Reading notes, week 4

by

Currently reading: Proper English by K.J. Charles. This is (or at least it starts as) historical romance, somewhat out of my comfort zone: I have the same reaction as with Augustine Lang novels, “wonderful people, only I wish they were in another world!” I’ve been promised a bit of detective story with the romance, though. And it’s F/F romance with a deliciously plump love interest.

Next up: I have no patience for The Attenbury Emeralds (mostly because I read a review I vehemently disagree with but can’t unsee) so I’ll skip that this time, even if it is fanfic. But The Late Scholar is waiting for me. Then I might pick up some more of the new things I bought on recommendation, unless there’s something I badly want to reread.

January 26: The Blue Flower by tree_and_leaf. Harry Potter fanfic with Phineas Nigellus. The origin of the Mirror of Erised!

A Presumption of Death by Jill Paton Walsh and, weakly, Dorothy L. Sayers. Lots of Harriet! I don’t understand the people who like it less because it’s got less Peter and more Harriet; so does Gaudy Night, but perhaps they don’t like that either. I like it better now that I read (and write) a lot of fanfic, because that’s what it is, confound it.

January 24: Last Term at Malory Towers. The copy I have is very badly converted, it looks like scanned and OCR’ed without proofreading, and I wouldn’t persevere if I didn’t want to finish the series now. But oh my, it’s obviously okay to bully the fat girl without any consequences. (She’s not a nice girl either, but that’s how she’s been written!) This Goodreads review is harsh but not far from my thoughts (but I’d still give it 2 stars at least).

Index of reading notes is here.

Dear Worldbuilding writer,

by

Hi, I’m sinkauli on ao3. Here you can see my works (admittedly not very much yet, I’m fairly new to this), and my bookmarks, and this blog here is full of my reading notes. I’m repeating much of my Yuletide letter with some worldbuilding-specific changes and additions, so there’s general stuff in it that you can probably ignore.

Please assume “any or no characters” and “original character(s)” for all fandoms so I don’t need to repeat that every time. Not all characters who are listed need to appear. Also, the only thing I’ve requested art for is Narnia; all the others are only Fanfiction and In-Universe Meta.

Whatever you do, you’ll probably make me happy anyway 🙂

Narnia

WB: Western Edge of the World; Cultural Diversity within Narnia; Golden Age society

Characters: Lucy Pevensie, Susan Pevensie

  • Golden Age learning: Aslan abandoned boring schools, but people do learn, how is that set up? Learning specific things from species that it comes naturally to (botany from dryads, metallurgy from dwarfs)?
  • Would the Western Edge be on land? How do people who live near it deal with it?

I’d love any art or map that shows parts of Narnia and/or surrounding countries that we haven’t seen in the books yet. Perhaps the Western Edge itself!

The Goblin Emperor

WB: Ethuverazhin and Barizhin and the Evressai Steppe linguistic relationships (note that it said “lingustic” in the tagset, but I’m sure “linguistic” was meant); the Clocksmiths’ Guild; the Athmaz’are; goblin and elven educational systems; Elvish and/or Goblin religious practices

Characters: Kiru Athmaza, Csethiro Ceredin, Writer of Traveler’s Handbook to the Elflands, Nadaro Gormened,  Cala Athmaza, Nedao Vechin

  • A woman in the Clocksmith’s Guild makes an awesome thing (very likely to be an autistic woman)
  • Anything about the school for girls with mazeise talents. Are there scholarships for talented but poor students? Are goblin and part-goblin girls included? (I hope yes on both counts). Kiru Athmaza could teach some guest classes!

The Hobbit (book)

(I have not seen the film and want nothing to do with it)

WB: The Toy-market of Dale; Dwarves and Gender; Dwarven Craft and Magic

Characters: Original Dwarf Character, Original Hobbit Character, Original Character from Dale

  • Dwarf girls learning toymaking: perhaps it’s specifically a women’s craft, secrets passed on from mother to daughter. Magic might be involved.
  • I love intricate market scenes! Lots and lots of local colour.

