Philip Kerr: Bernie Gunther Series

Jul. 27th, 2017 05:29 pm
selenak: (Watchmen by Groaty)
[personal profile] selenak
Reading the first Bernie Gunther novel has sent me into the rabbit hole, the marathon reading from which I now slowly emerge, having grabbed all the novels my local library had available and then buying the most recent one, Prussian Blue. By which you can conclude that these novels are addictive, despite or maybe because of their very dark setting and the way Kerr handles it. I didn’t always read them in order, but that works out better than usual in a series because Kerr writes them not always in linear order as well, and several take place in different eras simultaneously (one post WWII, one during the Third Reich), each filling out different gaps in his anti hero’s life. In fact, I’m glad I read, not by intention but coincidence of availability, “The Other Side of Silence” (No.11, probably the one most located in the 1950s, with just one flashback to the 1940s) before “The Pale Criminal” (No.2, set in 1938), because while both novels feature male gay characters, the ones in No.11 are fleshed out and for the most part sympathetic, and also not just one or two but four on page and a fifth one intensely talked about, whereas in No.2 they are solely a weak coward and a villain respectively, which for a novel set during a time when gay people ended up in prison and/or camps in Germany is a highly questionable authorial choice.

(Sidenote: not that you don’t have historical basis for writing gay villains in a story set among the Nazis. I mean, Ernst Röhm. But still.)

Reading the first novel had left me wondering how Kerr would justify Bernie Gunther’s continued survival as a (mostly) ethical P.I. in one of the most brutal dictatorships in history. Turns out, he doesn’t; Bernie gets drafted back into police service by Reinhard Heydrich in 1938, which means that when WWII starts, he along with the rest of the police gets absorbed into the SS, and while he manages to get a transfer into another unit, this doesn’t happen before being exposed to and in one case participating in mass shootings. While some of the novels feature flashbacks to the P.I. period, most therefore have Bernie as part of the institutions he abhors, which simultaneously deepens his moral compromise (and self loathing) but heightens the likelihood of his survival (while also providing the novelist with excuses for letting Bernie be present at some key points he couldn’t have been as a civilian, like the discovery of the Katyn massacre, more about that in a moment). I find this a fair authorial choice – if you’re going to produce a series of novels with a German detective set mostly in the Third Reich, keeping him entirely guilt free of the morass the nation was sunk into would have felt like cheating. I also was able to buy into the premise of various upper hierarchy Nazis – Heydrich, Goebbels, Arthur Nebe – finding Bernie so useful they would want to use him because he’s That Good at crime solving and occasionally even in a dictatorship you need to figure out who actually did the deed as opposed to finding the most convenient scapegoat. (The constant in fighting and rivalry between top Nazis also plays a role in Bernie’s survival, since a good detective is also useful for getting dirt on each other.) Another way Kerr plays fair is having Bernie constantly aware of the sheer insanity of it all – trying to track down individual criminals when the entire system around you has become criminal, and murder and thievery actually are the law.

Further ramblings below the cut )

ArmadilloCon

Jul. 27th, 2017 10:05 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
Coming up on August 4-6 is ArmadilloCon in Austin: http://armadillocon.org/d39/#/

Major guests are: Guest of Honor: Nisi Shawl, Toastmaster: Don Webb, Fan Guest: A.T. Campbell, III Artist Guest: Mark A. Nelson, Editor Guest: Trevor Quachri, Special Guest: Tamora Pierce


My schedule is:


Friday: teaching at writers workshop


Saturday

Sa1100102 Reading
Sat 11:00 AM-11:30 AM Room 102
Martha Wells
(I'll probably read something from The Murderbot Diaries: Artificial Condition)


Sa1200DR Signing
Sat Noon-1:00 PM Dealers' Room
J. Comer, J. Wells, M. Wells
(I'll have Raksura stickers with art by Pentapoda to give away.)


