(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:36 pm
skygiants: Fakir from Princess Tutu leaping through a window; text 'doors are for the weak' (drama!!!)
[personal profile] skygiants
Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age is a fairly fascinating book that's trying to do a lot of things at once: the book starts out with the dramatic recounting of MURDER!!! and then immediately takes, if not a deep dive, at least a vigorous swim through such varied topics as the history of British radio and the BBC, Keynesian economic philosophy, copyright limitations, and the founding of Sealand in order to contextualize it.

Once we get back to the story of the murder itself, however, it turns out: IT'S BONKERS. The principals in the case are two pirate radio impresarios in 1966. Oliver Smedley, An Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist, was running a station called Radio Atlanta on a boat off the coast; Reggie Calvert, A Dance Hall Impresario, had taken over an entire abandoned British navy fort called Shivering Sands in the Thames Estuary and staffed it with a rotating encampment of youths running a station called Radio City. At one point Smedley and Calvert were going to have a merger, but then they had an ACRIMONIOUS BREAKUP spurred on in part by:

- the fact that Smedley was supposed to give Calvert a shiny new transmitter and instead provided an old one that never worked
- the fact that Smedley never paid all the bills he had promised Calvert that Radio Atlanta would pay
- the fact that Calvert got sick of all this and decided to merge with another station instead

The reason for all these pirate radio stations on boats and naval forts, by the way, is because in 1966 there was no legal pop radio in the UK (as explained, extensively, via the history of radio and Keynesian economic theory etc. that makes up the first half of the book). Because the pirates were technically outside of UK territory, on the other hand, they could technically get away with doing whatever they wanted, or at least the government like "it will be way too embarrassing to launch a huge naval raid against a bunch of youths on was a fort with a radio transmitter, so let's not."

HOWEVER, the fact that everything was happening outside of territorial waters where British laws and police had no jurisdiction BACKFIRED when:

- Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist Smedley decided he was so mad that Calvert had made a deal without him that he was going to MAKE SURE that the deal could never go through
- he was going to GET BACK HIS PROPERTY [the transmitter that had never worked]
- so he sent an ACTUAL OCCUPYING FORCE composed of out-of-work dockworkers to Shivering Sands, stole a bunch of key broadcasting equipment, took a bunch of it back to the mainland, and left a bunch of toughs to hold everybody who was on the station at that time hostage!!!
- (when they met the invading force, the hostage broadcasters were like 'welp' and made everybody tea)
- ("the vessel had to return briefly to pick up [the contractor who recruited the gang], who had been left behind drinking his tea")
- and then Smedley went to Calvert and his partner, an actual professional broadcaster, and was like 'I will not let you broadcast from there again or finish making your deal unless you pay me FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS'

Naturally, everyone involved was like 'wtf????' and refused to pay Smedley a dime; Calvert threatened to involve the police but the police were like 'ummmmmm technically we can't do anything for the same reasons we haven't been able to stop you from broadcasting;' Calvert then made a whole bunch of other even wilder threats; and all the hired dockworkers sat around cheerfully charging Smedley for hostaging operations which he was rapidly running out of money for.

Anyway, in the middle of all this, Calvert drove out to Smedley's house in the middle of the night and started screaming at him, and Smedley shot him and then claimed self-defense and that his HOSTILE OCCUPATION OF A POP RADIO STATION was just a little joke gone wrong! No harm no foul if only Calvert hadn't been so UPSET about it! It did help Smedley's self-defense case that Calvert happened to be carrying A FAKE PEN FULL OF NERVE GAS at the time, which apparently, according to his family, he always carried around just for safekeeping.

...so the author's point in writing about all this seems to be that a.) this incident was crucial in getting the pirate radio boats shut down and the formation of the current BBC radio system that includes actual pop radio, b.) that this is all a forerunner of later copyright battles and offshore data centers and so on, c.) pirate-radio-on-boats in the 1960s was a WILD TIME. About the latter, at least, he is most surely not mistaken.

