enjoy everything, run run run, Yotsuba runs

“Of sky and water, and the drift of foam, / And thrill of brine-washed breezes from the west”

Wednesday reading:

Read aloud:

Hilda and the Mountain King, story and art Luke Pearson -- Library hold finally came through and we immediately zoomed through the second half of the story started in Hilda and the Stone Forest. Satisfying and well done. As soon as we finished, Eaglet started drawing fan art. (And complaining about still no season two of the Netflix adaptation.)

Monkey King, adaptation Wei Dongchen, art Chao Peng, volumes 15-17 -- We're getting closer to the West, yays. Content warning for v17: rear female nudity when the spider-monster fairies take an outdoor bath and are attacked by a pervy Pigsy. v16 also had mature moments that Eaglet didn't have context to understand. The adventure continues.

Dragon Masters books 13-14, Tracey West -- And that catches us up with the series until the next book is published in March. Not brilliant high fantasy, but there's not much wrong with it and there are FAR worse introductions to the genre and its tropes.

I Am Hermes!, story and art Modicai Gerstein -- Excellent at bringing out the trickster aspects of Hermes. The characterization of Maia, his mother, sends Eaglet into giggle-fits.

In progress:

Emperor's Domination (帝霸), Yanbi Xiaosheng (厌笔萧生, "loathe writing miserable life," which has a nice four-word cadence) -- A lot of mixed feelings about this xuanhuan adventure about a former immortal being who has finally, after plotting this for over a million years, incarnated as a human again. On the one hand, the good-naturedly arrogant trickster protagonist is quite appealing, at least until he powers up and stops having to trick his opponents in fights and just curb-stomps. It helps that the author is wonderfully inventive, with a gift for comic worldbuilding. On the other hand, while there are a greater variety of rounded female characters than typical for the genre, the protagonist's attitude towards them is … problematic. Even for a boss as generous as him, I'd expect more to leave him over the constant suggestive comments. Am up to chapter 453, and will continue on for now, but without the enthusiasm of the first 200.


Subject quote from Sea Witchery, Richard Burton.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/741093.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
La!, celebration, frivolity, joy, dancing

“always go out of your way to be kind to a noodle, and some day it may come back buttered”

For Poetry Monday:

An Attempt at Unrhymed Verse, Wendy Cope

People tell you all the time,
Poems do not have to rhyme.
It's often better if they don't
And I'm determined this one won't.

Oh dear.

Never mind, I'll start again.
Busy, busy with my pen...cil.
I can do it if I try--
Easy, peasy, pudding and gherkins.

Writing verse is so much fun,
Cheering as the summer weather,
Makes you feel alert and bright,
'Specially when you get it more or
less the way you want it.


Subject quote from Noodles, unsigned column in The Akron Beacon Journal, 13 June 1927.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/740846.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
enjoy everything, run run run, Yotsuba runs

TusCon 2019

A little late, but here’s my schedule for TusCon 46 this weekend. Say Hi if you see me. Suggestions welcome for "SFF for Early Readers" (ignore the description -- we’re going to talk about genre books for K-2nd graders, training convention goers be damned).

Sa 12-1 pm - Just Finish the Damned Thing! The Importance of Completing that First Draft
Did I say starting is the hardest part? Lies. You gotta finish. Drive through to the end. Wrap it all up. Put a bow on it. Get it to the point where your editor can tell you everything you did wrong. That’s the hard part.
Cameron D Blackwell, KJ Kabza, Larry Hammer, Linda D Addison, Paul Clinco

Sa 1-2 pm - Autograph Session
Come get autographs from your favorite folks. Some are even probably selling stuff.
Frankie Robertson, Jennifer Roberson, Larry Hammer, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, K.S. Merbeth

Su 9-10 am - SFF for Early Readers
9:00 am - 10:00 am
What’s out there for the kids? How do we make the next generation of convention goers?
Dania Wright, Jill Knowles, Larry Hammer, Janni Lee Simner


Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/740391.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
enjoy everything, run run run, Yotsuba runs

“waterside saloons / And the pubs with punk pianos grinding out their last year’s tunes”

Sometimes there’s slantwise links between my links, and sometimes they’re just random:

Homeric limericks by Emily Wilson, translator of the Odyssey. (via)
There was a young man called Telemachus
who was bullied and in a dilemma ’cause
he missed his lost dad
and his mom made him mad
and he almost got killed by Eurymachus.

The Size of Space. (via)

Superhero whose secret identity is just staggeringly obvious, and everybody “knows”, but in spite of countless people’s best efforts, nobody can actually prove it. (via)


Subject quote from The Three Ships, C. Fox Smith.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/740219.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
La!, celebration, frivolity, joy, dancing

“you’ve got to put down the duckie / if you want to play the saxophone”

Q: Why did the chicken cross the playground?

A: (rot13) Gb trg gb gur bgure fyvqr.

(Learned from one of Eaglet's classmates, so you know it's prime first-grade humor here. This makes makes more sense than the original, but since the original point is the absurdism, more sense is an irrelevant metric.)


