Oft, my dearios, have I mocked at spam emails offering me some dubious SEO service, where it is quite clear that they have failed to notice that my website is not about products for sale and therefore pitching to me in marketing terms is pretty much pointless.
(O, if only they could promise that my thoughts upon certain historical myths might be more widely disseminated!)
But really, what does the following even mean? It reminds of those dear old word-salad spam emails that achieved a kind of random poetry:
If you are getting rigid by paying a huge amount in PPC then Organic listing by using white hat technique will be definitely a right choice for you.
One wonders has it cross-fertilised with Viagra spam.
2. We went to the ER tonight because Carla has been having really bad shoulder pain. They took some x-rays and gave her some painkillers and told her to set up an appointment for an MRI, so hopefully that will work out. The doctor said he thought it might be bursitis, but who knows. The ER wasn't crowded at all and while there was a lot of waiting, it wasn't as bad as I'd feared, which was nice.
3. I got almost half a book read while waiting!
4. I have tomorrow off! I was already looking forward to that, of course, but today was a really long day so I'm looking forward to it even more now.
5. I've got this cutie Chloe here!
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn't expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one's peers and families.
But now they're both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who's working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world's magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world's ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together--to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.
A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.
Friends! What do you do when you deeply want to like a book and you just can't? Well, I suppose you take out all your feels in a review. Fair warning, this review discusses abuse, and, after a while and a marked cut, spoilers.
All the Birds in the Sky is a book about tropes, which is not surprising coming from the former editor in chief of io9. As the Tor.com review puts it, "it’s also a book about 'these sorts of stories' and genre fiction, though less directly." It's a blend of sci fi and fantasy tropes, and of tropes about the two coming together. Sci fi + fantasy is my stop — it's what I write myself, and I was very excited to see a mainstream book that mixed the genres. However, I ended up not really liking the execution. Patricia, a cis woman, represents magic/nature and is a witch. Laurence, a cis man, represents technology and science and is an engineering genius. Wired says that Charlie Jane Anders "worried a lot about playing into expectations", and in many ways I feel she was right to worry. The setup is not just classic, it's classical, drawing on the oldest associations of the masculine and the feminine in our culture. But as I said, this is a book about tropes — and about playing with them. The whole thing has a punchline that subverts many of the tropes that had been in play up to that point, but I'll discuss that after the spoiler cut. First, I want to talk about some things about the book that I liked!
( Positive stuff! )
With slightly less enthusiasm I can also recommend the writing, which was by and large smooth with a surprisingly effective image or two scattered here and them like gems. I want to pull out a piece that worked for me and shows many of the themes of the book:
But maybe Laurence had been right and these devices were what made us unique, as humans. We made machines, the way spiders made silk. Staring at the red wasp-shaped chassis, she thought of how disgusted she had been with Laurence, not long ago. And maybe she shouldn't judge him — judging was a kind of Aggrandizement — and maybe this device was a culmination of everything she'd always admired about him from the start. And, yes, a sign that they'd both won out, over the Mr. Roses of the world.
"It's beautiful," she said.p.151-152
In some places, it really works.
It's just that things get a bit tonally weird at various points, and this is where we transition to some talk about abuse and personal reactions.
( Abuse and Personal Reactions )
Now, on to the spoilers!
( Spoilers below )
- This is not to say I think the book overall reads like YA, because (a) it doesn't and (b) "this should be in the YA section" is often lobbed at women and is a form of gatekeeping, preventing women's stories from joining mainstream SFF adult literature and harking back to how women are seen as more juvenile and called by juvenile names. No thank you. (back to text)
- Not that there is anything wrong with heterosexuality and living the stereotype. I had a long talk with renay about this, and it's not that people who live like this have anything wrong with them or that Charlie Jane Anders is obligated to challenged gender norms at every turn on top of all the other risky work she's doing. There is something wrong with heteronormativity and gender norms, but nothing wrong with living agency-filled lives that embody the tropes. This post by bikiniarmorbattledamage outlines the difference between agency and sexism. The thing is, these are all fictional characters created by Charlie Jane Anders, and all the choices they make are ones she wrote for them. (back to text)
Renay on All the Birds in the Sky in her Lets Get Literate Column
Renay on All the Birds in the Sky in our Favorite Media of January 2016 roundup
The Book Smugglers; see especially Ana's discussion of how this book busts down male privilege
The Amazon Book Review, with Interview with Charlie Jane Anders
Page to Stage
What I read
D E Stevenson, Miss Buncle Married (1936) - Persephone edition, picked up in Oxfam, where somebody had apparently been doing a clearout of their Persephones. Pleasant.
Patricia Wentworth, Silence in Court (1945) - another freebie from Dean Street Press. A standalone (Wentworth is best known for her Miss Silver series - Miss Silver, as I recollect from reading one or two way back when, makes Miss Marple look like an ass-kicking ninja). It was really quite a compelling read - and I suspect that it's practically a default setting of courtroom drama that startling new evidence/surprise witness that turns everything on its head arrives at the 11th hour. Might try others by her.
James Tiptree jr, The Starry Rift (1986), because I have been feeling that I should reread some Tiptree. However, while I admire the work, I do see why - unlike other writers I was reading around the same period - I haven't been doing a lot of returning to it. Though I'm not sure that this - a fixup of three novellas - is necessarily entirely representative. The first two had me thinking that 'Love is the plan, the plan is death' could have been a title for more than one of Tiptree's stories.
