fignewton: (daniel hmm)
First of all, my apologies for the long absence when there's an Alphabet Soup simmering on the back burner. I have been dealing with multiple connectivity issues lately and I still can't access LJ at all. Or AO3. I hope this will clear up soon, sigh.

Meanwhile, we have Quantum Alphabet Soup scheduled to go live next week. Since I haven't been around to cheerfully remind the cooks to keep stirring, and there are still several unclaimed letters, I am considering one of two possibilities:

1. Announcing an extension of 2-3 weeks, to give everyone time to write and hopefully get more people to sign up. This isn't very fair to those who have been working, and I know that one cook has finished her story already (although I haven't seen it yet).

2. Revising the usual schedule of "everyone post on the same day" to "everyone post within a certain time frame" which would likely stretch for 3 weeks or so.

I welcome your thoughts. And if you haven't signed up yet to write at least 100 words of gen Quantum Mirror fic, you may go here. And if you've already written your fic and want a second letter, I certainly won't stop you. :)

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 03:28 am[personal profile] balsamandash
balsamandash: (s] live a life in flame)
So besides the worrying, I am more-or-less okay. Things haven't been great and I should be doing a lot more than I am, but I'm getting by. Continuing to be kind of excited for Readathon next weekend, which is nice, and probably staying home and not doing a whole lot for Halloween/Samhain, which is... not a bad thing as I still don't really want to be out of my house, but is causing some weird, complicated feelings also. I'm vaugely considering some kind of prayer/ritual thing, but I really need to clean if I want to do anything, even light a candle somewhere.


Anyway. In completely unrelated news, I have a really awkward and strange itch to do a streaming thing. If at some point, or multiple points, in the next couple of weeks before Halloween, I was going to be streaming any/all of the following movies/tv shows, would anyone be interested in joining me for that?

List. )
balsamandash: Kat (Eastwick) clasping her hands together and looking off and up (ew] the heartlines on your hand)
I am still alive, just kind of trucking along. I will make a proper post soon, maybe later tonight, but right now I'm kind of fixated on this:

I mentioned a friend looking for roommates in California earlier this month. She's still looking, and it's getting bad -- the end of this month means basically be homeless in LA or come back to Florida, and both of those are gonna be really hard on her mental health. So I'm putting out the word again and hoping some kind of miracle comes through.

If anybody is looking for a roommate in the downtown LA/Hollywood/Wilshire area -- or knows somebody looking for, or knows someone who might be looking for, or knows someone who might know someone, or any kind of lead at all -- please, please hit me up and I can get people in touch with her. Or honestly, at this point, if anyone knows somebody in other areas of California willing to house a couch surfer for a month to give her a little more time to look, I can send that to her and maybe she can work things out. She's not good with dogs or cats but other pets are not a problem, and ideally looking to pay around $600/month.
EDIT: After some discussion, if there's anyone in the area of San Diego -- or possibly anything else within about that far from LA (so 2-3 hours, so not all the way up the state but a much larger range than before) -- that might be able to put somebody up for a couple of weeks to a month, that would be really appreciated as well, as it would give her more time to try and look.

Help seriously, greatly appreciated. I'm really worried about how this is going to end up.

Dark Matter 3x10

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:14 am[personal profile] sholio
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
I was reasonably okay with the show being cancelled until we started to get into the last few episodes of season three. And now it's killing me. AAAAAUUUUGHHH.

Spoilers are making unwise life choices like usual )
umadoshi: (read fast (bisty_icons))
I rewrote SO MUCH MANGA this weekend (counting yesterday as part of "the weekend"). Other than a) the amount of time I spent waiting for my GP appointment yesterday morning and b) going out for ramen and having some social time afterwards on Sunday evening, I feel like rewriting is all I did over the past three days.

I also think that can't be as true as it feels, because I also finally finished reading K.B. Spangler's Stoneskin (which was wonderful, and I'm really excited for the [as-yet-unwritten, AFAIK] trilogy it's a prequel to), and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I finally saw the first two episodes of Star Trek: Disco last night.

