We're close to the end of the school year in my town. I'm looking forward to enjoying some free time, although there's traveling to visit family members scattered across the USA, and a couple of days of writing curriculum (I'm getting paid for that so I won't whine... too much), and a couple of days of workshops. Both work-related events are in June, and one road trip as well. The other trips are as yet unscheduled, but they'll require plane tickets.
Quick media update--
Toward the end of season five of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
, two characters died. And I'm not going to lie: I wasn't going to miss them. Alas, reports of their death were greatly exaggerated. Oh, Fitz. I wish I liked you more than I do. But I don't. Which is why I haven't finished watching episode three of season six yet.
I've started watching season three of The Magicians
. It has definitely hit its stride--and I say that as someone who enjoyed season two as well. Also still slowly watching The Expanse.
Once school finishes, I'll finish season one. (Most of my TV-watching happens as I eat, and I've been warned about NOT watching the last 2-3 episodes of season one with recent food consumption, so...)
The book No One Can Pronounce My Name
, by Rakesh Satyal, ultimately got four (out of five) stars from me. It was very uneven at times, and a bit of a depressing starting point to end up as hopeful as it did, but when it worked well, it was fantastic. The author used a setting he knew well from experience: the immigrant Indian community within the Cleveland suburbs. My favorite character was probably Ranjana, a middle-aged wife and mother who secretly writes stories about vampires. The writing for her is as uneven as for the other characters, but she comes to flawed life anyway.
I have NOT been doing any fic-writing, which is frustrating. The magical phase of SHINY NEW SHOW/MOVIE has been fading for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
(Oh, hyperfixation. It's glorious at first. Unfortunately that rush doesn't last forever.)
At any rate: I really do want to write more Gaby, or Gaby x Illya fic. After school finishes I'm gonna send a draft of the next section of Gaby birthday fic to someone to look over... because I'm utterly stuck on that, but it's the story I want to add to the most.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/309295.html. Comment where you wish.
Disney/LucasFilm finally announced some dates for upcoming Star Wars movies--another trilogy, starting in 2022, with a new film every two years. They offered little clarification on who would be leading the project. Speculation is that Rian Johnson will either be pushed out completely or work with the Game of Thrones writers in a collaborative effort, rather than getting his own trilogy. (The earliest announced plans were that Johnson would create his own trilogy, and that the Game of Thrones duo would write a TV series.)( to think that I wrote this BEFORE the most recent GoT fandom meltdownCollapse )
As for Disney's TV ventures, they'll available be on Disney's own platform, which means that they will have to have an AMAZING public reception before I'll consider shelling out money for yet another streaming service.
Anyway, on to TV I'm currently watching. Brooklyn Nine Nine
has been uneven this season, with some brilliant and funny episodes, and some real duds. And that's really all I have to say about it. The Passage
got cancelled, to my disappointment. Although I'm not surprised, given the ratings. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
is back, and apparently ignoring whatever's going on with the Marvel movie-verse... which is fine. It's already completely confusing as its own thing; adding in "half of humanity died last year" would just make it worse. Especially because Avengers: Endgame
includes time-travel, from what I've read.
Anyway, at the end of season five ( spoilers for season five and for the beginning of s6Collapse )
Honestly, this show. It is RIDICULOUS. But I'm still watching.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/308559.html. Comment where you wish.
So much rain here lately; we're waterlogged, which is not what I expect in May in my state. I hope that the garden survives it. I'm supposed to be getting (ripe) blackberries soon, and this cool wet weather is making me worry about them.
I read E.K. Johnston's Ahsoka book. Had to look up the title; it's called Star Wars: Ahsoka
. Well, that's minimalistic. (One thing about e-books: I tend to forget titles more often because I don't see a book cover--and title--every time I open the book.)
Anyway, I'd give it four out of five stars. Chances are good that I'd rate it higher if I knew the other tie-in material better, but even so, I enjoyed it. I've read another book by Johnston; her prose is good, and her storytelling creds are solid. Even with just knowing a minimal amount of information about Ahsoka thanks to social media osmosis, I liked the story.
I did a quick read of two different romances by Mary Balogh. My romance reading habits are incredibly sporadic, but Balogh won me over with Someone to Love
, so I read Only a Kiss
in the same week. (I'm following a romance book reviewer on tumblr; that's where I was reminded of how much I enjoyed a different novel by Balogh that I read a year or two ago.)