(This has nothing to do with the main brunt of the book but I have to spare a mention for Radio City's chief engineer, who later was hired by the mob! to perform an assassination attempt!! using a spring-loaded hypodermic needle full of cyanide!!! in what it turns out was ACTUALLY a sting operation by the U.S. Treasury department who picked the hapless Radio City engineer to act as the assassin because "he needed the fee while being clearly incapable of killing anybody"!!!! This whole incident gets two pages in the book because it's somewhat irrelevant to the author's argument but seriously, where is this guy's movie?

For the record, the same mobsters then tried to intimidate Reggie Calvert's widow into selling them the remnants of the station and she was like 'lol no' and they were like '....well, when a lady knows her own mind, she knows her own mind! No hard feelings.')

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:54 pm
skygiants: C-ko the shadow girl from Revolutionary Girl Utena in prince drag (someday my prince will come)
[personal profile] skygiants
[personal profile] genarti read The Privilege of the Sword for the first time recently, because I had been telling her to since 2008, and then kept trying to talk to me about it. Unfortunately at this point I did not remember most of the things she was trying to talk to me about because I hadn't read it since 2007, so eventually I also had to reread it in self-defense.

It turns out this is still and probably will always be my favorite Ellen Kushner book. The central plotline follows Katherine, a cheerful young lady who gets invited to restore the family fortunes by going to live with her incredibly weird uncle in the big city and becoming a swordsman!

Unlike many plucky heroines, Katherine does not initially have really any interest at all in cross-dresing or becoming a swordsman. However, eventually she comes to enjoy swordfighting for its own sake, helped along by the mentorship of her incredibly weird uncle's nice ex-boyfriend, the necessity of dueling for a friend's honor, and the discovery that bisexuality and gender fluidity are potentially relevant concepts to her teen coming-of-age story.

...that's the A-plot! B, C, D, E, and F plots include:

- Katherine's mom's reparation of her relationship with Katherine's weird uncle
- Katherine's weird uncle's actress girlfriend's dreamy new cross-dressing fantasy Broadway show
- Katherine's weird uncle's unfortunate friendship breakup with his mathematician bestie
- Katherine's bff's attempts to overcome trauma from rape-by-fiance by engaging in romantic gay roleplay via letter-writing
- Katherine's other bff's attempts to overcome trauma from an abusive childhood by engaging in competitive voyeurism
- Katherine's bff's gigolo cousin's star-crossed romance with a scriptwriter/potter who is on the run from her abusive in-laws who do not appear in this book
- trade routes?? politics?????

I'm pretty sure that's not all the plots. There are so many plots in this book. It's fine because the plots are barely the point at best, the point is coming-of-age and life after trauma and thumbing your nose at Societal Conventions while getting to know and like yourself! I especially enjoy how in the end, spoilers )

(Note: emo murderous Alec from Swordspoint drives me up a wall in his own book, but is significantly more tolerable to me when he's just Katherine's incredibly weird uncle. I mean he still drives me up a wall here but it's much funnier when he's driving everyone else up a wall too.)

Gravity Falls Filk: Pure Of Heart

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:27 pm
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
[personal profile] lb_lee
On tumblr, I use the tag 'IMPURE OF HEART' to describe that super-gross identity politics all about conspicuously performing virtue.  Someone showed me this filk of the Gravity Falls episode 'The Last Mablecorn,' called Pure Of Heart and I thought folks here might enjoy it.


Lyrics behind cut )

Doctor Who Casting News

Jul. 17th, 2017 01:36 am
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
[personal profile] andraste

... I should go to bed since it is one-thirty in the morning here, but I foolishly put soup in the slow cooker because I thought the tennis would run longer. Oh, well, I think I'm too excited for sleep right now anyway. Time to watch people whose opinions I hate throw tantrums on the internet!

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:37 am
skygiants: Nellie Bly walking a tightrope among the stars (bravely trotted)
[personal profile] skygiants
Rose Melikan's The Blackstone Key is one of the few books I've grabbed at random off a library shelf recently without ever having heard of it. Then I immediately grabbed the next two books, The Counterfeit Guest and The Mistaken Wife, so I guess they were doing something right, although also several things not right.

