I currently have no plans for tomorrow until later in the afternoon save for poking around downstairs and seeing if people need ay help with things.
The owner of the currently licensed "worlds" is Alloy, a very notorious book packager. (Remember this?) All the comments about Amazon's bad contractual terms in this whole deal? How writers pretty much have no control over how their work is marketed and sold? How their ideas become property of the license holder? How other writers can use their ideas in their own works? That's fairly standard for book packagers. Especially this one. I promise you that Alloy is doing that shit now, already, without any help from Amazon. All this deal does is allow Alloy to now do it at a lower cost and lower immediate risk to them on a much larger scale than before.
(For a more thorough explanation about book packagers and their deal, read Gwenda Bond's post.)
I've seen it described as crowdsourcing media tie-in novels more so than monetizing fanfic and I think that's more accurate. As I said on Twitter, I personally think the person who wrote the Amazon press release intentionally used "fanfic" instead of "licensed media tie-ins" because it would attract more attention and publicity. Whatever else you may think about Amazon, you can't say people weren't talking about Kindle Worlds today. Which means the press release was very effective and that the person who wrote it did their job well.
As Gwenda Bond said in her post, book packaging is very pervasive in the YA genre. Very pervasive. Lemme name a few other Alloy properties and see if they ring any bells:
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
666 Park Avenue
13 Little Envelopes & Girl at Sea (YES, the books by Maureen Johnson)
Midnighters (YES, the books by Scott Westerfeld)
Sweet Valley High
Roswell High (yup, the basis for the TV show)
And these are just Alloy properties. (See the full list of properties here.) There are others.
Personally, I'm more interested in seeing how this will affect other media tie-ins (like Star Wars and Star Trek) and individual creative control over IP. Anyone who's been paying attention to Alloy's doings knows that they're especially interested in altering the latter.
Please note: I have no better idea about any of the actual politics involved than I did before I read this book. This is because there are approximately five million political parties involved, most of them claiming to be Socialist and all of them in a constant process of sitting in on meetings and then storming out on each other in a huff.
(Half the time the storming out in a huff is followed by someone else shouting "YOU ALREADY STORMED OUT LAST NIGHT! WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?")
Anyway, John Reed's version is pretty partisan and only sort of accurate, so everything he says about actual facts has to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt anyway.
What his account does do is give a very good idea of the inevitable confusion that occurs when a country tries to remake all of its social and political structures overnight. Nobody has any idea what's going on in the rest of the country; social structures are in a constant state of flux; half the time half of the national infrastructure is on strike in protest against the other half; people are constantly putting up posters all around the city saying "WORKERS! DON'T LISTEN TO [OTHER POLITICAL PARTY]! WE HATE THEM AND THEIR STUPID FACES." One entire major party decides to boycott all the meetings because they're annoyed that the Bolsheviks have stolen their land reform program and THEY THOUGHT OF IT FIRST, JEEZ. John Reed, the American Socialist journalist who is narrating the whole story, almost gets accidentally executed at least three times by the Bolshevik party, which he supports and has a safe-conduct from; another three times he is blithely able to wander into government areas where he really should not have been without anybody stopping him.
History is chaos, man. Any time, any place -- it's basically amazing that anything ever gets done.
Must remember to pack HDMI cable.
Anyway, I will be arriving Friday afternoon and leaving Monday night. Anyone still around for an early Monday dinner? I have made vague flailing attempts at meal planning.
I like texts MUCH more than phone calls (and for some reason, my phone doesn't always ring when people call), and I should have my iPhone with me most of the time, so I'll have access to email and Twitter messages and etc. PM me if you want my number!
Mostly hoping I will appear semi-intelligent on my panels and that there will be no flight delays. *knock on wood*
( brief spoilers )
Elementary 1.23-1.24: Welp, anyone doubting that this show is a decontruction of the Sherlock Holmes canon and the genius/wrangler dynamic has hopefully been convinced?
