What are some of the hard things you've done recently? What are some hard things you haven't gotten to yet, but need to do?
Sam Bourne: To Kill the President
It was to be expected: the first Donald Trump era thriller (that I've read). Which takes full advantage of the fact that when previously any critic worth their salt would have complained about the one dimensional characterisation of the villains and the lack of realism in the US voting someone like that into power and then the Republican Party falling in line, followed by no checks and balances from any institution after even the Supreme Court caves due to the stolen seat being filled by the new President's choice, now all this looks like, well, realism.
( Spoilers from an age where reality beggars caricature )
Philip Kerr: March Violets.
This is the first novel of a mystery series which I heard/read about via The New Yorker. The article in question was enthusiastic enought to overcome my instinctive squick at the premise, to wit: hard-boiled/noir detective novel set in the Third Reich. Basically, what if Philip Marlowe was German? Wandering those mean streets as a cynic with an ethical core takes a whole new meaning if the authories aren't just corrupt but a dictatorship preparing for war and genocide. Our hero is Bernie Gunther, former policeman who quit the force in 1933 for the obvious reason given that the novel positions he has ethics, and became a private investigator instead. Kerr serves up all the usual hard boiled/ noir tropes - untrustworthy millionaire clients, corrupt cops, shady dames -, complete with Chandleresque language, and he did his research - the novel's setting is Berlin in 1936, around the Olympic Games, and in addition to the well drawn Berlin geography, there are some great nods to Fritz Lang's movie M via some of the supporting cast, gangsters (given that Bernie Gunther originally gets hired to recover some diamonds, though of course it turns out it's far more complicated and what everyone is after is something else altogether. The brief appearances by historic figures (Göring and Heydrich, to be precise) are drawn credibly, which is to say their vileness comes across without Kerr employing sledge-hammery moustache twirling; in fact, he uses Göring's bonhommie manners to make him chilling.
As opposed to To Kill a President, this actually is a good novel. But. I still struggle somewhat with the basic premise. This is the first novel of what according ot the New Yorker article I'd read are twelve so far, and already I'm having to suspend disbelief about Bernie's continued survival. There's no reason why Heydrich at the end of this first novel shouldn't have gotten him killed, for example. And since we're in 1936, Bernie would still have the possibility to leave the country, and given what happens to him in this novel, it's hard to wonder why he doesn't, given he has no dependants who'd suffer for it. Yes, the decision to emigrate wasn't as easy as hindsight would have it if you weren't rich and didn't have friends abroad, but again, some truly harrowing things happen to Bernie in this novel which would serve as an incentive to get the hell out of Germany if ever there was one beyond the general situation of the country.
With this caveat, I'll keep reading.
The first girl who arrived was Nirva. She appeared on the horizon in a small rowboat, her too-thin arms fighting the oars as well as the ocean. By the time the sentry ship came for her, she was rowing on will alone, tears streaming down her face and her hands bloody. Her answer, when challenged by Paraskeve, was to hold up a stoppered glass bottle that held a folded a note inside.
“To Queen Hippolyta, from her loyal subject and daughter, Diana,” the outside read.
Nirva and her bottle and her meager pack, tied in a knot any Amazon would recognize from her earliest training, were brought to the Queen. Nirva did not speak - could not speak - and they only learned her name from the letter inside. She was an Armenian from Mardin who had lost her home and her family along with her words and so much else and Diana had sent her to Themyscira to heal. “Please, my Queen, I beg you to let our home be a home to her, let my sisters be sisters to her, let our strength protect her until she regains her own, let our peace fill her heart.”
Nirva’s timorousness and frailty both angered the Amazons and moved them to pity. She was sent to live with Euadne, since there were no such thing as guest quarters in a land with no visitors.
It took months for her to stop flinching at footsteps, longer still for her to find her voice - emerging finally as a scream, primal and raw. Her story, once told, gave rise to much discussion in the Queen’s council over the future of the Amazons and the protection of Themyscira. What was not discussed, at least not in front of Hippolyta, was what had become of Diana.