Sa1400BE Pantsing vs. Outlining
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Ballroom E
C. Clevenger*, B. Crider, N. Southard, J. Reasoner, J. Wells, M. Wells


Sa1500BE Novellas (non tele)
Sat 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Ballroom E
J. Reasoner, A. Simmons*, W. Spencer, H. Waldrop, C. Ward, M. Wells
Is the Novella just a stunted novel,a spring-board for an awful fix-up novel, or the perfect length for written SF?


Sa1700SPB Fan Guest Interview
Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Southpark B
A.T. Campbell, M. Wells*, T. Wilson*



Sunday:

Su1100SPB Preview of World Fantasy 2017
Sun 11:00 AM-Noon Southpark B
R. Babcock, J. Miles, M. Wells*
Co-chairs and Toastmaster of the upcoming World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio tell us what's coming
umadoshi: (W13 - Helena focused (kleahs))
[personal profile] umadoshi
--I have an appointment with Dr. Awesome at 3, which I'm opening with because since yesterday I've been afraid of forgetting about it. (I usually try to schedule appointments for mid-morning, and usually on Mondays [Monday being the day I'm most sure of not having work in the morning when Casual Job is on], so "mid-afternoon on a Thursday" is deeply counterintuitive.) Along with the B12 shot, I need to talk to her about how badly I've been sleeping (I think the tryptophan isn't helping much anymore), medication stuff, and my specialist appointment last month. (I printed out my notes on that, most of which are seething.)


--One of these days I'm going to have to cave and either look into a new music player or start listening to music on my phone. I've been resistant to the latter for fear of draining the phone battery too quickly, but so many people use their smartphones for music that it must not be as big an issue as I fear; also, I formed that fear back when I had a different phone with much less battery life. (And now I have a...power bank? Portable charger? Whatever they're called...that I picked up last summer when I was briefly playing Pokemon Go. *still annoyed about the game's obnoxious decision to not work for anyone using a rooted/unlocked phone*)


--Another "one of these days" things...I really need to start trying to reconstruct my AMV collection at some point, but it's exhausting to think about. :/


--Last night I wrote about 1100 words, which is more than I'd managed since early June, during [dreamwidth.org profile] nanodownunder. I was up too late doing it, and I don't care. Words! (Words that I'll probably blush over when I get a draft and send it to [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear...and how long has it been since that was a thought? I've generally gotten pretty blasé about smut. And then there's this.)


--[dreamwidth.org profile] rushthatspeaks has a post up about The War of the Worlds. It's well worth reading, of course, but I'm noting it because I'm laughing at myself for how I get caught on it every time I see H.G. Wells referred to by male pronouns.

(no subject)

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:05 am
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Cordelia stayed home from camp yesterday to go to lunch with my parents and brother. We ended up going to Evergreen since all of us were okay with it. My stepfather kept joking about going to Dairy Queen. Cordelia and I ended up ordering exactly the same thing-- shrimp with mixed vegetables, a spring roll, wonton soup, and white rice. My mother got an eggplant dish that I wanted to try until she realized there were green peppers and jalepeno peppers in it. (Garlic and ginger, too, but those would have been fine for me.) My brother got a lamb stew. My stepfather got some sort of vegetarian lunch. He specifically wanted to avoid garlic and such because he had a doctor's appointment in the early afternoon.

We spent a little time in the large Asian grocery next door to Evergreen after we finished lunch. Then my stepfather dropped me, Cordelia, and Mom at our house and went to his appointment. Once my brother got there, he and Mom took Cordelia to Book Bound (where she refused Mom's offer to buy her something) and for a walk along the river. Scott woke and showered while they were out. He came out of the bathroom about five minutes after they got back here.

Then we all sat around for quite a while and worried because my stepfather's appointment was at 2:00, and it was after 4:00. Then it was after 5:00, and the website for Kellogg says they close at 5:00. He called Mom at about 5:45 to say he was waiting to have at least one more test done and that he wouldn't be able to drive for 30 minutes after and didn't know yet if he was going to have to stay overnight, either at the hospital or at a hotel in town.

