duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
The Three Lands


"Have you ever heard of a place where the custom is for friends not to touch each other?"

Adrian knows that friendship is a fundamental custom of all mankind. Or so he thinks, until his closest friend discovers a mysterious journal.

A commentfic for [personal profile] schneefink. This story can be read on its own, but it does have spoilers for the chapters of "Law Links" that I have already posted.

  • Online fiction: Famine or Feast at AO3.

  • Series: The Three Lands.

  • Series resources: The Great Peninsula: series resources for The Three Lands.



  • Law Links


    "Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

    Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

    Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




    Men and Lads


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    Sweet Blood


    "He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

    Time is running out.

    Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

    As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

    As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

    (no subject)

    Sep. 16th, 2017 09:08 pm
    skygiants: Beatrice from Much Ado putting up her hand to stop Benedick talking (no more than reason)
    [personal profile] skygiants
    If you are currently in Boston, you have one week left to go see Or at the Chelsea Theater! As [personal profile] aamcnamara put it on Twitter, "it is the Restoration queer bedroom farce spy writing-themed play of your dreams."

    Or features three cast members, playing, respectively:
    - former spy and ambitious playwright Aphra Behn
    - Charles II of England and also Aphra Behn's ex-lover double agent William Scot
    - Nell Gwyn, and also Aphra Behn's elderly and extremely cranky maid, and also in one memorably stamina-requiring and scene-stealing monologue Lady Mary Davenant, manager of the Duke's Company of theatrical players

    Most of the play takes place in Aphra Behn's apartment, with cast members popping in and out of side rooms as Aphra Behn vainly attempts to keep all her love interests separate AND ALSO thwart a hypothetical plot on the king's life AND ALSO and most importantly finish writing the final act of her career-launching play by a deadline of 9 AM the next morning! Which nobody will let her do! Because they keep wanting to make out with her and/or tell her about plots on the king's life! It's all very frustrating!

    The dialogue is delightful, the actors do a fantastic job rattling out natural-sounding rapid-fire iambic pentameter, I laughed aloud at the final plot twist, and the ending contains a solid dose of much-appreciated optimism; it's an extremely enjoyable experience and one I would strongly recommend.

    (no subject)

    Sep. 14th, 2017 06:16 pm
    skygiants: Hikaru from Ouran walking straight into Tamaki's hand (talk to the hand)
    [personal profile] skygiants
    At first I expected to write a rather scathing post about Rachel Kadish's The Weight of Ink, and then I got like 2/3 of the way through and realized that there were in fact some things I really liked about the book to counteract the things that made me stare into the camera like I was on the office, and THEN I got to the end and -

    -- ok let me backtrack. The Weight of Ink is a serious literary novel about a pair of academics (the favorite protagonists of serious literary novels) who have discovered a treasure trove of 17th-century documents in a staircase written by Ester Velasquez, a Portuguese Jewish woman who Confounded All Tradition by acting as scribe for a London rabbi. The book proceeds to interweave Ester's story and POV with that of the academics as they discover various bits of evidence pointing to the things that Rachel Kadish will then later explain to us in Ester's narrative sections.

    Ester's story is .... it's mostly good? I think I have come around to largely thinking it's good. It starts to pick up around the middle of the book, when Ester starts writing letters to various famous philosophers under fake male names so that she can Engage in the Discourse.

    [ACADEMIC A: [Ester's fake name] did not get much attention during his career or make any important allies -
    ACADEMIC B: Oh, why is that?
    ACADEMIC A: Well, basically, he was very rude to everyone he wrote to.

    I will admit I was charmed.]

    Ester's most important relationships are with the rabbi -- a good and wise man who respects her intellect and cannot support the ways in which she chooses to use it -- and with Rivka, the rabbi's housekeeper, a Polish Jew who acts as Ester's foil in a number of significant ways, not all of them obvious or expected. Both of these dynamics have an interesting and complicated tension to them that goes well beyond the standard 'I, A Misunderstood Woman Ahead Of My Time.'

    Also there is another young upper-class Jewish woman who is rebellious in wildly different ways than Ester is; a pair of brothers who are both interested in marrying Ester for profoundly different reasons, neither of which is true love; and, for a brief period of time, a love interest. The love interest is hilariously lacking in personality and equally hilariously irrelevant to Ester's life on the whole, and mostly exists to trigger a series of philosophical musings related to desire about which Ester can fight with Spinoza. I guess The Distant Shadow Of Spinoza is also one of Ester's most significant relationships.

