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Liesmith, chapter one.

One

Holy shit, you are such a dork.”

“I know.”

“You were talking to him for like an hour.”

“I was.”

“And you didn’t recognize him.”

“I did not.”

“Holy shit, man.”

“Yeah.”

“Holy motherfucking shit.”

“Yup.”

Once upon a yesterday, there lived a boy called Sigmund.

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2020-01-26T09:02:13+11:0026th January, 2020|Tags: books, liesmith, wyrdverse|

Liesmith, prologue.

Prologue

Everything is true, especially the lies. That’s the trick.

Every tale ever told, every whisper, every song, every single string of words ever uttered by mortal mouths or carved in rocks or scrawled on paper. It’s the ultimate human trait, this endless urge to speak and name and label. To attach sounds to things and meaning to sounds. To make language.

Sometimes, when a sound refers to nothing, something comes in to take its place. Pulled up from the black void behind the world, shaped into form and given story.

This is the thing we call the Wyrd, and it’s the place where gods are born. Well. Gods and monsters, and sometimes the line between the two is thin.

Humans might not believe in the old gods much anymore—they don’t venerate our deeds or perform our bloody rituals—but that doesn’t mean that we’re forgotten. Not with our tales recorded in bestsellers and played out on film and collected in the bits and bytes of libraries that span the globe. That sort of repetition ensures our survival more readily than any sacrifice or prayer, and with less effort on our part, too.

It’s good to be retired, even for a god.

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2020-01-12T12:48:38+11:0012th January, 2020|Tags: books, liesmith, wyrdverse|

Full steam.

If goblins and orcs and trolls could think, then why were they always just there to be slaughtered by the heroes? And if the heroes slaughtered sentient beings en masse, how heroic exactly were they? It was a long overdue start on redressing issues long swept under the rug by a parade of Tolkien successors who never thought of anyone green and slimy as anything but a notch on the protagonist’s sword, and much of the urgency in Pratchett’s last few books seemed to be related to them. “There’s only one true evil in the world,” he said through his characters. “And that’s treating people like they were things.”

And in the last of his “grown-up” Discworld books, that idea is shouted with the ferocity of those who have only a few words left and want to make them count. Goblins are people. Golems are people. Dwarves are people, and they do not become any less people because they decide to go by the gender they know themselves to be instead of the one society forces on them. Even trains might be people, and you’ll never know one way or the other unless you ask them, because treating someone like they’re a person and not a thing should be your default. And the only people who cling to tradition at the expense of real people are sad, angry dwellers in the darkness who don’t even understand how pathetic they are, clutching and grasping at the things they remember without ever understanding that the world was never that simple to begin with. The future is bright, it is shining, and it belongs to everyone.

John Seavey on the flattened world.

2019-09-11T09:47:55+10:005th January, 2020|Tags: books, culture, pop culture|

Man more than man.

So apparently the original English translation for R.U.R. is available to read online, and it’s kinda… fascinating to see what has and hasn’t changed in the whole “robot uprising” sci-fi genre.

The play also contains what is possibly the Most Relatable Woman-in-STEM conversation ever seen on stage:

Section from Act I of R.U.R. that's basically just a dude constantly interrupting a lady, who finally, exasperatedly, calls him on it.

2019-08-28T15:51:31+10:0021st December, 2019|Tags: books, pop culture, sff|

The Power.

But here is what I know about women and power: Men fear powerful women, because they know that women have always had cause to fear powerful men. Men fear that women’s power will be violent, because they use their power to rape, assault, and beat us. Men fear that women’s power will be temperamental and despotic — that they will be forced to fear our every mood swing and obey our every irrational whim — because men have been raised to believe that their women should tend to them, cater to their whims, hang on the thread of their good graces. Men don’t fear “female power,” in the abstract. They fear being treated like women; they’re afraid that, when we win, they die. That when get the power, we’ll do the shoving, and it will hurt.

Sady Doyle on power.

This piece is on Game of Thrones, so appropriate content warning for sexual violence. But having never seen nor read (nor ever had any intention to see nor read) GoT/ASoIaF, the thing this post actually reminded me of was Naomi Alderman’s The Power, which I threw across the room1 when I realised it’d done exactly this bait-and-switch on me.

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  1. Metaphorically, given I was reading the ebook on my phone. []
2019-07-09T15:14:58+10:009th November, 2019|Tags: books, cw: sexual assault, pop culture|

Like dominoes…

Guess it’s Clarke’s turn now… [Content warning that the link discusses homophobia and allegations of the sexual abuse of minors.]

2019-10-04T07:52:19+10:004th October, 2019|Tags: books, fandom, sff|