schneefink: Babylon 5 (Bab5)
[personal profile] schneefink
This book is a fantastic example of why I love Science Fiction: alien cultures, developments over loooong time spans, humans at the very edge and beyond their understanding and horizon. I loved it. It's half fascinating and never dry spider civilization worldbuilding and half about the last humans trying to survive in an ark ship; the way they mirrored and played off each other was great, but the contact moments were the best.

More details with spoilers )

This Week in Fandom, Volume 60

Aug. 22nd, 2017 14:56
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Janita' written beneath the OTW logo (Janita)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
This Week in Fandom

This Week in Fandom: Orphan Black and its Clone Club, legal issues with celebrity avatars in virtual reality, and more: https://goo.gl/8e7Wbb
[syndicated profile] doctor_who_daily_feed

Posted by beck_liz

Do you have a Doctor Who community or a journal that we are not currently linking to? Leave a note in the comments and we'll add you to the who_daily reading list.

EDITOR'S NOTE: who_daily will not link fanfiction that does not have a header. For an example of what a "good" fanfic header is, see the user info. Please note, the fic must have a header with the fic, not just in the link post, in order to be added to the newsletter. Thank you.

Off-LJ Links
Blogtor Who: Jodie Whittaker’s first Doctor Who Magazine cover
Doctor Who News: Change in schedule for Black Archive series
Doctor Who News: New Twelfth Doctor Comic
Blogtor Who: The Daleks and Survival soundtracks to be released
Blogtor Who: Reviews The Blood Furnace from Big Finish

(News via via [info]blogtorwho, [info]tardisscanner, [info]og_news, among others.)
(For additional news, please visit: [info]googledw)

Discussion & Miscellany
daniel_saunders thinks the recent Zygons didn't look as good as the Classic Zygons

Fanfiction
Complete
Stowaway by badly_knitted (G | Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond)

If you were not linked, and would like to be, contact us in the comments with further information and your link.

(no subject)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 14:46
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Yesterday afternoon I was in a weird mood--I thought I was going over to [personal profile] goshawk's house for an hour or so to cuddle with her cat and do some writing, but I ended up wanting to be alone to think and brood and sleep, and ended up skipping dinner and staying until ten PM. The cat was glad, since he's lonely without his human, but I'm still not quite sure what's up with me. Then I went home and ranted about the adults involved in the Indigo Children idea, which was very soothing.

I nailed today's job interview, or else I've never nailed anything in my life. I want the position desperately. But they said they'd take "a few weeks" to decide. Siiigh.

On the upside, Mom was able to afford to pay someone to come in and drywall my kitchen and bathroom. So yes, everything there is now covered in drywall dust, but once I clean it off I get to paint and make things look actually inhabited.
yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)
[personal profile] yhlee
For [personal profile] storme.
Prompt: dépaysement.

The Statue Beneath the Sea

Once upon an ocean, a statue dwelled beneath the waves. In days past the statue had been brightly painted and crowned with gilt, with jewels for eyes and jewels set in its magnificent wings. It remembered dancers crowding its plaza and lovers exchanging promise-poems beneath its benevolent gaze, parades of helmeted youths and prophetesses giving speeches in the sinuous language of time unwound.

It had never met the general whose victories it was meant to commemorate, although it knew that some statues had that privilege. But it had their smooth face and their smile, and even though the jewels of its eyes had long ago been stolen by treasure-scavengers, it had something of the general's vision. It knew the stories of the general and their honored lover the lady scholar, and how they had built the old city to a precipice of grandeur.

Those days had passed long ago, however, and the wars of weather-mages had sunk the city below the sea. No one now living remembered the city's name the way it had been spoken by its inhabitants, although it lingered in distorted whispers and siren-songs that wound through the tides. The statue remembered its people and yearned for whatever scraps of myth it could gather from the gossip of gulls and sailors.

The fish and the anemones, mindful of the statue's melancholy, spoke with it little. In truth it would have welcomed their chatter. But when it asked them for stories of war (in honor of its general), they could only share tales of cannonades and blood staining the foam, so different from the swift chariots and dust-clouds it knew of, and its melancholy only deepened.

At last an entourage of dragons, distant cousins of the Dragon King Under the Sea, visited the sunken city. One of the dragons, hardly more than an eggling as dragons reckon time, especially liked to explore vanished civilizations. She was particularly taken by the statue's eroded marble surfaces, seeing in them the litany of years gone and years to come.

The statue told the dragon of its vanished city, and its general's victories--more fable than truth by this point, not that there was anyone to correct it--and the dragon listened eagerly. She began telling the statue's stories to the sharks and the seahorses, the terns and the turtles. Soon the creatures of the sea came to listen to the statue as well, and to honor it with their tribute.

