selenak: (rootbeer)
[personal profile] selenak
In short, hm. Could go either way.

Spoilers wonder when internal communication systems are going to be used )

silly man

Sep. 26th, 2017 12:44 pm
deird1: Anya, with text "is it difficult or time-consuming?" (Anya difficult)
[personal profile] deird1
I'm not complaining, I'm really not. Because the truth is, that on a weekend when I was horribly sick, my husband took over all the housework and all the kids, without complaining, and did 90% of it perfectly.

It's just...

This morning I got a baffled complaint of "Where are Kidlet Primus's tshirts?" The husband wasn't sure why on earth the wardrobe was completely tshirt-less.

The reason?

Because the husband did all the clothes washing for the last five days. He washed it. He dried it. He folded it beautifully. And then he kinda... left it there. In a basket full of an increasing amount of beautifully folded clean washing, destined to reach to the ceiling before it ever occurs to him to go put the damn stuff away in the cupboards.

I did rather roll my eyes at that question.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:08 pm
skygiants: Kozue from Revolutionary Girl Utena, in black rose gear, holding her sword (salute)
[personal profile] skygiants
I happened to see on Twitter that today was the 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride, which I guess makes it a good day to post about As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride.

This is Cary Elwes' memoir of the making of the film, a book I had vaguely meant to read for years, but did not actually get around to until our new roommate left his copy in the house this summer as a sort of placeholder before actually moving in. It's very charming! I'd sort of always had a vague sense that Cary Elwes must in some way resent being forever branded as The Man In Black, and I'm sure that at some points he has and does, but this write-up is probably the most overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic Hollywood making-of memoir I've ever read. It's clearly intended for people who love the film and want to go on loving it, without a complicated feeling in sight.

My favorite part was probably the enthusiastic things that Cary Elwes and everyone interviewed had to say about Robin Wright and her acting as Buttercup; they're all like "we sailed through on jokes! playing the straight man is the hardest role in the cast! ALSO SHE CAME FROM SOAP OPERAS, SOAP OPERAS ARE SO HARD, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY LINES PER DAY --" I went in braced to feel vaguely defensive of Robin Wright and Buttercup, as I so often do, and instead I was charmed and endeared!

I also enjoyed accounts of:
- Mandy Patinkin turning up to the first rehearsal with six months of sword practice under his belt, much to Cary Elwes' dismay
- William Goldman freaking out about Rob Reiner setting the leading lady on fire
- Andre the Giant accidentally conking Cary Elwes out on set
- Cary Elwes carefully arranging himself on the grass in an elegant lounging position to hide that he'd broken an ankle joyriding in a golf card
- so much detailed description of sword training and fight choreography! *__* SO MUCH

Star Trek: Discovery

Sep. 26th, 2017 12:21 am
ruuger: My hand with the nails painted red and black resting on the keyboard of my laptop (Default)
[personal profile] ruuger
Dear Americans who don't have that CBS streaming whatever thing: This is what avoiding spoilers for current TV is like for the rest of the world ;)

Anyway, I watched the first two episodes of the new Star Trek series, and my main thought about it was that it was...

cut for spoilers )

Other shows that I've recently watched include Lucifer (gave it two episodes, but it was too much of a generic procedural), and The Mist (also watched two episodes and came to the conclusion that it was terrible). I still need to watch the second season of Sense8 before I run out of Netflix, and I'll probably also at least check out Expanse and The OA.

Which Witch?

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:00 pm
beer_good_foamy: (Willow-death)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
There are far too few ficathons right now as an excuse to get some writing done. But signups are open for the Which Witch ficathon! I hope I've signed up (you never really know with anonymous posting and whatnot), why don't you join me? (LJ membership is not a requirement.)

ruuger: My hand with the nails painted red and black resting on the keyboard of my laptop (Default)
[personal profile] ruuger
The anon period at Remix Revival has ended, so I can now reveal that my creation for the remix was "Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Flint-Vastra (The Carte de visite remix) ", a piece of fanart about Jenny and Vastra from Doctor Who.

I had a few fic ideas as well, but Real Life continues to conspire against me, and I ended up doing fanart instead. It was fun, though, since it's been a while since I've made manips.

(I also took this as an excuse to finally start posting my old manips to AO3)

In return I received Scout's Honor, a lovely remix of one of my The Mentalist fics.

