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

Absent

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The boring one
The Stagecoach (Lucky Luke)
Out of curiosity, I've read a couple of Lucky Luke in english, and the difference with the (older) french versions are very interesting. In particular when it comes to natives representation, with some (very slightly) racist jokes toned down, random indian-sounding gibberish replaced by actual lines in cheyenne, and footnotes correcting some misconceptions. It's a cute evolution, though I hope the naive (and generally well-meaning) oiginals will be preserved.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

Little Mermaid stuff

A Prince of Song and Sea (2/5)

Part of Your World: A Twisted Tale (4/5)

The Little Mermaid: Another Fine Mess (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Painting Party (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: As Fun As You Feel (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Bee Nice (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Big Switch (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Castles in the Sand (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: A Charmed Life (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Cheer Up, Sebastian (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Crabby Conductor (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Dear Diary (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Detective Sebastian (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: A Dragon’s Tail (3/5)

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

The Little Mermaid: Flounder, My Hero (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Good Sport (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Her Majesty, Ariel (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: How Does Your Garden Grow (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: The Magic Melody (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Paradise Island (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Scared Silly (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Scuttle’s Final Flight (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: A Slippery Deck (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: An Undersea Wish (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Whistles and Doubloons (3/5)

Star Wars stuff

Star Wars: The High Republic – The Master of Temple Peak (3/5)

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Slaves of the Republic (4/5)
 

gorfias

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I got to read Ten Questions for James, a graphic novel. I didn't find it stuffy but quite a page turner.

It is a sort of thought piece about Christian fundamentalism with a plot focused on a guy about to get really drunk at a bar when an angel sits in a booth with him and offers to answer any 10 questions. Glad I read it.

 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

Nimona (3/5)

The Little Mermaid Short Stories (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Guide to Merfolk (4/5)
 

Drathnoxis

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Read some stuff:

Nimona (3/5)

The Little Mermaid Short Stories (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Guide to Merfolk (4/5)
Good lord, you are still reading mermaid stuff. I thought you were writing fanfiction, but is it actually a treatise on the history of mermaids in fiction? I'm genuinely getting curious as to what this is going to be now.
 

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Good lord, you are still reading mermaid stuff. I thought you were writing fanfiction, but is it actually a treatise on the history of mermaids in fiction? I'm genuinely getting curious as to what this is going to be now.
Okay, as to what may or may not be happening, I'm going to try and keep this as simple/short as possible, and try and minimize self-promotion as much as possible. That being said, here's the sitch:

-Right now, I've got two 'Little Mermaid' multi-chaptered stories written, each around 12,000 words. The first one is mostly proofread, but I'm really not satisfied with it. Really don't want to sound pretentious, but it's lacking 'oomph,' and while I have ideas as to how said 'oomph' could be added, I'm really not sure if they'd work.

-Ergo, said story is idle for now. Far as writing goes right now (at home, not on trains/busses, that's another issue), I'm focusing on proofreading oneshots and poems. I've got a bunch of oneshots each a few thousand words long (and a few that are a few hundred word long) that still need to be proofread, so that's keeping me busy. Once this batch is done, then I'll be able to turn my attention back to the first 'Little Mermaid' story and start doing the hard yards.

-In the meantime, on the reading front, I'm focused on Little Mermaid stuff set in the stories' continuity (1989 Disney movie) bar a few exceptions (e.g. "Guide to Merfolk" pertains to the 2023 film, and is completely incompatible lorewise with the 1989 film). Mentioned this before, but the canon is all over the place, but in my Notes doc for the story, I've got a list of plot/worldbuilding/idea points that I want to at least try and incorporate, to give the story more 'meat,' while also deciding what is and isn't canon (since when I write a multi-chaptered story, I almost always try and have it fit as close to canon as possible, just in this case, I have to decide what canon even is).

So basically, I have time to read stuff, while not focusing on the fic for now. That said, I'm almost out of stuff to read/watch on the subject, at least not without getting to rediculous levels, and the amount of reading has already been disproportionate to the story. However, because I've got two stories, whatever I read for Story 1 is, by definition, material I can also use for Story 2, so I'm double dipping in a sense.
 
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Drathnoxis

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Okay, as to what may or may not be happening, I'm going to try and keep this as simple/short as possible, and try and minimize self-promotion as much as possible. That being said, here's the sitch:

-Right now, I've got two 'Little Mermaid' multi-chaptered stories written, each around 12,000 words. The first one is mostly proofread, but I'm really not satisfied with it. Really don't want to sound pretentious, but it's lacking 'oomph,' and while I have ideas as to how said 'oomph' could be added, I'm really not sure if they'd work.

