Therese Sellers, Alpha is for Anthropos: Look, I read a book this week! Okay, so it's a children's alphabet book for Attic Greek, but it's still a book and therefore it counts. Anyway, it's very cute; all the art is done in the style of red-figure pottery, and the accompanying little rhymes scan (more or less) to various children's songs.
What I'm Reading Now
( Black Panther and the Crew #5, Generations Wolverine And All-New Wolverine #1, Invincible Iron Man #10, Secret Empire: Brave New World #5, Spider-Men II #2, US Avengers #9, Ultimates 2 #100, X-Men Blue #9 )
What I'm Reading Next
Fandom: Person of Interest
Characters/Pairings: Root/Sameen Shaw, Harold Finch/John Reese, Harold Finch/Grace Hendricks, John Reese/Mark Snow, Michael Cole, Robert Hersh, Joss Carter, Kara Stanton, The Machine, Bear
Warnings/Content: Sentinel/Guide AU, mind-bonding, show level violence, show level torture, emotional hurt/comfort, canon character death (Michael Cole). Some Mark/John dubcon in chapters 4 and 5. Follows some events from Ep 1.10 Number Crunch, Ep 1.23 Firewall and 2.16 Relevance.
Notes: Written for wipbigbang 2017.
Thank you to my amazing betas: lilacsigil and musyc. You guys were awesome and got me from "I want to write POI Sentinel/Guide fic with soft face touching" to actually getting it posted.
Title is from the Elton John song. ("Subway's no way for a good man to go down.")
Summary: In 2001, Harold advised on a project called Cascade, not knowing he was a Guide himself. Years later, he and John, a Sentinel on the run from Cascade, must help Shaw, who has just lost her own Guide when the Project turned on her. Complicating matters is Root, searching for Harold's Machine and interfering with their rescue of Shaw.
Also at the Archive
Anyway, I have a number vid ideas that will never get made if I don't pay someone else to do it, and so I'm always on the lookout for vid auctions featuring vidders offering those sources that I think would do a creditable job with the idea. Which is how I bidded on (and ended up winning) grammarwoman's services to make a Star Wars fanvid to that old American Civil War hit, "That's What's the Matter." And she did a really great job, and the vid is SO FUNNY. You have to go see.
Title: That's What's the Matter
Source: Star Wars movies (Rogue One, Episodes IV-VII)
Music: "That's What's the Matter", Stephen Foster
Vid Download Link: 183 MB m4v file at Sendspace (If you'd like it in a different format, let me know.)
Summary: The Empire would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for those meddling Rebels and incompetent Imperial officers.
The issue itself isn't out yet, but many of the personal essays about disability and science fiction are available for free on the Kickstarter page. They're all good, and you should totally check them out. Here are some of my faves:
K.C. Alexander, We Are Not Your Backstories:
Science fiction shapes generations—how we think, the way we act. It influences the careers we choose and our thirst for knowledge. It cautions against the worst of our impulses, and quietly teaches us empathy. Without knowing it, we are slowly acclimated to people and beliefs that live outside our rigid monocultures.A.T. Greenblatt, The Stories We Find Ourselves In:
So, I'll let you in on a secret, the thing I've learned about having a life-long disability, the thing that lots of stories never quite grasp: The real trick, the true solution to a disability, is to find a balance between your abilities and your goals.Michael Merriam, We Are Not Daredevil. Except When We Are Daredevil:
I live in this world. I can't toss my white cane aside when I need to spring into action: the cane goes with me everywhere. I travel around my city on public transportation. My other senses are not supernaturally sharper because I am blind. I simply pay better attention to those other senses. It's a learned skill. I live within my blindness every day, and I want to read about fictional characters who also live with and within their blindness.