Mom was understandably more than a little freaked out. The appointment was about a tumor in one of his eyes (the found it about two weeks after my breast cancer surgery in 2015). The specialist he's been seeing in New Orleans wanted him to see a higher level specialist about it. That doctor suggested flying to Houston or Memphis but thought Kellogg would be great when my stepfather pointed out that he'd be spending the summer in Michigan.

There was some concern about their dogs. They'd left the dogs back in Lawton, about two hours away. They have a dog door, so the dogs could go in and out, but they didn't have food and water for another day alone. My brother, who lives in Kalamazoo, about twenty minutes away, said he could very easily go and feed the dogs after he drove home last night.

It ended up not being necessary. The doctors want my stepfather, insurance approval allowing, to come back next week for a procedure involving an injection and some sort of laser treatment. Wanting to get him in next week is largely a matter of his schedule as he needs to be back in Baton Rouge in time to prepare for classes before the semester starts. I'm pretty sure they need to leave around the 10th. If they can't get the procedure done before that, he'll have to fly back to Michigan later for it, either waiting until December or taking time off from teaching.

We ended up canceling our game session last night. By the time we got to 6:20, Scott was really drooping and needed another nap if he was going to be able to go to work. Fortunately, I was able to reach everyone by phone to tell them we had to cancel.

Scott and I need to work things out in terms of the changeover between him getting up and leaving and me going to bed. Each of us thought the other was going to turn off the living room and bathroom lights last night. I was actually in bed before he left with my c-PAP on and all that by about 10:00, but I'm pretty sure he didn't realize that I was. He needs to leave about 10:15 in order to get to work on time. I realized, when I was almost asleep in spite of the lights, that it was late enough that he had to have already left and therefore didn't need those lights (and wasn't going to turn them off for me), so I hauled myself out of bed and turned all the lights off. I was pretty cranky about it.

He's definitely working nights next week, too. Then he'll have a week of vacation to get back to the right schedule for working days again.

I used the c-PAP for about seven hours last night.

Space: Above and Beyond [VID]

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:03 am
colls: (SAAB ladies)
[personal profile] colls posting in [community profile] vidding
Title: Mean World
Fandom: Space Above and Beyond
Music: Where the Devil Won't Go by Elle King
Summary: it's a mean world that I've known
Notes: Women in SPACE!!! ♥

H E R E @ [community profile] swannee

Music meme: day 17 of 30

Jul. 27th, 2017 03:46 pm
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
[personal profile] liv
A song that you would sing as a duet on karaoke. I don't do karaoke, and I don't do duets, so this is a bit of a non-starter for me.

No, let me explain, because I'm having fun answering this meme in way too much detail. I think karaoke is an absolutely excellent idea in theory. It's really great to encourage people to sing just for fun and not worry about skill level. And it's really great to use technology to play the backing music and display the lyrics so that someone can just get up and sing the melody with little preparation.

The problem is that for me personally, karaoke means packaging up 30 plus years of abject humiliation over not being able to sing in tune, and asking me to enjoy that in public. I find it hard anyway to make myself sing in front of other people; I do it, because I absolutely do believe that music belongs to everybody (not just people who are "musical"), and shared music is a great way for people to connect. Singing in front of an audience who are paying attention to me, or even worse, in a competition, however light-hearted, is too terrifying.

Duets are possibly extra impossible, because singing in unison with someone else is already hard for me. Especially if they have a lower range; I can't really hear octaves, so I find it very difficult to join in with someone singing in the bass clef range. Singing in harmony is really really hard, because not only do I have to sing the correct notes which I always find difficult to remember, I also have to match the note which is very imperfectly in my head while being distracted by my partner singing a different note that my actual ears can hear. I can sometimes do multi-part harmony if there are several people singing each section, so I can listen to someone else who is singing the same line as me. And I'm fine with parts in music in general when I don't have to worry about pitch. But a sung duet is really tricky.

And really, I can think of very few duets that I know at all, for whatever reason, even to listen to. Let's call the whole thing off might work, because (at least in this superlatively great version with Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong) it's mostly alternating verses or lines between the two singers rather than harmony. But hypothetically, if I were to find the courage to sing karaoke, I probably wouldn't start with something really amazingly great; somehow I'd feel less bad about murdering some ephemeral extruded pop product than attempting an actually good song.

