dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
Life is a bit crazy at the moment. For the past couple of weeks, my supervisor and I have been discussing the final stages of my PhD, and yesterday we had a meeting where we sorted out four potential examiners. (I need two examiners, one from within my department and one from another university, but I need to nominate two potential people for each examination slot.) I've written my abstract and am at the point where I need to inform the university of my intention to submit...in September! I am both terrified and relieved to have got this far. But this means the next few months are going to be extremely sleepless.

I have had huge numbers of tabs open for weeks and weeks and weeks (and even resorted to emailing links to myself in order to close some tabs), just waiting for me to have the time to do a linkpost. I don't really have time, but I want to get these out there before too much time passes, so here they are.

I finally dusted off my Romanitas blog and posted the next of my commentaries. This one's for Romanitas Chapter 5, 'White and Silver'. I also wrote a fairly negative review of Juliet E. McKenna's Chronicles of the Lescari Revolution series on my Wordpress review blog:

I’m sad to say that the series just doesn’t work, or at least it doesn’t work for me. The problem is partly one of characterisation (I find all the characters clichéd collections of tropes rather than engaging human beings), but really one of believability. The problem is that the whole revolution is too easy.

This is an old post by [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall about London, but it's so wonderful that you need to read it anyway.

Australian YA author Melina Marchetta is someone I really admire. She's constantly pushing herself in terms of what she writes, and is thoughtful and articulate about her writing and that of other people. This interview with blogger Jo at Wear The Old Coat is characteristically excellent:

I don’t believe that writing for and about young people is a public service. The problem about role models is that some people may believe a good female role model is someone who doesn’t have sex as a teenager at school. Other people may believe that a good role model is someone who challenges the establishment. Or someone who works hard and gets into university. Or someone who doesn’t have to go to university or college to succeed. I don’t think of role models or teaching lessons when I’m creating character. If I did have a secret wish of what I’d like to come out of my writing, it’s that someone feels less lonely. Or someone feels more connected. Or someone questions the status quo.

Another author very dear to my heart is [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott. I've mentioned before that I'm deeply interested in people on the margins of history, people who led fulfilling, happy and interesting lives, but whose stories were never recorded because the Powers That Be didn't view those people's activities as being important. Elliott is an author after my own heart. She puts such marginal people front and centre in her medieval (and nineteenth-century) inflected worlds. Her interviews and blog posts make it clear that this is a deliberate choice. If you're not reading her already, this latest offering might tempt you:

I am not, by the way, a monarchist nor do I yearn for the halcyon days of yore with a secret reactionary bent to my heart. The idea that epic fantasy is by nature a “conservative” subgenre is, I think, based not only on an incomplete reading of the texts but also on an understanding of the medieval or early modern eras that comes from outdated historiography.

I don’t doubt specific works can be reactionary or conservative (depending on how you define those words), but more often than not I suspect–although I can’t prove–that if a work defaults to ideas about social order that map to what I call the Victorian Middle Ages or the Hollywood Middle Ages, it has more to do with sloppy world-building in the sense of using unexamined and outmoded assumptions about “the past” as a guide. I really think that to characterize the subgenre so generally is to not understand the variety seen within the form and to not understand that the simplistic and popular views of how people “were” and “thought” in the past are often at best provisional and incomplete and at worst outright wrong.

Historian Judith Bennett calls this the “Wretched Abyss” Theory, the idea that the European Middle Ages were a wretched abyss from which we modern women/people have luckily escaped. It’s one of the founding myths of modern feminism as well as the modern world. Me, I want to live now, with internet, antibiotics, and that nice intensive care nursery that saved my premature twins. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t also responsible to depict a more nuanced and accurate representation of “a past” as it was lived and experienced as a dynamic and changing span.


And now, for a complete change of subject, have a link to a post about Oideas Gael, the Modern Irish language school where I've spent a couple of happy summers. It really captures the heart of the little village and the classes. I was sorry to hear from the post, however, that Biddy's (one of the three pubs in the Glen), has closed down. Its wall had a sign promising 'ól agus ceol', which is really all you could possibly want in a pub...

Love, Joy, Feminism is pretty much my favourite blog these days. It's written by Libby Anne, who grew up in an abusive fundamentalist subculture in the US, but broke away as an adult. She is an articulate, unflinching and persistent critic of the culture in which she grew up, and this makes her dangerous to those who promote that subculture as a way of life. If you feel up to it, I highly recommend her most recent series of posts, which are on homeschooling and its potential to exacerbate abuse and neglect. You can tell how rattled Libby Anne's posts are making some people, as she's receiving a huge backlash from the (so-called) Homeschool Legal Defence Association (an organisation that believes children have no rights, parents have complete ownership over their children and that any regulation beyond parents informing the state of their intention to homeschool is an infringement on parents' freedoms). I highly recommend reading everything Libby Anne writes.

