Staying at home is the norm... What are you reading?

Absent

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The boring one
So because of The Little Mermaid story I'm writing, reading things respective to the lore/overall myths, so on that note:

-Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch (2/5)

-Kronan and the Mermaid: A Tale of Old Ireland (4/5)

-The Little Mermaid (Dark Horse adaptation) (3/5)
Hey, add Mark Siegel's "Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson".
 

Thaluikhain

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"The Black Stone" by Robert E. Howard, best know for being the author of Conan the Barbarian, and being the REH that isn't Heinlein.

Ok, this is only a short story, written in Lovecraftian style (the links between this REH and Lovecraft are well-documented). that works pretty well. But there's a common thing in Lovecraft stories about the narrator destroying the evidence because the world must never know, and the mere existence of strange things is terrifying, which often doesn't sit well with modern audiences.

In this, REH can't resist getting all REH, and the terrible secret is that there was an evil cult ruled by a toad monster, but they were wiped out by humans centuries ago, as a minor and forgotten footnote of a much larger human war. Ok, there are traces and evidence of it still around, but brave Turks (with blades blessed centuries ago by Mohammed) crushed them utterly. Which sounds like a much more interesting story (or fluff for a Warhammer game), and sorta negates them as a scary thing.

Ok, the world is not as we know it, and the story was well written, but still.
 
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Hawki

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Hey, add Mark Siegel's "Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson".
I'll keep that in mind, but it doesn't help me much as:

-Story's for FFN (as always), and set in the Disney cartoon continuity

-By my recknoning, TLM takes place sometime in the 1770s/80s, whereas Mermaid in the Hudson takes place in the late 19th century. It's a potential source of lore/mythos ideas, but it's prohibitive to reference as an event (even the Kronan story is unlikely to be referenced - "kill your darlings" and all that)

-I'd actually have to pay for those - I can get comic scans for free. :p
 

Thaluikhain

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Just finished The Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Got the dvd of the film of The Mortal Engines some time ago. Not to be confused with The Mortal Instruments. That one is about a mysterious red-haired young woman who is fighting against a well-respected leader who went off the deep end named Valentine, who turns out to be her father, and she's accompanied by a dorky friend who fancies her played by Robert Sheehan. By contrast this one one is about a mysterious red-haired young woman who is fighting against a well-respected leader who went off the deep end named Valentine, who turns out to be her father, and she's accompanied by a dorky friend who fancies her played by Robert Sheehan. There was also a Mortal Instruments tv series, with Valentine played by Alan van Sprang, who you might remember from Reign, in which he plays a well-respected leader who went off the deep end, who is occasionally troubled by a mysterious red-haired young woman that turns out to be his step-daughter.

You might remember The Mortal Engines film because it comes up towards the top of lists of the most expensive box office bombs of all time. And not for no reason, it's long, often dull, full of cliches and padding. But the movie departs a lot fro the book, especially the ending. I wish I'd finished early so I could have made a glowing review of the book for the 1st of April, because the film massively improved on the book.

Yeah, I haven't read every YA book, but this seems to be the most YA-sty YA book to ever have YA-ed. It's just so unrelentingly meh. The idea it starts with, of London chasing after a smaller town to eat is unusual, but that doesn't count if you can't make some sort of story out of it. Having an interesting first line and nothing much else doesn't make a novel. It's like how The Communist Manifesto starts off talking about frightful spectres and then the rest of the book is about politics and economics.

Boo!
 
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Hawki

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You might remember The Mortal Engines film because it comes up towards the top of lists of the most expensive box office bombs of all time. And not for no reason, it's long, often dull, full of cliches and padding.
:(
 

Baffle

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Fashionopolis. It's a exploration (or more likely exposé) of fashion, particularly fast fashion, and the harms it does. The author's already annoyed me though.

I just wanted to know what darts (not the Eric Bristow type) were tbh.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

The Little Mermaid (1992 comic series) (3/5)

The Little Mermaid (1994 comic series) (3/5)

The Secret of Black Rock (3/5)
 

Ag3ma

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Midway (Tony Ballantyne)

Ballantyne is best known as a SF author (and little known even then): this is a collection of short stories, only one of which is SF. As with Ballantyne's Penrose series, there is a theme about storytelling itself: they are interlinked by an author's narration of these short stories, with the line between Ballantyne and the narrating author very blurry. They were written around the hospitalisation and eventual death of Ballantyne's father in real life, and as such are a meditation on life, change, and grief. I very much enjoy Ballantyne's work - although as with many more interesting authors, he's clearly on the boundaries of profitability for publishing firms. "Enjoy" is probably not the right word for this book, over which a heavy emotional weight hangs, but I did appreciate it a great deal.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

Nine from the Nine Worlds (3/5)

Can You Catch a Mermaid? (3/5)

Ariel and the Aquamarine Jewel (2/5)

Ariel’s Baby Beau (3/5)

Ariel’s Adventure Journal: The Curse of the Sea Witches (3/5)

The Telara Chronicles (2/5)

The Little Mermaid (Metaphrog) (3/5)

(Told you you'd see a lot of mermaid stuff here.)
 