These books are deeply fluffy YA-ish Regency espionage hijinks starring Mary Finch, an impoverished orphan schoolteacher turned (by the end of the first book) surprise heiress with an unexpectedly encyclopedic knowledge of British law and an enthusiastic penchant for Adventures! !! !!!

Captain Holland, the series love interest, is an artillery officer who is good at mechanics and up on new military technologies. Other salient characteristics include:
- a terrible tendency towards sea- and carriage-sickness
- an ongoing resentful inability to understand all the clever literary and historical references being tossed around by the rest of the characters

I'll be honest, he won me over during the first book when Mary's like "am I a bad person for worrying about how the outcome of all this espionage will affect my potential inheritance?" and he's like "DEFINITELY NOT, if anybody tells you they don't stress about money THEY ARE LYING."

Rose Melikan is a scholar of the period and very good on British military history. She is not so good on plot. The first book is complete, hilariously convoluted nonsense involving SMUGGLERS and CIPHERS and MYSTERIOUS WATCHES and a SURPRISE CHANCE-MET DYING VILLAIN. It turns out that spoilers )

The second book is probably my favorite and definitely the least nonsense plot-wise; it's about the 1797 naval mutinies, and Our Heroine gets recruited to spy on a plotter because she happens to know his wife and will likely be in his house, which does not stretch suspension of disbelief too very wildly. (It's also sort of entertaining to watch the author do a careful dance between what I suspect is a personal sympathy for unionization and strike tactics and the fact that Mass Military Mutiny Is Definitely A Bad Thing, Our Characters Must Stop It At Any Cost.)

...then in Book Three we are expected to believe that an actual professional spy sees no better alternative for an important espionage mission than taking a well-known youthful heiress and society figure whose salient skills are, as aforementioned, a knowledge of British law and an enthusiasm for Adventure, and sneaking her off to Paris in a fake marriage with a clueless American painter while her respectable household desperately tries to pretend she's in London the whole time. At this point suspension of disbelief goes straight out the window again.

I have mixed feelings about Book Three in general; it's the darkest of the three and several sympathetic characters die as a direct result of Our Heroes' espionage endeavors including infuriating spoiler ) I'm not here for that! I'M HERE FOR THE HIJINKS.

Quelques petits contes...

Jul. 15th, 2017 10:55 am
flo_nelja: (Psylocke)
[personal profile] flo_nelja
... pour la journée internationale du femslash.

Quand je recherchais des histoires pour mon recueil de contes et légendes LGBT, je suis aussi tombée sur quelques histoires qui avaient trop de contenu sexuel pour être mises dans un recueil pour enfants. Voilà quelques échantillons !

La femme qui épousa sa belle-fille (Inuit)

Avertissements pour inceste, adultère et mort de personnage )

Le bon jugement (Irlande)

Read more... )
flo_nelja: (Default)
[personal profile] flo_nelja
Au club manga de mon lycée, on a un jeu par équipes (dont j'ai complètement piqué l'idée au jeu Shabadabada et à un jeu classique d'Epitanime) l'arbitre donne une catégorie, par exemple, "un personnage de manga ou anime dont les cheveux sont verts", "un manga qui fait plus de trente tomes", "un film d'animation japonais sorti au cinéma en France", etc. Les deux équipes alternent pour en donner un, la première équipe qui sèche donne un point à l'autre.

Une des catégories récentes était "un manga ou anime dont les deux personnages principaux sont des femmes", he bien, disons que l'échange n'a pas été très long.

Aussi, je me suis dit que j'allais faire une petite liste des mangas que je suivais ces temps-ci (ou que j'avais finis récemment), centrés sur les personnages féminins, et surtout sur les relations entre personnages féminins.