Still on the topic of homeschooling, here is a post by Jon Bois about his homeschooling experience as a child in rural Georgia in the '90s.

Check out this TED talk about changing the way we talk about abuse and harassment. The gist of it is that men (are the perpetrators in not all, but most cases of abuse and harassment) should be told that being bystanders to abuse and harassment is a failure of leadership - that if they are in positions of authority or relative power, and they do nothing to investigate, discourage or stop abuse and harassment, they are failing as leaders.

Finally, have a read of Maureen Johnson's post about genderflipped YA book covers.
dolorosa_12: by ginnystar on lj (robin marian)
Well, wow. It's been a really, really long time since I've posted here, and I'm sorry about that. For some reason, I just haven't been feeling the blogging vibe for a while. It's frustrating, because I have all these things I want to talk about, and yet can't quite manage to put pen to paper (or, you know, fingers to keyboard).

It's autumn with a vengeance now in Cambridge, which is my favourite time of the year. I love the way the trees look, the colour of the sky, the feel of the air, the clothes I can wear after putting them away during summer, the feeling of being snuggled up inside under a blanket or running through frosty fields as the mist rises from the river. However, along with the weather came the dreaded freshers' flu, which, although I am not a first-year, I caught. I'm still not entirely better. Last week, I was all about the coughing fits, and they still haven't gone away completely. I haven't been able to run since last Wednesday.

In the time since I posted last, I went to the other Cambridge to give a paper at a conference in Harvard. It was my first time in the States since 1999, and my first time to Boston. The conference was like an amazing reunion - I'd met most of the North American Celticists either at summer school in Dublin last year, or at the International Celtic Congress in Maynooth that followed it, so now we have a tendency to go to the same conferences in order to catch up. Cambridge itself - and the Harvard campus - was gorgeous. My paper was well received, and for the first time in a conference, a whole bunch of people wanted to talk to me afterwards, which I think was a good sign. After the conference, I caught up briefly with [profile] romen_dreamer and her husband N, who are both sraffies. I'd never met them in person before (I've not met many of the North American sraffies) and we had a great time while they showed me around Cambridge.

Once I got back to MY Cambridge, I was thrown straight away into teaching and research. I sent my supervisor my entire first chapter at the end of last week, and we met about it this week. She made some helpful comments, but, more importantly, she told me she thought I was close to finishing. You cannot imagine how happy that made me. I haven't believed in my ability to finish this PhD for a long time, and it was nice to be told the end was in sight.

I'm finding teaching both more difficult, but more rewarding than I expected. I had a fantastic group seminar today with the third-year students which I found particularly enjoyable. Their essays were such a joy to read, and they made me think about my own research in different terms too. I still sometimes feel like I could be better, but I guess I'm learning too.

I've been thinking for a while that I really need to revive my Romanitas blog. I stopped posting there because the chapter recaps I was doing became too difficult, because I think I got too obsessed with writing them like perfect, self-contained little essays. I think it was the literature student in me. But the whole point about Romanitas is that it made me read with the delirious, devouring joy with which I read as a child. What I feel about that series is so deep and personal and emotional. How could I hope to convey it with a series of dry essays? In other words, I'm going to go back to doing the chapter recaps, but with more of an emphasis on my own emotional reaction to them. More Mark Reads, I guess.

I've got a few other long-term plans for my review blog, but I might talk about them later. Right now, I've got a dinner to cook!
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've been blogging away on Wordpress and thought I'd give you all a few links.

First up, I wrote a (spoiler-heavy) review of [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott's book Cold Magic on Geata Póeg na Déanainn. It's mostly about the similarities between that book at Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

A while ago I interviewed [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall. Part I is here. Part 2 is here. They're also pretty spoiler-heavy for her whole Romanitas trilogy.

Enjoy!
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've been blogging away on Wordpress and thought I'd give you all a few links.

First up, I wrote a (spoiler-heavy) review of [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott's book Cold Magic on Geata Póeg na Déanainn. It's mostly about the similarities between that book at Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

A while ago I interviewed [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall. Part I is here. Part 2 is here. They're also pretty spoiler-heavy for her whole Romanitas trilogy.