Young Wizards

WB: Original wizard species

Characters: The Man in the Crossings Bar

  • I want to know EVERYTHING about the man in the Crossings bar. Is he (an avatar of) one of the Powers? A freelance wizard? Where is he when he’s not pushing fledgling wizards into alien spawning cubicles?
  • Do all sentient species have wizards?
  • Fiction about a mouse, donkey, bird (any species) or elephant wizard.

General  likes

  • Happy ending, or open(ish) ending with possibility for happiness. Lots of bonus points for other happy endings than “people getting together as a couple”.
  • Unexpected, uncomplicated friendship. Complicated friendship will do too, I like any story with friendship better than one with only antagonism, but I’m a sucker for people becoming friends when they’re doing something together or turn out to have something in common which neither of them would have planned for. Friends-to-lovers is okay but it’s a pity if that’s the whole point of the story.
  • Autistic characters (canon or headcanon) who either come to terms with being autistic in the story, or have already figured it out and can handle it. Bonus points if they use their autistic traits to get things done.
  • Kidfic, either canon characters’ kids or canon characters when they were kids.
  • Discovery, detection. Characters finding out things about themselves when they do something they didn’t know they could do. Learning, mentoring.

Worldbuilding-specific likes

  • Language everything. Don’t hesitate to become technical if you can and are so inspired, it’s likely that I can make sense of it.
  • In-universe meta: how things work.

DNW/general dislikes

(Sex DNWs are probably not relevant for worldbuilding but I’m leaving them in just in case)

  • Enemies-to-lovers. Rape, non-con. Casual sex without friendship. Seduction for any other reason than that one person is in love with the other and is trying to get it across to them elegantly. Adultery, infidelity (polyamory is okay but I don’t really prefer it). Incest. PWP (sex, even explicit, is okay but it needs to fit into the narrative; on the whole I much prefer gen).
  • Bigotry of any kind, unless fighting against it is a plot point. That includes homophobia, TERFness, sexism, racism, ableism, ageism and anything I’ve forgotten.
  • Pathological/medical view of autism or other neurodivergence, portraying it as something that needs to be fixed rather than as a characteristic of the person.
  • Discussions of disordered eating or weight (it’s completely okay if someone’s body type is part of the description, like mentioning that the person has dark skin or blue eyes or wears glasses or uses a wheelchair, but no fat-shaming or other judgmental language about weight please).
  • Pranks, practical jokes, humiliating characters for the sake of it.
  • Unhappy endings, unresolved tragedy.
  • Gore, body horror, mutilation, monstrous pregnancy, cannibalism et cetera. Mpreg, which is a species of body horror in my book. (Ordinary pregnancy and childbirth is okay.)

Worldbuilding-specific dislikes

  • Plague, pandemic.
  • Climate or environment catastrophe, (imminent/unavoidable) destruction of a whole world or a significant part of it.
  • Extra information about a setting that makes it less pleasant (“… but you didn’t know these sordid details”).

Reading notes, week 3

by

January 23: In the Fifth at Malory Towers. Again, there’s a new girl in the form, will that persist until the sixth form? (Spoiler: yes.) Some rehashing of earlier books at the beginning but then the story takes off and it’s one of the better ones, giving most girls a chance to shine.

Thrones, Dominations by Dorothy L. Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh. Parts of it are excellent. Yes, I mean that. I don’t know if those are the original DLS parts or the added JPW parts. Spouse, having already read The Late Scholar which we now have on paper, talks about “the Asterix effect”, that is, all the familiar jokes have to get in. I think this one has a dose of that as well. But I still like it.

January 19: Third Year at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton. This one has BILL! Also Zerelda, and Gwendoline is unfailingly nasty. This is worse in Upper Fourth at Malory Towers which I immediately continued with, but that one has CLARISSA.

January 18:  Striding Folly, three Lord Peter Wimsey short stories. Underwhelming reread: the first needlessly creepy, the second a nice mystery but with some (period-inevitable, I think) racist views from a policeman of all people; the third would be an enjoyable slice-of-life if it didn’t normalize and perhaps even glorify beating children.

Second Form at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton. This installment has rather a lot of drama, more than I remember; either the translation was heavily edited or my ten-year-old brain wanted to forget it!

