starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
All of my fanfiction can be found at [archiveofourown.org profile] starlady; DW links are listed where extant.

You don't need my permission to remix, record, translate, scanlate, and/or transform anything I've written (though a link to your transformative work is always appreciated!).

I generally follow AO3 policy on warnings; namely, I warn for rape and/or noncon, major character death, and graphic violence. I also will warn for topics that may be triggering on an as-needed basis. If you have a question about the content of any of my stories, or a concern about the warnings or lack thereof on same, please email or pm me and I will do my best to address your concerns respectfully.

Fanfic )



Translations
My translations of manga series may be found using the links in this journal's sidebar.



AMVs )



Vids )
starlady: Peggy in her hat with her back turned under the SSR logo (agent carter)
Batman (1989), dir. Tim Burton
The Alamo in the Mission is doing a Tim Burton series because of the forthcoming Miss Peregrine; I haven't seen this movie all the way through in this millennium or maybe ever, so I went with a friend. I tried to watch it after The Dark Knight (2008) but couldn't because the juxtaposition was just too much to handle. This time around I noticed just how much that movie, and Nolan's movies in general, are stealing from this one. Sam Hamm, the screenwriter, actually did a Q&A before our screening, and one gets the sense from his answers that had the writers' strike not kept him off the set, some of the many script weirdnesses would have been ironed out. It's an extremely heterogeneous movie--none of the elements are really all pulling together, from the Prince songs to Vicky Vale's outfits to the set design to everything else--but it's weirdly, utterly compelling nonetheless, and Keaton is definitely great as a guy who is definitely not on the same wavelength as the rest of society. I find Jack Nicholson extremely grating in general, and he's not so much playing the Joker as playing Jack Nicholson playing the Joker, so I wasn't much interested in his relentless heterosexuality or taste for bad jokes. That said, even more than being a Batman movie, I would argue that it is above all a Tim Burton movie; there's a lot of stuff that's in there because it plays to Burton's id, not because it has any prior place in the Batverse. Batman Returns (1992) is definitely much better.

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), dir. Sergio Leone
My dad is an old Clint Eastwood fan, despite the increasingly obvious divergence between our politics and Eastwood's, so I've seen large chunks of the films of the Dollars trilogy, but not this one. Despite the fact that it runs 2:45, it is completely compelling, and I was particularly struck by the obvious influence of Kurosawa on the gunfights in particular: the interest is all in the buildup, not in the actual event. About the 2/3 mark I also realized that I was watching the source text for Steven King's Dark Tower sequence, in sound and color, on the big screen: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." It's the opening line of The Gunslinger, but it's also a summary of about half of this movie's plot. Pretty cool.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), dir. Stanley Kubrick
Well, I'm glad to have seen this, despite the fact that I didn't particularly enjoy it. It's a fascinating cultural document in that it's a flawless record of what white dudes of a certain level of privilege imagined the future would look like in 1965, and much like the stories of Ted Chiang, I'm very happy that this particular patriarchal fantasy never came true. Our screening incorporated the intermission, during which we agreed that we were all rooting for HAL because he has feelings, whereas we literally couldn't tell any of the white dudes apart. If nothing else, this movie makes many, many more later science fiction movies much more comprehensible, in particular the much-maligned Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
starlady: Uryuu & Ichigo reenact Scott Pilgrim (that doesn't even rhyme)
source: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
audio: Kesha, "Out Alive"
length: 3:30
stream: on Vimeo
download: 189 MB mp4 on dropbox
summary: No one makes it out alive without friends.

My first Club Vivid premiere!
tumblr post


password: vivid

Notes )
starlady: (bibliophile)
I am working on Wimsey posts! I have a boatload of deadlines this week, and they have unfortunately gone on the back burner. Also Murder Must Advertise has a perfect ending, which is somewhat intimidating, ngl.

