a little brag

Jun. 26th, 2017 04:30 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
[personal profile] kindkit
I now have a 100 day streak on Duolingo!

I find that gratifying in two different directions. First, of course, it's good to feel that I've stuck with my German, practiced regularly and not given up. On the other hand, 100 days is only a little over three months, so when I feel frustrated with my progress I can remind myself how little time it's actually been.
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Posted by Sean Gaffney

SEAN: I’ll be honest, most of my attention this week is focused on novels, what with Combat Baker and Nisemonogatari. But I picked a novel last week, so this week my pick is Land of the Lustrous, a new Kodansha series with gem wars but sadly not Steven.

MICHELLE: I’m looking forward to the second volumes of series whose debut volumes I liked a lot. Ordinarily, I’d pick Giant Killing, what with it being sports manga and all, but Flying Witch has an amusing kitty, and that gives it the edge this time.

KATE: I share Michelle’s enthusiasm for manga featuring cute animal sidekicks., but my vote goes to the digital-only release The Emperor and I, a comedy about a family living with an Emperor penguin. The story unfolds in short chapters of three to nine pages, so the formula isn’t as rigid as a 4-koma title; it feels a little bit like reading a collection of Sunday comic strips. Not sold? Here’s what I had to say about it back in May.

ASH: For me, my pick could be nothing other than Vinland Saga this week. The series has been consistently compelling from the very beginning. It’s also had great female characters from the start, but the most recent story arc allows the women in the series to shine like they haven’t before.

ANNA: I agree with Ash, I am very happy that new volumes of Vinland Saga are coming out after the series was paused for some time. It is rare for a series to combine great historical background with a truly compelling story and evocative art. Vinland Saga is my pick!

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 06:21 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Today is our 24th anniversary. Scott took the day off so we could hang out together. We went into Ypsilanti to do some Ingress and got lunch at a diner called The Bomber.

Cordelia spent most of the afternoon with one of her friends downtown. She kept calling us and asking us to suggest things to do. I couldn't come up with anything she liked. They'd already gotten ice cream and didn't want any other type of food. They didn't want to window shop. They didn't want to actually shop. They didn't want to visit any museums. Pokemon Go and Ingress are too out of style to even be considered even if they had either on their phones.

Yesterday, Scott got the lawn mowed and cleaned out one of the two Time Capsule drives. The big problem we've got is that his hard drive is over a terabyte of family photos and videos. We may need to dedicate one of the drives to his machine and use the other for me and Cordelia, but that will require that Scott actually pay attention to what the program is doing and be willing to address the matter rapidly if one drive or the other stops working.

We watched two library DVDs last night and then returned them today (long, long waitlists). Both were amusing in different ways, and we even got Cordelia to join us in watching one of them.

Scott bewilders me by watching TV episodes on his laptop while he's also watching his brother playing games with active voices (and explosions). I think he flips back and forth in terms of the visuals. When I'm in the same room with him, I keep trying to follow what's going on just by listening, and... Yeah. Not working.

I used the c-PAP for a chunk of last night and didn't have any sneezing or runny nose today. Hopefully, that's done. I'm not sure how much the Ativan is actually helping and how much is just that I've got more time for sleeping to make up for the poor quality. I'm having trouble, when on my side, with getting adequate head support without dislodging the nasal pillows. I very much doubt that a different mask would help given that it seems to be the shape of my face changing depending on which bit the pillow is pressing against.

And now we're trying to come up with dinner ideas...
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Posted by Teresa Jusino

There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding Sofia Coppola’s star-studded novel adaptation, The Beguiled, which comes out Friday. One of the larger topics of discussion is how, despite slavery being addressed in the original source material—complete with a black female character named Hallie—Coppola’s film addresses none of it, instead erasing that character and choosing instead to stick with what’s familiar: white, Southern femininity.

We’ve definitely written about it here at The Mary Sue. In fact, the folks at Birth.Movies.Death took notice when our own Vivian Kane wrote this piece about Coppola’s comments regarding the Bechdel-Wallace test.