Anyway, Someone to Love
is good for that "secretly a princess" trope. Only it's "secretly the daughter of a wealthy and titled man (that no one wants to be related to, but it's okay 'cause he's dead now)".
Onward to some non-fiction: I'd never heard of The Color of Water
, by James McBride, even though it's a fairly well-known book (originally published in 1995). McBride is biracial; the memoir focuses on his experiences growing up black with a white mother, and on his mother's life as well. She claimed to be light-skinned; later her son learned that she was Jewish, and disowned by her family for marrying his father. It's funny, harrowing, and surprising in turn. I'm glad I read it, even though Ruth McBride's life was sometimes hard to read about. (As was her son's.) It's understandable why the mother ran away from the life she was born to--ran away so hard, with such determination, that she wouldn't acknowledge her roots until pressed by her adult son.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/308287.html. Comment where you wish.
Grabbing this meme from selenak
Give me a fandom and I'll tell you: Favorite Male Character
Favorite Female Character
Least Favorite Character
Favorite Ship (if any)
Worst Character Death (if any)
This made me so happy you have no idea Moment
Favorite LocationPosted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/308035.html. Comment where you wish.
Taking a break from The Magicians
(made it through 3.01) to return to The Expanse
. So: still halfway through season one. Holden, Naomi, Amos, and Alex are my precious dumbasses in space. Currently they're doing yet another
ill-advised noble space trip. Detective
Miller has grown on me; beating him to a pulp and almost killing him has made me slightly more fond of him.
His hair is still stupid, though.
Chrisjen has the very best voice
. I can't even describe it. But I love watching her amble in her saree, grandchild in tow, threatening other powerful people with that throaty, calm, deliberate voice.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/307858.html. Comment where you wish.
So let's talk about things that are NOT Game of Thrones
or The Avengers
I was already planning to make a post recommending (yet again) the Rivers of London book series by Ben Aaronovitch, but it's particularly good timing because THERE'S NEWS! The first book is being adapted into a show!
Eight to ten episodes, and the team doing the adaptation is Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Anyway: Harry Potter for grown-ups, sort of. Imagine a young London cop, son of a white man and an immigrant from Sierra Leone. He's on the beat, doing interviews for a murder case, when he accidentally interviews a ghost. Because MAGIC IS REAL, and so are ghosts, and so now he's still a cop, but instead of his previous beat, he gets apprenticed to the LAST WIZARD COP in the U.K.
And that's just the first bit of the first book. So. Book one is Rivers of London
in the U.K., and that's the name of the series in the U.S. as well, although we call book one Midnight Riot
. For no reason whatsoever, as far as I can tell.
By the way, the books get a lot more solid in their storytelling in book three. I liked book one very well; book two is not my favorite. But book three, the story hits its stride and the author gets more at ease with the world and characters he's creating. There are currently seven novels, a novella, a free short story on Audible, and a handful of graphic novels. I haven't read the graphic novels myself.
Anyway, here's a fanfic: The Woman Who Ran with Wolves
(14817 words) by drekadair
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Peter Grant, Thomas Nightingale
Summary: Peter and Nightingale are called to the Epping Forest to investigate a potential werewolf and discover a missing woman, a family shattered by grief, and a case that hits far too close to home.
Since I'm reccing fic anyway: and we will find ourselves underneath a new sun
(6081 words) by basset_voyager
Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leia Organa/Han Solo
Characters: Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo
Additional Tags: Character Study, Post-OT, Jedi Leia Organa
Summary: “Leia, it’s not something to be afraid of,” he says. Whether he means the weapon or the Force in general, Leia isn’t certain. She rolls her eyes, but reaches out and takes the saber from him. It’s just an object. The metal is warm from Luke’s hand. [Leia, after the war.]Trust Exercise
(1059 words) by inkvoices
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
, Captain Marvel (2019)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Nick Fury, Chewie | Goose (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Trust Issues, Goose is an excellent judge of character, Nick Fury cat dad
Summary: Five times (of many) that Fury trusts Goose to show him when someone is an ally (or not).Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/307446.html. Comment where you wish.
Hah, I was right. As soon as I made my previous post, I thought of the ongoing disappointment that is the Star Wars
sequel trilogy. The trilogy that I thought I was watching--a story with dual protagonists in Finn and Rey--was almost certainly not the story that LucasFilm intended to tell. Not even Abrams himself, if I'm guessing about it.
