communi_kate: (monkey)
There's got to be a story in this somewhere...
The Weirdest Crime In History, over at io9
My favorite comment is the photo of the Laughing Cavalier. Haters gonna hate, indeed.
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So Marie Brennan wrote fanfiction for Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist Histories series. It's great fic, with a smutty edge and a teasing relationship between the partners that is one of my favorite parts of actual relationships but seems sadly lacking in most fictional affairs (roses! moonlight! angst! but no washing of dishes or snarking about tv). Link to fic on Archive of Our Own.
A Classical Education on AO3
So then Mary Robinette Kowal wrote reciprocal fic for Marie Brennan's Natural History of Dragons series. It's not smutty, but it is epic. I think it's supposed to be a nod to Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, but seeing as I have no feckin' idea what that is, I'll just say it's well worth a read.
A Study In Serpents on AO3

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 So, turns out I've not been posting recently. Reason is, I've been working on an epic novel-length fic. (and starting my own business, and moving about twelve thousand miles, again, but that's another story) This is pretty much the first long fic I've finished entirely before posting (I'm usually much more of an instalment writer) and it's been really fun, but it's taken me over six months, and that's not including, edits, or beta reading. I'll post the fic on the journal, and AO3 at the end of the month.

Epics are great-The Dark Tower series, Lord of the Rings, and the 2014 MotoGP season are some of my favourites. What's your favourite epic and why?
communi_kate: (Default)

So like nearly everyone else on the Internet, I spend the weekend watching Mad Max, and I still haven't shaken the urge to weld spikes on my VW Polo.
Anyway, like most other people on the Internet, I loved the movie. Who wouldn't? A feminist apocalyptic fantasy set in the desert with cool cars! The plot's similar to my favorite Mad Max movie, the second one (Road Warrior). Charlize Theron is AWESOME. I cannot emphasize this enough. And there's a whole matriarchy of motorcycle wearing grannies and holy shit I think I just found my post-apocalyptic occupation. So here we come to the real purpose of this post: if you've seen the movie too and you're geeking out these two links are REALLY sweet:

Wives, Warlords and Refugees: The People Economy of Mad Max, on Kameron Hurley (yes, that Kameron Hurley, the one who wrote 'We Have Always Fought') 's blog.Thought-provoking and apt, Hurley's blog is always worth a read.

Welcome to Your Steampunk Future (Sorry There's No Water But We Did Put Skulls On Everything) by Mallory on the Toast. The Toast is feminist and fucking hilarious. The comments aren't the best bit, but they're close.

oh and I wrote fic...

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 Book review: Among Others, by Jo Walton

Among Others is a beautiful book.
It's one of those books that you imagine the author has written just for you, and it struck so many chords with me in so many ways.

The book's protagonist, Mori, has just saved the world from her evil mother's magic. Her twin has been killed while doing so, and Mori herself is badly injured. Sent to a boarding school where she makes few friends, she joins a local book group and talks to fairies, all the while devouring authors such as LeGuin, Zelazny and Tolkien. Mori is Welsh, from the valleys, and she tells us that fairies particularly favor places where humans have been , and where they aren't any more-places like abandoned tramways, old buildings, and industrial relics. 

It's true that magic is not the main focus of the book. But the strength of Among Others is that it conveys quite perfectly what it means to be a lonely bookish child (full disclosure; I am a twin and was once a weird, bookish child) quite desperate for escape. I especially loved the passage where Mori quotes Psalm 121 'I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where comes my help."'

We grew up, my sister and I, on the edge of Nottingham in an area rich in post-industrial wastelands- -abandoned railway tracks, flooded gravel pits, and the grounds of stately homes that had long since been turned over to the state. Our family's escape route was always Derbyshire and the Dark Peak, our countryside peat-covered fells, our skies grey. We spent our weekends fell walking, and we holidayed in Scotland, the Pennines, the Lakes and once we got older, the Pyrenees.The hills have always been my help.

I have spent the last few years living near my man's family in Suffolk, where the fairies must have a far easier time than they ever did in Nottingham. I now live in the far south of New Zealand, though my twin still lives and works in the Midlands.We spend a lot of time in the mountains. 

