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...
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)
but since it's currently getting thoroughly revamped, it's worth pointing out again:

North World by Lars Brown.

A webcomic about a wandering swordfighter in a world that looks much like 1950s/1960s America, only without television, and with slightly more up-to-date clothes styles. And an amusingly anachronistic (sub)culture of people who run around the woods armed with swords, hunting monsters. (Yes, the monsters are real.) If this premise sounds a bit bizarre, wait till the hero decides to attend his highschool sweetheart's wedding in his old hometown. Yes: it's Grosse Pointe Blank meets Dungeons and Dragons. Lars Brown, the author, calls the genre he invented with North World "plain-clothes fantasy", and that just about describes it.

North World is one of webcomics' bigger recent success stories. The author recently got a publishing deal for it with, err, I forgot which publisher but it was a well-known one (in the realm of comics, that is). He's using this occasion to rewrite and redraw parts of the - already finished - first volume, and, being a generous webcomicker, he's posting it all, page by page, to the North World website again. It's like a rerun, only better, because it's improved! *g* (It was pretty good to begin with, but you could see that the author was 'still growing', in places, and there were a few things that were a bit confusing, which will hopefully be cleared up in this new version.)

Lars Brown also endeared himself to me by being a Finder fan, something he has in common with the authors of some of my other favourite webcomics, too. :-)

Oh, and I recently updated the links bar here in my LJ (left column in my current LJ layout), so if you want a few more recs, do check that out. Or you could just click on one of the tags here, of course, for older recs. I can only encourage anyone who hasn't so far dipped a toe into the world of webcomics to try it - it was, to me, just as wonderful a discovery as reading fanfic.

Well, and now I'm off to make dinner.
hmpf: (fanatic)
Donna Barr's almost indescribably bizarre Afterdead, an amalgamation of her series The Desert Peach and Stinz (and pretty much everything else she's done), set in the afterlife/a far future, is now being posted to free webcomics site Webcomics Nation:

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/dbarr/afterdead/series.php

I'm afraid it's nearly impossible to get into without at least some knowledge of the backstory, though, but people with a very high tolerance to being confused might try it. Some of the backstory is available for download or as print on demand book from Lulu; some is freely available on Modern Tales; some is available for subscription on Modern Tales; and a lot of it is only available in the form of the actual back issues - the purchase of which I can heartily recommend, btw. Go to Donna Barr's website for more info.

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: (Default)
Sadly, communicating (except for these one-way missives I'm posting here), thinking about Stuff, writing, and getting Stuff done are all impossible at the moment.

And no, I don't feel bad, not really - except for the usual guilt of not being able to keep in touch like a normal human being etc. In fact, I've spent a lot of the last two weeks or so on a near-constant reading high - and I guess I feel vaguely guilty for this, too, because all that time... well. You know.

Reading is my additiction, I guess.

Here, have some more recs:

Shí Lòng Páng: Kung-Fu and Chinese history in a way you've never seen them presented before. Philosophy, gentle humour, great, unique art style.

S.P.Q.R. Blues: Roman history and intrigue. Hyper-detailed, intricate artwork. You had that David Macaulay book about Roman city planning when you were little? That's what the artwork of S.P.Q.R. Blues reminds me of.
hmpf: (Default)
This time: ten really good webcomics that feel like graphic novels:

Dicebox: Female migratory workers in space.

Digger: Wombat in Wonderland.

Gunnerkrigg Court: Not Hogwarts.

HERO: Philosophy, lyricism, dry humour.

Kaspall: Great worldbuilding, great page layouts.

North World: "So you didn't become an accountant?" - "No, I'm doing the sword thing."

Otter Soldiers: Santa Claus is dead. Raisins are evil.

Rice Boy: An acid trip. With plot.

Templar, Arizona: Not *the* Arizona. Just *a* Arizona.

What Birds Know: A mushroom collecting trip gone weird.
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: (fanatic)
because nowadays there are loads of webcomics around that are easily good enough to be published in book form, and that should make even comic snobs of the 'I only read graphic novels!' persuasion happy. ;-)

I recently plugged a number of webcomics here. In the weeks following that post I went on a bit of a webcomics kick and found a couple more that are really good. As per usual with my recs, all of these comics focus on telling a story instead of delivering daily jokes.

In alphabetical order because I can't put them in any other order:

Between Two Worlds is about a few Finnish twentysomethings' vacation on a little island that goes disastrously wrong and turns very, very weird.

Digger, which has won, and been nominated for all kinds of awards, is a subscription comic, unfortunately, but a large (really large - 285 pages) part of the archive is available as a free sample. Digger is a no-nonsense wombat construction engineer who gets lost while burrowing and finds herself in a strange country full of speaking statues, dead gods, shadow creatures, oracular slugs, and vampire squash. All she really wants is find a way back home, but she keeps getting drawn into the politics of gods... Great characters *and* worldbuilding, and a delightful sense of the absurd.

