eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
1. [personal profile] helens78 sent me a bunch of knitting books that she was done with, some of which are pattern books and some of which are books about knitting. Mostly I have been flipping through pattern books and going "ooh" or "hmmm." And so I was flipping through one of the prose-and-patterns books called The Joy of Knitting and noticed this, partly because it's right at the beginning of a chapter:

cut for gender essentialism )

2. I only just now got N.K. Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms -- I’m never really good at getting new-releases when they’re, you know, released. And so I was reading happily along, enjoying the worldbuilding, when all of a sudden:

Cut for kink-negative language and spoilery discussion )
eruthros: Delenn building the crystal machine in season 1  of B5, captioned "foreshadowing" (B5 - Delenn incredible foreshadowing)
1. I hurt two fingers doing PT this morning -- the nominally-strong fingers I use to provide resistance for my isometric strengthening exercises. Yes, seriously.

2. I can't for the life of me find Torchwood promo pictures from seasons one and two, pre-Children of Earth. My google-fu has failed, hard. Where the hell are they? Help plz fandom!

3. I am looking forward to yuletide lots and lots, but I can't figure out what I want to ask for! Last year I had this huge giant list of fandoms that I wished were yuletide fandoms (sometimes just because I wished they could go in the vid), and it was hard to narrow it down further, and it is only worse this year, as I have now realized a) that Pogo isn't a yuletide fandom and b) that I totally ship Pogo Possom and Porky Pine. Porky takes Pogo a flower every Christmas morning! He's only pretending to be a cynic! My heart is touched.

Also I want there to be more Bruce/Johnny Dead Zone fic, so there's that. And perhaps I want Steerswoman series Bel-fic, in which she is awesome and amazing. And perhaps I will ask again for Better Than Chocolate transfic (Judy/Frances!), though I am always concerned about whether it would be done well.

Other things that are not yuletide fandoms but should be )

What do you guys want for yuletide? I ask because I'm curious, though it will inevitably lead to more things to add to my list of possibilities this year.

4. I maaaaaybe have spent a little too much time looking at the list of yuletide fandoms in the last, oh, year or so.


Jan. 22nd, 2009 01:15 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Remember how two weeks ago I said you should buy Emma Bull's book? Please disregard that post.

This is going to come out of left field for some of y'all who haven't seen the context. The brief summary is: Avalon’s Willow posted a critique of Elizabeth Bear’s description of how to write "The Other." Elizabeth Bear said it was valid, and that her lj was a safe space; she then let people leave horrible comments in her lj using all the classics from how to suppress discussions of racism -- completely failing to maintain that safe space. Elizabeth Bear's friends (including Emma Bull) piled on Avalon's Willow (and others), there and in other lj threads, dismissing her concerns, dismissing her writing, dismissing her reading, calling for her credentials.

You can read Emma Bull ([ profile] coffeeem)'s attempt at complete dismissal here, and throughout that comment thread. To pull sentences out of context: "I can't give a lot of weight to a critique of a book and its author that's based on a shallow reading of the book, that doesn't take into account all the text, but substitutes the reader's own expected subtext for what's actually there." ... "But I don't want to go as far as to say that an opinion based on a shallow reading and a reaction to cultural injustice is as insightful as an opinion based on careful consideration of the text."

How to suppress discussions of racism 101. [ profile] coffeeem offers no proof that Avalon's Willow's reading of the book is flawed; she uses her authority to dismiss it instead, and not incidentally to deflect conversation from the content of AW's post, to AW's credentials and AW's emotions and AW's tone. When someone points out to her the privilege inherent in deciding what are deep and shallow readings, she deflects again and says that her questioners are clearly opposed to studying literature -- again, by fiat, by defining terms without allowing question. And in doing so, she completely changed the direction of the conversation, completely dismissed the original post, and hurt people. A lot of people.

I still think that Bone Dance is a good book, but I can't stand the idea that I told you guys to buy a new copy, to send money to the person who began what became a meme and turned a conversation into something uglier, who first declared by fiat that a person of color's reading of a book as racist was shallow and wrong and could be immediately dismissed. She hurt people, and she derailed the conversation to make it -- once again -- all about white people, and she has not apologized. Please don't buy her books. If you want to read them, there are libraries and used book stores and friends who will loan them to you.

