fic snippet: undercover

Oct. 24th, 2014 11:12 pm
cofax7: Three women: Leia, Starbuck, Zoe (Three Women -- Body)
[personal profile] cofax7
What it is, is obvious. If you pay attention to various casting decisions...

They weren't going to find a body )

Yeah, so I don't read the comics, and I don't really know the character, but c'mon, you know I had to tell that story.

Dear Yulewriter

Oct. 24th, 2014 04:58 pm
dira: Allison Argent, smiling delightedly (Allison - Smile)
[personal profile] dira
Dear Yulewriter!

Hi there! I am DELIGHTED that you love one of these things I love, and please by all means remember optional details are optional and write what makes you happy!

Some things I like, not necessarily all in the same story:
-Hurt/comfort, heavy on the comfort
-Porn (where appropriate & illustrative of character/relationship, NOT REQUIRED AT ALL!)
-Kink & kink negotiation (as above, NOT REQUIRED PLEASE DON'T BE ALARMED IF IT'S NOT YOUR THING!)
-Polyamory & poly negotiation
-Cuddles, blankets, etc.
-Family feels
-Characters being smart and perceptive

Tropes I love, if you see a way to fit them into the fandom/characters in the question: kidfic, deaged characters, amnesia, woke up married, pretend relationship, marriage of convenience/arranged marriage, BDSM AU. (Uh, looking at my requests, I really don't know how some of these would work, but, you know, if you have a brilliant/irresistible idea, run with it! :D)

If you need other tips on things I enjoy, feel free to hit up [personal profile] iulia (iuliamentis on twitter and tumblr) for advice; she knows what I like and is scarily good at keeping secrets from me.

My requests: Political Animals, The Goblin Emperor, The Martian, The Secret Garden, What's Your Number? RPF, Oxford Time Travel )

Whatever you're writing, thank you for it! I am excited to read what you come up with, and I'm delighted to know that you love something I love. Happy Yuletiding!

Shield vid rec

Oct. 23rd, 2014 02:02 pm
astridv: (skye)
[personal profile] astridv

«You and I see the world differently is all.»
«You and I aren't that different.»
umadoshi: (read fast (bisty_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
First off, and entirely unrelated to the rest of this post: I keep hearing good things about Jane the Virgin (new domestic show), despite its horrific title. Worth checking out, Y/N?

After vaguely guessing how many manga series I'm collecting these days, I decided to go through and actually tally them up. It's slightly more than I was thinking, although I have to add the caveat that some of them come out so infrequently that it's not surprising that I don't usually remember them all.

The lists here do not include the several series I've bought a few volumes of and then stopped buying until such time as I actually read the purchased volumes to see if I want to continue. I'd estimate there are at least five of those. Maybe more. (Probably more. Maybe ten?) And then there're the couple of series I've bought in their entirety but haven't started reading yet (Sailor Moon, Saiunkoku Monogatari)...

the main list(s) under the cut, with a couple of domestic titles )
umadoshi: (Newsflesh - appeal to the court (kasmir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Worth Waking Up For (4749 words) by umadoshi
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Newsflesh Trilogy - Mira Grant
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Georgia Mason/Shaun Mason
Characters: Georgia Mason, Shaun Mason
Additional Tags: POV First Person, Adopted Sibling Incest, Explicit Sexual Content, Pre-Canon, Canon Disabled Character, no series knowledge required


"Given some of the less-pleasant things you've dragged me out of bed for, I'm not gonna complain about you waking me up and begging for sex." I grinned. "Some things are worth losing sleep over."

The teasing resulted in George tackling me as hard as she could--which wasn't that hard, since I was already on my back. She landed half on top of me with her hands on my biceps, like she could keep me pinned.

I smiled up at her, knowing she'd take my amusement in stride. Long, hard-won experience said that if she'd been trying to seriously wrestle me she would've planted a knee in my gut, and George's knees and elbows are sharp. I appreciated the restraint, even though the odds were she'd only refrained because knocking the wind out of a guy doesn't tend to do much for the mood.

And lo, there was smut.

Set a few years before Feed.

Additional notes:
--Beta work by [personal profile] wildpear.
--Content note: Georgia and Shaun are around 20 in this, but it also refers back to some experimental rough sex in their late teens.

You can also read the fic under the cut )

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2014 01:38 pm
sixbeforelunch: spock, no text (trek - spock)
[personal profile] sixbeforelunch

Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island. Oh, and The Blue Castle. There is a lot of L.M. Montgomery in my life right now.

