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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
25 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
24 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
  • Thu, 17:04: *Trumpcare pulled because votes pass it are lacking* Karma is a wonderful thing, isn't it? #inners #uniteblue
  • Thu, 17:23: These people don't think gov't should be involved in health care AT ALL.If you can't afford it, tough shit.Please die.#inners #uniteblue #fb
  • Thu, 17:24: These people don't think gov't should be involved in health care AT ALL.If you can't afford it, tough shit.Please die.#inners #uniteblue
  • Thu, 17:29: RT @docrocktex26: That the @GOP is even entertaining the idea of returning to the pre-Obamacare level of healthcare crisis proves they're d…
  • Thu, 17:45: "You can't negotiate it [health care repeal] like you're doing a development deal in Atlantic City." Indeed. #inners #uniteblue
  • Thu, 18:13: RT @TeaPainUSA: Trump: "I'm the President and you're not" Response: "You're under criminal investigation for treason and I'm not."
  • Thu, 18:14: RT @chrislhayes: Joy's point here is key: it's just amazing that the WH *literally does not care* about the content of the bill. #inners
  • Thu, 18:18: "You build your consensus in your caucus and when you're ready, you bring it to the floor." Oh SNAP from Nancy Smash. #maddow #uniteblue
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
23 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
  • Wed, 17:09: RT @ananavarro: Jeesh. What the hell don't they lie about? Easier to keep up w/rare truths this WH tells, than w/so many lies. Fish rots fr…
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
22 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
21 March 2017 @ 07:55 pm
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1 by Amy Reeder

2 of 5 stars

This was...okay. I prefer graphic novels with more mature storylines, which you can have even when your protagonist is a 9-year-old girl, as in this case. The last third of the story, when our hero Lunella Lafayette takes off on her own to hunt down the bad guys, is the strongest. Lunella is a nicely rounded character, with believable motivations and fears, and I think if she was just a little bit older this would be a better comic. As it is, she's cute without being twee or cutesy, which is good, but this simply doesn't have the depth it needs to be memorable. 
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This entry was originally posted at http://redheadedfemme.dreamwidth.org/171011.html. Comment either here or there.
 
 
"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
21 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
20 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
19 March 2017 @ 08:03 pm
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

3 of 5 stars

I really wavered about how many stars to give this. I liked it, but it has its issues, and there is a great deal of handwavium inherent in the premise. This is also one of the grimmest books I have ever read, on a par with Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (if nowhere near that book's quality).

Needless to say, All The Triggers applies. Rape, child rape, abuse, violence and extreme misogyny are found here.

This is a near-extinction-of-humanity and death-of-civilization tale, with a virus so virulent it kills 98% of men and more than 99% of women, including all pregnant women. Which is the first of my objections to the worldbuilding--the world's most lethal viruses, such as Ebola, simply do not work that way. Ebola kills something like 90% of its victims, but this occurs over a time frame of weeks and months. The virus here seems to strike the entire world population simultaneously, which is ridiculous. (Unless it was a genetically engineered organism, tailored specifically to humans, introduced years beforehand, and programmed to turn lethal in response to a specific trigger. Something like David R. Palmer's Emergence, which handles this scenario a helluva lot better.) Also, the Unnamed Midwife who is the book's protagonist--she never gives her true name, but goes by various aliases, mostly male, throughout the book--wakes up after who knows how long in a comalike state (somehow without starving to death or dying of thirst, which also bugged me) to find everyone else gone and San Francisco deserted. (And where, pray tell, are all the rotting bodies and feral dogs?)

But put all that aside, if you can, because that was just the pseudo-science to jumpstart the plot. The author's concerns are what happens to humanity after it all but dies out, and what she and the Unnamed Midwife sees isn't pretty. Specifically, men revert to brutish animals and make all remaining women their slaves.

I said "extreme misogyny" in reference to triggers, but it seems to me there is a lot of hatred of men in this story's subtext, thinking that nearly all men would act like this. Or, hell, hatred of humanity in general, that we would automatically revert to knuckle-dragging barbarians in such an event. To be sure, some of us would. But I'm sure that many more men AND women would band together in the hard work of changing to a non-technological, agrarian society (which is what would have to happen) while preserving as much old world technology as is feasible. (For instance, rounding up herd animals, building greenhouses, scavenging as many medical supplies/canned goods as possible, and also constructing windmills/gathering solar panels for power/etc etc etc. Jeezus. I just threw that out in fifteen seconds, and already I've got a much more hopeful scenario than this book.)

I think the reason the author goes with such a grimdark storyline is that the society she envisions coming after, which is established in the prologue and epilogue as a framing device, is so different from our own. For instance, instead of a two-person marriage as the basic unit of society, there are polyamorous "hives" (specifically, one women with two or more men), and women are separating into two different castes, Mothers and Midwives. (Hopefully this is expanded upon more in the sequel, The Book of Etta.)

