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I have bought my first binder from gc2b. It's gray, tank-length, and will be here in 2 to 4 weeks. I used a discount code that's valid until the 23rd.

I am thrilled and terrified. How much longer shall I go "nothing to see here, move along"? (Forever. That's how long.) Will I ever try to make a statement or be a trans or indeed be anything but protective camouflage from society? Why is life so hard.

Also, soon enough it'll be the solstice, and then the nights'll get longer and maybe in July I'll be able to sleep.
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So, Jukebox author reveals have come and gone. My amazing gift, Trajectory was written by [personal profile] weakinteraction, whom I've been assigned to in a number of recent exchanges. (They have most excellent taste.) The story itself is 7k of science fiction of quality good enough to be in a Best Of anthology, and is ridiculously well tailored to poke at my "science fiction of vaguely thought experiment bent". Like, if you like Greg Egan, you'll probably like this.

Other stuff from the collection that I liked:
Doomed to Repeat, <1k, poetically written and about the cyclic nature of history
The Face In The Jar, <1k, compact and precise, on life after hope's death
Danse Macabre: Five Interviews from the 2013 Tarantella Epidemic, ~2k, hilarious interview-format fic from after the most innovative apocalypse I recall seeing
Saving Isobel, ~7k, a look at a dystopia of sorts where they're literally at war with nature
Or just read it all.

As for what I wrote, well, I wrote 4 things, all between 1k and 2k:

testing out Flamebyrd's Post to DW bookmarklet )
I've also started tagging all my "five-minute fandom" works with Original Works, after authors have been revealed. It's more for internal bookkeeping, but hey, why not?
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I linked y'all to Poem Line For Title some time ago. Well, I decided that today I should try to come up with some writing, so off to my topic generator I went. My dataset gave me "But she was not made for any man", which is from Edna St. Vincent Millay's Witch-Wife.

The line crystallizes what I need before I can like a female character: she must exist for her own purpose, not be made as a prop for a male character. Indeed, I'd rather insert in a female OC than try to salvage what little undreadful there might be from those love interests who exist only because the dude needed a love interest. That's why a lot of Tumblr-style objections to people writing about male characters fall flat: I want interesting characters who happen to be women, whereas the thought seems to be that I should find characters interesting because they are women. (Now, some character types and tropes I have a greater tolerance for if the genderedness is reversed, but that's more novelty value than anything.) Additionally, the character traits I like and identify with and admire and grok tend to be given to men, since men are ~logical~ and other cultural BS.

On the subject of women without men and characters I grok, I won Jukebox with an amazing gift: Trajectory is T-rated femslash – indeed, over 7k of it – with such wonderous tags as "Xenobiology", "Transhumanism", and "Outrageous Cosmological Speculations". It's as if the author had a direct line into my brain and produced something that would not feel a bit out of place in a Best Of SF collection. Go read.

I don't think I'll be able to cobble together a proper Jukebox rec list (colds: not recommended), so let it just be said that there are a lot of good ones and here's a link to the collection. I'll link to the stuff I wrote on Thursday, when authors have been revealed.

Again on the subject of women without men: Has anyone seen Wonder Woman? Is it a feast of butch/warrior women flexing their muscles in shows of strength? Is there F/F loyalty kink?
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Here are my thoughts on each of the graphic stories. Grading out of five, where
0 = this is a terrible piece of shit
1 = I didn't click at all and wish for that time back
2 = You Tried, but not my thing
3 = okay enough, could be someone else's 4 or 5
4 = a good story that I engaged with
5 = mind=blown, excellent

I admit, this category was strong.

Black Panther
The pacing was a bit choppy/condensed, but I liked the political intrigue and the fact that it had at least the trappings of an unfamiliar-to-me culture. 3/5

Monstress
Intriguing and intoxicating, and the art style – the lines and expressions and panel composition – is amazing. The narrative pacing and storytelling, too. The world is enthralling. 5/5

Ms Marvel
An enjoyable romp that touched upon some important stuff. A bit teen-y and light. 3/5

Paper Girls
I liked the sort of recursive mind bend intrigue. The use of color was excellent. 4/5

Saga
Not My Thing, but the parental love was nice. I liked Prince Robot IV, and the science fantasy world was sorta cool, but not that into the lots of nudity or the main het couple. 2/5

The Vision
A sad story, but the storytelling and narration was very effective and haunting. 4/5
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Here are my thoughts on each of the novelettes. Grading out of five, where
0 = this is a terrible piece of shit
1 = I didn't click at all and wish for that time back
2 = You Tried, but not my thing
3 = okay enough, could be someone else's 4 or 5
4 = a good story that I engaged with
5 = mind=blown, excellent

