Anglo-Saxon Art

Nov. 27th, 2014 02:24 am[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Just in case you thought only modern art needed a secret decoder ring, check out this Anglo-Saxon stuff.

Readings and watchings

Nov. 27th, 2014 04:45 pm[personal profile] china_shop
china_shop: Lolcats kittens saying Don't Look! (Don't Look)
Phew! I just spent all day writing a submission on the latest power grab by our spies. Got it in with 50 minutes to spare. (Submissions opened two days ago, I think? I found out about them yesterday. Did not make it to the gym today.)

Tired now.

In happier and more frivolous news, I spent the last few days engrossed in The Turn of the Story by Sarah Rees Brennan, which is delightful and engaging (it took me a little while to get into it, but then I loved it and laughed a lot) and is available free on the internet! Fantasyland! Snark! [redacted for spoilers, but trust me, you want to read this!] \o/ Also, its sequel, which is not free but was well worth it. (See details at the above link.)

I don't know what I'm reading next. I started Cory Doctorow's Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, but it's about copyright and not, as I had supposed, about privacy. I'm interested in the copyright-and-creativity issue and will get to it eventually, but right now I'm more focused on privacy: what it is, why it matters, all the places the ubiquitous "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" argument falls down. There are no simple answers to any of these questions, but I found this article by Daniel J Solove interesting and persuasive, and I may have to read his book... *investigates* ...except it's not available in ebook, and I'm no longer capable of reading anything else. Doh!

So I may read the second Lynes/Mathey mystery instead, or... I don't know... I seem to be ricocheting between non-fiction and fiction atm.

In TV news, the boy and I gave Lewis 1.01 a shot last night, but it was too late to get through all of it because our Scrabble game had run long. Pru and I are in the midst of season 1 of Da Vinci's Inquest, for the Canadian-guest-star win. And J and I are starting Sungkyunkwan Scandal (Kdrama) next week, which I believe is another girl-undercover-as-a-boy one, yayay.

I have too many social occasions lined up for the next 7 days.

Hard Things

Nov. 26th, 2014 06:53 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Life is full of things which are hard or tedious or otherwise unpleasant that need doing anyhow. They help make the world go 'round, they improve skills, and they boost your sense of self-respect. But doing them still kinda sucks. It's all the more difficult to do those things when nobody appreciates it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our accomplishments and pat each other on the back.

What are some of the hard things you've done recently?
galacticjourney: (Default)
Happy Thanksgiving!

This season, we have much to be thankful for, but I am particularly thankful that I ended this publishing year on a high note—the December Fantasy and Science Fiction.



If anything could get out the taste left by this month's Astounding, particularly the Garrett story, it's F&SF. In this case, the lead novelette, What now, little man? by Mark Clifton, was the indicated antidote.

Clifton addresses the issue of racial abuse head on with this excellent tale. On a distant mining colony, humans have only one native source of food—the bipedal, humanoid "Goonie." When the colony was first inhabited, the Goonies were deemed unintelligent by human standards. They seemed to have no culture, and they let themselves be slaughtered without so much as a peep of protest.

Then they proved to be trainable. At first, they performed simple beast-of-burden chores, but over time, they learned more sophisticated skills. By the time of the story, many can read and write, and one exceptional example can perform as an accountant.

This tale is that of a man wracked with conscience. This farmer, who was the first to train a Goonie to perform advanced mathematical services, is convinced that the slaughter of Goonies is wrong. To champion this cause, he is willing to put his life on the line, though it turns out that a female sociologist from Earth employs better, non-lethal methods to effect change, or at least to set the world on the course of change.

The protagonist, and the reader, are left with the fundamental questions: What defines intelligence? Who defines intelligence? Can one justify making the definition so rigid as to exclude members of one's own race? And what do the Goonies represent? True pacifists? The ultimate survivors?

Good stuff. Four stars.

Dr. Asimov has another fine article, this one on the layers of the Earth's atmosphere. It's well timed, perhaps on purpose, as I'd just read a scholarly article on a new revised atmospheric model. We've learned a lot in just three years of satellite launches.