Thaluikhain

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Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

12 year old kid who has a pretty rubbish life finds out he is special and goes on an adventure. It's not very good, but it is adequately good, which is more than can be said for most YA.

Notable in that the main character has ADHD and dyslexia, I think because the author's kid has them and the author wanted them to be represented. Although, the hero doesn't really have ADHD and dyslexia, it's revealed that what seems to be ADHD is really superhuman combat reflexes, and what seems to be dyslexia is really him being hardwired to read ancient Greek. Which seems like a cop out, but him struggling to read English because of not!dyslexia keeps coming up, so fair enough.

And, unless I missed it, his comedy sidekick friend/minion isn't mentioned as being black. He is in the movie, they seemed to look at the character and decided they could make a black stereotype out of him.

I got the book secondhand for $2, a much better investment than The Mortal Engines, and I expect I will buy the sequel as well.
 

BrawlMan

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Marvel-Verse: Shang-Chi (3/5)

This is a collection of five Marvel comics featuring Shang-Chi. I say "feature," not "star," because he only stars in 2 of them. The other 3 are ones where he's an ancillilary character in a Wolverine story and two Spider-Man stories. That's, um...something. 0_0

This is a chicken and egg scenario, but I'll just say it, at least in the context of these stories, Shang-Chi is boring. His character is "East Asian martial arts expert," with nothing beyond that. It's outright bizzare that in this graphic novel, a new reader would learn more about the backstories of Wolverine and Peter Parker than Shang Chi himself, which indicates that either the editors had no confidence in the character, or alternatively, there's no interesting backstory to draw from. I can't answer that question, but, um yeah.

Anyway, it's fine, I guess, but it's weird in what it does, and doesn't focus on.
I bought and read Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings Mini Series (2022). This definitely gives him more character and agency beyond Bruce Lee clone that punches and kicks things. This Shang in particular struggles with wanting to keep the Rings and tossing them away in fear of becoming like his father. They do a good job considering the amount of time spent on the project. There's even a nice and heartwarming character moment in the final issues that ties that theme altogether. One I will not spoil.

What helps with this series, is that the same writer for the later ATLA comics, wrote this: Gene Yang. The artwork and inking is amazing. Lightning and shading are great, appropriately colorful, and nothing is too dark. I'm a on Marvel kick for lesser known heroes, or something different. I might do Ironheart next, or Iron Fist. More than likely Ironheart to mix things up. IF can wait, since I got enough mystical martial arts action already.

 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

My Name is Not Refugee (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Wish (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: Flounder to the Rescue (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: Flounder’s Gift (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Dear Diary (3/5)

Once Upon a Princess (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Royal Wedding (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Shimmering Star Necklace (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Birthday Surprise (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Return to the Sea (3/5)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Nintendo Power) (3/5)

The War of the Worlds (Dobbs) (3/5)

Indiana Jones Adventures: Volume 1 (3/5)

The Little Mermaid (Marvel) (3/5)

...yes, I'm really sick of the mermaid stuff. Even factoring in the intended age group issue, I wouldn't mind as much if they actually bothered keeping things consistent (I've lost track of the no. of times Christmas has been introduced to Atlantica, not to mention that taking things as writ, Ariel apparently wrote two separate diaries with separate information during the film), but alas, that wasn't the case. And yes, I know fairy tales aren't really based around canon or continuity, but bleh.
 

Thaluikhain

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More Percy Jackson books, up to the fifth one Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth, which I've just started.

The series continues to not be great, but also not be bad either. Which is more than can be said of a lot of YA stuff, so it gets a pass fro me.
 
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Hawki

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Read some (mainly Little Mermaid and I'm sick of it) stuff:

The Little Mermaid: Ariel and the Mysterious World Above (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel and the Secret Grotto (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Christmas Under the Sea (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: It’s a Rule (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Sea Symphony (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Watch Out, Ariel! (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Sea Witch and the Sharks (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel and Zippy (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Dolphin Adventure (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Dance Class (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel and the Lost Whirlpool (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Holiday Treasure Hunt (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Quest for the Purple Pearl (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Part of Their World (4/5)

Treasure, the Kitten Who Loved the Sea (2/5)

Treasure’s High-seas Adventure (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel and the Whale Song (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel is My Babysitter (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel is Fearless (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Sweet Dreams (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Night Lights (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel and the Sea Wolf (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Tambourine Dance (4/5)

The Little Mermaid: Pearl of Wisdom (2/5)

The Little Mermaid: Coral Festival Chaos (2/5)

Star Wars: The High Republic – Trail of Shadows (3/5)

Superman ’78 (3/5)
 

Baffle

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The Children God Forgot by Graham Masterton, who is, I'm surprised to find out, a successful author.

I bailed on the book. It's littered with lazy stereotypes and casual racism. There's a man, introduced only briefly, with a large and complex nose, who we can imagine might swoop down from the skies and steal a child (like an eagle, for example). So there's that.
 

