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Thursday, January 2nd, 2020
10:18 pm - Collected Fanfiction Post
Links to all fanfiction I've written in various fandoms. That I'm admitting to.

Alias )


Angel the Series )


Babylon 5 )

Battlestar Galactica )

Breaking Bad )

Buffy the Vampire Slayer )


Citizen Kane )

David Copperfield )


Doctor Who )

Farscape )


Earth: Final Conflict )



Heroes )

Highlander: The Series )

Historical Fiction )

Lost )

MCU )

Merlin )

Mythology )


Once upon a time )

Order of the Air )




Penny Dreadful )


Rome )

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine )

Star Trek: The Next Generation )


Star Wars )

Sunset Boulevard )

The Americans )


The Beatles )

The Borgias )
The Godfather )


Torchwood )


X-Men )

The West Wing )


Crossovers )

current mood: exhausted

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Wednesday, July 18th, 2018
11:02 pm - Yet more links in lieu of a proper post
Am currently abroad with the APs who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with yours truly on Teneriffe, will post a pic spam once I find the time, but for now, have a few links collected in the recent week:

X-Men meta (mainly movieverse):

Why Magneto isn‘t right (about everything)

I‘m so with Andraste on this one. I.e. Erik is a compelling character and I like him a lot, but... yeah. What she said.

Avengers fanfiction:

The Leftovers: more accurately perhaps, Spider-man fanfiction. A terrific take on MJ in the wake of what fandom has dubbed the Snappening in Infinity War. The usual suspects guest star, but this is a terrific, intense take on what must it have been like to experience the spoilery event as someone without superpowers, warning or preparation all around you.

Standing in the dusk: This, otoh, is Natasha in the wake of the same event, in Wakanda. (Guest-starring Steve and Bruce.)

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current mood: busy

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Saturday, July 14th, 2018
2:13 pm - Elementary 6.10 and 6.11.
Very busy week, so, in short:

Elementary 6.10. and 6.11.: 6.10 felt blah to me, nothing objectionable, but as with the entire Morland arc in seasons past, I think we've seen this father-son-business so many times before, including now the awkward reconciliation phase. Though it makes sense that it happens after spoilery event. The most interesting thing was the very last scene.

6.11.: case of the week makes me wonder whether unsupervised slush funds are a thing these days, and conclude depressed that they probably are. Also, nice shout-out to ACD Holmes' tobacco monograph! The main interest of the episode, though, lay in the continuation of the previous' episode's punchline. And here it gets spoilery. )

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current mood: busy

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Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
11:15 am - More recs
Dear Brits, I would say you have my sympathy for the Orange Menace landing on your shores in a few days, except that you actually just had his spiritual twin resigning, whereas in our current political grotesque the German equivalent of Johnson in selfishness and destroying-the-country-for-career-purposes resigned from his resignation and wasn’t fired from the cabinet to much of Germany’s regret, either. Also, World Cup. So really, go you! But do make every second of the Orange Menace’s stay as hellish for him as possible.

Fictional apocalyptic scenarios are so much easier to deal with than much of the globe being on a self-destruct as well as others-destruct course, of course, so to the safety of fiction I go and bring more recs:

Jessica Jones
(And also Daredevil and Avengers):

Hurt my knuckles punching the machines: what the tv Marvel crowd did after Infinity War happened, Jessica and Matt centric, but with roles for everyone. No Luke Cage s2 spoilers, since the story, which has just finished, was begun before LC s2 dropped.


So in my recent MCU ramblings I wished, among other things, for stories featuring Nick Fury and one or several of the Avengers that took into consideration how he actually interacts with them, and lo, here‘s this beauty of a vignette featuring Nick and Tony post Civil War:

Let the earth leave you for an hour

Buffy:

Better than being a hero Buffy and Dawn, in an achingly beautiful take on the relationship between the sisters.


X-Men:

Westchester, Redux

Erik and Charles post X-Men: Apocalypse, Erik‘s pov.