( spoilers )
Murder on the Homefront: This is either a stealth Sherlock Holmes adaptation set in 1940 in which Watson is a female reporter who Holmes absconds with form a crime scene to make his new assistant (short version: "Hey there, you didn't faint at the sight of blood and can type. You're my new assistant!" "Uhm, what?") or a fanfic set during the Blitz in which Nancy Drew is Holmes's protegee. Either works. So, yes. Terribly short (Only two episodes! Possibly set up for sequels? That the title isn't something related to the actual mystery plot but rather to the general concept gives me hope.) BBC miniseries about a serial killer who carves swastikas on his victims' tongues and a pathologist who uses early forensics (and girl reporters) to catch him. I am exceptionally iffy on the portrayal of the sole POC in the series, but otherwise enjoyed it considerably. It would probably appeal to fans of Foyle's War and/or The Bletchley Circle, though it has a bit more action and humor than those two, and isn't quite as well written as either.
Revolution 1.18: And once again, Revolution has an episode that has little to do with the promo. (And that was a better episode than the promo would leave you to believe.)
( spoilers )
And I think everything I'm watching except Defiance, Revolution and Continuum is on hiatus. Maybe i'll finally catch up on Bomb Girls and Nikita, not to mention the last couple episodes of Beauty and the Beast.
So when I went home this weekend I did my best to see if I could locate my old copies of Mary Brown's novels. The only one I have so far found is Strange Deliverance, which I remembered as "the fairies are aliens who make them do it," but I FULLY BELIEVE THE OTHERS EXISTED AND I WILL LOCATE THEM. (Though if anyone else has read any of Mary Brown's books, corroborative evidence is also welcomed.)
Anyway, my memory is not quite accurate about Strange Deliverance; the climax turns out to involve fairies vs. aliens who make the local kids do it, or at least turn up with some experimented-upon fetuses in HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES after entrancing the local prom queen and her hapless boyfriend into going up to the fairy circle (where the aliens are currently hanging out) and playing "Sleeping Beauty" every couple of months.
Oh, also, everything takes place in a post-apocalyptic town with a eugenicidal dictator. Aforementioned dictator helpfully reveals his fascist eugenicidal ambitions in the prologue.
Then we have a timeskip; midway through the book, our protagonists are SHOCKED when someone points out that in a town where no disabled infants survive a day past their birth, the only gay couple disappeared in mysterious circumstances a few days after making their sexuality public, and the only people of color who were in the town's original population never married or had children despite marriage and children being compulsory for everyone else, this MIGHT be part of the all-powerful town dictator's sinister design!
(There is black character in the book. She is the Magical Herb-Woman who lives just outside the town and provides helpful, sage, unselfish mystical wisdom to all of the white kids who are our protagonists.
There are also disabled characters in the book. They are mentally disabled twins, innocent and completely indistinguishable souls who are so naively devoted to Prom Queen that they follow her around, carry her stuff, and trot nobly and self-sacrificingly with her into ill-advised fairy circle alien experimentation shenanigans. The narrative is very eager tell you about all the times they comically mess up their words.)
Anyway our actual protagonist doesn't really do much except go to mandatory sexy summer camp with her boyfriend and think half-worried and half-judgmental thoughts about Prom Queen. Eventually she gets a magical unicorn ring, but that's not really . . . important . . .? GIVEN THAT THE MAIN PLOT INVOLVES ALIENS AND POST-APOCALYPTIC DICTATORSHIP. ( Spoilers I guess. )
MARY BROWN, you guys.
"But I'm saving it for a rainy day," I said, and promptly resumed the sniffling I'd suppressed for the duration of one sentence.
"This is a day you save shows for," he said, "we are going to watch it even if we have to look at it through a cloud of your disgusting germs." When someone implicitly offers to stuff his own nose just to make you watch things, you should cooperate. You can't turn down someone who offers you their slow motion asphyxiation. (I'm so sorry, ikel89!)
If you haven't seen this series and have even the remotest glimmering thought of ever doing so, please don't read spoilers. Given that the maximum total of magical girl anime I've watched is one, and Utena is widely described as a deconstruction of the genre (watch me feebly avoid having an opinion on its deconstructiveness, but jsyk, I recommend watching all 39 episodes of Utena), I could not be more unqualified to judge whether Madoka is a deconstruction and whether familiarity with associated tropes has any impact (watch me avoid describing what kind of impact). Nonetheless, my strongest impression of Madoka is that I would have enjoyed it much more if I hadn't been able to sketch you almost every reveal, and in the order each came, before I ever convinced Crunchyroll to stop spitting advertisements at me; in this case fannish osmosis really was godlike, omniscient and omnipotent and capable of crushing the poor show under a finger. Idle lurking is dangerous!