Drathnoxis

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I finished the first 7 volumes of Pokemon Adventure concluding the Gen I sagas. Earlier I said it stuck closer to the games and I need to firmly rescind that comment, Pokemon Adventure is so loose with the canon it's crazy. So in this manga half the gym leaders are on Team Rocket, the gym badges are mystical macguffins that have incredible powers that team rocket uses to fuse the three legendary birds into one pokemon, and the elite four are the big bads with the goal of genocide of all mankind.

The trainers are a lot more involved in battles here, and it's clear the writer wanted to take additional inspiration from other shonen manga, like Dragon Ball. Especially after you see a city get nuked by a hyperbeam. There's not really any reason for the trainers to be so involved in battles, but they are, frequently unnecessarily riding the pokemon during battle or just outright being the target of the attacks. We see multiple trainers train by standing in the path of flaming boulders and only throwing their pokeball at the last possible moment. The battles are well drawn, but sloppily written. Frequently characters will struggle against their enemy until pulling a win out of nowhere and explain it by some nonsensical strategy. The amount of pokemon each trainer uses is completely arbitrary as well. In Red's Pokemon League Championship match he uses 4 pokemon to knock out 3 of Green's pokemon and is declared the winner. Umm, ok then. It's just inconsistent is all. There isn't any weight behind anything written and it is all subject to be ignored or rewritten as convenient. Example:



This arbok survives, I'm serious. It is (much) later revealed that Koga's arbok has the power to regenerate as long as it's head remains undamaged. Yeah. The Yellow arc becomes much more ridiculous in general. Yellow has the power to read pokemon's minds, and and heal them by magic because they are a child from Viridian. Lance has to be defeated by someone from Viridian for no adequately explained reason, turning this into a chosen one plot. Then, at the end of the final battle Yellow overcomes the combined power of the 8 trainer badges that was powering up unnamed Lugia and disburses it across the lands making plants instantly grow in areas previously ravaged by mankind. Still not really sure why the trainer badges possess this kind of power, especially since we see that Misty and Erika each have another copy of their badges in this arc. I could go on for a very long time talking about all the things that come out of nowhere or don't make sense in this manga, but I don't think anybody cares to read that.

I don't fault the manga from differing from the games. In fact, the reason I'm even reading through the different pokemon mangas is to see different interpretations of the pokemon world from a time before things were well established. The thing I fault the manga for is feeling like the author is making it up as he goes along.

I really should go back and finish Electric Tales of Pikachu, because I stopped reading that one volume before the end.


I can't compare it to Electric Tale of Pikachu, but I can compare it to the anime.

I'll put it this way. When Pokemon Origins came out, a lot of people praised Red for being competent where Ash wasn't. I could see the point, even if I didn't necessarily agree with it (and after watching Sun/Moon, I'm even less sure about it). Here, we have the same paradox - is it better to have a competent trainer who lacks personality, or is it better to have a character with personality that isn't a good trainer?

Red is already a competent trainer before getting his bulbasaur here. He doesn't develop as a character. He easily catches pokemon and wins battles. Though, bizzarely, he catches a lot of pokemon, but doesn't seem to use them. By the end of vol. 1, his team consists of polywrath, pikachu, and bulbasaur (and maybe something else? I forget). Blue, similarly, is nowhere near as much of an asshole as Gary. He's Red's rival, sure, but not an asshole.

And okay, sure, I don't really go to pokemon for in-depth character development - the only reason I read this was because I had free time at the library on lunch break - same reason I read many of these comics because I can easily read them in less than an hour. And yes, it's aimed at kids. But even so...

Also, the volume makes some weird changes to the gym leaders. Brock and Misty are mostly the same, and Misty travels with Red before arriving at her gym, but from a story standpoint, it feels redundant. You introduce a character, keep the character, abandon the character, move on. Also, Surge runs a pokemon trafficking ring out of the S.S. Anne, and Koga is a Team Rocket agent who fights against Red and Blue at Lavender Tower (which is where the volume ends).

So, yeah. If I'm comparing it to the anime, I'd simply say that the anime's better, because it has more time to flesh out its characters, and I'd take Ash over Red, because seeing Ash struggle and succeed is better than Red simply winning everything.
Yeah, I'd pretty much agree with all of this after reading it.
 
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Hawki

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The Little Mermaid: Ariel Makes a Splash (2/5)


This book was of limited use to me, like, more than usual, since the 2023 film isn't in the same continuity as the 1989 film and its many, many, MANY spinoffs. But a reading of it came up on YouTube, and I figured "fine, I can spend a few minutes."


Well, far as I can tell, the 2023 movie is the exact same movie as the 1989 one, and I do mean exact. The one single difference is that Ariel kills Ursula in place of Eric, and I could say why that's stupid bereft of any other alterations, but really, it's beside the point. Not that I ever had hopes for the '23 movie, in part because I don't really like the '89 movie, but based on this, it's more of the same, and absolutely nothing else.


Yay...
 

Thaluikhain

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What did you think of Moby Dick? I've started once or twice, but never actually finished.
 

lostinreality

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Started Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Murakami, like it so far. I'm actually also interested in reading some thoughts on Moby Dick. A long time ago, I couldn't make myself keep reading it, and this hardly ever happens to me. Naturally, I can't remember the reason, anyway, I'm more than willing to give it another chance.