dolorosa_12: (Default)
This week's linkpost is up a bit early, and contains many fabulous things.

I'm a huge fan of Sophia McDougall's review of Birdman: over at Strange Horizons. In it, she compares the film to Boris Johnson. It's an apt comparison.

Here's a great interview with Samantha Shannon. 'Cities are made of narrative' indeed.

Aliette de Bodard's description of her subconscious as a library is a fabulous metaphor, and one that I might steal myself!

There's a great set of guest posts over at Ladybusiness on 'What books are on your auto-recommend list?' (For the record, mine are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, the Pagan Chronicles series by Catherine Jinks, Space Demons, Skymaze, Shinkei and Galax Arena by Gillian Rubinstein, Parkland, Earthsong, Fire Dancer and The Beast of Heaven by Victor Kelleher, the Romanitas trilogy by Sophia McDougall and the Crossroads trilogy by Kate Elliott.)

Episode 4 of Fangirl Happy Hour is up. This week Ana and Renay are talking Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear, Jupiter Ascending and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I'm not quite as critical of S.H.I.E.L.D. as they are, while I think there's room for difference of opinion about the feminism of Jupiter Ascending, but as always, I appreciate their thoughts.

The first few guest posts about representation and diversity are up on Jim C. Hines' blog.

Shannon Hale talks about gender segregation at readings she's done at schools. It's heartbreaking.

I thoroughly enjoyed this article by Robert Macfarlane about language and landscape. Beautiful stuff.

I really liked the recent BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. This interview by Julia Raeside of Claire Foy, who played Anne Boleyn, goes a long way towards explaining why.

For reasons that will soon become apparent, although I can't provide a link to it, the #readingAuthorName hashtag on Twitter has been a powerful and positive movement. It works like this: think of an author whose works moved you and shaped you into the person you are. Tweet about it. Add the hashtag #readingAuthorName (obviously replacing AuthorName for the author's actual name). Feel happy.
dolorosa_12: (pagan kidrouk)
This week's linkpost is up a bit early, and contains many fabulous things.

I'm a huge fan of Sophia McDougall's review of Birdman: over at Strange Horizons. In it, she compares the film to Boris Johnson. It's an apt comparison.

Here's a great interview with Samantha Shannon. 'Cities are made of narrative' indeed.

Aliette de Bodard's description of her subconscious as a library is a fabulous metaphor, and one that I might steal myself!

There's a great set of guest posts over at Ladybusiness on 'What books are on your auto-recommend list?' (For the record, mine are the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, the Pagan Chronicles series by Catherine Jinks, Space Demons, Skymaze, Shinkei and Galax Arena by Gillian Rubinstein, Parkland, Earthsong, Fire Dancer and The Beast of Heaven by Victor Kelleher, the Romanitas trilogy by Sophia McDougall and the Crossroads trilogy by Kate Elliott.)

Episode 4 of Fangirl Happy Hour is up. This week Ana and Renay are talking Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear, Jupiter Ascending and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. I'm not quite as critical of S.H.I.E.L.D. as they are, while I think there's room for difference of opinion about the feminism of Jupiter Ascending, but as always, I appreciate their thoughts.

The first few guest posts about representation and diversity are up on Jim C. Hines' blog.

Shannon Hale talks about gender segregation at readings she's done at schools. It's heartbreaking.

I thoroughly enjoyed this article by Robert Macfarlane about language and landscape. Beautiful stuff.

I really liked the recent BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall. This interview by Julia Raeside of Claire Foy, who played Anne Boleyn, goes a long way towards explaining why.

For reasons that will soon become apparent, although I can't provide a link to it, the #readingAuthorName hashtag on Twitter has been a powerful and positive movement. It works like this: think of an author whose works moved you and shaped you into the person you are. Tweet about it. Add the hashtag #readingAuthorName (obviously replacing AuthorName for the author's actual name). Feel happy.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
One of my friends on Tumblr asked me to talk about why John Marsden's Tomorrow series had such a profound impact on me as a child and teenager, and why I continue to care deeply about the series to this day. Because I don't like writing long posts on Tumblr, I'm answering him here.

Content note: It is impossible to discuss this series without talking about war, violence and rape.

I made a list )

I hope that answers any questions about what the Tomorrow series meant and means to me!
dolorosa_12: (ship)
I've written a review of Traitors' Gate, the third book in Kate Elliott's Crossroads series. It's very spoiler-heavy, so if you haven't read the book, I would advise you to do so as soon as possible! Because who doesn't love epic fantasy set in a world inflected by China, Persia, India, the Mongols and the Silk Road, where 'women's work' is made heroic, and which explores the nature of power?

