silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
cover: arched domes and pyramids rising in distance, foreground people in colourful clothing This book was so bad. I read it all the way through because I wanted to figure out what was going on and partly because the worldbuilding premise and finally, because if a book is terrible and I'm 50% through I might as well finish it and pick it apart.

I really really wanted to like this book. Here is the back cover, but its premise can be summed up in the following words--"alternate-universe nineteenth-century Egyptian empire with spies and terrorist Otto von Bismark."

Lord Scott Oken, a prince of Albion, and Professor-Prince Mikel Mabruke live in a world where the sun never set on the Egyptian Empire. In the year 1877 of Our Lord Julius Caesar, Pharaoh Djoser-George governs a sprawling realm that spans Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. When the European terrorist Otto von Bismarck touches off an international conspiracy, Scott and Mik are charged with exposing the plot against the Empire.

Their adventure takes them from the sands of Memphis to a lush New World, home of the Incan Tawantinsuyu, a rival empire across the glittering Atlantic Ocean. Encompassing Quetzal airships, operas, blood sacrifice and high diplomacy, Ramona Wheeler's Three Princes is a richly imagined, cinematic vision of a modern Egyptian Empire.


This is such a cool premise and setting but it's botched because plotting was a mess, characterization painful and writing abysmal.

I did not like this book )

I am so bitterly disappointed. I love speculative fiction and I love alternate history--to describe this book as up my alley cannot describe how excited I was to read this--and it was just horrible on so many fronts. It was so bad that it lowered my opinion of Tor, who published this. It wasn't entertainingly bad, it was incompetent. Complete, sheer incompetence. I expected so, so much better.
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Agatha H and the Airship City, by Phil and Kaja Foglio--DNF.

This book is terrible.

It is unbelievably clunkily written. Paragraphs that don't have any connection follow each other. There are entire paragraphs are made up of sentences which are very short and simple, which make the whole thing sound choppy. There are multiple italics and CAPSLOCKED WORDS AND PHRASES on nearly every page. No one acts like a human, all the Jäger machines have their accents written out phonetically (possibly German caricature?), and the whole thing tries to be clever and arch and falls so badly short. And honestly, it's the last that really gets my goat.

So I had some issues with this book. )

Having now written all of that out, I think the authors were trying to go for humour. But there's nothing for the humour to go on top of. Nothing to build on top of, so instead I'm left wondering what's going on and why I should care, and finding the humour illogical instead.

In conclusion, I hope that their webcomic is leagues better than their writing, because this book is just plain awful. Girl Genius won a Hugo? Why do so many steampunk novels insist on being arch? It reminds me of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate, which was uneven and whose main female character practically screamed I'm not one of those girls! Thank you, I'll pass.
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Noooooo that's a terrible resolution! No! Especially since it's an adaptation of Sleeping Beauty! I reject your attempts at making an ending!

You don't do that. It's not grimdark or gory, it's just not right. This is the sort of ending that starts books, McKinley, not ends them!

I really like the air of the novel, for the most part; it doesn't take itself too seriously. Katriona's village is named Foggy Bottom! The princess-tomboy extremes I could have done without* but it was basically delightful for the majority of the book. But the ending was weirdly off.

SPOILERS )
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (_support)
cover of Interface Masque, pixellated blue bird wingI'm going to admit this upfront: this is a rant disguised as a book review. By this I mean that this is me getting my music-student rage on. Among general reader rage, too. I fully admit to getting frustrated at around the first 1/3rd of the book because of logic, world-building, and characterization inconsistencies on top of bad, bad treatment of music, but sticking it out purely for the catharsis of writing a review. I finally finished it today. While it took me about a month-and-a-half to read the book (where normally a book this size is 2 hours, max) partly because of real life, it wasalso because I could not get through five or ten pages without being brought up short by some inconsistency or problem.

So. Wanna hear about Interface Masque?

The paragraphs under the first cut do not contain spoilers. The rage review contains spoilers. If I were you, though, I wouldn't read the book. Not worth it. In fact, I have so many issues with this book that I'm not even addressing the RANDOM ALIENS IN THE NET bits, because I have piled quite enough objections in this review, but please be assured that they are ??? and are like a red herring that doesn't actually help with anything. They're just there and never resolved properly.

Interface Masque, Shariann Lewitt. 350 pages. Science fiction - cyberpunk?