It wasn't long before the statue's old plaza was surrounded by nets woven of pirates' beards, and strands of coins marked around the rim with praises to octopus gods, and bits and pieces of filigree armor snatched from soldiers fallen overboard. The creatures of the sea, not to mention the dragons, began frequenting the statue's plaza, and carrying out their own ceremonies there.

While the statue knew that the people it had once known would never return, and that the old city was dead in truth, it found some comfort in seeing a new one arise where the old had been.

(no subject)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 20:08
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Today I have mostly been grumpy
which is only because the calendar is about to do a thing
and shall wear off soon.

I'm almost sure.

Today was also Cleaner Day, and everything is indeed Cleaner, except I still need to buy a new plugboard so I haven't done the vacuum cleaning.
I did run the dishwasher and do three loads of laundry, the last one drying right now, so I reckon I'm still ahead on points.

Mum also phoned to see if I wanted to go out. Because she had forgot it was Cleaner Day. And also imagined that I would want to go out on zero notice, because that sounded me like.

Grumpy.

I'm super bored and need to make a Plan, one with progress points and so forth. Something measurable.

I mean the plan where I make the house nicer has progressed steadily, but now I find I feel like I haven't done anything, so I need to figure out what would count and, I don't know, collect XP instead of gold, maybe.

Eh, it's a good time of year for starting things.

Shall try and get a reading list and do a studying, some bit of history maybe.

Or, just read through the half shelf I already got, but somehow that's never the most appealing.

I'll figure something out.
ruuger: My hand with the nails painted red and black resting on the keyboard of my laptop (Default)
[personal profile] ruuger
Okay, so remember when I said that I don't understand why people complain about the Doctor/Rose romance, because I didn't notice any romance between them? Well, clearly I had been wearing my Doctor-free glasses when I last watched this season because oh wow did I notice the romance this time around, and not in a good way. I think I agree with most of the other stuff I wrote in my previous post, however.

but now, some new random thoughts )

Fig and Ibid

Aug. 22nd, 2017 14:40
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Are surrounded by cats used to other cats and thus not necessarily alarmed to see new ones. Ibid is content to sniff noses with the bolder of his new housemates, whereas I think Fig is affronted by their lack of timidity.

I still have not seen the orange kitten I was warned could be an issue. It's afraid of people but likes to tussle with older cats. I expect Ibid will like this and Fig will not.
oursin: image of hedgehogs having sex (bonking hedgehogs)
[personal profile] oursin

Spotted this the other day and then forgot to mention it:

Sex Festival in Tunbridge Wells.

Actually, not in Tunbridge Wells, which evokes images of orgiastic goings on in the Pantiles amidst a crowd of the local denizens being Disgusted.

In fact, in a wood nearby.

'People living in the area have expressed concern over noise, parking and decency': which is almost in the fine tradition of the inhabitants of Hampstead not minding so much about the actual cruising taking place at the famed gay cruising grounds of the Heath, but that they were leaving litter.

A local farmer reported 'Locals that hadn't bought tickets posed the biggest problem for event organisers, with hundreds of people trying to get in on the action'.

A man was found dead and a woman unconscious at the campsite this morning: while all the reports namecheck the festival, it sounds as if it was over by then. The report in the Telegraph suggests that it is possible that fumes from a barbecue were to blame, and the death is so far described as unexplained. But obviously, all reports are going to mention the kinky sex party.

$10/year, so why not?

Aug. 22nd, 2017 09:27
elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
[personal profile] elf
Got my first magazine subscription in over 15 years, since I let my Consumer Reports sub lapse. I subcribed to Teen Vogue, which has some of the best feminist coverage of politics available in mainstream media.

Mixed in with the fashion tips and celebrity gossip, they have some terrific "celebrate yourself" pieces and amazing current events articles.

Their celebrity news mentions the importance of consent and all-around not being a jerk. Their makeup and fashion articles talk about individuality and bringing out your best features - which are not expected to be the same as everyone else's. They mention how disabilities and different cultural backgrounds interact with popular trends. Their photos aren't all of white people, nor thin people, nor young people. Their target demographic is definitely "teenage girls" - but they don't make everything pink, and they don't have "how to catch a boyfriend" articles.

I'd been meaning to subscribe since campaign season and never quite got around to it. Fixed that today.

Recs

Aug. 22nd, 2017 18:38
selenak: (Rachel by Naginis)
[personal profile] selenak
Defenders:


Gone for Soldiers: Claire and Jessica at a certain memorial service post show. In which two backstories the series left out are addressed. Excellent Claire and Jessica voices.

