Log in

The Disney Readwatch

And on a MUCH happier note, I'm very pleased that after a few delays on my part, The Disney Readwatch has started up over on Tor.com, with Snow White.

I look forward to destroying more childhoods.


So, the Hugo nominations

I've debated whether to blog about this weekend's Hugo nominations. Given the amount of ink that's been spilled already, adding more, especially at this stage, may be unwise. But as a Hugo nominator/voter, I am tangentially involved in this. So, here we go.

Cut to spare those of you with no interest in the Hugos and science fiction inside baseball, or who cannot take any more of this. I understand.Collapse )


Of limericks and clowns

Ignore the date. Mostly. The following announcements are real. Mostly:

1. Stone Telling has launched its joke issue, which includes three limericks by me. (And yes, one of those includes dinoflagellates because, well, dinoflagellates.) If the thought of limericks makes you cringe, good news: the issue also includes a considerably better villanelle by David Sklar which is definitely worth a look.

2. But if the thought of limericks doesn't make you cringe, read on. Well, read on anyway: Unlikely Story is launching Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix. If the project funds, it will contain a book with a little flash story by me about, natch, a clown. (Actually it's only somewhat about the clown. That is, it has a clown, but it's mostly about other things.)

Among the backer awards: limericks, by me, printed on little clown postcards. If that horrifies you, and I can't say I blame you, Unlikely Story is offering other, better awards, including microfictions, clown art, and short story critiques. Or you can just grab the ebook.

Samples of the sort of story you'll find in the final book appear here.

There could - there COULD - be limericks.

Dr. Lemberg hated rhyme -
Or so she told us very time,
"Writing rhyme is such a crime --
it covers all poets with icky grime --"
And so we believed her little mime.
Until one morning, in her prime
she dazzled us with rhymes sublime
and we decided, with one ringing chime --
Swamp Stone Telling with awful rhyme!

....I'm pleased to say that it appears we have, in fact, accomplished this. Stay tuned.

Quick ICFA roundup:

Ah, ICFA. The conference centered around a pool. And tropical drinks. These are good things.


1. For the all of two of you following this saga, the queen bee has successfully been moved from the owl house to the new beehive, and two jars of honey -- labeled Blak Kat - have been harvested. (Technically none of that happened at ICFA, but it did happen during ICFA and was mentioned during ICFA, so it kinda counts.)

2. I read a poem in front of Patricia McKillip again and didn't feel the need to throw up this time! ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.

3. Speaking of that reading, have you ever noticed that a Samsung Galaxy will happily enlarge every font on every webpage ever for you, often when you don't want it to, except the one time when you really need it to, at which point you will be forced to do some fancy eyeglasses adjustment and do a poetry reading with a Samsung Galaxy for all intents and purposes covering your mouth (seriously, it was maybe three, four inches from my face). On the bright side, this will serve to distract you from your audience.

For the curious, you can find the other chain poems here. I do not recommend attempting to work with the decalet form used in the earliest two examples, which is why I worked with a different form in "Snowmelt," "Feather," and "Demands."

4. Fortunately, I was able to increase the font size during the spontaneous pub sing around the hot tub - fortunately because I was the only one not in the hot tub and therefore the only one who could safely check the lyrics for "Wild Mountain Thyme." On a related note, if you don't want to become the designated lyric checker, get into the hot tub.

5. It was somewhat disconcerting to run into people and realize hey, the last time I saw you was in London. Or Ireland. Or DC. It reminded me of how much in many ways Loncon was a big group trip.

6. This isn't exactly ICFA related, but I got into two very interesting discussions about the Hugo Awards, the gist of which boiled down to "too many categories." I think this was the natural result of meeting with some people who were also Hugo voters just a short time after filling out that long ballot, but I was surprised by the consensus. (And convinced that this isn't going to change - almost none of the people involved in the discussions wanted to attend the Worldcon business meeting where that sort of thing can be changed. I'm not even heading to Worldcon this year. But I'm throwing the thought out there.)

7. ICFA also included several really marvelous meals with really marvelous people. And yes, conversations that just happened to bring up clowns, kink, and cousins in the same sentence. Something that I'm sure also happens to other people.

8. Much thanks to the various people that helped me get around the conference in general and on Thursday and Friday when I got too sick to make it back to my hotel room on my own. You guys were great.


The Fox Bride

While I was off at ICFA, The Fox Bride, popped up at Daily Science Fiction.

