Book Post: Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:59
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[personal profile] igrockspock
Ruby, the title character of the book, is a black woman who fled to New York City when she was young but ultimately comes home to a black township in East Texas. Adjusting to life in the South after the freedoms of the North is harder than Ruby realizes it will be, and the pressure of her barely suppressed childhood traumas quickly results in severe mental illness (or, to be more accurate, something modern readers will quickly recognize as mental illness, while the townsfolk mostly blame her for "not keeping herself under control"). Ruby herself believes that she is haunted. As a child, she witnessed terrible things happening to other children, and now the souls of those children flock to her for protection. Readers get the choice of how to interpret these "haints" -- as a symbolic representation of being trapped in a moment of trauma, or as literal ghosts that cling to Ruby's skirts. The situation comes to a head when Ephram, who loved her from afar as a child, sets himself as Ruby's protector amid fierce opposition from his ultra-religious sister.

This book contains serious triggers for rape and child abuse, both of which are referenced below the cut.

I need to discuss this book with somebody (spoilers) )

setting the bar really low

Jul. 24th, 2017 18:14
lannamichaels: text: "Don't panic" (don't panic)
[personal profile] lannamichaels


Today has been the worst anxiety/ocd-behaviors day I have had in fuck knows how long, it's been a while, it's really bad today, I am massively not okay, and this after yesterday of also not being okay. But! I made it to work. I didn't get much done at work, but I made it to work and sometimes that's all the triumph you can get out of a day. (plus friday's unexpectedly-all-day-meeting was enough of a nightmare that it totally counts for extra points)

I really kinda need this country to stop being in a constitutional crisis, it's not helping my brainproblems.

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:48
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[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon reminds us that the 2017-18 school year is coming, and [tumblr.com profile] positivelypt has a post up with links to wishlists for underserved classrooms. You can check out the list, give, and reblog here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.


Help For Free:

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] globalsextrendsproject, who are working on an independent research projected aimed at establishing whether there are global trends in stimuli for sexual arousal and the content of sexual fantasies. You can read more and reblog here or fill out the form here. I took a quick breeze through the form and it's primarily short-answer rather than multiple choice, once you get past the demographic stuff.


Activism:

[tumblr.com profile] stabulous has a post up about Welcome Blanket, a project initiated by the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago and anti-Trump craftivists. They are asking people to send handmade blankets to be exhibited at the Smart and afterwards distributed to refugees and immigrants arriving in the US. The hope is to create 3200 blankets to equal the length of the wall Trump wants to build across the US-Mexico border. You can read more at the link above, and find out how to participate at the official site, which includes activism resources whether you want to actually send in a blanket or not.


News To Know:

[personal profile] brainwane linked to Creative Commons, which is offering grants of up to USD$1000 for small projects ("Salons, campaigns, translations, e-books, printing, collaborations, and more") which grow the global commons. They want help increasing discovery, collaboration, and advocacy towards their mission. You can read more and apply for a grant here.

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] dr-kara's new comic available on ComixOlogy, [Super]Natural Attraction! Kara is well-known to me as a groovy artist who does cool stuff so while I haven't read this yet I wholeheartedly recommend her work. She has a rebloggable post about it here and you can buy and read it here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I still have to review Extra Virginity as well, but I actually liked that one, so it will take longer to compose….

One of the things I did get done yesterday between work, the ball game, and the Epic Sunburn, was finish a slim book of short stories called A City Equal to My Desire by James Sallis. This wasn’t a book that was recommended to me, which means I don’t have to feel bad about truly disliking it. I found it in a keyword search on the library website for books about ukuleles, and it has a short story called Ukulele And The World’s Pain, which admittedly was one of the better stories in the book despite still not being very good.

From what I can tell, he did pick the best story out of the book to develop into a novel, “Drive”, but it is very obviously unfinished in short-story form. Sallis has a couple of ongoing problems in the short story collection, one of which is that he tends to skip the vital information you need in order to know what the fuck is going on. And not in a “the blanks slowly get filled in” way, or in a “your imagination is more terrible” way (though there is a little of that) but just in a way where like…he says something that you understand to be vital to the story but which is missing context, then spends like a page describing the fucking diner someone’s sitting in, and by then any context forthcoming doesn’t get linked back. It’s like being in the middle of a paragraph when you hit the photo plates in an older book – yes the photos are very interesting thank you but I need to finish the thought you were sharing with me before I go back and look at them. I think maybe he thinks this is challenging the reader but it’s not, it’s just annoying and makes what are otherwise interesting premises totally opaque. I shouldn’t need to work this hard for a story about a hit man who decides not to kill a politician. 