We will return at some point. I love it here, but it is a long way away, and Among Others brought me a little closer to home.

But there are so many mountains here.

And they are all so beautiful.


communi_kate: (monkey)
 The Toast writes a glorious mashup of Redwall and Game of Thrones here

 A sample: "Even the strongest and bravest must sometimes weep. It shows they have a great heart, one that can feel compassion for others. You are brave, Matthias. Already you have done great things for one so young. I am only a simple country-bred fieldmouse, but even I can see the courage and leadership in you. A burning brand shows the way, and each day your flame grows brighter. There is none like you, Matthias. You have the sign of greatness upon you. One day Redwall and all the land will be indebted to you. Matthias, you are a true Warrior.
Matthias, your entire family is dead and your lands have been burned and salted by Northern bannerman and also I’m betraying you and I’m going to use your skin to make a bagpipe and I’m going to play rude songs about your dead father on that bagpipe and then I’m going to set you and your pregnant wife on fire, Matthias."

communi_kate: (monkey)
 Medieval merriment from the wonderful Toast. A critique of medieval maps, this article is part of the excellent Two Monks series. One monk is supremely confident about all things despite never travelling further than his own closet. His colleague is an incredibly gullible artist. Together, they invent various styles of crazy historical art. 

Because how do you know the lions there aren't giants? Really?

And all of Asia is mostly just one enormous castle...

game recs

Apr. 18th, 2014 04:12 pm
communi_kate: (Default)
  I finished Black Flag. 

I found it one of the more satisfying AC endings (and one of the more satisfying AC games). AC1 will have a permanent place in my heart (OH MALIK), much like FF8 or Mass Effect. The visuals on Black Flag were astounding and as our current TV is outdated and crap I appreciated that the majority of the action took place on bright sunshiny islands rather than gloomy dungeons ( I had to play the final Observatory jaunt with reference to a video as in many places I simply couldn't see what I was meant to jump towards).

I also appreciated that the main motive was MONEY and a better life as in real life most people I know do things for money and a better life rather than vengeful quests of epicness.   Not that vengeful quests of epicness don't have their place (and maybe they were more common in the old days) but money and a better life is a cause that I can really get behind. I guess that makes me an unrepentant capitalist but  I have a soft spot in my heart for people whose goal is to sit on sunny beaches swigging rum out of the bottle.

Plus, Adewale is hot. 

So I'm considering my next game and as the release of Dragon Age Inquisition and Assassin's Creed: Guillotine Edition are still some months away I'm wondering what to play next. The Last of Us got great reviews but isn't out on the 360. Bioshock Infinite looks beautiful and is well reviewed but the first Bioshock freaked me out enough with its dark rooms filling with water that I haven't tried the franchise since. The last instalment of Grand Theft Auto got good reviews but I've never played a GTO before and I don't know if I want to murder hookers in my spare time.

 I could just replay Mass Effect with a kickass female Shepard, but it'd be the third time.

I like historical games with good characters and interesting stories. Two out of those three would be good. Great visuals are a plus but not essential. I get enough of grit at work and prefer escapism, but don't want a game filled with fluff. I  used to play a lot of Final Fantasy but the series jumped the shark for me around X-2. Devil May Cry annoys me, I tried the Personas but just couldn't hack the annoying schoolkids, and Shadow Hearts: From the New World lost me at Shania's transformation. I'd like to try KOTOR or Jade Empire but my chances of getting a copy down here are close to zero. I need something I can pick up in a large department store. 

So you tell me. What should I play? 

communi_kate: (monkey)
 So I just finished watching the Joe Wright/Tom Stoppard 2013 film of Anna Karenina.

My first thought?