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current mood: busy

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Sunday, July 8th, 2018
1:45 pm - In a galaxy far, far away, and also east of Sunnydale
Buffy the Vampir Slayer:

Tell me how to walk next to her

Buffy and Faith, a few years post show, Faith's pov. This really does justice to their complicated relationship, and the older versions of them strike me as very plausible.



Star Wars

Inheritance: Beru and Shmi. We have so little canon on either woman, and I love it when fanfic fleshes out what we do have, especialyl when it's done so well as here.

Another city, better than this one: in which a teenage Ben Organa Solo pre-INCIDENt runs away and ends up with Lando Calrissian for a while. Lando's pov, and I'm impressed as hell about how the author manages to convey Lando's increasing realisation there's something seriously wrong with this kid while also allowing for the interpretation that this is simply a teenager being a teenager... with power no teenager should have.

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current mood: mellow

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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018
7:52 pm - Munich Film Festival II
Jane Fonda in Five Acts: directed by Susan Lacy, a documentary on guess who. using old and new footage well. Jane Fonda's constant reinventing of herself sometimes eerily goes with the decades in question - 60s: girl next door turns sex symbol, 70s: political activist, 80s: wife of billionaire - and has the kind of happy ending uniting all the previous incarnations (Jane in her eighties having a hit show, Grace and Frankie, while also being back on the barricades against the Orange Menace) which Hollywood loves. This is an affectionate take on its subject, meaning that while there are plenty of anti-Fonda voices heard as well growling "Hanoi Jane" in her general direction (including, hilariously, Richard Nixon's at the very start of the movie, with his own variation of "why must my sex symbol talk politics!"), the Jane-positive voices far outweigh them. The Richard Nixon "whatever happened to Jane Fonda?" outburst caught on tape ends with "I feel sorry for Henry Fonda". Susan Lacy decidedly does not. Having read Peter Fonda's memoirs, I was familiar with the truly Gothic family backstory; Jane's and Peter's mother cut her throat with a razor after repeated stints in an institution, no one ever told the kids who had to find out years later via the media, and Henry in general was great at expression emotion only with a script and utterly incapable of doing so without one, so Jane in the end literally scripts her venting and their reconciliation via On Golden Pond, and of course he plays it very well. Lacy's film keeps coming back to the family damage, complete with Jane acknwledging she screwed up with her daughter Vanessa as well (who is notably the sole child not interviewed; Jane's son, step-daughter and adopted daughter all are) and hopes Vanessa will forgive her; and yet, there's a lot of humor in it, not least in Jane Fonda's summaries, with a great sense of comic timing in the verbal delivery, of the various men in her life. (Where she makes fun of herself, not them.) Same goes for the filming anecdotes (making the zero g scene for Barbarrella with ample drinking, then, because it had to reshot, the next day with a thundering hangover), and the tale of her slow political awakening (the first time Vadim tells her in the mid-60s that the US will never win in Vietnam, all-American girl Jane thinks "just because you French couldn't..." and does not believe him in the slightest, until her friendship with Simone Signoret starts to clue her in) and her son Troy's description of his trying-to-save-the-world-all-the-freaking-time parents at the height of their activism.

All in all, a charming character portrait also reflecting on the various eras its subject lived through. I doubt it will sway anyone disliking her, but if you like her or know nothing about her and have no emotions one way or the other, it's very enjoyable and occasionally touching.

Razzia, directed by Nabil Ayouch, produced in Morocco and France. This one was an anthology film mostly set in Casablanca, and anthology films - i.e. movies telling the stories of a hunge ensemble of people who are either losely connected or not at all - sometimes work for me and sometimes not so much. This one, trailing five different characters - has some powerful segments - the very first story, for example, the only one not set in Casablanca, about a teacher in a village who in the 80s gets the order to teach solely in Arabic (as opposed to Berber, which is what the children actually speak), which changes his lessons from something the kids participate joyfully in into numb repetition of something they don't comprehend, and it breaks him. Later, in Casablanca, there's also the tale of a Jewish restaurant owner whose joie de vivre always has a touch of sadness in it as well and comes with the awarenes that there aren't many Jews left in the city (his old father fears there won't be enough for a proper burial rite once it's his turn) and he's living on a powder keg, and the musician who so desperately wants to be Freddy Mercury. Frustratingly, the two female characters - a wife feeling trapped and frustrated in her marriage, and a teenager with a teenage identity crisis - are also the two most passive ones, and I often wished we'd have seen more of Yto, the old woman who used to be the teacher's landlady and in love with him in the village and later went to Casablanca with her son, where we reencoutner her in her old age in the trapped wife's plot thread, because every time she did show up, she struck me as far more interesting, plus the actress has great charisma.