Above, but undermined: neat missing scene between Matt and Jessica.

Orphan Black:

The sun that's setting in the east: what Rachel did next.

Tatiana Maslany about Orphan Black interview: in which she looks back on the show, sees P.T. Westmoreland as the perfect analogue for a current head of state (hint: mediocre man in his early 70s with his power based on lies, obsessed with himself, no regard for anything not him) and thus a good final villain, and reveals which Clone was the most fun for her to play.

Dear Femslashex Creator Letter

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:31
selenay: (ace 2 (with gun))
[personal profile] selenay
Placeholder! I swear there will be a letter here by August 26th, but for now, I've only just got back from a big trip and I'm scrambling to get my sign-up done before it closes so *not yet*.

But soon.

Bird help

Aug. 22nd, 2017 17:33
roga: coffee mug with chocolate cubes (Default)
[personal profile] roga
Why google this forever when I have actual North Americans who can help me with this stuff. Can anyone tell me what these birds are? I am assuming that all four are cardinals - 3 males and 1 female - but I would appreciate confirmations/alternatives.

under cut to spare you )

ETA confirmed :)

My Personal Feminism, 2017

Aug. 22nd, 2017 13:50
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

In the wake of Kai Cole’s piece about Joss Whedon, and some of the reaction to it, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a man in the public sphere who considers himself to be a feminist. Part of this thought process was also spurred on by seeing some of the reaction to the news on Twitter by women:

I’ve talked before about my own personal feminism here on Whatever. In 2012 I noted why I was hesitant to call myself a feminist, and then a couple years later I explained why I was going to go ahead and call myself one. Here in 2017, I think it’s worth coming back around to it and thinking about it some more.

And at the moment, this is what I think about it: I consider myself a feminist because fundamentally, I believe that women should have and need to have the same rights, privileges and opportunities that men do — that I do — and I think it’s worth saying that out loud and working toward that goal. This feminism is part and parcel of believing that everyone should have the same rights, privileges and opportunities that I, a straight, white, well-off, gender-conforming man has, not just on paper but in the practical, mundane, day-to-day workings-of-the-world sense. We’re not there yet, and as we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, there are a lot of people who never want to see that happen. I would be ashamed, especially now, not to stand up and be counted out loud as someone who believes in feminism, among all the other things I believe in.

But I am also deeply uncomfortable with feminism being part of my “brand,” for several reasons. The first is that I’m aware of my failings and imperfections, and I’m also aware that there are a number of failings and imperfections I’m not aware of. With regard to my feminism, I can work on the things I know about and listen when people point out the things I’m not aware of, but the general gist of it is that I’m aware my feminism is imperfect. I am loath to charge in saying behold, the male feminist! when I know there are lots of places where I fall down. I’m a feminist, in progress, and suspect I will be until I’m dead.

The second, following on the first, is that I’m also aware feminism doesn’t need me as a flagbearer. I’m not and shouldn’t be the vanguard of feminism (I mean, if I am, whoooo there’s trouble). What I can be is support, and occasionally a tank (i.e., someone being an obvious target and taking hits while other people get to work). One of the great gifts of getting older is the realization that you don’t have to lead every parade. Sometimes it’s enough to march along and have the backs of the people out in front.

The third, which is related to the second as the second is related to the first, is the awareness that I have the privilege of not being performatively feminist. Which is to say that I can — and sometimes do — decide to take a break from actively having to deal with issues and concerns of feminism, because I am busy, or distracted, or tired, or just decide I want to take a breather. My passive feminism is still there, my default belief in the equality of rights and opportunities, but I don’t have to do anything about it, and the personal consequences for my not engaging are very low.

Having the option to quit the field without penalty, and to engage only when you have interest, means some interesting things, not all of them good. It means, as an example, that you can choose to do only high-profile, high-impact flashy attention-getting things, and not the day-to-day grunt work that other people have to do. It’s not at all surprising that the reaction of the latter folks is irritation and frustration that you’re getting credit for something they see essentially as stunting for cookies.

I’m not going to deny that I’m aware that I have the ability, within my own little pond, to draw attention to issues and to make things visible by being loud and immovable in only the way someone with my advantages has, and in that way effect change. I try to be useful with that, and to make clear the fact that others have done work I’m essentially pointing to. And I try to do more than just the flashy, attention-getting, cookie-bearing stuff. But at the end of the day I’m aware that I have the option to engage, with feminism as with many issues, when other people are required to engage if they want their existence to be acknowledged as anything other than background noise. That makes a difference. I don’t think I can have feminism as part of my “brand” when I only have to engage with it at my whim.

