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[sticky post] Fic Master Post

CURRENT TALLY OF COMPLETED FIC WORDAGE: 430,430
All Star Trek stories are Kirk/McCoy unless otherwise stated.
All Avengers stories are Steve/Tony unless otherwise stated.

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Obligatory Statement on LJ

I've been crossposting between LJ and DW since the servers were being moved to Russia; I've also deactivated my auto-renew account for lj because I don't want them to have access to my financials. I don't think the recent LJ TOS statement will be legally enforceable in the US, but I also don't foresee any organizations going to the mattress about it either.  That said, if LJ ups and closes shop, all my stuff is at my DW account: caitri.dreamwidth.org. 

Good night and good luck, I guess.

Lucifer S5 is happening!!!!!!!!

 But it will be the last season!!! 

I am conflicted. On the one hand: I appreciate that the extra seasons are a gift to fans, but on the other, they could easily do seven seasons. EASILY. Losing yet another one of my shows just bugs me.

Indulgence

 So I'm not much of a con person--it's a social anxiety thing, plus the fact that as much as I like certain actors, in general I would not want to be in a room with them.

That said. I've kind of periodically thought about going to a Supernatural con for years. And this year, just before the show's ending was announced, I agreed to go to Chicon with one of my fan friends. Photo ops went on sale this week, and I bought three, because might as well...go all the way, I think. (I bought one with J2, one with Misha as Castiel, and one with Misha.) Now I'm waiting for the Non-Absurdly-Expensive tickets to go onsale.

I feel ridonkulously indulgent. I recognize I am not spending near as much as some people do on these things, but on the other hand I'm not used to spending money on myself outside of immediate needs and work stuff. And my buddy is going to help me practice photogenic looks so I can get good pics. (My plan is to take a large 19th c. Shakespeare I have and do a pose where I am pointing to something in it, as if I am helping the boys with research. I am overly excited about this and will totally put the pics in my office.)
(such as it was)

I've meant to write this all week, but I've been tired/ busy. So it's not a full meta.

I think I'm one of the few people who was okay with the ending. (NB That said I don't think that's the ending we'll get in the books, assuming we ever do get said books.) I admire the literary symmetry of it, and the homage to The Scouring of the Shire.

It didn't match up with my headcanons, which I consider superior, but I would, because I am a fangirl, but that's another thing. And also what fic is for. 

And now to be overly honest, and kind of a dick:

The best part of GoT being over is all the people who have never read a goddamn bit of genre in their lives will go. the fuck. away. and stop giving their hot takes on genre elevation/transcendence/whatever. Is GRRM a good writer? Yes. Do I enjoy his books? Sometimes more than others (the problematic sex needs to fucking stop, jesus). Is GoT/ASoIaF superior to all other fantasy novels? NOPE NOPE NOPE. Does gritty make genre better? Not necessarily.

So fuckin' tired of those arguments from the past 8 years, jfc. /rant

Rushed Pop Culture Thoughts

Because I am tired and tomorrow will be a Very Long Day Indeed.

This weekend I binge-watched Lucifer S4. I struggled a bit at first with the way one of the main characters was OOC, but I thought it was usefully explained towards the end. Compressed to ten episodes and now on Netflix rather than Fox, the CGI was upped, the adult content a little more so (we got to see Luci's butt, and even better, Ella's), but the pacing felt rushed, despite the ten eps taking place within a time frame of eight months or so. All that said, I still adore everyone in that bar, and earnestly hope it is renewed for S5.

Meanwhile I have been enjoying Game of Thrones this season, and look forward to the grand finale this weekend. I know a lot of people have been disappointed by decisions, which I get--I'm less than thrilled by some of them too--but I'm also like, Were we not here for the plot twists rather than the characters anyway? I mean really.

Also, check out this twitter thread  on GoT by one of the SPN writers, notes that "what a show like Supernatural promises its audience in completion is so different than what a show like GoT owes" and "For one thing, SPN believes in heroism--GoT never really has. For another, for all its worldbuilding, SPN is a show about core characters; GoT is about a world. Both shows foster strong emotional identification with their characters--but on SPN that is the whole point; on GoT it is more of a byproduct/enticement for a larger point/story." To me this bodes Really Well for whatever SPN's epic finale is next year. 

