dancing_moon: Wao Youka as Dracula (Creepy)
So I was going to do a nice, well-structured post on the German university system (because some of my former classmates from Sweden were curious) but that will have to wait a bit, since I'm feeling a bit too tired for that right now. My annoying almost-cold is beginning to become a real chest cold, which I am valiantly fighting with the help of fresh ginger tea, eucalyptus honey, hot steamy baths and a bit more actual shut-eye in the sleep/internet equation.

In the beginning of November, we'll go see the Norwegian all-female band Katzenjammer. According to our Katzenjammer-expert, they do "chaos pop with some folk-punk". It's fast, engaging and entertaining at least, and I think the concert might turn out to be really great - they seem like one of those bands that do extra well live.

One of my favorite songs, A bar in Amsterdam.

We bought the tickets today and, since we were at the ticket office already also got tickets for the musical Tanz der Vampire - one pair of plastic fangs included with the tickets!
Alas, it's based on the movie by Roman Polanski, him of serious skeevyness, and as such, I'm sure he'll get royalties. Otoh, I hope it's not too much, because Tanz der Vampire nicely filled some ticky-boxes on my mental "Stuffs I Must Do in Berlin This Exchange Year": Seeing some big-budget stage extravaganza, seeing a original German-language musical and vampires/gothy stuff. They'll show the Rocky Horror Picture Show here in Berlin too, in November, which works for ticky-box one and three, but since it will either be translated or in "denglish" (German talk, English songs) it moves to the second position.
Also, the stage images they have on the website look wonderful (eeeeeven though one of the posters has a bit of a Twilight-y vibe going on) so, uhm, I'll just be evil and go. Sorry.

A few days ago, I finished reading Walter Moer's Ensel and Krete: ein Märchen aus Zamonien. Bookblather goes here )

Basically, it's a take-it-or-leave-it book, though anyone who has a strong liking for Moer's style ought to have fun with it. It's also the first book where Hildegunst von Mythenmerz is introduced, which alone makes it worth a read.

When buying this one, I also noticed that the sequel to his Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher had arrived: Das Labyrinth der Träumenden Bücher! Only out in hardcover so far, but I'm very much looking forward to reading it later :) And there's apparantly a third part coming out in about a year, swell!
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
All right, I admit it. Sometimes I buy so-so books because they look good and I want to complete my collection.

Case in point: Steelhands, part four of the Volstov/Ke-Han series, by former HP author Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett. If their debut novel, Havemercy didn't get some award for prettiest fantasy cover of the year, something is clearly wrong. Especially since so many sci-fi and fantasy books are actually competing in Most/Least Fugly Cover of Any Given Year...

Steelhands isn't quite as nice, but it still looked good and the series was entertaining enough for me to buckle up and buy the hardcover. I do actually recommend one to read this series - it is one of the very rare modern fantasy books with several queer main characters (no lesbians as of yet, but I really liked the female lead in this one) that still feel like "mainstream" fantasy. Now, what do I mean there? These are rather simple, fluffy books. Compared to the Temeraire series by Novik, the plots are somewhat simpler, the dragons are both much more mechanical and have much smaller part in the plot (it's often -about- dragons, but it's not -with- dragons driving the story in the same way). However, compared to Novik's somewhat alarming lack of queer characters even in the border-enviroment of the Dragon Corps, where women can wear male dress and take on male roles (and the heavens have not yet fallen, omigosh!!) and to her increasingly flat characters, the much shorter portrayals of the Volstov/Ke-Han characters come off pretty good. Since Jones and Bennett's books alternate between diffferent first-person POV's and switch main characters pretty much every book, they don't have time to build up the kind of character growth arch that Lawrence and the others in Temeraire's universe can go through. Only, unfortunately, one of the few characters to actually grow and change after all he's gone through is Temeraire himself. Even Lawrence tends to stagnate at time

Oops, but now we're going OT. I found Steelhands entertaining with several quite funny scenes. The vaguely Rome-inspired setting makes it a bit less beset by the horrid tropes of "one-true-king" and "yay-feudalismdoesn't work that way btw", although there is still some slightly skeevy classification of people/nationalitites going on. Not as bad as the (overall quite dreadful) second book in the series which, Shadow Magic. Just skip that, unless you find yourself becoming extreme fans, because it's bad on pretty much all counts.

