In other news, I binged on the entire third series of Call the Midwife today, and it gave me many feelings. They mostly involved sniffling.
Actually 'from last year' is not really correct -- while the collection was published last year, many of the stories included were written towards the very beginning of Okorafor's career. And ... you can tell! A lot of it definitely reads like very early work. The writing's much more jagged, and many of the stories feel like initial explorations rather than complete works. It's super interesting, though, because you can get a chance to see the themes that show up in the novels developing, and Okorafor's favorite secondary worlds coming together and becoming more thematically solid in various short snapshots throughout.
My favorite thread is a bunch of stories about Windseekers -- people born with the gift of flight -- which it turns out are mostly part of an unpublished novel about a Windseeker named Arro-yo. What's cool about these stories is you get mythology being established and then questioning and problematizing itself; one story introduces the concept of DESTINED REINCARNATED SOULMATES for Windseekers, and in the next you get a pair of destined soulmates who ... pretty much immediately murder each other every time they recognize each other after reincarnating, because having a soulmate ties you down, man! Gotta get rid of that before it's too late!
(Nnedi Okorafor actually wrote in her afterword that she didn't like that story anymore and if rewriting it probably would not have had them actually murder each other. TOO BAD, I LOVED IT.)
A couple of my favorite stories from the collection are actually available online - I want to call out Spider the Artist, at Lightspeed Magazine, about a woman who befriends an oil pipeline guard robot, is one of my favorites in the collection, and The Palm Tree Bandit, at Strange Horizons, about the creation of a legend. But reading them in the context of Kabu-Kabu as a whole is different from reading them alone, I think. It adds context to a lot of Okorafor's other stuff -- even though many of the stories really aren't as strong, taken by themselves.
(Fair warning #1 is that the content rating is pretty much the usual for Okorafor's adult stuff, by which I mean PRETTY HIGH: lots of spousal abuse, gendered violence, rape racism, race-based violence, and imperialism in the collection as a whole. You don't have to brace yourself as much as you do for Okorafor's Who Fears Death, because with Who Fears Death it's just CONSTANT, and Kabu-Kabu will frequently give you a breather with, like, a whimsical story about a trickster spirit. But some bracing nonetheless required.)
(Fair warning #2 is that the one thing about Okorafor's stuff is that nobody is ever anything other than cis and straight, which stands out more when you have, like, 20 chances for somebody in a story not to be, and most of the characters are not twelve..)
2. Speaking of Flight Rising, someone made a loot tracker. You have to enter it manually, but it doesn't really add much time, and it's fun to see. (Or depressing, like when you do something like train 6 exalt fodder in the Kelp Beds and go 64 rounds and get 3 lesser battle items, 8 festival currency, and almost 200 "other stuff," which translates as "food and autosell junk.")
3. The main reason I'm posting, though is to comment on some shows I've been watching the last few weeks, but probably won't get around to giving proper writeups. Starting with rewatching The Pretender, which I loved as a teen, and which holds up pretty well. Though, wow, I forgot how they did women's makeup in 90s TV. (I mean, not that there aren't crimes committed in that department these days, but that's some seriously caked on stuff, there.) Andrea Parker remains amazing in all things and Michael Weiss is really good at playing a character who's both a naive child in an adult body, and a jaded escape prisoner atoning for unknowingly causing who-knows-how-many-deaths though a lifetime of being exploited. Jared's simultaneous long distance courting/trolling of Miss Parker is as great as I remember, too.
4. I binged through all 6 seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I had some misgivings about it, but really got into it once they started branching out beyond Anakin and/or Obi-Wan and having more stuff about Ahsoka, Padme (especially the Ahsoka/Padme adventure episodes) and the clones. I was also exceptionally fond of Asajj Ventress, depsite disliking how the portrayal of the witches played into all the negative stereotypes ever. Within the narrative, I think they generally did a good job with the portrayal of gender roles and treatment of women (aside from one HUGE beef in season 5....I mean, there were other things that made me frowny, but that was the big one) but on a metanarrative level, I never quite got past the fact that the first season, at least, seems to deliberately minimize Padme's role to keep attention away from ALL THE BAD SOON TO COME and prevent potential audience squick by having too many romantic scenes with Anakin, who was the early main focus. It did get batter about that, though. One thing that particularly thrilled me was when a woman chose ruling a planet over True Love and it was portrayed as completely her choice and not a Sacrifice or something that made her cold. I haven't read much expanded universe stuff, and what I did was years ago. Do Ahsoka or Satine appear in any other media?