In the meantime, I have swiped the book meme, with coffeeandink's variations:

What I've read from [personal profile] renay's 60 Essential SFF Reads:

Bold = read, italics = read another book by the same author, strikeout = didn't finish

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
Tithe by Holly Black
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Synners by Pat Cadigan
Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Survival by Julie E. Czerneda
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
King's Dragon by Kate Elliott
Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman
Slow River by Nicola Griffith
Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly
Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The God Stalker Chronicles by P.C. Hodgell
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Valor's Choice by Tanya Huff
God's War by Kameron Hurley
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr
The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Ash by Malinda Lo
Warchild by Karin Lowachee
Legend by Marie Lu
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
The Thief's Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Female Man by Joanna Russ
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
The Grass King's Concubine by Kari Sperring
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
City of Pearl by Karen Traviss
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
Farthing by Jo Walton
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

22/60 books, 34/60 authors.
starlady: (bibliophile)
So here's the other semi-secret reason that I wanted to finally read Sayers: Garth Nix has talked about having read her books, and now that I have finished The Nine Tailors, I am quite confident in saying that there is quite a bit of Sayers influence lurking in the Old Kingdom novels, which I love forever. Thematic spoilers )
Speaking of Lirael, I also think that there's something of Shrewsbury in the Clayr and their Glacier. Like Shrewsbury, the Clayr's Glacier is an all-female society, and it displays the same instinctive solidarity for which Peter commends the Shrewsbury dons and which thwarts the poltergeist who wishes them ill. Like Harriet, Lirael spends a good chunk of time longing for that community, but unlike Harriet, she also suffers a good deal because of its solidarity, which she is on the outside of through no fault of her own. And like Harriet, Lirael does flourish on the outside of that community eventually (and in a romantic relationship between equals).
starlady: (bibliophile)
I called my father this afternoon, who commented that I sound tired. Well, yeah, because I'm staying up way too late reading Wimsey pretty consistently. In that vein, I'm trying to put together my thoughts on the second half of Murder Must Advertise, which is difficult because it's a perfect book.

Sadly my Samsung phone is too full of bloatware to make catching Pokemon feasible for me at this point, but there is a Pokemon Go community on Dreamwidth now, for those who might be interested in that sort of thing:

PokeStop - a Pokémon Go community
starlady: Holmes and Watson walking around New York (springtime in new york)
As previously stated, I love Sarah Monette's posts on the Wimsey books—they're what got me to read these novels—but occasionally as a historian I have to shake my head in despair over English majors, and Murder Must Advertise is one of those times. Monette is very right to point out the elements of class conflict as symbolized by the lethal iron staircase and the ambiguous anarchy of the company cricket match, but there's a whole other level on which this novel is working: namely, a critique of capitalism.

Capitalism and the tarot )

And I haven't even gotten to the cricket match yet. It is, in other words, an entirely brilliant and deceptively straightforward book.
starlady: Holmes and Watson walking around New York (springtime in new york)
A month ago when I was in New York I went to see Hadestown at the New York Theater Workshop. It's an expansion of a folk opera of the same name by Anaïs Mitchell, which I've never heard and which I'm given to understand is different in a lot of ways, particularly in the addition of Hermes to the cast who retell the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, including Hades, Persephone, and the Fates. "it's an old story, but we're gonna tell it again," Hermes says at the start, and it's a tribute to the power of this version that I honestly did hope against hope, despite everything, that maybe this time Orpheus would get it right and succeed in bringing Eurydice back to life.

The production is great and the cast is stellar, particularly Patrick Page, who is frankly terrifying but also completely magnetic as Hades. Everyone in the cast is frankly amazing at bringing the gods to life, and though Orpheus and Eurydice are younger and less experienced, they are portrayed in no less accomplished a manner. The semi-immersive staging just makes it easier to get caught up in the story, which is told in a kind of 30s Dust Bowl/New Orleans jazz Americana style which doesn't sound like it should work but totally does, and the show also has no fear about making contemporary political statements, which are most obvious in the song that could be about Trump, "Why We Build the Wall." The performance also leads hard and brilliantly on the particular power of the Greek conception of the gods, which is to say that they are both metaphors and examples of the forces they represent. And though the story is ostensibly that of Orpheus and Eurydice, the complicated, bittersweet marriage of Hades and Persephone is just as important to the plot, and frankly even more engrossing on some levels; we know how the former story ends, but the other is less clear. The costuming is brilliant too; we particularly loved the Fates, who carry their respective tools of the trade--scissors, a ruler, and thread--on their persons in the manner of weaponry and sing in harmonies that recall the Pointer Sisters. I can't wait for the cast album to be released next year.
starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
I am continuing to blaze through the Wimsey books. I'm just into the beginning of Have His Carcase now and adoring every second of it, but what's really interesting to me is how neatly the series divides at the halfway point.

