dragojustine: (Archaeology)
I got three lovely Yuletide presents! Such are the fruits of going out on the pinch-hit list.

Seekingferret wrote me The Last Temptation of Eve, which takes that Last Temptation of Adam song and genderswitches it AND POV flips it, possibly breaking my brain in the process.

Thedevilchicken wrote me Rome fic, To Please the Gods, in which it is Saturnalia and Pullo's easy carnality is difficult to resist. And lastly there is Orders, in which sithwitch13 displays a mastery of character voices (for Pullo, Vorenus, and Antony) that makes me wild with authorial jealousy.

So my Yuletide fic this year was so niche. I am absolutely shocked that anybody other than the recipient commented on it. It could be read as historical fiction, in Athens late in the Peloponnesian war just after the overthrow of the four hundred; but the characterizations and writing style both come from Mary Renault's The Last of the Wine (the syntax so much so that it's practically pastiche).

Let me pause to pitch this book, for re-reading it was a wonder and a joy. The Last of the Wine may be difficult if you don't remember your Greek history or your Plato, but I consider this a hell of a recommendation for it; the narrative sinks us into the first-person POV of a man who speaks to us as he would another Athenian. Every page is drenched in his cultural assumptions, rich and natural, and there is none of the distance or foreignness that would be required if he tried to explain things to us. And so the book is both oblique and completely immersive; it's also sensitive, tragic, beautiful, and lyrical, a story of war and philosophy and joy. It is a coming-of-age, a boy's quest to understand the horrors he sees around him and shape the man he is becoming, a story about the pain and difficulty and importance of living well and rightly, and, above all, a story of transcendent love.


To Learn and to Teach
Last of the Wine- Phaedo and Plato
Gen, G, 1400 words

The Four Hundred are gone, and Kritias with them, and possibilities open up. )
dragojustine: (Science fiction)
* I am online again, more or less, due to the amazing kindness of strangers. Seriously, I am all over [livejournal.com profile] lawrence520 and his incredible loaner laptop and willingness to give it to a total stranger, and [livejournal.com profile] hilarytamar, who seems to have embarked on a single-handed, oddly determined quest to keep me sane in my time of hardship. Seriously, I have no idea how to pay forward this level of awesome.

* I have gotten so spoiled with phone contact! All I have to say is "I'm computerless and lonely!" and all these people become willing to talk to me on the phone, often at ridiculous length. I don't know how I'll give it up. I am so warm and fuzzy you have no idea. Seriously, I feel like one of those sloppy drunks: "I love you all!" Especially you, [livejournal.com profile] bdblack and [livejournal.com profile] miriad and [livejournal.com profile] hilarytamar.

* Was that Tricia Helfer on Chuck? I adore her so much! If someone had told me that the underwear model in That Dress was going to be my favorite New Actor crush out of BSG, instead of Katee Sackhoff, I wouldn't have believed it, but I am so glad she's made good and is popping up everywhere. That said, I am getting really sick of Ellie being kept out of the loop. The show is just getting meaner and meaner to her, and it's starting to get me down.

* RE: SPN. Entertainment Weekly says "The new brother is a Wincest fan's dream come true!" *boggles* Look, I know fandom became rather blase about incest about two years ago, but in Entertainment Weekly? Bwuh?

It's not like SPN has been My Show since "In the Beginning," and I haven't even watched it since the one with the fallen angel. This is because I was breaking up with it before it could hurt me, because, as [livejournal.com profile] bdblack can confirm, I really am the guy in all my relationships. I still may catch up to it over hiatus, but adding a third brother? This show is on seriously thin ice with me.

* And since the computer died I have been reading a book a day. No, really. A little less than five days, five books.

Reading Roundup )
dragojustine: (Bad book review)
1. My favorite reviewer, Abigail Nussbaum, does a (as always) brilliant and articulate post-mortem of the utter train wreck that was Battlestar Galactica (Wait. How unpopular is this fannish opinion? Am I going to be shunned now?)

2. This is a really beautiful specimen of humanity. (Also, my love of black and white pictures of beautiful people seems to be getting worse, not better.)

