Reading notes, week 47

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Currently reading: A Jolly Kind of Detective Game, #2 in custardpringle’s in olden days, a glimpse of stocking series. I haven’t gone far in the reread yet but I think it’s as exciting as the first time about a year and a half ago.

(intermittently, it’s too heady to read all in one go) What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. Exactly what it says on the tin. So much fun.

NBV21 – De vertaalmethode toegelicht by Matthijs de Jong and Cor Hoogerwerf. Very extensive and detailed notes for the newest Dutch ecumenical Bible translation. Exciting!

Next up: I have another Celia Lake (#7, Seven Sisters). And E.M. Epps’ new Direnayu book, Complete with Shipwreck! There are two more Alpennia books on the reread pile too.

November 27: Goblin Fruit by Celia Lake, #2 in the Mysterious Charm series. The protagonist is a supporting character in #6, and it’s nice to read her backstory! Spouse said to skip the sex scenes, but there were only two (and a half, one was in a dream) and I thought they were okayish (not wonderful, and they might have been better without the enhancing magic).

November 26: The Social Climb, first in the in olden days, a glimpse of stocking series by custardpringle. Lord Peter Wimsey (and more specifically Hilary and Jerry) fanfic. #2 is the novel-length A Jolly Kind of Detective Game which I put back on the virtual reread pile. a foggy day in london town is #3, Let Me Walk in the Sun Once More is #4 and as birds of a feather should be is #5, all equally wonderful.

November 25: Plot Thickening by valderys. Harriet Vane meets Hilary Thorpe at Oxford and they talk about writing, exactly like a prompt of mine a year later!

The Distant Hum of Engines, yet another Jerry/Hilary fixit, which I might have appreciated more if I hadn’t read it after that wonderful series but it’s quite okay by itself.

A Fine Romance by hhertzof. And Grey Spires by ma_gavte_la_nata. More Jerry and Hilary wheee!

Encounter with St George by rabidsamfan. Drabble, either fix-it (Jerry doesn’t get killed in the War) or bittersweet (Jerry is about to get killed in the War).

To All The World Must Die by harborshore. Kit Marlowe in the 20th century, with Peter and Harriet and Viscount St. George.

Oaks in the Coppice. Jerry implied killed-in-the-near-future. Bittersweet and wonderful.

November 24: They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie. I like this because it’s so over the top unbelievable! (And frankly I thought Edward, not Richard, would turn out to be the spy-of-our-side, but I’m probably thinking of another Agatha Christie book with spy elements.)

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes, week 46

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November 20: Crossroads and Other Tales of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey and others. An early collection, and it shows. The first couple of stories are very intense. (Also I think I like the gryphons and the Hawkbrothers least of that whole world, with the nasty parts of Karsite culture as close second.) Further on there are some I skimmed or even skipped because they were very military, one I started and kept reading even when I realised it was a horror story (but it’s bearable and ends well), one love story between people I like in later collections but the beginning of their relationship is too much like stalking. The last, by Mercedes Lackey herself, is nice fluffy fun.

November 19: Spy, Spy Again by Mercedes Lackey. #3 of Family Spies. Starts with comfortable domesticness, but in the next chapter there’s so much worldbuilding that might have been much better if it had actually been part of the story. (And that’s me saying this; I usually don’t mind infodump. One of my favourite pieces of SFF is the chapters-long infodump at the beginning of, I think, Downbelow Station; I’m not interested in the rest of the book.) — Gah! I was about to write “this is a very gentle book, nothing really bad happens in it” but bad things start happening at 85%, I think a record even for Mercedes Lackey. (Also a bit of lazy writing and/or lack of copy-editing: “rocks ranging in size from a man’s head or a child’s ball to rocks the size of a village house”, which I’d probably have written as “rocks from the size of a man’s head or a child’s ball to the size of a village house” without the awkward “ranging in size” phrase.) And worse things happen at 92% and later, ending with I can only call equus ex machina.

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes refit

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Spouse made a very good point: when I post the weekly reading notes, it gets dated and distributed on the Sunday and people who read it via RSS or any other subscription/feed don’t get the updates during the week. So starting today, Saturday, I’ll date the reading notes on the last day of the week and post only after the fact, Saturday night rather than Sunday morning. Redating, and I hope reposting, the Week 46 post for that purpose.

