leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2011-11-09 10:17 pm
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[sticky entry] Sticky: Leaf litter: why and what


Autumn is my favourite season.


This is a fandom journal for fandoms including but not limited to the works of Ursula K Le Guin, Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Isobelle Carmody's Obernewtyn series, Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch series, Firefly and Jane Austen. I have long term low-level fannish interest in Harry Potter, the works of Tolkien, and The Problem of Susan but not a lot of desire to write about them.

There will be occasional reviews and occasional fic and occasional recs. There might be a lot of radio silence. I don't have the kind of life space for serious fandom involvement. If you notice me volunteering to run anything for anybody anywhere, point me back at this entry for a reminder not to do that.
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-12-11 11:08 am

December meme: never coming home

A self-assigned topic: never coming home.

There's a dynamic in the Hainish cycle I'm fascinated by, which is the people who can never go home, because during their journey everyone died and during their journey back, everyone they've spoken to on the ansible will die as well.

There's a lot of characters who are in this situation. Genly Ai (Left Hand). Solly and later Teyeo (Four Ways). Isako (Another Story). And more.

But what we don't see a lot of is the massive emotional upheaval involved in preparing for the journey. We don't often see that final moment, the moment when you walk out of the room, or shut the door, or vanish into the mountain, or disappear in a thunderclap, the moment from which you are, from the point of view of those at home, dead. (There's some mention of the Hainish version, of the seemingly very casual or at least brief Hainish traditions of "goodbye, I'm dead". What does everyone else do?)

And I think we do not see, at all, the Sleeping Beauty experience, the experience of getting on the ansible, or reading the reports that came ahead of your ship (they only need to travel at light speed to beat you there) and finding out how it was that your family died, and reading the letters they wrote to you throughout their lives, and learning the names of your great-grandchildren who are now twenty years older than you, and so on.

We see a little bit of it in reverse, in Four Ways when Yoss thinks about her daughter and grandson on the ship. But we don't see any sense that she is communicating to them, by, eg, compiling some kind of "and this is how the rest of my life went" document. (Le Guin doesn't seem to have separated family members reach out to each other every so often. See also, in The Dispossessed, how Shevek and Takver don't seem to communicate when physically separated on Anarres, let alone when he's on Urras.)

Here's some of the fascinating stories I think are in the margins (ie, good fic candidates):

Solly and Teyeo, oh my goodness. For starters, I think her characterisation is inconsistent with her backstory, which is that she's been through the entire process of "goodbye, I'm dead" twice, and has twice woken up on a new world and needed to catch up on 500 years of history. (I don't have the book with me right now, but if I recall correctly, one of those two times was "while you were asleep, the population of that world destroyed itself".) I suppose the intended characterisation is that her youth and self-confidence will get her even through that kind of challenge, but, I'm not convinced.

Then there's him, the perfect, self-reliant, honourable soldier, who has come to believe that the basis for his society and his honour is utterly bankrupt. I don't know what the journey is like after that, but I can only imagine that adding in two journeys forward in time and massive culture shock from there cannot help. (He accompanies Solly to Terra and then to Hain.) He seems to be so much a man of Werel. How does he deal with Terra at all, let alone with Terra culture shock while simultaneously dealing with whatever the news from Werel-Yeowe is?

Leaf and In Joy Born, from the "Solitude" short story in The Birthday of the World, when they wake up on Hain to find that, as they had probably expected but not hoped, Serenity (the narrator) never followed them. (This is strictly left ambiguous. As of the time of making the report, she had not followed them. But she has two children, one a daughter, on Eleven Soro, and in her cultural tradition Hain would be the seat of interstellar-scale evil sorcery. I think it's a fairly clear no.) "Solitude" is actually a letter to the future, but I can't imagine Leaf finding it anything other than a catastrophic end to her relationship with Ren, especially since it would arrive concurrently with news of her presumed death, and news of the grandchildren she can never even know of (especially the grandson).

