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Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
6:42 pm
Watchers of the Dark, Lloyd Biggle Jr
This book says it was published in 1968, so I was ready to be unimpressed by it.
And the 'twist' ending I did indeed see coming a mile away. I mean, it didn't set up any alternatives, it just did the thing where we could see it and relied on us not seeing it. Seeing it from nearly the beginning made the plot a bit tedious.
But it had some fun layers. Read more...Collapse )

I'm not sad to have spent time reading it, but I'm very on the fence about giving it shelf space in the future. It doesn't suck, but it doesn't rock. If I run out of shelving again (hah, when, when I run out of shelving again) I think this'll be front of the queue to get gone.

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Monday, July 25th, 2016
7:17 pm
I picked up a book from the inherited collection today, just at random
and I don't think I'm going to keep it
because the copyright page says it's from 1975, collecting stories up to 20 years old
and the 'twists' are, like, the single most obvious thing you could possibly
because ooooooold.
And in some ways that's unfair, because for all I know it was astonishing and original at the time it was written
but
I could see every beat coming a mile away
so
nope.

Also thus far the only female character is a parrot.

It is a source of utter bafflement to me that a genre that prided itself on imagining the most extraordinary things
couldn't imagine women.

Indeed, characters stop to mention how baffling women are. Or females in general. Since he was thinking about the parrot.

This is, broadly, why the inherited books have spent 20 years not being read. Because I start trying things, and I find they're like this, and then I get bored and go back to books that actually have something to offer.

Books I buy for myself are by women and about women, and I still have more books that are the other sort.
I mean, often they have women characters in them as well, but I'm fed up today, so I'm remembering the other sort.



I'm fed up most of the time lately. Just a sort of mobile grumpy. I hope that wears off at some point.



In other news I'm somewhat impressed with the single shelf I paid someone to put up back when I first moved in. That is some solidly placed shelf, right there. I can't even see how to start trying to take it down, there's no screws showing, I can see how the clever plastic thing slotted in in such a way it won't come out.
on the other hand I was in fact trying to get it to come out, since I want to take that shelf down, now.
So.

I keep reminding myself that progress is progress even if it creeps, but it do get wearying, especially on the tasks where I've already tried the things I could think of.

If I won a whole bunch of money then the first thing I'd do is hire someone who could think of how to do the other things. That would be super helpful.

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4:40 pm
why is it so difficult to find actual bookshelves meant for actual books?
I'm seriously planning to go to the furniture shop that says We Make Anything and spend a few hundred pounds on shelves that will not go ) shaped and will continue to function properly for as long as possible.
Buying things from the shops is all display cases with the wrong shelves at the wrong intervals, and shelves that are only as tall as I am. Come on, there's feet between me and the ceiling, why wimp out early?

Also, I'm hoping to get a DVD cabinet which has shelves in the doors and is a reasonable height, but I imagine there's some structural reason nobody is selling those so probably not. I can see how tipping would be a problem but I have a wall and can happily fix things to it. If I could find said things to fix them.

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Sunday, July 24th, 2016
6:27 pm
Sunday worked
We did eating and shopping and watching a movie
The Mummy Returns, today, just bought from the supermarket for cheap.

The eating was not very good. Again. They have changed what sort of hash browns they cook and today they burnt them, so it was a lot less good than it used to be.

Also the cups next to the dispenser drinks had strawberry milkshake splashed all down them, which is ungood for allergies.

I bought toothbrushes and bread and ribena
and the dvd to watch.

Then we went back to my house and mum helped with getting the shelves down. I started on them last night before realising this was a Bad Plan, so they kind of needed tooken down before they fell down. Now they're good though. Whoever put them up drilled holes without putting screws in all of them. Cheated. They weren't as strong as I thought, that whole time. Good thing I only used them for DVDs.

They are in the bedroom now and when I find someone who can put shelves up they will go up on a different wall. I measured and it should fit. Hopefully.



Now it is Far Too Hot and I will go melt horizontally in the other room.

I need to buy a new fan, one that works properly and doesn't take up so much space I'll get rid of it. I shall have to do comparison shopping and choose a good one. Or, given how many other people will have done the same thing, I shall have to take whatever is left. Either works. :eyeroll:

Today was pretty good though.

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1:27 pm
History is creepy
History people should really stop killing Jews.
It's like every time they get wound up they just start killing Jews.
Not wound up at them, just in general.
Like they start out all 'Let's kill Muslims!' and they look around and oops no Muslims so they just kill Jews.
As lessons from history go this one is scary.

Also crusaders are really bad at geography and, like, being a decent human.
The crusader equivalent of 'are we there yet' was to realise they were somewhere foreign and start killing people a bit.
Even if they were not in fact on the same continent as there, yet.

It's gross and creepy that so many years thought of this stuff as heroic and from god.
Their actual god of love and peace and forgiveness.
God who was pretty clear on the 'thou shalt not kill' part.

Humans.
Ugh.

Also I just read about the bit of the first crusade where the church was trying to wind up knights and armies and so forth and make them go, but knights have to gather supplies and suchlike so they'll survive, whereas peasants with nothing but what they're carrying can just start out walking. So a whole bunch of peasants did that, like tens of thousands. Because god, via the church, told them to. And they basically just died. And that was how the crusades kicked off, a bunch of poor people getting killed because they didn't know what they were doing but thought god had told them to do it.

*big long pause*

I know I read a genre that is big into knights on horseback being heroic, but, actual history makes that feel proper creepy. Like, mostly, war is people dying a lot, for some kind of money reason, because their bosses were all wound up and spread it around. There is not a lot of heroic to go around there.

I like the parts with agriculture and architecture and abbeys and universities and people doing great things together. Those are much better.

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Friday, July 22nd, 2016
9:35 pm
I have been reading more about medieval history.
England really is a tiny little backwater of history for a really long time.
And fantasy history is really really really too thin. Oversimplified. Small.

Read more...Collapse )

Also, any fantasy story that says the status quo holds steady for thousands of years? Is not playing in the realm of plausibility.

Given any hundred year stretch you see major churn in political systems, let alone political entities and the rulers thereof, much of it driven as much by changes in technology as by ideology and the plague/famine/war events. Water wheels and windmills and improvements thereof made such a huge difference. Three field crop rotation. Ploughs. Knowing how to attach horses to things without choking them (which took a depressingly long number of centuries, ugh). And it all changes quick quick quick, in a big feedback loop where every agricultural change makes changes in how many men in armour there might be wandering around.

It is glorious. Way more fun than fantasy books today.

Also the book I'm reading keeps on having women in it. As if we've always been there. Wonder of wonders.



But I can see why inventing anything even vaguely in its league is a teensy tiny bit challenging. Like, everything is connected, sometimes globally, and things that happened a thousand years ago can still get people moving, and it's just... way bigger than any one story is going to cover.

But it's still weird and frustrating when they get the demographics wrong and have some epic stagnation to make it mythic.



History is fun to learn when I find the right books though.

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Wednesday, July 20th, 2016
11:44 pm
success
Norwich Science Fiction Group happened once more
and this time there were three whole people who wanted to talk about science fiction.

I am now in the phase of the evening where everything comes back in my head to the soundtrack of my epic social anxiety. It's boring. It's kind of running as a background process right now.

It is SUPER WARMS around here. My house is super warms. It was the correct temperature in the basement of the pub, because they're on the water with a fridge behind it. Most of the year I have to wear jumpers and a coat, but today, correct temperature while wearing lightest outfit. That is super warm, and it is not wearing off as fast as would be nice. Plus I am as per usual having to balance outdoor air making probably allergy discomfort with indoor air being broiled. But tomorrow it is supposed to get properly cool again overnight, so I look forward to that.

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12:07 pm
assorted Kanes
I've had a series of dreams lately about Lindsey McDonald and Eliot Spencer.
Because my subconscious is well trained.

But they turn into weird little meditations on the nature of identity and attraction, which isn't exactly where I was hoping they'd go.

Read more...Collapse )

And now I kind of want to write this story, where Lindsey gets called back in Eliot's body to rescue his secret probably teenage by now offspring from the clutches of Wolfram and Hart. That could go through so many excellent twists.

But my dreams were less excellent and mostly kind of puzzled and thwarted?
Because the last one was like, okay, so, L or El is in love with you, excellent, and now you're sharing your interests and what you do to relax... aaaaand they're just, like, not? it? Like, they're very nearly the things I like, but just sideways of them. If they were completely not my thing it would be simples, parallel, he'd do his hobbies and watch his films and I'd read my books and wait for my turn with the TV. And if we liked exactly the same things then big win. But instead it was like the uncanny valley of shared interests. Things that I know well enough to know why I don't quite like them, or things I liked when I was younger that I grew away from and now make me feel kind of squirmy embarrassed, or things where I haven't watched them yet but I just don't get why he is.

So then that was a whole heaping dose of 'do I really like this person or just the outsides with what I was making up and projecting on them'. And, duh, they're characters I write from very cherrypicked canon, I am clearly making up the guy I like. But if the canon guy was exactly the same and he just like, say, Sailor Moon, would he still be the guy I thought I liked?

So that was weirdly uncomfortable and full of self examination.

And probably the short explanation of why I've never got around to dating. Like, nobody agrees with me perfectly enough. But I don't want to be that person, that person sounds ridiculous.



So.

Lots of dreams of my current favourite pretty, and yet, the upshot is feeling philosophical and kind of foolish.

*sigh*

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Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
8:03 pm
Ha! I win at vacuum cleaner!
... by 8pm
... *sigh*

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6:13 pm
well that was unpleasant
I tried having an afternoon nap, because waaaaaay too warm around here.
I had one of those dreams where you wake up and wake up and wake up
only it was worse, because it was like I could get my eyes open a little and it kept resetting the dream but not letting me move
so I would wake up and get up and to to the living room and
open my eyes just enough to see the bookshelf, what is that doing in the living room?
oh, yeah, not awake yet
wake up get up
wake up just enough...
ugh.
Also I kept dreaming cats, which is stressful when their actual presence would lead to eyes swelling shut etc, and I kept dreaming one had got in and was hiding.

so, afternoon nap, not actually helpful when temperature like this.

on the plus side, I don't have to do anyone else's cleanering when temp like this.
people that keep doing care work in all this warm is heroes.
... people that keep doing care work is heroes.

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2:21 pm
Cleaner Day achieved except for vacuum cleaning.
I will do the vacuum cleaning.
This week for sure.

Food arrived, and with it my magazine, the correct month even.

And I am distracted by the library book, which was chosen very quickly but turns out to be exactly what I need, a university level textbook with further reading sections.
I may have to ration chapters until after vacuum cleaning to get it done...

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Monday, July 18th, 2016
12:57 pm
argh, sizes!
turns out I went all the way to the shop and swapped the size on the sports bra and it's still not the right one
because I wrote the size down wrong again
so now I get to feel stupid and see if I can swap return it again.

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Sunday, July 17th, 2016
3:11 pm
Poking history... to explain vampires...
I'm interested at the connections between economics and justice.

Read more...Collapse )



I think it's pretty obvious that the modern world can afford a whole lot of very nice and kind justice.

But I don't know if that has always been true.

Or if it would be true in these fantasy worlds where you'd need, for instance, a steady supply of blood donors to keep your prisoner fed.

So then what could you do, what are the parameters, what would justice look like under those different conditions?

How to be maximum nice under difficult circumstances?

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3:02 pm
Today the usual Sunday things are cancelled because RL is doing a celebrate thing so there's probably plenty extra humans around. The whole point of nice quiet day stops working when you get woken up by like marching band. The jesus people on the corner seem to be hosting large amounts of small children for much longer than usual too.

I stay inside.

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Saturday, July 16th, 2016
11:53 pm
You know that thing where you read a book all day and then actual 3d life starts feeling fuzzy and emerging into it unreal?

... yeah.

I started reading the collection of SF stories that I bought and now my head is all places except here.



Also I looked back at my own writing and... five years? I have written nothing I tagged as Original for five years? And the only fic I wrote was the dragon thing that stopped when the computer I was writing on died, and that was over a year ago.
I know college ate some of my writing because it was being graded and you can't put it on the computer or it thinks you plagiarised yourself, but still
five years.

I either need to stop thinking of myself as a fiction writer or to just sit down with a blank page and make words happen.

... the not thinking of myself as a writer would require major revision of self image and admitting I have no plan whatsoever for the next fifty years. So.



On the plus side, most of the stuff I'm reading is good.

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Friday, July 15th, 2016
1:25 pm
Does magic change the world
I was reading around about GURPS and found
http://ravenswing59.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/ggf-3.html
and
http://ravenswing59.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/magic-as-technology-take-ii.html
which postulate that on the whole magic does not change society, because maths.

But I think their math is wrong.

Take their example magic item that would change the world: Purify Water.
Read more...Collapse )

Basically, if you can get enough mages in one place to even teach each other a broad enough range of spells to make an Enchanter, and if those Enchanters understand the value of working together, and if they feel like making money on a regular basis through making simple enchanted items, then magic will change the world. Even the simplest items could make pure water for all of London in a few days. Even one Purify Water item could make clean water for a whole medieval sized town. And be made in an hour.

The only way for magic to not change the world is to mess with mages: make them too scarce, uncommunicative, uncooperative, or too unlikely to become Enchanters. If the basic GURPS assumptions for magic can be met, then Enchanted items will pile up and nudge the effective tech level upwards, starting a demographic upward spiral that puts more mages into the system.

Of course if demons are a serious and regular problem, you can also get a mage downward spiral, or outright crash. See 'too scarce'.

But OP's math is just peculiar, for someone who says they're using GURPS, and I disagree with their conclusions.

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Thursday, July 14th, 2016
8:29 pm
ugh, so tired
I dreamt I was first rescued by and then leading a small party including a blonde teenage Mordred and a slightly pre New Hope scowling Princess Leia, with two tiny probably pre school children in tow, a boy and girl, who I was not introduced to.

We had to escape a veeeeery long way from where we started, all the way to my awake times home town. We met a local and I had to be all "We bring greetings from a more central reality. Camelot has fallen."

And then everyone was all Oh Noes. And something huge was going to happen as consequences reverberated out. But mostly the five of us brought more magic with us in our most casual gesture than the world we'd landed in had in its grandest modern works. So that was going to be something. But it meant trying to launch anything from there back to Camelot was going to be of limited use. Probably take a thousand worlds to get any significant force to bear on that more central one.



So then I woke up with a massive headache and a feeling of Portentous Things Happening, plus a sort of lingering... I was the grown up? Me? Oh great, I'm old enough to be their mother, I was totally the grown up. *facepalm*

Also asleep me has her shit more together than I do even when arriving in an alternate universe with no clothes. Just found a hospital and started nicking stuff like The Doctor. Some of it was proper classy too.

Now I feel like I should be dressing up proper and grabbing my magic staff and going off to gather armies.
Except after paracetamol.
And probably something to eat.

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1:46 pm
I am winning
I went to the Dentist and they let me in early with no waitings and it only took like a minute because my teeth are fine for another six months.
Probably.
It was a new to me dentist because my before dentist is now only private.
and I have to go up the stairs now
and the checking my teeth was so quick I was still out of puff when it was time to leave again.
Sometimes it would feel nicer if they stared longer.

But then it was I Win At Dentist Day so we went shopping in Norwich.
I have three new books I bought, three library books from the history section, and one wrong size thing successfully swapped. Also I looked around the TV and Movie Store but didn't buy things this time. Either couldn't decide between them, couldn't remember my size, or didn't find the perfectly perfect version.

So that was a very good Shoppings.

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9:41 am
today I have to go to the dentist
so I'm convincing myself I'm not anxious, but somehow coincidentally have had like three hours much interrupted sleep
and then I read the politics news and ... *mind boggles*

can I move to the alternate universe that is not a parody?
pls?

*sigh*

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Wednesday, July 13th, 2016
7:16 pm
Lost Girl and the writing I'm still not doing
Yesterday I finished watching the Lost Girl box set by staying up really late. Not because I was enjoying it. Because I knew if I didn't I'd be the same annoyed today.

Does nobody in television stories have a deliberate wanted baby with someone they love due to consensual activities? Presumably in genres I don't watch that happens, but in F&SF, everyone goes to the creepy place. And it's the worst.

I mean, the opening titles of 4 seasons of Lost Girl, and the high point of the final boss fight, says 'I shall live the life I choose'. So why is the story they actually show us about not being able to choose?

Read more...Collapse )


So added all together Lost Girl had a lot of frustrations, some layers of could do better, a few where they along with most TV must do better like race, and two giant good points in how many women there are and how there are actual bisexual and lesbian characters routinely.

But even there, the way stories treat women with power as potential monsters was never subverted. Power was always monstrous and virtue lay in learning how not to use it.

And it epically misunderstood what a Queen is. It got it right in the Garuda story, a Queen is someone who her people care about enough to set their other differences aside and set their strength to her use. But after that it was much less about politics and bringing people together, and much more about Bo levelling up and wondering if she's a monster.

Also? Read more...Collapse )


So while I was watching I liked the characters and I liked a lot of the stories, and it has so much more of the good stuff ie women. But as soon as I stop and think about it I just get really annoyed. And while I do pause and wonder how much of this is a fair standard to hold a show to - I know I'm super cranky this week, I know some of it is my mood, but - some of it is actual important fail on their part.

But then I wonder if I'll ever be happy with anything ever.

Ugh.



But I also feel like I shouldn't crit anything unless I, personally, can do better.
... which is daft. They're whole different degrees for a start.

But whenever I sit down and try and words for stories, all there is is this huge bundle of frustration and anger and occasionally cry, and criticism that just gets all over anything I even start trying to think about, and then just... nothing. For years. The words place is full of feelings and they're not nice feelings.


So from that angle everything that actually gets made is made much better than anything I make, and then I feel foolish.



But we need better stories. Getting only one thing kind of a bit right is still not good enough. We can't say there's good stories for women even in Lost Girl because there's bugger all women of color and the few that occasionally arrive have very bad things happen to them and get dead a lot. Good stories for white women just isn't enough. Like good stories for lesbians and bisexual women isn't enough if the only story about a trans woman is so gross. Women is women is all women, so it has to be good at everything at once, to be good at any of it.

Except high standard much?

So I don't know.

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