OTOH, I read most of what I had left of Stoneskin yesterday morning while doing the aforementioned waiting for an appointment, most of which was my own fault. Last month's appointment used up the last of the injectable B12, so I got a new prescription from Dr. Awesome and dropped it off at the pharmacy to be put on file, but then I forgot about it until I was on my way out the door to yesterday's appointment. Fortunately the pharmacy is right next door to Dr. Awesome's office, and I called in to get the new B12 as I started walking, and they got it ready as fast as they could, but it still meant I was late to my appointment (although at least I was able to pop in and say "I'm here! Sort of...").

--I've got a small heap of ST:D reaction posts from all of you tucked away in Memories and was finally able to start sifting through the early ones late last night. I doubt I'm going to do much (if any) commenting on weeks-old posts, but reading them is fun. ^_^


--I'm blanking on another detail about Yuletide logistics. I feel like in previous year's there's been a page (on AO3?) showing all the names of who requested what fandoms (but I think not connected at all to people's optional Dear Yulegoat letters?). Is that right? Am I simply missing it?


--My third year of "only read books (novels, anyway) from my bookcase of purchased TBR or things I've purchased in ebook" is almost up, and the status of the physical bookcase is...dire. I'm not literally out of room to put any more books on it (especially since the bottom shelf has binders of CDs and stuff on it, so the TBR only ["only"] takes up four shelves), but it's not good.

Between that and my wallet, I truly need to buy fewer books. (And relearn the habit of making purchase suggestions for novels with the library, not just anthologies and graphic novels, without getting back into putting tons of things on hold there. No going back to the days of juggling a 300 or 400-item holds list, self. *stern*) Emphasis on the "and my wallet" part, which means not simply switching to buying a higher percentage of things in ebook. (Even if ebooks are usually enough cheaper that doing that also technically means spending less money.)

As is usually the way, I feel like there were other things I meant to mention, but I now have about an hour before I have to throw on proper clothes and head off to Casual Job, and I need to use that hour to proofread some prose. Yes.
rionaleonhart: kingdom hearts: riku, blindfolded and smiling slightly. (we'll be the darkness)
This fic very much reflects the way I played this game; I completely forgot about everything else and spent hours trying to get all the love hotel scenes.

Kokichi, it turns out, is extremely fun to write.


Title: Close Your Eyes
Fandom: Danganronpa V3
Rating: light R
Pairings: Shuichi/everyone, but especially Shuichi/Kaito
Wordcount: 2,100
Summary: Shuichi develops an unfortunate addiction to the love hotel.
Warnings: Spoilers up to the end of chapter two of Danganronpa V3. Dubcon themes (it's probably not morally great to have sex with someone in a shared dream if they don't know it's a shared dream).


Close Your Eyes )
umadoshi: text: "Aw Rachel, don't be scared of ghosts! They're only dead people." + "I know people. That's not helping." (AGAHF - ghosts)
[dreamwidth.org profile] mini_wrimo is open for signups until October 30!


Fannish/Geeky Things/SFF

"Hero-Princess-General Carrie Fisher Once Delivered a Cow Tongue to a Predatory Hollywood Exec". [The Mary Sue]

"Carrie Fisher Insisted That Leia’s Last Jedi Arc Honor All The “Girls Who Grew up Watching Star Wars”". [The Mary Sue]

"Who are Tessa Thompson’s LADY LIBERATORS?" "The Marvel Cinematic Universe has realigned how Hollywood thinks of blockbusters, franchises, and comic book movies. Though the films have been groundbreaking at the box office, it’s been nine years since Marvel Studios began the MCU and they’re still two years away from having a solo female led movie on our screens.

But if Thor: Ragnarok’s Tessa Thompson has anything to do with it, that’s not going to stand. During a recent press conference for Taika Waititi’s much anticipated Thor film, Thompson regaled us with a rad story about confronting Kevin Feige with the possibility of an all-female Marvel movie."


A discussion on N.K. Jemisin's Facebook about the "magic system" (scare quotes hers) in the Broken Earth books. Spoilers!

Abigail Nussbaum on N.K. Jemisin's The Stone Sky.


Cute Stuff

"If You Ever Feel Sad, These 10+ Highland Cattle Calves Will Make You Smile".

September LaPerm pics from [dreamwidth.org profile] naye. These posts are always great, but I think this one is even better than usual.


Miscellaneous

"We Don't Do That Here". "I have a handful of “magic” phrases that have made my professional career easier. Things like “you are not your code” and my preferred way to say no: “that doesn’t work for me.” These are tools in my interpersonal skills toolbox. I find myself uttering phrases like, “right or effective, choose one” at least once a week. This week I realized I had another magic phrase, “we don’t do that here.”"

Brian Fies' "A Fire Story" is a short comic about him and his wife being burned out of their home in the wildfires.

"Art Inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities". (I haven't read the book, but the art is really neat.)

"Photographer Gets Bitten By A Deadly Black Mamba, Still Manages To Finish The Photoshoot". (Many beautiful snake photos!)

"Native-Land.ca: Our home on native land". Searchable map of North America's First Nations territories and pre-colonial histories. "There are over 630 different First Nations in Canada (and many more in the USA) and I am not sure of the right process to map territories, languages, and treaties respectfully - and I'm not even sure if it is possible to do respectfully. I am not at all sure about the right way to go about this project, so I would very much appreciate your input."

"Creating Gender Liberatory Singing Spaces: A Transgender Voice Teacher’s Recommendations for Working with Transgender Singers".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] dine, "Pumpkin Spice and Needles: Bookish Autumn Cross Stitch Patterns".

"Video game developers confess their hidden tricks at last".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] alisanne, "Why Do We Cook So Many Foods at 350 Degrees?" [Mental Floss]

Dark Matter 3x08 and 3x09

Oct. 15th, 2017 08:41 pm[personal profile] sholio
sholio: Text: "Age shall not weary her, nor custom stale her infinite squee" (Infinite Squee)
I need to catch up on comments (I did forget what a timesink comment-answering on DW can be), but we watched 3x08 and 3x09 tonight! Only 4 more episodes, noooo ...

Spoilers are doing unwise things with experimental technology )

Posted by Pamela

I very carefully cropped and uploaded these pictures and then went about my business, completely forgetting that I was going to write something and post them. And then I had to run out the door to the soccer match.

Now I’m home and I’m beat and I need to bathe and get organized for the work week.

We had our annual hedge whacking this past weekend.

I had this weird bush from the front torn out. I’m going to plant something pretty TBD.

This is the landscaper, Vu, digging out the stump. You know who has the best gossip about the neighborhood? Vu. He works for people all up and down our street.

Plus they had to get on a ladder for the hedges so he could see what was going on in the yard next door.

I went to my folks last weekend and enjoyed some fresh mountain air. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day we went to Ashland and saw, Off the Rails which is a play about Indian residential schools in the Old West with a mostly Native cast and written by a Native playwright. It was very good and intense to see in a room full of Natives.

That’s the scoop for now.

Cleveland Visit

Oct. 15th, 2017 05:35 pm[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
I'm visiting Cleveland, Ohio this coming weekend, in case you live there or have suggestions for things I ought to do.

(One proximate cause of this is that, through the Python community, I've met multiple nice people who are organizing or championing PyCon North America in Cleveland in 2018 and 2019, and who will show me around a bit. Another is the United Airlines rep who, while trying to reroute us on our solar eclipse trip, said, "The only place in the United States I can get you tonight is Cleveland" which sounds more like a Call to Adventure than most bad travel news does.)

I'm particularly interested in hiking, walking tours, live folk and rock music, history (especially political, social, and science and engineering history), pair programming, and trains. I'll be there Friday October 20th through Sunday October 22nd. I'm also open to giving a talk or two while in Cleveland. Feel free to leave comments on this post -- the spam filter is rather aggressive but I'll fish things out regularly!

sholio: Text: "Age shall not weary her, nor custom stale her infinite squee" (Infinite Squee)
So the comments to the previous pimping/recruiting post are getting steadily more spoilery, and even as a spoilerphobe myself, I'm basically THE WORST at not talking about spoilers with people I'm trying to recruit into a thing (I told [personal profile] rachelmanija something about the show in email last night that I really wish I'd kept my mouth shut about), so let's do a post for ALL THE SPOILERS.