As an aside, I find this an interesting story in another respect too, which is that I'm not sure what planetary origin the family has. They speak Hainish and talk only of Hain, and the names are more like the Hainish names we see, but if so, Ren shouldn't need external agents to control her fertility because the Hainish have it under conscious internal control. Still pondering.

O is in something of a unique position, since it's only a four year difference. That's probably why "Another Story" treats it in a fair bit of detail. It's less unimaginable, a bit equivalent to Age of Sail emotional dislocations except that if you travel O to Hain to O you not only come back at least four years behind the news but also eight years younger than you "should" be.

I'm thus also treating several aspects of this problem in my novella-in-progress at the moment, although since as usual for sedoretu stories it's a romance and comedy of manners, I can't get right into it. Spoilers )
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-11-18 04:18 pm

December meme except not quite: Hainish cycle

I'm hardly going to back out of Nanowrimo and then immediately write an entry every single day for the entire following month. No.

But I don't want to lose my fannishness without finishing the Nanonovel, so I'd like to talk Hainish cycle a bit over December. I'll do one a week. Help me fill in the weeks.

Stuff you can prompt me for: my thoughts on any of the worlds and/or stories below, and any of head canon or meta. You can get specific if you like!

Works/worlds: Another Story/Unchosen Love/Mountain Ways (O), City of Illusions and The Telling (Terra), Planet of Exile (Alterra, also called Werel), Rocannon's World (Rocannon's World), Solitude (Eleven-Soro), The Dispossessed and The Day Before the Revolution (Urras and Anarres), A Man of the People (Hain), Four Ways to Forgiveness (Yeowe and Werel), Gethen (The Left Hand of Darkness, Winter's King and Coming of Age in Karhide), Seggri (The Matter of Seggri), Aka (The Telling)

Weeks in December )
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-11-13 08:39 pm
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Nanowrimo white flag

I've decided to bail on Nanowrimo-the-process.

I'm still very excited about the story, actually more so than when I began, and I'd really like to be able to finish it as a novella or short novel length work and share it! I still plan to.

And I've found out some useful things about myself; in particular, I actually can write at the Nano pace, and probably could all month. And I have such a lot of fun writing fiction. Very useful discovery process.

But. The writing has been taking me 1½ to 2 hours every single night. And about 60 minutes of that has been at the expense of sleep, which is not something I can skimp on for a variety of reasons. I really am not in a place to spend November pushing myself into cumulative sleep debt, because there's no recovery time in the foreseeable future. I can imagine being able to do Nano in some future year, but this year is not it.

The word count is also stealing from other writing time I need and want. In particular, I'd like to post some more meta about the world of O, but it wasn't going to fit into my day. Now perhaps it can.

So. I'm at 17079 words. Absolutely none of them would exist without Nano. It's just not the right process for producing the other 15000 (?) that I need for a full draft. (I have a feeling this is a 30000–40000 word story, but I don't really know.) So, this is my Nano white flag, but with thanks.

Also, given that I wrote 0 words of fiction this year before Nano, and 17000 in Nano, an improvement of infinity times, I think I need some kind of structure to get me to finish this thing, whether it's some kind of modified Nano (average 500 words a night? one week in four is writing week?). Step one of leaving Nano is taking a solid week off writing and getting a bit of sleep. Step two of leaving Nano will be working out what that structure is! Step three is resuming writing.

Stay tuned!
leaflitter: Nanowrimo, just keep writing (nanowrimo)
2014-11-06 03:43 pm

Nanovel progress

I'm attempting the first draft of a fanfic novella/novel for NaNoWriMo this year. It's more Ursula Le Guin fic; it's set on the world of O, the original setting for the sedoretu concept. There's quite a few sedoretu AUs, but not as far as I can tell any fic set on O.

I don't want to spend too much time here when I could be making word count there, but in my last big writing project (a dissertation) I did find inconsequential blogging a little bit helpful.

So, a few things.

First, I'm a bit shy of 5000 words right now, which means of course that I need to up my daily word count. As of today, it needs to be 1800.