    Anyway, I appreciate the weighting of these relationships, and the way in which the narrative emphasis shifted from what I expected, and especially all the relationships that were not grounded in romance, but in other forms of love and duty and resentment and complicated emotional bonds.

    And ... then there's our modern academics.

    Helen Watt is a stiff-necked elderly British specialist in Jewish history, who is on the verge of retirement due to Parkinson's disease. Helen has a Tragic Backstory: in her youth, she spent a month as a volunteer in Israel in the 1950s and had a summer fling. Sorry, let me rephrase: she met an Israeli soldier who was the love! of her life!! (For a month.)

    The pivotal scene in their romance occurs when Helen shows up for one of their few actual shared off days to have a date, and he hands her a copy of The History of the Jewish People and then LEAVES and REFUSES TO COME BACK until she's READ IT COVER TO COVER. This is the only way she can understand our endless, endless oppression!

    (Meanwhile, he lurks outside, and periodically brings her snacks. THIS SCENE IS SOMEHOW NOT MEANT TO BE COMIC.)

    Alas, Young Helen in her frailty decides it's all a LITTLE too much for her, and subsequently regrets her lost love until the end of her days. But, inspired by the world's weirdest date, she decides to dedicate her life to the study of Jewish history, so I guess ... that's all right .....?

    She is assisted in her endeavors by Aaron, the third POV character. Aaron is an insufferable American Jewish Ph.D. student. He is working on a dissertation about Shakespeare and the Jews, for which he has no evidence, so instead he spends the entire book obsessing over an unattainable Cool Girl. (And she is so textbook Cool Girl! The coolest girl of all! A girl who poses nude for artists who capture a certain something about her, a girl who's just realer than other girls, THE MAGICAL IDEAL.) He sends her incredibly long, pompous emails after a one-night stand which took place on an evening in which "he waited until Marisa was on her second beer -- he kept track from a distance, biding his time. When he approached at last, his own untouched beer dangling casually in his hand --" OKAY AARON, THANKS AND GOODBYE, YOU AND I ARE DONE.

    But alas, we are not done with Aaron, we are not done with Aaron at all. Eventually Aaron does come to realize that he's insufferable! A significant part of this realization comes when he visits an archive and meets a shy, demure archivist who's bad at flirting, and is suddenly struck by how desperately sad it is that people like her may never find love because they're all overlooked by assholes like him. If only people like him paid attention to people like her, their lives might be fulfilling and the world would be better! ALAS.

    (There are two other archivists in the book, The Interchangeable Patricias. They have a few moments of heroically rising to Helen's aid but mostly their role is to stand as icily competent, largely humorless glowering gate-guards over the sacred text, because of course.)

    So basically everything about the modern sections was nonsense to me. (Also, I got mad every time they found a document that explained to them a Piece of the Mystery in a way that was way too narratively convenient. 'Oh, look, Ester doodled out her real name and her fake name next to each other and added a note that said 'HEY IT'S ALL MY NAMES!' Isn't that handy!')

    Still, Ester's story in and of itself was good and compelling and interesting, and grudgingly I became invested in it despite myself...

    And then spoilers! )

    Thankful Thursday

    Sep. 14th, 2017 12:09 pm
    ironymaiden: (debauched sloth)
    [personal profile] ironymaiden
    1. unconditional PTO. i was ill this weekend and i think that lack of actual restorative time hit me hard. yesterday when i woke up i couldn't anything. and i talked through it with C, and he said "it sounds like you need a vacation". and so i did.

    2. C and i talked a lot yesterday and that was really good.

    3. Patrick Tull reading Post Captain. i had completely forgotten about Stephen's 60k of bees, who have learned to like cocoa. plus all of my kayak-related reading has made all the bits about slack tide and sand bars make so much more sense. bonus: C has really gotten into this one, and requests replays of parts he missed.*

    4. making the things. i don't think i've done any spinning since some time in July, and i've been making the same stupid pair of socks for several months. well, i finally finished those this week and wore them yesterday. after a few chilly a/c days at the office, i decided to knit a lace stole. which turned into looking at the three variations of the pattern and hacking together two of them to put together all the motifs that i liked. i spent a good chunk of my rest day working on it, and i'm into the second chart section. i don't know if it's just that fall is coming or what, but i'm glad to have my mojo back.

    5. it hurts a little to say it, but the Channel 4 version of GBBO is actually fine. i've watched two episodes so far, and since someone else has already cut out the commercials, the only thing wrong is the lack of the wacky historical digressions. i feel like a traitor for not being gutted by the lack of Mary, Mel, and Sue, but the people playing Mel and Sue are really good at being Mel and Sue.



