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[sticky post] fanfic master list

Below is a list of my various fanfic and blog posts discussing different books, TV shows and movies. Feel free to poke around and read anything that strikes your fancy.

The fiction in particular often carries specific warnings and benefited from the help of beta readers and (in the case of some poetry) co-authors. Rather than trying to recreate this information here, please find it at the archive where the stories are posted. If you've helped me out over the years and I haven't properly thanked you, please let me know so I can correct it. Most of the links point to ArchiveOfOurOwn.org, which I joined several years ago, and while I've done my best to give credit where due, I do know my own limitations in this area and am willing to fix any mistakes.

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A  story nugget I may flesh out when I'm less cold med-befuddled. It seemed like a good idea in the shower and I don't want to forget it, at least.

Meneldil (Anarion's son, Elendil's grandson, maybe 1-2 years old at time of Akallabeth) lands in Middle-earth and is promptly sent off to foster in Dol Amroth. When the Faithful first landed, their situation would be tenuous at best, not exactly the safest situation for a two-year-old prince, and there was a more-established community of the Faithful that could protect him. Maybe some of the other children, too, but certainly not his adult family members who'd be needed to build their settlement. The upshot being: Meneldil survives the storm, and then he's bundled off to live with strangers.

Enter another storm. Just a regular one, but a real howler if you're so young with that history. So he does the only thing he can think of: finds the highest ground he can think of, specifically the aviary. This is a community of Faithful who are back in Middle-earth where Manwe's eagles might actually be expected again, on top of which there was an elven setlement not too far off they'd probably be communicating with. Of course they'd have an aviary. (Though, what is it with me with stories set there?) And he finds (or is found by) another boy, maybe one of the attendants or just another child in the stronghold -- working idea is he's a very different kind of refugee, maybe from a family that escaped Sauron out of Harad who dreams of becoming a Swan Knight if he's very smart and lucky -- and they just have a bit of conversation. And the other boy shows Meneldil how high the cliffs are and how the waves are breaking not even half way up, that kind of thing.

Basically: Meneldil is sent away for his own good (though it would hardly feel like that) and makes a friend of an unexpected sort.

This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/7972.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Arky, Arky....

First off: *waves* I have been thinking about you lot. I've also just been busy and tired and not really making the space for any kind of web activity that can't be managed while I'm waiting for the bus. (Which FB and Tumblr are set up for; El Jay really isn't.)

It's been a while since I've felt quite so hammered by reality. It's the weather. It's this current joke of a US presidency, and the hatred and callousness it enables. It's the fact that Angela Merkel, of all people, now shines as a paragon of liberal enlightenment, which is depressing by its own lights. But mostly it's the weather and what that represents, that people can't even have that most basic physical safety. I mean, America seems (and it's really not that much of an exaggeration!) half on fire and half underwater just now.

Still, I'm sitting pretty in New York enjoying the cooler weather and the return of pumpkin spice everything. Including the donut I just bought. (It really is good!). So whatever angst I feel is the second-hand abstract kind, not what a lot of you are dealing with in the flesh.

(Side note: if you're safe and living some place where I might worry, would love to hear as much!)

I did get a news alert on my phone tonight that the storm is changing directions toward Tampa, where I do have family. But they're used to storms, and there's not mobility issues or anything with them. So if there's a real threat to where they live they know well enough how to get out of there. Actually, the main thing the alert did was remind me of another Florida hurricane, I'm not even sure which one. Over a decade ago, I received some traumatic news and then promptly got locked down in my office at an ESL school where where I was teaching for the summer. But that's just a memory rather than a flash-back, so while I could do without the reminder, it's kind of nice to see how I've come a bit back from that.m

Fannish-wise, I'm afraid there's nothing much going on with me. Desire, drive, ideas, etc. - all there, but no real projects. Just got other RL stuff on my mind. I am enjoying consuming it a bit. And I'm rereading snatches of HP when I find the time - what a difference a decade makes, in how you read those stories!

What have you all been up to?

This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/7909.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Marta Rewatches: The Great Game

I'm fighting off a bit of depression, so I'm afraid this is going to be a bit rushed and muted. Bear with me. But The Great Game is easily one of my top three episodes alongside TAB and TRF, and I've put off this rewatch long enough. So let's do this!