(There’s also a fourth issue here, which is the disconnect between public and private lives. To be very clear, I’m not keeping any affairs — or, really, anything — secret from Krissy; we believe in communication and lots of it. But I’ve also been clear that while my public persona, including on this blog, is me, it’s a version of me tuned differently from the me who lives at home with my wife and daughter, away from the rest of the world. I don’t know that there’s anything in my private life to give someone pause re: feminism, but who knows? There might be. In which case, best to not lead with it as a brand identity.)

I consider myself a feminist. I am also 100% all right with being interrogated on that assertion, and to have people, and especially women, be skeptical until and unless I prove otherwise. I’m also aware that “feminist” is not a level-up — you don’t grind until you get the achievement badge and then don’t have to think about it ever again. I’ve said before that if your social consciousness is stuck in 1975, the 21st century is going to be a hard ride, and that continues to be a true thing. You have to keep engaging.

I’m also aware that I’m going to fail — that I’ll miss a step, or say or do something stupid, or otherwise show my ass, on feminism (among, to be sure, many other issues). And I can pretty much guarantee I’m not always going to take being called on that with initial good grace, because history suggests I’ll occasionally screw that up too. I can say that I do try to base my ego not on having to be right, but on doing the right thing. This is why I once did a primer on apologizing: because I need it in my own life.

So, yes. Here in 2017: I am a feminist, imperfectly to be sure but even so. I’m happy for it not to be part of my “brand.” I just want it to be part of me; of how I treat women, and others, and how I view the world for what it is and should be.


Say your right words

Aug. 22nd, 2017 07:00
elf: Stained glass interlocking pentagons (Law of Fives)
[personal profile] elf
Five recent articles about the "alt-right" and what variety of racists go under which labels. (CW: some of them use NSFW language.)

The Complete List of Racists by Michael Harriot at the Root:
If the alt-right were a family, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and skinheads would be the grandparents, aunts and uncles who get their plates fixed first, while the anti-globalists, anti-feminists and “racialists” would sit at the kids’ table and have to drink out of paper cups.

Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language by Liam Stack at the New York Times:
Both phrases are part of a broad lexicon of far-right terminology that has become important to understanding American politics during the Trump administration. Many of these terms have their roots in movements that are racist, anti-Semitic and sexist.

How to describe extremists who rallied in Charlottesville by John Daniszewski at the AP blog:
"alt-right" A political grouping or tendency mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism; a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.

Alt Right: A Primer about the New White Supremacy at the Anti-Defamation League:
Though not every person who identifies with the Alt Right is a white supremacist, most are and “white identity” is central to people in this milieu. In fact, Alt Righters reject modern conservatism explicitly because they believe that mainstream conservatives are not advocating for the interests of white people as a group.

A Deconstruction Of The Alt-Right Movement by Rachel Toalson at Huffington Post:
The problem, see, is that while Spencer appears to be an intelligent human being, he also appears to be well practiced in manipulation and rhetoric — which, unfortunately, those who are unpracticed in the art of writing and the training of rhetorical composition, will be unable to recognize. So this is my humble attempt to do it for them.

It is time to stop using the term ‘alt right’
In recent years, American racists have taken pains to come up with new terminology to self-identify with—such as the so-called “alt-right,” a phrase credited to avowed racist Richard Spencer, who famously celebrated Trump’s victory with Nazi salutes.

**** A few thoughts inside )

Quick rec

Aug. 22nd, 2017 14:16
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
http://disabilityinkidlit.com/2016/07/08/introduction-to-disability-terminology/ is a rather good summary for people who are new to the topic, and does better with some of the controversial bits than many other 101 articles I've seen. I'm noting it down so I can point people to it in future.

A Theory of Fun for Game Design

Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:02
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2nd ed.) has been on my wishlist for something like the past five years. I picked it up recently by ordering it through my local game store (which is technically also a bookstore and is in the process of signing on with distributors or however that goes). It is an absolute delight.

I'm glad I sprung for the hardcopy of this for two reasons: one, I like to mark up my nonfiction, and two, its formatting! The left-hand page in every two-page spread is text; the right-hand page has an illustration related to the material on the left-hand page. While the illustrations are not technically the most accomplished, they are generally extremely effective communicative cartoons or diagrams.

This book comes with a ton of blurbs, and Cory Doctorow's--"Does for games what Understanding Comics [by Scott McCloud] did for sequential art"--pretty much sums up how I feel. I've read other game design books that were insightful, or thorough, but the Koster is accessible and very interesting in its approach to what makes games games, and how to make them fun (in the instances where that's a thing--cf. Brenda Romero's Train).