1) Kasane, la voleuse de visages - Matsuura Daruma (9 tomes sortis en français, 11 au Japon, en cours)
L'héroïne, Kasane, est une jeune fille (petite fille, au tout début) très laide. Sa mère était actrice de théâtre, et c'est sa passion aussi. Mais avec son visage, ce n'est pas trop la peine d'essayer (et c'est sans compter le harcèlement scolaire et autres problèmes).
Mais elle découvre que sa mère possédait un rouge à lèvres magique qui lui permet d'échanger son visage avec celui de n'importe quelle fille qu'elle embrasse. Son rêve devient à sa portée... sauf que qui serait d'accord pour donner son visage à une autre, même seulement le temps de monter sur scène.
La plupart des personnages de cette histoire ont un passé tragique, font des choix difficiles, ne sont pas vraiment moraux, et pourtant, dans l'esprit de la tragédie, on peut empathiser avec tous, ressentir la pitié aussi bien que l'horreur, alors même qu'ils (ou plutôt, en grande majorité, elles) se déchirent les uns les autres.
Les sentiments sont forts, le scénario haletant, les thèmes de l'illusion, de l'apparence et de l'identité bien traités, je recommande à qui n'a pas peur des histoires sombres.

2) Le couvent des damnées - Takeyoshi Minoru (3 tomes sortis en France, 5 au Japon, en cours)
Le couvent des damnées tome 3
Cela se passe pendant le Saint Empire Romain Germanique au 16e siècle. L'héroïne est une petite fille dont la mère a été condamnée au bûcher pour sorcellerie. Elle a été ensuite envoyée dans un couvent spécial pour "filles de sorcières". Elle décide de ne jamais en accepter les règles au fond d'elle, mais de devenir la plus dévote en apparence, pour parvenir à s'ntretenir personnellement avec la Mère Supérieure (qui est aussi l'inquisitrice qui a tué sa mère) et la tuer.
L'héroïne, Ella, est d'une intelligence, d'un courage et d'une force morale redoutables, mais son sens moral est parfois fragile. La confrontation a donc ses aspects très moralement ambigus. Et tous les personnages importants (Ella, la mère supérieure, les amies qu'Ella se fait, même sa mère morte à qui elle pense souvent) sont des personnages féminins, et dans le contexte cela semble totalement naturel.
J'adore cette série. Comme on peut le deviner au contexte, ce n'est pas une série joyeuse. Il y a même des passages très sombres ou gore. La tension est constante, palpable, la peur d'être découverte, de la trahison, de ne pas y arriver. Mais il y a aussi de beaux moments de victoire, et globalement j'adore !

3) Kamakura Diary - Yoshida Akimi (7 tomes sortis, en cours)
Oh, un manga joyeux, pour changer !
Le personnage principal est une collégienne qui ne se sent pas bien dans sa belle-famille, et se fait "adopter" par ses trois demi-soeurs adultes à la place. C'est de la tranche de vie à la fois subtile, drôle et touchante, sur les sentiments amoureux ou pas, le travail, la famille, l'écoulement du temps, plein de choses quotidiennes mais très importantes. J'aime vraiment beaucoup l'atmosphère.

4) All we need is love - Amano Shuninta (3 tomes, fini)
C'est un manga yuri qui se passe à l'université. Cela commence quand sept étudiantes sont envoyées dans le même groupe de travail ... Vous savez quoi ? J'ai déjà fait une critique détaillée de ce manga sur [profile] amours_de_fans, alors vous pouvez aller lire ! Juste un petit extrait de la critique :
"Ruki est une étudiante sérieuse et est désespérée par l'attitude des autres, qui passent leur temps à se raconter leur vie, flirter, sécher, dormir, envoyer des SMS à leur petit ami, etc. Je m'identifie extrêmement facilement.
Et finalement, à la suite d'une alternance de point de vue, tous ces personnages sont présentés peu à peu, vont découvrir des choses sur leur identité sexuelle ou leurs capacités aux relations romantiques. C'est un manga que j'ai trouvé assez fin sur les relations humaines, avec des personnages et des relations beaucoup plus complexes qu'ils en ont l'air au début."