According to BMD, “The Mary Sue even goes as far as to smarmily note that it’s “not surprising” Coppola didn’t know what the test is** “even if she wasn’t born into her career”; a glib attempt to invalidate her rather obvious skillset as a filmmaker. Now, not only is Coppola’s movie—which revolves around a group of women finding themselves falling victim to the wiles of a lecherous man—erasing black history from its storyline, it also isn’t feminist enough for certain viewers. To call these assertions unfair seems like an understatement.”

I would love to thank this male writer for telling our female writer that she was being “smarmy” by remarking on a female filmmaker’s privilege, a remark that is not inaccurate. I’m sure that Coppola acknowledges the role that being her father’s daughter played in her career. I’m also sure that both Coppola and we here at TMS are capable of seeing enough nuance in these discussions to be able to separate privilege from talent. No one is saying that Coppola isn’t a talented, competent filmmaker. Of course she is. That doesn’t make her privileges go away. They are inextricable.

Much the way slavery is inextricable from any tale of Southern Belles.

The BMD piece is titled “Support Female Filmmakers (As Long As They “Behave”),” and is basically one long concern troll about how horrible it is when female filmmakers are held accountable for their choices, artistically or otherwise. The piece then over-simplifies the fervent response to Wonder Woman, saying that the only reason why we like it so much is because it provides us with “palatable,” “safe” feminism.

As if there wasn’t plenty of criticism of Wonder Woman about everything from it being a “white feminist” film, to  whether or not its lead actress counts as a woman of color as an Israeli Ashkenazi Jew. I guess this writer missed all of that?

Rather than look at each criticism on a case-by-case basis, the way one might do if one wanted to treat film criticism with nuance, the BMD piece is determined to categorize any and all criticism of Coppola as “gotcha” criticism.

Now, here’s the thing: there is plenty of that on the Internet. There are plenty of people who are all too willing to jump on the merest whiff of “wrongdoing” (often without enough context) to feel self-righteous. However, there’s a difference between that, and asking legitimate questions, and it seems that the biggest, trendiest “gotcha” of all is complaining about “gotcha” criticism.

There seems to be a misguided notion that “supporting female filmmakers” means that they should never be held accountable for their choices or actions. Supporting female filmmakers doesn’t mean supporting every single one blindly. It means giving a platform and opportunity to the ones without them, and amplifying the established ones you respect.

Supporting female filmmakers also means protecting them from the female filmmakers who would do them harm.

The BMD piece brings up Iranian filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour, who recently drew criticism when she dismissed a black woman’s concerns about the representation of the black characters in her film The Bad Batch at a Q&A. Now, I’m a writer of color, and I love seeing creators of color succeed, particularly when they’re women. That said, Amirpour has a long track record beyond this film of questionable, racist behavior and comments re: black people, from dressing up as Li’l Wayne (complete with blackface), to this most recent, callous dismissal.

Amirpour being a woman of color doesn’t make her exempt from criticism when it comes to groups of which she is not a part. Yes, she’s a woman of color. But she is not a black woman. I’m Latina. That doesn’t mean I get to say the n-word or wear yellowface. And that is a valid thing to acknowledge when talking about intersectional feminism.

It’s valid, too, when discussing female filmmakers. Yes, women should all be on the same team and support each other, but if someone on the team is, knowingly or unknowingly, doing things that harm other members of the team, they need to be told.

The BMD piece talks about Coppola as if she needs “protection.” She is an intelligent, capable woman who can speak for herself and her choices and, in fact, has. As a filmmaker, she should (and likely is) prepared for a certain level of dialogue with the viewing audience, because creating art is all about entering into a dialogue between artist and art enthusiast. Art is a two-way street, and Coppola doesn’t need anyone “sticking up” for her. She’ll be fine.

There’s something to the idea Coppola expressed when she said, “I didn’t want to brush over such an important topic in a light way. Young girls watch my films and this was not the depiction of an African-American character I would want to show them.”

“I feel like you can’t show everyone’s perspective in a story. I was really focused on just this one group of women who were really isolated and weren’t prepared. A lot of slaves had left at that time, so they were really—that emphasized that they were cut off from the world. [Hallie’s] story’s a really interesting story, but it’s a whole other story, so I was really focused on these women.”

