selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
The other day, I could hear Arundhati Roy present her new novel and talk about the situation in India today in Munich. And reinforced that by now, I'm not just bugged but disturbed by part of Kala's storyline in Sense8, because it's so exactly in contrast to Indian reality, and so exactly what a vicious government propagandist would want people to believe, that I'm starting to wonder whether the reason why the Wachowskis and JMS came up with it wasn't that they otherwise would not get permission to film in India. Spoilers for both seasons of Sense8. ) Why? Because consider the depth of current day Hindu fundamentalism from Modi (the PM) downwards. Arundhati Roy mentioned the saying "there are just two places for Muslims - the grave and Pakistan", which gets said by officials in the country with the second largest Muslim population in the world (Indonesia has the largest). People get lynched for the crime of possessing or eating beef. Modi belongs to the RSS, the same organisation Gandhi's assassin did, and the vocabulary of said assassin is now mainstream politics. A popular taunt makes the word "secular" into "sickular". An MP could say Arundhati Roy should be used as a human shield in the war in Kashmir to punish her dissent, and not get reprimanded but applauded. (For more, check out check out these statements by today's most famous Indian origin writers.) Basically: the kind of story Sense8 tells is about as likely to happen in this India as a story about, say, a rabid atheist rising in Saudi Arabia's government and starting to persecute Muslims would be. Or, to bring it closer to home, a story about a fanatic atheist becoming a US government official and starting to surpress Christians. Which, of course, is what Breitbart & Co. tell their ilk already happened under each Democratic president. ("War on Christmas", anyone?) Which tells you what type of propaganda this is.

Now don't get me wrong: I don't believe the Wachowskis and JMS are aware. At first, I thought it was simply that they wanted Kala to be a faithful believer and needed some type of conflict for her that wasn't about her not wanting to get married, picked Hinduism as the most popular Indian religion (and the one with the film friendly statues), and didn't do much research about the Indian present. But now I wonder whether they did tell some staff member to do research, and that person came back with this storyline, getting it as a condition for the crew filming Kala's story in India. Because it's just too perfect BJP propaganda to come across by accident, my inner conspiracy theorist says.

For distraction, something lighthearted:


Up in the air, Junior Birdman: in which the Avengers (plus Maria Hill, Sam Wilson and Rhodey) go camping. Set at some point between the frst and second movie, this Natasha-centric story is ensemble-tastic, and has Bruce as co-lead.
selenak: (Ashoka and Anakin by Welshgater)
Trailer spotted: The Man Who Invented Christmas seems to be trying to take the Shakespeare in Love approach to Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. The following thoughts occured to me in no particular order:

- Dan Stevens is actually made to look like a young Charles Dickens and has something of that manic energy, but:

- as Dickens' favourite daughter Kate Perugini put it, writing to George Bernard Shaw: "If you could make the public understand that my father was not a jolly, jocose gentleman walking about the earth with a plum pudding and a bowl of punch you would greatly oblige me."

- no such luck, Kate, not with this movie. Though Dickens really wasn't

- I know I complain about Mark Gatiss written episodes of Doctor Who a lot, but his very first one, The Unquiet Dead, actually did something more interesting with the basic idea of Dickens + Christmas Carol + supernatural elements than this trailer indicates

- why is it that "based on a true story" movies that tackle author plus famous work always feel the need to pretend the author in question had writers block and/or dire difficulties before hitting on the inspiration for the famous work? Do we blame Stoppard for this one, too? Finding Neverland did it as well, and it's just as untrue here (neither Barrie nor Dickens were when writing Peter Pan and Christmas Carol respectively in any type of financial or inspirational difficulties)

- the idea of Charles Dickens, of all the people, having writers' block is hilarious, though, because his problem was more the opposite. Neil Gaiman in the Sandman story Calliope lets Dream curse a writer with literally unending inspiration (spoiler: it's not a boon when you write your fingers bloody because you really can't stop), and Dickens wasn't quite there, but nearly.

Mind you, the film makers are probably safe to assume most tv watchers know zilch about Dickens' biography. But not for the first time, I wonder whether a miniseries wouldn't be a great format to tackle that, Dickens in his morally ambiguous complexity, covering the whole life from child-of-a-conman Charles to celebrated writer, philantropist and terrible husband Dickens going on one last reciting tour. Abi Morgan did a good job with The Invisible Woman, taking one particular part of his life, and she has tv experience, so she'd be my first choice to write such a series.