Marissa Lingen, Malfunctioning Space Stations:
I have a major balance disorder. When I am awake and able to use all my senses, I can reason out the vertical. If you make me close my eyes, I can still get it to within about five degrees of the correct answer if I'm sitting still on a firm surface. If I’ve got a squishy surface, motion, or other things confusing my senses, doubtful. Asleep? All bets are off. I literally do not know which way is up.H. Ace Ratcliff, Nihil de Nobis, Sine Nobis:
Since I have read and written science fiction for decades, what my sleeping brain knows to do with this much disorientation is to process it into a malfunctioning space station. And so I dream. Occasionally my dreams veer into carnival rides, roller coasters, giant swooping swings. But that is someone else's genre. This is mine.
I narrowly avoided the temptation to throw my Kindle and watch the book shatter into a million plastic pieces. If it had been a printed paperback, I’m positive I would be able to show you the dent in the wall. “For the record,” I tweeted out to the hashtags The Expanse was using, “you can be a fucking Valkyrie in a goddamn wheelchair.” I can assure you that any human with the wherewithal, sheer willpower, and pain tolerance to put her skeleton back into place on an hourly basis absolutely deserves a place in any mythological pantheon.Day Al-Mohamed, The Stories We Tell and the Amazon Experiment:
As an example, I once asked a room full of authors what their response would be if I asked them to make the protagonist in their current Work-in-Progress a woman – most nodded, yesses were heard around the room. Then I asked if they could make their character a person of color – again, nods around the room. Then I asked if they would make the character disabled – silence. The discomfort was palpable. In theory diversity and disability was great to include in fiction but when it came to implementation, they couldn’t easily connect disability with their protagonist. They had trouble adjusting to the practical reality of disability existing outside of the boxes they knew. This is why 134 stories on Amazon could be broken down into five story categories.Ada Hoffman, Everything Is True: A Non-Neurotypical Experience with Fiction:
When I read #ownvoices autistic characters, I often think the authors have had that same feeling. Many of these characters have devoted family, friends, romantic partners, even when the world at large is awful to them. Most of them first have to overcome a broken relationship with themselves. To learn to believe that they're worthy as they are.Haddayr Copley-Woods, Move Like You're From Thra, My People:
With autistic characters written by NT authors, it often feels like everyone is tired of their shit from the start.
You don't have to be tough. People sometimes say things like, "If you can be discouraged from writing, you should be," and use that as a way to justify being unkind to people who are tender. I don't think it's meant as a cudgel against disabled people specifically, but it can function as one. If you doubt your abilities, if you are sometimes crushed, if you feel like an impostor—that's fine. It's normal. If only tough people wrote stories, then we'd only have their perspectives, and we would lose all the things other people—you—have to offer.
I was glad I didn’t have this unfortunate internalized disableism stilling my movements, but I didn’t know why I’d found it so easy to make the switch until I sat down with my little boys to watch The Dark Crystal, which I hadn’t watched in decades.
I didn’t know. It took my breath away. The reason why I am fine with moving like this, the reason I am fine with people staring and why I love myself this way, is because of The Dark Crystal.
The issue is more than fully funded, right now they're adding content left and right as more people pledge, and if they get to $45k (they're at $39,425 with 9 days left to go) they'll do a hardcopy of it for supporters pledging $50 or more.
What I am looking for:
1) Not tradpub (Edit: This one and #4 are the only non-negotiable ones, see my reasons in comments; #2 can extend to SF or any similar genre, but I don't read many mysteries or much contemporary)
2) Fantasy - sword and sorcery or some other action sub-genre preferred over politics
3) Prefer a female main character
4) Competent writing, for the love of all the gods
I am honestly starting to think it's not possible to have a well-developed independently published story. Please show me I'm wrong.
There are two choirs I could sing with this coming year, and I don’t have energy to do both. (I don’t know for sure that I have energy for either, tbh.)