There's a boiling rich-poor tension in the city throughout the movie which explodes in the final sequence, but that story felt oddly unfinished to me, as did most of the characters. The movie is richly atmospheric, and has great cinematography, and I don't regret having watched it, but I doubt I'll watch it again.

Ammore e Malavita ("Love and Bullets"), directed by Antonio and Marco Manetti, produced in Italy. This one was a hilarious farce expertedly parodying all the Mafia (well, Camorra, since the whole thing is set in Naples) story clichés and mixing them with (also very funny) songs, the first of which is delivered by the corpse in the opening funeral scene, so that gives you a taste of what the movie is like. I was in stitches throughout. Reccommended if you want to have a blast for two hours.

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current mood: cheerful

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Monday, July 2nd, 2018
8:25 pm - Apropos....
Back in the day, I growled against the existence of Ant-Man (as opposed to the non-existence of Black Widow) with the best of them, but it turned out to be surprisingly charming when I did get around to watching it on dvd, so I'll probably catch the sequel in the cinema. This article about how the movie creators used the events of other Marvel movies (in short: it's set pre-Infinity War, for obvious reasons if you've watched IW, but very much past Civil War and influenced by same) tells me something about Hope's and Hank's emotional reaction to Scott's actions in CW )

And while we're talking other MCU movies using CW in their continuity: Spider-man: Homecoming early on sums up the events of Captain America: Civil War in Peter's hilarious home video which transitions into a new scene of Tony and Happy delivering Peter back on the doorsteps of the building where he lives with his aunt. Now, my question is this: when exactly did this happen? Because it has to be either between the Leipzig-Halle Airport fight and Siberia, or directly after Siberia but before the final CW scene featuring Tony with a recovering Rhodey. Now, CW does a great job remembering Tony Stark as opposed to Steve does not have superhealing, so you see him looking him progressively more battered from the first at the CIA's Berlin quarters onwards. Tony post Siberia doesn't just have a black eye but various other cuts and bruises in the face, which he evidently does not in the Homecoming scene. Mind you, even post Leipzig, he has some facial bruises (you can see it in the conversation scene with Natasha), but not as severe. Now, the boring Doylist explanation is probably that the Homecoming production team either didn't recall he was supposed to look somewhat battered or didn't want to because the scene in question is supposed to be light hearted, but who cares about Doylist explanations, I want a Watsonian one, which is why I favor Peter's ride home taking place before Siberia. This still leaves us with Tony's chipper demeanour in that scene being entirely faked for Peter's benefit.

On to the tv section of the Marvelverse: [profile] abigail_n has reviewed the second season of Luke Cage here. She liked it far better than I did, though I absolutely agree on Alfre Woodard's performance and Mariah's story and characterisation versus Luke's. Her observation that Luke is written as a different character in all four seasons he's appeared so far (JJ s1, LC s1, Defenders and now LC s2) sums up the problem with the later.

Lastly, a Jessica Jones fanfic rec:

and this is the map of my heart, the landscape after cruelty : Jessica post season 2. Painful and beautiful, in just the right way.

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current mood: calm

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8:25 pm - Last Day of the Book Meme!
30. Would save if my house burned down.

