erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)
Down to my last 48 images on Photobucket. Have a rescued picspam.

It's Mma Precious Ramotswe and Mma Grace Makutsi, the heroines of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Hugging. Seriously, it's just screencaps of this one great time they hugged.

Precious and Grace

That's Mma Ramotswe on the left. She's the detective. Very smart, very good with emotions, lots of tragic backstory. IIRC she's feeling the tragic backstory pretty hard in this moment.

And Mma Makutsi on the right. Very serious secretary/manager, first in her class, doesn't much approve of Feelings. The fact that she's having some is a big deal.

Doubles as an art reference for anyone looking to draw a hug. )
erinptah: (Default)
Watched the last episode of this season live when it aired, had so many thoughts that I had to go back and rewatch/liveblog, just to make sure I got them all in order.

Spoilers ahoy!

'I was secretly on your side all along, you silly sausage.' )
erinptah: (sailor moon)
All caught up with the Sailor Business podcast. They get better about doing research as it goes on! Plus, by now they have a large-enough listener base that a lot of solid, deep information is being called/sent in. Good stuff. Very listenable.

Followed a rec from one of their episodes to the Love and Justice podcast, where the shtick is that they compare plots across all the different versions. Starting with the Crystal episodes.

I did wince when they got to Ami's introduction, and were confused that the manga was "more modern" than the '92 anime, because she uses a CD instead of a floppy. Guys, your whole thing is comparing different versions, and you don't realize the manga had two different releases? (Well, three at this point, but the uber-high-quality edition hasn't been released stateside.) The version used for the Kodansha translations has a whole lot of updated art, most of which involves fixing wonky figures and adding more details, some of which involves the Dark Kingdom tech getting an upgrade.

Again, it's still early episodes, and fun enough that I'm sticking with it. Hopefully someone eventually clues them in.

***

I ended up writing a long thing to Sailor Business, because they've been really doing a disservice to Michiru's character. And apparently I have a lot more Feelings about her than I realized.

Context: They just passed the two-parter where Usagi is a daimon target. Before Uranus and Neptune arrive on-scene, Michiru asks Haruka if she's really okay with the possibility of that cute girl being sacrificed. Haruka, stoically, insists that she's fine. They gotta do what they gotta do.

...So our hosts keep saying Michiru is "passive" or "go along to get along." Because Haruka is the more overtly loud and confrontational one...and that means Michiru is just following her lead, taking cues from her.

But now they've seen Michiru's episode with Ami -- she didn't waver or wait for direction, she went straight for the jugular. And that's a microcosm of how she's approaching the whole quest: do something ruthless and cruel in the short term (pulling no punches with Ami/killing the Talisman holders) for the sake of a greater good in the long term (making Ami stronger/saving the world).

There's an old butch-femme trope/cliche, that femmes are "steel wrapped in velvet," and that's Michiru. On the surface she's all soft graceful feminine hobbies, but underneath she's perfectly capable of knifing you in your sleep. 

The flip side of the trope is that butches are "velvet wrapped in steel," i.e. Haruka has a tough exterior but is a marshmallow underneath. Which lines right up with the podcast's favorite relationship trope -- "which of these people is the dog, and which is the cat?" Haruka is the dog! She barks really loud, but she's a sucker for belly rubs. She yells a lot about how they have to kill the Talisman holders, to cover the fact that she's the one who wrestles with it most in private.

Michiru handles the idea much better. Michiru is the cat who will knock all your stuff onto the floor, and look you in the eye while she's doing it, with zero remorse. Michiru is the senshi who would win Most Likely To Become A Supervillain -- not from brainwashing/hypnosis, we already know who's most likely to go through that, but based on her own personality and for her own reasons.

So when Michiru asks Haruka if she's okay with killing that cute innocent Usagi to save the world, there are two things going on here.

First is basically a supervillainy spot-check. Michiru knows it makes sense to her to kill a few people for the Greater Good, but is that really the moral strategy, or just the most coldly efficient one? Well, Haruka wouldn't be capable of doing this for the sake of cold efficiency alone. So Michiru can reliably calibrate her moral compass by Haruka.

The second angle is Michiru being a concerned girlfriend. What if they get the Talismans and save the world, but afterward Haruka can't handle the guilt? What if she has lifelong nightmares about Usagi's death?

We don't see what would have happened if Haruka had broken down and said "no, I'm sorry, this is too much, I can't go through with it." So different viewers can have different interpretations. My guess is that Michiru would say "it's okay, sweetie, you don't have to, we'll find another way"...and then send Haruka home and go to Tokyo Tower on her own, making herself solely responsible for whatever happens to any Talisman-holders who show up.

Because sacrificing three lives for the sake of the world is one thing, but making Haruka feel bad about herself? That's a bridge too far.

So, yeah, ruthless...but also, to be fair, a teenage girl in a traumatic situation. Part of the way she's handling it is by telling herself, "look, I know I'm not a Good Person. A good person wouldn't be this resigned to murdering three innocent people. But at least I can protect Haruka's soul from being crushed along the way. I still get to draw the line somewhere, and I choose here."

It takes another level in heart-rending when (and wow, I am looking forward to these episodes) you find out that Haruka got into the senshi game for Michiru. She told Haruka not to do it -- trying to protect her, although at that point it was in an impersonal, "nobody should have to deal with this stress" way -- and maybe Haruka would've listened, except then Sailor Neptune got in a monster fight she was going to lose without Sailor Uranus as backup.

So on some level Michiru is trying to atone for not being strong enough to keep this cute girl out of the fight.

...and you know, this makes it all the more satisfying when we get to that one SuperS special. A minor antagonist claims he has world-destroying powers, but Uranus and Neptune aren't intimidated by that threat anymore. And Neptune cheerfully leans into her ruthlessness -- she's 100% bluffing, but she's very good. Terrifies the pants off the guy. She has the power to simultaneously be a Big Damn Hero and out-villain the villains.

(Would you believe it, when I was a teenager, Michiru was the senshi I was least interested in? No, really. Even accounting for the context of her relationship with Haruka, who is probably my team-wide fave, I was not expecting to have this many Michiru feelings. But someone was Wrong On The Internet, and bam, here we are.)

erinptah: (Default)

Rinkitink in Oz...sure is a book.

This is Baum at peak "desperately trying to be allowed to write non-Oz things." First chapter opens with "look, ravenous fandom, you've seen a map of Oz, right? Okay, zoom out until you've got a view of the surrounding countries. See these islands? We're going there now. Still totally an Oz book, so stay with me! And bring your money."

The eponymous Rinkitink shows up to visit the island nation of Pingaree just in time for it to be invaded by the evil nation next door. The evil islanders kidnap all the locals except Prince Inga, who goes to the rescue, along with Rinkitink and a talking goat.

Things only start to get Ozzy toward the very end, when the evil king and queen try to get Inga off their backs by passing his captive parents on to the Nome Kingdom. And then Dorothy sees the whole thing in the Magic Picture, and deus-ex-machinas a rescue with the help of the Wizard and a basket of eggs.