The Art of Space Travel, Nina Allan
First up, we have a tragedy-tinged litficcy tale. Mostly bleak. I recognize why it's in the SF awards, but I'd rather that it were elsewhere, such as in the world of literachoor, that is, the story felt insufficiently SFnal despite taking place in the future. 1/5

The Jewel and her Lapidary, Fran Wilde
Intriguing worldbuilding. I'd have liked the story better without the Travellers' Guide excerpts – let it stand alone without doing the ~but what if it was a legend~ or ~the hero succeeded in her goal~ dances. I'd also have liked it better if the girls had been actual adults and not teens, and also if they'd have been of the Honor Harrington mindset of sacrifice, but this was a story that danced very close to my Honor and Loyalty buttons but didn't press anything. Also, the femslash should have been much more developed, rather than "oh they kiss bye". 3/5

The Tomato Thief, Ursula Vernon
I liked all of the characters, especially Gramma, and also the desert and the vast quantities of casual worldbuilding. (The world was intriguing.) 4/5

Touring with the Alien, Carolyn Ives Gilman
Avery's job sounds intriguing and I want all of her job stories. The story was in some ways very reminiscent of the hard SF/Asimov/Egan that I like, in that it was the set-up for a thought experiment on consciousness. It also had lots of nice observations within, like speaking English vs speaking Human, and the ending was narratively satisfying and had weight. 5/5

You'll Surely Drown Here If You Stay, Alyssa Wong
This one suffered a bit by being the second desert fantasy story of the bunch. It was also sadder, and while I did like some features, Girl Does Thing Because She Loves Boy is argh. 2/5

Alien Stripper Boned From Behind by the T-Rex, Stix Hiscock
An enjoyable romp, and also fucking hilarious. Our protagonist's narration is refreshingly analytical and #relateable, in that if I were to write such a story, I would write it in that exact style. The protag's enjoyment of the dancing bit was also nice. 4/5
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And once again, I spent a week without posting anything, whoops.

Jukebox reveals are just around the corner. Before that, I'll try to read through some more of the Hugos voter packet. This year, I aim to get to do the zines.

The title is from loading up an old project of mine, Poem Line For Title, which just RNGs a poem line to be used as a title. View the page source (Ctrl+U) to see the pool from which it chooses. The random's choice was rather apt, as today at work, we did a "science demo" to some schoolkids (well, teens) involving putting roses into liquid nitrogen, then giving them to the kids when thoroughly frozen, and letting the kids shatter them onto a tray (to minimize clean-up). Chatting with the new co-worker today about the liquid nitrogen and the flowers (scientists: people who never grew up past the age of 5 and see no reason to), I recalled this Tumblr post about Romace Tokens vs the actually romantic. (Romance Tokens: stuff society sees as romantic. Actually Romantic: something that is tailored to the recip's desires.) I do not like flowers. Culture says I should like them, but I don't. They aren't that pretty, and also, they only last for a bit before having to be thrown away. Stuffing a bouquet in liquid nitrogen and then shattering the flowers, one by one, on the other hand is much more appealing. Indeed, I might even call it enthralling. By liberal application of liquid nitrogen (which boils at -196°C, or 77 K, or -320°Fake, whichever you prefer), Appreciation Tokens transform into something I can have fun with. (Liquid nitrogen is fun by itself, too, of course. After the roses ran out, I quickly – quickly! – dunked fingers in and out*, and also got to play with exhaling into the container, which generated a vast cloud of tiny ice crystals like frost, and made the air currents visible.)

Hm, I wouldn't have gotten all that without my prompt generator. I'd have just left it at "I got to play with liquid nitrogen at work – it's still cool!" and not had the red thread of the roses throughout. Perhaps I should try to use it as self-reflection and writing prompt more often.

* The way this works is that my finger is warm enough (c. 37°C) that it evaporates itself a protective envelope of gaseous nitrogen, which is a worse conductor of heat. Done quickly enough, the envelope doesn't dissipate. Don't leave the finger in.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
  • ENTROPY. It increases constantly.
  • Relatedly, the eventual heat death of the universe.
  • One day, the Sun will expand into a red giant.
  • Needles.
  • What if the universe just keeps expanding forever, never to bring forth a Big Crunch that might set forth a new Big Bang and thus potential for life?
  • What if aliens don't exist and we're alone in the universe?
  • Like seriously, the laws of thermodynamics. One is playing a game where one can only lose? And we can't quit?

