starlady: (bibliophile)
This past year was a century, and I find it difficult to remember my own individual actions in it. There were some good things! There were many bad things! I went to the last VividCon and it was really great. I went to Japan, that was good too. We retook the House. May next year be better for all of us and for the planet.

2018 Reading Stats

Books read: 107, of which 1 (1%) rereads
By gender: 32 (30%) by men, the rest by women or non-binary authors
By race: 28 (26%) by authors of color, the rest by white authors
In translation: 0, not counting 1 (1%) in Japanese
New books: 37 (35%) published in 2018
Books owned before 2016: 1
New-to-me authors: 29

…versus 2018 resolutions
  1. Read 110 books ==> Failed. But I held steady at 107, which I am proud of.
  2. Read 25 physical books owned since 2016 or earlier. ==> Failed with 1/25.
  3. Read 25 books by authors of color. ==> Achieved! 28/25
  4. Read 10 books in translation. ==> Failed, 1/10
  5. Read 15 books in Japanese ==> Failed, 1/15.
  6. Read all the comics bought before 2018, both physical and digital ==> I am making progress on this, but still haven't finished.

General Comments
I think I did pretty well considering that I lost a solid month in September around the Supreme Court hearings. Relatedly, however, I had my poorest showing ever at the Sirens reading challenge; normally I finish it or come within a book or two if I don't succeed, but this year iirc I was more than halfway away at the deadline.

I joined the Sirens reading club and my local comic book shop's women's comics club, which together account for the preponderance of new books in my reading this year. I've tried to switch modalities to optimize reading, with more taking place on my phone than previously, though I still spend too much time on Twitter on BART when I could be reading. My bird is coming to live with me, however, so I am more determined than ever to get the stacks of comics off the floor and tackle the stacks of old books, as I need to prepare for the possibility of moving this summer.

I'm slowly savoring the last Lymond book (I skimmed it in the spring but couldn't bear to finish it formally, as I didn't want it to end), and after that I'm hoping to tackle Joan Aiken's Wolves Chronicles. Michelle West's current epic fantasy series is finishing this year with not one but two books, with the final arc of the story expected after that, so I'm trying to decide what order would be best for a reread of the entire series. Laurie Marks' Air Logic is finally seeing the light of day, which means I need to get off my butt and finish the Steerswoman books. I also want to read the rest of Martha Wells' backlist, and I am slowly closing in on my goal of reading all of Kate Elliott's books--just Black Wolves and the last six Crown of Stars novels left.

Best of 2018
A 10% selection rate is 10 books, give or take.
  • JY Yang, The Tensorate novellas (2017- )
  • Holly Black, The Cruel Prince (2018) and The Wicked King (2019)
  • Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka, Runaways (2017 - )
  • Philip Pullman, The Book of Dust vol. 1: La Belle Sauvage (2017)
  • Lara Elena Donnelly, Amberlough (2017) and Armistice (2018)
  • Roshani Chokshi, Aru Shah and the End of Time (2018)
  • Martha Wells, The Murderbot novellas (2017-18)
  • Catherynne Valente, Space Opera (2018)
  • Brendan Fletcher et al, Black Canary (2016-17) and Motor Crush (2017- )
  • Yoon Ha Lee, Revenant Gun (2018)
2019 Reading Resolutions
  1. Read 110 books
  2. Read 25 physical books owned since 2016 or earlier
  3. Read 25 books by authors of color
  4. Read 10 books in translation
  5. Read 15 books in Japanese
  6. Read all the comics bought before 2019, both physical and digital
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
For Yuletide 2018 I picked up a pinch hit on the list in a wild burst of optimism and hubris when I saw the fandom, The Box of Delights. For those who haven't read John Masefield's classic Christmas fantasy, it's wild, though somehow not quite as wild as its predecessor, The Midnight Folk. Both are available from the NYRB Classics line, and I highly recommend them.

Somehow despite the fact that this was the first fic under the TV tag, it has proven fairly popular for such a tiny fandom. Happy Yuletide to us all.

Fire and Bells (3515 words) by starlady
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Kay Harker Series - John Masefield, Dark Is Rising Sequence - Susan Cooper, The Box of Delights (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Maria Jones, Kay Harker
Additional Tags: Christmas, Future Fic, Crossover, 1930s
Summary: It's Christmas 1932, and Maria Jones only wants to find the magic in the world.

I finished the book on New Year's Eve 2016, so to refresh my memory I queued up the 1980s BBC adaptation of the book on YouTube, which was helpful in that it clarified the class status of the characters. Reading [personal profile] merriman's letter, I realized that crossing the story over with Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series would solve all of my plot problems, with the nice addition that I am pretty sure Masefield influenced Cooper. I had originally wanted to make this a stealth triple crossover with the Wimsey novels (T9T shares some thematic elements with The Box of Delights, actually), but that proved ungainly--though Merriman and Wimsey do both drive Daimlers. On the other hand, you may also recognize a few elements from The Magician's Nephew; that was deliberate. So was the fact that I ignored the book's cop-out ending, though I think after having read The Midnight Folk I am more inclined to the interpretation that it all having been a dream doesn't mean it wasn't real.

Really, though, I cannot recommend tossing Merriman, the Lady and the Rider into your story enough as a strategy to solve your plot problems. What is the Lady doing lying in a barrow under a berm? Who knows and who cares! They are in all times as they need to be. And Maria Jones is a treat to write. If I had actually read The Midnight Folk before writing this fic, I would have done more with her own magical origins (she and her family were some of Kay's toys originally, probably? WILD), but alas, I had not. 

I thought this was the only story I had written this year, but I forgot that I had written a brief Star Wars Rebels coda by way of an ROTJ coda earlier this year when Rebels finished.

Freedom on Endor (1642 words) by starlady
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Wars Original Trilogy, Star Wars: Rebels, Star Wars - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Luke Skywalker, CT-7567 | Rex
Additional Tags: Spoils the Rebels ending, Past Character Death, Years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars, Post-Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Summary: Rex sat back slightly. “Any relation to General Anakin Skywalker?” he asked, too casual, and Luke swallowed hard.

Despite my diminished output over the past few years, I have not been idle on the fanfic front in 2018. I wrote nearly 80K of an epic Star Wars fic, and my main goal for 2019 is to get it finished and posted. May the Force be with us all in our endeavors.
starlady: Uryuu & Ichigo reenact Scott Pilgrim (that doesn't even rhyme)
Well, at least it's over.

