Reading Wednesday

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:30 pm
muccamukk: Bill standing in front of the TARDIS bookshelf. (DW: Queen of Books)
[personal profile] muccamukk
What I Just Finished Reading

Still No Word by Shannon Webb-Campbell
I read this slowly and several times. I have trouble writing about poetry, but I liked the clarity and feeling here.

Chalk by Paul Cornell
Hard to know what to rate this one. I think it does what it's trying to do with great effectiveness, but I'm not really interested in what it's trying to do? The story does claustrophobic, creepy and bleak, pretty well wall to wall, which I think is very true to the author's experiences, but like with Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane (with which this shared a lot of elements), I'm not that invested.

I liked a lot of the struggle for significance in the face of meaningless cruelty, and the storytelling itself was delightfully creepy (for those into horror), but it was a hard read.


The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell Scott
I knew very little about Mrs Roosevelt and nothing about Pauli Murray going in, and loved finding out about them. The book primarily focuses on Murray and her life, with the interactions with ER highlighted and context of ER's life at those times added. It doesn't shy away from their weaknesses and mistakes, which is nice in a positive bio. I felt that it gave me a strong understanding of both women, and of how their interactions with politics changed over the years. I now want to read bios of all the other amazing women they crossed paths with along the way.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, narrated by Kate Burton
I really enjoyed this. It's sort of meandering and reflective, with time jumps and backstory, but I just liked spending time living with these characters. There was a core of good intentions and kindness in most of them, even if most of them didn't always live up to that. The period setting was phenomenal.

The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln's General, Master Builder of the Union Army by Robert O'Harrow, narrated by Tom Perkins
Perhaps a little heavy on lauding our hero, rather than letting his achievements stand on their own, but absolutely fascinating for all that. I would have liked more on the mundane logistics of the Civil War supply system, and maybe a bit less building things before the war, though the War Department politics were very interesting.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Bahni Turpin
I can't figure out if this book is not as clever as it thinks it is, or if I'm just not smart enough to get it. A problem I have with a lot of litfic, to be honest.

I was initially cooler on it, but reading some interviews with the author gave me a better idea of what he was doing, and that helped my appreciation of the book.

I admit that I did not find the surface narrative of Cora's escape that interesting, though I liked Cora herself, and it was kind of neat to pick out threads from various real slave narratives. The alternate history elements in the Carolinas were also pretty neat, though they didn't really tie into the railway being an actual railway, which frankly I don't get the point of.

There were themes of story telling and who gets to have a voice/tell the story of enslaved people, which I didn't really pick up on myself, but appreciated after hearing the author talk about it.

All in all I liked it, but don't really get the buzz.


Adrift on the Sea of Rains (The Apollo Quartet, #1) by Ian Sales, narrated by Jeffrey Schmidt
Competent alternate history, which is mostly enjoyable because of the massive amount of NASA nerdery. Though props to the author for starting the series with such an unlikable protagonist (the kind of man who thinks he's the best ever, but is clearly not someone who should be in charge of a gas station, let alone a moon base). The tech conceit was a bit handwavey, but it got the story where it was going, and I enjoyed how it unfolded.

The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself (The Apollo Quartet, #2) by Ian Sales, narrated by Jeffrey Schmidt
Again with pleasing NASA nerdery (though stop explaining abbreviations! anyone this far down the NASA rabbit hole knows what LEO stands for, let alone USAF! I liked the conflict between civilian NASA and the Air Force space corps.

However, the hero is more or less why I don't read SF by dudes unless it's recced. His entire character is basically Sad Because His Wife Left Him. There are no significant women in the story other than the ex-wife.

I also didn't believe the central plot point, which I won't spoil, but will say was a handwave too far in terms of science. You can't just wave the word "Quantum" around and expect me to believe it. I might not have minded as much if I'd liked the hero, but here we are.

Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above (The Apollo Quartet, #3) by Ian Sales (Goodreads Author), narrated by Trina Nishimura
I mean, It's always nice to read an AU where the Mercury 13 got to go to space, even if they continued to get screwed over by NASA, but I didn't find the plot of this one very compelling. Sales clearly couldn't think of much to do with female astronauts other than have them do the same stuff all the guys had done and then cheat them out of the moon walk, so half the plot is about a male deep-sea diver who is looking for a spy satellite's cargo. I basically felt like I was reading a non-fiction book about the US spy program, with a Korean War AU on the side. Thin on both characterisation and plot. Author describes make and model of every plane, train and automobile in story. Does not need to do this.


Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan, narrated by Suzanne Toren
I know everyone read this when it came out ages ago, but I admit to having read the preface and then skipped to the bits about T.E. Lawrence, at the time, so this is my first go through.