When I talked about TBB, one point that kept coming up was how slooooooow it seemed at points. And there's a lot of truth to that (I chalked it up to being worn out by the 90-minute format, which takes mental stamina). Fascinating how TGG goes the other way. There's so much going on, it can be a bit hard to catch your breaths at times. But even fighting through depression, I was still clear-headed and on the edge of my feet. Really, well done keeping the tension up particularly as this is an episode about one case after another getting solved in quick order. But they kept crescendoing, because for an episode so focused on mysteries and crime-solving, this still doesn't feel like a straight-up detective story. The point isn't to solve the case but see the man.

And that's what I love about this episode, particularly on rewatch. It walks the line between Sherlock being so swept away with the mystery and excitement of it all, and Sherlock actually caring about the people involved. Because Sherlock actually is very caring throughout the whole thing. The earnestness in his voice when he solves a case and gets to ask: where are you? where should we come to get you? The way he talks to witnesses, yes it's driven by a need to get information, but there's also a sense that he knows he's dealing with traumatized people and he needs to get the information quickly. Even with Molly and the revelation that Jim's gay: he defends this in terms of: wasn't that kind?

He's wrong, of course, at least on that one; but compare that to Jim's "That's what people do!" when confronted with the deaths he's caused. Watching this in retrospect, he really shines through as a man who cares so much, but maybe doesn't quite know how to care or maybe even that he's allowed to. The first time I watched this I chalked that up to John's influence, but in retrospect it seems like that side of him was there all along.

Let's talk about Westie, the DOD employee killed over the missile plans. After ignoring the case --multiple times!-- despite the fact he's bored, when he finally takes an interest (or rather asks John whether he really believed he wasn't working it out just because it was Mycroft asking), he says he'd never turn down a "case like this." But setting aside the missing memory stick, there really isn't a great mystery to be solved here. Suicide tracks at first, and when it doesn't, the real mystery is pretty easily solved. Lestrade could have worked this one out; certainly Mycroft's men could have. So what is it about this case that so interests him? Well, Westie is young and in love, and the people talking to his fiancee insinuate he did something wrong. Major parallels with the way Sally talks to John at the Ian Monkford crime scene. He's also a case Mycroft wants solved, but instrumentally: he's not motivated by the death of a company man, it's the missing jumpdrive he wants solved. There's a lot for Sherlock to identify with, there.

Which brings me back to perhaps my favorite moment in the series. From Ariane DeVere's transcripts:

Sherlock: I think [Moriarty] wants to be distracted.
John: I hope you'll be very happy together.
Sherlock: Sorry, what?
John: There are lives at stake, Sherlock -- actual human lives... Just -- just so I know, do you care about that at all?
Sherlock: Will caring about them help save them?
John: Nope.
Sherlock: Then I'll continue not to make that mistake.
John: And you find that easy, do you?
Sherlock: Yes, very. Is that news to you?
John: No. No.
Sherlock: I've disappointed you.
John: That's good -- that's a good deduction, yeah.
Sherlock: Don't make people into heroes, John. Heroes don't exist, and if they did, I wouldn't be one of them.

 
In retrospect, it's worth noting: "heroes" is precisely who Sherlock is. Magnussen saw that. Mycroft saw that. He is at heart a dragon-slayer, or wants to be. And in a post-modern age, for a jaded city boy like Sherlock to still believe in a struggle that can be won if he's only clever enough is almost... quaint. Dragon-slayer, definitely.

But getting back to the main point. I think Sherlock cares quite a bit, but he also recognizes he's extraordinarily gifted, and that caring can limit his effectiveness. It's like a surgeon who loses a patient, possibly through his own mess-up, but who can't cry over it because there's another patient waiting to be save in the next room. You develop a necessary callousness after a time. And John knows this. Remember: army doctor. What bothers him, I think, is that this seems to come easily to Sherlock; and also because it happens in an environment John probably associates with safety. This is London, not Afghanistan, and he went and fought in a war precisely so people wouldn't have to develop those calluses back in England, so they can be safe. Only it's not that simple, of course.

