dolorosa_12: (epic internet)
So. Lots of stuff to get through this week, as my corner of the internet has been particularly full of people doing wonderful, clever and awesome things.

Rochita Loenen-Ruiz had a busy week. Here's Rochita on the uses of anger, her new short story, and being interviewed for Lightspeed magazine's author spotlight.

Catherine Lundoff has had so many submissions to her 'Older Women in SFF' recommendations post that she's had to split it into two. Part one, part two.

I really liked this review of Zen Cho's writing by Naomi Novik.

This review by Sarah Mesle of the most recent episode of Game of Thrones made a lot of points I've been struggling to articulate. Content note for discussion of violence, abuse and rape.

I really appreciated this thoughtful post by Tade Thompson on safety, community and dissent.

Natalie Luhrs makes some really important points here:

This is part of the ongoing conversation about the importance of different voices in our community. About making space for people who have been told–explicitly and implicitly–that what they have to say isn’t worthwhile and that they need to sit down and listen and that someday, maybe, they’ll be allowed to speak.

This list of Best Young Australian novelists looks great, and reflects the Australia that I grew up in. Congratulations to all the winners!

I have to admit that the #hometovote hashtag has been making me cry.

I wrote two longish posts this week. One is over at Wordpress: a review of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The other is here at Dreamwidth/LJ, and is a primer to Sophia McDougall's Romanitas trilogy.

My mother is a radio journalist. Her programme this week is on Eurovision, and you can listen to it here (not geoblocked). There are additional features . I am an unashamed Eurovision fan, and as you can see, it runs in the family.

Texts from Hieronymous Bosch made me laugh and laugh.

Happy Friday, everyone.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
This was initially going to be a comment on [personal profile] dhampyresa's blog, but it occurred to me that I spend way too much time bouncing around the internet, trying to convince people to read the Romanitas trilogy, and it would be nice to have one post about it that I can refer back to on later occasions. So consider this a rather flaily, incoherent primer.

It helps, I think, if you understand something about my tastes in stories. I will read or watch just about any iteration of story that engages with ideas of power, privilege and dispossession: who has power, and why, and who is dispossessed by that power, and why. But I need the stories to do something more: they need to place the blame for inequality and dispossession where it truly lies, on an institutional level, and on individuals within such institutions. The stories need to centre the dispossessed, although it's an added bonus if they consider the various ways in which power, empire and privilege corrupt and dehumanise those who benefit from them. And they need to show that the strength of the dispossessed lies in them finding common ground, making common cause, dismantling the systems that oppress them, supporting one another, carving out spaces in which they are able to safely assert their humanity.

It's for this reason that I keep returning to the Pagan Chronicles by Catherine Jinks, the works of John Marsden, Galax Arena by Gillian Rubinstein and the other powerful, formative books of my childhood. It's for this reason that shows like Pretty Little Liars, Orphan Black, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Orange Is The New Black have resonated so strongly with me. In various ways, they explore these vital ideas. Their characters are the dispossessed, whether they be Christian Arab squires thrown into exile by the Third Crusade (or the Cathar heretic daughter of said squires, traumatised by the politics of thirteenth-century Languedoc), teenage resistance fighters, children stolen off the streets to artificially extend the lives of the super-rich, bullied teenage girls, clones whose creators view them as patented scientific material, or the inhabitants of a women's prison. Over and over again such stories show their dispossessed central characters banding together, supporting one another, and insisting on their own autonomy and humanity in the face of those who refuse to acknowledge it.

This is the backdrop against which my love for the Romanitas trilogy should be understood.

Cut for non-detailed discussion of slavery, empire and colonialism )

I hope that helps at least in laying out the reasons why this series works for me. I love it. I hope that other people love it too.
dolorosa_12: (Default)
Day Thirteen: Favorite female character in a book

Noviana Una (Romanitas trilogy by Sophia McDougall)

Noviana Una makes me want to be a better, braver person. What she endures, what she achieves, and what she becomes are so inspiring to me that I struggle to find the words to describe it. Spoilers for the entire trilogy follow, so I've put them behind a cut.

Romanitas trilogy spoilers )

The other days )
dolorosa_12: (matilda)
I made a whirlwind trip to London on Friday, as I was attending a course on book conservation at this library. I really enjoyed it as it was hands-on, practical training. The organisers had damaged some books beforehand (all the librarians attending winced at this) and then taught us how to repair the various torn pages, broken spines and peeling covers. My favourite aspect of library work is the sense of making order out of chaos, of tidying things up into organised categories, so I think that book repair is going to suit me very well.

It was an interesting bunch of people attending - I'm used to courses at Cambridge, where everyone works in academic libraries, but everyone on this course worked at museums, cathedral libraries, stately homes and so on. I was the only one who didn't manage a special collection in some way, although one of the three libraries in which I work does have a large number of rare books.

I'd never been to Middle Temple before, but it's a pretty cool part of London, filled with odd little winding passageways and hidden old buildings. The library itself was very interesting, although there wasn't much time to explore it.

On Saturday morning I actually managed to have a Skype session with all of my four sisters. Mim, the oldest, was visiting our father, stepmother and other three sisters, and we had set up the session so that I could see Maud, the newest sister, in person. As it turned out, our other two sisters, Kitty and Nell, popped in and out of the conversation as well. Maud herself is super cute (although she looks disturbingly like a shrunken version of my dad), and it's a real shame that I'm not going to be able to see her in person until at least September next year. That Skype conversation was the first time all of my sisters and I have been 'in the same place' since Nell's baptism in 2008. This is, I suppose, one of the unavoidable side effects of being an immigrant.

There are a few fanworks and other pieces of writing making me very happy at the moment.

This short story by Rachel Swirsky retells the early parts of the Iliad from Iphigenia's point of view. This is exactly the kind of Iliad I like - one that's all about the women and their relationships, is filled with anger at what the men around them do to them, and doesn't paint Achilles in a good light. You should definitely read it, although be aware that it includes depictions of violence, murder and an extremely misogynistic society.

This story by [tumblr.com profile] notbecauseofvictories is basically the story I'm searching for every time I read: the interaction between human and non-human characters, in which each is overwhelmed and slightly unable to comprehend the other's nature. It's called 'Ten Things Gabriel Finds Fascinating About Humanity' and I highly recommend it.

There are some great Vividcon vids starting to emerge. My favourites so far are 'Bones' (Luther) by [personal profile] gwyn and 'Fembots' (multifandom) by [archiveofourown.org profile] Grammarwoman.

Also, I just noticed that someone finally wrote Romanitas fanfic, which makes me so unbelievably happy. It's by [archiveofourown.org profile] a_la_greque, and is Marcus-centric.

I hope you are all having marvellous weekends.
dolorosa_12: (flight of the conchords)
When I was a child and teenager, I consumed stories with an urgent, hungry intensity. I reread favourite books again and again until I could quote them verbatim,* I wandered around the garden pretending to be Snow White or Ariel from The Little Mermaid or Jessica Rabbit.** I had a pretty constant narrative running through my head the whole time I was awake, for the most part consisting of me being the character of a favourite story doing whatever activity I, Ronni, happened to be doing at the time. (No wonder I was a such a vague child: every activity required an extra layer of concentration in order for me to figure out why, say, the dinosaurs from The Land Before Time would be learning multiplication at a Canberra primary school.) The more I learnt about literary scholarship, the more insufferable I became, because I would talk at people about how 'URSULA LE GUIN WROTE A STORY WHERE EVERYTHING HAS A TRUE, SECRET NAME AND THEN ANOTHER USE-NAME AND ISN'T THAT AMAZING IN WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT IDENTITY?!?!' For the most part, I don't inhabit stories to the same extent, and they don't inhabit me to the same degree, although there are rare exceptions to this.

The rare exceptions tend to be things that sort of satisfy my soul in some deep and slightly subconscious way.*** And the funny thing is that although I can write lengthy essays explaining why something both appeals to me on this hungry, emotional level and is a good work of literature (indeed, I have been known to dedicate a whole blog to this), I can also remember a specific moment when reading/watching these texts and they suddenly became THE BEST THING EVER. I can remember exactly what it was for all of them.

The following is somewhat spoilerish for Romanitas, Sunshine by Robin McKinley, Galax-Arena by Gillian Rubinstein, The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, The Demon's Lexicon, The King's Peace by Jo Walton, Parkland by Victor Kelleher, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Robin Hood: Men in Tights,
Ten Things I Hate About You, Cirque du Soleil, Pagan's Crusade by Catherine Jinks and His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.


Probably a closer look at my subconscious than is comfortable )

Do you have moments like that?
____________
*Which led to a very awkward moment in Year 5 when our teacher was reading Hating Alison Ashley out loud to the class, but would skip bits from time to time - whereupon I would correct her.
**(whose appeal was less that she wasn't 'bad, just drawn that way' and more due to the fact that she wore an awesome dress)
***I've seen people describe fanfic like this as 'idfic', but for me this tends to be a phenomenon of professionally published fiction.
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: (Default)
My brain sometimes takes weird turns. Last week, Matthias and I went to London to see Robyn in concert (which was amazing) and it got me thinking about her music. Its power lies, I think, in taking the words that are used against the powerless and dispossessed and using them as weapons or armour. Her lyrics are so sharp they could cut you, but you kind of don't notice it until some time later. Anyway, what with the Robyn lyrics and the fact that my PhD thesis is basically about dispossession and the creation of history and identity and the realisation that, like everyone, I have certain literary tropes that are like catnip to me (in my case, motley families that are made, not necessarily born, taking their power back) I have come to the conclusion that I am all about the dispossession.

With that in mind, I decided to compile a (provisional) list of texts (that I love) with this trope. That is, stories about the dispossessed finding strength in their dispossession and reclaiming the power that was always theirs. I emphatically do not mean 'dispossessed' people using the tools of their oppressors to save the world - Campbellian heroes have no place here. If you're the rightful king, and you defeat the evil, false king and replace him, you're not really dispossessed, even if you grew up on an isolated farm. A benign monarchy is still a monarchy.

Was my Una icon ever more appropriate? )

What about you? Do you have texts that fit with this trope that you could recommend? Or do you have your own particular tropes which you want to read/watch again and again and again? Inquiring minds want to know.
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: (Default)
So, if you've been reading this blog at any point in the last, oh, nine years, you probably know that there are certain series of books that I adore and rave about constantly. And if I had to narrow the list down to 'the most life-changing books I have ever read', to the books I would take with me on a desert island, to the books I would carry around in order to keep myself sane in a post-apocalyptic scenario, I would name three series: the Pagan Chronicles by Catherine Jinks, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and Romanitas by [profile] sophiamcdougall. These series all came into my life at precisely the right time, and have affected, influenced and transformed me in various ways. I could read them again and again and again and still discover something new.

But what struck me this morning is how close I came to not reading any of them at all. The sheer crazy random happenstance that caused me to read all these series is completely ridiculous.

memory lane is full of strange twists and turns )
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: (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: (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.
dolorosa_12: (captain haddock)
So, you may know that I've been obsessing about a series of books, Romanitas by Sophia McDougall. A while ago, I set up a fan blog on Wordpress for the series in the hopes that it would cause other Romanitas fans to crawl out of the woodwork. Well, a few days ago, I met [livejournal.com profile] ansketil_rose, who is a fellow fan. After talking to [livejournal.com profile] ansketil_rose, it became apparent that a Romanitas comm on Livejournal would be an excellent idea.

So, without further ado, I am proud to announce [livejournal.com profile] romanitas_fans. I do hope I'll see some of you there soon!
dolorosa_12: (captain haddock)
So, you may know that I've been obsessing about a series of books, Romanitas by Sophia McDougall. A while ago, I set up a fan blog on Wordpress for the series in the hopes that it would cause other Romanitas fans to crawl out of the woodwork. Well, a few days ago, I met [livejournal.com profile] ansketil_rose, who is a fellow fan. After talking to [livejournal.com profile] ansketil_rose, it became apparent that a Romanitas comm on Livejournal would be an excellent idea.

So, without further ado, I am proud to announce [livejournal.com profile] romanitas_fans. I do hope I'll see some of you there soon!
dolorosa_12: (Default)
I've been writing epically recently, not only online, but also for my PhD. I'm now sitting on about 2000 words, which pleases me immensely. But today I'd like to show you some of my less academic writing.

First, here's my (supposedly) weekly Longvision post. It's about Christian symbolism and the character of Sulien, and it's the sort of thing I wish I could spend more time pondering.

I've got two posts on Geata Póeg na Déanainn. The first is just a general post about life in Cambridge this term - my regular update that sums up the Cambridge experience in a more formal way than I do on this blog. The second post is a review of Kate Elliott's Crossroads series. It might be slightly spoilery for the first two books. The focus is on Elliott's positive depiction of middle-class characters in a medieval world, which is something of a rarity in fantasy literature.

I've got a couple more links for you. First up, something I stumbled upon through [livejournal.com profile] metafandom. It's a rather interesting post pondering the appeal of the Twilight series, which, as you know, is something I ponder myself from time to time. I think you'll be interested in the conclusions the blogger reaches.

If you're not reading The Intern, a fantastically snarky look at the publishing world, you should be. Her recent post on author websites had me wondering whether to laugh or cry. As someone who has struggled recently trying to track down authors' publicity representatives in order to get review copies of books sent to me, let me reiterate The Intern's complaints: Authors! Fix your websites! Most importantly, include a link to your representatives at each of your publishing companies, with contact details! You would make this reviewer very grateful.

Check out John Scalzi's remarks on Fox 'News' and Obama. He's spot on as usual.

I discovered, via Justine Larbalestier's blog, the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] sarahtales (author Sarah Rees Brennan). She's got some very interesting things to say on the double standards readers tend to hold in relation to female characters. It's good food for thought.

That's probably enough for you to be going on with for now!

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