aethel: (books [by morebutterflys])
The list of books I actually finished reading in 2015 is so sad it's not worth posting. Here it is anyway:

1. Love in Infant Monkeys (professionally published RPF story collection, pretty good, I wasn't bowled over)
2. Free Amazons of Darkover (collection of badfic by various Darkover fans, published by MZB)
3. Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (really good history/analysis of zinester culture--note that it does NOT focus on sf/media fanzines)
4. The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (comic book by Gerard Way, it was great!)
5. Sandman, volume 1 by Neil Gaiman (amazing and intentionally disgusting, cannot decide if I want to read volume 2)
6. Ancillary Mercy (final book in an amazing trilogy everyone should read by Ann Leckie)
7. The Umbrella Academy: Dallas (sequel by Gerard Way)
8. Uprooted (standalone fantasy novel by Naomi Novik, so good!)

Of course, during the same period I read a ton of fanfic and recced some here.

New Year's resolution is to read all the unread books in my book case so I can finally get rid of them. I think that was last year's resolution, but this time I mean it! And I need to watch all my unwatched DVDs before I buy any more.
aethel: (books [by morebutterflys])
So basically I read nothing but fanfic in 2014:

The Christian Delusion
Dayworld - Philip Jose Farmer
Pyramids - Terry Pratchett
Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett
The Spell Sword - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Fortune's Pawn - Rachel Bach
Honor's Knight - Rachel Bach
Astonishing X-Men: Northstar
Revolting Librarians Redux
Ancillary Sword - Ann Leckie
aethel: (Default)
Finally accepting the fact that it's 2014, and I totally failed to read anything much beyond fanfic last year...

Lords and Ladies - Terry Pratchett
*The Hobbit - JRRT
**A Companion to Wolves - Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
The Planet Savers - Marion Zimmer Bradley
**Unspoken - Sarah Rees Brennan
Under The Banner of Heaven - Jon Krakauer
The Tempering of Men - Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
Hogfather - Terry Pratchett
World Without Stars - Poul Anderson
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History - Brian Fagan
*Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett
*Men at Arms - Terry Pratchett
*The Fifth Elephant - Terry Pratchett
Untold - Sarah Rees Brennan
***I Sold My Soul on Ebay - Hemant Mehta
**Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie

***So boring I'm not sure why I bothered to finish. I was definitely not the intended audience for this, though I don't know if the intended audience (Christian churchgoers) would want to read it either. Mehta visits churches of various denominations and reviews the program/sermon/mass/event/thingy. I found myself in the strange position of wanting to defend the churches against what was either genuine misplaced criticism or a rather passive aggressive argument for atheism. Mehta's claims about what would convince him are things that church does not provide. With evangelical Christianity at least, the point is to believe it despite, not because of, the evidence. And I guess in mainline Protestantism people believe it's a nice metaphor for something (instead of the gore-fest I remember reading). Intellectual rigor isn't the point, one of many reasons I don't waste everyone's time by going to church and writing a foregone conclusion book about how they failed to convert me, surprise ending! It was like shooting fish in a barrel. On the other hand, maybe some churched Christians truly don't understand why nonbelievers are unswayed by the church experience, and this book is actually news to them. Meanwhile, I still have years of unread birthday and Christmas presents sitting on my bookshelves that I could have cracked open, even the self?-published-by-a-friend-of-my-aunt one. (I still feel guilty about that one.) The problem with books as presents is that no one gives me sf or fantasy books or I would have read them all by now.

"Shooting fish in a barrel" was also how I felt about The Christian Delusion, which I didn't manage to finish in 2013. Everyone should go read A History of God by Karen Armstrong instead.