I will admit, though, that my brother and I have been known to sing Always by Bon Jovi, as a sort of duet, sometimes in public and definitely not caring that neither of us can really sing. Partly because we always liked the dubious rhyme of:
I'll be there til the stars don't shine
Til the heavens burst, and the words don't rhyme
And partly because Bon Jovi can't really sing either, he just projected a persona calculated to appeal to teenaged girls in the 90s. So I probably wouldn't sing it actually in karaoke, and I probably wouldn't sing it with anyone other than my brother, but it seems slightly less impossible than any other options, so I think it seems in the spirit of the meme.

video embed )

July Kindle for Samsung Free Book

Jul. 27th, 2017 01:32 pm
[syndicated profile] booksontheknob_feed

Posted by Books


If you have a Samsung tablet or phone, you can pick one free book from the list below using the Kindle for Samsung app; additional titles can also be purchased at a discount (generally $1.99), if desired. Samsung Book Deals is similar to the Kindle First program run by Amazon: the picks are from Amazon publisher imprints, but are not “new” books necessarily.

Since I have all but Anita Clenney’s Heart of a Highland Warrior in my library, my choice is pretty easy this month.

Crow Hollow ($4.99 Kindle) by Michael Wallace

In 1676, an unlikely pair—a young Puritan widow and an English spy—journeys across a land where greed and treachery abound.

Prudence Cotton has recently lost her husband and is desperate to find her daughter, captured by the Nipmuk tribe during King Philip’s war. She’s convinced her daughter is alive but cannot track her into the wilderness alone. Help arrives in the form of James Bailey, an agent of the crown sent to Boston to investigate the murder of Prudence’s husband and to covertly cause a disturbance that would give the king just cause to install royal governors. After his partner is murdered, James needs help too. He strikes a deal with Prudence, and together they traverse the forbidding New England landscape looking for clues. What they confront in the wilderness—and what they discover about each other—could forever change their allegiances and alter their destinies.

The Gift ($3.99 Kindle) by Dave Donovan

When high-level governmental programmer Sam Steele is called into his office on his day off, he quickly finds himself at the center of a battle for humanity itself. An alien entity is heading straight for Earth, and an elite team of specialists has been assembled to attempt to make first contact. But despite Steele’s expertise, Colonel Eric Web, his superior and longtime thorn in his side, makes it clear he doesn’t want him there.

The aliens that arrive represent a long-dead race and say they’ve come to help humans defend themselves against an imminent threat, but their help will come with a price. Now the future of humanity hangs in the balance between two men: Web, the regimented, hubristic military man, and Steele, a brilliant man broken by loss and tragedy.

As the team races the clock to try to divine their visitors’ complex instructions, they struggle with infighting and, ultimately, the question of what it means to be human.

Heart of a Highland Warrior: Connor Clan #3 ($3.99 Kindle) by Anita Clenney

A bloodthirsty evil stalks the Connor Clan…

Brave, beautiful, and haunted by her past, demon hunter Anna MacKinley will do anything to help the Connors. Under divine orders, the headstrong warrior travels the world, slaying demons and vampires. When she stumbles upon a hidden stone fortress while searching for her clan’s lost Book of Battles, dark forces swiftly imprison her—and she discovers her cell mate is a gorgeous Scottish warrior who has no memories, but looks strikingly familiar.

And only a secret from the past can win the day…and her heart.

The warriors of the centuries-old Connor Clan search for their missing time-vault and the powerful relic within. What they find is a grave…and a kilt-clad body they fear is the long-lost Tavis Connor. But there may yet be more to the Highland warrior’s fate than a pile of bones. Desperate to save his brother and his clan’s Book of Battles from a demon hell-bent on destruction, Tavis begins a 150-year quest that will end in modern-day New York. But when he wakes, he discovers he’s the one in need of help. His only hope of rescue is a bonny lass who claims to be a warrior. A warrior waging war on demons…and his heart.