I mean, the books aren't all that great. Except for smart quips and a cast of constantly bantering characters, the world-building is pretty weak, the plots aren't super original or engaging, nor do the (nicely designed) dragons do as much in the story as they could. But for fluff fantasy, this is a very welcome change to the usual hack'n'slash male-dominated stuff I tend to find.

So. Looking for a light, funny fantasy? Give it a try, not perfect, but I'll give them plenty of cookie points for the mere fact that they are two female authors with a fandom background who still do positive shout-outs to their LJ community.

If nothing else, any modern fantasy books which manages to have a "spunky young girl" as a main character and does not: constantly undercut her decisions, have her wax poethic about her own fabulous looks and run around motivated solely by her love interest, deserves a mention. Heck, Laura and her poor OCD-plagued fiancé Toverre were probably my favorite characters. Oh, all right, together with Luvander because he's just the kind of jerk I like to read about
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
[personal profile] oursin posted the results from that silly "Vote the 100 Best SFF Works!" that some site had as a have read-meme. The results are really weird, quite skewed towards Gaiman and even contains unfinished (and currently in-progress) works, but what the heck - it's a book meme!

Filling that in sounded like excellent late night excersize to me, so here it comes!

Books I have read, failed to finish & am planning to read )

Some of the old SF I read because my mother owned them, some because the selection of what was to be translated to Swedish & later bought in by my library was eclectic at best, pure insanity at other times... As for more current books, there are those I like (Pratchett, Gaiman, Miéville; plebian like I am) and those I read for work, more or less. Working in the geeky bookstore gives excellent access to a lot of smushed, cut, crushed or otherwise unsaleable books and with my reading speed, it is hardly a chore to skim the best-sellers and see what they're about, which I like and which I will only recommend to people who like what I hate. (Customer: I think Terry Goodkind is the best author evah! Me: Ah, right. Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan might interest you...?)

Of course, this whole "reading for leisure" thing kind of fell to the wayside this year, what with lit classes, trying to read in German and generall stress, but as soon as I'm done with that I will... actually, I'll probably be in Germany, reading lit class books in German so, eheheheh ^^;;;;

Late 2012, however, you bet you're ass I'll be reading like a [bleep]!!!
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
I finally finished this book! For some bloody reason, I kept losing it! Put it down in a bookbag to read to work, forget the book on my desk, finally bring it home 3 days later, put that (different) book bag down and cover it with laundry or other stuff... rinse and repeat.

The book in question is acclaimed German YA novel Tintenherz / Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke. I'd borrowed it a while ago from my dear Miko-chan, to read as one of several attempts to de-rust my language skills. Since Miko-chan is visiting me right now and will leave early on Wednesday - and tomorrow we're seeing Gackt - it was read under a bit of time pressure, if I put it like that.

However, the end of the book went by quickly. Since it is a YA novel, the language level wasn't very challenging to me; what I had trouble with is that about the first half of the book feels like characters just hurrying back and fort without anything much happening. I already knew the "secret" of Zauberzunge (Silver Tongue in English), spoiler ) and while I am not usually very spoiler-sensitive, that annoyed me. Especially since the characters didn't much grip me either. Meggie is a believable little girl, but not very captivating (or active, for much of the book), her father annoyed me, Staubfinger (Dustfinger) started off as the most interesting person in the book but then just went betrayer-no-wait-maybe-not for too long... Basically, the whole thing dragged. It also consists of like eleventyhundred (ok, maybe not) chapters, which sometimes feel like they appear just so Funke can have a nice little quote from a much better children's book at the beginning.

Once they've been captured by the villain the second time, iirc, things finally start moving and the end is not bad at all. But the journey there? Too slow; I'm not planning on reading the sequels unless I'm really bored.

Next to finish: the comic Five Star Stories which have to be returned on Friday, and then Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine!
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Packed up the last books going to grandma's today; or so I thought, because then I found the little shelf of cookbooks. Drat.

I have also managed to finish Katherine Kerr's Deverry Cycle!! That only took, what, 10-15 years? In my defence, most books were not published when I began, never mind translated into Swedish.

Fittingly enough for a book that jumps back and forth through time and reincarnations, I also did not read it entirely in the correct order. I got the two final books out of the "torn, smushed or otherwise wonky" heap at work (and thought that I had actually read all upp to The Shadow Isle. Which I obviously had not) and first thought I'd stick with that, until the "torn etc" heap turned up the remaining two. Only then I read about how Salamander had a prominent role in The Spirit Stone and since Salamander has been my favorite Deverry character since I was around 15, wellp, the decision was pretty much made for me.