Yes, this has been discussed a lot, by better writers than me (and by me). Finn is probably not going to be written as Force-sensitive within the films themselves. Finn and Rey will probably not be the romantic endgame for the trilogy. Those elements were hinted at in VII, but I'm afraid that all of it--romance, Force-sensitivity, equal status as leads--was part of the bait-and-switch to make Rey the main lead.
I'm saying this--er, writing this--as a reminder to myself. I don't think Finn will be written as a co-lead again. I don't expect to see much of the potential that the story of a fleeing stormtrooper holds. I do still plan to see IX, assuming that Finn gets a reasonable story and a decent share of screen time, but my expectations are very low.
(The sequel trilogy is a prime example of why "color-blind" writing and casting is not necessarily a good idea. I'm not going to defend the prequels as Quality Writing, but as it is now, the sequels have an all-white human cast for the Force side of the story. At least the prequels had Mace Windu as a Jedi master.)Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/307005.html. Comment where you wish.
Has a series you cherished in your childhood ever gotten a reboot that disappointed you? How about impressed you?My answer:
First question: I will undoubtedly think of some new adaptation that I hated as soon as I click the post button. But for the moment all I can think of is Battlestar Galactica
, and the reboot of it was awesome. In fact, I recommend leaving the original series back in nostalgia territory, unwatched; I tried a few minutes of an episode and came to that emphatic decision in a very short amount of time.
What happens most often with reboots: either A) I didn't watch the original anyway, or B) for whatever reason the reboot didn't interest me enough to even try watching. So I'm sure I'm missing out on lots of chances to hate a show or movie. I can and do them superfluous without watching, but we all do that. Right?
(Most frequent unwatched target of my "this is superfluous" commentary: all of the live-action Spider-Man
movies made since the third and final one starring Tobey Maguire.)Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/306916.html. Comment where you wish.
It's important while living and breathing in an echo chamber (in a fannish sense) to take time to step out of it.
Rian Johnson made a Star Wars movie that I didn't enjoy. I can point to ways that I think it was a disservice to various characters, and how it performs an illusion of subversiveness while ending up in the same place as before; but ultimately Johnson's film delivered for Disney. They hired him; they knew his record of focusing on white male villains. He gave them a critically praised movie that earned a decent profit.
Do I think it deserved that critical praise? Hell, no. But so what? So if Disney goes through with its plan to have Johnson write a trilogy of Star Wars films (this remains to be seen), I don't know if I'll watch them. I don't like his writing for women (who all got stuck "teaching important lessons" to the men in TLJ, and who basically don't exist in his previous works), for characters of color (ditto what I said about women in his writing), or even for those white male villains he likes so much, for the most part. Kylo's narrative didn't interest me, but it also didn't leave me feeling enraged. But again: so what? Disney ain't gonna go broke if I stop watching their Star Wars movies.
As for The Rise of Skywalker
, nothing in the brief teaser trailer or the promotional material makes me believe that JJ Abrams is somehow going to retcon all of The Last Jedi
. We already know that he's using footage of Carrie Fisher as Leia from Episode VII, so Rey's costume--similar to what she wore in that film--is probably meant to match, and not some refutation of everything Johnson wrote. Abrams is a crowd-pleasing filmmaker; crowds were, for the most part, okay with The Last Jedi
. Why would Abrams go to the trouble of making something that explicitly contradicts Johnson's vision of Star Wars, especially when it would be easier to just move forward? He can always ignore the bits from Johnson that he doesn't want to use, in much the same way Johnson did with episode VII.
Anyway. Back to the echo chamber: ( just because I find fandom enclave trends interestingCollapse )
As for the ongoing talk of how Johnson's film "broke" Star Wars: I think that fits in the category of "we'll know someday... but not yet". Solo
's spectacular underperformance was in large part due to its own failings: a bad reputation due to directorial misdirections and changes; a decision to keep the original release date, which led to a lack of promotional material in the months leading up to that release date. The number of people who stay away from the ninth film in the trilogy will probably be smaller than the vitriolic fans want to believe, and Disney does not care if some people are hate-watching; the money spends just the same.
The real test will be Johnson's own trilogy, in my opinion. The television shows coming out will probably stand on their own merits since they're not closely tied into the Skywalker heritage, and Rian Johnson isn't attached to those works. Plus, it appears there's going to be a break of unknown length before we get any new Star Wars films. Fans who were enraged by TLJ may feel more forgiving if Abrams wraps up the trilogy on a decently positive note; also, the hiatus effect will kick in, and desperation for new content may lead to provisional 'forgiveness' of LucasFilm.
