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I've been very nearly completely offline for... weeks (pretty much since I made my last post here, exactly), and only partly online again for... a week or so. My laptop died. Completely. Not even the "power on" diode is working anymore. My ancient desktop, after a three-day period of trying and failing again and again, turned out to be incompatible with Linux (which I tried to put on it so as to have at least *some* sort of working computer again with which to go online and look for computer advice as well as start shopping for a new laptop). I'm now on a borrowed eight-year-old laptop (which was also broken/heavily infected with something, and which has an extraordinarily crappy keyboard), on which I installed Linux and which is therefore, now, somewhat safe to use for going online again. I've also finally ordered a new laptop, which should be delivered sometime this week. Pheew.

The novel is now at 1,500 words, roughly, btw. Have been somewhat stuck/blocked for a while though, mainly because I have some trouble developing the setting in my mind - seems like I can't really write unless I can imagine the world my protagonists live in. I've started borrowing lots of geography books from the local library; maybe that will help.

I've finally started reading comics again! I sort of fell off that particular wagon a year or two ago, mainly because I switched to reading more novels again. I've started reading Saga now (which had been brought to my attention a couple of times before, but I wasn't in comic buying mode then, so it never stuck). It's good, but not as weird as I feel I'd been promised. I think reading Finder and Donna Barr's stuff and assorted Manga has forever ruined me for finding any comic coming out of the mainstream weird. The world also doesn't feel quite as fully realised to me yet as reviews had led me to expect. Again, I'm probably spoiled by Finder. Still, it's promising - and it's definitely a flavour that you don't get much in comics, so I'll support it for that, too. Mind you, I only have the first volume, so far.

Prince Robot is totally modelled on The One Electronic, though.

One thing that's kind of interesting is that what Saga tries to do - telling a love story about an established relationship, against a background of large-scale conflict - is *sort of* what I'm trying to do in my novel. Huh.

As for weirder comics: Finder: Third World, the story that was serialised in Dark Horse Presents, is finally getting a trade paperback release in August. This is making me very, very, very, very happy.

Also, it seems there will be a Hellblazer, pardon, Constantine (pronounced wrong, though, ugh) tv show? Not sure how I feel about that, but it's reminded me of the fact that my Hellblazer collection is sadly incomplete. Turns out that now they're finally collecting the whole shebang from the beginning and without gaps. Well, hooray. Only I've already bought about a third of the entire run in various other forms. I doubt the new collections will neatly fill the gaps in my stack of issues and trades, so I suppose I'll end up with lots of spares. Meh.

I also still haven't read the actual ending of the actual comic (stopped reading for money reasons, a while before it ended). Was it okay? Or is it better to just... not read it, ever?

Aaaand speaking of London magicians, I also recently read Rivers of London and enjoyed it quite a lot. What I didn't enjoy quite as much were some of the spoilers I read online about Lesley's future. Fingers crossed that those were misinterpretations or something. Now waiting for the second volume to be delivered... which should have arrived last week already, so I'm getting antsy.

Right, well, gotta get off this thing now as it's getting late and I have to get up early tomorrow...
hmpf: (Default)
Finished the miniseries (except for the last parts of the D'Argo minis, and the entirety of the Scorpius one) and started the "ongoing" series, which lasted for 22 issues, I think. The first few issues felt weaker, in terms of writing, but I think it's picking up again now. I also think the art has been getting better - both in terms of character likenesses, and things like composition and so on. I was actually somewhat impressed with the last issue I read, #6. Some of that was due to the colouring, I think (the quality of which still fluctuates a lot from issue to issue, it seems, but was quite good in this particular issue), but there were also some nice page layouts and such.

Man, I miss this show.
hmpf: (Default)
- Played Samorost 2 (half of which I already played a few years ago): still as lovely as I remembered.

- Replayed Windosill (which I played completely, a few years ago): still one of the most unique, dream-like game experiences ever.

(Both of these are very short.)

- Played most of Botanicula, until I got to a point where I really need a mouse, which I don't have at the moment. Except for a couple of moments of mild frustration, it's up there with Windosill as one of the most joy-inducing games I've ever played. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Could do without the couple of dexterity-based minigames, but that's a minor quibble (and they're not that bad, really - two of them I managed even without a mouse, and only minor practice, and the third, I'm sure, I'll manage once I have a mouse again). Wish it was longer. It's longer than Windosill or Samorost 2, but still shorter than most full-length games.

- Started Machinarium and am around two thirds through, I think. Beautiful artwork; slightly frustrating puzzles (some of the time, anyway). I'm resorting to a walkthrough more often than I'd like, and it makes me feel as if I've gone stupid: I distinctly remember being able to solve these kinds of puzzles without help! (Well, the brain does start to shrink once you're past 30, doesn't it? ;-))

- Started Sword & Sworcery just now. Not sure yet what I think of the "ironic" dialogue, but the art and atmosphere are stunning. I've heard that this is a game that drags, for many people. At the moment I can't really imagine getting tired of the scenery, though, so as long as it stays this pretty, I imagine I'll be happy even if progress is slow. I'm taking it extra slow at the moment, in fact - often just stopping to take in the scenery, zooming out as far as I can to see all of it.

***

Read some more of the Farscape comics. Still enjoying them. The art in some of the D'Argo arcs is actually good (though sometimes marred by bad colouring.)
hmpf: (cop porn)
Science laughable, even by FS's standards.

But: mass vomiting saves the day! :D

They even went where the show itself never *quite* went, and had Moya vomiting. If you can call it that, with a creature that doesn't technically have a mouth.
hmpf: (best angst ever)
I've started reading the Farscape comics (the Boom version, not the earlier, short-lived one), thanks to some recent encouragement. The art, sadly though not unexpectedly, is atrocious. The writing, however, is quite good. In particular, the characters' voices and interactions are spot-on. So far the comics are making me quite happy.

The main writer seems to be Keith R.A. DeCandido - whom I mainly remember as a member of a DS9 message board I used to frequent in 1999/2000, so on some level of my mind this feels rather like reading fan fiction. *g* For that matter, he's written a good deal of fanfic, if I remember correctly - though that was mostly Hercules and Xena, I think. Some Highlander as well (crossed with Hercules and/or Xena, I think). I know he's also written Farscape tie-in novels. Maybe I should check those out... I think I actually may have one of them lying around somewhere, though I think that may be the second part of a two-parter.

Speaking of tie-in stuff. There's a series of Highlander audio plays from the same company that does the often rather good Doctor Who audio stuff. Does anyone here know anything about those? Are they worth checking out? (How much Methos is there in them? ;-))

Oh, and does anyone know anything about the Farscape "minisodes" that are supposed to air sometime this year on the Nerdist youtube channel? I haven't been able to find much info, but the little I've found says they're "classic" ones, not new ones. I don't remember any previous Farscape "minisodes", though. Did I miss something? (Were they really terrible, maybe, and I've blanked them out? ;-))
hmpf: (Default)
is that I always get tempted away from social things by books or comics (mostly books and comics, that is. Occasionally TV or games.)

I really think, sometimes, that I need therapy to learn to cope with *people*. It can't be normal that even *pleasant* social interaction is so draining for me that I shy away from it, can it?

I've been job hunting and doing housework and reading, mostly. Yes, I stopped the LJ catch-up almost immediately after I'd started. There was a rather large number of interesting job ads recently, but that's no excuse, really.

Gah.

Have some recs:

[livejournal.com profile] beccatoria made another awesome Farscape vid! Actually, I'm sure she's made at least a dozen good vids recently, because she went a bit crazy last month and tried (possibly even managed?) to make one vid(let) per day. So head over there and enjoy!

Did you realise you can read shitloads of classics of the fantastic genres for free on gutenberg.org? I've decided it's time to check out some of that old stuff, and have read Peter Pan and am currently reading The Napoleon of Notting Hill (I read The Man Who Was Thursday years ago, though maybe a reread is in order...) Peter Pan was much odder, and darker, than I expected. TNoNH is about as odd as I expected, because after TMWWT I expect major weirdness from Chesterton. Got any recs of other old stuff I should check out? Maybe A Voyage to Arcturus? That's definitely available there. Or I could try to get back into News from Nowhere, I started that two years ago and then was interrupted by uni stuff...

