE HAD THE BESTEST SCRIBAL SET UP AND NOW I NEED ONE for heraldry, not scribery, because yeah, my art's pretty rough, but I can do straight lines for heraldry. HOWEVER I did get not too bad at painting pre-prints. And I can probably work on making a scroll out of the Mamman embroidery. I'm not a scribe. I'm a herald (even with a H!) but I can learn some stuff! (It will probably take a light board. My drawing skills are not really all that great, mostly because my brain-hand coordination isn't wonderful. Thanks, brain damage!)
KWHSS was SUPER. I got to see a lot of people that I'd wanted to see (and some that I'd only been able to talk to online). I CREATED A SERVICE AMOEBA. IT OOZES AGAIN IN THE DEBATABLE LANDS. AMUCK!
I also went up to Sneferu and told him that he was right and Bruce was wrong. Which yes, it's a big thing. But we do need a ruling on something from Cormac Wreath. Can pantheons be tertiary charges?
I have become the Heraldic Webminister for Gleann Abhann's CoH. I am looking forward to teaching my Ruby deputy all about transferring letters in OSCAR because that means she'll be super ready! We even have figured out a screen-sharing software for that.
Bloodstone Herald has been suggested for Webminister job. Probably because it's like trying to get blood out of a stone to get stuff turned in for that sort of thing. I think I'm going to make a pendant or something with glitter. Glitter vinyl, not actual pouring glitter.
I am considering making myself bookplates for my gaming hardbacks. Brent bought me a new one - 'Horror Adventures'. He also picked up the last part of 'Strange Aeons'. I have all six of them! YAY! But I need to stick nameplates in mine. I have a sticker maker and a lot of time. :D
MASTER CONALL MADE ME A BEAUTIFUL RENDITION OF MY NAME IN CYRILLIC. I can't wait to turn it into an SCA business card. I told a friend that I was looking forward to being one of those 'one name people', like Cher, Bono, those sort of people. I will be Skaia, Herald.
Jordin Kare died yesterday, from complications of aortic valve replacement surgery. I am still somewhat in shock. He was younger than Colleen.
There is not much to be grateful for on this Thursday, but I am profoundly
grateful for Jordin's music, which has been part of my life's soundtrack
since at least the early 1980s. He was one of the founders of Off Centaur
Publications, publishers of the Westerfilk songbooks and many fine filk
tapes. (Jordin did the typesetting for Westerfilk I using
troff, which led to a number of typos involving single
quotes, which troff treats specially if they're the first character in a
Last night Naomi and I sang a few of his songs -- "Fire In the Sky", "The Designer" and "The Engineer", "Waverider", and all I could remember of "Kantrowitz 1972". It wasn't until this morning that I found the lyrics for that and "Sail for Amber", Colleen's favorite.
I just ...
One of your favourite 70's songs. I'm not very good at knowing which songs come from which decade, and most of the music on my computer has really inaccurate metadata. But one song which I know is from the 70s, and which is definitely one of my favourites, is Go to Hell by Alice Cooper. I'm not sure if it's actually my favourite 70s song, but I really ought to have something by Alice Cooper in the meme.
I'm really very fond of Alice Cooper goes to Hell; it was my first encounter with the idea of a concept album. I especially love this opening track because it's a bit of (darkly) humorous intro, with the bathos of ridiculously specific examples of depravity:
You'd gift-wrap a leper and mail him to your aunt Jane
You'd even force feed a diabetic a candy cane
I often tell the story of how when I went to university I gained a certain amount of respect among the alternative crowd by explaining that Alice Cooper was in fact a ouijia board chosen stage name for a definitely male singer. Despite not looking like the sort of person who would know rock music trivia. But I love Alice Cooper for being so gloriously terrible, and occasionally coming out with works of sheer genius like Poison (not from the 70s) in among all the McGonagall stuff.
( video embed (borderline NSFW) )
Here's how it happened; I went out for a walk around dusk, because I hadn't gotten any exercise that day, and I tromped around campus for a while playing Pokémon Go and about the fourth time the app crashed on me I decided I'd had enough exercise and started walking home. By now it was full dark, maybe 10 pm or 10:15.
I was tromping down the street full tilt in my usual "take no prisoners" pace, when I noticed a couple of police cars by the back dock of the Post Office, with their flashing blue lights on. As I came by I saw a white car pulled over in the glare of their headlights being searched by a policeman while a pair of young people sat stiffly on the nose of the police car with another policeman talking to them.
I would ordinarily have passed by, politely pretending not to notice these stressed people. But these are not ordinary times and I've been hearing things, and I started weighing things over in my head. The girl was white, very blond--the boy was wearing a red watch cap and I couldn't see enough of him to be sure of his color. A couple of my friends had mentioned the Power Of The Middle-Aged White Woman to keep cops from getting violent. Should I stay?
Could the police men even see me in the dark? I was wearing a white shirt; surely they could. Wait, now the boy turned his head and I could see he was white too. Maybe they didn't need me. Probably they didn't. I should go.
