hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
What I Just Finished Reading: Ooh, this'll be a long one. We went to visit family for the hols and because I a) don't drive and b) don't care to watch endless marathons of either news or reality TV I spent a lot of time reading. I was also trying to reach my 50 book target for Goodreads this year but...I don't think that's going to happen in 2 days. Still, 5 or 6 shy of the goal isn't bad. Thank god for ereaders: I'd've had to pack a whole other bag for books otherwise.

Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher: I don't dislike Jim Butcher's work by any means - I pretty much marathoned all 15 Dresden Files novels in a week not that long ago - but I suspect it'll take me a book or two to get into this series as well, as it did with Dresden Files. I enjoyed the book, certainly, but it felt unfinished. Not surprising, given that it's part of a series, but I can't help feeling that even with a series you should be able to read the individual books without feeling either unfinished or lost. I've still gone ahead and added the 2nd book to my library wishlist to remind me to borrow it when next I log in to borrow some things.

Pretty Polly and Whisper by Barbara Hambly: These two novellas are set in the world of Hambly's Darwath series (originally a trilogy, now encompassing five books and sadly out of print) and are available to purchase from Smashwords, where Hambly sells a number of short stories (Continuing Adventures) for her various series. I was edgy about reading Pretty Polly because I don't like it when bad things happen to animals in books and filmbut the titular cat winds up with a happy ending, to my relief.Whisper felt a little more awkward than Pretty Polly, as if it should have been larger and was cropped down to novella length. The reasons in-story make sense, but I would very much have liked a more intricate plot. The ending felt a little pat too but overall I liked it, though of the two Pretty Polly was my favoriate. It's been a while since I read anything mid-apocalyptic and longer since I read the Darwath series (puts on list) but I was surprised and pleased at how easy it was to drop back into the world.

The Kindred of Darkness by Barbara Hambly: I picked this to reread because I like to have long, continuous books to read when we're driving - well, he's driving, I'm being driven - or when I have long stretches of time to read. Plus, Lydia, Don Ysidro, and James - won't say no to reading about them! While I didn't think this was one of the stronger entries in the series when I first read it, on reread I like it better.

Widdershins, Threshold, and Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk, the first three books in the Whyborne & Griffin series: Widdershins is available free at Smashwords, and the link will take you there. Thanks so much to [livejournal.com profile] just_ann_now for letting me know! I bought Threshold and Stormhaven, and perforce another copy of Widdershins, in an omnibus edition right after finishing Widdershins and pretty much spent the last two days with my nose in my ereader. The first book is very reminiscent of Sarah Monette's Kyle Murchison Booth short stories - not a copy, mind, just the same feeling - but less dark. And with more sex. It moves away from that feeling in books 2 and 3. Threshold has a significant Lovecraftian feel, though with more readable prose, much more likeable main characters, and a genuinely weird and engrossing plot. Stormhaven was a little harder for me to read, as it deals with a Victorian/Edwardian mental asylum and I know enough of those (read: pretty much anything) that it would make me uncomfortable even if I wasn't often edgy about treatment of the mentally ill in fiction. It also delves deeper into Griffin's past in an asylum and how he was subjected to "gay 'cure' therapy", and sexual assault (by attendants and as part of said "therapy"). (He wasn't committed for being gay, and doesn't know who told the doctors, just to horrify us more.) You can skip those pages and still understand the book, however. It doesn't feel like something tossed in just for the sake of drama and a tragic backstory: Griffin is still affected by what he was subjected to - and it would be disingenuous to pretend horrific things wouldn't happen to a 19th century psychiatric patient even if he wasn't gay - and it does have an effect on his reactions through the books. Apart from that my only real complaints are that the sex scenes are a touch OOC, especially in the first book, and Whyborne's jealousy gets formulaic and grating by the third.

What I'm Currently Reading: Taking a break from short novels and novellas with Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentlemen Bastards #2) by Scott Lynch. Despite this being book 2 in a series, you could actually pick it up and understand it without having to read The Lies of Locke Lamora, especially with the way Lynch interweaves past events with the present events. (One scene with Father Chains is copied directly from Lies, in fact.) I'd still recommend reading Lies, because it's wonderful. :)

What I'm Reading Next: Whyborne & Griffin #4-6. :)
hoursgoneby: (hourglass)
Fandom Snowflake Challenge banner


Day 7

In your own space, share your love for a trope, cliché, kink, motif, or theme. (More than one is okay, too.) Tell us about it, tell us why you love it, give us some examples and recs. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


Trope: Pretty much anything that falls under the umbrella of Cosmic Horror Story. Anything by Lovecraft is an example and if you really want a mindscrew, go for Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow. For me this trope works better in print, because in visual medium there's too much of a tendency to show instead of hint and cosmic horror is always worse when you have to use your imagination.