I've also reread two webcomics I'd more or less stopped checking regularly because they were (and still are) in the habit of going on really long hiatuses. They're both really really good, though. Dicebox is social science fiction with beautiful art and very three-dimensional characters and relationships. Hero is fantasy with religous/mythological overtones, possibly set after some apocalyptic(?) conflict between some analogues between the forces of heaven and hell. Or something. Beautiful digital watercolour manga art, and a surprising sense of humour. (For even more webcomics, check out the links in my sidebar here.)

I've spent a bit of time playing flash games, too:

I really enjoyed Little Rocket, despite the fact that it took me ridiculously long to learn how to control the rocket. But when I finally had the hang of it, I played the entire game through twice.

Endeavor is a nice, big-pixeled exploration platformer.

Looming plays like an extremely minimalist, retro version of Myst.

Seasons is another beautiful web toy/experience by the maker of Windosill.

The Dreamerz (don't ask me about the stupid "z"!) is a charming little point-and-click adventure that feels like you're reading a slightly surreal picture book.

And Transform is another example of patented Eyemaze madness. In other words, it's awesome.

****

I just rediscovered a very fitting old tag so I'm using it...
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I don't know what's going on with my brain, but I've recently fallen deeply in love again with the Miles Vorkosigan books, the manga series 20th Century Boys, and Farscape. Not that I'd ever particularly fallen *out* of love with any of these, especially not the latter, but my feelings have definitely... intensified lately.

I've also been reading fic outside of my usual fandoms (and a little bit within them, too), have been watching vids, have taken up reccing vids at [livejournal.com profile] fs_10percent again, and have been breeding bunnies by the dozen. Oh, and I've gotten back to writing, finally, thank [insert deity]. So far, I've only worked a bit on a throwaway Farscape fic that's a mere two years old and really kind of redundant and not very good (honestly, I think I said everything I could say about Farscape in Normal already, and everything I write now in that universe is just an unnecessary reiteration of some aspect of that fic. Then again, of course, fandom is just the place for reiterations...), but the Life on Mars bunnies are hopping, too. Hopping like *mad*, in fact. And, [insert deity] help me, I've almost resigned myself to the fact that I'll have to write an Avatar fic, despite finding the movie weak in nearly every aspect except the visual. There's one bunny that just. won't. leave me alone.

Annoyingly, I have rather a lot of RL stuff on my plate at the moment, which means my fannish energies have to be contained to some degree, which is a shame.
hmpf: (best angst ever)
1.) This got linked all over the internet earlier this week, I think. I only just read it now, and I'm struck by how it ties into half a dozen conversations I've been having recently, in wildly different context. With Greenpeace people, about my motivations. With fellow students and lecturers, about the necessity for wonder. With my mother, about Avatar and about Lois McMaster Bujold, and about why I'm interested in all this kind of stuff. With fellow fen, about Avatar. Not taking the world for granted.. In a way, in *many* ways, that's what I'm all about. My mom keeps thinking of me as someone whose world is somehow smaller than hers; she doesn't get that it's really infinitely vaster than hers, because it doesn't stop at the boundary of the 'real'.

2.) I feel strangely energetic today. Energetic enough to start my day dancing sedately to Gazpacho. (Dancing sedately? Yes. You've never seen me dance, have you? Well, few people have. *g* Even dancing sedately is an expression of uncommon energy, with me.) Yesterday, too. Even though I'm sleeping as badly as ever, getting up as late as ever, and still getting woefully little done by common standards. Still, in *my* terms, what I've managed to do yesterday was quite a lot, and the remaining To Do list for today looks manageable, too. When I've finished the list, I may even write some fic - if I still have enough energy left, that is.