Edited to add: disappointed reylo fans* after episode IX will probably not impact LucasFilm's profit margins either.
*Anyone who wants Rey and Kylo to interact in IX will probably be happy! Anyone who wants them to live happily ever after and make more Skywalker babies will probably not
be happy. And if that does actually happen, I'll kondo-ize that story right out of my life, so it won't matter to me, either! (After I complain about it, of course. THAT'S WHAT I HAVE AN ONLINE BLOG FOR, OKAY?)Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/306251.html. Comment where you wish.
Things are growing in the garden! The raspberry bush that I thought was dead has made some tiny baby raspberry plants! The three big branches from last year really are dead, but the baby plants may do okay in that spot. Or maybe I'll need to move them elsewhere, but at least there's something to move, y'know?
(The leaves on the raspberry plant just... went away last fall. I don't know if they were eaten by something, or there was some kind of fungus or parasite, or what. But baby plants! I don't think I'll get many actual berries this year, but baby plants! Alive!)
Last year was my first significant attempt at doing much gardening where I live. So this is all still pretty exciting. Someday I may be bored of raspberries, or overrun in raspberries, but for now it's cool.
The small blackberry bush is doing far better: lush green leaves all over the place. Last year it was just big enough to produce a single berry; hopefully, I'll get a small crop instead of only one. I will need to put up some netting at some point. The birds really loved dive-bombing for raspberries last year; I doubt they'll discriminate against blackberries.
I recently planted a fruit tree in the side yard. More details and pics maybe this weekend, since Friday is a holiday. It will probably be a friends-locked post, btw.
I still need to figure out where to plant cucumbers this year. That task is way overdue, so I may end up buying plants instead of growing from seed. Unfortunately, it gets too hot for cucumbers fairly quickly here, so I might be better off trying for fall cucumbers. But the lettuce has gotten a good start; we should be eating garden salads soon.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/305962.html. Comment where you wish.
I might be in a bit of a binge cycle, and The Magicians
does include at least two talking animals. They're not very communicative, though; one seems limited to a single word, and the other is incomprehensible as it mutters about torturous death.
SyFy channel likes its feel-bad TV. That's what Battlestar Galactica
was, and now this show fills that niche. I wanted Julia and Kady to be friends; they are! But things are terrible and likely to get worse. Quentin is finding more about who he is, but it has required massive suffering and character deaths and so forth.
Anyway! Super-weird! Really dark! Strangely compelling! Excessive use of cuss words! Lots of dead magicians strewn about every so often, usually dying in gruesome ways!Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/305425.html. Comment where you wish.
Philip Pullman wrote the His Dark Materials
series at least partly in response to The Chronicles of Narnia
, with their Christian symbolism. Pullman is an atheist, and his series has a strong anti-religion undertone. Or overtone, really.
Now that I've started watching the SyFy series The Magicians
, based on the book series of the same name, I'm very curious if Lev Grossman's books might be viewed as one person's Jewish response to the Narnia books? Given that I'm multiple steps away from the books themselves by watching a television adaptation, I really couldn't say. But it's certainly a thought-provoking question. Whether religious in nature or not, the show version of the story does reflect how Narnian tales have become part of Western culture... a dark, sinister reflection.
By the way, I've gotten through ten of the thirteen episodes of season one, and my enjoyment of the show continues to increase. It's definitely an adult show, which surprised me; I haven't had cable or satellite in years, so SyFy channel's evolution to a darker, more adult audience happened without me paying attention. (Does The Expanse
air on SyFy as well?)
Favorite character in The Magicians
so far: Julia Wicker, with her tragic tenacity. I want good things for her! Which is probably not going to go well for me, given that this is a somewhat grim take on the world(s) of magic.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/305394.html. Comment where you wish.
I watched Captain Marvel
for a second time last weekend because it was fun the first time. Still fun the second time, especially since I was able to see my friend Em react to the surprising stuff. (Goose!)
At some point in the last three weeks I finally watched Ant-Man and the Wasp
, which was better than the first Ant-Man movie. That's an incredibly low bar, though. The first one: entertained me in spite of my below ground-level expectations, fell apart as soon as I thought about anything for more than thirty seconds. The second one: more women got to do stuff, so it was better. Although I would have liked at least one more sequence narrated by Luis because those are awesome.
Books: Seanan McGuire continues to be a) prolific, and b) consistent with her eighth InCryptid novel, That Ain't Witchcraft
. I highly recommend basically anything by her, and anything written under the name Mira Grant. (She separates her work under those two names because of the different genres. And possibly because she is so prolific? Not sure.)