I didn't recommend any of these folks' books, and I haven’t read any of their work myself, but these are the other published authors who made similar statements, who continue to ignore the hurt they have done, who have made it clear that they want cookies for being anti-racist while still being racist: Elizabeth Bear ([ profile] matociquala), W*ll Sh*tt*rly, and Sarah Monette ([ profile] truepenny -- she has sort-of apologized, but her apology is not great). Other publishing-related people include Patrick Neilson Hayden (Tor editor) and [ profile] mac_stone, editor of an e-zine. And probably others whose posts or comments I missed, or whose lj names I didn't link to author names.

For a better-written post on the topic of the published authors who have shown their asses, see [ profile] chopchica here. For the comprehensive link roundup to read from the beginning, missing only the posts that were deleted or flocked after the fact, see [ profile] rydra_wong's amazing compilation here. Commentary on [ profile] matociquala's most recent post here, as [ profile] matociquala has been banning people who call her out.

Oh, and: while we're on the subject of authors showing their asses? Robin McKinley, don’t say this shit. You do not get to decide what Barack Obama’s racial identity is, and you do not get to declare him white.

ETA: More on EBear, Emma Bull, and others here; more on the problems of the facile apology here.

ETA 2: Aaaand Theresa Neilson Hayden shows her ass here.
eruthros: X-Files: Mulder in glasses, text "sexier in glasses" (XF - Mulder sexier in glasses)
It's free book time again! What this means is that [ profile] m_shell and I finally sorted through various BEA books. (Yes, it's been two months. Look, there were a lot of books.) Books and other things listed behind the cut are free for the taking; we'll happily mail them out to you book rate. We're both broke students, though, so we won't say no to anyone who feels a need to send us cookies or pay for postage or whatever.

Claim the books you'd like in the comments (or by IM or email), and send one of us your snail mail address if we don't have it. Feel free to request as many books as you'd like; part of the point of this is to get them out of our apartment. Go ahead and ask even if someone has already claimed something; we have two (!) copies of some of these.

The Interpretation of Murder. Jed Rubenfeld. September 2005. Freud + serial killer + amnesiac woman + kinky sex )

The Looking Glass Wars. Frank Beddor. September 2006. The True Story of Alyss in Wonderland. )

I Could Have Sung All Night. Marni Nixon with Stephen Cole. September 2006. Before I even get to the cut-tag: Marni Nixon is the singer who dubbed for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. The Buffy writer/producer is Marti Noxon. Okay, now that that's over with: Marni Nixon and the Golden Age of the Hollywood Musical )

Bliss. O.Z. Livaneli. October 2006. Turkish morality fable? )

Friends of Meager Fortune. David Adams Richards. February 2007. Love and Lumber )

Comrade Rockstar. Reggie Nadelson. June 2006. Reissue. During the Cold War, an American wanna-be rocker can't make it big in the U.S.... so he tries Russia )

No God In Sight. Altaf Tyrewala. August 2006. Reissue. Fifty connected first-person shorts )

Julius Winsome. Gerard Donovan. October 2006. Yet another one I haven't read! )

Crispin: At the Edge of the World. Avi. September 2006. Crispin: not as cool as Charlotte Doyle, but still fun. )

Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret. Obert Skye. October 2006. So it's obvious from the cover that it's a Harry Potter rip-off but hey, it's a mildly entertaining Harry Potter rip-off. )

Three Shades of Night (World of Darkness). Janet Trautvetter, Sarah Roark, Myranda Sarro. Haven't read it, haven't skimmed it, don't know anything about it )

Typecasting: On the Arts & Sciences of Human Inequality. Stuart Ewen and Elizabeth Ewen. September 2006. I haven't read this, but [ profile] m_shell has, and she describes it as a dense, intensively cross-referenced tome that attempts to outline the entire history of western "scientific" support for racism and ethnocentrism. )

Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery. James Benn. September 2006. This one snuck up on me; I knew it was a historical mystery/thriller, like the Poe mystery or the Freud thriller, just from the title, but guess what? It actually fits into that category even better: our main character is the nephew of Dwight Eisenhower. And working for him during WWII. )

>Abadazad: The Road to Inconceivable. J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Ploog. Part-graphic novel. June 2006. Abadazad comics turned into part-diary part-graphic novel )

Peter and the Shadow Thieves. Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. July 2006. Sequel to Peter and the Starcatchers. We've done Oz and Alice, so let's hit Peter Pan next. )

Escape From the Carnivale: A Neverland Book. Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. October 2006. A book-for-younger-readers in the Peter and the Starcatchers series. )

Here, There Be Dragons. James A. Owen. October 2006. Only skimmed it. )

Little Fur: The Legend Begins. Isobelle Carmody (author of the Obernewtyn Chronicles). Haven't read this one, either )

More follow in the next post.
eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
Yes, this is one of those posts that happens when your in-progress file gets too big, weird, and disconnected to do anything with. So why not just post the whole darn thing at once?

Weirdest BEA schwag:

Jelly Belly gummi rat from Coffee House Press. Nothing to do with anything, near's I can tell.
Magnetic Poetry's BEA-themed magnetic poetry, featuring words like schwag and tired and not and another and catalogue.
Red back massage thingy from Elloras Cave.
Inexplicable green alligator filled with water. I don't even remember where it's from. Or why anyone would advertise a book with a squishy water-filled alligator.


So I read Interpretation of Murder, which is... well, it features Freud, and I find the practice of Freudian psychology kinda funny, so it's hard for me to accept it as a thriller. I mean, totally ridiculous dialogue during psychiatric appointments, and Jung and Freud arguing about the supernatural, and Oedipal complexes in Shakespeare, and then at the same time, thriller. With standard death!porn -- you know, the bits where we see a murder from the murderer's pov, and don't give the victim a name, but call her "the young girl" or whatever. Bleh.

The basic problem is that this book doesn't fit in its genre, or even know what the genre is. (You have to know what the genre is to play with it.) I expected it to be a puzzle-thriller: the PR material was all about solving puzzles in Shakespeare and that sort of thing, so I figured it would be the da Vinci Code (which I, um, haven't read) except with Shakespeare and serial killers and Freud. I did not expect the puzzle to be "why does Hamlet act in some instances, and yet find himself incapable of acting on his uncle?" Especially since this puzzle is solved entirely without dialogue or investigation: it's a thought-puzzle in the mind of the narrator. Note to author: thought-puzzles do not make puzzle thrillers.

(Also, there's a bit where they talk about a psychiatrist sleeping with his patient, and there's already been a lot of dialogue about 19th century neurologists are just using sex as a cure, so. It's like the author's trying trying to do both the 19th and 20th century "nervous disorder" cures at once: The talking cure and orgasms. Ickitas.)

... they even made fandom_wank. Not that that takes much on slow wank days. Slow wank days. Heh. -- talking to friede about audiography


Totally disgusting discovery of the day: the Left Behind game. It's... I have no words. Since I have no words, I have attempted to share the horror with everyone I know. For example:
[ profile] eruthros: Oh lordy. Have you seen the PR stuff about the Left Behind game?
[ profile] friede: noooo
[ profile] eruthros: Basically you wander the streets of New York with many large guns, trying to convert or kill Jews, pagans, Buddhists, gays, etc.
[ profile] friede: ...
[ profile] eruthros: And these people call themselves Christians!
[ profile] friede: seriously. gar
[ profile] eruthros: In fact, they protest against violent video games and how they make kids violent!
[ profile] eruthros: And. Wah.
[ profile] friede: *pets*
[ profile] eruthros: posts link to Left Behind Games' website
[ profile] eruthros: You can even play it MULTIPLAYER and try to take territory from other players!
[ profile] friede: omg
[ profile] eruthros: When presumably you're all trying to, you know, convert folks, apocolypse, blahblah etc. And yet.
[ profile] friede: also AHHHHH
[ profile] eruthros: Left Behind was creepy enough before it was, like, Grand Theft Soul.

Also? In this game the UN is a tool of the antichrist. Jesus Mary Mother of God. I ask you. And this, from the president of a Christian marketing organization: "I would assume, if there is violence, it's the cosmic struggle of good versus evil, not gratuitous violence." Right. Of course. It's not gratuitous! You're just killing all the Jews 'cause it's the end times! WAH. From the LA Times: "Ralph Bagley, a spokesman for the Christian Game Developers Foundation in San Diego, said he had seen demand for Christian games grow as parents rejected the escalating violence and explicit sex in mainstream games." And this is... not part of the escalating violence?

Also? Also? Look at what Michael Pachter, an analyst for the investment bank WedbushMorgan, said about this game: "The reason that I think this game has a chance is that it's not particularly preachy. ... I will say some of the dialogue is pretty lame —people saying, 'Praise the Lord' after they blow away the bad guys. I think they're overdoing it a bit. But the message is OK." BUT THE MESSAGE IS OKAY? BUT THE MESSAGE IS OKAY? I swear, I'm going to have an aneurysm over here, if that's what people think is a reasonable message.
eruthros: blurry lilac shot, text "how do they rise?" (TP lilacs 25 May)
1. Thrillers featuring famous people. Sure, there was the usual historical fiction -- Mary, a fictional life of Mary Todd Lincoln; Mrs. Shakespeare, a fictional life of Anne Hathaway; and Abundance, a fictional life of Marie Antoinette -- but there was also a mystery/thriller set at West Point featuring Edgar Allen Poe and a mystery/thriller set in New York featuring Freud and Jung. (And heiresses in the plural. And it is titled Interpretation of Murder. It is to giggle. Apparently, this book is expected to kick up the fiction market in the fall, which has been pretty soft so far this year.)

2. A tremendous decrease in memoir and autobiography. Last year was the year of memoirs; this year, we've got non-fiction on all sorts of subjects, including a tremendous quantity of September 11th/Katrina/political stuff, but I don't think I saw memoir at all except from already famous people -- food reviewers doing Their Life In Food sort of thing, people related to baseball players doing My Life in Baseball, political relatives doing How Cool Bush, Sr Is, Really or How Cool Cheney Is, Really. (That would be George H.W. Bush's daughter and Mary Cheney, respectively.)

3. That brings me to the biggest category of nonfiction: 9/11! Katrina! Iraq! Bush!

3a. Katrina as an aberration! Historical perspectives on hurricanes! Anniversary books for Katrina! The Katrina titles include: The Great Deluge (Douglas Brinkley), Breach of Faith (Jed Horne), and Path of Destruction (Mark Schleifstein). We've even got historical focuses: LSU press is doing a book called Conservative Conservationist about some mid-century Republican's efforts to preserve wetlands, and Vintage is re-releasing Bayou Farewell, all about Why We Get Bad Hurricanes These Days.

3b. Anniversary books for 9/11! Including the graphic novel of the 9/11 report. (I kid you not. Buzz around this one is actually really positive, but I haven't seen it.)

3c. The Bush/Iraq/election category. We loves Bush! We hates Bush! How the Democrats can win! Why we can't let the Democrats win! Books by politicians (yes, in the plural), journalists, bloggers. John Ashcroft. Barak Obama. Edward Kennedy. Ariana Huffington (who claims to not mention Bush by name in her book; the political is all implied rather than outright.) Bob Woodward. Michael Isikoff. Markos Zuniga, of the Daily Kos, and Jerome Armstrong collaborating. Books about puppies being adopted by marines in Baghdad, about soldiers who are saying no to Iraq, about soldiers' letters, even a graphic novel about a pride of lions in Baghdad. (I did not see the text for that one, so I can't make a statement about the intent of same. It's called Pride of Baghdad, as I recall. The lions are freed when Baghdad is bombed, or something. *vague*)

4. In YA fiction, the biggest trend continues to be As Cool As Harry Potter But Not a Rip-Off, Really, but there are some other areas of interest as well. Tokyopop and others are taking advantage of anime and manga and attempting to do novels in the style of manga. There's a little bump in YA historical fiction to match the overall historical fiction surge (M.T. Anderson's latest book, actually, is YA historical fiction set before the Revolutionary War.) I credit J.K. Rowling with the other major change in YA fiction in the last several years: YA fiction of more than two hundred pages, especially from major publishers who were leary of that sort of thing before. (I held up Black Tattoo as an example of this: it's 500+ pages long. Oy.)


Also, today I have a lilac icon from last year and, by pure happenstance, a handtowel in my bag. (I actually don't know why said handtowel is in my bag, but perhaps it's because I wrapped wine in it when I flew to D.C. and then forgot to remove it. Or something. Thus I attempt to give meaning to the inexplicable.) How's that for looking geeky without doing any geek-related work?


Apr. 7th, 2006 02:27 pm
eruthros: Kate Winslet smiling at the camera (KW promo pic pink)
So I once again caught myself saying "thank you kindly" to the fellow at the Green Line Cafe. Verbal Tics Learned From Television apparently stick around; I mean, I'm not Southern, so I have no excuse at all for this. (Then again, when I was a kid I somehow developed a substitution problem, "briefly" for "shortly" -- I would say "I'll be there briefly" and mean "in a minute" -- so perhaps I shouldn't blame my adverb abuse solely on due South. I worked very hard to expunge that usage of briefly from my vocabulary, but it still happens sometimes.)

Also, I refuse to use either past participle of "to get." Because I ... just don't get it. This is one of those absorbed grammar lessons that just completely fails to take when you read both American and British English as a kid. He's got? He's gotten? Okay, sure, you can tell me that in American English the first means "he possesses" and the second means "he acquired," and that in British English the first means "he possesses" and the second doesn't exist, but frankly a sentence like "they've gotten the check" freaks me out. Except in idiomatic usage that has to take "to get" (like "got married," and even then I'll avoid the probably correct "they've gotten married"), "gotten" doesn't exist in my dialect and "got" appears rarely. Sad but true.