-Ergo, said story is idle for now. Far as writing goes right now (at home, not on trains/busses, that's another issue), I'm focusing on proofreading oneshots and poems. I've got a bunch of oneshots each a few thousand words long (and a few that are a few hundred word long) that still need to be proofread, so that's keeping me busy. Once this batch is done, then I'll be able to turn my attention back to the first 'Little Mermaid' story and start doing the hard yards.

-In the meantime, on the reading front, I'm focused on Little Mermaid stuff set in the stories' continuity (1989 Disney movie) bar a few exceptions (e.g. "Guide to Merfolk" pertains to the 2023 film, and is completely incompatible lorewise with the 1989 film). Mentioned this before, but the canon is all over the place, but in my Notes doc for the story, I've got a list of plot/worldbuilding/idea points that I want to at least try and incorporate, to give the story more 'meat,' while also deciding what is and isn't canon (since when I write a multi-chaptered story, I almost always try and have it fit as close to canon as possible, just in this case, I have to decide what canon even is).

So basically, I have time to read stuff, while not focusing on the fic for now. That said, I'm almost out of stuff to read/watch on the subject, at least not without getting to rediculous levels, and the amount of reading has already been disproportionate to the story. However, because I've got two stories, whatever I read for Story 1 is, by definition, material I can also use for Story 2, so I'm double dipping in a sense.
Ok, and another question, why did you decide to write fanfiction for Disney's The Little Mermaid in the first place? It is fanfiction, right? You aren't being paid for this?

In any case, when you're done post the link and I'll read it. I'm curious as to the result of all this effort
 

Hawki

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Ok, and another question, why did you decide to write fanfiction for Disney's The Little Mermaid in the first place? It is fanfiction, right? You aren't being paid for this?
Well, as established, I've written fanfic in numerous settings (over 233 IPs at last count), and it isn't the first time I've dabbled in 'The Little Mermaid', so there's that.

If you want to know the specifics of how this story came about, basically it can be summed up as the following:

1: Go through oneshot idea list, choose entry "Great Sexpectations" (yes, really)

2: Idea of oneshot is "explore idea of character being expected to produce an heir, likely in royalty."

2.5: I actually tried applying it to Mortal Kombat of all things, but just didn't work.

3: Apply it to 'The Little Mermaid,' found it worked much better (nah, really?)

4: Finish oneshot, but it's over 10,000 words, ergo, I start considering whether it would be better to make it a multi-chaptered story (this is fairly common, and oneshots I write can bloom significantly - for instance, a Starship Troopers oneshot ended up becoming 80,000 words after I expanded it)

That pretty much leaves me where I'm at now. The whole thing is fully written, it's just on the backburner, which also gives me time to read stuff, and find ways to better flesh it out, if possible.

In any case, when you're done post the link and I'll read it. I'm curious as to the result of all this effort
I'll try and keep that in mind, though really don't want to promise too much. To be clear, this kind of story is well outside my ballpark, and I doubt I can get it to 'work,' so to speak. But if/when I finish it, I'll post a link.
 
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Hawki

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Read some stuff:

Star Wars: The High Republic – The Edge of Balance (3/5)

Vanessa (3/5)

The Little Mermaid: Against the Tide (3/5)

Halo: Vertical Umbrage (3/5)

The Collectors (1/5)
 

Hawki

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Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid (3/5)

I don't have much to say about this. In part because I reviewed the graphic novel adaptation first and therefore what I said there mostly applies here (this is ranked lower, because at least the GN had pretty pictures to look at). In part because that aside, there isn't too much I can say about this that I haven't said about other Riordanverse works. However, that said, having also read 'Sword of Summer' this year, I'll give some credit to this book in that it's better in a number of ways. I know that comparing books isn't the same as outright reviewing them, but meh, it gives me a paradigm:

-The humour, while not great, is far more restrained than Sword, notably in that it doesn't undercut moments of emotional gravitas.

-There's reasonable worldbuilding here. I've always raised an eyebrow at people who praise Riordan's worldbuilding (transplanting real-world mythologies into a real-world setting isn't that impressive IMO), but here, it does feel better handled than most of the others, such as the history of Egypt (the "real" history, of course), how magic functions, the Demon Days, the House of Life, etc. While none of it is spectular, it does feel more grounded than Riordan's other mythological works (least of what I've read), and in terms of setting, it arguably benefits from being more globetrotting (since while it mostly takes place in the US, we also spend time in the UK and Egypt).

