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megpie71

April 2019

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megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Saturday, April 20th, 2019 09:36 am
Relatively quiet week this week. I'm still working my way through Feet of Clay at about 5 pages a day at present. All the pieces are on the board now, and we're watching them move around into interesting combinations. The plot is thickening nicely, and the complications are predictably cropping up.

So, over to fanfic. In fully new stuff, there's [recipes for sorry] by Feather - part of her "[to see you there]" series, where we see a fairly clear picture of just how neurodiverse Tony Stark is, and how much trouble this can be to live with. (If you're still unsure how being neurodivergent can be disabling, go through this story... and then think about having those thoughts and feeling those feelings without several million dollars as a personal and social buffer between you and the consequences thereof).

In updates, well, one of my favourite Persona 5 AU fics at the moment, AyuOhSeki's wonderful To Catch A Tiger Cub, One Must First Enter the Tiger's Lair has had its final chapter posted (today, in fact - I'm cheating a little). Note to anyone who likes happy endings: this is not the fic for you. It is bittersweet all the way through. It is, however, brilliantly crafted, and a wonderful ride the whole way. I strongly recommend it to anyone reading in the fandom.

A couple of new chapters this week in a couple of fics which are slow to update: Delicious Danish updated their fic He Can't Talk And I Can't Walk (Persona 5, actually mute protagonist in a relationship with Ryuji, post high-school); and Alexilulu updated their fic Black & Red (Persona 5, trans protagonist dating trans Haru).

So that's what I've been reading this week (actually haven't been reading much - most of my time has been spent running in twenty-seven different directions at once for other reasons. I'll explain why later).
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megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Seph1)
Saturday, April 13th, 2019 08:32 am
Have another five from my reading list for this week.

First up, I've finished re-reading "Making Money", and moved on to "Feet of Clay. Since this one doesn't have chapters, I'm reading it out loud to myself, and stopping when I get through a couple of scenes. It's about five pages a night, or thereabouts.

Next, for uni, I've been required to read Lovecraft, for the first time. "The Call of Cthulhu" and "A Shadow Over Innsmouth". Which means I've now seen the origins of a great amount of the strangeness of the internet, and possibly due to being desensitised by long exposure to the internet itself, I haven't turned into a gibbering wreck. I do see where Bob Howard gets his comments about Lovecraft's purple prose from, though. All the shades, from aubergine through heliotrope to palest, palest lilac. Plus lots of focus on the "uncanny", as well as a lot of the racism and xenophobia for which Lovecraft is rather infamous. Seriously, if the guy hadn't been so absolutely and pathologically terrified of the idea of anyone who wasn't a white male upper-middle-class American from the North-Eastern US states having any access to anything by way of knowledge or power which he didn't have, he might have been a reasonable bloke to know. As it is, reading his stuff reminds me of a lot of reading memes from the alt-right bits of the internet - same sense of gibbering terror at the very notion of difference.

If H P Lovecraft were alive and writing today, he'd be a virulent blogger for the far right. If we were very lucky, he'd have been one of the Rabid Puppies and would currently be involved in a virulent argument with Vox Day about who was more hardcore and genuine, and therefore performing a service to mankind by keeping the two of them focussed on each other and out of everyone else's hair. I can admire the craft of his writing, while disliking a lot of the content.

I also had a look at one of the Hugo-nominated short-stories, mainly because it's a T Kingfisher story I hadn't seen before: The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society. Like many of her stories, it takes a fairytale trope, and turns it on its head, in a rather humourous way. I think if I ever wind up with money, I'm going to see about buying as much of her stuff as I can lay hands on (or get delivered to Australia).

So, final item, and it's basically an author/series recommendation more than anything else. I got interested in TwilightKnight17's Hours-Verse series, which is a fusion largely of Persona 3, Persona 4 and Persona 5, where the central premise is that the end of Persona 3 changes in a particular fashion that I'm not going to share, because Spoilers. It's up to 13 parts so far, one of which is currently a work in progress, and I'd definitely recommend it if you're a fan of any of the Persona games, because even the original Persona and Persona 2 get a look in. Also look at any of their other stuff - they're well worth the read, I'm finding. Good characterisation, none of the more annoying fan-writer quirks (such as describing characters solely by epithets[1]) that can sometimes get in the way of enjoying a story, and they're very good at plotting and pacing.

So that's what I've been reading (along with a lot of Persona 5 fanfic). What's on everyone else's reading list?


[1] What is it with that one? Do neurotypical people generally think of their friends as 'the tall one', 'the short one', 'the one with blonde hair' and so on? Why not just use their names?
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megpie71: Avon standing in front of Zen's dome, caption "Confirmed" (Avon3)
Saturday, April 6th, 2019 07:36 am
This week for uni, I have to read through The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (I've read it before, and I'm a detective story fan - this degree is still not really a hardship). It's a short novel, so I'm currently working through it at three chapters a night and enjoying running across all the standard detective novel tropes as they're being created. Plus one chapter each night of Making Money. My life is so difficult, I swear.

I've been reading a bit more fanfic this week, not so much because it's been a busy week for fanficcers (it hasn't, really) but rather because I discovered the Persona 5 Kinkmeme collection on AO3. So, more smut than gen this week, and mostly Persona 5 stuff.