I do love the Anne series, though I wish that every once in a while, Anne would set her mind to something and fail. Generally her failures tend to be successes delayed at worst. It's all very nice, but there's an edge of just too practically perfect in every way that's getting on my nerves. Also, Gilbert is not interesting to me in the least. I mean, I guess if there must be a romantic interest, he's not actively awful, but their romance is the only dull part of the story.

The Blue Castle, OTOH, is just about perfect. I had minor quibbles with the ending, but not enough to keep it from becoming a favorite book.


Anne of Windy Poplars, and A London Child of the 1870s. The latter has some truly jarring moments of values dissonance, but despite the occasional moment of "Are you kidding me with this?", it's a lot of fun to read about what the author and her brothers get up to.

To Read

Um...How about a list of the books I just ordered?

Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden by Eleanor Perenyi
Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Boy Tales Of Childhood by Ronald Dahl
Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

(I went a little crazy this week.)
umadoshi: (hands full of books)
[personal profile] umadoshi
My pretty dream of getting fic posted before work today was, in retrospect, hilarious. (Instead, I was a good freelancer and put in some work on a script before heading to Casual Job.) And it's sure not getting done tonight, or tomorrow morning (tomorrow morning I'm due at the office around 9 AM, as opposed to today's 2 PM. In fact, I should already be in bed). But hopefully tomorrow evening. Yes.

(I realize this isn't a huge deal in general! *g* But [name redacted because I don't wanna spread other people's plans around]'s plans mean that getting it posted in the next few days would be convenient for them. So that's the goal.)

This morning I attempted to buy Maggie Stiefvater's Blue Lily, Lily Blue in the name of first-week sales and all, even though I haven't read the first two books of the Raven Cycle yet. As I mentioned to someone on Twitter, if this were the final book, I'd hold off until it's out in paperback so it'd match my copies of The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves, but it's the second-last book in the series, and I don't plan to take that long to start actually reading the books.

Alas, the key word in the previous paragraph is "attempted", because and Chapters/Indigo both claim that the book isn't available until November 1. >.< And when Bakka-Phoenix posted their list of releases for the week, it wasn't listed there. But it's out in the US, and even more confusingly, it's available at the Kobo store...which belongs to Chapters/Indigo. (I didn't bother checking Kindle.) I am very confused, and also grumpier than is justified, given that heaven only knows when I'll actually read the book anyway.

Publishing is WEIRD. But this is not news.

At any rate, I did order vol. 3 of Hawkeye (which reminds me that I still haven't read vol. 2) and Beware the Wild, which is a debut novel about which I've heard good things. It will go on the to-read...bookcase. >.>

(Somehow when I stopped buying nearly as many manga titles--I think I'm now at about seven or eight, including Evangelion, which has only one more volume--I switched to buying many more novels. Which isn't a bad thing, but also wasn't exactly intentional, since I've always been a heavy library user.)

Baby's first ultra!

Oct. 21st, 2014 05:32 pm
ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
[personal profile] ilanarama
I'd been toying with the idea of running an ultramarathon for some time, but it wasn't until this autumn that the stars finally aligned. I had signed up for this year's Durango Double because I really liked the new format and courses - not to mention that I had friends coming in from the midwest to run it, and it seemed awfully rude not to run it with them! But that would be the week before my usual fall half marathon, The Other Half (where I set my half PR last year). Then I discovered that the organization that puts on several well-regarded ultras in the Moab area was doing a new 50K/25K, the Dead Horse, on the day before The Other Half. In a burst of what probably seems like insane troll logic to anybody who isn't a competitive runner, I decided it would be easier to fun-run an ultra on the weekend after the two-day trail half/road half combo, than it would be to race a half, and signed up for the 50K.

race logo: Mexican-style skeleton rider on skeleton horse.

50K worth of words and pictures. Take your time. )

So, what's next? My husband admitted that he secretly hoped I would hate ultrarunning; he's not a fan of the amount of time I spend running, which certainly can add up. (He'd rather I got more into mountain biking, which we can do together - his knees are too worn out for running.) I am a better road runner than a trail runner, and I would like to keep chipping away at my half and full marathon PRs for as long as I can. But - I really enjoyed this run. I kind of want to train hard and run it next year as a goal race, and see if I could come in under 5:30. I am also contemplating the other area ultras, of which there are quite a few, 50K and 50 milers; I have promised Britt I don't aspire to a 100-miler. (Which, I really don't, because sleep deprivation.)