5) Dédale - Takamichi (2 tomes, fini)
C'est l'histoire de deux jeunes filles qui se retrouvent entièrement seules dans un univers étrange, avec un appartement infini, et une réalité qui a des "bugs". Mais elles sont programmeuses informatiques, et les bugs, ça les connaît. Peut-être sont-elles capables de sortir d'ici. Peut-être même de sauver le monde.
J'ai hésité à mettre ce manga dans une liste de préférés, parce que je trouve la conclusion du scénario un peu faible, avec plusieurs points mal expliqués. Mais d'un autre côté, je suis contente de me l'avoir fait recommander, et sinon je serais passée à côté en me disant "oh, encore un manga comme les autres de personnages coincés dans un univers de jeux vidéos", alors je vais rendre la politesse.
D'abord, j'aime comment le côté "coincé dans un jeu video" se manifeste par une recherche, puis exploitation à fond, de tous les bugs. C'est intellectuellement satisfaisant. Ensuite, les résumés parle de survival horror, mais honnêtement, le côté horreur est très subtil, et c'est plus centré sur la compréhension que sur les dangers.
J'aime bien comme les héroïnes ne sont pas conventionnelles, Yôko est grosse et pas vraiment jolie, Reika est physiquement plus standard mais, même si les mots ne sont pas prononcés, est clairement autiste (avec un intérêt particulier, justement, pour les bugs de jeux video) et probablement aro ace. Leur amitié est parfois difficile, mais réelle.
Ce n'est pas le meilleur manga sur le marché, mais ça se tente !

Et maintenant, encore plus de recs ! (par vous) )

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 11:26 pm
skygiants: Hazel, from the cover of Breadcrumbs, about to venture into the Snow Queen's forest (into the woods)
[personal profile] skygiants
With Sorrow's Knot I think I have now finished reading everything from Erin Bow's backlog, which is good in that I have consistently enjoyed it all, but bad in that I have no more Erin Bow backlog.

All of Erin Bow's work (I can now say, having read all of it) is in some way about death and undeath and the wildly unhealthy ways in which human beings react to loss; however, Sorrow's Knot is EVEN MORE explicitly about this than most. The book focuses on Otter and her friends Kestrel and Cricket, who are all pretty sure they know what they're going to do when they grow up: Kestel is going to be a ranger, Cricket is going to become a storyteller (despite being a boy and getting a certain degree of side-eye for deciding to stay in the women's village at all -- everyone knows it's dangerous in the forest and boys don't have any power to protect themselves with, sorry boys!), and Otter is going to train with her mother Willow and Willow's teacher Tamarack to learn the very important job of being a binder, aka Person Who Stops The Dead From Coming Back And Killing Us All.

Then Tamarack dies -- and then Willow abruptly and without explanation decides she doesn't want Otter becoming a binder after all -- and then the knots that stop the dead from coming back to haunt the living begin unraveling -- and then more people die -- and then Otter and friends get to go on a road trip! It's not a super fun road trip and it unsurprisingly features several close encounters with the dead.

I really liked the worldbuilding and the slow and careful work that Bow does to build out the daily lives of the characters and the culture -- it's a North American-based world without European influence, and I'm certainly not qualified to comment on how well it's done, but to me it felt interesting and non-obvious. Also, Otter's world is almost entirely composed of women and everything revolves around Significant Mother-Daughter Relationships and it's great, although Erin Bow sadly had not yet discovered lesbians as of this book. (Though I feel like perhaps this is the book that led to her discovering lesbians? Like, I do wonder if someone came up to Erin Bow and pointed out that she'd written a matriarchal village where Actual Heterosexual Romance is explicitly rare and still somehow only featured Actual Heterosexual Romance onscreen, and Erin Bow was like 'WHOOPS OK SORRY I'LL MAKE IT UP TO YOU' and then we got The Scorpion Rules. Which, I mean, if this is the case, I guess I'm not complaining, I'm very happy to have The Scorpion Rules!)