One thing which doesn't fit into either category is the latest piece of Feather's "Settle in and find your home" series, Call it your 2.0, your rebirth: whatever. Instead, we get Maria Hill learning that she can actually cope with Tony Stark provided Tony isn't intentionally trying to be a pain in the backside. There's a lot of insights into a variety of other characters in this one as well, complete with loads of Feather's brilliant world-building, so if you like her MCU stuff, definitely give this one a look.

Now, on to the smut and Phantom Thieves.

Guiding Hands by TwilightKnight17 is a gorgeous fic in which Joker acts as sexual tutor for the majority of his teammates (don't worry, the cat isn't included; also it's consecutively, rather than concurrently). So there are seven vignettes, each with their own particular charm in there.

Model Behaviour by kolibris is a cute one where Joker has done a bit of a porn shoot to earn a bit of cash to cover the cost of weapons and such, and Ryuji just "happens" to buy the mag where the photos get featured. Enjoyable, and the characters are all in character all the way through.

Bajingo, also by kolibris, is a gorgeous bit of fic which subverts the whole "Joker is suave and cool and has it together at all times" trope which is endemic in this fandom - when Ryuji gets zapped by a gender-change effect in Mementos and has to wait for everything to switch back, Akira doesn't really know where to look or what to do.

So, that's the edited highlights of my reading list this week. What have other people been reading?
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megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Saturday, March 30th, 2019 09:46 am
It's been a non-teaching week this week. So I did a bit more personal reading than usual.

First up, I finished reading "Going Postal", and switched over to "Making Money" (Terry Pratchett, ISBN 978-0-385-61101-5). I'm re-reading this one at one chapter a day as well, to try and spin it out over a longer time period, rather than just blitzing through it in an evening. It's one of my favourite Discworld books - although this time it's looking at what makes a finance system go round. It also looks at the cost of obsession, and the cost to other people of one person's obsession, as well as the problematic nature of the Assassin's Guild scholarship program and what it turns out.

On the fanfic side of things, I picked up a few new works in progress in the Persona 5 fandom (to replace the two which had finished, it seems). First of these is If My Voice Is Reaching You, by iamnotafraidofspiders, which is a time-travel "save the cutie" fix-it. It has an interesting-to-me premise, even if it isn't particularly original, and of course, as with all such fic, the attraction isn't so much in what the premise is, as in how the trick is going to be done this time - what does this magician/writer bring to this particular trick/plot which will make it interesting?

The second is Campout, by Mishiman, which is a polyamorous camp-out fic set during May, where the Phantom Thieves (a gang of five at this point) wind up trapped by rotten weather inside Madarame's palace. It's marked as "explicit", but they haven't exactly got up to the point where anything I'd mark as "explicit" is happening just yet. It's more about group dynamics, and the various frustrations of Panther's catsuit at present.

I've also started reading Shatter Me by NekoK96, a New Game + fic, which starts its New Game from one of the "bad ending" variants from the point of view of Goro Akechi. Which is a variation on the theme I haven't seen before, and it makes for an interesting story.

Finally, I've picked up Unexpected by Blackwings91, which is (predictably for this author) a Protagonist/Ann getting-them-together fic, but which picks up about six or seven years on from the events of the game, and carries on from there. So, adults in an adult world.

So that's what I've been reading this week (usually when I should have been working on my assessments). What have other people been reading?
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megpie71: Dark-skinned boy saying "please not to rush the genius" (Genius 1)
Sunday, March 24th, 2019 09:38 am
It's been a slow reading week (mainly because most of the reading I've been doing lately is for university). Have three highlights from my reading list

Kissing It Better by Batsutousai - FF8, 5 + 1 times fic - five times Seifer kissed Squall, and one time Squall kissed him back. This one is a bit of a comfort re-read for me, being an old favourite which I love to bits. Batsutousai is one of the better writers out there for FF8 longfic, in my opinion - this is short for her, being only two chapters rather than fifteen or sixteen. Then again, it's largely set pre-game and post-game, rather than being a longfic AU. Do read her stuff if you like Final Fantasy VIII - she's got a good handle on the characters, and writes them really well.

Drink our coffee on the run by Feather (Lalaietha). The latest instalment in her "Settle in and find your home" sub-series of fic branching off from her wonderful "your blue eyed boys" series, and well worth the wait. Feather's original characters are brilliant, her writing is incredibly well-researched, and she has a deft touch with her characterisation of the canon characters as well (sometimes not the standard fandom perceptions of various characters, but always believable and human). If you haven't read her stuff, and you like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, go have a look - you're missing out on something wonderful. (NB: her canon stops dead at the end of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier". Pity about that meteor hitting Marvel Studios dead on, right?).

Flunking by volti - Persona 5 fandom. This is a longfic which covers a few months of the canon game, and which is focussed around Makoto Nijima and her relationship with Akira Kurusu during those months. I've been reading it as a work in progress; Volti finally finished it this week, so if you're into the Persona 5 fandom, but don't enjoy WIPs, give this one a go. Volti has a brilliant characterisation of Makoto in particular, but also of her first real relationship - the characters are believably seventeen and sixteen, which makes things all the better.

