ariadnes_string: (Default)
[personal profile] ariadnes_string
Oh, I can’t resist!

I thought I had very few of these, but then I actually looked at the relevant folders. Oops! Mostly from long-abandoned fandoms, though. These are among the resuscitate-able, perhaps.


A bear lay in a clearing. It was quite a large bear, but ragged, even flea-bitten. It lay there for a long while, too exhausted to flick away the fly that landed on its nose.

Time passed. From the pines surrounding the clearing, a wolf emerged.

The bear held its breath. It reflected that if anyone could tell the difference between a real bear and a false bear, it would be a wolf. The bear felt woefully ill-equipped: no sword, no pistols, even its hands were sadly bound up in bear skin. It decided it would go out gallantly regardless, though it hated to think of Stephen finding its mangled corpse.


Abdul often reflected that Thomas Nightingale was exactly what one would expect from someone who had come of age at an English public school in the previous century; an expert and athletic lover, but emotionally restrained to the point of constipation the rest of the time. Abdul didn’t mind; he wasn’t much for overt displays of affection himself. On rare occasions, however, Thomas would give way to what Abdul’s father, with perfect proletarian contempt, would have called the sticky sentimentality of the upper classes. Abdul was probably the only person who ever saw these episodes, and, of course, he could never muster his father’s disapproval; they always went straight to his heart. Thomas appeared to be experiencing one of them now.


“Let’s go dancing,” Freddie said one evening as they sat dissecting the day in the BBC canteen.

“You dance?” Bel raised her eyebrows.

“Course I do.”

And he did. The local girls had seen to that before he'd even smoked his first cigarette, laughing and crashing around crowded front rooms, radio blasting. He’d been half a head shorter than the smallest of them, so he’d always been facing cleavage when he grasped them 'round the waist. Not that he minded.

What I’m Reading

The Angel of Losses, by Stephanie Feldman. Jewish-themed magical realism, I think. I’ve only read a bit of it so far, but it’s something I’m in the mood for.

What I’ve Just Finished

Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art, by Carl Hoffman. [from my Goodreads review] Extremely interesting and enjoyable. Kind of like what Serial would be if it were about cannibal tribes in New Guinea--which is to say, very interested in how hard it is to recover the truth about the past, especially across intercultural taboos against sharing secrets. It's the story of the investigator as much as the investigation, which usually drives me crazy, but I bought into it here and was very engaged by Hoffman's own story. Hoffman also raises some interesting questions about the export of primitive art as a form of extraction of resources.

The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters (audiobook). I got to the end of my binge-listening of Hardcore History’s WW1 podcasts, “Blueprint for Armageddon,” and so had no choice but to finish listening to this. [from my Goodreads review]: I wanted to like this so much more than I did. It's beautifully written (and gorgeously read by Juliet Stevenson in the audiobook), but I often felt more irked than entranced by it. I loved the historical details of the setting, and the way the characters were dealing with the aftermath of the war (and especially how those issues came back at the very end), but I think narratives about obsessive love just aren't my cup of tea. I loved The Little Stranger, and so was anxious to read this one; I should have remembered that The Little Stranger is the only Waters book I've ever managed more than a few pages of. I think part of Waters’ talent is for revising genre pieces. The Little Stranger is kind of a revision of The Turn of the Screw; The Paying Guests seems (in part) a revision of something like Dorothy Sayer’s Unnatural Death, but where the lesbians aren’t homicidal ice queens. A good idea, but still, the former worked better for me than the latter.

What I’m Reading Next

Oh goodness knows! I’m going to stop even including this question!

There are so many good movies around, but all I’ve managed to see is Paddington, which at least was totally adorable. Ben Whishaw’s vocal performance as the bear himself is ridiculously sweet, and the movie’s vision of London is a treat.

How ‘bout y’all?

Date: 2015-01-28 03:39 pm (UTC)
isis: (post captain)
From: [personal profile] isis
Is that first one Aubrey-Maturin?

(oh, hee, I just saw your tags, it must be! Yay! Consider this encouragement and a beta offer if you ever finish it.)

Date: 2015-01-30 03:27 pm (UTC)
isis: (post captain)
From: [personal profile] isis
The challenge runs every year at this time, you know, if it's the "Psychic Wolves for Lupercalia" - I've seen a number of people posting about it. So if you can finish it off in two weeks....

(or for next year! Or whenever!)

