This was the big one, the über-ambitious one, the „I want to write the ULTIMATE Penny Dreadful story" one.

To establish background: like many another watcher, the Penny Dreadful season 3 and show finale left me dissatisfied with our heroine’s fate. However, in my case fannish ire was strangely missing because I immediately saw it as a great set up for what would surely work as the perfect finale, pulling the various themes, dynamics and pot threads the show had established together. Seriously, my immediate reaction to watching was to check when we’d get season 4, because I was so absolutely sure this was the set up, not the pay off. When I found out this was indeed meant as the series finale, I knew I had to write what was in my head, but not at once. I knew it had to be a Yuletide story, and one that while using what I thought Vanessa should do next (yes, next; bless genre shows and their possibilities re: a certain state) as its central arc still also worked as an ensemble story, bring the remaining regulars (with two exceptions, I’ll get to this in a moment) together for a common goal while also exploring their shifting dynamics. Oh, and of course, this being meant as a finale story, it would have to pay homage to the show’s past and gone characters as well.
Now, since the show had established an Egyptian connection from the pilot onwards and had thankfully sent Ferdinand Lyle there in s3, the answer to how to pull all this off to me obvious from the start: use both Egyptian mythology and an Egyptian adventure setting. My one fannish regret was that I couldn’t include Lily, but there was just no way this could have been done without going off into a different story which would have to be about Ethan finding out what happened re: Brona. The other surviving Penny Dreadful regular who’d been there from the start but isn’t in my story is Dorian Grey, but a) he wasn’t needed in any way, b) the ending the show had given him was perfect, down to the, ahem, framing, and c) he’s my unfavourite.

Below you’ll find the result of these ponderings. And I am really proud of it.

Falling Towards Apotheosis (18025 words) by Selena
Chapters: 13/13
Fandom: Penny Dreadful (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Vanessa Ives/Sir Malcolm Murray, Ethan Chandler/Vanessa Ives, Vanessa Ives & Joan Clayton, Mina Harker/Vanessa Ives, Vanessa Ives & Claire Ives, Vanessa Ives & Peter Murray, Caliban & Vanessa Ives, Madame Kali | Evelyn Poole/Sir Malcolm Murray, Ferdinand Lyle & Sir Malcolm Murray, Ethan Chandler & Sir Malcolm Murray, Sir Malcolm Murray & Victor Frankenstein, Ethan Chandler/Hecate Poole, Vanessa Ives/Alexander Sweet | Dracula, Catriona Hartdegen & Sir Malcolm Murray, Sir Malcolm Murray & Dr. Florence Seward
Characters: Vanessa Ives, Sir Malcolm Murray, Ferdinand Lyle, Ethan Chandler, Victor Frankenstein, Caliban | John Clare, Madame Kali | Evelyn Poole, Hecate Poole, Alexander Sweet | Dracula, Catriona Hartdegen, Dr. Florence Seward, Joan Clayton, Claire Ives, Mina Murray, Peter Murray, Kaetenay (Penny Dreadful), Jeanne d'Arc | Joan of Arc, Sir Geoffrey Hawkes
Additional Tags: Epic, Post-Canon, Dysfunctional Family, Team as Family, Friendship/Love, Ancient Egyptian Literature & Mythology, Canon Compliant, Yuletide, Yuletide 2016, Fix-It

As Vanessa's true plan to defeat Dracula is revealed, she and her friends find themselves on an epic quest that involves the living and dead alike.

