shadydave: (Default)
So I don't think there is any better feeling than wondering when a new Terry Pratchett book will appear, and then realizing it's ALREADY OUT. It's like Hogswatch Christmas come early!

You'll be all right as long as you have your potato. )
shadydave: (do not taunt the octopus)
So Diana and I just got back from the broadcast of the National Theater Live's Frankenstein, starring Sherlock vs. Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller!

...Was it just me, or did anyone else miss the part in the book where the monster gets vilely excoriated by the steampunk dance team?

You are the KING of SCIENCE! )

That aside, I really enjoyed it. Awesome acting, awesome staging, awesome adaptation (mostly).

(BUT WHY THE STEAMPUNK DANCE TEAM?????)
shadydave: (do not taunt the octopus)
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark gets new, far less pants-wettingly horrific illustrations

This makes me deeply sad, because as the article points out, the art pretty much MADE those books. And it's not like it was sprung on unsuspecting innocent children. If you couldn't look at this:



-- and determine, "Wow, maybe this book is full of SCARY STORIES and unnerving drawings by Stephen Gemmell!" then you deserved all those nightmares about skull baby things or horse skeletons or seriously how did anyone mistake this for chihuahua or dear God what is that thing or AAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHH for your poor comprehension skills.

(I have no idea if Gemmell tapped into some freaked out pocket of the collective unconscious, or he just became my (and apparently many others') standard for sheer visual horror, but I've always thought the scariest special effects (Dave McKean in MirrorMask, Spielburg's stuff from the 80s, anything vaguely ghosty by Peter Jackson) are the ones that looked the most like the illustrations from those damn books.)

I'm against banning books in general -- and these books have been subjected to that many times -- but in this case I think we're doing ~the children~ a genuine disservice by taking away their ability to discover the true depths of the horror genre. It's probably better to figure out for sure whether this stuff makes you either want to read more or hide under the bed at the age of 9, when it's under your control to read on, rather than encounter that dilemma during a chance encounter with accidental nightmare fuel in some otherwise innocuous work of fiction that you now cannot unsee. And the real world has much scarier things out there; we all have to learn to deal sometime. Keeping that choice away from some kid won't help them in the long run.

Also, it's kind of funny to look back and go "JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE THINGS."

And now I'm waiting for the day when Stephen Moffat hires this guy as a consultant. It will be glorious, and then I will never sleep again.

POR QUE

Oct. 21st, 2011 11:11 am
shadydave: (do not taunt the octopus)


AND THEN I GOT STOOD UP ANYWAY.

On the plus side, last weekend I went to NYComic Con with Courtney (I was femme!Eleven, she was the Black Canary: together, we FIGHT CRIME! And go to panels featuring Tamora Pierce), and this afternoon I'm heading down to Homecoming! Hopefully I will not arrive only to discover that William and Mary has shut down and completely vacated the premises, leaving only empty buildings and tourists.

Thirty Days of Genre

Day 6: Most Annoying Character )
shadydave: (peace out)
NY Magazine vs. The Killing Disease

(Haha, I like the alternate title in the URL.)

I'm always glad when people take on this trope, since just because Anyone Can Die doesn't mean anyone SHOULD die. Too often the wanton slaughter of main characters is used as a cheap way to achieve True Art Is Angsty and not as a legitimate storytelling decision with consequences and thematic relevance. (And even then, fridging someone isn't exactly a great artistic decision, either.) Just because it's depressing doesn't mean it's good! Any trope can be used for good or evil.

...And this concludes your irregularly scheduled tropebombing.
shadydave: (poisoning pigeons in the park)
Legend of Korra delayed to 2013

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY :(

(On the plus side, comics! Wherein everyone is happy to be back having adventures except Zuko and his epic eyeroll. Of course, he's never happy.)

Thirty Days of Genre

Day 5: Character you feel you are most like (or wish you were).

When I was eleven, on the first day of summer vacation between fifth and sixth grade, I tripped over a curb and broke my arm. Since I couldn't go swimming at the pool, my mom took me to the bookstore to buy me some new books to help occupy myself, and I stumbled across (literally, it was on a pile on the floor) Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce. It had everything I wanted in a book (awesome heroine! adventure!), and more (magic! camping! baby dragons!); even better, Daine (the aforementioned awesome heroine) had brown hair and blue-gray eyes just like me. Amazing! Granted, it was unlikely, but I too had a chance at becoming the protagonist of an epic fantasy series, despite not being a spunky youngster with red hair (or a blonde princess)! I devoured the rest of Pierce's books and eagerly awaited the conclusion of Daine's story, set to come out that winter, and incidentally sealed my fate in becoming a huge fantasy geek.