What Doesn’t Kill Her ($4.99 Kindle) by Max Allan Collins

Jordan Rivera was an ordinary kid with an ordinary family. Until a vicious killer took it all away from her, sparing her and leaving her broken. The murders destroyed something inside her and she spent ten long, silent years in an institution. Catching a glimpse of a news report about another ordinary family slain, Jordan breaks her silence. Now she’s out, and she molds herself—body and mind—into an instrument of justice.

While a young detective pursues the case on his own, Jordan teams up with members of her Victims Support Group, people, like her, damaged by violent crime. They have their own stories of pain, heartache, and vengeance denied. With their help, Jordan will track down the killer before he can ravage any more lives. Her own life depends on it.

If not already installed, first download the Kindle for Samsung app from the Samsung App store (I had to search for it on my phone; it’s separate from the Google Appstore). The book pick is only available from inside the app (on the menu bar on the left); once purchased from inside the app, the book is added to your regular Kindle account and can be read via any of your Kindle devices or apps.

Samsung Book Deals Info

Samsung Book Deals is a book program available exclusively within Kindle for Samsung.

With Samsung Book Deals, you can choose one of four monthly selections for free. New titles are announced at the beginning of each month.

Note:

  • To take advantage of Samsung Book Deals, you must have a Samsung account. To learn more about Samsung accounts, visit https://account.samsung.com.
  • Free downloads from Samsung Book Deals are limited to one per month per Amazon account and do not carry over from previous months.
  • Samsung Book Deals titles can be lent to other Amazon customers for a period of 14 days.
  • Free Samsung Book Deals titles can’t be gifted at purchase.

To download a title:

  1. From the Home screen of Kindle for Samsung, tap the Kindle for Samsung icon.
    Note: If you don’t have a Samsung Account, or you haven’t signed into your Samsung account, you’ll be asked to sign in to download a book. Tap Sign In, and then tap Log In to use an existing Samsung account, or Create New Account to create a new Samsung account.
  2. Tap Samsung Book Deals.
  3. Select the title to view its product detail page.
  4. Tap Buy Now with 1-Click to download the title. After you download the title, it appears on the Home screen.

Additional support for Kindle for Samsung at Amazon.

Note: Any Amazon links go to the post on the blog, rather than directly to Amazon. Just click the link from the blog post itself to go to Amazon from there.

             
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Doctor to Dragons - CoverI met G. Scott Huggins almost twenty years ago. We were both published in Writers of the Future XV, and we ended up in a writing group together for several years. He was one of the folks who helped me grow and improve as an author. I published one of his stories in Heroes in Training a while back.

In April of this year, his humorous fantasy novelette A Doctor to Dragons [Amazon | B&N] came out.

I love the premise and setup. Dr. James DeGrande is a veterinarian in a land that’s been taken over by a Dark Lord, and the whole thing is written with a kind of tongue-in-cheek humor. The book is made up of several distinct but related stories, showing the growth of James and his partnership with his assistant Harriet (a physically disabled almost-witch).

Here’s part of the publisher’s official description:

Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord covered the land in His Second Darkness.

As far as I can tell, it wasn’t that much better. Even then, everyone cheered the heroes who rode unicorns into combat against dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. Of course, that was when dragons were something to be killed. Today I have to save one. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because today I have to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client. I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old bag with the basilisk might show up.

The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t get each other killed first.

I appreciate writers who take traditional fantasy and flip things around to present a different perspective. Just as I enjoy clever protagonists, like James and Harriet. (And while this may come as a shock, I also like fantasy that tries to have fun.)

There’s one bit I need to talk about. About 80% of the way into the book, we meet Countess Elspeth Bathetique, an incredibly neglectful pet owner and generally unpleasant person, and we get this exchange:

“Dammit, my lady, you’re not even a vampire!”

“How… how dare you? I identify as a vampire, you filth! You cannot dream of the tragic destiny which is ours!”

“What? Suffering from vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, keeping out of the sun for no damn reason, and torturing your poor pet basilisk? If I dreamed of that, I’d seek clerical help!”