I also received three delightful fics from [community profile] fandomgiftbox: Smiles (The Mentalist, Jane/Cho), feel the beat from the tambourine (Doctor Who, Doctor & Bill) and an untitled ficlet (Doctor Who, Doctor & Bill)

Activity Log (Since July 5, 2017)

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:13 pm
flamebyrd: (Default)
[personal profile] flamebyrd
Usually I post these on Wednesdays, but time is meaningless, so.

Books
Timekeeper - Tara Sim

Movies
Tales From Earthsea (2006)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)
Finding Dory (2016)
Wonder Woman (2017)

Anime
Bodacious Space Pirates 1x05-1x08
selenak: (Pumuckl)
[personal profile] selenak
You may or may not be aware we had elections in Germany yesterday. The results weren't very surprising (if you've been following news and polls), but nonetheless shocking, because Nazis in German parliament for the first time in over 70 years should be. (Let me qualify the technicalities: of course we had original flavour Nazis in the very first post war parliament, it being 1949. We even had a rather prominent one, the original commentator of the Nuremberg "race laws", in Adenauer's cabinet. And there were right wing extremist parties since then who didn't pretend very hard to be anything else. But none of them reached 13%, which the right wing extremists du jour, the AFD, just did.) In practical terms: this means 80-something MPs drilled in verbal abuse and little else entering parliament as of next year. At least they won't be the official opposition, since the SPD, which had its historic worst result in the entire post war history with 20 something %, ended the governing Big Coalition last night. (This is actually a good thing and was direly necessary to save the party, imo. It governed in coalition with Merkel's conservatives for two out of three terms Angela Merkel has been chancellor, and while this wasn't the only reason for its steady loss of votes, it was a big one.) How the "Jamaica" coalition (so called because of the colors associated with the parties in question - black for the CDU/CSU, the conversative union, yellow for the FDP, the business-oriented liberal party, which will return to parliament after having been voted out four years ago, and green for the Greens, obviously) will work out is anyone's guess, but it's the best of currently available alternatives. And since the AFD does have a lot of inner fighting between its heads going on and hasn't yet managed to actually do something constructive in any of the provincial parliaments they were already in, they might destroy themselves over the next four years, as the 80s flavor of right wing extremists did (they were called Republicans, I kid you not). None of that changes me feeling thoroughly disgusted this morning at 13% of our electorate, and angry with a lot of other people as well.

Here are two articles from two of our leading papers translated into English which analyze the election and its results:

Tears won't change a thing (from the Süddeutsche, in which Heribert Prantl says that we're the recovering alcoholic of nations, which is why it's differently serious when part of our electorate falls off the wagon to get drunk on demagogery, racism and authoritarianism again)

The Panic Orchestra, which also analyses the role the media played (because just as with Trump, the bloody AFD seemed to be on tv all the time)

On the bright(er) side of things, there were spontanous anti AFD marches on the street in Berlin and Cologne last night, and they were soundly defeated as also rans in Munich. (Which is a relief on a personal level, since I live there, and also because of history.)

Speaking of Munich, to conclude on a distracting and cheerier note, the Süddeutsche also hosts an US journalist who last week penned this column:

11 things Americans get wrong about the Oktoberfest

Come a Stranger (Voigt)

Sep. 24th, 2017 09:35 pm
cahn: (Default)
[personal profile] cahn
Come a Stranger is the most positive book in the Tillerman Cycle (which, in a series that takes on abandonment, death, failure, racism, and emotional abuse of a couple different kinds, is maybe not saying a whole lot, although the themes of all the books involve growth and compassion and optimism and healing so that I never really noticed until this read-through how relentless they are) — this is the book about a family that works from the very beginning, and with themes that involve an existing strength, and growth mediated by that strength (as opposed to, say, Dicey's Song and Solitary Blue, which are about fractured family that has to figure out how to work, and growth from what started as dysfunctionality).

This one, I think there are two major themes woven throughout the book. One is community: what does it mean to be part of a community? This is almost a background theme — if I were to tell you the major events that happened in the book, none of them would really shout out "Community!" And yet the strong, vibrant community Mina belongs to is so integral to this book that it wouldn't exist in the same way without it. The other books are about individuals; this one is about the individuals as part of a community where they all help one another, all lift one another up. There's no character like Miz Hunter in any of the other Tillerman books.

