Ordinary Day

And it's all your state of mind...

Korrasami: I ship it
Path of Wisdom

My household was beyond delighted with the finale of Avatar: The Legend of Korra this weekend. Along with a great deal of the rest of the Internet, we were specifically delighted by the ending.

Dara’s been monitoring the Korrasami explosion on tumblr all weekend, which has been a delight to behold. Not so much of a delight is the fight Dara’s been having to wage on Wikipedia to get the Korrasami ending acknowledged–because while a lot of the fandom is in favor of it, there are those who are stridently against it as well.

Which makes me sad. It makes me sad as well that the creators couldn’t come right out and explicitly declare that Korra and Asami had feelings for each other. But it should surprise none of you that I’m in favor of it. Others all over the Net have called out how the show went as close to outright stating as they could.

For example, with the framing of Korra and Asami in a way that’s noticeably similar to various established het couples in this season.

Couples on Korra

Couples on Korra

Or how the music they played over that final scene is the same piece they used in Airbender when Aang and Katara declared their feelings for each other: a thing called, in fact, “The Avatar’s Love”.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: representation matters. I grant you, I’m coming at this with a bisexual worldview, and so it seems pretty damned apparent to me that this storyline’s intent is that Korra and Asami became a couple. But what looks like representation to me unfortunately is not as obvious to people who aren’t specifically hoping for that kind of a resolution–and worse, those for whom same-sex relationships are outright objectionable are bound and determined to go LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU. The fight Dara’s having on Wikipedia had the other person eventually state that they wouldn’t take anything short of a statement by the creators of the show as to what was intended.

A statement that, I note, would not be demanded if that final scene had involved Mako instead of Asami. I doubt anybody who saw the finale would have doubted for an instant that that was a romantic resolution if Mako had been involved.

As for me? I choose to believe that Asami and Korra are now going to have a delightful and romantic sojourn in the spirit world, and perhaps Uncle Iroh will officiate their marriage. Because I mean, honestly, people, how is this not a romantic scene?

Korra and Asami

Korra and Asami

Also, I’d just like to say that even aside from the Korrasami ending, the whole season has been a delight. I really appreciated the character development on Korra’s part, and even aside from the rough schedule imposed on the show by Nickelodeon, I feel that seasons 3 and 4 were both very strong storytelling. And the finale in particular was deeply satisfying, and a hell of a strong note to end on.

I really, really hope we’ll get to continue to visit Korra’s world courtesy of the Avatar comics Dark Horse has been putting out. They’ve been doing excellent stories featuring Aang’s cast, and I would buy stories featuring further adventures with the Korra cast in a heartbeat.

Here are further links to discussion elsewhere:

On io9: My Thoughts On Korra’s Schrodinger Relationship Status

On the Mary Sue: On That Legend of Korra Ending Scene & The Desire For Explicit Representation and MegaRecap of Our Favorite Moments from The Legend of Korra Finale!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

On women in fiction

It is articles like this one that remind me why the majority of my SF/F reading is books written by women: i.e., because that will give me a much stronger chance of a story in which there are in fact multiple female characters.

Because the author of this article (herself an author) has it exactly right: lack of female characters in a story is always a choice. There are occasionally times when it’s the correct choice–I’ll cite Master and Commander here as an exclusively male story, and given that the movie’s set almost entirely at sea and that the protagonists are all members of the crew of a British naval ship, it’s contextually reasonable to expect a lack of women in the plot.

By contrast, I’ll also cite Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which as you all know is a thing that’s near and dear to my heart. Yet even on Voyage, set predominantly on board a submarine that used to be part of the Navy and with an all-male crew, they managed to have quite a few episodes featuring notable female guest characters. Sometimes they were scientists. Sometimes they were women working with Admiral Nelson’s organization in support capacities for whenever they went on land. Sometimes they were spies. Sometimes they were civilians caught up in the intrigue of the plot du jour. In general, the writers of the show did manage to find ways to work women into the stories, and in many cases, the episodes where they did so are my favorites.

Rhiannon Thomas calls out Tolkien as well, again something that’s near and dear to my heart. As I’ve written before, Tolkien’s female characters are pretty thin on the ground, with only a few notable exceptions.

Because yes: it’s a conscious choice on the part of a writer as to how many women you’re going to include in the story. In the case of epic/high fantasy, it can be done. I’ve got multiple women in positions of power (magical, political, religious, and social) all over the Rebels of Adalonia books. Likewise with Faerie Blood and the forthcoming Bone Walker. It all depends on what kind of story the writer chooses to tell.