Also, I find myself pondering the usage of "woman" as an adjective. Remember that scene in Gaudy Night, in which Harriet Vane writes a stern letter to a newspaper saying something like "woman students would be seemlier than undergraduettes?" I hit the same usage in one of the first Amanda Cross mystery, c. 1968: Kate Fansler talks about the sudden interest in "woman writers." We certainly still talk about women who write, but I don't think that the phrase "woman writers" would be as likely as "female writers." Is this just my dialect? Or is "woman" as a collective adjective out of fashion? (A quick google picks up several pages, though the text on most of them actually says "women writers." Google informs me that there are 38,000 pages using "wome/an writers" and 232,000 using "female writers.")

Also, I have decided to start using the word "eesome" in casual conversation.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
And as Oddly-capitalized as a Stony Brook press Release! (Further SUNY SB-related posting will have to wait until ... well, until I wanna post about it. At least I'm honest.) So instead: totally random.

Why do I never realize that I'm not logged in until I've read skip=200 posts? Why can't lj have a flocked-only filter, so I don't then have to go back and skim through forty pages of lj looking for little padlocks? This is an important question. ETA: Okay, speak of the devil. The new toolbar thingy will at least tell me I'm not logged in when I'm on my flist. If I like it. It's kinda hideous.

Also, the train car I was on this morning had almost all the lights burnt out, which was a really weird experience going through the tunnels. Dark and gloomy and the lights in the next car seemed really bright.

Totally random thoughts, some with "wait, is that who I think it is?" as I perused the BEA autographing schedule, just released, are behind this lj cut )
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS cheeseman nonsense)
At the BEA, there was this huge marketing push for Men of Bronze by Scot Oden, which is apparently Egyptian historical fiction with assassins and pharaohs and lots of drama. There were posters! There were banners! There were references in the show daily! There were ads in the show guide! They passed out pins and postcards! Even my mom, who has almost no interest in this sort of book, noticed the push -- I mentioned the title to her, and she said "oh, yes, I remember those signs."

So [ profile] m_shell and I noticed that the line for an autographed copy was extremely short toward the end of his hour, and popped over into his line. We tried to get a second copy just signed, but, alas, he wouldn't do that. He needed to sign it to someone in particular. This is uncomplicated code -- it means that he, or his publicist, was worried that signed copies would be sold on EBay. As [ profile] m_shell said afterward, "Dude, don't flatter yourself."

Anyway, later I was looking for a book to read on the train ride back to Philadelphia, and I pulled that out (it was on top). I opened it up and... winced mightily, for lo! the dustflap copy is printed in a display face, and is very difficult to read. I flipped the first few pages and counted seven faces: three display (one vaguely-ancient, one all-caps serif, and a second all-caps serif that looks a lot like the first until you look closer and realize that it's got calligraphic accents), two reading fonts (one for the text and one on the copyright page), and two Celtic-ish fonts on the maps. And that's not even counting the inexplicably bolded AND italicized version of the text font used in the table of contents.

And then I turned to the table of contents, and saw the following:
On Pronunciation and Spelling / 435
Bibliography / 437
Glossary / 440
Chronolgy / 465
Timeline of Egypt's Twenty-Sixth Dynasy and the Near East / 468
If this were pre-press I could forgive two typos in the ToC, even if they came after a section on pronunciation and spelling (though it would make me giggle). This isn't an ARC. This is the first edition, hardback. Yowch.

And then the first paragraph, which I have to quote here:
In the blue predawn twilight, a mist rose from the Nile's surface, flowing up the reed-choked banks and into the ruined streets of Leontopolis. Remnants of monumental architecture floated like islands of stone on a calm morning sea. Streamers of moisture swirled around statues of long-dead pharaohs, flowed past stumps of columns broken off like rotted teeth, and coursed down sandstone steps worn paper-thin by the passage of years. As the sky above grew translucent, streaked with amber and gold, a funerary shroud settled over the City of Lions, a mantle that disguised the approach of armed men.
Now, could I have entered that in the Bulwer-Lytton contest or what? (BTW, the wide spacing after the first sentence appears in the original, though you may not be able to see it here depending on the line breaks.)

I read it out loud when [ profile] darthrami was here last week, and we laughed like mad. Even more hilarious? On, this consistently gets FIVE STARS.

ETA: If anyone wants to glance at a copy of this fabulous book, we've got a second copy, if you don't mind it being signed to one of us.


eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)

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