felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So on to happier posts.

I've been editing a lot lately. My novel should be finished by a week Tuesday. For real. I'm already looking into modes of submission for major publishers.

I've also been reading a lot lately, in my long commutes to and from English placement tests (I'm full-time at work lately. I've got a lot I want to review here, but we'll start with the novel I just finished, Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief, the only recent young adult fiction I've read besides Harry Potter.

And in fact it's rather similar to The Philosopher's Stone.

Review continues, with minor spoilers but nothing major. )

I'm always so critical in my reviews. I will say this, though. Among the many things he pillaged from Rowling, he got much of the sheer addictiveness and pleasure. I read it faster than Philosopher's Stone, and it's almost four times as long.

And yes, I will be seeing the movie when it comes out in February, even though it's Chris Columbus and I can already see strange changes in a short trailer (Trailer here).
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So I finished Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, a book that often gets called "Harry Potter for adults" -- which seems like a vague insult directed at the many adult Potter fans.

But it's easy to see why the comparison gets made. Both are a mix of comic and dark, both centre on magicians in Britain, both are crammed with plot twists, and Jonathan Strange was published in time to ride the wave of Harry Potter popularity.

Overall, I'm with most people who compared both books -- Jonathan Strange is the better work overall in terms of craft, but with some reservations. And even though I think Susanna Clarke is the better writer, I still like Rowling better because she seems to understand things Clarke doesn't.

Review continues, now with spoilers! )

On a totally different note, Vandana Shiva was on The Current this morning. I first heard about her through David Suzuki's writings -- she's a quantum physicist, an environmental activist, a feminist, and an anti-globalization activist, and I've always been a fan of hers.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I just finished my work shift, and I'm listening to a Quirks and Quarks debate on CBC radio, about whether the universe could be conceived as a computer (software = laws of physics, hardware = matter, with a brief debate over whether we're running Windows or Linux).

I've been listening to the CBC all shift. Even Brent Bambury's Go.

I'm not really sure why I listen to Go -- today they were having people anthropomorphize their cats and narrate their thoughts, with the audience meowing for the best cat impressions -- but I suspect it's some combination of obligation as a Canadian to listen to the national broadcaster, and the fact that the radio is across the room.

It did have the interesting factoid that Brian Mulroney's autobiography is longer than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm sure that the Mulroney fans who pre-ordered their copies and waited in line at midnight for the bookstore events were ecstatic.

I haven't read it, but I'd lay money that it's not as interesting as Deathly Hallows, and probably not as believable a work of fantasy either. Most likely it won't even give us any information on Mulroney's Horcruxes.

I'm guessing one of them is Michael Wilson, however.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
The Tori Amos concert was gorgeous yesterday -- that venue (Place des Arts) really brings out her music much better than the Bell Centre.

I'm still not very familiar with many of her newer songs, but I liked what I heard. There were very few old favourites, but at least we got "Crucify" ^_^

Thank you [livejournal.com profile] em_fish for inviting me. And it was nice to see [livejournal.com profile] link2lando again, too.

A Rainbow for Dumbledore

(title for [livejournal.com profile] em_fish's benefit)

I'm amused that the most common reaction to Rowling's outing of one of her best-loved fictional characters is "That was totally dropped in -- there was no clue."

I went back to Philosopher's Stone last night, and realized that the first time Harry reads about Dumbledore, on that collectible card, it says, "He enjoys knitting patterns..."

Yeah, if that ain't a giveaway, I don't know what is.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I'd always hoped that J.K. Rowling would throw in a gay character into this decade's most popular book series. And it turns out she did.

People are saying this was dropped in out of the blue, but I actually thought that in the last book it was pretty obvious, and said so in this spoiler-filled entry.

Up until then, though, I figured Colin Creevey would just marry Ernie MacMillan.

ETA: And the answer to the question of "Is Mugglenet still homophobic?", the answer seems to be "Yes." They're deleting all threads and all posts on the subject -- it's creepy.

I stopped visiting that site -- even though it's the largest HP fansite in existence -- after they pushed out a poor bisexual girl for speculating that a character might be gay. I went back to see their reaction, and it's dead silence.

The people who run those forums seem to have missed the theme of the series entirely.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Just a little post to say I'm not dead. I even updated my other journal -- more on sodomy laws, with a few legal bits and pieces that probably aren't worksafe, unless ancient gossip about "great ladies" and "baboons" is worksafe where you are.

With all the paranoid knee-jerk censorship online these days, I worry sometimes that the words I have to use to talk about queer history will get my site shut down by some tech who's more reaction than thought. I mean, you can't write about "sodomy laws" without the word "sodomy," especially not when the meaning of the word was in dispute.

It's been a shitty day at work -- I made a stupid and major mistake, so I can't even put it the blame on someone else. My only defence is that I'm doing the job of 2.5 people right now, and my attention is scattered. Problem is, it's got me so stressed that it's leading to a cascade of minor errors, and it's put me in a foul mood.