Meanwhile, in another fandom, to wit, Star Wars:

Balance Point: now by now there are some stories in which Force Ghost Obi-Wan Kenobi haunts Vader, but this story is the first one which lets someone else who used to be close to Anakin Skywalker do so instead, and executes that premise beautifully.Spoilers for Star Wars: Rebels ensue. )
selenak: (Missy by Yamiinsane123)
A fantastic look at Missy through the decades in the Vault:

Still Time to Change the Road You're on (2513 words) by AstroGirl
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Doctor Who
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Twelve & MIssy
Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Missy (Doctor Who)
Additional Tags: Missing Scenes, reforming villain, The Vault (Doctor Who)

Missy may or may not be changing. She doesn't understand any of it, herself.

selenak: (Bayeux)
Sense8 will get a two hour finale!

This was great news to start my day with. Meanwhile, have a fanfic rec:

Not a new story, but a new-to-me story from 2010's Yuletide, something for Norse mythology lovers (but also accessible if you have zilch knowledge about Norse mythology!), with a terrific take on the Odin and Loki relationship especially:

A Game of Shapes (6883 words) by Bagheera
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Norse Mythology
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Óðinn | Odin, Loki (Norse Mythology), Thor, Baldr | Baldur
Additional Tags: Genderbending, Shapeshifting, Magic, Death

Someone has stolen little Baldr and replaced him with a changeling child. Thor and Loki go on a quest to rescue Baldr, but not before long, they're joined by a one-eyed giantess.

selenak: (Peggy Carter by Misbegotten)
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.

selenak: (Partners in Crime by Monanotlisa)
Useful tips of what you you can do in the Age of Orange, hilariously expressed to boot: Holy Fuck The Election.

And pointed out to me which is why I share it with you, a post- season 5 Alias story, featuring Arvin Sloane and Jack Bristow: very little changes.

The first generation spies in their terse, messed up glory. Incidentally, I can't for the life of me imagine Jack Bristow working for a CIA ultimately ruled by Drumpf. He'd have joined forces (for real) with Sloane to have an assassination plan ready two seconds after Hillary conceded. Sloane, being an evil overlord, wouldn't object to T. on moral grounds but on professional and aesthetic ones. The sheer sloppiness and vulgarity would be too much. Besides, Rambaldi did not predict him, which means he needs to be eliminated.
selenak: (Vanessa Ives by Sakuraberries)
Having read and written about Catherine de' Medici and her daughters in recent months, I was left with a craving for other recent fictional takes on the Valois, who easily can compete with the their contemporaries the Tudors in sheer soap opera-ness, and seeing that Netflix put up the first two seasons of Reign (meaning I could watch without paying), I finally got around to it. And, well, good lord.

On one level it's exactly as you'd expected a teen aimed CW production to be. The cocktail gowns! The hair! The pop songs in the soundtrack! The utter disconnect from anything resembling historical plausibility! Seriously, the sheer crackiness is awesome. S1, apparantly having decided that Catholics versus Protestants is boring, has this entire subplot about secret pagans, and Mary Stuart, of all the people, spouting such lines as "We're not judging you for your religion". S2 does go for the actual big religious conflict of the era, but doesn't bother with such minor things as actually explaining what the differences are, beyond "no Pope". Young Mary Stuart is still a champion of interfaith tolerance, pleading the Protestants' cause (this is hysterical; also, she'd have been incredibly insulted if anyone had told her back in the day she'd ever been depicted as such), and the only Guise relation of hers to show up, other than her mother, is of course not the leader of the hardcore Catholic party more popular than the Royals but Some Guy Easily Disposed Of. (Don't I wish, says the shade of Catherine de' Medici.) Philip II. of Spain gets married to Elisabeth de Valois in the pilot while Mary Tudor is still alive throughout most of the first season. (Philip was a bad husband to poor Mary, but bigamy he'd have drawn a line at.) The Bourbon brothers, Louis, Prince Condé, and Antoine finally make an appearance in s2, where Louis gets to be Mary's temporary love interest and a possible candidate for Elizabeth I. to marry.) (Imagining how both their historical counterparts would have reacted to that suggestion is hysterical again. Good old Condé's historical wives whom he got, all in all, eleven children are of course non existent.) Reign is one of the few historical fictions to actually use Claude, Catherine's second oldest daughter, as a character, but whereas historically she was the only one of Catherine's kids not to have scandalous rumors attached to her and being her mother's favourite, here she's a a teen version of her sister Margot's popular image as a rebellious good time girl and her mother's unfavourite. (Margot has yet to be mentioned as existing, btw; of the younger kids, we've only seen Charles though the future Henri III. was mentioned in dialogue as well.)