The Vids
Missionary Woman (X-Men movies - alternate timeline)

The Last of the Real Ones (Star Wars Rebels)

Congratulations (Star Wars)

Hard Times (The Good Fight)
The Greatest (Star Wars Rebels)

Warrior (A Wrinkle in Time) - Autumn Equinox 2018

The Questions
Honestly I am really, really pleased with all three of my Star Wars vids. My two favorites are The Last of the Real Ones and Congratulations, depending on my mood.

Least Favorite
This feels disloyal, but I think Warrior is the one that still could use more work, which is the closest to "least favorite" that I'll get.

Most Successful
Probably The Last of the Real Ones? I got some very nice comments on it from the BP organizers and from people at VividCon, though The Greatest also went down pretty well at Club Vivid.

Most Underappreciated by the Universe
Probably Missionary Woman. It's (deliberately) about the wrong character and I sent it to Escapade knowing that it was mismatched to the crowd. But I'm okay with that.

Most Fun to Make
In some ways, Missionary Woman, because I did most of it in the Sky Club during a six-hour delay on a trip to Hawai'i, and finished it later that same trip. In others, Congratulations, because it really is my id and my deepest fannish feelings about Star Wars in vid form. In still others, The Last of the Real Ones, because the vid grew and changed as the last few episodes of the show developed.

Hardest Vid to Make
In some ways, The Good Fight, because it's a very talky show, my rips didn't match, yadda blah… In others, Warrior was a struggle in ways that I think show. I still think the song choice was right, but I think the seams of the idea are a bit obvious, and I would have liked another week to keep tweaking things.

The Things I Learned This Year
Famous vidders are so nice! I had a truly wonderful time at VividCon and I'm so glad I went for the first and last time. Also, I really like Star Wars.

Planning for Next Year
I was able to meet my goal of six vids for this year, and I think six seems like a reasonable goal for next year too. I also continued my con submission strategy as per my goal, with five out of six vids being made for cons, and I definitely want to continue that in 2019, particularly with FanWorksCon and WisCon. I also want to get back on the VidUKon bandwagon, and I still have hopes of finishing a vid for the Vid Big Bang. My other goal is to try to consciously integrate some of the things and techniques, particularly on the FX side, that I learned at VividCon into my actual vidding practice. I also want to make a Steven Universe vid once I catch up to the current episodes.
starlady: (bibliophile)
Well, we survived, and that ain't nothing.

2017 Reading Stats

Books read: 107, of which 7 (7%) rereads
By gender: 28 (26%) by men, the rest by women or non-binary authors
By race: 22 (21%) by authors of color, the rest by white authors
In translation: 0, not counting 3 (3%) in Japanese
New books: 25 (23%) published in 2017
Books owned before 2016: 1
New-to-me authors: 29
…versus 2017 resolutions
  1. Read 105 books ==> Achieved! 107/105
  2. Read 25 physical books owned since 2016 or earlier ==> 1/25. I tracked this as "before 2015," so it was a fail.
  3. Read 25 books by authors of color ==> 22/25, close but not quite
  4. Read 10 books in translation ==> Fail. 0/10
  5. Read 15 books in Japanese ==> 3/15. Both manga I read were purchased in 2017.
  6. Purchase no more than 52 books. ==> I haven't tracked this. Whoops.
  7. Read all the comics I've bought from Comixology and ECCC, the latter before ECCC 2017 ==> I have actually made semi-decent inroads on my stack of unread comics, which is partly what pushed my numbers on books written by dudes so much higher this year. I'm making good progress and plan to continue reading my stack before ECCC 2018.
General Comments
I read a lot of comics this year. I'm tempted to connect that to the continuing slow-motion apocalypse; I bought March vol. 1 on Inauguration Day and read it that same night, for instance. But it was also a naked attempt to cut down my TBR pile to a more manageable size. 

Doing the Sirens challenge continues to be a valuable way to force me to read outside my comfort zone and to read more current books, which I'm grateful for. The series I tackled this year was Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles, and I love them so much I already don't want them to end. I'm considering reading her Niccolo series too, just because I love her writing so much.

Best of 2017
A 10% selection rate is 10 books, so…
  • Ruthanna Emrys, Winter Tide (2017)
  • Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands (2017)
  • Dorothy Dunnett, Pawn in Frankincense (1969)
  • Frances Hardinge, A Skinful of Shadows (2017)
  • Lloyd Alexander, The Beggar Queen (1984)
  • Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda, Monstress vols. 1 & 2 (2016-17)
  • Ngozi Ukazu, Check, Please! vols. 1-3
  • Kate Leth, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat! vols. 1 & 2
  • Kate Elliott, Buried Heart (2017)
  • Marie Brennan, Within the Sanctuary of Wings (2017)

2018 Reading Resolutions
  1. Read 110 books
  2. Read 25 physical books owned since 2016 or earlier
  3. Read 25 books by authors of color
  4. Read 10 books in translation
  5. Read 15 books in Japanese
  6. Read all the comics bought before 2018, both physical and digital
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
Farewell and fuck you to this cursed year. You wouldn't know it from my vidding output, though.

The Vids
Heroes (Dorothy L. Sayers Mysteries) - Festivids 2016
state of war (Haywire) - Festivids 2016

We Are Who We Are (Star Trek Beyond) - Equinox Spring 2017

1985 (Tomorrowland)

Halfway Away (Yuri!!! on Ice)

Fall of the Jedi (The Clone Wars)

Heartlines (The Chronicles of Narnia) - Autumn Equinox 2017
Get Behind Me, Hogfather! (Hogfather) - Autumn Equinox 2017

The Questions
I liked all of the vids I made this year, but ultimately this is a tie between Fall of the Jedi and Heartlines. Both of them did basically exactly what I wanted to do, which is always nice. I also really love Halfway Away, but I want to remaster it with Blu-ray footage, and it isn't quite as close to what I initially envisioned.

Least Favorite

The Hogfather one, maybe, though I quite like it. It had been so long since I seen the movie I forgot how little action shots it has, and how dark the whole thing is.

Most Successful
Probably the Star Trek and Narnia vids, though there isn't a clear standout this year.

Most Underappreciated by the Universe
The Yuri!!! on Ice one. Probably I need to change the summary; my sense of humor doesn't always work well on the internet, QED.