Wikipedia says Baum wrote most of the story in 1905, before Oz book 3 was published, and you can tell there wasn't a lot of revising. The writing doesn't have the wit and charm that was so good in books 7 and 8. The fantasy countries have the same blandness that dragged down book 9. At this point in the timeline the Nome Kingdom is ruled by Kaliko, but this book was originally written with Ruggedo -- and it's painfully obvious. I bet Baum didn't change anything beyond find-and-replacing the names.

There isn't a single girl in the party, which is grating. And this is the book with the wince-worthy scene about a transformed human being turned back in stages, with one of those stages being a Tottenhot (last seen in book 7).

Entirely skippable.

***

On to Book 11, Lost Princess of Oz, and FINALLY, Baum has accepted his lot in life and gotten into a groove. It's familiar Oz characters with an Oz-centric conflict that we're guaranteed to care about from the first sentence -- Ozma is missing.

Dorothy is the one who confirms Ozma isn't just sleeping in. You see, she's the only one who's always allowed into Ozma's chambers, no matter how early, or late, the hour. Draw your own conclusions.

The kidnapper has also managed to disappear all the MacGuffins that would have made the rescue too easy. The Magic Picture is gone. When the Wizard takes a speedy Sawhorse-back ride all the way to Glinda's castle, he learns that the Magic Book is gone -- and so are all her spellcasting ingredients and equipment -- and, when he gets back, so is his.

Awkwardly, the Magic Belt is still here...but somehow Dorothy has forgotten how to use it. It'll protect her while she's wearing it, and that's all. I wish Baum had at least tried to shoehorn in an excuse. (Maybe it's been so many years that Dorothy's forgotten? Maybe its automatic spell-understanding power has run down, like Tik-Tok when he can only speak nonsense because his thoughts have run down?)

There's a bunch of lovely setting description -- of Ozma's rooms, of Glinda's magic book, of other scenery. Reminiscent of the time in book 6 when Baum slowed down to give us a bunch of national statistics about Oz: we've been here before, but this time he's thinking about it.

***

The B-plot involves an isolated mesa-top community in the Winkie Country, where Cayke the cook's magic diamond-studded dishpan is gone too. She and the Frogman, local respected oracle and literal giant frog, set out to find it.

In general, this is painfully less interesting. Although the way average Ozites react to them is pretty funny:

"Tell me, my good man, have you seen a diamond-studded gold dishpan?"

"No, nor have I seen a copper-plated lobster."

And here's what happens when they stumble into the country of the teddy bears (yeah, it's a thing), get arrested for trespassing, and are brought before the king for sentencing:

"I condemn you to death merely as a matter of form. It sounds quite terrible, and in ten years we shall have forgotten all about it."

So, a few good snappy lines. Too few. Even now that Baum is writing a fresh new plot instead of harvesting earlier manuscripts, he's slid pretty far from the high point of cleverness we got in books 7 and 8.

***

The familiar characters, meanwhile, set off for a manual, boots-on-the-ground search. They split up into four parties to search the four Oz countries; Dorothy's party is the one we follow.

It is, unfortunately, much too big. In spite of the excellent plot-based excuse to split people up, we end up with Dorothy, Betsy, Trot, Button-Bright, the Wizard, Scraps, the Woozy, the Cowardly Lion, Hank the mule, the Sawhorse, and Toto. That's 11 characters! We're doubling up on roles, and there aren't nearly enough good lines to go around.

The distinctions between the American girls have pretty much collapsed. Trot and Betsy never get anything useful or plot-relevant to do that separates them from Dorothy, and their lines are all interchangeable.

Button-Bright isn't much better in the beginning. At least his propensity for getting lost becomes a plot point. (Dorothy scolds him for wandering off when they're on an important mission! She's come so far.)

The Wizard seems to feel pretty useless without his magic, though he does get a few good tool-using moments, recalling his resourcefulness throughout book 4. Would've been nice if this was a more explicit character arc -- from "uh-oh, what do I do without supernatural powers?" to "wait, I'm a clever and resourceful guy, I just have to get my groove back." I mean, this is the man who once took over the country with nothing but bluff, stage magic, and elbow grease.

Scraps is great. As sharply-characterized as ever. Gets to demonstrate that she's just as good at coming up with clever plans as the Scarecrow, though she's more mischievous about rolling them out. When the party gets stymied by an illusion, she's the one who susses it out -- a nice payoff for the time she learned how to deal with illusions in book 7.

The Woozy, Sawhorse, and Hank are, eerily, not much better differentiated than the girls. The Lion isn't much better, though his characteristic cowardice still pops up. Should've only brought one of these, maybe two.

There's a whole chapter when the beasts are discussing what physical features are best, and of course they all have wildly different bodies and capabilities...but each one has exactly the same level of pride in his own appearance, and expresses it in the same way as the next one. There's no individual personality coming through.

Toto manages to stand out, partly because of his relationship with Dorothy, partly because he has a mini-arc about "losing his growl." (You'd think this would be a great opportunity for the Woozy to be sympathetic....)

Apparently Toto has gotten more comfortable talking since his last appearance. He's having whole conversations now, and wasn't communicating nonverbally even before the growl-loss. I guess it's nice that he's already chatty, instead of being forced by circumstances to do something he isn't comfortable with...but this feels like another missed opportunity for a character arc.

***

The most substantial character arc in the book is actually from the other party.

At first the Frogman is hugely-respected in his little corner of Oz, assumed to be wise and thoughtful because he's so unique, and he goes along with this because he likes the attention. He joins Cayke on her quest because he expects to find new people to fawn on him. The indifference of the average Winkie is pretty jarring.

Then they wander past the Truth Pond -- last seen in book 5 -- and the Frogman goes for a splash, only to discover that, whoops, now he can't lie. Maybe not even to himself. He comes clean with Cayke about not being as smart or venerable as he put on...and ends up doing some genuinely heroic things, putting himself in danger to help others, now that he can't just coast along on bluff-based admiration.

***

"Search for Ozma" stumbles into being "search for a magician evil and powerful enough to have stolen Ozma," and the parties converge when they both start aiming for Ugu the Shoemaker. Your standard megalomaniac sorcerer.

Turns out Cayke's magic dishpan has teleporting powers, because why not. Ugu stole that first, used it to zap himself into Glinda's and Ozma's homes to steal their stuff, and then -- when Ozma caught him in the act -- had to hastily kidnap her as an afterthought.

One of the souvenirs from the teddy-bear country is a new MacGuffin: a tiny wind-up bear that can give true answers to any question. Not always specific-enough answers, unfortunately. They ask for Ozma's location, it points them to a hole in the ground not far from Ugu's castle, but all they see when they get there is Button-Bright.

And apparently none of them know how to play Twenty Questions. Or remember a whole lot of their own continuity, because we get lines of speculation like this:

"Perhaps Button-Bright is Ozma." / "And perhaps he isn't! Ozma is a girl, and Button-Bright is a boy."