Do I like it? Of course I like it! Most other series I started at around that time and couldn't finish in ~5 years are long abadoned. Jordan's Wheel of Time has been relocated to my mental "check the spoilers at Wikipedia" list years ago and unless I end up with a lot of time and the fantasy world goes up into a collective fangasm at the conclusion of A Song of Ice and Fire I fear that it too will end up there.

Despite Ms Kerr's confusing reincarnations, lack of proper who-is-who tables and endless tossings of heads, however, I have always known that I wanted to keep reading these to the end. It helps that I do not despise all the female characters that appear *cough*Jordan*cough* nor is the plot so twisty and the prose so thick that I have to re-read every book every time a new one deigns to appear *cough*Martin*cough*

The Deverry series has it's fault - an overabundance of reincarnations and names mostly, but I still prefer the characterization, the world and the general plotlines.
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Diana Wynne Jones has passed away after a long-time illness. I love her books, that gave me hope and inspiration when I was young, comfort and solace when I felt bad, and a thousand amazing moments in her world whenever I returned to the fantastic worlds.

Rest in peace, Mrs Jones. I hope and believe you knew how many people loved and appreciated your books - I will always be one of them.
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
I'd like to preface that I am, actually, occasionally a mature and responsible adult. See, justs this week I met up with [livejournal.com profile] alitna to write. Alas, I was just exhausted after working a full day while still a bit ill and couldn't think of anything to write. But! Instead of faffing around on the net, I checked up things with CSN and filled in forms for my exchange year, quite responsible of me, yes?

And then there's times like yesternight, when I sat up to 03:33 (yep, exactly, I checked my clock) because I couldn't put down Elizabeth Moon's Kings of the North. No, I did not wake up at nine o'clock like planned to do laundry and go shopping early...

This is the second book in the Paladin's Legacy trilogy which is a sequel to the trilogy The Deed of Paksenarrion. The original trilogy is a real classic and a well-deserved one. Excellent female main character, manages to have religious themes and characters that don't bug the hell out of me, interesting plot, detailed world-building with a lot of attention to soldiers and more regular people (Moon has thought of how the plumbing works. Extensively) and enchanted me when I was a teen and still holds up very well for adult readers who have read several good works in the high fantasy genre.

And Paks - Well, Paks was just awesomesauce cool to my younger self. Her, and Kushana from Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind were what I wanted to be if I ever got transported to magic land and learned sword fighting XD (only, with less background angst than Kushana, plz)

The Paladin's Legacy books are... weeeell, the first one was nice but a bit confusing since we don't follow one focus character in the same way as in the first books. And Kings of the North? I'm sorry to say that, while I had no problem keeping all the people apart, the overall plot structure in especially the later half of the book disappointed me a bit.

When I can start to see patterns and guess what's going to happen past 02:00, you're heading into dangerously easily-solved territory, ok?

I mean, there are a lot of concepts in this book I like - how things were set in movement by Paks, and not neccessarily by those events that impacted her personal development the most. Dorrin is a great character, and a very unusual type! A somewhat older woman (40-45ish) who gains a great amount of power and yields it with power, compassion and cool logic. That she is the second most prominent character in this trilogy so far makes me very happy.
And then there's Phelan, whom I just adored in the original books. He then had slight hints of Vetinari's characterization around him, although not at all as brilliant and all-knowing. He also has a very interesting backstory and many faults, which of course really come into play here as the books focus a lot on him.

But. Exactly like with the end of the Serrano Legacy* things just... fall into place far too easily during the final. We get new characters who more or less drop into the plot and wrap things up, we get a very rushed romantic subplot and a character makes some weird good-to-evil/no wait!/heel-face-turn I don't even really know journey.

Take the romance, (which, all righ, was slightly hinted): But that minor hint somehow morph into an almost shoujo manga-esque Love at first sight!! thing. Take note, Moon and JKR: Just because you know the characters love each other, doesn't mean the readers do. Have them bloody interact a bit more. At least this couple talks on a few pages and have a practice fight)

Spoilers ahoy )

The portrayal of the Pargunese was also a bit bwuh to me, but to be honest, I was too tired to properly consider the exact implications at that time.

Kings of the NorthAlso, let's talk about the cover for a moment! Because, see, this is a rather high-profile fantasy book. Not quite as big as the latest Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, but large enough that they ship an impressive stack of hardcovers. They're also for some unknown reason (which I much appreciate :) release the trade paperback at the same time, so I don't have to wait six months to read about Phelan and the others' adventures.