Most Fun to Make
The Clone Wars vid, probably. I used a spreadsheet and the concept was so restrictive that it was pretty easy to lay down clips. I do love spreadsheets.

Hardest Vid to Make
Probably the Hogfather one…nothing like discovering that your ancient rips are missing a third of each half of the movie, then trying and failing to rip the actual DVD because of copy protection, failing to find any download links, finally ripping the movie off YouTube, then realizing the old and new clips aren't the same size but deciding not to care.

The Things I Learned This Year
My clipping style works for me and I embrace it, even if my habit of naming the clips after bad jokes does make it hard to keep them organized at times. Also, spreadsheets are the best.

Planning for Next Year
Eight vids in one year is a lot, and I'm not sure I will be able to sustain at this level; six seems more reasonable. I am pleased with the results of trying to make vids for con submission and plan to continue it. But I want to submit several vids to the last year of Vividcon, as well as hopefully attend myself. And maybe in 2018 or 2019 I will finally attend VidUKon.
starlady: Peggy in her hat with her back turned under the SSR logo (agent carter)
Blatantly using this meme as motivation to get back to the Festivids mines.

The Vids

Relations of Life (Europa Report)
Galaxyrise (space exploration)
Automatic Joy (Ex Machina)

Tesseract (Interstellar)

Out Alive (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation)

Don't Stop Believing remaster (Star Trek 2009)

The Questions


This is hard! I liked all the vids I made last year and I was proud of all of them. It's probably actually Galaxyrise (the first vid I've made that I showed to my dad, who liked it), although if I were making it now I would not include the clips of Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Least Favorite
Automatic Joy, probably, not because I don't like the vid but because the limitations of the source (which were what I was trying to make the argument in the vid about) limited the vid itself.

Most Successful
Galaxyrise by a country mile. People loved it, it's been shown at cons, I was compared to some real heavy-hitters of vidding during the anon period, and I made it with a spreadsheet on a lark.

Most Underappreciated by the Universe
I got fewer comments on the Don't Stop Believing remaster than I thought I might, though I also posted it two days after the election, so.

Most Fun to Make
Galaxyrise, because I had most of it clipped already and I knew just what I wanted for most of the vid and also spreadsheet. Out Alive, because I love Kesha and that dumb action movie about friendship.

Hardest Vid to Make
Relations of Life, possibly? I picked the weirdest possible song and felt like I had no idea what I was doing the entire time I was editing, during which I was also convinced that my recipient would hate it. Honorable mention goes to the color flare on the nebula at the end of the Don't Stop Believing remaster, which saw me googling every single effects preset in AE in turn and then failing to save the AE project file, so there will be no changing that half-assed fake color flare that I finally managed to produce, ever.

The Things I Learned This Year
I have a thing for Tom Cruise and his face, despite, well, everything about Tom Cruise. Also, premaking premieres is a good thing (fun fact: I made Tesseract in November 2015 and didn't touch it again until I exported it to send to WisCon in April 2016). Also, when in doubt, edit the song to be shorter.

Planning for Next Year
I have an ambitious vidding schedule planned for 2017, including Festivids, multiple planned premieres and participating in [community profile] equinox_exchange both times. I'll be surprised if I completely achieve this schedule, but I'm excited to try.

And on that note, back to vidding.
starlady: (bibliophile)
What a year. My 2016 was okay personally, but a disaster for humanity and the planet. I would, for the record, make that trade if I could.

Trying a new format this year! 

2016 reading stats

Books read: 99, of which 12 (12%) rereads
By gender: 13 (13%) by men, the rest by women or other genders
By race: 22 (22%) by poc, the rest by white authors
In translation: 3 (3%), not counting 2 (2%) in Japanese
Old books: 9 (9%), the rest acquired in 2016
New-to-me authors: 37 (37%)
New books: 26 (26%) published in 2016

…versus 2016 resolutions

1. Read 100 books
    Well, I read 99, which I'm proud of. This is the third-most I've read in the seven years I've been tracking, and I was only two books off my second-best count of 101 in 2010.

2. Read 50 physical books owned since 2014 or earlier
    Nine isn't a terrible start. Every little bit helps, right?

3. Read 25 books by authors of color.
    Welp, 22 instead of 25.

4. Read 10 books in translation.
   Three, which is a start.

5. Purchase no more than 52 books.
   I honestly have no idea about this because I didn't track it. I suspect I may be pushing pretty close to this if we count all the manga I bought in Japan last month.

General comments
A full 22% of my reading was consumed by two series in 2016, the Wimsey novels and the Young Wizards books (including the two short stories collected in Uptown Local; I've not yet read Interim Errantry 2.0). These books were great, which is good because I also read a lot of bad books this year: books I expected to love that I didn't (Wicked City by Alaya Dawn Johnson), books that everyone else loved which I came to hate as people continued to praise them (Updraft by Fran Wilde), and a lot of frankly mediocre books that I would have put down if I weren't reading them for the Sirens challenge (Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King), some of which I hated so much I wound up skimming and so I didn't count in the spreadsheet (The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern).

I also haven't decided how/whether to count fanfic; I read several fics over 70K this year, which is a novel by any count. (Hint: these were all [personal profile] bedlamsbard's amazing Star Wars fics.) Counting those, I'd be at 101 for the year.

Best of 2016
A 10% selection rate is 9 books, so without further ado…
  • Dorothy L. Sayers, Lord Peter Wimsey novels (all, especially Murder Must Advertise, The Nine Tailors, and Gaudy Night) (1922-37)
  • Erin Bow, The Scorpion Rules and The Swan Riders (2015-16)
  • N. K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season (2016)
  • C. S. Pacat, Captive Prince trilogy (2013-16)
  • Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit (2016)
  • Sofia Samatar, The Winged Histories (2016)
  • Noelle Stevenson et al, Lumberjanes vols. 1 & 2 (2015- )
  • Diane Duane, The Young Wizards New Millennium Editions (all, especially Deep Wizardry and Wizard's Holiday) (1983- )
Yes, I'm cheating here, and I acknowledge this. But the books that I've listed together are, I think, better taken together than apart. AMA.