Then there's the part where the French court keeps residing in "the castle", which isn't in Paris but isn't one of the gorgeous Loire chateaus like Chambord, either, instead being near the sea coast and looking grey and gloomy. The English, independent of monarch, are Up To No Good throughout but strangely never use this golden opportunity. In s2 inquisitors and their thuggish helpers, directly employed by the Vatican, roam the countryside to round up the helpless, hailing directly from Hammer Horror movies, but the French court itself, other than the occasional Cardinal visiting from Rome, is strangely cleric-free And so forth and so on. When, in s1, Henry II. in a rare reflective moment mentions having been a hostage as a boy it was an utter shock to this viewer because unlike most of Reign's other events, that actually happened.

If you utterly disconnect the goings on on screen from any historical knowledge of this world and see it as pure fantasy, a la The Enchanted Forest in Once upon a Time, though, it definitely delivers in the "entertaining soap" category, and it offers not one or two but five regular female characters (Mary Stuart, Catherine de' Medici and Mary's ladies, with the sublimely historical names of Lola, Kenna and Greer), whose developments and exploits we're following. Plus recurring female guest stars. The Catherine-Mary relationship starts in classic villainess-heroine manner but turns into something surprisingly complex, and Catherine herself is a great character, giving me fond flashbacks to 80s soap operas where the female antagonists if they stuck around long enough were developing layers and also nearly always got the best lines. As for the girls, their stories are actually quite good variations of "how to survive in a system that's stacked against you" even if they do so in cocktail gowns and blithely unburdened by anything resembling period attitudes. It's not every show, crack history or not, which is a female character turn down her True Love's marriage proposal because she's found she likes being financially independent and on her own better. (As opposed to turning it down because of misunderstandings, because of a rival, because she's pressured etc.)

Also, there's a lot of black humor in the dialogue. Have an example:

Mary and Catherine are in their annual "antagonists teaming up because of shared danger" episode; Catherine draws a stiletto, Mary perks up:

Mary: Poison?
Catherine: You say that so hopefully now.

In conclusion, it's pure crack, but if you have nothing else to do and it's available, go for it. Just don't play any drinking games counting anachronisms and the like, or you're passed out before the first episode is even finished.

Meanwhile, in another fandom:

Penny Dreadful

Apples: Joan and Evelyn backstory, sensual and poetical. Headcanon accepted.
selenak: (Peggy Carter by Misbegotten)
Seems that British Politics show I mentioned a week or so ago has written half of their leads out (and all of those pushing for that unbelievable potline). briefly tried to promote a new female villain but then settled on making the lead one of the former minor supporting characters, also female.

Meanwhile, the flashback episodes are still going on. If you want to catch up:

The Chilcot Report, Digested Edition (because it's better to laugh than to cry)

On that note, fanfic from a recently cancelled show, Agent Carter:

Il diavolo rosa: Nonna Manfredi versus Bernard the Flamingo. It's the showdown of the century!
selenak: (Henry and Eleanor by Poisoninjest)
So, last year, I signed up on this small endearing historical fiction exchange ficathon, which would have allowed me to post a text just consisting of 500 hundred words, and managed to end up writing an entire novella about Eleanor of Aquitaine because using the "Five things which never happened" concept for her just seemed irresistable. This year, the History Exchange ficathon is open for nominations again, and this time, I am resolved. Only a brief text. That's going to be it.

Meanwhile, if someone should volunteer to write me that "Juana the Probably Not Mad marries Henry Tudor" AU I've been speculating about now and then, feel free to make it as lengthy as you want. :)

Star Wars:

All interested parties probably have already watched this by now, but just in case: Formerly known as is a fabulous vid about the women of Star Wars.

Orphan Black:

ditto: the one where Beth is an actual ghost. Sharp and wonderful.
selenak: (Ashoka and Anakin by Welshgater)

In the Twilight of Memory: Rex and Ahsoka, finding closure.

Anakin and Ahsoka vid "You are a memory" : break my heart, why don't you, vidder:

selenak: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
Kieron Gillan's current comic Darth Vader has been reccommended to me from multiple sides, and since I saw there are two trade collections available already (i.e. something I can actually get my hands on), I went for it. (Also, I really liked Kieron Gillan's sadly cancelled Abigail Brand centric comic back in the day.)

Vaguely spoilery talk about Star Wars: Darth Vader, Issues 1-12 ensues. )

In conclusion: I'll definitely keep reading.