If Twitter is any guide (though it probably isn't) this is hands down the most popular thing I've published in years.


ICFA, which for most attendees is an academic conference discussing profound issues of fantasy, science fiction, art, and creativity, and for me, is drinking stuff by the pool, starts up today. Technically, for me, it started up, rather unexpectedly, yesterday, when I had the chance to meet up with a few writers for dinner. But the real start is today.

As always, my conference participation will mostly consist of hanging out by the pool, but I do have a short reading Saturday morning. See you there, if you're around!



My poem, Understand, just popped up at Polu Texni.


Flapperhouse Year One

It's legitimately cold today, so, to focus on warmer stuff, good news: Flapperhouse Year One, which contains a little flash story from me and works by many other massively talented people like Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam and Natalia Theodoridou, is in print. You can obtain a copy at:




Stay warm, everyone. For those Australians reading this currently facing down a hurricane, stay dry.

Happy Snow Maidens Day!

My last entry on water maidens drew some, how shall I phrase it, hostility, entirely from critics in the New England area who pointed out, with some justice, that they had not seen rain in some time – to the point where they had forgotten what rain looked like, and that people buried in snow do not want to hear about rain, and that they, as a group, are not entirely certain that water, let alone water maidens, still exists beneath the piles of heavy ice and snow.

And one or two asked mournfully why, precisely, their states had been targeted by snow maidens.

To that question, I cannot give a full answer. Snow maidens are even more mysterious, and less known, than water maidens. True, unlike the water maidens, they are regular visitors to fairy courts, providing each court with just the fine, delicate touch of frost every court needs for winter celebrations, and providing fairy dancers with sparkling shoes formed from ice and light. Some have even been known to join in the fairy dances, tossing snowflakes from their hair as they spin, blinding even the fairies with the light that sparkles from their icy hands.

But they do not linger. Even the coldest of the fairy courts (and many are cold, indeed, making even current Boston temperatures seem warm, as difficult as that may be to believe just now) have their warm spots, too hot for snow maidens to tolerate. And fairy courts have other dangers – tempting hot drinks (all fairies agree you have not lived until you've tasted hot melted rubies, and thus, press this drink upon all), songs to heat the blood, and passionate affairs able to melt even the snowiest heart. Then, too, unless she is fortunate enough to be bound to a mountain, or a glacier, or a polar region, the life of a snow maiden can be quite, quite short – when she is not bound to spend summer months sleeping in a cloud. And so the snow maidens do no more than touch the courts with ice and frost before retreating to where they feel most safe: snow.

But that does not mean that they do not want to see more of the world. On the contrary: even the most shy, retiring snow maiden gets bored with endless grey and white. And so, each year, the snow maidens march or dance into greener lands, eager for a change – or, for some of them – eager to spin and dance. A few of the braver ones press themselves against windows, eager to see what's inside. Most, however, prefer to stay outside, swirling.

And sometimes they gather for a furious dance.

Some claim that their fury is born out of resentment regarding the confined nature of their lives. (Tree spirits, it must be noted, do not give this argument much credence, but then again, most tree spirits are asleep when the snow maidens visit – or at least pretend to be asleep.) Some say that it is all merely part of an ongoing war between the snow maidens and the water maidens, a fight so ancient that no one can even say how or where it began. (Water maidens, when asked, look bewildered at the mere thought – and indeed, few water maidens are particularly combative.) A few of the crosser sorts of fairies claim that the snow maidens are merely infuriated by mortals, and don't care how many fairies get inconvenienced by their dances. (It should be noted that these are generally fairies who have found themselves on the losing side of certain encounters with mortals, and that their accounts of many events have been found to contain certain inaccuracies.)

Others say that it is not a dance of fury at all, but a dance of joy. And still others that it is only an attempt to stay warm. After all, the snow maidens wear gowns woven of ice.

And the snow maidens? Well, when asked, they merely smile, and run blue fingers down the lips of the questioner – freezing those lips at their touch.

Which is why, perhaps, it is wiser not to ask, and wiser to instead watch for the snow maidens. From the corners of your eyes, of course: a sudden swirl of snow there, a crackle of ice there, a flash of colors that burns your eyes, a blue hand appearing, just for a moment, in the wind. Wiser, instead, just to watch their dances, knowing that eventually, those dances will end, and that eventually, the snow maidens will withdraw from the lands that are, after all, only temporary dwellings for them, back to the lands they find safer: lands of snow and ice, where they never have to fear the retreat of the cold. After all, those are also the lands of the water maidens, and the snow maidens have the greatest respect for their cousins.