What Elliott is actually doing in this series is interrogating the hackneyed old epic fantasy plot of ‘dispossessed man saves world and is thus its rightful ruler’. [...] She tells us the stories that people tell themselves to avoid seeing the truth of the powers that control their lives.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've been wanting to do a sort of 'social justice by the numbers' post, where I wrote about how well the things about which I am fannish handle matters of representation. For those of you who think that representation isn't important, I would urge you to educate yourselves, and in particular listen to people who aren't often well-represented in the media when they talk about how it matters to them that they are represented adequately.

A quick word on my methodology. I've included a fandom/text in this post if it:
a) makes me behave in a fannish manner (that is, that I want to respond to it in some way, be it with fic or meta or discussing it with other fans); and
b) makes me want to revisit it again and again in order to find new things out about it.

For this reason, only books and television shows are included, since for some reason films seem to have less of a fannish effect on me. I've suspected this is because I mostly become fannish due to characters, and although many films have excellent characterisation, I usually find that two hours or so is not long enough for me to become truly attached to their characters.

I'm giving each fandom a Representation Score (for great social justice!). The way points are allocated is thus:
A text gets one point for simply including a character from an underrepresented group (eg, a female primary or secondary character, a queer character etc).
A text gets two points if such characters pass certain other tests (eg, if it passes the Bechdel Test, if a disabled character isn't there merely to teach the non-disabled characters a lesson about tolerance, etc - basically if they're not defined by their minority-ness).
A text gets five points if said characters occupy an equal amount of screen-time as those of comparable importance (for example, if there is a show with three main leads, one of whom is straight, two of whom are queer, all three must get roughly equal amounts of the story).
A text loses five points it has such characters, but resorts to stereotypes or handles their stories poorly (for example, if a character is Othered, if women are fridged).

Obviously, my interpretation of these things is going to be subjective, and if I mess up, tell me. I am female, but in every other aspect I have privilege: I am white, I am middle class, I am straight, I am cis, I am able-bodied and I am neurotypical. I won't change what I've written (as I believe if you screw up in things like this, you should own your mistakes and allow people to see them) but I will emend my post and include people's criticism. So, let's get to it!

(Note: there are spoilers for The Demon's Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan, the Romanitas trilogy by Sophia McDougall, Galax-Arena and the Space Demons trilogy by Gillian Rubinstein, the His Dark Materials trilogy and Sally Lockhart Mysteries by Philip Pullman, The Pagan Chronicles by Catherine Jinks, Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.)

Spoilers abound )

I wasn't surprised that The Demon's Lexicon and Romanitas scored so highly. Their authors are very conscious of representation. In the case of Sarah Rees Brennan, her series' main focus is on identity and perception, while McDougall is concerned in Romanitas with power and dispossession. This is what McDougall had to say (in an interview with me) about representation:
If you want a future where fiction doesn’t routinely perpetuate harmful stereotypes and ignore everyone except the white people, (especially if you are white yourself) you probably cannot assume your unexamined muse and your good intentions are going to do all the work for you..

And this is what Rees Brennan said:
Here’s a problem: the role Nick, Mr. Tall Dark &c, plays in the series is a role played by a white guy with a bunch of issues: that’s a main role we get to see every day, a role that gets forgiven a lot of things, a role that if I didn’t get right a bunch of other people would. Let’s face it, “White Dude With Some Issues” could be the title of seventy per cent of movies and books out there. (We switch it to “White Dude With Some Issues (Who Is My Boyfriend)” I think we could make it to eighty per cent.)

I’m a girl, not a guy, and I’m white, not black, so in both cases I was writing from the point of view of someone I wasn’t. But there’s a lot more hurt to be inflicted if I got Sin wrong. And with writing, the chances of getting something wrong are high indeed. But it was something I felt I had to do. And it is something I feel like writers should do: write what they want and feel called to write, and write about the world the way it is. Writers should give every story in them a voice and a time to speak.


I think more authors and writers need to be conscious of these things. I believe representation is extremely important, and I think even those texts that I've singled out for praise or scored highly here have further to go. Why do the texts aimed at children have no queer characters? Why are there no trans* characters at all? These are questions that need to be asked, and we need to keep on asking them until things change.

_________________________________
*Note: in some of these texts, the category of 'working class' makes little sense. I'll categorise them differently when the need arises.
**Note: that's an in-show perception, and not a view I hold myself. There's no 'right' way to be sexual.
dolorosa_12: (travis)
Sometimes my brain worries me.