Nirva grew stronger and less haunted, the dimness in her eyes replaced with the spark of life. She learned archery and horsemanship, since every Amazon must know how to defend herself and her city. But while she eventually earned her own set of armor, she found her true place by the glassmaker’s brazier as an apprentice to Klytie.
I will do the best I can to fill new prompts and pick up some from the previous session. I have no idea how long it'll take. My body is being kind of cranky after last week's adventures, and the internet is a bit iffy although nowhere near as bad as it was earlier this month. Witch me luck, eh?
( Ramblings beneath the cut )
WARNING: This poem contains some intense and controversial topics. Highlight to read the more detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. You-all wanted to see the gaybashers who attacked Kenzie curbstomped by the Iron Horses, so here it is. Watch out for conspiracy to commit assault, religious issues, conflicting obligations, bloody souvenirs, desire for vengeance, magical/spiritual stalking of culpable parties, Thunderbird is fucking scary and so is his follower, rude language, using superpowers against ordinary opponents, gaybashers stalking around a gay bar, oblique references to pony play, references to poaching and hazardous equipment, graphic violence, vigilante justice, use of barbed wire as a rumble weapon, probable permanent injury, brutal application of inconvenient truth, temporary hearing impairment, explanation of internalized oppression and repression of identity, complicated transgender issues, and other mayhem. This is a major plot development, so skipping it would leave a big gap, but the main thing you need to know is simply that the Iron Horses hunt down the gaybashers and beat the shit out of them. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.
( Read more... )
Nominations are now open for the Fandom Growth Exchange! The Fandom Growth Exchange is a multi-fandom exchange for fandoms, relationships, and characters that have ten or fewer complete fics (or five or fewer contributing authors) on AO3. Check out the tagset!
Nominations close: July 31st at 11:55 PM UTC
Sign-ups open: August 3rd at 11:55 PM UTC
Sign-ups close: August 17th at 11:55 PM UTC
Assignments sent: August 22nd at 11:55 PM UTC
Default deadline: October 8th at 11:55 PM UTC
Assignments due: October 22nd at 11:55 PM UTC
Works revealed: November 3rd at 11:55 PM UTC
Authors revealed: November 8th at 11:55 PM UTC
There are bees everywhere. In the wildflower garden, I saw a big bumblebee visiting every flower on this plant. I saw a small black bee and a tiny metallic green one on the echinacea. These are probably native species, some of which are rarely seen. All had large panniers of yellow pollen collected from the flowers. :D Beeeeeees!
EDIT 7/17/17: Round 2, I picked a few blackberries.
EDIT 7/17/17: Round 3, I planted some morning glories and watered plants.
EDIT 7/17/17: Round 4, I weeded about half of the septic garden.
Garden Photos 7-16-17 (pots)
Garden Photos 7-16-17 (prairie garden)
I'm back at the keyboard now after a busy week.
The second session of the July Poetry Fishbowl will open on Tuesday, July 18.
Poetry in Microfunding:
"A Hope and a Promise" belongs to Polychrome Heroics. Aidan and Mrs. Ozenne talk more about Saraphina as she interacts with another toddler. "The Inner Transition" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Berettaflies. Valor's Widow finds out what Stylet has in his backpack.
Weather has been steamy here. It rained a little yesterday. Currently blooming: dandelions, marigolds, petunias, lantana, million bells, snapdragons, zinnias, firecracker plant, white and red clover, morning glories, spiderwort, echinacea, blackberry lilies, yellow coneflowers, Queen Anne's lace, frost asters, and some yellow thing in the wildflower garden. Corn is tasseling. I need to pick more blackberries. I think there are two jalapeno plants with tiny peppers on them, and more cayenne too. \o/ Evidently peppers grow better in pots than my efforts with tomatoes.
Just now, I went out and watered plants. It is starting to spit rain, so hopefully we'll get some more.
Jalapeno peppers are getting bigger, some about thumb-size now. Blackberries are ripening.
On to more spoilery musings ( beneath the cut. )