(This post brought to you partly by demand, and partly by the reality that our little section of Florida - Florida - is dropping into freezing temperatures.)

Snow Maidens Day will probably be celebrated on February 15th in future years.

Happy Watermaidens Day!

Today I must advise you to pay careful attention to the rain.

You see, barring a few seductions here and there, water maidens tend to live rather solitary lives. Oh, that's not to say that they don't find the peace of their ponds and lakes and rivers and springs interrupted by mortals more often than they would like, or find their careful flower arrangements disturbed by children or alligators, or find themselves glumly removing trash from their waters. But none of these activities exactly involves conversation, and even these days, some fortunate water maidens can avoid even all that.

But that doesn't quite mean that they don't crave company. Quite the opposite. Or that they don't wish to dance.

The difficulty, of course, is arranging such matters. Water maidens have never been terribly comfortable with the formality of fairy courts. Or, for that matter, vice versa – many of the noblest of fairy queens have been known to make quite unkind comments regarding the puddles that water maidens often leave in their wake – to say nothing of the occasional unfortunate events with wilting water lilies and seaweeds. So gathering at the fairy courts – although this may be their right and privilege – is rarely the first choice.

Nor are water maidens ever particularly comfortable long away from water, or in water that is not their own. They can stand on land, certainly – they have even carried out the occasional seduction there, from time to time – and have even been known to venture a mile or so away from their water to obtain one of the latest electronic devices, or particularly fine chocolate. Legend even tells of three maidens who never fail to creep to nearby windows to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones. (They are reportedly all on Team Dragon, and have threatened violent flooding if the final episode does not contain dragons flying in triumph.) But these are for short periods only – an hour or two, at most – and not quite right for a gathering of water maidens.

And so, when a water maiden craves company, she summons the rain.

You might see it – a touch of mist over a puddle, or a pond; a glimmer of light on a river, or a shimmer against a white cloud. Or you might see it on the edge of the sky – a thin grey line that for a moment, flashes silver and gold.

And then the rain, summoning the water maidens.

Watch carefully, when the rain comes after something like this. Watch very carefully, for that flash of other, for a sudden shimmer, for a touch of cold on your skin.

It might just be a water maiden, inviting you to dance and sing.

Particularly today, which is, by decree fee, the official Water Maidens Day, a day for all water maidens to emerge from the waters.

Water Maidens Day is the idea of poet, writer and folklorist Nin Harris. I'm just borrowing it for fun.

(Also, for those of you in the northeast currently buried in snow, the water maidens feel you. They really, really do. But even their magic has limits.)

Demands nominated for the Rhysling Award

Just learned that my poem Demands has been nominated for the Rhysling Award.

Major thanks to whoever nominated it; this was one of my own personal favorites from last year, and the recognition is very heartwarming.


Cat Stairs

So my beloved Little One is now fifteen years old. He's still incredibly active - more active than the Grey One, who at 13 has decided that the best way to handle life, really, is to sleep through it, preferably underneath something and far away from people since people are just not something she needs to deal with. The Little One is still dashing around the house, watching birds, running to the door, yowling, crawling into people's laps (he's in my lap now as I type.)

But a few years ago I noticed that he had stopped jumping to the top of bookcases, even from the TV stand. (He used to jump to the top of a high bookcase from the floor, and back; it was kind of his thing. Last year he started approaching the couch only from the front, instead of racing up and leaping to the top of the couch from the back. And in December, for the first time, I saw him clawing a bit when he jumped up to my bed.

So in order to save the comforter, I bought him a nice little set of suede covered cat steps, so he can run up to the bed without nearly falling off it.

He's leaping over them to land on the bed.

The Grey One, naturally, is using them as yet another hiding place.

I'm so glad I invested in this.


Helen Rappaport, The Romanov Sisters

I'm still on a major biography kick.

The Romanov Sisters is a detailed look of the lives of Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, who had the initial luck and later massive misfortune, to be the daughters of Nicholas II, last tsar of Russia.