By sheer coincidence, both my official assignment and the treat I hadn’t planned on writing are historicals – of a sort, since they aren’t direct historical fiction but fanfiction of historical (pro) fiction, so to speak. They even overlap in time, place and setting, while dealing with entirely different characters (and their interpretation). To wit: one – the unexpected treat – is having a go at Shakespeare’s history plays. Now I absolutely agree that the Hollow Crown ‘s production of Henry V. was the weakest of the HC productions, but by letting Falstaff’s page, referred to only as “Boy” in the play, survive into the John-Hurt-played Chorus (this is the final reveal of the HC Henry V), it gave me a fanon idea which I haven’t been able to dislodge from my brain since, to wit, that Falstaff’s page is, in fact, none other than Owen Tudor, aka that adventurous Welshman who got together with Henry V’s widow, had several children by her and thus without intending to ended up founding a new dynasty. (His grandson was the first to make it to the throne; everyone’s least favourite wife killing monarch was Owen’s great-grandson.) After I had kidded around with [personal profile] likeadeuce about this a couple of times, she ended up requesting it for Yuletide, and well, how could I not? Especially since, thinking about the premise further, it occurred to me that if Owen Tudor = Falstaff’s Page, it meant he’s also the sole surviving character of the Henriad to have experienced both Prince Hal living it up at the taverns and Henry V. winning Agincourt. He’d have had a front row seat at the Falstaff/Hal relationship and ended up living with Henry’s Queen for fifteen years. He even got old enough to see the Wars of the Roses start and thus lead into the next quartet of history plays.

When this occurred to me, I also knew which form my story would have, to wit, it would be Owen, on the eve of his execution, talking to the man he’d known both as Hal and as Henry. Whether he’s chatting with an actual ghost here (it’s Shakespeare fanfic, after all) or just having an inner monologue is up to you, dear reader. Owen – spelt the Welsh way, Owain, because I can – was great fun to find a voice for, which helped me overcome my inhibitions at tackling the Bard’s characters.

Gentlemen of the Shade (3155 words) by Selena
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Henry V - Shakespeare, Henry IV - Shakespeare, The Hollow Crown (2012), Shakespeare - History Plays, 15th Century CE RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Owain ap Maredudd ap Tewdwr | Owen Tudor/Catherine de Valois, Sir John Falstaff/Prince Hal (Shakespeare), Sir John Falstaff & Owen Tudor, Henry V of England & Owen Tudor, Catherine of Valois/Henry V
Characters: Boy (Henry V), Owain ap Maredudd ap Tewdwr | Owen Tudor, Prince Hal (Shakespeare), Henry V of England, Sir John Falstaff, Catherine of Valois Queen of England, Fluellen (Henry V), Nym (Henry V), Pistol (Shakespeare)
Additional Tags: Ambiguous Relationships, Agincourt, Character Study, Messy, Yuletide, Yuletide 2016

In which Falstaff's page has a chat with the late Henry V. about shared bed fellows (plural), accidentally founds a dynasty and changes the course of English history.

Meanwhile, when offering fandoms I was ready to write for, I included Sharon Penman’s novel
The Sunne in Splendour, which deals with the Wars of the Roses from a distinctly Yorkist and Ricardian pov. Now The Sunne in Splendour is a novel I’d read for the first time when I was 20 or 21. And I fell in love instantly. Decades later, I freely concede its flaws to anyone grumbling about them – the pseudo medieval language at times (which Penman ditched in later novels), Richard as the hero is verging on too good to be true ness, a bit odd pov choices (Penman is prone to include more than necessary every time), etc. But. But. The reasons why I loved it so much in my early 20s to begin with are still there. Penman’s great with the family dynamics of both the Plantagenets and the Nevilles. She was the first author I’d read who does more with Edward IV than “playboy king”, and her version is still the most interesting Edward of them all to me, just as her Elizabeth Woodville is my favourite Elizabeth Woodville (way more interesting than Philippa Gregory’s who is meant to be the heroine, btw). The Edward and Richard dynamic pushes my button for sibling relationships. I love that while being pro York, her pov chapters for various Lancastrians – Edmund Beaufort, the Duke of Somerset, and Marguerite d’Anjou herself – makes them not just human but sympathetic. (Yes, Marguerite is a villain from Yorkist pov chapters, but not in her own, and not in a villainous monologue way, either.) Her solution to the “What happened to the Princes?” mystery makes sense to me. And I still can’t get through the last chapters without crying.