I mean, I've never read these books thematically before, and on this reading it jumped out to me that the first chapter is basically the thesis statement. In the first chapter we meet Miz Hunter, Kat, Kat's family, and the church where Mina sings in the choir. That's a lot of people that Mina is a part of — not just her family itself, though they're also a community unto themselves, but also friends, friends' families, a whole church community evoked — and a community that takes care of each other. The first chapter almost makes it explicit:

"People you don't know are strangers."
"Are you afraid of strangers?"
"There aren't any strangers I've noticed around here, are there?"
"No ma'am. My poppa, he doesn't let people stay strangers."

And —

Poppa's little church didn't have a fancy altar, just a heavy wooden table with a fresh cloth on iton which the ladies had embroidered words and pictures. A silver cross stood up on top of that. They didn't have proper choir stalls, nor pews, except for half a doen somebody had picked up at a flea market sale in Cambridge… What happened was, whenever they were having a drive, saving up money for something particular, like more pews so the whole room could be filled with them and not be part pews and mostly folding chairs, something always came up. There would always be some family that needed the help, or some one person in some kind of need. The deacons would empty the church pockets to help out. Like Miz Hunter, when the church took a mortgage on the little house she lived in and rented it to her for what she could afford. Nobody minded that, and nobody seemed to miss the fancy touches.


Which brings me to the other major theme of this book: love.

This book is a little bit the counterpoint of Solitary Blue, which was about finding a community one by one (and so is Dicey's Song, for that matter), and about the damage that love does, both knowingly and unknowingly, and how to get beyond that damage. This book is about the next step: the responsibilities to one another in a community; and the positive side of love, how love shows us the way to our truest selves; and how those things interact. Mina loves Tamer Shipp, and that love shows itself in no destructive way, but constructively, in the way she helps Tamer's wife, and in the way that she finds Samuel Tillerman for him as a gift — but the real, true gift is the interaction between Gram and Tamer — it's not about Shipp himself, really. I don't know, I don't think I am making a whole lot of sense here; I just feel really strongly about this, okay? :)

But there's a minor theme (though more explicit) too, a theme of race and racism — and it's so interesting and awesome what Voigt did here: Runner was all about what it looked like from Bullet's white, racist point of view, and that was a valuable discussion and viewpoint; well, here we see what it looks like from the other side. And I feel like Voigt just does it well — Mina thinking black everything is kind of lame, to the betrayal when Mina realizes how she's been set up as the token black at ballet camp (and, tangentially, she gets it so right how you can bounce around and then find the place where you belong — in my case also summer camp — and the relief and amazingness of it — and I didn't think about it until this time through, but just thinking about that memory being sullied by betrayal of some sort is just — my whole mind flinches from it), the swinging to considering racism in everything, including her of-course-I'm-not-racist-but-I-don't-like-uppity-blacks teacher and also Dicey's reaction to her which is clearly (from Dicey's perspective in Song) not race-related at all (that being said, when you look at it from Mina's point of view it looks pretty damning for Dicey for a while — I mean, what are you supposed to think when a person keeps ignoring your friendship overtures?). The conversations she has with Shipp and with her parents seem to get it right to me… the way her parents are just worried for her because it's hard to be a black woman. And I love the part where Shipp tells Mina that "colored" is a good word for what they are. ("They," in the end, meaning all humans.) Because, of course, it's the word Bullet used and Tamer rejected. And I side-eyed the part at ballet camp where Mina is cast as Tash, and then was surprised and pleased to find that (of course) Voigt was right there with us side-eyeing it too, with Kat calling it out explicitly.

I don't understand at all how Voigt is able to interweave all these themes among all the books and still find time to have things actually happen. I don't get it at all.

It's so interesting to me that the Tamer Shipp of this book is noticeably an older version of Tamer Shipp in Runner. That is to say, he's not at all identical, he's clearly been through a lot and learned a lot and matured a lot (and changed his mind about some things, like the word "colored"), but still you can see the Tamer-who-was in him.

More quotes. This one is on the community theme:


Charlie and Isadora started telling stories about old relatives of their parents who had gone into nursing homes, or retired to places where there were a lot of old people gathered together. Mina didn't say anything, because her one living set of grandparents lived with her mother's brother in Georgia, and the grandparents who had died when she was still a baby had lived just around the corner. She thought of Miz Hunter, but didn't mention her either.