Like I said, it's been a slow reading week - I'm still working my way through "Going Postal", but I'm rationing myself to one chapter a day, to remind myself of why I like it so much. Mostly, it's been comfort reading. So, over to my readers: what do you read for comfort?
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megpie71: Kerr Avon quote: Don't philosophise at me you electronic moron; answer the question (don't philosophise)
Saturday, March 16th, 2019 08:22 am
Once again, a pick of five things from my reading list for the week, with a bit of reviewage.

First up, I've finally finished re-reading Frederica by Georgette Heyer, and have moved on to Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday hardback edition, 2004, ISBN 0-385-60342-8). It's one of my favourite Discworld books, and I'm rationing it out by reading myself one chapter each night. I find this one of the best books ever, simply for the depth of analysis Pterry does of the ways that corporate robber barons can destroy enterprises, and indeed societies, simply by trying to extract every last penny out of a system, or a product, or a process, or an employee's labour. As Lord Vetinari points out, the post office failed when it stopped being treated as a public good for the betterment of everyone, and started being treated like a money box. There's a lot to be learned in this one - I feel like I'd want to be assigning it as reading to Commerce and Management students, just so they had a chance of seeing an alternative picture to the one being offered by their coursework.

There have been a couple of the fanfic WIPs I've been following which have finished this week. The first of these was Just Like New by Piano, which is a Final Fantasy VII fanfic, set in a world where Zack Fair is a mechanic, and Cloud Strife is a discarded android he's found on a scrapheap. If you're the type of person who isn't fond of WIPs, well, it's all finished now; do go have a look at it. I found it a bit schmoopy for my tastes, simply because I'm not that fond of chronically shy and retiring Cloud Strife, but overall, it's a reasonably well-thought-through idea, and the villain everyone in FF7 fandom loves to hate (Hojo) dies at the end, so it's all good.

The second completed WIP was in Persona 5 fandom: Phantom Stardust by TheWabbajackX. This one is essentially a retelling of the original game story, with a fully fleshed out heterosexual relationship between the Protagonist and Ann Takamaki. It's not bad... but I wouldn't be writing home about it either. There's a bit too much emphasis on the sexual side of things with the characters for my preference, and it does tend toward a certain degree of "stations of the canon" as well (which is great if you're the sort of person who's into that, or who can deal with the spoilers if you haven't already completed the game). Basically, given the P/Ann part of this fandom tends to be either excessively cutesy, or excessively pornographic (in best "plumbing manual" porn style - insert tab A into slot B, remove, reinsert, repeat with emphasis on dimensions, directions, actions and lubricant descriptions until completion), this story does make a nice change from the bulk of them.

I decided to re-read Equoid by Charles Stross, because after a few weeks of early Realist literature for Constructing the Real at uni, I was in the mood for something which manages to blend together H P Lovecraft (I have to read "Call of Cthulhu" for this course... if nothing else can be said for the course, at least the reading list is surprisingly cheap for university level study, since everything on it is out of copyright), Stella Gibbons, and the Laundryverse, with side references to Pterry and to Peter Shaeffer. Because if I'm going to be dealing with purple prose, I may as well have it with a good side order of weird biology, strange things from the depths of the subconscious, and enough geek references to sink a battleship.

mystiri_1 has published a couple of new bits of fic in the FFXV fandom, both of which were really good. I'm linking to Chef's Special because firstly, it's here on Dreamwidth, secondly, it's a piece which uses a couple of very minor characters in some rather interesting ways, and thirdly, it covers a period in the timeline which I haven't seen tackled before. I've always been a fan of mystiri_1's writing since I first ran into her stuff in the Final Fantasy VII fandom, so it's good to see it here in Final Fantasy XV.

In other news, the arc of the weather here in Western Australia is busy tending toward winter, and I'm starting to need to put on leggings in the early morning to keep warm in bed. Not quite cool enough yet to merit switching over to the winter-weight quilt, but certainly starting to get cooler in the mornings.
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megpie71: Avon looking unimpressed, caption "Bite Me" (tech support 2)
Saturday, March 9th, 2019 08:36 pm
A change this week. With uni starting up, I've realised that keeping track of everything I'm reading isn't going to happen - I just do not have the spoons for it, I'm too tired, and my brain is using this as a reason to beat me up. So instead of giving you everything I've read, I'm just going to give a "five highlights from the list" post, with a bit more of a review attached than usual.

To Catch a Tiger Cub, One Must First Enter the Tiger’s Lair by AyuOhseki - P5 WIP, Crow/Joker. I would seriously recommend AyuOhseki as a writer in the Persona 5 fandom - they're good with characterisation (haven't seen a single bobble or even vaguely out of character action from them in any of their works I'm reading) and they have a good touch with character development. This one is going in some rather interesting directions when it comes to things like relationship decisions. Definitely worth reading, and I'm interested in seeing where it winds up.

It’s a Compliment, Really by Moczo - P5 WIP - the "porn parody" one, no actual pairings. I'm putting this on the list because it is an absolute hoot, it makes me laugh every single chapter, and I'm just thoroughly enjoying the absurdity and silliness of the whole thing. The characterisation is gorgeous, and I definitely get a "Muppet Show" feel out of it - that sort of "okay, starts strange, and just gets sillier and weirder (and more hilarious) as we go along". The bad porn is so bad it's brilliant. Definite fanfic therapy for the stressed out reader. 11 out of 10, have definitely re-read multiple times.