I don’t believe it was intentional, but seeing language generally used by transgender people played for laughs by a wannabe vampire threw me right out of the story. I emailed and chatted with Scott, who confirmed that wasn’t the intention. The Countess was meant to be a darker take on Terry Pratchett’s Doreen Winkings. But he said he understood how I or others might read it the way I did.

One of my favorite parts of these stories are the veterinary details. Huggins’ wife is a veterinarian, and there’s a sense of real truth to the protagonist’s frustration with neglectful pet owners and the various challenges of keeping all these magical animals healthy. It helps to ground the book and acts as a nice counter to the humor.

I couldn’t find an excerpt online, but there’s a promo video on YouTube.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Not a new thing, and not that easy

Jul. 27th, 2017 01:46 pm
oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
[personal profile] oursin

While I was away I noticed on, I think, Twitter, which I was scrolling through while waiting at a bus stop/train station/whatever, somebody getting into a froth over somebody deleting their tweets upon mature reflection, and how this was The Death of History.

To which my own reactions were:

a) Archivists have been thinking about the problems posed by the fragility of the digital record for a good couple of decades plus, this is not something no-one has noticed before. (Wasn't the Library of Congress archiving Twitter, and presumably there are some measures against tampering, if so? - hah, I see that there have been problems of processing and it's not actually accessible, or wasn't as at last year.)

b) Quite apart from the dangers of fire, flood and insect or animal depredation to which records in the more traditional forms have been exposed, there has been a fair amount of deliberate curating of the record over the centuries, by deliberate destruction or just careful concealment (whether it's the Foreign Office secret archive or the concealment of Turner's erotic drawings under a misleading file title).

c) While you can delete or destroy a particular record, you cannot always get rid of the information that it did exist - presumably it was other people commenting on the now-deleted tweets or retweeting them that led to the decision to delete them, but that doesn't eradicate the fact of their existence. This may even draw attention to the deleted record: this is why when I was still being an archivist we used to persuade donors not to ask for closures apart from those mandated by Data Protection, because the idea that something is *CLOSED* causes some people's ears to prick up in a supposition that there will be *HIDDEN SECRETS* (this was very, very, seldom the case).

I might also invoke the case that came up in Prince of Tricksters, where Netley Lucas under one of his identities was communicating with different officials and departments, possibly, it is suggested, as a means to confuse his trail: but, due to the growth of bureaucracy, as well as the social networks they belonged to, could also communicate among one another to discover that this was all the same guy.

There is also the phenomenon that I have mentioned to researchers, that yes [organisations of a certain ideological bent] have been very coy about placing their archives anywhere where people might do research in them; BUT the organisations and people they were against kept tabs on their activities, collected their literature, etc.

Also that if person/organisation's own papers do not survive, you can find out a good deal from the surviving records of those they interacted with.

HIT IT WITH THE ROCK

Jul. 27th, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by john (the hubby of Jen)

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Steven C., Elizabeth E., and Jennifer S. for remembering that it could always be worse.

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

And from my other blog, Epbot:


The weight of a thing

Jul. 27th, 2017 03:33 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
Everything is super hectic and I've slept for 7 hours total in the last 48, and everything is kind of reaching a boiling point that will basically be "resolved" by me going to London (LONDON LONDON LONDON!), but something happened and I feel the need to record.

Almost exactly a year ago, I handed in the first draft of my MA thesis. And my adviser responded, in his usual overall polite way, that the document I sent him, that I took a week off work for, that I wrote for 6 days straight from morning till night, was not even worthy of being called a first draft. It was a first attempt that needed to be scrapped entirely.

Partially this feedback was softened by a phone conversation we later had, where he assured me he believes in me, and these flaws are all fixable, but for a good few days all I had in my head were his written comments, which basically boiled down to "I thought you were a normal person?? but you are apparently a trash fire that should never have been accepted into grad school????"

It was an awful, awful sort of feedback to get, definitely the most demoralizing moment I've ever had in academia. (And like, I triple majored in undergrad, and in grad school finished a course load that was intended for 4 semesters minimum, in 3 semesters. While working FULL TIME in an unrelated field. None of this means I'm good at original research, but getting the "who do you even think you are? clearly you're totally unfit" feedback was really fucking painful.)