This is a real sign, though, that John's and Sherlock's relationship is moving to the next level. Not just a flat-share or a professional partnership, because why should John care if Sherlock's not a good person, if he doesn't care about other peoples' suffering, at that level of connection? But if they're becoming friends, if he's bound to Sherlock because he recognizes something good or admirable in him that he wants to be closer to, well, Sherlock being so jaded (as he thinks) matters a great deal, doesn't it?

I mentioned over at Tumblr that I was taking some time off between rewatches because I wanted to work out my thoughts on the difference between romantic love and friendship (eros vs philia, or possibly storge, if that distinction carries weight). I wanted to do that because this episode plays with some really interesting parallels between John and Sherlock vs. romantic couples. Westie's the most obvious one. More subtly, we get a gay man overshadowed by his powerful sibling (shades of Mycroft-Sherlock), whose lover is employed by said man's sister (shades of Mycroft's offer to pay John for information on Sherlock), and finally commits murder over Kenny's abuse at his big sister's abuse (hasn't happened with John and Mycroft, but John is increasingly less cowed by Mycroft, and Sherlock is increasingly gratified by this). Even the episode opener in Minsk has a very "married" feel to it if you read the blogs: Sherlock initially wasn't going to bother going all the way out to Minsk, but did when John told him to.

My point isn't that John and Sherlock are romantically involved here. For early seasons, this episode has a decided lack of romantic subtext. But they do seem to be functioning as a romantic couple, sans the romance and sex. It's almost as if they're trying to say romance isn't the defining factor of the kind of relationship that defines a life, gives it structure. As if the hard distinction we draw between romantic partners and platonic friends isn't always so tidy.

All of which makes the pool scene at the episode's end very interesting indeed. The way Jim describes their relationship, it does feel very much akin to romance. "People do get so attached to their pets." I have no doubt that Sherlock came to the pool just to play with Moriarty over the jump-drive (okay, I have some doubts because I personally headcanon this whole scene as being an attempt by Mycroft and Sherlock to trap Moriarty, but that's a long story). That said: when John shows up it becomes something else entirely. Look at the nervous energy, the on-edge almost manic reaction to getting John out of danger; this is no longer a game, and certainly not an engagement where the hostage is unimportant.

And when John delivers that famous line about "people will talk," all resistance does seem to have gone out of him. It's almost like he's playing a role, much like Sherlock is when he uses his uncaring-machine persona elsewhere. But the impression I'm left with here isn't one of romance, it's of a close connection that others would label as romance: as love full-stop, without the distinction.

Next week: A Scandal in Belgravia. That toeing the line between philia and eros isn't going anywhere.

This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/7608.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
 Tonight I ha the interesting experience of seeing "Atomic Blonde," in 4D no less. (One of those theaters were the seats move and thump, lights flash, etc. to simulate what's going on in the movies. Don't think I'd have chosen this movie as my first time in that format.

And I'm not sure I'd recommend the movie generally - except for those folks I would. It's almost pornographic in its violence (this is no "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" with its gentlemanly intrigue and violence at a distance). It was also beautifully done, with some really nuanced characters and some nice motivations for why they did things the way they did. Also, the sense of Berlin at the tail end of the Cold War? The casual violence, the differences between East Berlin and West, the adrenaline of it all? Really loved that quite a bit. Also Cherlize Theron was as wonderful as advertised, as was James McAvoy, and it was a real treat to see Sofia Boutella (Gazelle, the assassin from Kingsman) once again. So if this seems like your kind of thing, I'd highly recommend it. I just don't think it's my kind of thing, personally. But if this does sound like your kind of thing, it's really well done and I'd recommend seeing it on the big screen because it's visually stunning.

One thing that did interest me: several people over on Tumblr were talking about how traumatic it was that Boutella's character died (this is hardly a spoiler: it really is a violent story and very few characters make it through alive). The reasoning seemed to be that there's this motif where women die to spur on their male over, and here it was just as toxic because a lesbian white woman was being spurred on by the tragic death(TM) of a lesbian woman of color. Only.... Boutellas character is French and does't look particularly non-white to me; just not so pale as a northern European. HOWEVER! Poking around IMDB I see the actress is actually Algerian, and as  French national there would be all kinds of racial politics at pay there Not anything  personally picked up on in the movie itself, though.