But, as Ned Stark said, Winter Is Coming. I might run our local 5-mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but other than that, I'm looking forward to ski season - I just bought new skis! Except...the Boston Marathon Is Coming, too, in mid-April. I guess I'd better start training...

(PS: No horses were harmed in the writing of this report.)

Odds and ends

Oct. 21st, 2014 01:48 am
umadoshi: (Newsflesh - appeal to the court (kasmir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
--I keep basically forgetting that I have a fic that's been ready for posting for over a week now. >.> I'll try to get that posted before heading to work tomorrow. La?

--Here's a photo [ profile] ginnikin took of me and Jinksy!Bear being snuggly while she was visiting. ^_^

--Successful Adulting of the day: went to a dentist's appointment and got a flu shot. (Downside: these combined to take up more time than expected, so I got nowhere near as much rewriting done today as I needed to.)

--Tonight was my last "regular" Monday workday at Casual Job for...let's say "the foreseeable future". Possibly ever, although "regular" is undoubtedly the operative word there, since there are still several circumstances that can/will bring us back in for some Mondays here and there. But maybe those as-yet-distant Mondays will involve starting our workday before 7 PM. That'd be nice.

--Reading people's Yuletide letters is awesome. *^^* (And my gosh, if In the Flesh were my zombie fandom rather than Newsflesh, there would be SO MANY OPTIONS for writing treats for people. o_o)

--I'm more acutely aware of being behind on all of my shows than I am of being "behind" on my reading (which isn't measurable in the same way), but I'm much itchier to sit down and read a book than I am to sit down and catch up on All The Television.

--My wallet would very much like Casual Job to continue for another couple of weeks, at least, but the rest of me is ready to be done. Which is a bit sad, because as Casual Job stints go, this one's been pretty easy overall. And I know I'm nowhere near the level of burnout I hit sometimes, which theoretically Should Mean I'm Fine, you know? But my deadlines are frazzling me. *sighs* (Note: I have no idea how much longer this is going to last. Because...we never know. ^^;)

--Sarah Rees Brennan has created a master post for The Turn of the Story, including ordered links to each chapter, info on how it came about, and links to extra bits of writing or explanation. Oh, and a bonus story!

SHIELD fic rec

Oct. 18th, 2014 10:06 am
astridv: (skye)
[personal profile] astridv
Traffic Jam by [ profile] bassair
Skyeward; humor; 1546 words
Summary: Skye and Ward get stuck in traffic.
cofax7: Green frog says hi (Frog - HI!)
[personal profile] cofax7
But I just spent three hours fighting with Wordpress and I think I need some scotch...

Holy crap, this might be the most epic MeFi post ever--and it's about Homestuck. [personal profile] serrana should be pleased.

The New Yorker takes a look at the copyright question.

Mandatory link to The Toast: this one is female characters who should have had abortions. So brilliant. Especially the Katniss bit in the comments: "No buns in this oven, thank you very much!" Heh.

Note for self: figure out this POODLE thing.

This book looks awesome.

Much of my readership is going to dislike Vox's The Case Against Owning Cats.

Noted for later: Meghan O'Rourke on the screwed-up relationship between doctors and patients. Medicine today values intervention far more than it values care.

Pretty sure that this is the weirdest damn thing you will see all week. Not quite Roy Orbison in clingfilm, but... (scroll down)


As an aside, I really really hate that if you plug lat/long coordinates into Google Maps, it gives you the nearest spot on a road. No, I don't want Interstate 84, Google! I want the spot on that stupid island in the middle of the river! Argh.

Which means I will have to fire up ArcGIS on Monday and see if I can find my project site that way instead...


This is a really excellent article about the GamerGate fiasco and how it's shooting itself in the foot. (in addition, of course, to doing untold damage to its victims).

True tragedy, he wrote, lay not in good against evil, but good against good. -- Katherine Cross, quoting political philosopher Isaiah Berlin.

October 17, 1994

Oct. 17th, 2014 09:38 am
georgmi: Jessica Rabbit heart pin (lurve)
[personal profile] georgmi
In 1989, I screwed up my first real adult-type relationship pretty badly. I had no idea of the complex raft of emotions I was going to experience. I was overwhelmed, and I ran away. Worse, I disappeared without a word of explanation to the other person, who thus had no idea what had happened and no way to find out. I wrecked that friendship forever.