In better news, I finally finished Deathly Hallows, though a review will have to wait for another day. I just wanted to say it's the best in the series, which is good because so much could've gone wrong. Now that's over, I'll venture into cyberspace again, no longer afraid of having it spoiled.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Another update, this one about France's laws. A two-parter about laws.

After those, I'll get to the Loyalists, then finally to actually queer topics in Canada -- Alexander Wood, George Herchmer Markland, and some of the victims of the early laws.

Also, I'm nearly halfway through my massive edit -- I am still working on my novel in all this! I'm also at the end of my first week being pretty much the only person in my department (one on paternity leave, the other on vacation).

Mostly, though, my attention is occupied with the Pötterdamerung. I'm glad it's finally here. I pick up my novel at 9 am tomorrow. There have been so many leaks, I'm afraid to go online for fear some jackass is going to ruin it for me :/
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
As some wise kitten once said, "I has an update". this one is about the Puritans.

I double-checked a fact for my site -- the one about legalization of homosexuality in Canada happening before Stonewall -- and I was astonished to see how close it was.

Bill C-150, better known as the Omnibus Bill, was given royal assent in the afternoon of June 27, 1969 -- the final rubber stamp before a bill becomes law. Late that night and early the next morning, the Stonewall Riots began, and with them the beginning of legalization of homosexuality in the US.

There must've been something in the air that day.

Other than that, I'm working full time this week, but anime night is still on for tomorrow. Mostly this week, though, I'm looking forward to the Pötterdamerung ^_^
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I have updated again, this time about the rise of homophobia in Britain.

I spent yesterday going over some truly ancient documents -- sessional papers of the Canadian parliament dating to 1867, and handwritten criminal accusations dating to the 1790s -- I actually got to hold these in my hands.

I'm looking very much forward to the Harry Potter, though, today. and I'm counting down to the book next Saturday. For the record, all plans are off that weekend ^_^
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Today was the first day in seven that I didn't have to go into my regular job, though I was in training for my very temporary moonlighting one instead, giving Cambridge Exams. My first official day on the job for that is tomorrow afternoon. Then I'm back at my usual on Friday.

I also got my first heavy edit for my novel done today (checking for historical accuracy and internal consistency), as well as getting a little more research done. I stumbled onto a book of 19th-century pictures of British Columbia, which may prove helpful.

I also reread The Half-Blood Prince.

Only of Interest to Harry Potter fans, otherwise nothing to see here and plenty of spoilers. )
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Writing

I'm about one-third through my first heavy edit of the novel. This run-through is to a) make sure it's detailed and excurciatingly historically accurate (the novel takes place over 114 years and in three cities), and b) to make sure it's internally consistent.

To this end, I've been reading dozens of histories, pored over hundreds of documents, gathered a huge collection of photcopied photos, and (in Montreal) visited the locations I'm writing about, and tried to reconstruct what they would've looked like at the time.

I've researched things from the development of phone technology (to know if a person in downtown Montreal in 1945 would need to talk to an operator to make a long distance call), to urban growth patterns (to know what existed in 1900), to the origins of place names (it turns out that the name of the Vancouver neighbourhood of Kerrisdale means "little throne").

I've read up on the lives of saints, on how logging was done in the BC bush in 1890, and what songs were popular in 1974.

After this, I'm going to do a quick edit to make sure it all fits together still, then a deeper edit to enrich the language.

The Future Has Kittens

I graduate in 17 days, and the last Harry Potter book comes out in 54. I'm not really sure which one I'm looking forward to, more.

And the photo of Nietzsche-Cat makes me wonder, is the cat making the statement, or is it the abyss staring back...?
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
They've just announced the release date of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: July 21, 2007.

For a Christian (and she is Christian, contrary to all the fundy paranoia) she certainly has a Pagan sense of timing. She announced a couple of the books at Solstices, and this one is being published a few days short of the Summer Solstice.

(And she announced this on Imbolc. And Halloween has a central role in most of her books.)

This is the last book in the series -- the one where we get to find out if Harry lives or dies. And it's coming out one week after the fifth movie. Anyone living anywhere in Western Civilization who doesn't like Harry Potter is advised to phase out of existence for a week. If World War III happens, it won't be on the news until the world has read book 7.

EDIT: Feeling like an idiot for mixing up June and July. My only excuse is that I have a head addled by data entry this week.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
I was going to wish people a Happy Yule yesterday, but the Internet connection here was down.

So Happy Yule!

In other news, J.K. Rowling announced the title of the last Harry Potter book on the Solstice, just as she did for the 6th book last year

Cut because there's a puzzle on her site to find it out )

That's quite a name. Very Gothy. The fact that the puzzle involves a game of hangman just adds to the effect.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Reading Henry IV, part I by Shakespeare. I'm loving it. I'm surprised it's not more popular -- I think his use of language is at its height, there, and his characters are even more interesting and better developed than in most of the Shakespeare I've read.

