Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reading Homestuck Part Fifteen: ==> You Can’t Deappearify With a Appearifier!

I will admit that the first time I read through all of Homestuck, I did a lot of skimming because I did not really get what all these post-apocalyptic shenanigans had to do with what I took to be the “main” storyline. (It was extremely confusing and I had not yet gotten comfortable with the writing style, and frankly, it kind of drags on and on.) I wanted to get back to the kids to see what they were up to and if they were going to survive their predicaments. (Of course, because I skimmed I ended up occasionally missing things that I would have understood if I had bothered to push through the silly antics of poor WV.)

From here to here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Moribito Episode Fourteen “Knot”--Review

The episode opens with Torogai, who has reached "The Knot" which is a point where the physical world and the spirit world intersect. She is completely under water, consulting with some spirit-people who resemble large aquatic salamanders. She learns some very important details about the egg of the Nyunga Ro Im that Chagum is carrying. She discovers that the Nyunga Ro Im is a not a drought causing demon but a rain-making spirit. This means that the Yogo history about the emperor that slew a demon is in fact either completely incorrect or at least inaccurate. However, this is not a reprieve for poor Chagum. Torogai's informants explain that there is a creature called Rarunga who Chagum will have to face in order to protect the egg. This is apparently not an encounter that Chagum is likely to survive.

Torogai attempts to get more information about this Rarunga creature. The informants however are extremely unwilling to offer more information beyond the fact that this Rarunga is an egg-eater. Shortly after explaining this, the informants become panicked by something and begin to flee. Torogai manages to catch one of them, and tries to get more information out of it. All the informant will say is something about "feasting," the spring equinox, and "certain death" as it struggles to get away. It finally breaks free and escapes, leaving Torogai with a lot to think about.

The scene shifts to Shuga, who is doing research about the story involving the emperor who slew a water demon, and as a result, founded a dynasty

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Review: Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince by Noriko Ogiwara translated by Cathy Hirano

Haika Soru
438 pp.

Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince is the second book of the Tales of the Magitama series, and takes place many centuries after the events of Dragon Sword and Wind Child.

We are first introduced to a girl named Toko Tachibana, and her adopted brother Oguna. Toko’s family are the guardians of one of four (originally five) powerful “magatama,” magical stones that had originally been strung on a necklace belonging to a goddess. Toko is very close to her adopted brother, and a great deal of the opening action revolves around Toko trying to get her parents to let Oguna take part in family-only rituals he can’t be involved in because he’s adopted.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Moribito Episode Thirteen “Neither Human nor Tiger”--Review

We open with a warrior type who seems to be very angry because someone is alive. The scene shifts to the water mill where Chagum is cleaning up the bonfire from the Summer Solstice Festival. Some kids turn up with a message from a "warrior." Balsa reads the letter, the content of which is a challenge to fight. Balsa is extremely unhappy about this. She tells Chagum to pack his things and get ready to leave.

The next scene, Balsa is talking to Tanda about the situation. We learn that this particular warrior is something of a business rival. He had apparently spotted her at the solstice festival and now he wants to fight her again. She plans on meeting him, which Tanda thinks is a very bad idea. (We get a brief shot of Chagum looking extremely unhappy and guilty.) Balsa however, feels that she has to meet with him, though she might have to kill him. (She does not want to kill him, because she has promised not to kill, but she realizes she might not have a choice in the matter.) She leave Chagum with Tanda and heads off.

She meets up with the warrior, who has abandoned his sword for a spear because he wants to kill Balsa with it. (Apparently, he was really impressed with her moves with a spear.) 

She is not able to reason with him.

GBE2 Blog On Prompt 52 “Guilty Pleasure”

For this prompt, I wasn’t sure whether to put it on A Wicked Convergence of Circumstances (my science fiction/fantasy media and meta blog) or here on Near Life Experiences (which is a more general purpose blog). That is because this particular guilty pleasure relates both to writing and experience and to meta and media related to science fiction and fantasy. I will probably go with cross-posting to both journals, just because.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reading Homestuck Part Fourteen: ==> WV: Be the Mayor of Can Town!

From here to here.

Wayward Vagabond studies the book of etiquette which has taught him a great deal. (Such as table manners!) He is directed clear out the cans of food from the machine. (While WV is being directed, it is not clear who might be directing him.) There is a lot of food, but there is not can opener for the food. Whoever set up this cache of supplies was just not forward thinking enough, I guess.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: Windrider’s Oath by David Weber

498 pp.

In Windrider’s Oath, Bahzell and Kaeritha split up on what at first seems like two different missions. Kaeritha heads off to visit a community of “warmaids” who have come into conflict with a local noble. The dispute is about a contested piece of land claimed by both sides. (The dispute is also about a great deal of entrenched sexism. Warmaids are considered to be “unnatural” because they renounce all family ties in exchange for a little more freedom than the average Sothoii woman is allowed.) Kaeritha’s job becomes even more complicated when Leeana, the daughter of Baron Tellian decides that she wants to become a warmaid.     