Anyway, it's been a year. I spent 5 days straight rewriting the draft. My adviser spent over 6 months not replying to me. (I contacted him after a month, he politely told me to sit down and shut up, I contacted the department 5 months after that, and he responses with "oh no! I totally forgot about you! sorry".

When he finally replied, he told me this rewritten version was about 70% done. Going from a first draft that was ZERO percent done, according to him, to a second draft that was 70%... well. Let's just say I think his initial reaction was WILDLY exaggerated, but you know. Ugh.

I worked evenings and weekends and finally took 2 more days off work, and wrote a new draft, based on his comments. I got it done in the MINIMUM amount of time he allowed. Like, I wanted to submit a revised version 2 weeks after he sent me the comments, but he insisted he was busy and wouldn't read it for 2 months at least. I submitted it on the FIRST DAY he said he'd accept it.

It has been 6 more weeks! He's gotten back to me with comments. I was SO NERVOUS because a lot of his feedback didn't make sense to me, and he wouldn't answer questions, and I was like, I'm going to bring that 70% back down, aren't I? I mean I was a failure on draft #1, maybe this second version was a fluke. I have NO IDEA whether what I'm doing will really improve things.

Anyway. The verdict is in. He has comments and things he wants me to fix and change, obviously, but in the email he sent me? He started it with: "You have written a highly engaging, well-built thesis.

He ended it with: "Your current version is very strong," before listing a few more minor things he'd like to improve.

I'm doing grad school in between work, and trying to unfuck my health, and an attempt at a fiction writing career, and so I never anticipate how much it affects me.

Getting this email was such sweet, sweet vindication. That's right, I fucking did it. I wrote a thing that you admit is GOOD, from 2 drafts back when you were basically calling it garbage.

There are things I'm way more proud of in my life, even in the last year. I don't know why this feels like such an achievement. I'm sure it doesn't seem like that big of a deal to anyone else.

But I feel like I have been clawing at grad school until my fingers are bloody for the past 3 years at least. I've fought to cling to it, to keep up, to get it fucking done, through being homeless multiple times, through essentially becoming paralyzed to the point where I spent 95% of the time I wasn't spending at my full time job lying in bed. Through writing original fiction, which already took every second of my mental energy and the 5% of the time I could actually function.

I've clawed and clawed at this, and it's felt so uncertain, and the journey has been so long, and literally everyone I began my degree with has given up by now, half of them quit the program and the other half declined to write a thesis.

But I wanted this thing, for whatever arbitrary reason (its usefulness to my life will be zero, have no doubt) and I clung, like someone trying to scale a smooth wall with their bare hands, and somehow I managed.

I still have a revised draft to submit, of course. I'll take so long, and be so hard, and take up time I'd rather spend writing fiction. And who knows when/if I'll actually be allowed to submit? (I mean, god willing October? But who knows)

But I wanted to stop and appreciate this moment. The point at which this thesis is actually good enough to submit.

For a while, I wasn't sure I'd get here.

Ebook formats

Jul. 27th, 2017 08:35 am
madfilkentist: Scribe, from Wikimedia Commons (writing)
[personal profile] madfilkentist posting in [community profile] ebooks
I've posted an article on the tangle of Amazon ebook formats to my Mad File Format Science blog. Corrections or other comments are welcome either there or here.

(no subject)

Jul. 27th, 2017 07:17 am
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
Friends, I'm thinking of starting up a collection on AO3 where we can all write first kisses of our favorite fandom pairings (or threesomes, or more) in much the same vein as [community profile] mcsmooch back in the day. (How I wish journal comms were still a thing, because that would be so much easier!)

I plan to do some hunting around later today to figure this all out, but if anyone knows of a cheat sheet for how to essentially run a comm through AO3 I would be glad to see it!

More news as I get this going . . .

Interesting Links for 27-07-2017

Jul. 27th, 2017 12:00 pm
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