I really like the treatment of Mina's friend Kat, though I wouldn't have appreciated it when I was a kid (good thing I didn't read these books until I was an adult) -- I like that she's presented as not liking Narnia, and that's OK!

"And trying to make me different too, make me read books and listen to your music. And they're boring and dumb — the Narnia books. It's just pretend, fairy-tale stuff, with magic, and if I don't like them, you look at me as if I'm stupid. I'm not stupid."


I could go on and on about this book, but I think I'm going to post it since it's already taken forever for me to get this far.

Oh, okay, one more thing: I have never liked what we're told about Tamer's sermon on Miss LaValle's suicide attempt -- it has always struck me as rather victim-blamey. But on the other hand we're seeing all this filtered through Mina's eyes, and she doesn't know about the suicide at the time; afterwards Mina's mom says she thinks the sermon was about helping Miss LaValle even though she isn't part of their church, and not gossiping about it, which is not at all what I got from Mina's POV, so it is very possible this is a case of incomplete-POV rather than being as victim-blamey as it seems.

No, two more things. This time around I kinda shipped Mina and Tamer's son Samuel, not right then of course, but sometime far in the future when they've both grown up — it seems like Samuel has inherited his father's propensity for thinking about things, and I could totally see Mina and Samuel, as grownups, understanding each other in the same way that Tamer and Mina do, but without the barriers to a romantic relationship. Speaking of fic ideas :) (Would that be weird? I feel like the way Voigt has structured it, it wouldn't be weird.)

Blergh

Sep. 24th, 2017 08:05 pm
molly_may: (stranger things)
[personal profile] molly_may
This is the time of year when I would normally do a "what's new this fall on TV" kind of post, but, to be honest, this year there's not a single new show that has me excited. I would be interested in the new Star Trek series if it weren't going to air on the CBS streaming network, but I'm not paying for another streaming service right now. I'm sure I'll be watching The Mayor, which sounds as though it fits right into my sitcom wheelhouse. Beyond that, there's nothing that interests me very much.

The three returning shows that I'm most looking forward to are The Good Place (which is already back), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and Stranger Things. I like all of these shows A LOT, but I wouldn't consider myself fannish about any of them. I kind of miss being fannish about something.
deird1: Faith, with text " 'sup, bitches?" (Faith bitches)
[personal profile] deird1
Title: Where No Vampire Has Gone Before (the Dear Diary remix)
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1970

Original Story: Beaming Down to a Hellmouth, by M Scott Eiland.

Summary: The crew of the Enterprise meet the Scooby Gang.

Captain's Log... )
isis: Write what you're told! (micah wright)
[personal profile] isis
Remix Revival authors have been revealed, at least for the main collection, so I can now post a link to my story!

To Paint a Symphony (Arrangement for Solo Piano) (1527 words) by Isis
Fandom: The Watchmaker of Filigree Street - Natasha Pulley
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Keita Mori/Thaniel Steepleton
Characters: Keita Mori, Thaniel Steepleton
Additional Tags: Synesthesia, Music, Established Relationship, Precognition, Remix
Summary: Possible futures, with musical accompaniment.
Remix of: to paint a symphony by [archiveofourown.org profile] Arzani

I actually matched on Black Sails, but none of [archiveofourown.org profile] Arzani's fics in that fandom gave me much of an idea, partly because I'm not a Flint/Silver shipper. But The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is such an interesting canon - I've written a couple of stories for it already - and when I read "to paint a symphony" I immediately wanted to tease out the thread in which Keita plays the different compositions Thaniel might make in the future based on what choices he makes about Grace, and Thaniel sees them in different colors, and write my version of that story. (If you haven't read the book, this won't make much sense. But it's been nominated for Yuletide again this year, if you're thinking about reading it. It has a m/m relationship and a mechanical octopus.)

(no subject)

Sep. 23rd, 2017 10:50 pm
skygiants: Clopin from Notre-Dame de Paris; text 'sans misere, sans frontiere' (comment faire un monde)
[personal profile] skygiants
Thanks to the kindness of [personal profile] aamcnamara in loaning a copy so I did not have to fight through the library line, I read The Stone Sky - third in N.K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, following up on The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate - last weekend.

I don't think Essun destroyed any cities at all this book! I'm so proud!