Anywho. As I said, really well done and wort seeing if you're keen for this kind of hyper-violence. Just proceed with caution. This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/7230.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

K'plach!

Today we got $16k of old bills paid for one of our patients. Well, I say "we"...

Also, we had the records to generate $32k in loans for the funding company we work with today. Again, I say "we"....

Granted, that's not in my bank account, but as I can turn good will like a well-balanced bat'leth, I feel like celebrating. Will probably swing by Olive Garden or some such if I ever get out of here.

This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/7008.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
This is the realty: It is 6:59 PM and I'm away from work, in Washington Square Park. A minor miracle. I thought I had therapy tonight but apparently I got my dates confused and it's an off week. So I came all the way down here (which isn't so very bad after all), got some Russian dish I love (think pierogies but with grilled meat and sausage inside - don't know the name), and found out I have the time.

My therapist apologized I feel like I've been given a gift, or at least, that I ought to feel like I've been given a gift. Technically, there's nothing to stop me from just chilling out. The park is lovely. The weather is cool. There are chess games to be lost, and maybe some shopping to be done later.

I wasn't really in the mood for therapy tonight anyway. Actually, I feel like screaming or crying over work stuff, and I'm not entirely sure why. But just complaining about work is neither productive nor cheap on a therapist's couch. But anything else would have been performance art tonight, I'm afraid. Not a great occasion for introspection or soul-searching, and I sort of feel like a dodged a bullet there.

The reality is I live in one of the best cities in the world, and I have at least an hour of carved out time to enjoy it. This is a blessing, and a necessity.

****************

This is the perception:

I want to scream. I don't know why I want to scream, particularly, when today hasn't been spectacularly bad. I could point to the factors, but they don't seem to cover it, subjectively.. Meaning I feel like this anger is me being weak, a sign I can't hack it because I just can't handle the normal. (And also am probably indulging, more-than-probably taking my bad mood out on others (though I know, when I think about it, I actually haven't been.)

Today was a short day: maybe 6 hrs in the office, another hour at home, and maybe 30-45 minutes of file-sorting on the train. Not *that* light for most works and made up for on other days but very light for me. So it feels like I haven't earned the time off, and there's certainly work still to be done. Meaning I actually feel a bit lazy, definitely that the specter is still hanging over me. Which isn't helping the first factor.

Again, perception: I hate my job. I know I need to find another one, which I seem unable to do. The usual excuse is the vicious cycle of not enough to do to properly search. But now I have tie after a comparatively light day and I can't make myself dive in. As if I have to. As if -- having suffered through a day that really could warrant some kvetching, if that would help -- I then have to subject myself to the equally degrading world of a job search. (It really is no fun!) I am trying not to think so hard about all the other things that keep me from doing this well. Lack of social graces, shot nerves, minimal self-confidence just now, and probably most of all, lack of professional connections I can use as references. (People who like me- Check. People I can tell I don't want my current job, though?)

The perception is that I am a self-indulgent do-nothing who desperately needs to be able to set boundaries, and that that's no one's failing but my own, who can't even properly unwind. And now that my therapist has apologized twice for the mix-up, I now feel a bit mocked, too, though I most certainly am not being.

But the reality is that it really is a lovely evening. The monkey-grinder between my ears cannot change that reality. *g*

*****************

In other news, an acquaintance over on Tumblr offered to put me in contact with the folks who used to run the now-defunct sherlockiansbepositive blog, which was a kind of anonymous love fest. The idea is I might get involved in helping run it again. I don't know if anything will come of it, but the prospect is quite nice. The reality (no self-deprecating perception here!) is I miss adminning, the structure and positive results, and would really like to take on some fannish project again if just for the structure.


This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/6841.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

The Blind Banker, Continued

Apparently I'm not done yet with this episode. Let's talk about one of the cuter moments in the episode.