All that taken to mind, it really surprises me that they couldn't fix a cover which contains a character actually in the book. See the picture there? That's Aragorn It's definitely not Paks, nor is it Dorrin, seeing as how they are women. (though Dorrin is probably on the cover of book one, Oath of Fealty, at least it's close to her colors).
Taken together with the title, I would assume the cover to contain either the king of Lyonya or Mikeli, the king of Tsaia. The latter, alas, is a young man just grown into maturity and he doesn't do any fighting in this book. Spoiler for the Paksenarrion trilogy )

So, all right, I've whined a lot about Kings of the North now. However, Paladin's Legacy is still 2/3 into the series, absolutely among the better half of fantasy literature that's out there to read. It's not as good as the amazing first trilogy, but until the big wrap-up which contains a bit too much fixit moments for my taste, it is quite interesting. What Moon does well is, among others, that she does not forget the non-kingly characters - the soldiers, the servants, the elderly who remember things. We also meet characters like the Duke of Andressat again and, I have to say, I never expected to like the old snob as much as I did now. Actions from the past have consequences, such that can't be just removed with a bit of magic.

Will I buy the next book? Oh yeah. Will I rec this book series to people? Oh yeah - And I usually anti-rec the Gird prequel to Paksenarrion, because that is just dull in great bits. But, for all the faults here, there are still many great characters and an underlying highly interesting plot thread that I think might remake the world of these characters a great deal.

And now I really gotta go and buy a fuse because one blew yesterday and I have no light in my (windowless) bedroom.

*I only bought one of the omnibuses, dunno exactly which books it contains
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
[insert maniacal laughter of the Mwahahaha- variant here]

With school, and work, and tons of other brain-exhausting things that needed to be done this autumn, my reading really slowed down. Now, I am addicted to texts, so it's not as if I stopped reading altogether - but I chose easier fare than books (not counting the school stuff). Thus it took me months to finish Der Schrecksenmeister by Walter Moers, which is a record for me if one only counts books I liked.

Because I did like this one, a great deal even. While not quite as perfect a blend of nonsense, thrilling moments and overwhelming book-nerdishness as his Die Stadt der Träumenden Bucher, it was still very funny and engaging.

The plot is rather simple; Echo, a talking magical cat-like animal (a Kratze, or Crat in the English translation) is on the verge of starving to death when his mistress dies. The Schrecksenmeister (Alchemaster) sees him and realizes that Echo is just the ingredient he needs to fulfill his life work. Thus, they make a deal: For one month, Echo will be given the best of foods one can imagine and when the time is up, he'll end up in the alchemical soup, after a fast, painless death. Of course it isn't as simple as that, but the plot on the whole follows this line.
What makes Moers so fascinating (and DIFFICULT for a German-third-language speakers such as myself) is the way he plays with words. Put it like this: I almost think he could teach Pratchett a trick or two...

Take the title; Schrecksenmeister. The Master of the Schrecksen - and what is that? Well... it's a fantastical being that only exists in Moers fantasy-world Zamonien. They're are part witches, part horrible dragon-thingies and culturally very much like the jews of Medieval towns - blamed for all kinds of ills, forced to follow special laws and generally treated quite badly, though the populace still buys their services.

The Master of the Schrecksen then, is the man that keeps them "in line" and Eißpin, the Schrecksenmeister of this tale, is one of the most horrible creations of fiction I've seen- An utterly ruthless genius alchemist who does not stand above cheating, lies, torture and murder to get what he wants. Manages to be both so evil and impressive that you don't know whether to hate and despise or hate and admire by the end of the book.

This is not a book for those who want straight to-the-point prose; Moers obviously loves his Zamonian details, wordplays and flights of fancy. It is, however, enjoyable to follow along with all the little side-roads in this story, because his sense of style is perfect and he evokes plenty of images with a few well-chosen words. Like the name of the town where it all takes place: Sledwaya, the unwholesomest city of Zamonia. To me, the description and the name of the story immediately woke images of the polluted cities of Eastern Europe, and as the story unfolds and we learn of Eißpin's cruel reign over the citizens, the image only felt more true.

To be honest, though I haven't read it, I am highly mistrustful of the English translation.