But I could feel the urge to turn around and leave, especially when the policemen kept glancing my way. Like a social repulsor field. And I thought: maybe I should stay just for the practice. Practice Being There. So I stayed.
The policemen glanced at me again. I reminded myself I had every right to be there, and to watch policemen doing interesting things on public property. I stayed. One of the policemen drove away. Mosquitoes came and expressed their pleasure that I had been so accommodating as to wear shorts. I asked myself what Judi would do. I stayed. A new policeman drove up and talked to the kids a while.
Then he walked over to me saying "May I help you?" Jimminy Christmas he was actually taller than me which doesn't happen very often.
I smiled and said "No thanks, I'm just watching."
He said "that's fine, you have every right to watch." (Ha. White Woman Privilege at work.) "I just wondered if you knew these juveniles."
I smiled and shook my head and said "Sorry, no."
He walked back over to the kids. My feet got tired and I leaned against a nearby stone wall. More talking. I wondered if there might be ticks in the lawn the stone wall was retaining. I hoped not. Presently he led the girl over to his police car. I moved a bit so I could see that he wasn't hurting her. She got in the back of his car. He drove her away. I sat back down on the stone wall.
After a while the boy was allowed to go sit in the driver's seat of his car. He smoked a cigarette. I stayed. And a while after that the remaining policeman got in his car, pulled out and drove away, and the boy did likewise and I went home.
I stayed for roughly an hour and came home with tired feet and new mosquito bites, and had Kip check me for ticks before I went to bed. (No ticks, whew; ticks really give me the creeps.) It was not an easy thing to resist the social repulsion field and all the voices in my own head telling me everything was fine and I didn't have to be there and I was probably embarrassing those kids or the policemen or both, and for nothing. But it was a lot easier for me than it would have been for someone who didn't have my advantages. And hopefully next time it will be easier still.
Because there will be a next time. I'm practicing.
( Read more... )
Links of interest
I should have posted this yesterday, but appropriately enough, I was too busy prepping for the game I ran last night. 🙂
Dice Tales: Essays on Roleplaying Games and Storytelling is out now! If you play RPGs and have an interest in them from the narrative side of things — the ways we use them to tell stories, and what GMs and players can do to make them work better in that regard — you may find it of interest. Follow the link to buy it from Book View Cafe, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, or (in a first for me) DriveThruRPG. And if any parts of it wind up working their way into the games you play or run, let me know!
Also, the New Worlds Patreon has headed off into the wilds of rudeness, with two posts on “Gestures of Contempt” and “Insults.” The theme will continue through the end of this month before turning in a new direction for August. Remember that patrons at the $5 level and above can request topics, so if there’s something you’d like to see me discuss, you can make that happen!
Then, yesterday, out of the blue, I got a note from my agent asking if I have any other trunk novels that I might be able to polish up and send off to Tapas Media again. (She seems convinced she can squeeze real money out of them). I sort of do, but in order to meet what they're looking for, I'm doing a lot of revision... kinda major revision, which might not, ultimately, be worth it. But, I mean, what else do I have to do? (I mean, besides fan fiction.)
But, despite all that, I did plow through three manga that I picked up at Quatrefoil Library when I was there for Gaylaxicon's book club reading of Precinct 13. So, I read:
Dining Bar Akira / Kuimonodokoro Akira by Tomoko Yamashita
Man’s Best Friend / Inu mo Akurekeba by Takashima Kazusa
Your Honest Deceit / Kimi no Tsuku Use Hontou (vol. 1) by Ajimine Sakufu, and one I haven't had a chance to review yet:
Bachi Bachi by Kijima Hyougo.
What I read
Melisande Byrd His Lordship Takes a Bride: Regency Menage Romance (2015), very short, did what it says on the tin, pretty low stakes, even the nasty suitor who molests the female protag in a carriage (the Regency version of Not Safe In Taxis) just disappears. The style was not egregiously anachronistic (apart from one or two American spellings) but a bit bland.
Janet Malcolm, Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers (2013) - charity shop find. Some of the essays were of more interest to me than others, but all very well-written.
On the go
Matt Houlbrook, Prince of Tricksters: The Incredible True Story of Netley Lucas, Gentleman Crook (2016). I depose that somebody whose scams got rumbled and who was banged up in various institutions for his crimes is not exactly trickster royalty. He then went allegedly straight and got into journalism, partly writing up the inside stories of the crime world, but these are very much complicated by the author as to their authenticity and did he actually write them. While he was more of a career criminal than the opportunistic upperclass louts in the McLaren book mentioned last week, he did have claims to gentility, but again, so not Raffles The Amateur Cracksman.
I'm currently a bit bogged down in it, which may be a reflection of the author's own experiences in trying to write about somebody who lived by lying, had numerous false identities, etc etc (which are very much foregrounded).
Simon R Green, Moonbreaker (2017) - came out this week, I succumbed.
Also started one of the books for review.
There's a new Catherine Fox out tomorrow (allegedly)...