2017 Reading Resolutions
  1. Read 105 books ==> a solid second-best ever
  2. Read 25 physical books owned since 2016 or earlier
  3. Read 25 books by authors of color
  4. Read 10 books in translation
  5. Read 15 books in Japanese ==> I have so much unread manga
  6. Purchase no more than 52 books.
  7. Read all the comics I've bought from Comixology and ECCC, the latter before ECCC 2017

starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
2015 was damn hard. I simultaneously had an excellent year and a run of disasters equivalent to, as [personal profile] oliviacirce wisely commented, all of my bad luck for the past six years combined. Many things ended, I learned a lot of things I'm not sure I'd rather not have known, I ate dim sum this morning, and I'm very happy to be able to say at last, good fucking riddance.

In reading, 2015 was a much more straightforwardly positive story. I read 84 books this year, beating my goal of 70 by 14 books, and coming within three books of meeting my 2011 total. 24 of those 84 books were by chromatic authors, a decrease from last year at 29%. A 10% selection rate for the year's best is eight books, so without further ado: 
  • Earth Logic by Laurie J. Marks (2004)
  • Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace (2015)
  • The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy by Martha Wells (2003-05)
  • The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer (2014)
  • River of Smoke by Amitav Ghosh (2011)
  • Silver Spoon by Arakawa Hiromu (2011- )
  • Court of Fives by Kate Elliott (2015)
  • Sorceror to the Crown by Zen Cho (2015)
Runners up: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Interim Errantry by Diane Duane, Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix, The Wicked & the Divine, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge, The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine, Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones. Goal for 2016: 100 books.

Happy Gregorian New Year to all, and to all, a good night.
starlady: Mako's face in the jaeger, in profile (mako mori is awesome)
The Vids

All You Need Is Kill (Edge of Tomorrow)
The Call (MST3K 8x20, Space Mutiny)
Tonari no Gamera (Showa Gamera series)

Just A Dream Away (Star Trek: The Animated Series)

The One You Won't Forget (Agent Carter)

Are You Out There? remaster (Contact)

The Questions )
starlady: a circular well of books (well of books)
As of right now I have read 66 books this year, which not only is 11 more than 2013, but is also four more than 2012! It's not entirely impossible that I'll finish another volume of Silver Spoon before midnight, either, in which case I will edit this post. This makes me very happy, as I only read five books from February through May (and none in March), meaning that more than 2/3 of these books were read in the latter seven months of the year. Clearly my goal for 2015 should be to read 70 books.

Moving on to the numbers…25 of 66 books were by chromatic authors, which is slightly less than 38% and decently respectable, as well as an improvement on 2013 and 2012. A 10% selection rate for "best of 2014" means I should be picking six books.
I've read too many excellent books this year, I really have. What should go in that blank? A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge? Moonshine by Alaya Dawn Johnson? The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black? We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler? The Diviners? The Goblin Emperor? Clariel? Stranger? Mary Gentle's Ash: A Secret History, which I finally finished this year? All of these books were great, and I enjoyed them immensely. I can only hope that 2015 provides a similar embarrassment of riches.

What I'm Reading
The Hawkwood War by Ankaret Wells (2010) - Direct sequel to The Maker's Mask, which I thoroughly enjoyed for its breakneck pacing, laugh-out-loud humor, banter, and wit, and throw-in-the-deep-end-and-swim approach to worldbuilding and explaining it. Tzenni is great, Innes is great, and the characters are interesting, varied, and believable. It's a teeny bit like Dune in the various secret orders running around, and I like it thoroughly so far. I'll definitely be picking up Heavy Ice (2013), set in the same world 200 years later, after this. Also, note that everyone in the books is some shade of black or brown as far as I can make out.

Silver Spoon vol. 5 by Arakawa-sensei - Still great. Hopefully I can read the remaining 7 volumes in time to buy vol. 13 when it comes out, which should be June-ish based on previous publication pace.

What I've Just Read
Ashes of Honor (2012), Chimes at Midnight (2013), The Winter Long (2014) by Seanan McGuire - Well, I was planning on trying to pace myself with the latest three volumes of the October Daye books in time for the ninth one in September, but that obviously didn't happen. I finished the sixth and started and finished the last two in the space of 24 hours on Boxing Day, which even for me is pretty remarkably fast. I <3 Toby, and I really like her team--and I like that they explicitly think of themselves as a team, and that [Romantic Interest] fits into the team so well. (Much better than [character] did.) I know everybody said 8 was a huge shocker, and I guess it was, except that I've honestly forgotten the details of so many of the first three books that some of the punch of various revelations was lost on me. Also, there's clearly so much that still hasn't been said, and a lot of that is what I was wondering about. Given McGuire's meticulous dropping of hints and her even-more-impressive-in-retrospect ability to leave threads very precisely untied until they turn into garrotes, I expect quite a lot of interesting things in the second act of the series, and in particular in the next book. Also, reading these books is like taking a trip home to the Bay Area, and that was just what I needed this Christmas.

The Maker's Mask (2010) by Ankaret Wells - See comments on The Hawkwood War. Highly recommended. Wells came out of fanfic, and it shows in the best ways.

Silver Spoon vol. 4 by Arakawa-sensei - I had a bit of a tough time with Hachiken's would-be white knighting in the second half of this volume, but as I've said before, it's still great.

What I'll Read Next
More Silver Spoon. Razorhurst. Not sure what else. It's a new year.