3. I am not even sure if I really consider myself a member of SPN fandom anymore, but the con reports coming out of LA make me ridiculously happy. It's not even that our boys are so doing it, it's how much they absolutely love feeding the fangirls. "Jared and I had our own wrap party last night... That's why I'm having a hard time moving around this morning." *dies* They are so good to us!

4. I had a horrible allergic reaction to something today. The skin of my face is completely covered in hives. I'm all bright red and blotchy and bubbly and scaly. The skin on my eyelids has the same texture as a particularly unpleasant lizard. I'm bumpy and peely and itchy from my hairline to my jaw. I have no idea what triggered it or what to do, so I am mostly sitting around slathering my face with plain, unscented Cetaphil and trying (failing) not to pick at it. I am, as you can imagine, extraordinarily attractive.

The Time Traveler's Wife: The rare usage of the bad book review icon! )
dragojustine: (Book stack)
I'm a Stranger Here Myself, Bill Bryson

More humor travel writing, this one much more of the type I enjoy. This is an expat American's attempt to reconnect with the land of his birth by driving through 38 of the lower 48. It won't be my favorite travel humor (because it's hard to be Round Ireland With a Fridge), but he has a keen eye for the ridiculous and an ability to be incredibly opinionated and crotchety about everything without seeming as offensive as he really ought to. Very fun.
dragojustine: (Science fiction)
In which it is all hilarytamar's fault )

Catalysis for Dummies is the cutest John/Rodney AU in quite a while.

And a Kings rec, the first NC-17 Jack/David I have liked yet: All Tomorrow's Parties

Awesome linkage:

A Mathematical Limerick. I am fairly sure this wins the internet. (It works, as far as I can tell. I won't admit how tough it was to remember how to deal with that)

Now this is a man who understands procrastination: Part one, two, three, four, and five.

Random: From now on, I shall endeavor to keep Certera's Law in mind when selecting my online reading material. (Like I wasn't already)
dragojustine: (make porn)
The thing about SF fandom, sometimes, is that the porn is hilarious. And I don't mean this in a bad way at all- not even a teeny-tiny bit. It's great.

I am speaking, you see, of [livejournal.com profile] john_farr, the multiple-AU built around that time John Sheppard went into Ponn Farr (subtitle: because mating cycles are hot!). Or at least, it starts that way (you should start here, which is short and sexy), and then balloons out into no less than four interconnected AUs where, due to Goauld manipulation, human physiology is very different. As an open 'verse the writing is inconsistent, of course- but might I recommend the sequel Skin Hunger, the John backstory Battlefield, and the Uni!John and Virgin!John AU branches?

And the thing about this is that I honestly have no idea if I have to hit my bunk or if I am just going to sit here giggling wildly. Because seriously: shit like this only happens in SF fanfic. Aliens make them do it! Ancient tech gives them telepathy/tentacles/an insatiable sex drive/whatever! Sex pollen! Elaborately constructed plotty setups that boil down to, "due to the applied phlebotinum, you must have sex or die. Get to it." And, seriously, it's ridiculous but it really hits the Id vortex buttons, doesn't it?

And just then I saw that [livejournal.com profile] paian posted fic, which always sends me into raptures of joy- but it turns out to be a double whammy. A sex pollen (in her warning, she says: aliens-gave-them-an-excuse-to-do-it. Truth in warnings! ♥) but also an alien-tech SF plot device that is on the face of it sort of ridiculous (in the best possible way) and yet allows for this intense, desperate, bizarre and disorienting non-con voyeurism thing that is hot as fuck and Jesus, I will be in my bunk.

Oh, science fiction. *rueful headshake* Ever since the original Star Trek writers came up with Ponn Farr, the descendants of which are God's gift to porn, I tell you. My love knows no bounds.