( Spoilers follow. )
( ... a disjointed list of things I do like, still spoilery )
Short: Madoka is not my cup of tea, but I suspect a lot of people love it for Madam Not Appearing In This Reaction Post, and more people for precisely the things that leave me cold.
And now to go find fic and meta, because I wish I could love it too. ;__;
2. Not ignoring-because-offended-or-bored anything, I promise-- still chasing down a thought (or fifteen splinters of a thought) that seemed interesting at the time, and was something I very much wanted to discuss with you, and has now retreated into hibernation mode again.
( Spoilers for both the show AND all books )
I'm good with any and all spoilers, so 'ware spoilers in the comments as well!
Momo was a little ratling who was so scared when I got him that he hid in my shirts in the back of my neck all the time. Haru and Momo were my first shoulder rats, and I loved walking around with them there, even though they would try to climb up my face and left scratches all around my neck. As a ratling, Momo tried to shove himself up my nose and into my ear, and when they escaped, he was even harder to catch than Haru. He was the top rat of the cage until his legs started getting worse, and by the end, Haru was helping to groom him in the spots he couldn't reach. Momo chewed up my iPhone cable and my laptop charger when CB and I were having a hard time due to depression and moving, and I showed CB the picture of the cables after a fight and he laughed. When I gave him an ethernet cord to chew on later, he refused to touch it, probably because it wasn't forbidden. He was terrified of CB's tile floors.
I think losing Haru hit him hard, and he probably had had the tumor or infection in his jaw already. He tried to fight it up until the end, CB says because he was trying to hang on for me. I'm glad he's not in pain anymore, and I hope he and Haru are hanging around again, and that Momo can now reassert his status as top rat since he is not sick anymore.
I'm not really sure what to do for myself. I haven't not had rats since I got Fitz-rat and Fool-rat back in 2004, and disassembling just the travel cage was awful. As previously mentioned, we're probably going to look into getting a cat, but right now, life feels very empty without my ratses around, and I miss them a lot.
(For some California local definition of 'morning'!)
About 30 minutes ago one of our databases (sb-db03) locked up and stopped serving traffic. This was an active database, so the site quickly stopped when it could no longer serve requests. Alas.
I have failed us over to a backup database and now everything should be working again.
I'm not sure yet what happened to db03, but am currently investigating and will update this post if I come up with a root cause for the problem. Edit: It's back up and doesn't have any visible problems. Disks are fine, data's intact, etc. The graphs and logs show nothing. We'll have to keep an eye on it and see if it manifests further issues.
Sorry for the trouble, please let me know if you still see any problems!
Thus: Dear Ohkubo,
Please keep this up. Please please please. Please let the upcoming final chapter be as good as this one. To wit: Actual plot progression. Important shit happens. Great paneling. Great artwork
Now it would be super-great if you could stop with the muppet-faces and/or remember that Tsubaki actually exists, because either thing would really make my day come June 12th. But at this point either thing might be too much to hope for, although we'll see.
Since next month is the grand finale and I'll actually be off work at the time, I will definitely have a proper recap up for y'all! Until then, thank you for all of your patience, and see you next month!
I mean, it helps that Victor Hugo is an unfairly interesting person; also, unfairly hilarious. Not, I hasten to add, someone you would probably want to spend time with on a regular basis, despite the massive cult of contemporary worshippers who disagreed. Young Hugo, after all -- well, it's probably enough to just remind everyone that Marius Pontmercy was a self-insert.
(You know who has passionate nostrils, besides Marius Pontmercy? VICTOR HUGO DOES. You know who freaks out when his girlfriend has to lift her skirts a little in order to get through the mud? YEP, YOU GUESSED IT. Better muddy petticoats than immodest ankles, he advises her!)
