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3/5. Is anyone else old enough to remember the documentation challenge from SGA Flashfic way back in the day? That's what this is. A story of two teenagers, who happen to be exes, who survive the destruction of their illegal colony and flee the planet with the evil corporate ships chasing them, but then the zombie plague starts running through their ships like wildfire. Except this is told entirely in documents – interview transcripts, chatlogs, various military files, intelligence summaries, AI data, etc.
This is about 80% extremely effective space horror/fight-for-your-life and about 20% facepalmy teenager terribleness. I do, however, want to pause to say that the commercial audio of this is excellent. It's a multi-voice production, with people playing parts so the chat logs sound like conversations. But the real power of the production is in a few, tiny sections, put in purely for the emotional impact. Like the excerpts from a casualty list near the beginning, or fragments of the messages a couple dozen people we never actually meet send out into the dark when they know they are about to die. The audio bleeds one voice into the next for the reading, so it's just this wall of – yeah. It works.
Much of the book works. It's awful and scary and grim as our heroine begins to suspect she is being lied to, and the plague heats up, and the ship AI starts to go . . . a little weird. But it's sprinkled through with such poor choices. Like blurring out the profanity – it's supposed to be an ironic commentary on the blah blah blah. It's mostly just irritating. And the teenagers are so cringily teenagers. Like, I kept telling myself it was good writing that they're so melodramatic and emo and ridic, but that didn't mean I rolled my eyes any less.
Still. This book got me in the end. The last quarter is so … harrowing is the only word I have. This is what young adult is allowed to be now, after Hunger Games. I do think that ( massive spoilers for the end )
The unseasonably warm weather meant that we broke out the grill. I’m a good cook with curries and such, but I need more practice with grilling. I think bigger shrimp would’ve worked a bit better — these got slightly dried out (but fine in sauce, and will be fine mixed in a caesar salad with dressing). Everything got tossed in olive oil, salt, and a generous amount of white pepper.
I put all the veggies in a grill pan, which was okay, but they didn’t char that much in there — I think next time, I’ll keep the eggplant slices, red onion, and bell pepper pieces big, so they can just sit on the grill directly. But the grill pan was good for the asparagus, carrot pieces, and mushrooms.
I’m mostly just being finicky. Overall, it was delicious and very more-ish. I had planned to toss the veggies in balsamic vinegar, but we were out! But it wasn’t too hard to make a quick lemon-mustard sauce, delicious with a glass of prosecco.
Fish skeletons help monitor health of West Australian fishery by Lucinda Jose (WA Country Hour, ABC Western Australia)
The WA Department of Fisheries is conducting research into the ages and conditions of fish in various fisheries to determine whether measures to reduce over-fishing and allow the fishery to regenerate are having an effect.
Kempton races one lap long as sheep sprint draws crowd to Tasmanian country town by Harriet Aird (ABC Tasmania)
The annual Kempton Festival is on, and with it the Sheep Racing Championships. While this isn't the only sheep race in Australia, their race-caller definitely feels it's the best!
Why the National Multicultural Festival is a celebration of more than just food by Tegan Osborne (ABC Australian Capital Territory)
A photo-filled profile of the National Multicultural Festival in Canberra, which isn't just about food, but also about cultural exchange, sharing information, and just celebrating the different groups which make up Australian society.
So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about "what went right" in your newsfeed, why not share them in the comments?
3/5. In her late seventies, Nan orchestrates a reunion with her childhood friends. They have ghosts that need to be put to rest, and there are things Nan's daughter needs to know.
A deceptive book. I was impatient with the first third. Yes yes, I thought, they have dark secrets, their friend died under mysterious circumstances, Nan and her daughter both have a magical power, the garden is a symbol, yes. And all of those things are true, but none of them are quite what I expected. Yes, they have secrets, but they're much more complicated than the mere facts of what happened. And yes there are witches in this book, and they have a certain power, but the place where that power most readily intersects with the world is in supplying access to abortions. And yes, the garden is a symbol.
This book complexified and ramified as it went, and swerved into weird and back out into domestic, and over the other direction into scary, and then back to a quiet bittersweetness. It is exactly what I guessed it to be when I was impatient with it, but much more interesting and quietly rich. Lovely.
Content note: ( spoilers )
(Weirdly, it has slowed down my reading speed. Apparently "taking in an entire paragraph at a time" is an ADHD symptom.)
I've had the symptoms my whole life (allllll the way back to elementary school) but was one of the generation of undiagnosed girls because the diagnosis was based on presentation in boys, and my various coping mechanisms have gone to shit in the last few years as my neuroplasticity wanes. It always seemed like way too much effort to pursue the actual diagnosis until now, but holy shit the difference with the goddamn meds.
EDIT: Forgot to add, also, I FINALLY FOUND AN OB-GYN WHO WILL EVICT MY UTERUS FOR ME. Surgery is in 11 days. NO MORE FUCKING CONSTANT UTERINE CRAMPS
⌈ Secret Post #3700 ⌋
Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.
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Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 35 secrets from Secret Submission Post #529.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
Timeless wraps up the first season tomorrow. It's not brilliant SciFi, but it is very entertaining SciFi, and is pretty good at calling out how much US history has erased and persecuted POC.
Star Wars Rebels continues to be great, but I wish it would fully commit itself to the Mandalore plotline that’s been building up instead of the endless build up. I’m very much looking forward to some things in the trailer that haven’t happened yet.
I still enjoy Emerald City despite its problems, and I have so many questions about the past that can’t possibly be answered in the last two episodes without putting the main plotline on hold. At least it looks like my questions about Jane might be answered next episode, though.
The only new show I’ve checked out (or really plan to) is Powerless, which is a sitcom set in the DC universe about the employees of a security firm who work on inventions to keep people and possessions safe from superhero battles. It also falls into the realm of “really like but don’t feel fannish about” but really is a delight. Of the shows I’m watching, it’s also probably the one most blatantly anti-Trump.
I haven’t watched How to Get Away With Murder since it returned from hiatus and I haven’t watched any of this season of Jane the Virgin (I’m spoiled about That Thing in JTV, though). I’ll probably watch both when Netflix gets them this summer.
Right now, I’m mostly waiting for Underground, Into the Badlands and Brooklyn 99 to return from hiatus, and wondering if Still Starcrossed will ever make it to my screen. I think all my other shows are summer/late spring shows.
2. For a few US shows I’ve completely recently:
Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events was a delight, due in large part to excellent casting and the actors’ ability to maintain an almost impossible pace for something so dialogue heavy. It’s hard to make something that requires that much dialogue and whose humor requires the narrator to step in so much to work, but they did it. My favorite character was Jacqueline, who had maybe 10-15 minutes screentime total throughout the season.
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures is a TV show set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi about a trio of scavenger siblings who come across a woman claiming to be a Jedi who survived Order 66, and help her look for the pieces of the kybersaber, a weapon that pre-dated the lightsaber. It’s an irreverent comedy that spends a whole lot of time mocking Palpatine and Vader, and the Empire in general. I kind of wish it was pat of the main Star Wars animated Universe canon, because there’s some good stuff in there.
I finally got around to watching the back half of season 5 of Haven now that netflix has it. I appreciated how fully it committed itself to its gothic horror roots and its devotion to the new mid-apocalyptic setting. I did not appreciate hoe it still felt th need to kill off any plot-important women who weren’t Audrey. It also somehow took an ending that SHOULD have been perfectly satisfactory to anyone and made it be awful and make no sense. Sigh.
3. I have been fairly fannish about kdramas and cdramas lately, though, but most of that portion of my friend’s list has migrated to tumblr, or are both here and there, so I forget to also talk about them here. Surprisingly, I’ve been fannish about Hwarang, which has been an admittedly fairly-average sageuk, but an enjoyable one, and utterly harmless. For an idol-heavy youth drama sageuk, it’s actually pretty decent, despite the almost universally-awful promotional material and trailers. It’s Silla-era and has enjoyable characters, and I’m easy there. It also has the worst fandom possible, largely due to stans of certain actors and their characters who believe the universe has horribly wronged them by not making the show and all the characters revolve around their favorite.
I’m also really enjoying Saimdang: Light’s Diary and Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People, but despite the split-timeperiods aspect of Saimdang, both are being fairly old-school in their approaches, and so things are really just getting started. (Unlike Hwarang, both are also excellent sageuks by any standard right now, but not to the tastes or the more vocal parts of kdramas fandom. As in, there are no idols, and they’re busy being Serious Business Sageuks.)
4. Slightly related to the above, I’m glad Moon Lovers brought a lot of people to sageuks last year, but frankly, that drama was mediocre. Entertaining and with some bright spots, but mediocre both as a sageuk and as a drama in general. It’s popularity was because of the popular idols in the cast, Lee Joon Ki fans, the fact that it wasn’t set in the Joseon era, and because it hit a lot of fandom’s buttons for character overinvestment, none of which are actually related to quality. I didn’t bother finishing it when I learned that the final episodes literally killed off every single female character except for the one history said that it absolutely could not kill off. But it got a lot of younger viewers interested in sageuks, and also got some not-so-young viewers in that didn’t typically watch sageuks, but now I can’t go to any drama sites with seeing other sageuks and popular ancient cdramas compared to Moon Lovers and somehow being found wanting, with people going out of their way to find ways to compare them. Hwarang fandom is probably the worst about that. But every drama I’ve seen compared to ML in the last 6 months or however long its been has, IMO, been a better drama.
5. Completely unrelated to TV, I’ve been checking flights for WisCon and the prices are almost double what they were two years ago. Hopefully they’ll go down in the next month or so, but I’m not holding my breath. (I also have no idea yet if I have roommates or need to start asking friends if they have room. I know one of my regular roommates isn’t going, but I haven’t heard back from the other yet. I don’t think most people start worrying about roommates in February, though…)
Could they disguise it as a sports program? Or dance? Nobody seems to mind what gets committed to make athletes and dancers.
On a related note, while I can acknowledge that the brands which include a voodoo doll are merely using a sales gimmick, it still works (voodoo doll! *plus* pins!!!).