I've never heard of Gerard E. Neyroud. His Terran-Venusian War of 1979, in which Venus conquers the Earth with love, but subsequently devolves into civil war, is glib and fun, if rather insubstantial.

Marcel Aymé has another cute short translated from the French. The State of Grace is about an (un)fortunate fellow whose saintliness is blessed with a halo only a few decades into his life. This quickly becomes a terrible annoyance to his wife, who begs him to do something about it. His solution: to sin like there's no tomorrow. Yet, no matter how far he indulges himself in the seven deadly sins, he cannot rid himself of the damned thing. The moral is, apparently, piety will out, even when covered in degradation.

Stephen Barr's The Homing Instinct of Joe Vargo is chilling stuff, indeed. An expedition to a mining planet finds a truly unbeatable creature. Ubiquitous, cunning, and virtually indestructible, "It" is a translucent blob that kills by extruding threads of incredible strength, constricting its prey, and slicing it alive.

Only one fellow, the eponymous Joe Vargo, is able to survive thanks to equal parts wisdom and luck. The ending of the story is unnecessarily downbeat, and also implausible. As with Poul Anderson's Sister Planet, one can excise the coda and come away with a perfectly satisfying story.

Jane Rice has another good F&SF entry with The Rainbow Gold. Told in folksy slang, it is the story of a somewhat magical (literally) yokel family and their quest to secure that legendary pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It's a lot of fun, and it has a happy ending.

damonknight has, perhaps, the best line of the issue in his monthly book column. Writing of Brian Aldiss, he says, "If the writer ever does a novel with his right hand, it will be something worth waiting for."

The Seeing I is Charles Beaumont's new column on science fiction in the visual media. In this installment, he details at length his involvement with the new show, The Twilight Zone. It's an absolutely fascinating read, and it just goes to show that things of quality can still be made, on purpose, so long as people are willing to invest the time and energy into the endeavor.

Finally, we have Robert Nathan's A Pride of Carrots, written as a radio play. That's because it actually was a radio play a couple of years ago on CBS. The prose has been substantially embellished, but it's largely the same story. At least, I think it is. I'm afraid fell asleep during the last act of the radio show.

I won't spoil the plot, save that it involves the planet Venus, two warring states peopled by vegetables, two visitors from Earth, and an interracial love triangle.

But is it good, you ask? Well, it's silly. It's not science fiction, but it is occasionally droll. Try it, and see what you think.

That wraps up the year. I'll be compiling my notes to determine which stories will win Galactic Stars for 1959. I'll make an announcement sometime next month.

In the meantime, enjoy your turkey. I'll have more for you soon.



Note: I love comments (you can do so anonymously), and I always try to reply.

P.S. Galactic Journey is now a proud member of a constellation of interesting columns. While you're waiting for me to publish my next article, why not give one of them a read!







(Confused? Click here for an explanation as to what's really going on)
ysabetwordsmith: (Origami Mage)
The Origami Mage series page has been updated.  All poems which have been written are now listed, and the sponsored ones have been published and linked.  There are three new poems posted today:

"tired traveler, busy city"
"going to the ocean"
"friendship and enmity"

Those fall near the end of the series, so if you're new to it, starting at the beginning will make a lot more sense.  It's Asian fantasy about two women who are paper mages and rivals.

[ SECRET POST #2885 ]

Nov. 26th, 2014 06:17 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #2885 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.

More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 024 secrets from Secret Submission Post #412.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
Banner by Erin of a spotlight on an OTW logo with the words 'Spotlight on Legal Issues'

"On November 12, 2014, the court ruled that its previous decision was void, and ordered that the case would be re-heard by the entire court--not just a three-judge panel--in December. The OTW has filed a new amicus brief in the case, expanding on the arguments we made in our original brief. As we explained in our filing, the court should interpret the safe harbors broadly enough to provide safety for content hosts, because that safety is what permits content hosts like the AO3 to exist."

OTW Legal succeeded in having the previous decision in Garcia v Google ruled void & has filed a new brief that aims to maintain 'safe harbor' protection for AO3 and other sites.

Wednesday news!