And then there's Old Hugo, Chief Priest of the thriving Cult of Hugo, with an ego the size of the continent of Europe, who did his level best to seduce anything that moved and subsumed the lives of his entire family into the upkeep of the aforementioned Cult -- and, perhaps even more annoyingly, was the greatest mansplainer EVER TO LIVE, prone to interrupting people's conversations and announcing things like, "I have read neither Goethe nor Schiller, but I know them better than those who have learnt their works by heart!"
It's also important to note that over the course of his career, Hugo: passionately supported royalty; passionately supported Napoleon; passionately supported Republicanism; passionately led the Romantics; passionately supported the bourgeoisie; passionately charged against a barricade on the side of a repressive government; then, guilt-stricken, spent the next revolution after that wandering around behind the barricades hoping someone would let him pull an Enjolras and jump around being the leader and waving a flag.
(Sadly, by the time he got to the barricade, it was all over and they were just hauling the corpse of the ACTUAL leader away. OOPS.)
I mean, I actually think all these inherent contradictions are awesome, and so does Robb; without them, Les Miserables, among others, would be a much more didactic and less inherently fascinating book. But one can imagine it made being a Victor Hugo fan sort of confusing at the time.
There are dozens of LolHugo stories worth relating, but I think my favorite is the year that Hugo spent really, really into Spiritualism. During this period of time, Hugo received supernatural visits from such luminaries as Cain, Moses, Jesus, Mozart, Sir Walter Scott, The Spirit of the Ocean, and The Shadow of the Tomb. Mostly they were coming to tell Hugo that they'd read his books and thought they were AWESOME. A standard night in the Hugo household over that year might look something ( like this )
OH VICTOR HUGO.
Title: And Yet Are Orphans
Fandom: Les Miserables
Characters: Azelma, Gavroche, and a couple of Ami cameos
Summary: For lack of anything better to do, Azelma pays a visit to her brother.
Notes: The standard set of Thenardier family warnings apply -- implied child abuse, canon character death, you know the drill. Up at the AO3 over here. Thanks to genarti for the beta!
( “My other sister's prettier,” remarked Gavroche. “This one would be a red-faced bourgeois if she could.” )
2. Related, while i don't have the hate for LJ that others do these days (Give me time?) I wish more of the "LJ is dead/sucks, I'm moving" people had moved to DW instead of tumblr. Mind you, I like tumblr for what it is (as long as tumblr savior is working, which largely depends on people actually using a tag like "kpop" or "teen wolf" or supernatural" along with all their personal tags) though I sometimes find it overwhelming and have to stop for a while, but I will never truly love it until it works out a decent comment/interaction system, and allows me to have scads and scads of userpics like LJ and DW. Or at least several options.
3. Thanks to this article, I am now anti-interested in the upcoming Dracula series. I mean, I was never really interested, a it takes a lot to get me interested in vampires and I'm apparently one of the few people out there who doesn't find Jonathan Rhys Meyers appealing on any level, but this sounds like even Oz the Great and Powerful paid more attention to the source. (To clarify: I have no issues with adaptations taking liberties with their source materials. For one thing, few things will work the exact same way in multiple entertainment mediums, and for another, even if I don't agree with the interpretations, I've always thought one of the main points of adaptations was for different interpretations of a work. I do, however, expect even liberal adaptations to make me think they have a clue about what the source actually is, as opposed to 4th generation derivatives based on pop culture that may or may not have even skimmed the source.) Like, the upcoming Sleepy Hollow is certainly a liberal adaptation, but like Elementary, it sounds like an INTERESTING spin meant to update the source and possibly address some of the issues within the source.
4. Along the same vein, CW's upcoming series, Reign, about Mary Queen of Scots when she lived in France, sounds like it makes all the ahistorical period dramas of recent years sound like perfect depictions of actual history. I may or may not check it out, though, as CW does good with entertainingly cheesy/angst, at least for a while, depending on what else is around when it pops up.
5. But what I really want is a good epic fantasy show that has lots of women and doesn't just go the medieval(Europe)-lite route and isn't about a dude's destiny. Probably never going to get it, though.
6. Has anyone seen Blancanieves, the Spanish film that a B&W silent movie adaptation of Snow White with matadors? I need to know if it's worth making sure I see it before WisCon in case it can be used for my fairy tale retellings panel.
ETA: I forgot that Phryne Fisher is the kind of woman who keeps a nude portrait of herself in the parlour.