The visuals are beautiful (even if the pseudo-stage-performance conceit made S switch off completely) but if only here had been more spaceships and less steamtrains the movie could quite easily have been Barrayar brought to life. 
communi_kate: (monkey)
 A very interesting and well written article here by Sarah Rees Brennan on fanfiction and its effect on her subsequent writing career. I like Rees Brennan's books a lot.  I also like fanfiction a lot. And I ALSO enjoy writing original fiction, which I do not normally post here specifically because I don't want my original works (aka 'stuff I might one day wish to show to my mother' ) associated with my fanfiction (aka 'disturbing pirate slash fic my mother would be horrified by or maybe not because I really don't want to bring up the subject with her and anyway, who's for tea')

Now back to my slash, which has decided it is apparently Not Slash. Oh well. This is why I write gen. 

(The worst thing about fan fiction, as far as I am concerned, is that it takes time away from my original works)
communi_kate: (Default)
I can't be the only person who keeps misspelling 'Shatterdome' as 'Thunderdome' while writing Pacific Rim fan fiction. Must..resist..writing..crossover!
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Being ye First impressions of 'Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag', a Game of Pyrates, Robbers, and Villains.

Ahoy, ye Mateys? Here be Spoilers! )
communi_kate: (monkey)
 "Tolkien, when I encountered him in my teens, was a true genius, but his England was not mine."

...Fragano Ledgister, Making Light.
communi_kate: (monkey)
Things That Need To Happen: AC4/Captain Pugwash crossover.

Note for Americans and non-Brits: Captain Pugwash was a delightfully cracky UK eighties' kids TV programme about pirates in the eighties. There's a persistent urban legend about crew members named Master Bates, Seaman Stains, and Roger the cabin boy that didn't actually exist, but which any twenty-or thirty-something will remember. Captain Pugwash is on Wikipedia!  A Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists crossover would also be appreciated. Hopefully there will be a crossover meme somewhere once the game comes out.

Also, AC4/POTC fic, 'A Thing About That Thing' by manic_intent on AO3. Another thing there needs to be more of.
communi_kate: (monkey)
..and now I am excited for the new AC game. IT LOOKS LIKE A PLAYABLE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.Watch Blackbeard have a total mancrush on Edward Kenway here
I hope there is a mention of scurvy somewhere. I'll be disappointed if they don't have one seeing as the first proof of citrus fruit as a cure for scurvy was in 1753 and the game is set 'in the early eighteenth century'.


Jun. 23rd, 2013 01:29 am
communi_kate: (Default)
How to Make Me Not Read Your Fantasy Novel

1/Make the first female character in the book a slaughtered nun 'ripped open from neck to cervix'

2/Have the second female character be a prostitute.

While I'm at it, anyone who hasn't yet heard of the ongoing SFWA shenanigans regarding Theodore Beale/Vox Day's racist, sexist and all around WTF?response to NK Jemison's Guest of Honour speech at Continuuum should go read Amal El Mohtar's blog post 'Calling For the Expulsion of Theodore Beale from SFWA' here. And Jemison's graceful response here.

I am not and never will be eligible for SFWA membership, but the thought that 10% of SFWA voted for Beale in the recent presidential elections makes me feel ashamed for fandom as a whole.

Be warned: the rant it will make you feel dirty. But one must know her enemy, after all.
communi_kate: (Default)
Until moving to New Zealand, we spent a year living in the heartland of the Iceni tribe, within easy walking distance of a a Roman camp, a Bronze Age tumulus and an Anglo-Saxon village. This gave me the idea to write a short story based around the Iceni mythology, which in turn led to the reading of a lot of Celtic history and folklore. It's fascinating:five parts conjecture to four parts of Victorian romanticism. 

And so I found 'The Book of Taliesin,' a collection of Welsh poetry that's at least seven hundred years too late to be relevant to the period that I'm researching but which I remembered from its inclusion in several of Alan Garner's novels. They're all atmospheric, but the 'Raid on the Otherworld' gets my vote for best poem.

"I will praise the sovereign, supreme king of the land,
Who hath extended his dominion over the shore of the world.
Complete was the prison of Gweir in Caer Sidi,
Through the spite of Pwyll and Pryderi.
No one before him went into it.
The heavy blue chain held the faithful youth,
And before the spoils of Annwvn woefully he sings,
And till doom shall continue a bard of prayer.
Thrice enough to fill Prydwen, we went into it;
Except seven, none returned from Caer Sidi.