I gave up very early in Jody Wallace, The Adventures of Mari Shu Book I: Earthbound Passion (2014), because it seemed to me somewhat hamfisted in its satire upon various genre tropes and not as hilarious as it thought it was. I think someone somewhere may have mentioned/recommended this - does it improve? should I give it another chance?
On the go
Pretty much everything that has been on the go these several weeks, and have just started KS Augustin, Assassin's Way (2014) which had been on my ereader for a while, and drifted to the top of the unread list because I was notified of an updated version. Was it a freebie/cheap offer? Did someone recommend it?
Possibly DE Stevenson, The Two Mrs Abbotts (1943), the sequel to Miss Buncle Married. Or I have succumbed and preordered the ebook of Angela Thirkell's Northbridge Rectory (1941) - VMC seem to be trickling these out at maddening intervals.
2. Work went so smoothly today, it was great! I actually left on time, which almost never happens on a Tuesday.
3. The other day at Costco we got a package of these mini chicken empanadas and finally made some up tonight and they are so good! And super easy, too, just pop them in the oven for like fifteen minutes and they're done.
4. We're almost done with season one of Rick and Morty. I laughed so hard tonight at so many things (I think Rixty Minutes is my favorite episode so far). I am just sad there's not more of this show out. For some reason I thought it had been on the air longer than two seasons.
5. Look at this cutie!
People killed by police, 2016. 389 and counting.
Compare it with this time last year: "In May, the Washington Post analyzed the 385 fatal police shootings in the United States that had occurred so far in 2015. The Post noted its number, which came out to two officer-involved shooting deaths per day, was more than twice the rate that the government had recorded over the past decade."
[Video] Putting a fake cover on a Bible and reading verses, claiming they're from the Quran. People react pretty much exactly as badly as you'd expect them to.
30% of GOP voters (and a full 19% of Democrats) are in favor of bombing. They don't need to know anything about the people they're proposing to bomb. As evidenced by the fact that you can give them the name of a made-up country, and they won't notice or care.
"So [on March 7] the president killed roughly 150 people in a country where the U.S. is not at war. The Pentagon issued a five-sentence boilerplate statement declaring them all “terrorists.” And that’s pretty much the end of that." GDI.
"The weary F.B.I. agent replied: 'Toby….Seriously. Get some sleep.'" An American amateur tries to investigate a (fake) ISIS agent on Twitter, and ends up getting more than a year in prison for his enthusiasm.
"Garza testified that Santellana never threatened him nor did he feel that Santellana was a dangerous person. Yet that did not stop him from recklessly approaching the vehicle with a loaded weapon and firing when Santellana did not obey orders from this large man in gym shorts, who did not initially identify himself as an officer or show a badge." No justice for Jonathen Santellana.
"Mr. Pean had expected an apology after the shooting. Instead, during four days in intensive care, prosecutors charged him with two counts of felony assault on a police officer. They accused him of attacking with four “deadly weapons” — an unspecified piece of furniture, a wall fixture, a tray table and his hands."
"Scott Collins, a spokesman for the Inglewood Police Department said that the couple refused to obey the officers’ commands to exit the vehicle. The officers then feared for their safety and opened fire on the car — killing the couple." Here's the kicker: the people in question were asleep. No justice for Kisha Michael or Marquintan Sandlin (or their now-orphaned children). Black people can be literally unconscious and cops will still profess to being too terrified to do anything but gun them down.
Well, here's at least one case of the police being in legitimate danger...from each other. Cops raid wrong house, shoot and kill the dog, shoot the man who owns the house, then one of them shoots and kills another of the cops.
• onyxlynx is asking YOU (linked w/ permission): If money, climate, and social support networks were not a factor, in or near which [this-world] city would you like to live? To which fictional city (and on which planet) would you move if that were possible?
(I'm still thinking about my answer.)
• And now, my first 4 questions for the 21 Questions Meme. I'm grouping them by content instead of answering them sequentially.
1. Why did you sign up for Dreamwidth?
... I feel like I have to think back to the ancient Ice Age, to be honest. Uuuuh there was... stuff going on at LiveJournal that people incl. me didn't like, and InsaneJournal was too creaky, and I've tried other options with no helpful results. Dreamwidth looked shiny, diverse, anti-censorship, and like it was helmed by people who understood what they were doing and who they were doing it for. Back then I was still Fannish with a capital F and Dreamwidth was THE place to flock to. It quickly became my home.
2. Why did you choose your journal name?
Dingsi is German for "thingy" (a word which I first heard in the Angry Beavers cartoon). It was mostly a joke to make fun of stuck-up goths with super dark forum names. You know, Lady Darkenwing and Lord Nihilus and all that jazz. I was a goth myself, but I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the goth scene and its stereotypes and flaws. When I signed up on LiveJournal, I called myself lord_dingsi, which quickly got shortened to Dingsi anyways. When coming to Dreamwidth, I even made sure lord_dingsi would point people here.
3. Do you crosspost? Why or why not?
I used to, years ago (to InsaneJournal), but there's no need anymore. 99,9% of what happens on my DW stays on my DW.
10. Tell me about your default icon.
It's the Corinthian, an eyeball-eating gay nightmare and former serial killer, from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. I used to have an obsession with the character. The obsession has waned to nostalgia with the occasional feelings of embarassment, but the icon has been with me for years, tied to this online identity. After all this time, I'm not going to change it.