    *it's only taken about ten years. *cries*

    (no subject)

    Sep. 13th, 2017 10:38 pm
    skygiants: Sheska from Fullmetal Alchemist with her head on a pile of books (ded from book)
    [personal profile] skygiants
    Juliet Takes a Breath was our book club book for the month of August. I am glad for the existence of this book in the world and I am glad I read it, and with that said my experience of reading it was largely one of OVERWHELMING CONTACT EMBARRASSMENT.

    Juliet Takes a Breath is the coming-of-age story of Juliet Milagros Palante, a young Puerto Rican lesbian from the Bronx who's spending the summer of 2002 interning in Portland, Oregon! with international feminist sensation Harlowe Brisbane! author of "Raging Flower," a book about VAGINA POWER!

    Unsurprisingly, pretty much every time Harlowe Brisbane spoke a sentence I wanted to retract my head all the way back inside my nonexistent turtle shell until a million years had passed and womyn power white lady feminism was a thing that could be discussed with distant scholarly complacency, like galvanism or the Cathar heresy. This is completely expected and indeed clearly intended by the book, but nonetheless, OH LORD.

    Anyway, not everything is Harlowe Brisbane being exactly the way you'd expect; a great deal of the book is Juliet dealing with a wide range of family reactions to her coming-out (the width of the range in particular is really good!), and Learning New Vocabularies, and finding comfortable queer POC spaces, and attending lectures about intersectional solidarity in the wake of 9/11, and making romantic gay teen mixtapes full of Ani DiFranco songs! But oh, lord. At least one book club member said it rang extremely true to their experience and memories of Portland in 2002. Myself, in 2002 I was nowhere near Portland nor any of the Cool Yet Problematique gay spaces that Rivera is writing about here and it's PROBABLY just as well, but it does seem quite likely to me that walking around Portland in 2002 was a lot like walking around a physical manifestation of certain bits of tumblr, and that is indeed the sense I got of it from this book.

    [a sidenote: the acknowledgments in the back include pointed thanks and reference to the time that the author spent with Inga Muscio, author of 'Cunt: A Declaration of Independence.' I'm not necessarily saying this book was a callout post, but .... anyway Inga Muscio also cheerfully blurbed the book on the front so it seems there were no hard feelings on her part and all is well.]
    duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
    [personal profile] duskpeterson
    Law Links


    "Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

    Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

    Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




    Men and Lads


    "'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

    A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

    All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




    Sweet Blood


    "He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

    Time is running out.

    Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

    As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

    As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.

    Also, note that Sweet Blood now has an epigraph. Scroll down to the beginning note of Bond.




    To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

    (no subject)

    Sep. 10th, 2017 06:37 pm
    skygiants: Katara from Avatar: the Last Airbender; text 'just kicked butt' (katara kicks butt)
    [personal profile] skygiants
    Code Name Pauline: Memoirs of a World War II Special Agent is a compilation of oral history interviews with Pearl Witherington Cornioley, behind-the-lines SOE agent in France during WWII, packaged up into a YA nonfiction narrative.

    Pearl's story is as fascinating as all the other stories about WWII female secret agents I've read, with the bonus that it's barely crushingly depressing at all! Pearl started out as a courier, posing as a traveling cosmetics saleswoman and working with an old school friend of hers who was running the SOE Stationer network -

    (sidenote; she'd also been the one to recommend that her old school friend sign up for secret intelligence to begin with, and then was like 'yes now that I've set that up I'll pop on over to join his network now, thanks')

    (sidenote 2; she'd also managed to somehow smuggle a secret message to her fiance Henri, a French soldier who had just escaped from German POW camp, and get him in contact with the Stationer network as well, so literally as soon as she parachuted in her boss was like "HEY WELCOME TO FRANCE HERE'S YOUR BOYFRIEND I'll just .... leave you two alone a bit")

    - but eventually her boss was arrested by the Gestapo. Fortunately, Pearl had dragged several other members of the network out for a picnic that day, so they all escaped!

    Then D-Day happened and Pearl was like "well, I guess it is now my job to be in charge of organizing all British supply drops and getting weapons and money to the French underground resistance, and no one else seems to be sabotaging the Germans around here, so ..... I guess that's what we're doing now?"

    And that's how Pearl ended up being in charge of several thousand Maquis soldiers! With Henri playing support.

    (There's a couple of Henri interviews in the back and they are mostly taken up with the story of how he rescued a baby bunny while retreating from the Germans and brought it along with him through numerous battles until they were about to be captured, at which point he was like 'FLY FREE, MY RABBIT FRIEND! SAVE YOURSELF!' "And that was the only life I saved during the war." BLESS.