In The Spotlight by Symxalia - P5 AU post-game, online media fandoms. Just discovered this one this week, and it's a gorgeous, low-stress piece of fluff. Basically, the various characters from Persona 5 have survived the whole business, and they're now making names for themselves as YouTubers, game streamers, Instagram photographers and so on.

Tale of A Filigree Prince by ammehsuor - P5, post-game fix-it, Akira/Goro. Goro Akechi has (miraculously, with the assistance of both of his personas) survived the events of the Engine Room, and is working to rebuild himself after everything. Then he bumps into Akira Kurusu in the park, and things get... complicated. This is a really well-written fic, with a complex view of the characters, and an interesting twist on the sorts of D/s narratives which usually show up for this pairing.

The Flip of a Coin by Ztluh - P5, WIP, new game +/groundhog day fusion fix-it. Just found this one this week, and it's an intriguing look at things. The essential conceit is that the protagonist (Akira) has been living the events of the game over and over and over, restarting every time. This time around, he decides to let random chance (or fate, whichever's listening, I suppose) get involved in some of the decisions, by flipping a coin to decide things. This one is going in some interesting directions, since the protagonist by this point has been around for a fair few years. My curiousity is piqued, and I'm going to keep following it.
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megpie71: Storyboard Zack Fair is happy - smiling, moving up and to the right. (Yay)
Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 07:26 am
Farewell Re-Read:

Finished off The Body in the Bath House and put that in the bye-bye bag; started off Damned Whores and God's Police by Anne Summers (Penguin 2002 revised edition, ISBN 0-14-028876-7)

Novels:

Still plugging away at Frederica, but I'm having to put it on the side for Madame Bovary for my uni studies.

For Uni:

Dickens, Charles (1836). Sketches by Boz, London, (publisher unknown), "A Visit To Newgate".

Earnshaw, Stephen (2010). Beginning Realism, Manchester & New York, Manchester University Press, pp14 - 37 (Chapter 1)

Plus the first 166 pages of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (Penguin 2003 edition, ISBN 978-0-140-44912-9). I have to be at least halfway through the book by the beginning of the week after next (university week 3, this was week 1).

(I still have a chapter out of "North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell to be reading as well, plus another chapter of the book for my creative writing course).

Fanfiction:

Under the fold for politeness )

So that's what I've been reading this week... and I've also been trying to clean the house in time for a rental inspection on Thursday morning next week, and come up with ideas for a presentation about living independently while autistic and how this might differ from doing so while neurotypical (presentation happens in uni week 4, so I have a couple of weeks to pull things together). Everything happens at once around here...
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megpie71: Sephiroth holding Masamune ready to strike (Advertising)
Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 09:51 am
Farewell re-read:

Still making my way through A Body in the Bath House.

Novels:

Still technically re-reading Frederica, although I haven't actually picked it up all week.

Uni Reading

It's O-Week, and my readings for classes start this week because I needed to have them done for class on Monday. You get these ones in my best APA format-equivalent, because I'm taking them from the headers of my uni notes:

Arnold, Andrea (dir) (2009). Fishtank, BBC Films.

Beale, Nigel (2008). "The ancient art of keeping it real", The Guardian Books blog, 21 OCT 2008. https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2008/oct/21/aristotle-james-wood-realism-mimesis

Burroway, Janet, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French (2015) Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (9th ed), Boston, Pearson, pp1 - 20 (Chapter 1)

Earnshaw, Stephen (2010). Beginning Realism, Manchester & New York, Manchester University Press, pp1 - 13 (introduction)

Yes, there's a film in there. I'm doing Cultural Studies, films count as texts and readings.

Fanfiction:

Once More, With Feeling by beesandtoes Ch 6 and Ch 7 - The P5 "Groundhog Day" one - dangerous coping methods, and the collapse of the romance waveform.

Hopscotch and Red Rover by scifigrl47 - MCU AU, part of the "Tales of the Bots" universe, and Harris MacIntyre does not have a normal life by any means.

Never Settle for Less Than Gold by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - FF7/MCU crossover AU; do NOT touch Vincent Valentine's partners if you want to survive.

New Game + by Tayani - P5, latest chapter in a WIP, the AU with the woobified Goro Akechi.

Flunking by volti - P5, latest chapter in a WIP

getting it back to good by melowh - P5, latest chapter in a WIP. Post-game AU.

Let Loose Your Glow by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - FF7, Cloud/Barret, AU.

It’s a Compliment, Really by Moczo - P5, Latest chapter in the porn parody AU. This one still makes me laugh out loud.

Black & Red by Alexilulu - P5, lastest chapter in a WIP.

To Catch a Tiger Cub, One Must First Enter the Tiger’s Lair by AyuOhseki - P5, WIP, this is the latest chapter.

A Kind of Magic by XpaperplaneX - FF7 WIP, this it the latest chapter, and it has some plot in it.

Something in The Silver Lining by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - FF7/MCU crossover AU - immediately post the Battle of New York.