Today in Rare Pairs That Don't Exist

Ella Lopez and Sam Winchester meeting on the internet and spending so much time geeking on some forensic science web board (or something). Eventually the boys are in LA for a case and Sam is all, like, "hey wanna meet?" and he has a crush on her anyway but oh hey it turns out she's so tiny and wonderful and also oops she's forensics and he's pretending to be FBI and oh hey CASE whoops, hijinks ensue, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO EXPLAIN LUCIFER BEYONG "MULTIVERSE" but also Ella would be the President of the Destiel Shipping Club after five minutes. "Oh my God, JUST KISS ALREADY" she literally accidentally shouts at them and Sam's rolling his eyes like "I have been fucking saying that for years, bite me" at them. 

And okay but also For Reasons imagine Jody and Donna and Ella and Chloe. Another cop conference? Why the hell not.

Amenadiel and Castiel would be awkward, humanity loving angel bros. 

Would Dan and Dean end up going to improv together? WHO KNOWS.

Actually. Imagine Dean and Dr. Linda and AN HOUR OF GODDAMN THERAPY.

Meanwhile Jack is left unattended with Maze. "Tell me everything you know about sex. Go." indeed.

Anyways, fluff everywhere and nothing hurts, please and thank you!

Settling In

This weekend was spent hanging art and moving books around to where I want them to live. I think I have 2/3 in place, and the remaining third are genre paperbacks that need to be sorted anyhow. Am disconcerted that I appear to be missing 6 Star Trek volumes from my comics subscription--am worried if they somehow got put in a wrong box OR, hopefully this is what happened, when I paused my subscription they didn't proceed from the numbers, and with my stuff packed up for months it is so hard to tell. SIGH. Worst case scenario, I end up buying the missing volumes again. But it hurts my ocd.

In other news, am planning on taking a research day this week. Fingers crossed I can get some good writing done and finish a chapter!! If so, then all I'll need is an Afterward, and then I can send the thing off to my advisor!

Hmm, what else is going on? Mostly I am just busy. It's weird--I feel like I've been at work for ages, but it's been less than two whole months. On the plus side, I have friends already and almost always have people to eat lunch with and geek with, and it's lovely! On the negative side--still SO MUCH to learn, and I don't know what I don't know...

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 Incomplete thoughts on pop culture consumption and spoiler anxiety--and keep in mind this comes from a Gemini, so I'm going back and forth on this a lot.
 
One of the big papers--prob the NYT--had a piece yesterday about how everyone watching Game of Thrones talked about it on social media while watching or immediately afterwards, as if this was a new thing and not just fan culture gone mainstream.
 
Like, I remember doing that back in the 90s with Highlander and Buffy. "Social media" consisted of Yahoo chat rooms, licensed message boards, and fan message boards, but we were there. Then came the mid-2000s, and Television Without Pity, and thus the episode recap was born. (Does anyone remember recaps before TWOP?) (Also, RIP, TWOP.) I honestly don't remember if/how spoilers figured into it, back in those days before DVR and if you missed it and didn't record it, you missed it.
 
(Side-note for those who weren't there for the 1990s: If you liked a cult show and they didn't make a box set and it wasn't in syndication, you were SOL. I literally never saw all of season 1 of Buffy until ca. 2002 when I got the dvd set, as a VHS copy of the full season was not released, or not released where I could get it anyhow. I had to experience S1 of Buffy by READING FAN TRANSCRIPTIONS OF ENTIRE EPISODES.)
 
And now here we are today and we have mass media but it's also tiered because premium channels and subscriptions and stuff. I have my well-worn gripe here about why do people complain about subscribing to CBS All-Access for Star Trek Discovery when literally NO ONE gripes about getting HBO for 2 months every year for Game of Thrones. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE I DO NOT UNDERSTAAAAAAAND.
 
I mean aside from, yes all the services and competition and blah blah, and consumption as means and as cultural performativity maybe and--something something?
 
