icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Flight)
( Jun. 3rd, 2016 07:41 pm)
Okay, I liked that. I can't remember how I found it, I think I saw the name mentioned on a random stroll through TV Tropes, but I did like that.

I've just read through a book of short stories by Manly Wade Wellman (hell of a name) called "John the Balladeer", about a man named John, just John, who wanders around the Appalachian mountains post-Korean war with his silver-stringed guitar, encountering and fighting various spirits and magic men/women, usually with music. It's ... I liked it a lot. It hits a couple of my favourite motifs, the mystic minstrel, a-la the Pied Piper, and the wandering exorcist, a-la Kusuriuri/the Medicine Seller from Mononoke. John is interesting, a polite, soft-spoken, perpetually penniless musician who's too curious for his own good, always moves to help people if he can, and has a bit of a vindictive streak with people he doesn't like.

A lot of what I liked about the stories, though, are the descriptions, of the mountains and the people and the food (he talks about food a lot, hot damn, I was starving after reading this and I don't even like pork that much) and the music. There's a sense of place and rhythm and mystery in the stories. I really do like them a lot. Very folklorish, and a familiar kind of folklore to me too, like something not too far from what I'd read in a book of the Irish ghost stories I grew up with. There's moments when the stories really feel out of time, like they could have happened any time in the last three centuries, and it's only when John or somebody starts talking about the war or radar or the doppler effect that you can date them again.

I might look up more by this guy now. He's interesting.
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Fantomas)
( Feb. 18th, 2016 07:06 pm)
My sister and I tend to have interesting conversations. The book I bought today to reward myself for surviving an interview is "Ghost: 100 Stories to Read with the Lights On", editted by Louise Welsh. It's basically 100 ghost stories arranged in chronological order from Pliny's "The Haunted House" ca. 113 AD and runs up to recent publications. (I have read a surprising amount of the classics before, despite horror having never been my main go-to genre). On the back of this, we ended up talking about what types of horror scare us more. I tend to favour ghost stories, stories of madness, and cosmic horror stories, while she tends more towards serial killers, zombies and the evils that men do.

I think it comes down to, I am more afraid of unknowns and things that affect the mind, while she's more afraid of physical dangers and things that affect life and limb. I've never been overly disturbed by vampires or serial killers, anything you can potentially stab with a stake or brain with a rock to take care of the problem (however successfully the attempt might go), and zombie stories tend more to either bore, disgust or depress me. But ghosts, intangible things that inspire dread and that are much more difficult to disperse, and absolutely anything at all regarding madness, mental deterioration, gaslighting, psychological abuse, external control and extrusions of unknown factors that simply cannot be dealt with rationally, those scare the pants off me. I don't mind adrenal, action-based fear, but seeping, paralysing dread and a loss of control or comprehension do it for (or rather to) me every time.

I suppose it really is what you're most basely afraid of that defines what sort of horror works best for you. Heh.
I have just watched the opening two-parter of the Shannara Chronicles right now. It was ... interesting, I think is the word. I really don't know how to feel about it yet, though I might stick with the show a few episodes more to see how it goes. But it just ... it feels odd. Maybe it's just that Shannara was my childhood in so many ways, my first proper fantasy doorstopper series (Lord of the Rings actually came later for me). Apparently I have deep, deep nostalgic feelings about Shannara that aren't entirely sure what to make of the adaptation.

They changed quite a few things. Some of it is okay, some of it is just weird, some of it I don't know if I like at all. Ander, in particular, they're doing something very odd with Ander. And Allanon, in a lot of ways, though I do like the actor's actual performance. It's things like the horribly scarred hand and the tragic love interest (!) that are weirding me out.

There is one thing in particular that's really bugging me though, in relation to the Dagda Mor:

I've been reading both the Honor Harrington series by David Weber and the Girl Genius webcomic by the Foglios of late, and it's become increasingly apparent that there are certain character types that inherantly appeal to me.

To whit: )


I've mostly caught up with Girl Genius (and read an awesome canon-divergent AU where Barry works with Klaus instead of against him back in the early days of the Empire), but I'm missing large chunks of the middle of the HH series. I've read most of the early books, several of the latest ones, and most of the Torch and Talbott subseries, but the middle books of the main series I've still got a catch up on. I've found most of them online, though, Baen free books, so it shouldn't be too much trouble :)

Apparently, summer is for reading, if not necessarily what you thought you would be.
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Aurin)
( Jan. 10th, 2014 12:17 am)
List ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take but a few minutes, and don't think too hard --- they don't have to be the "right" or "great" works, just the ones that have touched you.