-While the story is using the same formula (world will end in X days unless the heroes stop it), there's some deviations from the norm, in that the protagonists are siblings (and act like siblings), have (or had) parents, and instead of being demigods, are called "godlings." As in, their bloodlines go back to the pharohs, and can summon the avatars of Horus and Isis, among other things. You could argue it's a distinction without a difference, and you'd have solid ground in doing so, but at the least, it's a deviation that's appreciated.

So, yeah. It's fine.
 

Drathnoxis

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"Swelter, as soon as he saw who it was, stopped dead, and across his face little billows of flesh ran swiftly here and there until, as though they had determined to adhere to the same impulse, they swept up into both oceans of soft cheek, leaving between them a vacuum, a gaping segment like a slice cut from a melon. It was horrible. It was though nature had lost control, as though the smile, as a concept, as a manifestation of pleasure, had been a mistake. For here, on the face of Swelter, the idea had been abused."

A quote from Titus Groan that I enjoyed so much I felt the need to transcribe it here. I'm liking the book so far, it's very evocatively written, but with more humour and meaning than other books with interminable flowery dialogue like Neuromancer or The Name of the Wind.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

Overwatch: As You Are (3/5)

The Little Mermaid (Usborne) (3/5)

Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills (4/5)

Graceling (3/5)
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib (4/5)

Aliens: Infiltrator (3/5)

Halo: Winter Contention (3/5)
 

Absent

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The boring one
Out of curiosity, I've read a couple of Lucky Luke in english, and the difference with the (older) french versions are very interesting. In particular when it comes to natives representation, with some (very slightly) racist jokes toned down, random indian-sounding gibberish replaced by actual lines in cheyenne, and footnotes correcting some misconceptions. It's a cute evolution, though I hope the naive (and generally well-meaning) oiginals will be preserved.
Just compared another album. I'm still amused by the well-meaning censorship. In the french version, the natives (Apache this time) are speaking in comedic gibberish, always amusingly evocative and contextual (for instance, Apaches riding to war are menacingly shouting "Adada", which is, in french, small baby talk for riding on a parent's back or on a parent's knees). Sure, it's a bit degrading because it's treated like it's no real language, but when characters translate it in-universe they often play with the fact that the meaning is way more elaborate than what it sounded like. But in the english albums, we have lines in genuine Apache... and the lines (not written by Goscinny, but by the editing staff) are actually just as baby-like as the mock language : "kill kill kill", "woman bang bang go". It's like Apaches who can barely articulate a thought in Apache. No childish distance between form (how silly it sounds to us lolz) and content (the unknown things they tell each others) : the form is "respectable" (real language), the content is transparently dumb, childish, primitive.

It's interestingly moronic. Is it worse that foreign languages in DC/Marvel comics (google translated and cringey wrong) ? Probably the same. Is it worse or better that the original Lucky Luke "schoolyard pretend apache" ? Hard to say. At least it equalizes cultures a bit : in the same series, chinese people speak chinese, spanish people speak spanish, and the Dalton bros are mocked for their mock chinese or weak spanish. Native american languages, in contrast, were fair game for silly sounds.

The correction (and loss of comedy, as collateral damage) was certainly due. But... true respect would have implied writing some half-decent lines. Not having Goscinny's talent is no excuse for that.
 

Hawki

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Read some stuff:

Peter Pan (Stref) (3/5)

Diablo: Witness (3/5)

Diablo: The Toll of Darkness and Light (3/5)
 

Absent

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The Calamitous Life of Martha Jane Cannary, a 360 pages long graphic novel about Calamity Jane, devoid of any form of glamour, and specifying its sources and educated guesses. It's tough and gritty, a cynical description of women's lives in the Old West, through a woman who rejected these roles and regularly paid the price for it. And who wasn't a heroin either, neither particularly good or clever. Just a person, a bit too stubborn for a slightly too trashy era - that we haven't entirely left behind.

 

Hawki

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Tales of Dunk and Egg: The Hedge Knight (graphic novel) (4/5)

I read the novella of this years ago. Basically, everything I've written on said novella can be applied to the graphic novel. That might be a copout, but TL, DR, it's good. Distinctly takes place in Westeros, but in an era that's less cruel than the one presented in the main novel/TV series. Good stuff.

House of El: The Shadow Threat (4/5)

Maybe I'm just new to the party, but there seems to be an interest in telling the story of Krypton as something akin to Atlantis - character drama, civilization doomed by its own hubris, etc. TBH, I'm not really sure why, but meh.