Subject quote from Put Down the Duckie, Chris Cerf and Norman Stiles.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/739968.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

“On the hems of earth and the skirts of air / Winds hurl me to and fro”

For Poetry Monday, another McKay, okay? -- 'kay:

Subway Wind, Claude McKay

Far down, down through the city’s great gaunt gut
    The gray train rushing bears the weary wind;
In the packed cars the fans the crowd’s breath cut,
    Leaving the sick and heavy air behind.
And pale-cheeked children seek the upper door
    To give their summer jackets to the breeze;
Their laugh is swallowed in the deafening roar
    Of captive wind that moans for fields and seas;
Seas cooling warm where native schooners drift
    Through sleepy waters, while gulls wheel and sweep,
Waiting for windy waves the keels to lift
    Lightly among the islands of the deep;
Islands of lofty palm trees blooming white
    That led their perfume to the tropic sea,
Where fields lie idle in the dew-drenched night,
    And the Trades float above them fresh and free.


Subject quote from The Ballad of Dead Men's Bay, Algernon Swinburne.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/739617.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
enjoy everything, run run run, Yotsuba runs

“Ashore on liberty he flashed in escapade, / Vaulting over life in its levelness of grade”

Yuletide 2019 is upon us, and even though I've barely scratched most of the 2018 archive, I should at least rec those fics I did especially enjoy. The bounty of last year's yulepoems deserves highlighting, so I've sectioned those off.

Prose fics:

Always Coming Home: Three Tellings About Dead Things in the Earth by [archiveofourown.org profile] melannen -- Three texts about the Kesh, ostensibly disconnected but really deeply so -- one of them a sequel story by Stone Telling. Matches Le Guin's manner and theme so very well. The moment you realize what's going on with the play is glorious. Canon knowledge essential.

Earthsea: the leaning grasses and two lights above the sea by [archiveofourown.org profile] Toft -- Seserakh visits Ged & Tenar post-canon. Canon knowledge (all five novels) required.

Spirited Away: The Rock and The River by [archiveofourown.org profile] Pi (Rhea) -- Wonderful post-canon novella about Chihiro's sideways return to the spirit world(s) as a young adult. It does include reuniting with Haku but, really, the highlight is her learning how to run a bar. Canon knowledge helpful.

Three Circle of Magic fics that delighted me -- canon knowledge (through Will of the Empress) required for all:
Epic of Gilgamesh: Battle Lines by [archiveofourown.org profile] petrichoral -- space opera AU: "Gilgamesh, legendary space general and ruler of Uruk Prime, has an unexpected encounter with a pirate." Canon knowledge of the basic story of the meeting of Gilgamesh and Enkidu helpful.

Beowulf: Scildend by [archiveofourown.org profile] kalirush -- Wiglaf, long after. (Reminder: the dude who helped Beowulf kill the dragon.) As in centuries after, and the dragon's mate finally catches up with him. Canon knowledge helpful.

The Murderbot Diaries: Down Time by [archiveofourown.org profile] Measured_Words -- Murderbot watches media with Dr. Mensah's Daughter and tries not to think about its situation. This doesn't work. Canon knowledge (all four novellas) required.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Nat Geo by [archiveofourown.org profile] neveralarch -- In which Squirrel Girl & Kraven go on a date where Doreen gets to geek out over meeting her favorite wildlife photographers. Kraven's formal attire suit is just as bad as you hope it will be. Canon knowledge of characters helpful.

Poetry fics:

Much Ado About Nothing: Sprezzatura by [archiveofourown.org profile] Queue -- A dramatic monologue with Shakespearean wit and Browningesque blank verse: Beatrice loquetur at the start of the play upon her past with Benedick. Canon knowledge required.
Oh, Dio mio. Benedick. I am
not ready. I need shelter. No: a sword.
I need a mask. I—no: to fight. To run.
To dance. To fly at him. To find the best
and sharpest words to cut him to the quick.

Pied Piper of Hamlin: Lament for the Children of Hamelin by [archiveofourown.org profile] kutsushita -- What it says on the tin. Knowledge of the Pied Piper legend required.
Our children left us, so they say,
One hundred years ago today,
But none remember why or how
Among those who are living now.

I'm also going to rec again two of my gifts:

The Tay Bridge Disaster: Seven Views of the Tay Bridge Disaster by [archiveofourown.org profile] winterhill -- McGonagall's poem rewritten as if by a contemporary poet, with a kicker ending. Canon knowledge required but really quick to get.
There’s something not right with the Bridge at the Tay —
there’s bits of it strewn on the silt beneath.
But there’s more than that — I’ve heard that the train
was ablaze when it fell — that the wind was alive —
that there were only forty six bodies —
only forty six, on a loaded train. I ask you.

Hell Gate: The Gate Of Hell, Or, On The Redemption Of Souls by [archiveofourown.org profile] molybdomantic -- Housman's poem rewritten as if by William McGonagall. I'll let that glorious disconnect of substance and style sink in a moment. Knowledge of both canons required, and both quick to get.
Although the walls could not quite be seen
Beneath their dusky screen
Yet a man could just be spied
Marching up and down the ramparts wide
And he was visible because he was on fire

If there are others you think I'd like, please point me towards them!