So, I generally have some bizarre commentary running through my head whenever I'm walking, and this commentary usually has a soundtrack. Without any warning, as I was walking to my German class this morning, the Heidelberg cobblestones brought to my mind the most vivid image: Babylonne Kidrouk, the protagonist of Pagan's Daughter, rushing through the streets of 13th-century Toulouse, wearing an iPod, playing 'Firestarter' by The Prodigy. Hey, don't blame me, I'm just a product of my Gen-Y remix culture!

You know how I do geeky things like make playlists for fictional characters? Yeah, guess what I did next...

Firestarter: A Babylonne Kidrouk Playlist )

Babylonne would totally listen to melodramatic dance music. And if not, she would listen to angsty 90s nu metal. You know it's true.
dolorosa_12: (travis)
Sometimes my brain worries me.

So, I generally have some bizarre commentary running through my head whenever I'm walking, and this commentary usually has a soundtrack. Without any warning, as I was walking to my German class this morning, the Heidelberg cobblestones brought to my mind the most vivid image: Babylonne Kidrouk, the protagonist of Pagan's Daughter, rushing through the streets of 13th-century Toulouse, wearing an iPod, playing 'Firestarter' by The Prodigy. Hey, don't blame me, I'm just a product of my Gen-Y remix culture!

You know how I do geeky things like make playlists for fictional characters? Yeah, guess what I did next...

Firestarter: A Babylonne Kidrouk Playlist )

Babylonne would totally listen to melodramatic dance music. And if not, she would listen to angsty 90s nu metal. You know it's true.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is a book meme taken from [livejournal.com profile] ansketil_rose


Meme this way )
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This is a book meme taken from [livejournal.com profile] ansketil_rose


Meme this way )
dolorosa_12: (una)
This was my involuntary response after (and during) reading Savage City, the third book in [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall's Romanitas trilogy. I read the book with a kind of desperate, yearning hunger. I'd been waiting for it for several years, I loved its characters (in particular, its heroine, fierce, introverted, determined Una), and I couldn't bear not knowing how things would end.

The last time I read a book like that, I was 22, and it was the final Harry Potter book. I think this is significant, because the last time before that, I would've been in high school, reading Darksong, the follow-up to Isobelle Carmody's Darkfall. And, indeed, this was the way I read all my favourite books, as a child and teenager.

I devoured them, much the same way as Sara Crewe (a childhood heroine) is said to 'devour books' in A Little Princess. Their characters were as real, as close to me, as real people. Their lives mattered as much or more. I felt every blow that landed upon them, and I wanted their happiness with a fierceness that I couldn't even believe I was capable of feeling. When I read those books, curled up in the wing chair in the living room, my feet resting on the coffee table, as a child and teenager in Canberra, I was oblivious to everything else, as my family will attest. I didn't hear when people spoke to me. I didn't notice when the natural light disappeared. My heart-rate increased. My mouth was dry. I was terrified for the characters.

I'm so much more detached these days. Oh, I still enjoy books, and I still find books that I love, but it is a different kind of love, a different kind of enjoyment. Less emotional investment and identification, more literary analysis and serenity. More thinking, less feeling.

I cannot regret these changes. They snuck up on me as quietly and imperceptibly as the day I looked at my old dolls and realised I no longer knew how to play. That girl, who cried for three days without stopping upon reading the ending of The Amber Spyglass, who rewrote Catherine Jinks' Pagan Chronicles because she couldn't bear not knowing what happened to Pagan, who finished the sixth Harry Potter book and then sat on the floor, literally beating her fists on the floorboards, begging her sister and mother to finish the book so she could talk to someone, anyone, about what had just happened, she is both me, and not me. I lived like that, I felt like that, it shaped me and strengthened me and taught me.

She was me, she is me, and I love her. But she is mostly gone.

And that is why I am so grateful to Romanitas, and to Sophia McDougall. She has written something that allowed me to get back, if only for a few hours, to that place, to that girl, once more. It was wonderful. It was perfect. It could never have been any other way. But it was exhausting. Loving in such a fierce, desperate, focused way, caring that much, feeling that much - I honestly don't know how I did it.

This post originally appeared on Wordpress, but I think it's more a Livejournal-style post (according to the way I organise my blogging) so I put it here too.
dolorosa_12: (una)
This was my involuntary response after (and during) reading Savage City, the third book in [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall's Romanitas trilogy. I read the book with a kind of desperate, yearning hunger. I'd been waiting for it for several years, I loved its characters (in particular, its heroine, fierce, introverted, determined Una), and I couldn't bear not knowing how things would end.