Which ALL COMES DOWN TO ME WONDERING: If 18 million people watched Game of Thrones this weekend--and they did--how is that different than watching a big football game? Is it because a football game loses its value after the epic conclusion and thus the...plot will not be diminished? .... This might be a bad metaphor, I will never know because I do not understand the sportsballs. But in terms of people accessing the same content widely to communicate about it?
 
And it's very different from watching Avengers: Endgame because of the finite number of seats in theaters and so on, to say nothing of managing babysitting and whatnot for people with kids who can watch GoT when they have gone to bed.
 
Except it's maybe not so different because again cultural consumption and a $15 movie ticket vs. $15/month tv subscription? Or maybe it is, I'm not sure.
 
(Told you I was gonna Gemini this.)
 
TL:DR What does it mean to consume--or not--popular culture en masse at once (or not)?

How Dare You, Captain Pike

 Photo from behind the scenes of the season finale of Discovery, in which Anson Mount has his Captain's jacket open and I feel so attacked.





How DARE you, sir. HOW DARE.
 Spoiler free:

A part of me always thought it would end something like this--it explains everything including how DIS is not itself a retcon.

I also like the symmetry of how the season ends as it began, without a white dude on the bridge. Also I really, REALLY like how the women are the ones fixing problems, being heroic, being hilarious, and getting the job done.

Also also: Spock without a beard is....not hot.

Anyway, it will be a long year til the next season. Woof.

Looking for a Beta

A friend has requested (dared) me to write a Thorki/50 Shades fusion. Yes booze was involved at a conference. Yes I wrote a few pages intermittently today.

Who has time for some truly absurd crackfic? 

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Book Review: New Suns, ed. Nisi Shawl

 Crossposted to The Future Fire:

Nisi Shawl (ed.), New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Colour. Rebellion Publishing, 2019. Pp. 308. ISBN 978-1-78108-638-4. £8.99.



In her Afterword to New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Colour, editor Nisi Shawl explains the genesis of this anthology as stemming from a thwarted suggestion, years ago, to have a class of the Clarion West Writers Workshop consist of all students of color. Other committee members opposed the idea, including one who argued that they would “use them all up” in a single year and therefore it made sense to spread out nonwhite attendees for other years. The persistent belief, reflected in this account, that SFF is a genre primarily by and for white people has only recently begun to be dismantled, making collections like this one both a celebration of POC writers and a useful remedy for readers. The book is also firmly reflective of the political moment in America, going beyond the crises in popular culture from Racefail to Puppygate, with veiled (and not so veiled) references to Trump’s demagoguery and other sociopolitical tensions. The collection also encompasses both fantasy and science fiction stories, providing stories that hint at hope and at dystopia.

New Suns opens with a brief Foreword by LeVar Burton, who is perhaps best known for his dual roles as the host of Reading Rainbow and proponent of literacy, and as playing the character Geordi LaForge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Burton meditates on his love of the short story form and on genre more generally, noting that
The exploration of space and our eventual close encounters with other intelligent species will require us to leave our “colonizer” mentality behind and embrace an attitude of openness and humility we have yet to cultivate, let alone master. When a world leader advocates for the creation of a militaristic Space Force to exercise “dominance” in the heavens, we are moving further than ever from Gene Roddenberry’s United Federation of Planets. (10)
Indeed, the notion of decolonization is a critical subtext (if not text) of the volume, with many of the stories and their authors coming from non-Anglophone or Euro-centric contexts.

There are seventeen short stories in the book, and while they are all very strong, I will only discuss a few here. My personal favorite is a story that will haunt me for a while: “The Freedom of the Shifting Sea” by Jaymee Goh. Taking place in contemporary Malaysia, it is the story of a mother, a daughter, and a “mermaid” named Mayang. Instead of the usual fish tail, Mayang has the articulated body of predatory marine worms; the Eunice aphroditois species is referenced in the story, and a brief Google brought new and appreciated layers of the story to me. This story confronts colonization and the climatological genocide inherent in climate change in fascinating ways in its handful of pages; it is simultaneously perfect and yet I wish it were much, much longer. Minsoo Kang’s “The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations” is a delightful secret history told in the form of a historical anecdote, complete with citations and an extended marginal note. It retells a great war that wasn’t through the unexpected love story of two translators who find that a costly war can be averted through the use of unusual diplomacy and a certain freedom with translation. Presenting the story as a historical account sans dialogue lends it a verisimilitude that is incredibly appealing.