Anyway, as suggested, the graphic novel takes place during the last weeks/months of Krypton. That in of itself tells you a lot, but getting into specifics, Krypton is a society that's literally stratified. The lower classes/houses are forced to reside on the planet's surface, while the upper ones dwell in the cities/skyscrapers above. So as the planet is affected by groundquakes of increasing frequency and severity, the upper classes can literally turn a blind eye because they don't feel the tremors, while the lower classes are forced to deal with ever crumbling infrastructure. Furthermore, every Kryptonian is genetically engineered to do one specific role to the exclusion of all else (soldier, scientist, artist, etc.). In essence, nothing that dystopian sci-fi hasn't already done, though I'll give credit as to the concept of literal class stratification.

Anyway, Krypton's rulers seem to be aware of the fact that their world is on borrowed time (I don't think it's ever specified what's causing the quakes), and they've started attempting to terraform (call it "kryptoform," you hacks!) other planets. However, while they assure their citizens that it's going splendidly, the terraforming is failing. TBH, I'm left to wonder why Kryptonians don't up and move to a world under a yellow sun since most media treats it as an instant power boost (at least Man of Steel showed the cost of adaptation to an extent), but meh, whatever. The protagonists are Zahn (a member of a noble house) and Sera, a grunt. Both are teens, both have a 'thing' for each other, both end up being caught in the web of intrigue. This includes Zod openly telling Sera that the terraforming process is bunk, while Zahn is involved in a resistance group, but since he's of the upper classes, they have a tough time trusting him.

The comic also takes an iffy turn. So, Jor-El and Lara-El are well aware of how boned Krypton is, and have concieved a child through natural means, which I suppose you could say is just super. Their theory is that Krypton has stagnated because Kryptonians are over-specialized. For instance scientists max out in intelligence, artists in creativity, but if a scientit doesn't have creativity, innovation stagnates. They want their son to be a jack of all trades (so to speak), since the ruling government is too inept to rule because they can't see what's right in front of them. Nor can so many other people, as a massive quake devastates the upper city, but people are such drones they can't even react properly, and do what the council tells them to do. As part of this, Sera gets her genetic code rewritten, but this hinders her ability to function as a soldier.

I'll be honest, I don't think this plot thread really works. That it's replacing one form of biological determinism with another aside, there really shouldn't be enough time to pump out enough babies to steer the ship, even by the Els own admission. Still, overall, the graphic novel is still "good" at the end of the day. Still, having read two 'political' graphic novels back to back, Hedge Knight is easily the superior, no doubt about it.
 

Hawki

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Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow (2/5)

...Okay, this comic kinda sucks.

That seems to be a pretty unpopular opinion. A lot of people seem to like, even love it. Certainly Warner Bros/James Gunn do, since it's set to be the basis of a film in the DCU (though I'll believe it when I see it). Still, never been one to shy away from being the odd one out in terms of opinions, so basically, yeah. This comic is pretty lacklustre.

I'm going to get something out of the way first - the science in this comic is insane. That may seem like a weird criticism for a Supergirl comic of all things (and as I'm watching season 3 of Supergirl right now, the science there is nearly as bonkers), but to borrow a phrase, "there's suspension of disbelief, and then there's get the fuck out." Over the course of their bounty, Kara and Ruthye (more on that later) travel through/over 300,000 galaxies. Supergirl moves so fast and far on a flying horse named Comet that she ends up outside the universe to evade some magic death ball. The astro-geography apparently works on the premise that in some corner of the universe, there's a lot of red suns, and in another corner, there's a lot of yellow suns, and to best knowledge, that's not how stellar formation actually works. Earlier in the universe, there'd be a lot more blue suns than red and yellow for instance, but that's a measure of time, not distance. And look, I get that this comic explicitly labels itself as science fantasy, but it's still science fantasy that hinges on the premise that this universe includes Earth, and presumably the laws of physics still apply, so when the worldbuilding is absolutely bonkers, even by the standards of DC, it hinders my investment.

Now, all of the above might not matter if the writing was actually good, but it isn't. It is, in a word, pseudo-intellectual. There's a lot of flower speech in dialogue and narrative that gives the illusion of depth, but in the end, there's not really anything profound that's actually going on, and what themes there are have already been done a thousand times. Basically, Ruthye (the co-progatonist, arguably THE protagonist) is a humanoid alien on an alien world whose father is killed by some asshole. The asshole steals Kara's ship and wounds Krypto, and she can't do much since the planet is in orbit of a red sun. Ruthye wants revengene, Kara needs to find the guy to find the antidote to save Krypto. Cue a space trip in pursuit, with Ruthye talking in Shakesperean-esque language, and Kara being a recovering alcoholic who swears in every other speech bubble.