It’ll take some getting used to: it’s part of my Sunday morning routine whether or not I go to church, like washing the dishes. It’s also possible that I’ll post the post on some Sundays instead of Saturdays, but for the preceding week rather than the current week.

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes, week 45

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November 13: On recommendation from a Twitter friend, On the Bias by Celia Lake (#6 of the Mysterious Charm series but they can be read in any order). It started so slowly that until about 30% I didn’t even know if I’d continue it (and I have much tolerance for slow!) but by 45% I couldn’t stop. Such wonderful people! Such nice matter-of-fact magic! Such a good slow-burn romance! Now I want to read #1 to #5 and #7 too.

November 11: No True Way, All-New Tales of Valdemar. Yes, they’re all new, to me at least! One is very dark, and another long and boring (Hawkbrothers don’t appeal to me) but most of the rest are a joy to read.

November 8: [redacted] because it’s canon review for Yuletide and I don’t know who reads my blog. Read 2 of 4 books, skimmed the third because only parts were relevant and the rest wasn’t what I wanted to read, thought I’d also skim irrelevant parts of the fourth — I know these books practically by heart anyway, just want to check that what I’m writing is in character for the (minor) characters — but got interested and read all of it.

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes, week 44

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It looks like I haven’t read anything this week though in fact I’ve been reading a lot! But it’s all canon review, still under embargo, and I’ll disclose when it’s time. (Actually made a note of it this time)

November 1: [redacted] Other canon review in order to pick up a pinch hit. Pinch hit written (deadline was Nov 3). I think I did justice to it but the recipient hasn’t seen it yet.

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes, week 43

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October 30: Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher. Oh wow. Oh my. It’s a good thing it’s got an abstract cover because any figurative cover would be a spoiler. (Well, a gnole driving a mule-drawn wagon, perhaps.) It’s even more on the edge of horror than most of T. Kingfisher’s books, and I’m glad some people read ARCs of the third book before I get it in my hands so I know it’s not getting worse (I can bear this much; more would be over the edge).

October 25: After the Sandwiches by E.M. Epps. Last Atlantide book, alas (there’s one short story left). Starts with Lucien angsting about being Rosemary’s boyfriend because she doesn’t want to be his mistress. Strangely, neither Emma’s website nor Goodreads mentions the book, though I HAVE IT IN MY HANDS (or I’d think I’d dreamed that it existed). Search engines don’t find it either, however verbatim I’m searching. — Update: it seems to be Patreon-only, at least at the moment. (And now I realise I’ve given it an internet link in case people are looking for it, and oh my, that will disappoint them because it doesn’t actually say much about the book) Strangely, this is much slower to read than the other two, perhaps because it’s barely edited (honestly, it reads like fanfic, all the scenes Emma wanted to write but had no room for). But still, Atlantide!

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes, week 42

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Octoner 19: The Deniability of Danishes by E.M. Epps. How Lucien Benedict’s parents met. Wonderful!

October 18: Terrible Hours, High Stress, Bad Jokes by E.M. Epps. How the king of Atlantide gets his research secretary. Oh wow, I like Koszkiewicz. It’s Patreon-only.

Cold Sandwiches and All by E.M. Epps. This is the kind of romance I like best, with a hint of magic and not taking itself all too seriously. I’d forgotten that this was the one with “you’ve made me miserable for twenty-four hours, now you owe me twenty-four hours of your time, doesn’t have to be all in one lump”, I thought that was the sequel!

Index of reading notes is here.

Dear Yuletide writer,

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Hi, I’m sinkauli on ao3. I don’t know who you are but I probably love you already for wanting to write for me.

General

Likes
A note about crossovers
Dislikes and DNWs

Fandom specifics and prompts

Alpennia – Heather Rose Jones
Fare Well Edinburgh Hogmanay 2020 Drone Show
Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy L. Sayers
False Doctrine – Alice Degan
Duolingo Welsh Course
Judge Dee Mysteries – Robert van Gulik

For ALL fandoms: I don’t need all the characters in my signup to be in the story. I don’t need only characters in the tagset to be in the story.