I really appreciate the historical perspective, and how the author kept focused on the conference, but provided the background for each of the major regions and disputes. The personalities of all the diplomats were very well drawn, and I liked the heavy use of quotes and original sources. They helped keep me engaged in the storyline.

The conclusion regarding the spin out from the peace conference was very interesting, and I'll have to check out more books on the topic.


What I'm Reading Now
Theoretically a couple things, practically not much.

What I'm Reading Next

No idea.
Going on a trip starting tomorrow, so probably a lot of romance novels. *remembers to charge e-reader*

Wynonna Earp

Jul. 17th, 2017 11:15 pm
muccamukk: Wynonna makes a disgusted face. (WE: Ugh)
[personal profile] muccamukk
I need to rewatch season one, probably. I should get the DVD.

I'm just really invested in the OT3.

Normally with a show, I'm fairly come and go on canon ships working out, obviously it's very nice when there's gay ones and they go well, and it's even nicer when there's gay ones and it's troup soup with a happy ending. But normally I'm like, will they get together? I hope so? I guess? (Phryne and Jack being a possible exception for canon ships.) Mostly I just hope for a minimum of aggressive stupidity.

And then my usual response to love triangles is A Plague on Both Your Houses! Become a Lesbian!

But this show, man. I'm going to be REALLY upset if Dolls turns out to be a jerk and Wynonna picks Doc, or if Doc dies and she picks Dolls by default, or whatever stupid reason is brought up to shuffle one dude off and make her choose the other one. Not because I'm tired of stupid love triangle logic (which I am), but because I really want her to end up with both of them. There's no reason she couldn't. They're both hard core into her enough to be okay with it (Doc certainly, Dolls... needs work but I can see it). Wynonna publicly does not give a shit for conventions, and is nuts for both of them. I FAIL TO SEE A PROBLEM.

(Plus Dolls and Doc seem to have taken up flirting, and when their backs aren't up about the stupid love triangle, they genuinely get along.)

I know I won't get an actual triangle, but we could at least have a Dolls\Wynonna/Doc? Right? That's a thing you can do on weirdo horror westerns set in Calgary?

This show is going to break my heart, isn't it?

Fic! Talk about fic! Tears of joy!

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:31 pm
muccamukk: Diana from the back, in fancy dress with her sword sheathed along her spine. (WW: Sword)
[personal profile] muccamukk
[community profile] multifandomdrabble went live a couple hours ago. I got three wonderful drabbles:
Baptized by your mess again by
Wynonna Earp. Doc/Dolls. The needle hits.

a beginning by
Wonder Woman. Diana & Etta. After the fight, Diana goes to see Etta.

Grandmothers For Peace by
Wonder Woman. Diana & Etta. 1958, The Atomic Research Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston

I wrote:
Last Rites Deferred
Wynonna Earp. Doc/Dolls/Wynonna. Prompt: hurt/comfort, sacrifices, imprisonment, injuries.

Paris at Peace
Wonder Woman. Diana & Etta. Prompt: Diana exploring new parts of the world.

The Stargazers
The Silmarillion. Tar-Míriel/OFC. Prompt: faithful, devotion, to the very end, escape.


I also finally wrote commentary on all five suggested fic for the DVD commentary meme.
New World Intervals: Mucca sends Steve and Tony to an alien planet and leaves them there.

Left Turn at Harmony Falls: Sara Lance gets girlfriend, discovers feelings hard, tries to punch feelings, fails.

A New Dream Every Morning: Steve does something mean to Tony. Then he does it again.

Dead Lava Streets: Mucca makes another rarepair tag, reads seven books for one fic. (Joe/Howard)

Undiminished (The Planets and Islands Remix): Mucca is too fucking clever for own good, points out sucktitude of Leia's life in detail.


I am, obviously, in actual tears over the Doctor Who news.


ETA: [community profile] picture_prompt_fun has a special POV challenge this week.

A follow-up to the previous post.

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:20 pm
kutsuwamushi: (they see me rollin')
[personal profile] kutsuwamushi
Imagine that you're this guy:



This is your life:
"This potion master has been trying to teach shadow magic for five years... but the congregation keeps passing him over for less-experienced Serthis."
You're tired and frustrated. You just want someone to recognize your skills - but no matter what you do, no one wants you. When they passed you up for Bob, that asshole who wouldn't know shadow magic from his own shadow, you decided it was time to take some time for yourself. A small vacation, maybe.

So you slithered off to the Sandswept Delta. A couple of your buddies came along; you know your complaining annoys them after a while, but they're good friends and listen anyway. While you're relaxing with your tail in the water, telling them about how awful Bob is, some dragons show up. Goddammit.