Translation thoughts )

But hey - in whatever language you can get your hands on this book, do give it a try. It's not every book that keeps my interest (and memory of the plot so fresh!) that I keep reading it, nibble by nibble, for several months. It's also got lots of wonderfully creepy illustrations, wicked humor and some rather fantastical culinary images.
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Life: It continues to be busy!

The story of SaiunkokuBut I at least had the time to read The Story of Saiunkoku on the train home. It's a manga I have looked forward to read properly ever since someone posted a few pages to scans_daily years ago.

The art style is polished fantasy shoujo, similar in design to the (good) works of Yuu Watase and You Higuri. It's pretty similar to Watase's Fushigi Yuugi in other ways too, starting with the obvious Chinese influence. Stir in plenty of court intrigue and possibly prophecies or something from the mysterious past and a go-get-'em female lead, and the surface starts to look very similar.
But! There are many differences too, because Saiunkoku takes place entirely in one world. There's been no magic in the first volume and, so far, only one of the pretty men in the manga has become obviously infatuated with the main character. Who is also btw admired because she's smart and driven, yay.

I like shoujo manga, especially the historical and fantasy kind (high school romances tend to bore me) but I will freely admit that there is a problem with the female main characters. In short, they tend to do little but have to be rescued after a while. Sometimes for really stupid reasons too.

It's way too early to say how Saiunkoku will develop in that fashion, but at least Shurei isn't supposed to run around and fight people (so she shouldn't be able to fail at it). Instead, she's supposed to teach the reluctant young emperor how to actually be an emperor - a task she has accepted because it means she gets The Moniez, and this is very important to Shurei.

Shurei, the main character, reminds me a great deal of Tohru from Fruits Basket, except she's way sharper when it comes to handling her money. They do seem to share the same kindness, however, and they're both very likeable; both for characters in the story and reader (well, me at least).
This is great, because far too often (in all kinds of genres), one finds a person everyone loves, from good old Mary Sue over to generic harem-manga leading man, for no reason whatsoever.

Here, we're presented with a noble but impoverished young girl, who is both book-smart and knows the pains of the world. She's still got a positive outlook on life, but it's not all roses and cheer - and yes, I like her. Maybe she's a bit too good, but heck, she's the HEROINE, she's allowed to. And the author still makes me think that if I met her in real life, she's someone I could easily come to like.

There appears to be much more intrigue, palace schemes and whatnot brewing in this manga than in your typical shoujo story. I hope it keeps up and develops those threads even further, because there's the potential of a really, really good story here.

So far, I like it a lot ^_^ Since I also bought the very last volume of Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, this series came at just the right moment. Might even give the anime a try if the manga keeps my interest...

By the way, Saiunkoku is another anime where it's fun to play "Spot the voice actor!"
Seiyuu-geek out )
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
I am not very fond of romantic literature and movies in the mainstream sense, where people meet, fall into argument and/or love and after 2,5 hours they get married. Romcoms as a genre bore me (although, interestingly enough, plenty of my favorite fanfics are romantic and comedic, but use tropes differently)

However, the high drama and tragedy of older shoujo manga, early yaoi (Zetsuaiiii~) and that kind of love has always appealed to me. Take Anne Rice, or at least my reading of her as a teenager. Plentiful tragic and failed love stories there, although I didn't demand that the love ended in tragedy. Then there is the other kind of love story, the kind that doesn't burn like insanity, but is nevertheless true and deep. In a way, it's an even rarer find, because it's easy that stories about that just fall flat or end up in some kind of trite "and then they married and lived happily ever after yay" cliche, without any real emotion at all.

One of the novels I remember most fondly from before, and which I re-read not all that long age with great enjoyment, was Guy Gavriel Kay's A Song for Arbonne (Cover image of the first edition I've owned).

How the flowers bloomed in Arbonne )

A final note, perhaps of importance to my point? This is one of the few books I've owned twice.

The first I inherited from mom and after years of intense reading (her's and mine, she bloody kills the spines), pages stained with tears, food and a rather memorable nosebleed, I felt it was time to retire that copy. Because somehow, a book about the beauty of love and how one should cherish that, deserved to live within a nicer cover.

Except for Good Omens and some Pratchett books, this is the only book I've re-bought just because I want to have a more polished copy. Even Tigana only got one buy, because I borrowed it from the library the first six times I read it.