Yeah, and the last time Ozma was kidnapped, the villain's whole plot was to hide her by transfiguring her into a boy, so your point is...?

Button-Bright also scornfully insists, "Nothing ever enchants ME." Kid, on your first adventure you got turned into a fox-person. Dorothy was there!

You would think, considering that three separate characters in this party were on the expedition to Ev, one of them would remember where the missing Tin Woodman was eventually found, and start turning down Button-Bright's pockets.

(Once the Wizard finally thinks to ask narrowing-down questions, our heroes find Ozma pretty quickly. They recover all the magical tools and ingredients. They even finally track down Cayke's dishpan, and send her home happy.)

***

But listen, all Plot-Enforced Stupidity aside, I love the way this book ends, and here's why:

How do they defeat Ugu? This terrifyingly strong evil wizard? The villain who managed to imprison Princess Ozma, de-power Glinda the Good, and generally get the best of all good magic-users in Oz?

Dorothy beats him in a magical showdown.

She's been secretly practicing with the Magic Belt. ("I transformed the Sawhorse into a potato masher and back again, and the Cowardly Lion into a pussycat and back again.") Now she breaks it out and gets her magical-girl on, complete with an "I'll punish you" speech. Saves the rest of the crew from Ugu's traps, and, with transfiguration power that rivals the Nome King's, turns Ugu himself into a dove. I would make a "he got better" joke here, but...he does not. The very last denouement scene is dove!Ugu asking Dorothy for her forgiveness.

Dorothy Gale has gone from "sweet, simple Kansas child, who was a meek and tearful prisoner for the Wicked Witch of the West" to "most formidable magic-user in all Oz."

And boy, she will wallop you if you mess with her girlfriend.

erinptah: (Default)
There's a Baum-penned book of Oz short stories that came out between books 7 and 8. I'm not sure whether Little Wizard Stories of Oz is objectively better than the stories of Mo, or just feels more grounded because it uses characters we already know...either way, it's a cute roundup of character moments and worldbuilding details that might not have fit into any of the larger adventures.

And it shows that Baum hates coming up with titles as much as the rest of us.

The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger: in which we learn that Oz has an afternoon siesta! The Lion and the Tiger resolve to finally act on their natural "tearing a person apart" and "eating a fat baby" instincts, but when they head out into the street, everybody's napping.

Also: when Ozma is holding court, Dorothy habitually sits at her feet. Um. That setup doesn't say "auxiliary princess" so much as "lounging courtesan." (I like it.)

Little Dorothy and Toto: probably the backstory of how Dorothy got cured of her getting-lost habit between books 6 and 7. The Wizard keeps telling her that he's worried she'll get in real trouble, and when that doesn't sink in, he stages an object lesson: disguising himself as a shape-changing imp who captures her and forces her to wash dishes.

He kinda learns a lesson himself, when he has to cut the charade short because Toto nearly eats him.

At one point Toto looks at a warning sign "so seriously that Dorothy almost believed he could read it." One of several bits of serious foreshadowing that he's secretly just as language-enabled as all the other mundane animals who have visited Oz.

Tik-Tok and the Nome King: in which it turns out that non-Oz fairy countries have currencies: after the king smashes Tik-Tok and Kaliko fixes him, Kaliko's wages are raised by "one specto a year."

This is really hard to place in the timeline. The fact that Tik-Tok leaves Oz doesn't mean it's pre-Ozsolation; by book 8 some major exceptions have been carved out. The King is intimidated by Ozma and scared of the consequences of breaking one of her things, which doesn't jive with his angry, revenge-seeking mindset between books 3 and 6...so I guess it's sometime during the timeskip, while he's still reconstructing the events he can't remember, and figuring out that Ozma scares him.

Ozma and the Little Wizard: in which we learn that Ozma doesn't just hang out on the throne, but tours the country to do problem-solving in person.

Jack Pumpkinhead and the Sawhorse: more Ozma problem-solving, this time through sending agents. Jack engages in diplomacy with the King of the Squirrels, only to get his head smashed with a branch. It's like a mashup of that scene with Kronk intoning "Squeak squeakerson squeak squeak," and the head-exploding scene from Scanners.

The Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman: in which these two queer characters take a romantic boat ride together, and get so wrapped up in each other that they crash into a rock because they're not paying attention. I'm not even kidding, that's it, that's the plot.

***

On to book 8! Tik-Tok of Oz is titled in the fine tradition of "pick one random character who appears in the story, and name the book after them." It starts in one of Oz's mini-countries: Oogaboo, a tiny mountain kingdom in Winkie Country. And by "tiny" I mean: "18 men, 27 women and 44 children."

Baum's writing is on-point in this book. Strong multi-level plot, snappy humor. Oogaboo "had a royal family of their own. Not especially to rule over them; just as a matter of pride" -- and their Queen Ann Soforth (who I always imagined as effectively college-age, immortality aside) gets so frustrated that she decides to head out and conquer the world.

She ropes 17 of the nation's 18 adult males into her Army -- that's 16 officers and 1 private soldier. Much less capable than General Jinjur's Army of Revolt, to say nothing of General Guph's collection of horrors...but, admittedly, a match for the Royal Army of Oz, at least since Ozma promoted their private.

Thing is, the Emerald City is so over being conquered. Glinda sees the Army of Oogaboo coming, and teleports them out of Oz long before they have any idea what they're doing.

Meanwhile, Shaggy is looking for his brother. The Shaggy Man really is Baum's favorite, isn't he? I remembered him being introduced in book 5, and his quest to save his brother here, but had forgotten how Baum stuck him in the party in both of the novels in between, too. He's like wallpaper. Shaggy wallpaper.

This plot thread racks up a party with remarkable efficiency. Oklahoma girl Betsy Bobbin gets shipwrecked with Hank the donkey, and runs into the Shaggy Man. A detour into the eerily misogynistic Rose Kingdom has them walk out with a Rose Princess (as in book 4, our heroes pick the ripe ruler; but these flowers want to be ruled by a king, so they kick her out). They meet up with Polychrome, lost from the rainbow again -- weirdly, she and Shaggy both act like they've never met before. Then they yank Tik-Tok out of a well!

I was going to say "maybe this is Tik-Tok on the way back from being fixed by Kaliko," but no, he was sent by Ozma to help on the quest. One wonders why Ozma didn't teleport him directly to Shaggy's side. Or, even better, why she doesn't teleport them all into the same room as Shaggy's brother...but I digress.

Asked how to get to the Nome Kingdom: "The best way is to walk," said Tik-Tok. "We might crawl, or jump, or roll o-ver and o-ver until we get there; but the best way is to walk." I told you this one was funny.

***

Some thoughts on Betsy. Let's face it, she's awfully hard to distinguish from Dorothy at times -- plucky young girl from the US who gets shipwrecked in a fairy country with a stalwart animal companion. Ozma even lampshades it toward the end, telling Dorothy that Betsy got shipwrecked "in much the same way you did."

