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in which she rates random things

9/10: I joined a book club (women read fantasy!) and so far I've really enjoyed it. I don't know why I didn't try finding one earlier! I used meetup.com. We read fantasy with the stipulation that the main character is a woman (female authors preferred but not necessary), and the book club members tend to prefer high fantasy, I think. Though I've disliked 2/3 of the books we've read so far - the last was Michelle Sagara's Cast in Shadow. That one was not a good book. Though I have to say, it's not completely terrible that the books are bad - it's fun to rip into them anyway. And there's good discussion when half the readers like the book and half don't.

I didn't even get all the way through it, but it irritated me that Sagara never gave the reader anything straight. The main character doesn't want to know, and so we're all kept in ignorance. The dialogue would keep petering out or just fuss around without saying anything, and made me wonder why the conversation was even there. Some of the book club liked the worldbuilding, but to me there was barely any worldbuilding - we couldn't get enough detail about anything. The chapters weren't so much continuous as they kept breaking off and skipping to the next scene, which just made everything feel more insubstantial. There was an irritating repetitiveness in the writing in general - I swear she used "in the fief" every single page. Yes, I know night falls and it's bad in the fief! I know they're in there already! You just told me! They're still walking in there! I know that life is so terrible there, you don't have to add it vaguely again! (Also, would have helped if it wasn't just vague "bad things happen".)

Also, just call them elves already.

8/10 Wonder Woman. There was bits where I was like "WWI DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY" but it's a superhero movie and a power fantasy, and anyway, all the superheros are a fantasy that one person can cut through intractable massive problems. I didn't realize I wanted this movie so bad until I saw it. Oh my god. It wasn't perfect but I loved it.

+++ I want to visit wherever they filmed Themyscira. It's so beautiful!
- How could no one have stumbled across Themyscira? It looks like it's just hidden by an illusion! I hope it's in the Atlantic, at least - the boat journey doesn't take long, but there's no way sailors crisscrossing the Mediterranean wouldn't have found it long ago....
- I'm not sure how I feel about the physics defying stunts when Diana got into the tower. It was a little too cartoonish for my tastes
++ Really hope there's fic about the lasso of truth. That was a beautiful scene. Also, do you think it works on Diana?
-- Trench warfare doesn't work that wayyyyyy
- Not specific to this movie, but seriously, why don't you aim at the legs??? Unprotected bits??
++++ Please can we keep casting Chris Pine in uniforms thank you
+++ Really very lovely scene with the snow coming down.
- Not an inconspicuous place to put a sword but I guess she REALLY didn't have a choice
+/- The testing of the gas masks against the poison is definitely chilling, and I'm sure this movie is rated PG-13. Visually I think Dr Poison's tests are effective and cool. (And I'm scared of masks, so that's great - I hate how those gas masks look.) But uh. Gas was terrifying because of its effect on people. I guess it's also scary if the masks aren't keeping the gas out and if it's already destroying the masks but still. Though, having made the objection, I really do not need to see more visuals of people dying of fantasy-equivalent mustard/chlorine gas.
--- How does firing gas like that from the top of a tower work?? Why would you not release it lower down. How do you prevent it from killing all your guests, because it's going to sink all round.
++++ I appreciate the nuance, as small as it might be, when Diana kills Ares and nothing happens. After such a dogged chase I can believe that she would have felt despairing that it didn't help. It's a superhero movie, and I don't think it'd have benefitted from an "EVERYTHING IS BAD AND WE SHOULD DO NOTHING!" sentiment (which is what I feel the message from the more cynical media is basically saying - we all suck!) but that maybe Trevor and the other soldiers, who have already been through this, have already begun to understand. There isn't perfection and there never will be, you can't fix everything, but that doesn't mean you give up. I think I like this so much too because of who I am; I really hate it when people are passive and despairing. Take a day to cry, and then get up and do something. I like that she saw that everyone was a mixed bag and still decided to stick around and help.
+ Ares silently showing was terrifying
- Kind of wish that the no-sound exchange between Trevor and Diana had stayed no sound. I think it'd have been much more powerful because we would all fill in the blanks. I thought it was a fun effect too - silence is super effective after a thousand explosions!
+ Well done plane scene
+ Kinda fun to have the usual girlfriend-killed-motivating-the-hero reversed. Oh, really, that was the whole movie. +++++++++++++ like I said I didn't realize I wanted it so bad.