5. Another, which is a horror anime from a few years ago. I can't really think of a way to explain it without getting really spoilery, but it's a "cursed class" series, which is pretty common to Japanese horror, but I thought it was really well done, despite a slow start. It's also by P.A. Works and has their normal designs/scenery, which are always great (IMO). Except it's also an increasingly bloody and violent series which I...am not used to with their series.
And I apparently get a one month free trial I can give out! So, if anyone is interested, comment between now and Friday 8/29. If there's more than one person, I'll do a random number drawing.
Also, check out their membership drive and assorted prizes for hitting various levels.
...so of course then innerbrat and I started thinking about ways that we would have rewritten the first two seasons to get our ideal versions of the show while still getting maintaining the third season intact.
( Under the cut! )
SO THERE YOU GO. Mostly though I'm just glad I like and look forward to the show again.
It was not a good day to try to go straight, Kasanoda Ayaka thought as she leaned over her fallen friend Kibayashi Kaori.
And I wrote Alterations, which is ... another Capital Scandal fic. YOU'RE ALL SHOCKED. It's about Yeong Ran and Choi Hak Hee postcanon, and if you don't know who Choi Hak Hee is, that's OK, because I totally didn't know her name until I desperately went searching for "Na Yeo Kyung's mother" on dramawiki sites.
Today I read this.
My inner 15-year-old is crying and burning her VHSes, because even with her extremely conservative, republican, black-and-white-morality worldview upbringing*, she knew better than that.
*Family gatherings are a political/worldview nightmare for adult Me, folks, let me tell you...
Based on a series of books that I haven't read, Honey inherits her father's detective agency, along with his junior partner, Sam, a former marine. Rounding out the agency is Honey's aunt, Meg, who largely functions as secretary and confidant. Honey and Sam both know Judo and use a variety of James Bond-like devices while on cases. On a typical case, Sam does surveillance in the van while Honey does most of the hands-on work.
I tend to automatically adjust my expectations to a degree when watching older shows/movies, but even so, I think this holds up pretty well. While some characters may question Honey's competence as a detective, the narrative itself never really does, and Honey has one or more fight scene in almost every episode. The fight scenes are actually better than those in most 60s movies that I've seen, as someone apparently bothered to teach Anne Francis and John Ericson at least the basics of Judo. Most Hollywood action scenes from the period that I've seen involve the fake "pow!" punch and people throwing other people. Honey punches, kicks, throws people over her shoulder and smashes things over their heads regularly, and has the same happen to her. While there are a number of times that Sam dashes in to the rescue, this mostly only occurs either because he's learned they were wrong about who/what she'd be facing, or because something has gone wrong on a case. There's never a real "well, Honey's a girl so she can't take care of herself" subtext to the show, and Honey tends to come to Sam's rescue as often as not. The series also came about before the memo that if you have a crime solving duo, one HAS to be orderly and by-the-books, and the other HAS to always come up with "harebrained" schemes and charge off on what should be illogical tracks that pay off, and that if it's a male/female pair, the conservative one HAS to be the female and the one who thinks outside the box which always pays off) has to be the male, especially if there's any will hey/won't they going on, because it's pretty much the opposite here. Honey also apparently has a pretty healthy sex (or at least, social with plenty of first base) life, which there isn't any judgement of.
It's far from perfect. The resolution of most cases is pretty obvious early on, and there's a good bit of casual sexism, though it's better there than many other things from the period. (And, sadly, better than some today.) The few times POC appear are also...really best not discussed. Just assume you'll be cringing a fair bit on those rare occasions. But it's still a fun series and, IMO, worth watching.
...then if I do that repeatedly I feel selfish because I assume that is other people's favorite way to watch things too, But perhaps it isn't! Obviously I enjoy socially watching things in many ways, but I'm curious about people's preferences. So I made a poll!
My favorite way to watch things socially is ....
Showing something I've seen and like to somebody else who hasn't seen it
Getting somebody else to show me something they've seen and liked
Rewatching something that the whole group has seen and liked and shouting out all the best quotes in unison
Watching something totally new to all of us. A voyage of discovery!
You dingus, why should I pick a favorite, they're all great!
You dingus, why should you assume that my favorite way to watch things socially involves stuff I LIKE?
UGH, I HATE WATCHING THINGS SOCIALLY.
UGH, I HATE WATCHING THINGS, PERIOD.