Some differences: She throws herself into adventure for its own sake, with no wistful thoughts of returning to home or family -- in the end she says she has no home to go back to. (We never get that backstory.) It probably helps her adjustment that she's read some of the Oz books. Not enough to know the Shaggy Man on sight, but she's all impressed that he's friends with Dorothy and Ozma.

Dorothy takes weird things in stride, befitting someone whose first fairy adventure happened when she was really little. She's used to assuming that whatever's going on is normal. Betsy asks a lot of questions -- even about things that are normal by mundane-world standards, like "why are all tubes hollow?"

And she's nervous about being sent off to sleep alone in a strange place. Dorothy -- well, she usually has Toto at her side, but she took it pretty easily in book 3 when Langwidere took away Billina and Tik-Tok before locking her in a tower. Betsy is a welcomed guest when the party lands in Tititi-Hoochoo's country, and she's still anxious about being alone for the night, enough that they end up sending Polychrome with her.

***

Okay, backing up: The two quests crash together; Shaggy suggests that Ann can conquer the Nomes while he's rescuing his brother. Their destinies are further entwined when Private Files quits -- he refuses Ann's orders to take the girls captive -- and Tik-Tok obligingl lets himself get recruited to be the new Army of Oogaboo.

Ruggedo may no longer have the Magic Belt, but he still knows a lot of spells and controls a lot of useful equipment. When he spots the would-be invaders, he arranges to drop them down a hole to a fairy country on the far side of the earth. (It's even pseudo-Chinese. Their formal wear is cheongsams with embroidered dragons!)

All this is very illegal. Kaliko, hearing the plan, sneaks off to his room and starts writing letters of recommendation for himself.

("I hate mortals more than I hate catnip tea!" You take a lot of that, Ruggedo...?)

Paralleling the army that's all officers except for one private, this country is all Kings and Queens with one Private Citizen: Tititi-Hoochoo (I didn't say it was good pseudo-Chinese), who runs the place. A counterpoint to the last book's legal ideas: "It is wise to ignore laws when they conflict with justice." Our heroes have broken the law, but it was the Nome King's fault, so they get sent back to deliver justice.

Along with a dragon!

Serious horror when Kaliko explains how he learned to fear dragons. Another Nome had been torn to pieces by a dragon, you see, and since in fairy countries nobody dies...Kaliko found a chunk of head. That could talk.

I wonder how these dragons relate to the ones whose cavern Dorothy and company snuck through in book 4. For that matter, how do all those underground countries compare with the Nome Kingdom? I'm inclined to believe they're even deeper -- they have no contact with the surface, and the Nomes don't show any sign of knowing about civilizations like the Valley of Vo. (Not to be confused with the Valley of Mo.)

***

Ruggedo gets insta-smitten with Polychrome, Hades-Persephone style. It's actually kinda cute. Imploring her to stay: "You shall be my daughter or my wife or my aunt or grandmother—whichever you like." (Poly: "Are you sure he hasn’t seen the Love Magnet?")

The dragon came prepared. By the time the dust has settled, Ruggedo has been depowered and dethroned (Kaliko gets his place!); Shaggy has found his brother; and the Army of Oogaboo is sick and tired of conquering and just wants to go home.

Honestly, there's something shady about Shaggy's quest. He claims not to remember what his brother looks like. Okay, he left home several decades ago, when the brother was much younger...but when asked the guy's name, he hesitates. And indeed, only ever addresses the man as "Brother" (while introducing himself as "Shaggy").

And of course we'll never see the guy again (the brother; I do expect plenty more Shaggy) in any future books. What was really up with these two? We'll never know.

In an interesting complication, the characters' haste in de-powering Ruggedo comes back to bite them. Sure, he deserved the punishment, but he'd put a curse on Shaggy's brother, and no longer has the power to undo it. Instead the characters have to figure it out through trial and error. Can't remember any other children's fantasy fiction that pulls something quite like it.

***

Poly confirmed to be thousands of years old!

The Magic Picture is in a radium frame. Oh geez.

The Wizard invented the cell phone! But didn't include a mechanism for calling anyone. You just have to hope that you and the other person manage to pick up your handhelds at the same time.

The dragon goes home, the Nome Kingdom adjusts, and the rest of the characters get teleported back to Oz in batches. There's no legal immigration process since the Ozsolation, and Betsy, Hank, and Shaggy's brother never got their visas, but obviously in the end they get royal approval to stay.

In the latest edition of I Swear I Am Not Making This Gay Up:
“Well,” said Dorothy, “as far as Betsy and Hank are concerned, I’d like to have them here in Oz. It would be such fun to have a girl playmate of my own age, you see. And Hank is such a dear little mule!”

Ozma laughed at the wistful expression in the girl’s eyes, and then she drew Dorothy to her and kissed her.“Am I not your friend and playmate?” she asked.

Dorothy flushed.

“You know how dearly I love you, Ozma!” she cried. “But you’re so busy ruling all this Land of Oz that we can’t always be together.”

Mmmyep.

Dorothy thinks of Betsy as "her own age," though Betsy is about 12 and Dorothy has been in Oz at least a couple decades by now. Betsy and Dorothy are about the same height; Ozma is about half a head taller.

And then there's a brewing fight in the stables (over "who is the sweetest and dearest girl in the world," with Hank on Betsy's side, the Sawhorse championing Ozma, and the Lion and Tiger adamant that it's Dorothy) -- which the three heroines interrupt, Ozma standing in the doorway with a mortal girl on each arm. Like a boss.

Finally: this is the book where it comes out that Toto can talk! He just doesn't want to, okay. Stop invalidating Toto's life choices with your anthropocentric communication demands. (I kid, I kid. It's good he told Dorothy, even if he never says another word since.)

***

Programming note: the next Oz book has also been called "the third Trot and Cap'n Bill book", so I'm listening to the first two of those (The Sea Fairies and Sky Island) first. In case anyone has been reading along, join me on my detour.
erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)

Even knowing what it actually means in context, I get a smile every time these books go on about Oz being "full of queer personages."

~*~*~*~

Here's something I didn't think about until I listened to book 3 (Ozma of Oz) and book 4 (Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz) back-to-back:

Book 3: Dorothy's adventure starts when she gets swept off a boat, which she's on because she's in the middle of a boat trip with Uncle Henry.

Book 4: Dorothy's adventure starts when she falls into the ground during a California earthquake, where she is because she's traveling back to Kansas from the same trip.

She's gone on vacation once here, and gotten sidetracked for magical adventures on both ends of the journey. Henry and Em must be thinking "good lord, kiddo, you can't travel anywhere without mysteriously vanishing along the way, can you?"

(Of course, in the next book she's walking down a normal Kansas dirt road when it goes all magical. Can't win.)

~*~*~*~

And another thing! During this mundane-world vacation (it's a trip to Australia, which is supposed to be good for Uncle Henry's health), Dorothy and Henry meet "some friends." They're never described in any detail, we just know Dorothy is traveling alone at the start of Book 4 because her uncle went on ahead, while she stayed with these friends for a few days.

In San Francisco.

This book was published in 1908. The history of the SF gay scene goes back pre-1900, with its firs "notorious" gay bar founded in...1908.