(And yes, I've been reading this stuff for a LONG TIME. I have no idea why the ridiculousness of it all hit me so hard just now)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? )

The Watchmen )
dragojustine: (Clever)
Religious Literacy- Stephen Prothero

This was good- he presents an overwhelming amount of evidence of the bizarre and insane lack of the very most basic factual religious knowledge in America, combined with the incredibly high rate of religiosity. He takes a pretty good stab at explaining why religious literacy should be a civic and secular concern. Most interesting of all, though, is that he completely rejects the argument that it's all the fault of the Supreme Court of the 60s, and instead traces the history of non-denominational and inter-denominational movements since the Second Great Awakening early in the nineteenth century, coming to the really very persuasive conclusion that religious illiteracy in this country is mostly the fault of religious organizations attempting to strengthen their hold on American politics and policy without inter-denominational conflict. He just rips into the idiocies of "all the great religions are basically the same" and "we all worship the same god" and "it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you believe" and the ridiculousness of "religious equals values equals sex" in modern politics and so forth, and it's extremely satisfying.

Naturally, I don't really agree with his inherent assumptions about religion as a good thing on its own merits, or his conviction that a religiously-inflected public discourse would be an inherently good thing provided everybody knew what the hell they were talking about, but his history of the phenomenon is good.

The interview here says some interesting things, among them an observation of how the religiosity of America seems to actually lessen the more religiosity becomes seen as a political statement (that is, the more "being Christian" comes to equal "being republican" in the young generation's mind). Anyway. Most definetely worth a read.
dragojustine: (Book stack)
Good Dog, Stay, Anna Quindlen

Extremely short nonfiction, halfway between a memoir of life with a dog and an essay. Sweet and funny but, in the way of all such books, I know how it ends. It always, always, always ends with the elderly dog in the writer's arms while the doc puts in the needle, and it always ends with some reflection about care and mortality and love, and it always ends with me sobbing and feeling drained and wrung-out, and even though we reach that point honestly (the dog dies all too soon is a fact of life, not an unfair authorial manipulation), I always sort of wish I hadn't put myself through that again. Such is the way of books about dogs.
dragojustine: (whimsy)
You guys! You guys, I have no idea who this guy is or what the hell this video is, but. But.



I feel like the Grinch on Christmas morning. My heart just grew three sizes, swear to god. (via [livejournal.com profile] cormallen)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey )
dragojustine: (Book stack)
Just wanted to point out to everybody that A Dog's Breakfast is on Hulu. You guys, it's adorable. Seriously. It's totally, "David Hewlett calls his best buddies and says, hey, I found 20 bucks under my couch cushions, wanna put on a show?" The snarky meta commentary is hilarious. The writing is hilarious. David's physical comedy is hilarious. Christopher Judge's appearance is flailingly fantastic. The only disappointing part of the whole business is the fact that Paul McGillion has better legs than I do. For a movie made over hiatus with, like, six guys and their pooled lunch money? It's fabulous. Also, if my sister and I are half as adorable together in twenty years as David and Kate, I will be so happy. I just want to smish them.

The Yiddish Policeman's Union, Michael Chabon

It's a book review! )
dragojustine: (grrrr)
Life exploded. Had cockroach problem, had to bug-bomb the place (the one downside of this living arrangement. It is the LEAST bug-resistant living place I have EVER seen. I might get fewer bugs if I lived in a tent. Gah) Have INSANE WORK to do before the 31st, going crazy. Keep setting meetings with people, often waking up insanely early and driving long distances to see them, only to be stood up, because people are flakes and they SUCK. Grrr.

Merchant of Venice )

The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century )

Side note: I used to prefer male SF writers by a vastly disproportionate margin, and now that tendency is completely reversed. I have been known to joke that I used to be a fanboy (Start Trek nitpikcing! Gaming and hard SF and boy-style geekery!), then I found fanfic and gradually became a fangirl. I say it as a joke- but it's really true. The preponderance of male names in this anthology bothered me, whereas I would never have noticed it in 2001, and now the slightly different social and emotional concerns of the three female authors in here really resonated. They wouldn't have, before fanfic. My balance of friendships has shifted pretty dramatically, too.
dragojustine: (Reading is sexy)
Awesome day with [livejournal.com profile] wendy yesterday. Gymnastic superstars tour thing! About one-third high-energy exhibition, one-third amateurish Cirque-du-Soliel knock off, one-third truly crappy concert, yet somehow combined for way more entertainment value than I anticipated. Also, much better ratio of barely pubescent girls to hot hunks without shirts than I was expecting. It is good to be pandered to!

Cut for politics )

All I am saying, really, is this:
-That there are conservatives and Republicans who do not identify in these ways because they're uninformed, or reactionary, or xenophobic, or religious wackjobs, or stupid, or evil.
-That there are some that share my basic worldview, my thought processes, my way of thinking about the world, who I would find intellectual equals and valuable conversation partners and admirable antagonists... and that while I obviously know that, I perhaps do not really hear it as often or sincerely as I should.
-That party labels are not inherently tied to rightness or wrongness of ideas or policies, or even to basic worldviews or values.
-That I sincerely hope that if political labels slip from my original conception as radically as they have for him, I will have the same courage he does to step back and consider with intellectual honesty and clarity.

Passage, Connie Willis )
dragojustine: (Reading is sexy)
I am in lust with Rachel Maddow )

The only thing that keeps that from being a full-blown sexuality crisis is that obviously, I mostly want to be her but just know I'll never be that awesome.

I have things to say about Whispers, and a ton of SGA plot bunnies and such. But, later.

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami )
dragojustine: (Science fiction)
I just saw Wall-E and I am all a-squee. As a sweet anthropomorphic little love story of surpassing cuteness, it rules. As SF, of course, it sucks big donkey balls, but that's not what we came for, no? I understand everybody being pissed about the fat-people mockery. Except that was actually a ham-handed attempt to shortcut the entire process of creating a dystopia... which is okay, because well-done SF dystopia isn't what we came for (and if it was, oh boy are you in trouble), but it sure would have been good if they could have pushed their shorthand more towards "children" and less towards "fat slobs," because "children" was more the real part. But the anthropomorphizing! The facial expressions and body language of all the little robots! The little cleaning bot is my favorite sidekick of all time now. And the sound editing, all the incredibly expressive beeps and clicks...

The Pixar people are just brilliant.

The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell )

Lolita

Aug. 4th, 2008 10:56 am
dragojustine: (Book stack)
First: Ask and I shall receive. Flist, you rock.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov )

Downside: I have my [livejournal.com profile] spn_nostalgia fic due in a month, and I don't think I'll be able to write incest for AT LEAST two weeks. *little shudder*
dragojustine: (Reading is sexy)
World War Z, Max Brooks )

His Majesty's Dragon, Naomi Novik )

And yes, before you ask, I do feel pretty weird knowing that the author is on my flist and may or may not see this. We have such a well-understood system of rules for reacting to and talking about fanfic, and such a totally different one for talking about and reacting to published fiction, and I would never talk about her fanfic in this tone, so the collision there is making me very nervous.
dragojustine: (Book stack)
The Stand, Stephen King

The first five hundred pages of The Stand is rocking good hard sci-fi post-apocalypse setup. The next six hundred pages leaves me going, "hey! You got your woo-woo New-Agey horror bullshit in my hard sci-fi!" The last fifty pages leaves me going, "what, did you just get tired of the book all of a sudden?"

King has a lot of talent for a damn good story, actually. The only problem is a simple genre preference issue- I simply don't like horror as much as I like other genres, and that's what he wants to write. Once I basically shut up on that front and just enjoyed it, he did a good job with memorable characters and a convincing plot progression. Right up until he got tired of writing it and wrapped it up with "oh yeah, everybody goes boom," that is.
dragojustine: (Metaillicar)
Treasure Island audiobook in the car. Most entertaning.

[livejournal.com profile] amara_m is always saying disparaging things about El Paso. Amara, love, you are COMPLETELY right.
dragojustine: (Science fiction)
Freakishly enough, despite wasting five solid hours today on way too much driving and poor planning and people who don't keep appointments (grrr) I was able to knock out my whole to-do list by 7:00 and watch some TV.

I am thinking about starting a blog series entitled 'sexism at the Home Depot.' )

So I finally got to finish that Stargate movie! )

Doctor Who and Captain Jack )

Just finished "The Fifth Head of Cerberus" for the third time. I am Gene Wolfe's bitch. The man is a genius and I want to fall down at his feet and intone "I'm not worthy." More than that, I want to watch him in some kind of gladiator-pit to-the-death brain-match against Umberto Eco. With Thomas Pynchon coaching. And Jorge Luis Borges judging. Okay, shutting up now.

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