I've been reading bits and pieces on meme, missing the bulk of it because I watched it later. I think maybe the biggest criticism of the film, which I kind of also hesitate levelling at it, is that it's not outspokenly feminist. Oh, I'm sick of being fed the lines about strong characters blah blah. And I like Diana very much, I do think she's a great power fantasy, love the power and determination she had. But she almost entirely side-steps the feminism issue. They missed a chance with Etta, too - Etta isn't a superhero but neither were the suffragettes. Etta's navigating a man's world, too. I have really mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I really dislike it when media tries to teach a moral lesson. I also (for reasons including selfish ones) do not wish to see female-led films fail, and because a massive chunk of the general population still think feminism is a dirty word, am more willing to let it slide. But she doesn't address it at all. And she's Wonder Woman! And then I wonder - is it better that way? Not to have to state it explicitly, just let the actions answer the question? Are we at the point where we can do that? (Maybe not.) I don't know. There has to be a skilful way to walk that line.

5/10 mango mousse cake. Batter not beat properly, lil lumps in the mousse. The mango bit was only a thin layer on top. Needs more mango. Still, better than nothing.

8/10 on Sound of Music (half way through). Uh, I discovered that Windows 10 cannot natively play DVD. WTF. I mean, I should have downloaded VLC from the start but really?

It's like consuming a capsule of pop culture references. If for nothing else I'd have liked the movie. I didn't know sixteen going on seventeen is a song! Kind of cute near the end seventeen-going-on-eighteen but not a huge fan. More to come.

3/10 ingress life at present. Six - count them, six - enemy agents came up in probably a car and smashed the whole of my farm while I was out at dinner, and now I'm sad. I'll go out and repair it in a bit. It was so nicely built up, dammit! I am slightly proud it takes so many to take out my stuff though. Sadly, it means I have to be careful for a bit about gear, because I won't have a base to farm stuff from, but it'll build up OK. We will rebuild!

Crosspost: http://silverflight8.dreamwidth.org/179748.html.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 31st, 2017 05:58 am (UTC)
the last was Michelle Sagara's Cast in Shadow. That one was not a good book.

I've read something like 6? (ETA: 8, apparently XD) books in this series, through immense frustration, because I love some of the things it COULD be -- I actually really like the Barrani (and am OK that she never comes out and calls them Elves, heh), and the way she does Dragons, and I have a soft spot for a fantasy metropolis with a lot of different races, and the general urban feel of it. But god, the writing is so needlessly wordy and randomly stream-of-consciousness, and it makes me want to take a red pencil to the text and edit it very heavily, which definitely interferes with my enjoyment of the world/story.

Edited at 2017-07-31 06:00 am (UTC)
Jul. 31st, 2017 03:54 pm (UTC)
Eight books?! I'm very impressed actually. I'd definitely have thrown the book at some point and given up haha.

I really like kitchen sink fantasy too! and it please me that urban fantasy does this a lot (limited scope for dryads in the city though...) YES the writing is so frustrating. She keeps cutting from one scene to another too, which makes everything feel like it's abrupt.
Jul. 31st, 2017 03:59 pm (UTC)
Over a long period of time, though. I can't seem to read more than two of these back to back without getting frustrated and wandering off -- and sometimes more than one.

You're right, urban fantasy has tended towards kitchen sink worldbuilding lately, which is nice. I do think I prefer it in a secondary world context even more, but other than Discworld, there don't seem to be any actually good examples of that genre (or at least not recently). Or maybe I've been unlucky with the ones I've picked up...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )



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