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You May Have Seen A Million Entries About This, But This One Has Pokémon.
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hope is all we have
About half of the scenes in this have been posted to this journal before, but the other half are brand new! I thought I'd gather together all my old Project Komaeda scenes and fill in the gaps so I could post them to AO3. Komaeda's the worst and I love him.

I was going to say 'this is the worst fic title I've ever had' and then remembered that I named my Pokémon/Merlin crossover 'Gotta Camelotch Them All'.


Title: Nagito Komaeda Makes Everyone Uncomfortable and Possibly Sleeps With Them All
Fandom: Super Dangan Ronpa 2
Rating: R
Pairing: Komaeda/everyone
Wordcount: 6,300
Summary: Komaeda gets very close to a lot of people on the island. Hinata has to see more of it than he'd like.


Nagito Komaeda Makes Everyone Uncomfortable and Possibly Sleeps With Them AllCollapse )
19th-Sep-2016 01:02 pm - Three Divorces! Three Divorces!
and they returned home
I just checked my e-mail drafts and found this in an otherwise empty missive, with no subject and no recipient. I don't know why I wrote this.


Admittedly, Ross didn't have a spotless track record with marriages, but he felt pretty good about this fourth one. He'd figured out the one common factor in all his failed relationships, and this one was going to work out. Probably.

'Hey, man,' Chandler said quietly to him at the reception, 'I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I think your spouse is gay.'

Ross stared at him for a long moment. 'Please tell me you didn't marry me just so you could make that joke.'

'Sorry,' Chandler said. 'I actually have the divorce papers with me.'



In other old-fandom news, I'm rewatching House! It's been so long. I really want Chase, Cameron and Foreman to have a weird threesome where they spend the entire time complaining about their boss.

In a way, this rewatch is a bit embarrassing. I usually like to read my old entries on things I'm rewatching or replaying, so I can see what I thought of it the first time around and how my perception has changed. But most of my entries on House are from about ten years ago, when all my entries were very breathless and fangirly and overemphasised EVERYTHING.

I'm still a breathless fangirl, of course, but I have at least cut down slightly on the italics and allcaps.

It seems I've never entirely let go of my Cameron/Foreman 'ship from all those years ago. There's an episode where Dr Hamilton (the doctor Foreman previously worked under) offers Foreman a partnership. Hamilton asks whether Foreman is seeing anyone, and Foreman replies, 'Kinda-sorta,' and Hamilton asks whether she'd be willing to travel if Foreman took a new job. And the next scene was Foreman telling Chase and Cameron about the job offer, and I really wanted him to take Cameron aside and ask if she'd come with him. I was very sad when I realised his 'kinda-sorta' was actually referring to the girlfriend I'd forgotten he had.

Even though Cameron and Chase are my favourite characters in the show, I always slightly resented the canonical Cameron/Chase for not being Cameron/Foreman.

My favourite moments in House are the ones where House's underlings form very unprofessional emotional attachments with the patient of the week. Particularly when it's Chase or Foreman; I love Cameron, but she forms intense emotional attachments with people who are suffering very easily, so it stands out more when it's one of the boys. DON'T COMFORT A DYING WOMAN BY PRETENDING TO BE HER DEAD HUSBAND, FOREMAN. I mean, do, because it's interesting, but you really shouldn't.

I keep remembering how people really hated Cameron back in the day. She's such a sweetheart! And not just a sweetheart, but an interestingly screwed-up one!

I wonder how House fandom would be different if it were around today. Cameron and Foreman (but, alas, probably not Cameron/Foreman) would be more popular, I think, and House himself less so. On the downside, I fear there would be enormous, tedious arguments about whether it's morally wrong to 'ship House with any of his underlings.
hope is all we have
I haven't talked about Danganronpa 3 for a while, but I have things to say about the most recent episode (episode 10 of the Despair Arc). This entry also contains spoilers for episode 9 of the Future Arc.


Thoughts on Despair Arc episode 10, Danganronpa 3.Collapse )


I always seem drawn to the aggressive, hotheaded arsehole who makes terrible decisions in Dangan Ronpa. Mondo, Kuzuryuu, Sakakura... (I don't love Sakakura as much as I love Mondo or Kuzuryuu, but he's definitely the character introduced in Danganronpa 3 I care about the most. Which is strange, because after the first episode my thoughts were 'well, I haven't seen enough of these new characters to form an opinion on most of them, but SAKAKURA IS TERRIBLE.')