Where my Wimsey takes me )
starlady: Peggy in her hat with her back turned under the SSR logo (agent carter)
Alas, I never did read these books as a child; I imprinted on the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels that Sayers is so devotedly skewering and paying homage to in the first two books. But in times of despair I find myself drawn to murder mysteries, which offer such a reassuring fantasy of justice being done, as well as to other depressing fare. At the rate things are going I'll have finished Jo Walton's Spare Change trilogy before the equinox.

I've been reading Sarah Monette's DLS posts, and they're wonderful even a dozen years on; I would buy a book of Monette's criticism so hard. Unnatural Death and the existence of God )
starlady: Korra looks out over Republic City (legend of korra)
I stopped writing up all the movies I'd seen for a while, with the result that I cannot remember all the movies I've seen this year. I have ticket stubs for Creed (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Love and Friendship (2016), and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) on my desk. Two of those movies are perfect and amazing; the other two are not. Oh, and I also saw X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).

Zootopiadir. Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush
Disney has been making better Pixar movies than Pixar for about the past five years, and while this one isn't quite as amazing as Wreck-It Ralph or Big Hero 6, it more than gets the job done. It's also a Disney movie that addresses race in a not incredibly lead-footed way, although the usual problem with animation and comic specieism is not something the movie gets around: namely, once you think deeply about any aspect of the allegory, it all falls apart in spectacular fashion. (For just one example, white people here are represented as prey species…who are also the victims of the predator species, i.e. black people. Neat trick! Nor is the answer to police prejudice and violence that black people, I mean, predators, join the police force.) But the story is solid, and the chemistry between the two leads is off the charts, and the fact that the protagonist has to confront prejudice not just in other characters but also in herself is a great touch. Great animation, and great integration of Shakira and her music into the movie as well, rather than just a gratuitous add-on.

Finding Dory, dir. Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane
It's been a while since Pixar has made a movie as solid as this one; it's at least as good as Brave (2012), and I suspect will come to be evaluated in similar terms. The studio continues to ignore the truth about fish biology, which is probably good; also note that the movie taking place only a year after Finding Nemo means they can ignore the issue of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef. In many ways, Pixar here is playing to its strengths--the action arises organically from the characters themselves, and there is at least one zany breakout character (in this case, Hank the octopus; last time it was Dory herself) who steals the show, ably supported by a memorable secondary cast, notably Idris Elba and his pinniped companion. I could have done with more of the sea turtles, ngl, but the ongoing Sigourney Weaver joke was pretty great, as was the evocation of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Dory herself--only the second female protagonist of a Pixar movie after Merida--is great, as is the movie's gentle insistence that her being neuroatypical is not a problem, just the reason that she makes her way through the world by slightly different means. The animation isn't as good as it could be--the animation in the short "Piper," which is Pixar's best in years, is off the charts in terms of photorealism--and I hope that was to match Finding Nemo, which after all is 12 years old at this point. Still, I'm looking forward to what they do next.
starlady: Holmes and Watson walking around New York (springtime in new york)
# I'm increasingly thinking that I will be effectively leaving Dreamwidth at some point soon. I may start a Wordpress; I may absorb some kinds of content into other venues. No firm decisions have been made, but entropy is running.

# I had a lovely time at CrossingsCon and want to give the staff kudos for pulling off a first-time con rather well. As for me, I am old and jaded and I know for a fact that tumblr didn't invent everything, but I did nonetheless have a lovely time and would happily attend again.