“One Easy Trick” by Hiromi Goto is more like magical realism than speculative fiction per se. In this story an overweight woman, Marnie, goes on a hike and abruptly loses her belly fat. The belly fat is an autonomous being who, feeling unappreciated, decides to go off with an appreciative bear instead. I was reminded of the Doctor Who episode with the “adipose” aliens, but under the amusement of this story’s premise is a darker story about insecurity and abandonment. Losing the fat does not improve Marnie’s life; indeed, she is left alone in the forest and seemingly determined to get the belly fat back in a rather different way….

“Come Home to Atropos” by Steven Barnes is a darkly comic satire told through the shooting script and notes for a commercial advertising euthanasia services for the elderly by way of a Caribbean vacation. Barnes manages to compactly combine the history of the transatlantic slave trade, late-stage capitalism, the pharmaceutical industry, the ongoing tragedies of tropical islands receiving no aid in the wake of ever-increasingly devastating hurricanes, and Greek mythology in a tight marvel of a story. Similarly, E. Lily Yu’s “Three Variations on a Theme of Imperial Attire” retells Hans Christian Anderson’s famous fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” for the age of social media and political figures. (It is utterly transparent who the misbegotten “emperor” is modeled on.) The story concludes with the beginning of the inevitable revolution, and the question of whether things will indeed change.

New Suns begins with an epigraph quoting Octavia Butler: “There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.” It speaks to the current issues preoccupying genre, and even the mainstream, today. Despite our hellscape reality, SFF is in something of a new golden age: For every space cowboy opera there is now one, if not more, volumes exploring non-European settings, queerness, and racial politics. New Suns does all of the above, showcasing contemporary talents with a purpose, and doing so extraordinarily well. This book is one of the strongest anthologies I have read in years, and I highly recommend it!

Belated Reactions to the New Job

 Belated because it has been a busy weird weekend with SPN's ending announcement, Scott's arrival with the Uhaul, and so on. (As soon as the second pod comes, we will have ALL OUR STUFF! Wooooo!!)

Okay, so, first week is a lot, and luckily it was spring break so it was low key. I'll get to co-teach my first class this week. Multiple people have reiterated the importance of giving myself time to learn the collections and go easy on myself, which I'm not sure is either because of something indicative of my personality or as a function of the broader culture, and very welcome either way. So I spent some quality time here and there just darting through the vaults, looking at things. Which. They have almost everything, so there's a lot to look at: A whole shelf with all the Shakespeare folios. The vast ranges of incunables, of manuscripts, and so on. It's overwhelming. They've also gone through multiple different cataloging experiments over the years, so they are arranged in various areas of Dewey, LC, and Accession Number, so it's all rather wackadoo. It will take time to learn.

Everyone is very nice and I've had lunchmates every day except for Friday, which was mostly a function of almost everyone taking the last day of spring break off. (It was basically me, another curator, and a handful of grad student workers all day.) So that's neat.

My office used to be a kind of storage area, so I'm in a weird spot outside the library, behind the office of another curator and across from the registrar, who they are going to move in the near future so we aren't climbing over each other. Thus far I've been teaching myself to say "hello!" as I come into the area so I don't startle her, but it's also a little awkward because her little cubicle thing makes it so when I come in I can't tell if she is there or not. The door to my office is also solid wood so I haven't closed it yet, as that seems rude, but eventually I will get to the point where I need to concentrate and will have to do it....

I was having some imposter syndrome last week but I am feeling better now. We'll see how long that lasts though...

SPN Ending in a Year

 I was going to post about my awesome first week at work, but then late yesterday came the news about S15 being the end of Supernatural. Which....on the one hand shouldn't have been a surprise, because that's a damn long time, and yet kind of was anyway, because it has been so good and with good ratings lately.