The rest is disconnected spoilery thoughts )

Swish and flick

Sep. 23rd, 2017 09:00 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] bironic
[livejournal.com profile] synn and I went to Universal Studios in Orlando to celebrate our twentieth friendiversary! The main purpose, besides seeing each other, was to wander around Harry Potter World.

We were dorks, albeit adventurous ones. W/pix. )

I am glad to be out of the land of $20 sandwiches and ubiquitous soundtracks, though. Whew.

Obviously this hurricane season is a nightmare and a lot of people fall somewhere between inconvenienced and in dire straits, and I'm doing what I can do help, but at the same time I was selfishly glad that our timing worked out so that we made it there and back between storms. I met some people on the flight down who were hoping to find their houses relatively undamaged and some families at the hotel who were waiting for power to be restored from Orlando and Tampa all the way down to Miami. Good luck to everyone.

The first few days of 5778

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:36 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] bironic
VIDDING

I finished a draft of that Equinox treat! Now I can't stop watching it. It is a really special feeling to have the time, energy and capability to make something that comes close to realizing the aesthetics and emotions of the initial conception.

READING

So You Want to Be a Robot by A. Merc Rustad. I bought this at Readercon after being bowled over by How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps. I was afraid the rest of the stories would pale in comparison to that one, which is placed at the end of the collection here, but almost every one so far has left a lump in my throat. Hardly any duds in the bunch. Compelling SF and fantasy concepts with a ton of agender, transgender, genderqueer, asexual and/or queer protagonists and supporting characters. Robots and merpeople and aliens and monsters and supervillains and plots that stand on their own even as they allegorize things like systemic oppression of homosexuality by the Church. Highly recommended.

DOING

After years of struggling to build a sustainable exercise program to help manage my PCOS and address chronic muscle tightness without hurting myself, I bit the bullet and rejiggered my budget to accommodate a package of sessions with a personal trainer. I dunno, it seemed like a thing reserved for athletes and wealthy people, but I'm really glad I admitted I needed help and went for it. After two sessions and three or four weeks, my hips are less screamy and I'm noticing slightly improved stamina, like when [livejournal.com profile] synn and I climbed a millionty stairs to go on the water slides at Universal. Although it's still early days, simply feeling like I am in knowledgeable hands and am doing something instead of worrying about it is helpful. As expected, the main issue so far has been balancing gym time and hobby time, especially with all this weekend travel. I'm trying to take it a week at a time.

WATCHING

The Vietnam War documentary on PBS. Star Trek reruns. (A channel called Heroes & Icons started coming in over the digital antenna, so now there's TOS + TNG + DS9 every weeknight, and VOY & ENT after I go to bed.) Soon, Star Trek: Discovery. Auction vid sources continue on. Let's see: I skimmed the first seasons of The Magicians and Powers, both darker than expected; BrainDead, too close to reality to enjoy; and Supergirl, a welcome shift in tone. James Olson is a cutie. Penny from The Magicians wasn't hard on the eyes, either, although the showrunners' reluctance to let him wear shirts started to make me feel manipulated.

FEELING

Sometimes crummy and sometimes happy. There's the world, as you know, and on a personal level, alongside the gym stuff, my doctor and I are switching around a couple of things and seeing how they go; I'm still in the adjustment period. If the above sounds unusually upbeat, it's because I waited for a time when I didn't want to complain or sigh or strangle everyone at the office to write this post. Having 10 of the last 11 days off work helped as well. More on that in the next entry.

Pursuant to the last entry

Sep. 23rd, 2017 01:20 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Hope Not Hate have an excellent blog post explaining who they are and why they're going international.

We are coming to the United States because we have to. In our increasingly interconnected world, what happens here impacts on Europe. What happens in Europe has an impact on what happens in the United States.

Last year Britain voted to leave the European Union (commonly known as Brexit). This would not have been possible without the intervention of Breitbart and Cambridge Analytica. Likewise, Brexit gave Donald Trump a huge boast and convinced him and his supporters that anything was possible.

One of the main protagonists behind the Hillary Clinton conspiracy stories was Paul Joseph Watson, a 32-year-old man who lives in a flat in London. More recently, the ship charted by far right activists from across Europe in the Mediterranean was funded primarily by Americans.


