Golden Hill

Jun. 27th, 2017 06:32 pm
tealin: (Default)
[personal profile] tealin


To my great bafflement, it has taken this long for Golden Hill to be released in the US – a multi-award winning highly readable romp through colonial New York, you’d think it’d be obvious, but there you go.

Anyway, here is the main character, Mr. Smith – I roughed these out last year when I read the book, but have only just made them as pretty as I’d like.

Do give Golden Hill a shot if you like
  • fun
  • peril
  • interesting characters
  • meticulous research
  • very satisfying historical fix-it fic

Mr Smith is superficially similar to Moist von Lipwig, which made it a little difficult for me to get a grip on the book at first, because I couldn't see into his head as clearly as Moist's (whose internal world is what really sells the book, IMO), but boy oh boy that was totally worth it for the sake of saving the reveal for the end – the sort of reveal that makes the re-read at least as satisfying as the first.

I don't know about you, but I find most of my recreational reading these days ends up being very serious news and commentary about how much of a mess we're in. It's nice to get a break like this and lose yourself in another time and place, without being devoid of meaning.

Supplemental material – including a rather comprehensive catalogue of 18th-century slang – can be found on the book’s Tumblr.

Harry Potter at 20

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:45 pm
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[personal profile] tealin

Twenty years ago today, the first Harry Potter book hit the shelves. I didn’t pick it up for another two years, but I could never have guessed when I did so what a life-changing reading choice it was. I already knew I wanted to be an animator, but Harry Potter gave a focus to my energies, and the compulsion to draw anything I could from the books gave my drawing skills a necessary boost before college. Putting those drawings online (starting with the one above) made me, weirdly, one of the first Internet fan artists, and the friends I made and the following I gathered from that have been blessings for which I can never be too grateful. For someone who was such a pariah in middle/high school, it still blows my mind that I’m ‘popular’ in another sphere – what might have happened to me otherwise? So hard to imagine … And yet, so many people out there have similar ‘there but for the grace of Harry Potter’ stories they could tell. What an amazing thing to have brought such a catalyst into the world. Thank you, J.K. Rowling, from the bottom of my heart, for being such a positive force!

And no, it hasn't escaped my notice that I am once again compulsively drawing a dark-haired pointy-nosed bespectacled young Englishman ... one might almost be tempted to have Thoughts on this.
selenay: (Default)
[personal profile] selenay
I don't think it's spoilery to say WOW. But I can't say any more than that without going into spoilers, so I'm going behind a cut.

Cut for spoilers )

Radio Roundup

Jun. 20th, 2017 01:41 pm
tealin: (4addict)
[personal profile] tealin
In advance of my trip to Annecy, I've been listening to francophone radio more or less solidly since March, trying to improve my comprehension. Now that I'm back in the linguistic brothel where English was born, it's time to do some catching up – and oh, what a lot there is to choose from!

FACTUAL
The Reith Lectures: Hilary Mantel - Author of Wolf Hall and A Place of Greater Safety speaks fascinatingly about historical fiction, our relationship with the past, how and why we resurrect the dead in stories, and many other things very close to my heart.
Away with the Fairies - An exploration of the journey the Little People have made in popular culture, from uncanny threat to sparkly friends.

FICTIONAL
Golden Hill - An excellent jape set in colonial New York. Only available until the wee hours, UK time, so if you're reading this on June 20th, give it a listen while you can – it's a very good story, very well read!
I, Claudius - A radio adaptation of the famous historical novel. I've only caught half of one episode so far, but it's very good, so will be catching up on the rest as an antidote to the news. If you think man's inhumanity to man is a recent thing, well, you don't know much about the Romans...
A Place of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel's novel of the French Revolution, and a salient cautionary tale for passionate idealists on either side of the political spectrum. This production I know for a fact is fabulous, as it was so good the first time I recorded it and listened over and over. Highly recommended.
Hard Times - I never got into this novel when I tried reading it, but the exploration of heartless pragmatism vs anything else is appealing, so I hope the radio adaptation is a way in to the Industrial Revolutionary fable.
Nineteen Ninety-Eight - A spoof of Orwell's 1984, but when the main character Edward Wilson goes in pursuit of Truth and ends up founding a Movement, and it stars David Threlfall (my favourite Iago) and Hugh Laurie (Hugh Laurie), there's reason enough to listen right there.