Favorite books for [personal profile] aria 

Goodness, this is a tough question. I think "favorite books" tends to be difficult to answer, because so many of one's favorites tend to be the books one read when one is very young and everything is still new and capable of making a ridiculously strong impression. Conversely, I've read many great books since my return to SFF in 2009, but which of them will stand the test of time? That said, I'll try to come up with a list of some favorites that mixes old and new.
  • The Young Wizards books by Diane Duane - Some are stronger than others, but all of them are well-considered, fiercely ethical, and beautiful, heartbreaking, and wonderful by turns.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - I talked a lot about Narnia several years ago and I'm still basically obsessed. They're complicated texts, and imperfect, and I appreciate that about them as an adult even as I also remember my childhood reactions.
  • The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper - Well, obviously, warty gender issues and all. The Dark Is Rising is a perfect book.
  • Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge - I stumbled on this in a bookshop in Derry in Northern Ireland and loved it from the very first word. I love Mosca even more now than I did then.
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix - I haunted the books section of Zany Brainy (oh, the 90s) until this came out in paperback, and it was worth the wait.
  • The Alanna books by Tamora Pierce - I think Pierce's later books are objectively better, but I read these when I was nine, and they made a huge and much-needed impression.
  • The Honor Harrington books by David Weber - I've basically broken up with this series, but the first eight are great, and Honor was a great character for me to read about when I was 13. I have huge issues with much of Weber's worldbuilding now, but I still recommend the first eight, since they form a pretty self-contained arc.
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - Huge, sprawling, wondrously detailed, the perfect winter novel. I have the red Christmas cover that they sold at Borders and I love it to death.
  • The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson - No one should be surprised to see this on this list at this point. :P To my mind, this is how you write historical fiction.
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman - These books were a huge influence on me, and though I have some problems with Pullman now, they are still wondrous.
  • The Spiritwalker Chronicles by Kate Elliott - A latebreaking addition to this list, but the first one in particular felt like it was written for me, and I love all of them to death.
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell - Another perfect book.
  • The Michelle West novels - I find it difficult to pick a single book out of any of these, not least because the single story they are all telling has long since overwhelmed any individual volume in my mind. I discovered The Broken Crown when I was 12 and have loved them all ever since.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist by Arakawa Hiromu - My favorite manga, still, both for its action and its humor but also for its characters and its willingness to ask tough questions and to make hard choices.
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - I never think of this one at first blush, but the story (albeit mostly through The Muppet Christmas Carol) absolutely has had a huge effect on me, especially in the decade or so since high school when I was first faced with the question of how to be an ethical being in society. I worry about my own tendencies towards misanthropy, cynicism, and despair for humanity, as well as about being a good person--all things that Scrooge has to learn about! But the book also offers the most important lesson of all: that it's never too late to change, and to change one's life. May that truly be said of us, and all of us.
It's funny; I spent a lot of time in high school and college reading "the classics," and though there are a lot of writers on those lists whose works I love (Austen, the Brontës, Woolf, Dumas, Faulkner, Vanity Fair, Middlemarch, Tristram Shandy), none of them stuck in quite the same way, I suspect partly because they aren't asking quite the same kinds of questions as many of the books above, and also partly because none of them have magic. Well, we all have our faults.
starlady: headphones on top of colorful buttons (music (makes the people))
[personal profile] rilina asked about a song or album that I've loved recently.

Well, this is both easy and hard. 2013 wound up being a phenomenal year for the kind of music I like, and so I'm going to take this opportunity to list my favorite albums of 2013, in no particular order.

# Vienna Teng, Aims - I got introduced to Vienna Teng through fandom, essentially, and she is so, so amazing. She's a pianist and songwriter who's from the Bay Area, and since she released a new album this year, I finally got to see her live; she's amazing! The musicianship of her and her trio is really mind-blowing, and I love her music, and her voice. The album, Aims, is phenomenal--it's totally her, and it's also a really interesting evolution of her sound, and I will see her as often as I can until the day I die. My two favorite tracks are "In the 99" and "Never Look Away."

# Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady - I've written before about how much I love Janelle Monáe. I think she may be the single best musician under 50 working right now. (I say that because otherwise I'd have to put her above Bruce Springsteen, and I'm just not emotionally equipped to do that about anyone.) Her music spans genres, but always stays true to her Atlanta and scifi roots. The Electric Lady is her most personal album yet, and though it didn't hook me as immediately as did The ArchAndroid, I saw her live in November and it was one of the best shows of my life--she's gotten even better at owning the stage, and she was already phenomenal. My favorite track is probably "Electric Lady," but there's so many amazing ones, it's hard to choose.

# Fall Out Boy, Save Rock and Roll - I'm always in bandom years late, I think; I didn't even listen to this album until after I'd seen FOB touring for it, but holy shit, it's amazing. Patrick Stump is phenomenal, and the band sounds ridiculously good. My favorite tracks are "The Phoenix," "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark," and "Young Volcanoes," but the whole thing's awesome.

# Fitz and the Tantrums, More Than Just A Dream - I heard "6am" on the Current and went to download the album immediately. They're an LA-based neo-soul group, and though this is by no means normally my thing, this album, their second, is pretty phenomenal.

# Dessa, Parts of Speech - I love all of Dessa's music; her songs are so interesting, and so intelligent, and so knowing. I got to see her in June finally and she's wonderful.

# Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Brooklyn Babylon - This is the follow-up album to Infernal Machines, the soundtrack for a Fritz Lang-esque art installation parable about a steampunk city after the apocalypse and the role of Art and Work in Society. I don't know a ton about jazz, but this album is amazing.

# Chvrches, The Bones of What You Believe - Scottish electronica. I saw them live in November and they're still proto-stage performers, really, but the music is more than enough to carry them until they fully grow into their personas.

# Arcade Fire, Reflektor - I love Arcade Fire with all of my heart and soul and I will see them as often as I can until the day I die. When I heard that this album was coming out in October I said, "Well, now I can die happy," and it's true. It's not quite as immediately transcendently obviously wonderful as The Suburbs was, to my mind, but it grows on you after approximately one play; it's another masterpiece. I cannot wait to see them in July.

Honorable mentions go to Beyoncé's self-titled album Beyoncé, which I have not had a chance to listen to all the way through yet. I also just got The Indelicates' new album, Diseases of England--they're another group I heard about through fandom, and I adore their acid wit and their overeducated name-dropping and their deep liberal cynicism and the fact that they are a British guitar pop duo with amazing harmonies. I fully expect to love this album too. The first thing I do when I get a real job is going to be paying them to play a house show at my house, wherever I am. I've seriously thought of doing it on y grad student stipend, which I cannot actually afford to do, but I've seriously thought about it all the same.
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
My Yuletide authors were [ profile] snow (Paper Dreams, Escapist) and [ profile] jadelennox (Wishing you a peaceful future from the earthlings). Thank you both so much!

For Yuletide this year I wrote something that I think was actually somewhat predictable:

The Lost Revolution (4258 words) by starlady
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Gullstruck Island | The Lost Conspiracy - Frances Hardinge
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hathin, Minchard Prox, Tomki (Gullstruck Island)
Additional Tags: Revolution
Summary: The Lost Revolution, and how it came to pass.

A huge, huge thank-you goes out to [personal profile] ellen_fremedon, who beta-read my draft at very nearly the eleventh hour and told me what I had suspected but hadn't wanted to hear, that it needed to be much longer and that I actually needed to show, you know, the actual revolution in question. The story is much stronger for her comments, seriously.

Yuletide having been revealed, it's time for the End of Year Fanworks meme! 2013 was another fallow year in most respects, but here it goes anyway.