In the meantime, this storyline is somewhat equivalent to a drive-by car wreck--it's horrific, but you can't take your eyes off it. Meg Elison is a good writer, with sharp pacing, nice characterization, and a good ear for dialogue. I just wish she'd given more thought to her worldbuilding, because that leaves a lot to be desired. 
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This entry was originally posted at http://redheadedfemme.dreamwidth.org/170861.html. Comment either here or there.
 
 
"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
19 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
18 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
17 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
  • Thu, 17:58: RT @polly: -Meals on Wheels feeds over 500,000 veterans annually -1 in 6 seniors deals with hunger -64% of MOW recipients are women https:/…
  • Thu, 18:19: RT @choochoobear: If you oppose abortion but will are silent while programs like Meals on Wheels get slashed, you're not pro-life. Stop pre…
  • Thu, 19:11: "High school math is much harder than Twitter, and they give you four years to master that." Indeed. #lastword #uniteblue
  • Thu, 19:28: "The operative word is vindictiveness." Steve Bell, who worked for President Reagan, on Trump's budget. #lastword #uniteblue
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
16 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
15 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
14 March 2017 @ 08:15 pm
Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

5 of 5 stars

I've heard this book called "young adult," and the first thing I'd like to say is that it most definitely is not. Yes, the protagonists, sisters Adrana and Arafura Ness, are eighteen and seventeen respectively. That does not matter. This book is too dark, and its first-person narrator far too ruthless, to qualify for the young-adult designation, at least as far as I'm concerned.

What this is is a far-future space opera, of pirates and creepy aliens and ancient skulls, of a solar system (possibly ours) where the planets seem to be smashed into rubble, and the human race has built tens of thousands of habitats out of that rubble. Built them over and over again, as a matter of fact, because we're on the Thirteenth Occupation (now known as the "Congregation"), and the history of the Occupations stretches millions of years into the past. The past is the driving engine of the story, as ships search "baubles" for tech and/or artifacts no one can now understand or duplicate, and one never knows if that tech will make you rich or drive you insane. This idea has obvious parallels with Andre Norton's "Forerunners," which are some of my favorite books of all time.

This is some marvelous worldbuilding (and very artfully done, with nary an infodump to be found), and I hope the author writes more books in this universe, whether or not he continues the story of the Ness sisters. But this book is the tale of Adrana and Arafura Ness, who sign on to a "sunjammer" (a ship riding the solar wind on giant sails that visits the baubles as they open, to scavenge the loot sealed inside) in an attempt to help their father, who just lost all the family's money. They are qualified to be "bone readers," linking to the giant alien skulls on the sunjammers that serve as long-range communications devices. (These are also creepy as heck, with the implications that for all there is no brain tissue left inside, they aren't...really....dead.) However, on their very first voyage they run into the pirate Bosa Sennen, who kills nearly the entire crew and takes Adrana hostage on her ship.

This starts the story, and a dark and bloody one it is. Arafura changes from a naive young girl to an obsessed and ruthless woman, and if in the end she finds her sister and kills Bosa Sennen, her triumph comes at a very high price. To hunt a monster, she basically becomes one. The last few pages of the story shows she realizes this, and if there is a sequel, I hope the consequences of what she's done are dealt with. (I also hope the second book is told from Adrana's viewpoint.) There is so much more that could be done with this universe and characters, and so many questions that deserve answers. 
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This entry was originally posted at http://redheadedfemme.dreamwidth.org/170668.html. Comment either here or there.
 
 
"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
14 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
  • Mon, 17:55: It's sad that this West Virginia townhall is putting such faith in Donald Trump, & pleading for healthcare. #inners #uniteblue #fb
  • Mon, 17:56: It's sad that this West Virginia townhall is putting such faith in Donald Trump, & pleading for healthcare. #inners #uniteblue
  • Mon, 17:57: Well, hell, everyone from West Virginia (and everywhere else) should know that Mitch McConnell is worthless. #inners #uniteblue
  • Mon, 18:02: Jeezus. No wonder Paul Ryan wanted to push this through in middle of the night. 24 million people to lose health care under Repubs. #maddow
  • Mon, 18:22: This A-block is fascinating. #maddow #uniteblue
  • Mon, 18:27: RT @JoyAnnReid: Journalists absolutely have to stop letting Republicans get away with this "Obamacare is collapsing" talking point, as it i…
  • Mon, 18:38: Cripes.Dean Heller will only hold a townhall if no one boos him? What an oversensitive weenie. He must need a safe space. #maddow #uniteblue
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
13 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
10 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
09 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
08 March 2017 @ 06:39 pm
Asking for It by Kate Harding

4 of 5 stars

Yes, I sometimes read something other than SFF. I'm very glad I read this. I'm sad and angry, however, that it still needed to be written at all, that the idiotic rape myths summed up by this book's title still have such a hold on our culture.