FUNNY
Double Acts - John Finnemore's series of droll two-character dramas is back! As always, anything he writes is worth listening to – these aren't as laugh-out-loud funny as Cabin Pressure or Souvenir Programme, but are great little character pieces, and have such range.
Saturday Night Fry - Stephen Fry, Hugh Laure, Jim Broadbent and guests are silly on the wireless – and SO YOUNG.
The Burkiss Way - Vintage barmy sketch comedy
The Harpoon - Slightly more recent barmy sketch comedy, spoofing much less recent and generally non-comedic kids' magazines.
The Consultants - Contemporary barmy sketch comedy
John Finnemore, Apparently - Contemporary barmy sketch comedy by a certain eponymous gentleman, airing Thursday
Talking and Not Talking - Contemporary barmy sketch comedy, with a little more gender balance
On the Town With the League of Gentlemen - Barmiest of all comedy, the radio series that preceded the TV series that launched the careers of Mark Gatiss, Reece Shearsmith, and Steve Pemberton.


And now my laptop's overheating, so I will leave it there! Enjoy!

Annecy

Jun. 20th, 2017 11:12 am
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[personal profile] tealin
I've been wanting to get to the animation festival at Annecy since 2012 when Paperman premiered there, but every year there's been some reason why I can't make it. This year, I made a pact with a friend to book accommodation early so we would have to go, and luckily that paid off. I just returned last night from a week's worth of animation nerdery, architectural beauty, and cheese (so much cheese), and while more will probably be written, here's a quick rundown of a few things I learned:
  • The French for 'screening' is séance, a fact I shall treasure forever
  • Just because it's in the mountains and by a lake doesn't mean it won't get really, swelteringly, paralyzingly hot
  • Annecy is not, as I had been led to believe, a small town. This impression came from people who live in LA, in comparison to which pretty much anything smaller than London is small town.
  • However hot Annecy gets, Lyon gets much hotter. I must never go to Lyon.
  • Buy your bread before noon
  • Unexpected vocabulary differences between French and Québecois: myrtille for bleuet, parking for stationnement
  • There are astonishingly few places that will sell you a coffee and a pastry and a place to sit down for an hour or so
  • On the other hand, the springwater standpipes everywhere are pretty great

All in all it was a fabulous experience – I don't think I've ever been to a film festival before, nevermind an animated film festival, so was expecting something more along the lines of a comics convention. Something about all coming together to share the experience of films, rather than buy and sell each other's products – and reconnecting with so many people I knew from so many different places – gave it a lovely sort of family reunion atmosphere. An assortment of 'in group' experiences helped that too: shared exasperation for the heat, queuing for screenings (séances!), and little Annecy rituals like throwing paper airplanes at the screen while waiting for the show to start and making fish-popping noises in the darkness between shorts in a programme, but a major one was that everyone had the same song stuck in their head, because this little film played before every event:


There you go, now you're part of the family.
selenay: (Default)
[personal profile] selenay
Of Letters Never Sent (792 words) by [archiveofourown.org profile] SelenayDoctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Bill Potts
Additional Tags: Vignette, Character Study, Episode Tag
Series: Part 6 of Collected Bill Stories (Doctor Who)

Summary: She asked the Doctor once about visiting her younger self and he'd given her a two hour lecture about time and paradoxes and theories about time stability. She hadn't understood all the maths he'd scrawled on the blackboard, but she'd followed enough of it to work out that meeting her previous self was a Very Bad Idea.

Not doing Marvel Bang and that's okay

Jun. 14th, 2017 03:11 pm
selenay: (writing)
[personal profile] selenay
When I finished Marvel Bang last year, I said it would be my last one. I'd done it five years in a row and last year's was the first one that really felt overwhelmingly stressful, so it was time to stop.

And you know, I'm feeling really good about that decision. I was worried that, as sign-ups happened and things got going, I'd get tempted into going back to do just one more. I've really enjoyed every one I've been in (even though last year's got very stressful due to too many commitments) and it feels a bit odd not to be doing it.

Now that sign-ups are closed I've realised that, actually, nope, I don't miss it. I mean, I've got no Bang-length plot bunnies, so that definitely helps.

But I'm also facing another summer of being incredibly busy and having loads to do, and knowing I'm not trying to write a big fic at the same time is so freeing. No deadlines! If I don't want to write tonight, I don't need to! It's so nice :-)

I'm sending Hunter out to a couple of beta readers this week and I plan to let it rest for a while, so there's no editing to poke at. I'm casually doing world-building and plotting for my next book, but I don't plan to start writing until after the summer busy has finished, so I can do that at my own pace. For the first time in a long time, I've got no deadlines hanging over me during the summer and it feels like I'm free.

Which definitely demonstrates that my time in Marvel Bang is done and I've made the right choice.

Fic challenges should be fun. As soon as they stop being fun, it's time to step back and do a different thing.

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