Subject quote from Jack Roy, Herman Melville.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/739441.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
origami penguin

Yuletide Letter 2019

(Context: Yuletide is an annual fanfiction gift exchange for fandoms with relatively few fics, notable for its large number of participants and the high average quality of stories. I'm participating again this year, once again focusing on public domain fandoms.)

Dear Yulemouse,

Thank you for offering to write in at least one of these fandoms. They are awesome, and you are too. I can only hope you enjoy writing a story as much as I will reading it -- for certainly, there will be squees ringing off the mountains when it arrives given, yanno, it's in a fandom I want yet so rarely find.

The best way you can please me is to have fun. Wit, sex, dramatic irony, and cracktasticly silly rom-com are all possibilities, but go with whatever floats your boats. Gen, het, slash (including femslash), multi, and poly are all great, as clean or smutty as you want. As a partial guide to the sort of things I like, my stories from past Yuletides are as good as anything. Turn-offs (Do Not Want!) are humiliation-based humor, sadism, and explicit torture (plus a couple specific to a couple canons detailed below). Find something and make it your own, the thing you love writing, and it's easy odds I'll like it.

And to make it explicit: poetry gleefully accepted -- I mean, these fandoms are all poems -- but not required.

The rest of this are basically expansions on my Optional Details Are Optional, with notes on resources.

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Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/739147.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
astronomy, enceladus is sexy, cassini

“take your protein pills and put your helmet on / commencing countdown, engines on”

An erratic Wednesday reading post:

Read aloud:

Ocean Renegades!, story and art Abby Howard -- Volume 2 of a series, covering the evolution of life before dinosaurs, visited by a "science magic" time machine that has mysteriously moved from a paleontologist's recycling bin to a trash can at an aquarium. Very detailed and fun, and I learned a lot myself. Being able to connect several animals to ones seen in Ponyo helped Eaglet, but it's dense enough they don't want to read it again (at least for now).

Monkey King volumes 12-14, adaptation Wei Dongchen, art Chao Peng -- Eaglet finds the volume with canonical m-preg (Sanzang and Pigsy) hilarious, despite grumpiness at Sanzang's claim that men can't get pregnant ("Some men can!") and that episode has been reread (and recreated in play) a few times. The volume that opens with a dream and a time-skip was … confusing.

Dragon Masters books 5-12, Tracy West -- Yeah, we kinda binged when we found out there were more volumes, most of them ending with cliffhangers. Thank you, public library. We need volume 13 because cliffhanger -- and yes, it's already on hold.

Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild and For Whom the Ball Rolls, story and art Dav Pilkey -- Which catches us up to date with the series. I still think A Tale of Two Kitties is the best, but the latest does a good job of putting an existential issue in concrete kid-level terms.

DC Super Hero Girls: Spaced Out, story Shea Fontana, art Agnes Garbowska -- On the one hand, it's yet another iteration of New Green Lantern Jessica Cruz Needs to Grow Her Confidence; on the other, her woobie-ness isn't dwelled upon long, and we get a nice focus on Supergirl's past and character. A solid but not outstanding entry in the series.

In progress:

Godly Empress Doctor (神医凰后), Su Xiao Nuan (苏小暖, which I read as "under-warmed basil" lol) -- Xuanhuan romance. Yes, it's a kitchen-sink of stock characters and standard tropes, but instead of yet another revenge-fantasy, the author uses them for comedy gold, especially in the first 150 chapters. Very much making sure coincidences do NOT favor the protagonist, especially when it's more funny to cross her. Caught up with the old translation at chapter 278 (a new, licensed translation is up to around chapter 140-odd, last I checked, but should catch up soon).

Chaotic Sword God, Xinxing Xiaoyao -- There's nothing here but a ridiculous adventure story, with no psychological or moral depth, but it's less offensive on most axes than the average xuanhuan, so it's been my default brainless entertainment for a while. Up to chapter 715.

Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, ed. Victor Mair -- Still working through this unsystematically, but having a blast in the prose sections, including generous selections from genres I've had little exposure to from smaller anthologies. Joke books, vernacular (as opposed to classical) language short stories, and so on. Worth getting, this thing.

Plus keeping current on a couple webnovel translations.


Some Fruits of Solitude, William Penn -- A collection of maxims about the conduct of a good life, arranged into something of a continuous argument. It has the pithiness needed for the genre, but with a decidedly Quaker bent. Not indicated in the text itself: the solitude was during one of his imprisonments for religious controversy.


Enchantress Amongst Alchemists: Ghost King’s Wife (絕色丹藥師:鬼王妖妃), Xiao Qiye (萧七爷, "miserable seventh elder") -- Xuanhuan romance with transmigrated protagonist that made me increasingly queasy with its growing preoccupation with sexual violence and sexualized violence. Chucked this otherwise typical revenge-fantasy fodder a little after chapter 200, which was way too late.

Empress of Forever, Max Gladwell -- I was enjoying it, but very slowly, and if I haven't managed to read 10 chapters when it comes due at the library, it's time to admit it ain't happening at this time.


Subject quote from Space Oddity, David Bowie.

Originally posted at
https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/738853.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.