A Den of Nibel Wolves by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - FF7, Cloud/Barret, Cloud looks good in evening wear, and Rufus Shinra is not allowed to have all the pretty.

On Broken Wings by raisedbymoogles - FF7 post Advent Children Sephiroth habilitation fic - this is the latest chapter in a WIP, and I've been following this one for years, since the first few chapters were originally posted over on InsaneJournal. It goes by the nickname of "Fluffiroth", which should tell you everything you need to know - go check with your dentist before reading.

So that's what I've been reading this week. Expect the Uni reading section to remain in these for the next few months - semester officially starts on Monday.

Anyone read anything interesting this week?
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megpie71: Animated: "Are you going to come quietly/Or do I have to use earplugs?" (Goons)
Saturday, February 16th, 2019 08:25 am
Farewell Re-Read

Still working through A Body in the Bath House by Lindsey Davis.

Novels

Still working through Frederica by Georgette Heyer. My copy of this one has reached the point where it can almost be shuffled rather than read, which makes reading a tad awkward, but it's still do-able.

Fanfic

Lots this week - under the fold )

So, that's what I've been reading this week. How about everyone else?
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megpie71: Slave computer, captioned "My most humble apologies, master" (computer troubles)
Saturday, February 9th, 2019 08:42 am
What I've Been Reading W/E 08 FEB 2019

Farewell Re-read:

Finished up "A Dying Light in Corduba", and I'm now on to "A Body in the Bath-house" (ISBN 0-7126-6964-7), also by Lindsey Davis.

Novels:

Still working through "Frederica".

Fanfic:

Under the fold, out of consideration for people's flists )

So, that's what I've been reading. Anyone else got any recommendations?
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megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra says "Heee!" (laughing)
Saturday, February 2nd, 2019 10:09 am
Farewell Re-Read:

Still on "A Dying Light in Corduba" by Lindsey Davis

Books:

Still re-reading "Frederica" by Georgette Heyer

Fanfic:

Under the fold for people's reading lists )

So, that's what I've been reading. What about everyone else? Any recommendations?
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megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra glares and says "The Look says it all" (ticked)
Saturday, January 26th, 2019 09:36 am
Farewell re-read

Still plugging my way through A Dying Light in Corduba by Lindsey Davis.

Novels

Frederica by Georgette Heyer (ISBN 0 330 20272 3). An old favourite I pulled out to re-read when Firefox was being a [bleep] nuisance. I'm in the mood for a Heyer romance, simply because they're light, fluffy, and fun.

Fanfic

Rust In My Own Blood by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - Link goes to the latest chapter of a multi-chapter WIP AU of an AU (the original AU is a Sephiroth childhood fix-it; this AU has the Sephiroth whose childhood is being fixed swapping places with the canonical Sephiroth). I love the overall series this is part of, and I'm enjoying this AU, even if it does hit me in the feels at times.

Maybe Tomorrow by scifigrl47 - MCU AU, "Annie" as done with Tony Stark as Daddy Warbucks. Link goes to the latest chapter in a WIP.

A Kind of Magic by XpaperplaneX - Newest chapter in another WIP, and yeah, this one is a smutfic.

A Memoir on Parenting by V. Valentine, Semi-Retired Turk by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - Latest chapter in an AU WIP (this one is chapter 4 so far). Remember that Sephiroth childhood fix-it I was talking about earlier? Yeah, this is an instalment in that one, happening about three years before "Rust In My Own Blood". Do read the whole series, it's a hoot and absolutely gorgeous from go to whoa.

Sunflowers by XpaperplaneX - final chapter (epilogue) of another Sephiroth-gets-a-childhood fix-it fic. One of the things which is good about this one is it's probably the most sympathetic treatment of Tifa Lockhart's father I've seen in the fandom so far.

Settle in and find your home by Feather (Lalaietha). Still re-reading her series, and again, since I've re-read the lot of 'em this week, I'm just going to link to the AO3 homepage for the series rather than the individual stories.

Original Fiction

(As in, original short fiction, found online. If it were on paper, I'd be putting it up near the farewell re-read stuff).

A Model Dog by John Scalzi - An engineer is asked to create the ultimate robot dog for the parent of their billionaire start-up founder. Gorgeous and giggle-worthy.

Online Articles

Invasion Day: Australians Want The Holiday Without Putting In The Work by Amy McGuire, in Junkee. An interesting discussion of the ways responsibility for reconciliation and so on has been largely sloughed off by white Australia onto Indigenous Australia.

So, what are other people reading? Any recommendations?
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megpie71: a phone, ringing. (hardly working)
Saturday, January 19th, 2019 07:48 am
Farewell Re-reads
A Dying Light in Corduba, by Lindsey Davis, ISBN 0 71 2659 41 2. One of her Marcus Didius Falco novels. (Yup, finished the Tim Flannery, and it's in the bye-bye bag, awaiting donation).

Fanfic

Five Times the Villain’s Weapon Didn’t Work on Thor and the One Time It Did by TheOther Odinson - MCU "Five Times" fic. My notes for this one basically quote Loki in Avengers: Assemble - "Are you ever not going to fall for that?". Made me grin.