Now, my recipient’s request for this story was that she wanted more about the Richard/Anne relationship, with Richard and Anne being supportive of each other, the way they are in the novel. (She also suggested maybe the wedding and subsequent nights fleshed out, but I can’t write sex. Truly, I suck at it, and not in the fun way. So emotional exploration it was.) Well, the Richard/Anne relationship is of course pretty central in the novel and thus already well covered by Penman, BUT remember those odd pov choices? One of them is that we don’t get Anne Neville’s until after she’s widowed the first time (before that, she’s described from either Francis Lovell’s, or her sister Isabella’s), and Richard’s only intermittently, and not at all at what must have been turning points for the relationship. Which gave me something to work with in a missing scenes & alternate pov kind of way. It also provided me with a friends-to-lovers arc, and the challenge I gave myself, to write the development of the Richard and Anne relationship in a way that I hoped would work both for readers of
The Sunne in Splendour and for people who haven’t read a word of the novel but are interested in the era.

Still: it’s meant to be a Penman derived fanfiction, and thus I was of course bound to her narrative choices (Anne’s first marriage: not a happy event, to put it mildly), including her choices of (nick)names. (Or full names; that Anne is the only one in their families close to Richard who doesn’t call him “Dickon” but “Richard” is important in the novel, and of course I stuck with it.)

Below is the result: Plantagenets, Penman edition.

Troth (9410 words) by Selena
Chapters: 4/4
Fandom: The Sunne in Splendour - Sharon Kay Penman, 15th Century CE RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Anne Neville Queen of England/Richard III of England, Anne Neville Queen of England & Richard Neville Earl of Warwick, Edward IV of England & Richard III of England, Richard III of England & Richard Neville Earl of Warwick, Edward of Lancaster | Prince of Wales/Anne Neville Queen of England
Characters: Anne Neville Queen of England, Richard III of England, Edward IV of England, Richard Neville Earl of Warwick, Edward of Lancaster | Prince of Wales, George Plantagenet Duke of Clarence, Isabel Neville, Marguerite d'Anjou | Margaret of Anjou
Additional Tags: Missing Scene, Dysfunctional Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship/Love, Regicide, Yuletide, Yuletide 2016

Four times the relationship between Anne Neville and her cousin Richard Plantagenet changed, and yet remained the same.

selenak: (Romans by Kathyh)
( Dec. 30th, 2016 08:27 am)
As promised, a Yuletide (and not celebrity death) exception to the no more until February rule; I want to get these recs out there before the reveal. Incidentally, state of my own Yuletide tales: the two treats got lovely comments from their respective recipients, the official assignment recipient apparantly has had a busy week, but has now commented as well (and graciously).

On to other people's stories read during the last week in various fandoms:

Greek Myth:

The Faces of Helen: Helen of Troy from various povs. Interesting Helens are still a rarity; loved that and the interactions with her brothers, the Dioskuri, and Cassandra especially. Also a welcome rarity: sympathetic Paris!

A rift never destined to mend: More Iliad fragments, sharp and perfect. Oh, Andromache.

She whose beauty rivals the goddesses: Iphigenia and Elektra, before. Extra kudos for laying the basis for Elektra's feelings for her parents despite what will happen to her sister in a way that makes sense.

Jessica Jones:

On the road (to recovery): Jessica, Luke and Malcolm at some future point. Great take on all three of them, and I loved their interactions.

Luke Cage:

We are the ones we have been waiting for: CLAIRE. All the Claire centric stories this year are great, and this one also offers wonderful looks at her interactions with several other Marvel tv and cinema inhabitants.

My Beautiful Laundrette:

Maintenance & Repairs: Omar and Johnny, several years on, more mature in some ways, in others not at all, and still so very them.

New Tricks:

Lost Souls: Case fic! Team fic! Oh, I love it. It feels exactly like a good episode.


Not one but two stories I've enjoyed equally, offering different beginnings for the Mark Antony/Caesar dynamic. Excellent voices for both characters.

The Start of the End of the World



And play the dog: In which Margaret, early on, negotiates with the Duke of York and meets his son Richard for the first time. Excellent take on the Shakespearean versions of these characters.

Stranger Things:

Sugar Kisses: a lovely "Five Things" for Joyce and Hopper, who had one of those dynamics on the show where I didn't want them to become lovers now (because both of them certainly had more than enough on their plate emotionally and otherwise), but was hoping for something in the farer future, and this story delivers very well.


Mechaye Hametim: Haddass, Avigdor and Yentl working their way back together through the years after the show. Haddass pov, and I appreciated the author gave Haddass time to sort out how she was feeling about Anshel/Yentl, instead of letting her be instantly okay with everything.

And now, off to combat DRL once again! Oh, and I was going to make the annual "guess my stories" dare, but have gotten three correct guesses already without doing so, so, I figure it's way too obvious this year with all three of them. :) (However, I'm pathetic enough to hope for a few more readers before the reveal, especially for the Super Ambitious Wanted To Write The Definite Tale For This Fandom one.)
I was sad about Carrie Fisher but thought I'd make it through the day without crying, and I did, yesterday, trying very hard to focus on Darth Real Life's task, and now I've woken up to find that Debbie Reynolds is gone, too. And now the tears are just flowing. Of course I didn't know either of them, any more than millions did. But each in their different way gave me something as a part of the audience, made my life brighter. And no parent should have to endure the loss of their child. If Debbie Reynolds had died last week, I'd still be somewhat sad, but I'd think: "She had a good life. It's what she thought herself. Let's rewatch Singing in the Rain."

Now I'm just trying to stop crying, and getting back to work. Reading [personal profile] rozk's beautiful poem about both Leia and Carrie Fisher. Crying again. Dammit. Focus. Work.
Doctor Who:

Aka when happens when Stephen Moffat looks at the last decade or so of movies having a go at Superman, thinking "nah!" and "I want to do a Golden Age Superman story, dammit! And a Superman/Doctor Who crossover!", and proceding to do just that. ("Miss Schuster and Miss Siegel": I see what you did there, Moff.) The result is the most Moffatian thing that ever Moffated (seriously: Doctor makes child friend, proceeds to involuntarily influence/mess up/yet ultimately improve child's existence, Doctor having a high regard for babies, check, Doctor and child having quirky adorable scenes, check (not for nothing did RTD once write to the Moff that he's awesome with children), check, determined girl/ life long adoring and crushing caretaker guy, check, more spoilery trope ), check, River Song-Doctor relationship continuity impact, check, otoh Doctor behaves ooc at one point so plot can continue as planned, check (see also the crack matter in s5 and not looking for the little girl anymore after the start of s6).

Also a downside: setting the story in an extremely white contemporary New York where something we don't miss at all about Golden Age narratives happens ).

The result is a story which does indeed do Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane far better than many a recent big screen effort. And I do appreciate the direct continuity to last year's The Husbands of River Song. Otoh, said direct continuity makes it even more obvious last year's was the far better Doctor Who story. In conclusion, I wasn't bored, it's very very Stephen Moffat, but I don't think I'll have any urge to rewatch.

Call the Midwife: Early on I was a bit sceptical whether "let's do a Christmas special that's set in 1962 South Africa is in any ways a good idea, because obvious white savior trope danger in Apartheid country is obvious, but it turns out they pulled it off, at least imo. Our gang was gradually made aware of the every day rottenness of the apartheid situation, and they didn't solve it, but the story wasn't about their enlightenment, either. It was about them doing what they always do in difficult circumstances, and in some cases succeeding, but not in all. More spoilery details follow )

In conclusion: very much enjoyed this one. And now back to Darth Real Life; from now on, I'll have to drastically reduce my fannish life for a month or so in his service, so safe for some more Yuletide talk, you won't be hearing much from me until February.
selenak: (Cat and Books by Misbegotten)
( Dec. 26th, 2016 11:20 am)
Yesterday, I had time only intermittently to read my and other stories (and to check my comment box in a playing-it-cool-yet-fretting-away fashion  ). Still I come bearing recs; this is a great Yuletide so far.

The Americans:

My gift was in this fandom, a Martha exploration set in the last season’s climactic episode, so spoilers for this and Martha’s entire arc:

Among Strangers

This Yuletide finally produced more than one Americans story, which I love, and all five are good, but this exploration of a young Elizabeth/Nadya and her life in Smolensk is particularly awesome:

One Day in the Life

Benjamin January Mysteries

And still of a Winter’s Night

Wonderful case fic, in which Shaw asks Ben not just for his but also Dominique’s help, and all the usual suspects are drawn into solving a mystery that fits perfectly with Barbara Hambly’s novels.

Black Sails

Has a staggering twelve stories to offer, all of which I haven’t even read yet, but so far, this is my favourite:

A Certain Poetry

How Anne and Jack started – and they’re both perfectly drawn as younger versions of themselves who are in the process of discovering who they’ll be to each other.

Deutschland 83

Never rains but it pours

The Rauch sisters, Lenora and Ingrid. I loved this portrait of two different, complicated women who were arguably the most interesting characters of the show to me.

Fairy Tales

De Morte Prologus

“Gevatter Tod” – “Godfather Death” – is one of lesser (relatively speaking) known Grimm fairy tales (and btw one where Wilhelm Grimm kept changing the ending for from edition to edition); I adore what this writer has done with the Death-as-a-Godfather situation.
selenak: (Bamberg - Kathyh)
( Dec. 24th, 2016 07:58 pm) all who celebrate, and hopefully a good holiday/holidays to everyone else. As in every year, the APs and yours truly walked through Bamberg admiring the various nativity scenes.

Gesamt Karmeliten photo SAM_1096_zpsjyu7x9ox.jpg
More below the cut )
Netflix put it up, I watched it. Short version: if you're already a fan, it's ideal. If you're a new watcher interested in checking the show out, it's incomprehensible, so don't start there. Now it's rambling, more a collection of feelings-evoking scenes than a story, and in the first half a bit too much reliant on song montages, but what the hell - you're not watching a Christmas Special for the thoughtful storyline. Emotions-wise, it hit all the right notes, and thus it's ideal seasonal distraction, except for a factor in Wolfgang's part of the tale which nobody making the special could have anticipated when making it. Also, we did get to know a bit more about our characters and their background, so it's by no means skippable. Oh, and the actors were all delivering.

Read more... )
selenak: (Bayeux)
( Dec. 23rd, 2016 08:17 am)
The one where Ragnar and Ecbert discover existencialism while Lagertha becomes Hagen of Tronje.

Read more... )
selenak: (Sternennacht - Lefaym)
( Dec. 22nd, 2016 09:06 am)
Thank you for your kind comments to yesterday's post. A virtual hug back from me, and amazing Berliners and refugees singing "We are the world" together yesterday at Breitscheidplatz, where the attack had happened:

Berlin und Land photo 20161220_170917_zpsq1clmxub.jpg

Some months back, we (meaning my parents & self) were invited to celebrate an 80th birthday in Berlin on December 20th. When we gladly accepted, we thought, might as well arrive a day earlier to stroll through Christmas season Berlin. Which is what we did.

You can guess where this story is going.

(Unless you managed to miss the news entirely. If so, good for you.) Now we, personally, were incredibly lucky. My parents were at the Christmas fair at Breitscheidplatz but an hour before the attack happened; we were telephoning at the time, because we had split up - I was visiting the Jewish Museum to catch a new exhibition there, had to switch off my phone, and wanted to tell them as much in case they'd be trying to reach me in the next two hours. Earlier, we'd visited another of the countless Berlin Christmas fairs, the one at the Gendarmenmarkt, and I had thought about going to the one near the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche as well but changed my mind and chose the Jewish Museum instead. My parents & self were all back in our hotel rooms, happily exhausted after an afternoon in Christmassy Berlin, and checking with emails, when the first news about the attack showed up on twitter. If I hadn't gone to tell my parents I was back as well, I'd assumed they might still be there, but again, I was lucky: I already knew they were safe, and they knew I was. Everyone else, though. Oh, everyone else.

Yesterday, we spent the morning walking around numb and clutching at each other, alternatingly grieved for the victims and increasingly infuriated at the vultures from abroad (the usual suspects) and from within the country (Horst Seehofer, making me throw up for about the 1000th time this year) who were yet again using demagogery and hate. Then the birthday happened, which started with everyone standing up in honor of the victims; the speeches all tackled the subject as well. In the evening, we watched the mourning service at the Gedächtniskirche again from our hotel rooms (it was far too crowded to get into the church itself); it was the opposite of the demagogic soundbites, with the Protestant and Catholic bishops as well as a Rabbi and two Imans all speaking of grief and of the importance to not let our values be taken away as well. One of the Advent songs sung was by Jochen Klepper, a German theologian and writer who'd refused to divorce his Jewish wife and, when she was to be deported, committed suicide with her. The song, which inspired some of the speeches, was about both night, and the hope that there will be light again, the proverbial star as hope in the darkest night. Which summed up sounds clichéd, but believe me, in that service, it felt anything but.

Today, we returned to Bamberg. Below the cut I offer some more of the pictures I made both before and after the attack, of Berlin, the city with already much darkness in its history, but also light.

Read more... )
1. Your main fandom of the year?

As in previous years, I remain a multifandom woman. An old fandom I got somewhat back into was Star Wars, but not due to The Force Awakens, due to finally marathoning The Clone Wars. Of shows with an open, not yet concluded canon, I continue to love The Americans, Better Call Saul and Bates Motel, but Black Sails is probably the one I feel most intensely for. However, due to tumblr aversion, I’m not exactly in the fandom, as not many Black Sails fans seem to be on dw or lj.

2. Your favourite film watched this year?

Slash. I watched it at the Munich Film Festival in summer, attended the Q & A with the director, and have not changed my impression, which was: I loved and adored this movie. It filled me with joy the same way Galaxy Quest did for a lot of similar reasons. Currently, there are some people badmouthing it on the internet, usually people who haven’t watched it, and that irks me the way it always does when people shit on something you love, especially at a time when fandom is my escape from the horrors of the real world. But such is life, and thankfully the movie will still be there when the haters have moved on to the next subject.

3. Your favourite book read this year?

I read a lot of non fiction this year, the most impressive of which was probably The Pigeon Tunnel by John Le Carré. But the one I loved best was probably fiction, to wit, Oath Bound by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott. Oh, and I did a reread of the Angelique series I’d loved as a child and teen, and enjoyed those novels as much as ever.

4. Your favourite TV show of the year?

See above: Black Sails, which had a fantastic third season and keeps getting better and better. I’m ready to get my heart broken by the fourth and final season, and am confident it will be done in a narratively satisfying way. Incidentally, all my shows except for Elementary had great seasons in 2016, and I didn’t give up any the way I did in 2015.

5. Your favourite online fandom community of the year?

Still [profile] the_americans.

6. Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

Very unexpectedly, this was Class, the Doctor Who spin-off which premiered this fall. As far as DW spin-offs are concerned, Torchwood had had a very rocky first season, and while I adored The Sarah Jane Adventures, I went into it because of Sarah Jane, and all the Class characters were new, so I had no idea what to expect. Certainly not the strong first season and ensemble-tastic tale I got. Go show! May you get many seasons more.

7. Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

None so great that it drove me to abandon the show, but Elementary’s fourth season, with the exception of the Paul Cornell episode, had been a let down, and season 5 alas hasn’t pulled off the season 3 trick yet of coming back strong. It’s still enjoyable, though.

8. Your TV boyfriend of the year?

In terms of “who would I actually date”, still pre-Saul Jimmy McGill. In terms of “whose ongoing adventures was I most emotionally invested in” , John Silver. In terms of “who would I definitely not date, not even for a one night stand, but good lord, am I emotionally invested, as evidenced by the fact I’ve been writing him again: Anakin Skywalker, human disaster extraordinaire. I had never lost my fondness for Anakin, of course, but The Clone Wars brought back the urge to write him in a big fashion.

9. Your TV girlfriend of the year?

Kim Wexler from Better Call Saul was the core of the second season and a Queen among women, and I adore her, I completely fell for Ahsoka from The Clone Wars, but this year, there can only be one choice (not least due to what happened): Norma Bates, the most doomed mother ever, antiheroine of my heart, so flawed, so passionate, so human, so capable of utter joy and utter rage.

10. Your biggest squee moment of the year?

It’s a tie between John Silver deciding the way to win James Flint’s respect is to tell him Silver has managed to screw him over re: the Urca gold while they’re en route to some shark fighting, and that this tactic works, in Black Sails 3.03., and Norma Bates in Bates Motel 4.06. responding to perceived blackmail with one of her extraordinary raw emotional outbursts, laying her past wide open, and the thought to be blackmailer instead actually repairing her window while the guy she was sure she’d lose by this honesty instead responds with “Where are we going?” Which is the most romantic line you’ll ever hear on this show, in context.

11. The most missed of your old fandoms?

Class made me nostalgic for Buffy. But not for the ship wars. Good lord, not for the ship wars. Also, Highlander.

12. The fandom you haven’t tried yet, but want to?

Mr. Robot, with the eternal “if I find the time” disclaimer.

13. Your biggest fan anticipations for the New Year?

Black Sails season 4, American Gods the tv series, and Arrival, of which I have heard very good things but which I haven’t managed to watch yet. I hope it’ll stick around in the cinemas until I can.
selenak: (Peggy Carter by Misbegotten)
( Dec. 17th, 2016 02:10 pm)
I've been waiting for this WIP to conclude, and now it has. Delightful time travelling shenanigans with some of my favourite MCU people, as Natasha, Bruce and Tony end up in 1950s Cuba with Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Maria Carbonell (aka the future Mrs. Stark), Edwin and Ana Jarvis, Angie Martinella plus surprise guest Dottie Underwood.

Relatives in Spacetime (85499 words) by Thassalia, feldman
Chapters: 13/13
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers (Marvel Movies)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: natasha romanov & tony stark & bruce banner, Howard Stark/Maria Stark, Peggy Carter & Howard Stark, Peggy Carter/Angie Martinelli, Bruce Banner/Natasha Romanov
Characters: Natasha Romanov, Bruce Banner, Tony Stark, Maria Stark, Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Angie Martinelli, Odin (Marvel), Edwin Jarvis, Ana Jarvis, Nick Fury
Additional Tags: Time Travel, Sex Farce, Pre-Cuba, Cold War, Red Room, 1950s, Asgardian Magic, SHIELD, period-typical drinking, Period-Typical Homophobia, Mutual Pining, Espionage, Complete

That time Odin made our intrepid trio crash the rocky courtship of Maria and Howard Stark, which had already been crashed by Peggy and the Cold War--AKA, that time everyone was in an espionage sex farce except Tony.

Short version: I liked it, without being in love. Likeable original main characters, lots of callouts to earlier SW movies (and tv shows!) without depending on them, improved on one of The Force Awakens mistakes (imo), made a minor mistake of its own (again imo), did something no SW film has done before but which complete sense in terms of already established continuity, and should be enjoyed by the fandom at large, though what the hypothetical kids who aren't familiar with the rest of the saga will make of the ending, only the Force knows.