# The Brexit horrorshow is nauseatingly horrific from across the pond, and I am so sorry to all my friends in the UK and the EU who are living it. I've been trying to write a condolences email to some non-internet UK friends, and quite honestly I've found it much easier writing emails to people after terrorist attacks asking whether they or anyone they know are dead. Hopefully somehow the situation may yet be pulled back from the brink. (And if that happens, will people one day say that David Cameron managed to redeem himself in the end, by poisoning the Article 50 chalice a la that one Facebook comment's analysis? Gross.)
starlady: Mako's face in the jaeger, in profile (mako mori is awesome)
source: Interstellar
audio: Vienna Teng, "The Breaking Light ft. Alex Wong"
length: 4:19
stream: on Vimeo
download: 266MB mp4 on dropbox
summary: “Speaking of ways, pet, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.” ― Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

My [community profile] wiscon_vidparty premiere!

Password: Wiscon




Notes and lyrics )
starlady: The Welcome to Night Vale Logo, with clouds over the moon (welcome to night vale)
The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), dir. Nicolas Roeg
When David Bowie died I went to the movies. He stole the entire film with his turn as Nikola Tesla in The Prestige (2006)--I would have paid so much money to have an entire movie of him as Tesla--and of course I've seen Labyrinth (1986), but I'd never seen this one. What struck me immediately was how similar it was, in terms of effects and directorial philosophy, to The Prisoner. The passage of time has been much kinder to the latter; the film never quite coheres, and it's too long. I was also reminded of Under the Skin; this movie is better. I was very proud of myself for correctly identifying Jim Lovell before the on-screen newscaster introduced him. But as a series of striking sequences, and for Bowie's weird, reserved performance, it's worth seeing at least once.

Purple Rain (1983), dir. Albert Magnoli
When Prince died I wore all purple the next day in mourning for the purple Yoda from Minnesota. The next week I went to see Purple Rain, which is amazing. The story is fine, with perhaps more sexism than I was frankly expecting, but wow, Prince. Prince. Prince. I immediately understood that the people who said on Twitter that Prince in concert was pure sex were right, because the Prince numbers in Purple Rain are also pure sex. Even when people in the theater with me got out real actual lighters and held them up during "Purple Rain" and we all clapped and sang along, I couldn't tear my eyes away from him on that First Avenue stage. (I kept looking for friends of mine among the extras in the concert scenes, but no luck.) People on The Current were saying that the movie will endure for the fashion, and it's true that amazing, but the movie will be immortal because it has Prince in it. Like most of his catalog the soundtrack desperately needs a remaster, but even so, it was one of the more mind-blowing concert experiences I've had, never mind that I wasn't actually at a concert.
starlady: Galadriel in Caras Galadhon, with an ornate letter "G" (galadriel is a G)
What I'm Reading
A.S. King, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future - Still, yes. I'm increasingly annoyed that the horrible future Glory sees is just an update of The Handmaid's Tale for the 2010s, and increasingly irritated at people who write first person narratives that are horribly undescriptive of everything in the book including the characters. John Green, who blurbed this book, is clearly a pernicious idiot.

Natsume Soseki, Kokoro - "Everyone loves Kokoro," my advisor told me. "Except maybe you." My expectations are low.

What I've Read
C.S. Pacat, Captive Prince and Prince's Gambit - These books are so good, and Pacat subverts so many tropes, I love them so much, you should read them, the end.

Megan Whalen Turner, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings - Someone on tumblr remarked that these books are similar to Pacat's, and I devoured three of them on my plane back from Japan, and that tumblr person was right. I'm not sure I'll be able to take it if there's never a fifth one. If you haven't read them, you should read them, but start with the first one, The Thief, and don't read the backs of any of them. They are amazing.

Fran Wilde, Updraft - All the reviews say the worldbuilding is interesting but the plot and characters are predictable and paper-thin, respectively. All the reviews are right. I don't plan to read any of Wilde's future books; I for one didn't find the worldbuilding interesting so much as frustrating. They live in bone towers! Cool! BONE TOWERS OF WHAT?? NO ONE KNOWS OR CARES. ARGH.

Marie Rutkoski, The Winner's Kiss - Yes, this is the third book in a trilogy, no, I haven't read the first two. I liked Rutkoski's Cabinet of Wonders books quite a lot, and while this story seems more ambitious I'm not sure I was sold on it. On the other hand I stayed up til 2am and read it in four hours, so.