That is a perfectly reasonable, thoughtful answer. It’s also one with which critics are free to take issue, pointing out (for next time, as The Beguiled is already done) that there are ways to think about these things differently so that, perhaps, she would feel more equipped or comfortable being inclusive in this way.

We here at TMS are never interested in taking a female artist down just for the sake of it. Whenever we criticize a woman in the public eye, for her words or her work, it is because we believe that if one has earned a platform from where they have the privilege of disseminating ideas, they have a responsibility to those on the receiving end. What they choose to do with that responsibility is, of course, up to them.

(image: lev radin/Shutterstock)

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

National hero Stephen Colbert temporarily defected to Russian late-night TV, and it was everything we dreamed Stephen Colbert in Russia could be.

Last week in Things We Saw Today I mentioned that Stephen was headed to Russia on what he called a “secret assignment.” Well, he cropped up over the weekend on the Russian late-night show Evening Urgant, turning his usual tables by appearing as a guest. There he played a special modified sort of Russian roulette with host Ivan Urgant involving vodka shots and pickles. Colbert was surprised to find it wasn’t Russian roulette exactly because all of the shot glasses contained vodka. Sounds like my kind of game.

It’s a delight to watch Stephen interact with Urgant, even when you have no idea what Urgant is saying in Russian (if you speak Russian, please help us out in the comments). Their physical comedy is top-notch. Per The Washington Post:

Colbert joked that, because the show was part of a state-owned TV channel, Urgant was “officially an employee of the state.”

“I look forward to going back to America and testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee about colluding with Russia,” Colbert deadpanned.

As Stephen takes his first shot, he says, “To the beautiful and friendly Russian people, I can’t remember why no members of the Trump administration can remember meeting you.” The crowd loves it. So do I. Although it’s more than a bit sad to consider what a joke America’s politics have become internationally and most especially in Russia. These days when I picture Putin I imagine him laughing all day long over how much he’s successfully messed with the American system.

Mid-game, Stephen says, “By the way, may I announce something? This is not shown in the United States? I’m here to announce that I am considering a run for President in 2020. And I thought it would be better to cut out the middleman and just tell the Russians myself. If anyone would like to work on my campaign in an unofficial capacity, please just let me know.”

This was absolutely masterful trolling of the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia and the ongoing Russian electoral meddling headaches. Stephen gives his final toast: “A strong America, a strong Russia!”

Colbert is a comedic genius, and we’ve never needed his mocking voice more. Not a day passes that I’m not thrilled and grateful that he’s reaching a massive audience via The Late Show and that CBS appears to have given him so much creative freedom. His potshots at the perpetual trainwreck of the Trump administration will go down in history. I hope he never stops showing what a smart, savvy troll can do. Trolls can be heroes too. And all of us need to laugh to keep from curling up into a fetal position and crying at the state of the nation.

Будем здоровы!

(via the Washington Post, image: screengrab)

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Posted by Charline Jao

Critically acclaimed horror author Stephen King is a huge fan of TNT’s Claws, and so are we! Seriously, what other endorsements do you need? Go watch it now!

  • Why is the plural of moose “moose” instead of meese? Merriam-Webster has your answer.
  • Fuller House season 3 will premiere on the 30th anniversary of Full House. How *sobs* rude. (via Deadline)

If you’re a fan of the HBO show Silicon Valley, that had its season finale last night, here’s a video breaking down the companies and details of the opening sequence. It’s amazing what they fit into that small amount of time. (via BoingBoing)

Finally, John McEnroe had the audacity to suggest that Serena Williams would be ranked 700 in the world if she played against men. I’m calling for another Battle of the Sexes where Serena Williams, the greatest tennis player in the world, smokes all of them while carrying her baby, running the tech world, and reciting Maya Angelou because she could. (via Buzzfeed)

That’s it for what we saw today. What did you see?

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It's just a mountain, I can move it

Jun. 26th, 2017 06:12 pm
musesfool: art deco brandy ad (been drinking since half-past three)
[personal profile] musesfool
I was completely useless last night after several hours of day drinking. it was a lot of fun, but oy the headache that hit around 7 pm! Even though we definitely hydrated.