Cliché: Love at First Sight, although I prefer it when people fall for each other but we still see them have to work at it to maintain the relationship. You know, like in real life. I even like it if the relationship doesn't last - hey, just because you don't end up with the person doesn't mean you didn't love them. It just means it didn't work out. Enchanted has a good treatment of this: it's not impossible but you should get to know the person you've just fallen for before committing to them for your entire future.

Kink: Long hair. Mmm. Especially on men. Examples would be Lord of the Rings, of course, and A Brother's Price which, taking place in a gender-flipped world, has long hair as a masculine trait and short as a feminine one. I also have a voice kink, although that one's a little harder to pin down and define. Some voices should do it for me and don't, some are unexpected.

Motif: Pretty much any fairy tale motif, especially if they involve dragons and/or female characters who win through by being clever. One of the first books I ever had headcanon for was The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch; I liked to pretend that at the end of the book Elizabeth managed to rescue another princess and they went off and had adventures together. Another favorite is All-Kinds-of-Fur, also known as Donkeyskin, Catskin, Cap O' Rushes and more. All-Kinds-of-Fur is beautifully put together as a comic by Erstwhile and is available here. (Seriously, check out Erstwhile, they do gorgeous work.)

Theme: Works that deal with the balance between good and evil. There's a lot of these, especially in fantasy. Eve Forward's Villains by Necessity is downstairs in my 'to-read' pile and it looks to have an interesting treatment: the good guys have won over, screwing up the balance and from there it does what it says on the tin. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I also like works that don't have a great overarching stop-the-world-from-ending theme but deal more with people and their development. I'm going to rec The Goblin Emperor for this because it's an amazing book and deserves all the love. In fact, that link will take you to an online excerpt of the first four chapters and I would be happy to see people come back and comment 'dammit, now I have to read the rest of it!' :)

hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
Day 9

In your own space, rec at least 3 fanworks you thought you wouldn't like (because they weren't your fandom or they pushed against your boundaries or you thought you just wouldn't be interested) but you ended up loving. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


Oh, good, this is so much easier than yesterday's! My psyche needs a break from all that extroversion.

Dark Prince ~ The Darkness Has Its Own Light by Spiced Wine.
"A half-elven OC who's the son of Sauron, and has purple eyes. Really." That was my first, doubtful, thought when I encountered a description of Vanimórë, the protagonist of Spiced Wine's Dark Prince series and 'verse. I didn't read it the first few times I saw it referenced, because I've just seen so many OCs of this type and generally don't find them to be interesting or unique. Then one night I had a few minutes to kill before bed and thought 'why not?'.

I ended up going to work the next day on about three hours sleep. It was nothing like I'd expected, and I'm so very pleased to have been wrong! You can get started at the link up there, but please do heed the chapter warnings.

Nightfall in Middle Earth by Blind Guardian
A power metal concept album based on The Silmarillion that just blew me away the first time I heard it. I had some doubts about reccing it since it's done professionally and commercially available, but then realized that was silly because those things don't mean it's not a fannish labour of love. I first learned about it when I was surfing through TVTropes (can't remember which trope) and found a link to the song 'Time Stands Still (At the Iron HIll)', about Fingolfin's duel with Morgoth. Metal, concept albums, and Tolkien are certainly all things I enjoy, but...Tolkien's work explored through power metal? Well...why not? So I listened to it.

Then I listened to the rest of the album.

Then I bought it. (OK, I listened to the rest of the band's work, and bought a box set containing Blind Guardian's entire discography up to they changed labels. And I have not regretted it.)

The Call of Cthulu
A short film based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. Now, films based on Lovecraft's work range from just bad, to entertainingly schlocky at best. Lovecraft's stories rarely describe the entirety of what the characters are seeing, and when they do it's something that would be difficult and/or expensive to include. His work is largely monologue, with very little dialogue making it hard to adapt to a modern film without lots and lots of rewriting - more, I think, than a major studio would be willing to put in to something they wouldn't expect to have much of an audience. With this in mind, I was not expecting great things.

BUT. It turns out that making a silent film eliminates a lot of the problems above! You watch the characters act and react, and what explanations and dialogue is needed goes on a title card. Adding to the feel that you're really watching an old silent movie are the scratches in the film, and a subtle hiss and pop to the soundtrack. It's surprisingly gripping, and does not feel like it's only 46 minutes long.

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