I also really liked the importance of stories and storytelling and lore and bits and pieces of information shared and not shared, but the pacing of the way those stories are shared with the reader sometimes felt a little off to me; there were occasionally times, especially towards the end, when I felt like the book was leading me to expect a Big Reveal that had already been revealed. But, I mean, the point of the book is not really to Reveal, it's to examine grief -- and as I have mentioned above, Bow is exceptionally good on grief.

Doctor Who Fanfic: Sea Legs

Jul. 12th, 2017 02:06 pm
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
[personal profile] andraste
Look an actual fanfic, that I am posting. As part of a series I last added to four years ago. Nobody faint!

You don't need to read the previous installments of Our Better Angels to understand this one. But if you were going to read a Doctor Who daemonverse AU anyway, you probably might as well?

Sea Legs (1991 words) by Andraste
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Amy Pond/Rory Williams, Eleventh Doctor/River Song
Characters: Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Daemons
Series: Part 3 of Our Better Angels


All daemons settle eventually. A Pond family portrait.

(links out) cuddle party

Jul. 11th, 2017 06:57 pm
dreamwriteremmy: Alexis Bledel, a brunette smiling sitting on a bench (Default)
[personal profile] dreamwriteremmy
So this week has sucked.


We are hosting a cuddle party over in our musebox community [community profile] realfantasia.

Since we're doing it musebox-style basically anything goes (you can be yourself(ves), or a character).

There are two parts:

Part 1: is kid-friendly and clothing-or-bathing-suit-on for humanoids

Part 2: is consentually clothing-optional for humanoids
flo_nelja: (Default)
[personal profile] flo_nelja
Est-ce qu'il y a des gens qui ont vu le reboot du reboot de Spider-man et ont une opinion dessus ?

Est-ce qu'il y a des gens autour de Paris qui ont l'intention d'aller le voir ?
newredshoes: Dottie laughing on the grass (peaches | this thing you love)
[personal profile] newredshoes
SO MANY BIRTHDAY MESSAGES yesterday! THANK YOU to all, for the texts, emails, FB posts, tweets and videos. Friends are amazing! You are great and I am so lucky! ♥

It was probably my most low-key birthday ever, and I'm fine with that -- it was still glorbious. I'd basically already bought all my presents for myself; in the morning, I made an actual effort to, like, work, for money and prestige, but my eyes gave up on my laptop screen and I just went off to Park Slope to wander for a bit and get some personal-project writing done.

The real highlight was meeting up with [personal profile] kaydeefalls for ramen at the best ramen hole-in-the-wall in New York, which she also introduced me to when I first moved here. I then tried every bright/outlandish/glittery lipstick in the Union Square MAC store (on my hand; most of it didn't come off) -- fun. Finally, we saw Spider-Man: Homecoming, a film I was groaning about when Spidey was (admittedly delightfully) shoehorned into Civil War last year. But like -- holy shit, I think that was actually the best Marvel movie that's not Winter Soldier??? HOLY SHIT, IT WAS JUST SO GREAT AND GOOD. I enjoyed it so much!!

Meanwhile, apparently I am getting political birthday presents from the Trump family? Oh my god, what on earth is even happening today, with Donnie Jr. literally tweeting the emails that show him trying to collude with the Russian government and failing?????!? I've spent most of this morning glued to Twitter and strongly contemplating a stress-nap ("My man actually Reynolds Pamphleted himself!" thank you, [twitter.com profile] eparillon). The other part of the morning I spent being vindicated and then increasingly horrified as my building super peeled away layers of paint to reveal a BIG FUCKOFF PIT OF ROTTED DRYWALL in my living room, as I've been saying for more than two years!!

And to conclude, wow, 33 is some ride so far, holy cats.
lb_lee: A dark skinned, blondhaired androgyne making a snarky face. (oplz)
[personal profile] lb_lee
Man, but I really am not a villains kinda person. In fiction, they get to be stone-cold badasses, puppet-masters and genius psychological manipulators... but in reality, they're such fucking BABIES.

Nazis, Klansmen, and other such ilk. )


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