Over the course of the story, stuff happens. Yes, I could cover that stuff, but it's not really interesting, nor is it relevant to the overall plot. The one real plot thread is that it turns out the guy they're chasing has fallen into the company of some Brigands (Brenner's Brigands or something) who go from planet to planet, devastating them, or taking tribute if it can be afforded. Giving credit where it's due, there is some gravitas to this as the pair stumble across one ruined world after another, finding what survivours they can either by chance or by circumstance (e.g. there's a species that sold out the destitute so that they might live, or something like that). Eventually, they find the guy, and shock of all shocks, Ruthye can't bring herself to kill him. Meanwhile, Kara fights the Brigands in space, whose ship is powerful enough to destroy an entire galaxy (yes, really), but Supergirl defeats them all the same (yes, really). I'll let you decide which of those facts is more asinine. It's a common problem with Supes (and by extension, Kryptonians) that they're basically operating on god mode, and ergo, tension that might otherwise exist isn't there. WoT attempts to solve this by assuring "nah, really, the Brigands ARE that powerful," but it doesn't really matter. Supergirl wins, because of course she does.

So, turns out that Kara was bluffing the whole time, that she wanted Ruthye to learn that "killing is bad, don'tchaknow?" Ergo, Ruthye keeps Krem alive, until decades later, when they're both much older, they reunite and, um, kill Krem. So I guess the moral of the story is that "killing for revenge is bad, unless you wait a few decades, after which it's a good thing." Um, okay, sure.

There's some nice moments in the series, but not enough to buoy it.
 

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Star Wars Insider: Fiction Collection Volume 1 (3/5)

A collection of short stories published in Star Wars Insider. Most of them are of the old Legends canon, some of them are of the current canon. TBH, I found the latter more interesting, but that's probably because they're, y'know, canonical. There's exceptions, sure, but just that - exceptions.

Anyway, it's fine. Some are better than others, don't have the time or interest in reviewing each short story, but basically, it's fine.

Star Wars: Allegiance (3/5)

This is a graphic novel set not long after The Last Jedi, with the Resistance running hard and fast from the First Order. The storyline is split primarily between two groups. One groups involves Rey, Rose, Leia, Chewie, and C-3PO going to Mon Cala to try and get support from the mon calamari and quarren (ships, mainly) to aid the Resistance against the First Order (this is pretty much the A plot, and will be referred to as such). The B plot deals Finn, Poe, and BB-8 raiding an old Rebellion arms depot, evading bounty hunters while they're at it. The A plot, by its nature, gets most of the attention, and ergo, is the stronger of the two.

There's stuff I like here, plus stuff I don't, but not all of it is really the comic's fault, since it has to follow canon. It's iffy enough that the First Order is now this gargantuan war machine that can overtake the whole galaxy, but that's more Last Jedi's fault. It's even more irksome that Rise of Skywalker just jetissoned everything Last Jedi set up, so by extension, the comic can't really follow through on its plot and themes (there's no great uprising for instance, everyone's still cowed). That being said, the comic does a good job of reinforcing how absolutely morally heinous the First Order is, even more so than the Empire, and that's been a constant of most EU material in this period, so the comic gets that right at least.

Concerning the A plot, like I said, it's sort of the stronger of the two, but I don't have much to say. As I said, the Resistance needs ships, Mon Calamari provided the Rebellion with ships, now the Resistance needs ships, but Mon Cala went through Imperial occupation, supplying the Resistance now would bring the First Order down on them. That, and there's still tensions between the mon cala and quarren. Again, not really the comic's fault, but by its own admission, history is repeating itself - the First Order is Galactic Empire 2.0, down to the plot beats. Nothing as egregious as Force Awakens, but still, it's there. After intrigue plus assassination attempts plus trial by combat, the A plot concludes with the Resistance getting those ships, and getting away from Mon Cala just before the First Order enforces a blockade. I'm assuming this is addressed elsewhere, but I don't recall seeing any Resistance capital ships in Rise of Skywalker, so...wait, was this a waste of time? God damn it!

B plot leaves me less to talk about. A Resistance team goes to the old arms depot, bounty hunters track them down, cue firefight, that's it.

So, yeah. Not much to write home about.