The reviewer bits )

The music-student (and general reader) rage bits )

I give up!

May. 25th, 2012 12:56 am
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
SCRAPBOOK CURRENTLY SUCKS AND THE BETA DOESN'T HAVE ANYTHING ON IT SO I'M WAITING UNTIL THE NEW SB COMES IN. Wrestling with flickr is a pain too. YES I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THE STRAIGHT URLS OF MY IMAGES WITHOUT THE MESS YOU MAKE OF THE HTML, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, WITHOUT NEEDING TO CLICK "SHARE" FIRST AND STRIPPING YOUR STUPID CODING AND SIZING AND JUNK OUT MANUALLY (THANK YOU, WORD, FOR SEARCH&REPLACE). SB, YOU DO NOT MAKE SENSE.

I have pictures! It's just that trying to stick them online is a pain. (Maybe having sixteen of them is the problem.)

*snarl*

Jan. 19th, 2011 04:39 pm
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
I hate the phrase "Life is not fair."

Uh, yes. Yes, it's not fair. Pretty much everyone realizes this sooner or later, and most often sooner. You needn't add this smugly into the conversation when people are complaining, because generally when people complain, they realize it's not fair. (Sometimes, believe it or not, it's just venting!) Little platitudes and clichés aren't required here, thank you.

Moreover, I absolutely resent the way this phrase is used to express the futility of doing anything. You may be perfectly content to let things go on as they are, but I am not. Yes, life is not fair. That doesn't mean it will never be fair, or that there's nothing we - or I - can do to make it more fair.

Please, just go away and take your stinky, pessimistic, snarky little banality away with you.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
re: the Julian Assange thing - [livejournal.com profile] lookninjas says it better than I do:

And then, if you're lucky enough to find yourself accusing a well-known public figure like Julian Assange, It gets even better. Because then everyone hears about it, and the speculation starts. WikiLeaks groupies! Golddiggers! CIA AGENTS! Everyone from Michael Moore to Keith Olbermann to ignorant fuckheads on Gawker will go on and on about what a slut you are. What a liar you are. What a conniving, golddigging bitch you are.

What makes me sickest is that there's so much speculation of well, no maybe it didn't happen and she's making it up. That it couldn't possibly have happened, because, well, he's famous. (I wonder why I'm having a flashback to Polanski?) Where is the speculation that, oh, perhaps women don't like making these statements? Don't like having their name dragged through the muck? That for once, can we please, please, believe the victim before the aggressor?

argh.

Nov. 13th, 2010 10:52 pm
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

I know that AO3 is under severe pressure (ah forget the tech terms), I know five million people are accessing it right this moment, but OH GOD WHY DID IT TAKE ALMOST THREE HOURS TO INPUT MY YULETIDE REQUEST AND OFFER? 

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Link to misogyny and ignorance. Click with caution.

I made it halfway down the first page of comments and then gave up.


My reaction, helpfully summarized:
DEAR EVERYONE ON THE PLANET (minus those already armed with The Clues):

1. Words have meaning.

2. Words have two types of meanings: one is a dictionary (or scientific, or otherwise defined meaning). There is a second meaning, connotation. These are associations attached to words.

3. Generally connotations are the most important.

4. Pulling dictionary definitions when people are clearly talking about the connotations is neither helpful nor clever.

5. We are not separate from our history. Even if you think there's no misogyny in your world*, by using words that historically** carry misogynistic intent to describe someone you don't like, you are using the term in a way that is misogynistic. Even if you don't mean it. I'm sorry, this is the legacy we've been handed down with.

6. Live with the awareness that yes, while you wish you could totally throw around "whore" and "bitch" and all the rest without worrying about PC POLICE***, don't.

7. For the last time, the history is why words like "dick" do not garner such reactions. No, really. You're not pointing out anything that has not been brought up before in these conversations.

8. Please for the love of all that is holy stop telling anyone they're overreacting or oversensitive.

9. If you know nothing about this issue, I would advise your library or Google or another person who knows you well and this issue.

10. This applies wonderfully to just about any -ism you can think of; just change some of the words! 

Regards,
silverflight8

*OH MY GOD HAHAHAHAHA YOU MUST BE JOKING JUST GO AWAY
**They still do, by the way.
***Someone forgot to send me the uniform, obviously; I still don't have any weapons for these things...



tl;dr: *puts head on desk and thinks of happy thing*

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Dear people-who-have-parties-where-I-work:

Please use the small trash cans. I understand that it is so much more convenient to have a HUGE YELLOW BIN where you can chuck everything, but I have to take out your garbage. And when the bag is almost the size of me--seriously, don't fill the whole thing up. Leave some room so that I can, you know, actually TIE THE CORNERS TOGETHER. If you must use the honkiing big bin, then at least don't fill it all the way to the top.

Also, to the person who decided to put a board of plywood or something into the trash can: asdfjkl;!!1! Go home and stick it in your own stupid trash can. Why do you have a plywood board at your party anyway?! I hope the whole bag splits open on you.

Aaargh.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I saw this post come up this morning. I thought: "OK, it's not horribly bad; it looks like the OP, after some comments, could see why this is offensive and maybe it'll be okay!" This is the text of the OP's post, in case it gets taken down.

... )

I gave up trying to read the twisting comments of the OP after awhile. But seeing [livejournal.com profile] saciel start to pull out the tone argument--again and again and AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN--I...I...I don't know. I remember zie from the last time [livejournal.com profile] fanficrants went and got into a huge racefail, but seeing so many people--half-a-dozen, at least--try to explain, again and again, PATIENTLY AND CALMLY (Oh my God, the irony) why zie was wrong, it didn't sink in. And so all I can repeat is OW OW OW.

ETA: There's actually quite a nice little summation by [livejournal.com profile] lil_utterance about why this post's comments are so very faily. Here.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I dislike Twilight for many reasons, the stalking-is-love not one of the least reasons.

HOWEVER (and yes, this merits capslock), JUST BECAUSE MEYER'S VAMPIRES ARE NOT EXACTLY LIKE BRAM STOKER'S VAMPIRES, DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY ARE INVALID. CAN WE DITCH THE IDEA THAT A VAMPIRE MUST BE EXACTLY TO SUCH SPECIFICATIONS? THEY'RE MYTHICAL.

Too many of the reviews focus on sparkling (heaven forbid anything sparkle, it must be too girly) rather than the actual problems in Twilight.


tl;dr. a change from an established trope doesn't mean a book's bad. zomg, people

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

Because many people plainly don't get it, here's an analogy that hopefully they can grasp. If not, there is a serious problem which is beyond my power to rectify or help in any way.
To borrow it from someone's lovely post (author, unfortunately, forgotten; if you do find them, please pm me):


If someone steps on my foot and it hurts, I am going to say: "OW!" And the harder they step on my foot, the louder I will shout it. OW, OW, OW. I'm not at the moment concerned with the delicate ears of the other person, because OW their stomping hurts and no I will not be quiet.

If that person continues to stay on my foot, I'm going to try to dislodge said person, because it hurts. It's not hurting you. It's hurting me.


When people say: "That's offensive, and x, y, z is why," it's not because they want to hurt you. It's because it's hurting them.

Why people who take my culture and twist it to suit their needs can't understand this, I don't know. OW. Go away. If I've linked you to this post after an argument/discussion/feeble parody of a discusion of racism, I invite you to educate yourself and read through this.

War may be inevitable, oppression may be inevitable, but @$#%^ no I am not going to take it lying down.  *snarl*

'pologies to f-list, who don't need this.


silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I was going to post a feel-happy, look-a-pretty-book, isn't life wonderful? sort of post. I suppose not. I bring this to you because the person in question was ignorant, and that's the last time I ever want anyone to use that excuse for racism again.

If you're not in fandom, you might've missed this. An author posts a story set in Haiti during the earthquake, accompanied by really, really cringe-inducing portrayals of actual Haitians, many of who are still suffering. This is, apparently, to further the relationship between two of the characters. See link lower for context (the round up has a large number of commenters, as well as the link to the original.)

A lot of people, most more eloquent than I, have already gone through and processed this, torn it open and looked at the racism and the bad taste, and have offered their own commentary. I was going to sit on my hands and read, but then there was a sentence in her apology that really, really ticked me off.

' [I see how the] portrayals can be seen as unflattering,"

No. NO.

Unflattering connotes vanity, self-image, trivial, skin-deep. Unflattering is used to describe clothes: "Oh, that dress really doesn't flatter your figure, dear." 