Well, there goes my secret First Folio. Kidding aside, I think I'd go for a novel my second teacher ever presented to me when I had finished primary school. We had been his first class, and he gave everyone a book as a farewell present, not the same, but a different book for each student, depending on her or his taste, with an individual dedication written by him. I received "Up a road slowly" by Irene Hunt, and here is what I remember about it, not having read it since three decades: the heroine is a loner in love with books and wanting to become a writer. She has a terse relationship with her aunt whom she grows up with after her parents died, originally rejecting her as an humorless spinster, and the reader along with our heroine discovers step by step how fabulous the aunt (named Cordelia) really is. Another interesting relationship is with her uncle (the aunt's brother, not her husband), who is a bit of a slightly more functional Branwell Bronte type (expected to be the brilliant one of the family, overindulged, turns into self destructive alcoholic), who decdes that our heroine is his shot at redemption at some point.

There are also some love interests about, but I don't remember anything about them. Anyway, I loved the book, appreciated that my teacher had picked it for me (the indicated age range on the back was five years older than I was, but Mr. U. knew what else I was reading at that point), and would definitely grab it on my hypothetical way out of a burning house.



The other days )

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current mood: calm

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Sunday, July 1st, 2018
12:02 pm - Munich Film Festival I
It's that time of the year again, where I indulge in cinematic bliss. Three of the entries in the Munich Film Festival so far that I've watched:

Of Fathers and Sons, directed by Talal Derki, German-Syrian-Libanese coproduction. A shattering documentary of a Syrian family (or rather, the male part of one, Derki was never allowed near the women in the two and a half years which the documentary covers) whose head belongs the Al-Nusra, an Al-Quaida splinter group. He named his sons for various 9/11 notables and other Al Quaida leaders, starting with Osama, and is thus known in the movie as Abu Osama, Osama's father. The various sons age wise range at first from 12 to 2, and get indoctrinated in lethal ideology left right and centre while the country around them is destroyed ever more. What makes it extra disturbing, though, is that Abu Osama in direct interaction with his sons is a kind and tender father, unabashedly showing his affection. There aren't just hugs but cuddling and kisses. And all this goes along with prepping them for killing and "martyrdom". When he loses part of one leg and some of his sight due to a mine, this does not change his belief in all of it being worth it for final victory one bit, and the two oldest sons are sent to military training. (Bear in mind they're still children.)

As for the sons, here again the fact that they are in many ways when playing among ruins and moon crater like landscapes children makes it extra disturbing. You have moments of childhood magic, as when they figure out the principle of hot air balloons and make an abandoned plastic bag fly, and are full of joy and awe. And then you have scenes where they make their very own bomb out of the plenty of material around them and dare each other to jump on it. (Also full of joy.) Not to mention the time when one catches a bird and eventually decides to practice beheading on it.

In the Q & A afterwards, one question to the director - who filmed this with a single camera man; we don't see him on screen, and his narrative voice is only heard at the beginning and the end, with the rest of the scenes speaking for themselves - was how he could have not exploded (verbally) at some of the things we hear the father say. And he replied: "Because I was attached to my head. I only have the one. Trust me, I knew I head to remain undercover 24/7." The family knew of course that he was shooting a movie, but they thought he agreed with them ideologically. The German producer then added that yes, the ethics of winning someone's trust on false pretenses were debatable, but in this case there was no other way the movie could have been shot with the two people doing the shooting coming out alive. Which, yes. Though I don't think I could have managed to see those children slide into their inevitable doom (for watchers of The Wire, think season 4, only worse) - I don't kid myself that I would have been a hero and tried to save them, just that I emotionally would not have been able to make the movie at all.

Another question cited the scenes where we see Abu Osama talk about the various rebel factions and the government troops, and where we later see some of the captured about to be executed prisoners. The question was how on earth, in the mystical future where Syria is at peace again and maybe some of the refugees return, the survivors of this war are supposed to live with each other again? Talal Derki said he doesn't know. That Syria isn't one country anymore. That it hadn't been possible for Yugoslavia to remain Yugoslavia after the Kosovo war, which lasted less long with less dead. The producer added that one reason why Derki, who is a Syrian living in Germany, went back to Syria to begin with at the start of the film project was that he wanted to figure out whether he could ever live there again with his family. And if the concluding narration of the documentary - "my country, which has become an unrecognizable nightmare" - is anything to go by, he can't.