3.) 20th Century Boys is making me so happy. Well, happy in a "yes, of course my life is still a complete mess and I need help with that etc." kind of way. You can have islands of sheer happiness even in a mess like that. I *love* the characters so much. They may be the saddest resistance fighters in popular fiction. I would hug them, if they didn't awe me so much (and if they weren't characters drawn on paper). <3 (Well, I would probably hug Yoshitsune, because he needs it.)

http://www.onemanga.com/20th_Century_Boys/217/14/
http://www.onemanga.com/20th_Century_Boys/217/15/

http://www.onemanga.com/20th_Century_Boys/79/17/

A thought:

Jan. 18th, 2010 04:57 pm
hmpf: (Default)
Finder, I feel, gets something right about talking about the Other in SF. Part of what it gets right, I think, is that everyone in Finder is an Other (to the reader as well as to most of the other protagonists.) No easy identifications; no easy "us" or "them".

If despite my frequent recommendations you haven't checked this comic out yet, you may do so here.

(ETA: If you really haven't checked out Finder before but are doing so now: you'll probably notice there's a pretty white girl featured in the story. You'll probably think she's an easy enough stand-in for present-day privileged folks - until you find out that some of the women around her who sort of look like her may actually be male, and all are looking to get her married to their daughters. Who may also be male. ETA2: "male" in terms of sex, not gender.)


**

Sorry for going sort of AWOL. Again. End of term stress, grrr.
hmpf: (Default)
on the issue of doing a Ph.D., that the Ph.D. idea I tossed around in the previous entry differs from the kind of Ph.D. I rejected in my previous Ph.D. entry insofar as it - at least theoretically, if I did a good job - would actually address the current crisis, and possibly enable me to confront that crisis more effectively. Whereas a Ph.D. about comics, much as I would love to do it (and I would!), probably wouldn't have much of a chance of improving the world in any currently significant manner.

Speaking of comics - Finder, the comic about which I wrote my thesis, won an Eisner award recently! The Eisners are sort of the Oscars of the comics field. :-) (I'd put a link here but Finder's website seems to be broken at the moment.)
hmpf: (Default)
Fare you well, my friends - until May or so. Feel free to e-mail me, though; I will generally make an effort to at least check my e-mail, even if I drop out of most internet interactions. (Especially, feel free to e-mail me about fannish concerns; I tend to miss fandom a lot in my 'away' phases.)

One last bit of frivolity before I leave: I have to admit I'm considering ordering a copy of this just for the concept, although I'm not actually overly fond of either of the two components on their own... Sadly, I already filled my monthly "buying something just for the bizarre premise" quota yesterday by buying Towing Jehovah, which is about, well, towing the gigantic corpse of God. Last month's quota was filled in abundance by Afterdead, of course.

Speaking of which: Donna Barr has begun making The Desert Peach available online. The Desert Peach is a classic of the alternative comics 'explosion' of the 80s and 90s, and a marvel on many different levels - a complex and humane work about the moral muddle, the inner and outer conflicts and compromises that characterise individuals' lives in very nearly every social context and life situation, examined against the background of a compound of the worst contexts and situations people have managed to create (nazi Germany, the military, and war). If this sounds depressing: it isn't. Some of it is quite funny, in fact - but it's also deep and often unsettling. There are no easy answers; just questions, and then more questions. The characters breathe, and so do the backgrounds; everything feels alive and real. I've been particularly impressed with the depiction of Germany after the war, in the last few issues of the series before it morphed into the mindbogglingly psychedelic Afterdead. (I have the good fortune of owning most of the original series in print.) Those last issues remind me of the "Trümmerliteratur" (Wikipedia: "rubble literature") some of us probably remember from school, only... not. It is, of course, less focused on the whole "woe is us" aspect, which accounts for some of the difference. It feels less apocalyptic. The main difference, though, is perhaps the way in which the issue of guilt is handled, which... deserves an essay, sometime, I think. After my exams, maybe.

**

In other news: I had a wonderful night writing fic, the day before yesterday. Best writing session in ages - nearly a whole page in less than five hours, really moving the plot forward, all the way into madness. I'm still floating on that high. I should be really worried about my exams right now, because, to put it plainly, I'm in deep, deep shit due to some circumstances partly out of my control, but somehow I can't make myself care. Writing feels so much more important. *g*
hmpf: (cop porn)
Templar, Arizona starts a new chapter with a marvellously polite exhibitionist testicular self-mutilator, Finder introduces us to what surely *must* be the strangest genetically modified sub-group of an already remarkably strange society, and I have received the first volume of Afterdead, whose weirdness is very insufficiently captured by the phrase "zombie camel robots with extrudable rectal seating."
hmpf: (Default)
Carla Speed McNeil is making you an offer you can't refuse: buy two books, get one free, all through March.