Choir A has good rehearsal times (twice a week 4-6), only three concerts a year (Dec, Mar, June), performs at the Mondavi Center, and is free ... but the repertoire for this year is uninspired and dreary, the director is close to retirement and so doesn't have many fucks left to give and therefore isn’t as good as he used to be, and honestly the group hasn’t really been fun to sing with the last few years.
Choir B has an awesome director, and the planned repertoire for the year is amazing (including the mozart requiem, which is practically a must-sing for me) ... but it meets 7-9:30 (only once a week, but I’ve been going to bed at like 8), it’s $65 a semester, I don’t like the rehearsal location, December is crazy with concerts, and there’s an obligatory citrus sale drive every year (like Girl Scout cookie sales but eat less cute or yummy).
Some of these are bigger issues than others (e.g. I can probably get my dad to cover the cost* for choir B), but.
I don’t know what to do.
...What would be ideal is for choir B’s director to come do choir B’s repertoire with choir A, but that’s not possible.
I also don't know how much of my fatigue issues are self-creating. Not just because my Inner Critic likes calling me lazy, but because I've gotten out of the habit of Doing Things, and I'm enough of an introvert that socializing is kind of a mental muscle. It's like when you have the flu and sleep for a week and then spend a while super weak and wobbly because your body got out of the habit of doing.
* footnote thingie, not related to choir: I've been doing reiki, which is sort of an energy manipulation not-quite-massage thing that I'm working on a post about, and I'm doing extra reiki during the roommate transition thing -- whether or not it's "real", it really does help me with stress. I'm doing it through the church, which has scholarship funds for people who want reiki but can't afford it, so I asked and got way more of a discount than I was expecting. Except my mom -- who doesn't even know how much of it I'm scholarshipping, just that I'm getting some scholarship help -- thinks that my dad can damn well afford reiki, and has this way of, like, guilting me *and* being snide about my dad st the same time. And on the one hand I do kind of see her point -- though my dad would probably be skeptical as all get-out at reiki as a concept, much less spending money on it, so I don't want to ask him, and really I'm getting Charity regardless of whether it's my dad or the church, and I think the church people like helping me -- but omfg I wish I knew how to tell her to NOT DO THAT AUGH WTF
Though a bigger priority is getting her to stop making snarky comments about how chubby nephling is. He's a fucking baby, chubby is *good*, he does not need to "slim down" ffs. ::rageface::
So, anyone want the clean version? Maybe you've got a Kesha-adoring tween, but can't quite bear the idea of them listening to her singing "I'm a motherfucking woman!"? If so, I can hook a MFW up; reply and it's yours.
Is the current trend in YA really the "I am incompetent at everything and also clueless about my surroundings" character? Or is this just people trying to ape Harry Potter without going the necessary step of putting their MC in a world they genuinely have no way of knowing anything about?
This applies to YA just as much as books allegedly aimed at adults. Thus was I really fucking disappointed in A Quest of Heroes (Amazon link), which I am pretty sure I picked up because it was a) free and b) the title seems like a perfectly good phrase for a group of adventurers, amirite? A quest of heroes, a murder of crows, a pack of wolves...
Sadly, the book was not nearly so clever as that, and the worldbuilding was tissue thin. And I don't want to say the main character is dumb as a box of hammers, but his awareness of the world around him extends for about six inches. This might be accurate for a fourteen year old, but it makes for a damn boring MC.
Most importantly, the ways the book is bad are very much self-absorbed Mary Sue-fic bad. Not because the MC is practically perfect in every way, but because the world shapes itself around him. You can tell the villains because they Instahate Our Hero Thor (don't name your hero Thor, people, unless your hero is Thor). The designated Good People equally Instalove him. He is deeply confused why he is hated! And why he is liked! In fact, Thor spends a great deal of the book clueless, conveniently has magic powers as the plot demands (but the Mysterious Magic Man won't explain jack shit, he just shows up to make Mysterious Pronouncements), receives the gift of a magic falcon maybe-familiar from the King roughly five minutes after showing up at the capitol, finds a probably-magic white leopard on a hunt, etc etc.