(Of course, in the last book 16-year-old Daine ends up hooking up with her teacher, which I identified waaaaaaaaaaaaay less with (DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME) and my love of Pierce's books cooled somewhat. Fortunately, I later discovered that all of Tolkien's coolest characters had dark hair and gray eyes. I mean, they don't have baby dragons, but you have to admit that the elves and the Numenoreans are kind of badass.)

That's just looks, of course. I didn't realize it at the time, because fish don't notice their water, but one of the reasons I enjoyed so happily the snark, battles of wits, bitching, and cheerful scorn heaped upon one another by characters in The Belgariad was that it basically reflected every one of my family gatherings ever. Because seriously, I would never make it through an epic quest without baiting my friends and complaining about the weather either.
shadydave: (...en fuego?)
Paradise Lost: The Movie

With Bradley Cooper. As Satan.

...

WHAT.

On the other hand, it doesn't sound like they'll be skimping on the fight scenes! At last, maybe we'll finally get to see why you should never bring a cannon to a mountain fight as God Satan BRADLEY COOPER WTF Milton intended.

Thirty Days of Genre

Day 4: Your guilty pleasure book.

You know, one of the good things about being an English major is that I can argue the merits of even utter crap quite convincingly, so clearly none of my favorite books are guilty pleasures. But for works I love despite, ah, certain flaws, I would probably have to pick The Belgariad by David Eddings (which hasn't aged well in certain spots, but generally makes up for it with SNARK APLENTY) or Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (which somehow manages to feature cardboard supporting characters, a wonky time line, a main character who is literally Boy-in-the-Iceberg!Katara ("I JUST HAVE ~SO MUCH HOPE~!"), and so many plot twists at the end that they start twisting for things that have absolutely no relation to the current plot (one word: PIRATE) -- and yet is still made of win.) Because Awesome can carry you a looooong way.

Off to the Philly Folk Fest this weekend!
shadydave: (do not taunt the octopus)
Wow, last week was busy. I had three goals: 1) finish two stories to submit to Machine of Death 2; 2) finish Diana's Slytherin scarf for HP 7.2; 3) finish Basara so I could give all 27 volumes back to Courtney. Naturally, I only accomplished one of these things (1). And then, on Thursday when I had a million things to do, I came down with bizarre chest congestion and general blah and have felt like a woeful Dickensian orphan all weekend.

But I did see HP 7.2 on opening night! I was underwhelmed. )

And then I drove up to Boston to see Courtney! On Saturday, we went to the MFA:

ME: ...Does that say "Cthulu"?
COURTNEY: I think it's the Chihuly exhibit.

TURNS OUT WE WERE BOTH RIGHT. Little did we know that for all appearances the world of glass-blowing is merely a cover for the Elder Gods to break through to our universe. I don't really know what else would explain the theme of extra-dimensional tentacles... )

On a similar note, adherents of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are now permitted to wear pasta strainers as religious headgear for driver's license photos in Austria.

Thirty Days of Genre

Day 3: A genre novel that is underrated.

(Look, they don't say thirty CONSECUTIVE days.)

I can't think of a specific book, but I can think of a specific author: Patricia McKillip. It seems that no one has anything bad to say against her, but she rarely gets brought up in discussions about classic fantasy novels, and I think she's one of the most consistently good authors in the genre. She's awesome at riffing on some of fantasy's most compelling themes -- the power of nature, music, and story-telling -- and using its most familiar tropes in new and interesting ways while never really repeating herself. She also has a beautiful dream-like style of writing AND a knack for creating likable characters. What's not to like?

Here, have some reviews of her stuff:

The Sorceress and the Cygnet/The Bell at Sealey Head

The Cygnet and the Firebird
shadydave: (peace out)
And thus began the Battle of the Rogue Rhododendron. )

In other news

- I got a new job! Well, technically, I got ANOTHER job. I get to review Shakespeare plays! Big Grandmother apparently does not approve:



- By way of Katherine: welcome to Oregon, where the beaches will fucking kill you.

- American Gods is being turned into a tv show!

Good: produced by HBO, Tom Hanks, and Neil himself, and will have an actual budget!

Weird: "six seasons, each [...] of 10-12, [sic] hour-long episodes". Sixty episodes? I don't think American Gods even has that many chapters.

- I'm going to see LotR: FotR: Extended Edition in theaters tonight!

Which leads us to:

Thirty Days of Genre

Day 2: Your Favorite Character

"I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend..."

<3 <3 <3 ~*~*~*~Faramir~*~*~*~ <3 <3 <3

It was hard to pick just one, but Faramir wins because he stands for a whole archetype of my favorite characters: the badass pragmatist who is nevertheless a (not-so-secret) idealist underneath. Whether they are staring down a Nazgûl, blowing up the Pegasus, or dropping a mountain on an invading demon army, my favorite characters cradle their honor close to their hearts. It's a lot easier to hit the bad guys with, that way.

(You can expect a lot of fist-shaking when I go see The Two Towers next week.)
shadydave: (rock on)
::blows dust off journal::

Have a meme!

30 Days of Genre

(I'm always kind of tickled when sff gets referred to as "genre". There should be a literary term for "co-opting a categorical title for one specific subcategory so you feel less inadequate". Personally, I feel like that a truly "genre" book would be a sff romance detective adventure. Which I would totally read.)

(...Actually, you could probably classify several of the Vorkosigan Saga books as sff romance detective adventures, so I HAVE totally read a genre book. You should too! They're awesome!)

Day 1: Your Very First Genre Novel

Calling on Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede (yes, I read the third one first. We were at the beach and I finished all my other books, so I stole it from mea soror). I was only in third grade, but I was already a big fan of both fairy tales AND fractured fairy tales (mainly due to Rocky and Bullwinkle). The lulz and bamf heroine just made it even better.

Runners up: The Belgariad, by David Eddings (first proper fantasy series, 5th grade), and Wild Magic, by Tamora Pierce (the book that actually hooked me on reading sff all the time, 6th grade).
shadydave: (peace out)
I was SUPPOSED to see the broadcast of Frankenstein today, but a CERTAIN NAMELESS SOMEONE (whose NAME rhymes with SCHMIRSTIN) OVERSLEPT, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS AFTER NOON, and we ended up being late. So we saw Jane Eyre instead.

My layabout sister said it best: it's a good movie and a decent adaptation. ) It wasn't my version of Jane Eyre, but it was a respectable showing nevertheless.
shadydave: (peace out)
Book Meme! )

First look at the eponymous Avatar: The Legend of Korra! She will punch you in the face with FIRE. )
shadydave: (rock on)
1) Disney Adapting Mort

Given that a) Mort was never my favorite Discworld book so I don't care if they change it, b) any standard Disney plot + Death = INSTANT HILARITY, c) they DID manage to make The Emperor's New Groove, clearly SOMEONE understands how bizarre and parodic humor works, and d) at least it will LOOK awesome, I AM SUPER EXCITED.

2) Star Wars: The Saga Continues... As an Actual Icelandic Saga

Star Wars! Old Norse! What more do you need.

3) Speaking of Star Wars: Vintage Star Wars Travel Posters!

4) Hipster Hitler

aka Godwin's Law: the Webcomic

"Goebbels, you deutschbag, this is Arial! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

(My favorite are his t-shirts.)

5) PTERODACTYL!

6) Now you, too, can be part of the culture of death!

"Machine of Death is an upcoming published anthology of short stories edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki !, inspired by this episode of Ryan’s Dinosaur Comics." Also featuring internet superstars like Randall Munroe and Kate Beaton and much, much more!

You can buy it on Amazon, or download it as a free e-book or podcast! More info here.
shadydave: (do not taunt the octopus)
Sitting in a Starbucks reading Crime and Punishment.

Daily Pretentiousness Quotient: Achieved.
shadydave: (peace out)
...I am so behind.

Howl's Moving Castle/The House of Many Ways, by Diana Wynne Jones )

The Oracle Glass, by Judith Merkle Riley )
shadydave: (do not taunt the octopus)
I leave for vacation in... five minutes!

A Murderous Procession, by Ariana Franklin )

Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett )

Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons )
shadydave: (peace out)
Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett )

The Demon's Covenant, by Sarah Rees Brennan )

Gwenhwyfar: the White Spirit, by Mercedes Lackey )
shadydave: (peace out)
Is there anything cooler than the Voynich Manuscript? I don't think so. It's a fifteenth- or sixteenth-century MS, author unknown, written in an unidentifiable language or code, with an unidentifiable alphabet. It seems to be addressing common medieval topics, like herbology and alchemy and astrology, except no one can recognize any of the plants, it doesn't use the universal alchemical symbols, and the star charts are mostly indecipherable.

The easiest solution would be to dismiss it as a hoax, except if so it's WAY more elaborate than all the other hoaxes of the time. Also, statistical analysis of characters/words show similar patterns to natural languages, way more than you'd find if it was made-up nonsense. If it's a code, it's been unbreakable for the past one hundred years.

XKCD has a theory, of course, but looking at the script...


That's not a translation, just the transcription used to put it in the Latin alphabet.

...I think the most likely explanation is that Tolkien found a time machine and decided to dick with all of us.
shadydave: (peace out)
Part 1 of 2. I read a lot of books in May. And then had a lot to say, apparently!

The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer )

Jenna Starborn, by Sharon Shinn )

The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett )

False Colours, by Georgette Heyer )

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