One of the people I lost touch with... )
umadoshi: (tea - mug with heart (iconriot))
[personal profile] umadoshi
No work tomorrow! Or no work at Casual Job, anyway; I'm in dire need of getting some rewriting done, so that needs to take up a largish chunk of my time tomorrow.

But freelancing aside, my daytime plans for tomorrow involve sleeping in a bit and finally breaking in the bundt pan I bought, uh, two or three years ago (after yearning after it for a long time).

One of the unquestionable high points of today was moments after my alarm went off at 9:30. I turned it off, processed that it was Thursday, and automatically turned on the 7:15 Friday-during-Casual-Job alarm. And then I processed the whole "no work tomorrow" thing and got to turn the alarm off.

There's been a bit of a shakeup at Casual Job--externally, not in our actual office--and while this is going to result in a variety of changes, the one that's going to make a noticeable difference for me personally is that, after next week, I won't be working Mondays anymore (except under a few specific circumstances, and I don't know what that'll translate to in practice). This sounds awfully good to me, since Mondays traditionally have meant a shortish shift that starts frustratingly late (7-11 PM or so would be a typical shift), and trading that for a reasonably regular three consecutive days off when Casual Job is happening will relieve a noticeable amount of the pressure of doing both it and freelance work. Given my impending deadlines (none this coming week, but two the week after), I kinda wish the changes were kicking in immediately--although since this coming Monday I don't start work until--wait for it--7 PM, at least I'll still have the whole actual day to get some adapting done. It'll just mean going to work afterwards instead of having some fairly-earned downtime in the evening.

I keep re-realizing that Casual Job's early start date this fall almost certainly means I'll be back to just working from home for most of November and all of December. And I have to admit, I like the sounds of that a lot. I think [ profile] ushobwri is going to switch to daily check-ins in November, following in the footsteps of [ profile] wrisomifu, so I have hopes of getting some substantial writing done. And having ALL OF DECEMBER means feeling the potential to mark Christmas properly--or at least a bit more so than I have in recent years. Casual Job hasn't gone far into December all that often, but working until December 10 or thereabouts makes it impossible to manage a St. Nicholas Day party (which I did for several years; I don't know that I'll have one this year, but I could), and makes the holiday season in general feel crunched. So I'm pleased.

Speaking of November and writing, I'm not currently part of [ profile] mini_wrimo (I'm thinking about it, despite already being contentedly involved at [ profile] ushobwri), but I've seen a few people on my flists mention that it's open for sign-ups this month, and also that the comm. is currently having a poll to gauge interest in possibly crossposting the comm. to Dreamwidth in some way.

This week Flight Rising had one of its sporadic open-registration windows, and I finally caved and signed up. Feel free to add me over there if you like! I'm still very much learning the ropes, and between Ginny's visit and Casual Job, the learning is going slowly. Mostly I've just been noodling around and poking buttons when called for, but tonight I did venture over to the Coliseum and try to figure out the fighting thing. (It went Very Poorly Indeed. Back to the FAQs or wikia page[s] or something, I guess!)

I haven't watched a single episode of anything in over a week, so my backlog of episodes from current shows has hit the point of being kinda scary. :/ I want rather badly to spend a day or two just curled up on the couch with tea and a few books and some TV, but that's not happening anytime soon.
ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
[personal profile] ilanarama
This year's Durango Double was vastly changed from the races I ran in 2012 (Saturday trail 25K, Sunday road half marathon), with a new race director (Brendan Trimboli, a local ultratalented ultrarunner), a new distance for the trail race (13.1 rather than 25K), and only a single distance option for each day. The courses, too, had been changed - for the better, in my opinion, as the trail race made a big loop over two ridges with instead of being a lollipop, and the road race finished generally downhill rather than uphill.

I knew I was not quite in the shape I'd been in two years ago, but hoped to have a good showing. I was also excited about two friends from the Midwest who I only knew via the Runner's World Online forums (and Facebook) coming to run the races with me. I'd posted a photo of one of our hikes on Facebook, and Katie, who runs a lot of ultras, commented that she needed to come out and visit Colorado sometime. The conversation then went something like this:

Ilana: Come out and visit me, yes! We can go running!
Katie: I don't know - I'm traveling to a lot of races this fall...
Ilana: The Durango Double is a trail half marathon on October 11th and a road half marathon on October 12th.
[two minutes pass]
Katie: Okay, I've registered.