Am I not a candidate for fame, if a song is heard?
In Caer Pedryvan, four its revolutions;
In the first word from the cauldron when spoken,
From the breath of nine maidens it was gently warmed.
Is it not the cauldron of the chief of Annwvn? What is its intention?
A ridge about its edge and pearls.
It will not boil the food of a coward, that has not been sworn,
A sword bright gleaming to him was raised,
And in the hand of Lleminawg it was left.
And before the door of the gate of Uffern the lamp was burning.
And when we went with Arthur, a splendid labour,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Vedwyd.

Am I not a candidate for fame with the listened song
In Caer Pedryvan, in the isle of the strong door?
The twilight and pitchy darkness were mixed together.
Bright wine their liquor before their retinue.
Thrice enough to fill Prydwen we went on the sea,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Rigor.

I shall not deserve much from the ruler of literature,
Beyond Caer Wydyr they saw not the prowess of Arthur.
Three score Canhwr stood on the wall,
Difficult was a conversation with its sentinel.
Thrice enough to fill Prydwen there went with Arthur,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Golud.

I shall not deserve much from those with long shields.
They know not what day, who the causer,
What hour in the serene day Cwy was born.
Who caused that he should not go to the dales of Devwy.
They know not the brindled ox, thick his head-band.
Seven score knobs in his collar.
And when we went with Arthur, of anxious memory,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Vandwy.

I shall not deserve much from those of loose bias,
They know not what day the chief was caused.
What hour in the serene day the owner was born.
What animal they keep, silver its head.
When we went with Arthur of anxious contention,
Except seven, none returned from Caer Ochren.

Monks congregate like dogs in a kennel,
From contact with their superiors they acquire knowledge,
Is one the course of the wind, is one the water of the sea?
Is one the spark of the fire, of unrestrainable tumult?
Monks congregate like wolves,
From contact with their superiors they acquire knowledge.
They know not when the deep night and dawn divide.
Nor what is the course of the wind, or who agitates it,
In what place it dies away, on what land it roars.
The grave of the saint is vanishing from the altar-tomb.
I will pray to the Lord, the great supreme,
That I be not wretched. Christ be my portion."

It's not a great idea to raid the Otherworld,kids. None returned from Caer Sidi, indeed. Don't tell me that that doesn't send shivers down your spine.


communi_kate: (Default)
 The twenty-one opening lines meme's been round for  a while. Because I'm having trouble writing fic I'm happy with at present, I decided to give it a go. Opening lines are rarely my favourite lines of any story, and writing them all down in a bunch makes me think I really should pay them more attention. This was a real pain in the arse because I don't have all of my fics archived anywhere in particular (most but not all is on my lj, the clean stuff is on, the more recent stuff on AO3).God, I hate first lines. 

1: The men in white picked their way up the gully (After This Age)

2 : Despite the rumours, the streets of Erebor had not been paved with gold. (The Smith of Arden, or How Thorin Oakenshield Used The Horseman's Word to Shoe The Lord's Black Stallion)

3: Anders stepped back and surveyed his work with pride. (A Magician And A Gentle Man)

4: Heroes get other people killed. (Resurgam)

5: The first thing Clint Barton thinks when they send him to Tibet is that they shouldn't have chosen a white guy. (Samsara)

6: Natasha visits Barton's room after the briefing even though she knows she shouldn't. (Debriefing)

7: The Normandy cut through deep space like a knife, heading for the Omega-4 Relay. (Stardust)

8: Malik heard a sharp whine from beyond the crumbled wall, quickly cut off. (A Brotherhood of Wolves)

9: It never snowed in Jerusalem. (A Song of Ascents)

10: It was always silent in deep space. (The Company of Stars)

11: Jack was cleaning her guns when she heard Shepard's boots marking time on the staircase. (The Importance of Names.)