Now I have version 3 of some sort of bug bite balm cooling on the counter - it uses coconut oil, which I don't really like the smell of, so hopefully the tea tree oil, peppermint, lemongrass, and lavender essential oils will cover that up. Though I would bear the smell if it meant the itching stopped.

I know I said I was done with trying to make anti-itch cream - hot water, ice, and rubbing alcohol in conjunction with benadryl and zyrtec seem to work best, tbh - but I figured third time's the charm? And I had all the ingredients so...I guess we'll see. Or maybe I am just super itchy, since i am super allergic to bites and swell up and get all welty.

I guess that's all the exciting news from here.


(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 05:46 pm
thescarletwoman: (Default)
[personal profile] thescarletwoman
Wow, I haven't actually logged into this thing in... I don't know how long. I don't know how many of you are still around these parts but... *wave?*

Basically, seeing so many people talking about Harry Potter's 20th Anniversary had me thinking about my beginnings and fandom. The friends I made, how I grew as a writer. I know there are a lot of you that I still speak to outside of the LJ community and I think it's a real testament to how pervasive fandom is and how it truly does connect all of us. That so many of us grew beyond the pseudonyms and let each other into our lives.

Harry Potter did that for us. It was a common ground. It let those of us who were weirdos in our own little world find other weirdos and realize... we weren't that weird after all. That we had people. That we weren't alone in the world. For some of us who were unpopular in school, it was such a refuge.

As Harry Potter turned to Torchwood/Doctor Who (for me any way), it brought me to meet a whole new host of people. To meet creators that eight-year-old me could never have expected I would be friends with writers and actors and costume designers. To actually KNOW people who put shows on TV and write movies and comics. To count some of them among my closest friends. It's quite a feeling really.

I've spent most of my day re-watching Torchwood while working my day job. Missing my first ever cosplay and the people I met because of it. Missing RP because god knows I don't actually have time to write when the aforementioned day job runs me ragged.

So today turned into revisiting fandoms and nostalgia and all sorts of other good things. So if any of you felt that same wave of nostalgia and decided to come back to LJ today... please say hi. I know I've missed you all. ♥
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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

We’re learning a lot of new things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe/Sony Spider-Man as the final publicity push for the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming kicks in ahead of the movie’s release late next week. Not only is Marvel planning to use Peter Parker to guide audiences through a human-level look at a changing MCU, but there may be room left open for big changes for Spider-Man himself in the future.

By that, I mean that the groundwork is there for Miles Morales within the MCU/Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, and comics fans know that could mean a brand new Spider-Man at some point in the future, though it feels, at least right now, as though that point is probably still far away. The specifics of that groundwork may be a little spoilery for Homecoming for some of you, though, so do yourself a favor and skip right on past the spoiler bars if you’d like to save the surprise (and haven’t had it spoiled yet)—one of very few surprises it seems we have left in the movie, at this point.

At the Spider-Man: Homecoming press junket, where all this information is flowing from, Marvel’s Kevin Feige briefly talked to Screen Crush about

Feige, famously of a “never say never” attitude, had this to say about whether or not the Morales Connection™ is just an Easter egg:

“All of those little things are just Easter eggs for fans until they’re something more than that. But anything that’s happened in the books is potential material for us. In the meantime, I think Miles is a big part of the animated movie that Sony’s making. But where WE go … we definitely want you to go ‘He’s there. He’s there somewhere.'”

So … yeah, it sounds like the intention was certainly to set up for a Miles Morales storyline on the big screen, even if it is still far away.

Speaking of Easter eggs, here’s one that was accomplished by retcon after fan theories about it: Peter Parker appeared in Iron Man 2. Homecoming star Tom Holland told The Huffington Post that he and Kevin Feige had discussed it, and this kid in Iron Man 2 is officially a young Peter Parker:

While Spider-Man becomes more intertwined with the MCU, though, Sony’s other Spider-efforts probably won’t. Sony is planning Venom and Black Cat movies, but it currently seems as though those characters won’t even have much to do with Spider-Man, let alone the wallcrawler’s MCU crossover. Tom Holland told ComicBook.com, “Everyone’s asking this question, man. It’s never happening,” in reference to Venom specifically showing up in his Spider-Man movies.