In more detail and thus spoilery )

In conclusion: enjoyed watching it, don't feel the need to rewatch it in the cinema, though. I'll wait till it's on tv.
With reality continuing to outstrip the most vicious political satire in grotesqueness on an hourly basis, some things to enjoy regardless:

Lana Wachawksi about the Sense 8 Christmas Special:

Patti Smith on singing at the Nobel Prize ceremony.
Kieron Gillen: Darth Vader IV: End of Games (Aka issues 20 – 25, the end of Gillen’s Vader story bridging the time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back): A good conclusion. Any story which has to handle the prequel and continuity fixed points, i.e. your intended readership already knows exactly how your main character will end up, and nothing he does or experiences in your story can change that, and pulls off an interesting narrative regardless, proves the skill of the writer, and Gillen maintains his momentum till the end. He also finds a satisfying conclusion (for now) for his OC, Aphra, whose fate wasn’t pre-ordained by existing canon and thereby provided suspense – which it wouldn’t have if Gillen hadn’t made me (and presumably a lot of other readers) care about Aphra as much as for many of the old characters.

spoilery details ensure )

In conclusion: a much appreciated by me story. I’ll see Rogue One tomorrow.

Neil Gaiman: Sandman: Overture.

Another prequel that pulls off the art of telling an interesting story despite the fact the main character’s fate is fixed. Did we need to find out what Dream (and other Sandman characters ) had been up to before Roderick Burgess captured him, and what kind of struggle it had been that had weakened him enough for Burgess to do so? No. But was it great for me to read it regardless? You bet. Also, the art by J.H. Williams III is drop dead gorgeous. Sandman always kept changing its artists, and sometimes that was confusing - Seasons of Mist - and sometimes the merging of visual art with narration was just perfect - The Kindly Ones and The Wake - very different visually, but a perfect match for the story in question.

Overture is another such case in point. Outstanding visuals include the panels where we meet additions to the Sandman myth - spoilery beings named ) -, the set piece where Morpheus encounters a lot of other different aspects of Dream, then later his confrontation with the mad star -, and of course the neat visual giveaways (but never too blatant!) to the true identity of a key character.

There’s just one appearance by a fan favourite character which I thought was there for the sake of it, not organic to the story Overture told, and that was the original Corinthian. Then again, the Corinthian being unmade and remade in the course of the Sandman saga foreshadows what will happen to Morpheus, so maybe that’s the narrative justification for the guy showing up in Overture. Otherwise, everyone’s appearances have a point to them. Case in question: when we find out, via a story Dream tells, who the Alienora we briefly see at the end of Game of You was, why he created that world for her, and what happened between them. At first you think, well, Dream = Worst Romantic Prospect in a Gaiman story, plus ca change, we knew that, but then later you realize the point of the story was something else altogether, and aha!

Part of the appeal of Sandman was always the mixture between myths, pop culture, dysfunctional family soap (the Endless) and whimsy, and all aspects are present in this prequel. That, and Neil Gaiman indulges his things for cats in the best way, which, since I also have a thing for cats, was very pleasing to me. (Also, hooray for making the issue Dream of a Thousand Cats into the key for cut just in case though the spoiler is very general ).

In conclusion: loved it, will reread as soon as time (ha!) permits.
selenak: (Bayeux)
( Dec. 15th, 2016 01:40 pm)
Aka the one with travelling, reunions and the wheel of fate spinning some more.

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selenak: (VanGogh - Lefaym)
( Dec. 13th, 2016 05:19 pm)
With the news getting steadfastly ghastlier and more grotesque by the minute, I figured I'd share some of my weekend sights. To wit, I visited the highest German mountain, the Zugspitze. Due to some RL business in nearby Garmisch, which is where the winter Olympic Games took place in the 70s. I lucked out with the weather, too, which is why you get some mountain scenery:

 photo SAM_1028_zpsadpzcoi5.jpg

More beneath the cut )
selenak: (Holmes and Watson by Emme86)
( Dec. 12th, 2016 06:11 pm)
Best case in a good long while.

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In conclusion: I really liked this one.


selenak: (Default)


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