One of Koster's arguments is that "with games, learning is the drug" (40)--a game that interests us is one that strikes the necessary balance of not too easy (Tic-Tac-Toe, for most adults) and not too hard (multiple failure modes possible, depending on the individual--witness me and chess or go [1]). He suggests that games (and play, which is common in a lot of young animals!) are an artifact of how we try to learn survival skills, and moves forward into making suggestions as to how to move the form forward into values/skills more suitable for the modern era than "kill things" or "jump over things" or "search for all the things."

[1] Joe gave up on teaching me go when I told him I have severe difficulty with visual patterns. In fact, I am starting to wonder if aphantasia just screws me over for this kind of game in general. :p

There's also a particularly interesting chapter on ethics and entertainment where he discusses the difference between the game system and the flavor/dressing:

The bare mechanics of a game may indeed carry semantic freighting, but odds are that it will be fairly abstract. A game about aiming is a game about aiming, and there's no getting around that. It's hard to conceive of a game about aiming that isn't about shooting, but it has been done--there are several gmaes where instead of shooting bullets with a gun, you are instead shooting pictures with a camera. (170)

The bare mechanics of the game do not determine its meaning. Let's try a thought experiment. Let's picture a mass murder game wherein there is a gas chamber shaped like a well. You the player are dropping innocent victims down into the gas chamber, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are old ones and young ones, fat ones and tall ones. As they fall to the bottom, they grab onto each other and try to form human pyramids to get to the top of the well. Should they manage to get out, the game is over and you die. But if you pack them in tightly enough, the ones on the bottom succumb to the gas and die.

I do not want to play this game. Do you? Yet it is Tetris. (172)


In general, Koster has a background in game design AND writing AND music, and he draws on all three in his analysis of games, as well as other disciplines (e.g. psychology). It makes the book a scintillating read. I can't believe I waited so long to read this--but it was exactly what I wanted to read last week, so hey. Highly recommended.

Happy Birthday!

Aug. 22nd, 2017 20:58
jerusha: (birthday)
[personal profile] jerusha
Happy birthday to [personal profile] elsaf! I hope you have a wonderful day and wish you an even better (and fire-free) year to come!

Mod Post: Off-Topic Tuesday

Aug. 22nd, 2017 11:09
icon_uk: Mod Squad icon (Mod Squad)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
In the comments to these weekly posts (and only these posts), it's your chance to go as off topic as you like. Talk about non-comics stuff, thread derail, and just generally chat amongst yourselves.

The apparent perpetrator of the carnage in Barcelona last week has been shot dead.

Steve Bannon departed the White House... I assume someone accidentally broke the chalk pentagram. He now intends to rejoin Breitbart and attack anyone in the current administration he feels isn't right wing enough. The gift that keeps on giving.

P45 has decreed that despite lambasting the previous administration for years over remaining in Afghanistan and campaigning on the principle of withdrawal that no, things are actually a little more complicated than he thought, and he's sending more troops in. That should have some interesting repercussions on his voterbase.

Courts in India have outlawed the Islamic "Triple talq" form of divorce, which allows a man to divorce his wife instantly by repeating the word Talaq "Divorce" three times, either in person, or even by text.

The decision to silence London's Big Ben in the Houses of Parliament for four years whilst essential maintenance takes place has caused a frankly ludicrous amount of Press over here. "The Luftwaffe didn't silence it" "Health and Safety gone mad" etc. etc. It WILL ring on Remembrance Day, and New Years Eve which, if we're honest, were usually the only time non-Londoners listened to it with any actual interest.

Well, the USA had view of a total eclipse, and since no one thought to reunite the missing shard with the Dark Crystal, things are trundling on regardless, and Trump didn't merge with a wise old hippy to become an enlightened superbeing. Better luck next time on that one.

The new series of "The Great British Bake Off" is imminent for those who follow such things.

It's rumoured that Bradley Walsh will be Jodie Whittaker's companion in Doctor Who... which given that Mr Walsh (best known as a gameshow host and light entertainer, but also a character actor) is 57, will make for a rather unusual double act in the TARDIS.

The UK lost Bruce Forsythe, TV entertainer, showman, presenter, and general national treasure for over 75 years, at age 89 and the US lost Jerry Lewis at age 91.

The world also lost science fiction great Brian Aldiss.

Slightly on topic, but the last episode of "The Lightning and the Storm", the podcast about Walt Simonson's seminal Thor run, has an interview with Mr Simonson himself, which is fascinating.