I'm not saying Dorothy definitely hung out with cool grown-up lesbian mentors in San Francisco, I'm just saying...historically speaking, it's a serious possibility.

~*~*~*~

Okay, getting back to the (non-figurative) fairy-country content here...

Book 4 marks a huge shift for the series, in that it's a really blatant case of "wow, no overarching plot here at all, they're just wandering from set piece to set piece until the author gets bored."

Of the previous volumes, Book 3 had the most cohesive plot, without any random detours. This one is all detour. Then they hit a dead end -- literally, they get stuck in a cave with no way out! -- and Dorothy signals Ozma to teleport them safely to Oz. Princess ex machina.

Book 5 (The Road to Oz) is The One Where Everyone Gets Genre-Savvy.

When things initially go weird, Dorothy's reaction is "eh, this happens a lot, I'll probably end up in Oz eventually." And then she literally adds "Uncle Henry and Aunt Em have told me they're used to this by now, so they won't be too worried." Her party keeps running into magical towns where the leaders say "oh, hey, it's the famous Dorothy! We've read about you."

And when they finally make it to the Emerald City, Ozma reveals she's the one who started their journey by making things go weird in the first place. Sure, she could've just transported Dorothy instantly to the palace, but apparently she thought Dorothy would have more fun getting there via adventure.

What a good girlfriend.

I mean, good platonic friend.

Everything about Ozma attracted one, and she inspired love and the sweetest affection rather than awe or ordinary admiration. Dorothy threw her arms around her little friend and hugged and kissed her rapturously.

I mean, good platonic friend with rapturous kissing that I am going to sit here and enjoy no matter how Baum meant it.

~*~*~*~

Speaking of Baum, the poor guy's author's-notes get a little more strained with every book. "Welp, the children keep asking for Oz so I'm giving them more Oz, the little tyrants, haha! No really, I love children and only want to make them happy, aaaaand apparently what makes them happy is not buying any of my other books."

He really pushes it in book 5, where the big glittery finale of book 5 is Ozma's birthday -- involving a fifty-cameo pileup referencing every non-Oz book Baum had written. It...did not help their sales the way he was hoping for. (You know what I would have read? A spinoff series about Ev. We spend time there in book 3, see the royals as cameos in book 5, and then never visit the place again. Why didn't you ever write that, L. Frank?)

Honestly, I've read a lot of Baum's non-Oz books, and none of them clicked the way the Oz ones did. But it's been long enough that I couldn't tell you why. Maybe that'll be the next re-listening project.
erinptah: (Default)

It’s February again, so it’s time to take f/f sketch requests!

Trying something a little different this year: the Femslash February prompt post is on Patreon. To be clear, it’s still completely free and open to everyone. You leave a request over there, I draw the first ten, no money has to change hands, everything is sunshine and rainbows and girls kissing.

Got it? Awesome. Go forth and gay it up.

erinptah: (disney)

Another post with reactions to the TV which has played on my computer over the past however-many months.

---

...including all the way back to March, which is when I watched Burn Notice. Did I ever mention that?

It was suggested as a follow-up to Leverage. Not quite as unrelentingly feel-good, especially during the last season or so, when it takes a turn for the unnecessarily grimdark...and our ex-spy hero is even more wrapped up in his own quests than Nate Ford is. But there's still a healthy amount of Scrappy Underdog Do-Gooders Helping The Helpless, as well as Lovely Detailed Competence Porn.

And what I said mid-watch still holds: Michael Westen has the greatest mom. She has her own life and concerns separate from the action characters' shenanigans, but she helps them out in increasingly involved ways as the series goes on -- you really come to appreciate how much she has the unpolished version of some of Michael's skills and abilities, and that's where he got it from.

---

On the comedy side of things, Grace and Frankie was a lot of fun. When lawyer-friends President Bartlet and Sam the Eagle reveal that they've been secretly having an affair for years, their shocked wives, Jane Fonda and Ms. Frizzle, end up forming an unconventional support-group/friendship as they struggle to cope.

It's funny and snappy and sweet by turns. The premise has a tough tightrope to walk -- being queer and closeted and in love with someone you can't be open about is hard, but being lied to and cheated on and divorced is also hard, but when the lies are about queer stuff the reaction can go to a homophobic place very easily. IMO the first season does a really nice job of letting everyone be hurt and angry for legitimate reasons, without vilifying anyone.

There's plenty of room for them to bomb at it whenever the second season comes out, especially after the S1 cliffhanger. But given their track record, I'm optimistic -- they've been good about the characters' flaws being the product of these specific characters, rather than sweeping statements on the behavior of All People of Sexuality X and/or Gender Y.

---

Made it through a rewatch of 30 Rock more recently.

It kinda suffers on second viewing because the good jokes are no longer delightful surprises, so there's not as much delight to distract you as much from the terrible bits. (I don't want to say there are a lot of terrible bits...they're just really outstanding in their terribleness. Like "this thing they're referencing is rape, but the show doesn't realize it's rape, and seems to expect you to find it hilarious" levels of terrible.)

But, y'know, the characters are still mostly lovable in their ridiculousness, Liz Lemon is still great, and Liz and Jack's relationship is still all kinds of heartwarming. The guy she marries didn't wow me,  but they're believably happy together, and the wedding was excellent. ("I'm a princess!" Ahhh, had forgotten that happened.) It's a series with a good finale! So few manage to pull that off.

And I totally did not pick up on Kenneth's immortality during the first viewing. That was a worthy second-watch bonus.

---

These days, comedy-wise, I'm working through 3rd Rock From The Sun. (For reasons other than "thematic naming.")

It's a nice mild sitcom about aliens. The main actors are all really good at interacting with human society in weird and confused ways -- you get genuine sci-fi vibes out of it, even with, so far, absolutely no special effects. (The hilarious '90s 3-D animation in the opening doesn't count.)

There's some awkwardness about social issues, nothing I haven't been able to shrug off. You just have to keep your "product of the '90s" filter up. Sometimes it's even pleasantly surprising. There's an episode where the alien family is trying to figure out how race/ethnicity works, and one of them tries to go "I don't see race, there is only the human race"...to which a co-worker immediately replies, "dude, I'm black, it's a thing, deal with it."

And it's doing pretty well in the "unrelentingly feel-good" department. To the point where I don't think any of the characters have been mean or vindictive or petty, even for purposes of hilarity. The comedy all flows from the culture clashes, and from the aliens being sweetly, earnestly bizarre.

---

Back in the dramatic end of the pool: did a rewatch of Damages not long ago.

It's a very different experience when you know from the start who's plotting to kill who, and for what reasons! Less tense in some ways, more satisfying in others.

I would really love a show about the lawyer that Patty Hewes is pretending to be when she first meets Ellen. Tough but fair, relentless in the pursuit of justice, and without, y'know, the murder-y streak.