( In which I complain at length. )
In short, Thor doesn't earn things so much as he bumbles his way into being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, and then managing to blow it all through sheer lack of sense. The people who oppose him oppose him for no good reason. The Evil Gay Trope offends me less than the sheer lack of sense or intelligence demonstrated by LITERALLY EVERYONE. Declaring your book YA - and I question that, given the whole "getting Thor drunk and buying him a whore" part - doesn't absolve you from basic logic and sensible character development.
The book ended on a cliffhanger, but frankly, I choose to believe the end of book 1 is the end of Thor's story. I'm certainly not going to pay money for the rest.
Fandom: Guardians of the Galaxy 1&2
Artist: Frightened Rabbit
Summary: He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn't your daddy. Parenthood, family, and divinity, by way of Peter Quill.
On AO3: http://archiveofourown.org/works/
Download: MP4 - 72 Mb (zipped) | DivX - 110 Mb (zipped)
Subtitles: Download zipped SRT file
Embed and lyrics under the cut.
( Guardians of the Galaxy - Holy - remastered )
In other life news, I have a phone screen on Monday for a job I think I'm mostly qualified for. Wish me luck; I need it.
In other other life news, my MIL is visiting for a week. Both Morgan and I are happy to see her, although by the time she goes home I think we'll both be ready for that.
In other awesome news, Buddy's three year adoptaversary was Monday! We can't believe we've had him three years; on the one hand it feels like we've had him forever but on the other I can't believe it's been three years already. Monday he and I went out to get all the treats, and then Thursday Morgan, MIL, and I took Buddy to the dog park.
He is the best dog ever and you will never convince me otherwise.
And being awake at 1:30 and feeling smartass, I was going to jokingly refer to the first of these songs as "the song about
it really fucking *is* a song about boundaries
and this is somehow (see also the fact that it's 1:30 and I should be asleep) blowing my mind.
(For those not familiar with the song -- there are several tunes, and some variants, but it starts: oh I stuck my head in a little skunk's hole, and the little skunk said well bless my soul, take it out, take it out, take it out, remoooooove it. Well I didn't take it out, and the little skunk said, if you don't take it out you will wish you were dead, take it out, take it out, take it out, remoooooove it. ...and tl;dr the narrator gets sprayed and "phew! I removed it ,,, too late". As a kid this is the epitome of hilarity. As someone who is struggling with enforcing boundaries? It's ... kind of profound in a weird way.
( Interesting things I didn't realise until I had to edit 50K of my own writing )
I have actually written a lot of things this year!
- via musesfool, OPI summer challenge
Leave prompts! (Please leave some more POI prompts!)
- From Facebook, Clydesdale foal leaves the stable for the first time - tinee leggy baby, big world, what do? How do you even horse?
- Also from Facebook, this terrible curse upon some burglars. CW: creepy doll faces
- From my local paper, big news in this part of the world: Giant puzzle solved. (The puzzle is literally a puzzle.)
- From McSweeney's via kalloway, I’m a Google Manufacturing Robot and I Believe Humans Are Biologically Unfit to Have Jobs in Tech. (Rolling my eyes right out of my head at that google dude.)
- From My Modern Met, What Happens When a Bird’s Wings Sync Up Perfectly with a Camera’s Frame Rate. (I have dreams where stuff like this happens, like where the laws of physics are apparently broken)
- Free crochet pattern: Stingray purse or pal (I'm not sure why not both? I could be pals with a purse.)
Root/Shaw things from my endless tumblr wanderings while I was writing 50k of fic:
- Silver Lining - a Root/Shaw doujinshi. Pls pls lilacsigil, read this to me?
- POI OST You Are Being Watched - this is brilliant. Gifs from the final scene over the score for the theme.
- Winter Soldier!Shaw is kinda… Swol - I am all over this idea as an AU.