Ah well.
extrapenguin: (honor)
I appear to have actually done it.

The target: a guy who actually respected my opinions and wanted to hear me out (this part is mandatory, I think), probably had Asperger's, and was the son of a person in the anti-gay marriage league (so his opinion was at least partly hereditary).

(I mention the Asperger's because I think that without it, he'd have got the "gays are bad" part that is the unacknowledged backdrop of most anti-gay marriage sentiment. As-is, the papered-on-top excuse objections were his actual objections.)

How I actually did it: in a chat program I, in as noncombative a way as possible, explained my position, and gently informed him that his concerns on gay couples' kids were wrong (research round-up) and also I side-eye the "but the definition of marriage is ~Christian~" position, since no-one complains hugely about or constantly proposes a new term for civil weddings.

Evidence that I did it: he dropped the issue and shortly removed the "marriage = man + woman" page from his likes on FB.

It is a heady feeling, to know that people can change for the better and know that one has caused that oneself. So, uh, there's your daily positivity. I should probably feed myself.
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So, if you have something you've got to do that is even remotely time-sensitive, just set an alarm.

This piece of wisdom brought to you by me doing an unavoidable thing outside the house with hours to spare, then getting kidnapped by friends who wanted for me to have fun. (Don't worry, I've recovered almost completely!) Otherwise fine, but I ended up opening the Space Swap collection two hours late (sorry everyone) in a fast food place's washroom (that had run out of toilet paper). (Other piece of advice: remember to eat before you get to the "I am unsure whether I am going to faint, cry, or bite someone's head off, yet I am utterly and totally Zen about it" phase.)

Also, consider going to sleep before 4 am. It's as if I'm drunk without the fun parts.
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Nabbed from [personal profile] cloudsinvenice

Give me a fandom I'm in (partial list findable in my sticky) and I'll tell you:

the character I least understand
interactions I enjoyed the most
the character who scares me the most
the character who is mostly like me
hottest looks character
one thing I dislike about my fave character
one thing I like about my hated character
a quote or scene that haunts me
a death that left me indifferent
a character I wish died but didn’t
my ship that never sailed
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I do not regret reading it, even if it did end up in a rather dark place. What bothered me the most was the sheer hetness of the thing: Diziet Sma's "ahh yess I had a nice time with THE MENZ – not the laydeez, the MENZ" and just the reminders that the main characters were het, every time there was a sort of sexual situation, and a lot of them sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Just ... have the characters be het and engage in hetsex, no need to go all Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today about it.

small amount of spoilers )

Skaffen-Amtiskaw is a treasure.
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WBEX reveals are here! link

My giftfic the most perfectest thing:
A Century of Savvy Travelers: A Look Back at the GSST Project, 100 Years On (G, gen, 5.8k)
It's a retrospective book thingy with multiple travelogue excerpts in different styles and it's AMAZING. Words cannot describe how much I like it!

Periwinkle, Daffodil (T, multi, 2.4k, TGE)
This in-universe book review is well worth the read just for the descriptions of the books. (Also, I want that cape.)

Policies of the Dynasty (G, gen, 2.7k, TGE)
A look into the succession laws and such that made Maia Emperor. Features a deserved shutdown of Chavar.

Child of Ulis (T, gen, 7.9k, TGE)
An excellently-written look at pre-canon Thara Celehar, when he chooses his life of prelacy.
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
Nominees are up. Here are my thoughts on each of the short stories, apart from the Castalia House one. Grading out of five, where
0 = this is a terrible piece of shit
1 = I didn't click at all and wish for that time back
2 = You Tried, but not my thing
3 = okay enough, could be someone else's 4 or 5
4 = a good story that I engaged with
5 = mind=blown, excellent

The City Born Great, NK Jemisin
First up, a story in the genre of Psychological Weird Magical Realism WTF. The metaphors were florid, and I didn't click with the emotional beats of the story at all.
1/5

A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers, Alyssa Wong
Exactly the same emotional core as above, except with a different plot. Slightly better, if only because I like weather more than cities.
1/5

Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies, Brooke Bolander
I liked the use of formatting, but this is essentially issuefic with a Psychological Weird Magical Realism WTF veneer. At least it's shorter than the above two.
1/5

Seasons of Glass and Iron, Amal El-Mohtar
Okay, this is issuefic, too, but the experimenting on the binding magic and the femslash ending have me forgive a lot. Also, the fairytale grounding makes it more straightforward mythic than Weird Magical Realism.
2/5

That Game We Played During the War, Carrie Vaughn
ACTUAL SCIENCE FICTION. It's got some nice telepath worldbuilding and has clearly thought war with teeps through more than the average telepath-writing author. The complex feels, opaque to the narrator, transparent to everyone else, and the weary yet hopeful atmosphere mean it's the best of the pack.
4/5
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Some SF classics that I've missed (like, all the women authors save Le Guin, whose The Left Hand of Darkness I seriously bounced off of) are freely available online! I'll make this a semi-regular feature, since why the hell not. Minor spoilers in the cuts.