In another fandom, have a Black Sails fanfic rec:

Pieces of Silver: which is a wonderful missing scene set in late season 2 in which we see Silver interact with Miranda Barlow (and Abigail Ashe) while everyone is en route to Charleston. Great character voices for all three of them.
selenak: (Peggy Carter by Misbegotten)
I'm a bit wary of WIPs, not least because such a lot of them never get finished and are endlessly dragged out or lose quality. But every now and then, I come across one that's just so captivating I risk following it, and then, when it's satisfyingly completed, I'm one ecstatic reader. This is the case with this story:

An Early Thaw (129841 words) by ironychan
Chapters: 26/26
Fandom: Captain America (Movies), Agent Carter (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Characters: Steve Rogers, Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, Tony Stark

An alternate universe: the year is 1986. Ronald Reagan is president. Peggy Carter is director of SHIELD. Howard Stark is CEO of Stark Industries and father of a fifteen-year-old son. And a survey team in the arctic has just found Captain America

It has that rarity, a real plot, while at the same time being a great character piece (for several characters). It's a well executed AU that tackles an intriguing "what if?" without giving easy answers. (Peggy and Howard in the 80s aren't Peggy and Howard in the 40s, because decades of experience and compromises, and the way they relate to Steve and vice versa can't be what it was.) It avoids the clichés I've complained about in other posts. It has a strong sense of setting - the 1980s aren't chosen randomly, the fact this is Reagan era America, the last years of the Cold War, and that the space program is still a thing, all this is key to the plot. Teenage Tony is very convincing (again: avoidance of clichés complained about, see above). In conclusion, I love it, and you should read it immediately.
selenak: (Flint by Violateraindrop)
Variation old fandom:

*self* Has a conversation with friend involving Iron Man 3. Rewatches IM3, is filled with great fondness, checks out fanfiction especially knowing what the impending arrival of Civil War will inevitably result in. Reads summaries on pages 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the AO3 Iron Man archive. Stares in disbelief.

Prevailing feeling: Who are these people supposed to be? Definitely not any characters I've seen in the movies...

Some spoilery to IM3 observations of how this movie would have been written if scripted by the authors represented by the first few pages of the current archives )

Variation new fandom:

*self* is excited the Black Sails fandom finally is getting larger, new stories are being written, and hey, several of them about a pairing I'm very interested in with a fascinating on screen dynamic!

*self* Reads the summaries. In rarer cases, reads the stories despite that.

Prevailing feeling: Who are these people supposed to be? Definitely not the characters I've seen on my tv screen...

Aaaaanyway.I realise that everything is subjective, my interpretation is just that, mine, not obligatory for anyone else, etc., etc., different strokes for different people, and different tropes, etc. And every now and then, I actually find a gem where what appeals to me on screen is included in the fanfiction rendition. As, for instance, this excellent Silver and Flint emotional power play:

If your feelings aren't a story
selenak: (Peggy Carter by Misbegotten)
April's Fool Day is a bit pointless in a world where Donald Trump has a serious shot at the White House, isn't it?

Agent Carter fans, you have one more day to sign up for SSRConfidential. The requests already made are here, and I'm so looking forward to this.

And speaking of fanfiction:
Better Call Saul:
When the Sky Meets the Sea: Chuck and Jimmy after the death of their father.
selenak: (Equations by Such_Heights)
'Ts the season to be sappy, even for noir detectives with backstory trauma, therefore, have this Jessica Jones post season 1 tale of Malcolm determined to spread some Christmas spirit to Jessica (and Robyn):

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Doctor Who:

Why Peter Capaldi is the Über Doctor: not sure I agree re: the previous ones not deliberately echoing predecessors, but it's still a neat appraisal.

And lastly, a non-fannish tale:

Svetlana Alexejievich's Novel Prize lecture: impressive, like the woman's books.
selenak: (Orson Welles by Moonxpoints5)
Orson Welles, an eternal interest of mine, turned 100 this year. I've already written my Orson essay last year, but just saw
the New Yorker published an essay by Alex Ross, which not only gives a good overview but contains the information that the third volume of Simon Callow's biography is out. Note to self: acquire. Alex Ross favours McGilligan as a Wells biographer, but to me Callow is best - it's the being an actor himself that makes all the difference, imo. (To wit: no other biographer managed to make Welles' theatre productions come alive in this way. The movies, sure, but that's easier, since we can still all watch them, though not all of them and not always as intended.)

Incidentally, and speaking of essays, I'm too busy this year to do the December meme, but I am planning to do a January meme. Meanwhile, have another fanfiction reccomendation:

Jessica Jones:

The Last Real Man on Earth (1118 words) by anonymousAlchemist
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Jessica Jones (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Jessica Jones/Zebediah Killgrave
Characters: Zebediah Killgrave, Jessica Jones
Additional Tags: nothing is explicit b/c its from kilgraves pov but kilgrave is sort of his own warning, this is not a kilgrave apologist fic, but his perspective is interesting to say the least

This is how you build a sociopath.