...and since I originally checked the series out on the promise of complicated adversarial f/f potential, I would also love a show that's basically the same as Damages, but without Ellen getting that one reason to reeeeeally hate Patty. I mean, as-is, the hatesex would be intense, but there's no plausible way to get anything else! If Ellen's feelings were left to be more ambiguous...if she was pushing back against the ruthlessness of some of Patty's methods but undeniably impressed by the results...also, drawn along by her own ambition, and slowly growing into her potential to be just as terrifying, with Patty wary of the potential competition and not allowing herself to show just how appealing she finds Ellen's progress....

That would be some good shipping, right there.

(Basically, I want The Devil Wears Prada as a law-office AU.)

erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)

so I did a Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha rewatch.

Thoughts (with lots of spoilers!):

  • Why was my first impression of this series "typical mahou shoujo formula"? Even before the really complex stuff kicks in, the first episode ends in the middle of a battle, rather than after Our Heroine's First Victory. And the third episode begins with "okay, so, you know those 21 macguffins? We've already collected 5 of them."
  • Nanoha is really proactive about seeking out the macguffins. I love that, in this series, magical-girling too hard is exhausting, and they show it. Her family and friends get worried about her!
  • I had forgotten that, in the beginning, Nanoha has to use a super-long passphrase to unlock Raging Heart. Then she makes the apparently subconscious decision that this isn't gonna fly, and starts transforming via a couple of words -- if not by thought alone.
  • All the technomagic stuff is great. Look at this hardcore weapons action.

We don't want a mecha series, they said. You need to make a mahou-shoujo series, they said. Okay, fine, but I'm giving my magical girls all the firepower of giant robots, and you can't stop me.
  • Biggest drawback of this show: the unnecessary amount of focus on 9-year-olds in their underwear. I mean, it's just when the character is changing and/or transforming, they're not making the kid spend whole scenes in a camisole or slamming you over the head with fetishy stuff in every other scene...but it's definitely A Thing.
  • And yeah, the main characters are all about 9 years old. This is insane. There's no getting around how insane it is. You just have to try to forget about it, and suspend your disbelief like mad whenever the show reminds you. (In terms of agency and self-awareness they're written more like teenagers, which makes it a little easier.)
  • One of the first impressions Nanoha has of Fate is "She has such beautiful hair and eyes." Foreshadowing!
  • Nanoha and Fate have such intense fights.
This one starts with a giant kitten as the monster-of-the-week, trying to trick you into thinking it's a cutsey filler episode.
This one starts with a giant kitten as the monster-of-the-week, trying to trick you into thinking it's a cutsey filler episode. Spoiler alert: it is not.
  • And switching into a more serious gear: the abuse in this is brutal.
  • Fate and Rue (of Princess Tutu) need to start a "dark magical girls manipulated by their evil parent figures" support group. Tomoe Hotaru can come too. Even though her dad was possessed, not naturally evil, it was still pretty traumatizing.
  • Only a few moments of Fate being hurt are explicitly on-screen, and that's more than enough. It isn't exactly less wrenching when what you're seeing instead is Fate's loyal dog listening at the door and crying about it.
  • So let's talk about Arf for a second. She's a familiar that Fate created -- does that mean she has Fate-based emotions? Is her anger and grief at the abuse a sign that Fate recognizes on some level how wrong this is, even if she can't express it herself? Or is Arf able to get upset because her emotions are distinct from Fate's?
  • Either way, I'm pretty sure the reason Fate went to all the trouble of making Arf wasn't for the spying potential or the combat support, but because she desperately needed someone in her life who genuinely loves her.
Aww, Arf.
What a good dog.
  • It's around this point that we get our next formula-smashing twist: the Time-Space Administration Bureau shows up, and announces "look, you kids are both civilians and this is a serious interdimensional danger, so we're taking over the macguffin search now."
  • Note that the TSAB also has a 9-year-old as a commissioned officer, so "you're stupidly young for this" is not one of their objections.
  • And they end up recruiting Nanoha anyway, because Fate is determined to keep working for her mother's interests, and Nanoha is the best choice in the multiverse to be their official Fate-catcher.
  • Nanoha tells her mom part of the truth, and explains that she has to leave home to go on a dangerous trip. Mom is totally cool with this. Setting aside the "she's nine frickin years old" issue, I could see this working if Nanoha showed off some of her technomage powers. That would answer the question of "why do you personally have to handle this issue, why can't your role be filled by someone else, maybe a trained adult?" And it would demonstrate that she's capable of self-defense -- so incredibly capable that her parents can let her go with limited guilt, because their presence wouldn't make her any safer.
  • I do appreciate that a serious-looking adult from the TSAB drops by the house eventually.
nanoha03
Special agent Nanoha at work: "And once I've completely smacked you down in one-on-one combat, then we can finally be best friends."
  • Arf trying to punch out Fate's mom, oh my heart.
  • I mean, she knows this high-level ancient mage will be able to wipe the floor with her. That is not a surprise. But she goes for it anyway.
  • ...and then Precia turns around and "comforts" Fate about her beloved familiar "deserting her." "Never forget...the person who's always truly on your side is your mother." She and Mother Gothel could start a band.
  • I really appreciate how it's the TSAB, not Nanoha, that ultimately goes after Precia. Nanoha isn't an exponentially-overpowered Chosen One; she isn't here to outstrip the flimsy and useless bureaucracy that came before her. The TSAB is a serious and competent organization -- such that Nanoha's ridiculous level of talent means that she can grow into a role there.
Serious mage.
Talent. (Nanoha is the speck near the top of the image.)
  • And, like...this world has due process for dealing with interdimensional supervillains! Think about, say, Sailor Moon: any minibosses who get redemption arcs are given human identities and basically released into the wild. Which is understandable -- the heroes are a bunch of teenagers, and none of their (formidable) skills include "setting up and administrating a fair trial." Nanoha herself couldn't pull that off either...but her multiverse has an existing legal system that can.
  • Happy endings for tiny lesbians. (At least, until the sequels. Which I will rewatch some other time.)
nanoha05
I mean, they don't get specific about their exact identity labels, but, y'know. Tiny queer girls who want to hold hands and gaze into each other's deep and beautiful eyes, is the point.
erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)

Me: oh hey, Xena: Warrior Princess is on Netflix, I should watch that.

Me: I mean, landmark series for lesbian subtext, how can you go wrong.

Me: Heard some people say it’s actual text, more than just Platonic Life Partners tropes as interpreted by shippers with their OTP goggles on, but I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up.

Me: After all, we’re talking about the mid-90s, and Buffy could barely get their canon f/f couple to kiss on-screen in 2001, so

Xena, Season 2: 

image

Me:

Me: WELL THEN

---

It's not a fakeout! Or a dream sequence! Or played off as a joke afterward! They're in this mystical spiritspace because Xena is temporarily dead at the time, but this isn't Gabrielle's grief-stricken imagination or anything, either. It's both actual characters.

Xena's spirit spends most of the episode riding along with this poor guy, Autolycus, who did not sign up for ghost-hosting. (Played hilariously by a younger and slimmer version of Sam from Burn Notice.) She takes control of his body a few times, and they do a really good job of having the actor imitate Lucy Lawless's signature moves, expressions, and tone of voice.