And now I really gotta get back to studying. Abelard and Heloise was it, wot?
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
So I am busy. Quite insanely busy. My AMAZING & BRILLIANT & in general very sparkle-and-cake deserving friends helped me move last Sunday. We hauled boxes upon boxes of books (and coffee cups, oh, do I have too many coffee cups) and they put together my sofa while I went with some other friends to get the second load. And, in general, they were teh awesum. Thank you!!!

My business, let me tell you about it )

As for reading, there really hasn't been that much time. I bought and read Under Ground Hotel which is now out in English and read that. Whiiich doesn't really take all that long, considering that it's a very explicit yaoi manga. Inspired a lot by the tv-series OZ, apparantly. So plenty of well-drawn and violent prison sex, ahem /fans self

Mostly I've been reading Harry Potter - Finished Half-Blood Prince a while ago and just a few days back, I read The Deathly Hallows. HBP was better than I recalled, but it's really not a book that works well as a movie (or rather, not the types of movies they've decided that the Harry Potter series will be) seeing as most of the interesting bits are discussions, Harry reading in his snarky book and flashbacks.

The Deathly Hallows was good. I was never bothered by all the camping, but I was bothered by how the end feels almost rushed (why did Snape have to die like that? It is TEH POINTLESSNESS) and Draco's story feels very much like a dangling plot-thread. Not so for the other Malfoy's; given how little Harry interacts with Lucius, I feel that the few scenes we see of his - if not quite repentance - but realization of what really matters is handled well.

The "Ginny is Harry's eternal love" story felt even more tacked on when I knew it was coming and still had to squint to see evidence of more than teenage hormones... And Hermione really, really comes into her own in the entire latter half of the series. She's so cool =D

Now class is starting, so enough babble from me. I think I want to re-read the HP books in Swedish and not just admire the pretty, pretty covers. I may be biased, but I really feel that the Swedish Harry Potter editions look the best of all that I've seen.
dancing_moon: Mana looks angsty (woes)
So apparantly Jasper Fforde has a problem with fanfic. This is me when I first read this:

- Wait, Jasper Fforde? Isn't he -
*checks heap'o'books to get rid of*
- Well fuck. Jasper Fucking Fforde is the author of the Thursday Next books which, whoops, are pretty much crossover fanfic to literary classics. With his own OC, Thursday Next, as the main character.

I was planning to write a thoughtful, well-researched post here. Then I thought, fuck it, I'll just rant. So, rant ahoy!

I will angrily type about the sheer entitlement that comes of a male author using (mainly) female author's works for his post-modern meta-commentary series, and then forbidding other authors to re-contextualize his stories once more. I mean, it just gets better when you consider that Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters and other early female novelists faced various levels of prejudice and ridicule because they were 1) female and 2) wrote stuff. oh hai, that's kinda like fanfic!*

F-u-r-t-h-e-r, the dickhead isn't even only hiding behind (faulty) legalese protection, i.e. my copyright won't work if I allow fanfic, oh noez, but he's taking some moral high ground.

Because his characters "mean so much" to him. Ummm... When your first book is called The Eeyre Affair and your main chara interacts with the main chara of that book, I think it's a leeetle biit hypocritial to discuss respecting other characters. What does it matter if the author is dead? Is smearing someones name less bad, just because that person isn't around to hear it? Should I, as a reader, have to investigate what you the author thinks on every little issue before I comment on your work?
Honestly, if all that respect entails means is that you don't want the author to see the icky, icky fic, then firmly tell your readers not to show it to you. Most readers won't even try - the ones that do, smack them down.

Now I definitely regret wasting fifty crowns or so on his book during the book sale.

In fact, a staunch (and stupid) anti-fanfic stance is one of the few things that really makes me a firm boycotter of an author whose books I might otherwise buy. Iffy political opinions and general euugh-ness tends to be less of a problem, since I often don't like those books anyway. It'd be a bit like boycotting bananas for me - I've hated them with passion since I was 6, so it's not as if its a sacrifice to avoid Chiquita. Aand I mean, I've heard from several people at work that John Ringo, David Weber et al don't just write military sf gun-porn, but are severely right-wing themselves - hey, no problem. I can totally avoid buying your books, any day *sincere nod*

What sucks is when it's authors I enjoy, or that I would like to fic.