Second, I need to work out how a technologically advanced civilisation that apparently still uses upwards of 90% of its population on agriculture and completely lacks cities works, at least to some degree. There's mention of Centers rather than cities, I'm not clear on what the distinction is. I think they may be universities without townships attached to them.

Third, why does Le Guin bother to specify in Another Story that brother-sister marriages are taboo? They're actually a special case of the moiety taboo: all siblings and half-siblings would share a moiety (absent an moiety-incest violation, even half-siblings that share a father would be born to different women who share a moiety and therefore also share that moiety). I thought for a time she meant that a brother and sister cannot be on the same side of a sedoretu, but in that very same story, that's what goes on to happen: Hideo and Koneko, full siblings, are the Evening spouses in their sedoretu. So that half-sentence bugs me every time. The moiety taboo is a society-wide sibling-marriage taboo to the point where you don't need to separately specify things.

Fourth, it seems unlikely to me that there is really no word in the ki'O language(s) for one's not-spouse, as in, the other person in the sedoretu with your own moiety. This person would be one of the most significant people in your life. They are married to the same two people as you. The potential for both teamwork and jealousy is beyond saying.

Le Guin doesn't give a word, and the Mountain Ways introduction says "The forbidden relationships are between the Morning woman and the Morning man, and between the Evening woman and the Evening man, and they aren't called anything, except sacrilege." Funny to not acknowledge the intense and fraught social relationship there, especially since that story has the only example of it shown from the point of view character. (Hideo and Koneko in Another Story, per above, are siblings already. Hadri and Sasni in Unchosen Love are never seen to speak.)

And there would be two of these highly charged non-romantic relationships in every sedoretu. It almost makes me wish my story was about an established one. Perhaps some other time.
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-10-27 08:42 am

Perma-smells and others

I got as far as reviewing my least favourite of the imps I bought from BPAL early in the year, and the frimps and never quite got to the good stuff.

The Antikythera Mechanism

I think the winner for me from my initial order was The Antikythera Mechanism which I ordered because I was curious about the tobacco note.

Initial notes

In imp: Strong "musky" smell. (I don't really don't have the right vocab for perfumes. What I am actually referring to is the teakwood and vanilla, I'm pretty sure.)
Wet: Strong, spicy.
Dry: I'm liking this, but don't have vocab to describe it. From the description, I'd be mostly getting vanilla and the woody scents. I think I like it! Vanilla going quicker than the wood.
Later: Wood strong, hints of vanilla. It doesn't smell of tobacco to me, but I'm much more used to the smell of the smoke (which I quite like, when fresh and not right next to me) than the plant or its flower.


I love smelling like this, apparently I want to smell of a sweet campfire or something. I'm having trouble not wearing this today because I want to re-review Bastet. I'm planning to order a bottle soon.

Bastet, Euphrosyne )


I'm looking through Beloved Favorites to try and narrow it down since ALL OF BPAL is a bit intimidating. Given what I've learned here, I think The Cat, Snake Oil, Scherezade and (if it were in stock) Rogue.

I wish I'd paid attention and managed to get in on a Weenies decant circle, because I like the idea of the leaf scents too.
leaflitter: (yuletide)
2014-10-23 07:29 am
Entry tags:

Yuletide 2014

I missed nominations, and while there's something like 30 fandoms I'm somewhat familiar with, there's only a couple I want to write in, and almost none that I can think of a powerful request for. Add in the constraint that I think I want to avoid giving or receiving Le Guin for Yuletide this year, I think I can't play by the normal rules.