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Reading: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs Part Four

Chapter Eight: A Fair Captive from the Sky

John and Sola return from the hatchling retrieval field trip to find that some airships have turned up. The Tharks fire on the airships and there is a battle. The end result of the battle is that the airships are destroyed and the Tharks take one of the survivors of the battle prisoner. John is quite surprised to find that the prisoner is a pretty, human looking girl. A very pretty naked girl; Martians seem to be nudists for the most part.

The girl sees him, and thinking that John could be a potential ally, makes some sort of sign at him. John of course does not return it, because he does not understand the sign. The girl does not realize that John is a stranger in these here parts even though he does not look anything like a Red Martian. When John does not return the sign or respond, the girl becomes extremely angry and disdainful.   

John of course is clueless, which is something John is very good at being.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Moribito Episode Twelve “Summer Solstice Festival”--Review

The episode opens with Balsa attempting to teach Chagum how to chop firewood. (He is not doing a very good job.) As they talk, Chagum notices a troop of people carrying various kinds of equipment. They seem to be very excited and happy about something. He learns that they are making preparations for the upcoming Summer Solstice Festival. He asks questions about the festival, and Balsa explains the celebration to him. (They have a short discussion about the differences between the holidays celebrated by the nobility and the holidays celebrated by the commoners.)

The village kids invite Chagum to come practice "lucha," a martial art with them. Chagum is allowed to go with them. Chagum does not know about certain traditions and manages to get himself in a little bit of trouble. He gets himself into more trouble when he encounters an extremely bratty kid, the son of a foreign merchant. During this encounter, the brat decides to insult the Emperor, which is an insult that Chagum absolutely won't tolerate. He challenges the brat to a fight during the Solstice festival, which the brat accepts. (If the brat wins, Chagum has to eat slugs, if Chagum wins, the brat has to apologize.)

Later that night, Chagum asks questions about the country the brat is from. Balsa offers a theory indicating that everyone from the country where the brat is from are cranky and temperamental. Chagum indicates that he has promised to fight the brat. 

Balsa is at first willing to help him get ready for the fight until she learns it is on the night of the festival.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Reading Homestuck Part Thirteen: ==> Dave: Stop being the other guy.

From here to here.

Dave is directed to leap out of the smuppet pile like “the one.”

Then he is the other guy. The other guy is John, who is being directed to take dowels and sheets and turn them into a tent. This is definitely a complete waste of time, but also fun. Then the cabinet and the sheet is dumped over the cliff and John is directed to make a totem of the punched pogo card. He is then instructed to repeat the process for all of the dowels and cards, and then for the captchalogued captchalogue card.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Moribito Episode Eleven “Flower Wine for Tanda”--Review

The episode opens with Toya standing on a bridge. In his hand are some gold coins. He looks extremely heartbroken and states that it doesn't matter how much money he has, it's not worth anything without "her." He drops the money in the water, and walks away.

The scene shifts to the village where Toya and Saya have been staying. Tanda is examining an unconscious Saya. Tanda learns that Saya went into a coma shortly after drinking some flower wine. (The wine had been provided to celebrate a "happy occasion.") Drinking the wine had apparently caused her soul to go wandering off. (Chagum turns up during the examination to ask helpful expository questions that reveals some of the mechanics of the story's magical system.)

The next scene is Balsa looking for Toya. When she finds him, he seems extremely unhappy about something, and seems to have plans to leave his nice new house. The scene shifts to an earlier point in time. Toya is speaking to an older woman. The subject of the discussion is a marriage offer for Saya. (It seems that since Toya is Saya's acting big brother, he's the one who has to handle negotiations of this nature.) The older woman is putting a lot of pressure on him, while pretending to be friendly.

She offers what is probably an impressive amount as a betrothal gift, but Toya is reluctant.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Web Comic Review: Kagerou by Luka Delany

Kagerou is an ongoing web comic. (That posts intermittently depending on how the muse strikes the creator. At the time of this review, we are in a lull.) It takes a large number of fantasy tropes, dumps them into a blender and sets the blender on disintegrate. 

Our Hero is Kano Jurgen, a young man with strange psychic powers he is generally unaware of because he is not the most mentally healthy person in the world. (And a great deal of why he is not mentally healthy is because of aforementioned psychic powers.) As often happens in fantasy stories, Our Hero is chosen to be the Champion of a princess and drawn into the Grey World so he can Defeat the Evil Overlord. Unfortunately, he is not Genre Savvy and very stupidly gets himself killed by one of the villains. (This is not a permanent condition.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Two Princesses: Movie Dejah Thoris vs. Book Dejah Thoris

I was extremely impressed by John Carter. They apparently went with doing an update or reboot instead of a faithful adaptation. (This is a good thing, as the book is very much a product of the time it was written in.) I really liked the way they handled the main plot elements of A Princess of Mars, and I liked the expansion that was done on Dejah Thoris. In the book, Dejah has some fairly strong moments and has a lot of interesting character traits. Unfortunately, she still very much fits in the trope of “fair maid in need of rescue,” and the writer has her up on a pedestal most of the time. She is a story book princess and while she does a lot of dramatic and brave things, it is usually a set up for the hero to do something heroic to win her over. The movie version acts more like a “real” princess; someone with a political background and an expectation that if she says something she will be listened to and obeyed. When she does dramatic or brave things, it is a set up to show that she is brave, and then the hero does something.