Authors I know are anti-fanfic & have expressed it in a way that really irks me:
- Anne Rice
Ah, the classic! Her writing is crap these days, anyway, but this means I'll definitely never buy some nostalgic hardcover of the first three books or so. I will however still read the old VC fic I've saved - some of it was pretty good ^_^ And, I mean, I would probably have kept buying her for a while after the books themselves turned to shit - I mean, I collected merchandize and comics and stuff - but when I can't even use the universe for ficcing purposes? What's the point?
- Jasper Fforde
- George R. R. Martin
Not that I'm likely to ever be in danger of being tempted with a finished Song of Ice and Fire, anyway, but if I want to read/re-read his epics, there are workmates. And heaps of smushed books, sooner or later a Martin turns up.
- Diana Gabaldon
Just heard of her (and had to link to fandom_wank due to deleted posts), which is kind of a shame, since her books were on the queer-rec list at work and I was slightly interested in them. After the descriptions of Outlander as 600 pages of badly written romance smut, with one scene of torture-porn, I am feeling less inclined to do so anyway...
- Robin Hobb
Also deleted her rant, but fear not, the Internet remembers!
- C.S Friedman
Deserves a special mention! Because while she is pretty much in the don't ask, don't tell (but do disclaim) camp about fic, she comes off as rather homophobic in her reply about slash fanfic. And as I feel the same urge every time I read this sentence:
As [slash] this kind of material often deals with subjects and character interpretations I emphatically disagree with, I do ask you make it very clear to any potential readers that it does not reflect my work except in the broadest inspirational sense.
...I will now indulge in it. Ahem.
IF YOU DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO SLASH YOUR GUYS, TRY LEAVING AT LEAST ONE FEMALE CHARACTER OF IMPORTANCE ALIVE/NON-AMNESIAC! I mean, jeez, I liked the Coldfire trilogy (and it was slashy as hell btw) but the women getting killed thing was really, reeeaaally obvious. And of course I know that slash happens, and wtf woman, let it happen and just don't read, but. Come on. There's making it easy, and making it pretty much inevitable.
- Ursula Le Guin
Aww, it makes me sad to include her there. Otoh, she's an author that can be found in the library pretty easily, so no big loss. (but why, Ms Le Guin? U b so cool otherwise!)
- Katherine Kerr
:( Another delete, another f_w write-up. Kerr was one of the first authors whose characters I mentally slashed, years before I found out about fanfic
(And it wasn't even Rhodry/that elf guy. I thought about the tragic'n'smutty non-con story of the dark magic apprentice and his boytoy sexslave young Lord what's-his-name that appeared in one of the early books. No, the internet didn't make me depraved - I was like that before I turned 13 and ever turned on a computer. Oh, and Salamander. I slashed him with eeeeverything.)

That was a depressing list to write/collect links for. Here, see some squee which I found/remembered while doing it
Patrick Rothfuss upon finding the first slashfic of his work: YES!
Cory Doctorow: In praise of fanfic

* not saying that fanfic in general is Austen-level good. But, y'know, there were probably a whole bunch of women who wrote stuff and put in their drawers that was just as non-literary-classicy as the average fic.

See... this is what happens when I have the laptop in bed. Late night rantings. 01.40 - logging off the internet now.
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
All right, now we're getting somewhere.

Today I finished a book about a dragon and yesterday I read another book about several dragons. There are many differences: The first dragon is mechanical and most of the plot is about finding it, while the dragons in the other book are very much alive and present. Though they do spend quite some time hunting dragon eggs, for what it's worth.

The books do however have one very startling similarity: They're both part of a series (part 3 and part 6, respectively) and they're both an immense improvement compared to the books just preceding them. Maybe last year was a bad year for dragon writers?

I'm talking about the books:
Dragon Soul by Jones and Bennett )
Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik )

ETA: I feel I should perhaps point out, outside of the cut, that the latest Temeraire book is damned good. Case in point: I began reading it yesterday too, and just kept on until I was finished. And then I wanted to go through the series again just to remember the details fresh
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
The trip to Germany was very pleasant indeed, all the way up until we tried to get home. Then everything went to hell, but never mind that now.

Because there were so many delays, I had time to read through N. K. Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms on the way. Despite the somewhat simplistic language (it should take me longer to finish a 400-page-long book) and the rather flat characters, it was often entertaining and the mythology was at least not Arthurian-ish sword and sorcery.

I wouldn't buy this book, but I could definitely rec it as an different kind of fantasy mythos, especially to someone who isn't that familiar with English and/or the heavy plotty language of huge fantasy epics. Huh - kinda reminds me of the Death Gate Cycle, actually.

But really, the first guy she's assigned to and trusts turns out to be actually trustworthy in a story about palace intrigues? Mmmkay.