As the daughters of the tsar, they lived surprisingly simple, extremely sheltered lives until the outbreak of World War I – and even later. Nicholas and his wife, Alexandra, were not fond of Russian aristocratic society (the dislike was mutual, and was a minor cause of the Russian Revolution), and were terrified, with reason, of assassination attempts. They therefore kept their children, for the most part, behind walls of guards, in palaces furnished largely in simple, middle class style.

Which is not to say that the girls were completely isolated: they had tutors and governesses, and their mother's attendants, and a few selected relatives and occasional playmates. They also interacted with the sailors on the family yacht – one decided exception to the more middle class lifestyle. The two older girls even ended up falling for a couple of the highly ineligible sailors, who, of course, couldn't possibly return the feelings. From the pictures, I'm pretty sure that this was mostly because the sailors in question were pretty hot, and Olga and Tatiana were, in that sense, perfectly normal teenagers, but Rappaport makes a convincing case that this was also because they simply didn't have the chance to meet that many men, eligible or not. There's several heartbreaking cases of the girls begging to hear about "normal" lives, or indeed anything outside their palaces. They read books, certainly; they talked to those they could, but it was not enough. The details of Olga's first real love are especially heartbreaking. On the one hand, I was glad that she at least had the chance to fall in love – something no other biography I've read of the Romanovs detailed. On the other hand, it went nowhere.

And, well, they also had Rasputin, the Russian mystic who, their mother believed, had miraculous healing powers. Rappaport doesn't dwell on him, probably because so many other books do, possibly because at the time, quite a few people were questioning his intimate access to the Grand Duchesses, especially since they had very limited access, intimate or not, to other people, and because Rasputin was known to sleep around a lot. People drew the obvious conclusions. Rappaport, who combed through diaries, memoirs and letters, does not, but also ignores the small issue that if something had happened there, the girls probably would not have said much. In any case, they did mourn his death, if only because by then it was obvious to the two oldest girls, at least, that something was badly, badly wrong in Russia, and the family was in danger. If Rasputin could be attacked and killed, they certainly could be.

By then, World War I had been raging for years. It had a profound effect on all four daughters, but mostly the oldest two: discussions of their potential marriages abruptly ended, and Olga and Tatiana went to work as nurses, in hospitals on palace grounds. Maria and Anastasia were too young, but visited the soldiers to entertain them. For the first time, the girls made real friends, and a bit of the protective bubble they lived in was shattered. Olga was apparently not all that well emotionally suited for this career, but Tatiana was: there's a hint here that had things gone differently, she could well have funded and managed hospitals, or pursued a successful career as a nurse. Among the most upsetting parts of the book are arguably those discussing the intelligent, capable, Tatiana: I kept thinking, every few pages, what a waste.

The most aggravating parts of the book, however, almost all have to do with their mother, Alexandra. Even the most sympathetic biographies of Alexandra – and this isn't one of them – struggle with her. It's odd, since on the surface, she should be sympathetic – an initially sweet, shy, deeply private girl who was terrified of her public responsibilities, who later found herself mother to a disabled son stricken with hemophilia – a disease she had passed down to him. She herself suffered from multiple chronic illnesses. It should be a deeply sympathetic story.

It isn't, because it's also a story of "Disabled mother keeps ignoring everyone and really screwing up." As someone who suffers from chronic fatigue, I completely understood Alexandra's inability to perform many of her public duties. I could also see part of the problem here – Alexandra refused to fall into the role of the disabled angel of the household, who never complains but continues to inspire others (this was a big Victorian thing) and I admire her for that. I also completely understand her wish for privacy. But the counter to this is simple: if you want to be a completely private person, you cannot marry the Emperor of Russia. And Alexandra went far beyond not performing many of her public duties: she ended up not performing any of them. She created unnecessary enemies. She ignored well meant advice from relatives and friends, eventually dropping all friends who were not essentially sycophants.

And of course, she continually took advice from Rasputin – except for the one time when it really counted. Rasputin advised Nicholas and Alexandra not to enter World War I. As wrong as he was about so many other things, he was completely correct about this. Russia was not ready for a war with Germany.

Fortunately, after the first few chapters, the book mostly focuses on the girls, sparing me some aggravation – while also making me grit my teeth occasionally over Alexandra's parenting. She had a gift for inspiring guilt trips in her daughters, and she also encouraged them to tell her all about their little crushes – which sounds lovely, except that these were also men that Alexandra would never have allowed the girls to marry. These sailors had no noble rank whatsoever, and Alexandra supported Nicholas, after all, when he exiled his brother just for marrying a woman who was only a countess. So this tends to come across as….I don't know, wrong.

But the rest of the stuff – the petty gossip, the clothes, the complaints from tutors and governesses, the first love affairs, the ongoing and growing sense of doom – is all surprisingly mesmerizing. Rappaport has a strong sense of narrative, and the illustrations just add to the pathos.

What struck me most about reading the book right now, however, is a small point not intended by the author: that is, the information that right after the first Russian Revolution (the February one) the Provisional Government offered to send the four Grand Duchesses into safety and exile. They might well have made it. Hostility focused on the tsar and his wife, not their children; Olga and Tatiana had arguably even gained some goodwill by working as nurses throughout the war. They had wealthy relatives throughout the world, who later took in other relatives and even some of the courtiers. (One of Alexandra's ladies-in-waiting, for example, ended up in a grace and favour apartment at Hampton Court.) And although Nicholas apparently considered making changes, Russian law prior to the Revolution barred them as heirs to the throne, making them less of a political threat than other (male) Romanovs – for instance, Nicholas' brother, Michael, eventually shot by the Bolsheviks in June 1918, in part to prevent royalist forces from putting Michael on the throne. Many other Romanovs escaped.

But not the girls. Why?

Because when the offer of safety and exile came, they were too sick with measles to be moved.

By the time they recovered, it was too late. The four girls were forced to join their parents in what was, for all intents and purposes, prison in Siberia, if a prison that still had some servants. They were rarely able to leave their house, though they did write frequent letters complaining of boredom.

And a little over a year later, they were murdered along with their parents.

Rappaport, of course, wrote the book before the Disneyland measles outbreak, and none of it is meant as a cautionary tale about vaccinations. Still, reading it, I couldn't help but think of the alternatives, of what could have happened, but didn't.

Because measles.

The lessons of history.
William Moulston Marston was many things: a psychologist who took credit for inventing the lie detector machine, a failed academic who kept bouncing from school to school, a supporter of women's rights, a man who ended up in a happy triad, a man who insisted that his bondage activities were strictly scientific, and the creator of Wonder Woman.

Jill Lapore's recent book delves into a lot of this, and also into the history of the U.S. feminist and birth control movements. The third member of Marston's triad, Olive Byrne, happened to be a niece of birth control advocate Margaret Sanger. Byrne's mother went on hunger strikes to support the movement; this, and watching Marston write her books, made quite an impression on her. Much of the imagery of the early Wonder Woman comics - the breaking out of chains, the ropes, the lassos - came in part from early feminist cartoons, and in part from Olive Byrne. The bracelets Wonder Woman wears are hers.

That's all the nice scholarly part so that you can feel good about reading the book and that you learned something. The fun stuff is all of the gossipy stuff about Marston, his wife Elizabeth Holloway, his lover Olive Byrne, and the triad they set up and concealed. This includes great stuff about the way Marston used both of them to write little articles saying how amazing Marston was, the trials of running their household, since generally speaking only Holloway earned a reliable income, their kids, and oh yes, the bondage. Holloway, in many ways, took over the traditional role of the husband, Byrne functioned in the more traditional "wife" roles, while working as a freelance writer, and Marston continued to have issues. And Wonder Woman joined the Justice League as a secretary. (Reading that I became much more resigned to the current new 52 Wonder Woman/Superman relationship.)

It's a fascinating and lavishly illustrated read, if, somehow, a little sparse, especially once Marston died, and Wonder Woman was passed to other authors. Part of the problem is, as Lapore acknowledges, it's not really all that easy to figure out who wrote various issues of Wonder Woman - although the issues that featured a lot of chained up women tend to be Marston's. It's also fascinating to see the reactions of DC editors to all of this sort of stuff, and the way Marston left specific information in his scripts explaining just how long all of the chains had to be. (It was his thing.) Unfortunately, after Marston's death, we get a lot less of this behind the scenes creative stuff, which is a disappointment, but then again, Wonder Woman's later creators don't seem to have been as interesting, or as influential.
I started reading Death Comes to Pemberley a few years back, and stopped just a few pages in: P.D. James is the sort of author I tend to admire more than love, and her Jane Austen tone felt off to me. But I was kinda curious about what actually happened in it, so when the BBC series popped up on Netflix I gave it a try.

My response?