Though not exactly directly Spider-Man-related, there’s also talk from Feige of the next two Avengers movies being the end of the narrative road for some of the major players in the MCU up to this point. Meanwhile, Homecoming Director John Watts seems like his path is just beginning, as positive reactions to the movie seem to have cemented his return for the sequel, according to Feige and Producer Amy Pascal. For even more tidbits from the press blitz, Newsarama has a rundown for you, with bits about Marissa Tomei’s Aunt May, what Homecoming means for Iron Man, talk about the movie’s diversity just portraying reality, and more, and Monkeys Fighting Robots has extensive video interviews for you to check out.


(image: Marvel Comics)

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(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 04:37 pm
izzy: small yellow submarine on a blue background ([beatles] sailed up to the sun)
[personal profile] izzy
Oh hey there, apparently I haven't been around here since uh well before Wiscon, which means that if you didn't see me lose my shit on twitter, I GOT ACCEPTED TO UW-MADISON.

I just. I am so happy. And relieved. Lots of relieved, because this means I don't have to do an entire semester online at UW-Milwaukee (because fuck if I'm moving to Milwaukee) and apply to Madison again over winter break. I GET TO FINISH MY DEGREE HERE. Even though Bad Things are happening at the university because the state legislature is made up of fucksticks who hate education so my Feelings are Mixed, sigh.

Orientation and registration is in about a month. I want it now, I wanna pick classes! (I don't want everything I want to be full!) Patience, Elizabeth.

What else. Summer classes again: right now is Classical Mythology which is Great (except for how I need to read Oedipus Rex tonight) (again) (this is probably my third time reading it), and in a couple weeks my polisci class will start (American National Government, which will I'm sure be interesting and depressing and interesting), and then I'll have an associate's degree! An Actual Degree! I mean, I won't have the actual Thing until fall semester graduation, but whatever.

What else. My entire existence is political, so Happy Pride, I still don't have health insurance, and my brain decided to take a nosedive into a what-if cancer scenario at five fucking a.m. today, so that was cool.

We had a [personal profile] fairestcat for like three weeks post-Wiscon, which was delightful and I miss her face and I keep finding her dyed neon pink hair which obviously means I should vacuum. We went to APT and saw Midsummer Night's Dream on the NEW STAGE which was lovely and hilarious and fun (though later I watched the newish BBC production and wow did APT take some inspiration from that). We saw Wonder Woman twice which was good because there may have been some happy weeping the first time (and the second). And oh right, Cat and I went down to Chicago and saw those U2 guys as well. Which was, yknow, fine. (!!!!!!!) (ugh oh god it was so good I don't have words just random untypeable noises sry)

That's pretty much all I can think of. I should probably read about that Greek dude who made bad life choices now. (which one, I know.)

The Return: 8

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:15 pm
naye: gif of creepy road in the dark (twin peaks)
[personal profile] naye
So how about that Tory/DUP deal how about that US healthcare thing how about FICTION YES:

How about that Twin Peaks?!

Mind. Blown.

I thought my mind had been as blown as it would get. BWAHAH. No. Obviously not. Fascinating stuff - I'm really looking forward to taking the hiatus to rewatch all 8 eps of The Return, and I can't even imagine what the next 10 eps will bring.

We have literally taken the Finale Monday (US Sunday) Sept 4th off. It's a double ep and it airs at 2am local time, and we're not getting spoiled. If there's anything to spoil with, uh. Words. Which really don't do justice to the Lynch & Frost vision.
edenfalling: headshot of a raccoon, looking left (raccoon)
[personal profile] edenfalling
The project I'm supposed to be working on is being frustrating, so here is another tiny installment in Edmund and Ginny Go to Harfang. :)

Written 6/26/17, in response to the [community profile] genprompt_bingo square northern / southern lights. (300 words exactly)

A Good Idea at the Time

They clambered over the volcano's lip as the rubies' virtue faded and the heat and fumes of molten rock punched Edmund like a sword pommel in his gut, but he spared no thought to the narrowness of their escape. The ebbing wash of sunset on the western horizon revealed a new woe: to the north, a range of mountains greater than he had ever seen rose knife-sharp and impassible, flanks glittering with ice, while on all other sides their own, lesser peak fell rapidly into a frozen, windswept plain where no single sign of life broke the pristine fields of snow.