We’re now also watching the BBC adaptation of Malory Towers, which is excellent (Cute girls! Strong women! So much diversity in the cast!). I may blog about that separately when I’ve seen all the episodes, or at least enough episodes to say something sensible about the big added-drama thing that’s just about the only thing I don’t like about it. (The source, or at least part of the source, may be the drama involving completely different people in book #2.)

January 17: Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers. Perhaps this isn’t the objectively best Lord Peter Wimsey but it’s the one I love most because they’re so married, sort of like my own marriage in which the refrain is “of course this has to happen to us” (invariably adversity which strengthens the marriage). Also, the only cringe scene is between two villains. Cried at the ending, as usual, and bookmarked the long scene with the Dowager Duchess to use in the Old Ladies Crossover.

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes, week 2

by

January 13: First Term at Malory Towers by Enid Blyton, as a short vacation from the Lord Peter Wimsey reread. I used to know the whole series by heart in Dutch when I was about 10, but this is the first time I read the original and it’s confusing that all the names are different, because of course the translator thought they had to translate the names. I read boarding school books as a kind of exotic fantasy, and actually wanted the English names, but apparently not all ten-year-old girls are like that. I hope I’ll get used to “Darrell”[1] because at the moment I dislike that name a lot and I’ll be stuck with it for six books. (Well, I won’t be stuck with it, if I was called Darrell I’d change my name immediately.)

[1] English “Darrell Rivers” is called “Pitty Rivers” in the Dutch translation, which was an “aha!” kind of shock when someone[2] took me to the Pitt Rivers Museum at fourteen.

[2] She was my Greek teacher. And an archeologist. I had a terrible crush on her.

January 12: Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. Finally finished! I read the cringey scene too, and this was one of the times that I almost believed the deranged woman — it’s so well written! And the ending took a bit longer than I remembered but that didn’t impair it.

Index of reading notes is here.

Yuletide 2020 recommendations

by

Obligatory Recommendations Post, pendant of my brag post.

This is my gift and I’m SO HAPPY

Unforeseen Effects (5310 words) by astraev
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Young Wizards – Diane Duane
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dairine Callahan, Nita Callahan, Kit Rodriguez, Darryl McAllister, Irina Mladen, Carmela Rodriguez
Additional Tags: Hurricane Sandy, Natural Disasters, Disaster Movie Tropes, Canon Compliant, Canon Autistic Character, Neurodivergent Dairine Callahan, Nita Pursues Becoming a Planetary, Kit Attempts to Impress Irina, New Millenium Timeline Compliant
Summary:

Time Fix: Monday, October 22 to Friday, November 2, 2012

“Disaster gives you two things: a moment to react and a decision to overcome.” — The Book of Night With Moon.

“Here’s a new ‘blessing’ for our time –‘May Anderson Cooper never be sent to report on your town!'” – Vera Nazarian

“It’s like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.” –Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

When I saw it was a disaster story I thought “oops, should have put that in my DNW” but I’m glad I didn’t because the story was perfect. It’s got everything I asked for! It’s well written! It’s Young Wizards, which I most hoped to get! Thank you astraev!

Lord Peter Wimsey

(I bookmarked more Lord Peter Wimsey stories this Yuletide than anything else, and I’m recommending most of them.)

The Transformative Affair of the Decaying Typescript (3225 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey
Characters: Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Case Fic
Summary:

An unsatisfactory dinner early in Peter and Harriet’s relationship at least throws up an intriguing problem.

Peak Harriet. Wonderfully in character and the case is spot-on too.

Village Perspective (100 words) by DesertVixen
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Miss Marple – Agatha Christie, Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Jane Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey
Additional Tags: Drabble, Yuletide Madness Drabble Invitational, Crossover
Summary:

Lord Peter Wimsey needs a new perspective…

In which Miss Climpson and Miss Marple are friends. Hmm, now I want to know if Miss Climpson is old enough to put her in the Old Ladies Crossover I’m writing, but the Lord Peter Wimsey Companion probably knows that.