Ice is set in a futuristic dystopian London in a new ice age. Civilisation has crumbled, more or less, and society has returned to a feudal organisation...

Narbonic is... great fun. And a classic of the webcomics medium, with six years of daily archives to read! It's also about to finish, so don't read the latest strip but go directly to the beginning of the archive if you don't want to get badly spoiled for all kinds of great and/or horrible revelations. This, to some degree, is a 'daily joke' strip, but it also tells a story.

Templar, Arizona is set in a Arizona, not the Arizona. "This is a slightly irregular Arizona that fell off the back of a truck somewhere, and now all the power outlets are a weird shape and a couple of wars never happened," says the author. Not only does the comic satisfy my desire for alternate worlds, but it also has great, very vivid characters and absolutely real-sounding dialogue. And clay bars. I'd love to visit a clay bar now.
hmpf: (fanatic)
The one that's a bit like Ursula K. LeGuin or Marge Piercy. The one that tells you all you really need to know about monsters under your bed. The one with the cutest wizard, the sexiest demon, and the tastiest angst. The one with the most inappropriate humour (... and it gives good angst, too). Or, no, strike that - this is the one with the most inappropriate humour. The one that's a bit like Buffy. The one with the best dialogue. The one with the scariest 're-imagination' of Little Red Riding Hood. The one with lots of zeppelins! The most nightmarish one. (And the runner up.) The one with mathematics. The one I keep plugging here. The psychedelic one. The one with the anti-Hogwarts. - All of these are either 'properly' finished, or still active. The links are to a random page from each comic that I happen to like. You can find the main pages by following the navigational buttons/links beneath the images, as per usual.

(No, I'm not bailing out on the conversation further down... I was just too tired/busy for it yesterday and today. And before you ask how I can then find the time to post something like this post: well, it's an older compilation I made for a forum I mod. I just felt like posting something fun and geeky here today, so I recycled it. Besides, all of these comics deserve lots more readers! *g* And now I'm off to bed.)
hmpf: (cop porn)
Wheeeeeeee! It's been a good week for webcomics. Or at least for the ones I'm reading. The best two things about webcomics this week are:

1.) Finder update! (http://www.lightspeedpress.com) - Jaeger's found another crazy woman, it seems. What she's up to I can't fathom (strangling him with her leg, looks like)... but it looks dangerous.

2.) Zebra Girl update! (http://zebragirl.keenspot.com) - Joe "angst tastes like popcorn" England tortures... well, everybody, really, since we can assume that Sandra, although off-panel for the moment, is not having a particularly good time, either. There's extremely dodgy medicine, and silly goth!Crystal goodness! ("I keep a syringe on me at all times. Take my blood! Blood is icky. I don't like it in my body.") Also, Joe promises more frequent updates in the near future, after his graduation. We'll see.

As always, I urge everybody to read these.

I also urge people to read the following webcomics:

Dicebox:
http://www.dicebox.net/
*Really* good science fiction comic in the vein of Finder, or Ursual LeGuin; beautiful art.

No Rest For the Wicked:
http://www.forthewicked.net/
The Princess On the Pea travels with Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood (who is hands down the scariest character in the entire comic, and carries a big axe) to find out where the moon has gone. They're currently meeting Hänsel and Gretel's mother.

Scary Go Round:
http://www.scarygoround.com/
(Mostly) very funny encounters between a bunch of slightly eccentric twentysomethings and the - frequently - supernatural in the small British town of Tackleford.

girly:
http://go-girly.com/
This is kind of impossible to describe, really. Is it a love story? A superhero parody? A soap opera? Just weird? Whatever it is, it's good enough for me to have preordered the book. One of the very first webcomics I ever read.

Triangle & Robert:
http://home.comcast.net/~pshaughn/tandr.html
P. Shaughnessy is the inventor of Alienating Readers Week, the Zone of No Pudding, Prozac the Bear who is really Bear the Prozac, The Author's Irrational Fear of Potatoes, Recapulon the recapitulating machine, and an entire two-dimensional cosmology based on food groups. I don't think there is a comic in existence that is weirder, more self-referential, or more involved than this one.

And, of course:

It's Walky!:

- English: http://www.itswalky.com
- German
Drama. Alien invasions. Giant robot monkeys apes. True Love. Toilet humour. I love this so much I'm translating it to German.

All of these are webcomics that go beyond the constraints of the joke-a-day formula, so if you're ready to have a side order of story with your humour (or, in some cases, even *just* a good story), these might be for you.

Edited to add the link to the German version of It's Walky!
hmpf: (cop porn)
...

http://home.comcast.net/~pshaughn/tr2362.gif

...

Whenever I think Triangle & Robert can't get any weirder... it promptly does.

BTW: your complimentary German lesson of the day: The word 'stein' does not actually mean 'vessel for drinking beer out of' in German. (I'd really like to know the etymology of that term. I suspect it was derived in some way from 'Steingut', which is a special kind of pottery that is, however, not limited to beer mugs.)

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