So the kiss sequence fades from "Xena and Gabrielle making out in spiritspace" to "Xena-in-Autolycus'-body and Gabrielle making out in reality." Which I assume is how they got away with it -- making as much of the visual as straight-appearing as possible -- but it's not like there's any question of who's doing the kissing.

---

I found this list of shippiest Xena/Gabrielle episodes (by googling "gayest Xena episodes", because sometimes the direct approach is best) to guide the viewing process. Which is how I ended up at the scene above (from s02e13 The Quest).

But there's so much good stuff in the show that isn't just about the romance. For instance: Xena turns out to have a couple of döppelgangers -- so far, a sweet and romantic non-warrior princess, and a snarky barmaid. (I wouldn't put it past the show to throw in more; I've just only watched so far.)

If you like Orphan-Black-style identity shenanigans, and would be into a lighter-and-fluffier version, you gotta see this. Xena smiling and looking innocent in a long flowy gown, then punching out ninja assassins, but only being able to do it when "her" not-boyfriend isn't looking! "Xena" being a jerk to Gabrielle, and Gabrielle being certain it's part of a plan, just annoyed that Xena isn't telling her what it is! Good times.

---

There's only one complaint I have about the show, and that is that Xena's signature interrogation technique is "special nerve pinch that cuts off the flow of blood to the brain, so they'll die a minute later if they don't answer her question."

And this is presented as a cool move that always works. When realistically it would lead to her getting a ton of false intelligence, as the panicky victims tell her whatever they think she wants to hear.

So there's that. But if you can sigh and roll your eyes through those scenes, they get back to the fun stuff soon enough.

---

One more set of screencaps I've gotta share.

The show is so unselfconsciously cheesy, it's great. There's an episode where Xena has to go undercover in a beauty pageant, because of course she does. It's called the Miss Known World pageant, because of course it is.

But there are all these really nice themes in the plot. Like, Xena starts off being dismissive of the "pretty but useless" contestants, then figures out along the way that they're actual human beings who deserve respect.

Also, one of the contestants is...either a crossdresser or a trans woman, it's not quite clear. Our heroes refer to her as "a man" at one point, but, you know, that could just be because it's ancient pseudo-Greece (in-universe) and the mid-'90s (out-of-universe). She doesn't get specific about how she identifies, and we only ever see her in her femme presentation.

The possibly-trans contestant gets the crown! As with the kissing-Gabrielle scene, there's just enough appearance-of-masculinity in this situation that the show can get away with doing this:

missknownworld1

missknownworld2

missknownworld3

Yesssss.

And the best part of this? Gabrielle's reaction shot:

missknownworld4
"wtf did you just kiss my woman who gave you the right"

(This is s02e13 Here She Comes... Miss Amphipolis, so it's right before the kiss in The Quest. Gabrielle has been hanging around Xena for a season and a half, and hasn't gotten any yet, and here this stranger comes along and just goes for it. No wonder she's mad. It's okay, Gabrielle, your moment is coming!)

---

Long story short: this is a great show, still very watchable in spite of being 20 years old, and if y'all get the chance, you should absolutely pick it up.
erinptah: There is only one ship on Doctor Who. (doctor who)
My stuff got taken down from ebooks-tree, huzzah. (Sounds like lots of people's AO3 works are no longer showing up there -- good.)

---

Mash up two canons based only on their names. Pigs...in...Office Space!

Feudal Lord/Handmaiden f/f AU worldbuilding. And the winner is: all of us.

Which fandom characters are worthy to lift Thor's hammer? Including Sayaka, Makoto (unless Jupiter and Thor are territorial enemies rather than buddies), Pinky (narf!), Garnet, John Egbert (although he's already set)...and all the Tolkien dwarves, because "you don't think they'd sell something like that without a backdoor hack?"

The establishment of common fanfic plots. How it becomes common/easy to start with a premise like "this canonically-dead character didn't die" or "this non-canon ship is together" and expect your readers to just roll with it.

---

More from that Sherlock con: The adult survivor who was filmed being harassed to tears at a panel speaks out, and is thoughtful and reasonable and deserves so much better than fandom is giving her.

Explaining, in small words, why "do not write about this topic ever" is bad, and why not all fiction needs to be safe for children.
erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)
Got asked for yuri recs on Tumblr, and, wouldn't you know, it's [community profile] halfamoon season. Good timing.

I went for series where the yuri is a main focus of the story (so, not Sailor Moon), where the f/f attraction is explicit and unambiguous (so, not Madoka Magica), and where said attraction is more than one-sided (so, not Tokyo Mew Mew or Cardcaptor Sakura).

These aren’t in order by most- to least-favorite or anything, just my top 5 overall….

Utena, Iono the Fanatics, Creo the Crimson Crises, and more )
erinptah: (daily show)
ESL writers talk about their experiences in English-language fandom.

Experiences of fandom in non-English languages, for the flip side of that.

"I could look up how, say, Balinese names are formed on Wikipedia and check baby name websites, but there's nothing there to prevent me naming a character the Balinese equivalent of Gertrude. So, how are names formed in your culture and how should people avoid creating weird names, nonnies?"

"...it struck me as funny the other day that apple and pineapple are linked in English, and apple and potato (pomme and pomme de terre) are linked in French. Any other examples of things that have related names in one language but utterly unrelated in another?"

Fannish terms translated into different languages! Admittedly, a lot of it ends up being about tongue-in-cheek terms for A/B/O, but still. (Je ne regrette chien~)

Translation of an adorable omegaverse-explaining comic from Pixiv (original in Japanese)!

Brainstorming for non-canid-based weird-biology AUs. Bizarre kinks abound.

Related: A/B/O worldbuilding discussion. If you ever wanted to know what kind of variations on the theme people are out to read.

And these ideas aren't new, if Aristasia is anything to go by. Iddy fannish shared universe with biologically-determined BDSM-esque roles...but instead of starting with mpreg knotting, it started with lesbian spanking.
erinptah: A map. (writing)
AO3 stats on shipping/gen categories, with the requisite debate on What Gen Means, plus some discussion on how relationship tags can work.

"What are the defining characteristics of "zine-y" fic? I know that zines existed, and that you had to walk ten miles uphill both ways in the snow for them, but next to nothing about the fic that went into them. Or, for that matter, how about 90's fic?" Fans reminisce about various eras of fandom.

"What defines a child for you?" As applied to fiction, where characters' apparent ages, chronological ages, mental ages, and species' relative ages may all be wildly out of whack.

FFA mediates between two anons who are definitely not [personal profile] politicette and myself regarding nursery decoration conventions in A/B/O universes.

"How would you describe an orgasm? What's it feel like?"

Tales of embarrassing fannish pasts.

A thread on femslash and yuri tropes, largely featuring discussion on Sedentary Yuri Fandom.

And another, on "what did you wish femslash did better/did at all/stopped doing?"

On the religion post: Religion as personal choice and worldview versus religion as inextricabe element of a person's birth culture, and experiences thereon.