X-Men: First Class
[WIP] Sweeter Than Honey, Your Eyes - There are many ancient Rome AUs; this one is mine. Okay, by "many" I mean about five, and most of them including mine don't meet the request in this particular kinkmeme comment, which I will admit made me laugh. I actually have most of this story plotted out, and I do intend to finish it; but it's also me looking head-on at some of my own tastes in XMFC fic, and in my own way trying to make a little restitution. It's also been a very enjoyable excuse to read up on Roman sexuality and other aspects of Roman society. My ancient urban Rome seminar got a lot more interesting after I started writing this fic, that's for sure.

Five-Minute Studies - Hello, my past and current lives! Chapter one is a grad student AU and chapter two is a string quartet AU. I at one point had most of a Philadelphia Orchestra AU worked out in my head, and while I'm not sure I'll ever write it, it was fun writing the string quartet one in particular. I love playing music.

The Most Sincere Patch - I like to think I'm getting better at writing short fic, but really I have no way of knowing. This one was inspired by tumblr (as was the Roman AU) and it makes me smile. Charles and Erik meet cute at a Halloween party. 'Nuff said.

Frances Hardinge
The Fractured Realms
Paragon's Tale - I love Frances Hardinge's books, and in particular I love the Fractured Realms books. This fic, a tag for Paragon after the end of Twilight Robbery, is something of a love letter to the books--I did my best to try to capture some of the same rhythms of Hardinge's language, and I also did my fallback Yuletide trick of setting my fic at solsticetide. It makes me happy.

Gullstruck Island
The Lost Revolution - In previous years I have sometimes made it my practice to offer as a Yuletide fandom a source I have not previously consumed. My Pillow Book Yuletide story of 2010, Bangai (Apocrypha), was one such effort; I hadn't previously read The Pillow Book before I got assigned the request for the exchange. In this year's case, I had Gullstruck Island sitting unread on my shelf, and I signed up late enough in the exchange that to be quite honest, some careful scrutiny of the sign-ups list allowed me to game the system to some extent--I offered the book with a strong feeling that I might get matched on it, and in the event, that is how it turned out. I was able to read the book with my recipient's letter in the back of my mind, which isn't a bad way to read; the rest of it was just a matter of finding time to write, and then of nearly doubling the word count of the story when Ellen gave me her comments. I'm very pleased with the final result, and very grateful to Ellen for telling me what I needed to hear.

Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
[vid] 雙女|Double Woman - This is probably the thing I did this year that I am proudest of, an auction vid for [personal profile] oyceter, who asked for a vid about Shangguang Jing'er and Wu Zetian being awesome. I learned Premiere Pro and learned to do more with After Effects to make this vid, and I think that work shows very well in the vid.

Questions and answers )

Next year: Keep calm and keep making fanworks!
starlady: ((say it isn't so))
Well, as of today I have read 55 books in 2013. That number is the lowest since I started counting five years ago, and represents less than half of my 2010 total of 101 (my highest thus far is still 2009, with 139). I even went the whole month of October without reading anything, which sounds about right, if depressing.

Nineteen of those books were by chromatic authors, which represents slightly less than 35% of the total; that is a slight improvement on last year, when the numbers were 19/62 or a little less than 31% of the total. With these numbers and a 10% selection rate, I should be picking five or six books as the year's best.
So, 2013!

Places traveled:
- Toronto in April, for a conference! I'd never been to Canada before, and it was lovely, and I got to meet/hang out with some cool people, and it was a good conference.
- Wiscon, Sirens, Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits. ♥

Shows seen: 
- Janelle Monáe
- FUN.
- Fall Out Boy
- Vienna Teng
- Dessa
- Night Vale Live

I think the best decision I made all year was to get my wisdom teeth out in June. It cost me nearly $1000 out of pocket, but not having wisdom teeth has really made me much happier on a day to day basis, so it was totally worth it. I was also able to restart wearing my top retainer, so I have now mostly saved my parents' investment in my braces, which is a definite bonus.

I'm still in grad school. I did a lot of work this year (see above re: not reading any books in October) and I expect that I will be working very hard through at least next June. Although I'm much more disillusioned with my department than I was this time last year, for the time being at least I'm still committed to staying the course. California continues to be a weird combination of the awesome and the annoying, but the many awesome friends I have there, and Berkeley Bowl, make it all worth it. ♥

I anticipate a lot of changes in 2014. My father is talking about trying to sell the house, my sister is spending the year abroad in Austria, and I will be moving my California possessions into a storage unit over the summer in preparation for six weeks in Europe and then a year to fifteen months in Asia, specifically Japan and then hopefully Taiwan. I may not be back until 2016. Everything is very up in the air, but I'm looking forward to it, for the most part.
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
My Yuletide authors were [ profile] infiniteeight and [ profile] greerwatson. Thank you both so much!

For Yuletide this year I wrote something completely different:

…And a Song for Minneapolis (2541 words) by starlady
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Dessa (Musician)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Original Characters
Summary: The little mystic and his handler grow up.

With a huge shout-out to [personal profile] laceblade and [personal profile] oliviacirce for beta-reading on very short notice. I'm pleased with this story, but the song contains multitudes, and this is only one of them.

Yuletide being made known, it's time for the End of Year Fanworks meme! 2012 was kind of a fallow year for me in this regard, but here's the list anyway:

Fic I Wrote
The Wallmaker's Carol, The Old Kingdom Chronicles (New Year's Resolutions 2012)
Wages (The Only In Our Dreams Remix), X-Men: First Class
Nothing on Earth of Interest (Seeds of the Melon), Sherlock Holmes steampunk AU/The Singsong Girls of Shanghai
Worthy Opponents, Sengoku Jidai RPF (Kaleidoscope 2012)
…And A Song For Minneapolis, Dessa songs (Yuletide 2012)

This doesn't count the two XMFC WIPs that I am very slowly and torturously working on, and in point of fact "Nothing on Earth of Interest" is listed as the first chapter of a WIP, but I'm putting it up here because it can be read as complete in itself and I like it. All told, including the WIP chapters that are up on the Archive, I'm at about 25,000 words for the year. That is shockingly low for me, and I'm not really happy about it.