Never fear though, as Kate Harding blows said myths out of the water. Just as an example (from p. 24):

Myth: She asked for it.
Fact: It is literally impossible to ask for rape. Rape, by definition, is sex you did not ask for. So either you mean that a woman who dresses a certain way, or flirts, or otherwise expresses her sexuality on her own terms somehow deserves to be raped--which would make you a monster--or you are wrong, and she was not asking for it.

Myth: He didn't mean to. 
Fact: Rapists like to rape. Most of them do it more than once. In "Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence," David Lisak cites a study in which 120 college men admitted to a total of 483 acts that met the legal definition of rape. Forty-four of those were one-off crimes. The other 439 rapes were committed by 76 serial rapists, who "had also committed more than 1,000 other crimes of violence, from non-penetrating acts of sexual assault, to physical and sexual abuse of children, to battery of domestic partners." Rape is not an accident.

For those who might sputter, "Butbutbut women lie," Harding also takes an entire chapter to discuss the problem of false accusations, dissecting the cases of Crystal Mangum, Tawana Brawley, and the Central Park Jogger. As she points out, however, according to the best available evidence, between 2 and 8 percent of rape accusations are false. My thought upon reading that was, even if we stretch skepticism to the breaking point and round that figure up to 10 percent, that still means ninety percent of reports are true. So, you know, if a woman says she was raped, the odds are she should be believed until, and unless, the evidence proves her wrong.

(This has nothing to do with the legal standard of "innocent until proven guilty," by the way. One can acknowledge a rape most likely occurred while simultaneously recognizing the challenge and necessity of gathering evidence, and prosecuting a case against, a specific person.)

This is in some ways a depressing, but I think an important book. I'd like to see it used in classrooms, especially when it comes to teaching teenagers about rape myths, rape culture, and consent.
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This entry was originally posted at http://redheadedfemme.dreamwidth.org/170255.html. Comment either here or there.
 
 
"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
08 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
07 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
  • Mon, 19:01: RT @clmazin: Dear Conservatives: You are not required to become a liberal or abandon your principles in order to recognize Trump is a comp…
  • Mon, 19:31: RT @chrislhayes: The problem for the GOP is that if they pass this bill: 1) A lot of people will be in worse shape 2) They will own all of…
  • Mon, 19:32: RT @Stonekettle: If you think for one minute that this ISN'T revenge on the part of the new administration, you're just goddamned fooling y…
  • Tue, 08:25: (I'm one of Barry's supporters on Patreon, so I have his permission to share this cartoon. As usual, he gets to... https://t.co/0hJJrJCx3t
  • Tue, 08:30: Cartoon of the Day - As usual, Barry Deutsch nails it. (I’m one of his supporters on Patreon, so I have... https://t.co/LnY4zFR65q
  • Tue, 08:37: “The Republicans’ new healthcare plan… - Higher deductibles - Huge tax breaks for the rich - Fewer...” https://t.co/IjRGCfscZ3
  • Tue, 08:39: 📷 I suppose the only good thing you can say about Ben Carson is that he’s too inept to do much damage.  https://t.co/UVRbhYrgrT
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
06 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
04 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
03 March 2017 @ 09:21 pm
Black Panther by Ta-Nehisi Coates

3 of 5 stars

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the best writers working today. His non-fiction articles for The Atlantic are usually excellent, and in many cases (particularly "The Case for Reparations" and "My President Was Black") they are, or should be, required reading for anyone interested in the complex nature of race relations in the United States.

But as good a writer as Coates is, writing a comic book series is a whole different ballgame.

That isn't to say this first volume of Black Panther is a failure. Or, if it is, it is a very interesting and ambitious failure. I would describe it as more of an extended, and necessary, learning curve. Coates clearly has some great things planned for his characters and the country of Wakanda (which is a character in its own right), and I am willing to stick around and see what happens.

This volume is bursting with potential. The main character of T'Challa is introduced, a king who has lost his way, along with what seem to be his three main antagonists--Zenzi, the Deceiver who is fomenting revolution, and Aneka and Ayo, the renegade Dora Milaje (T'Challa's elite female warrior bodyguards). All three villains have logical motivations; they are, as good villains must be, heroes of their own story.

Unfortunately there is precious little in the way of a plot to be found here--it seems more or less one giant setup, and a rather meandering, disjointed one at that. I enjoyed the introduction of the characters, the exploration of the country itself (there's a map provided, and we visit several different locations), the various villain backstories, and some small side tales of Wakandan myths and legends. The art is bright and colorful for the most part, well suited to the various vignettes--which is all they are. They're not a cohesive story, which is this volume's greatest weakness.

Having said all that, the groundwork has been laid. If Coates can come up with a good story to match his appealing world, he'll have a winner on his hands. 
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This entry was originally posted at http://redheadedfemme.dreamwidth.org/170185.html. Comment either here or there.
 
 
"A Diarist...with a Megaphone"
03 March 2017 @ 12:00 pm
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