Since the best version of Sin-Eater is the new all-in-one hardcover edition, and the offer does not include that one, I would probably not buy the Sin-Eater trade paperbacks if I were you. Any of the other volumes, though, are fine - and it's one of the nice things about Finder that you can basically start at any point of the series - you don't need to worry about continuity or anything.

Here's a short guide to help you decide:

Read more... )

Whooo!

Dec. 17th, 2008 09:01 pm
hmpf: (fanatic)
Seems 'vague toe pain and what to do about it' is a topic that excites the minds hereabouts! ;-)

Thanks for all the replies. I don't have time/energy for individual replies today - my hour and a half of online time at work are almost over, and I'm also kind of really exhausted today. So, just a quick, err, heads-up on the toe matter, and other stuff:

1.) I've actually tried to go to the doctor today, only to find that he'd already left for his Christmas holiday. So I'll have to find another one (and pay extra) or wait till January. I am not *particularly* worried about the toe - I am aware that there's a 99.999% likelihood that it's something harmless - so I'm tempted to wait for January. Then again, the persistent pain is kinda annoying, so maybe I'll try a doctor near my parents' tomorrow after all. Oh, and to people who asked what the toe looks like, and how it reacts to being bent and prodded and whatnot: it looks completely normal, and has for all this time, even on the first couple of days when the pain was really strong; and poking, prodding, bending or pushing it with my fingers does not cause any pain beyond the dull ache that's already there.

2.) The next story arc, Torch, has begun at lightspeedpress.com. So far there's only seven pages, but they look seriously exciting. It seems that a lot of things that were only implicit until now are about to be made explicit. Carla Speed McNeil says that this is the beginning of the big story she always wanted to tell, and which will span the next three volumes of the series. So it seems that a lot of things are going to become explained, and a lot of dangling threads are about to be connected. I am excited and nervous - nervous, because it's kind of strange to be writing your thesis about what is in essence the prologue (or, in some cases, the epilogue?) to a much larger story that just happens to begin to be published as you're about to finish your thesis... A note to Finder newbies: from what I can see, this seems to be as good a place as any to jump in, and the seven pages that are up already give a surprisingly good introduction to the world of the comic, I think. I suspect that the story that's about to begin is going to feel a great deal more like an actual story than many of the previous offerings, which had more of a 'slice-of-life in a strange futuristic world' feel.

3.) I have figured out one small piece of the puzzle of why English is an erotic language to me. Specifically, why I enjoy *watching* people speak English: the "w" sound - a sound which does not exist in German - is essentially half a kiss placed on the air. 'course, it takes someone with nice lips to make this *really* erotic. (This finding brought to you by the scene in Miranda that has John Simm asking "why" four times in a row.)
hmpf: (fanatic)
This is a good time to head over to Finder to check the comic out. The latest story arc has recently been finished but is still completely online. It will disappear once the next story starts, so if you want a chance to read a full volume of Finder online for free (even if partly only in uninked state), *now* is the time.

ETA: Why you should read this:

- This is the comic that made me a comic reader, in early 2004. I fell in love with it after reading a review on a website (I think I was looking for a review of some movie), and bought several volumes right away. Never looked back.
- It is set in one of the most fascinating worlds I have encountered in fiction.
- You'll understand my whining about my thesis better if you know a bit about the comic it's based on. ;-)
- There are pirate farmers in the world of Finder. They live in giant travelling combine harvesters and harvest other people's crops. No, they don't figure in this particular story. I just love the idea...
- The architecture of the city of Anvard is very much like the architecture of my dreams.
- If you're interested in any of the social sciences, you'll find plenty of stuff to chew on here.
hmpf: (fanatic)
excitement or trepidation...

Anybody have any idea what the buzz for it is?

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