Vid I Made
Starman, Prometheus (2012)

Questions and answers )
starlady: a circular well of books (well of books)
As of two minutes ago I have read 62 books in 2012. The number is depressingly low, not least because I only count books if I read all of them, which trims a lot of the academic books, but what can you do. Some day grad school will be over and I will have my time to read back. *laughs bitterly at self*

So, 62 books. Nineteen of these (slightly less than 1/3) were by chromatic authors, which I am glad about; only 22 (slightly more than 1/3) were by men, which I am also glad about. At a roughly 10 percent selection rate for the year's best, I should be picking five or six books.

So, five best from 2012:
2012 was a mixed bag, I think. Some really good things happened! I went to Argentina to visit [personal profile] via_ostiense in June, and got to meet some OTW friends; I went to Korea for a conference in November and had a really good and productive time; I did several things over the summer that were lucrative financially and good for my future career; I got my M.A. But I also spent a good chunk of the year being super freaked about money, and I also just worked a lot, for the entire year, without any breaks longer than a week or so. I didn't do anywhere near as much reading or writing or vidding or viewing as I wanted to do.

I only have two resolutions for 2013: see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band live, and work through my backlog of book notes for my academic blog. Well, and the perpetual resolution of reading/writing/vidding/viewing more. And go to more classical concerts on campus.

As always, I am profoundly grateful to have my friends from the internet in my life, and I wish you a happy and prosperous 2013. ♥
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
Yuletide first, and first up, writers! [ profile] threeguesses wrote As I Always Say, and [ profile] Carmarthen wrote Tribute. Contrary to many people, I never really have strong ideas about what I want out of Yuletide; thank you, writers, for fulfilling my request in such wonderful spades! I'm really glad that the fics have gotten relatively wider notice, since they assuredly deserve it. ♥

As for what I wrote…well, I only had time to write one story this year, and it was so screamingly obvious, I'm quite sure everyone who knows me and read the fic put two and two together immediately. All of which is to say, I appear to be cornering the market on Heian Period RPF for Yuletide: I wrote Songs by Ono no Komachi for [personal profile] lnhammer.

Larry actually requested the Kokinshû, and this is not a very Kokinshû fic, partly because I am not a scholar of Japanese literature and have never actually read it, except for the translations Larry's posted to his journal and the poems we read and translated for it in my classical Japanese program the previous summer. I like to write seasonal fic for Yuletide (yes, this is a major tell of mine), and I didn't have time to work my way through all of the Winter scrolls--I didn't have much time to do anything, actually, because I was so damned busy this December, so I fell back on an easier idea I'd had, namely, the life of Ono no Komachi, who is darned awesome. Ki no Tsurayuki sort of muscled his way in very early on, which is very much a him thing.

This fic, like I said, is very strongly influenced by Tom Lamarre's book on classical Japan, right from the title and the persistent confusion in the fic between songs and poems--they truly were interchangeable, particularly at the beginning of the Heian period, which is when the fic takes place. I'm not as strong on the details of daily life in the 9thC as I am in the 10th, however, so most of the details are consequently vague. I hope people like it; I do, though as usual I wasn't sure where it was going until I finished it. Many thanks to [personal profile] wintercreek, who puts up with me asking her to beta things in fandoms she's never read and who always has great comments, which I strive to put into action. ♥

Finally, I wrote a New Year's Resolution.
The Wallmaker's Carol (4150 words) by faviconstarlady for [personal profile] lionpyh
Fandom: Old Kingdom - Garth Nix
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Nicholas Sayre, Prince Sameth, Lirael (Old Kingdom), Sabriel (Old Kingdom)
Summary: Just after "The Creature in the Case," Lirael and Nick spend Miwinter in Belisaere with Lirael and Sam's family.

I really love the Old Kingdom Chronicles, and I really like writing seasonal (thus for me, wintry) stories for Yuletide. I was listening to my college's Christmasfest recording of my favorite carol, "I Saw Three Ships," early in December and the idea for this story fell out of my brain.

So, it's time for
The End of Year Fanworks Meme!

Fic I Wrote:
From the Collected Works of Solwing: 'England', The Chronicles of Narnia by way of [personal profile] bedlamsbard
Synthesis (Scenes from an AU), XM:FC
Turning and Turning, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, for Parallels 2011
Last Will, and Testament, The Chronicles of Narnia/The Dark Is Rising Sequence
from The Classic of the Three Realms, Half World, for Kaleidoscope 2011
Songs by Ono no Komachi, Kokinshû/Heian Period RPF, for Yuletide 2011
Honi soit qui mal y pense, Sherlock Holmes 2009 steampunk AU

Total word count: Roughly 36,000 words. Throwing in papers and translations, I'd put it at about 75,000 words for the year (though I'm not counting my WIPs, some of which are very wordy). I'm satisfied, though this has been something of an off year, in terms of quantity--though not, I think, quality.

Vid I Made:
Too Big to Fail - Occupy Wall Street

Questions and comments )

Happy (Gregorian) New Year, all. ♥
starlady: a circular well of books (well of books)
So, as of right now I've read 87 books this year; I'm hoping to finish Harbinger of the Storm this evening, which will make it 88. Quite a step down from last year, by the numbers, though I'm pleased to note that 46 of these books (slightly more than 50%) were by chromatic authors. NB: I count manga as individual books, because I almost always read manga in Japanese, which is where most of this total comes from.

So, here's a few books I think everyone should read, in no particular order:

All of these books are excellent, and well worth the time. Happy reading in 2012! As always, my resolution is to read more in the new year. 
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
First things first, recognition and further applause for my wonderful writers!

In Threadless T-Shirts, [ profile] hectorrashbaum wrote You're Ready And You're Willin'. In Disney Princess Superheroes, [ profile] beatrice_otter wrote A League Of Their Own; [ profile] ankaret wrote Just Another Day In The Secret Base; [personal profile] nextian wrote you're gonna leave them all behind; [ profile] pervyficgirl wrote The Trial of Snow White, [ profile] lovelyzelda wrote The League of Extraordinary Princesses: B for Beauty, and last in terms of word count, but certainly not least in terms of awesome, [ profile] wickedtrue wrote Disney Princesses, ASSEMBLE!. They are all so awesome, you should go read them all right now, yes, even you. I can't pick between them, all of them are wonderful. Thank you, writers! I am amazed and humbled to have received such a bounty of great fic. ♥

So I wrote two stories of Heian Period RPF for Yuletide, Bangai (Apocrypha) for [personal profile] elegantpi and Brush Talk for [personal profile] daegaer; I also wrote the Clover fic Sanctuary for [ profile] toxictattoo. Let me thank again my wonderful beta reader [personal profile] lnhammer, without whom "Bangai (Apocrypha)" would have been much weaker. Really, I have to say that I thought these three stories, and particularly the first two, were screamingly characteristic of my writing and interests. XD

Bangai (Apocrypha) )

Brush Talk )

Sanctuary )

All that being said, it's time for (drumroll, please!):

The End of Year Fanworks Meme!