The other Dangan Ronpa character types I'm drawn to are 'good-hearted, relatively normal people in the midst of over-the-top casts' and 'boys in green hoodies who are voiced by Megumi Ogata and talk a lot about hope'. Naegi is at the overlap point for these two types and is therefore the best character.
10th-Sep-2016 11:51 am - Hello, Keith.
NOOOOOOOOO
I went to a recording of The Unbelievable Truth a few days ago! The panellists were John Finnemore, Lucy Porter, Jeremy Hardy and Frankie Boyle; the host, as ever, was David Mitchell. It's the first time I've seen Lucy Porter live; she's never entirely worked for me on the radio, but I quite enjoyed her here.

I don't think I'll ever reach the ridiculous lengths of my recording recaps in my university days, but I actually remember a handful of things!

The aim in The Unbelievable Truth, if anyone's unfamiliar with the rules, is to spot the ridiculous truths concealed in a lecture composed almost entirely of nonsense. Finnemore, lecturing on the subject 'Donald Trump', opened with, 'Donald Trump is the current Republican nominee for the office of President of the United States.'

Porter: ...
Hardy: ...
Boyle: ...
Hardy: (buzzes, very hesitantly)
Mitchell: Jeremy.
Hardy: I mean... God help us, but that is true, isn't it?
Mitchell: Yes, it is, in fact, true.
Hardy: I thought for a moment maybe I'd woken up and it had all been a horrible dream.
Finnemore: It's a game about ridiculous, unbelievable facts. I had to open with that one.

Other apparently true facts I've now learnt about Donald Trump: his failed business ventures include 'Trump Steaks', 'Trump Vodka', 'Trump: The Game', 'Trump Magazine', 'Trump University', 'Tour de Trump' (an American version of the Tour de France, apparently - although, given the name, perhaps the bikes would just be riding over Trump himself) and a travel website called 'GoTrump.com', and he once wrestled another millionaire to the ground and forcibly shaved him.


Porter: A woman stabbed her husband at their wedding reception with the knife used to cut the cake. He survived but spent the rest of the night in tiers.
Mitchell: I've always found the cake-cutting part of weddings very dull. The sense of jeopardy might help to enliven things.
Porter: It's more exciting when they snap each other's necks in the first dance.


One of Finnemore's claims in his lecture on spies was that David Mitchell had been recruited by MI6. Jeremy Hardy buzzed it as true.

Mitchell: Unfortunately, that is not true.
Hardy: But that's what you'd say if you had been, isn't it?
Mitchell: No, no, I'm not a spy.
(Finnemore resumes lecture)
Mitchell: (in a very loud 'confidential' whisper) I AM.


Porter: Whereas China has the Great Wall of China, Great Yarmouth has the Wall of Great Yarmouth, which runs the length of Great Yarmouth and is the only manmade structure visible from Great Yarmouth.


Finnemore: (buzzes on Porter's lecture) ...oh, I don't like Lucy's smile.
Mitchell: There's no need to be rude.

Later, Finnemore declared, 'I don't like Frankie's haircut' - but it had been too long for a call-back and, for a strange, uncomfortable instant, it seemed like he was just insulting Boyle out of the blue. He very hastily explained his intention.


Mitchell: (on snail racing) Unfortunately, it's been discovered that the practice of removing the snails' shells 'to make them go faster' actually just makes them sluggish.


Finnemore screwed up several retakes of one line, eventually cursing and throwing his script across the stage mid-sentence.

'You know, you worry a lot about tiny details,' Mitchell said, 'but that last take was fine.'


Producer: All that remains is for me to tell you that this will be broadcast... (checking dates)
Finnemore(?): Hooray!
Producer: This will be broadcast on the...
Hardy: Radio.


Entirely unrelatedly: there's a picture of Winhill in Esthar's Presidential Palace. I never noticed it before, in all the thousands of times I've played Final Fantasy VIII. Oh, Laguna.
1st-Sep-2016 01:45 pm - I Demand Catisfaction.
NOOOOOOOOO
I've been waiting for the start of a fresh month to share this story! On the first of August, I was contacted by one of my clients.