What I'll Read Next
Hopefully something I actually enjoy.
starlady: Toby from the West Wing with a sign that says, "Obama is the President."  (go vote bitches)
What I'm Reading
A.S. King, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future - A Sirens book, and while I'm enjoying it so far, it's very much that sort of contemporary YA voice which I can take or leave, and in this book in particular the narrative voice is thin enough that it's easy to lose a sense of the protagonist as a corporeal being. I was comparing the book to Court of Fives in my mind and actually forgot that Court of Fives is in first-person, not third, because of how much better Elliott is at conveying sensory details through the narration.

C.S. Pacat, Captive Prince - So I started reading the first book finally and on the very first page I had to stop for like 15 minutes because things on the very first page of the first book are matched beautifully on the very last page of the last book, I can't, that sort of shit is just irresistible to me. Anyway, it's amazing.

What I've Read
Seanan McGuire, A Red-Rose Chain - All caught up on Toby! Toby's adventures are only getting more serious! I continue to love these books and I can't really deal with the idea that it's going to be 15 years or so until we get the last of them.

Nova Ren Suma, The Walls Around Us - Another Sirens book, contemporary YA, first person, with a stronger voice than Glory O'Brien, and it very much earns the "Orange is the New Black Swan" description, but even in a very taut story there's a lot of there there. I liked it a lot.

Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows - Sirens again, and I liked this one quite a lot. It's Ocean's Eleven, but only six people, and it's a YA, so they're all extremely damaged teenagers, and it's set in and around a fantastical alt-Amsterdam that is much more interesting than actual Amsterdam. I gather that this book takes place in the same world as Bardugo's Grisha trilogy, which I have been universally assured is not worth reading, but this book was great and I can't wait for the follow-up, of which there is only one, due later this year.

N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season - Another stunning Jemisin book, another insta-Hugo nomination. I thought the book was amazing, both in terms of craft and in terms of concepts, and I really liked it, but I did think that Foz Meadows' very spoilery post on the book had some good points, and in general, I continue to think that all my quibbles with Jemisin's character arcs would be solved if she just gave the queer characters romance endings. At this point, though, it seems like that really isn't her project, which is unfortunate.

Kate Elliott, The Labyrinth Gate - Elliott's first book, published nearly 30 years ago, and you know? It totally holds up. The first chapter has some slightly awkward dialogue, but after that it's a fun, interesting romp through an interesting alt-Regency that is almost outright matriarchal, through the eyes of a pair of our-world protagonists who bring their own talents to the political struggles of the world they find themselves in. Badass old ladies! People of color! Thinky thoughts about political and social development! Awesome matriarchal tarot! You should read this book.

Caitlin R. Kiernan, The Dry Salvages - (Note, after Eliot, rhymes with 'assuages') I found an ARC of this novella in my stack when I unpacked my boxes of books, and frankly…I was totally underwhelmed. The narrator, Audrey, is an old woman narrating her part in an ill-fated exoplanetary expedition in post-climate change Paris, but the story makes Prometheus look like a genius work of fiction by comparison. There's not enough payoff in the vague 'I want to be spooky' hints, and all of Audrey's colleagues are assholes. Hell, Eliot is a better version of the book than the book is. I'm selling it at HPB.

What I'll Read Next
I don't know, but I do know that the lack of movement in my stacks of physical books is driving me batty. MUST READ.
starlady: David 8 holding the holographic Earth in wonderment. (when there is nothing in the desert)
The Festivids reveals are up, and you can see that I made three vids this year! 

[personal profile] sweetestdrain made me my excellent Byzantium vid, Remain Nameless! You should go get your fill of lady vampires if you haven't already, IJS.

My assignment was Relations of Life for [personal profile] niyalune, and I also made Galaxyrise as a treat for niyalune. Last but not least, I made Automatic Joy as a treat for [personal profile] winterevanesce.

I had a pretty good time with Festivids 2K15. I finished both vids for niyalune within six weeks, and then wound up finishing Automatic Joy just a few days before the deadline. I'm tempted to say, maybe next year when I'm not moving continents I should aim to make four Festivids, but I think three is a good number. I've been floored and flattered by the response to each of these vids, but especially to Galaxyrise, so let me just say, thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on all of them! I'm so glad you liked it.

I borked the links that the mods put up and have sent the correct versions to be edited into the masterlist. Next year I'll get this process right on the first go, I swear--third time's the charm, right?  ETA: As DW grows increasingly senescent, things continue to break; it appears that Critical Commons embeds, as well as Sendvid, don't work here anymore, and with my own browser/script configuration I can only view CC embeds…on tumblr. I'll be looking into alternatives for these problems over the next few days. /eta

In the meantime, you can access streaming and downloads through the individual links on this post, and there will be AO3 and tumblr posts for all three eventually too. See you next year!
starlady: David 8 holding the holographic Earth in wonderment. (when there is nothing in the desert)
source: Ex Machina (2015)
audio: The Dresden Dolls, "Coin-Operated Boy"
length: 4:03
stream: on Critical Commons
download: 180MB mp4 on mediafire
summary: Love without complications galore/Isn't that the point?
note: contains self-harm and graphic violence

A Festivids 2015 treat for [personal profile] winterevanesce.

Original Festivids post

I thought Ex Machina was one of the best movies of 2015; moreover, I thought it was extraordinarily feminist (albeit with a dude as the POV character, sigh). In my opinion, people's reactions to the movie come down to whether or not they think the filmmakers were doing it intentionally; I think they were--the intelligence of the movie is palpable in every frame, starting with the cinematography--and this vid is my argument for the same thesis. It turns on the insight that there is no meaningful difference between Caleb and Ava; he is no less "coin-operated" than she is. He just responds to different inputs. (Relatedly: a good chunk of the point of the Turing Test is that humans are really bad at distinguishing cognition from random responses, or vice versa. We'll anthropomorphize any damn thing but also withhold recognition of sentience based on our own misplaced pride in our vaunted intelligence.)

And yes, it's The Dresden Dolls, with Amanda fucking Palmer singing the lead vocals. I thought long and hard about whether I wanted to accept the cost of people potentially pre-judging the vid purely on the basis of the song, and then decided that I did; Sady Doyle actually wrote a piece on AFP in 2014 that changed my thinking about the reaction to her, if not to Palmer herself; it opens with the line "What, exactly, did we prove by hating Amanda Palmer?" and proceeds to make some valuable points from there. It's a good song (although I cut it down pretty radically, in Audacity, which was way better than Premiere, thank you vidders' census), and it makes the points I wanted the song for the vid to make.

As for the vid itself, the cropping gave me fits (I still haven't actually solved it; it just looks solved) and I actually re-edited the song twice; this was another vid where I went non-linear to get the thing done, as I hit a wall after the end of the first chorus and had to start building back from the end to stay on schedule and to figure out what I needed to do in the middle: I knew the bridge would be Ava POV, but not how or what. Again, I did the credits in the middle of the process. The Donna Haraway quote occurred to me while I was laying down text layers, and it seemed to be the perfect way to encapsulate the vid and my interpretation of the movie, and Ava's actions: I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.

I wanted to do a POV switch/reveal in the middle of the vid a la the great BSG vid Who Knew, but after laying down the last part of the vid I realized that the movie just doesn't have enough footage for me to do that effectively. I still think of the whole vid as being from Ava's perspective; she is definitely the "I" who manipulates everyone into gaining her freedom. In the end, she passes the Turing test with flying colors.


password: festivids

Lyrics )
starlady: Mako's face in the jaeger, in profile (mako mori is awesome)
source: Apollo 13, Contact, Europa Report, Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian
audio: Symphony of Science, "Glorious Dawn (Cosmos Remix)" 
length: 3:38
stream: on Critical Commons
download: 161MB mp4 on mediafire
summary: The sky calls to us/If we do not destroy ourselves/We will one day venture to the stars

Original Festivids post

A Festivids 2015 treat for [personal profile] niyalune. I saw her mention this vid as a throwaway concept in her letter…and started making the vid as soon as I finished my assignment. The reason, you see, is that I was convinced she would hate her gift vid, so I wanted to make her something that I was more confident she would like. (But then her reaction to Relations of Life was positive! As was other people's! Stranger things happen, I guess, but I honestly was not expecting it.)