There's some good stuff in Death Comes to Pemberley, almost all of it in the background. Which is to say, the sets, magnificent. The shots of various people running through the woods looking for ghosts and murdered people and things carved into trees, also magnificent. The carriages and the horses? Yay. The costumes, mostly yay.

And then there's the foreground.

The chief problem with Death Comes to Pemberley is that it has no idea what, exactly, it is. A murder mystery? Kinda - someone is murdered, and that's...sorta dreary, and then the show kinda wanders to other things, and then there's an inquest, and then a trial that repeats a lot of stuff about the inquest, and then a last minute rescue that has a decided feel of an old Wild West movie to it. It would probably help if the "previously on Death Comes to Pemberley" bits didn't manage to be a dead giveaway, pun intended, for the third episode.

Is it a Jane Austen/Gothic mashup? Well, kinda, except that this was done before, by Jane Austen herself, and in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice which suddenly decided that the best way to make P&P accessible to modern audiences was to make it a mashup of P&P and Wuthering Heights, and, to be more fair to that film than I usually am, actually managed more fidelity to the original plot and a tighter focus on the social/economic issues involved.

Speaking of those, is it a commentary on the social/economic issues? Well, kinda: there's a lot of stuff about trials and so on. There's some stuff about marrying for family and a few reminders of just how unsuitable Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage was and the fallout from that. Jane Austen lived on the edges of high society - one brother was a diplomat; a sister-in-law a countess, but she herself never had money, and her books display constant awareness of this, and multiple takedowns (especially in Emma and Persuasion) of the upper classes.

This show ends with a nice member of the working classes making the utmost sacrifice to make absolutely sure that the upper classes are going to be just ok.

Is it a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, letting us know what happened to Elizabeth and Darcy and other characters? Well, kinda, but here is where the show really starts falling into problems, especially with minor characters. Most of the P&P characters go entirely unmentioned, with Jane making only a few brief appearances and Bingley not speaking at all. His sisters never appear. An offhand reference assures us that Mary got married off, and ends there; no info about her husband or status; Kitty is never mentioned. And Lydia is just mindboggling. She starts off the film in hysterics - something the original character seemed too callous to ever do; retreats to her silly self, which is fine, and then, at the end, suddenly displays loyalty, wisdom, insight and intelligence like where did this come from? I tend to think that Lydia in P&P is slightly more intelligent than other characters give her credit for - she makes a couple of pointed and correct jabs in Elizabeth's direction - but only slightly, but in any case, by starting off by presenting this films completely fails to lead up to that moment, and just feels false in every direction.

And speaking of false - this may arguably be the greatest misreading of Colonel Fitzwilliam ever, changing him from the amiable if somewhat directionless military officer clueless about the very limited opportunities for women into a near villain. It's....awful. The entire point of Colonel Fitzwilliam in P&P is to be a relatively decent guy so that Elizabeth will find him credible, a point missed here.

Is it a comedy? Well, it has two funny scenes: one involving Mrs. Bennet, and one involving Lady Catherine. In three hours.

But although the film doesn't actually manage to be any of these things, it seems to want to be all of them - thus the awkward lurching between Gothic, attempted social commentary and sudden "Oh, wait! This is P&P fanfiction! Summon Lady Catherine!" Which in the end makes it a major mess. And, on a fairly cruel note, there's Anna Maxwell Martin, who is good, but for reasons of makeup/lighting whatever her age looks far too old. She might not be. But this seems to take place about six to at the most ten years after Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth and Darcy have a son who seems to be about four or five, possibly younger, and although Elizabeth seems comfortable in the house and Lady Catherine is talking to her, she's still relying on Georgiana for some fairly basic info and hasn't learned most of the local legends, and expecting her second child. Georgiana and Lydia, 16 in Pride and Prejudice appear to be in their early twenties. Jane, 21 or 22, appears to be in her mid to late twenties. Elizabeth, who states in Pride and Prejudice that she is not one and twenty, looks to be in her mid-thirties, possibly her early 40s, aging decades to everyone else's few years. And she just doesn't sparkle that much - but I guess that's what happens when you thought you were in a social comedy but find out that you're actually in the middle of something that wants to be Gothic, but isn't.


I haven't talked much about The Flash here - partly because I haven't talked much about anything here, but mostly because there's just not that much to talk about: it's a fluffy popcorn show. Fun, but for the most part forgettable. But last night's episode, while one of the weakest so far, did something fairly interesting.