Maybe I've just watched too many atheist YouTube videos. It was validating at first, but then I thought, ugh, you jerks, those fish are in a BARREL, they can't exactly swim away. People believe it because they want to, just like they believe Sterek is a plausible interpretation of Teen Wolf, despite having actually watched the show.
aethel: (hope eats)
[personal profile] renay wrote a blog post on September 9, and I just discovered that the SF blogdom freaked out about it:

original post at Strange Horizons
Linkspam at Radish Reviews
Renay's comments at ladybusiness

Putting aside the horribleness, if you can, I was intrigued by this glimpse* into a modern-day fandom where the relationship between fans and creators is so different. And always has been, if all the navel-gazing by Isaac Asimov I've read is any indication.

Also, from what I've read of early Star Trek fandom, the fans initially assumed that media fandom would work the same way as sf book fandom.

*Yes, not my first glimpse, but I keep trying to forget. Like how the other day I was looking at an art book by Frank Kelly Freas, a famous sf illustrator, who listed "girls" as a category of science fiction illustration. Uh, no, they exist in real life!! But are usually wearing more clothes!!! I mean, he was married to a woman and everything; he had no excuse not to notice.
aethel: (books [by morebutterflys])
So if A Company of Wolves is a deconstruction of the human-animal soulbond genre (tell me where the undeconstructed novels in this genre are so I can read them!), then Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan is a deconstruction of Touch Not The Cat by Mary Stewart. Because being telepathically bonded to a total stranger since birth is not as romantic as it sounds.

(You've all read Touch Not the Cat, right? It wasn't just me? It's one of those books nobody talks about, at least not in my presence.)

Fortunately, Unspoken didn't have any graphic gang rape scenes, since it's a YA novel. Unfortunately, it ended on a cliffhanger. Book 2 better be coming out soon.
aethel: (stiles reading [by circa77])
A few weeks ago I tried to order The Company of Wolves (film) through interlibrary loan, but stumbled on A Companion to Wolves (novel) instead. Why I hadn't heard of this novel before is beyond my comprehension. If this book were fanfic, it would come attached with a giant warning label for Certain Scenes, but otherwise it has everything I could ask for in a novel: pseudo-Norse fantasy setting, camping trips in the Arctic, war with trolls, matriarchal elves, almost-telepathic communion and soulbonding with wolves, homosocial pack bonding time, gay sex, gender stuff, and ending on a positive note with an unexpected (because I couldn't keep track of anybody's names) potential polyamorous love V or triad with the protagonist and his two Viking warrior types. Unfortunately, there's this awkward bit in the middle that reminded me of the dragon mating in Dragonflight, but instead of a nice fade-to-black, I got treated to a GANG RAPE OF A TEENAGED BOY. Technically, the scene was sex-pollen-induced Traditional Wolf Mating Ritual Group Sex, but it was written from the point of view of the boy, and he did not want to be there. Although they had only fantasy medieval technology, they could have locked up everyone who was affected by the wolf pheromones, but nooooo, This Is How It Has Always Been Done What Do You Mean Your Anus Is Bleeding Ulffred Liked It When We Did It To Him Last Week.... Maybe that's why I didn't read this book before.
aethel: (K/S cave story)
20 years out of date, but some of the issues discussed are, alas, still with us. One article reminded me a little of the controversy with University of Iowa's zine archives. From "The Archivist's Balancing Act: Helping Researchers While Protecting Individual Privacy" by Judith Schwarz:
Amid the complex motives of donors, there is often a desire to establish a favorable historical image of the record-creating institution, family, or person. That desire can lead to a destruction of some materials before any are donated and to restrictions on access to what is saved. A second activity is research, and one motive of researchers is the desire to examine all the documents that may bear on their topics. A third activity is collecting materials that document the history of a region, profession, social class, movement, or racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual community. The motives of collectors often include the desire to affirm the documented group's identity and to convince others of its legitimacy by enshrining its particular past.

The writer later describes an incident with a collection of the papers of the Daughters of Bilitis that had been rescued from someone's basement:
A woman who had written one or two letters in the early 1960s to DOB found out that the collection had been given to us and wrote a passionately angry letter, demanding that we destroy the entire collection. She argued that by preserving the letters without individual permission from each writer, we would cause great psychic distress and possibly even physical harm to the women involved.... Her sense of stigma and self-hatred was enormous in the beginning, causing us untold hours of anguished labor and concern. Yet an archivist of any minority despised by the society at large must be willing to work with people uneasy about the records they have created before their history is destroyed. The donor is not the enemy. She is a victim of the situation that gives us reason to exist -- the devaluing of human lives.

Not to suggest that fans are a persecuted minority. Just, there's nothing new under the sun.
aethel: (stiles reading [by circa77])
New X-Men v.1-2 - Grant Morrison
The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews - Saul Friedlander
When Memory Comes - Saul Friedlander
Red Planet - Robert A. Heinlein*
Astonishing X-men: Exogenetic
The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted - Harry Harrison
The Vegetarian Myth - Lierre Keith
Astonishing X-Men: Children of the Brood
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga
New X-Men: Assault on Weapon Plus (139-145)
Magneto: Testament
Jeeves and the Tie that Binds - P.G. Wodehouse
Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell
Gay New York - George Chauncey
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
The Truth - Terry Pratchett
Crucible of Gold - Naomi Novik
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
X-Men: Monstrous
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
Gone for Good - Harlen Coben

I have plans for 2013 that involve a lot more reading of published fiction than in 2012, but then I probably said that last year....

*TRIPEDAL MARTIANS!!! Old-school sf tropes are so cute.
aethel: (geoffrey tennant's method)

Night Watch - Terry Pratchett
Guards, Guards - Terry Pratchett (reread)
Victory of Eagles - Naomi Novik
Dragonsong - Anne McCaffrey (reread)
Inside the TARDIS: the worlds of Doctor Who - James Chapman
Ouran High School Host Club, volume 1
Good Omens - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (reread)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling (reread)
Men at Arms - Terry Pratchett (reread)
The Last of the Wine - Mary Renault
Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett (reread)
Spock's World - Diane Duane
Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide - Andrea Smith
Asimov on Science Fiction - Isaac Asimov
Science Fiction Culture - Camille Bacon-Smith
The Demon's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan
A Mind To Murder - P.D. James
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor - Stephanie Barron
Tough Cookie - Diane Mott Davidson
In the Frame - Dick Francis
Watchmen - Alan Moore and David Gibson
Killing Time - Della Van Hise
Master and Commander - Patrick O'Brian
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle

fanfic (novella and novel-length)

Get Loved, Make More, Try to Stay Alive by Dira Sudis. Torchwood.
A Matter of Time by Demotu. Torchwood.
The Theory of Two Centres by Copperbadge. Torchwood.
The Doctor and Mr. Jones by Copperbadge. Torchwood.
What Lies Within by x-tricks. Torchwood.
Pocket Watch Boy. Torchwood.
The Windhovers by sarcasticchick. Torchwood.
Drastically Redefining Protocol by Rageprufrock. Merlin.
Unintended by cim. Star Trek TOS.
Breaking Points by ragdoll. Star Trek Reboot.
Anima by j s cavalcante. Due South.
You'll Get There in the End (It Just Takes a While) by seperis. Star Trek Reboot.
Break by yahtzee. Star Trek Reboot.
We Reach Our Apogee Slowly by [ profile] kowaiyoukai. Star Trek Reboot WIP.
Four Minor Interludes for the Solo Violin by [ profile] katieforsythe. Sherlock Holmes.
Cauldron: a love story by [ profile] katieforsythe. Sherlock Holmes.
So Wise We Grow by captanddeastar. Star Trek Reboot kidfic.
We're a Storm in Somebody Else's Teacup by paperclipbitch. Merlin AU.
Forget Me Not by maisierita. Stargate Atlantis.


Oct. 16th, 2009 11:56 am
aethel: (fraser oh dear)
It snowed this morning, but then melted.

Have just read Diane Mott Davidson mystery. Fiction is dead.
aethel: (xena/gabrielle gazing)
I was editing the sf article on the Fanlore wiki today when the site went down. I don't know what to do with myself now. I've been searching for a citation to back up my impression that use of the term "speculative fiction" is an attempt on the part of writers, born out of snobbery and/or embarrassment, to distance themselves from the unfortunate stereotypes surrounding "science fiction." The motive seems obvious to me, but I can't find anything written on this subject.

I finally read Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide by Andrea Smith, a book that was reccommended by everyone and their sister on lj a few months/years back. I can join in the chorus of yeays now: this book is well-written, easy to understand, and comprehensive. Smith covers issues that I'd heard of before--assaults on reproductive rights of minority women (stealth historectomies, oh my god), abusive boarding schools forced on Native peoples in the U.S. and Canada, and the problem with relying on the criminal justice system to combat domestic violence in minority communities--as well as issues I hadn't (but should have) thought were related--how environmentalism is connected to fears about "overpopulation" and population control movements and how these movements are inherently racist:
ton of quotes )

In other news, I somehow gave myself whiplash while sitting in bed the other night. At first I thought I had meningitis, but, really, no.
aethel: (cloud)
I've spent the last few days reading Terry Pratchett novels*, going for walks in the snow, and engaging in strategic maneuvers to wrest control of the one networked computer here in order to read a story rec'd on [ profile] crack_van: Get Loved, Make More, Try to Stay Alive by Dira Sudis. (Getting up before noon usually works.) I failed to notice that the aforementioned fanfic was a 66,000-word MPREG novel until I was hopelessly entangled in the plot and felt compelled to see it through to the bitter end. I was prepared to be very angry if the end was bitter--I'd shed enough tears over the bitter middle--but I can now recommend this story with a clean conscience. Jack/Ianto MPREG time travel kidfic epics aren't as cheesy as you would think!

*I've never met a Pratchett novel I didn't like, but I'd recommend Guards, Guards! (what I'm reading now) or Night Watch (what I just finished reading).
aethel: (fraser oh dear)
January - July

Njal's Saga
A Short History of Canada - Desmond Morton
The Last Imaginary Place: A Human History of the Arctic World - Robert McGhee
Canada 2007 - Wayne C. Thompson
Elves, Trolls and Elemental Beings: Icelandic Folktales II - trans. Alan Boucher
Like the Sound of a Drum: Aboriginal Cultural Politics in Denendeh and Nunavut - Peter Kulchyski
Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik
Gifts - Ursula K. Le Guin
Voices - Ursula K. Le Guin
Jingo - Terry Pratchett

Evolution for Everyone - David Sloan Wilson
Changing Planes - Ursula K. Le Guin

September - December

Guns, Germs, and Steel - Jared Diamond
The Fellowship of the Ring - JRRT
Why I Hate Canadians - Will Ferguson
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett
Soul Music - Terry Pratchett
aethel: (cloud)
I was going to watch another Canadian movie tonight, but everyone (and by "everyone" I mean my brother) has been nagging me about catching up on Battlestar Galactica, so I guess I'm watching that instead.

While my ice tea is cooling off in the freezer, I'll say a few words about a Canadian book I (finally) finished reading: the much anticipated (by me) Like the Sound of a Drum: Aboriginal Cultural Politics in Denendeh and Nunavut by Peter Kulchyski. The book's main focus is on Dene and Inuit communities' attempts to get local control over government institutions as a way to prevent the extinction of their cultures. The author discusses how the structure of Western-style government itself is assimilating Native cultures. His most interesting (and horrifying) point is that the Canadian government has claimed that Natives are not "ready" for self-government simply because it does not recognize or value Native democratic forms; in the eyes of the government, they will only be ready when they become like white people, and then, of course, it will be too late.

Now, from the title, you'd think it was a dry academic work that quotes Derrida extensively. And you'd be partially right. However, not only does the book quote Geertz, Marx, and (more importantly) Inuit and Dene elders, but it also contains numerous personal anecdotes and long lyrical passages of outrage at the situation that Native people find themselves in at the present:
...the work of the conquest is being completed here and now. By our generation. It is our descendants, a hundred years from now, who will protest that they were not there when land claims were being negotiated, when Aboriginal rights were distorted beyond recognition, when the final acts of the great historical drama of conquest were performed. You who remain silent while this injustice continues, you are responsible. Here. And now. But then again, so am I. (3)

In the midst of that dark time the feeble stirring of a fresh sun over a frozen sea held within it a promise that the long warm bright days of summer would be returning ... a promise like a pulse like an echo like a call like a sound like the sound of a drum. (280)

The next Shakespeare he is not, but the shifts in style held my attention longer than 280 pages of theory on "modes of production" and the "totalizing power of the State," or 280 pages of minutes from meetings in which Dene discussed how to change the band council system to foster self-government. The book gives us a little bit of everything.

However, Like the Sound of a Drum is overkill if your questions are anything like mine were:
  • What is Denendeh? (Dene name for Northwest Territories)
  • Who are the Dene? (a collection of related sub-Arctic Indians/Natives/First Nation peoples)
  • Why are the Inuit not covered by Canada's Indian Act? (Their lands were outside of Canadian territory at the time.)
  • How does the establishment of Nunavut as a separate territory help the Inuit get self-government? (They represent the majority of Nunavut's population.)

But you probably didn't have those questions. Your question was more along the lines of "Why did [ profile] aethel buy an anthropology book on the political conditions of a people whose name she couldn't even pronounce?"
aethel: (geoffrey tennant's method)
In an alternate universe I would have posted lucid and illuminating reviews of every book I read this year. Perhaps next year the reviews will be posted in this universe.
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory McGuire
Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik
Black Powder War - Naomi Novik
A Brief History of Canada - Richard Riendeau
No Man's River - Farley Mowat
Never Cry Wolf - Farley Mowat
The Farthest Shore - Ursula K. Le Guin
Tehanu - Ursula K. Le Guin
Tales from Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin
Canadian Television Programming Made for the United States Market - Marsha Ann Tate
The Other Wind - Ursula K. Le Guin
Tipping the Velvet - Sarah Waters
Titus Andronicus - William Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling (reread)
Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
Macbeth - William Shakespeare
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
Girl, Interrupted
The Tempest - William Shakespeare
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik (reread)
The Highest Tide - Jim Lynch
Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett
King Lear - William Shakespeare (Quarto version)
Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg
Guards! Guards! - Terry Pratchett
Men At Arms - Terry Pratchett
Nationalism and the Politics of Culture in Quebec - Richard Handler
The Gnostic Gospels - Elaine Pagels
Lies, Legends, and Cherished Myths of World History
The Fifth Elephant - Terry Pratchett
Maskerade - Terry Pratchett
Le Petit Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (reread)
aethel: (cloud)
Sunday I finally finished reading the Canadian propaganda sleep-aid that I checked out from the library a month ago: A Brief History of Canada, written by some French Canadian dude for Facts on File. While reading it, I perfected the fine art of sleeping with my eyes open, so I didn't get much out of it except:

1. The author spends a lot of ink insisting that Canada is NOTHING WHATSOEVER LIKE THE U.S., all while describing events that mirror what I learned in American history class.

2. The Canadian government, at least, is nothing like the U.S. For one thing, it appears that the prime minister can call an election whenever the hell he feels like it.

3. I don't know who the readership was supposed to be, but this book certainly wasn't written for me. The author tossed around those political terms that I hear on the BBC and that MAKE NO SENSE when the only government structure I'm familiar with is the American one. So the prime minister is just the party leader for the party that got more seats in Parliament? And the other politicians can replace him if they decide they don't like him? Minority government? Majority government?? Official Opposition???
aethel: (cloud)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Interesting Times - Terry Pratchett
*Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
Wyrd Sisters - Pratchett
Witches Abroad - Pratchett
The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fford
Eirik the Red's Saga and The Saga of the Greenlanders
Reaper Man - Pratchett
The Male Body - Susan Bordo
Never Let Me Go - Ishiguro
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe - Carson McCullers
Death in Venice - Thomas Mann
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
The Fellowship of the Ring - You Know Who
The Ancient Greeks: a Critical History - John Fine
*Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet
*Fire from Heaven - Mary Renault
*Extra(Ordinary) People - Joanna Russ
Woman on the Edge of Time - Marge Piercy
Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton
The Ponder Heart - Eudora Welty

Books aborted:
The Old Testament
Bleak House
The Well of Lost Plots

*books most awesome

Fic recs

Oct. 29th, 2006 06:43 pm
aethel: (cloud)
What I've been reading:

The Best Part of Breaking Up. Barbie slash. Character development takes into account the fact that everyone in this story is an anatomically incorrect doll.

Missed the Saturday Dance by Zoetrope. Multimedia SGA WWII Sheppard/McKay AU presented as an archive of found objects. The graphics are excellent, the video and audio "trailers" are awesome, and the text is pretty good. The plot of the story didn't quite live up to the drama promised by the trailers, but that's showbiz, I guess.

Close Encounters by [ profile] amireal, and its sequel, All Brand New by [ profile] seperis. SGA. Sheppard/McKay fluff.

Twenty-four Hours with a Rodneysaur. SGA gen crackfic.

Broadcast Signal by [ profile] seperis. SGA Sheppard/McKay crackporn.

I would like to find more McKay/Zelenka, but at this point, every time I look at a fic, I spoil myself for season 3. So I started reading the King James version of the Bible instead. Better than crackfic, in a way--rainbows, talking donkeys, and spontaneous human combustion. Did you know that God is actually a unicorn, and that he will gore you to death with his unicorn's horn? I wonder if that's a mistranslation.
aethel: (cloud)
On Sunday, instead of running all over Salem and missing half of every panel, I decided to sit in one place and let the programming come to me....

"The Lure of the Dark Side: Explaining Villains Through Fanfiction" presented by Kavita Mudan
more )

"Challenging Morality: Fanfiction as Community Dialectic" presented by Heather Mitchell
more )

"Fanfiction Imagines Snape's Sexual Past: Transgression, Titillation and Triumph" presented by Meghan Mercier
more )

"Don't Send a Boy to Do a Man's Job: Hermione Granger, Severus Snape, and Their Unlikely Pairing in Fanfiction" presented by Kay Albright
more )

"Deactivating the Moral Compass: Rowling's Place in a Post-C.S. Lewis World" roundtable
at least read this one )


Then I had to go to a friend's wedding, so I missed the rest of Sunday's programming. After I drove back to my parents' house, I was so exhausted I started crying.

"Oh, are you depressed about losing your friend?" asked my mother.

"No, I'm depressed about missing the Hallowe'en Ball!" I sniffled.

But, seriously, I do like my friend.
aethel: (cloud)
I'm branching out; instead of spending too much time reading Harry/Draco fanfic, I'm spending too much time reading other HP pairings. I'm also reading some nonfiction and may eventually read original fiction again some day. I feel accomplished.

These are good:

Night-blooming Heartsease by Julad. Snape/Neville. R?

A Soft Spot for Lost Causes by [ profile] helenish. Draco/Ron. NC-17.

Close Enough by [ profile] helenish. Harry/Ron. NC-17.

This is not good:

Seduction of the Innocent. a book published in 1953 by some quack psychiatrist who thinks Wonder Woman is a "phallic woman" who discourages girls from becoming passive, demure heterosexuals. I was hoping the book would have parody value, but it just put me to sleep.


aethel: (Default)
æthel the aardvark

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