Date: 2015-01-30 11:53 pm (UTC)
isis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] isis is the information post; Lupercalia is February 13-15, but there's really no deadline, it sounds like - you can add it to the collection anytime, I think.

Date: 2015-01-28 03:47 pm (UTC)
garryowen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] garryowen
Oh, please, please finish WiP #1!

Guess what!!!!! I finally finished a fucking book that wasn't for work! Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose: Natural History in Early America. It was quite quick and easy. I read it in one day while sick. You might enjoy it because the main premise is the response to the degeneracy theory. I like that the author includes writers as well as scientists when discussing the matter.

I'm also listening to Wild Ones by Jon Mooallem, which is quite interesting so far. I also listened to a lecture series on Science and Religion by a Johns Hopkins History of Science prof. You'd probably enjoy both.

Glad to hear you enjoyed Paddington. I've had huge problems absorbing any media lately, but I might be able to handle a kids' movie.

Date: 2015-01-28 07:28 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Ooh, would be interested in hearing the final verdict on Angel of Losses. I saw her at a Philcon panel on Jewish fantasy and put her book on my list of things that seemed interesting.

Date: 2015-02-02 03:21 pm (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
It was a pretty good panel. Here's the panel description:

Jewish Folklore in Fantasy and Science Fiction
THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI is a recent example. William Tenn and Avram Davidson have written classic examples. Discuss how Jewish Folklore has been used in the genre.
Todd Dashoff (mod), Gil Cnaan, Berakha Lana Guggenheim, Hildy Silverman, Stephanie Feldman, Gary Ehrlich

The panel started off with a rant from Cnaan about how every fantasy TV show does the one Jewish episode with a Golem storyline, and they all botch it terribly. That was pretty much where the panel exhausted itself of Golems, which was a good plan. I find real Jewish Golem stories really compelling, but I agreed with the panelists that there's so much great fantasy and folklore in Jewish traditions that to limit it to just telling the Golem story over and over again is stupid.

They talked about how little good fantasy there is that uses Kabbalah, but Ted Chiang's Kabbalah story "72 Letters" was mentioned, along with Richard Dansky's "39th Labor of Reb Palache".

They talked about dybbuks, which of course led to Silverberg's classic "The Dybbuks of Mazel Tov IV" and then to a broader discussion of the anthology "Wandering Stars" it appears in.

People mentioned the deep Chasidish inspirations in Avram Davidson's fantasies. Someone mentioned the queer Jewish kingdom in Shira Glassman's novels. Chabon was mentioned. Benjamin Rosenbaum was mentioned.

And NOBODY MENTIONED WHY IS THERE NO JEWISH NARNIA and it was glorious. Because that shit is tired.

Date: 2015-01-28 07:55 pm (UTC)
darkrosaleen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkrosaleen
Aaah, Nightingale h/c! In addition to wanting Peter undone by river spirits, I also want Nightingale undone by anyone.

Date: 2015-01-29 12:17 am (UTC)
thirdbird: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thirdbird
OH GEE I want #1 and #2 so badly!!!

I have heard these good Paddington reviews! Maybe I'll go this weekend. I was a major Paddington fan as a very small bird, so I was worried it would desecrate my memories, but it sounds like not. Plus Ben Whishaw!

I'm actually going to read The Paying Guests next - my library hold finally came in - but I've been toying with Americanah for the past few days and also trying to finish The Code of the Woosters which is THOROUGHLY delightful.

Date: 2015-02-04 07:42 pm (UTC)
alba17: (Q)
From: [personal profile] alba17
The Hour!! *whimper* Those excerpts are all lovely, although I'm not familiar with the 1st two fandoms.

Oh no, you didn't like The Paying Guests that much? Man, I loved it. I thought it was amazing. I guess I do like tales of obsessive love. What irked you about it? Also, unlike you, I've loved all her books that I've read. Haven't read The Little Stranger yet.

I've heard of Hardcore History and I really want to try it out. This reminds me to do that.

Date: 2015-02-06 03:24 pm (UTC)
alba17: (Default)
From: [personal profile] alba17
Downloaded a bunch of the Hardcore History podcasts. Looks like it'll take me awhile to listen to them - they're so long! But looking forward to it. I've seen it recommended in various places.

Haha, The Paying Guests didn't seem drawn out at all to me. I can see why the ending might bother you, but I loved it.

Too bad The Hour had to end. :(


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