Enjoy!
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I blogged for The Book Show about keeping the Irish language alive through storytelling. I also finally updated Longvision, with a commentary post about Romanitas chapter 4, 'The Orpheus Mosaic'.

Now for some other people's writing.

This article by Monte Reid about 'the most isolated man on the planet' is poignant and deeply moving. This post by The Bitter Script Reader analysing the emotional impact of the Buffy episode 'The Body' (spoilers abound) gets it absolutely right.

Check out this rather interesting post by the Orbit team about trends in fantasy book covers. And when you're done, read this hilarious post which rewrites a Babysitters' Club book in the style of Bret Easton Ellis.

Since being online, I find myself from time to time coming into conflict with authors over authorial intent, subtext and who has the right to interpret a text. [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott has written a really good post on the subject which is one of the most balanced I've seen.

Finally, here's a rather wittily written post by [livejournal.com profile] bookshop where she compares shipping to real-life relationships. I can't say I've ever shipped anything with that intensity, but I enjoyed the sentiment, nonetheless.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I blogged for The Book Show about keeping the Irish language alive through storytelling. I also finally updated Longvision, with a commentary post about Romanitas chapter 4, 'The Orpheus Mosaic'.

Now for some other people's writing.

This article by Monte Reid about 'the most isolated man on the planet' is poignant and deeply moving. This post by The Bitter Script Reader analysing the emotional impact of the Buffy episode 'The Body' (spoilers abound) gets it absolutely right.

Check out this rather interesting post by the Orbit team about trends in fantasy book covers. And when you're done, read this hilarious post which rewrites a Babysitters' Club book in the style of Bret Easton Ellis.

Since being online, I find myself from time to time coming into conflict with authors over authorial intent, subtext and who has the right to interpret a text. [livejournal.com profile] kateelliott has written a really good post on the subject which is one of the most balanced I've seen.

Finally, here's a rather wittily written post by [livejournal.com profile] bookshop where she compares shipping to real-life relationships. I can't say I've ever shipped anything with that intensity, but I enjoyed the sentiment, nonetheless.
dolorosa_12: (una)
So, I've been a busy blogger today. I've written THREE new Wordpress posts.

The first is a review of [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales's The Demon's Lexicon series.

It is the story of the ogre and the little girl, where she loves him because he may kill her, and he accepts her (and doesn’t kill her) because he loves her fear. That’s why they can live happily ever after – as long as she doesn’t recognise the Gothic mansion of his appetite for what it is.

It's spoilerific.

The second is a response to the criticism that John Marsden's Tomorrow series is 'anti-Christian'. Spoilers, of course.

I do not think that John Marsden himself is a Christian. He writes like an atheist or an agnostic. Is it possible for a non-Christian to write a ‘Christian’ book?

The third is a (long-overdue) chapter commentary on [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall Romanitas. It's on Chapter 3, 'Steel Cross'. Again, spoilers.

This is a very uncomfortable chapter to read.

I hope you enjoy all my posts! I've certainly enjoyed writing them.

Finally, this from Penny Arcade. No, it's not a subtle hint. My blogs are still 'for the critics'. Always.

Enjoy your Saturdays!
dolorosa_12: (una)
So, I've been a busy blogger today. I've written THREE new Wordpress posts.

The first is a review of [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales's The Demon's Lexicon series.

It is the story of the ogre and the little girl, where she loves him because he may kill her, and he accepts her (and doesn’t kill her) because he loves her fear. That’s why they can live happily ever after – as long as she doesn’t recognise the Gothic mansion of his appetite for what it is.

It's spoilerific.

The second is a response to the criticism that John Marsden's Tomorrow series is 'anti-Christian'. Spoilers, of course.

I do not think that John Marsden himself is a Christian. He writes like an atheist or an agnostic. Is it possible for a non-Christian to write a ‘Christian’ book?

The third is a (long-overdue) chapter commentary on [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall Romanitas. It's on Chapter 3, 'Steel Cross'. Again, spoilers.

This is a very uncomfortable chapter to read.

I hope you enjoy all my posts! I've certainly enjoyed writing them.

Finally, this from Penny Arcade. No, it's not a subtle hint. My blogs are still 'for the critics'. Always.

Enjoy your Saturdays!
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I spent the past four days or so watching the entire animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. I was planning to ration myself to two episodes a day, but, yeah, I'm not a very patient person.

Then I blogged about it. (In other cool news, this is the first time one of my posts has ever been featured on Fandom News - see the heading Fandom Meta Discussion for the link to my post.)