And certainly, speaking as a consumer of content as well as a producer, stories that take the time to include women are the stories I’m going to want to watch and read.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Murkworks.net accounts currently having trouble talking to Gmail
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day

ATTENTION anybody who has a mail account on Murkworks.net:

Right now we’re having issues with any of our accounts sending mail out to Gmail addresses. Gmail is incorrectly dinging us as a spam sender, and either shunting mail from us into Spam folders or else outright bouncing it. Needless to say, this is massively annoying.

I’ve just been informed on Twitter that Google is already investigating similar reports, so this may or may not be clearing itself up soon. Dara’s been trying to investigate as well.

In the meantime, if you have alternate email addresses to use, you should do so. We apologize for the inconvenience. :(

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.


Movie review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day

I have seen Five Armies! All hail Paul who got invited to a private early showing courtesy of his brand new workplace, and since he was able to bring a guest, I came with him. So we just got home from seeing the movie!

First, the spoiler-free picoreview: if you didn’t like Unexpected Journey or Desolation of Smaug, you probably won’t like Five Armies either. But I for one enjoyed myself immensely, and as I told folks at work today, I was already a hundred percent on board with Jackson’s story. This movie didn’t do anything to shake me off of that.

Parts of the movie played kind of weirdly shakily to me. Parts were played out in ways I was not expecting at all. One side character was entirely unnecessary. But Mr. Freeman and Mr. Armitage were every bit as spectacular as expected, and all the parts that I expected to make me go *WAUGH* did in fact do so. My only regret is that we had to leave the theater before I could give a full proper listen to Mr. Boyd’s song over the closing credits. I will be making a point of listening to that properly on my second viewing.

Full commentary, with spoilers, is behind the fold (or over on angelahighland.com, if you’re seeing this on LJ or Dreamwidth). If you’re reading this on LJ or Dreamwidth, come on over to angelahighland.com’s master post to comment. Ditto if you clicked in from Facebook or Twitter or G+ or Tumblr–I ask that you leave spoiler commentary on this post in order to keep it away from folks who haven’t seen the movie yet.

(And one other thing: with all due respect, please don’t rant at me about how much you’re hating Jackson’s movies on my post. I don’t need to hear you ranting about how it should have been just one movie or two. I PARTICULARLY don’t need to hear it if you hate Tauriel and everything her character stands for.

Believe me, The Hobbit is a critical, formative part of my childhood, too. And I get the feeling of betrayal if a screen adaptation of a movie actively breaks part of your childhood for you. But I don’t subscribe to that myself. My childhood is not broken because Jackson’s movies don’t line up with the story in my head when I read the book. Because look, people, we still have the book. Tolkien’s immortal words are not damaged or erased from history because Jackson chose to implement a different version of the story. The original still exists and we can read it as often as we like.

I’m not saying these movies are perfect, and I certainly don’t think they quite measure up to The Lord of the Rings movies. But I do actively enjoy them. Ranting at me about how much you hate them will only make us both sad. For all the flaws I find in this trilogy, I do still actively love it, and I much prefer to celebrate what I love about the movies we got rather than wasting my time ranting about the movies we didn’t get. I will acknowledge their flaws, yes, but I will also take great pleasure in the things I love about them.

If the second movie actively pissed you off, just save yourself time and trouble and don’t go see the third one. Nobody needs to hit themselves over the head with a hammer like that. Hitting yourself over the head with a hammer hurts. So don’t do that, okay? Okay.)

And now at last: to the gates! For SPOILERS!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Ereader review: Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 7.0, by Barnes and Noble
Final Test

Since I got a bonus from work, I have elected to add another ereader to my collection: this time, one of the new Samsung Galaxy Nooks from Barnes and Noble. Since I’m an established B&N member, I was able to get one at a bit of a discount, and the devices were on sale aside from that this past weekend as well. So I got one for considerably cheaper than normal.

Y’all may recall that I acquired a Nook HD not terribly long ago, and by and large, I rather liked it. And for those of you keep score, I have a Kindle Fire HDX too. So how does the new Samsung Nook 7 stack up against those?

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Bone Walker status update!
Alan YES!

I’ve already told my Kickstarter backers this, but for the rest of you, I am delighted to announce that Dara has officially sent the soundtrack for Faerie Blood and Bone Walker off to be mastered!

We are very excited about this, as it means we’re very, very close to being able to finally deliver this long-overdue reward to my Kickstarter backers. But it also means that Dara’s also able to deploy a brand new album! We’re even doing a replication run for it, so that we’ll have physical CDs to sell at Conflikt next month.

Want to check out what Dara did? You can find the album available for preorder RIGHT NOW right over here. So many exciting things going on on this. We’ve got vocals from Leannan Sidhe and Alexander James Adams, you guys. We’ve got multiple awesomely played fiddles. And we’ve even got a bitchin’ remix of the Burke-Gilman Troll set, courtesy of nerdcore master Klopfenpop.

What’s NOT up yet on the preview are readings by yours truly! I’ve read excerpts from both Faerie Blood AND Bone Walker for this soundtrack, and I’m here to tell you, I have much more respect now for people who do audiobook narration for a living. I only did four pieces over a weekend, and my throat really felt the work. But Dara did a masterful job layering my readings in on top of the instrumental sets, and we’re both very proud of how those tracks came out!

Important note on those readings, too–the Bone Walker readings are a little spoilery, so if you aren’t one of the Kickstarter backers who’ve read the early draft of the book, be advised about that. I tried to not get TOO spoilery with the excerpts I chose, which are both very action-heavy, but there will be some things in there that will probably make you go “WUT” until you actually read the book.

And SPEAKING OF THE BOOK–I’m about to go on two weeks of vacation over the holidays, during which I plan to be editing like a mad editing thing, in order to get Bone Walker ready to ship by Conflikt. And now that we’re signed off on the release of the soundtrack, Dara will be able to step up the pace on the cover design as well as desktops, postcards, and posters for backers. I’ll be bringing postcards and posters to Conflikt, too!

VERY excited about this, and looking very much forward to getting Bone Walker to you all!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Murkworks.net back to functioning normally
Alan YES!

We actually regained power overnight, but we didn’t get the servers back up and running until we got up this morning. However, we ARE now back up and running!

And Dara even took the opportunity to upgrade the network card in our webserver, so now hopefully our websites will be much more zippy for all you lovely visitors who come by to say hi. Let us know if you see any problems, won’t you?

Hope everybody made it through the windy action okay! And all hail the power company crews who’ve been working for the last several hours to get power back on for us all!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Murkworks.net is DOWN
Alan and Sean Ordinary Day
We just lost power in Kenmore, and the UPSes are complaining, so we're shutting down the servers. 65,000 people out and rising, as per Puget Sound Energy.

This may be a while, and we may not be back until tomorrow. Will post to all the various social networks to let folks know when our servers are back up.

Possible Murkworks.net outage tomorrow due to High Wind Watch
Wet Strongbow

Heads up, you guys, we have a Wind Event coming in.

The PI is reporting about the incoming wind fun tomorrow night, so here’s the obligatory MURKWORKS.NET MAY GO OFFLINE TOMORROW NIGHT advisory. Dara and I will post if our servers have to go down.

ALSO: the PI’s saying one of our local meteorologists is advising people to go home early if possible. And the current High Wind Watch is talking about the winds hitting us possibly during tomorrow night’s commute. Batten down the hatches, this could get messy.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Another round of SF/F vs. romance
Good Book

I sometimes link to Cora Buhlert, so it was nifty to see her getting linked to by Dear Author today, for her post Of Hard SF and Messy Emotions.

She was inspired to post in turn by this article at Uncanny Magazine, asking the question “Does Sex Make Science Fiction Soft?” It’s a question I think needs to get asked more often, because a lot of the SF/F genre’s tendency to go “LALALALALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” every time a relationship of any kind shows up in a story–particularly if that story is written by a woman–is maddening.

Tansy Rayner Roberts says it beautifully here:

One of the most important things that science fiction can do as a genre is to show how scientific breakthroughs and changes might actually change the way we live as humans, and that includes issues to do with sex, family, and love. Famously, social change is also the thing that science fiction has been least successful about predicting. But that just means it’s an exciting challenge for the future, right?

Maybe science fiction readers and romance readers have more in common than they might think.

Speaking as someone who likes to read both SF/F and romance: YES. YES WE DO.

And I particularly like Cora’s describing how she got into reading more modern romance, since it tracks pretty well with my own. Popular perception of the romance genre is still very much “bodice-ripper”, and that seriously isn’t fair.

There are reasons that the majority of SF/F novels I tend to read are in fact by women–because that dramatically improves the chances that I’ll get a story in which one or more female characters contribute in meaningful, multi-dimensional ways to the action. Meanwhile, over there in the romance genre, the vast majority of the works written are indeed stories in which one or more female characters contribute thusly. And indeed, my top romance novelists–and for that matter, my favorite novelists in general–are the ones in which the heroine and hero are participating as equals in moving the plot along.

Yet the SF/F genre is still flailing about this. Massively enough that I’ve seen more than one woman on the Net posting about how she wanted to like science fiction, but the genre drove her away because of its misogyny. And frankly, I can’t blame any woman who makes that decision.

As a fantasy novelist I’m certainly not leaving the genre any time soon, and I take heart from seeing others calling out SF/F for its snubbing of stories with any whiff of romance in them.

And clearly, I need to be reading Saga.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.