'I've got a new book coming in for you to edit,' he said. 'It'll need to be ready by the end of the month.'

'Okay! How long is it?'

'About thirty days.'


Unfortunately, I also have to share a story where I'm the one who ends up looking silly.

'I don't know why I finished Life Is Strange and immediately started writing horrible fanfiction about [unpleasant character],' I said to reipan yesterday.

'Don't take this the wrong way,' Rei said, 'but I'm really not surprised.'

'I don't know. I've always thought of my writing as reasonably wholesome.'

Rei laughed in my face.

Here's the thing: I was serious. And then I started scrolling through my Archive of Our Own account, trying to find the most recent wholesome thing I'd written. And scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling.

'Let's see... psychological trauma, psychological trauma, two teenagers discuss the horrible murders of their classmates, someone is afflicted with a hallucinogen and nearly kills her brother, someone isn't afflicted with a hallucinogen and nearly kills her friend... does "someone ropes a friend into having sex with her purely so she can use her pregnancy to evade execution" count?'

'No.'

'A guy has the memories of fourteen other people loaded into his head and has a mental breakdown, a photographer deliberately cuts off her fingers so she can't hold a camera... hey, my fic where the Final Fantasy VIII cast become l'Cie is all right!'

'Doesn't that mean they're doomed to become either monsters or crystals?' Housemate C asked.

'IT'S A LOVELY WHOLESOME STORY ABOUT MORTALITY.'

So, yes, it turns out that everything I write is horrible and somehow I never even realised it. So much murder! So much guilt! So many psychological breakdowns!

This is a genuine revelation and I don't understand how I never noticed it before.
hope is all we have
APPARENTLY I'VE WRITTEN MORE LIFE IS STRANGE FANFICTION. timydamonkey mentioned enjoying the brief prison visit scene in Split, so I started wondering whether that was a concept I could explore further.


Title: At Arm's Length
Fandom: Life Is Strange
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,600
Summary: Arcadia Bay has been saved, time is back to where it should be, and Max has no one to talk to about her trauma. Except maybe the asshole in prison who caused half of it.


At Arm"s LengthCollapse )
25th-Aug-2016 11:22 pm - Fanfiction: Split (Life Is Strange)
hope is all we have
I really wasn't expecting to write Life Is Strange fanfiction, and then somehow this happened. Please be aware that it contains imprisonment, sexual threat and general creepiness.


Title: Split
Fandom: Life Is Strange
Rating: R
Pairing: Max/Chloe
Wordcount: 1,200
Summary: Max feels like she's living three different lives simultaneously. Maybe she really did break time.


SplitCollapse )
24th-Aug-2016 02:34 pm - Thanks For Crying.
hope is all we have
I finished Life Is Strange last night!

The 'finding bottles to shoot' sequence was a bit frustrating, but I was very entertained (whilst also being horrified) afterwards, when I screwed up my aiming instructions so badly that I accidentally made Chloe shoot herself. Sorry, Chloe! Sorry for the trauma, Max.


Spoilery thoughts on the entirety of Life Is Strange.Collapse )


So that was Life Is Strange! It's been an interesting experience. It has its flaws as a piece of interactive fiction, and there are moments when it almost feels a bit too dark and bleak, and there's the uncomfortable sense that the characters might say 'lollerskates' at any moment, but overall I've enjoyed it a lot.

I think Max herself was my favourite character. Her internal observations were good fun, and her relationship with Chloe was fascinating, and I liked her conflict over whether she's nice out of the goodness of her heart or just because she wants people to like her. It was pleasant to inhabit her for a while. Even if she did once say 'wowser' three times within the space of ten minutes.
hope is all we have
Videogame morality is an odd thing. In Red Dead Redemption, you can shoot innocent passers-by whenever you feel like it and then cleanse your soul by protecting a ranch from criminals. By performing a minor good deed, you've paid for your murder and you're morally pure again. It's very strange.

It can sometimes be hard to shake off the 'good things undo bad things, right?' brand of videogame morality when you're playing games with actual moral consequences. In the first Bioshock game, you occasionally encounter children who have been genetically altered and brainwashed. You can either cure them of their brainwashing or harvest some sort of power-enhancing substance from them, killing the child in the process. When th_esaurus played, she sometimes rescued and sometimes harvested. She ended up getting the bad ending, which castigated her for her cruelty.

"I barely harvested any of them!" she exclaimed at the screen.

"It's not okay if you only kill some of the children," I said.

And yet I recognised where her reasoning came from; in many videogames, we're trained to think that we can deliberately do something bad and then avoid any consequences by doing something good, even if the bad thing is deeply, deeply awful.

I'm not saying that this is an impression we carry into real life; I'm fairly certain most people who play videogames can tell the difference between real-world morality and videogame morality. But it's a curious difference between real life and many videogames with morality systems. I suppose it's difficult to construct a system more complex than 'good things get you goodness points, bad things get you badness points and they cancel each other out.

Undertale takes a really interesting approach to moral choice. Unlike Bioshock, where 'more power' is the temptation for immoral actions, Undertale tempts you with something much more valuable: more story, more game. But it deliberately makes the 'murder everything' route as unenjoyable to play as possible. You have to really make an effort to do awful things. You have to consciously want to go down the evil route. You have to be determined. The game judges you intensely for it, and that judgement feels earned; there was no reason you couldn't have done a nice playthrough instead.

I've been thinking about this because I've been playing Virtue's Last Reward. The point of the murder route in Undertale is that you don't have to do it. You can beat the game quite happily without killing a single enemy. Virtue's Last Reward is different; there are a lot of different routes, some of which you can access only by being a huge arsehole, and you have to go down most of them in order to beat the game. Do your actions have no weight because you're ultimately required to take them if you want to reach the ending?

There's another question in Virtue's Last Reward: do your actions have no weight because you can canonically jump to another timeline in which you weren't an arsehole? Or do they have an inescapable weight, because all timelines in the game are canonically real timelines that exist in some capacity? The moment you hit the 'betray' button, that's a thing that happened in some universe. But, in the end, it doesn't really feel like your decision, because the game acts as if that universe exists before you truly bring it into being. It punishes you based on your future actions, which it knows you'll take because the game will eventually corner you into making them.

Wow, Virtue's Last Reward is really difficult to explain.

In any case, if you're cruel in Undertale, it feels like your cruelty. You could have made friends, you could have helped people, and instead you made the conscious choice to kill everyone. The game judges you, and you know you deserve it. If you're cruel in Virtue's Last Reward, it's easy to mentally defend yourself. I betrayed an unconscious child in that game, because I reasoned that, hey, that might be the only way I could deactivate a bomb in another timeline and save everyone. The game judges you, and you go 'hey, you were the one who made me do this!'

This isn't a criticism of Virtue's Last Reward, which I'm enjoying! I like the way it examines the concept of different timelines branching out from different choices, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it's working towards. I suppose I just felt like rambling about videogames for hundreds of words, because I always feel like rambling about videogames for hundreds of words.
hope is all we have
The third Despair Arc episode of Danganronpa 3 waved around the prospect of a Hinata-and-Koizumi meeting and then refused to deliver. This is outrageous, frankly, and I have attempted to remedy it through the medium of fanfiction.


Title: Worth Something
Fandom: Danganronpa 3 (Despair Arc)
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 1,400
Summary: After the Twilight Syndrome events, Hinata tried to speak to Koizumi. Maybe he managed it.


Worth SomethingCollapse )
6th-Aug-2016 02:42 pm - Lila Needs To Meet Edward Kenway.
hope is all we have
The original purpose of THE BOOKENING was to prepare me for a potential job interview, and as I didn't actually get an interview I'm no longer reading with such urgency. Still, I enjoyed reading a load of books and posting about them here, so THE BOOKENING will continue at a slightly more sensible pace!


THE BOOKENING TITLE #6: A Darker Shade of Magic, VE Schwab.

This is an odd one to read straight after Rivers of London. They're both technically 'magical London' books, but Rivers of London feels very grounded in the real London; I read it and I know it's set in my city. I found I enjoyed A Darker Shade of Magic more when I ignored the 'London' aspect, because I kept getting distracted by the fact that I didn't even feel like I was in England, let alone London, even in the parts set in our world. There was a general lack of detail rooting us in the city, and there was some American vocabulary that really stood out, particularly as the book seemed to be set in vaguely Victorian times. Stop running around in your pants, everyone; you'll cause a scandal!

That said, I enjoyed this. Schwab is very good at intricate, interesting worldbuilding, even if the world in question doesn't really feel connected to its real-life counterpart.

As with This Savage Song, this book introduces two protagonists separately, lets you get to know them, and only then has them meet for the first time. As far as I'm concerned, this is great. I love it when two established characters meet at last and we get to find out how they interact with each other. I also really like the 'they're not in a romantic relationship; they're just friends who occasionally kiss' vibe I get from Kell and Lila, although I don't know whether that'll change in later books in the series.

(Is it just me, or is everything part of a series? I'm sort of craving a good one-off fantasy book.)

Another thing I'm fond of: characters being thrown into another world (or another time) and having to manage in a completely unfamiliar setting. Unfortunately, neither 'seeing characters get to know each other' nor 'seeing a character come to terms with a new world' are qualities that can be sustained for very long, so I suppose they'll be less prominent in the sequel.

I'm very concerned about Holland. That was a slightly awful thing that happened to him at the end, and I'm sort of shocked that Kell did it without a second thought. I hope that's not the end of Holland's story. I'm also a bit disappointed that we never actually got to see Black London, but I feel there's a good chance it'll show up in later books.

The relationship between Kell and Rhy has a lot that intrigues me! I sort of wish we'd seen more of Rhy earlier on, so we could have a better impression of their dynamic by the point at which Rhy gets into real trouble. 'I would do literally anything for your sake' relationships are great, but they work best if we get to see how they relate to each other under normal circumstances before we see one character going to extreme lengths for the other.

I generally want more of Rhy, really. He seems like a character I could really love ('fierce love for his sibling' and 'habitually flirts with everyone' are both qualities that I have a terrible weakness for), but he got so little page time!

Finally, my favourite exchange from the book:

Rhy laughed silently. "I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself."
"I apologize for shooting you in the leg," said Lila. "I was myself entirely."
NOOOOOOOOO
I thought I'd finish my reread of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before jumping into the Cursed Child script. I got so tearful about the Weasley family.

The problem with Deathly Hallows is that I never feel like a Harry Potter book has really started until it reaches Hogwarts. In the case of Deathly Hallows, this means that the book doesn't start for four hundred and fifty pages.

And now I've also read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! My thoughts, which spoil basically everything, are beneath the cut.


Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildCollapse )


It's so strange to be getting new stories in this universe. And Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is out in a few months!
29th-Jul-2016 11:13 am - Also, Sakakura's The Worst.
hope is all we have
The Danganronpa 3 anime continues! Beneath the cut: very spoilery thoughts on the second and third episodes of both arcs. I wrote these thoughts down after each episode, so some of my notes on the second episodes were later nullified by the third episodes.


Danganronpa 3: second and third episodes of both arcs.Collapse )


Why did I ever get into Dangan Ronpa? It's nothing but stress and pain. My nails are in a terrible state and it's all the Future Arc's fault.
25th-Jul-2016 02:11 pm - I Know Exactly How It Exfoliates.
hope is all we have
The first episode of Life Is Strange is now free on PS3 and PS4! I thought I'd check it out, as timydamonkey recommended it to me a while ago. And then I bought the rest of the episodes. Whoops. It's fundamentally a 'looking at things and having awkward conversations' simulator, but it's strangely compelling.

Here's a miserable fact for you: the developers brought this game to several publishers before eventually settling on Square Enix. They chose Square Enix because all the other publishers said 'nope, can't have a female protagonist, you're going to have to change her into a boy.' Fortunately, Life Is Strange sold well and received good reviews despite being about one of those non-male things nobody cares about.

I'm currently two episodes in. I have some specific things to say about actual plot events, but I'll save those for a spoilery post once I've finished the entire game. For now, I'm going to keep things as spoiler-free as possible.

There's something about Life Is Strange that resonates oddly strongly with me. I think it's the depiction of a particular type of friendship between kids that I know from my own childhood. You're pretty quiet and insulated, and she's much cooler than you, and she can get you into trouble or be manipulative sometimes, but you endure all that because you're just so awed that this cool person is willing to spend time with you. (It's a type of relationship that sometimes appears in Jacqueline Wilson novels, actually.) I didn't realise until I suddenly thought 'hang on, I'm making a lot of groundless assumptions about Chloe's character' and then realised it was because I felt like I'd known her when I was a child. She's a very interesting character, even if in some respects she's difficult to like.

It's perhaps no surprise that this game gives me a very strong feeling of nostalgia. I really like the strange, quiet atmosphere of it, too, and Max's internal observations are often endearing.

There are, of course, a few things that don't entirely match up with my own experiences. For example, I went to school in a different country, and I've never been any good at photography, and I can't reverse time. I also don't have the speech patterns of EZboard fandom circa 2002. There's some very odd dialogue in this game. It feels very much like a game about teenagers written by adults, although of course I'm an adult, so it's possible that in fact it's an entirely accurate representation of modern teenage speech patterns and I'm the one who's out of touch.

Sorry, did I say 'in fact'? I meant 'for realsies'.

I clocked almost immediately, from his LOADS OF TEXT MESSAGES, that Warren had a huge crush on Max. This means that every conversation with him is a bit of a minefield, as I don't feel Max thinks of him that way at all. I'm constantly caught in a state of 'I want to be nice to you, because you're my friend, but I definitely don't want to give you the impression that I'm romantically interested in you.' I felt a bit bad about turning down his invitation to see a film. Sorry, Warren! I didn't want you to think of it as a date!

I find the occasional 'THIS ACTION WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES' butterfly very stressful. I don't need consequences in my videogames! I get quite enough of those in real life! (Now, in real life, whenever something minor happens as a result of something I unthinkingly did a while ago, I think back to that moment and I see 'THIS ACTION WILL HAVE CONSEQUENCES' in the corner of it. You put a glass in the dishwasher! That glass was still in use and later your housemate will be trying to find it. This action will have consequences.)

The statistics at the end of each episode are sometimes a bit distressing. 'You didn't help Alyssa,' I was informed at the end of the second episode. I'm sorry, Alyssa! I didn't realise you needed help! 'You didn't water your plant.' I DIDN'T KNOW MY PLANT EXISTED.
NOOOOOOOOO
Hey, I wrote something that isn't for Assassin's Creed!

Nobody's reading this on AO3, and I'm weirdly sad about it even though it really shouldn't be a surprise at all. It's a crossover between a niche American sitcom and an obscure Japanese videogame. There's probably not a huge overlap between fans of those two things.


Title: Despair 101
Fandom: Community/Dangan Ronpa
Rating: PG-13
Wordcount: 3,200
Summary: Being told to shoot each other with paintball guns ends badly enough at Greendale. Being told to actually kill each other probably isn't going to go much better.


Despair 101Collapse )
hope is all we have
A new Dangan Ronpa anime has just started! (Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy, divided confusingly into two alternating series: Future Arc (set after the second game) and Despair Arc (set before).) It's actual new canon, rather than an adaptation! And it looks potentially extremely interesting! And it features my favourite character!

This sounds like good news but is actually terrible.


Danganronpa 3: notes on the first episodes of both arcs.Collapse )


Something that delights me: Kuzuryuu may have his angry don't-care rebel façade, but he's one of the few students who diligently shows up for lessons. You're not fooling anyone, Kuzuryuu.
sort of exhausted really
I went into a bookshop with the specific intention of buying Rivers of London and realised too late that I didn't know the name of the author. With an inward sigh of despair, I trudged into the 'Sci-Fi and Fantasy' section, prepared to comb through all the shelves alphabetically.

Thank God for the name 'Aaronovitch'.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #5: Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch.

'Vagina dentata,' said Nightingale. I wasn't sure that I was reassured by the thought that it was common enough for there to be a technical term for it.

Usually, when I enjoy a book, it's because I like the characters or the world or the concepts. Occasionally you'll find a book that's enjoyable because the narrative voice is just so much fun to read. Peter Grant is a great narrator, and I think the constant undercurrent of his wry humour is what really makes Rivers of London. It feels like you're sitting down with him in the pub and he's telling you a story.