... well. Some of the spoilers. The thing is, I haven't seen past 3x07 yet - the Six-focused one. I've slowed way down on my watching speed because the last few episodes of season three are ALL WE'LL EVER HAVE *cries* and I want to make it last. So I would really like to remain unspoiled as possible. Under the cut are the things I particularly want to be unspoiled about (cut because the questions themselves are spoilers for season three):

Spoilers start here )

So yeah, bring out your spoilers. :D

Cleveland Visit

Oct. 15th, 2017 05:35 pm[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
I'm visiting Cleveland, Ohio this coming weekend, in case you live there or have suggestions for things I ought to do.

(One proximate cause of this is that, through the Python community, I've met multiple nice people who are organizing or championing PyCon North America in Cleveland in 2018 and 2019, and who will show me around a bit. Another is

And in conclusion

Oct. 14th, 2017 10:14 pm[personal profile] sholio
sholio: man chasing flamingo (Flamingo)
Other stuff I'm up to lately:

- Still writing paranormal romance
- Webcomic
- Failing spectacularly at Inktober (go me)
- Posted my [community profile] trickortreatex fic today! \o/ (Reveals aren't until the end of the month, so I'm early.)
- Almost there on several bingo lines

I would love some icons for Dark Matter or Stranger Things. Does anyone know where I might find some?

What I'm into: Dark Matter

Oct. 14th, 2017 09:27 pm[personal profile] sholio
sholio: Text: "Age shall not weary her, nor custom stale her infinite squee" (Infinite Squee)
No spoilers past mid season three, please! I'm not caught up yet!

So here's the other thing that's eaten my heart/brain/soul over the last week or two: Dark Matter

dark_matter_cast

What is it? It's a 3-season Syfy spaceship show, by some of the same people who did Stargate. All of it is streaming on Netflix.

What's it about? Six people -- seven counting the ship's android -- wake up on a spaceship without their memories. Evidence suggests one of them is a traitor. Further evidence suggests they're part of a galactic conflict they can't even remember. They have to figure out who they are and who they can trust before their pasts catch up with them. Basically this turns into found-family on a spaceship, as it does. (Also, to make it less confusing if I end up making more posts about this show, most of the main characters have numbers for names, because they don't know their real names for awhile and adopt numbers as shorthand.)

Why is it awesome/why might I want to try it? FOUND FAMILY ON A SPACESHIP. I've really missed having a spaceship show in my life, and this one hits my team-love buttons like few things have since Stargate.

It’s got femslash, slash, and het potential. It’s got a ton of interesting character relationships, including kid-mentor ones and sometimes-enemies learning to trust each other (”Stop saving my life. … Now you’re just doing it on purpose”) and a relationship that’s a lot like Janeway/Seven of Nine in which one is a woman of color. It’s got canon h/c and teaminess and all the sci-fi tropes (e.g. the characters meet their evil alternate universe doubles, trapped on a prison world, taken over by mind-control goo, on a spaceship fulla zombies, time loops, etc). It has redemption arcs and snark and themes about the meaning of life/what it means to have a soul and characters running around doing action stuff in long coats and leather jackets while rock music plays in the background. It's got several Stargate actors in recurring roles, including David Hewlett playing a character who is basically Rodney McKay as a seedy fixer, and Evil Elizabeth Weir.

It has a female Asian captain, a cast that (depending on the cast makeup from season to season) is frequently at least half female and less than half white, and multiple recurring female villains for your foe-yay needs. Plus a number of different characters being incredibly hot in black leather, and actually some pretty cool sci-fi worldbuilding, such as travel-via-cloning in which instantaneous intergalactic travel is accomplished by animating a disposable clone of yourself in a different location, and a galactic milieu with a higher-than-I'm-used-to level of background multiculturalism; they really do a pretty good job of making this feel like a plausible hundreds-of-years-in-the-future Earth-colonized galaxy, at least I think so.

It also contains an episode that has managed to make the coveted "[personal profile] sholio's All-Time Favorite H/C Episodes" list. :D (Er, this list does not exist in reality. But now I think it's a list I should make. And post.)

What might turn me off? There are some questionable writing/casting choices (my least favorite of these is that one of the main characters is basically Space Samurai from Space Samurai Planet, and he doesn't really have a whole lot of characterization other than that). In general, since it's by the same people who did SGA and Stargate Universe, it unsurprisingly shares some writing weaknesses with earlier Stargate shows. I'm watching it with my husband and I get the impression that the handwavy science and occasionally WTF plot resolutions are driving him crazy on a regular basis. I personally could not care less because I am there for FOUND FAMILY IN SPACE, but ymmv.

Also, it got unexpectedly cancelled after season three. I suspect (though I don't know for sure, since I'm not there yet) that it's going to end on a forever-unresolved cliffhanger.

Anything else? Based on what I remember from the last time I posted about Dark Matter when I watched the first season, there are people following me who dislike Three. Which is fine, but keep that to yourself around here, please, because Three is AWESOME and no one can tell me different. :D (Although it's tough to pick a real favorite; as of season three, I think the entire cast is my favorite. It's one of those shows.)

ETA: If you haven't watched the show, beware of spoilers up to early season three in the comments!

What I'm into: Stranger Things

Oct. 14th, 2017 08:51 pm[personal profile] sholio
sholio: Jack-o-lanterns (Halloween-jack-o-lanterns)
I've gotten into a couple of new shows in the last month or so, and since I'm making another stab at getting back on DW for awhile, I thought maybe I'd open up by telling you what I'm into these days and why they're awesome so you can try them too, if you want. :D

First of all: Stranger Things



What is it? It's an 8-episode miniseries on Netflix, a period horror/suspense show set in 1983. The first season aired last year as a self-contained miniseries - there's a sequel hook at the very end, but otherwise it wraps up all its storylines in a satisfying way - and it got renewed, so there will be a new 8-episode season dropping on Oct. 27. TWO WEEKS!!!

What's it about? It's obviously inspired by Stephen King, ET, and kid/teen movies of the 1980s in general. The basic concept is Plucky Kids Fight Monsters. There are three different sets of characters - the little kids, the teenagers, and the adults, each of whom have their own storyline as they separately investigate different aspects of creepy goings-on in small-town Indiana in 1983, picking up different pieces of the puzzle that finally come together at the end.

Why is it awesome/why might I want to try it? If you're in a mood for 80s nostalgia, the period feeling is basically perfect, from the clothes and hairstyles to the music and even the camera angles. It's such a good period show that I kept trying to calculate how old the actors were in the modern day and then going "Wait, no, this show was filmed last year!"

But even if you couldn't care less about period nostalgia, it's a very solidly written show with fantastic child actors, well-constructed storylines full of twists, A+ use of All The Tropes (from eerie psychic kids to mysterious top-secret government facilities to creepy supernatural things happening with ordinary household appliances). I loved the characters, and there's a very shippable OT3.

Plus Winona Ryder's in it.

What might turn me off? Well, demographically speaking, it's very true to the source material, which is to say - mostly white cast, all het romances, etc. (The OT3 isn't canon, alas.) There's also the fact that it's horror, although it's not extreme horror. The level of gore/creepiness is similar to Supernatural, so if you can handle that, you can probably handle this.

Anything else? NEW SEASON! OCTOBER 27! THEY'RE GOING TO KILL ALL MY BABIES AND BREAK UP MY SHIPS AND I WILL DIE!! Okay, hopefully not.

There's also a really cute and addictive phone game with adorable retro graphics (similar to a 1980s run-and-jump-on-things arcade game, e.g. Legend of Zelda or old-school Mario).

A small mishmash update

Oct. 15th, 2017 12:47 am[personal profile] umadoshi
umadoshi: (ocean 01)
I took a stab at catching up on replying to comments, but I suspect I'm not gonna get completely caught up. *stares grimly at browser* I did at least manage to get back under 100 open tabs. That's something, I guess.
Oh-so-mercifully, I don't have Casual Job work on Monday, which means I'm merely very stressed about my freelance deadlines for the coming week, where before yesterday (when we found out about Monday) I was closer to "I'm only managing to not panic because I know it won't help".

Our odds of getting bulbs in or getting any other garden work done this weekend (basically everything else falls under "fall cleanup", I guess?) still seem low, though. Dear ground: please, please do not freeze solid this month.

I keep finding myself trying to think of how long it's been since I wrote any words at all. It may be just as well I haven't figured it out yet. Even trying to piece it together is disheartening.

In "Kas is tremendously awesome" news, a week or so ago Ginny brought a piece of a recent Kas-made lemon loaf to the office for me, and it was wonderful, and in my happiness I mentioned that it'd been a while since I'd had his lemon loaf and so it was delightful to have a piece. (He used to make it quite a bit, but has been tending to bake other [also excellent!] things for the last while.) Ginny relayed that to him, and next thing I knew, Kas had made me a lemon loaf. *melts*

Crowdfunding Creative Jam

Oct. 14th, 2017 06:54 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
ysabetwordsmith: (Crowdfunding butterfly ship)
Welcome to the sixty-sixth Crowdfunding Creative Jam! This session will run Saturday, October 14-Sunday, October 15. The theme is "Moving the Body."


Crowdfunding Creative Jam

Everyone is eligible to post prompts, which may be words or phrases, titles, images, etc. Prompters may request a specific creator, but everyone else may still use that prompt if they wish. Prompts may specify a particular character/world/etc. but creators may use the prompt for something else anyway and post the results. Prompters are still encouraged to post mostly prompts that anyone could use anywhere, as this maximizes the chance of having creators make something based on your prompt. Please title your comment "Prompt" or "Prompts" when providing inspiration so these are easy to find.

Prompt responses may also be treated as prompts and used for further inspiration. For example, a prompt may lead to a sketch which leads to a story, and so on. This kind of cascading inspiration is one of the most fun things about a collective jam session.

Everyone is eligible to use prompts, and everyone who wants to use a given prompt may do so, for maximum flexibility of creator choice in inspiration. You do not have to post a "Claim" reply when you decide to use a prompt, but this does help indicate what is going on so that other prompters can spread out their choice of prompts if they wish.

Creators are encouraged, but not required, to post at least one item free. Likewise, sharing a private copy of material with the prompter is encouraged but not required. Creative material resulting from prompts should be indicated in a reply to the prompt, with a link to the full content elsewhere on the creator's site (if desired); a brief excerpt and/or description of the material may be included in the reply (if desired). It helps to title your comment "Prompt Filled" or something like that so these are easy to identify. There is no time limit on responding to prompts. However, creators are encouraged to post replies sooner rather than later, as the attention of prompters will be highest during and shortly after the session.

Some items created from prompts may become available for sponsorship. Some creators may offer perks for donations, linkbacks, or other activity relating to this project. Check creator comments and links for their respective offerings.

Prompters, creators, and bystanders are expected to behave in a responsible and civil manner. If the moderators have to drag someone out of the sandbox for improper behavior, we will not be amused. Please respect other people's territory and intellectual property rights, and only play with someone else's characters/setting/etc. if you have permission. (Fanfic/fanart freebies are okay.) If you want to invite folks to play with something of yours, title the comment something like "Open Playground" so it's easy to spot. This can be a good way to attract new people to a shared world or open-source project, or just have some good non-canon fun.

Boost the signal! The more people who participate, the more fun this will be. Hopefully we'll see activity from a lot of folks who regularly mention their projects in this community, but new people are always welcome. You can link to this session post or to individual items created from prompts, whatever you think is awesome enough to recommend to your friends.

Duma Key, by Stephen King

Oct. 14th, 2017 11:39 am[personal profile] rachelmanija
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
Of all the new-to-me books by Stephen King that I’ve read in the last year, this and the middle Dark Tower books are the ones I’ve re-read the most. I’ve re-read Duma Key three times in the last two years, and I can tell it’s a book I’ll keep coming back to. Here’s the first page:

How to draw a picture


Start with a blank surface. It doesn't have to be paper or canvas, but I feel it should be white. We call it white because we need a word, but its true name is nothing. Black is the absence of light, but white is the absence of memory, the color of can't remember.

How do we remember to remember? That's a question I've asked myself often since my time on Duma Key, often in the small hours of the morning, looking up into the absence of light, remembering absent friends. Sometimes in those little hours I think about the horizon. You have to establish the horizon. You have to mark the white. A simple enough act, you might say, but any act that re-makes the world is heroic. Or so I’ve come to believe.