Cut for major spoilers for the show and last night"s episode, and a spoiler for the first episode of this season"s Arrow.Collapse )


Mostly to prove that I am capable of blogging about something besides recent publications, let's chat about the first season of that gloriously, unrepentantly terrible show Reign, which I just finished watching.

Oh, internet. You warned me, but you didn't prepare me.

For those who have missed the show so far (and I'm not blaming you), here's what you need to know:

1. One of the characters wanders around wearing a burlap sack on her head. Sometimes she hums things.

2. Anne of Green Gables – that is, Megan Follows – is in it, playing a character named Catherine d'Medici, who has to put up with a character called Mary Queen of Scots. And someone called Francis who has a lot of sex. Any resemblance to the actual historical personages with similar names is purely coincidental.

3. Also there is a character called, and I am not making this up, Lola.

4. Most of the acting, except for Megan Follows, who is surprisingly good (surprising mostly because finding anything good on this show is surprising) runs from serviceable to terrible, with Terrance Coombs, playing the completely made up for this show king's bastard son Bash who almost becomes king without anyone thinking "King Bash? Is that really the branding we should be going for?", mostly managing to avoid the "You want me to say this line? Really?" look but often failing and Celina Sinden, who plays the mostly made up for this show Greer, perfecting the "Look, we all have to earn a paycheck" look in most of her scenes, which I appreciate.

5. As far as I can tell, conversations in the writers' room go somewhat like this:

"Ok, in this episode, at least two people need to hook up. No need for a reason, just have them hook up. Also, someone has to be poisoned."

"We did that last week."

"Maybe trying burning someone this time? And then, back to the poison!"

"Got it!"

6. Speaking of which, in the first episode five girls – Mary and her four handmaidens – say very serious and nice things about the importance of keeping their virtue and finding husbands. By episode 10 four of them have had sexy times without the benefit of marriage, generally with more than one person.

The fifth one is dead.

I'm not making that up.

7. Naturally in episode 16 a marriage happens between two of the characters for no particular reason except "Hey, you are getting married" and by episode 17 they are friends and by episode 18 not so much and by episode 20 all happy again except that one of them IS FIGHTING THE DARKNESS which may complicate things.

8. For a show that takes the CW's love for love triangles to new extremes (every episode features at least two, more usually four) it manages to get through an entire season with only one threesome. I am impressed. Not in a good way, but I am impressed.

Two of the people in that threesome end up dead. The other one gets all involved with The Darkness.

I'm also not making that up.

9. As you might be gathering this show likes killing people off.

10. This is the sorta show that when it needs a forger, suddenly for no apparent reason a character with no reason to know how to forge anything, hi, Greer, is an expert forger. I appreciate this.

11. Also, this is the sort of show that happily divides everyone into three religions: Catholic, Protestant, and Pagan. This is how you can tell the difference:

Catholics live in castles and are Catholics and can easily be deceived by actors pretending to be priests who are very very against any type of BDSM play that might involve or refer to crosses. Some Catholics love Mary and want her to take over England. Some Catholics hate Mary and don't seem to be aware that England exists. Some Catholics speak in what the show would like you to think is an Italian accent, to show that they are from "Rome."

Protestants live in castles, are all YAY ELIZABETH OF ENGLAND (who so far hasn't shown up in this show, but I'm expecting it at any point, and before anyone points out that the historical Elizabeth and Mary never met, let me just note that this is not the sort of show that cares about that sort of thing at all) and hate Mary and want her dead.

Pagans do not live in castles. They have Evil Whistles (really); sometimes fall into frozen lakes (also really); believe in the Darkness (also really) and hunting things and hanging people up by their feet. Sometimes they say "gods" which is a total giveaway and they are into foot tattoos.

I hope I have now given you all a deeper appreciation of European religious conflicts in the 16th century.

12. Once this show mentioned Turks. We didn't see their feet (or them; just their wedding gifts) but they love Mary so I assume they are Catholic. At least in this show.

13. The Darkness I've been mentioning? Is very very helpful for a Darkness! It provides things for the side cast to do when the main cast is debating whether or not they should poison someone or attack England. Also, the Darkness helpfully predicts meteor showers and plagues. This is the sort of information I need from my Darkness.

14. Characters on this show are not nearly as excited about heading off to Trinidad for the duration of the show as they really, really should be. (I don't know why Trinidad, but that's where they went.)


xmas me
Mari Ness

Latest Month

November 2015



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow