dorinda: a tall ship with all sails set (sailing ship)
posted by [personal profile] dorinda at 02:17pm on 11/09/2016 under
I finished season 2 of Black Sails last week, and loooooooved it. It just got better and better, and more emotionally involving. And almost all of the characters grew and expanded and opened like flowers! Flowers to whom I am attached to one degree or another.


Excepting Eleanor, alas. I felt like everyone else grew and changed at least a little bit--or at least showed me layers I hadn't seen before, whether those were new layers or not. But not her. Her beats seemed pretty much the same every time. Especially in re: Charles Vane, except that their kiss-kiss/slap-slap escalated until it was fuck-fuck/kill-kill. Although then he capped that off with preeeeetty much the ultimate breakup note, so I assume things with them will at least be different now. (I am sadly not very interested in that particular thread, though.)

Vane is still not ranked super-high in my emotions I guess, but he did surprise me, which I appreciate! (I think he surprised Flint, too. :D ) I liked seeing Jack Rackham step out as captain, bringing his smart/dandyish masculinity into the shipboard world where we've usually just seen more typical rule-by-brutality, and showing them he knows how to do it. The Jack, Anne, and Max dynamic continues to get more complicated, which I like.

Flint remains my biggest draw, and of course season 2, with those linked flashbacks, is so much about him and what turned McGraw into Flint. His entire arc is SO PAINFUL though. It's a rule with me that I can no longer watch episodes on work days before bed, because I end up having trouble sleeping! He's just faced so much agonizing, intimate, unfair loss, both in his past and right now. And yeah, he (or the "Flint" he created) can inflict brutality and loss on others right and left too, so it isn't, you know, oh poor blameless woobie. But I can see how all that tragedy has helped create the Flint he enacts every day, and it's actually totally understandable. And then the way he makes himself potentially vulnerable with Ashe--actually considering going back to London and revealing his most tender secrets to the public!--and suddenly has that fragile trust pulled out from under him. And to hammer it home, forced to sit there and watch Miranda's body be defiled. Well. I mean. I'm surprised he can still form sentences after that.

Season 2 has also brought out and underscored something that [personal profile] movies_michelle has talked about, which is how much the show is about storytelling. The power of story, shaping story to your own ends, even the ways story can be terrible as well as necessary. It was fascinating to watch the theme emerge--at first it seemed to be more simply about reputation, what others think of you. But then the concept of reputation started to unfold and get layered, and bring in elements like narrative and persona and so forth. And then finally, Flint is talking about himself, and explicitly talks about how he created "Flint" (from a story he heard!), with a sense of self (I assume McGraw, unless there's a self even underneath that) who isn't Flint, who wears and enacts Flint every day, and who admits he has come to hate Flint.

Well, lemme tell you, it makes fascinating food for thought. And it also opens up all kinds of flexibility in fannish interpretations, too--as [personal profile] movies_michelle and I have chatted about it, you can even re-interpret the supposed end of Flint's life/story as told by Silver in the book Treasure Island, to which the show is a prequel. Silver's potential as the ultimate unreliable storyteller, for one thing, but also the idea of Flint's death--which could instead be "Flint's" death, or even "Flint's" "death". Seems to me that it's a canon that really welcomes and enables re-interpretation and levels of truth, "truth", and story.
dorinda: Hands reach for two identical glasses, which are labeled "half empty" and "half full". (halfemptyhalffull)
posted by [personal profile] dorinda at 05:45pm on 10/09/2016 under , ,
ONE THING: Soooooo what happened is, a couple days ago I sprained my ankle. I was trudging home with a million other worker ants, took a bad step somewhere among the terrible uneven concrete across the street from my workplace, and BLAMMO I and my stuff were sprawled all over the road. In the rain. With a bunch of people standing over me.

Ugh. Sometimes I think the secondary embarrassment is almost neck-and-neck with the actual ankle pain. (But then I have a flashback to the terrible noise my ankle ligament made, and I stop thinking that.)

It took a couple minutes for the initial pain to subside enough for me to tell it wasn't broken, and then the kindly bystanders gathered my belongings, hoisted me up, and put me into a cab. I've been Resting/Icing/Compressing/Elevating like a mofo, although unfortunately I've also had a long couple of workdays since then, one of which was twelve hours long.

On the bright side, it could have been SO much worse. With a good Ace bandage and care in moving around, plus UberXs/cabs to and from work, I managed my workdays okay, and it's looking much better and increasing in mobility. I've had much worse sprains in my day, with crutches and whatnot, and I'm grateful this wasn't one of those.

Still no fun, though. And I have another very demanding workday coming up later this week, probably 13 hours, with a lot of standing and moving around. So I'll be RICEing all week in the hope that it'll continue to improve at this pace.

ANOTHER THING: While I'm sitting in my chair with the foot propped up, my fancies have turned to thoughts of Yuletide nominations. Just a week to get my noms in! Hmmm. What are you nominating?

I haven't even started to parse my final choices--see above, re: ankle and stressful work schedule--but it does seem that the Aubrey-Maturin novels, as well as the Master & Commander movie, is all safely under the limit, so that's a possibility. Now that I've finished the books and am re-reading them all again, I'm starting to feel delightfully immersed. (And of course the movie is engraved on my brain lobes, so.)

Another thing that leaps to mind is Shetland, the BBC Scotland show that [personal profile] sakana17, [personal profile] klia, and [personal profile] thevetia turned me on to. Well-written, beautifully-filmed detective drama set on the islands of the Shetland archipelago, and I adore the main character (other characters as well, of course, but, ♥ JIMMY ♥ ).

Rejseholdet|Unit One again, I think, to make sure it gets in there.

Shockingly, even though Black Sails looks to be just over a thousand stories on AO3 alone, using the yuletide bookmarklet on them reveals that there are actually fewer than 600 that are in English, complete, and over a thousand words long! Add that to the hundred-and-thirty-some that are on, and it still looks eligible!

I'm not sure I feel ready to write Black Sails (and by the way, I finished season 2 last week! I'll give that its own post, hopefully tomorrow), but if I'm not, it still might be nice to ask for.

That's four fandoms, though, and I can only nominate three. I have some mulling to do, for sure.
dorinda: In "Brideshead Revisited" (1981), Sebastian and Charles, arms around each other, look out to sea. (Brideshead_sea)
posted by [personal profile] dorinda at 12:16pm on 27/08/2016 under , , ,
It's out at last! Yay! Keiko Kirin, who wrote the m/m novel "Safety Net" (about guys who meet in college on the football team, and find friendship as well as love and careers), has a new book out, The Provinces of Touch. The blurb for this one reads:

Jun, a healer with an unpredictable gift, yearns to overcome his troubled past. His solitude is shattered by the arrival of Tlar, a wounded young man from a distant land. Helping this stranger opens up new worlds filled with adventure -- but also brings shocking danger and tragedy. Can Jun finally find true friendship and love? Or will his actions cause a catastrophic invasion and the extinction of his people?

Here's her announcement post for The Provinces of Touch, as well as the Amazon page and the Smashwords page.

I also recommend this extra piece of promo art.

Full disclosure: I got to read an earlier draft. I highly recommend it, and am looking forward to reading my new copy of the final novel! It's gentle, thoughtful, character-driven fantasy, with interesting cultures and worldbuilding, and people I want to get to know all over again.
dorinda: Jared Stone and Larimer Finch, from "Peacemakers". (stonefinch)
Here's the last of that batch of finished little stories I had in my pocket:

To Track the Beast (3333 words) by Dorinda
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Peacemakers (2003)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Larimer Finch/Jared Stone
Characters: Larimer Finch, Jared Stone, Katie Owen
Additional Tags: Western, Angst, Law Enforcement, Post-Canon, First Time

Finch hesitated by the back door into the parlor, where the door curtains had been drawn against the night. He'd become accustomed to just walking in of an evening, and it felt strange to stop himself. But he couldn't quite imagine Stone being as happy to see him as he had been lately, looking up over his glasses with that smile that some might almost call shy.

Man I love Peacemakers. So promising, so short-lived, alas. I feel like it was tragically ahead of its time, before the days when lots of cable channels are producing original drama series and thriving. I think it would fit in perfectly right now, a western about the transitional period into modern criminal science. It had a lot of interesting things to say, and great characters to say it with. If you're ever curious to see it, last I heard it was actually on Hulu, although I can't check at the moment.

This story was inspired by my H/C Bingo card, although it itself did not really turn out to be H/C. I should dig that card out and give it another look; it had all kinds of inspirational topics on it.
dorinda: a tall ship with all sails set (sailing ship)
posted by [personal profile] dorinda at 04:39pm on 20/07/2016 under ,
Friends of mine watch and have spoken highly of "Black Sails", but true to my usual form, I'm only just now catching up. And I really like it!

I admit, I tried the pilot when it was first out, but it didn't grab me. And I didn't make the time to watch the next few, even though I know that of course every pilot has some degree of pilotitis and is not the best example of a show.

Though I'm not sure if even watching the next few would have helped me back then. It took me most of season 1 to actually get to know the characters, get emotionally attached, etc.--up to then, I was kind of making myself watch. Luckily I have friends way ahead of me who served as my bellwethers, watching & enjoying in real time, which implied good things down the road. (I often depend on my friends like this, for fic as well as canon, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for doing the hard work so that I may so often slide in late. :D ♥ )

cut for some specific spoilers, up through season 2, just in case )

So... sorry I'm so late, but if anybody wants to talk about Black Sails, I'm here for you! I mean, I'm still in season 2, but I'm proceeding, and I don't mind spoilers. And as I guess you can tell from my meanderings above, I'm pretty up for talking. :D
dorinda: A color drawing of Henry and Johnny from "The Sting" (Henry_Johnny_art)
Authors and artists have been revealed for this year's Night On Fic Mountain exchange (welll, they were revealed a little while back, but then the weekend got away from me and hmm mutter mumble). Here was my contribution:

The Steel-Wire Tightrope (6609 words) by Dorinda
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Sting (1973)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Henry Gondorff/Johnny Hooker
Characters: Henry Gondorff, Johnny Hooker
Additional Tags: Con Artists, 1930s, Rescue, Angst, Misunderstandings, Nonverbal Communication, Drugged Sex, Broccoli Test

Henry's in trouble. But when Johnny finds him, that's when their trouble really starts.

Awww yisssss, I got to write The Sting again! \o/ \o/ \o/ I rewatched the movie once during the writing process, and then I rewatched it last week with some friends, just because. I've seen it so many times, and show no signs of burning out or getting tired of it. I love the characters, and the milieu, and how amenable it all is to fannish extrapolation. Robert Redford glows like a sun god and runs like a deer, Paul Newman's eyes gleam a piercing clear sapphire, they both have arms and shoulders to make me weep in the best way, and Johnny and Henry come to care about each other SO MUCH you guys. So much. Not to mention that Henry is an Olympic-class secret worrier. ♥_____♥

Course, in this story, Johnny gets to do most of the worrying for a change. Just for a nice switcheroo. But this is my second story in which I was reminded that AO3 does not have a plain old "Drugged" tag! I mean, wat? "Drugged Sex", sure. But not just "Drugged". Which seems SO WEIRD, given the venerable age of the trope, you know--'oh no my partner got knocked out and doped and now I must rescue him', which was canon all the time at least back in the day, and which lends itself so well to tender h/c, and then perhaps sex that is not itself Drugged Sex, because everyone is now sobered up. So I used the Drugged Sex tag, even though that is not precisely how it goes (it sort of is at first, and then it isn't, and I think the story explains itself best).

Is there a way to propose they set up a canonical Drugged tag? I am ashamed to admit that my knowledge of the inner (or, in fact, outer) workings of the AO3 tag system is not the best.

Anyway, I'm excited to have had a chance to write these guys again! I fell into a weird throughline blockage during the writing process, but mary crawford and klia got me out of there and fixed it up, and I am really happy about it.
dorinda: John Kennex and Dorian with their heads very close, both looking down, very serious. (john_dorian_amber)
I am on vacation (a long-awaited and hard-earned vacation, in my opinion), and am finally unwinding from recent stresses. It feels luxurious and cherry-on-top to ALSO now get MULTIPLE gifts from this year's Night on Fic Mountain small-fandom fic and art exchange!!

New this year, you could ask and offer art as well as fic if you wanted, so in my requests I checked the art box as well as the fic box. And I got three pictures and one story, every single one of them an utter delight!:

Protect (0 words) by Anonymous Edited to add: the artist has been revealed as MissHammer
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Almost Human
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Dorian/John Kennex (implied)
Characters: Dorian (Almost Human), John Kennex
Additional Tags: Hurt/Comfort, Digital Art, Angst

Dorian is doing everything he can to keep John warm and his blood from spill out, while they wait to be found.

A beautiful angsty hurt/comfort image, with protective-Dorian who you can tell is experiencing a flood of emotion, with injured-John held so tenderly in his arms. SNIFF! But the author was kind enough to reassure me in an author's note that they will be rescued. \o/

Dubious Angel of My Better Nature (0 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Aubrey-Maturin Series - Patrick O'Brian
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin
Characters: Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin
Additional Tags: Art, Pencil

Stephen and Jack

A sketch of Stephen Maturin, with Jack silhouetted in the background. Such lovely detail, all of which combines in a very Stephen-like tone and pose, and I swear that Jack is CHARACTERIZED by the simplest touches in a little silhouette.

And then two Aubrey-Maturin Star Trek AUs, one art and one story:

(Edited to add: turns out all of the below are by lynndyre)

U.S.S. Surprise (0 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Master and Commander - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin
Characters: Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin
Additional Tags: Art, Ink, Alternate Universe - Space, Star Trek AU

Stephen brings home alien animals~

Science-officer-naturalist Stephen is cradling a little alien creature that obviously loves him but is dubious about starship-captain-Jack who wants to pet it, which is SO accurate to the books, and so adorable!!

In Good Company (925 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Master and Commander - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin
Characters: Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin
Additional Tags: Hurt/Comfort, Imprisonment, Friendship, Alternate Universe - Space, Star Trek AU

Stephen and Jack, and an evening in an alien jail.

Wounded starship captain Jack, and Vulcan-hybrid Stephen, stranded in a cell on an alien world, looking after each other. So many little touches perfectly translated into the Star Trek setting, such well-characterized interaction and hurt/comfort, SO satisfying, om nom nom nom.

Pardon me while I wallow about in my embarrassment of riches! *flings handfuls of Fic Mountain around like confetti*
dorinda: Fat Pony appears in a blaze of light! (Fat_Pony)
I have seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind so many times. SO many times. The first time was when it was originally in theaters! One of my favorite T-shirts as a little child was my Close Encounters shirt.

It was on Turner Classic Movies today, and befitting today's mission to snuggle indoors out of the cold drizzle and reward myself for the few chores I did manage to get done, I watched it yet again.

Man, I get verklempt at the ending every time. In fact, the entire lengthy sequence at the hidden landing pad, all the different people there with their unspecified tasks and backstories, all doing their part, all coming together to be humanity's open and welcoming hand to the visitors, I could watch that whole thing on a constant loop. ♥_____♥

I really thrive on--and lately don't feel like I can find much of--that trope, where humans make peaceful first contact with another species, and work hard to understand and communicate with them, everyone reaching out with gentle good will through the differences.

dorinda: Someone writing at a desk while wearing a large helmet with an oxygen tube attached (a device called "The Isolator"). (isolator)
Dear author or artist,

Thank you so much for making something for me! Above all, I'd like you to have fun and create something you enjoy, so any other blatherings here are purely optional for reals. Just in case they might help. If you already have an idea, go for it!

Some of my general preferences:

"First time" stories. Happy or at least hopeful endings (that doesn't rule out bittersweet or melancholy tones, and needn't be fluffy...just no unalloyed sadness/darkness/loss please.).

I requested slash relationships, though for me that doesn't automatically require explicit sex. I mean, sex is great if the story or artwork calls for it. But don't feel hemmed in; it's entirely up to you. For me, slash is first about the depth of connection and intimacy between the characters, however it's expressed. I am, I admit, a sucker for tenderness. Could be from an already-openly-tender character , or a repressed character for whom tenderness itself is an admission of vulnerability.

Some of the tropes and approaches I enjoy: words that camouflage deeper/unspoken meanings, protectiveness, worry, extreme competence (with honest weakness), hurt/comfort, chosen families, uncovering a secret, partners against the world, nurturing via food/drink/warmth. (Also, in stories I must admit I like past tense, unless there's a reason for present tense.)

Don't be afraid of classic frameworks if you like 'em! I mentioned hurt/comfort, but I also won't turn up my nose at Having To Share A Bed, Huddling for Warmth, Pretend Couple, Undercover as Rentboy, situations where one suffers or sacrifices for the other, rescues, stranded somewhere (idyllic or non-), etc.

A few thoughts by fandom, alphabetically:

Almost Human )

Aubrey-Maturin Series - Patrick O'Brian )

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) )

The Sting (1973) )

dorinda: In "Brideshead Revisited" (1981), Sebastian and Charles, arms around each other, look out to sea. (Brideshead_sea)
I was talking recently with [ profile] lynndyre about this, but haven't mentioned it otherwise--I finally, FINALLY have been reading the Aubrey-Maturin books!

I haven't finished the series, but I'm well along--in the middle of The Letter of Marque, which is 12 of 20 (or 21 if you count the final unfinished book). It's utterly weird that it took me so long--I've always loved Age of Sail as a setting, I first fell for the Hornblower books at age 10 or 11, I've read many true historical tales of sailors' lives. Heck, I've even read AND enjoyed Moby Dick, more than once! Add on top of that how much I absolutely love the Master & Commander movie, and you'd think I'd have read them all long ago.

But no! It took me soooo long to get my figurative teeth into them. I tried Post Captain (book 2) first, sometime in the later 1990s--the idea was that it started out more like a landlocked comedy-of-manners, which would give me a head start before going to sea and having to face a lot of complicated terminology. And I've read and enjoyed Austen, so, why not this?

But I kept bouncing off Post Captain, over and over. I owned the paperback, and every year or two would open it again and give it another try, but even once I had made it through, I never felt connected to it. And the sea terminology was not the problem! (Hornblower had given me some of the basics, plus just a general absorption of knowledge from everything else age-of-sail-related I'd ever read or seen, plus the O'Brian books do a good job of contextualizing the technical terms even when they're complex).

But then early this year I think, or late last year, I went back and tried the first book in the series, Master and Commander. And click! I connected, I fell right in, and then I kept going, and read/enjoyed Post Captain this time, and then proceeded onward.

I think what in retrospect was a problem for me trying Post Captain first, was that Jack and Stephen are at odds--and such serious odds!--for so much of the book. And because I hadn't thought to stop and try Master & Commander first, I didn't have a foundation for their friendship, as a starting point before seeing the issues with Diana almost bring them to a deadly confrontation.

Once M&C had given me their first meeting, and then how quickly they get over that and bond together, I had an anchor to support me through the tribulations of Post Captain--and then when they are reconciled later in Post Captain, I could bracket off the near-duel as the aberration it was, and sail merrily off to bask in Jack-and-Stephen (and Jack/Stephen) through all the books to come.

I am so totally loving them. And some I've already read twice, first in print and then listening to the audiobook. (Fellow audiobook listeners--it's funny, at first I thought I'd never get comfortable with Patrick Tull, with the heavy thickness of his voice and his idiosyncratic rhythms with such long pauses--but now he is absolutely my jam. And when I've had to listen to Simon Vance, when he's the only one I can get my hands on, I sigh wistfully all the way through and wish for Tull. I thought Vance would be my favorite, as I've heard him narrate the Temeraire books--but no. He does such a comic-walrus Jack, and a completely non-Irish Stephen, and just in general doesn't suit me the way Tull does. Go figure!)

Anyway, I thought I'd mention it, in case anyone else out there ever wants to talk about 'em! I haven't finished Letter of Marque yet, but it's already made me literally mist up and get teary, and I think you know which scene that was. SNIFF!


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