Today, it's James Tiptree, Jr (Alice Sheldon) time.

Love is the Plan the Plan is Death is a rather litficcy short story. Read more... )

The Women Men Don't See is ... hard to describe. Read more... )

All in all, more confusing than anything and not especially meaty by themselves. Very litficcy and mostly up to interpretation.

April

1 Apr 2017 17:56
extrapenguin: (politics)
Municipal elections: I voted. The official date is 9.4., but Finland is a first-world nation where things are done sort of reasonably, thus early voting exists and they have a temp voting station at the University, so.

(How early voting happens in Finland: one turns up at any of the voting stations in one's municipality, presents ID, writes a number on a slip of paper when hidden from eyes, presents ID and folded-over slip of paper to officiant who seals it in an envelope, signs a slip that says "I voted, this vote is mine", watches officiant place that and prior envelope into a larger envelope – and then one is free to sod off.)

In more personal news, I am rediscovering charcoal and its joys. (Its one drawback is that fixative smells terrible and must be sprayed outside, but hey.) I've also compiled quite a poetry text file over the past few months – mostly freeform, but some villanelles and sestinas sprinkled through. I'm wondering whether I should try to self-publish it sometime. Or just share it with people under my real name, as a sort of "look I can do creative things" calling card.
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Here's my [community profile] jukebox_fest letter! Requesting fanfic for all. Likes, DNWs, and prompts beneath the cut. Read more... )
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Blood oranges are delightful. They've got the citrusy tang of regular oranges, but are juicier and have a more multi-note flavor profile. They're also currently in season and cheapish. (If given the chance, I eat like 2/3 kg per day, lol. At least I'm getting enough vitamin C?)

I'm also on a poetry kick currently. Here's one I wrote some time ago. So, any of y'all want me to write a poem? I can do freeform, sestinas, and villanelles and mayybe a sonnet, and promise to try anything more exotic you want to throw at me. Fandom topic poems are hard, but something about stuff like "rain" or "your opinion on global warming" or w/e should work!

You are no summer’s days.

You, you erupt onto my tongue with sweet bitterness
Come apart in my fingers
Taste of ecstasy

And you, you envelope me into your intoxicating embrace
Give me sweet comfort
It is dawn when you are done.

What need have I for anything more?
I have a blood orange and darkness.
extrapenguin: (politics)
In honor of Pi Day (you know how Americans do dates Wrong? There, 13.4. is 3/14, which resembles 3.1415..., aka pi) I have chosen to make a post.

Compulsory Scientific Writing Torture: almost done, albeit way behind schedule, oops. (Had I actually received any useful advice at all, I think I'd have made my December deadline.) At least I now know to start the next project earlier.

Goals: sleep, succeed.

Funnily enough, I'm loads happier in the new place. Must be the lack of pipe clonking. Trying to touch base with friends.

How to get friends: feed them. How to maintain friendships: feed them. Acceptable friends gatherings: "Hey come let's make food and eat it!" I think that food is just such an integral part of how humans bond that feeding people tugs their heartstrings.

(Still needed: romantic life partner. Physical contact is sadly lacking in my life.)
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Here's my letter! Kerbal Space Program, Uplift, and Original Works, fanfic for all, plus fanvid for KSP.

Read more... )
extrapenguin: Photo of horse's head (Default)
I've rediscovered Delain and their new album, Moonbathers, is very pretty. A bit melancholy and slowish, but beautiful. I especially like "Suckerpunch". I've also grown to appreciate The Human Contradiction better – "Tell Me Mechanist", "Don't Let Go", etc.

It's a bit too bright outside for Rammstein's "Sonne", which is prime winter solstice music.

Last week, I was feeling very much under the weather, but then I Did Things With Visible Impact (and acquired a crush that might even be reciprocated) and I'm feeling much better. If all else fails, I just have to think about the vacuum chamber at work. It's amazing.

I've also discovered the Wikiquote page for Wolfgang Pauli, which has some A+ quotes:
This is to show the world that I can paint like Titian. [A big drawing of a rectangle] Only technical details are missing.

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