My Ten Books:

These are the first ten books that came to mind. They're mostly books from my childhood, and most of them were determined by the selection at my local library. I joined when I was seven, and I've been a more-or-less continuous member ever since. There are a couple of adult or later picks in there too, though. Some of those came from my parents' or relatives' personal libraries, from the public library in my college town (first thing I do when moving somewhere for any length of time is join the nearest library - I've cards for my hometown, my mother's hometown, and my college town so far), or from second-hand bookshops. Because apparently the books that stick with me tend to be random finds got on the cheap or for free -_-; Though I suppose that makes sense when you're a kid. How else are you going to get a hold of stuff? No way either me or my parents would have had the budget for the sheer volume of stuff I read. The house has thousands of books as it stands, from five separate people collecting shit as they go, and we only get to buy a fraction of what we read. Though I suppose e-books and kindles are going to be making that a mite easier now ...

icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Swordswoman)
( Oct. 14th, 2013 05:35 pm)
My copy of Thoroughly Modern Monsters arrived this morning. As in, the first book in which I have successfully had a story published. *smiles crookedly* My, ah, my parents were pretty proud. It's a nice thing to be able to show them, a concrete, physical thing you can hand someone and say "I was part of that". Heh. Um. It made Dad cry, because Granddad and reading and ... and he just missed it, but ... *waves hand* It's a thing I wrote, in a real book that was really published. *grins a little* It's kind of awesome.

I've been browsing the other stories on and off in between stuff today, and there are some fabulous things in there. Actually, my whole family has been browsing it one and off. My sister already has a favourite, and it's not the one I wrote. *grins* Traitor that she is. Heh.

It's worth picking up, if you like horror/fantasy/urban fantasy/mythology or any of those things. And I'm not just saying that because I helped write it. Honest. *smiles*
And finally. My sister helped me to buy the ebooks of Blood Maidens and Magistrates of Hell by Barbara Hambly, so I've just finished the James Asher series thus far. And by 'just' I mean I got the books yesterday and finished MoH about an hour ago. *grins faintly*

Right. I've just finished the second James Asher book by Barbara Hambly, Travelling With The Dead. And ... I really, really enjoyed it? As much as I enjoyed Those Who Hunt The Night, and possibly even a little bit more -_-;

Re-reading parts of Those Who Hunt The Night for distraction purposes. I still think one of the things that really gets to me is that Asher told his wife she was in danger. In Chapter Four, basically immediately after he knew himself. Literally the first chance he got where there wasn't a vampire looming over him, he went and told her.

The hero's loved one is threatened to ensure his obedience, and he doesn't hide this from her, he doesn't distance himself from her, he doesn't lie and cause relationship strife on top of the already fairly stressful situation, he doesn't spend half the book trying to keep the secret, he doesn't try to keep her ignorant of the danger she's in. Instead, he goes home and he sits down and he tells her. Not even in a 'leave me, it's too dangerous' or 'I'm sacrificing myself for you, make it worth it' sort of way, but sitting down and laying out the situation and discussing between them what to do about it. Not just what he's going to do about it, but what she's going to do and what they're going to do about it. Risks and probable death and all.

When was the last time I saw that in a story? Have I seen that in fictionland any time recently? I don't know why it's catching me so strongly, but it is.
Okay. This book was recommended to me by about three different people on the vampire recs post, and when I looked up the blurb it sounded fascinating. So. Ah. I scrounged up an online version of it, and devoured it over the past couple of days -_-;

icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Icarus)
( May. 8th, 2013 09:31 pm)
*drops head* I'm back. Actually, we got back Monday evening, but then I had to get stuff organised yesterday and today, so I haven't really been online.

Downside: family is exhausting, and I never know what to do when people are sick. Especially when ... when they're never getting better. *rubs face*

Upside: I'll have a parttime job in two weeks time. Three days a week only, but hey, better than nothing, right?

Also upside: I've finally read Shards of Honor. It's obvious where Miles Vorkosigan gets his awesome from. Heh. I've also found some of the Saint stories by Leslie Charteris in the library today, so I think those are up next. When in doubt, go find a book. *nods nods*

Still nothing really firing on the writing front, but I'll go for a meme, I think. Nibble at over the next couple of days while I try bouncing back:

Request any of my fics, and I will provide you with a commentary/annotations, like a DVD extra.

*waves sleepily* Hey all. Um. I'm back? Sort of? *smiles crookedly*
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Aurin)
( Apr. 16th, 2013 07:25 pm)
I saw this in the bookshop recently. I wasn't aware this was even a thing, but apparently it is.

You can now apparently buy The Hobbit ... in Latin. Hobbitus Ille, folks.

*blinks some* I wasn't quite sure what I was seeing until I picked it up, flicked through, and realised that yes, someone actually had translated the entirety of the Hobbit into Latin. And ... I'm slightly ashamed to say it, but among my first thoughts was "If you were a real Tolkien nerd, you'd have translated that shit into Sindarin." *grins sheepishly* I think Latin was actually the point, since I think the translator is aiming it at Latin students, it was just ... What a thing to randomly pass by in a shop, you know? *grins, shakes head*

The world is either awesome or very, very strange, sometimes. Or possibly both.