Nov. 26th, 2014 11:12 am[personal profile] annathepiper
annathepiper: (Alan LOL)

Today’s top story: screw Black Friday, we’re releasing the first single from the forthcoming Bone Walker soundtrack NOW! Because we CAN!

Dara’s got her post up about it right over here, in which you can stream the premaster mix of “Something’s Coming” right off of Bandcamp. If you’re inclined, you can buy that single. AND you can preorder the album!

If you backed the Kickstarter, you of course don’t need to actually buy it because we will be sending it to you. But DO spread the word! And check out the previews of the other tracks that’ll be coming!

We’ll be doing the official release for this thing at the next Conflikt in January, along with the release for the actual Bone Walker novel! SO EXCITING. Stand by for more on this as it happens!

***

As I think I’ve mentioned before, Dara and I are fans of the Doctor Who Podcast, one of the many Doctor-themed podcasts available for your listening pleasure. In addition to reviewing new episodes when they come out, they have extensive knowledge of the Classic-era series as well as the Big Finish audio range, and all of their presenters are just generally fun to listen to.

One of the things we find particularly charming about them is the jingle they wrote for whenever they review a Big Finish release! It goes like this:

Big Finish with Ian! And Michelle from across the Atlantic Ocean!
Ian from UK, and Michelle from the United States!
Reviewing Big Finish, sorting out the wheat from the chaff and nonsense
Saving you money on the ones that are not so good!

It’s insidiously catchy, enough that every time we hear it show up in an episode of the podcast, we start singing along. Hell, THEY’VE even songvirused themselves with it.

So the other night I said to Dara, “I wonder if this thing would work as a round!” And the fun thing about having a spouse with her own music studio? She can FIND OUT.

Behold! Dara’s round edition of the Doctor Who Podcast Big Finish Review Theme!

***

And while we’re on the topic of things you should signalboost, don’t forget, Faerie Blood is ON SALE for $2.99 until this coming Monday! All the details are right over here!

I will also honor the sale price for anyone who wants to buy the ebook directly from me in the format of their choice!

***

Last but DEFINITELY not least, Victory of the Hawk is now available for preorder as well AND has shown up on Goodreads. So if you’d like to get in some preorder love on Book 3 of the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy, NOW IS THE TIME! Links are on the Victory of the Hawk page!

And if you haven’t read Valor or Vengeance yet, now would also be a VERY good time to get caught up on those. If you haven’t read anything of my writing at all yet, or if you’ve just read Faerie Blood and aren’t sure whether you’d like my high fantasy, you can even see some shiny samples that’ll let you read up to 10 percent of each book, provided courtesy of Overdrive! The samples are available on the Valor of the Healer and Vengeance of the Hunter pages!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Blackout Friday

Nov. 26th, 2014 12:59 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
One protest against the disgraceful situation in Ferguson is calling for a boycott.  Instead of shopping at mainstream stores this holiday season, consider these independent black-owned businesses
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
#MakeAMovieFromThe80s BARBALIEN! Despite 4 sequels and late-night HBO play, this movie - featuring former Mr. Universe Absalom Krunch...

... as the muscled otherworld warrior in modern LA - never realized the success of Terminator and Conan. #Barbalien #MakeAMovieFromThe80s

You know, this was going to be #MakeAMovieFromThe80s but turns out to be #MakeAn80sCartoon. THE CARE NOSAURS!

The CARE NOSAURS! Each episode Rex, Tarbo, Alberto & friends learn valuable lessons about sharing & friendship! #MakeAn80sCartoon

.. and although the series ran for exactly one season, it uh, spawned, several hundred furry fans with a big thing for Gay muscledino art.

(no subject)

Nov. 26th, 2014 05:55 am[personal profile] brushwolf
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
Stuff I think about after an early morning anxiety spike has me wide awake.

So we have a batch of later ceratopsian fossils and they're all basically the same body plan with an amazing variety of different heads. Horner and other folks have found that some of these are actually the same species, just at different ages. Wikipedia's article on Styracosaurus talks about how lots of ceratopsian skulls have pitting and other damage but nothing that suggests a long period of infection and healing. There's obviously something going on with the ability of ceratopsian dinosaurs to reabsorb or replace bone.