From last year -- here's a Guardian piece on a Hope Not Hate workshop:

The Guardian: What does Hope not Hate actually do?

In November, I went to a Hope not Hate event at a mosque in Cardiff – a three-hour workshop on how to challenge and discuss anti-migrant and prejudiced sentiments. It drew a crowd of around 20, one or two of them local muslims and a few with migrant backgrounds, but the majority were white Welsh, many of whom had not previously been in a mosque. The organiser, Jonathan, began the session by asking what had prompted people to attend. Many described feeling worried, frustrated and in need of a toolkit for discussing race and immigration with family, friends and colleagues.

Their undercover reporter [twitter.com profile] patrik_h -- looks like a cinnamon roll, will secretly infiltrate your international white supremacist network:

https://twitter.com/patrik_h/status/910245564780081152

Dagens Nyheter: The Swede who infiltrated American Nazis

”He offered me to speak at the opening about my thesis topic: how the left has infiltrated the right. I spoke in front of 75 armed white supremacists.”

The Local.se: Meet the Swede who went undercover for a whole year with the alt-right in the US and UK

Of course, then I was scared. I mean, there was this combination of a group of young men with guns and a violent ideology. That's not a great combination.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars S1

Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:15 am
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
[personal profile] yhlee
Actually took me a bit to watch this because in between, first the Dragon inhaled Voltron: Legendary Defender, and then Joe (who had apparently seen the original Voltron?) watched out of curiosity and got sucked in and inhaled Voltron: Legendary Defender, and he WOULD NOT SHUT UP ABOUT IT until I watched it, and then I got sucked in and inhaled it in like four days and NOW I WANT MORE. But that's another post for another night.

cut for spoilers )
maia: (Default)
[personal profile] maia
Happy Bilbo's and Frodo's Birthday, and Happy Equinox!!!

Keats' "To Autumn"

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:39 pm
maia: (Bumblebee and Asters)
[personal profile] maia
A collage I made in 2015, with 9 photos of bees that I took in August, September, and October between 2008 and 2015, and a quote from Keats’ “To Autumn”.




Full size )

Flowers, from left to right and top to bottom: tomato, sunflower, goldenrod, bachelor's button, buckwheat, jewelweed, goldenrod, radish, aster.

*
selenak: (Schreiben by Poisoninjest)
[personal profile] selenak
Back when I marathon-read Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series, I saw he's also authored a lot of novels for children, and had a new one coming out this month, a standalone called Frederick the Great Detective, which, however, mysteriously seems to be available in German before it is in English. (Mysterious because Kerr's Scottish and writes in English, and the novel, which got released today, is indeed translated from the English original, I checked the imprint.) Anyway, the novel has a very similar premise to a movie I saw at last year's Munich Film Festival, Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday - the review I wrote about the film is here: boy falls in love with Emil and the Detectives, befriends its author, Erich Kästner, in the twilight of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich ensues, boy tries to maintain ideals of novel versus increasingly awful reality. Having read the novel now, I can add a further parallel: both Friedrich in Frederick the Great Detective and Hans in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday have an older sibling who is enthusastically joining the Nazi cause. My original suspicion as to why Kerr picked a fictional main character instead of Hans, who actually existed and did befriend Erich Kästner, was because Hans' fate was sealed by history, and that Kerr wanted a better fate for his young hero. Spoilers ensue. )However, by that point, I had already guessed various other reasons why Kerr chose a fictional over a fictionalized "real" main character, and the differences to Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday are instructive here.

For starters, there's the difference in focus: Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday is, as far as Hans is concerned, a coming of age story - he goes from child to teenager and young man in the course of the story - and has Erich Kästner as the other lead, whose perspective through the movie is even the slightly favored one. Frederick the Great Detective, by contrast, has Kästner only as a supporting character, aside from a prologue and an epilogue ends in late 1933/early 1934, and is above all a homage to Kästner's novel in structure, focusing on Friedrich and his same-age friends, who play detectives until it gets lethally dangerous. (The adults, whether benevolent or malignant or in between, are seen from the outside, the point of view is Friedrich's throughout.) For, befitting the author of the Gunther mysteries, there are actually cases to solve. (Though as opposed to Bernie, young Friedrich - who wants to become a detective through much of the novel - gets the point that you can't be a detective in a system where the criminals have taken over when Kästner desperately tells him just this.)