Fic I Wrote
1 of the Good Guys, The Archandroid/Fake News RPF feat. R2-D2
Symbolic Logic, Inception
Gravedust, The Old Kingdom Chronicles, for New Year's Resolutions 2010
Infernal Machines, Sherlock Holmes 2009
Recompense, Sherlock Holmes 2009
Second Face, Sherlock Holmes 2009
The Flying Empire, Sherlock Holmes 2009 steampunk AU for [ profile] holmes_bigbang
Known Associates, Sherlock Holmes 2009 steampunk AU
Bangai (Apocrypha), Heian period RPF for Yuletide Treasure 2010
Brush Talk, Heian period RPF for Yuletide Treasure 2010
Sanctuary, Clover, for Yuletide Treasure 2010

Total word count: About 65,000 words. Throwing in original fiction, unfinished fic, and papers, I'm at nearly 105,000 words for the year. I think my original goal was 150,000; I'm sure that if I threw in all the translations I've done, it'd get within shouting distance of that. In any event, I'm satisfied.

AMV I Made:
Quantum of Darkness - Darker Than BLACK: Ryuusei no Gemini

2010 in fanworks )
starlady: a circular well of books (well of books)
I read exactly 101 books this year. I think that's going to be my goal for next year; I'm only off last year by 38, which frankly surprises me; I thought grad school would have more of a negative impact on my reading. Regardless, I don't want to go below 50 non-grad school books read in 2011.

101 books, 5 rereads, meaning that I should be picking 8-9 books for the year's best at a slightly less than 10% selection rate. So:

Eight excellent books
1. Kraken by China Miéville
2. When Fox Is a Thousand by Larissa Lai
3. Scott Pilgrim (6 vols.) by Bryan Lee O'Malley
4. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
5. Fullmetal Alchemist (27 vols.) by Arakawa Hiromu
6. Bury the Chains by Adam Hochschild
7. Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard
8. Kamikaze Girls by Takemoto Novala (trans. Akemi Wegmiller)

Given that I read 1/3 of these within the last two months, I think there's definitely a degree of chronological bias here, but whatever; all of these books are great, and some of them, particularly Nothing to Envy and Bury the Chains, are vital.

I've done better than last year with reading books by chromatic and female authors, and that's a trend I want to continue next year; I also want to actually read some of the Japanese novels I have lying around, as well as more manga (I'm always resolving to read more manga). Half my resolutions relate to reading anyway, so, without further ado:

New Year's Resolutions
1. Get new glasses and new contact lenses (I already have the prescription);
2. Read manhwa! I'd love recs for English-language available series!
3. Watch Kdramas and Cdramas. Recs much appreciated!
4. Read more manga, novels in Japanese, and books in translation;
5. Get Netflix (again);
6. Go to the dentist, now that I have dental again after three years;
7. Keep writing, running, and biking

A very Happy (Gregorian) New Year to my dear acquaintance, each and every one of you. ♥
May 2011 be a very good, and better, year for all of us. 
starlady: Kermit the Frog, at Yuletide (yuletide)
Yuletide having been revealed, it turns out that jadelioness (who I think is [ profile] jadelioness) wrote me No One Loves You Like I Do, and [personal profile] watersword wrote me Incense and Sunglasses on Orchard Street. Thanks so much again to you both; you made my first Yuletide pretty damn awesome.

I wrote four Yuletide stories. In order, they are:

The Momiji File (Gouhou Drug) -- I never expected that this would be the fandom on which I would match my recipient, but thankfully the prompt was pretty open-ended: essentially, what happened next? I wound up setting the story immediately after the end of volume 3 and stealing a recent plot point from xxxHOLiC to form the request the boys took on, partly because I think there would have been a lot more HOLiC crossovers had Legal Drug continued. It was an interesting challenge to write a story that could be read as either slashy gen or pre-slash, depending on the reader, since that seems to be a key feature of the manga reading experience. I also tried, as much as possible, to load up the fic with actual details from my time in Japan (this included scrutinizing the photos I took in Rikugi-en for the settings--you could actually go sit on the shamisen player's bench, not to mention walk across the bridge Kazahaya nearly falls off), and to make the dialogue echo the characters' diction in Japanese. Writing the story also made me realize how much of the slashiness in canon depends on visual humor and innuendo. Oh the power of images! And thanks again to [ profile] nokiirat, whose insightful beta comments helped me get Kazahaya's characterization better. I think, though, that maybe my favorite thing about the story is the Suki Dakara Suki crossover. I justified it on the basis that Hina (and Doumeki, too) went to Waseda for college, and now in my world they totally do.

A Midwinter's Tale (The Drowning City - Downum) -- I'd offered to write Downum originally, and the requestor is a fellow tag-wrangler, so when I saw it on the unfulfilled prompts list I jumped at it. Oddly enough, it took me almost a day and a half to write, because I couldn't think of a concrete scene on which to anchor the first part of the fic. But I got to throw some Latin into my writing, and draw on my classics background, and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Empty-Handed (Old Kingdom series - Nix) -- Another story about (maimed and/or missing) hands. I wrote this on my plane to Detroit on Christmas Eve morning, having paged through Abhorsen the night before, and I'm very happy with it. It's probably going to become the first in a little series of fics in this fandom based on YT prompts for New Year's Resolutions.

The World Ends With You
(the Michelle West novels - West) -- This one I churned out on my forty-minute flight from Detroit to Milwaukee on Christmas Eve afternoon, because I share the fandom with [personal profile] inkstone, the requestor, who totally knew it was me because there's about five of us in this fandom, total. XD I've read the other story written for this same prompt ("Indelible" by moontyger; it's good! you should read it!), and I think it's interesting how the two of us did completely different things with the exact same request. Ideally I would have reread the beginning of Hunter's Death before writing it, but c'est la vie. I did at least manage to echo some of West's diction from key scenes in other books. And I'm totally way too fond of the title.

2009: The year in fanworks )

I think it's time to make rugelach now.


starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)

March 2019



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