There's some bad news about the release date of the third Romanitas book, Savage City. See Longvision for details.

I don't really have many other interesting things to link today. I'm sure you've all seen the 8-bit Dr Horrible clips, but just in case, I'm linking you to Act I. Act II is now also up, and you should be able to find it in the related videos.

Catie's got a good post about Harry Potter. I don't agree with all her points, but it's well worth a read.

That's it for now.

ETA: I lied! Here's J.K. Rowling being her awesome socialist self:

[Comparing herself with Lord Ashcroft] chose to remain a domiciled taxpayer for a couple of reasons. The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles.

A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug.


I find her humanity humbling and inspirational.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I spent the past four days or so watching the entire animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. I was planning to ration myself to two episodes a day, but, yeah, I'm not a very patient person.

Then I blogged about it. (In other cool news, this is the first time one of my posts has ever been featured on Fandom News - see the heading Fandom Meta Discussion for the link to my post.)

There's some bad news about the release date of the third Romanitas book, Savage City. See Longvision for details.

I don't really have many other interesting things to link today. I'm sure you've all seen the 8-bit Dr Horrible clips, but just in case, I'm linking you to Act I. Act II is now also up, and you should be able to find it in the related videos.

Catie's got a good post about Harry Potter. I don't agree with all her points, but it's well worth a read.

That's it for now.

ETA: I lied! Here's J.K. Rowling being her awesome socialist self:

[Comparing herself with Lord Ashcroft] chose to remain a domiciled taxpayer for a couple of reasons. The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles.

A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug.


I find her humanity humbling and inspirational.
dolorosa_12: (captain haddock)
I wrote a Longvision chapter commentary post. It's about Romanitas chapter 2, 'Green Thames'.

In response to a variety of things, I wrote an impassioned defence of J. K. Rowling and Roald Dahl. Against what charges was I defending them? The charge of encouraging children to challenge authority. Oddly enough, on the same day, Neil Gaiman linked to a New York Times article about absent and bumbling parents in children's literature, which is sort of what I was discussing.

Scalzi, as usual, has some good stuff on his blog, including this (conservative US senator Tom Coburn tells conservatives to get their news and current affairs from a wider range of sources than Faux News, which is stating the bleeding obvious, but welcome nonetheless), and his thoughts on this year's Hugo nominees. Abigail Nussbaum's opinions on the matter, are, as usual, worthwhile.

Here's a GREAT post by Justine Larbalestier about teenagers and reading, which I urge you all to read. She makes the sensible point that a lot of the panicking seems to be that teenagers aren't reading the right kind of books, that is, not novels. But, as she notes, teenagers are reading, so stop panicking. She's also got an interesting post about how most US readers seem to be interpreting Karen Healey's book Guardian of the Dead as being set in Australia, when it is, in fact, set in New Zealand - and very clearly stated to be set there.

This Boing Boing post about a ramen connoisseur is pretty cool. So is this article in The Independent about John Oliver, a British comedian who's been a very successful addition to The Daily Show line up.

Despite my strong resistance to becoming British, it seems to have rubbed off somewhat. In case you didn't realise, the general election's been called for 6th May. While I can't vote in it, I've found myself getting caught up in it, and read the election coverage in three papers from cover to cover today. I actually quite enjoy elections. The US one in 2008 I spent watching with three American housemates, celebrating ecstatically as the night wore on. For my last Australian one, I was working for a newspaper, and there's something very special about being in the media during an election year. There's a sense of knowing camaraderie that you don't find elsewhere, with everyone dropping everything to stand transfixed in front of the office televisions whenever an important speech comes on and so on.

As a foreigner, the British election won't have a huge impact on my life (unless the government decides to kick out all foreign students or limit our ability to work or something), but as a passionate participant in several other elections (and a person from a country where voting is compulsory), I urge all my British friends to register to vote, if they haven't already, and to vote.

(Amusingly, when I was in Southport with my cousins, I learnt that British elections are always on Thursdays. Australian ones are always on Saturdays, so as to allow everyone to vote. My cousin remarked that the British ones were held on weekdays to keep people from voting. However, every election I've ever voted in has required me to duck out of work in the cake shop because, as a student, I had been working part-time on Saturdays...)

The other example of rubbed-off Britishness is a bit sillier. I was reading a book published in the US, and found myself flinching every time the author used the word 'pants' to mean 'trousers'. Somehow, although this is a perfectly acceptable Australian usage, the British meaning of 'pants' seems to have lodged in my brain. It's only 'pants'. I still happily say 'chips' to mean both 'crisps' and 'hot chips', 'swimmers' for 'swimming costume' and so on. But 'pants' for 'trousers' looks wrong.

One final piece of ephemera before I leave you to cook dinner. While running today, I had the best seamless transition from one song to another:

'I'm totally addicted to -' 'Bass in the place, London!'

It kind of made my day. Which is kind of pathetic.
dolorosa_12: (captain haddock)
I wrote a Longvision chapter commentary post. It's about Romanitas chapter 2, 'Green Thames'.

In response to a variety of things, I wrote an impassioned defence of J. K. Rowling and Roald Dahl. Against what charges was I defending them? The charge of encouraging children to challenge authority. Oddly enough, on the same day, Neil Gaiman linked to a New York Times article about absent and bumbling parents in children's literature, which is sort of what I was discussing.

Scalzi, as usual, has some good stuff on his blog, including this (conservative US senator Tom Coburn tells conservatives to get their news and current affairs from a wider range of sources than Faux News, which is stating the bleeding obvious, but welcome nonetheless), and his thoughts on this year's Hugo nominees. Abigail Nussbaum's opinions on the matter, are, as usual, worthwhile.

Here's a GREAT post by Justine Larbalestier about teenagers and reading, which I urge you all to read. She makes the sensible point that a lot of the panicking seems to be that teenagers aren't reading the right kind of books, that is, not novels. But, as she notes, teenagers are reading, so stop panicking. She's also got an interesting post about how most US readers seem to be interpreting Karen Healey's book Guardian of the Dead as being set in Australia, when it is, in fact, set in New Zealand - and very clearly stated to be set there.

This Boing Boing post about a ramen connoisseur is pretty cool. So is this article in The Independent about John Oliver, a British comedian who's been a very successful addition to The Daily Show line up.

Despite my strong resistance to becoming British, it seems to have rubbed off somewhat. In case you didn't realise, the general election's been called for 6th May. While I can't vote in it, I've found myself getting caught up in it, and read the election coverage in three papers from cover to cover today. I actually quite enjoy elections. The US one in 2008 I spent watching with three American housemates, celebrating ecstatically as the night wore on. For my last Australian one, I was working for a newspaper, and there's something very special about being in the media during an election year. There's a sense of knowing camaraderie that you don't find elsewhere, with everyone dropping everything to stand transfixed in front of the office televisions whenever an important speech comes on and so on.

As a foreigner, the British election won't have a huge impact on my life (unless the government decides to kick out all foreign students or limit our ability to work or something), but as a passionate participant in several other elections (and a person from a country where voting is compulsory), I urge all my British friends to register to vote, if they haven't already, and to vote.

(Amusingly, when I was in Southport with my cousins, I learnt that British elections are always on Thursdays. Australian ones are always on Saturdays, so as to allow everyone to vote. My cousin remarked that the British ones were held on weekdays to keep people from voting. However, every election I've ever voted in has required me to duck out of work in the cake shop because, as a student, I had been working part-time on Saturdays...)

The other example of rubbed-off Britishness is a bit sillier. I was reading a book published in the US, and found myself flinching every time the author used the word 'pants' to mean 'trousers'. Somehow, although this is a perfectly acceptable Australian usage, the British meaning of 'pants' seems to have lodged in my brain. It's only 'pants'. I still happily say 'chips' to mean both 'crisps' and 'hot chips', 'swimmers' for 'swimming costume' and so on. But 'pants' for 'trousers' looks wrong.

One final piece of ephemera before I leave you to cook dinner. While running today, I had the best seamless transition from one song to another:

'I'm totally addicted to -' 'Bass in the place, London!'

It kind of made my day. Which is kind of pathetic.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I wrote a yay! life! post over on Wordpress. I've also got the first of my (spoilerific) commentary posts for Romanitas. It's on the first chapter, 'Embalmed'.

I've been reading a lot of post-Deathly Hallows, 'next generation' Harry Potter fanfic. Serious Harry Potter fans on my flist are probably horrified (one of them has been known to remark that since we don't know anything about Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione etc's children, writing fic about them is like writing about original characters). For me, that's part of the appeal, I suspect. I don't know about you, but one of my favourite things to do as a child was imagining what happened to characters after the last page was turned (Presh, Leeward, Allyman, Fenja, Eduardo and Mariam ended up working for Cirque du Soleil, dammit!), and that's exactly what the better next-gen fic-writers are doing.