So now what I'm wondering is whether ceratopsians were just great at producing variant crests, and if a lot of what we've found aren't true species so much as them speciating - that some animals with variant crests could still interbreed and it's just a minor variation, where other ones (and big groups like Pachycephalosaurus) really did break off thanks to geographic barriers or whatever, and kept getting weird little variations in crests.

Spring photos

Nov. 26th, 2014 04:07 pm[personal profile] calissa
calissa: Macro of a jonquil (Spring)
It's no secret that September is a bit of a crazy month for me. So many birthdays! It also happens to be the month of ALL THE FLOWERS! I took a heap of photos and never quite got around to posting them. I thought I'd better do it before Spring officially ends (even though Spring unofficially ended a month or so ago).

Since there are so many photos, I thought I'd do them in two batches, starting with the natives.

Cootamundra wattle )

Hardenbergia )

Grevillea 'New Blood' )

Grevillea 'Bronze Rambler' )

Hope that bring some colour to those of you battling with winter dreariness (or summer bleaching).
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
"Patchwork Families" by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer is now complete with Part 5.  See how Aidan makes Saraphina part of his family.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "games & fun." I'll be soliciting ideas for gamers, game designers, sportstars, tricksters, comics, clowns, referees, gamemasters, spoilsports, sport fans, playing fair, cheating, making the big score, learning a new game, scheming, playing pranks, cracking jokes, strategy & tactics, competition, cooperation, slapstick humor, game stores, sport fields, living rooms, children's museums, parties, playgrounds, games, sports, entertainment equipment, gaffs and gags, gaming guidebooks, and poetic forms in particular.

I have a linkback poem, "House of Cards" (26 verses, Polychrome Heroics). 

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. 
 

New to the fishbowl? Read all about it! )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
James P. Hogan is staying busy. Usually authors are tipped off the edge of the Earth as soon as they die.

(tor.com mentioned the new omnibus)

Horse Dancing

Nov. 25th, 2014 06:27 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
This show begins with adept horseback riding, and then turns into a liberty act.

[ SECRET POST #2884 ]

Nov. 25th, 2014 06:48 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #2884 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.

More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 034 secrets from Secret Submission Post #412.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Set at "Jurassic World". I would love to hear a Bob Newhart-style monolog from the point of view of the insurance broker tasked with getting insurance for JW.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a thoughtful article about the rising popularity of board games.  

I'll add another point: better construction options.  Used to be you were restricted to what you could do with standard dice, pawns, paper, and a few other simple materials -- unless you could afford the ruinously expensive process of creating all new pieces.  Now you can buy much fancier stuff from designer hobbyshops, and many of those pieces can easily be customized.  That makes it simple to design a prototype of a game, and if it proves popular, you can then crowdfund an upgrade with custom equipment.  Some of the most popular modern games have gone through iterations like that.

Yay, facetime!

One Card Draw

Nov. 25th, 2014 02:20 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] ariestess is holding a One Card Draw today.  There are perks for donating or boosting the signal.

(no subject)

Nov. 25th, 2014 07:54 pm[personal profile] maevele
maevele: (lamberdroogie)
so I am doing the rocky again this friday! as columbia once more, but I have agreed to try being frank next time. ack. and at rehearsal, we were discussing doing the show at geek kon this next year, which might be awesome. But I didn't know when geekkon is, so I went to look it up, and found out who they have recently named as one of their GoH. I'm not saying their name, but um, yeah. I don't know what to think
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
So anyone who wants input into its contents has until midnight.
ysabetwordsmith: (Rose-Bay)
I have started the advance planning for the 2015 Rose & Bay Award for excellence in cyberfunded creativity.  See the 2015 landing page, advance planning post, and nominee badges.  You can help by promoting the award or by volunteering to manage a category.  Full details appear on the landing page, or you can ask here if you have any questions.

(no subject)

Nov. 25th, 2014 10:46 am[personal profile] brushwolf
brushwolf: Icon created by ScaperDeage on DeviantArt (Default)
Thinking about less serious stuff, sparked by Jurassic World and the Ep VII trailer;

I find my nostalgia is a sort of weird bell curve almost.

A complete unknown property is just that. Everything I adore was an unknown at some point, something new that really shook things up, something that was new and awesome for me, too. Something not yet done a million times could tank or it could be the next thing that really grabs me. For all I know my potentially favoritest comic of all time is sitting on the shelves right now, and because it's not something I already know like Invincible, I'd never look at it twice. At some point after that there's the sweet spot, like The Mummy Returns or a bjillion different takes on Spidey, Hulk and Thor, where I actually still am interested in it both because it's new and because it's still familiar.

Somewhere after that we hit things like the Bay TMNT or the Star Trek reboots where eh, I just feel almost exploited ("hey! You're old! You must obviously like TMNT and Star Trek! Therefore you like our movie!") and there's just no interest (I mention the Trek reboots because as soon as I was in a social situation where hey, people were watching 'em, I watched them and kinda liked them even though they were goofy and not really what got me interested in Trek - but if I hadn't been in those situations, I would never have actively looked for those movies). Like even knowing Iain McCaig worked on Jurassic World doesn't grab me, and I figure I'll go see Battle of Five Armies for closure rather than because I particularly expect it to be a good movie.

OTW Fannews: Delving Into Fandom

Nov. 25th, 2014 10:27 am[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
otw_staff: Janita OTW Communications Staffer (Janita OTW Communications Staffer)
OTW Fannews Banner Delving into Fandom

OTW works with others concerned with preserving objects from the past as well as those working for a better future: http://bit.ly/1CaYbWA

This year's secret santa

Nov. 25th, 2014 09:38 am[personal profile] telophase
telophase: (Default)
As usual, for this year's gift-giving charity the library is going with a local organization for children's advocacy. The Christmas program provides the names and wishlists of kids in the system, and we buy presents for them which the organization delivers to the parents(s)/guardians so that they can wrap the gifts and give them to their kids. The same names are given to multiple offices/workplaces, so I don't need to worry that these are the only presents the kids are getting.

I usually try to grab the names of girls with geeky interests, but there were none in this year's selection. So who did I pick this year? Two brothers, Jesus (11) and Angel (8)*. Their wishlists are:

Jesus: "Drawing, colored pencils. Cars, balls. Favorite color: blue."

Angel: "All superheroes, transformers. Dinosaurs, basketball. Drawing."

I GUESS I'M GIVING THEM ART SUPPLIES, HUH? :D Suggestions welcome! I'm going to take a look at how-to-draw superhero and car books, but don't want to limit myself to that as it's obvious enough they may get multiples. I usually buy local and always include the receipt anyway, so that the parents can exchange the gift if there are duplicates or the kid already has it.


(BTW, Monster High is apparently the in thing-there were multiple kids asking for it!)

* Not their real names, from what I understand. The center preserves their anonymity.


edit: Ooh, this car-design kit looks pretty spiffy!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Below is my third card for the 2014 [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This fest encourages the creation of boundary-pushing material that explores what happens when things go horribly wrong and people actually care about each other. Remember, things always go wrong; what matters is how you deal with that. Some of the content may be NSFW. Read the FAQ and rules first.The signup post is here. (See all my 2014 bingo cards.)

I thought this might be an effective way to attract some new readers. It's also useful for developing some of my more danger-prone series.

If you'd like to sponsor a particular square, especially if you have an idea for what character, series, or situation it would fit -- talk to me and we'll work something out. This is a good opportunity for those of you with favorites that don't always mesh well with the themes of my monthly projects. I may still post some of the fills for free, because I'm using this to attract new readers; but if it brings in money, that means I can do more of it. That's part of why I'm crossing some of the bingo prompts with other projects, such as the Poetry Fishbowl.

Underlined prompts have been filled.


HURT/COMFORT BINGO CARD


hugs fever / delirium loss of home / shelter rejection septicemia / infected wounds
nervous breakdown bites planet destruction Stockholm syndrome kidnapping
forced to rely on enemy / rival headaches / migraines WILD CARD extortion orphans
hunger / starvation tentacles medication motion sickness cages
hospital stay loss of identity difficult / unexpected pregnancy nightmares abandonment issues

(no subject)

Nov. 24th, 2014 10:36 pm[personal profile] likesgirls
likesgirls: (Default)
Christmas cards!!! If anyone wants one, please comment this post or PM me. :) I screened the comments.
amalthia: (Nightwing Flies)
Captain America

gwyneth rhys (gwyneth) - Dark Approach
I loved Bucky's pov, his character voice, and seeing how he recovers from what he'd been through for the last 70 years.

(recs-Marvel,recs-CaptainAmerica,f4,Length:50k-100k,Pairing:BuckyBarnes/SteveRogers)


trinityofone - To Live It Again Is Past All Endeavor
I had a blast reading this story. I loved the bodyswap and time travel angle and how both where handled.

(author-trinityofone,f4,Length:20k-50k,Pairing:BuckyBarnes/SteveRogers,recs-CaptainAmerica,recs-Marvel,Trope:Bodyswap,Trope:Time-Travel)


gwyneth rhys (gwyneth) - I can’t remember how this started (but I can tell you exactly how it ends)
I really enjoyed seeing Bucky figure out what was going on and trying to figure out how to break the repeating days.

(recs-Marvel,recs-CaptainAmerica,f4,Length:10k-20k,Pairing:BuckyBarnes/SteveRogers,Trope:GroundhogDay)


Teen Wolf

pocketmumbles (livelikejack) - Wolf Moon 'verse
I loved the time travel aspect of this story and seeing what changes as a result of Scott going back in time to talk with Derek.

(recs-TeenWolf,f4,Length:100k-200k,Trope:Time-Travel,Pairing:DerekHale/ScottMcCall)

[ SECRET POST #2883 ]

Nov. 24th, 2014 06:46 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #2883 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.

More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 047 secrets from Secret Submission Post #412.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 1 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
calissa: (Calissa)

Flower-and-Weed

Published: 2013 by FableCroft Publishing
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Purchased on Amazon

While not technically part of a series, Flower and Weed is a short story connected to Margo Lanagan’s novel Sea Hearts. It focuses on one of the minor characters from the novel and shares a glimpse into part of her life previously glossed over. Because the story takes place during the events of Sea Hearts and involve some minor spoilers, it is not really a story for those who haven’t read the novel. Likewise, this review contains minor spoilers for Sea Hearts and major spoilers for Flower and Weed.

Flower and Weed is very much a story worth reading.  In my review of Sea Hearts, I mentioned that the novel was strongly feminist. It shows how the human women on Rollrock Island are replaced with slender, beautiful, emotionally-absent selkie wives. In this way, it comments on modern society’s obsession with weight and perfection. This is the negative side of the coin. Flower and Weed is the other side, showing us a fantastically fat-positive portrayal of sex. Worn down by the grief and depression of his selkie wife, our unnamed male narrator finds himself lusting after the only sexually-available human woman on the island. Trudel is full-bodied with freckled skin and red hair. She delights in the earthiness of sex–quite literally, as the pair rut in a field. She is an anathema to the standards of modern society and to Rollrock Island. Yet Lanagan uses her gorgeous command of language to show Trudel as desirable at all times. Even once our protagonist turns away from her in shame, it is the shame of being disloyal to his wife rather than shame at Trudel’s appearance and attitude.

Obviously, Flower and Weed is not a story that stands on its own legs. While there is some effort at developing an emotional connection between the reader and the narrator, it largely depends on the groundwork laid by Sea Hearts. It also means that the character’s journey can only ever be one that maintains the status quo, which I found vaguely dissatisfying, even while I acknowledge it was appropriate. Another thing that tripped me up was the change to Misskaella’s name–shown in Flower and Weed as Messkeletha. This could be an indication that Misskaella is so insignificant to the narrator that he doesn’t even know her proper name, but it slowed me down to begin with as I struggled to place the story within the context created by Sea Hearts.

However, overall I found Flower and Weed to be an excellent story and I highly recommend it to anyone who has read Sea Hearts.

 

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

November 2014

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