Luckily, treat culture is strong within Yuletide, and I've already found one great prompt I could write to. I can even check out Le Guin safely just in case I'm wrong and there's something amazing there. Let the bookmarking commence!
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-08-11 12:41 pm
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Wrapping up REAMDE

Apparently the reason it took me three years to review REAMDE was that I needed time to entirely forget that I'd read Abigail Nussbaum's excellent review:
What Stephenson is doing is trying to depict competence as a function of character. When really it's almost always a situational trait--a person may be extraordinarily competent in one setting and helpless in another, may have a firm grasp of their situation in one instance, and a completely unrealistic confidence in their abilities in another. Reamde, which valorizes confidence and the general competence that has been a hallmark of, yes, masculinity, in all of Stephenson's novels, doesn't quite know what to do when that confidence turns out to have been unfounded. In Peter's case, its response is to decide that he must not have been terribly masculine--which is to say, competent, intelligent, possessed of a firm grip on reality--to begin with. But in Richard's case, Stephenson's approach is to double down, to continue to insist that Richard is, as Zula thinks of him, the epitome of masculinity, even as he piles on the evidence to the contrary.

Most of the reviews I've read of Reamde have found Richard charming or heroic, but to my mind he is one of Stephenson's most aggravating creations, if only because it's not at all clear whether we're meant to be aggravated by him. Richard is a perpetual fish out of water--a black sheep among his staid, law-abiding, Midwestern family, but too steeped in their values to fit in among West Coast liberals or his fellow board members. In another man, this perennial ambivalence might have led to humility, a willingness to see the other guy's point of view. Richard uses it as a justification for feeling superior to everyone around him--to his Red State relations and his Blue State colleagues, to the fuddy-duddy Donald and the trailer trash Devin, to the Forces of Brightness and the Earthtone Coalition, to his young, gadget- and Facebook-obsessed cousins and his old, computer-illiterate ones. It is "a belief that had been inculcated in him from the get-go," we are told, "that there was an objective reality, which all people worth talking to could observe and understand, and that there was no point in arguing about anything that could be so observed and so understood." But for Richard, that objective reality seems to mean whatever he thinks about the world…
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-07-26 08:52 pm
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REAMDE: a re-plot

Now I'm trying to work out what a plot for REAMDE would be that would preserve the existing (interesting) characters reasonably intact as far as personality and backstory goes, but make more use of the virtual world.


The opening of the novel remains much the same: Richard recruits the recently graduated Zula to work in the geology department of Corporation 9592 reporting to Pluto. Zula and Peter go to Richard's Schloss for a weekend, during which Peter delivers stolen credit card numbers to Wallace.

But in this version, the credit card numbers are a sideshow, because Wallace puts a bit more together in his background research on Peter, specifically, what Zula's job could mean for him and his employers.

Because this time, Wallace, Csongor and others in Ivanov's employ have a bit more going on in the virtual world of T'Rain, specifically, their own scams/viruses/extortion rackets. Richard is in deep trouble in this variant; he and Nolan Xu say, loudly and often, that they designed T'Rain to be gold farmer friendly, but an alternative interpretations. is that they designed it to be organised crime friendly, or perhaps even terrorist friendly. Judging from the Snowden leaks, the FBI, CIA and NSA believe it to be both and more, and it's not clear how compromised the systems are. Surveillance of virtual worlds is not an amusing footnote to the Snowden revelations in this world.

[I haven't quite worked out when REAMDE is set, but there's a pretty narrow range of options. It's after Michael Jackson's death in 2009, because that is mentioned, and some time before its release in 2011. Probably 2010. I'm moving it to late 2013 or 2014 because incorporating the Snowden leaks is amusing.]

So T'Rain is a place where there's money to be made before the governments shut it down, and Zula Forthrast is the niece of the founder, and works in the department that decides where the gold is buried. The Scottish financier Wallace (who in the original novel is the only person involved with Ivanov who plays T'Rain, and who is well worth keeping alive in this version) is heading up Ivanov's T'Rain related moneymaking schemes. The Russian criminals can't believe their luck in getting so close to Zula, and double down on Peter using the standard "oh, you thought you made a one off deal with organised crime? Ahahahaha, no" blackmail technique in order to use him as a tool to get closer to her. (Presumably Zula and Peter don't break up, or at least not as soon, in this model.) Their aim: to leverage inside knowledge of existing virtual gold deposits within T'Rain, or perhaps even to add gold deposits. They have contacts in China who can turn this into cold hard fiat money…

Meanwhile, in China: Olivia Halifax-Lin is still a spy for MI6, but she's spying on Corporation 9592 and its various badly or well-disguised criminal and terrorist clients, having obtained employment for 9592's Chinese arm under her false native Chinese identity.

Olivia has recently struck an unexpected jackpot: the ruthless and feared terrorist financier, the Welshman Abdallah Jones, long since having grown out of his blowing-things-up days and grown into the brains behind any number of financial schemes funneling tens of millions of dollars into jihadist terrorist causes, appears to be doing business in T'Rain, and may perhaps even be based in Xiamen presently in order to supervise things personally. This may coincide with the sudden change in activities of the well known Chinese gold farming and virus writing gang, the da G shou, under the leadership of a young man alias "Marlon", who contract out their extortion services to the highest bidder. But if they're doing business with Abdallah Jones, they are in way over their heads… and as hard as it is to feel sorry for Russian crooks, probably that mob that the da G shou used to work for ought to watch their backs too. And Richard Forthrast really could stand to beef up his personal security.

Something like that. It would need way more detail to work out how to get Seamus and Yuxia to show up, where Sokolov's loyalties lie (although at least this would bring him and Jones into fairly direct conflict), and such, and I very doubt I will spend the time, but if anyone has suggestions, go ahead.

Otherwise, there you go. Put a money laundering scheme in the centre of your novel, you may as well use it to launder money.
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-07-26 11:09 am
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REAMDE: what is up with that anyway?

I find Neal Stephenson's novels interesting in that they're stickier than my opinion of them would suggest. Would I tell you I liked REAMDE? Not really. Would I suggest you read it? Only warily and with a number of caveats. How many times have I read it? Probably five or six times (although as is usual with fiction, I re-read favourite scenes or at random, not cover-to-cover).

In addition, I really want to puzzle out what the hell is up with it, structurally.

Well, what is up with it? Spoilers. Also, no real conclusions. But some snark. )
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-07-26 10:34 am

Romance again: the truth about Charles de Lacey

This is an entry I wrote well over a year ago but never posted, about Caroline Linden's regency romance The Way to A Duke's Heart. It is the final novel in a trilogy, The Truth About the Duke, in which the three sons of the very recently deceased Francis de Lacey, Duke of Durham, try and prove their legitimacy while at the same time finding unexpected true love.

In this third book, the hero is Charles de Lacey, the probable new duke and the least promising hero; the drinker and womaniser to his younger brothers Edward the coolheaded and effective businessman and Gerard the hotheaded but effective soldier.

But the real puzzle is what the hell was up with their father?!

The truth about the duke is that he was a big jerk, more than Linden is willing to admit. Spoilers. )

And now for his son )

In the end, this is my favourite of the three novels. I find Edward too uptight and Gerard too hotheaded, and I have a soft spot for men who like women. Charlie seems like a lot of fun, and I like the socially awkward headstrong Tessa a great deal. I think the whole trilogy is reasonably good and ends with the strongest novel. But none of the men are the equal of the effective and caring Anthony Hamilton of A Rake's Guide to Seduction.

* Charlie de Lacey and Anthony Hamilton both have a problem in my reading, which is that having a large number of women lovers in the Regency period isn't really a morally neutral act: their lovers are taking a big risk for them. Anthony is pretty lucky there, having fathered no children, Charlie isn't.
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-05-04 01:59 pm
Entry tags:


Some rather disorganised notes on Rake, the original Australian series (I haven't seen the US version), since it's managed to get me to watch it through 22 episodes now (2 to go), which is almost unheard of for me and TV.

First a warning: it's used trans women, including slurs, as a passing joke, and a crossdressing man and woman (I think? the script didn't make a definitely statement either way) as an on-screen joke. It's been called out elsewhere for using prison rape for jokes too. Which makes it unwatchable for some of my readers. (Not far off at times for me. Knock it off, media.)