A Wimsey Epiphany (9346 words) by SEF
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, Mervyn Bunter, Miss Climpson (Lord Peter Wimsey), Honoria Lucasta Dowager Duchess of Denver, Lady Susan (Lord Peter Wimsey), Matthew Wimsey (Lord Peter Wimsey)
Additional Tags: Book: Busman’s Honeymoon, Yuletide, Ghosts, Family History, The Blitz, Libraries
Summary:

The Wimseys spend the turn of the year 1941 at Duke’s Denver with Miss Climpson, their family, and the family ghosts.

Eerie but non-scary ghost story. The author is someone I wrote a Madness treat for, and I’m so glad it turns out that I’d given them a timeshifted thank-you present!

Joy and Gladness (1338 words) by AlexElizabeth
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey
Characters: Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, Mervyn Bunter, Gerald Wimsey Viscount St George
Summary:

Fluff; Christmas at Denver.

Really nice married fluff.

In The Bleak Midwinter (1192 words) by tinx_r
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey
Characters: Mervyn Bunter, Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, Honoria Lucasta Dowager Duchess of Denver
Summary:

Some glimpses of Christmas across the years

Every Christmas described is better than the previous one.

An Unknown Factor (3082 words) by AlexElizabeth
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Harriet Vane/Peter Wimsey
Characters: Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, Mervyn Bunter
Summary:

“…The lady was, to some extent, an unknown factor. What his lordship had had to put up with from her during the past five or six years, only his lordship knew, but Mr. Bunter could guess” (Busman’s Honeymoon, Chapter 1).

More letters from Bunter yay!

Those snake fight things

There are LOTS. I’ve included some I like best.

Re: Re: Re: About My Upcoming Defense (1386 words) by Rosencrantz
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: FAQ: The “Snake Fight” Portion Of Your Thesis Defense (McSweeney’s Post) – Luke Burns
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: original teacher & original student
Characters: Original Characters
Additional Tags: Snakes, Academia, a bit too close to reality, Epistolary, Emails
Summary:

University websites really like to bury the useful information, like the FAQs that admit you will be fighting a snake in the arena of knowledge.

Also: Snake + Thesis = Snesis

FAQ: The biggest snake in the history of academic snake fighting (401 words) by qkind
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: FAQ: The “Snake Fight” Portion Of Your Thesis Defense (McSweeney’s Post) – Luke Burns
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Interviewer, Student – Character
Additional Tags: Yuletide Treat, FAQ, Snakes
Summary:

Q: Did the snake win?
A: Yes.

Snakes and Snakes (1154 words) by RobberBaroness
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: FAQ: The “Snake Fight” Portion Of Your Thesis Defense (McSweeney’s Post) – Luke Burns
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Worldbuilding, Behind the Scenes, No snakes are harmed in this story
Summary:

It was only her first day working the snake hall, and already it was the best campus job Natalie had ever had.

The spirit painting

This one. Now I know it’s not only possible but common to request a story about a painting I might want some of my own.

Ten Rules for Wooing a Living Human (1099 words) by Selden
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Spirit – George Roux (Painting 1885)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Additional Tags: Character Death, implied pegging, Ghastly Apparitions, Mention of kippers, Ghosts
Summary:

Remember, ectoplasm is flexible! (Please note, the author takes no responsibility for any Peculiar Extensions or Unforeseen Transformations that may occur).

Paganini – Caprice No. 24 in A minor (arr. Liszt) (100 words) by republic
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Spirit – George Roux (Painting 1885)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Ghost (Roux Painting), Man (Roux Painting)
Additional Tags: Yuletide Madness Drabble Invitational, Crueltide
Series: Part 1 of Theme and Variations

This is the first of 13. Read the whole series! (My favourite is #9.)

And the rest

Possibly The Fundamental Problem Is That I Don’t Understand Ice Cream (281 words) by NaomiK
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Catfishing on CatNet
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: CheshireCat
Summary:

CheshireCat rambles about ice cream and helping people.

It’s SO COOL when published authors write fanfic. It’s COOLER STILL when they write starting-out-anonymous fanfic of their own work. Almost makes me want to request Catfishing on Catnet next time hoping that NaomiK will write for me, too.

Infortunatus and the Missing Pilum (7856 words) by Aibhilin
Chapters: 5/5
Fandom: Astérix le Gaulois | Asterix the Gaul & Related Fandoms
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Astérix | Asterix & Panoramix | Getafix, Astérix | Asterix & Obélix | Obelix, Astérix | Asterix & Idéfix | Dogmatix, Astérix | Asterix & Idéfix | Dogmatix & Obélix | Obelix, Astérix | Asterix & Original Character(s), Obélix | Obelix & Original Character(s), Idéfix | Dogmatix & Obélix | Obelix, Panoramix | Getafix & Original Character(s), Abraracourcix | Vitalstatistix/Bonnemine | Impedimenta, Astérix | Asterix & Abraracourcix | Vitalstatistix, Fae & Original Character(s)
Characters: Astérix | Asterix, Obélix | Obelix, Idéfix | Dogmatix, Panoramix | Getafix, Abraracourcix | Vitalstatistix, Bonnemine | Impedimenta, Original Characters, Original Male Character(s), Original Non-Human Character(s)
Additional Tags: Fae & Fairies, Alternate Universe – Fae, is it an alternate universe though?, could be canon after all magic carpets are canon too, better tagging it though just to be sure, This Is Not Going To Go The Way You Think, Happy Ending, Light-Hearted, Adventure, Roman Grievances with the Gauls go way back, Gift Fic, Puns & Word Play
Summary:

or: Asterix and the Mysterious Disappearance of Getafix’ Favourite Cauldron (but that was too long of a title, so Infortunatus and the Missing Pilum it is).

Story extract:

“The cauldron… for my pilum?” he asks and gets a smirk in return.

“How far are you willing to go, soldier, for that pilum?” they ask, tantalizingly holding the mental image of the pilum in Infortunatus’ hands in front of him like one does a carrot on a stick.

I saw this in my mind as drawn by whoever currently draws Asterix.

The Pizza Challenge

No share button, so it may turn out to be members-only. From the Dr. Oetker Feliciana Pizza “Felicia i Ana” Commercial, which I’ve never seen, but it doesn’t need canon knowledge and it’s very cute.

Hilda Shelters in Place (2947 words) by ellen_fremedon
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Hilda the Plus-Size Pin-up Series – Duane Bryers
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hilda (Hilda the Plus-Sized Pin-Up)
Additional Tags: Epistolary, Pandemics, Recipes
Summary:

Welcome to Off the Grid at Chez Hilda, updated every Friday or whenever I feel like it. My artwork is at the Patreon link, and I don’t need to remind lovely folks like you to like and subscribe, now do I?

I’ve seen some of these but didn’t know there was any fiction at all about them! Now I’m a fan. I was trying to avoid pandemic stories but this one got recommended all over and it’s non-threatening and joyful.

The Chinese Silk Murders (5879 words) by Claire_cz
Chapters: 3/3
Fandom: Judge Dee Mysteries – Robert van Gulik
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dee Jen-djieh, Tao Gan, Ma Joong, Chiao Tai, Hoong Liang, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Case Fic, crime investigation
Summary:

Judge Dee has to solve the murder of a rich silk merchant, find out if the merchant’s niece is just a clueless member of the family or much more than she seems and also solve a riddle in form of strange letters and bills. There are many suspects and just one murderer. Or more?

So true to canon and the nice people are innocent.

The Shoe Situation (8982 words) by Laurea
Chapters: 3/3
Fandom: Enchanted Forest Chronicles – Patricia Wrede
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Morwen (Enchanted Forest), Fiddlesticks (Enchanted Forest), Miss Eliza Tudor (Enchanted Forest)
Summary:

In which Morwen takes a day out of her travels to buy shoes, solve mysteries, and sort out an economic crisis.

Cats! Badass princesses! Bad guys getting their comeuppance!

Waiting and Watching (1093 words) by illudio
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Ancient British Stones (Anthropomorphic Stones)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: The Merry Maidens (Boleigh)
Additional Tags: Yuletide Treat
Summary:

Time moves on, but she does not.

Things like this really give me a taste for anthropomorphic [whatever].

terms such as would enter at a lady’s ear (6179 words) by damnedscribblingwoman
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: 14th Century CE RPF, Historical RPF
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Edward the Black Prince/Joan of Kent
Characters: Joan of Kent, Edward the Black Prince
Additional Tags: Pining, Mutual Pining, Angst with a Happy Ending, Getting Together, Love Confessions, Marriage Proposal, Romance, Mild Sexual Content, Tide of History Challenge
Summary:

Joan was no longer a married woman, but she might as well be, for all the difference it made. She couldn’t be Edward’s, and he could never be hers. Husband or no husband, it made no difference. Joan knew it, and Edward knew it too, for all that he liked to ignore such pesky and inconvenient things as husbands — dead or alive — and royal parents and their royal expectations, and the very real demands of his royal responsibilities.

And yet, despite knowing it, here he was, on her doorstep, asking again for impossible things.

I betaed this, and I’m glad of that or I might have missed it. Touching.

Ad Astra (1122 words) by Akallabeth
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Vedero Drazhin, Aizheän Tativin
Additional Tags: Friendship, Pre-Canon, Yuletide Treat
Summary:

Dach’osmin Tativin returns to court for the summer, and catches up with her best friend.

This is exactly the kind of Goblin Emperor fic I requested, so I’m very glad someone else got it so I can read it.

A New Apprentice (2024 words) by ChokolatteJedi
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Dragonriders of Pern – Anne McCaffrey
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Menolly/Sebell (Dragonriders of Pern)
Characters: Menolly (Dragonriders of Pern), Sebell (Dragonriders of Pern), Elgion (Dragonriders of Pern)
Additional Tags: Music, Musicians, Implied/Referenced Child Abuse, Dysfunctional Family, Mid-Pass, Harpers, Yuletide Treat, Children, Yanus’s A+ Parenting
Summary:

Menolly and Sebell receive a visitor late one evening

I tend to read Pern fanfic instead of canon (rather than in addition) because it’s usually better than canon, and this one is no exception.

If Grace Is Too Much (3997 words) by resolute
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Paladin’s Grace – T. Kingfisher, Temple of the White Rat Universe – T. Kingfisher
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Zale, Bishop Beartongue (Paladin’s Grace), Original Female Character(s)
Additional Tags: Past Character Death, Past Child Death
Summary:

Zale is given a case by Bishop Beartongue which turns out to be more complicated and personal than a holy advocate-priest would prefer.

Breaking Through the Checkpoints (1033 words) by florahart
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Chinese Duolingo Course For English Speakers
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Li Hua/Zhang Ming
Characters: Li Hua, Zhang Ming, Doctor Wang (peripherally)
Additional Tags: I mean this is crack and we know it right?, characters in an app getting busy, this is a different kind of cybersex but, No actual porn
Summary:

Li Hua wants her world to expand beyond checkpoint two, and Zhang Ming might be able to make it happen. And even if he can’t, he’s easy on the eyes.

knew Duolingo was full of stories. I only got glimpses (“my uncles are clowns”, “I am not the captain, I am the king”) when doing Italian and Spanish.

Phonium (4014 words) by allyndra
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Kate and Cecelia – Caroline Stevermer & Patricia Wrede
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kate Schofield/Thomas Schofield
Characters: Kate Schofield, Thomas Schofield (Kate and Cecelia), Cecelia Tarleton
Additional Tags: Epistolary, Slice of Life
Summary:

Being a brief look at the of Education and Expectations upon Young Ladies of Quality, including extracts from the intimate diary and correspondence of a Noblewoman

How Kate learns the few spells she actually manages to learn.

To Hollywood and Beyond (8425 words) by thestarsapart
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Galaxy Quest (1999)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Jason Nesmith, Gwen DeMarco, Tommy Webber, Alexander Dane, Fred Kwan, Laliari (Galaxy Quest), Guy Fleegman, Mathesar (Galaxy Quest)
Additional Tags: Metafiction
Summary:

A fan wins a walk-on role for the latest Galaxy Quest film.

Everybody is recommending the other Galaxy Quest fic but this is my favourite.

This week on the Repair Shop: a Time Turner, a Victorian Portrait, and an antique wardrobe (3546 words) by hangingfire
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Repair Shop (UK TV), Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling, The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde, Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Steve Fletcher (The Repair Shop), Will Kirk (The Repair Shop), Lucia Scalisi, Jay Blades, Hermione Granger, Original Female Character(s), Original Male Character(s)
Additional Tags: Crossover, I Wrote This Instead of Sleeping, Never thought I’d be interested in writing RPF and yet here we are, Yuletide Treat, Screenplay/Script Format, If you can’t write ridiculous crossovers for Yuletide then when can you?
Summary:

Lucia turns her talents to a lost Victorian masterpiece. Will’s abilities will be tested by a special wardrobe, and Steve has an extremely unusual timepiece.

Gets better still on rereading. No knowledge of The Repair Shop required, though knowledge of the other fandoms is useful.

melody, counterpoint, and the song of silence (4713 words) by categranger
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: 4’33” – John Cage (Song)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Additional Tags: Aliens
Summary:

When an elderly violinist, a young Cage fan, and an alien music lover meet at a performance of John Cage’s 4’33”, nothing will ever be quite the same again.

From New Year’s resolutions, not from Yuletide proper. It’s wonderful.

 

Yuletide 2020 writing

by

Claiming bragging rights. By the comments I got, I think I’m entitled.

A Letter, Unsent (1078 words) – Margery Kempe & Julian of Norwich

This was my actual assignment, the other three long stories are pinch hits. When I offered it I hoped SO MUCH that I’d get it and already had snatches of text floating around in my mind (“fourteen years of age, plain and scholarly, in possession of a modest dowry and plentiful brothers, admirably suited for the convent” is the oldest bit). I had Julian of Norwich’s Revelations of Divine Love open all the time while writing, and I think I succeeded in getting the voice right. One of the hardest things I ever wrote, and hands down the smuttiest. One of the prompts was “Sex with God” and that helped me along enormously. It’s rated Mature, not Explicit, because Julian still speaks in metaphors a lot rather than being completely, well, explicit.

Thank you, Sara, Heather, and whoever’s name I’ve forgotten (possibly patchworkmouse), for helping me brainstorm Cecily’s name.

Piglets Don’t Hum Hums (1257 words) – Piglet (Winnie-the-Pooh)

It was easy to reread the entire canon, and fresh from reading the entire canon it was easy to get the voice right, but I was short on plot for a while until I cycled (can’t swim on things at the moment) on Woozles and Heffalumps. The recipient didn’t have any prompts, and I looked into what they’d written themself and received in other exchanges and that was all MUCH more mature than I wanted to write for this fandom (or mostly at all, except see above). I had to mail the mods to ask if that meant that I had to write smut or could just write something canon-compliant (the latter).

Youth’s a stuff will not endure (1017 words) – Robin Armin (Tam Lin – Pamela Dean)

The summary is straight from canon (Is Robin a clown?” said Molly. “He seems very sober to me.”) and worked as an extra prompt, and so did the title which I found when searching for “Feste quotations” after I learned that Shakespeare had written Feste for Robert Armin. This was difficult but rewarding, I kept moving paragraphs around and thought I’d never get to a thousand words without filler but eventually it cleared up by itself.

With This Ring (1375 words) – Polly/Maladict (Monstrous Regiment – Terry Pratchett)

This is full of darlings I fear I’d feel obliged to kill if it was original writing, but they work very well as Pratchettisms. So much fun to write. Trans Maladict! Deadpan innkeeper girl! Tiny ancient sweet (“you haven’t tasted the bitter”) vampire great-great-great-aunt! Proposal of Marriage! What’s not to love? (And flatteringly many people did love it and jubilated about it in the comments and a couple even bookmarked it)

Three Times Tail-Kinker To-Ennien Outsmarted Spock, And One Time She Didn’t Mind That She Didn’t (410 words) – Evan Wilson & Spock (Uhura’s Song – Star Trek)

Drabble series, the 10 extra words are tiny-chapter titles. Nobody’s noticed the any/Annie joke <sniff> A surprising lot of research went into this, not only canon review but also wiki poking-around.

Ayewards Internship (100 words) – Maree Mallory (Magids – Diana Wynne Jones)

* goes back and labels it “Post-Canon” *

I’m exceedingly proud of the title of this one. Also that I thought of replacing the original “horse” by “mare” to keep the tension up.

Opening Day (100 words) – Carmela Rodriguez & Ronan Nolan (Young Wizards – Diane Duane)

I admit I researched sex toys. (And glue guns.) Faintly inspired by this (my favourite E-rated Young Wizards story).

Friends to Siblings (100 words) – Elda & Claudia (Derkholm – Diana Wynne Jones)

This came into being because I don’t care much for the friends-to-lovers trope, and detest the enemies-to-lovers trope. It’s just girls hanging out.

 

Hindsight 2020

by

That pun is too obvious not to use. But (I think) unlike many people who have blog posts with that title I want to look back on the things that went right in a year that I’m otherwise glad to see gone.

I’ve now kept up the reading notes for an ENTIRE YEAR. It was an experiment at first, to see how long I’d persist, but it’s become a habit and I don’t intend to stop. Future me will be able to see that (a) I read a lot, and (b) Interesting Times made me reread more old favourites and read more fanfic, and steer clear of more challenging and confronting things. I did read some very good new and new-to-me books, though. Clocktaur War and more by T. Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon, The Glass Magician and the two books by Alice Degan were highlights.

Apropos of fanfic, I discovered that I could actually write it, and after one story on Archive Of Our Own and half a year of being stalled there was Yuletide and I wrote a whopping eight stories, four full-length, one shorter and three 100-word drabbles, for a total of about 5500 words. And got only positive comments on those, and not only from the recipients but also from random people who must have stumbled on them. The gift I got ended up in someone’s recommendation post, but none of the ones I wrote did.

Worldcon 2020 was all online so I could actually attend it! I’d never have been able to go to New Zealand for it: for one thing I don’t fly any more. I learned to filk and to use Discord with confidence, and as a nice spinoff we now have a once-a-month online Traveller campaign with players (all women, the GM is the only man) all over the world.

I taught myself MuseScore and wrote up lots of music for the church, even though we effectively didn’t have a choir. Choirmistress and I thought we’d need a whole “choirbook” with only a single melody part because services now have only a single singer, but it turned out that she and I were the only ones who wanted it and we both have the experience to use the four-part book just as easily, so that project sank before it sailed.

Not an accomplishment of mine but something that went right anyway: eldest daughter and her loved one bought a house, and she sent me a picture of the move with an engagement ring on her hand. They’re getting married next July, whether or not the Interesting Times are (sort of) over then, in their own garden among the goats and sheep and chickens. The goats came with the house, they acquired the sheep in December, and the chickens are expected this month.

The biggest thing that went right isn’t mine to disclose, but it makes me very happy. (No, I’m not about to become a grandmother. That I know of, at least.)

 

Reading notes, week 53

by

January 2: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers. Apt, seeing that it starts on New Year’s Eve. Paying special attention to Hilary Thorpe for fanfic-writing purposes. It may be the best Lord Peter Wimsey book, not only as a mystery but as a novel, with all the interaction between people.

Also lots and lots of Yuletide fanfic, wheeee!

December 19: Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers. Sometimes I read only the office parts and skim the partying parts, other times (like this time) I read everything. Now I want to read (or even write) Miss Meteyard fanfic.

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes, week 52

by

December 25: Hangman’s Holiday by Dorothy L. Sayers. Short story collection that actually contains a Christmas story or two. Didn’t time it this way on purpose but it was a nice surprise!

December 24: How Lovely Are Thy Branches: A Young Wizards Christmas. I’d forgotten that it was this good.

December 23: The How Lovely Are Thy Branches Advent Calendar by Diane Duane. Kind of late, I started on the first of December last year and painstakingly read only each day’s entry on that day, but catching up in one fell swoop was fun too.

December 22: Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers. Read that in week 41 too so, like Strong Poison, but this time I kept seeing new details and nuances.

December 21: A quick skim-read of canon for a Yuletide beta-read (thing I read decades ago and it’s on Gutenberg). Liked it so much that I downloaded it and squirreled it away for later. Also its sequel.

Index of reading notes is here.