12: "Have you got all of your defences junctioned?" (The Malboro Man)

13: Lena Romano died choking on the bed where she earned her living. (Lady Justice)

14: It was so late at night that it was early in the morning. (Strange New Worlds)

15: "Leonardo?" Ezio called. (The Culinary Catastrophes of Leonardo da Vinci, Genius)

16: "The trouble with you girls is that you can't think for yourself." (Stone, Ground, Mountain, River)

17: "I've found Miles." The Eve of the War

 18: The plain was the colour of bones, bleached white by the midday sun. (An Assembly of Bones)

19: "Aren't you Marcus Aquila's slave?" (Rubicon)

20: I hate this place. (The Shadow of the Flame)

21: An eagle circled above over the desert dunes, looking for prey. (The Word of God and the Treasures of Wisdom)

As I'm feeling nostalgic right now, have three more first lines from the very first fics I wrote, three novel-length FF8 epics.

Seifer Almasy stared at the map. (Government Bloodhounds)

It was a beautiful day in Balamb. (South Down the Coast.)

"I'm not talking about this now." (Recovering the Satellites)

Having a bad writing time at present. The more I research and try to work to make my stories better, the more it feels like, well, work. And when I get home from work it rarely makes me want to do more. So far my writing doesn't seem to have improved, and I'm not enjoying it as much as I used to. Might try a fanfic challenge or something to reclaim the fun.
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So we've been in Southland a little over a month now.

It still doesn't feel like home, and it's a weird place at the best of times. Not to mention that it's one the best places I can think of to start a post-apocalyptic colony, if only because it's barely pre-apocalyptic in the first place. But we have Internet now, and (some) furniture and I'm veering wildly between days when I think 'this place is freakin' marvelous' and days when I would give a thousand dollars to be at home with my man on my sofa with my cats, in our old and drafty cottage somewhere south of Norfolk.

Climate-wise things are pretty much like England, maybe slightly better. But the sea out there stops when it reaches Antarctica, and there are fur seals and penguins and dolphins (OMG DOLPHINS) and different chocolate and slang words and beer and a disturbing number of tales of early settlers that died in even more disturbing ways. Kindle books are my saviour, and I'm reading a lot (Scalzi's Old Man's War series, Bujold's Vorkosigan saga and OMG Mirror Dance) but I've found a common theme that most of the stuff I'm reading is about characters dealing with change and loss, and moving on. In a funny way, fiction is, once again, helping me deal. Fiction, and the Cool Stuff I've found on the Internet. None of it by me, though I'm making some honest-to God attempts to write Bold and Brilliant Sun, my epic novel of procrastination. And I got some cool AO3 reviews for the Assassin stuff. I love AO3 reviews.


Kate Elliot on story openings. I like Elliot's blog posts more than her novels (with the exception of the Prince of Dogs) and this one is a gem.'The Information Business.'

Bioware According to Mom is back up in the usual place as Mom hacks her way through hordes of bad guys and emerges once again victorious.Saving couches everywhere from the scum of the universe. Mom, we salute you.

Ex Urbe's latest article in the Machiavelli series, Julius the 2nd, the Warrior Pope. I am interested to see what she makes of the new Pope. He can't be much worse than Borgia, anyway. 'Persuasive, Power-starved and Patient'

Marie Brennan's Natural History of Dragons which looks awesome but which isn't yet available on Kindle, worse luck. Buy it on Amazon here.

There's a release date for Scott Lynch's Republic of Thieves! I've been following Mr Lynch since his first novel came out and I'm really, really, excited for this one. Doubt he can invent a more extreme sport than shark-jumping though. Nice cover.

Also The Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear is out soon. This series is awesome and it has pseudo-Assassins in, worse luck they're the bad guys. My mental version of Malik would feel extremely comfortable in this world.Link is to Bear's lj. Again, nice cover.

The three sentence ficathon over here is an amazing idea. I want to play!

And HOLY SHIT there is more Assassin's Creed and I haven't even got an Xbox let alone played AC3 yet!

Also WHY is there no good Miles Vorkosigan fanart on deviantart? The guy's amazing and he's the same height as me and quite frankly, short people rock. And they do it while consuming less resources than tall people.
communi_kate: (Default)
The Vorkosigan Saga. Oh. GOD.

Why have I never picked these books up before? I have a suspicion that it's the bloody awful covers, but they are SO FREAKING MARVELOUS.  


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