selenak: (Kate Hepburn by Misbegotten)
From [profile] vash11. Soon, the Munich Film Festival will be upon me, so I figured I'd better get this out first.

1.What’s the most depressing movie you’ve ever watched? Fassbinder's version of Effi Briest. I get what he was aiming at, but it lacks all the wit and vitality which Fontane's dialogues have, Hanna Schygulla is awful (and awfully static) in the title role, and you're not sad about Effi's ending, you're glad the bloody movie is finally over. Except I had to watch it several times, due to writing a paper about the various movie versions of Effi Briest.

2. What’s the most disturbing movie you’ve ever watched? Wellllll. Given I attended a seminar on propaganda movies, which included some of the vilest the Nazis have produced, the bar there is high, or rather, low. Mind you, some of those movies today would be hilariously ineffective, like Hitlerjunge Quex. (Except for one particular scene, in which Bad Communist Dad forces his Hitler Admiring Rebelling Teenage Son to sing the Internationale; he literally beats the kid into it, and since he's played by Heinrich George, until this point (1933) one of the most Weimar Republic famous actors of "proletarian" roles like Franz Biberkopf in Berlin Alexanderplatz, and one of the best German actors of his day, the casting is doubly effective. But other than that scene, the movie today would be laughed at even without knowledge as to who the Nazis were. Meanwhile, Jud Süß by Veit Harlan didn't get its infamous reputation for nothing. (Sinister trivia: young Michelangelo Antonioni wrote ecstatic praise of it after it was shown in Venice.) Harlan was a master of melodrama, the cast consisted of the top of the day (Heinrich George was in that one, too, playing the lecherous Duke), and it's every bit as evil in antisemitic propaganda as its reputation suggests. (Supposedly it was shown to concentration camp guards in preparation, but it's evil even if that's not true.) If it could be shown outside of teaching circumstances, no doubt it would still work on at least a part of the viewers.

However, it feels a bit cheating to name the most infamous German movie of all time, or maybe trivializing the Holocaust for a meme. So here are two alternate newer movie suggestions:

Hero, directed by Zhang Yimou. Breathtaking aesthetics. Vile central message: the suffering of the individual is no longer relevant when compared to the welfare of the community, which can only be achieved by a strong ruler, even if that ruler acts with incredible brutality to achieve his aims. No.

The Hateful Eight, directed by Quentin Tarantino. I am not easily squicked and have discovered I'm quite splatter tolerant if there is something in the tv show/movie which holds my attention otherwise; I mean, I've watched and enjoyed other Tarantino movies, and the entire series of Spartacus. But The Hateful Eight still disturbed me beyond my personal endurance level; for the reasons why, see here.

3. An actor/actress you’ve seen in more than 8 movies? Katharine Hepburn. (Watched, among others: Bringing Up Baby, Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, Woman of the Year, Adam's Rib, The African Queen, Summertime, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Lion in Winter.)

4. A film you could watch on repeat for the rest of your life? I suspect I'd get to hate whichever movie would be played endlessly for me - that's how they torture people, isn't it? No matter how much I liked the movie before. But here's one which I've watched countless times, which I suppose is what the question is getting at: The Kid, directed by Charlie Chaplin.

5. What’s the very first film you remember watching?: Leaving aside movies I must have watche on tv before that, it must have been Winnetou, because Karl May's novel was one of the earliest book's I've read, and I remember being quite upset about the changes as a child.

6. A film you wish you hadn’t watched? Eh, there are several that bored me, alienated me etc. But you know: I went to the above mentioned class on propaganda movies without any one forcing me into it, knowing full well that I'd have to watch a great many vile things, about which I wanted to learn.

Otoh, you know: The 1993 version of The Three Musketeers (the one with Tim Curry as Richelieu) was the first movie I ever walked out on and to this day have not finished. I loathed what I had watched far too much. So maybe that?

7. A film you wish had a sequel? None comes to mind. My reaction when I hear about sequels where none were intended to movies I loved generally is one of "must you? Please don't".

8. Which book would you like to see adapted into a film? Her Majesty's Will by David Blixt. It practically begs to be filmed.

9. The most aesthetically pleasing movie you’ve ever watched? Well, you know, David Lean didn't get his awards and reputation for nothing. I'm going with the movie that made the desert breathtakingly beautiful and gave us Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif in their youthful glory: Lawrence of Arabia.

10. What’s your favourite movie director? Billy Wilder.

11.Your favourite movie genre? Don't have one. Every time I say I like them all except Genre X, I know a movie or two in Genre X will come to sway me. It really depends on the movies.

12. A movie that holds a special place in your heart? The Lion in Winter, for oh so many reasons, and among others because it introduced me to the Plantagenets in general and Eleanor of Aquitaine in particular when I was one impressionable teenager interested in history.

13. Which is your favourite non-English language movie? Wir Wunderkinder, directed by Kurt Hoffmann.

14. Your favourite comedy film? Some Like It Hot by Billy Wilder

15. A music video you would love to see developed into a film? Say what now?

16. A film everyone loves but you hate? There is no "everyone", but I seem to recall that the 1993 Musketeers which I walked out on was fairly popular?

17. A film you love but (almost) everyone else hates? Again, there is no "everyone", but I do unironically love the three Star Wars prequels, so...

18. Which cinematic universe would you like to live in? Steven Spielberg's. There's almost always a happy end guaranteed, no matter how unlikely, the occasional wondrous alien visit tends to be benign (with an exception yes, but I haven't watched the exception), justice prevails and families are reconciled. And a certain individual would never, ever have become President of the US in a Spielbergian universe.

19. What’s your favourite biopic? Discounting Lawrence of Arabia, because, well, would it count? Anyway, it's Frida, directed by Julie Taymor, about Frida Kahlo. I love the way it makes Frida's art so integral to the film aesthetic and the storytelling, and the characters are all vividly brought ot life. Runner up: Ed Wood, directed by Tim Burton. Yes, I know, subsequent Burton and Depp collaborations as well as behavior probably soured a great many on what came before. But this movie is still fantastic, and a love declaration to all Hollywood losers. Also, Martin Landau so earned his Oscar as Bela Lugosi.

20. Mainstream movies or indie movies? Both. Indies were a later developed taste that came with being able to attend the Munich Film Festival, but I never saw that as mutually exclusive to loving blockbusters.

21. Old movies or contemporary movies? Both.

22. A film with an amazing soundtrack? Kill Bill; Tarantino is usually good with sound tracks, but that's probably my favourite of his.
selenak: (Carl Denham by Grayrace)
A Movie I Love: Sunset Boulevard

An Action Movie I Love: Mad Max: Fury Road

A Drama I Love: The Lives of Others

A Western I Love: Cat Ballou.

A Horror Movie I Love: The Haunting (1963 original, no remakes accepted). Arguably, the original Alien is a horror movie, not an action movie, in which case it is also a choice that immediately comes to mind.

A Comedy I Love: Wir Wunderkinder.

A Romance Movie I Love: Frida. Look, I'm usually the first to complain that biopics of female historical figures almost invariably put a strong focus o their love lives. But in the case of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, it felt it was justified by the result.

A Noir I Love: The Third Man. So long, Holly.

A Disney Movie I Love: Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

A Sci Fi Movie I Love: Blade Runner.

An Animated Movie I Love: Robin Hood (1973). Best Robin ever.

A Superhero Movie I Love: The Avengers.

A War Movie I Love: Empire of the Sun

An Exploitation Movie I Love: Do we count Quentin Tarantino movies? In which case, Kill Bill.

A Musical I Love: West Side Story.

An Historical Movie I Love: The Lion in Winter.

A Bad Movie I Love: I suppose by majority consent, the SW Prequels are these. And I do love them.

A Childhood Favourite: Drei Nüsse für Aschenbrödel. (German title of much loved Czech movie. I have no idea whether it has an English one.) Best Cinderella ever.

A Shakespeare Movie I Love: Chimes at Midnight.

A Franchise I Love: Not in the sense of loving every installment, but I suppose I could list Star Wars here as well.

A Trilogy I Love: The original three Pirates of the Carribean movies, which to me told the story of Elizabeth Swann, and had a great ending. Which is why I never felt the need to watch any sequels.

A Guilty Pleasure I Love: A Royal Night Out. Pure fluff, also glorification of British monarchy etc, but 'twas great fun to watch and relax with (for me).

A Movie Recently Seen: Moonlight.

My Favourite of This Year: The year is still young. So far, To Walk Invisible.

A Favourite of All Time: Lawrence of Arabia
selenak: (uptonogood - c.elisa)
Comment with one of my fandoms, and I'll tell you:

the character I least understand
interactions I enjoyed the most
the character who scares me the most
the character who is mostly like me
hottest looks character
one thing I dislike about my fave character
one thing I like about my hated character
a quote or scene that haunts me
a death that left me indifferent
a character I wish died but didn’t
my ship that never sailed
selenak: (Naomie Harris by Lady Turner)
Well, I'm back. (Sorry, had to go there.) And a splendid month it has been, too, though the laundry washing and ironing alone is EPIC, and I despair of ever catching up with all my shows right now.

(Except for Bates Motel & The Americans, which were on Amazon Video in my region. Review to follow.)

If you're in the air for 24 hours in both directions, you do watch movies as well, so, briefly, impressions:

La La Land: Eh. I mean, I like movies that explore their own artifice, Hollywood on Hollywood, and musicals, but I still fell half asleep during that one, and I wasn't THAT tired. Although, the audition scene really was good.

Loving: excellent acting, refusing to go overboard with sentiment despite dire temptation, because after all, how often do you get a rl love-takes-on-institutionalised-racism-and-wins tale?

Arrival: wow. Loved the concept and the execution. Have not read the story it's based on (yet), but this finally was sci fi again with a sense of wonder and true alienness. Also: linguistics!

Moonlight: am glad it got the Oscar, for verily, it deserved it, and then some. Beautifully acted and shot. As part of its story, manages to pull off a concept which in theory should have me annoyed because when this is done in fanfic, I am prone to complain immediately, but here it works beautifully, not least due to the circumstances the central character is in. All three actors playing Chiron (aka Little, aka Black) in the three stages of his life we meet him are excellent, and I can see why both Mahershala Ali (playing Juan, nicest drug dealer on the planet) and Naomi Harris (our hero's mother and a stunning tour de force on Ms. Harris' part) were singled out for particular critical praise and attention. Not coincidentally, the scene where they confront each other is outstanding even in a movie of this quality, especially for how NOT cliché like it goes, and how it starts with one character calling out the other only for the other reversing the calling out in a devastating, undeniable way. Their scenes with Chiron are sublime, too, and no wonder the "learning to swim" scene already gets quoted visually in its poetry. I also love the last scene between Chiron and his mother, and how the emotions are, in a way, echoed in the last scene between Chiron and Kevin.