I like fanfic in such a qualified way. I can't read it for things that I truly adore ([livejournal.com profile] cereswunderkind aside, I'm incapable of reading HDM fanfic, and I wouldn't dream of reading Buffy or Firefly fic either), and I'm much more interested in reading longer, novel-length fic where the focus is less on pairings and more on the story itself. (That's not to say I'm anti-shipping, more that for me, the point of fic is the same as in any other storytelling medium - telling a story. I certainly don't say this out of any perceived superiority, just that it is a matter of taste, and my taste falls much more on the gen side of things.) Then again, I'd never want to read fic for something I don't care about at all. Harry Potter is one of the few texts that sits comfortably in the centre of the divide between 'I adore it without qualification' and 'I couldn't care less about it': I like HP more for what it symbolised than what it actually was, more for how it brought my friends and me together to talk about books than for what the books themselves actually said.

We all have particular stories that we can hear told again and again, same same but different. (For me, it used to be a particularly Montague-and-Capulety across the barricades love story.) Next gen fic, with its emphasis on the Potter/Weasley and Malfoy offspring tends to appeal to a particular favourite story of mine: people who detest/fear one another being forced to work together despite mutual dislike. It's gone beyond any Romeo and Juliet trappings it once used to possess. I'm interested in compromises: who makes them, why, and what it does to them. That, for me, is the appeal of the best next-gen stuff. At the moment, I've been enjoying [livejournal.com profile] jenwryn_fic's novel-length story 'Black is the Colour'. I suspect it won't appeal to the Potter purists, but I like it quite a lot.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I wrote a yay! life! post over on Wordpress. I've also got the first of my (spoilerific) commentary posts for Romanitas. It's on the first chapter, 'Embalmed'.

I've been reading a lot of post-Deathly Hallows, 'next generation' Harry Potter fanfic. Serious Harry Potter fans on my flist are probably horrified (one of them has been known to remark that since we don't know anything about Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione etc's children, writing fic about them is like writing about original characters). For me, that's part of the appeal, I suspect. I don't know about you, but one of my favourite things to do as a child was imagining what happened to characters after the last page was turned (Presh, Leeward, Allyman, Fenja, Eduardo and Mariam ended up working for Cirque du Soleil, dammit!), and that's exactly what the better next-gen fic-writers are doing.

I like fanfic in such a qualified way. I can't read it for things that I truly adore ([livejournal.com profile] cereswunderkind aside, I'm incapable of reading HDM fanfic, and I wouldn't dream of reading Buffy or Firefly fic either), and I'm much more interested in reading longer, novel-length fic where the focus is less on pairings and more on the story itself. (That's not to say I'm anti-shipping, more that for me, the point of fic is the same as in any other storytelling medium - telling a story. I certainly don't say this out of any perceived superiority, just that it is a matter of taste, and my taste falls much more on the gen side of things.) Then again, I'd never want to read fic for something I don't care about at all. Harry Potter is one of the few texts that sits comfortably in the centre of the divide between 'I adore it without qualification' and 'I couldn't care less about it': I like HP more for what it symbolised than what it actually was, more for how it brought my friends and me together to talk about books than for what the books themselves actually said.

We all have particular stories that we can hear told again and again, same same but different. (For me, it used to be a particularly Montague-and-Capulety across the barricades love story.) Next gen fic, with its emphasis on the Potter/Weasley and Malfoy offspring tends to appeal to a particular favourite story of mine: people who detest/fear one another being forced to work together despite mutual dislike. It's gone beyond any Romeo and Juliet trappings it once used to possess. I'm interested in compromises: who makes them, why, and what it does to them. That, for me, is the appeal of the best next-gen stuff. At the moment, I've been enjoying [livejournal.com profile] jenwryn_fic's novel-length story 'Black is the Colour'. I suspect it won't appeal to the Potter purists, but I like it quite a lot.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
So, I've been writing. I've written (finally) a post on Longvision where I analyse the Sibyl's prophecy to Drusus in Rome Burning. As I wrote a while ago, the wording of the prophecy is quite ambiguous, and I don't think it means, as Drusus thought, that he is destined to become Emperor of Rome.

There are lots of really excellent posts floating around online at the moment. Justine Larbalestier, is, as usually, providing much of the excellence, in this case linking to a post about unsung YA literature and eloquently discussing the latest round of debate about mainstream publishers' refusal to deal with serious problems of race and representation.