Anyway: McGuire has the magic elements, Grant has the horror. I tend to think of her writing as fitting into what Stephen King did: write a lot, write well, and entertain the masses. (Minus the repetitive Maine setting and the cocaine-fueled '80s.)
Kiera Cass wrote a YA series that starts with The Selection
, and it was Not For Me. I had to skim skim skim my way to the end;
love triangle in a dystopian setting worked better written by Suzanne Collins, and Collins had more interesting world-building as well.
I finally finished C.J. Archer's Freak House
trilogy. It was not entirely boring? I didn't have to skim? Competent prose, a reasonably well-plotted storyline, but... eh. Not that interesting. I may try another book by Archer at some point, but I'm not in a rush.
I re-read The Opposite of Everyone
, by Joshilyn Jackson, because I love it so. Modern-day southern drama, but with a character of color in a leading role rather than secondary. Prickly, "unlikeable" female protagonist who finds family in unexpected ways. A romance that doesn't take over the storyline but is still important and written well. You should check it out.
I have a pile of other books to read on my phone. One of them is E.K. Johnston's Ahsoka
. I know I said I wasn't going to buy more Star Wars
tie-in novels, but there was a sale! And this one isn't tied to the current films, so I should feel less disappointment when it inevitably has no reflection in episode IX. Also, I enjoyed a previous book by Johnston, so... we'll see.
(Yes, I am STILL ANGRY about how Before the Awakening
established Finn's pre-film character, and how that was not just ignored, but directly contracted, by episodes VII and VIII. Why are you bothering to create this extended universe if you can't even keep track of your own canon, LucasFilm? It's been six and a half years since Disney bought LF and started the new extended universe; it shouldn't be that difficult to track its own characters.)Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/304955.html. Comment where you wish.
I watched the pilot episode of Whiskey Cavalier
, a new American network spy comedy. (It's available on hulu.) It was... Not Good. I thought maybe it was just a very bad case of pilot-itis, but a friend of mine who did
like the pilot said that episode three (I think?) was so weak that she may be giving up on the show herself.
At any rate, I have enough to watch without giving episode two a try. They can fix the writing, get another season going, and then maybe I'll try again. The Magicians
(on Netflix) fared better with me; I've watched episodes one and two so far, and intend to continue. It's definitely not perfect; if anyone out there watches it and has a season one guide on what to skip, I'd listen. But I enjoyed it enough to keep going for now.
The movie Captain Marvel
lived up to the hype. I enjoyed it a lot; currently wondering if it would be worth a re-watch soon, given how certain revelations were meant to change our perceptions of the story.
Not spoilery unless you've never seen an ad for the movie: I do wonder why the alien race called the Kree had both blue-skinned aliens and aliens with human skin tones. Saving on makeup time and costs, perhaps? At least they avoided doing what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
did, which was to cast nearly all of the Kree roles with people of color (except for the most powerful Kree, who was played by a white man), and then paint them all blue
. It's one of those things Hollywood does far too often: use actors of color in 'alien' roles and cover them with makeup or prosthetics.
Oooh, hang on, I just found a link explaining why the Kree can be blue or 'human' toned
... and um. Well. Comics sure are interesting.Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/304882.html. Comment where you wish.
At some point in the last fifteen months, I asked the question (on tumblr) about what media has had a young-ish, attractive-ish white male villain that was left unredeemed by canon. Someone mentioned Julian Sark on Alias
. (Not a show that I've watched.) My own example is Grant Ward, from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Of course, redeemed is a subjective result anyway, for a lot of the audience. Was Darth Vader redeemed? It's funny; you can find quotes from George Lucas talking about how one theme of Star Wars is redemption, but also find quotes where he says that Anakin can't be redeemed for the pain and suffering he's caused; that Anakin doesn't right any wrongs, but only "stops the horror". So even in the eyes of his own creator, Vader's redemption appears subjective.
Anyway. What kind of redemption arcs do you like? Are there any that you dislike in media? Have you seen any good redemption arcs for a character that was NOT a white man, and how did the audience perceive that arc?
Any other examples of NOT-redemption arcs for white male characters that you can think of, other than Sark and Ward?
Unrelated: I need to a) find a good mood theme for dreamwidth, and b) figure out how to upload it. I want my cute tiny pics!Posted at Dreamwidth: https://rose-griffes.dreamwidth.org/304531.html. Comment where you wish.