Likes

This is the easy part. Don’t feel yourself limited to things in this list! There are lots of things I like that I’m not listing because if I listed everything in the world that I liked, there would be literally no end. Any of these will make my face light up with joy, though.

  • Friendship. Unexpected, uncomplicated friendship is good! Complicated friendship too, I like any story with friendship better than one with only antagonism, but my very favourite stories are about people becoming friends, or people who are already friends, doing something together or turning out to have something in common which neither of them would have planned for. Peter and Harriet combing the beach for clues in Have His Carcase is one of my favourite scenes. Also the scene in which they decipher the code letter.
    Friends-to-lovers is okay but it’s a pity if that’s the whole point of the story.
  • Happy ending. I’m a sucker for happy endings, especially other happy endings than “people getting together as a couple”. It’s a good thing when people get together as a couple! But that’s not by far the only way to be happy. I also like open(ish) endings with the possibility or expectation of happiness. The ending of The Goblin Emperor is a good example: Maia and Csethiro are likely to end up very happily married, but at the end of the book they are friends and allies and partners, and for now that’s enough.
  • Cooking, food sharing, bonding over food. Recipes!
  • Autistic characters (canon or headcanon; Dairine Callahan comes to mind) 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.
  • More generally, disabled characters who work with their disability rather than “overcoming” it.
  • Religion (real-world or fictional) portrayed in a positive light, including people making light-hearted fun of their own religion.
  • Kidfic. Canon characters’ kids, canon characters when they were kids, canon characters who happen to be kids (Matilda), original canon-compliant child characters. Either POV or secondary characters.
  • Found family, chosen family.
  • Fluff. Domestic fluff, married fluff, established-lovers fluff, friendship fluff. Don’t worry if there seems to be no plot. One of the great strengths of fanfic is that it doesn’t necessarily have to have plot or conflict or any deeper meaning, though it may of course have any or all of those.
  • Discovery and detection. Plain detective work, casefic. Adventures in which people (children, for instance) find out things. People finding out things about themselves when they do something they didn’t know they could do.
  • Learning. School stories! Good or hilariously bad teachers. Give me a good training montage any day, or let someone teach themself. Achieving mastery by hard work.
  • Competence, intelligence, problem-solving, clever escape, clever (preferably non-violent) thievery. Self-rescuing princ(ess)es.
  • Missing-scene fic, interpolation, pre- and post-canon. (How did these characters get here? What was this person like as a student? What happens after the canon says The End?)
  • Cats, mice, meerkats, donkeys/mules/hinnies, elephants, birds (either as characters or supporting). Not “animals” as a category but specifically those.
  • Worldbuilding, with or without characters involved.
  • Fantasy nonfiction. Guidebooks, gazetteers, encyclopedia entries…

A note about crossovers

I used not to like crossovers at all, mostly because when I first started reading fanfic it was all about “I want to read more about X” and then I didn’t also want to read about Y. But I got better! I love crossovers between fandoms I’ve both (or all) requested, or with adjacent/compatible fandoms (will often end up as fusion), like The Great Mouse Detective with The Rescuers, or Lord Peter Wimsey with Miss Marple, when I’ve only requested one.

The greatest problem with crossovers is that if I know only one of the crossovered fandoms, the point may be completely lost on me, and it might spoil the whole story. I don’t know many of the really popular fandoms (Doctor Who or Supernatural, for instance). I don’t know many films, or any TV that’s been aired after, say, 1975. I don’t know anime or manga except Miyazaki, and not much of that.

To be on the safe side, find my profile (I’m sinkauli on ao3) and check my fandoms list and my gifts. If I write for it or have ever requested it, I’m bound to know it.

Dislikes

A lot harder because I don’t want to give the impression that I dislike everything. (But there’s enough that I do like in the list above that that impression is unlikely.) I’ll try to categorize.

Sex, romance

I don’t dislike sex! But I also don’t want any surprise sex sprung on me so I tend to request gen-only unless in very specific circumstances. I’m very picky. I’ve read some smutty stories that I liked but they were mostly joyful consent and vanilla sex. (Note that vanilla is a spice, a subtle and intense one, it doesn’t mean “bland”.) I’m not listing dislikes of particular kinks because, to be honest, for most kinky things people request or put in their likes or DNWs I don’t even know what the words mean. I’ve looked up some and almost invariably shuddered. So, mostly no kinks for me.

  • Rape, non-con. This is one of my hard DNWs. I consider it excluded when I exclude all sex, even though rape is usually not about sex but about power. I also dislike powerplay, hate-sex, and sex between people who are vastly disparate in age, power or experience.
  • Fellatio. (Makes me gag, even when it’s just words.) *deletes a sentence that’s all too explicit*
  • Casual sex without friendship. Includes PWP, I think. Casual sex in general, even between friends, is mostly a no-no.
  • 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.
  • Soulmates, the trope with explicit markings or similar, it’s okay for a character to say or think “we were made for each other”.
  • Love triangles. A fully explicit and consensual triangle falls under “polyamory” and see next bullet point.
  • Adultery, infidelity. This includes contradicting, ignoring or breaking up a canonical pairing for the sake of a ship.
    Polyamory is okay but I don’t really prefer it.
  • Incest. I don’t care what Boromir and Faramir were up to in their shared bedroom when they were boys. Cross-generation incest is worse.

Interpersonal stuff

  • Enemies-to-lovers. Even if it’s enemies-to-friends and then friends-to-lovers. Reconciling with your enemy: okay. Cautious friendship between former enemies: okay. Hopping into bed with someone who was once your enemy: nope.
  • Bigotry of any kind, unless fighting against it is a plot point. That includes homophobia, TERFness and other transphobia, sexism, racism, ableism, ageism and anything I’ve forgotten.
  • Religion-bashing, against religion in general, a specific faith or denomination, or bullying people because they’re religious; unless fighting against it is a plot point.
  • Abuse, particularly of people in a dependent relationship (children, elders, subordinates).
  • Pranks, practical jokes, humiliating people for the sake of it.

Disability, body issues

  • 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.
  • Disability as punishment, teaching-a-lesson or inspiration porn. Just let disabled people be people!
  • 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).
  • Gluttony, gross drunkenness (tipsy/merry is okay, maudlin is not), vomiting (whether from illness or overindulgence).
  • Body horror, torture, mutilation, gore, cannibalism.
  • Monstrous pregnancy, monster birth. Hard DNW.
  • Mpreg, which is a species of body horror in my book. Such a hard DNW that it will make me throw the virtual book against the virtual wall. (Ordinary pregnancy and childbirth is okay.)

Miscellaneous

  • Horror. Body horror is the worst, but any other horror is also a turnoff.
  • Werewolves, unless very well done. Vampires. Zombies. (Perhaps this falls under “body horror”.)
  • Unhappy endings, unresolved tragedy.
  • Current events, real-world contemporary politics. (Fantasy politics in an invented world is okay! Period politics in a story with historical background is okay!)
  • Suicide, suicidal ideation, depression.
  • Plague, pandemic, terminal illness. There’s enough of that in the real world that I don’t want to also read about it, not even about overcoming it.
  • Climate catastrophe, extinction, (post)apocalyptic anything. (Ditto, in fact.) Imminent/unavoidable destruction of a whole world or a significant part of it. A random natural disaster is probably okay if it’s not part of a pattern of impending catastrophe. (My 2020 Yuletide writer got that exactly right.)
  • Worldbuilding DNW: extra information about a setting that makes it less pleasant (“… but you didn’t know these sordid details”).

Fandom specifics and prompts

Alpennia – Heather Rose Jones

Characters: Any (Akezze Mainus, Anna Monterrez, Efriturik Attiliet, Tavit, Barbara Lumbeirt, Margerit Sovitre, Antuniet Chazillen, and Worldbuilding)

Please not above T-rated. I like friendship, teaching/learning, discovery, scholarship, exploring character interaction, women (and, in this case, men) being awesome. Please respect canonical pairings!

  • Anna and Efriturik friendship/tentative romance (HEA is hard, because there will be problems with the prince marrying an artisan who is moreover Jewish, but who knows). Please let Efriturik be a good guy who doesn’t take advantage of his position!
  • Barbara and Tavit explore masculinity and femininity; she crossdresses for utility, he is a trans man, how do they handle the dynamics individually and/or together?
  • Worldbuilding (and Anna Monterrez) (especially for Jewltide writers): explore Jewish culture in Alpennia, Anna’s background and family, the way she and her family handle living in a predominantly Catholic town.
  • Worldbuilding: Akezze and Margerit, and perhaps Barbara, doing scholarly things.
  • Worldbuilding: Antuniet and Anna doing alchemy.

Fare Well Edinburgh Hogmanay 2020 drone show

G- or T-rated; it’s of course possible to write drone porn but I’d rather not have it as a surprise.

  • Sentient drones, either each one individually or as a hive mind. Do the drones know what they’re portraying, are they in on the story, or is it merely a set pattern?
  • Perhaps this is an actual magical ritual to bring in the new year. I’d say “or to fend off evil” but that would have to be some kind of supernatural evil, or it might cause you to write pandemic and/or current affairs and both of those are in my dislikes (and pandemic even in my signup DNWs). And in that case, what other magic can be done with drones?
  • Now I have visions of a Drone Show/Young Wizards crossover, and if that’s your catnip please go ahead with it! I can imagine Kit understanding the drones and vice versa!

Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy Sayers

Characters: Any (Alexandra “Kitty” Climpson, Bredon Delagardie Peter Wimsey, Charles Parker, Gerald Wimsey Viscount St. George, Harriet Vane, Helen Duchess of Denver, Honoria Lucasta Dowager Duchess of Denver, Mary Wimsey, Mervyn Bunter, Peter Wimsey)

  • Miss Climpson being herself, on her own or with any of the others. I like casefic!
  • Silly Peter/Harriet fluff, domesticness, the sort of things that make Busman’s Honeymoon so much fun. Sex (not above M) is okay for this pairing only.
  • Jerry and Bredon cousin shenanigans. I’d love Jerry-survives-the-war fixit fic, too; we could have teenage Bredon and fully adult Jerry.

DNW: AU in which Harriet is guilty, or is convicted while innocent.

False Doctrine – Alice Degan

Characters: Any (Charlie Boult, Evgenia | Evvie, Elsa Nordqvist, Kit Underhill)

This seems to call for Christian or Christian-inspired magic/supernatural stuff: angels, apparitions, mysterious light, miracles. But anything else exploring these characters and their friendship/love is cool too!

  • More of Kit and Elsa becoming friends (or falling in love, but they’re friends first).
  • Kit and Elsa when they’re married, between the books. Kit/Elsa can go up to Mature. Perhaps a scene with kid!Sara.
  • Charlie and Evvie friendship missing scene, or investigating something post-canon. Charlie is Anglican and Evvie is Greek Orthodox, and both are well-versed in their respective practices, if you can do something with that you’ll make me very happy. No sex between these two, Charlie has a boyfriend (who is an angel, okay) and Evvie is celibate.

DNW: religion-bashing (mild blasphemy or people harmlessly making fun of their own religion is okay).

Duolingo Welsh Course

I haven’t done Duolingo Welsh, but I’ve done enough other languages with Duolingo (and read Duolingo fic) that I know every course has its hidden hilarious stories (Italian: “my uncles are clowns”, Spanish: “I am not the captain, I am the king”). I love Welsh, so I want to read those! Bilingual Welsh/English, if you can.

DNW: anything beyond T-rated.

Judge Dee Mysteries – Robert van Gulik

Characters: Any (Tao Gan, Chiao Tai, Dee Jen-djieh, Ma Joong)

What I like most about this is the culture and interaction between characters, not the mystery/puzzle as such. I can’t say I approve of all aspects of the culture (the misogyny, brr!) and if you can fix that without gross distortion of the setting I’ll be pleased but it’s not necessary. Sex isn’t necessary either, though in the F/F case not excluded. Please keep it M at most.

  • small mystery with a cute kid (in the vein of “Murder on New Year’s Eve” in the Judge Dee at Work collection)
  • implied or foreground F/F between women who are already friends (but not behind their husbands’ backs, please; let them be widows or courtesans or unmarried bluestockings)
  • the judge and/or his assistants going undercover

DNW: explicit sex, gore, on-page torture or execution.

Reading notes, week 41

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October 14: Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie. I may have read this in the distant past but don’t remember enough to be sure. Also with Poirot and Ariadne Oliver. It’s got a good proportion of nice people, good and clever people who aren’t necessarily nice, morally ambiguous people and icky people. And the person who I hoped had dunnit, had actually dunnit! It does feel like it’s approximately the same book as Dead Man’s Folly, the way Sleeping Murder and By the Pricking of My Thumbs seem to be approximately the same book (as each other, not as the other two).

October 12: Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie. A new one! And there are some nice people in it (okay, including Ariadne Oliver). Also, Poirot being Poirot but in this setting it doesn’t annoy much.

October 11: De kinderen van de Grote Fjeld by Laura Fitinghoff. Childhood favourite. Oh my, it’s so Protestant. Didn’t like the ending as much as I did when I was 10-11, because it seems to short-change the co-protagonist Malena, “your brother gets this wonderful chance to fulfill all his dreams, and you’re going to be big sister to this spoilt little girl instead of her actual big sister who died”. She does actually consent to it, probably even likes it, but it grates. (And I wonder if Malena, and perhaps also Magnus, would have been autistic-coded if it hadn’t been written in 1948 but in, say, 2018.) But it still makes me cry at all the right moments.

Custom Options Available by Amy Griswold, another story from It Gets Even Better. Very thoughtful (and sexy, eventually) robot POV.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. Realised I had it with me when we had a host-a-murder weekend in the 1990s, mostly as a prop because not only the book but also the edition of the book we had was completely period, but don’t remember actually reading it so I’ll remedy that now (on recommendation; thank you, you-know-who-you-are). ETA: I had read it before, and the puzzle is okay but it suffers from No Nice Characters Syndrome, and the unreliable narrator isn’t very believable. The twist at the end isn’t believable either, it should have been foreshadowed SO MUCH.

Index of reading notes is here.

Reading notes, week 40

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October 9: The Hog’s Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts. Comfort cozy mystery after the mad whirl of teenaged girls. Like many Inspector French books, it has a faux ending at 2/3 and then has a completely new take on the mystery and a resolution! Deftly done. I like the wrap-up at the end.

October 8: Three Twins at the Crater School by Chaz Brenchley, a boarding-school book set on Mars (Octocon recommendation). Nobody’s nasty except the guy who is a bad guy anyway (and his henchmen), and some people are very school-story-appropriately unwise. I think there may be a couple of tuckerizations I’ve missed (judging by the one I haven’t). It feels so much like a book in the middle of a series that I feel there should be more, much more, and I want to read it all! I’ve heard that a second book is almost finished, and I’ll snap it up as soon as it appears.

October 7: Scales and Sensibility by Stephanie Burgis. Regency with dragons. It’s a romp! I just wish it had more of an ending, as soon as the ending is in sight it’s already over and I’m left thinking “what just happened?” Will certainly buy the books about Elinor’s two sisters when they come out.

October 5: Raised Roots by lady_ragnell. Modern (as in: set in fantasy version of “now”, people have cellphones) fantasy with witches. Very sweet and gentle, all the conflict is internal to people rather than interpersonal, and it ends on a strong possibility of HEA. It strikes me now that all the people whose skin/hair color is mentioned explicitly are white, but that doesn’t keep me from imagining all the non-mentioned people very diverse because it’s that kind of world.

October 3: Two stories from It Gets Even Better: Stories of Queer Possibility. Didn’t want to read a whole book of issue stories. The first one isn’t very much to my taste but it’s not long so I’ll just see what happens. I don’t mind first person present, but it’s a bit jarring when the “I” keeps addressing a “you” in non-epistolary narrative style, like “You smile at me”. (Also it turns out to be postapocalyptic dystopia. Which wasn’t in the content warnings as such, but “bomb shelter” ought to have been a pointer.) The second story is gentle feminist fantasy, much more what I wanted.

Index of reading notes is here.