A Letter to the President ("Namai Ba Rahis Gomhor"), directed by Roya Sadat, produced and shot in Afghanistan: this one I wanted to like far more than I did, because the director is one of the first female Afghan directors, she founded a festival for women in Afghanistan and is a very active feminist. Alas, though, the film, while having a lot of potential, is severely flawed. For starters, it's one of those cases where a director comes from tv and does their first feature, and it shows. But more seriously, it can't decide whose story it wants to tell. The ostensible main character is Soraya, head of a Afghan crime unit, married, mother, who by not handing over two young adulturous lovers to be killed by their village evokes the ire of the local strongman who is in business with her corrupt father-in-law, who in turn pressures his son, her husband, who takes it out on her, and it all ends up with the husband dead and Soraya framed for murder, in prison and scheduled for execution. Which is a solid noir premise! But only half of the movie. The other half is about Bhezad, the photographer in Soraya's crime unit who also is a painter, and in his spare time keeps painting pictures of Soraya. In one of them, he juxtaposes her face on a glass of winel. This is used by her enemies against her as proof she drinks, ruins her reputation and triggers the final fatal argument with her husband. (Bear in mind that both Karim, the husband, and Bhezad do drink alcohol, so the insistence of alcohol consumption being against the law is pointed out as a hypocisy throughout.) The guilt ridden Bhezad tries to prove Soraya's innocence, but the two witnesses he unearthes who might be able to prove Karim's death was an accident are killed, and he's not able to get Soraya a visit from her children (kept by the evil father-in-law) either. As a last, drastic measure, he sows his own lips shut and goes on hunger strike until the President has read Soraya's titular letter detailing the truth. (The President is never referred to by name, btw, but he looks like the current edition.) Now, if Soraya and Bhezad had been treated as co-protagonists from the start, fine, but instead we get a strong opening for Soraya, then Bhezad takes over the entire middle section, and then we get back to Soraya who however due to plot doesn't do anything anymore but suffer in silence.

Lastly, it really feels like a soap a lot of the times. Soraya's father-in-law and the various corrupt officials tell each other their evil plans in "As you know, Bob" style. Bhezad, when visiting Soraya in prison for the first time, shows up at the outside entrance and asks for "Soraya", no last name given, claims to be her lawyer and is let in without anyone blinking or asking for IDs. The plot about the young lovers whom Soraya has saved from execution at the start of the movie never is wrapped up - we don't find out what happened to them after her own arrest. And so forth.

In conclusion: good idea, flawed execution.

Sheikh Jackson, directed by Amr Salama, Egypt. This movie was a delight, and if it's shown in your part of the world, I heartily reccommend it. Present for the Q & A afterwards was the young actor Ahmed Malek, who plays the protagonist in his teenage years, and the fact he was there revealed that a sizable portion of the audience were young Egyptian women living in Munich and already fans of his. Understandably so; it was an excellent, sensitive performance.

Premise of the movie: Khaled, a conservative Egyptian Iman, has a settled life with his flock admiring him, a loving wife and daughter. (Even if she does prefere Beyonce over religious tunes, which reminds him... you'll see.) But the news of Michael Jackson's sudden death triggers a long delayed crisis in him, for Khaled was once upon a time (i.e. in the early 90s) a rebellious teen and fervent Michael Jackson fan, and he really can'd deal with MJ hallucinations showing up when he's leading prayers. It's a movie which manages to be both funny and touching, and fantastically cliché avoiding. Not least by including many female characters and not in cliché ways. The girl young Khaled is secretly crushing on and who gets him into Michael Jackson originally only starts to get interested in him when he doesn't beat up a guy (who has earlier humiliated him) in front of her even though he is temporarily in a position to do so; instead, Khaled endures the ridicule through his macho father by forgiving said guy instead of hitting him, and that's what impresses Sherine. (Who later becomes a successful musician.) Adult Khaled's wife, Aisha, has a great sense of humor, usually employed when he's taking himself too seriously, and as mentioned, he has a daughter, not a son, and appears to have no problems with that. When he's finally persuaded to seek out therapy, the therapist he ends up with turns out to be a woman who shuts down him asking her to wear a scarf during their sessions immediately ("No, and you have no right to ask me that") and then smoothly proceeds to make him face his trauma.

Said trauma starts with his beloved mother dying early in the flashbacks section of the movie, which is about the most traditional thing, except that emotionally, she remains very present for Khaled, who does not belong to the type of film hero for whom "missing parents" equals "missing Dad"). His father starts out as a hedonist whose cheerful machismo turns toxic in his inability to share grief with his son after his wife's death. Another reason why Khaled gets interested in Michael Jackson is that his father denigrates him as a "transvestite"; it's a "who am I?" type of young teenage tale, sure, the way Jackson for a while becomes for Khaled a different way to be male than what his father presents is really well done. The adult Khaled who has repressed a part of himself in order to become the role model people see in him at the start of the movie has to find a way to access this part again, and the final scene with adult Khaled doing the Moonwalk (which young Khaled alrady did in the flashbacks; the actor said they both had to train for three months in order to do it) is so unabashedly joyful that it feels right out of a Broadway musical, and I loved it.

(Egypt, of course is the centre of music and movies in the Arab speaking world.)

Speaking of music, evidently the producers did not have the money to pay for the use of Michael Jackson tunes, and you'd think this would be a major drawback in a movie where the protagonist being a Jackson fan is a key plot point, but no, the creative team gets around that both in tricksy ways (young Khaled sings along with his walkman on, so we the audience only hear his voice), and by composing is own Jackson-influenced music both for the club scenes and for Khaled's two dance sequences at different points of his life.

Another style note: young Khaled lives in Alexandria, adult Khaled in Cairo. The flashbacks to the early 90s in Alexandria are drenched in that type of yellow light which in US movies gets used to signal we're in Mexico or Latin America, but it's also noticable that everyone, male or female, wears far more Western-type modern clothing than in the 2009 Cairo scenes. There was a notable absence of anything like politics or the military in the movie (Egypt today is more or less back to being a military dictatorship), so no, not a searingly realistic picture of present day Egypt, I guess, but I didn't mind since the movie was so good, and incredibly appealing.

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current mood: impressed

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10:37 am - Book Meme, last but one entry
28. Bought at my fave independent bookshop.

My fave independent bookshop was sold to a bookstore chain last year, so, you kow, there's that. Among the many books I did buy there was Isabel Bodgan's novel "Der Pfau" (The Peacock in English), which is an entertaining comedy of manners type of tale about a couple of yuppies who in theory are supposed to do management training and team bonding in a Scottish retreat, while in practice things inevitably go wrong.

29. The one I have reread most often.

Good lord, just one? I honestly can't tell. Also, it depends on my age. 13 to 16 years old me reread The Mists of Avalon a lot, for example, but I don't think I have since then. As a child, I repeatedly read (and loved) The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and then years passed and I didn't read it, and then I read it repeatedly agian in my late 20s. Plus, chances are I've reread the Grimms' Fairy Tales for different reasons in all decades of my life a lot. And so forth. I honestly reread too many books to tell you which of them I've reread most often.


The other days )

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current mood: ditzy

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Friday, June 29th, 2018
1:20 pm - Book Meme, Day 27
27. Want to be one of the characters.

I don’t think I ever had that particular urge, not with books, nor with tv shows or movies. Not least because I read a lot of historical novels, and goodness but no. Especially not as a woman. Nor as a privileged man. Thanks, but no thanks; precisely because history is my big passion.
But I haven’t wanted to be a character in contemporary or near contemporary fiction, either, nor in fantasy and sci fi books. Look, even being a Hobbit who doesn’t leave the Shire means you’ll have to deal with the Scouring at some point. Well, I suppose Bilbo had a pretty good life – decades of comfort and books followed by adventure followed by decades of comfort (now shared by young Frodo) and books and just the occasional disquieting sensation caused by the Ring, followed by retirement in Rivendell (gorgeous architecture, more comfort and yet more books and music), and then an ending in the West with Frodo and the Elves. But I wouldn’t have wanted to be Bilbo, either. No way I’d have wanted to wait for decades to follow my inner wanderlust. And I really dislike smoking. In conclusion: no book alter ego for me!


The other days )

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current mood: good

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Thursday, June 28th, 2018
5:02 pm - Book Meme, day 26
26. Should have sold more copies.

“Tiny Pieces of Skull” by Roz Kaveney, that gorgeous, witty, sharp and deeply humane novel which I reviewed here.


The other days )

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current mood: busy

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8:40 am - You lie and kill in the service of liars and killers....
More thoughts brought by all the rewatching I did in recent months: I have a headcanon re: Natasha in Civil War which I haven't found anywhere else, either in meta or in fanfiction. It's more than possible I missed something - in a megafandom like the MCU, people post all the time, after all - so if you know a story or an essay using this theory as well, pray tell. (And link!)

Also, obvious disclaimer: I'm not saying this is the only possible interpretation of Natasha's actions at a key point, just that it's the one which makes the most sense to me. Cut for Civil War spoilers and Black Widow style ruthlessness. )

Thoughts? Links?

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current mood: pensive

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2018
8:09 pm - Book Meme, Day 25
25. Never finished it.

The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann. In my defense, I was a teenager who had only just started to learn French, so the fact alone that various characters have untranslated dialogues in it for what I recall as entire pages (maybe my memory is exaggarating?) alone would have put me off. But I also thought the characters were boring, and the plot non-existent. Considering I was under no obligation to read the book, which I had found in my great aunt's library, I put it back and moved on to the next book, the next book being, as far as I know, an Hungarian novel about Liszt.

In later years, I read other texts by Thomas Mann, but I never tackled The Magic Mountain again. Sorry, Tommy. But I've always liked your older brother better anyway.

The other days )

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current mood: contemplative

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7:50 pm - Elementary 6.09
In which Alfredo is back, and we hear more about Mycroft than we did during the entire season where his and Sherlock's father was the recurring guest star.

Read more... )

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current mood: mellow

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Tuesday, June 26th, 2018
5:13 pm - Book Meme, Continued
23. Made to read at school.

Well, a lot of those, actually, but I suspect the question aims at books I probably would not have touched otherwise, so, say, Lord of the Flies is out. (That was the first book-ordered-by-school which I not only read but read immediately because kid!me was stunned, shocked and thrilled; I was just at the right age to recognize a lot of the school story/stranded on an island patterns turned upside down.) Well, there was no book I had actually hated while reading. I mean, I wasn't too keen on Hermann Hesse's Unterm Rad, which is very depressing (student's spirit is systematically crushed by school and society), but also very short. After having to write three essays in a row about Homo Faber by Max Frisch (you might have seen the film version, titled Voyager in English, starring Sam Shephard as the world's least likely native of Switzerland) for my various younger relations (come on, you're the one who is good at literature! etc.), I was heartily sick of the book, but I was okay with it before that.

Oh, I know! Something from my university days. Die Angst des Tormans beim Elfmeter by Peter Handke. (English title: The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick.) Had to read it for a seminar on German literary mystery novels. Hated it on sight, never stopped hating it. Dreary dreary dreary, awful characters, and it put me off Handke long before he started fanboying Slobodan Milosevic.

24. Hooked me into reading.

No such thing. As in: since I had loved the books my parents and grandfather read to me or told me stories from during my early childhood, I started reading as soon as I could. Karl May's Winnetou (first volume) was one of the earliest books I read, sure, but not the only one, and I can't say it made me read more than any of the others, though I certainly imprinted on it in other ways. (Apaches good, white settlers not so much, drunken cowboys are the worst, enemy-to-best-friend stories rock, and so forth.) But given I had enjoyed hearing the stories so much, there was never any question to me as to whether or not I would also enjoy reading them.


The other days )

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Monday, June 25th, 2018
10:03 am - Luke Cage, season 2
Or, the one where it’s evident Luke never watched the fifth season of Angel but Mariah has, while the scriptwriters and directors are really into The Godfather and film noir. And the overall verdict is: very mixed. Acting is great (and the season takes full advantage of having Alfe Woodard at its disposal as a main villain this time around), sense of place is still the strongest of any of the Marvel tv shows, there are no bewildering clunkers like the instant from s1 when Mariah after an incident of police brutality got to show her political demagogue powers by… making Harlem cry to give the police more weapons. Also, Misty has a great arc, and as opposed to Jessica Jones‘ second season , which doesn’t mention any Defenders related events, Luke Cage‘s second season mentions them left, right and center, with the connections made there continuing to exist in places where it makes sense. (I.e., Foggy continues to be Luke’s lawyer when he needs one, Misty goes to Colleen both for physical post-injury training and to confide in, and Danny Rand shows up when it makes sense that he would, reminding me that not so coincidentally his best scenes in Defenders were with Luke and demonstrating that the actor when given a better script and direction is apparantly fine. Oh, and Claire remembers belatedly what her Matt Murdock experience has taught her re: dating a certain type.

But. On the spoilery downside, there’s our central character, Luke Cage, and what the show does and doesn’t do with him. I’ll get to what under the cut. Let me just add that imo, the season is the story of the three villains – Mariah, Shades and new character Bushmaster/John McGyver. They and their conflict are what is driving the overall story, and it only intermittently involves Luke. If you want a show to be protagonist-driven, that’s a bit of a structural problem right there. Now, onto spoiler stuff.
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Sunday, June 24th, 2018
5:51 pm - A vid and two books
There is a fantastic new MCU vid, Lions Inside, which also uses the most recent movies, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarök and Infinity War:



Now, on to the book meme:

21. Summer Read

Why not try the first of the Order of the Air novels by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott, Lost Things? For me, each of them are a great summer read, but it does make sense to read them in chronological order. The 1920s, aviation, archaelogy, adventures of the "normal" and of the supernatural type, and an endearing ensemble of characters who make a found family/team that's still in the getting-together stage at this point.

22. Out of Print.

Guy Endore: The King of Paris. (At least Amazon here tells me it's out of print?) Which is a novel about two of the three Alexandre Dumas, though the first one, the general, gets the three opening chapters before finding his early and sad demise. The two Alexandres at the core of the novel are Mr. Historical Swashbuckler, the author of The Count of Monte Christo and The Three Musketeers, and his larger-than-life personality comes across vividly in the novel, and his son of Lady of the Camelies (aka La Traviata) fame. You could call it a comedy and a tragedy at the same time, immensely entertaining and yet also very aware indeed of the flaws as flaws. Considering the more recent biography of the first Alexandre, the general (son of a black slave and her white French owner) , might have reawakened interest in the Dumas family, I hope it will be republished at some point. If not - check out your local library!

The other days )

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Saturday, June 23rd, 2018
2:59 pm - Fanfiction: Anything like me (MCU)
So not what I should be doing, but the muse wants what it wants. In this case, a "Five things" story about Peter Parker and Tony Stark. Beware of Infinity War spoilers.

Anything like me (5446 words) by Selena
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Iron Man (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peter Parker & Tony Stark, May Parker & Peter Parker, Happy Hogan & Peter Parker, Happy Hogan & Tony Stark, Liz Allan/Peter Parker, Karen (Spider-Man: Homecoming) & Peter Parker
Characters: Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Happy Hogan, Karen (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Mantis (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 (Movie) Spoilers, Relationship Study, Character Study, Canon Compliant, Non-Linear Narrative
Summary:

Five times Peter Parker thinks he's figured out something about his relationship with Tony Stark.



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current mood: creative

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Friday, June 22nd, 2018
5:02 pm - Book Meme, Day 20
20. Favorite cover.

One of them, anyway, since I can’t narrow it down to only one. But here’s the original cover of Erich Kästner’s Emil und die Detektive. Pure 1920s and Neue Sachlichkeit, but also playful, and the look remained associated with Erich Kästner novels for decades to come. The cover was created by Walter Trier, who as opposed to Kästner did go into exile and died there.

 photo images/I/51nOiStG7lL.jpg

More Trier covers for Kästner I’m also fond of: Here’s Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer, and here Pünktchen und Anton.



The other days )

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current mood: okay

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