People are not objecting to the fact that all your characters aren't saints. Excuse the capslock, but THEY ARE POINTING OUT THE RACISM THAT IS INHERENT IN THE INTERACTIONS THAT YOUR PROTAGONIST HAS WITH HAITIANS. These are people, they are living through an immense tragedy, and a decency to understand that their pain is not OK for you to exploit for your story--you're missing that.

Semantics? Maybe. But I think it shows what the author truly thinks, and that word--"unflattering portrayals"--is indicative of their attitude towards this. I don't think they get it.

[livejournal.com profile] amazonziti has a beautiful round-up of links, but warning: if you value a rage-free day, avoid the direct quotes. It is bad. Very, very bad. Don't look.

First Post

Jun. 9th, 2010 10:21 pm
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I am on dreamwidth partially because of the sudden change of fanficrants to explicit adult content (and blocked off to 18+ only), and also partly because I'm starting to feel that LJ is becoming more and more...insensitive, perhaps? Reneging on their privacy policies, and not really responding.

I think the bulk of my posting will still be at my LJ account (silverflight8.livejournal.com), and this account will probably be just a place for me to access other communities. However, you'll know when LJ finally pushes me too far--my dreamwidth account will fill up with posts.

Thanks again to [personal profile] jalendavi_lady  for the invite codes.

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I finished The Wolf and the Dove, by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss today (it was the one I blathered about earlier--set in an atypical historical period (!))

Bones to pick:
1. Historical inaccuracies, let me show you them. In 1066, it's still the medieval age for England, and the Battle of Hastings--you know, the one with William the Conker? (Sorry, conqueror. It all sounds the same when I say it. ) I don't know all that much about this time period, but even I can spot these ones.

a) I am very glad to see that the girl, Aislinn, feels strongly about rape and realizes that the shame of rape should not fall on her. But the problem is, that's a modern thought--which isn't even all that accepted even now! (Proof: look at how many people say: "Oh, she was dressing like a [pejorative noun]; "he was asking for it," "I couldn't control myself.") In the book's day and age, you own people--serfs, for instance. And it makes no difference whether there's consent or not--you're stained, marked, blackened, reputation slandered--and that awareness that it's not your fault is very unlikely.
a) i. On that note, I'm kind of wondering how likely a family is going to take in their daughter after she's been brutally used (no specifics in the book; it's just a very minor character). After all, you have to pay a dowry, and they 'can't work the fields'.

b) To me, trying to wrap up a bleeding wound in dirty linen is vile and disgusting and I'd immediately feel as though I was coming down with an infection. However, it took until after the Crimean War--approximately 1854 to 1856--and even later to make the public realize that sterilizing things made medical operations safer. The concept of germ theory, that we get sick because of microscopic organisms or viri, doesn't exist. I find it strange to think that Aislinn always reaches for the "clean linen", because her home has been ransacked, and it'd be work to get it clean.

c) Horses get tired. People get tired. There is very little acknowledgment of this.

2. The characterization stuff. I have this aversion to sudden character shifts. People get epiphanies, realize they did something wrong, wake up one day and find out that their beliefs have been smashed into pieces--it's possible. But two characters (interestingly, both women) do this strange about turn in character, after the protagonist is nice or the villain is especially evil. I think that the characters had more pride than to come to the protagonists, crying, to ask for forgiveness. Especially considering the vehemence of their hate and their spitefulness that had lasted for months.

3. I'll let the ~super beautiful~ protagonist and extremely understanding (for this time, anyways) other protagonist to slide. It's fiction, after all, and few books are about the mediocre or ordinary.

4. If you wish to adopt a highly officious, or 'ancient' writing style, I suggest you be very careful in inspecting your work to be assured that you have not added in modern mannerisms. *shakes self* There were a couple places where the statement was so inexplicably--well, today-like--that I was yanked out of the story and just stared. (Also, the use of 'babe' always seems pretentious to me. Just saying.)

5. There might be something wrong when I start secretly hoping that the obviously unlikeable character (that the author sets up) wins. I thought Maida deserved some sort of respect for standing up for what she believed in, even though that wasn't the smartest idea and nearly drove her crazy. Still, the female protagonist stands up for herself in the beginning, but slowly loses that throughout the book.

6. Please leave off the random info dumps.

7. ETA: Also--writing mistakes. Misspellings, comma splices, misuse of the words 'therefore' and 'thus', and generally awkward writing.

tl;dr: I think I'm just going to read a historical textbook for this, actually. Rating? It would have been 8/10, but after the character turn around, it's 5/10.

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