She and her boyfriend Thom flew out on Thursday, bringing the rain with them. In fact it rained a lot on Friday, too, leaving me a bit worried about Saturday's trail race. The race director had already announced that due to severe erosion on part of the course caused by the flooding we'd had in late September, the trail course would be reversed (which turned out to be a good decision), but I was concerned about mud. (As readers of this journal know, I HATE MUD.)

Fortunately, things dried out overnight and in the morning - the race started at the relatively late hour of 9am - and when the metaphorical gun went off and we hit the trail, there were only a few damp patches. We cruised up the fairly flat trail along the river, cut across the road, and went up Horse Gulch, which had been rearranged by the recent flooding into a rocky mess. Still, going uphill was slow and therefore not too difficult.

Picture from Trails 2000's photo set just after the flood.

Racers near the top of Horse Gulch

I typically get into these trails from a different access point and so don't usually go up or down the Horse Gulch road, but once we turned up onto the Rocky Road trail, we were on familiar territory - but steep territory. The climb from the bottom of Horse Gulch to the high point of Raider Ridge is 870 feet in 2.6 miles, and I was not speedy, averaging 13:35 pace. I got moving a little faster along the top of the ridge, and then bombed down Flame Out back to Horse Gulch.

View from the top of Raider Ridge, taken with my crappy old cell phone on a training run last summer.

Then it was time to cross onto the Meadow Loop trail, which at this point is uphill but not particularly steep, and take it to the Telegraph Trail which is both uphill and steep. My pace, which had gotten back into 10-minute range, started slowing again. My only consolation was that the trail was in the shade of the hill, and as the day had already warmed significantly this was very welcome. (I was wearing a singlet and shorts, but there were quite a few people in tights and long sleeves. In fact, one woman wore not only tights and long sleeves but a jacket and wool hat, and to my surprise and dismay I could not catch her! I have no idea how she managed to run without spontaneously combusting!)

Why it's called Telegraph Trail.

In the 2012 Double's 25K, when we reached the top of Telegraph we went down the other side, down the Carbon Junction trail. We'd be doing that this year - eventually. But first, we had to climb to Patusky Point. This evil little side-trip is basically straight up a tilted rock slab, then back down; not only is it unrunnable unless you're Dakota Jones (a local elite ultrarunner, who won by an entirely ridiculous fourteen minutes), you pretty much want to be on belay the whole time. I scrambled up, went around the tree that marked the turn-around under the watchful eye of the course marshal, and then ran gingerly down. (Most people around me were walking down, so I made up a few places here, but they all passed me later.)

patusky hikers
The white rock slab to Patusky Point. The red circle shows where two people are going up.

Seriously: 170 feet in 0.15 miles, something like 40% grade. My ascent averaged 30 minute pace, but I descended at a blistering 16:42.

That got me to the 8 mile point of the course. Then it was downhill more or less all the way to the finish, which actually was pretty much 13.1 by my Garmin; I only managed about 10:45-11 minute pace here because of the terrain and my fatigue, and I was passed by a lot of people, only managing to pick off a few. I finished in 2:32:39, second in my age group (50-59) out of nineteen, but 16 minutes behind the winner who is seven years older than me, wow. I was 73/197 out of all runners. My average pace by Garmin was 11:50, nearly two minutes slower than in 2012, though this was a slightly harder course.

The next morning it was time to do it all over again, this time on the roads - or rather, on the paved rec trail along the Animas River. I was definitely hurting, particularly in my left hip (which had been bothering me since early in the week) and in my right hamstring (compensation?), but I remembered from my previous double that I had loosened up over the first few miles, and sure enough, this happened again and my run was mostly pain-free.

(Unlike for the trail course, I don't have any photos from the river path other than a few shots taken during a snowy winter. I'm hoping eventually the official photos get posted - right now there are only a few for the trail race, one of which is above, and a single picture for the road race. When they are, I will add some to this report!)

The course started with a short climb out of the parking lot and then a gentle descent down a closed road to a trail cut-off that took us to the river path at mile 2. Then it was generally uphill to just past 7, then generally downhill as we looped back through a neighborhood and rejoined the path.

My first two miles were 8:13 and 8:15 pace, but I must have placed myself poorly at the start because a lot of people passed me during this period. My third mile was my second slowest at 8:28 due to substantial uphill, but I passed a few people here, and kept passing people through the rest of the course. In fact nobody passed me after the second mile, other than one woman who zoomed past me in mile 6, then a few hundred yards later turned and ran back, and I realized she wasn't wearing a bib and thus was not in the race.