If the book had a more cohesive theme in terms of the stories, it might be more readable – he clearly enjoys building worlds and then doesn’t quite know what to do with them once he’s built them, so if this was an entire book of “weird and different worlds” ala Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, I would buy in more fully and I think he would have put a little more elbow in. But it’s not. It’s mostly “here’s a really interesting world and a person living in squalor in it does something while being in it”. Also he appears to be fascinated by describing things that are shaped like pi. And a lot of times it feels like he read a wikipedia article on something and wanted to share some knowledge, so he just kind of built a half-assed story around his wikiwander. 

And all of this I would probably let go if say, it was something I was noticing in a fanfic writer, or someone who was just starting out, or someone I felt was genuinely trying to get a point across. But there’s this inexplicable sense of arrogance to the collection, a sort of smugness to it that in professional writers drives me up the goddamn wall. Stephen King sometimes falls into the same trap, where it feels like the author believes they don’t have to respect their readers because they are The Writer. 

The thing about volumes of short stories is that you keep reading it because sometimes there is a real gem. And there are one or two good stories in the volume, but I don’t know if they’re worth the rest of it. 

So my review I guess is mostly me being annoyed, but it boils down to “If you like short stories in the SFF Noir genre, give it a whirl, but if you’re bored with a story none of them get better, so feel free to skip to the next one.” 

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[personal profile] copperbadge
I am like….90% sure I’m going camping this Friday. 

It depends a bit on the weather, but I’m mostly packed, I’ve cooked food that’s currently waiting in the freezer, and I have acquired the third Diane Mott Davidson book to read. 

The plan is to leave work early, catch the train to the campground, camp overnight, and in the morning hike out to a different train station further down the line, about a seven-mile trek, to do a longer endurance test than last weekend’s. Then I’ll catch the train home around noon on Saturday.

If something goes wrong, I can catch an evening train home on Friday until eight o’clock, or starting in the morning at 5:30, with little to no exertion. It’s pretty low-risk and I’m well stocked. I don’t have a sleeping pad, but my backpack has a partial one built-in, and I have one arriving tomorrow (though it might be too bulky, we’ll see). And honestly in this heat, I might just sleep on top of my sleeping bag in any case. 

Worst case scenario, the campground has heated, lockable shower cubicles with nice big floors. I’ve slept on worse. 

Caaaaaaamping! *jazz hands*

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Drabble!

Jul. 18th, 2017 20:00
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)
[personal profile] lannamichaels


Because it's not a fandom until there's a Highlander crossover...

This is 17776, aka something with some kinda cool space stuff, and absolutely terrible worldbuilding I cannot even express. I was mostly bored by the football stuff, although there were occassional interesting bits to me. But oh my god, guys, the worldbuilding, it burns us, precious. Hey, authors, just a thought, but when you have to lampshade twice how bad the worldbuilding is, maybe you should possibly just revise the thing instead?

Anyway, here's a drabble.


Double Drabble: .Who Wants To Live Forever? (200 words) by Lanna Michaels
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Highlander: The Series, 17776: What Football Will Look Like in the Future - Jon Bois
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Pioneer 9, Pioneer 10, Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer
Additional Tags: Double Drabble, Flash Fic, Crossover, Fusion, Post-The Gathering, 17776's a+++ worldbuilding
Summary:

The Game ends in 2026.

seeking The Martian canon help!

Jul. 18th, 2017 18:42
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)
[personal profile] lannamichaels


So I was trying to work out how to make a crack crossover work and I realized I am very not-clear on a vital aspect of The Martian canon. That is: how many surface-to-orbit vessels are there, and how do they work?

The Ares crew took some kind of lander down to the planet, which remained there(?), since Mark uses the jet fuel to make water, yes? He's all happy that Martinez piloted them so well, there's still stuff left. And they took the MAV back to the Hermes, and the MAV had been pre-sent so it could charge itself.

However, the original lander is not good enough for getting back to orbit, since Mark has to go to the other MAV. But is he going there since that would be a good place to meet up with the next mission, or is he going there because there'd be no way for him to go up from his site to meet up with the rest of the new crew on the Hermes? Can the original lander not "charge itself" like the MAVs can? I do not remember if they took it apart to make the Habs/the rovers/anything else, so it's possible it's not even in the correct form to be useful for that purpose anymore.

Anyone remember this off hand? Am I doomed to a deep-dive canon review over this? Basically what I want to be able to do is have Ares 3 go up to the Hermes, wait a couple days, then take the MAV, or something else, down to the planet again.

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