Sarah Rees Brennan posts a (spoiler-heavy) list of her favourite literary couples. I'm probably going to write something on this myself, but include platonic couples or pairs of friends as well as romantically-attached couples, since I think both are equally good at drawing me into a book.

John Scalzi linked to a really good post by Deanna Hoak about dietary habits for people who spend most of their lives chained to a desk. You may not know, but I've been on a bit of a weight-loss mission myself since last July. I'm mainly exercising (running every day) and cutting back slightly on junk food and snacking, but as someone who spends pretty much all day at her desk, Hoak's advice is really appropriate and useful.

Emma at Imaginary Dinosaur has written a really wonderful post about 'the problem of the hero protagonist', and while I don't agree with everything she said, I agree with her main argument that morally ambiguous antiheroes are more interesting and satisfying to viewers/readers than straight up-and-down heroes.

Finally, [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall has a great post about feminism. Check it out!
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
So, I've been writing. I've written (finally) a post on Longvision where I analyse the Sibyl's prophecy to Drusus in Rome Burning. As I wrote a while ago, the wording of the prophecy is quite ambiguous, and I don't think it means, as Drusus thought, that he is destined to become Emperor of Rome.

There are lots of really excellent posts floating around online at the moment. Justine Larbalestier, is, as usually, providing much of the excellence, in this case linking to a post about unsung YA literature and eloquently discussing the latest round of debate about mainstream publishers' refusal to deal with serious problems of race and representation.

Sarah Rees Brennan posts a (spoiler-heavy) list of her favourite literary couples. I'm probably going to write something on this myself, but include platonic couples or pairs of friends as well as romantically-attached couples, since I think both are equally good at drawing me into a book.

John Scalzi linked to a really good post by Deanna Hoak about dietary habits for people who spend most of their lives chained to a desk. You may not know, but I've been on a bit of a weight-loss mission myself since last July. I'm mainly exercising (running every day) and cutting back slightly on junk food and snacking, but as someone who spends pretty much all day at her desk, Hoak's advice is really appropriate and useful.

Emma at Imaginary Dinosaur has written a really wonderful post about 'the problem of the hero protagonist', and while I don't agree with everything she said, I agree with her main argument that morally ambiguous antiheroes are more interesting and satisfying to viewers/readers than straight up-and-down heroes.

Finally, [livejournal.com profile] sophiamcdougall has a great post about feminism. Check it out!
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've got a life post, a post about my birthday books (where I mostly whine at Robert Harris for the audacity of not being Steven Saylor) and an announcement post on Longvision.

Here's Neil Gaiman being awesome (when is he not, really?). Here is Justine Larbalestier's list of new blogs she discovered in 2009. I'll probably end up following lots of them.

My mum emailed me the link to this great New York Times article about Katherine Paterson, the new 'ambassador of children's literature' in the US. Her advice? Spend time reading to your children. I love Paterson. Her novel Of Nightingales That Weep was a staple of my childhood. I could probably quote it from cover to cover if I thought about it.

Finally, Jo Walton ([livejournal.com profile] papersky) wrote a beautiful post about The Dark Is Rising on Tor.com. Until I got back to the UK, where it is currently blanketed with snow, I didn't appreciate one of the major plot points of the eponymous second book in this series: snow, when you're in England, is sinister and scary. There's something very offputting about the way it swallows sound, the way it makes the landscape harsh and hostile. Walton makes the important point that this excellent series is heavily rooted in the land - Cornwall, Wales and the south of England (near Windsor), and until I lived in England, I didn't really understand quite how accurate Cooper's depictions of these places were.

Some of these links are quite old, but I thought you should read them if you haven't already.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
I've got a life post, a post about my birthday books (where I mostly whine at Robert Harris for the audacity of not being Steven Saylor) and an announcement post on Longvision.

Here's Neil Gaiman being awesome (when is he not, really?). Here is Justine Larbalestier's list of new blogs she discovered in 2009. I'll probably end up following lots of them.

My mum emailed me the link to this great New York Times article about Katherine Paterson, the new 'ambassador of children's literature' in the US. Her advice? Spend time reading to your children. I love Paterson. Her novel Of Nightingales That Weep was a staple of my childhood. I could probably quote it from cover to cover if I thought about it.

Finally, Jo Walton ([livejournal.com profile] papersky) wrote a beautiful post about The Dark Is Rising on Tor.com. Until I got back to the UK, where it is currently blanketed with snow, I didn't appreciate one of the major plot points of the eponymous second book in this series: snow, when you're in England, is sinister and scary. There's something very offputting about the way it swallows sound, the way it makes the landscape harsh and hostile. Walton makes the important point that this excellent series is heavily rooted in the land - Cornwall, Wales and the south of England (near Windsor), and until I lived in England, I didn't really understand quite how accurate Cooper's depictions of these places were.