This is the vid that I thought would be screamingly obvious, because I'd done the remaster of the Contact vid at the end of 2015 and this vid rather prominently features Contact. I also had the Interstellar and Europa Report clips sitting around, with the result that I only had to download and clip three additional movies, four if you count the BluRay of The Martian, which luckily came out in December. I had cam clips in the timeline for maybe about two weeks tops, and since everything was BluRay, I actually had a pretty easy time of it as far as multi-source vids go. This vid has the distinction of being the first (but assuredly not the last) for which I broke out a spreadsheet, so that I could make sure that I wasn't short-changing any of the sources, and that I was alternating them appropriately.

The song choice was obvious to me as soon as I thought about making the vid; I love the song and I love the concept, and for me there's no separating Carl Sagan from how I think about human spaceflight. I even named some of the Contact clips using some of his lines from this song while I was doing the remaster clipping way back in June, so it was a complete no-brainer to decide to use this song, cemented by my discovering that Neil DeGrasse Tyson had done promotional work for The Martian. (You should totally go watch the video, it's great.)

I was hugely tickled, and hugely flattered, to see some really great vidders guessed for this vid; I thought that the other dead giveaway would be the line at the beginning of the end titles. Star Trek fans will recognize the fade-in title card from the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which also features the history of human space exploration quite heavily. I definitely approached this vid in the spirit of conscious optimism that I associate with the core of Star Trek, and I hope that comes through in the vid.

One of the greatest things about getting to see other people's reactions to the vid has been seeing what they got out of it that I hadn't thought of or didn't consciously put in there; when [personal profile] raven remarked that it was a vid that was more about the idea of exploration than fannishness, I thought, "Huh. Yeah, I guess so!" Which is to say, while I was making the vid with my spreadsheet I wanted to show people doing science; I wanted to show people looking up; I wanted to show the joy of exploration. (I wanted to show the Europa One crew smiling in a non-ominous context.) To that end I suppressed a lot of context (and a lot of doubled actors) in these movies, or just ignored it, which is especially obvious at the ending: Jim Lovell never actually walked on the moon, but he does in this vid, just as Matt Damon is watching the sunrise in the context of being convinced that he's going to die there on Mars, and Anne Hathaway believes she's as good as the last survivor of the human race, but that's not the feeling here. The Watney hope shots in the vid are as much for me as for anyone; I love space exploration, but now that I'm not a child any more I'm less blindly optimistic about the galaxyrise that Carl speaks of in the song. So the vid is an argument with myself as much as anything, and the end title is the conclusion that I wanted to make for that reason: the human adventure is just beginning. And finally, thanks to [tumblr.com profile] mrquadcopter for beta watching.




password:   festivids

Lyrics )
starlady: Korra looks out over Republic City (legend of korra)
What I'm Reading
Seanan McGuire, A Red-Rose Chain (2015) - The ninth and newest Toby Daye book. I'm enjoying it a lot so far, though at this point I feel like there isn't a lot to say about individual books except in terms of the overall series. At least, after the heavy revelations of The Winter Long, this book is less about heavy personal revelations and more about straight-up terrible things and Toby doing her hero thing, even in some very trying circumstances, viz. Portland.

What I've Read
Alaya Dawn Johnson, Wicked City (2012) - I said from the beginning that Zephyr Hollis was in denial about who she was, and I felt vindicated that Zephyr herself came to explicitly agree with that statement, but by the end of this book I was really irritated with her as a character; at some point in the middle, Zephyr's denial tips over into hypocrisy, and she treats her djinni boyfriend rather horribly throughout the course of the novel in a way that doesn't go unremarked in the text, but which does go unapologized for on Zephyr's part. The elements of the plot around Zephyr and Amir were engaging, and I would totally read a third book if Johnson wrote one based on the revelations in the last few pages, but Zephyr herself was just a bit too self-righteous, without the ethical chops to back it up, for me to enjoy this book as much as I did the first one.