In contrast to the sunshine we'd had on Saturday, the sky was cloudy, which was awesome for me. I stayed mostly at around 8:20 pace, entirely limited by my legs; my heart rate was in my marathon zone rather than my half-marathon zone, which supports the theory of running the long run after a harder run the day before, to mimic the end of the marathon. (Also, it makes me wonder whether this run implies I'm in about 3:40 marathon shape...)

I felt pretty good coming down the trail in the last miles. I'd passed a good dozen people, and was feeling comfortable, though tired. When I passed the mile 12 marker, though, I started getting nervous. The first several mile markers had appeared well before I was expecting them, and then the mile 4 marker showed up just as my watch buzzed - perfect. After that, as is typical due to imperfect tangents, the mile markers were just a tiny bit late, but not enough to worry about.

But I know this path well, and so when I passed the mile 12 mark I knew that Animas Surgical Hospital, the start/finish staging area, was less than a mile off. Maybe we'd have to run uphill and around the building, which would not be a fun ending. But as soon as I crossed the bridge over the river, I could see the finish just to the right, and I crossed the line at 1:45:31, with 12.74 miles on my Garmin.

Despite the short course, I was pleased with my performance, as based on my average pace of 8:18 I would have finished a complete half in about 1:48:45. I came in 41st of 194 participants, a much better placement than my 73/197 for the trail race, which just goes to show what a lousy trail runner I am. Again, I came in second in AG (behind the same woman, argh, but at least not by as far as in the trail race!) out of 25 runners.

Instead of medals, finishers were given stainless steel logo cups - and those who did two races got one for each. (And we got to fill them with Ska beer afterward!) "Doublers" also received a cute logo hat:

doubler swag

There were 89 people who did both races, and interestingly more women (52) than men (37). I was 15th among the women doublers as measured by total combined time, and 32nd overall.

Whew! Now it's time to rest up...until this weekend's ultra!
vi: (yotsuba sunflowers)
[personal profile] vi

My friend [personal profile] zorana  is looking for fans of colour to interview for her PhD - it's an interesting project, and more information is at the link!

She sez:

I'm basically trying to record non-white experiences of fandom and hoping to show that there's a whole range of ways in which people deal with these highly flawed texts that we love, as well as how that's reflected in fan work and fandom communities. I want to show that we've always been here, whether as lurkers, creators, beta-readers or what have you. That there is no one way or "right way" to approach issues of race in fandom but it is and always has been something that impacts our experiences in a whole host of ways.

wednesday reading

Oct. 15th, 2014 06:16 pm
cofax7: Chris from Northern Exposure (NE - Chris in the Morning -- Snacky)
[personal profile] cofax7
Just finished: Lock In by John Scalzi. I really wanted to like this, and there were things I liked: the importance of federal politics, the care paid to gender issues, that the Hadens were taking action on their own behalf, the understated way it's made clear the protagonist is black or biracial, the partner's backstory, the group house.

But it's Scalzi, and that meant the same issues I seem to always have with Scalzi. The characters are mostly pretty thin, scenes are briefly sketched with no density, there's no sense of place, and everyone sounds pretty much the same. And I really disliked the fact that I knew little more about the narrator by the end of the novel than I did at the beginning: why go to the FBI? What was college like as a Haden? I knew more about Chris' partner at the end of the book than I did about Chris, which is kind of weird.

I dunno. If you like Scalzi, you'll like this one. I think he put a lot of thought into the politics and the implications of the technology, and that's great; but he's weak on character and weak on scene setting, and I am in no way surprised that so much of his work has been optioned by Hollywood.

After that, over the weekend, I read a new novel by Sherwood Smith ([personal profile] sartorias), called Rondo Allegro, which I enjoyed rather more than the Scalzi. This is a dramatic adventure novel for fans of Patrick O'Brien and Jane Austen. It is a coming-of-age story, a romance, a story about the Battle of Trafalgar, a story about the early days of Bonaparte's reign in Paris, a story about a struggling opera company, a story about a singer who is good but not great, and a story about a complicated extended family on an estate in Yorkshire. It's really very enjoyable indeed, and it's only $4.99 on Amazon.

And now I'm going to buy Sherwood's Danse de la Folie, which sounds equally charming.

Currently reading: Erm. I... don't actually have anything under way. So weird.

Up next: Well, possibly the Sherwood Smith novel noted above, or Edna Ferber's So Big for book club, or maybe one of the many books I just removed from the garage and stacked in my newly-repainted bookshelf.


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