And yesterday, I watched the two lates episodes of Doctor Who! *bounces in her seat* They were really interesting! I caught the big twist of the last episode just before it was plainly revealed, but it still floored me and it was a very good, very fitting twist! I like it, I like River Song more every time I meet her and even Amy is growing on me again, after a weak mid-season period.

The Lodger was also a really good episode imo, mostly because I love this perspective on characters. And the headbang, teheee ^^

You know, as spazzy as 10 could be at times, I definitely find this Doctor more thouroughly weird - and that's a good thing. Can't wait for the next ep!
dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Escape from Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The second part in a modern retelling of Dante's Inferno, about how a science fiction author ends up in hell. In the previous book, he was given a guided tour through hell by Benito Mussolini, who in the end shows him how to escape. Now, in this book, the author returns the favour to some other people and tries to show all
the lost souls that it's possible to get out.

It starts off very interesting, he meets a lot of famous people (Sylvia Plath, for instance, is another main character) but the second half of the story felt incredibly cheesy and preachy to me. Not the message, that everybode can be saved if they strive for forgiveness, but in the way that it was conveyed. Very "sing hallelujah, praise the lord" and then you're simply forgiven and that's
that. I dunno, maybe I read it wrong, but the more complex morals of the first half of
the book seem to be swept away in the end.

Anyway, official RPS, and not too shabbily written. Maybe I'd have enjoyed it more if I'd read part one?

Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon. After many years, Moon returns to Paksenarrions world. This is a direct sequel to Oath of Gold, but it focuses on Kieri Phelan (commander to Paks, the main character of the first books) and his captains Dorrin and Arcolin instead of Paks.

I will start off with three things about this book:
1) You really, really should read the Paksenarrion trilogy first.
I have read it, multiple times, and I was still a bit confused trying to remember who was who. But the characters would lack too much depth without that entire story. Not to mention...
2) that you'll get incredibly spoiled for the Paksenarrion trilogy if you
read this book first.
Moon also wrote a prequel, about Saint Gird, but it's not very good. Not so spoilery either. This book begins hours and days after the ending of Oath of Gold, and all the major characters appeared in the first trilogy. Don't even read the back cover, it basically spoils the big reveal for the third book in the series.
3) The Paksenarrion Trilogy is Really Very Good - and this book is almost as good.
It also contains a lot less marching and troop movement things, which people tend to critique the early trilogy for. Lots of politics and intrigue and a good set-up for another 2 books.

Highly recommended; the only thing I was a bit disappointed about is that it's less focused on Phelan than I was led to believe. Not that it matters that much, Dorrin Verrakai is a very interesting character and her story is fascinating. However, as both her and Arcolin's parts were minor in the first trilogy it took me a while to warm up to these new characters. But Elizabeth Moon likes to write thick trilogies with shifting POV's and she tends to give everyone enough attention.

Highly recommended if one enjoys classic fantasy. Also an interesting contrast to the Niven book - the Paksenarrion world is religious and the gods and saints play very obvious roles. Yet, the moral of the books never feels forced, nor too simple or preachy. This while St Gird shows many similarities with a Jesus figure and the paladins are among the most Lawful Good Paladins I have ever encountered in a serious story. But the world fits, actions have consequences and Moon is very good at building up how and why a character gains their faith. So, all in all, I strongly rec this book.

I also read some manga, like the latest part of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP. We've gotten to the end of the flashback, have an explanation for the link between Watanuki and Syaoran and things are really gearing up for the end. Which means one book goes by like snap and I'm left wondering when the rest'll arrive.

And I read Shugo Chara 1, will review for work later. Not bad, but not very exciting either. Nice character designs though and enough interesting ingredients to want me keep reading for at least a while more.

Eyeshield 21, part 31 of the American Footboll manga, was also released recently. This book contains the end to the Christmas Bowl match. They team's in the goal and I honestly don't know if I'll bother to buy the rest of the manga. It won't go severely downhill until after the national championship, but the upcoming game is the least exciting and most unrealistic of them all. Otoh, I
am a completist. We'll see...

Sena's really grown in this part though and I like the wrap-up of the Devil Bat's struggle for the Christmas Bowl.

And here's a little clip of me singing karaoke in cosplay. I wish I owned a working camera, so I could have asked some other cosplayers for good posing pictures. Maybe I'll get the chance to at Meuwcon.


dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Dancing Moon


Style Credit

May 2012

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