Of course, I've read about that era before because the two greatest works of medieval literature in English -- The Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight -- also belong to the era of Richard II and Henry IV (the turn of the 15th century).

Richard II was a bad king -- so bad he inspired a peasant revolt and spent the treasury in a hopeless war with France. But Henry IV really takes a beating in Shakespeare, partly because he had Richard II murdered and his heir exiled.

If Richard II was the Dubya of his age, then John of Gaunt was his Dick Cheney. Gaunt was the power behind the throne, and legend had it was descended from the devil, and Gaunt's third wife, Katherine Swynforde, had been accused of witchcraft.

Interestingly, these old stories continue to inspire good writing. J.R.R. Tolkien was an expert in this era, and it shows in his work.

And J.K. Rowling throws a House of Gaunt into her last Harry Potter. And if there's any doubt that she's hinting at John of Gaunt, the House of Gaunt has "Peverell's Ring" -- Peverell being John of Gaunt's famous ancestor.

(Sometimes I feel like a literary degree is just a license to gather trivia. But it's really fun trivia!)
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
Several of my various obsessions tied themselves up yesterday.

Anyone following Canadian news knows that as of yesterday, same-sex marriage is the law of the land, coast-to-coast. This means full legal equality at the federal level for GL and B people, but there are still plenty of battles. The NDP launched a battle for trans equality with the C-392, which would put gender identity in the Human Rights Act. Provincially, there are still a variety of discriminatory laws, depending on the province. Canada Customs still stops books, movies, manga, and anime with queer content at the borders.

Then there are still the social fights -- various studies put queer teen suicide attempts at between 3 times and 11 times the average for teenagers. AIDS already wiped out a generation of gay and bi men, and is now resurging -- an estimated 10-16% of gay/bi male population here have it. Then there's the hard drug abuse and alcoholism rates.

On to more cheery subjects.

I'm reading a great graphic novel right now -- a takeoff on the whole Fantasy genre and Dungeons and Dragons called Cerebrus the Aardvark. I'm torn over whether to by any more of the guy's stuff, since I found out that his politics are very far to the right. Should the politics of a writer matter when buying their work? I'm torn between a belief in free speech and a belief in buying responsably :/

Okay, so that wasn't cheery. How about this:

Only of interest to Harry Potter fans, cut for length )
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So, this morning, early, I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Between my slow readerness, and a busy week, it took me that long. And now I've made my official return to cyberspace.

I think it's the best in the series, though there was a little clunkiness towards the end. And while Rowling can write humour, horror, mystery, and fantasy perfectly, she does not appear to have mastered the subtle art of romance-writing, though, in her defence, few have.

Other things:

spoilers hidden in a spoiler box )

That's about it. With that, I turned to another fandom of mine -- I've had book 6 of Descendants of Darkness sitting on my shelf since last Wednesday. I missed Tsuzuki and Hisoka, and I think that series will sustain me now that Gravitation is over.

In real news, the Senate finished their part in the rubber-stamping of the same-sex marriage bill. Now it just needs royal assent -- which may have already happened, but at least will likely happen today :)
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
So in a little less than 10 hours time, what may soon be the world's most-read book is going to go one sale. Stores are opening at midnight just to sell it (I can't think of any other book that's true for), though I'll be getting mine tomorrow.

I will be dropping out of cyberspace at midnight, however. Every second website on the Internet -- even those that have nothing to do with the series usually -- are going to have plot details splashed over the front page, and I'd much prefer to actually get to those myself.

It's a good series. I've found it an excellent antidote to all the gods-awful writing I've had to slough through to get my degree. Dutring the schoolyear, I returned twice to the series to remind me why I'm actually studying literature -- or why, for that matter, I even read.

Without it, I doubt I could have gotten through Krazy Kat: A Novel.
felis_ultharus: The Pardoner from the Canterbury Tales (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] jenjoou's end-of-school party was last night, so we had dinner at an actually authentic Japanese restaurant downtown. The food was delightful. And of course, thanks must go to [livejournal.com profile] jenjoou for providing my latest fix of Kyou Kara Maou -- I fear I'll have to take the next shot intraveneously, like any true junky.

I'm nearing the end of The End of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World. Excellent book. John Ralston Saul tracks the history of the Globalization movement -- the movement to weaken government and put the power in the hands of corporations not bound to any environmental and human-rights standards.

He chronicles the gradual end of this economic fashion, declaring it officially dead, and how governments are just beginning to realize they weren't powerless after all. He studies the rise of citizen anti-globalization movements, as people realized they had the power to fight back.

Of course, Canada's current prime minister and leader of the opposition are both priests and true-believers of the Globalization religion, so we'll probably be the last country in the world to leave it behind.

I'm re-reading the Harry Potter books simultaneously (one week today!), and trying not to get the plots confused. It was Joseph Stiglitz who spied on the Death Eaters to the Order, right? And Voldemort was the one arguing for the deregulation of money markets?

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