There were aspects of this book that impinged slightly on my enjoyment of it. It contained a lot of horrific gore, which I wasn't entirely prepared for, although that's not really the book's fault; I think I expected it to be aimed at a younger age range than it was. It's also a bit male-gazey, although it is at least narrated by a mildly sexually frustrated young man, rather than being one of those books that feels the need to monitor everyone's breasts at all times even if the main character has no reason to be looking at breasts. And I don't like saying that books need better editing, because I'm a copy-editor and I know how thankless a task it is; people will see the one typo that slipped through, but they'll never see the thousands of mistakes you corrected. That said, this book could have done with better editing.

Ultimately, though, this was fun! I hugely enjoyed Grant's voice, and the asides about the history of London were interesting. I liked the friendship between Grant and Lesley. I wanted to care about the relationship between Grant and Nightingale, and there were a couple of moments where I thought 'is this the moment I get invested in these two??', but in the end I didn't feel they had as much of a connection as I'd hoped for. I've gained the impression that they're a popular pairing, though, so perhaps their relationship is stronger in later books. (Not sure yet whether I'm actually going to pick up the other books in the series, but we'll see.)

Also, at one point the protagonist makes out with a little brook that runs near my childhood home. There's no other book I can say that about.
and they returned home
THE BOOKENING TITLE #4: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Becky Chambers.

Oh, wow. This was a joy from start to finish. I'm sad that the sequel isn't out yet. Hello, new favourite book?

Here's something I don't think I've mentioned here before: I'm afraid of space. It's so big and so empty and so unknown. I think stars in the night sky are beautiful, but I can't look at them for too long because I start thinking about how far away they are and I get unsettled. The Total Perspective Vortex would destroy me. So I was a bit nervous at the prospect of reading a book all about scary space.

But it wasn't a problem at all. Space is so alive and fascinating in Small Angry Planet. I loved all the information we got about society and history and the differences between assorted sapient species. The whole universe was so much fun.

The structure is interesting; it's very episodic. Rather than focusing on telling one overarching story, this book introduces a cast of characters and then goes 'and now we're going to see a series of their escapades!' It's essentially a series of interconnected short stories. It could be adapted very well to television.

And it's a great cast of characters. I'm fond of everyone. Kizzy might be my favourite (I wasn't sure at first whether she would be irritating or endearing, but she came down firmly on the latter side for me), and I love her relationship with Jenks. Oh, wait, maybe Ashby's my favourite? WHO KNOWS; EVERYONE'S GREAT. Sissix, Dr Chef, Rosemary, everyone. Even Corbin won me over towards the end.

I can't stop picturing Ohan as Randall, the chameleon guy from Monsters Inc. This is not even slightly right (Randall doesn't have fur, for one thing), but for some reason my mind refuses to let go of it.

When I was almost finished with this book, I went, 'Hey, I should see how much fanfiction is waiting for me once this is over.' The answer: literally none. Nobody has written Small Angry Planet fanfiction.

Maybe I should fix that.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I want the entire crew of the Wayfarer to have a big Aandrisk-esque cuddlepile-stroke-orgy. Sissix said that almost all feather families have group sex at least once! I can understand why the Wayfarer crew is the exception, but I'm also sad that it's the exception. (Corbin elects not to engage in the orgy; he just sits off to the side and complains throughout.) This is probably not something I'm going to write.

I might write something about Lovelace, actually. I've made a small start, but it's tricky; the book is in past tense, and I want to try to match its style, but I haven't written in the past tense in so long. (This is perhaps why I so rarely write fanfiction for books; my instinct is always to replicate the writing style, and it's tricky!)

I'd really like to see some flashbacks to characters' early days on the Wayfarer in the sequel. But, honestly, I'll be happy so long as we get more of the ridiculous adventures of this pack of space misfits.

OKAY, I'VE JUST CHECKED THE BLURB FOR THE SEQUEL AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS NOT, IN FACT, ABOUT THIS PACK OF SPACE MISFITS. Noooooooo! The lack of fanfiction is now even more tragic than it was before.

Anyway, this is a thoroughly delightful book. I'm so happy to have read it.
26th-Jun-2016 11:45 am - That's Oedipus, You Dumbass.
hope is all we have
I don't want to think about politics right now (I may never forgive my country, but at least my city's all right, I suppose), so instead I'm going to talk about THE BOOKENING, in which I desperately try to read a load of recent genre fiction on the slim chance I get a relevant job interview. There are worse tasks.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #1: This Savage Song, VE Schwab. A world in which violence creates monsters! Crime spawns terrible creatures that will slash you up or drink your blood or eat your soul! And then one of the monsters disguises himself as a human so he can attend school. There's more going on than that, obviously, but I really enjoy how silly the plot sounds when you cut it down.

The first few chapters focus on slowly bringing you into the world, which is interesting, but it really picks up when the monster actually starts school. I hugely enjoyed watching August try to fit in; characters being thrown suddenly into a completely new world is always fun. Colin seemed a potentially fun character, so I'm sad he was barely in this at all. Leo is terrifying. I enjoyed Kate's fury at her own vulnerability, and it was interesting to see August's desire to be a better person collide with her desire to be a worse person.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #2: Divergent, Veronica Roth. I find this a slightly less believable young adult dystopia than the world of The Hunger Games, largely because I'm convinced the Dauntless faction would have died out within a few generations. Why would anyone ever willingly join the faction that demands that you constantly risk your life for no reason? Go and join the faction that picks apples and is nice to people, for goodness' sake. And the Dauntless faction is in the habit of whittling down its recruits and allowing ONLY THE BEST to join, which further reduces its numbers, and then, as mentioned, it makes its members pointlessly risk their lives. This is not the way to maintain a healthy membership, Dauntless.

Divergent's Tris felt at points like a copy of Katniss from The Hunger Games to me, and I find it interesting that Kate from This Savage Song didn't, given that all three of them fall into a distinct 'unpersonable female YA protagonist' character type. I suppose Kate's vulnerabilities run closer to the surface, and she's also more actively cruel because she's trying to hide her caring side. Katniss isn't trying to hide that she cares; she's genuinely not very good at caring, although she's not incapable of it, and I get a similar impression from Tris. Deliberate callous action versus unconscious callous inaction.

This was an interesting diversion, but I don't think I'll be picking up the other books in the series. Diversiont.


THE BOOKENING TITLE #3: Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth, Christopher Golden. This was fun! I used to read the official tie-in novels for Doctor Who, and they varied wildly in quality. I was a bit apprehensive about this, but it's clearly been written with a real fondness for the Uncharted games and characters. Nate and Sully sound like themselves! There's vicarious sightseeing! There were even sections where I could see how they would translate to a puzzle sequence in one of the games. Fortunately, there were no sections that would translate to a twenty-minute shootout with four waves of enemies.

I enjoyed getting confirmation that Nate unthinkingly flirts with people out of habit.

My biggest complaint: no Elena. I can understand why Elena wasn't there, given that, you know, the book is set before Nate and Elena meet, but I still missed her. I liked Jada (it would have been nice to see some sort of reference to her in Uncharted 4), but the absence of Elena was heavy on my heart. This was also my problem with Golden Abyss. Stupid Nate, having a life and doing things before he met the best character in the series.


A Song of Ice and Fire is not part of THE BOOKENING (it's actually a large part of the reason I need THE BOOKENING; I've spent most of my leisure reading time recently on this vast series, so I need to catch up on other things), but I've now finished part one of A Storm of Swords, and Jaime and Brienne going through adversity together and slowly learning not to loathe each other is my new favourite thing. Enemies working together almost invariably delights me in fiction, particularly if it results in some sort of grudging fondness or respect. (My other major complaint about The Fourth Labyrinth: it had a touch of this, but not nearly enough!)


Further entries on THE BOOKENING are probably to come! I've just started The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, and I'm already enjoying it a lot.


Historical fact of the day: the Duke of Wellington had an enormous nude statue of Napoleon in his house. I'm so happy to know this.
hope is all we have
I completed Uncharted 4 a few days ago!


Notes on Uncharted 4Collapse )


I was pretty unhappy, five days after someone broke into our house by climbing through an open upstairs window at the back, to find myself playing a sequence in Uncharted 4 where Nate breaks into a house by climbing through an open upstairs window at the back. Don't break into people's houses, Nate! It's wrong!
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