Imagine a little girl, hardly more than a baby. She fell from a carriage almost ninety years ago, struck her head on a stone, and forgot everything. Not just her name; everything! And then one day she recalled just enough to pick up a pencil and make that first hesitant mark across the white. A horizon-line, sure. But also a slot for blackness to pour through.

Still, imagine that small hand lifting the pencil ... hesitating ... and then marking the white. Imagine the courage of that first effort to re-establish the world by picturing it. I will always love that little girl, in spite of all she has cost me. I must. I have no choice. Pictures are magic, as you know.


On the one hand, this is my favorite prose passage in the book. On the other hand, the entire book has that same atmosphere and themes: the magic of art, the bleakness of loss, the terror of opening a door into darkness, human empathy and connections, and, always, how making a mark on paper is both simple and difficult, the dividing line between nothing and everything.

Unusually for Stephen King, Duma Key is set in on the Florida coast – an incredibly vivid and atmospheric Florida, which becomes enough of a character in its own right to make the book a very satisfying sea-soaked, sunset-lit Gothic.

I am pleased to say that this is one of the least gross King books I’ve read, bar a rotting ghost or two. It’s also one of the scariest, in a very classic “terrify by keeping the scary stuff mostly off-page” manner. The Big Bad is never quite seen directly, and is one of King’s creepiest and most mythically archetypal figures.

It’s also one of King’s most heartbreaking books. Almost all the characters are really likable, and if not likable, than still very human. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon opens with, The world had teeth and it could bite you with them any time it wanted. Duma Key is about the beauty and magic and redemption of the world, but also about the teeth.

It begins with a wealthy self-made man, Edgar Freemantle, getting into an absolutely horrific accident while visiting one of his job sites. He loses an arm and gets some brain damage; he’s barely out of the hospital before his marriage has ended, his life as he knew it has ended, and he’s on the brink of suicide.

After some talks with his psychiatrist, he ends up taking up art, which he’d enjoyed as a boy but never pursued, and moving to a cabin in the Florida Keys. There he meets a chatty guy, Wireman, who’s the caretaker for Elizabeth, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s – both of whom have pasts which slowly, heartbreakingly unfold over the course of the book. Edgar finds that painting is his new passion and genuine talent… but his paintings are odd. Eerie. And they can change things…

The first half of the book follows Edgar as he recovers from his accidents, explores his new talent and gains critical and commercial success, and loses some old friends and gains some new ones. The emotional and physical recovery from the accident and its fallout (which doesn't mean he'll ever be the same as he was before) was incredibly well-done and vivid. I don't know if it was technically correct, but it felt very believable.

In classic Gothic fashion, there’s creepy stuff going on simultaneously, but it’s comparatively subtle. I found this part of the book hugely enjoyable even though tons of scenes are just Edgar painting or eating sandwiches and shooting the breeze with Wireman. On the one hand, it probably could have been shorter. On the other hand, I could have happily gone on reading just that part forever.

And then the creepy stuff gets less subtle. A lot less subtle.

This has an unusual story arc. I’m putting that and other huge spoilers behind a cut, but I’ll also mention that even for King, the book has some very tragic aspects— ones which he’s explored before, but there’s one I’ll rot13.com (feed into the site to reveal) because it’s a specific thing that people may want to avoid. Gur cebgntbavfg’f qnhtugre vf xvyyrq. Fur’f na nqhyg ohg n lbhat bar (n pbyyrtr fghqrag) naq irel yvxnoyr, naq vg’f gur ovttrfg bs frireny thg-chapurf va gur fgbel.

If that’s not a dealbreaker, I suggest not reading the rest of the spoilers because even though if I’d sat down and tried to figure out where the story was going, I probably could have, the experience of reading it feels unpredictable; you can guess the outlines but a lot of the details are unexpected.

Read more... )
rachelmanija: (Firefly: Shiny Kaylee)
Femslash Exchange 2017 is open! The original fiction stories look especially tempting; also, there's Jane Eyre/Helen Burns. Off to read my gift story (resistance fighter/glamorous '40s singer) now!

Also, have two cats hugging:

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