"You really love {coffee shop AUs / potatoes / women in drag}. Fortunately, other people do too! Unfortunately, most people are into {slashing baristas / french fries / androgyny} and you're into {characters geeking out about coffee / hash browns / hard butches}. Share your woes and examples!"

The kind of slip-ups multilingual people make with language (versus the ones fic writers expect them to make), and how the various modes of speech intersect in their brains.
erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)
Roanhammer on YouTube has lots of translations of the Madoka PSP game! Including the longer backstory segments, and the entire (cracktastic) Bonus Route.

My favorite part is this scene where Homura -- in spite of her cool appearance -- is still totally failtastic at flirting cheering Madoka up:



Although the one where Sayaka reveals herself and Kyousuke turns out to be a mahou shoujo fanboy is pretty great too:



There's another user doing uploads of entire routes, but with no translation. Madoka's route and Mami's route are currently up in full.
erinptah: (daily show)
"Most grievous cases where the author clearly doesn't speak whatever language they decided to use for effect or for their exotic foreign character?" Some fandom, some original (looking at you, Dan Brown).

"The SJ crowd don't care about you unless you have the "right" kind of disorder. Anyone else believe this? I'm thinking about language policing in particular." Discusses how anxiety and some forms of OCD are badly served by the current standard of Internet Social Justice discourse.

The whitewashing of characters of color is a serious problem, but that doesn't mean you'll never see the backlash go too far (discussing Legend of Korra fanart).

Characterization discussion, with a lot about AUs: "How do you decide what's essential to a character, what traits they absolutely must exhibit?"

"I'm in a terrible mopey mood, somebody talk femslash with me. Unsolicited recs, tropes you want to see, favorite ships, ships you wish people shipped, fandoms you miss, trends in femslash fic and potentially how they differ from yuri fic, sob stories about how no one writes what you want them to write, success stories about how everybody ships the ship you ship, femslashers you love, wanky femslashers, secret opinions, etc." It's like a mini-[community profile] girlgay anon post.

Warning policies on kink memes: what to require, what to let slide, how much leeway to give for choosing not to warn.

"Do you care about what gender takes which roles in BDSM fic or fiction (F/m, M/f, M/m, F/f)? Why or why not? Does it matter what kind of BDSM -- if women submitting isn't your thing, is it a different matter if there's no D/s involved?"

Disney's representation of various non-white cultures, discussed by members of those cultures (with some non-Disney animated movies thrown in).

Religious/mythological utopias other than "Eden" and "Arcadia".

Nifty worldbuilding thread: information for engineering fictional continents' population density, geography, disease resistance...

A thread on China turns up some fascinating thoughts on how the Western media deals with the country versus how it actually works.
erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)
Animal courtship/mating behaviors that people wish would be adopted as fic tropes.

Fanfic titles that have been used too much.

Fandom neologisms. "SPAGhetti: the tangled mess you get back from a bad beta reader."

"I can't seem to get over the notion that if I don't write the definitive fic that addresses every possible issue in my f/f ship and converts non-shippers and has feminist themes, I'm doing it wrong. [...] Anybody have advice on how to get the critical inner voices to shut up for a bit?"

"So, anons, what was the first story you remember writing? (not necessarily fan fic)." ...I wonder if anyone can guess mine.

Issue fic you'd actually like to see, assuming you could get a talented writer to handle it in a compelling way.

Femslash discussion! Exploring how things shake out in fandoms with juggernaut f/f pairings, and/or femslash shipwars.
erinptah: (sailor moon)
There's been a bunch of discussion on-meme about migratory slash fandom (that is, the group of people who jump from one Latest Big M/M Pairing to the next) recently, spawning a question about sedentary yuri fandom.

Trying to work out what differentiates "male fantasy" from "female fantasy" (er, as in sexual fantasy, not fairies-and-dragons fantasy).

Not seeing color: a combination of "how phrases change over time" and "the nuances of genuine racial ambiguity."

Speaking of racial confusion, an international question: what is it with Americans not referring to Middle Easterners as white?

Talk of triggers: common and uncommon, for trauma and for other mental health issues. Useful for the curious/confused about the terminology.

Speaking of mental health, an anon with depression issues wants to know: how to advance social justice without fostering an environment that's hostile to mental health?

FFA: den of homophobes? This one has some serious discussion on how people make the cognitive leap from "this community does not always follow an exact narrow script re: certain off-limits phrases" to "OMG they must be an *ism free-for-all." It also has a long tangent on the proper way to make tea. Because you gotta have priorities.

Bizarre reactions to AtLA: Legend of Korra, in the vein of "Korra acts too white." See, this is what happens when the Social Justice Required Script railroads you right out of reality.
erinptah: (sailor planet attack)
EFW: Pony Edition, which is really only funny if you meme, but if you meme, is very funny. A cranky edition follows. FFA fanmix! - someone ought to make this, for real.

Top/bottom preferences in femslash -- the analyses vary between physical and emotional taking-the-lead for a whole bunch of f/f OTPs.

Fanfic versus original fic: stylistic choices, the flow of tropes, what pings people as "you used to write fanfic, didn't you?" in profic.

Refractory periods and orgasm anatomy in general: the less-talked-about female-bodied side of things. Kinda related, a possibly-asexual anon wants to know: what does sexual attraction itself feel like?

Insecure anon wonders if fandom is perhaps a negative influence in their life; levelheaded and objective responses.

How people get into RPF: different paths for different fandoms.

Series plots according to fanfic summaries.
erinptah: (Integra)
A case study of the perils of online identity, stark racial philosophies, and presumption. Short version: anon fest fic is praised for its Desi cultural reclamation and insider knowledge; the author turns out to be white; the praise is amended with something borderline backhanded. Look, we all agree that there are things privileged people can't pull off -- but when you bank almost everything ("99.9% sure") on a white author not being white, that's a pretty clear sign that your expectations may be due for revising.

Spinoff to the above: the vocabulary for identity-based categories of fiction. How do we circumscribe "fiction by women/queer people/people of ethnicity X", and what happens in the places where it doesn't overlap with "fiction that is supportive of women/queer people/people of ethnicity X"?

Femslash-seeker has a gut reaction against genderswapped m/m, offers it up for discussion. A lovely non-hostile discussion emerges about how people approach femslash and/or genderswap of all types.

The calling cards of harmful social-justice-painted crusading. Key themes: caring more about the fight than the cause, using buzzwords as shortcuts to flatten complicated topics, being unwilling to accept nuance or shades of grey. Which is not to say the meme itself is immune. The problems and proper usages of "educate yourself".

Meta and advice on writing sex. And the usual round of complaints about how there aren't enough f/f sex-writing guides. The few attempts I've seen either got shot down by "giving advice on how to write sex with generic women would be an infringement on my personal body!" or never made it beyond "Part 1: Diagram Of The Clitoris."

The oldest things people have complained about being spoiled for? Sherlock doesn't even come close. Other examples include Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus Rex, and the Trojan horse.

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Where the towels are oh so fluffy

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