"Well, this is a pickle," Ginny said, dropping her end of their enchanted skiff onto the bare and smoking stone. "I could enchant the boat to levitate, but I can't make that permanent, or cast a propulsion charm at the same time, so we'd still be stuck without a way to catch the wind; I don't suppose you have any suggestions for fixing that?"

As Edmund looked around their barren and precarious perch, a curtain of violet, green, and gold shimmered across the darkening sky, like a banner curving in winds too high and rare for mortal lungs to breathe, and a streak of brilliant white shot through the heavens' heart like an arrow: southward and downward, aimed at Narnia like a sign.

"The world goes strange at the edges, where the Deep Magic yields to the Deeper Magic that surrounds and upholds all the worlds that ever were or will be," he said slowly. "Even in Narnia, at the Deep Magic's source, we know that stars are not lifeless fires, but people, who sometimes step outside their dance to touch the earth they traverse every night. What if one might carry us?"

"You're mad," Ginny said. "Let's try!"


End of Ficlet


Bets on whether this works out they way they intend? *innocent smile*

Also, I have now officially completed a bingo line for [community profile] genprompt_bingo! I should probably go make up a post for the community sometime this afternoon or evening.

30 day music meme, day 19

Jun. 26th, 2017 02:44 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
[personal profile] kindkit
19. A song that makes you think about life

"Thinking about life" seems to me a fundamentally adolescent thing. I don't mean that as an insult; it's just that in my experience, as people get older, the questions become more specific. There's a loss of ambition, or arrogance, or energy; "life" is just too big a topic.

So here's a song about adolescence and (I think) about the looming spectre of adulthood.

The Mountain Goats, "Damn These Vampires"

All the prompts )

AO3 Celebrates 25,000 Fandoms!

Jun. 26th, 2017 02:41 pm
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Janita' written beneath the OTW logo (Janita)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
partial screenshot of AO3 homepage showing 25000 fandoms with the AO3 logo above the text

AO3 has reached 25,000 fandoms! To celebrate, we've put together info about fandom tags and how all tags work: https://goo.gl/W4wPxH
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Posted by Alyx Dellamonica

Matthew Telemachus seems, at first glance, like a typical fourteen-year-old. Some of his problems are prosaic enough. His mom Irene, for example, has fallen on hard times, forcing her to move home, to once again share quarters with Matty’s grandfather and deeply eccentric Uncle Buddy. Matty is also nursing a lusty, hopeless crush on his step-cousin. Malice is two years older, after all, not to mention indisputably cool. She’s also totally indifferent to him.

But Matty isn’t ordinary, and neither is his family. At one time his grandparents, mom and uncles were a bona fide psychic act, billed as the Amazing Telemachus Family. True, grandfather Teddy was a straight up conman, able to pull off miraculous mind-reading feats by virtue of well-honed sleight-of-hand. Grandmother Maureen, though? Maureen was Gifted with a capital G, the real deal. She and Teddy met at a CIA-sponsored investigation into psychic abilities. Somehow in the process of keeping the wool firmly pulled over their testers’ eyes, Teddy found his way into both the intelligence community and Maureen’s heart.

As Daryl Gregory’s Spoonbenders opens, the Amazing Telemachus Family’s career as exotic performers has long since died on the vine. The family was discredited on national television; the act fell apart. Maureen was obliged to continue remote viewing work for U.S. Intelligence until her tragic, premature death. Now in 1995, Teddy and the three kids are batching along, in many ways still mourning her loss.

Maureen’s genetic gifts to her children took different forms. Irene—inconveniently for all her loved ones—is a human lie detector. On his rare good days, Uncle Frank is telekinetic. As for Buddy… well. He generally can’t be convinced to explain his visions, or even to speak. Mostly, he just engages in an endless, silent round of baffling home renovations while wondering what year he’s in.

As the three Telemachus siblings tread water against misery and the always-hovering threat of financial ruin, Matty begins to come into powers of his own.

