I have just finished N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy (The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods) and her novella "The Awakened Kingdom" which follows on from it, and all I can say - in my most Arthur Shappey-ish tone - is that It Is BRILLIANT! I really don't know when I've had as much fun being glued to the screen of my Kindle app with a tale of gods, mortals, and the political/religious/social shifts that change the world.
Seriously, it is a glorious piece of storytelling, and I thoroughly recommend it to fantasy fans everywhere.
And hey, what other series ends with a paragraph that can match:
"Now come along, babies! Today I will teach you how not to smash planets by accident. Oh! And also: how to tell stories the Proper Way. You always have to finish with THE END, or Papa will give you such a look.
So I've just received a copy of Jamie McKelvie's Suburban Glamour - bought out of pure curiosity, as I usually stick to the better-known side of comics, no matter who the writer/artist is - and have discovered that, in the fictional(ish) Worcestershire town of "Lanbern", there is still a Woolworths at the bottom of Church Street. Ah, nostalgia! ;)
Later on in the book, Astrid's interview with a careers adviser completely cracked me up; it was so very reminiscent of my own disaster of an interview...and that probably isn't surprising, come to think of it. I don't know how many careers advisers the local council employs to do the rounds of the secondary schools, but there can't be that many. Whoever it was that did Jamie's though, I'm guessing they had much the same reaction to "I want to be a comic book artist" as my own adviser did to "I think I'd quite like to work for NASA".
But mainly: I really, really want a copy of that panel with Astrid sitting on a rock outcropping on the hills, looking out at the flat flood plain stretching out below. Because it's just utterly gorgeous, and a million years would not be enough to make me stop loving that view.
So I'm heading for the beach in a bit over a week. And I still haven't written up my London trip. My New Year's Resolution to do more with my LJ is a sad, sad failure! :(
But in other news, podficbigbang is gearing up for another go, and this year I want to get back into the podficcing side of things as well as my usual contribution of cover art. :)
I thought I might print out a couple of likely fics to take on holiday, so I can highlight and mark to my heart's content and think through potential pacing and rhythm issues. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding the right fic(s).
It's got to be near the minimum read of one hour, or I'll never manage it - approx 10,000 words or not much more. It needs to not have too many main characters (otherwise I'll wind up killing my voice by trying to make them all distinct, even if I intend not to!); four or five would be ideal. I'd prefer it was a fandom I know, so I can watch/read the source material and refamiliarise myself with the characters. Ideally - and this is a bit ridiculous of me - I'd really like to make a podfic for a fandom that hasn't got a massive amount of podfics already (I keep hoping that someone will turn up at the PBB with a Jane Austen fic or a Peter Wimsey that I can make cover art for, but sadly it hasn't happened so far - and it's not likely to be me recording it either, unless there's a gem I've missed somewhere, as the PW fanwriters tend to the shorter end of the ficcing spectrum and JA writers to the epically long end of things!).
So, um...Anyone got any recs for possible stories?
Recently I've been storing up episodes of Almost Human to watch on my Sky+ box - it has androids, Karl Urban and generally feels like a similar-ish set-up to Asimov's Robot series (with the wonderful buddy-cop duo of R. Daneel Olivaw and Lije Bayley), or even to the Alien Nation TV series (with the equally wonderful buddy-cop partnership of Matt Sykes and George Francisco). So in general, right up my alley!
I have an innate fondness for bromance-type situations with people who hate each other on sight but are reluctantly forced to work together, and then realise that they work well together and actually they have the potential to be really, really good friends (why hello there, Merlin!). That plus the accompanying existential consideration of what it means to be sapient and/or human, and acknowledgement of the civil rights issues that proceed from the extra complications of the setting, makes this a series that I predict I'm going to enjoy rather a lot.
And even better because I've been avoiding a lot of modern sci-fi recently and it'll be nice to get back to my roots.
I'm not sure why I've been mostly avoiding non-Trek SF, except that a lot of it seems to be too dystopic for my taste, or (in books) the prose is too stylised and dense for my M.E. brain to cope with at the moment. So most of my reading and watching lately has been focused on easier subjects that don't need to much concentration and continuity-recall - old favourites, simpler writers, a hefty dose of fanfic, crime, fantasy and romance...
Anyway, today I got stuck into Almost Human and watched the first few episodes.
It is good!
Karl Urban and Michael Ealy make a great team, Lili Taylor makes an excellent boss, and it's great to see Mackenzie Crook getting a good (if slightly stereotypical geek) role.
So the only fly in the ointment of my giddy, new-found fannish glee is that I've just discovered that Fox cancelled the series after only one season. *sigh*
Ah well, I suppose at least, knowing this going in, I can't get too attached to it?
...On a slight tangent, because the names are just too similar not to occasion lots of confusion: does anyone else think there should be a lot of Almost Human/Being Human crossover fic?
I mean, leaving aside the fact that if you "do your research," you find that both psychopath and sociopath are outdated clinical terms that have little tangible meaning nowadays (apart from their use in insults by a misinformed public that thinks most non-neurotypical people are dangerous), and that that's a quote that has always bugged me on a whole boat-load of levels, I think the question really is:
Do we actually think it's a good idea to make a joke of mental disorders and put it on a t-shirt?
Because let's be clear here - it is a joke. That is the point of wearing a t-shirt with a flashy soundbite: to entertain yourself and passers-by, not to be thought-provoking. The entire BBC Sherlock t-shirt series is made up of a whole lot of in-jokes from the show.
In its rightful context in the show, you have two people arguing. Anderson insults Sherlock in a rather ablist way; Sherlock reclaims the insult and one-ups the situation. It's not exactly a crowning moment of awesome for either character, but it's a minor victory of brains over ignorance and it's a snappy quote that fans clung onto. If it's funny, if it's memorable, it's because of the characters involved and the way they clash.
Divorced from most of its context and on a t-shirt though? It feels like they're making a joke about mental health. It feels like people wearing it are claiming a personality disorder because they think it's cool by association. It feels tacky, at the very least.
So a few days ago I was reading the newest installment of a favourite fanfic writer's work, and enjoying it thoroughly. And then I read through the comments, which made mention of a tumblr row over Caitlin Moran - at which point I forgot totally that I have actually heard of Caitlin Moran before (and not in a good way), and thought "Ah, the Sherlock writers have made Sebastian Moran into a woman, have they? Well good for them! I wonder why everybody is so upset" and poddled off to google it...
I have no words - no seriously, all ten of those links above say the exact same things I want to, but much better than I could manage.
At any rate, if I intend to get it up and posted before the new series comes out and josses me, I'd better get back to writing/editing/swearing at the (all of 2000-ish words of clumsily-written) Sherlock fanfic that I've been struggling with for over two years...