You don't really have the choice of whether or not to fight them. Fighting is what you do. It's always been this way and no one knows why. This time, you're defeated, and one of the dragons takes you home as a prize. You're "wary" - but over time the dragon bonds with you. You even begin to lend the dragon your expertise. It's kind of nice to finally be appreciated.



But then one day your dragon goes out and comes back with another Serthis Potionmaster. A dragon can't have more than one familiar, and a dragon clan can't have more than one familiar of the same type. And what's more, the dragon finds it more rewarding to bond with you than to be bonded. She's in love with falling in love, not so much with maintaining that love. She no longer needs you.

She could sell you. Dragons love gold and gems and there is a thriving trade in sentient creatures. You tried not to think about it too much - but now the threat is very real.

But yours will be an even worse fate. She's an alchemist - she knows how to transmute matter into other forms. Sure, sometimes you cringed when she threw live fawns into her bubbling cauldron, but your friend Craig was also an alchemist, and you're kind of used to the panicked squeals. You never thought it would be you. But now it's you.

She picks you up. You see the cauldron. It pulses with malevolent green energy.



You scream.

You become muck.

kutsuwamushi: (they see me rollin')
[personal profile] kutsuwamushi
I finally joined the dragon version of neopets - is anyone else a member? We should be friends. Here's me.

I'm always way too easily amused by the in-universe implications of game mechanics. As soon as I started playing, I had to find find my dragons food. Does Flight Rising avoid the uncomfortable truth that in order for your dragons to eat meat, animals have to die? No. It leans in. One of the first things I fed my dragons was an adorable pink owlet with big eyes.

And then there's transmutation. You can boil down anything into sludge: trinkets, raw materials, wildlife, familiars. The last one demands some thought. We know at many of the familiars are sentient, based on their flavor text. Do they scream as you throw them into the cauldron?

I'm not going to even address the fact that your dragons are directed to breed by an invisible hand, and their ugly children sold off to serve the gods.

I think the world of Flight Rising is a terrifying place.

Crossposts Achived

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:53 am
muccamukk: Two stuffed bears looking at a star chart. (M&C: Stars)
[personal profile] muccamukk
My profound apologies to anyone who was subscribed to me for that.

Various Hornblower Drabbles (6)
Various Master & Commander Drabbles (24 in all, less the ones I'd rather forget)
SG-1 Ficlet (1)

Grab bag

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:56 am
muccamukk: Bill standing in front of the TARDIS bookshelf. (DW: Queen of Books)
[personal profile] muccamukk
[personal profile] fuesch again has nice Doctor Who icons. This one included. Mostly New Who, but some classic Doctors in there.

So what is everyone doing for Photobucket replacement? I have a bit of leeway because my paid account is good until next June. I asked, and I'm grandfathered in at this rate until end of year 2018. Which I'll probably cancel before June. Which Means! I have to put something like 2500 pictures somewhere else before then. I'll move things like my mood themes and icons to DW, but I don't think I have that much hosting space here, and some of it goes to AO3 as well. I don't mind paying a bit, but not $500 a year!

Sorry I'm behind on the DVD meme. I'll get back to it soon.

Have just realised that I have a stack of comment fic and such that I never crossposted from LJ. ...guess I better move that! Some of them are a million years old and kind of terrible though, so I'm dithering on throwing them to the winds, and just moving the stuff I actually care about (mostly M&C and Hornblower drabbles). I guess I'll post them all in a fandom-theme blocks and tag lightly? I don't remember what everyone decided was least annoying.

[community profile] multifandomdrabble is so fun! I'm really glad it moved off imzy.

Also need to catch up on reading Wednesday.

I finally remembered to put Steam on this computer, but the only game I have is Marvel Pinball, which is FIVE GIGS so that's not happening. I'm looking for recs for games that I can kind of do as background de-stress and maybe listen to a book. I like Robot Unicorn Attack, Solitaire, Threes, 2048, the pinball game that used to come with windows. It can be a BIT more engaging than that, but I don't want something with a plot that I'll get addicted to and end up spending a lot of time on. I liked that game where you build Cologne Cathedral, but it was a bit too addictive and needed too much focus, if that's a measure. Also they have to be playable offline, for bandwidth reasons. And aren't huge files, ditto.

Catching up on Doctor Who finally, which we've been enjoying. Just watched 10x07. Onward!
muccamukk: Iron Man catches a falling Captain America (Marvel: Catch You)
[personal profile] muccamukk
Title: Shining in His Eyes
Fandom: Marvel 616 (The Avengers Vol 1)
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 400
Notes: Written for [community profile] cap_ironman's weekly theme, for the theme Mirror. Thanks to [personal profile] veldeia for beta reading.
Summary: What Steve and Tony see when they look in a mirror, or at each other.