Indeed, while reading I wondered whether the basic idea for the novel might not have been a wish to write a sequel to Emil which tackles how Emil & Co. would act when the Third Reich starts, because Friedrich's gang with its twins has some similarities. Then again, Friedrich has a distinctly different background to Emil (or Hans Löhr) - no working class single parent mother, instead, middle class parents with his father a journalist and friend of Kästner's, which is the original connection, which allows Kerr to depict the way the press lost its freedom within a year. It also allows Kerr to let Friedrich and his parents vacation on Rügen where Friedrich meets Christopher Isherwood and Isherwood's boyfriend Heinz on the beach. (Leading to a charming scene where Friedrich manages to solve his very first case by finding Isherwood's lost watch.) Kerr provides quite a lot of real life characters making cameos throughout the novel - Billy Wilder (during the premiere of the "Emil and the Detectives" movie version which he scripted), Max Liebermann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Walter Trier etc. - but the Isherwood cameo was for me the most vivid of these. (And I'm not surprised, having come across an interview where Kerr says bascially Berlin for him as a reader, before he got there, was invented by two British writers, Christopher Isherwood and John Le Carré.)

Kästner himself lis of course the real life character with the most page time, but he feels more like a generic version of Kästner's author persona than an actual attempt at depiction of the man. (As opposed to the Kästner in Erich Kästner and Little Tuesday.) Meaning: he's a benevolent adult the way, say, Justus the Teacher in "Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer" is, with no hint of any inner conflicts, and Kerr slims down the biographical and authorial data about him to "wrote Emil and the Detective, also works as a journalist"; in this book, there are no mentions of either Kästner's other books for children or his adult novel, Fabian (the one who got burned by the Nazis at the 1933 book burning), nor of his sharp political poetry (which in Germany he was and is almost as well known for as for his prose). (Hence ahistorically Emil ends up as the burned book, when in rl Emil and the Detectives was so popular that it got published, as the only one of Kästner's works, within Germany until 1936. Then it was for the axe as well.) The one biographical background fact about Kästner mentioned in conversation by Friedrich's father is in fact a wrong one, or rather, a wrong assumption, that Kästner's mother, like Emil's, raised her son alone. In rl, not only was Kästner's father around and in contact with his son, but he outlived Kästner's mother. There is, however, a reason why I didn't mind this particular wrong statement, which is: Kästner kept his father and his relationship with him very low key as long as his mother was still alive, while his relationship with his mother was intense and very public, so a colleague from work like Friedrich's father could be forgiven for assuming the guy was either dead or had left the family. ( If you've read Kästner's autobiographical writings, one of the most memorable childhood scenes which makes you cringe in sympathy is his parents' christmas competition about him, when his father, a craftsman, proudly presented presents he made with his own hand while his mother spent all her money on presents, and both parents would regard whichever present their son showed any favour to as proof whom he loved more or a rejection respectively. And thus it went on for as long as Kästner's mother lived.)

What the novel does really well, though, is presenting a group of children responding to their world changing radically, and Friedrich as a likeable child hero who ends up rejecting the demagogery, scapegoating and promise of glory that lures his older brother in because he sees how both people he knows and strangers are abused in its name. Again, in an homage to Kästner's novel which has a memorable dream sequence, Friedrich's ongoing crisis of conscience and wonder how to avoid becoming a Nazi himself climaxes in a surreal dream where the various things he has experienced come together. The lesson he draws from this is simple and profound at the same time, very Kästnerian and indeed great advice in current day circumstances as well, to the question as ow to act: Be kind. Being kind and you can't become what you fear and hate. Be kind.

Mind you, the 1945 prologue and epilogue does spoilery things ) But all in all, Frederick the Great Detective is still a very readable children's novel set in a dark time which also manages to pay homage to a classic while being its own thing.
rj_anderson: (Doctor Who - Thing in Progress)
[personal profile] rj_anderson
[Crossposted from Facebook, feel free to ignore if you've already seen it there...]

Well into the second week of working on a new short story, and enjoying the writing process more than I have for a long time.

It's taken me eighteen months on sabbatical to get over the deeply ingrained habit of checking every few minutes to see how many words I've written, of feeling anxious that it's taking so long to get through a particular scene, of worrying that my time and effort has been wasted if I end up having to cut some or all of what I've written and start over the next day. Not to mention the voice of my Inner Editor nagging, "That scene is boring! That description is sappy! That conversation doesn't advance the plot! Nobody's going to like this. Give up and write something else."