A Kind of Magic by XpaperplaneX - Latest chapter of a WIP (Ch 4). Still fluffy, but with more smut in this chapter.

you&i’ll be safe and sound (epilogue) by Feather (lalaietha) - final part of the "your blue eyed boys" re-read.

[to see you there] by Feather (lalaietha) - The link leads to the main series page on AO3, because this week I re-read the whole series. All 28 parts of it. And rather than bloat out my list by referring to them all individually, I'm just going to point everyone to this list someone else (Feather!) prepared earlier, in best "Blue Peter"/cooking show style.

Online Articles

Four Days Trapped at Sea With Crypto’s Nouveau Riche by Laurie Penny - Confirming that spending the better part of a week around a bunch of crypto-currency enthusiasts is probably not anyone's idea of a good time. Not even the crypto-currency enthusiasts'.

This Transgender Woman Says a Message From Her Doctor’s Office Turned Into a Transphobic Tirade by Lucy Diavolo - despite the tabloidesque headline, it's an intelligent story, and I have a lot of respect for the person involved.

That's what I've been reading this week. What about everyone else? Any articles that catch people's eyes, or recommendations/dis-recommendations?
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megpie71: Avon standing in front of Zen's dome, caption "Confirmed" (confirmed)
Saturday, January 12th, 2019 08:29 am
Farewell Re-reads

Still plugging away at The Weather Makers. It's almost depressing to realise a lot of what Flannery is talking about in 2005 hasn't been implemented by the Australian government over a decade later.

Fanfic

Under the fold to save people's timelines )

Online Articles

(Because why not? I am reading these, I may as well keep track of them)Under the fold to save people's timelines )

So, what's everyone else reading? Any recommendations? Any dis-recommendations?
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megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
Saturday, January 5th, 2019 09:11 am
Farewell Re-Read:

Still working my way through The Weather Makers

Fanfic:
Read more... )

Fanart/Comics:

(These are all from the Gaia Santa collection as well)

Holiday Shenanigans by chaoscheebs

Pushing the Limits by Kitsunebaba - This one is a comic, and it's supposed to be a longer work.

Fix a Heartbreak with Coffee and Cake by Sephykins

Anything anyone else wants to share or recommend?
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megpie71: Tips of coloured pencils behind text: "Fandom: we colour outside the lines" (colour outside the lines)
Saturday, December 29th, 2018 11:46 am
(I'm going to be trying to make this a regular Thing. Wish me luck with it. Basically, it's going to be a summary of what I'm reading, in which formats, for which purposes, and so on. Some brief comments about each thing, but not a huge discussion unless it's really something which has set my head on fire.

Two important things to note about my reading habits: 1) I tend to read a lot; 2) I tend to re-read things a lot. This is the intersection of a strong hobby interest in reading, and a low income).

Farewell Re-reads:

(A quick explanation: the "farewell-re-read" shelf on my bookshelves is the one where I put all the books I'm not sure whether I want to keep or discard, so I give them a final re-read and decide from there. Anything on the farewell re-read shelf is an actual print book).

The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery (2005). Tim Flannery on climate change, and why it matters, and why we have to take action on it urgently. Note the publication date.

Fanfic

Different Similarities by Aurya - Dissidia NT fic, involving a discussion between Lightning and Noctis about how oddly similar their worlds and stories are.

Endlessly by aryasnark - A collection of short pieces starring Squall Leonhart and Cloud Strife (therefore ranging in fandom from Kingdom Hearts, through FFVII, FFVIII, and Dissidia). A work in progress. One I keep coming back to and re-reading, as well as enjoying the new additions.

Exodus by MoiDuh - Dissidia 12 fic, where Cloud disappears from Gaia in the aftermath of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. A work in progress.

Fluffy Humorous How they Get Together Just Read It Okay? There will be SMUT by mdaoust245 - FFVII Sephiroth/Cloud fic. Work in progress. Cloud is bullied into asking Sephiroth out for a date.

Good Friends and Good Company by Megane - Dissidia fic. Cloud and Tidus chilling in Besaid.

once more by brewpubs - Kingdom Hearts. An interesting take on the tie between Sephiroth and Cloud in KH canon.

Pretty Kitty by wickedorin - FFVII Zack/Sephiroth pet play. Smutfic.

Sunflowers by XpaperplaneX - FFVII pre-canon fix-it. Work in progress (completed, but being posted gradually). A young Sephiroth is sent to a certain mountain village for a summer as a consequence of disobeying orders. I'm a sucker for a good "Sephiroth gets a different childhood" fix-it, so I'd definitely recommend this one to other people who are fans of the same thing.

The Forest of Winters Past by dentedsky - Dissidia NT AU - Zack Fair lands up in the world of Dissidia NT. Part of the Fictober 2018 collection on AO3.

3, 2, 5? by Tellie_Skye - FFVII High school AU. Work in progress. Writer will probably be good when they get a bit more practice under their belt. As it stands, this reads as though English isn't their first language.

A Little Bird Told Me by chibikaie - Kingdom Hearts, possibly a college AU. Work in progress. Interesting enough that I've subscribed to it to keep up with updates.

A prince just wants good ol’ lovin’ by SunFallDown - FFVII, fairy tale AU. Zack/Cloud. This one is a variation on Cinderella, or at least, it has elements thereof.

All That I’ve got by Vincent_Valentine - FFVII/Kingdom Hearts High School AU. Work in progress. Zack/Cloud. Not particularly enthralling, I'm afraid.

Final Fantasy: Cross Dimensions by SIR_QUACK_AloT - FFVII/FFVIII crossover, Squall falls into the world of FFVII post-OG canon. Work in progress. I got thrown out of this one hard by the author referring to the antagonist of FFVIII as "Ultimania" (she's Ultimecia) and didn't bother to read past that.

From our Family to Yours by Madame_Xela - Kingdom Hearts AU, Squall/Cloud, domestic fluff. Work in progress. Seasonal snapshots of a family where Leon and Cloud have kids and are married to each other.

Love Twice by 0roro_Munr0e - FFVII: Crisis Core mundane world AU. Working toward the OT5 (SOLDIER fivesome). Work in progress. I was catching up on chapters 14 - 16. Interesting story, but the author occasionally has frustrating errors in tense and word choice.

Polarity by Tobiroth - FFVII Crisis Core A/B/O Dynamics AU. Work in progress. Tobiroth is a good author who I like to re-read, but they have a problem with starting stories and not finishing them. There are a LOT Of WIPs in their profile on AO3. I'd still strongly recommend what they write, but be aware of this...

Kinda Toast by joudama - FFXV, Gladio/Prompto fluff. Work in progress. Look, I'm always going to recommend anything by joudama in any of the fandoms we share (and probably I'd recommend her in the ones we don't as well), but this one is gorgeous just for the sheer quality of the way she's captured Prompto's voice.

A Christmas Cracker by Ardwynna - FFVII, part of the 2018 Gaia Santa collection on AO3. My main comment on this one is that if you don't like puns, turn away now, because some bits of this are Punful.

No Complaints by Asreoninfusion FFVII/Venom fusion. Smutfic. Part of the 2018 Gaia Santa collection on AO3. Asreoninfusion is going to be one of those authors I'm going to recommend and re-read repeatedly, because her FF7 smutfic is very good indeed. This is no exception.

Time Forever Favours the Young by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - FFVII, post-canon, part of the 2018 Gaia Santa collection on AO3. Gotham's_Only_Wolf is another author I'll always recommend. This one is a good post-canon fix-it in many ways.

Mistaken Mistlefoe by Gotham’s_Only_Wolf - FFVII. Part of the 2018 Gaia Santa collection on AO3. One where the idea of inter-cultural communication has presumably never been considered by the management of the Shinra Electric Power Company or the leadership of its army.

This End Up by raisedbymoogles - Transformers/Kingdom Hearts crossover fic. Look, it has Galvatron, moogles and Mognet in it, and it made me laugh out loud.

Gift of the Bots by scifigrl47 - MCU, part of scifigrl47''s "Tales of the Bots" series. DJ needs to earn money to cover the cost of Christmas presents.

A Kind of Magic by XpaperplaneX - FFVII, part of XpaperplaneX's Tentacle 'Verse series. Cloud/Sephiroth. Nice to see the old fandom standbys making a reappearance, and this is one which hasn't been about for a few years now. XpaperplaneX is a good writer, another of the ones I'll always recommend to others.

So, does anyone else have anything they'd like to recommend, or share?
megpie71: Tips of coloured pencils behind text: "Fandom: we colour outside the lines" (Fandom)
Sunday, June 10th, 2018 11:21 am
Okay, in celebration of finally having enough spare time to be able to do some serious reading again (and having opened another box of books and re-stocked my "farewell re-read" shelves... should get to work on those, really) I present some recommendations for fiction favourites of mine in the Final Fantasy VII fandom. These fics are ones about what I call "Sephiroth Habilitated" - the ones where Sephiroth is "fixed" so he's not completely insane, obsessive, and psychotic, much less the nihilistic demi-god-wannabe we've all come to know and love. I call them "habilitation" fics, rather than "rehabilitation", because quite frankly given the upbringing we're led to suspect for canon Sephiroth (being raised in the laboratories of the Shinra Science Department by Professor Hojo, before being thrown out into the battlefields of Wutai before his voice had finished breaking), it's very much "this is the first chance he's had for any actual normality in his life".

Some of the defining characteristics of this sub-genre, for me, are the rather calm and gentle tone of them - they're about recovery, after all; and the various defining characteristics of the "real" Sephiroth everyone picks up from underneath the role of General, and the influence of Jenova. Most of them tend to be Sephiroth/Cloud slash, so if you see either Sephiroth or Cloud with another partner, you may want to avoid them

So, without any further ado:

the fight goes on series by jukeboxhound

Sephiroth winds up floating in the pool in the church, and Cloud is, once again, the one who's called on to deal with him. If you've read jukeboxhound's stuff before, and know her tone and tendency toward mixing both light and dark material, that carries through in this story, although it's certainly a lot lighter in tone than, for example, "Eir's Tomorrow". The series itself is a work in progress, but the various parts can be read as stand-alone pieces. There are three parts so far. Some explicit content, but of the "tasteful erotica" variety rather than the "plumbing manual" variety (insert tab A into slot B),

Tomowowowo & Boomchick's September 2015 30-Day-NSFW-Challenge

Now, this one is straight-up, largely plumbing-manual explicit content all the way through, complete with pictures which are explicit as well. You have been warned. It is, however, a well-crafted thirty-one piece story about the gradual building of a relationship between Cloud and Sephiroth after the discovery of Sephiroth's body floating (once again) in the pool in the church.

The mighty have fallen by Xenobia

Surprise, surprise, Seph isn't found in a pond in the church this time around. Mostly because I suspect this one was written around the same time Advent Children came out, with only the trailers to go on. In this case, he's been found in a forgotten/previously unknown lab of Hojo's, and again, Cloud is the one who is called on to deal with him. In this case, Sephiroth's release from an induced coma requires Cloud to take on the role of his "keeper" by means of an implanted chip in his (Cloud's) brain which can induce certain phenomena in Sephiroth. And, of course, the predictable relationship occurs, complete with explicit content. I like this one for the slightly different take on Cloud that results from the author not using Advent Children canon to inform his personality.

On Broken Wings by raisedbymoogles

Another which was started back before Advent Children came out, and hence in this one, Sephiroth returns to life after the events of the original game in the Northern Crater. It's been edited since the original writing, so there's bits and pieces of Advent Children canon in there. It's still a work in progress, but I love this one because it shows us a very broken, and very damaged Sephiroth, who really does need a lot of help and a lot of support to be able to make his way back from the person Hojo made him to be. It also gives us a Cloud who isn't exactly 100% himself, and who is still affected by the events mentioned in the original game. There's also two adorable kids, a highly protective and highly personable chocobo (feathered kind, not nickname for Cloud) and of course various mentions of the weird and wonderful wildlife of Gaia in all its diversity.

Infinite Possibilities series, by Kalloway

Another which ignores Advent Children and this time Sephiroth wakes up alone and naked on a beach in Mideel. Now, there's a lot of ways things could have gone after that line, but this fic takes a slightly different one. This is probably the most sedate of the fics I'm recommending, but it's worth it for the journey. While the author does warn for a Sephiroth/Cloud relationship, it's the least detailed of the lot - by the time the story ends, they've maybe got to the point of exchanging a single kiss - it's up the other end of the spectrum from the Boomowowowo challenge, that's for sure. No explicit content, unless you think a bloke waking up naked on a beach counts as explicit content.

Under the Wing of a Nibel Dragon series, by Gotham's_Only_Wolf

This series is very unusual when it comes to Sephiroth Habilitation stories, because it actually starts before the original game canon gets going. It starts as a spin-off of another writer's fic (there's a link to it in the first story, do have a read), and carries on from there, but basically things take an abrupt turn for the better in an eleven-year-old Sephiroth's life after he acquires in rapid succession, a younger brother (adoptive), an adoptive parent who is far better at actual parenting than Hojo, and a home which isn't in the Shinra Science Department. So far it's covering the years from when Sephiroth is eleven through about thirteen or fourteen, so there aren't any sexual relationships happening with Sephiroth involved in them (there may be some coming up later, but there isn't any explicit content in the story so far). Again, it's an ongoing series - there are actually two sub-stories currently in progress, so be warned, things may appear to drop out inconsistently, but it appears to be under active creation at present. But it's notable because the central force in Sephiroth's rehabilitation is not an overloaded, post-Jenova Cloud Strife.

So there you go - six of the best of the genre I've found so far. If you're a fan of this particular little sub-genre, and have any other fics I might have missed, leave a link in the comments.
megpie71: 9th Doctor resting head against TARDIS with repeated *thunk* text (Head!Tardis)
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 07:38 pm
I am strongly in agreement with Bucky Barnes regarding the readability and sense-making ability of post-modern French philosophes. That is all.

(Longer version: Baudrillard occasionally surfaces to breathe the cool air of making sense, then dives back into the morass of incomprehensibility again. This is very exhausting for the casual reader who is just looking for some decent fscking quotes to add to a 1200 word essay about reproduction and replication (in the semiotic/post-modern sense) in "Planet of the Ood" so she can seem as though she's got at least some philosophical and theoretical backing for her thesis statement. On the bright side, he appears to have predicted Donald Trump's presidency some thirty-three years ahead of time.)
megpie71: Denzel looking at Tifa with a sort of "Huh?" expression (Are you going to tell him?)
Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 06:21 pm
Just been reading through some back issues of "The Secret Teacher" on teh Grauniad website, and one of the issues which comes up repeatedly is "homework" - essentially, teachers think it's No Big Deal, parents either complain there's too much, or too little, and the kids always think there's too much.

More under the fold )

As so often occurs, what truth and peace there is in the whole argument lies somewhere in between the extremes of it - or at least within the overlapping spaces in the argument's Venn diagram. Homework and home study skills are useful - but they're useful in the same way algebra, geometry, geography, and learning the finer points of diagramming sentences wind up being. Yes, they're massively useful if you're going into education as a profession; they're peripherally useful if you're thinking of going into an area where you'll need the practice at self-motivation, goal-setting, and meeting self-imposed targets. But for the vast majority of people, they're skills you learn in school, for school, and never need again throughout your working lifetime.