Jeff VanderMeer, Shriek (2006) - I loved this book, if not uncritically, then quite a lot, and having come to VanderMeer's earlier work from the Southern Reach books, it's interesting to pick up the threads of thematic continuity that run back from those books into this one: the question of humans' place in an ecosystem, the idea of places as systems that exert a subtle influence, if not contamination, on their inhabitants; other ideas about decay. I appreciated the sibling dynamic of Duncan Shriek making marginal comments on his sister Janice's (posthumous? there's no way to know) manuscript, and I found myself disagreeing with Abigail Nussbaum's assessment that Janice is shriekingly ordinary but wholly ignorant of that fact and therefore boring. To my mind, Duncan, Janice, and Mary are all bad historians and unreliable narrators, but each in recognizably different ways. The mismatch between their approaches to their own stories is what makes the book go, along with some truly inventive worldbuilding and imagery. I need to read Finch.

Catherynne Valente, The Folded World (2011) - Prester John number two, with the third book on hold perhaps indefinitely. I enjoyed this book; I enjoy Valente's writing, though I suspect that were she to write this book now it would be a tauter manuscript--but I like her language so much that I don't mind the meandering in the tale here, and the fact that it ends with the world smashed but the shape of its shattering wholly unclear. Brother Hiob and company are still decidedly 16thC, not 18th. I need to read Radiance, and the other Valente books I've piled up in the TBR stack.

C.S. Pacat, Kings Rising (2016) - YES I READ THE FINAL ONE FIRST, WHATEVER, IT'S HOW I ROLL. I suspect everyone here knows what this book is about, but as someone who was recced the series for about six solid years before I finally tipped over into reading it, I want to record for posterity the fact that I think Pacat is commenting quite shrewdly not only on tropes of mainstream media but also of fandom in some interesting ways, and that all her choices together push the book firmly into romance territory, which may not be immediately obvious when people start throwing around the term "slave fic." The book was amazing, I think I might be dead, I need to read the first two, and, let me be clear: all of you were right.

What I'll Read Next
Hopefully The Steerswoman and other books!
starlady: Mako's face in the jaeger, in profile (mako mori is awesome)
source: Europa Report (2013)
audio: The Knife, "Epochs"
length: 4:48
stream: on Critical Commons
download: 217MB mp4 on mediafire
summary: Compared to the breadth of knowledge yet to be known...what does your life actually matter?

My Festivids 2015 assignment, for [personal profile] niyalune.

Original Festivids post

This is, hands-down hands-up no-holds-barred, the weirdest vid I have ever made. Europa Report is of course a fantastic little indie sci-five movie about the first human mission to Europa, one of the Jovian moons; I loved it since I first saw it and I routinely show it to friends to try to convert them to fans of the movie. (I have a pretty good track record.) This vid is the vid I wanted to make, but I won't pretend that when I decided that this track from The Knife's soundtrack to an experimental synth opera about Charles Darwin (all the lyrics on the album, as well as the title of this vid, come from his writings) was the one for the vid I didn't have some misgivings about whether the finished product would even be watchable. For me, there is for me a resonance between what these astronauts do and how and why they make their decisions and Darwin's work; in the end, they subordinate their own short lives to the goal of pushing human knowledge forward, and what happens is nobody's fault, because the humans and the native life of Europa simply can't relate to each other in any shared frame of reference: they are both driven by curiosity, but their curiosities aren't compatible. The Europa One mission is a success, though more of a failed success than a successful failure. Ad astra per aspera. One of the things I said about the movie when I first saw it is that it's the movie that Prometheus wanted to be, and in a way, this vid is founded on that interpretation. There's little more terrifying than the inhuman timescale of the cosmos, and of evolution, from a certain point of view.

Vidding-wise, this was a challenge; one problem I had was that the clips were so large that I frequently crashed Premiere while trying to watch the footage I'd laid down in the timeline. Oops. I cut the audio, but I did it using Premiere rather than Audacity, which was a frustrating mistake that I won't repeat in future. Trying to decide where to cut things and how to impose a narrative took a lot of thought and trial and error, as well as some truly hard-core non-linear editing; I actually built the vid out from the start of the vocals. To keep the momentum going I violated all precedent and did the credits in the middle of the process; whatever it took. I am, though, proud of the result, and I'm floored and very pleased that people have liked it. Last but not least, thanks to [tumblr.com profile] mrquadcopter, who beta watched it and told me not to change anything, so I didn't.

Lyrics )

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