My favorite comment thus far is, "Anyone else notice that spn is ending exactly 10 years later than it was supposed to? Like alright, ‘fess up. Who made a crossroads deal?"

Tumblr is a mess/a little scary about it. A LOT of AKF folks talking about how the show saved their lives and so on. I'm a little worried there might be an actual spate of suicides when it's over. I hope not, but....SPN fandom is an intense, scary place.

I'm sad, and think I would be sadder were it not for the aforementioned awesome week. I do worry about the hole it will leave in my life though....even accounting for periods when I stopped watching and then came back, it's been a part of my life for a long time, and its absence will be felt.

At least there's always fandom...

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

 Last week I was at a conference and got to see my advisor and academic sister and it was lovely. I was perhaps a little boisterous but I was happy and couldn't help it.

Scary flight on the return home: In between batches of bad weather and after four delays, our pilot said "Let's just give this a shot and see what happens!" and quickly boarded everyone (we had initially boarded, then the first delay pulled everyone off again). They gave us snacks and drinks while still at the gate, then we had a bouncy (but not as bouncy as some I've had) flight to Champaign. Then before the descent the flight attendant was like "And please locate your nearest emergency exit!" which is not a sentence a nervous flyer wants to hear anywhere but on the ground. ANYWAY. But we got down safe and I am home with my critters.

This time next week I'll be on my first day at the job. I am excited and anxious and overwhelmed.

So Tired

 Scott was here for the weekend and we unloaded our POD. We can only get them delivered one at a time because the driveway is narrow if long. We....hadn't packed them with that in mind, so we got half our belongings, albeit most of the furniture. But this is how we ended up with a couch but no cushions, the bistro table and the dining chairs (these do not match, at all--high table, low chairs, kinda hilarious), a lot of drinkware but only a few plates, etc. But still it is stuff and the place is homey!

And then Scott had to go back to Colorado to finish working on things there. He's going to try to move here at the end of March. We have no idea how we managed to do the commuter marriage thing for two years. Sheesh.

I'm also working on my diss revisions. I'm almost 3/4 of the way through but I am tired and overwhelmed. I also have a conference next week, then I have a week to myself, then I start my new job.

... It's a lot. I am overwhelmed. OH, and it turns out my work clothes are in the other POD, so I did some clothes shopping on Amazon so I can try to make a decent impression...

Anyway. Tired, overwhelmed, it me.

Annoyed With Ads

Generic ads, as seen before Youtube videos, on the corners of webpages, and so on, are ....a thing you can't get rid of no matter how hard you try. In Boulder I could generally just tune them out, but here they have started to annoy me....because they include NRA ads. Now the PTB have enough data on me to know I won't go for xenophobic bullshit, so they try to feed me ads that feature Respectable Black People (TM) talking about how important the Second Amendment is to law-abiding folks such as themselves, and  .... I read fucking newspapers, I know how that shit works on so many levels, what the fuck. My GOD I hope those actors get paid well and take long luxurious showers after, because JFC. Anyway I spent way too much time tonight fiddling with Google Ads and such like to try to minimize that nonsense. Try to sell me gay fan art, try to sell me books, flowers, interior decorating items, but FFS don't try to sell me guns and shit.

Some Belated Notes on S2 Discovery

 I fell out of doing immediate episode reactions because of the move and trying to finish my notes on Supernatural. I'm really enjoying this season of DIS and so delighted that they are going all the places it is logical to go (HUGH!!!!!!!!!) as well as places I wouldn't suspect (Tilly and May in the mycelial network). 

They brought Ash/Voq back much more quickly than I would have expected, and good goddamn, they prettied him up. 




Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey.

Ahem. I'm also glad to see the Empress getting some quality time too, to say nothing of her IMMINENT SPIN-OFF!!!!! **shriek**

I also really, REALLY love Captain Pike. I wasn't enthused about concluding the epic changeover at the end of S1 that left us with an entire bridge crew of women and POC by reintroducing a white dude Captain, but...he's such a good guy, it's hard to resent him beyond the optics. He makes clear his respect for every member of the crew and immediately trusts Michael--which is also great given how she had to overcome so much crap in S1.