The subject matter of Spoonbenders makes it something of a charming literary stepcousin to books like Katherine Dunn’s unforgettably savage novel Geek Love and Connie Willis’s more recent book Crosstalk. Like the former, Spoonbenders is a tightly focused family story about a group of performing tricksters—freaks, if you will. But where Geek Love is a knotty, searing, emotionally difficult book, whose characters often seem bent on tearing each other apart for the sheer joy of destruction, this novel has a comic and romantic bent. In tone, it has more in common with Willis’s comedy about the hazards of dating under the influence of telepathy.

Spoonbenders has a complete and pleasing story arc for each and every member of the Telemachus clan—Gregory’s website says it has already been optioned for television, and I am not at all surprised. Along the way, they all go to enormous lengths to sabotage their own happiness. Matty, for example, can’t bring himself to tell his mom about his powers. He feels bad about them, because Irene wants so desperately to lead a normal life. Meanwhile Irene herself is hunting romance in the single parent chatrooms emerging on AOL, attempting to handicap her treacherous ability to detect every lie, no matter how small, when she talks to someone in person. A requirement of total honesty, after all, sets an impossible standard for any potential relationship. (This, too, is an echo of Crosstalk, but Gregory’s approach is messier and more convincing: Irene’s romance was one of the things I loved most in this book, which is filled with delightful relationships.)

Oblivious to his daughter and grandson’s problems, Teddy moves through a world of his own, living in the past and running small cons on women in grocery stores, apparently just to keep a hand in. The CIA is circling him, shark-like, hoping they might find a replacement for Maureen camping on one of the bunk beds Buddy keeps bolting, randomly, to the basement walls of the family home. The skeptic who debunked the Telemachus clan is out there somewhere, and Frankie is energetically operating pyramid schemes, cheating at roulette, and getting in ever deeper as he borrows money from mobsters.

Even Maureen is still in play, sending her husband letters from beyond the grave, and collaborating with Buddy on a project that may redeem the whole family, but at a terrible cost to him.

Gregory has a wry, clear, powerful voice, and his characters leap off the page. They are charismatic enough to hold the attention, yet imbued with the kind of qualities that make them seem like people anyone might meet in their day to day lives. Despite their powers, the Telemachus clan come off like the folks next door. Paranormal abilities haven’t kept them from craving or losing the essentials of human existence: security, respect, connection, and above all affection. The result of all their efforts, somehow, is a book that is unabashedly lovable.

The Spoonbenders plot doesn’t offer a huge number of surprises. Its story unfolds stylishly, and all of its oddball romances thrilled me to my bones, but it wasn’t hard to see the ending coming. Even so, this novel’s resolution left me with a sense of genuine, unalloyed emotional uplift. It is the kind of happy conclusion Hollywood films frequently try to deliver… and unlike so many of those cinematic attempts, this story doesn’t strike a wrong note, or descend into cheese. Gregory has written a story about a family in freefall, one that manages to not only land on its feet, but to find those feet clad in elegant dancing shoes, ready to deliver a spin and final flourish as a prelude to a well-deserved fictional bow.

Spoonbenders is available June 26th from Knopf Doubleday.

A.M. Dellamonica‘s newest book is the Prix-Aurora Award nominated The Nature of a Pirate, and you can read the first chapter here! She has a book’s worth of fiction up here on Tor.com, including the time travel horror story “The Color of Paradox.” There’s also, “The Glass Galago,” the third of a series of stories called The Gales. This story and its predecessors, “Among the Silvering Herd,” and “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti,” are prequels to this newest novel and its predecessor, Child of a Hidden Sea. If sailing ships, pirates, magic and international intrigue aren’t your thing, though, her ‘baby werewolf has two mommies’ story, “The Cage,” made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2010. Or check out her sexy novelette, “Wild Things,” a tie-in to the world of her award winning novel Indigo Springs and its sequel, Blue Magic.

Denial on Tour 2017

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:23 pm
purplecat: (dinosaur)
[personal profile] purplecat
We were supposed to be going to Bristol Comic Con but they cancelled the con. So instead we were let loose on the unsuspecting Bristol countryside.

More pictures under the cut )
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Two thoughts:

1. The author must have had "agouti" come up in his word-a-day calendar
2. Holy shit that ending. That just came the fuck out of nowhere.


cynthia1960: me from Wiscon Chronicles v. 3 (Default)

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