Sherlock: I need to get some air. We're going out.
John: Actually, I've got a date.
Sherlock: What?
John: It's where two people who like each other go out and have fun.
Sherlock: That's what I was suggesting.
John: No it wasn't. At least, I hope it wasn't.

(With thanks to Ariane.)

My inner Socratic always wants to jump up and dance around at that exchange, because it's precisely the kind of bad "definition" he'd dismiss in the early sections of a Platonic dialogue. That may describe a date, but it hardly defines one. Particularly as Sherlock's precisely right: here, what he was suggesting does meet that definition. He later throws in another criteria: that part of a date was trying to get off with Sarah. But if the only difference between friends' night out and a date is the possibility of sex? That seems cold, somehow.

I wanted to stay away from this scene because I'm trying to experience the show as something other than a slowburn John/Sherlock romance. And this scene, following so closely on the heels of Sherlock's firting with Molly to get access to those corpses (which means he does at least understand romantic code), is pretty damningly TJLC. , That, or queerbaiting, at least at first glance. So I'm not sure how comfortable or fun this particular conversation will be for a lot of people, or helpful to my project of "seeing a story other than TJLC.

But I think there's something important going on here.Because I think canonically (as in, Doyle stories), John and Sherlock love each other even if they don't love romantically or want to have sex. (Which to be clear, I'm also quite open to as a way of understanding these characters.) I think that would have worked reasonably well in Victorian times, when men and women operated in such different spheres; but today, it is harder to make space for a close friendship, even one where there's no romantic competition - a girl friend for a gay married mane, or a male friend fo a hterosexual, for instnce. I mean, we all need friendships and I wish it wasn't this way, but a really close friendship can seem to intrude on the emotional territory of a marriage, because we expect more of that within the marriage than we did 150 years ago.

What this means is the most straightforward answer to the problem raised by Doyle!Mary -- have her and Watson have their own world off-screen, and Holmes and Watson's adventure pose no more a threat to that than regular nights with the men at the club -- doesn't work in the modern times. I'm sure I'll be talking quite a bit about this as we get to S3 & 4.

But for now, what fascinates me is that John and Sherlock don't even have the framework for a close friendship that's distinct from a date. Doubly complicated by the fact that I really and truly think Holmes is meant to be gay or at least not-straight. The problem here is grammatical, they don't even have the words. And if that's not frustrating in the most beautiful of ways!

(Also a bit "persistent," to put it politely, because if Sherlock doesn't pop up like a game of wackamole, time and again throughout the evening. Yes, a big part of that is Sherlock not being great with social boundaries and being as stubborn as kudzu; but I think there's also a big element of neither of them knowing how to make space for the realistic, necessary friendship that seems to be growing between them, that's important and matters at least as much as John's romantic love with Sara but isn't really being validated at that moment.)

This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/6500.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Marta Rewatches: The Blind Banker

 It's the weekend, which means I get to rewatch another Sherlock episode. This week: The Blind Banker.

Before we get started: I know a lot of people aren't big fans of this episode because of the racial elements. And I can see where they're coming from here, the treatment of Soo-lin leaves a lot to be desired. I suspect a bit of that was trying to translate "The Dancing Men" (we can all agree that's the canon inspiration here, yeah?) which relies on a focus on honor and secrecy I don't think translates all that well into modern Western culture. Maybe they felt a need to make that seem "exotic"? (Which is still problematic.) Also there's the ending, where Sherlock lets the pretty white receptionist keep a very valuable, historically noteworthy piece of Chinese jewellery. It's played up as a sweet moment, but I wonder how people would react if we were talking about the Elgin marbles or some such. Which we are, it's just not recognized as such.

So, yes. I get why some folks would be more than a bit turned off by all that. I'm choosing to focus on other things, just because I don't feel all that qualified to talk about those other problems. I did want to at least highlight them, though.

Last week I talked about how in ASIP, John and Sherlock are actually very comfortable in their skins but a bit blind to how they might improve. This episode, the focus is much more on how incomplete they are. How they need to move forward.

Read more...Collapse ) This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/6265.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
ACD_Holmesfest is back

I am as excited as Holmes considering a rose with an intensity that is in no way creepy. None at all.

This entry was originally posted at http://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/5746.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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