The faith/belief/science arc is fascinating, especially as watched against Supernatural (I keep imagining what a crossover between the two would like and what Cas would make of "the red angel.") and I can't wait to find out where they are going with it...

Epic SPN Rewatch: Season 13

 Season 13 is incredibly tight with very little wasted space. The plot charges forward consistently, and lots of stuff happens. It also works as a great sequel to Season 5, re-introducing Gabriel and Michael, and making Lucifer delightfully manic evil again. We also are introduced to Jack, Lucifer's nephilim son who was born in the final minutes of the S12 finale.

Jack is a great character, especially since in the early episodes it's left an open question as to whether he is good or evil. But it turns out that with three daddies--Cas, Sam, and Dean--he is a sweet boy trying to do his best with an infant's knowledge and powers greater than an archangel.

The first episodes of the season are difficult to watch; in the wake of Cas's death, Dean becomes literally suicidally depressed: in "Advanced Thanatology" Dean temporarily dies to solve a case, and tells Death he would be okay staying dead. He is angry and abusive to both Sam and Jack, but when Cas is restored at the end of that episode he is giddy and completely changes. (It's not hard, especially after 14.13 "Lebanon" to see this analogous to John Winchester.) In the following episode, "Tombstone" he is geeky and goofy; in 14.8 "Byzantium" we see one of Jack's favorite memories, a scene that takes place but is not shown during "Tombstone" in which Dean teaches him how to read a map. 

In "The Big Empty" we see what the afterlife is like for angels and demons--a void. Castiel awakes when Jack calls his name; when Cas awakes, The Empty itself awakes, and Cas annoys it so much by BEING AWAKE that The Empty restores him to life. (We see The Empty again briefly in S14, where Cas bargains with it to save Jack's life; The Empty restores Jack only to promise that it will come for Castiel on the day when he is finally Happy. I know I'm a fangirl, but it's REALLY hard not to see that as being a lot like the classic Buffy/Angel storyline. Especially when actual dialogue in 13.4 is "I have tiptoed through all your little tulips. Your memories, your little feelings, yes. I know what you hate. I know who you love… what you fear. There is nothing for you back there." YES TELL US WHO CAS LOVES, EMPTY.)

Meanwhile, Mary and Lucifer are stuck in Apocalypse world, only Lucifer eventually escapes with his power much nerfed. The angels briefly take him back to Heaven only to acknowledge his uselessness and eventually kick him out; it is revealed that so few angels survive that Heaven literally can barely keep the lights on. We meet Naomi again, briefly, as she struggles to keep the apparatus functioning.

Gabriel is brought back for a handful of episodes. "Unfinished Business" shows the aftermath of S5's "Hammer of the Gods" and Gabriel's disappearing act--hiding out in Monte Carlo with porn stars--with an awful lot of aping of American Gods. He's killed rather ignominiously at the end of "The Exodus" which is a bit of a waste, but so it goes.

In the season finale, "Let the Good Times Roll" Jack is about to kill himself to save Sam, when he says "I love you. I love all of you" much like dying Cas said to the group in S11, only the camera stays on him vs. how in the scene with Cas, the camera immediately goes to Dean's distraught face after Cas says "I love you" and then back to Cas, then back to the others. Will have to think on that some more.

There's two notable standalones: "Wayward Sisters" which was meant to be a backdoor pilot for a spin-off featuring Jody, Donna, Claire, and Alex that wasn't picked up. At the time I was rather underwhelmed by the ep--the ep is WAY TOO BUSY reintroducing characters and ham-handed in building up a budding friendship/retroactively canon "first love" (see 14.3 "The Scar") between Claire and Kaia before fridging Kaia. Rewatching I appreciate more of worked even as I am even more irritated by all that did not; this COULD have been an actual spin-off if they hadn't mucked it up so badly. Sigh. The other, "Scoobynatural" is a partially animated crossover with Scoobydoo that is hilarious and adorable and a thing that actually happened. Man, I love this show.

I don't think I'm prepared to rewatch all of S14; I think I'll wait til the season is over for that. Man I'm glad we're renewed for S15 though.

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