What the labels say, and very convincingly done, too.

BTW, this makes me frustrated again Orson Welles didn't live into the resurrgence of superhero movies. I mean, he certainly counts as one of the earliest incarnations of one, playing The Shadow on radio in the 1930s, but you just know he'd have taken a Marvel or DC assignment to direct one, on his perrennial quest for cash, and made something unique out of it, resulting in both infuriated and enthralled fandom.
selenak: (Black Widow by Endlessdeep)
Aaand we have another Marvel trailer, this for for Captain America: Civil War.

Thoughts, based on the trailer but no MCU spoilers (other than what is in the trailer), since I'm actively trying to avoid those, though I will discuss the comics Civil War storyline (which by necessity was different anyway): we used to be friends. )

In another fandom entirely: while I no longer watch Once upon a Time, I still care about the characters, so I was delighted to find this "life and times" story for Milah, fleshing her out and giving us her pov: Ship in a Bottle.
selenak: (Romans by Kathyh)
Unspoilery review of the earliest Jessica Jones episodes. That is, unless you consider the stuff the trailer already gave away as spoilery. Curse it, I want to watch this show NOW!


In other news, I brushed up on more recent Rome fanfiction (more recent meaning: younger than a year or two), and lo, there's this bit of goodness:

Simple as Falling: Mark Antony/Lucius Vorenus, perfect voices for both men. Also, it's hot. Because in recent years I went "eh, can't see it" about a few juggernaut slash pairings in a few fandoms, I was starting to worry that my slashdar might be broke, which makes me check out a few older m/m pairings that I totally could (and still can) see, and yes, works every time.
selenak: (Scarlett by Olde_fashioned)
While pondering this year's Yuletide options, I received last night a wonderful, unexpected gift from last year, as one of my prompts from then has resulted in this terrific story:

Lydia Gwilt in the American Melodrama Novel, or The Bride And Some Other People In The Tomb (10462 words) by Blueinkedfrost
Chapters: 13/13
Fandom: Armadale - Wilkie Collins
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Lydia Gwilt
Additional Tags: Adventure, Mystery, Supernatural - Freeform, bloodthirsty murder, antihero protagonist, Mrs Alex. McVeigh Miller

Lydia Gwilt goes to America and has further adventures. There's a bride, a tomb, bloodthirsty murder, Spiritualism, monsters of various kinds, and maybe even a new passion for our brave antiheroine. Epistolary fic.

Lydia Gwilt from Wilkie Collins' novel Armadale is my favourite Collins character by far (she also was my first antiheroine, and remains a favourite redhead), and her witty, acerbic voice as Collins presents it in the various letters and diary excerpts that form his "sensation novel" is a big reason why. So I was delighted that not only did this author come up with a great adventure for Lydia, but one that followed the Collins precedent, voice wise. And managed an affectionate spoof of certain 19th century novel tropes besides. I loved it.
selenak: (Allison by Spankulert)
I'm currently so worried, angry and frustrated about events like these, which keep happening over here (two more only last night). Which makes the need for fannish things to enjoy even more urgent. On that note, here's an Orphan Black rec. One of the s3 elements I was pleasantly surprised by most was the way the late (since the pilot, so not really a spoiler) Beth Childs was used, the way Sarah's thoughts keep coming back to her. This story expands on the mental Beth-Sarah conversations by giving Beth conversations with a great many other characters. Intense, with a dream logic that makes emotional sense, and extra points for including Amelia:

and when they sing (8316 words) by piggy09
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Orphan Black (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Beth Childs & Sarah Manning, (sort of) - Relationship, Beth Childs & Kira Manning, Beth Childs & Helena, Helena & Amelia (Orphan Black), Beth Childs & Rachel Duncan, Beth Childs/Paul Dierden
Characters: Beth Childs, Katja Obinger, Kira Manning, Helena (Orphan Black), Amelia (Orphan Black), Rachel Duncan, Charlotte Bowles, Paul Dierden, EVERYBODY SHOWS UP TO CHAT OKAY
Additional Tags: Dreams, Confusing and pretentious

As soon as Sarah had enough memories for Beth she was here: this kitchen, the safest place Sarah knew, a keeping-place until Sarah was ready to meet her. She had been alone there for a while. There were visitors, sometimes, but mostly Beth was just alone. Waiting and waiting and waiting for Sarah to come and see her.


selenak: (Default)

October 2017

1 2 3456 7
89 1011121314


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 19 October 2017 19:49
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios