hmpf: (Default)
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...

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)
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: (Default)
"The lower the income bracket an area enjoys, the twistier and narrower the streets are, until they're too small for any but foot traffic. There are families who have bought contiguous properties in all directions, until their sets of interconnected houses extend every which way like tunnels trough a termite mound. Only there can people pool together enough money to break down a few walls and ceilings to make a garden room, a space to breathe, installing full-spectrum lamps and hiring gardeners to make little islands of green in the depths of the city."

Finder: Five Crazy Women; notes

This is remarkably like one of my Strange Architecture dreams. ETA: Of which I just had another, yesterday, which involved a randomly appearing/disappearing (and possibly mobile) hay loft full of human hair. Also, a small bungalow which turned out, in its entirety, to be an elevator to the underground (literal, and political, in this case).

There were also mad scientists, in a musical that turned into a story I was telling someone else in the dream, and then into a picture book that, apparently, I had painted. It was one of those mutating dreams/series of dreams with variations on a common theme.

Update

Apr. 17th, 2008 01:24 am
hmpf: (Default)
Actually working all day now, i.e. upwards of eight hours per day. Literally the only time I'm not working is when I'm trying to sleep, which takes inordinately long to accomplish. It takes between four and six hours for me to manage to fall asleep. Since I can't function without sufficient sleep for more than a couple of days that means that most days I spend insane amounts of time in bed - twelve hours in bed gets me six hours of sleep. Going to sleep can be hard work if your brain is constantly nattering away at you. I tend to try to calm the inevitable panic with mindfic, which sometimes does the trick - except when it works *too* well and becomes inimical to sleep in its own right.

My research is making progress now, which is good. The online version of Science Fiction Studies and Neil Barron's impressive bibliography of the science fiction field, "The Anatomy of Wonder", are proving useful in determining what books might be good to get on interlibrary loan. I've also started reading through the archives of When Fangirls Attack, although that's of limited usefulness so far.

I miss real food. Deep-freeze pizza and sandwiches just aren't very good for the soul... (And it's only been a few weeks... arrgh.)

On the plus side: researching indie fantasy comics of the nineties led me to Artesia, which rocks rather a lot more than I expected. Heroic fantasy - despite my love of Tolkien - is usually not quite my thing. But then, "Artesia" is not exactly cookie-cutter heroic fantasy... This just may be the first comic I'm aware of (outside the unique and disturbing universe(s) of Donna Barr, that is) which actually equals Finder in terms of depth and breadth and *believability* of the world it creates.

Speaking of Finder... Do I love Roy or do I love Roy? Heh.

Right. Going to bed now, to wrestle with sleep and 'write' some sickeningly domestic/bizarrely disturbing mindfic...
hmpf: (Default)
closely (re)reading all of Finder for thesis preparation has made me fall in love with the series all over again. I mean, how can you not love a comic in whose universe exists the following people:

"Huldres are farmers. They live in giant combine harvesters, rolling around the hills outside the cities, mowing the grain which, according to them, grows wild. Other harvesters take issue with their methods. Huldres are pirate farmers."

The sheer awesomeness of the idea of pirate farmers makes my mind boggle in the most delightful way. And this is only one of hundreds of weird, wonderful details.

Go here to read/buy.
hmpf: (angsty)
First off, I'm kind of... not around because I *still* haven't finished that one freaking essay, arrgh. It's like every time I think I'm nearly done I accidentally open a new can of worms, sort of on the home stretch, making another day of work for myself. Very frustrating. Plus, as a consequence it's now so late I'm not sure they'll still accept it. They usually do, this being the German university system which is somewhat more lenient about stuff like this than, say, Britain's, but... you never know. Very nervous here!

In addition to this I'm angsting about my thesis again. I just talked about it to a rather skeptical friend and that reminded me how little of an idea I have yet about what I'm *really* going to do with it. And how much theory I still need to read, and how little idea I have where even to start on *that*. And how badly I need to read a whole lot of older indie and small press comics to understand the context better. Will I have to shell out for the ten Cerebus 'phonebooks'? I am afraid so. And Cerebus isn't even the biggest problem; at least that's *available*, if rather pricey. A lot of the other stuff - even the stuff I sort of know about - isn't available at all anymore. Not to mention that I only have a vague idea of indie and small press books of the early 90s and earlier, because that's way before I ever started reading comics. And with this kind of stuff you can't just go to a library, you need to buy it or you need to know someone with a huge collection. Arrgh. I need to befriend my local comic shop guys, I think. (In fact, I *am* planning to talk to them about this; at the very least they should be able to give me a better idea of essential titles etc. They're pretty good with American indie and small press stuff. - Oh, and I'll try forums, too.)

I'm thinking of really just focusing on Finder now. I just received my copy of the recent Sin-Eater hardcover and that reminded me rather forcefully how Finder is *teeming* with stuff to write and think about. Finder alone is probably more than I can handle, to be honest. (I just still lack a lot of the necessary background to say much of academic worth about it.)

The most interesting and most worrying thing my friend (who has a Ph.D. in American studies) did regarding my thesis was questioning my choice of doing a thesis about these comics at all. How could I be sure, she asked, if there was really something - or, perhaps rather, 'enough' - there that was worth talking about in an academic way; could I be sure that, as a fan, I wasn't *putting* things there that I *wanted* to see but that weren't really present in the material? Which, yeah... may be a good question. Although I'm fairly certain that Finder is of academic interest, really, because it tickles all my academic bones, so to speak - it really speaks more to me as an academic, almost, than it does to me as a fan. Still, I'm setting myself up for a fall here, potentially, as I will have to go that extra length of convincing the readers of my thesis not just of the worth of my own ideas but also of the worth of the material I've chosen to talk about. This is something you don't have to do if you write about something that already has academic acceptance.

***

To balance all that angst, here's your daily dose of squee:

As I said, yesterday I got my copy of this, and - the image there doesn't do it justice. It's an artefact of superb beauty. It's smaller than your usual comic, somewhere between American comic size and manga format; it's hardcover, satisfyingly thick and solid, and - literally - very shiny. Very white paper, very black print, and the artwork 'shrinks' surprisingly well, although some of the smaller bits of lettering and a few details do get very tiny. The overall effect is positive, though, and somehow the composition of many of the pages works better in this format (probably because you tend to look at the whole page at once, whereas with the usual format you tend to look at the top half first, or at least I do.)

It's also superior to the previous version of Sin-Eater in two trades because it also collects the 'lost issue' Fight Scene, plus nine new pages.

I could go on, but I have to go - work calls.

I am...

Oct. 22nd, 2007 11:38 pm
hmpf: (fanatic)
ridiculously intrigued by this development:

http://www.lightspeedpress.com/index.php?module=Finder&func=pub&issue=40&page=75

Rachel meets Brom. I've always liked Rachel. I've always liked Brom (even before I knew his name *g*). They both have - probably - extremely different images of Jaeger in their heads. I always like it when very different images of the same person "collide"... This should be interesting. ;-)

I'm wondering if I should be nervous because of the emergency room setting. But Brom doesn't seem to be worried, so I suppose not. And, well, this is Jaeger, so...

To those not already reading Finder: Carla Speed McNeil recently published a new, smaller-format collected hardcover edition of Sin-eater 1&2, the two first volumes of the series. This is also the storyline that introduced Rachel (and her entire, interesting, broken family), so it should get you ready to read the current story. (And if you want to know more about Brom, you should get Five Crazy Women, which contains a long conversation between him and Jaeger. About Jaeger's sex life, no less.)
hmpf: (fanatic)
... the illness of archaeology. ;-)

I've been kind of busy with Real Life stuff (visiting family, meeting friends) the last couple of days, and when I haven't been busy with that kind of thing I've mostly spent my time going through *all* the many, many stacks of paper consisting of uni notes, ancient to-do-lists, 'official' letters/documents, long-neglected personal communications, personal notes, fandom notes, story ideas... sorting them, and throwing *a lot* of stuff out. It feels so good, I can't begin to describe it. Every stack of paper that goes is a weight lifted from my soul. I'm almost done now - maybe a couple more hours and then I'll be 'free' of years and years of paper backlog. Feels as if my mind is clearing at the same rate...

I've compiled a new 'master to-do-list' from all my old to-do-lists, and it's still massive, but slightly less scary than before because it's all on one list now. I plan to get all the 'easy' stuff on it done this week, just to shorten it a bit. Of course, the 'easy' stuff isn't really what's the problem in my life, but still, it will feel good to strike something like ten to fifteen items off the list. :-)

And then, of course, I need to get started on the next big essay, the Marcuse one. Difficult, but also kind of intriguing, so I'm kind of looking forward to that.

**

The bad news is that my writing neurosis reared its head again today. That's the "OMG, I can't read this story; it looks too good in ways that are too close to the kind of things I want to do with my own fiction but can't" neurosis, for those who were wondering. ;-) The last time it struck it put me off reading fanfic entirely for three years. I'm slightly less neurotic now than I was, so I don't think I'll react this extremely again, but I may still have to keep away from certain fics that 'hit too close to home', at least until I feel more sure of my own abilities again. The most productive way of reacting to this feeling is usually to concentrate doubly hard on improving my own writing, which I did intend to do today, but then I realised that I needed to get rid of *all* the stacks of paper before I could start *anything* new in my life. I *need* a clean slate before I start on the next phase of my studies as well as - hopefully - a phase of writing more consistently and more seriously than I have so far.

Yes, you read that right: I want to give a different way of writing a try; let's see if some discipline helps to get more than five pages a year out of me! I'm thinking of something like an hour or two of writing time, every other day or so. Some kind of regular schedule.

Of course, I have an atrocious track record regarding self-control, so I'm not sure how far my determination will carry me. I may need help. I may need to enlist people to kick my ass occasionally. I dunno.

**

I also probably shouldn't make the mistake to see the current 'high' as a sign that all my problems have been solved all of a sudden. So, I should probably still follow my plans of looking for some kind of help.

**

In other news: In the end, I did not watch Heroes nor BSG or anything I listed in my entry a few days ago. Instead, I watched old Doctor Who. Really old Doctor Who - First and Second Doctor. (This is actually compatible with sorting through old paperwork, as the pace of the stories is so slow you'd fall asleep if you didn't do something else besides. *g*) While looking at Outpost Gallifrey's episode guide I was once again highly amused at the frequent recurrence of the words 'death' and 'terror' in the episode titles. The British sure know what children want! *g*

**

I am greatly enjoying the current storyline of Finder, which finally gives us another glimpse at the life of the Grosvenor family. I <3 Lynne, although he's completely fucked up... (He also looks rather a lot like Jaeger! But I think he's slightly too old to really be Jaeger's son.)

**

And finally, here's a mysterious note I found on an old piece of paper in one of my stacks:

"flibbusk: ten-legged, disagreeable when prevented from mating"

- Anyone have *any* idea what that could refer to? Cause I'm completely mystified.
hmpf: (ears of love)
Jaeger's wacky sex life! (That and the following two pages.)

C'mon, people. Read Finder. You know you want to. As Scott McCloud puts it so nicely: "It's the best comic you haven't read." He's right, you know.

***

In other news, I can't frelling concentrate on my work. So, to feel like I've accomplished *something* at least, I write. (My only true nation is procrastination. We should have a flag. And an anthem.) 68 Wives is beginning to look pretty good. I'm beginning to see the structure. I may actually be able to meet my self-imposed two-month deadline for this one.

Too bad I've got a uni deadline, as well. And that one isn't self-imposed...
hmpf: (fanatic)
http://www.lightspeedpress.com/index.php?module=Finder&func=pub&issue=38&page=25

This scene reminds me a bit of Grosse Pointe Blank ("I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork.")

*loves people who are unfit for polite society*

*g*
hmpf: (sexy)
Finder is now available as a webcomic. The updating schedule is Tuesdays and Fridays, and so far Carla Speed McNeil has been very good at updating on time. There's ten pages now, and the three older issues that have been available for some time, so you should be able to get a fair taste of the comic. It's a bit difficult to get into as it's a complex world and very little is explained immediately, but part of the fun is entering the world of Finder with little to no foreknowledge and trying to figure out how it works. It's a bit like being a tourist in a really strange culture. And Jaeger's a great protagonist.

Older issues of the comic will be posted to the website sometime, but I don't know when. I'll probably make a post about it when it happens, though. Anyway. Check out this comic.

http://www.lightspeedpress.com/

First page:

http://www.lightspeedpress.com/index.php?module=Finder&func=pub&issue=38&page=1

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