Here's the pretext, which will also help you decide if you give a toss: it centers around a grandiose, self-absorbed individual (Cleaver Greene) whose narcissism is justified. Not metaphysically, but merely insofar as the world really does revolve around him, as if by coincidence. All his ex-lovers are still to some degree emotionally tied to him. When his friends, frenemies and rivals can't sleep with him, they all sleep with each other and tell him about it. Opposing counsel all hate him, personally.

And that works about as well as it would on any mere mortal, let alone a mere mortal who, however acerbic and clever, mostly wants a lot of women to like him as often as possible.

As an example, one of Cleaver's antagonists, David Potter (Harry-sorry-David Potter, Matt Day made up to look like Daniel Radcliffe as Harry) is originally introduced as counsel representing the Australian Tax Office, suing Cleaver over tax fraud. But within a few episodes, Harry-sorry-David is both universally known by that nickname, which Cleaver gave him, and he's unknowingly fallen in love with retired sex worker Melissa, one of Cleaver's many one-true-loves. Later, in season 2, a very politically significant figure in multiple countries is killed not by assassination, but in an act of revenge related to one of Cleaver's exes.

I saw a critique of this dynamic in the US version ("there's only ten people living in Los Angeles and they all know each other??") but it really works for Sydney, whose population of barristers is mostly fed by two universities, and whose law students mostly enter as 18 year olds and so many have known each other their entire adult lives. And that's when they don't know each other from high school.

And it's written in the language of Sydney visually. Cleaver lives in Kings Cross, ever renewing red light district, because of course he does. David lives in Lilyfield, later-gentrifying working-class suburb, because of course he does. Everyone went to Sydney Uni, because of course they did. Everyone's kids were delivered by the same obstetrician, because of course they were. (In reality, this one, apparently. In Rake, Sam Neill.)

The first season was very case of the week, with Cleaver serving as barrister to all the most lurid crooks. But one of the reasons I've kept watching is that it hasn't shied away from this question of what happens when the world really does revolve around your cynical and often weak-willed self, including moving well away from its formula. Cleaver's moderately lucrative career as barrister to all of the most newsworthy criminals is not immune to this misfortune. His life is (because it's comedy), and his relationships don't suffer permanently (because that's the conceit, no one can quit Cleaver), but his career is game. The show works for me because at least some of Cleaver's perils are real.

It also works because the acting is really fabulous. Richard Roxburgh has called in all the favours, from all the everyone. (There are only 10 actors in Australia, and they all know each other.) Particular nods to Roxburgh as Cleaver, Danielle Cormack as Scarlet Engels (Cleaver's university-era love-of-his-life, now married to his best mate who is also his usual instructing solicitor), Caroline Brazier as Wendy (Cleaver's ex-wife and mother of his son, who still acts as his therapist). And a few of the one-note characters (Robyn Malcolm as Kirsty Corella, Steve Le Marquand as Col) and many of the guest stars (Hugo Weaving as the cannibal economist, Sam Neill as the bestiality-practicing obstetrician, Rachel Griffiths as the rabal-rousing talk show host, Cate Blanchett as the on-screen version of Cleaver, Martin Henderson as Julian-Assange-by-another-name*)

Which brings me to season 3:

Mostly if you've seen it )

* I am no fan of Assange, but in this universe, a character with that level of fame and self-absorption really works as a foil, and I wish "Joshua Floyd" had stuck around.
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-05-03 09:19 am

BPAL frimps: Ameles Potamos and Medea

Ameles Potamos

The River of Unmindfulness: bittersweet black water swollen with forgotten tears.

In the imp: musk, musk, musk and… musk. (Or what I call "musk".) The oil is a really rich golden colour. I may never be able to dissociate the two again.

Second sniff: hrm yeah, OK, also a touch of deep water. I'm quite liking this in the imp.

Wet: musk and then it smells "like perfume" on me so far. My partner is going to hate this.

Partner: "eh, smells all right."

Dry: still generic perfume-ish scent. I don't mind it, but it's not telling me a story I don't already know.

5 min: it's a pretty stable scent!


Night-blooming cereus, black orchid, black currant and myrtle leaf enshrouded in the incense of Hecate's cypress and myrrh, and the dark rage of magickal labdanum and intoxicating poppy.

In the imp: perfume. Slightly astringent perfume.

Wet: rose, but rose like in in a powder shop, not rose like sticking my nose in a flower.

Dry: turning a bit sharper. I'm wondering if this is the myrrh note. Like in the imp, I think there's two things going on here for me. One is the floral scent that smells like rose to me. The other is something sharper that moderates it well.

Verdict: I like Medea better than Ameles Potamos, but I think what I'm looking for right now is less familiar smells, and both of these smell enough like commercial perfume to me that I'm not transported.

I'm shipping a few imps to my mother, I suspect she will quite like these.

ETA: oh dear, Medea keeps getting stronger, and I forgot about my reaction to really strong scents. They make me sneeze a lot. Eek. (I can't be around people smoking pot for too long, for example.)
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2014-05-02 08:58 pm

BPAL's Vice

I've noticed 'net friends moving into… cosmetics? self-adornment? fandom of various types over the past few years and while I've been fascinated, I haven't been tempted. That is, until I started running into perfume fandom posts around. Here's the canonical intro post from [personal profile] rydra_wong, and [personal profile] recessional has scent work posts and then [profile] synedochic founded [community profile] smellsgood and then…

Here we are. I ordered four imps from BPAL. I probably won't review each of them in their own post, but I was excited.


Voluptuous and indulgent! A deep chocolate scent, with black cherry and orange blossom.

In the imp: Powerful. More sweet shop than chocolate shop.

My partner (who is quite hostile to strong scents) says: "vanilla and not in a good way."

Wet: Still very sweet. Nougat? Perfumed nougat? Something like that. I can see how it might be edging to chocolate, but it's not getting there.

Dry: pretty one-note cherry, I think? I smell like a soap shop. This is not unpleasant, it brings back nostalgia for long lost crafty shops where I couldn't afford a bar for Mother's Day.

10 minutes later: oooo… there's the orange blossom. That's quite nice.

20 minutes later: I think the cherry and the orange blossom are mostly in harmony, but I'm not getting chocolate. I'm glad the very very sweet edge to it has gone.

This does smell good, but I am bothered by the clash with the name. I smell like a slightly spicy flower, which is not really what I'd call Vice, as such. What would Vice smell like? Liqueur and tobacco and sweat maybe?

This makes me very tempted to try The Ankythera Mechanism tomorrow, for the tobacco note. Does anyone have any recommendations for a BPAL scent that really does smell of vice?

That said, I'll probably keep it. There are days when smelling like this would work for me.
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2013-10-14 09:32 pm

Drive-by, and Broadchurch

I am a ghost of fandom; barely here in the first place and then gone all year. I hope to return to some meta about my fic Living the revolution, perhaps before another Yuletide.

Otherwise, I shall not be doing Yuletide in 2013, except possibly for treats. And only possibly. Perhaps 2014? I want to get some Australian YA fic some day!

While drifting through your reading list like barely visible fog, some thoughts on Broadchurch:

Broadchurch (spoilers through to end of season 1) )
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2013-01-02 08:43 am

While we're talking Odo

There were actually two fics specifically for The Day Before the Revolution short story this year, and you should check out the other one! This one is by [personal profile] firerose who is also at the centre of Earthsea fanfic.

A Necklace of Acorns (3020 words) by Firerose
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Day Before the Revolution - Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin, Hainish Cycle - Ursula K. Le Guin
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Laia Asieo Odo

Only cast pearls before swine if a necklace of acorns becomes you (Sayings of Odo). Glimpses into the life of a revolutionary

We're done quite different things with Odo in these stories, with Firerose's Odo being more trickster-ish. I love it! It also more directly references the setting and in particular the economic relationship between Urras and Anarres (which continues all the way into The Dispossessed), and the gender politics of Urras. My story doesn't have Odo meet anyone who isn't associated with either the revolutionary movement or the prison system, which drastically limits the exploration of Iotic society.