It's not that I don't care anymore about making progress, or writing the best story I can. I'm just not measuring my work by the same rigid, merciless standards that used to suck away all the pleasure of writing for me. I don't have an outline for this story, just a vague notion of where I want it to end up and a few scattered ideas about how to get there -- and that's fine. I don't know who the audience for this story will be, or where I'm going to publish it once it's finished -- and that's fine, too. I'm writing it because I want to, not for the money or the market or the fear of losing my career if I don't. And that's the best feeling of all.

But it's taken me all this time to get there, because I drove myself so hard for so long, running on fear and guilt and sheer bloodyminded determination, that I couldn't remember how to write any other way.

Creative burnout is a real thing, ladies and gentlemen. Don't let it happen to you.
yhlee: snowflake (StoryNexus: snowflake)
[personal profile] yhlee
[Note: I used Cheris and Jedao as my playtest characters when working on Winterstrike, a StoryNexus game I wrote for Failbetter Games.]

"I can't believe you didn't think it was worth telling me that we're living inside a game," Jedao was saying.

Cheris sighed. "I didn't tell you," she said, "because you wouldn't be able to shut up about it, and it's hard being a good playtest character when someone keeps ranting." cut for Ninefox spoilers, I guess? )

What I'm Doing Wednesday

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:01 pm
sage: xkcd: crop of standing male stick figure facing a seated cat and exclaiming, "You're a kitty!" (kitty)
[personal profile] sage
books T. Kingfisher )

yarning

Mom's cat LOVED her kickbunny! I have about a million pics to sort and then find a few to edit into the pattern post, and then the kickbunny pattern will go live. *pleased*

dirt plants log )

There is other stuff, but it will wait.

art accountability

Sep. 20th, 2017 04:19 pm
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
[personal profile] yhlee
Sunday's sketch of the Dragon while we were getting food:


(Dammit, I like life drawing, even if I'm too n00b to be good at it. Joe says I have been getting better since I started a few years back though.)

Pen: Pelikan M205 Aqumarine (F nib)
Ink: Diamine Eclipse

Moving on from heads to eyes and lips? )

I haven't gotten back to Ctrl+Paint because life has been busy, but yesterday my art accountability was working on a Thing in Photoshop, mainly blocking in values.

wednesday reads 'n things

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:34 pm
isis: (head)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading:

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live by Sacha Lamb, a short story with a lot of trans and/or gay characters and a demon (who turns out to be actually pretty nice). I enjoyed it all right but it didn't really make much impression on me. The worldbuilding's rather vague and there's not much in the way of plot, but I expect it resonates more with trans people. It's been nominated for [community profile] yuletide and is free online at http://thebooksmugglers.com/2017/08/avi-cantor-six-months-live-sacha-lamb.html

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (abandoned). I like the idea of presenting the story as excerpts of conversation, magazine articles, books, and so on. But it didn't work in the ebook format with minimal formatting, and also, it just didn't work for me in the more conversational sections because I felt as though I never got to know any of the characters enough to care about them. Though I appreciated the cleverness of the idea that the spirits of the dead are unaware that they are dead, glossing over the strangenesses in their new selves and referring to tombs as "sick-homes" and coffins as "sick-boxes", the general absurdity just didn't appeal to me and I found the slow pace boring.

What I'm reading now:

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan, the second book in the Trials of Apollo series, because after I realized I could either wait forever for the ebook, or pick up a physical copy from the library RIGHT NOW, I opted for the latter. I am still loving this series so much, especially since one of my favorite characters from another series, who showed up at the end of the first book, is a major character in this one. (skip) Leo Valdez! ♥ And Calypso! With whom Apollo has a history, so it's hilarious. Also, I'm impressed with how Riordan manages to have gay and bisexual characters in a way appropriate for middle grade, too.

I'm not listening to Airborn since I've been sick, and audiobooks are for exercise, but hope to get back to it soon now that my lungs are coughing out the last of the phlegm.

What I'm reading next:

While I was at the library I also picked up Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which has been recommended to me by a number of people. Also the second volume of Saga.

Other than that, still playing Dragon Age: Origins (in Orzammar now). Mostly I'm writing fanfiction :-)

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