    There's also a very cute bit that the interviewers put in dialogue, because they also obviously found it super cute, where Pearl is like "ugh I get so mad when people say the men followed me because I was pretty" and Henri is like "BUT YOU WERE, YOU WERE SO PRETTY" and Pearl is like "I WAS NOT AND ALSO THAT'S NOT THE POINT.")

    I have not yet managed to get my hands on Nancy Wake's autobiography, but I would love to compare/contrast -- they played very similar roles during the war in organizing Maquis during the liberation of France, but while Nancy Wake seems to have made no bones about being a very front-lines combatant (strangling soldiers with her bare hands, etc.) Pearl spends a lot of time in her account strongly disclaiming active heroism and emphasizing the logistics and support elements of her role. Could she have killed somebody herself if she had to? Well, gosh, she's so glad she never had to find out, that wasn't her job at all!

    But I mean, Pearl also starts out early on in her narrative explaining that she is very conflict-averse and dislikes argument above all things, and then goes on to describe, in addition to extensive amounts of fighting with the Germans:

    - fighting with the entire French government when it looked like they weren't going to give any of her Maquis any medals because they were technically working under the British rather than the French (ง'̀-'́)ง
    - fighting with the entire English government when they tried to give her a civil Order of the British Empire rather than a military one because "there was nothing remotely 'civil' about what I did" (ง'̀-'́)ง
    - fighting with the head of SOE after he accused a trusted French colleague of hers of being a double agent due to a misunderstanding and then failed to apologize -- "as Colonel Buckmaster is kind enough to visit me each time I come to Paris, can you ask him to alert me next time and I'll ask [the dude who was falsely accused] to come too?" (ง'̀-'́)ง (AND HER OLD BOSS NEVER VISITED HER AGAIN)
    - fighting yet again with the English government when they wouldn't let her wear parachute wings, because she'd only jumped four times instead of five, "SO I JUST WORE THEM ANYWAY" (ง'̀-'́)ง (the editor is like 'we don't know where or how she got a pair to wear? but apparently she did?')

    What I'm saying is I take Pearl's description of her own retiring conflict-averse shyness with a grain of salt.
    ironymaiden: (heroine: eowyn)
    [personal profile] ironymaiden
    Askhistorians post about Mulan complete with side by side translation of the ballad and a digression of north vs south in China and the history of laws against footbinding.

    linkspam on a gray Friday

    Sep. 8th, 2017 10:23 am
    cofax7: George from DLM saying Shit (DLM - George shit)
    [personal profile] cofax7
    It's been a terrible week. Have some puppies.

    Turns out that turnabout isn't all that fair play: Catcalling dudes just isn't all that fun.

    Shoulda called him Remington: a fake male entrepreneur gets more call-backs than the real women founders.

    Medievalists struggle with the way nazis love them.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is on fire: And so the most powerful country in the world has handed over all its affairs-the prosperity of its entire economy; the security of its 300 million citizens; the purity of its water, the viability of its air, the safety of its food; the future of its vast system of education; the soundness of its national highways, airways, and railways; the apocalyptic potential of its nuclear arsenal-to a carnival barker who introduced the phrase grab 'em by the pussy into the national lexicon. It is as if the white tribe united in demonstration to say, "If a black man can be president, then any white man-no matter how fallen-can be president." And in that perverse way, the democratic dreams of Jefferson and Jackson were fulfilled.

    *

    ETA: If you think your data has been compromised (like mine!) by the Equifax breach, here's a guide on how to put a freeze on your credit. It's not perfect, but it's a start.


    *

    Holy crap the most comprehensive Metafilter post about pie. None more pie. (When come back, bring pie!)

    Bookmarked for later evaluation: something about identifying your home style.

    I haven't bought anything from Everlane yet, but I am interested in their new jeans. The Cut did a review; sadly they only chose thin women models, apparently all under 40, so I don't have a good sense of how they would do on my thickening menopausal frame. And of course the jeans themselves only go up to about size 14, it looks like. (Sigh.) The price point is appealing, though.

    *

    Courtesy of Metafilter, I have found a recipe for chai spice cake; I will experiment with it at some point and report back.

    In the interim, I have to make a slab pie for an enormous memorial service next weekend. I don't have the energy to experiment, so if it doesn't work, it will just be composted.

    This fucking year, I swear.
    Page generated Sep. 20th, 2017 04:34 pm
    Powered by Dreamwidth Studios