The last time I read a book like that, I was 22, and it was the final Harry Potter book. I think this is significant, because the last time before that, I would've been in high school, reading Darksong, the follow-up to Isobelle Carmody's Darkfall. And, indeed, this was the way I read all my favourite books, as a child and teenager.

I devoured them, much the same way as Sara Crewe (a childhood heroine) is said to 'devour books' in A Little Princess. Their characters were as real, as close to me, as real people. Their lives mattered as much or more. I felt every blow that landed upon them, and I wanted their happiness with a fierceness that I couldn't even believe I was capable of feeling. When I read those books, curled up in the wing chair in the living room, my feet resting on the coffee table, as a child and teenager in Canberra, I was oblivious to everything else, as my family will attest. I didn't hear when people spoke to me. I didn't notice when the natural light disappeared. My heart-rate increased. My mouth was dry. I was terrified for the characters.

I'm so much more detached these days. Oh, I still enjoy books, and I still find books that I love, but it is a different kind of love, a different kind of enjoyment. Less emotional investment and identification, more literary analysis and serenity. More thinking, less feeling.

I cannot regret these changes. They snuck up on me as quietly and imperceptibly as the day I looked at my old dolls and realised I no longer knew how to play. That girl, who cried for three days without stopping upon reading the ending of The Amber Spyglass, who rewrote Catherine Jinks' Pagan Chronicles because she couldn't bear not knowing what happened to Pagan, who finished the sixth Harry Potter book and then sat on the floor, literally beating her fists on the floorboards, begging her sister and mother to finish the book so she could talk to someone, anyone, about what had just happened, she is both me, and not me. I lived like that, I felt like that, it shaped me and strengthened me and taught me.

She was me, she is me, and I love her. But she is mostly gone.

And that is why I am so grateful to Romanitas, and to Sophia McDougall. She has written something that allowed me to get back, if only for a few hours, to that place, to that girl, once more. It was wonderful. It was perfect. It could never have been any other way. But it was exhausting. Loving in such a fierce, desperate, focused way, caring that much, feeling that much - I honestly don't know how I did it.

This post originally appeared on Wordpress, but I think it's more a Livejournal-style post (according to the way I organise my blogging) so I put it here too.
dolorosa_12: (Default)


I am aware that I am not meant to feel this way about music. I'm not meant to feel this way about anything. Once you stop being a teenager, it's considered somewhat shameful to express enthusiasm and love for something.* It's considered adolescent and self-absorbed to love things because they SPEAK TO YOUR SOUL, IT'S DEEP.

But this song. God, this song. I love it so much. I love it so much it hurts. I love it unrequitedly and without qualification. I love its words and its sound, and what its words mean, and how they mean, and what they mean to me. We are fond, we on the internet, of saying that 'this or that is love'. This song is love. Love is it. It is, literally, what love is to me. Tiësto is speaking to my soul, yeah.

It's adolescent. It isn't even the most amazing song ever, and the lyrics aren't that clever. But it is. It just gives words to something that I can't articulate properly, and for that, I love it and it is beautiful.

Lyrics )

__________________
* I realise I'm preaching to the converted. Most of my LJ friends are fandom people, and what is fandom if not love to the point of obsession, the very definition of enthusiasm?
dolorosa_12: (Default)


I am aware that I am not meant to feel this way about music. I'm not meant to feel this way about anything. Once you stop being a teenager, it's considered somewhat shameful to express enthusiasm and love for something.* It's considered adolescent and self-absorbed to love things because they SPEAK TO YOUR SOUL, IT'S DEEP.

But this song. God, this song. I love it so much. I love it so much it hurts. I love it unrequitedly and without qualification. I love its words and its sound, and what its words mean, and how they mean, and what they mean to me. We are fond, we on the internet, of saying that 'this or that is love'. This song is love. Love is it. It is, literally, what love is to me. Tiësto is speaking to my soul, yeah.

It's adolescent. It isn't even the most amazing song ever, and the lyrics aren't that clever. But it is. It just gives words to something that I can't articulate properly, and for that, I love it and it is beautiful.

Lyrics )

__________________
* I realise I'm preaching to the converted. Most of my LJ friends are fandom people, and what is fandom if not love to the point of obsession, the very definition of enthusiasm?
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I knew my productivity would kick in as soon as term ended and the sun started shining, and I was right. This week has been fantastic. Every day I left the house around 9am, got to the English faculty library, worked until about 11.30 (by which time I would have written 1000 words), then went home. Then I'd go for a run, then eat lunch. By 2.20pm, M would be home, and since it's the holidays, he's only working his morning job (no teaching out of term time, of course), leaving us free to do whatever we wanted in the afternoon. The only unfortunate thing is that we're both ridiculously poor: I'm waiting on my April stipend cheque, and he's waiting on being paid next week, so we can't really enjoy all our free time in lavish style. Oh well.

Anyway, I actually came over to LJ to post some links. First up, a post by yourlibrarian on Dreamwidth about the ingredients for a particular fandom's success. I agree with the general argument, although I don't think it takes anime fandom into account enough (honestly, anime fandom is HUGE), nor of fandom that's not focused on fanworks. It's an interesting discussion nonetheless.

Check out Ursula Le Guin's rather excellent blog post about swearing. (Unfortunately, you can't link to individual posts and will have to scroll around a bit on the page to find it. Obviously it's full of swear words and NSFW for that reason.)

John Scalzi's got an open thread where commenters can recommend interesting writers' blogs. I think I'm going to have to check some of them out.

Over at The Book Lantern, they're discussing Australian YA books. Actually, if I haven't mentioned it before, The Book Lantern is awesome. You should be following it.

Finally, Pop Matters is doing a whole series of posts about Joss Whedon and his work. I've linked to the introduction.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I knew my productivity would kick in as soon as term ended and the sun started shining, and I was right. This week has been fantastic. Every day I left the house around 9am, got to the English faculty library, worked until about 11.30 (by which time I would have written 1000 words), then went home. Then I'd go for a run, then eat lunch. By 2.20pm, M would be home, and since it's the holidays, he's only working his morning job (no teaching out of term time, of course), leaving us free to do whatever we wanted in the afternoon. The only unfortunate thing is that we're both ridiculously poor: I'm waiting on my April stipend cheque, and he's waiting on being paid next week, so we can't really enjoy all our free time in lavish style. Oh well.

Anyway, I actually came over to LJ to post some links. First up, a post by yourlibrarian on Dreamwidth about the ingredients for a particular fandom's success. I agree with the general argument, although I don't think it takes anime fandom into account enough (honestly, anime fandom is HUGE), nor of fandom that's not focused on fanworks. It's an interesting discussion nonetheless.

Check out Ursula Le Guin's rather excellent blog post about swearing. (Unfortunately, you can't link to individual posts and will have to scroll around a bit on the page to find it. Obviously it's full of swear words and NSFW for that reason.)

John Scalzi's got an open thread where commenters can recommend interesting writers' blogs. I think I'm going to have to check some of them out.

Over at The Book Lantern, they're discussing Australian YA books. Actually, if I haven't mentioned it before, The Book Lantern is awesome. You should be following it.

Finally, Pop Matters is doing a whole series of posts about Joss Whedon and his work. I've linked to the introduction.
dolorosa_12: (travis)
This is my song for 2011:



Google the lyrics and you'll understand why.
dolorosa_12: (travis)
This is my song for 2011:



Google the lyrics and you'll understand why.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Considering we're almost halfway through the current season, I thought it was high time I worked out exactly what my opinion is. This is more scattered thoughts, rather than a coherent, single narrative about the season (hence I'm posting here, and not on Wordpress). That will come at the end of the season, I think.

Spoilers follow, for Supernatural and Buffy.

What price a soul? )

Anyone else watching? What do you think of the new season so far?
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
Considering we're almost halfway through the current season, I thought it was high time I worked out exactly what my opinion is. This is more scattered thoughts, rather than a coherent, single narrative about the season (hence I'm posting here, and not on Wordpress). That will come at the end of the season, I think.

Spoilers follow, for Supernatural and Buffy.

What price a soul? )

Anyone else watching? What do you think of the new season so far?
dolorosa_12: (travis)
As you probably all know, I get seriously obsessed with particular bands or artists. The current favourite is Miike Snow. It's beautiful, ethereal synthpop, with pretty, pretty lyrics.

For example:

There was a time when my world was filled with darkness, darkness darkness. Then I stopped dreaming, now I'm supposed to fill it up with something, something, something. )

I wanna rewrite my heart and let the future in )

This one's my absolute favourite. (It's missing some words.)

The night is just enough for both of us )

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dolorosa_12: (Default)
rushes into my heart and my skull

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