So I recommend her fic both for a lovely take on Odo and for a good chunk of world-building/world-exploring too!

Hooray, Hainish Cycle for Yuletide! Thank you [personal profile] firerose for your excellent story.
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2013-01-02 08:33 am

Happy Yuletide author reveal!

And thank you again to [livejournal.com profile] pollyrepeat for my lovely Looper gift, laid out in front of her

My Yuletide assignment was:

Living the revolution (5023 words) by Leaf Litter
Chapters: 4/4
Fandom: Hainish Cycle - Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin, Day Before the Revolution - Ursula K. Le Guin
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: Major Character Death
Relationships: Laia Asieo Odo/Taviri Odo Asieo
Characters: Laia Asieo Odo, Taviri Odo Asieo, Original Characters

Laia Asieo Odo, between jail terms, tries to further the revolution.

Includes a time period featuring a violent canonical character death. No explicit violence.

Eep and hooray Hainish fic! Thank you for a great prompt, [personal profile] luzula. I have a comparatively large amount to say about the process of writing my assignment. And I want to make Yuletide recs too, even though it's really more a Thing when they're still anonymous. However, my personal resolution will be that it gets done by the end of January, or rather, what is done by the end of January is what gets done.
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2012-12-27 08:10 pm
Entry tags:

My Yuletide gift! (Looper, Sara and Cid)

laid out in front of her (1609 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Looper (2012)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Sara (Looper), Cid (Looper)

There was a boy on the front porch.

You should check it out if you enjoyed Sara and Cid's uneasy and powerful mother-son relationship in the film!

I commented:As follows )
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2012-12-11 08:44 pm
Entry tags:

Messing around with plot generators

Oh goodness, TV Tropes has a plot generator.

Stuff it's come up with so far:

The farm boy hero, who was raised by a family that disapproved of escapist fiction, is being blackmailed via possible violence against the heroine… to commit an act of copyright violation.

The children of a white colonialist who has assumed leadership of a tribe of people, and of a lesbian vampire, are best friends who are no longer allowed to play together because of the enmity of their parents. (I can't imagine why a self-appointed Noble White Saviour and a lesbian vampire don't get on.)

A little kid becomes a scam travel agent, selling people a trip to Hell itself he has no way to fulfill. He therefore sets up a fake Hell, takes people there, his clients are onto him, but it turns out to be a real magical library, and moreover, an Assassins Guild hit has been ordered on them all. Can they resolve their differences in time to survive?
leaflitter: Leaf litter (Default)
2012-10-25 12:28 pm

Dear Yuletide Writer

General things

Hello Yuletide writer! Thank you for writing for me, and I hope you have lots of fun, and that no bears head your way.


My AO3 name: [archiveofourown.org profile] leaflitter

Additional background: my 2011 DYW letter, my narrative kinks.

An incomplete list of things I love: people who have tough relationships who make them work anyway, as you will see from some of my requests! I like any of world-building, plotty stories and character pieces, so you have a few doors to choose from I hope. In terms of relationships, I'm happy with stories from gen through to explicit.

Things I'd prefer your fic avoid: non-consensual sex, adult/teen or adult/child romantic or sexual relationships, on-screen torture. I'd prefer you avoid crossovers with canons I don't know. I've spent too much time in/near hospitals this year to enjoy a fic that revolves around illness as a plot point (characters being ill or disabled: all good, I just don't want it to solely drive the plot).

Hainish Cycle — Ursula Le Guin

Request and notes )

Looking for Alibrandi — Melina Marchetta

Request and notes )

Looper (2012)

Request and notes )

Playing Beatie Bow — Ruth Park

Request and notes )