Some of these links are quite old, but I thought you should read them if you haven't already.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
I'm slowly recovering from a night of rather epic (and stupid) drinking, where a friend of mine came over and we drank nearly two-thirds of a bottle of gin, ranting the entire time. We used to live in the same house, and we would periodically get together for evenings of drunken ranting, so it was like old times. The hangover was like old times, too.

I've got a couple of new posts over at Wordpress. The first is a summary of all the places on the internet I find most useful as resources for my interests (ie books, films, TV shows and music). The next post is on Longvision, and it is a copy of a message Sophia McDougall sent to members of the Romanitas Facebook group about the new release date for Savage City. I've already posted it on [livejournal.com profile] romanitas_fans.

A couple of my friends were talking on Twitter this morning about graduating from Bundah, which got me all nostalgic for the place. Until I came to Cambridge, I had imagined that my years at Bundah would be the high point of my life (which depressed me somewhat). I have only good memories about those two years. It's hard to explain how wonderful it is to people who didn't go there (and I suspect that Bundah wasn't that great for everyone who was there), so suffice it to say that until I came to Cambridge, Bundah was the only time when I felt perfect harmony between being (who I was) and doing (what I did). It remains my model of what high school should be.

I've also (finally) written my first ever fanfic. I probably won't post it, however. I know I claim that my middle name ought to be 'overshare', and I certainly have no problem writing about deeply personal stuff (often in completely public entries), I've always been incredibly shy about my fiction. I've been writing fiction since I was a child, and doing so seriously since I was about 14 or 15, but aside from showing some stories to my mother, reading a few out loud to Mimi, and letting Raphael read a couple of chapters, I've never shown them to a living soul. I can't even explain why, since I don't really care if people tell me the writing is terrible or the ideas are silly. My fiction comes from a much more personal place than any real-life information I may impart. I wouldn't go so far to say that everything I write about is allegorical, but in some sense everyone in my stories is me, and everything that happens happened to me (even though I've never been a member of a band of misfits who saved the world, or the source by which magic is powered, or whatever). If I were to put my fiction in public, I'd feel stripped bare in a way that relating even the most mortifying experience doesn't make me feel.
dolorosa_12: (dreaming)
I'm slowly recovering from a night of rather epic (and stupid) drinking, where a friend of mine came over and we drank nearly two-thirds of a bottle of gin, ranting the entire time. We used to live in the same house, and we would periodically get together for evenings of drunken ranting, so it was like old times. The hangover was like old times, too.

I've got a couple of new posts over at Wordpress. The first is a summary of all the places on the internet I find most useful as resources for my interests (ie books, films, TV shows and music). The next post is on Longvision, and it is a copy of a message Sophia McDougall sent to members of the Romanitas Facebook group about the new release date for Savage City. I've already posted it on [livejournal.com profile] romanitas_fans.

A couple of my friends were talking on Twitter this morning about graduating from Bundah, which got me all nostalgic for the place. Until I came to Cambridge, I had imagined that my years at Bundah would be the high point of my life (which depressed me somewhat). I have only good memories about those two years. It's hard to explain how wonderful it is to people who didn't go there (and I suspect that Bundah wasn't that great for everyone who was there), so suffice it to say that until I came to Cambridge, Bundah was the only time when I felt perfect harmony between being (who I was) and doing (what I did). It remains my model of what high school should be.

I've also (finally) written my first ever fanfic. I probably won't post it, however. I know I claim that my middle name ought to be 'overshare', and I certainly have no problem writing about deeply personal stuff (often in completely public entries), I've always been incredibly shy about my fiction. I've been writing fiction since I was a child, and doing so seriously since I was about 14 or 15, but aside from showing some stories to my mother, reading a few out loud to Mimi, and letting Raphael read a couple of chapters, I've never shown them to a living soul. I can't even explain why, since I don't really care if people tell me the writing is terrible or the ideas are silly. My fiction comes from a much more personal place than any real-life information I may impart. I wouldn't go so far to say that everything I write about is allegorical, but in some sense everyone in my stories is me, and everything that happens happened to me (even though I've never been a member of a band of misfits who saved the world, or the source by which magic is powered, or whatever). If I were to put my fiction in public, I'd feel stripped bare in a way that relating even the most mortifying experience doesn't make me feel.

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