Suicide Squad: am I ever glad I did not have to pay money for it.
selenak: (Romans by Kathyh)
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.)
selenak: (Cat and Books by Misbegotten)
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: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
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: (Default)
Looking back to see whether or how I developed in terms of writing Yuletide tales.


My first year of writing, after being an avid annual reader of this ficathon. You had and have to offer several fandoms you can write in so you can be matched, and I threw in Ovid's Metamorphoses on impulse and as an afterthought. (Knowing my Greek myths and my Ovid, this was something I knew I didn't have to do much research for.) Wouldn't you know it, this was what I was assigned, and most satisfying it proved to write, too. Mind you, I was also initiated in the experience of Yuletide panic, when after the default date my recipient showed up as ungifted despite me having posted the story weeks before, but after some mails, this was cleared up. The recipient was happy and wrote lovely feedback, and so all in all, I had a great first time Yuletide experience.

Spinning Fate


In that year, DS9 was allowed back as a Yuletide fandom, so I listed it among my offers and promptly got assigned to a DS9 request. Which challenged me to write a version of Dax I hadn't written before, Ezri, a pairing I hadn't written before (Worf/Jadzia Dax), and a pov I'd never written before (Worf, who in my previous DS9 stories had only shown up in cameos). Just goes to show you can get challenged out of your comfort zone even in a fandom you think you've done all in already. Experiences like this are exactly why I sign up for ficathons.

Let It Be


Another year of a DS9 assignment. The lesson learned in this Yuletide was that even in a relatively big (for Yuletide) fandom, like DS9, popularity is by no means guaranteed. This story - about Odo and Quark, and the beginning of Odo's time on Terok Nor - got not as many readers as Let it Be had done, and was somewhat overshadowed by the other DS9 stories posted this year. Readers, I experienced writerly jealousy in a fanfic context for the first time. Also a Yuletide rite of passage!



The first year in which I wrote a treat in addition to my assignment. My assigned fandom was Sunset Boulevard, and the new Yuletide experience that year was that the original prompt had been very general, and by the time the recipient's letter was up, she'd forgotten she had requested Sunset Boulevard and wrote more detailed thoughts only to fandoms I had zero ideas about. Panic! However, contacting the mods resulted in Sunset Boulevard being talked about in her letter, which allowed me to write the Norma and Max backstory I'd been wondering about for eons, which in turn to my great relief resulted in a happy recipient who wrote lovely comments to every chapter of the story:


By now, I had enough of a certainty of how long it would take me to write a Yuletide story to write a treat as well, and even write it first. It was a story [personal profile] naraht and self had been daring each other to write for eons, about Alma Cogan. I still feel a bit guilty about writing RPF (though not guilty enough not to do it, obviously), but Alma Cogan has been dead for decades, which was liberating enough for me to this for Yuletide. I had been a bit concerned [profile] narah and I would be the only ones interested in the result, but this turned out not to be the case, which made me a happy writer.

Such an easy game


The year of the siblings! I ended up to write both my assignment and my treat about sibling relationships, which I was aware of, though I only noticed during the beta process I even had both pairs of siblings drink hot chocolate together in the comfort part of h/c. What can I say? It seemed to fit them. The assignment was in Breaking Bad, and in addition to everything else told me another Yuletide lesson, which was: better not request exactly the story you want to write yourself, or it will be a really weird emotional experience later. In this case, I had asked for a story about Skyler and her sister Marie for Breaking Bad, which I got, and had offered Breaking Bad with Skyler and Marie as characters, and guess which prompt I got.

Blood Ties

My other siblings tale of the year was another classic movie fanfiction, this time for The Godfather, and allowed me to explore the female pov of this very male-heavy tale, and a character whom both canon and fandom seemed to dislike a lot, Connie Corleone. This resulted in what is so far my most widely read Yuletide story, which I certainly hadn't expected. Cue beaming author!

Fuit Quondam


I had a new fandom to offer this year, The Americans, which I did get assigned to. Which was also the first time I offered to write for an unfinished canon. Now obviously I've done this often before, but not for Yuletide. It's one thing to dash off a story inspired by an episode which might not even be beta-read because it feels that urgent, and another to write for the most attention-getting of ficathons with months of preparation. The shared risk is that you could get jossed completely within said months. Luckily, this hasn't happened to me (yet); also, I got a prompt that allowed me to explore a guest character and his relationship to one of our main characters I had been wondering about for a while. Result:

Like the Fellow says

Meanwhile, doing shared Mary Renault book readings and debating with other readers had resulted in joking about possible film versions for some of the novels in question. This was also the year Disney released Saving Mr. Banks, their take on the clash between P.L Travers, author of the Mary Poppins novels, and Walt Disney, who between clashes bond a bit over Daddy issues. All of which led me to kid around with [personal profile] naraht about Hitchcock filming Renault, and them bonding over Mommy issues. Some jokes remain jokes; some just refuse to go away and want to be turned into actual stories. And thus I ended up writing the tale of Mary Renault clashing with not one but both Hitchcocks, Alfred and Alma, and reluctanctly bonding over mother issues:

Saving Mrs. Fleming


As with DS9, I ended up writing in the same fandom for two years in a row, which is why I haven't offered to write The Americans this year. (As opposed to DS9, nobody else wrote any Americans stories in the last two Yuletides, which, woe, because I do love the show a lot, and it's not Star Trek, it needs a building audience.) My 2015 prompt was a general one about the two main characters ("just fuck me up in the feels"), and thus I ended up writing casefic for Philip and Elizabeth, a story that I hoped would feel like a missing episode and tackle various s3 issues - the Soviet war in Afghanistan, our antiheroes' stressed relationship with each other and with their handler. The Americans reading Yuletiders responded very posivitely - except for the recipient, who didn't respond at all. Which was when I realised how lucky I'd been with my recipients from various ficathons, including Yuletide, until then. It's very frustrating if a person you've written a story for can't even be bothered with a "thanks for writing for me" note.

Zinc Man

The treat I wrote in 2015 was for my first book Yuletide fandom since Ovid, Ancient history as interpreted in Jo Graham's novel Hand of Isis. Which is slightly different than writing historical fiction based on whatever your own research has produced; you work with already established interpretations of characters, though of course there's still room for additional interpretation, especially since the novel is a first person pov, which means another character from their own pov can see things differently. Moreover, it was a chance to tackle Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who, depending on whether the work of fiction is pro-Augustus or pro-Cleopatra, usually ends up in a minor supporting role as either Sam Gamgee in the wrong canon or a soulless minion, despite having been the Empire's second most powerful man in his lifetime. And I could write Julia, Augustus' daughter, in what was arguably the happiest time of her life instead of filtered through her later tragedy. It turned out to be a very satisfying writing experience indeed.

Alexandria Leaving

This year: three stories in three different fandoms, though two of them are sort of related, about which I'll chatter on post reveal.
selenak: (Henry Hellrung by Imaginary Alice)
I must get into a better mindset, or I'll end up snapping at everyone on the internet because this year's awfulness has rubbed me raw by now. Also, I'm stuck on a train for six more hours. Therefore, meme. Give me a character from one of my fandoms, and I'll tell you (if I can, because there are characters on which I have no opinions whatsoever):

First impression
Impression now
Favorite moment
Idea for a story
Unpopular opinion
Favorite relationship
Favorite headcanon
selenak: (Bardolatry by Cheesygirl)
How long has it been since I was writing something set in a mega fandom? Years and years. The difference in terms of reader/comments/kudos numbers is truly stunning, she says, looking slightly dazed.

Seriously though. You write story set in, say, The Americans, you're lucky to get ca. 300 hits a year. You write a Star Wars story, you get over 400 hits in less than two days. And 57 kudos. Truly, the Force must have been with me. :)

Merlin at its height wasn't big enough to count as a mega fandom, so that probably wasn't the last time. Hm. As far back as when I wrote for Heroes during the s1 to s2 hiatus and in s2? I.e. the height of its popularity? Yes, it must have been as far back as that...

Well, I'll try to enjoy it while it lasts. Soon enough I'll be back to my small fandoms and desperately hoping to get double digit numbers in my hits at all...

On another note, here Ian McKellen lists his favourite performances in film versions of Shakespeare. (Ignore the stupid comments which don't seem to grasp this isn't a "best of Shakespeare on film" list, just his personal favourites. This being said, it warms my heart he lists his Lady MacBeth, Judi Dench, because she's my favourite as well (and also the Trever Nunn MacBeth staring McKellen and Judi Dench is the only one to date where I thought both M and Lady M were played by equally strong actors at their best - usually I'm only happy with one of them at a time). Unexpected but pleasing to me choice: Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus. Most baffling to me choice: Paul Scofield as the Ghost in Zeffirelli's Hamlet. (Maybe because I watched that one only once. Hamlet and Franco Zeffirelli really weren't made for each other.) Most-amusing-to-me description, when McKellen explains why he picked Orson Welles' Falstaff: "Orson Welles was a considerable man of the theatre and learned his trade assisting Micheál Mac Liammóir, the flamboyant Irish actor."

(To understand why this phrasing cracks me up, start by checking out an old post of mine on Orson Welles. If you don't want to, let's just say that Mac Liammóir and Hilton Edwards were indeed 16 years old Orson's Godfathers Of Theatre, so to speak, and proceded to have a decades long intense and tension filled friendship with him before alas it got wrecked in the 1960s, but that Orson being competitive Orson, he would have insisted on pointing out he never ASSISTED Micheál Mac Liammóir because he already played the second lead in his debut with them while the lead was played by Micheál's partner Hilton Edwards.) (Otoh Micheál Mac Liammoir would have gotten such a kick out of this description and would have quoted it to Orson Welles on the phone.)
selenak: (Ashoka and Anakin by Welshgater)
Tonight, Better Call Saul comes back, which makes me realise all of the fictional relationships (both friendly or romantic) I'm currently most invested in are doooomed, and it's usually because they're in prequel canons. Jimmy/Kim, because Jimmy is on his way to Saul-dom, and that's inevitable because Breaking Bad. Norma Bates & everyone, because Norma is the most doooooomed mother ever. (Bates Motel is also soon coming back on my tv screen.) Anakin Skywalker & Ahsoka Tano, because dammit, Anakin. John Silver & Captain James Flint because Treasure Island.

....and then I remember The Americans are soon returning, too, and this great promo for season 4 is mouthwatering. Philip! Elizabeth! Your incredibly messed up relationship is so my rescue here, because you're in an canon without a predetermined ending. I mean, sure, the Cold War will (temporarily) end in a few years and all you've done for Mother Russia will have been in vain, but at least I can root for you guys to remain messed up and together for more years to come!
selenak: (Avalon by Kathyh)
Not that I always managed this. And what works for me may not work for you, as we’re all different, etc. But here are a few ideas:

1.) So you’re reached the point where every episode of what was once a beloved show, every book of a series you used to look forward to, every movie sequel becomes a drag. There may be still one or two scenes which are enjoyable, but you find yourself bored or infuriated by the rest. Your reviews, if you write them, are a long series of complaints, and not just for the occasional bad episode which happens in all canons, but all the time. There is also no reason to expect a radical change of writing (like, say, in the case of a tv show a completely new writing team), and/or your favourite characters are gone/lost all the traits you used to like them for. QUIT WATCHING OR READING NOW. Seriously. Don’t hate watch. Don’t keep watching because your fandom friends do. QUIT. Cold turkey. Completely. If you are a completist “but I have to know how it ends” type, you can always check out reviews by other people, but QUIT CONSUMING THE CANON.

2.) Your biggest problem is that you lose the chance of fannish interaction (discussion, writing fanfiction) with fandom friends when you quit consuming the canon. I sympathize, because it happened to me a couple of times. Here are some do’s and don’ts for me: DON’T keep commenting on your friends’ posts on the canon with bitter remarks of how you now loathe it. If you feel the continued need to rant some more about how canon has let you down, do so in your own virtual space, but remember, other people still enjoy it, and lecturing them on how mistaken they are to do so (because that’s how these type of comments come across) is just rude. DO try to find either a new canon to get enthusiastic about and cunningly try to lure the old fandom friends into getting interested in that one as well so you can discuss it with them, or revisit another old canon you know you and your missed friends share. This requires endurance and not giving up after the first two or so posts don’t get any echo of the hoped for type, but it eventually pays off for at least some of them. *waves at [personal profile] andraste*.

3.) Let some time pass (it can be one year, it can be ten, that really depends on you), then revisit the old canon during the era when you still loved it. Do not focus on what came after but watch/read what you used to love. More often than not, this leads to renewed enjoyment (at least, for me it does; most recent example was when I did my rewatch of the first three seasons of Once upon a Time a year or so after breaking up with it), and sometimes shared squee or shared discussion with old fandom friends about the era in question. Again: do not spoil this for yourself and your friends by turning a “this was one of character X’ best episodes” comment into an excuse to go off on a rant about how utterly character X devolved in season/movie/book NNNN. (Well, if you know that the friend who commented shares your opinion on that subject, and will gladly join you in an exchange of rants, go ahead. But generally speaking, it works better for me the other way around.)

4.) If the canon revisiting results in you realizing you don’t love the book/movie/tv show seasons that used to entrance you anymore, either, for whatever reason (your taste has changed, or you are simply unable to banish future developments from interfering with your watcher/reader enjoyment), I can understand this results in some need to vent. But again: do it in your own virtual space. And unless you very firmly lock this, avoid phrasing it in ways like “I can’t believe I ever fell for that stupid crap”, because your old fandom friends who fell for it, too, and still feel attachment can take this as a rejection of them even though it’s totally not meant this way. It’s not rational, but it’s emotional logic.

5.) So you’ve found a new canon to fall in love with all over again! Congratulations! This is great. However, before you declare the new canon’s creators infinitely superior to the old canon’s creators, be aware you may eat your words a few years later. In the interest of limiting future bitterness, better write the new squee without “how much better is this than the horrible badness of Canon X” type of remarks. Otoh, comments like “I love how trope Y, which Canon X also employed, is written here, because it presses my fannish buttons far more” may lure curious former fellow fen from Canon X into taking a gander at this new thing. See 2.)

In conclusion: life is short, wasting time on bitterness makes it even shorter. Let it be, let it be...

The other days
selenak: (Omar by Monanotlisa)
Gone Girl: Pick in the Ice: vicious and elegant. A possible future for Amy; Rhonda pov.

The Last Unicorn: Iron Bars: there are several great takes on the Harpy this year, and I like them all, but this one is my favourite, not least because of the mind games Mammy Fortuna and the Harpy play with each other.

Lawrence of Arabia: The Lusitania Variation: what is it with me and historical AUs this year? In this one, Churchill's letter re: drawing the US into WWI becomes public, with the result that British funding for the revolt in the desert suddenly is gone. And what then? Ali pov, great voices for him and Lawrence (their movie versions, that is), and best of all: co-starring Gertrude Bell!

Mabinogion Myth: All that's best and bright: Arianrhod in her own words.

Watership Down: The story of the doe who hid her kittens Beautiful and heartbreaking Efrafa tale (in both senses of the word), with Hyzanthlay as the teller.

Far Far Away: fantastic take on Silverweed.

The Wire: Upside down Kingdom: of all the various gangster & cop combinations the show did, Bodie and Carver scenes were perhaps my favourites. This story is a great example of why.
selenak: (James Boswell)
I wasn't able to do this for the December, but I'll try to do it for January, starting the new year with lots of posts. Consider this the announcement where you can request topics:

Pick a date below and give me a topic, and I'll ramble on. I'm good at talking. It can be anything from fandom-related (specific characters, actors, storylines, episodes, etc.) to life-related to pizza preferences to whatever you want.

They will probably be brief, or not, depending on the subject. Also, I reserve the right to decline prompts that I don't feel equipped to meet.

Topics: you can get an idea from my tags/from the stuff I usually ramble about/from things you maybe wish I talked about more but don't. Also, please feel free to check out last year's posts, i.e. the topics I've already written about.

January 1:The best travel story: Carnival in Rio
January 2:(Some of)My favourite historical novels
January 3: Where would you like to see Elementary take Morland's story?
January 4: The Hunger Games and gender politics
January 5: Dealbreakers in published or fan fiction
January 6: Plot twists which genuinely surprised me, and what made them work
January 7: Five favourite heroines
January 8: Five fascinating historical figure(s) from the early middle ages (500-1100ish)
January 9: Fun and comedy German movies
January 10: Breaking up with fandoms and remaining on good terms: a how-to guide
January 11: Characters who anchor shows with large ensemble casts (not necessarily the leads): discuss
January 12: Most fascinating historical figure(s) from the high/late middle ages (1200-1500)
January 13: Companions and Doctors: what makes particular combinations work (for me), what doesn't
January 14: Five of my favourite female characters
January 15: Why I don't use the character of colo(u)r tag
January 16: Family dynamics in The Borgias
January 17: Depiction of work relationships on Merlin and DS9
January 18: Depiction of Germans in US and British media I'm familiar with
January 19:
January 20:
January 21:
January 22:
January 23:
January 24:
January 25:
January 26:
January 27:
January 28:
January 29: Leadership styles of Jean-Luc Picard and Emma Snow
January 30: relationships between women in Agent Carter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
January 31: Themes, tropes and/or characteristics which almost shout 'this work is by an American'.
selenak: (Jimmy and Kim)
1. Your main fandom of the year?

I remain a multifandom woman. This year I said goodbye to some of my favourite shows, found several news ones , and maintained old attachments. Perhaps The Americans was one where I joined in the most discussions?

2. Your favourite film watched this year?

Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer ("The People vs Fritz Bauer"), about an amazing rl person, Fritz Bauer, German-Jewish, Social Democrat, gay, tries to get justice done against Nazis in 1950s and 1960s Germany where everyone is still in denial mode, and being gay is still illegal. Burkhart Klaußner is amazing in the title role. (And the movie is gutsy enough to open with a tv clip showing the real Fritz Bauer before we get introduced to Klaußner in the role, and there's no suspension of disbelief necessary.

3. Your favourite book read this year?

I did a lot of rereading of old favourites this year, but leaving those aside, probably Wind Raker, the fourth volume in the "Order of the Air" series by Jo Graham and Melissa Scott. This time, our heroes tackle archaeology, mystical dark forces and real life politics in Hawaii.

4. Your favourite TV show of the year?

Difficult to choose. The one which most surprised me by how much I fell in love with it was Better Call Saul. Because I had started to watch it solely because of the earned trust in the creative team from Breaking Bad; I didn't exactly burn with curiosity about Saul Goodman's origin story, Saul Goodman having been an amusing comic relief character in BB about whom I had no strong feelings one way or the other. But lo and behold, did I ever develop strong feelings for Jimmy McGill. Who is still funny (they'd never waste Bob Odenkirk's comedic talents), but also absolutely heartbreaking and incredibly endearing. And I like the ensemble, and the various complex relationships - Jimmy and Chuck, Jimmy and Kim (LOVE Kim, especially), Jimmy and Howard Hamlin, and, as a work in progress, Jimmy and Mike.

Now both Agent Carter and Jessica Jones I had hoped and expected to love (both the shows and the title characters), and so I did, so there wasn't the same element of surprise involved. The Americans had a painfully good third season and continues to feed my rage and award juries which ignore it. Bates Motel: ditto. Elementary gave me a great third season and while I'm not yet feeling the same level in the fourth, it still provides me with enough so I continue to love it. Doctor Who, after a lull in my fannish investment during the Eleventh Doctor era, made me fall for the Twelth Doctor, Clara Oswald and friends (and foes) all over again.

But really, in terms of "When did fondness become love? I must convert more people to watch this show, let me write that manifesto!", there can be only one choice: Black Sails. Dammit, pirates, how could I fall for you so hard!

5. Your favourite online fandom community of the year?

[community profile] theamericans, which I've shamefully neglected in recent months due to various matters. Must become better again when the new season starts!

6. Your best new fandom discovery of the year?

Black Sails I started last year, and Agent Carter and Jessica Jones weren't exactly new discoveries because I knew some of the characters of the former already via the MCU, and was familiar with the source material of the later. Better Call Saul was a spin-off from a show I was familiar with. So I shall look to one of my oldest fandoms, historical novels, and nominate [profile] sonetka's wonderful website with its witty and thorough overview of novels starring Anne Boleyn, The head that launched a thousand books.

7. Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?

Once upon a Time, season 4, rivals with The Good Wife, season 6, for the title; The Good Wife wins, barely. I drew the consequences and quit both shows.

8. Your TV boyfriend of the year?

There are about a million reasons why dating Saul Goodman would be a bad idea, but Jimmy McGill, post-Slippin Jimmy, pre-Saul days? In a heartbeat. He's a movie buff, he's funny, he's kind, and he'd even into providing free pedicure for the work stressed woman.

9. Your TV girlfriend of the year?

Peggy Carter. Me and a million other people. But: Peggy! She's ultra competent, she's loyal, she has the art of sarcasm down to a t, she can love deeply without becoming all about one person, instead valuing other relationships as well, and she's gorgeous.

10. Your biggest squee moment of the year?

Norma Bates invites family and friends for supper in 3.07, ominously titled The Last Supper. But in fact it's as fluffy as any scene on this show could get... considering that two characters at the table have deeply traumatic rape history (with each other), another character is a budding serial killer, another is a corrupt cop, one is a profession drug smuggler with gigantic mommy issues, one is Norma Bates who is, well, Norma, and the only nonviolent, non-traumatized, non-trauma causing, nice and normal person on the table, Emma, has an illness which condems her to die in her 20s. And yet this manages to be an absolutely heartwarming, squee worthy moment. This show, I tell you.

11. The most missed of your old fandoms?

The Babylon 5 community has started a series review, but I just don't have the time right now. The recent silly (nothing wrong with that, but it was) trailer for the next Star Trek Reboot movie also made me nostalgic for my Trek, and for ye olde days of discussing DS9 episodes and themes at [profile] ds9agogo.

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

I'm currently eying How to get away with Murder. Maybe I'll also dare the Hamilton juggernaut.

13. Your biggest fan anticipations for the New Year?

Bryan Fuller's version of American Gods, based on Neil Gaiman's novel (which I love). Season 2 of Agent Carter, season 4 of The Americans, season 3 of Black Sails, season 4 of Bates Motel (definitely); season 2 of Better Call Saul (hopefully).
selenak: (Default)
Last night, the Frankfurt Book Fair was opened, so in the next few days, it'll be books, books, books for me, and also politics, because as the opening speeches showed, the refugees (and certain infuriating people on the right) are so much on everyone's mind that you can't not debate. However, the fannish part of me did notice something:

All the accepted Yuletide nominations are up. I'm glad, because not only were all my nominations accepted but the coordination in the fandoms worked really well - Black Sails has 15 characters to choose form, The Americans 17. (!) (No one else nominated the Shardlake novels, but never mind, one can't have everything.)

Then there are a couple of fandoms I can offer in, and some I might be able to do a treat for if I have the time, but won't offer because it really depends on the prompt. Mind you, there are also a couple of fandoms where I would offer and every nominated character, too, but for the fact this could end up in landing me pairings I really don't want to write. The usual way to avoid this is to not offer one part of the pairing. The problem: take Bates Motel. I'd love to write about Emma, especially her relationship with Norma. I also would write about Dylan, in the context of his family. I just don't want to write Emma/Dylan, which is a popular pairing, so if I offer both of them, I have visions of being landed with just this combination. Penny Dreadful offers some similar problems, i.e. there's virtually no character I can't imagine writing about, but...

Anyway, that still leaves me with enough fandoms to offer. As for requests: I already have some pretty specific ideas. And now I'm off to the fair!
selenak: (Henry and Eleanor by Poisoninjest)
I signed up for [community profile] history_exchange; it has a minimum word count of 500, and I can do that despite rl business. You can sign up here, and the list of nominated historical characters one can write about is here. (I offered the Brontes, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elizabeth I., Charles II. and Byron.)

And a link:

A great conversation between Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro about fantasy, genre, Samurai movies versus Errol Flynn swashbucklers, Stevens the Butler as a monster, and Doctor Who, among other subjects.

And another: Why it's time to let Edward Snowden come home. From my part of the world, Obama's quick embrace of the NSA and all the utter invasion of privacy the Patriot Act granted the government is one of the biggest dissappointments of his presidency, along with the non-closing of Guantanamo and the persecution of whistleblowers (not just Snowden) in general.
selenak: (Allison by Spankulert)
Tonight the first (? Do we have any word on whether or not there'll be a second?) season of Better Call Saul ends, which reminds me that the tv shows that most swept me away this year so far were all short ones - Agent Carter, Black Sails (and I must write a manifesto as to why everyone should watch Black Sails, not only because everyone should but selflishly because how else am I ever going to read any decent meta or fanfiction outside of bloody tumblr?), The Americans and to my surprise (because I really hadn't counted on it, due to having been only mildly fond of Saul on Breaking Bad) Better Call Saul. Whereas The Good Wife with its 23 episode length has become so stale and repetitive that I had to drop it, and I'm currently pondering as to whether or not to drop Once upon a Time because the current arc isn't really working for me and the last episode might just have broken my suspension of disbelief in the emotional reality of the characters. (I can take any amount of weird plots as long as the characters remain emotionally real for me.) Unless the next episode wows me back, I think I will. Which leaves Elementary as the one long season type show with an ongoing canon I currently have. (The last Elementary episode might have been meh, but the third season in general has been so strong that something like this doesn't register as more than a glitch.)

The problem with short season shows is that they, or at least the ones I tend to fall in love with, don't have big fandoms, and then there's my personal problem of being a gen oriented fan who only rarely gets in the shipping mood, which makes fanfiction to my taste hard to find. For example, Agent Carter, perhaps because it's tied to the MCU, does generate a lot of fanfiction, but last I looked, the Peggy & Jarvis case fic of my dreams isn't there yet. Instead, there are a lot of pairings, and I'm just not interested in Peggy/Anyone (or Daniel/Jack) right now. And Better Caul Saul, where I actually could be easily pushed into shipping the hell out of Jimmy and Kim, and at any rate would love to read about their relationship, no matter the state of same, has precisely two stories, one drabble type thing and a good longer one, about them. And the state of Black Sails fanfiction is one major reason why I MUST write this manifesto, argh.

In the meantime, two links:

Orphan Black: The many faces of Tatiana Maslany. Excellent profile of the actress, with some (minor) season 2 spoilers.

Agent Carter: The Mother of Invention. It's wartime in Britain, and Howard Stark is attempting to bake a better cake. Lovely Peggy and Howard during the war ficlet. Next to Peggy & Jarvis case fic, Peggy & Howard friendship fic is the other thing I want from Agent Carter fandom, and at least there once in a blue moon, you come across little gems like this.
selenak: (The Americans by Tinny)
Your main fandom of the year? I remain a multifandom person.

Your favorite film watched this year? Pride contending with X:Men: Days of Future Past contending with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Your favorite book read this year? I was most impressed by Robert A. Caro’s multi volume The Years of Lyndon Johnson biography/biographies. Informative, suspenseful; Caro accomplishes that rare balance act of not airbrushing his subject’s flaws (and Johnson could be pretty terrible) while doing justice to his achievements.

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?: Doctor Who: Fanfare for the Common Man. What? It’s a Big Finish audio, therefore an album, and it’s about The Beatles a band from Liverpool who isn’t really, complete with songs.

Your favorite TV show of the year? The Americans competing with Penny Dreadful

Your best new fandom discovery of the year? See above.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year? I wasn’t really in the fandom, but the second Amazing Spiderman took all away that made the first one enjoyable and added the flaws, but not virtues from the Raimi films. Eh.

Your fandom boyfriend of the year? Porthos from The Musketeers. Because Porthos! (There are a few other men who’ve caught my fancy, but Porthos is the only one I’d date in real life, since I’m not suicidal or an emotional masochist.)

Your fandom girlfriend of the year? Movieverse Raven/Mystique. Loved, loved, loved her in X-Men: Days of Future Past. (Loved her before, too, of course, but it only grows stronger.)

Your biggest squee moment of the year? Is spoilery for XMDoFP ). Competing with: something spoilery for Once upon a Time 4.11 )

The most missed of your old fandoms? Babylon 5, not just because of my show love but because the fannish interaction I had when active in the fandom was so positive. (By which I don’t mean uncritical of aspects of the show. Just that discussion and fanfiction writing – and if you co back long enough, roleplaying – was such fun.) With a lot of newer fandoms, I’ve got to stick to a few fellow fans to talk to and sometimes (as with OuaT) even have given up on seeking out fanfiction, because there’s so much bile around.

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to? Still Slings and Arrows.
selenak: (Ellen by Nyuszi)
With the disclaimer that this is prone to change depending on mood except for the first two, and is in no particular order:

1) Scooby Road by [personal profile] luminosity. Still the most awesome vid of them all, not only if you're a fan of BtVS and of the Beatles, and I am both. My detailed ravings on it are here.

2.) Ophelia, a Babylon 5 vid. I'll forever be glad to have lured [personal profile] andraste into B5, and not just because she makes fabulous vids, but this vid - about the dead women and the way they return on the show - is definitely a part of why.

3.) Blank Space: a more recent favourite, to my mind, the best Doctor/Master vid to date, encompassing both Old and New Who.

4.) Savages: a magnificent vid that beautifully captures all I loved about The Borgias. (Not so coincidentally based on the first two seasons.)

5.) Virgin: it's Vorenus/Antony, yes, and I do have a soft spot for that pairing, but better than that, it's about Rome and Rome, and captures the essence of both.

6.) On your wings: Doctor Who again, this time a vid portraying one of my all time favourite companions, Ace. And beautifully so.

7.) The Unforgiven Ones: Battlestar Galactica, Ellen and Cavil, the Five and the Seven; a short vid that packs an incredible punch.

8.) We didn't start the fire: still BSG, this time on the hilarious side. I love this to bits, and the identifications (Lee as the Cather in the Rye! Laura Roslin as Richard Nixon! Athena as Lawrence of Arabia!) reliably crack me up every time.

9.) Half Acre: incredibly beautiful Six Feet Under vid that uses Claire's art to frame the entire show.

10.) Runner: aka the Connor from Angel character study which made me go "here I wrote lengthy posts about him and the vid makes all my points much better, and then some"!

December Talking Meme: The Other Days


selenak: (Default)

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