(Incidentally, is it actually possible to read Hamlet in the original Klingon, these days? Because if you can get the Hobbit in latin ...)
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Woman)
( Mar. 26th, 2013 09:55 pm)
Just thinking about fantasy lately, and fantasy on the big and little screens. You know how fantasy TV is back in, these days? And also historical dramas, and stuff like that? What with Game of Thrones and LOTR and The Hobbit and Rome and Vikings and The Borgias and all?

I want to see a TV series of The Queen's Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner. So much.

icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Loki)
( Jan. 25th, 2013 07:35 pm)
*rubs face* Oi vey. The last week has been ... well. The last week has been tiring, lets go with that. Haven't been around much, I know. Sorry, y'all. Pain and physical distress and then family happenings. Yech.

In slightly happier news? I saw The Hobbit.

... I apologise for more Holmes meta. After the previous two I realise I've been, ah, somewhat obsessed recently. It's just rereading the canon again, with specific things to look for and examine, has put me in the frame of mind.

I also apologise to fans of the BBC Sherlock adaptation, I realise I'm spending a lot of these pointing out my problems with that specific adaptation. Um. I just ... sort of have a lot of them, when I'm watching it with the ACD canon in mind (and some just watching it in general). So. My apologies.

This isn't really an essay (no, okay, it totally is), as such, it was just something I noticed while reading back through the canon for Holmes' views on morality, society and people, and with the BBC Sherlock version of Scandal in Bohemia in mind (and the Downey films' treatment of Irene too). The original canon, for something written in the 19th century by a male inhabitant of a very patriarchal and stratified society, has some surprising moments of grace regarding gender and race relations (mostly focused on gender, I'll admit in advance, just one tiny mention regarding race).

Continued from Part I. I promise, I'm going to get this part off my chest, and I'll be done. *grins sheepishly* It's only because the relationship between Holmes and Watson is one of the parts most subject to interpretation in adaptations, and I've had several people say the original Holmes would do such-and-such a thing to Watson based on their dynamics in various adaptations (BBC Sherlock, I'm really sorry, you just tend to do this a lot?). And, um. Not so much?

Okay. So. The second part of my 'slightly annoyed about Holmes' essay (yes, I'm going to be slightly stubborn about this). This one is on ACD Holmes' interpersonal relations in the original stories.

I feel I should clarify, before I continue, that I'm not necessarily annoyed by the adaptations themselves, though I prefer some over others. It's the fact that people seem to be saying the original was such-and-such a thing in light of the adaptations, when in fact he wasn't. Much as you generally can't really judge canon characters sight-unseen based on fanfic characterisations of them, so too you can't judge the original versions sight-unseen based on the versions seen in adaptations. If you want to tell me the original Holmes was such-and-such, please provide the original stories that prove so, yes?

And in that cause ...

[Again, links to online versions of the stories used, the ones I could find, are provided at the end. Most of them are hosted at Wikisource]

Right. So. This is middling-to-majorly nerdy of me, but howandever. It's been bugging me slightly since discussing the various Holmes adaptations with people, in particular the BBC Sherlock version and the Downey film version. Just a small exploration of the original, Arthur Conan Doyle Holmes, mostly concerned with his views on crime/morality/law. Only my interpretation, but one I'm ... ah, rather vehemently attached to. *smiles sheepishly*

[I've scrounged up links to online version of most of the stories I'm using in the discussion, they're down at the end. All of them are hosted either on Gutenberg or Wikisource. SPOILERS for all stories involved, obviously.]

icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Nebula)
( Dec. 9th, 2012 03:04 am)
It's 3:00 am, and I've just finished The Vor Game. Um. One word. Gregor. Are all the Vor certified lunatics? I ask only out of interest. *grins faintly*

Now, I am going to bed. And tomorrow, at perhaps a slightly more sedate pace, I think I'll switch to Shards of Honour. *smiles ruefully* But yes, oh yes, I do approve of this series. *grins*
icarus_chained: lurid original bookcover for fantomas, cropped (Nebula)
( Dec. 8th, 2012 02:52 am)
Okay. So I just blitzed through Warrior's Apprentice, which seems appropriate since I don't think anyone took so much as a spare breath that entire novel. Overall impression? *grins giddily* Miles is a lunatic. I love him. *grabby hands* Yes, I'll have the rest of this now. Yes, oh yes.

Seriously, there is improvisation, and then there's this. Lunatic. So much. And I haven't even really met anyone else yet.

Yes. So. I approve, and will search out the rest of this series forthwith! *grins*
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